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Full text of "The practical works of David Clarkson"

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VOL. I. 


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

JAMES BEGG. D.D., Minister of Newington Free Church, Edinburgh. 
THOMAS J. CRAWFORD, D.D., S.T.P., Professor of Divinity, University, 

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

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

History, Reformed Presbyterian Church, Edinburgh. 
ANDREW THOMSON, D.D., Minister of Broughton Place United Presby-* 

terian Church, Edinburgh. 

General CH&ttor. 
REV. THOMAS SMITH, M.A., Edinburok. 





VOL. I. 





/oo.^. S7 


pRnrru) bt johv oreio aitd so:r, 



Prefatobt Note. 




Of Obioinal Sin. .... 

Ps. LI. 6. . 


Of Rbpentance. .... 

Luke XHI. 8. 


Of Faith. . . . . . 

Mark XVI. 16. 


Of Liyimo by Faith. .... 

Heb. X. 88. . 


Faith ik Pbatbb. .... 

Jambs I. 6. . 


Of Dtino in Faith. .... 

Hbb. XI. 18. 


Of Livimo as Stbanoers. 

Heb. XI. 18. 


The Ezcblubnt Knowi^bdge of Christ. 

Philip. III. 8. 


Justification by the Biohtbousness of Christ. 

Philip. IH. 9. 


Men by Natube Unwillino to comb to Christ. 

John V. 40. . 


The Lobd the Owneb of all things ; an induce- 
kent fboareabthly-mindednbsb. . 

Hbardio THE Word. 

Of Takino up the Cboss. 

1 Chbon. XXIX. 11. 866 
. Luke Vm. 18. 428 
. Luke XIV. 27. 447 


RESPBCTiNa the personal history of David Clarkson, a volume of 
whose works we now submit to the reader, we regret that almost 
no information has been handed down to u& The following par- 
ticulars are gleaned from a Memoir by the late £ev. John Black* 
bum, prefixed to a volume of his Select Works, published by the 
WickliiTe Society, the contents of which have been kindly placed 
at OUT disposal 

David Clarkson was bom at Bradford, in Yorkshire, in the m<»ith 
of February 1621-2. He was educated at Clare Hall, Oambridge, 
and became feUow and tutor in that Coll^pe in 1645. He gave up 
his fellowship in 1651, on his marriage with a Miss Holcroft ; and 
he was afterwards Bector of Mortlake, Surrey, from which he was 
' ejected' by the Act of XTnifbrmity in 1662. After this he spent 
his time in retirement and study, until, in 1682, he was chosen as 
colleague to Dr John Owen in the pastorship of his congregation 
in London. On the death of Owen, in the following year, he became 
sole pastor of the congregation, and discharged his duty fjaithfuUy 
nntil his death in 1686. 

This is really all that is known of the personal history of our 
author. Perhaps it is not rightly matter of surprise, however mudi 
it is to be regretted, that we can obtain so little insight into the 
particulars of the eveiy-day life of most of the Puritan Divines. 
We are not sure that it would be possible to ascertain many par- 
ticulars of the lives even of distinguished mimsters who died forty 
or fifty years ago, unless special memoirs of them were written 
immediately after their death ; and, of course, the difficulty must 
be greatiy enhanced when the stream of two hundred years has 
rolled over the sands upon which a man has imprinted his foot- 
maika And then it is to be remembered that our researches refor 
to a time when the periodical press had no existence. 

If Owen be admitted to be, as by common consent he seems to be 


regarded, the * David' of the Puritan host, and Howe, and Baxter, 
and Thomas Goodwin to be the * first three' of its worthies, we 
believe that the second trio must include the name of David Clark- 
son, associated probably with those of Chamock and Sibbes, or 
perhaps Flavel. It is manifest, however, that such a statement is 
to be taken only in a very general sense. In some respects, Sibbes 
is as much superior to Goodwin, as in others Goodwin is superior 
to Sibbes ; while in some most important particulars, and especially 
in respect of clearness and liveliness, Owen himself is unquestion- 
ably below all the seven others who have been named, and many 
others who might have been mentioned. From the very nature of 
the case, the question of precedence amongst writers cannot be 
determined but in a vague and general way. No man would ever 
think of asking the question whether Shakespeare or Bacon were 
the greater genius, the better writer ; or even the more limited 
question, whether Hume or Gibbon were the better historian, 
Addison or Johnson the more accomplished essayist. And in the 
domain of Christian and theological literature, the qualities of 
diflFerent writers are manifestly incommensurable. There are diversi- 
ties of gifts ; and it may not be determined whether the possession 
of a larger measure of one gift, and a smaller measure of another^ 
be more or less valuable than that of a greater degree of the latter, 
and a less measure of the former. The clear eye of one may be 
as precious as the iine ear of another ; the delicate touch of one as 
the firm standing of another ; and the eye may not say to the ear, I 
have no need of thee, nor yet the hand to the foot, I have no need 
of thee. 

It lis, however, unquestionable that» in respect of the qualities of 
a theological writer, Clarkson occupied a very high place amongst 
the divines of the Puritan period. His vigorous and clear mind, 
his extensive and varied learning, his fei*vent piety and zeal for 
the glory of God and the good of men, enabled Idm to produce 
writings remarkable for soundness of reasomng and fervency of 
appeal, and adorned with the graces of a tasteful eloquence. 
There can be no difference of opinion as to the propriety of 
including in the present series, at least the non-controversial 
portion of these writings — ^the theological and practical, as distin- 
guished from the ecclesiastical portion ; and we do not doubt that 
many readers will regard them as, upon the whole» the most valu- 
able, as they will certainly be found to be among the most generally 
attractive, of all the works of which the series is to be composed. 

His first appearance as an author was in the publication of a 
sermon which he preached at one of the Cripplegate Morning 


Ezerciaea Its title is, ' What Christians must do, that the Influence 
of the Ordinances may abide upon them.' His next publication 
was another Morning Exercise sermon, on the thesis * The Doctrine 
of Justification is dangerously corrupted in the Bomish Church/ 
This was followed by a quarto volume on ' The Practical Divinity of 
the Papists, discovered to be destructive of Christianity and men's 
souls/ a work of great research and candour. His next publications 
related to the episcopal and liturgical controversy. They were a 
treatise entitled, ' No Evidence for Diocesan Churches,' and another 
under the title, ' Diocesan Churches not yet Discovered in Primitive 
Times.' His sermon on the death of Owen was also published. 
We find also allusions to anonymous tracts of which he was the 
author, but it is probable that these are irrecoverably lost. 

His posthumous works were, 'Primitive Episcopacy stated 
and cleared firom the Holy Scriptures and Ancient Records,' and on 
the ' Use of Liturgies,' a ' Discourse oa the Saving Qrace of God,' 
and a large folio volume of sermons. 

These sermons, which will occupy the greater portion of the three 
volumes which it is intended to include in oiu: series, are thirty- 
one in number. They are of very various lengths, and, as we ven- 
ture to think, of very various degrees of excellence. Some of them 
may be ranked amongst the finest sermons in our language, while 
others are of little more than average merit. They have the dis- 
advantage which is incident to all posthumous publications, that 
they contain some things which their author would probably have 
cut out, and do not eontain some things which he would have put 
in, bad he prepared them for the press, or contemplated their pub- 
lication. Even the fullest of them contain many passages which 
are evidently only heads and notes for fuller discussions, which 
were doubtless supplied in the delivery, and which would have been 
inserted had he revised them for publication. There are also 
some things which we venture to think he would have omitted. 
We cannot believe, for example, that so ripe a scholar as he evi- 
dently was, would have allowed to pass an argument which he 
founds on a Hebrew word in the sermon on Original Sin. The root 
OTT* signifies to be warm; and by a very obvious process has the 
two secondary meanings, to conceive, and to be cmgry. But Mr 
darkson founds upon this coincidence an argument that the anger 
of God rests upon man from the instant of his conception^ By a 
slip of a simihu: character in another sermon, referring to the pro- 
digal's coming to himself, he makes repentance to be a recovering 
from madness, rather than a change of mind, as if the composition 
of the Greek word were it^ir* -j- ayoia, and not A*ira -f- »«'<»• These 


things any man might write off-hand, but we cannot think that 
a Bcholar like Clarkson would have published them. 

But with a few slight drawbacks of this kind, Clarkson's sennons, 
as a whole, are exceedingly valuable. They appear to us, in respect 
of style of thought and language, to be in advance of many of the 
writings of the period. They contain no plays upon words, no 
grotesque similes, no verbal or logical conceits; but an earnest, 
strong vindication of great gospel truths, and most affectionate and 
fervent appeals to sinners to embrace the offered salvation. There 
is often a considerable resemblance to the matter of some of 
Goodwin's works; occasionaily the same arguments employed in 
continuance. And we have no doubt that Clarkson was well 
acquainted with such of Qoodwin's writings as were published up 
to the time when he wrote. 

The doctrine of Clarkson is very decidedly Calvinistic^ and is 
occasionally somewhat harsher than that of most of the puritan 
Calvinists. There is, for example, an aigument respecting the 
divine sovereignty (p. 380 of this volume) which, the author tells 
us, ' clears up the absolute dominion of Qod, and those difficulties 
which concern it, very much to his own satis£BM;tion.' It is in sub- 
tance that God might, on the ground of absolute sovereignty, 
righteously deprive even a sinless creature of ^ being or well-being.' 
This is, to say the least of it, harsh doctrina We do not think that 
anything like it is to be found in Calvin, and we are sure that some- 
thing very unlike it is to be found in Goodwin. We venture to 
recommend the reader to compare the sentiments of Clarkson and 
Goodwin, the one in ihe passage referred to, the other in the trea- 
tise ' Of the Creatures, and the Condition of their State by Creation,' 
Book IL Chap. L (Goodwin's Works, Vol VIL p. 22-27). 

It is hoped that three volumes of our Series may contain aJI the 
extant works of Clarkson, with the exception of those on Episcopacy 
and Liturgies. 

The reader will be interested by the perusal of the following tract, 
entitled, * A Short Character of that Excellent Divine Mr David 
Clarkson, who departed this life 14th of June 1686.' This tract 
Mr Blackburn unhesitatingly ascribes to Dr Bates, who preached 
Mr Clarkson's funeral sermon. To us it does not appear that his 
reason is at all sufficient, it being only that he has seen a copy of 
it bound up with that sermon. 

< Although the eommendation of the dead is often suspected to be guilty 
of flattery, either in disguising their real £Etults, or adorning them with false 
virtues ; and such praises are pemicions to the living : yet of those per- 
sons whom God hath ehosen to be the singular objeots of his grace, we 


auij declare the praiseworthy qualities and aetioos which reflect an honour 
opaa the GiTer, and may excite us to imitation. And such was Mr David 
(3sikson» a person worthy of dear memoiy and value, who was ftunished 
with all those endowments that are requisite in an accomplished minister 

' He was a man of sincere godliness and true holiness, which is the 
divine part of a minister, without which all other accomplishments are not 
likely to be effectual for the great end of the ministry, that is, to translate 
mners ftom the kingdom of darkness, into the kingdom of God*s dear 
Son. Conversion is the special work of divine grace, and it is most likely 
that God will use those as instruments in that blessed work, who are dear 
to him and earnestly desire to glorify him. God ordinarily works in spxri- 
tiial things as in natural ; for as in the production of a living creature, 
beddes the influence of the universal cause, there must be an immediate 
agent of the same kind for the forming of it, so the divine wisdom orders 
It, that holy and heavenly ministers should be the instruments of making 
others so. Let a minister be master of natural and artificial eloquence, 
lot him understand all the secret springs of persuasion, let him be 
faxnished with learning and knowledge, yet he is not likely to suc- 
ceed in his divine employment without sanctifying grace. 'lis that gives 
him a tender sense of the worth of souls, that warms his heart with ardent 
requests to God, and with zealous affection to men for their salvation. 
Besidee, an unholy 'minister unravels in his actions his most accurate dis* 
courses in the pulpit; and like a carbuncle, that seems animated with the 
li^t and heat of fire, but is a cold dead stone, so, though with apparent 
earnestness he may urge men's duties upon them, yet he is cold and care- 
less in his own practice, and his example enervates the efficacy of his 
sermons. But this servant of God was a real saint ; a living spring of 
grace in his heart difilused itself in the veins of his conversation. His life 
was a silent repetition of his holy sermons. 

« He was a conscientious improver of his time for acquiring of useful 
Imoiriedge, that he mi^t be thoroughly furnished for the work of his divine 
esUing. And his example upbraids many ministers, who are strangely 
etrdess of then: duty, and squander away precious time, of which no part 
18 daspieable and to be neglected. The filings of gold are to be preserved. 
We cannot stop the flight of time, nor recall it when past. VoUU irrwoe* 
M$ Umpu9, The sun returns to us every day, and the names of the 
months evety year, but time never returns. But this servant of God was 
fiuihfal in improving this talent, being very sensible, to use his own words, 
'* that the blood of the soul runs out in wasted time." When deprived of 
his public ministry, he gave himself wholly to reading and meditation, 
vfaeveby he obtained an eminent degree of sacred knowledge, and was con- 
versant in the retired parts of learning, in which man^ who are qualified to 
preach a profitable sermon are unacquainted. 

'His humility and modesty were his distinctive characters wherein he 
welled. What a treasure was concealed under the veil of humility ! What 


an iUnstriouB worth was shadowed under his virtnons modesty 1 He waa 
like a picture drawn by an excellent master in painting, bnt placed in the 
dark, so that the exactness of the proportions and the beauty of the colours 
do not appear. He would not put his name to those excellent tracts that 
are extant, wherein his learning and judgment are yexy conspicuous. He 
was well satisfied to senre the church and illustrate the truth, and to remain 
in his beloyed secrecy. 

' In his conversation a comely gravity, mixed with an innocent pleasant- 
ness, were attractive of respect and love. He was of a calm temper, not 
ruffled with passions, but gentle, and kind, and good ; and even in some 
contentious writings, he preserved an equal tenor of mind, knowing that we 
are not likely to discover the truth in a mist of passion : his breast was 
the temple of peace. 

( In the discharge of his sacred work, his intellectual abilities and holy 
aflbotion were very evident. 

' In prayer, his solemnity and reverence were beeoming one that saw 
him who is invisible : his tender affections, and suitable expressions, how 
malting and moving, that might convey a holy heat and life to dead hearts, 
and dissolve obdurate sinners in their frozen tombs. 

' In his preaching, how instructive and .'persuasive to convince and turn 
the carnal and worldly from the love of sin to the love of holiness ; from 
the love of the earth, to the love of heaven I The matter of his sermons 
was dear and deep, and always judiciously derived from the text ; the lan- 
guage was neither gaudy and vain, with light trimmings, nor rude and 
neglected, but suitable to the oracles of God. Such were his chosen accep- 
table words, as to recommend heavenly truths, to make them more precious 
and amiable to the minds and affections of men ; like the colour of the sky, 
that makes the stars to shine with a more sparkling brightness. 

** Briefly, whilst opportunity continued, with alacrity and diligence, and 
constant resolution, he served his blessed Master till his languishing dis- 
tempers, which natural means could not remove, prevailed upon him. But 
then the best Physician provided him the true remedy of patience. 
His death was unexpected, yet, as he declared, no surprise to him, for he 
was entirely resigned to the will of God ; he desired to live no longer, than 
to be serviceable : his soul was supported with the blessed hope of 6i\joy- 
ing God in glory. With holy Simeon, he had Christ in his arms, and 
departed in peace to see the salvation of God above. How great a loss 
the church has sustained in his death is not easily valued ; but our com* 
fort is, God never wants instruments to accomplish his blessed work.*' 

The following documents, detailing some portions of the Christian 
experience of two of Mi Clarkson's daughters, will form an appro- 
priate conclusion to this note. 


' The choice experience of Mrs Rebsoca Combe, ddest daughter of the late 
Rev. Mr David Glasksom, delivered by her on Tier admission into fellow^ 
ship with the church, late under the care of the late Rev. Mr Thomas 

* In gWing an account of the dealings of Qtod with my soul, I desire troly 
and sincerely to represent the state of my case ; I am sensible it will be in 
mneh weakness, but I hope my end is, that Ood may have the glory of his 
own work, which he hath wrought on so mean and unworthy a creature as 

' I had the advantage and invaluable blessing of a religious education, 
both my parents being eminent for wisdom and grace. Under the instruc- 
tions of my good mother, I had early and frequent convictions, though 
these impressions lasted not long, for I wore them off, either by a formal 
engaging in some religious duties, or else by running into such diversions 
as were suited to my childhood. But my convictions being renewed as I 
grew np, and it being impressed on my mind that this way of performing 
duties, by fits and starts, merely to quiet an accusing conscience, would not 
satisfy the desires of an immortal soul capable of higher enjoyments than 
I took up with ; this put me on serious thoughtfulness what method to 
pursue, in order to bind myself to a more stated performance of those 
duties which, I was convinced, the Lord required of me. 

* Accordingly, I made a most solemn resolution to address myself to Ck)d 
by prayer, boi^ morning and evening, and never on any occasion what- 
ever to neglect it, calling the Lord to witness against me if I broke this I 
solemn engagement. But, alas 1 I soon saw the vanity of my own resolu- | 
tions, for as I was only found in the performance of duty through fear, and 

as a task, and, having once omitted it at the set time, I concluded my 
promise was now broke, and from that time continued in a total neglect of 
prayer, till it pleased the almighty Spirit to return with his powerful opera- 
tions, and set my sins in order before me. Then my unsuitable carriage 
under former convictions, together with my breaking the most solenm 
engagements to the Lord, wounded me deep. Lideed, I was tempted to 
conclude I had sinned the unpardonable sin, and should never be forgiven. 
< Yet, in my greatest distress and anguish of spirit, I could not give up 
all hope, having some views of the free and sovereign grace of God, as 
extended to the vilest and worst of sinners, though I could not take the 
comfort of it to myself. My sins appeared exceeding sinful. I even 
kMUhed and abhorred myself on account of them, and was continually 
begging a deeper sense and greater degree of humiliation. I thought I 
could bAve been content, yea, I was desirous, to be filled with the utmost 
bofTor and terror of which I was capable, if this might be a means of bring- 
ing me to that degree of sorrow which I apprehended the Lewd expected 
from so vile a creature. The heinous nature of my sins, and their offen- 
uteness to the pure eyes of his holiness, were ever before me, insomuch 
that I thought I eould not be too deeply wounded, or feel trouble enough. 


* This pat me on a constant and restless application to Gk>d throngh 
Christ, from whom alone I now saw all my help mnst come. I had tried 
the utmost I conld do, and foond it left me miserably short of what the 
law required and I wanted. I was convinced that an expectation of some 
worthiness in myself, as the condition of my acceptance before God, was 
that which had kept me so long from Christ and the free promises of the 
gospel ; and therefore, as enabled, I went to the Lord, and pleaded those 
absolnte prtHnises of his word, which are made freely to sinners in his Son, 
without the least qualification to be found in me. I was enabled to urge 
those encouraging words, Bev. zxii. 17, " Let him that is athirst come, 
and whosoerer will, let him take the water of life freely ; '* also Isa. Iv. 1, 
** Without money and without price ; ** with many more of the like nature, 
which would be too tedious to mention. I desired to come to Christ, 
unworthy as I was, and cast my soul entirely upon him, for I clearly saw 
that all I had heretofore done profited me nothing, since my very prayers, 
considered as a sinner, were an abomination to the Lord. There was 
nothing left therefore for me to take the least comfort and encouragement 
from but the free grace of God in Christ Jesus, which I continued to plead 
with much earnestness, and found my soul enlarged beyond whatever I 
had experienced before. 

' Soon after, I providentiaUy opened a manuscript of my fiather's, and cast 
my eye upon that part of it where he was shewing wluU pleas a sensible 
sinner might make tise of in prayer. Many things were mentioned which 
were very reviving. I was miserable, and that might be a plea. I might 
also plead his own mercy, the suitableness, the largeness, and the freeness 
of his mercy. I might plead my own inability to believe, of which I was 
▼eiy sensible. I might also plead the will of God, for he oonmiands sinners 
to believe, and is highly dishonoured by unbelief. I might likewise j^ead 
the descent of fedth, it is the gift of God, and the nature of this gift, which 
is free. Tea, I might plead the examples of others who have obtained this 
gift, and that against the greatest unlikelihood and improbabilities that 
might be. I might and could plead further, my willingness to submit to 
anything, so that I might but find this favour with the Lord. Moreover, 
I might plead Christ's prayer and his compassions ; the workings of his 
Spirit already begun ; that regard which the Lord shews to irrational crea- 
tures ; he hears ^eir cries, and will he shut out the cries of a poor perish- 
ing sinner ? — in short, I might plead my necessity and extreme need of 
flEiith, a sense of which was deeply impressed on my soul.* 

< On reading these pleas I found great relief, yea, they were to me as a 
voice from heaven, saying, This is the way, walk in it. I was enabled to 
go and act fidth upon a Redeemer, and conld give up my aU to him, and 
trust in him alone /or all. I was now convinced by his Spirit that he would 
work in me what was well-pleasing and acceptable to God, and that he 
required nothing of me but what his free rich grace would bestow upon me. 
Now was Christ exceeding precious to my soul, and I longed for clearer 
* See the sennon in this volume, on * Faith in Prayer.* — Ed. 


diaeoverMB of liim, both in his peraon and offioes, as prophet, priest, and 

And oh, how did I admire his oondeseending love and grace to snoh a 
poor, wretched, worthless creature as myself ! I was greatly delighted in 
freq[ii«nt aets of resignation to him, desiring that every facolty of my sonl 
ml|^t be bronght into an entire obedience, and coold part with every 
offisnflive thing, and would not have spared so mnch as one darling Inst, 
but was ready to bring it forth and slay it before him. In short, I conld 
now perceive a change wrought in my whole sonl ; I now delighted in what 
before was my greatest burden, and fbtmd that most bnrdensome in which 
I before most delighted. I went on pleasantly in dnty ; my meditation on 
him was sweet, and my heart much enlarged in admiring his inexpressible 
love and grace, bo free, and tovereign^ to so wretched a creature, which even 
filled my soul with wonder and love. 

But this delightful frame did not long continue, for I was soon surprised 
with swarms of vain thoughts, which appeared in my most solemn ap- 
proaches to God, and such violent hurries of temptation, as greatly 
staggered my fidth, which was weak. Hereupon I was ready to give up 
an, and to conclude that I bad mocked God, and cheated my own soul ; that 
these wandering thou^^ts, and this unfixedness of mind in duty, oonld never 
consist with a sincere love to the things of God. I thought my heart had 
been fixed, but oh how exceeding deceitful did I then find it! which 
greatly distesaed me, and made me conclude my sine were rather in- 
creased than mortified, insomuch that I was ready to cry out, '<0h, 
wretched creature that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this 
death 1*' and in consideration of the power and prevalency of indweUing 
cormptions and daily temptations which I had to grapple with, I was 
ready to say, ** I shall one day Mi by the hands of these enemies." 

* Bat these discouragements were folly removed by reading some of my 
fiither's writings, where it was observed that a person had no reason to 
condnde his sins were more increased merely because they appeared more, 
and became more troublesome, since this arose firom the opposition they 
now met with, firom that principle of grace which now was implanted. 
Hence I learned, that before the flesh reigned quietly in me, and therefore 
I perceived not the lusts thereof, but now all the powers and faculties of 
my soul were engaged against them, they gave me the greatest disturbance, 
and straggled more and more. Also these words were impressed on my 
mind with an efficacious power,^2 Cor. xii. 9, *' My grace is sufficient for 
thee,** which gave me peace in believing that it should be to me according 
to his word. 

' llius, after many conflicts, comforts, and supports, I determined to 
gife myself up to some church, that I might partake of tiie Lord's Supper, 
and have my fiuth confirmed in the blood of that everlasting covenant, 
vhieh I [hoped the Lord had made with me, since he had given me his 
Spirit as' the earnest thereof. I accordingly was joined to a church, and 
m coming to this ordinance, found great delight: my faith was strength- 


ened and my love increased from that sweet eommnnion I then eiyoyed 
with my Lord by his blessed Spirit, who often filled me with joy onspeak- 
able and foil of gloiy. Thus I walked nnder the sweet and oomfortable 
sense of his love; and whilst in the way of my dnty, I was thus indnlged 
with snch sights of the Redeemer's glory, and snoh a taste of his grace, I 
frequently wished that I might never more go back to the world again. * 

Bnt after all these manifestations, oh wretched creatnrel God in his 
providence calling me more into the world by changing my condition, this 
new relation bronght new afflictions and new temptations, which, being too 
mnch yielded to, insensibly prevailed, and brought me into such perplex- 
ing darkness that I want words to express it. X lost the sense of the love 
of God, and hence my duty was performed without that delight I had once 
experienced, the want of which made me often neglect it, and especially 
in private, while I attended on public worship with little advantage or 

The consideration of this decay in my love, and the loss of those quicken- 
ing influences of the Spirit which I used to experience in duty, increased 
my darkness, and I had doleful apprehensions of my state. And my 
inordinate love to the creature, and want of submission to the will of the 
Lord, in disposing of what I had so unduly set my heart on, prepared me 
to look for awful things, in a way of judgment from the righteous God, 
which I afterwards found ; his hand was soon laid on that very object by 
which I had so provoked him ; for a disorder seized him, under which he 
long languished, till it ended in his death.* 

' This was a melancholy stroke, and the more so as I saw his hand 
stretched out still, for I continued in an unsuitable temper, and without 
that submission which such a dispensation called for. The Lord still hid 
his £Eice irom me, and it is impossible to give a particular account of those 
perplexing thoughts and tormenting fears which filled my mind. Every- 
thing appeared dreadfully dark both within and without. Oh, were it 
possible to describe it to others as I then felt it, they would dread that 
which will separate between them and God ! I expected, if the Lord did 
return, it would be in a terrible way, by some remarkable judgment or 
other; but oftentimes, from the frame I was in, I could see no ground to 
hope he would ever return at aU. 

' But was it to me according to my dismal apprehensions and fears ? 
Oh, no 1 my soul and all that is within me bless and adore his name, 
under a sense of his free and sovereign grace, who manifested himself unto 
thee as a God, pardoning iniquity, transgression, and sin. This was the 
title by which he manifested himself to Moses when he caused his glory to 
pass before him, Exod. xxxiv. 6, 7. And it was in the clear apprehension, 
and powerful application of this by the almighty Spirit that I was brou^t 
to admire so greatly the free grace of God, thus discovered to me in so 
extraordinary a manner, that it even transported my very soul with love 
* Her idolised husband died of a consumption at Hitchin, Herts, but in what 
year is not known. 


tnd thankfolnefis, beyo&d anything that I had experienced in the whole of 
my past life. 

* The beginning of this wonderiol alteration in my frame, waa hearing the 
experience of one which I thought yery much like my own, when the Lord 
first began to work on my sonl. I concluded that this person was the 
snlyjeet of a real and nniversal change ; on this occasion, I determined to 
consider my former experience, in doing of which I found the blessed Spirit 
of all graoe assisting me, and witnessing to his work upon my heart, inso- 
mnch that, ere I was aware, my soul was like the chariots of a willing 
people ; I was wonderfully enlivened in duty, and enlaiged in thankfulness 
to Gk>d for thus manifesting himself, and directing me to those means which 
he had so inexpressibly blessed, beyond my expectation. 

' Thus the Lord drew me by the cords of love, and lifted up the light of 
his countenance upon me, so that in his light I saw light, which scattered 
that miserable cloud of darkness that had enwrapped my soul so long. 
Yea, lie dispelled all those unbelieving thoughts which were apt, to arise, 
im account of that low estate out of which he had .newly raised me. It 
was suggested to me that this was not his ordinary way of dealing with 
such provoking creatures as myself, but that they are usually filled ^th 
terrors, and brought down even to a view of the lowest hell, &c. Thus 
Batan endeavoured to hold me under unbelieving fears, but the blessed 
Spirit, by taking of the things of Christ, and shewing them unto me, pre- 
vailed over the temptation. 

^ * I had a discovery of the glory of the Father*8 love, as unchangeable, 
free, and eternal, which was discovered in pitching on me before the foun- 
dation of the world. And the glory of the Son as proceeding from the 
Father, and offering a sacrifice of a sweet-smelling savour, and in bringing 
in an everlasting righteousness, which by his Spirit he enabled me to rest 
wholly and alone upon, as the foundation of every blessing which I have 
received, or he has promised, for the whole of my acceptance before God, 
for my justification, sanctification, and full redemption. On this founda- 
tion he has enabled me sted&stly to rely, which greatly enlivens and 
enlarges my soul in its addresses to the Father, through Uie Son, by the 
•ssistance of the Holy Spirit, for pardon and strength, agamst those 
powerfnl corruptions which still remain in my heart. 

* Oh the love, the infinite, condescending, and unchanging love of the 
Father f and oh that fiihiess of grace which is treasured up in my 
Bedeemer, to be bestowed on me by his promised Spirit, of which so 
mneh hath already been communicated, that my soul is even overwhelmed 
under the sense and consideration of it 1 The Lord appears to me as 
resting in his love, and joying over me with singing, as it is expressed, 
Zeph. ill. 17, which scripture, with many others, has been so opened and 
applied as makes my approaches to him exceeding delightful. And this 
Mnse of his love lays me low in the views of my own vileness and un- 
worthiness, and constrains me to love him and live to him, and to give 
him all the glory of that change, which of his own free and sovereign 

VOL. I. * 


grace, he has iivrotight in me. There was nothing in me to move him to 
this, yea, what was there not in me to provoke him to east me off for 
ever? Bat^hns it hath pleased him to magnify his grace and mercy on a 
creatare the most unworthy of any that ever received a favour at his hands. 

' I know not where to end. He has- recovered me from amongst the 
dead, and he shall have the glory of it whilst I live; yes, I will praise him, 
and tell of the wonders of his love to others, that so he may he honoured, 
and none may distrust him. fie has filled me with his praises, though he 
has not given me that natural capacity which some have heen blessed with, 
to express what I feel and find, of his work on my soul. But this I can 
say, I have found him whom my soul loves, he hath manifested hinuMlf to 
me, and there is nothing I dread so much as losing sight of him again. 
His presence makes all his ordinances, and all his providences, and every- 
thing delightful unto me. It is impossible to express the joy of my soul 
in sweet converses with him, with a sense of his love and the experience of 
his presence, under the influences of his Spirit, whose office it is to abide 
with me, and to guide, direct, and comfort me for ever. 

' It is from a sense of my duty, and a desire to follow the direction of 
that blessed Spirit, that I request fellowship with you of this church. 
Amongst you my Lord has been pleased to discover himself to me, and to 
make the ministry you sit under exceeding useful and comfortable to my 
soul; by it I have been built up and settled on the right foundation, the 
righteousness of Christ, that rock that shall never be moved. Your 
order likewise appears to me very beautiful and lovely, being, as I appre- 
hend, most agreeable to the rules of my Lord. Hence I desire to have 
communion with you, that so by your example and watchfulness over me, 
and the other advantages arising from church-fellowship, I may find what 
I expect and earnestly desire in communion with you, namely, that I may 
experience fellowship with the Father and the Son, through the etemid 
Spirit, whilst I wait upon him in the ways of his own appointment. 

* Rebecca Combe. 

' December n. 1697.' 

* The remarkable experience of Mrs Gebtkude Clabkson, second daughter of 
the late Bev. Mr David Clabkson, given to the church mth whom the 
lived in communion, 

' My education has been very strict. The constant instruction and 
example of my parents had so early an influence, that it is hard to tell 
which was my first awakening. Ever since I can remember anything of my- 
self, I have had frequent convictions of the danger of sin and an unregene- 
rate state, attended with fears of the punishment due to it ; therefore was 
desirous of an interest in Christ, by whom I might be pardoned and saved 
from the wrath of God. This made me very fearful of omitting duties, or 


commHtingknown Bins ; and, though these conTictions wore off, yet they often 
retomedy and rendered me nneasy, unless I was praying or learning jscrip- 
tnresy or something which I thought good. In these exercises I was well 
satisfied, though it was my happiness to he under the most careful inspec- 
tion and judicious helps for the informing of my judgment. 

' Before I apprehended what it was to rely upon an all-sufficient Saviour 
for righteousness and strength, I rememher my notion of things was this, 
that I was to hear, and pray, and keep the Sahhath, and avoid what I 
knew to be sin, and then I thought God was obliged to save me ; that I 
did what I could, and so all that he required ; and I further conceived, 
that if at any time I omitted secret prayer, or any other duty, yet if I 
repented it was sufficient; and, on this consideration I have ofLen ventured 
upon the commission of sin, with a resolve to repent the next day, and 
iheD, having confessed the transgression, my conscience has been easy, and 
I was well satisfied. Indeed sin, at thai time, was not burdensome. I 
tmly desired that my sins might be pardoned, but thought the ways of 
religion hard; and, though I durst not live in the constant neglect of 
duty, yet I secretly wished that I had been under no obligation to perform 
it. When I reflect on the thoughts and workings of my heart and affee- 
tioKis in these times, and the confused apprehensions which I then had 
both of sin and grace, I am fully persuaded that, through grace there is a 
real, and in some measure an universal, change wrought in my soul. 

* After my fitther's death, I was reading one of his manuscripts, wherein 
both the object and nature of saving faith were described, and the great 
necesmty of it pressed, &c. The plain and clear definition there given of 
the saving act of faith, caused other apprehensions of things than I had 
before.* I then began to see how short I had come in all my performances 
c^that disposition of soul which the gospel called for, and how guilty I was 
while depending upon these performances for acceptance with God, not 
easting myself wholly and alone upon Christ, and resting on his righteous* 
ness entirdy for pardon and justification. The concern of my mmd was 
veiy great, that I had lived so long ignorant of those things which related 
to my eternal wel&re. I was sensible, the means and helps I had been 
favoured with for improvement in knowledge were beyond what is common, 
but I bad refused instruction, the consideration of which was very terrible 
to my thoughts, fearing lest I had sinned beyond all hope of forgiveness. 

' But in the mesi discouraging apprehensions of my case my heart was 
much enlarged in the confession of sin, and in bewailing my captivity to it, 
which was attended with earnest wrestlings with the Lord for pardoning 
and purifying grace. Those absolute promises in the 86th chapter oi 
Ezekiel, of ''a new heart and right spirit," were my continual plea, 
together with Mat. v. 6, '' Blessed are they who hunger and thirst after 
righteousness, for they shall be filled." I found longings and pantings 
of soul after that righteousness, and saw that it could only be received by 

• This 10 the same discourse that was useful io her sister Rebecca, and is the third 
h the volume, entitled < Faith/ and based on Mark xvi. 16. 


faith ; this faiih I earnestly begged, lind that the Lord wotdd pardon that 
ffrecA 8in of unbelief which bo proToked and diahononred him, and that he 
would by his own Spirit enable me to embrace Christ as freely held forth 
in the gospel. 

' About this time I was omch affected with the consideration of Christ's 
offices, as prophet, priest, and king. And though I durst not daim an 
interest in them, yet was often meditating upon them, admiring that infinite 
condescension which is manifested therein. I thought whateier my con- 
dition was in this world, yet if I might be under his powerful and effectual 
teachings as a prophet, and have the benefit of his atonement and inter- 
cession as a priest, and be entirely subject to him in every ftculty of my 
soul, as my Lord and King, then how satbfied and happy should I be 1 

' I was under these stragglings a long time before I came to any com- 
fortable persuasion that I was accepted. Sins against lig^t and love deeply 
wounded me, and the many a^ravating circumstances which attended 
them were so represented by Satan, that I could not tell how to believe 
such iniquities as mine would be forgiven. But in the midst of these 
distressiDg thoughts I found in that manuscript of my &ther*s, that none 
but unworthy sinners, who are empty of all good in themselves, were the 
objects of pardoning mercy, that the whole needed not the physician, but 
the sick. This encouraged me to plead with hope that the Lord would 
glorify the freeness of his own grace in my salvation, and to urge that 
Christ called ** weary and heavy laden to him with a promise of rest,** 
Mat. xi. 28. 

' I found my soul was extremely burdened with sin ; it appeared more 
exceeding sinful than ever before ; sins of thought as well as words and 
actions were then observed with sorrow, and lamented before him. Yea, 
even the sins of my most holy things, those swarms of vain thoughts and 
wanderings of heart and affections of which I was conscious in my secret 
retirements, and most solemn, dose dealings with God. Li short, my own 
soul was my intolerable burden, which made me often question whether 
there were not more provoking sins in me than God usually pardons. Oh, 
I found every power and faculty were depraved, and that I could not do 
the good I would 1 

' It would be tedious to relate the many particular discouragements and 
temptations I laboured under, sometimes pouring forth my soul with some 
hope in his free mercy, sometimes only bewailing my condition without 
hope, till it pleased him whose power and grace no impenitent heart can 
resist and prevail, to put a stop to my unbelieving reasonings, from the 
unlikelihood of such sins being pardoned, sins so aggravated and so pro- 
voking as mine, by giving me an awful sense of his absolute sovereignty 
from those words, Exod. xxxiii. 19, '* I will be gracious to whom I will 
be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy." Also 
Isa. Iv. 1, * For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways 
my ways, saith the Lord." These considerations were so impressed on 
my mind, and struck such an awe upon my spirits, that I durst not any 


loqger pve way to my eamal leasonings ; I thongbi I could commit myself 
to his sovereign pleasm^, let him do with me as seemed him good. 

* After some time my mother, perceiving my concern, conversed very 
freely with me, and asked if I was not willing to accept of Christ to sanctify 
as well as to save me ? I told, her I desired this i^ove all things. She 
then said he had certainly accepted me, adding, that it was Christ who had 
made me wilQpg to close with hint, and that he never made any soul thns 
willing^ bfQl he had first pardoned and accepted that soul. I shall never 
iioigei with what weight these words were impressed on my heart. I 
thought it was a pardon sent immediately to me. I ooold not bat say, I 
was above all things desiroas to be entirely subject to Christ in every 
power and faculty of my soul, that every thought might be brought into 
sobjeetion to Christ, and nothing might remain in me contrary to him, 
bat that there might be a perfect confonnity to his image and will in all 

* After this conversation I found great composure in my mmd, believing 
that the Lord had created those desires in me, which nothing but himself, 
and the ei\joynient of himself could satisfy, and that he would answer them 
with himself : ** That he would not break the bruised reed, nor quench the 
smoking flax,*' Mat. zii. 20. My delight now was in nothing else but 
meditating upon, and admiring of the free and sovereign grace of God in 
Christ, which distinguished me from many others who had not so highly 
provoked him, having called me out of such gross darkness which I had been 
long in, and given me any glimmerings of the light, of the knowledge, of 
the glory, of his grace. My desires greatly increased after further dis- 
eoveriesy and clearer light into the deep mysteries of the love and grace of 
God in Christ Jesus; and all diversions from these meditations were a 

< Oh, I then thonght, '' all old things were passed away, and everything 
was become new 1 " I experienced a universal change in my mind, will, and 
afbettona ; the bent of them was tamed another way. The ordinances, 
which were once irksome, were above all things pleasant, and the return 
of Sabbaths continually longed for. I was very thankful it was my duty 
as wen as privilege to set apart the whole day for the worship and glory of 
my Lord. I bewailed much that I could love him no more, that there was 
so mach sin remaining in me, and which I found mixed with all that I did, 
and that I was not wholly taken up in those blessed and delightful employ- 
ments without the least interruption. Oh I longed for that state wherein 
an these fetters should be knocked o£f, and my soul set at liberty in the 
worship and praise of my God, being freed from coxruptions within or 
temptations without I 

' My soul was thus delightfhUy carried out for some time, in which I 
beard a discourse from these words : John xxi. 17, ** Thou knowest aU 
things, thou knowest that I love thee." The scope of this sermon was for 
a trial, whether our appeal could be made to him who knows aU things, 
that we loved him ? Under this discourse I found my heart greatly carried 


oni in love to Christ in all his ordinances, and the discoveries made of his 
will therein. These subjects concerning the love of Christ, and his people*8 
love to him, being long continued, one sermon after another, I foond I 
sat under the word with great pleasure and enlarged affections. 

' At this time mj mother was persuading me to join in communion with 
some church, which greatly startled me at the first. I could by no means 
think of that, not apprehending myself to have come so hi yet. I thought 
there must be fiomething more in me, or I should eat and drink damna^ 
tion to myself. But being better informed both as to the nature and 
end of the ordinance, and that it was intended for the increase of grace 
and strength, and that it was a positive command of my Lord, with whose 
will in all things I was very desirous to comply, I was at last prevailed with 
to venture on that great ordinance, and was much refreshed and satisfied 
in my renewed resignation and enlarged expectations of receiving all need- 
ful supplies from him who is the head of the church. Oh the condescend- 
ing love and grace of my Redeemer, represented to me in these transactions, 
how greatly did they delight and affect my soul ! I wished I might have 
been always thus exercised, expecting with great pleasure the return of 
those seasons wherein I might hope for further manifestations and larger 
communications of grace and love. 

' But after some time my affections began to cool. I had not such 
sweetness and enlargement in my approaches to God in public as I used to 
find. I thought the preaching more empty, and came short of what I 
found I wanted. This deadness continuing, filled me with no small con- 
cern, fearing I should fidl off. I was very fiar from chai^ng the ministry 
I sat under, but my own wicked wavering heart. I have often gone to the 
house of God with raised expectations of receiving those quickenings I 
used to be blessed with, but found sad disappointments. This frame 
of spirit as to public worship was matter of continual mourning and 
bewailing in secret. I was often examining my heart as to its aims and 
ends in my public approaches, and could not but conclude my desires were 
above aU things to glorify my Lord in all his appointments, and to receive 
those blessings from him which might enable me so to do. 

' The missing of the Lord's presence under the means, in the use of which 
he had commanded me to expect it, and which he had heretofore in some 
measure vouchsafed, was very grievous. I earnestly begged a discovery 
of eveiy sin that might be hid fi*om me, which might be the cause of this 
withdrawing. But the decay of my affections still remaining, it caused 
great misgivings of my heart, that things were not right with me. Yet 
still I had supports in my secret applications to God, that his grace would 
be sufficient for me, and that I should be kept by his almighty power, 
through fiEdth unto salvation, which encouragements kept me still waiting 
with hope, that he would yet return and bless me. 

* After sometime, being providentially brought to this place, I found the 
preaching of your pastor so suited to my case, that I was greatly enlarged 
in thankfulness to God, who had so directed me. Those sermons upon 


Oftl. yi. 8, ** For if a man thinkeih himself something when he is nothing, 
he deceiveth himself," though I had heard your minister before with great 
satisfaction, brought me to a resolution of sitting under his ministry. I 
do not question but you remember what unusual and deep-searching dis- 
eouTsea they were to me. They razed me again to the very foundation, 
and diacoyered the many secret holds Satan had in my heart, which before 
I thought not of, and how many ways I was taken up in something which 
was nothing. I wish I could express what they were. 

' These discourses caused deep humUings of spirit, and enlarged desires 
after further enlightenings. Oh I found these things reach me I I needed 
to be led into the depths of my own deceitful heart, and thereby observe 
that secret proneness there was in me, to be laying hold on something in 
se^io rest upon and expect from. In short, I now saw that utter insuffi- 
ciency and weakness in myself, and everything done by myself to satisfy 
the cravings of my immortal soul, which I had not so much as onoe thought 
of before. « 

' I have been also led more to that fulness from whence only I can 
receive what may render me acceptable to the Father, and have never 
found so much sweetness and solid satisfiaction in my access to God as 
when most sensible of my own unworthiness, and entire emptiness of any« 
thing agreeable to him in myself, and all my performances, and when most 
apprehensive of that infinite fulness and suitableness of grace laid up in 
Quist Jesus, from whence I am commanded and encouraged to be con- 
tinnaDy receiving fresh supplies. Oh those infinite, inexhaustible treasures t 
Kothing, nothing less can satisfy the restless cravings and pantings of my 
BOol 1 By this preaching I have been continually led to this fresh spring 
that never fiuls, and have experienced great quiokenings in my applications 
to Christ, and comfortable rejoicings in him. Notwithstanding all those 
maaezable defects and failures in my poor performances, this gives me 
comfort, that there is perfect righteousness wrought out of me, which I 
may receive freely by futh, and therein stand complete before God fos 

* The insisting on such truths as these, which have a direct tendency to 
lead from self to Christ, by opening and unfolding the mysteries of grace 
hid up in him, so admirably suited to answer all the necessities of poor, 
heli^ess, guilty creatures, I find above all things encourages me to, and 
enlivens me in, duty. My low improvements under these suitable instruc- 
tive helps fill me with mourning to think there should be no greater estab- 
lishment upon the sure foundation of a Bedeemer's righteousness, on which 
I hope I have been enabled to build. 

( At times I can apprehend with some clearness that this righteousness 
was wrought out for me, and can apply to him with confidence and joy as 
the ** Lord my righteousness and strength,** and gladly hope that through 
that strength I shall be more than a conqueror over every disturbing cor- 
ruption and temptation ; yea, that I shall see him shortly as he is, in the 
foil displays of the gloiy of that grace and love which I cannot now com- 


prehendy and by the tranBforming sight be made like him. But oh how 
shorty how seldom are these interviews ! mj onbelieTing heart $tUl retoms 
to its former darkness and distrust, and gives me frequent occasions to 
bewail theflnctnations of my weak fidth. Oh that it was stronger, that it 
was more stedfEtft I Bnt blessed be his name in whom I put my enttrs 
tmst, there is grace in him to help me under all decays and fitulings, 
throngh weakness. It is from hence I receive strength to elevate and 
excite the acts of faith and love when snnk so low that I cannot raise them. 
Yea, it is from the same frdness I receive grace to regulate the actings of 
grace, and to set my sonl from time to time in a right way of improving 
the grace I received, and for obtaining pardon for all my defects, as well as 
for tiie removing all my defilements. 

* These are troths that feed and snpport my fiiith, and without these 
were set home with power on my soul I must give up under the great 
aboundmgs of indwelling corraptions. I desired a submissive waiting for 
further manifestations of his love in his own time and way. And although 
I have not those constant shines of the light of God's countenance, with 
which some of his people are blessed, yet I htunbly adore him for the little 
light he hath afforded me, and beg your prayers that I may be kept close 
to him, and have such constant discoveries as may strengthen my faith, by 
a close adherence to him, and firm reliance cm him without wavering. But 
I am sensible that I am too apt to be looking off firom the only support 
and foundation of my faith and hope, and to be depending on, and expect- 
ing from, the firame of my own spirit, and workings of my affections towards 
spiritual things. 

' Oh the unsearchable deceitfulness of my heart, which is so many waya 
betraying me into an unbelieving temper of spirit 1 I find I need greater 
helps thui those may who are more established, and I dare not no^ect 
those helps which my Lord has provided for his church. I need to be 
watched over, and excited and encouraged under difficulties from those 
experiences which others have of the dealings of the Lord with them. I 
have been wishing for these advantages for a considerable time, being fully 
convinced that those who are members of his church should be buildhig up 
one another. I bless the Lord that he has discovered his will to me in 
this point, and that he hath provided greater helps than what I had been 
before acquainted with for my furtherance in my progress to heaven« 
Accordingly, I would cheerfully and thankfully fi&ll in with his will herein, 
and so take hold of his covenant in this churph, expecting the blessing 
promised to those that are planted in his house. • 

* Oebtbudb Glaexson.* 


TOL. I. 


Behaldj I was ahapen in imguUy; and in sin did my mother eonceive ifM.— 

Pbalk LI. 5. 

The end of the minisiiy of the gospel is to bring sinners nnto Christ. 
Their way to this end lies throogh the sense of their misery without Christ. 

The ingredients of this misery, are oar sinfolness, ori^nal and actual ; 
the wrath of God, whereto sin has exposed us ; and oar impotenoy to free 
oarselyee either from sin or wrath. 

That we may therefore promote this great end, we shall endeavoar, as 
the Lord will assist, to lead yoa in this way, by the sense of misery, to him 
who alone can deliyer from it. 

Now the original of oar misery being the corraption of oar natures, or 
original sin, we thooght fit to begin here, and therefore have pitched upon 
these words as very proper for oar purpose. 

They are part of the psalm which is styled ' a Psahn of Bepentance.' 
Id the beginning whereof you may obserre the expressions and the grounds 
of David's repentance. 

The expressionB are, petition and confession ; that in the Ist and 2d, 
this in the 8d Terse. 

The groonds of it are, 1, the otject of this sin ; 2, the fountain. 

1. The object against which his sin was directed, ver. 4 : that is, Qoi. 

2. The fountain from whence his sin sprung; u «., his natural corrup- 
tion. He follows the stream pp to ihe spring head, and there lays the 
ground of his humiliation, ver. 5.] 

O&f . The ground of a sinner's humiliation should be the corruption of 
his nature. Original sin should be the rise of our sorrow. I shall not 
attempt a full and accurate tractation of original sin, but confine myself to 
the text, and Qie scope I aimed at in the choice of it. 

And that I may open and confirm it nuM dearly and distinctly, I shall 
take the observation into parcels, and present it to you in these three pro- 
poaitiops : 1, The corruption of nature is a sin ; 2, We are jniilty of this sin 
as soon as we are bom, as soon as we are conceived ; 8, This dn, thus 
aaily conkaeted, must be Ihe ground of oor humiliation. This we shall 
eoofirm, and then add what is practical, so representing this natural cor- 
nelian in some particulars, as may humble us, render us vile in our own 


eyes, and drive ns to Chriflty who can deliver yon from the gnilt and power 
of this pestilent evil. 

I. Natnral corruption is a sin ; so it is styled twice in the text, hoth fOf 
perverseness, iniquity ; and {{19)7, sin. Thai is sin which the Lord per- 
emptorily forbids. The apostle^s definition of it is unquestionable, 1 John 
iii. 4. No greater transgression than this, since it transgresses all at once. 

We are commanded to be holy ; so the want of holiness is forbidden, 
which is the privatiye part of this sin. We are commanded to love the 
Lord with all our hearts ; so the heart's inclination to hate God is forbidden, 
which is the positive part of this sin. 

A nonconformity to the whole law of God is a transgression of the whole 
law ; and this being such, it is not only a sin, but all sins in one. 

llie apostle Paul was more able to judge what is sin than any papist, 
Socinian, &c., and he calls it sin five times, Bom. vi. ; six times, Bom. vii. ; 
three times, Bom. viii. 

The apostle's description of it. Bom. vii., is very observable ; for therein 
you may find near twenty aggravations of Uiis sin. I will point at them, 
and leave the enlargement to your own thoughts. 

(1.) It is that which is not good^ ver. 18. Why did no good thing dwell 
there, but because nothing dwelt there but this corruption, which is wholly 

(2.) And that we may not mistake it for an evil of suffering, he calls it 
sin, as elsewhere, so ver. 20, sin, and so the greatest evil. 

(8.) And that it may not pass for a sin of an ordinaiy size, he styles it, 
ver. 18, &/M,^ia A/iafruXbgy nay, xatf' uwu^jSoX^v, excessively hyperbolically 
sinful. Here is a resJ, not a verbal hyperbole : for as in a verbal hyper- 
bole the expression exceeds the reality, so in this real hyperbole, the 
reality exceeds the expression ; it is so sinful, as scarce any expression 
can reach it. 

(4.) It is a condemned, a forbidden evil, ver. 7, that we may not ques- 
tion, but that it has the formality of a sin. 

^6.^ It is a positive evil : ver. 17, ' No more I that do it, but sin.* 

(6.) A perverse evil ; grows worse by that which should make it better, 
ver. 8. 

(7.) A debasing evil ; miade and denominates him carnal, ver. 14. 

(8.^ An intimate inherent evil, ver. 17, sin in him, in his members. 

(9.) It is a permanent evil, 6tMv<ra h tfioi ; a fruitful evil, ver. 8, all 
manner of lust^ a deceitful evil, ver. 11, i^n^drfici ; an imperious evil ; a 
law, ver. 23, gives law; a tyrannical evil, aix/^>^'iovrd , ver. 28, a 
rebellious, conflicting warlike evil, &vri<rrffxjrswfi,ivoVf ver. 28, an importu- 
nate and unreasonable evil, ver. 15, forces to do that which he hates ; a 
watchful evil, ver. 21, is present, ^a^dxurat; a powerful evil, ver. 24. 
Who shall deliver me ? A complete evil, ver. 24, a body furnished with 
all members of unrighteousness ; a deadly evil, ver. 24, the body of death ; 
a miserable evil, ver. 24, above all things made him wretched. 

Obj. If it be objected, this can be no sin, because it is not voluntary, 

Ans. 1. That rule, whatever is not voluntaiy is not sinful, is not univer- 
sally true, nor is it admitted by our divines, without limitation ; no, not 
when it is applied to actual sin, much less in this case. 

Ans. 2. But admit this rule. Natural corruption is voluntary, both d 
parte ante, in respect of Adam, and d parte post, in respect of us ; or, as 
Augustine, sive in apere, sive in origine. 


(1.) In respeet of Adam, he conkaoted tide otO yolnntarily, and we in 
him. He is not to be considered as one man, bnt as the root or repre- 
aentatiye of all men. Omnes eramm ilU unm homo : we all were that one 
man, and therefore his will was the will of all men. All being inclnded 
Tirtoallyin him, what he voluntarily consented to, that was yolontarily 
consented to by aU. 

(2.) A parte post^ in respect of ns. It is voluntary, in respect of after- 
eonsent. AU who are capable of humiliation have actually consented to 
their natural corruption, have been pleased with it, have cherished it by 
occasions of sin, have strengthened it by acts of sin, have resisted the 
means whereby it should be mortified and subdued, which all are infallible 
evidences of actual consent. That which was only natural is thus become 
▼olontaiy, and so, by consent of all, sinful. 

n. Proposition. We are tainted with this sin from our birth, from our 
conception, while we are formed, while we are warmed in the womb, as 
the word is. Natural corruption is not contracted only by imitation, 
nor becomes it habitual by custom or repetition of acts, but it is rooted 
in the soul before the subject be capable either of imitation or acting. 
It is diffused through the soul as soon as the soul is united to the body. 
And if we take conception in such a latitude as to reach this union, there 
will be no difficulty to conceive how we are capable of this sin in our 

The prophet upbraids Israel with this, Isa. zlviii. 8, 'And wast called a 
transgressor from the womb,' and so may we all be called, though the 
expression be inclusively, not only from the time of our coming out of the 
womb, but from the time of our being formed in it. 

If I would step out of the way, I might here inquire how this sin is con* 
▼eyed unto us in the womb. But the curiosity of this inquiry is hand- 
somely taxed by that known passage of Augustine. A man being &llen 
into a pit, one spies him, and admires how he came there. Oh, says the 
fallen man to him, Tu cogita quomodo hine me liberee : Be careful, cries he, 
to get me out ; trouble not thyself to inquire how I fell in. 

Thus should we be disposed as to our natural corruption, not so curious 
to inquire how we came by it, as careful to know how we may be rid of it. 
And one way is pointed at in the next particular, the third proposition, 
which is this: 

m. Proposition. This sin should be the ground of our humiliation. I 
might confirm this with many arguments, bnt I shall content myself with 
one, which, with the branches of it, will be sufficiently demonstrative 
it diould be ground of our humiliation, because it is the foundation of 
onr misery. Our misery consists in the depravedness of our natures, 
oor obnoxiousness to the wrath of God, and our inability to free onr- 
leWes firom either. Bnt this is what has depraved onr natures, or rather 
is the depravation of them ; this makes us obnoxious to the wrath of 
God, Ac. 

1. The depravedness of onr natures consists in a privation of all good, 
tn antipathy to God, and a propensity to aU evil. And these three are 
not 80 much the effects, as the formality of this sin. 

(1.) It is a privation of all that is good. In that soul where this is 
predominant, there is neither seed nor fruit, neither root nor branch 
neither inclination nor motion, neither haUt nor act, that is spiritually 

8 OF OBIGINAL fiOH. [Ps. LI. 5. 

good. No spark of boliness ; no rdics of man's primitive zighteons- 
ness ; no lineament of that image of God, which was at first fair drawn 
upon the soul of man : Bom. vii. 18, * In my flesh/ t. 0., in my nature 
considered as oormpted. Man's soul is left like a mined castle ; the bare 
ragged walls, the remaining fieumlties, may help yon to gness what it has 
been ; bnt all the ornaments and precious fuxnitnre is gone. Is not this 
ground of humiliation ? Thy ruined soul can never be repaired, but by 
him who brought heaven and earth out of nothing. 

J 2.) There is an antipathy to God, and the things of God ; to his ways 
image. * The canud mind,* Bom. viii, 7, the mind overspread with 
natural corruption, usually called flesh, is not only an enemy, but ' enmity.' 
In enmity there is hatred, malice, despite, mischievous thoughts and con- 
trivances. This is the temper of thy soul till thou art bom again ; thy 
heart is full of enmity, malice, &c. Oh, is not this ground of humiliation, 
that^a poor worm should swell big with malice and enmity against the 
great God, should be an utter enemy to him, in whom alone are his hopes 
and happiness I A natural man will not believe this. But here is a demon- 
stration of it from another fruit of this corroption ; and that is an anti- 
pathy to the holy ways, spirit and heavenly employments, to the image of 
Qodf to holiness itself. Naturalists write of a beast that will tear and rend 
the picture of a man if it come in his way ; and this is taken as an argu- 
ment that he has a stronger antipathy to man than is in any other beast. 
And does it not argue as strong an antipathy to God, when men will 
tear his image, vent their malice in jeers and reproaches against holiness 9 
Does it not argue an antipathy to holiness, when holy employments and 
exercises are most tedious and burdensome ? Oh the sad issue of our 
depravedness, when it possesses with enmity against God I la it not a 
ground of humiliation ? 

(8.) There is a propensity to aU evil. I say not, an equal propensity in 
all to every sin, but a propensity more or less in every one to all sin. 
* Folly is bound up,' Prov. xzii. 15. This folly is the sin of our natures ; 
all sin whatsoever is wrapped up in this natural cormption ; actual sins 
are but the unfolding of it. 

As all men are said to be in the first virtually, m primo cunoU fuimus 
patre, so may all sins, in respect of this propensity to all, be said [to be] 
in this first sin, the sin of our births and natures. The Seventy render sin 
and iniquity in the text plurally, iv Avofuatg, h &fjM^ious. There is a plu- 
rality of sins in our natural cormption. It is all sin virtually, because it 
disposes and inclines the soul to all. 

And is not here ground of humiliation, when, by reason of this corrup- 
tion, we are not only destitute of all that is good, but disposed to all that 
is evil? 

2. Another part of our misery is our obnoxiousness to the wrath of God. 
And natural cormption is the foundation of this also, Eph. ii. 8. Why by 
nature, but because there is that in our natures which is the proper 
object of God's wrath 7 * Children of vnrath ;' bom to it, because bom in 
sin. Children, this is your portion, wrath is your inheritance ; the writings 
and evidences for it are the curses and threatenings of the law. These 
make it sure, by these wrath is entailed on you and yours. From the 
word in the text, which we read conceived, and in the margin, warmed, 
comes the word which we render indignation ; nOH^ As soon as we are 
warmed in the womb, the Lord's indignation is kmdled agMzkst us. The 
cormption of our natures is its fuel. Oh what ground is here of humi- 

Tb. LL 6.] OF oBianiAL anr. 7 

Iiation» fbai by reason of this sitt of our naimres we aze exposed in o6r 
eooeeption, Urth, li&, to {he wrath of God I 

8. Anotiier part of this miBezy is your inability to free yonrselTes from 
this sin and wnth. This is endent from hence : those tiiat are bom in 
sins and trespasses are * dead in sins and trespasses/ Eph. ii. 1. Till ye 
be bom again, ye are dead. Th^re most be a second birth, else there mil 
be no spiritual life. Every one, since death entered into the world by this 
sin, is bom dead; comes into the world, and so continaes, destitate of 
spritnal life. And what more impotent than a dead man ? Yon can no 
more repair the image of God in your souls, than a dead man can rennite 
his sool to his body ; no more free yonrselTcs from that antipathy to God, 
and inclination to wickedness, than a dead carcase can free itself from those 
worms and Termin that feed upon it; no more free yonrselTes from 
the wrath of God, than a dead man can raise himself oat of the grave. 

Into snch a low condition has this cormption of nature sank the sons 
of men, as nothing can raise them but an infinite power, an almighty 

Nay, so fiur are men, in this estate, from power to free themselTes from 
this misery, as they are witiboat sense of their misery. Tell them they 
are dead; it is a paradox. They will not beUeve the report of Christ ; 
they will not hear, till a voice armed with an almighty power, each a voice 
as Lazams heard, do awake them. Till then, they are without life, and so 
without sense. Here is the depth of misery: to be so miserable, and yet 
insensible of it. Tet thus low has this sin brought every sinner. 

Nay, if they were sensible of their misery, and of their own inability to 
avoid H, yet can they not, yet will ihey not move towards him, who only 
ean deliver them. They are wittiout life, and so without motion. * No 
man eomes to me except the Father draw him,' John vi. 

They lie dead, putrdying under this cormption, under the wrath of an 
ineensed God, without motion or inclination towud him who is the resur* 
reetion and the life. 

This is the condition into which this sin has brought you; and can there 
be a condition more miserable P 

Is there not canae to be humbled for that which has brought you so low, 
iriiieh has made you so wretched? Should not this be the chief ground 
of your humiliation P I need say no more to demonstrate this tmth. 

IV. Let me now proceed, in the fourth place, to make this troth more 
praciicaL And this I shall endeavour, by jrepresenting this sin to yon in 
some particulars, which tend to humble you, to make you vile in joai own 
eyes, and drive you to Christ, who <mly can save you from this sin, and 
the woefal effects of it. 

1. Its unnatnralness. This cormption is incorporated into our natures. 
It has a real being in us, before we have a visible being in the world. It 
is eoneeived in us at our first conception, Ps. li., *in sin.' The old 
man is fiimished with all its members, before we are formed, shapen ; 
qniekened, be&we we axe alive ; and is bom before we come into the 

This makes ns evil in God's i^e, before we have done good or evil ; and 
by virtue of it, we are bom heirs api^arent to eternal wrath : Eph. ii. 8, 
'By natme children of wrath;' we are bom to it; this is our title. 
Thioui^ men use this to excuse their siu, It is my nature ; yet this is the 
geatart aggravation of it We can better endure a mischief, when it 

8 OF OBI0XNAL 8tM. [Ps. LI. 5. 

eomGBlacoidAiaUy, than one who isnatarally misohieTons. Woold thid 
be a good plea for one who has pbtted treason, to say, I am naioially a 
traifbr ; it is my nature to be treaoberods, morderons ? This would make 
him m6re odions : suchia man would not be counted fit to live a moment. 

Why do we hate toads, but because they are naturally a poisonous ver- 
min ? That which is so accidentally, we rather pity than hate it* The 
Lord.hfua a stronger antipathy against natural corruption, than we against 
the most poisonous vermin. A toad is good physically, sub ratione eniiSf 
as a creature ;'.all the works of his hands are good ; but this corruption 
is both physically, morally, and spiritually evil ; and the worse, because it 
is natuntl. 

2. The sinfulness oi it. It is more sinful than the most grievous actual 
sin that ever hath, or ever can be committed. It is in some sense more 
sinful than all iMtual sins put together. 

(1.) An actual sin does but Erectly violate one command of God ; but 
this is a violation of all God's commands at once, a transgression of the 
whole law, a contrariety to every part of God's revealed will. For this 
corruptioh is forbidden in every commandment ; because cum prohibetur 
efectust prohibetur. caum^ when any sin is forbidden, that which is the 
cause it cannot be avoided, is forbidden. Cum prohibetur cu^ust prohibehtr 
incUnatio ad actum, when any sin is forbidden, all degrees of it are pro- 
hibited. Now this is the cause of the inclination to fdl sin ; and so it is 
forbidden in every precept ; and Uierefbre this is a breach of every precept. 

(2.) Sin cannot be always actual, and therefore the law is but some^ 
times bh)ken by actual sins ; but this is a violation of the law at all times. 
We are not actually sinners before we are bom.; but in respect of this, we 
are sinners in our mother's womb. In£Emts, before all use of reason, do 
not actually sin ; but even when we are in&nts, we are sinners, trans- 
gre^ord of the law, by natural corruption. Bom. v. 14. Death reigned over 
in£uits; therefore in&nts were sinners, though not actually, as Adam. Acts 
are transient, this is settled, continuing against God. 

(8.) Actual sin does but break the law in being,' the time it' is in acting. 
But tins is a continued violation of the law without any interruption, 
without the least intermisdon, from the instant of the soul's conjunction 
with the body to the hour of our dlssdlution. There is no lucida tutor- 
valla,.no good fits, no cessation ; well may the apocjtle call it xa^ i»ng^ 

8. Its causality. It is the cause of all actual sin. Evety sinful act in 
us derives its descent firom this. This is that loathsome spawn to which 
all this abhorred vennin owe their original, James i. 15, mh/aJa tfuXXa- 
fimiea, &c., i. 0., original ctmcupiscence, as it is ordinarily called by the 
ancients, or natural corruption ; having conceived, rtKnt, brings forth actual 
sin, is its moth^ in both. This is actual sin as' it- were in the egg, worse 
than those of the cockatrice, which by Satan's incubation is hatched, and 
brings forth the serpent's, cursed and poisonous issue. 

There was a tree of life in the garden of Eden ; and so there wUl be in 
ihe paradise of God, Bev. zzii. 2, whose leaves will be for the liealing of 
the nations. But since man was cast out of paradise, a tree of deaUi, a 
root of bitterness, has grown in every soul, bearing all manner of cursed 
fruits ; and levery leaf, every bud, tends to the death of mankind. It ia a 
vine, as Deut. xxxii. 82, worse Uian the vine of Sodom, and of the fields of 
Gomorrah. Its grapes are grapes of gall, its dusters are bitter ; its wine 
is the poison of dragons, Ac. By thm allusions the Lord deolar^ the 

Fa. LL 5.] OF OBIOIHAL 8XN. 9 

enned natore both of tree and frait : Mat xv. 19, ' Oat of the heart/ 1. e. , 
eonDpt heart, or natnnd oormption in the heart. If yon pnrsne these filthy 
streams to their first rise, yon will find the spring head to be this cormp- 
tbn. Aetnal sins are nothing bnt this native comiption mnltiplied, as 
an hundred is but one mnltiplied so many times, an hundred units. It 
is the eaose of all. If we mnst repent of the effects, much more of the 

4. Its habltaalness. It is not a transient aot, nor a moveable disposi- 
tion, nor a dnll slow-paeed &onlty, as aU faculties are till they be habi- 
taated ; bnt an habitual evil) both in respect of permanency and fiicility in 

(1.) Its permanency. A habit is ^wi<art^o¥ and fMHfidrt^w, more per- 
manent, more duraUe than any other quality. So is this; it will continue 
^lile the union betwixt soul and body continues. It is afjMfria Itxmica, an 
inhabitant which will never be removed till the house be pulled down where 
it dwells. The power of grace may cast it down, but it will never be 
east out. Some streams may be ^ed up, but we can never in this life 
diy up the spring ; we may lop off some branches, but it will sprout again ; 
we cannot root out this root of bitterness. It is like such a firetting 
leprosy in our earthly tabernacles as is described to be in the Israelites' 
houses, Lev. xiv. Though some infected stones be removed, and the 
house scraped, and the walls plastered, ver. 41, 42, yet the plague will 
break out again. No perfect freedom from this spreading incurable plague 
till the house be quite pulled down. It will reign in those that continue 
misanctified, till eternity ; it will dwell in the best, till this earthly tabernacle 
be dissolved ; a constant occasion, do the best they can, of repentance. 

J 2.) Facility in acting. It is the property of habits, facile operari ; it 
ies the fiEusnlty nimble, quick, and fireely active. All habits do so ; but 
above all natural habits, because the faculty hereby has a double advantage. 
Such is natural corruption. Hence it is that we sin so freely, find no such 
backwardness, reluctancy to evil, as to good : ' Evil is present,' Bom. vii. 21, 
vofcbcf/roE/, it is at hand, ready to fiurther and facilitate sinful acts. Hence 
where this is predominant, sinful acts proceed as fr^el^ from it as water 
nuis down a precipice from an overflowing spring. This being bom with 
man, he is bom not only to sorrow, but to sin, as fireely as the sparks fly 
upward ; as freely, as heavy bodies move downwards towards their centre; 
they need no outward impulse to enforce their motion ; their natural 
gravity is sufiicient, if nothing interpose to stop its course. If God t^ould 
withdraw restraining grace, this corruption would carry men on to act all 
wickedness with greediness. Every man would turn to the most desperate 
wieked courses, even as freely, as eagerly, as the horse msheth into the 
battle, Jer. viii. 6, need no otiier spur but his native wickedness, which is 
ieeretly bent to all evil, without external enforcements. Here is great cause 
of repentance. 

5. Its pregnancy. It is all sin virtually; all sin in gross, which is 
Ntailed out in sinful acts. All in one ; as he of Cesar, in uno Casare 
K«to' jnvdHores, All treasons, disobedience, rebellions against the sovereign 
Miyesty of heaven, are to be found in this. It is the nursery, the spawn, 
the seed, the womb ; every sin^that is possible to be committed is in this 
wcHnb ; so ecmeeived, formed, animated, brought to the birth, as there 
needs nothing but a temptation, occasion, opportunity, to bring it forth. 
Those several crooked lines, sinful acts, which are scattered in any man's 
life, as in the arcumference, do all meet in this as in the centre. 

10 OF OBIOnUL SIN. [Ps. liL 6« 

The gailt of all abominations wbatsoeyer are oomplieated, wrapped np in 
{his one. And in respect of this we are goilty of all gin, how great aoeyery 
even of those that we were never actoallj guilty of. 

It may be thou never embmedsi thy l^ds in thy brother's blood» as 
Gain did. Thon art not aotoally guilty of that horrid mordery but thou 
art habitually guilty. In respect of thy corrupt inclination, thou art as apt 
to do such a bloody act as he. All ike difference is, and all the reason 
why thon doest it not, is because the Lord restrains thee ; like temptations 
and occasions are not offered thee. No difference, but from without; cor- 
rupt inclination is equal, thy nature as bloody. 

It may be thou didst never commit adultery, incest, or such abominable 
nncleanness ; thou art not guilty of this actually, but thou art guilty of Uiis 
in respect of thy inclination ; these sins are in thy heart 

It may be thou didst not set cities on fire, dash out children's brains, 
rip up women with child ; thou art not actually guilty, but these sins are 
in thy heart, though they were never acted by thy hands. Hmsael was 
angry that the prophet should tell him thus much, 2 Kings viii. 12, 18. 
But he acted that afterward, when king, which he seems here to detest, 
' so &r as though he should never be guilty of them, except transfimned 
into a dog. He was not acquainted with the desperate eomption of 
man's heart, which habitually inclmes him to the most barbarous and 
bloody acts. 

It may be you detest Herod, Pilate, and the Jews as bloody monsters for 
swearing, wounding, crucifying our meek and innocent Saviour. Ay, but 
this vezy sin, though the most horrid act that ever the sun beheld, is in 
your hearts. And he is a stranger to the corruption of his nature, who will 
presume he would not have done as they did if he had had the same temp- 
tations, and no more restraint from God. 

There was no sin ever was, nor ever can be committed by evil men on 
earth, but it is in every man's heart, and every one, in respect of habitual 
inclination, is guilty of it. K men believe tins, sure there would need no 
arguments to dbew the necessity of repentance for this corruption. But no 
wonder if it be not bdieved, since the heart, as it is * desperately wicked,' 
BO it is deceitful;' the prophet joins them : Jer. xvii. 9, * Deceitful above 
all things,' and will not be known ; ' desperately wicked,' so wicked as it 
cannot be known ; natural corruption is so great, so pregnant, there is so 
much wickedness, so many sins in the heart, as we may despair of knowing 
them. But what we are able to know we should be willing to bewail. 
They are deceived who think they are not cruel, unclean, because not 
actually so ; they are inclined to all, though not equally to aU. 
\f 6. Its extent. This contagion has overspread the whole man, and seized 
npon evezy part. Therefore, Heb. xii. 1, fung/Varov, it is the old man, 
and some member of it is siaretched forth in every &culty. It is a world 
of wickedness, and this little world man is full of it : * from the crown of 
the head to tiie sole of the foot,' Isa. i. 6, man wholly corrupt, both in 
body, and soul, and spirit. There is an ocean of corruption in every 
natural man. And as the sea receives several names from several coasts, 
80 does this from the several parts and fiMCulties. In the mind it is enmity. 
Bom. viii. 7 ; in the thoughts, vanity, Ps. xci. 7 ; in the apprehension, 
blindness, Eph. iv. 18 ; in the judgment, evil good, darkness light, error 
truth ; in the will, rebellion, ' we will not,' &c. ; in the consience, searedness ; 
in the heart, hardness, Ezek. ii. 8, 4; in the affections, camalness; in the 
memory, unJEEdthfcdness, Jer. ii. 82 ; in the fimcy, folly ; in the appetitCi 


inordinancy ; in the whole hody, vileness. Eyexy put, fiiouUyy iflnatntally 
eormpied, and wholly .oonrapted in all acts. 

The mkul, in its appiehensionB, blind ; in its judgments, eironeoos ; in 
its reasonings, foolish ; in its designs, eyil ; in its Uionghts, vain. 

The will, as to its eleetions, perverse, chooses evil, less good, seeming ; 
in its consent, servile, ovenroledby coimpt judgment, base appetite; in its 
eommands tyrannieal, without, against aU sanctified reason; in its inclina- 
tion, wicked; in its intentions, obstinate ; in its fruitions, fririous. 

The memoiy, apt to receive what is evU, to exclude what is good; to 
retain that which should be excluded, to let slip that which should be 
retained ; to suggest that which is wicked, to emother what is good. 

The conscience, corrupt in its rules and principles, in its injunctions and 
prescripts, in its accusations, in its absolutions, in its instigations, &c. So 
the affections. 

The enlaigement of these particulars would require many hours' dis- 
course. I am forced to do as geographers, give a view of this world of 
wickedness in a small map ; but, if you will seriously study it, you will see 
eaose enough of repentance, if there were no actual sin in the world. As 
it is extended over the whole man, our whole life, so should the extent of 
ovr repentance be. 

7. Its monstrousnesB — ^the monstrous deformity it has brought upon 
the BOuL The mind of man was the candle of the Lord, but hereby it is 
become a stinking snuff. Hie soul, as it proceeded from God, was a dear, 
li^tsome beam, brighter than any ray of the sun, but hereby it is become 
a noisome donghill. It was one of the most excellent pieces of the crea- 
tion, next unto the angelical nature, but hereby it is transformed into an 
ugly monster. Why dp we judge anything a monster, but for want, de£act, 
or p selessness ; impotency, dislocation, or misplacing of integral parts ? 
And, by virtue of this corruption, there is a concurrence of all this in the 
soul, answerable, and in some proportion to what we judge monstrous in 
a body. 

A child bom without eyes, mouth, hands, legs, we judge a monster. 
There is a defect of such powers in the soul as are analogical to these parts 
in the body : there is no eye to see God naturally, corruption has put it 
out, bom blind ; there is no amis to embrace Christ, though he offer him- 
self to our embraces ; there is no mouth to receive spiritual nourishmenti 
no stomach to digest it ; there is no feet to move towards God, he must 
renew these organs before any spiritual motion. 

All those parts are impotent which are in the soul. Though there be 
something instead of eyes (an understanding), yet it sees not, perceives not 
the things of God ; though there be sometlung in the room of hands (the 
will), yet it inclines not to, it acts not for Ck>d ; something in place of feet 
(the aflfoetions), yet they walk not in God's ways ; if they move, it is back- 
ward, either Uke the idol, without motion, eyes and see not, &o., Ps. 
exxxv. 16, or monstrous motion ; if look, it is downward, grovelling ; if 
walk, it is backward from God, 4sc. The soul, ever since the &11, is halt, 
maiined ; all its parts broken or uxgoined. CecidU ^ manu JiguU. «, Man's 
sool, framed by God according to bos likeness, fell out of the hands of the 
potter, and so is all broken and shattered. Man's soul, wherein the Lord 
had exquisitely enpaven his own image, and writ his own will and law with 
his own hand in divine characters, did cast itself out of God's hands, and 
tell, as the tables of stone, God's own workmanship, fell out of the hands 
of Moses, and so is broken into shivers ; nothing is left but some brokeui 

12 OF OBIOXNAL BIN. [Pb. LI. 5. 

scattered relics, some obscure scnlptnres covered with the mad of natural 
corraption, so as it is scarce visible. That which appears is woefal mine, 
snch as shew what a glorious creature man was, though he be now, to his 
spiritual constitution, a monster. 

There is a dislocation. What remains in man's soul is monstrously 
misplaced. We count that birth monstrous where parts have not their due 
place, when the head is where the feet should be, or the legs in the place 
of the arms, &c. The souPs faculties are thus monstrously dislocated ; 
that which should be highest is lowest ; that which should rule is in sub- 
jection ; that which should obey does tyrannise. Passion over-rules reason, 
and the will receives law from the fancy and appetite. The will was 
sovereign, reason its counsellor, the appetite subject to both ; but now it is 
got above them, and often hurries both to a compliance with the dictates 
of sense. A spot, a blemish in the face of a beautiful child, when it comes 
but accidentally, does grieve the parents. How much cause then have we 
to bewail that natural, universal, monstrous deformity which has seized 
upon our souls ! 

8. Its irresistibleness and strength. Nothmg but an infinite power can 
conquer it ; none but the almighty arm of God can restrain it. Not the 
power of nature in men, for that it has wholly subdued ; not the power of 
grace in the saints, for then Paul had never been captivated by it. He was, 
in all outward opposition he met with in the world, more than conqueror ; 
but by this he was led captive. He triumphs over them, but he sighs and 
complains of this. 

All the cords of love, all the bonds of afflictions, cannot restrain this. It 
is Satan's strongest champion ; it breaks them all, as Samson did the new 
ropes. Judges xvi., it breaks them off like a thread. All mortifying ezer* 
cises, moral persuasions, spiritual restraints, can never utterly quell this. 
See how the Lord describes leviathan, behemoth, and the warlike horse, 
Jobzxzix.-xli., and by analogy you may collect a description of the strength 
and fury of untamed lust. Nor judgments, nor mercies, nor threatenings, 
nor promises, nor precepts, nor examples, nor resolutions, nor experiences, 
are, without a higher concurrence, sufficient to restrain it. What then ? 
Nothing but that which sets bounds to the raging sea. None but he who 
shuts up the sea with doors ; he only, who says, * Hitherto shalt thou come, 
and no further ; and here shall thy proud waves be stayed,' Job xxxviii. 
8-11 ; Isa. Ivii. 20, ' The wicked is like the troubled sea ;' and no wonder, 
since this is a raging sea of wickedness in them, which he can only bound 
and rule who gives decrees to the sea, and lays his commands on the 
waters, Prov. viii. 29 ; he only, whom the winds and seas obey. No 
limits to the rage of lust but almighty power, this bound it cannot pass, 
Jer. V. 22. 

9. Its devilishness. There is nothing in the world that has so much of 
the devil in it ; nothing more like him, nothing better liked by him. It is 
his issue, the first-bom of the devil, «|air^roxo( rov hta^iiktu ; he hatched 
it. It is the seed of the serpent, that which he begot and nourishes. It 
is his work, his master-piece, that wherein he applauds himself and glories, 
John viii. 44. Why is he the father of natural men, but because he begot 
corrupt nature ? It owes its original to him. 

It is his strumpet, is prostituted to him ; if any macvibus in the world, 
this is it. There is a carnal, though invisible conjunction betwixt it and 
Satan ; the issue of it is all the sins in the world ; numerous and deformed 

Pa. LI. 5.] OF OBIOINAL BIN. 18 

Bis his image. The image of Satan saeceeded the image of God. 
Those hkck, heUish characters, which are legible in the sool, are of his 
own impression. As face answers to hoe, so does man's corrupt natnre 
answer the natnre of the devil. It has all the essential parts of it. The 
divine image is razed oat in it, so it is in him. In it there is an averse* 
nesa to all spiritual good, so in him. In it a propensity to all evil, so in 
him. If any ask whose image and superscription is that which is now 
imprinted on the soul ? he does not answer truly, who does not say it is 

It is his throne. By this he rules in the children of disobedience ; and 
here is the palace, the place where Satan dwells. This keeps him up, this 
advances him. By this he keeps possession of the soul ; so long as any 
of this remains, he will have some footing. 

It is Satan's correspondent. It maintains secret, constant intercourse 
with man's mortal enemy; it is a treacherous inmate, ready upon all occa* 
aions to betray the soul to him who seeks to devour it. This encourages 
him to invade, make inroads into the soul ; knowing he has a strong party 
within that will not fail him. His fiery darts Would not be so dangerous, 
bat that there is this matter to kindle on. He would in time be weary of 
assaulting, but that this innate domestic enemy is so ready to open to him, 
John ziv. 80. There was no natural corruption in Christ for Satan to 
work upon, no such inbred traitor to open, no secret friend of his to give 
entertainment ; and therefore, after three or four attempts, he quite leaves 
Christ, desists from his enterprise, despairing of success ; but he will never 
want eneonragement to assault us so long as natural corruption continues 

This should be a great occasion of sorrow, that we are so near akin to 
hell, have such intimate correspondence with the devil ; that we have so 
much of him within us ; that which makes us so unlike him, affords him so 
great advantage against us. 

10. Its brutishness. It hurries the soul on, in a blind fury, to such 
acts and motions as right reason would highly condemn, and an apprehen- 
sive sool would tremble at ; and in respect hereof man is compared to 
irrational creatures, brute beasts — to the horse and mule, Ps. xxxii. 9 ; 
to the wild ass, Jer. ii. 28, 24 ; to an untamed heifer, Hos. iv. 16 ; nay, 
worse, Isa. i. 8, Jer. viii. 7, the brute beasts will know, will own and take 
some notice of their benefactors. But this makes men kick against God, 
woond Christ, expel the Spirit in its motions, bellow out reproaches against 
hia servants, those whom he sends to feed and nourish their souls, Prov. 
ziL 1. They have an inclination to that which is good, which tends to 
preservation and continuance of health, strength, life. But this makes 
men averse even to their own happiness, and all the spiritual means that 
tend to it ; a strong antipathy to holiness, the way to life, and the most 
opposite to those ways that are most strictly holy. They are, Jer. x. 21, 
afindd of what is destructive to their life and being ; but this pushes men 
on in the ways of death, the paths that lead to destruction, makes them 
love death, and make haste to ruin their souls. An appetite to drink in 
am, more deadly to the soul than any poison to the body, as greedily as 
the fish, ise., Job [xl. 28] ; delight to wound, mangle their sools unto death, 
Esek. zzi. 81, the reason of this desperate fury Job gives : Job xi. 12, 
* Man 18 bom ss a wild ass's colt,' brings into the world a nature more 
wild, fierce, untamed, than any beast of the field. 

11. Incorrigibleness, perverseness. It becomes worse by that which 

14 OF OBtGIMAL BIH. [FB. II. 5. 

Bhonld amend it. It takes oecasion to grow more wicked from that which 
Ood has appointed to restrain its wickedness, Bom. vii. 8 ; the more sin 
is forbidden, ttie more exceeding sinfhl will it be; becanse wickedness is 
threatened, therefore it will be more wicked, ver. 18; even as a dunghill, 
the more the snn shines npon it, it sends forth greater plenty of filthy 
vapours, and infests the air- with a more noisome smell. There is such a 
malignant humour in it, as when the holy law of God is applied to it, its 
rage and fhiy breaks forth with more violence. It is exasperated by that 
wJ^ch should tame it. When the law would restrain it, it rages like a wild 
bull in a net, Jer.* The heathen could observe this rebellious inclination, 
niiitur in vetUum. That is a desperate evil which grows worse by that which 
should cure it, but such an evil is this. 

12. Its vileness. Take a survey of heaven and earth, and your eyes 
ean fix upon nothing so vile as this. There is not anything so vile, base, 
contemptible in the world but has some degree of worth in it, as being the 
work of the great God ; only natural corruption, and its corrupt issue, has 
not the least scruple of worlh in it in any sense. It is purely vile, without 
any mixture of worth, vileness in the abstract. The Scripture holds forth 
its vileness under many notions, no one being sufficient to express it. At 
present take notice of one, that which is its common name. It is ordinarily 
called flesh, ChJ. v. 16, 17, 19. Hereby is held forth the vile degeneracy 
of man's soul since this corruption seized on it. By creation it was pure, 
heavenly, spiritual, akin to the angels, as like to the nature of God as a 
creature could be; is now as it were transformed into flesh, mind carnal, 
&c.; as great a debasement as if heaven should be turned into earth, an 
angel into a beast, or the sun into a cloud. Nor is it flesh only, there is 
too much worth in that to be made a resemblance of our vile natures ; it 
is dead flesh: Bom. vii., a * body of death;' so vile as it is ghastly. Nay, 
it is deformed, leprous flesh. Leprosy was but an emblem of it, it is so 
vile as it is loathsome. Nay, it is putrified flesh. The old man is cor- 
rupt, £ph. iv. 24, full of putrefied sores, full of loathsome vermin; that 
which is more loathsome to God, exhaling filthy vapours, noisome, more 
offensive to God than what is most to us. Therefore man, who in integrity 
WBB admitted to intimate communion and converse with God, as soon as 
ever he had corrupted himself, the Lord could no longer endure him : Gen. 
iii. 24, * He drove out the man.' Corrupted flesh is not fit to have so near 
converse with God, a Spirit. 

It is hotii farmaUter and effeetM vile. As it is so in itself, so it has 
made man vile. No creature so debased as man, being in tiiis respect 
become viler than any creature. There is no such depravation in the 
nature of any creature, except in the diabolical nature. No creature ever 
rwEod God's image out of its nature, but only man. There is no aversions 
to tiie will of God, no inclination to what ofiends him, in any creature on 
earth but man. Man, then, who was once the glory of the creation, is 
become tiie vilest of ail creatures, for that is vilest which is most contrary 
to the infinite glory, but so is our nature— Ps. xlix. 12, < Man being in 
honour, abideth not' — ^is now like the beaste that perish ; nay, worse than 
they, if the greatest evil can make him worse. Man was made a little 
lower than the angsb, crowned with glory, advanced to be lord and 
governor of all the irocks of his hands ; and all creatures in this world 
were put under his feet, Ps. viii. 5, 6. But by this natural corruption he 
that was but a littte lower than angels is now something below the beasts. 


He WHS to bave dominion, but is made baser than ibose over wbom be 
ni]s8. Tbey were pnt onder bis feet, bat now be is as low as tbey. Tbis 
18 tbe sad Issue of natural comiption. It is a lamentation, &e. 

18. Its propagation. All parents do propagate tbeir natural comiption to 
their ebildren. A woefhl necessity is berebj brought upon mankind, so as 
none can be bom without it. It is a sad consideration that parents should 
convey such a deadly evil to their children, but so it is. If man bad con- 
tinued nnconrapted, he bad b^t children after the image of God, and 
with his own similitude had conveyed lovely representations of the divine 
nature ; bat being corrupted, he b4;ets chil&en after bis own image, which 
is now little better than a dntught of Satan's, John iii. 6, Job ziv. 4: Job 
iXT. 4, ' How can be be dean that is bom of a woman ?' An unclean 
nature can have no other than unclean issue. Tour cursed natures makes 
yonr children cursed. Tou convey spiritual death to all the children that 
have hie from you ; convey to that you most love that which makes them 
hateful to Ood. They have from you lovely bodies, but monstrous souls. 
Even those who are renewed cannot convey renewed natures to their 

It is a most sad consideration that this evil is so communicative, as it 
does not only abide in us, but will pass to all that proceed from us ; that 
we should convey an evil so sinfril, so permanent, irresistible, deadly, 
devilish, to ebildren. Take a view of natural conruption as spread before 
joa in these considerations, and it wiU appear as Ezekiel's roll, * writ within 
and withouty lamentation, mourning, and woe,' Ezek. ii. 10. 


Exempt ye repent^ y$ shall all likewise perish, — ^Luke XIH. 8. 

In the former yerses yoa liave the occasion and cause of what is said in 

Verse 1, The occasion, Pilate's cruelty. 

Verse 2, The impulsive cause, * Suppose ye ;' to correct, &c., a fidse and 
iigurious supposition. 

Jesta anstcering. He answered, though not to their intention ; — ^that 
might be to ensnare him, whether approve or reprove, — but for their advan- 
tage. If his answer was not for their purpose, yet for their profit. If not 
what was expected, yet what was most expedient. He makes excellent use 
of that relation, and directs them how to improve that sad accident. 

Obs. We should labour to make good use to ourselves of God's judgments 
on others. Why ? God expects it ; this is the way to prevent the execu- 
tion on ourselves. How ? 

1. 'Learning righteousness,' Isa. xxvi. 9; faith, seeing him execute 
threatenings ; fear, beholding his severity; obedience, sure want of that is 
the cause ; love, whilst we escape. 

2. Forsaking sin : ' Sin no more,' John v. 14. All sin, because every 
sin is pregnant with judgment; therefore it summons to search and try, 
&c., especially those sins which brought wrath on others. Observe provi- 
dences ; use means to discover what is the Achan, &c. 

Use. We have great occasion to practise this. Wrath is kindled and 
bums, &c, ; the cup of indignation goes round ; the sword has had a com- 
mission, &c.; the scars and smarting impressions continue in bodies, 
estates, liberties. Let us learn to believe, to tremble, to love. Let ns 
forsake sin, our own ; the sins that have uni^eathed the sword, mixed this 
bitter cup. What is that? In all probability contempt of, disobedience 
to, nnfruitfulness under, the gospel. This ruined the Jews, ver. 6, 7, 84, 
86, captivated before for it, 2 Chron. xxxvi. 15-17 with Jer. xxv. 7-9, &c. 
Probably it is the greatest sin, that brings the severest judgment. But 
what greater than this, more heinous thaii the sins of Sodom, therefore 
more tolerable for them, &c., Mark vi. 11, and if this be not it, what is the 
reason those parts who ei^oy not the gospel escape better, Turkey, Tartary, 
Persia, &c. ? Oh take heed, sure this is the Achan I Bewail it, avoid it I 


Make not this warning ineffectual with the Jews' supposition. Bather hear, 
beHeyey apply what Christ says, Except I repent, &o. 

The words are monitory. In them we have, I., the admonisher, J; 
n., the admonition. In which, 1, an iwavS^Auci^y nay; and, 2, a dtS^^ut^ig, 
except ye repent. Ye must repent if ye would not perish. 

I. From the admonisher, Christ, in that he teaches repentance. 

Obs, Repentance is an eyangelical dnty; a gospel, a new-covenant duty. 
This should not be questioned by those who either believe what the gospel 
delivers, or nnderstaoid what it is to be evangelical ; bnt since it is denied, 
let ns prove it. And first from this ground. 

1. Christ taught repentance. But he taught nothing but what was 
evangelical. Is he who was the sweet subject, the blessed end, the great 
mediator, the glorious preacher of the covenant of grace and gospel, a legal 
teacher ? He begins with this, it was his first sermon. Mat. iv. 17, Mark 
L 16; and he ends with this, it was his last sermon, Luke xxiv. 47; leaves 
this to his disciples as their directory for preaching. Christ indeed answers 
tiie young man asking what good tlungs he should do, &c., legally, accord- 
ing to his question. If thou wilt go to heaven by doing, no better rule than 
the commandments, Mat. xix. 17; but his intent was evangelical. He 
endeavours to convince him this was not the way to life, shewing the im- 
possibility of fulfilling the law by enjoying* that which he would not, could 
not do, ver. 21, and so makes use of the law to serve the gospel. AH his 
teachings were evangelical, but he taught repentance. 

2. It is excluded by the covenant of works. There is no place for 
repentance there. Nothing but death after sin ; no tabula secumla post 
naujragium. That enjoins not repentance ; nothing but perfect obedience. 
Nor does it admit repentance ; it promises nothing but to perfect obedience. 
It prescribes no means, leaves no hopes for sinners. They understand not 
the law, what the covenant of works is, who make repentance legal. There 
is nothing in it, but the mandate and the sanction. But the law neither 
coimnands it, nor does it reward the presence or practice; nor does it 
threaten the absence of repentance. It admits not of pardon ; that comes 
in by virtue of another covenant. And where there is no pardon, there is 
no place for repentance. It requires only perfect obedience directly and 
expressly, and ofiers life to no other condition ; but Adam hereby being 
obliged to obey God in all things, was by consequence and implicitly 
engaged to obey whatever God should require in any other way or covenant 
and upon any other terms, and so to repentance, which the gospel com- 
mands. These are the privileges of the covenant of grace. 

8. It is required in the gospel. Acts xvii. 80. Now, in the times of the 
gospel, after Uie Messiah is come ; now, when the covenant of grace comes 
forth in its last and best edition ; now, when free grace appears in fairest 
and laigest character ; now, when the covenant conunences new ; even 
'now he conmiands all,* all that will be saved, have any benefit by the 
Messiah, enjoy any blessings of the new covenant, to repent. 

4. It was preached by the apostles. Christ makes it one of their in- 
structions, pots it in their commission, Luke xxiv. 47. And they who 
found grace to be faithful, observed their instruction. It is the principal 
point in Peter*s fiirst sermon recorded after the ascension, Acts ii. 28, and 
of his second too, by which we may conclude of the rest, Acts iii. 19. John 
gives sweet encouragements to it, 1 John i. 9. If ever there was an evan- 
« Qa. * enjoining * ?— En. 

VOL. I. B 


gelioal preaeher in the world, sture Panl was one ; and he solemnly profes- 
seth it was his constant praotioe, Acts zx. 20, 21, and xzvi. 20. It is 
express of all, Mark yi. 12. 

5. It was the end of Christ's comixfg, Mat. ix. 18, to call sinners. He | 
had no end in coming, bat pnrely evangelical. He came to confirm the 
covenant of grace, which was established in the room of the covenant of ! 
works, by which no sinner could get any benefit. He came not to estab- ! 
lish, to reqoire anything legal ; therefore, repentance is not legal. 

6. It was purchased by Christ's death. Bat the privileges that he par- 
phased were evangelical : Acts v. 81, * Him has God exalted,' &c. What he 
bestows in his exaltation, he purchased by his humiliation. We owe the | 
purchase of evangelical mercies to his satisfaction, the application to his i 
intercession. If he had procured anything legal, he would have purchased | 
life for us upon personal performance of perfect obedience ; for this is the i 
sum of the covenant of works. But this he procured not. That which he ! 
merited, was the blessings of the new covenant, whereof repentance is 

one, therefore evangelical. I 

7. It has evangelical promises. And these are not made to any legal i 
duty : Prov, xxviii. 18, ' Whoso confesseth.' Confession is the sign, and 
forsaking an essential part of repentance. This is an evangelical promise, 
ihough in the Old Testament. As there is something legal in the New 
Testament, so much that is evangelical in the Old Testament. And these 

are sure characters, whereby we may distinguish gospel from law. Wher- 
ever we meet faith, repentsmce, confession, forsaking of sin, pardon, or 
mercy, those are gospel strains. The covenant of works disowns them. 
Mat. V. 4. Blessedness and comfort entailed upon mourning, a principal 
•part of repentance. 

8 It is urged upon evangelical grounds. It would be incongruous so to 
urge it, if it were legal ; this would be to put new wine into old bottles, &c. 
8o John Baptist, Mat. iii. 2, so Christ, Mark i. 14, 15, where is a defini- 
tion of evangelical preaching. ' Kingdom of heaven,' that is, the heavenly 
and spiritual kingdom of Christ to be erected, with all the honours, privi- 
leges, duties of its subjects, are to be purchased by his satisfaction, and 
offered and declared in the gospel. The infinite goodness and love of God 
in sending Christ ; and the wonderful love of Christ in undertaking the 
redemption of forlorn sinners ; and the precious fruits of that undertaking, 
should be grounds of and motives to repentance ; but these are evangelical, 
ergo, it is. 

9. It is the condition of the prime evangelical mercy. God offers, gives 
remission of sins, upon condition of repentance. What Christ commands 
US, himself does practise, Luke xvii. 8. If he repent, forgive him. So 
Acts iii. 19, and ii. 88. The way Peter prescribes to Simon, Acts viii, 22, ^ 
hence they are frequently joined, Luke xxiv. 47, Acts v. 81. A condition, 
not quoad rigorem, in point of exact performance, as though he required to 
repent by our own strength, and would not pardon till the condition were 
so performed. For such are legal conditions, and proper to the covenant 
of works ; whereas, though he command, requires repentance, yet he pro- 
mises it, Ezek. xi. 19, and gives it. But largely, and in respect of the 
necessity of its presence, he does not, he will not, pardon till we repent. 
No remission witiiout it. In this sense repentance is propounded as the 
condition of forgiveness, 1 John i. 9 ; confession is an appendix, if not a 
formal part of repentance. 
. 10. It is confirmed by the seal of the covenant of grace. Baptism is 


the seal of repentance. Hereby God engages himself to begin, or increase 
and continue it in his elect ; and the baptized engage themselves to practise 
it. Hence it is called * the baptism of repentance,' Acts xiii. 24 ; John 
bi^tized to repentance, Mat. iii. 11. Bat baptism being the seal of the 
new covenant, confirms, signifies, exhibits, nothing but what is evangelical. 

11. It is a fundamental of Cluristianitj, Heb. vi. 1. £nt nothing legal 
can be such a fundamental. The covenant of works is so far from being 
the foondaiion of Christianity, as it is inconsistent with it. Tme Chris- 
tians are quite freed from it. * Ye are not under the law,' Bom. vi. 14, 
Gal. V. 18. 

12. It is the way to life, Acts zi. 18. But there is no other way but 
that of the gospel. The way by the law, or covenant of works, was shut 
up by sin. Justice, like the angel, guards the passage in paradise ; none 
can enter, that are sinners, by that old way, nor ever any enter. If the 
Lord had not found out a new way by the covenant of grace, no fiesh had 
been saved. Repentance is part of this way. The convinced Jews ask the 
way. Acts ii. 87, he shews Uiis. This is the way not to perish, 2 Peter 
iiL 9, 80 in the text. 

Nor should this seem a duty of too sour and unpleasing a complexion, 
to be evangelical. There is more joy in godly sorrow, than in the choicest 
worldly pleasures. The heart, if not seared and void of sense, even in 
laoghter is sorrowful, Prov. xiv. 18. But in the midst of this sorrow the 
hetft rqjoiceth. Those that have had experience will bear witness to this. 
And what heart so sad and mournful, into which that promise will not con- 
vey a stream of joy ? Blessed, &c.. Mat. v. 4. Godly sorrow not only 
rejoices the heart on earth, but causeth joy in heaven, Luke xv. 7. 

Uu 1. It reproves those who reject this duty as legal. ' Certainly those 
who find not this in the gospel, have found another gospel besides that 
which Christ and his disciples preached. But let them take heed, lest, 
whilst they will go to heaven in a way of their own, that way prove a by- 
path, and lead to the gates of death, instead of the place of joy. No way 
bat Christ will bring to heaven, and that has three stages, faith, repentance, 
and obedience. He that will sit down at the end of the first, and never 
enter npon the other, will never reach heaven. Indeed, he that walks 
not in all, walks not in any, he is deluded, misled by an ignis/atuusj a fiilse 
fire; and if the Lord do not undeceive him, will fidl into the bottomless pit. 

Um 2. Exhort. To practise this duty evangelically, that is most con- 
grooos. Directions : 

(1.) Undertake it for evangelical ends. The end gives nature and name 
to the action. If your aims be legal, mercenary, the act will be so. Go 
not about it only to escape hell, avoid wrath, satisfy justice, remove judg- 
ments, pacify conscience. Ahab and Pharaoh can repent thus, those who 
are strangers to the covenant of grace. How then ? Endeavour that yon 
may give God honour, that ye may please him, that you may comply 
with his will, that yon may never more return to folly. Confess, to give 
hononr, as Josh. vii. 19, get hearts broken, that yon may offer sacrifice well 

(2.) Let evangelical motives lead you to the practice of it. Act as drawn 
by the cords of love. The goodness of God should lead you to it. Bom. iL 
HoiTor, despair, terror of conscience will drive Cain and Judas to strange 
fits of legal repentance. The remembrance of sins against electing, dis- 
tii>g^iffl t^«!g lore, against redeeming, pardoning mercy, against the fi:ee grace 
of the gospel and offers of it, should lead you to it. So should your deal- 

20 or BEFBNTAK08. [LuxB XTTT. 8. 

ing nnfaithfally in the coTenant of grace, sinning against the blood of Christ, 
wounding him, grieving him, who became a man of sorrows. Piercing, 
Zech. xii. 10, that yon have hated him who loved yon ; grieved him who 
would have comforted you with unspeakable comforts ; dishonoured him 
who thought not his own glory too much for you ; provoked him who would 
see his own Son die, rather than you should perish ; undervalued him who 
thought not his life too dear for yon. 

(8.) In an evangelical manner, freely, cheerfully, with joy and delight ; 
not as constrained, but willingly. As those that are amid legis, in love 
with the duty — ^for so are pardoned repenting sinners, justificati amid 
legis effidurUur* Christ's people in covenant with him are * a willing 
people,' Ps. ex. 8, as ready to mourn for sin as for worldly crosses, suffer- 
ings ; to hate it as to hate a mortal enemy, forsake it as freely as forsake 
an infections disease, go against their lusts as David against Goliah: 
1 Bam. zvii. 82, ' Thy servant will go fight with this Philistine.' 

(4.) Repent that ye can repent no more. This is an evangelical temper, 
to be sensible of the defects and failings of spiritual duties ; be grieved 
that you can grieve no more for sin ; abhor yourselves that you cannot 
hate it with a more perfect hatred ; count it your great affliction that sin 
and yon are not quite divorced ; count the relics of sin which you cannot 
drive out, what the Canaanites were to the children of Israel, Num. xxziii. 
55, as pricks in your eyes and thorns in your sides, continual vexation. 
It is a repentance to be repented of, as it is defective, though not as it is 
our duty. 

(5.) Think not your repentance is the cause of any blessing : it is neither 
the meritorious nor impulsive cause ; it neither deserves any mercy, nor 
moves the Lord to bestow any. 

To think it moves him to give any mercy is an impious conceit, because 
it makes him changeable, who is without variableness. To think it deserves 
anything at God's hands is a legal conceit. Perfect obedience performed 
by Adam in the state of innocency had not been meritorious, could not 
deserve eternal life, sud naturd, in its own nature, for it was but his duty ; 
nor was eternal happiness due to it in justice, as the nature of merit 
requures, but only by virtue of the promise, d pacti ; much less can our 
imperfect repentance. It does not procure blessings one way or other 
casually.f The Lord pardons sin, loves us, blesses us when we repent, 
not because we repent ; it is via, not causa; a duty, not desert ; a means, 
no merit ; a qualification, necessary ralione prasentia, not effidenda. 

(6.) Think not that your repentance can satisfy God, or make any 
amends for the wrong sin has done him ; do not imagine that it is any 
recompence for the injury sin has done him, or any reparation of that 
honour which is violated and defaced by sin. Every old corrupt heart is 
so far legal as it would have a righteousness, a satisfaction of its own, and 
not rely upon another for it ; so proud is corrupt nature, as it is loth to 
deny its own, to depend only upon another's satisfaction. And therefore 
we are apt to think that our acts of repentance do satisfy God and appease 
him, and thereupon, after the exercise of them, will speak peace to our- 
selves, and stop the mouth of an accusing conscience with such perform- 
ances, resting on them as though thereby we had satifi^ed the Lord. 

But we must consider that no satisfaction is sufficient to make amends 
for sin but that which is of infinite value, since the injury sin has done is 
infinite, having disobeyed, displeased, dishonoured, an infinite migesty. 
• Ambr. f Qo. * causally »?— En. 


And such a saiisfaetion no finite creatnre can make, not the most perfect 
saint, not the most glorious angels ; mnch less can snch vile, weak, sinful 
ereatnres as we, hy snch imper£Bct acts of repentance. 

(7.) Ye mast depend upon Christ for strength, ability to repent ; all 
evangelical works are done in his strength. Repentance is an act above 
the power of natnre, and therefore we cannot practise it without power 
from above. Ye mast depend on, seek to Christ for this power. Adam*8 
condition in innocencj required not so much dependence, for he was 
empowered with sufficient grace to perform all that was required ; but his 
not improving that sufficiency has left all his posterity destitute of all 
ability to do anything supematnrally good. We want both habits and acts 
before we can repent ; Christ must both give us soft hearts, hearts that can 
repent, and must teach them by his Spirit before they will repent. Except 
he smite those rocks, they will yield no water, no tears for sin ; except he 
break these hearts, they will not bleed. Repentance is his gift, his work, 
Acts xi. 18, 2 Tim. ii. 25. We may as well melt a flint, or turn a stone 
into flesh, or draw water out of a rock, as repent in our own strength. It 
is far above the power of nature, nay, most contrary to it. How can we 
bate sin, which naturally we love above all ? mourn for thai wherein we 
most delight ? forsake that which is as dear as ourselves, right hand, eye ? 
It is the almighty power of Christ which only can do this ; we must rely 
on, seek to him for it, Jer. xxxi. 18, Lam. v. 21 ; that which ye do in 
yoor own strength you do legally, and so ineffectually, to no purpose. The 
gospel beats ns quite out of self; live by another life, Gal. ii. 20 ; act by 
another strength, and satisfy by another's righteousness, Philip, iii. 9 ; and 
do all that we do graciously, by the grace of Christ. I laboured, 1 Cor. 
XV. 10. Therefore Bernard prays quid efficiamuSy operare* And Augustine, 
Da domme^ &c., according to his principle, which is truly evangelical, 
Cerium e$t nas/acere quodfacimva^ &o. In nobis^ et nobiscum, tU operemur^ 
operatuT. He works our works in us and for us.* Go into your closet, 
and pour ont your requests : Lord, thou commandest me to repent, and I 
see tiie necessity ; but I have a hard heart, opposite ; and Satan and the. 
world, &C. 

(8.) Ye most expect the acceptance of your repentance from Christ. 
No evangelical service whatsoever, or by whomsoever performed, can be 
well pleasing to God, either in itself or as it comes from us, but only in 
Chrirt. Not as it comes from us, for our persons must be accepted before 
our services can be capable thereof. But how can sinful persons please a 
holy God ? We must either be righteous in ourselves or in another, or 
else the righteous God will loathe, must punish us. No flesh can be justified 
in his sight, Ps. cxliii. 2, till Christ cover its deformities, and clothe it with 
a robe of his righteousness ; nor in themselves, for so the best are sinful, 
in regard of many defects, &c., not fit to be looked upon by him who is 
' of purer eyes,' £c., Heb. iv. 18 ; only acceptable through Jesus Christ, 
1 Peter ii. 5, Eph. i. 6. 

Adam indeed, under the covenant of works, might have been accepted 
without a mediator ; the purity of his person and perfection of his services 
would have found acceptance immediately ; but for ns so to expect it, is 
both legal and irrational. We sinful persons, with sinful services, having 
no speekless righteousness to present to God but that of Christ, must 
either appear in that, or hide ourselves from the presence of him who sits 
on the throne. No appearing for us but in and by our advocate. God 

* Concil. AranB. 


vill take nothing well from ns nnless we take onr sorety with ns. No 
blessing can be obtained except we come to Gt)d in the gannents of onr 
elder brother : Isa. Ixiv. 6» De se, non de impiis, all onr righteonsness, ftc. ;• 
de bonis operUnis^ non solum ds lapsibm, till they be cleansed in the blood of 
the Lamb, Bey. vii. 14, Job zzix. 14. If we pnt on any other robe bnt 
that of Christ's, it is vestis bdli^ magis quampaeisy ubi adhuc eaepugnatuVy &o* 

{9A Think not your repentance obliges Qod to the performance of any 
promise, as thongh he were thereby bound, and conld not justly refuse to 
bestow what he has promised to the penitent ; for he is not obliged to 
fulfil it till the condition be perfectly performed. Imperfect repentance is 
not the condition ; God requires notiiing imperfect. If he accomplishes 
his promise upon our weak defective endeavours, it is not because he is by 
them engaged, but from some other engaging consideration. No man is 
obliged to perform a promise but when the condition is perfectly frilfilled. 
If it be defective in quantity or quality, not so much nor so good as the 
agreement required, he is not engaged, he may refuse ; e. g.y Ephron 
promises Abraham a field for four hundred shekels of silver, current money, 
Gen. xziii. 16. Now if Abraham had but brought him three hundred, and 
that not current, wanting weight, or mixed with dross, none will say 
Ephron had been obliged to give him the field, or unjust for refusing. 

The Lord promises such and such mercies upon condition of repentance, 
but it is perfect repentance, for he promises nothing to that which is 
defective, else he should promise to that which is sinfhl. But this rather 
brings us within the compass of threatenings, Gal. iii. Perfect perform- 
ances are still required. The gospel remitteth no part, no tittle of the 
substance of the law, which commands perfect obedience in duties, whether 
expressly or implicitly, and by consequence contained in it, as rep^itance 
is. If it were not still required, why should we strive after perfection, and 
bewail the want of it ? The obligation is eternal, founded in our natures, 
due from us as we are creatures, &c. The condition therefore of the 
promises is perfect repentance. 

• Now our repentance is defective, both in quantity and quality, measure 
and manner, neither so great nor so good as is required. Our sorrow not 
so hearty, constant, ingenuous, &c., and so does not engage. 

Why then does God perform ? How is he obliged 7 Why, it is Christ 
that has obliged him ; he makes good the condition. When we cannot 
bring so much as is required, he makes up the sum ; he adds grains to that 
which wants weight. He has satisfied for our defects, and they are for his 
sake pardoned, and therefore are accepted, as thongh they were not 
defective ; omnia mandata Dei facta deputantw, quando quicquid non sit 
ignoscitur.^ Christ's undertaking makes good the condition, and so the 
promise is obliging. Hence, 2 Cor. i. 20, he is so obliged by Christ's 
undertaking as, except he will be changeable or unfaithful, he must 
accomplish. Hence he is called the Mediator, Heb. ix. 15, and surety, 
chap. vii. 22. God had promised an eternal inheritance upon conditions, 
but we broke the conditions, and were not able to make satisfaction, are 
all bankrupts. God therefore lays hold on our surety, and gets satisfaction 
of him, and hereby the agreement is made good, and God obliged. God 
abates nothing of his first proposal ; perfect conditions are still required, 
only he dispenses with personal performance. That which we could not 
do, Christ has done ; his satis&ction is accepted, Bom. x. 4, the end, 
the accomplishment. His fulfilling is the believer's righteousness. Per- 
* Angnat. f Aug. Betract. cap. 19. 


fectionem legit habet, qui eredii in Christum.* Christ has procured pardon 
for all defeets. And in this sense oor repentance is as it were perfect, 
beeaose the defect thereof shall not be impnted. Hence it obliges the 
Lord, not by mtne of our performance, bnt of Christ's satisfeiction. It 
18 not we, bat Christ for ns; not what we do, bat what he did, snfiCared, 
that engages the Lord to pezfonn any promise. Even as when one engaged 
to conditions, feuls in perfonnance, if his sarety make other satisfaction, it 
is the sarety that obliges to the accomplishment. It is not oar defective, 
imperfect repentance that engages God to perform promise ; for he never 
promised to imperfect performances, bat Christ making the Lord satis&ction 
for oar defeets and imperfections. And so they being not imputed, are 
not in themselves, bat by virtae of this satisfoction, no less obliging than if 
they were perfect. 

(10.) Expect a reward, not from jastice, bat mercy. The Lord rewards 
repentance, and other evangelical services, nnder the covenant of grace. 
That the reward is not of debt, bat of grace; not msrees dehlta^ bat 
grtUuita; not xar ^ffiX^j/e^a, bat xarcb rijv X'^'i'*' ^^ ^^ ^ recompence, bat 
a gracioas recompence. He is not obliged ex debito justituBf bat bestows 
it freely, of mere boanty and mercy. 

It IB trne Adam, ander the covenant of works, wbdlst he kept his 
integrity, might have expected something in jastice ; for the eternal life 
was not dae to him ex dignitate operis^ bat vi pacti ; and so is dehitum 
improprie^ and not ex ordine jmtituB,fheeBXiBe there was no proportion 
betwixt it and his services ; and so far as the reward exceeds the valae of 
the service, so far it is of grace and iavoar. He deserved not eternal life. 
Yet perfect obedience, if pezformed, woald have deserved jastification. It 
bad been bat jast, that he who was p^eotly righteoas, shoald have been 
pnmoonced and declared so, if there had been occasion. This was dae. 
Bom. iv. 4. 

Bat to think that any blessing is dae to as for oar best services, that oar 
repentance makes God in oar debt, is a legal apprehension. 

It is much is due in jastice to the obedience of Christ, for he is worthy. 
Bat nothing doe to as. It is mere mercy, that what Christ has merited 
shoald be bestowed on as. It is mere merey that we are not oonsamed. 
Oh what mercy is it that we are pardoned, reconciled, saved 1 It is mercy 
that onr repentance is not panished, mach more that it is rewarded. It is 
mercy that we escape the greatest saffering, mach more that the Lord 
voQchsmfes to pardon, bless, enhappy as. All is grace, from the foandation 
to the topstone. 

IL Thos mach for the admonisher, < I tell yon.* Proceed we to the 
admonition. And in it, 1, the correction, ' nay.' Hereby he corrects two 
mistakes of the Jews : (1.) Concerning their innoeency. They thooght 
themselves innocent, compared with the Galileans, not so great sinners, 
ver. 2. (2.) Concerning their impnoity, groonded on the former. Becanse 
not so great sinners, they shoald not be so great snfferers, nor perish aa 
they in the text. From the first. 

1. (1.) Ob$. Impenitent sinners are apt to think themselves not so great 
sinners as others; to jnstify themselves, as Pharisees in reference to others; 
Uke erows, fly over flowers and frnit, to pitch apon carrion ; say as Isa. 
Izv. 5, ' Stand by thyself,' ke. 

[l.J Beeaose never illominated to see the namber, natare, aggravations 
• Ambr. t Ft& Baron, p. 388. 


of their own sins, how many, how sinfol ; examine not their hearts and 
lives; jndge of sins according to ontward appearance, not secret heinonsness. 

[2. J Self-love. They cover, extennate, excuse their own; moltiplyy 
magnify others. A 'xd\Dfi,fia for their own, a glass for others. 

[8.] Ignorance of their natural sinfulness. In which respect they are 
equally sinful as others. Seed-plots of sin ; have a root of hittemess, an 
e^ treasure of heart ; a disposition to the most abominable sins that ever 
were committed, such as they never thought of, nor will ever believe they 
should yield to, 2 Kings viii. 11, 12 ; want nothing but temptation, a fit 
occasion. Their heart as tinder ; if the Lord permit Satan to cast but a 
spark in, they will be set on fire of hell, break forth into the most hellish 
wickedness, &c. Apt to think natural sinfulness an excuse, whereas it is 
that which makes us most sinful, odious to God, &c. Would you take it 
for a good excuse if a servant that has robbed you should tell you he has a 
thievi^ nature ? This will make you hate him far more. 

Use. Take heed of this. It is a sign of impenitency. Paul counts him- 
self the chief of sinners : ' If you judge yourselves,' &c., 1 Cor. xi. 81. 

(2.) From their conceit of impunity. 

Obs. Sinners are apt to flatter themselves with the hopes they shall 
escape judgments. If they can believe they are not so great sinners, they 
are apt to conclude they shall not perish : ' Put fiu* from them the evil 
day,' Amos vi. 8, threatened, ver. 7 ; cry Peace, &c. Satan has blinded 
them. He seeks their ruin, and would have them perish in such a way as 
there should be no avoiding, and therefore would not suffer them to enter- 
tain the least thoughts of their danger lest they should think of preventing, 
Prov. xxii. 8. Lest they should do so, he puts out their eyes, lulls them 
asleep, that they may perish unavoidably before they be aware ; uses them 
as Jael did Sisera, lays them asleep that justice may strike through their 
souls while they slumber, that they may go down quick into pit, and not 
awake till in hell. 

Use. Beware of this. It has been the ruin of millions. Those perish 
soonest who think they shall longest escape, Amos vi. 7, 1 Thes. v. 8 ; 
' be not deceived, God is not mocked,' &c. Believe the Lord threatening 
rather than Satan promising. Delude not yourselves with conceits of 
mercy. There is no mercy for impenitent sinners. To imagine the con- 
trary is a great dishonour to God, an high affront to Christ, makes the 
gospel a nullity. Satan says. Though thou sin, yet God is merciful, he 
may save thee. Christ says, ' Except ye repent, ye shall a]l likewise perish.' 
Now, whether will you believe ? Satan says. Though ye do continue to 
sin, &c., ye may hav^ peace ; but the Lord says, Deut. xxix. 19, 20, he 
will not spare him, &c. Thixik not to say within yourselves, We are not 
so great sinners ; the least sin> not repented of, is enough to destroy you 
for ever, to bring the curse of God upon soul and body. Gal. iii. 10. He 
says not, he that continues in some, or in the greatest, but all. If ye so 
keep all the precepts of the law, as to fail but in one, that one failing will 
cause all the curses of the law to fall on you. This is the sad condition 
of every sinner, whatever his sins be. And there is no relief for any, but 
by the covenant of grace ; and you can be assured of no relief thereby 
without repentance ; for Christ, who is truth, has said it, < Except ye repent, 
ye shall perish.' 

2. So we come to the other part of the admoniUou, viz., the direction. 

Obs, Those that will not repent shall perish. Whosoever. Though as 
many privileges as these Jews had, and as few sins as they thought they 

Luxx XnL 8.J or bbfentahgb. 25 

had, yet without repentanee they moat perish. No salvation without it. 
It needs no oonfinnation, since Christ hunself does twice affirm it. 

It is implied, 2 Peter iii. 9, they must needs perish that never recover 
themselves out of the snare of the devil, 2 Tim. ii. 26, 26, and never are 
weary of treasuring up wrath. Bom. ii. 5. 

Repentance has such a relation to, such a connection with, life and 
salvation, as this cannot he expected without that; for though it be neither 
merit nor motive, yet consider it as it is, an antecedent and sign, qualifica- 
tion, condition, or means of life and salvation, and the truth will appear. 

An anUeederU, So there must be no salvation till first there be repent- 
ance. Sown in tears before reap in joy. 

Sign. A symptom of one being an heir to salvation. And so life belongs 
as to all, fl-avr/, so only to him, fi>6v(f), that repents. 

Qual^ieation. To fit for life. He that is in love with sin, is not fit for 
heaven. No unclean thing enters there. Neither will God himself endure 
him to be there. 

Condition, For that is &m69 w &h\^ ovx, without it, never see God : 
* Except ye,' &c. This is the condition, without which ye shall not escape. 

Means and way to life : i;ia regnif Christ's highway. ' Repentance to 
life,' Acts zi. 18. Peter directs them to this. Acts ii. 88. 

1. What is it to repent ? 2. Why must they perish that do not ? For the 

1. To repent, is to turn ; to return from former evil ways ; Ezek. xiv. 6, 
' Repent, and turn yourselves.' One explains the other : Acts xxvi. 20, 
< should repent and turn to Gt>d.' Mtrdwia in the New Testament is n^lltffl 
in the Old Testament, a 2W* 

Now in turning, as in every motion, there are two terms, d quo and ad 
fumn^ liffoffT^f i) and mar^fii : something from which, that is sin ; some- 
thing to which, that is God or righteousness. Hence Athanasius gives this 
aeeoont of the word, quast. id., d/cb roDro ya^ TJiytroi fitrdwia, in furari^figi 
fiv Mbv wr6 roD xaxoD 9ehg rh &yaA6it, Because hereby the mind is turned 
firom evil to good. 

I suppose it principally consists in turning from evil, sin ; though he be 
never truly turned from sin, that turns not to God, &o. Yet that belongs 
properly to another grace. Repentance especially is turning from; and 
therefore I ehall insist on this. In this turning, there are three acts, as it 
were so many steps : sorrow for sin, hatred of it, resolution to forsake it. 
He that does not mourn, Ac., shall perish. This is Christ's meaning : 
' Except,' &o. 

1. Sorrow for sin. To repent, is to mourn for sin, 2 Cor. vii. 9, 10. 
The Lord exhorting Zion to repentance, expresses it thus, Joel ii. 12 ; and 
Peter's repentance is expressed by this. Mat. xxvi. 75. Though there may 
be sorrow without repentance, yet no repentance without sorrow. It is not 
erety sorrow, for there is a sorrow unto death ; nor every sorrow for sin, 
for Judas was sorry he had sinned, Mat. xxvii. 8, 4. What sorrow then ? 
how qualified ? It must be hearty and godly sorrow. 

(1.) Hearty, such as greatly affects the heart. Not that of the tongue, 
which is usual, I am sorry, &c. ; nor that of the eyes neither, if tmurs 
spring not from a broken heart; not verbal, slight, outward^ superficial, 
bat great, bitter, cordial humbling ; such sorrow as will afflict tiie soul. 
The Iflraelites, in their solemn day of repentance and humiliation, were 
eommanded to afflict their souls, Lev. xvi. 29 ; and the want of it is 
threatened, chap, xxiii. 29. Such a sense of sin, such sorrow for it as 
vill be a soul affliction. 


When the heart is truly Borrowfol for sm, sin is a burden to it ; sucli 
penitents they are whom Christ invites, Mat. xi. 28, there will be such 
pain and angnish in the heart as when it is pricked, wounded. So were 
Peter's penitents, Acts ii., as if it were rent and torn ; so Joel ii. 18, as if 
it were broken and crashed. A penitent heart is a broken heart, as David 
calls it in his penitent Ps. Ii. 17. He regards no sorrow bat this which 
issues from a contrite heart, Isa. Izvi. 2. 

It must be a great, a bitter mourning, and therefore is compared to that 
which is caused by the greatest outward afflictions. So is the sorrow of 
the Jews at their conversion prophetically described, Zech. zii. 10, 11 ; 
such sorrow as Sarah would have made for the loss of her first-bom, her 
only son Isaac ; or Hannah for Samuel, the son of many tears, of so strong 

Sorrow is proportionable to the cause. Now what more bitter affliction 
than the loss of a child, especially to the Jews, who counted children a 
greater blessing, &c. ? To lose a child, a son, an only son, first begotten 
son, Oh what sorrow, what bitter lamentation would this have occasioned I 
Even such should be the sorrow for sin ; a bitter mourning, a great mouxn- 
ing, ver. 11, like that for the untimely death of that blessed prince Josiah ; 
as the inhabitants of Hadadrimmon for Josiah, slain in the valley of 

A hearty sorrow, not confined to the heart, but if the natural temper 
afford them, breaking forth in tears, sighs, and sad complaints, the ordinary 
companions of a sorrowful heart. Such must be sorrow in some degree 
of sincerity, or else perish. 

(2.) Godly sorrow, 2 Cor. vii. 9, 10, sorrow for sin, as it is against (GFod ; 
not as it is against yourselves, prejudicial to you ; as it brings judgments, 
exposes to wrath, makes you obnoxious to justice, brings within the com- 
pass of curses, and in danger of hell. Not as it withholds temporal 
blessings, so Esau ; nor brings temporal judgments, so Ahab ; nor as it 
excludes from mercy, so Cain ; nor as it brings hell into the conscience, 
BO Judas. This sorrow is carnal, worldly, unto death. But as it is against 
God, his authority, mercy, glozy, blessedness, holiness, power, sovereignty, 
truth, justice, being. 

His atUhorUy : as a disobedience of his command, violation of his right- 
eous law, as opposite to his blessed will. 

His mercy : against him who is unwilling to destroy, willing to pardon, 
ready to be reconciled, gave his Son, sends his Spirit. 

His glory: that which dishonours him, casts unworthy refleetiona on 
him, crosses his design, and robs him of the glory due to him. 

Bab blessedness : diispleases, grieves, wearies, burdens ; causes him to 
complain, repent. 

His holiness: contrary to his pure nature, the greatest deformity, that 
which he cannot endure to look upon. 

His power and truth: as that which questions whether he is able to 
execute his threatenings, or whether he will be as good as his word in 
executing ; sin is an implicit denial of these. 

His sovereignty : as open rebellion against him, ' Who is the Lord ? * &c., 
and as it makes us unserviceable to him ; treason. 

His being : as that which denies him, would depose, dethrone him, cause 
the holy one to cease ; ^ This is the heir,' &c., Mat. xxi. 88. 

His excellencies : prefers self, vanity, Satan, sin, before him. 

2. Hatred of sin. This is an act of repentance, and that indeed which if 

LUKK Xm. 8.] or BBPENTANOB. 27 

prineipaUy essential to it. It is described by this 2 Cor. vii., AyavoLKn/itftg. 
Where no indignation, no hatred, there is no repentance. And Job joins 
these. Job. zlii. 6, so Ezek. Ti. 9, chap. xz. 48, and zxxvi. 81, loathe 
thomselTes as sinfbl, for sin ; therefore loathe sin more than themselves. 
Thej woold not be loathsome but for sin. 

It is not enongh to dislike it, be displeased at it, angry with it, no nor 
Sony for it. He that repents will hate it. Be so aifected to sin as we 
use to be towards that which we most hate. We may make nse of that 
sinfol hatred amongst men to discover the nature of this gracious affection. 
When yon hate one you wish his ruin, rejoice when any evils befall him, 
and be ready to do him a mischief when occasion is ofibred, join with any 
that would undo him. He that repents will so hate sin as to seek its death, 
to crucify, mortify it, rejoice when it is wounded, love that word which 
smites it, have his heart rise at the approach of it, manifest an antipathy 
against it. 

(1.) This hatred is well grounded. He will hate it, because it is hateful, 
loi^some in the eye of God, and every eye that is opened. It stinks in 
his nostrils, therefore would destroy it. So Jacob, Gen. zxziv. 10, * Ye 
have made me to stink,' I shall be destroyed. Hate it, because he looks 
upon it as a mortal enemy to God, to his soul, to all that is good. David 
gives this account of his hatred : Ps. cxzzix. 21, * 1 count them mine 

(2.) An universal hatred. All sin. He that hates not all does truly 
hate none at all. He that hates sin, as it is sin, will hate all, and he that 
does not hate it as sin, does not repent of it. It is not enough to hate 
some sins, in the sense of others, or those that are commonly hated amongst 
men, as perjury, murder, nor to hate those sins that you have no great 
occasion to love, those that are not pleasing, profitable, but even that which 
ye have most loved, had most delight and advantage in, secret as well as 
open, spiritual sins as well as carnal, small and great. Repentance is 
inconsistent with love to any sin, Ps. cxiz. 104. 

(8.^ Irreooneileable. He doth hate it so, as never to be at peace, amity 
with it ; not fall put with it by fits, in some good mood, but return again 
to folly, be friends again with sin, and use it as kindly, act it as freely as 
ever. This is not to repent, but to mock God, and delude your own souls, 
and make your condition worse than before. Mat. xii. 48-46. When the 
sool returns to sin, the devU returns to the soul, and brings with him seven 
worse than himself. Relapses give the devil more possession. He never 
Imly hated sin who hates it not alwaysl It must be perfect hatred, as 
eztensiYe, and intensive, so persevering. 

8. Forsaking sin. In resolution never to sin more. To repent is to 
tarn; and how turn firom sin if not forsake it? It is impossible; as to 
leave a way, and walk in it; a contradiction. All the characters of repent- 
ance, 2 Cor. vii. 11, include this carefulness. Fear, vehement desire, 
zeal, imply strong resolution. Every resolution is not sufficient; not 
idtiire, weak, partud ; it must be deprcBsenti^ forsake sin presently. Not 
enough to say, I will do it hereafter, when I have had a little more pleasure, 
reapA a littie more profit by my sins. He that will not forsake it pre- 
ientfy, to-day, while it is called to-day, has no true resolution, is far from 
kuly repenting. 

Efeetual, strong. Such as will put you upon the use of all means to per- 
fixnn it, and make good your resolution to avoid all occasions, company, 
place, &c. ; moke yon watchful against temptation, stand guarded, careful 


to remoYe the cause, original cormption; stopping np the paddle, the 
spring ; not only lop the branches, bnt strike at the root ; diligent in the 
use of mortifying dnties, &o. Where repentance is, there is indinn^igf 
a resolntion to be revenged for the wrong sin has done to God, to the 
sonl, &o. 

Impartial. Forsake all. He that repents, most not say, I will forsake 
my former ways, so many, so great ; I will forsake all bat one ; the Lord 
be mercifal to me in this. This is bat a little one, let me escape with it, 
and let my soul live in it. All these things I will do, all these sins I will 
leave, only let me be spared in this. I know not how to live, how to sub- 
sist withoat this. I shall have no comfort of my life, no credit with my 
neighbours, if I leave this. This is not the voice of a penitent, but of a 
hypocrite. The best of the sheep and oxen Saul spared, and destroyed the 
rest, the vUe and refuse, when God had enjoined him to destroy all ; and 
then he comes to Samuel with a justification of himself: 1 Sam. xv., ' I 
have performed the commandment,* &c. But what says the Lord? how 
does he resent his partial obedience ? See ver. 28. So will the Lord deal 
with those who, pretending repentance, yet will destroy, forsake none but 
the vile and refuse, unprofitable, unpleasing sins, &c. He that forsakes not 
all, forsakes none at all, James ii. 10 : Eddem pcma afficutur^ atque si omnia 
violasset. If the rest of the body be cured, yet leave but a gangrene in the 
least part, it will be the destruction of the whole : Per kujus solius peremp- 
tiongmf etiam ilia Integra trahi ad mortem,* Sin is the snare of the devil ; 
by repentance we escape it. Quomodo passer, etsi non toto tensatur corpore, 
sed uno solo pede, est in potestate aiteupiSf\ &c., 2 Tim. ii. 25, 26. One leak 
neglected may sink a ship as well as a Uiousand. Herod did many things, 
so he avoided many sins ; but Herodias he would not part with, and so he 
perished. It is not enough to forsake almost all; Agrippa was almost 
persuaded, &c. They are but ahnost resolved who are not resolute to part 
with all, Ps. cxix. 6. ^He that has < respect to all commands' must respect 
no sin. That repentance which makes not resolute to forsake all sin is a 
repentance to be repented of, you mast be ashamed of; notwithstanding it, 
you may, you shall perish. 

Reas. 1. Christ has said it. There is reason enough in his word. That 
is the best ground we have, or can have, for any truUi in the world. He 
has said it, and lest we doubt, he speaks it twice, ver. 8. and 5. He 
speaks it to the Jews. If any people in the world might think to escape 
without repentance it was they, having received such great privileges, such 
special fiftvours ; yet these he tells, * Except ye repent, ye shall perish.' 
He speaks universally, admits no exception, no limitation. Ye shall all, 
whether your sins be small or great, whether greater sinners than the 
Galileans or not, * except ye repent,' &c. He says it, who is truth itself, 
and so speaks undoubted truths; who is God himself, and therefore cannot 
lie ; who is judge of quick and dead, and therefore cannot err in the sen- 
tence ; who is the great prophet, of whom it was prophesied many thou- 
sand years since, that whoever would not hear, that is, believe him, should 
be cut off; he whose word is more firm than the foundations of heaven 
and earth : ' Heaven and earth shall pass away, but this word shall not 
pass away.' They shall be dissolved, turned into nothing, sooner than 
this saying of Christ shall be convinced of the least falsehood. No firmer 
trath in the world than this, * Except ye repent, ye shall perish.' 

Eeas. 2. Christ never died for impenitent sinners. They must needs 
• Aug. t GhryBOst. 

Luke Xm. 8.] of befbntakob. 29 

perish for whom Christ never died ; bnt he never died for such. Those 
sins most be punished in hell to eternity which are not expiated by Christ's 
bloody bnt it was not shed for final impenitency. Christ gives repentance 
to all for whom he died. Acts v. 81. Those who do not will, ask, seek, 
receive it; those who pnt it off, defer, have no ground to believe that 
Christ died for them. And till there be some ground to believe this, there 
is no hope to escape, no way for such, bnt they perish. Christ only died 
for those whom his Father gave to him, John vi. 87. But impenitent 
sinners were not given to Christ ; for those who are given to him do come 
to him, return ; &ose who continue impenitent, run from him. 

Reas. 8. Unpardoned sinners must perish. For whom the Lord does not 
pardon he will punish eternally, but impenitent sinners are unpardoned. 
Repentance and remission of sins are usually joined in Scripture, and the 
Lord will never suffer them to be separated. No repentance, no pardon. 
It is not the cause, but it is the condition, without which no remission. 
Solomon would not ask pardon but upon this condition, 2 Chron. vi. 26, 27, 
nor does the Lord answer him but on the same terms, chap. vii. 14, ctm- 
ditionalU nihil ponU in esse. Those who turn not from sin while they live, 
mnst die in their sins when they die ; and who so die, die eternally. The 
Lord, who is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity on earth, will not endure 
it in heaven. Ye shall sooner see the most holy of the saints cast into hell 
than an unpardoned sinner admitted into heaven. 

Reas» 4. Those whom the Lord hates must perish. But he hates impeni- 
tent sinners, Ps. v. 5, ' Thou hatest all workers of iniquity.' Now, who 
are so properly workers of iniquity as those who are so eager at it as they 
will not leave this work though they be in danger to perish for it ? Christ 
puts it out of doubt. The workers of iniquity must perish, Luke xiii. 27. 
Those whom the Lord will tear in his wrath must perish with a witness ; 
bat those whom he hates, he tears, &c., Job xvi. 8. What more due to 
such impenitent sinners than hatred I what more proper than wrath, since 
they treasure np wrath I Bom ii. Will he entertain those in the bosom of 
love whom his soul hates ? No ; destruction is their portion. Pro. xxi. 15. 
If all the curses of the law, all the threatenings of the gospel, all judgments 
in earth or in hell, will be the ruin of him, he must perish. If the Lord's 
arm be strong enough to wound him dead, he must £e : Ps. Ixviii. 21, <He 
will wound,' &c. 

Beas, 6. He that is not, cannot be in the way of life, must perish. Bnt 
ean he escape death and ruin who will never leave the paths that lead 
thereto ? Can he come to life who never sets foot in the way ? There 
never were but two ways to life, the covenant of grace, and the covenant of 
works; and impenitent sinners are out of both. The way by works is 
quite blocked up to all; for there are three things in that covenant : all, 
as creatures, are under the precept ; all, by nature, are under the penalty; 
bnt none of all are under the promise. None can enter into life by virtue 
of that, because none can perform the condition. No sinner can come to 
life this way. Lest, therefore, no flesh should be saved, the Lord was 
pleased to open another way to life ; that is, the covenant of grace. Jesus 
Christy by virtue of his satisfaction, is become a new and living way ; but 
to whom ? To those only who believe and repent : John viii. 24, * If ye 
believe not,' Ac.; Acts zi. 18, no life now without satisfaction for trans- 
gressing the former way. Christ has made satisfaction ; but none shall 
ever have benefit thereby but those that repent ; till then, the threatening 
of the first covenant is in force, nothing but death. 


Resolution of some cases : 

Case 1. Whether does this belong to those that have already repented ? 
Whether may this truly be applied to them ? Except ye repent, &c. 

Am, In some respects it may ; in some it may not. 

In respect of those sins for wblch they have repented it belongs not to 

But in respect of future sins, such as they may commit, or have com- 
mitted, and not repented of them, to them it must be applied, < Except ye 
repent, ye shall perish.' For though those sins be pardoned at first 
repentance, yet but pardoned conditionally, so that the sentence shall be 
revoked if the condition be not performed. Now the condition is repent- 
ance ; and therefore, in this respect, this is applicable to them. Except ye 
repent, ye shall perish. 

For the understanding of this, observe three proportions : 

1. All sins are pardoned upon the first act of faith and repentance. AS 
past, present, to come, are actually pardoned, Rom. viii. 1. If any sin 
were not forgiven, there would be some place for condemnation ; for the 
least unpardoned makes liable to condemnation. Hence divines say, 
Justificatio est simvl et semel : a sinner is justified, pardoned, but once, and 
all at once. But though all be then pardoned, yet not all alike. There- 
fore, observe, 

2. Sins past and repented of are pardoned absolutely, because the con- 
dition is present ; and where the condition is present, that which was con- 
ditional becomes absolute. A thing is only conditional when the condition is 
not present but future. The guilt of those sins would not return, no, not 
upon supposition of an impossibility, if the conditions which give or shew 
his right to pardon should be lost. If a man could lose the grace of 
repentance he should perish, not for his sins formerly repented of, but for 
his after-impenitency, which would not be true if former sins were not par- 
doned absolutely. 

8. Future sine, or sins unrepented of, are but pardoned to a believer 
conditionally. Because the condition of pardon is not in being, is future ; 
he has not yet repented for those sins ; and if he utterly fail in performing 
the condition (though the Lord's engaging for perfonnance, by honour and 
promise, makes this impossible), yet if he should not repent, the former 
sentence of absolution and general pardon would be revoked, would be a 
nullity, of no force as to these sins, and consequently he should perish ; so 
that, in respect of these sins, it may be said to those that formerly have 
been the greatest penitents under heaven, Except ye repent, ye shall perish* 

From hence we see how dangerous it is to conceive that, after we are 
assured of pardon, there is no need of repentance. They must perish that 
are not absolutely pardoned ; but these are not absolutely pudoned till 
they repent ; therefore except they repent, they shall perish. 

Case 2. Since we must repent of idl sins, then it is necessary for sins 
of ignorance ; but how can we repent of these ? It seems hard we must 
perish for not repenting of those acts which we know not to be sins. 

Resolution of this will be to shew what sins of ignorance must be neces- 
sarily repented of, so as except we repent we shall perish ; and also how 
we may so repent of them as we may not perish. 

To this end observe, 1, some distinctions ; and, 2, some propositions 
resolving the use.* 

1. Ignorance is either voluntary or involnntaxy. 
• Qu. * case.'— Ed. 


[1.] Involnntaxy ; when one is ignorant, because not able, or not obliged 
to know. Either negative, when one is not bound ; or invincible, when 
one cannot know snch an act is unlawful. . 

f2.J Voluntary ignorance is either affected, or out of negligence: 
afiecied, when one ^nll not know what is sin, because he has a mind to 
continue in it, unwilling to leave it: Ubenter ignorant, ut libenus peccent; out 
of negligence, when one does not know his sins, because he neglects the means 
of knowledge, when not diligent to £nd out whether such an act be sinful. 

[8.] Bepentance is in act or in purpose : actual, when repentance is 
presently practised, and the acts of it put forth upon present occasion ; in 
purpose, when there is a disposition, intention, and resolution to exercise 
repentance, whenever just occasion shall be made known and offered. 

[4. j Repentance is implicit and general, or express and particular : par- 
ticular, when sins in particular are confessed, bewailed, forsaken, every 
sin punctually and singly by itself; general, when sin is bewailed, not 
expressly in particulars, but implicitly and in the gross. 

2. This premised, for understanding of what foUows, take the resolution 
in BIX propositions : 

(1.) No man shall perish for not repenting of such ignorances as are 
altogether involuntary. The Lord expects not repentance for such. For 
sin only is the object of repentance. But such ignorances as are purely 
unwilling, that is, such as we neither can nor ought to know, are not sins. 
It is possible an act may be unlawful in itself, and yet no sin to the actor; 
v. g,f it is unlawful in itself for a man to know one who is not his wife ; 
but Jacob knew Leah, who was not his wife, yet sinned not, because he 
knew not, nor could in an ordinary way discover that she was not his wife. 
Jacob might be sorry for this as his affliction, but was not bound to repent 
for it as his sin ; but such ignorances are rare. 

(2.) Every man must perish that does not repent of those sins whereof 
he is affectedly ignorant. He is bound to repent of both ; for the ignorance 
is a sin no less than the act ; it argues love to sin, unwillingness to leave 
it, which is a sign of an impenitent heart, of one that gives Mmself up to 
live in sin. There can be no true repentance, where such ignorances are 
not repented of. He that does not repent, both of that ignorance, and of 
those sins whereof he is so ignorant, must perish. 

(8.) He is deservedly in danger to perish who repents not of those sins 
which he is ignorant of, through carelessness, negligence. For though 
there may be true repentance, where there is some degrees of negligence, 
where all possible diUgence is not used, for getting the knowledge of those 
dns which are to be repented of, yet sudi repentance is dangerously 
defective, and in that respect must be repented of, except ye will perish. 

Therefore, when ye go about this great work of repentance, you must 
use all diligence in surveying your lives, and searching your hearts, and 
viewing both in the glass of the law, and desiring the Lord to make clear 
and full discoveries of sin, that so, if your repentance be defective, it may 
not willingly be so. 

(4.) Because, after all diligence we can use, multitudes of sins will not 
be discovered, since they are so many as they pass knowledge, Ps. xix. 12 ; 
though it be required under penalty of perishing, that we repent in parti- 
cular of every Imown sin ; though we must confess and bewail particularly, 
and singly by itself, every sin that we do or may know ; yet for sins that 
we cannot know, a general repentance will be accepted ; we may wrap up 
Boeh unknown sins in gross, as David, Ps. xix. 12. But this consideration 


that yoTir sins are so infinitely many, that yon cannot repent of them in 
particolar, as yon should do, mast increase your sorrow for, and add to 
your hatred of, this fhutfol monster, and beget resolutions of more watch- 
fulness, &c. 

(5.) Though no more be expected for present, than such a general 
repentance for unknown sins, yet withal there must be a particular repent- 
ance in purpose : t. «., there must be an intention, a disposition, a resolu- 
tion, to repent of every of those now unknown sins, particularly and 
punctually, when discovered; and where this is, the general implicit 
repentance will be accepted, as though it were particular ; for in this case 
the Lord accepts the will for the deed, according to that 2 Cor. viii. 12. 
Where there is this purpose of particular repentance, there is a willing 
mind to repent particularly. 

(6.) A man shall not perish that repents of sins altogether unknown, 
though he do not reform them. Some acts of repentance will be sufficient 
for these, though all be necessary for known sins. One may truly mourn 
for these, though he do not usually forsake them ; for a man may bewail 
unknown sins in general, though he have not a distinct knowledge of them ; 
but he cannot reform them, except he know particularly that they are sins. 
Sorrow for all sin, known and unknown, is necessary ; but there cannot be 
actual reformation of sins altogether unknown ; therefore, instead of actual 
reformation, a resolution to forsake whatever Ihe Lord shall make known 
to be a sin, is in this case sufficient. So it was with the holy men before 
Christ, in reference to polygamy ; they repented for all sin in general, and 
so for this : but they did not reform this, because they did not know it was 
a sin. 

There must be actual reformation of every known sin, else ye perish ; but 
for those which ye cannot know,' repenting in general, mourning, confessing, 
prayer for pardon of all in general, with a stedfast purpose to forsake, 
reform, whatever shall be discovered to be a sin, will be sufficient. 

Qu^t. Is repentance necessary after first conversion ? And how ? 

Arts, It is necessary in respect of sins before conversion, of sins after, 
and of that sin which is both before and after, natural corruption. 

1. In respect of sins before conversion. That is not denied by any. 
You may as well deny there is any such thing as repentance, as deny these 
are to be repented of. Those grant it necessary for these, which deny it 
for the other. 

2. In respect of sin both before and after, natural depravation. I have 
suggested many grounds why this is to be repented of, and they equally 
concern all. An abiding sin, so superlatively sinful, is a constant ground 
of sorrow, hatred, self-abhorrency, and endeavours to be rid of it. 

8. In respect of sins after conversion. From the ground formerly 
expressed, repentance for these is the condition of pardon of these sins ; 
they are not absolutely pardoned till the condition be fulfilled, and so, not 
till they be repented of. 

. That it is the condition of pardon as to these sins is evident, because it has 
all the ingredients that are in any evangelical condition — all that is to be 
found in anything which the gospel calls a condition. And therefore, if 
anything in the gospel be a condition, repentance is so in reference to the 
remission of these sins. It is, 

(1.) Promissioni annexa, added to the promise of pardon, as a condi- 
tion, which civilians call res addita negotio. Promise of remission runs 
conditionally, 2 Chron. vii. 14; here is a promise to pardon the sins of 


God*8 people (therefore sins after conversion) npon condition of repent- 
ance, ' if they humble themselves and torn.* 

(2.) A promiUents postulata. It is required, commanded by God to his 
people, after conversion ; so a condition, for that is res postulata, &c. To 
waive instances in the Old Testament, as those against which the opposites, 
though most vainly, except, see how often Christ himself requires it of his 
people in the Asian churches ; of Ephesus, after much commendation of 
her graces, manifested both in doing and suffering for him. Rev. ii. 4, 6 ; 
of Pergamos, for tolerating heretics amongst them, ver. 16 ; of Sardis, for 
her imperfections. Rev. iii. 8 ; of Laodicea, for Inkewarmness, ver. 19 ; 
yet there he intimates his will that they should repent. Pftu) required this 
of the Ciorinthians, and rejoiceth in their compliance therewith, 2 Cor. 
vii. By 9. All commands of repentance concern such sins ; non est distin- 
guendum tdn lex non distinguit, 

(8.) Necessaria ad impletionem, necessary to performance. Conditio est 
res sine qua non. This appears from the premises. If the Lord would 
pardon absolutely without it, why does he peremptorily command it to 
converts ? Why adds he this, in form of a condition, to the promises of 
pardon ? Prov. xxviii. 18. This must be extended to sins after conversion, 
because there is no reason to restrain it. 

That it is necessary, appears further thus : 

It is a part of regeneratiou, an infused grace: therefore it does not 
vanish after its first acts ; that is contrary to the promise : nor does it con- 
tinue idle, unexercised in th& habit, till death ; for that is contrary to the 
nature of grace : it wiU be active, fruitful — active, when there is occasion. 
Sin, when committed, is an occasion to exercise repentance, or else there 
can be no occasion for it. Can an instance be given of any other grace, 
whose exercise is never required, but immediately after its first infusion ? 
Must all graces else be exercised all our lives, repentance only excepted ? 
Who can imagine this without evident ground from Scripture ? ; 

That which is not fruitful, active, is not from the Spirit. There may be 
some intermission, but no total cessation. It may be sometimes winter, 
but not all the year, all a man's life. 

That is no tree of righteousness which brings not forth fruit in its sea- 
son ; no plant of our heavenly Father's planting, but that which must be 
cut down. 

Is it not absurd to make this rod of God blossom upon our first implanta- 
tion into Christ ; and then immediately wither, and continue in the soul 
as a dead stick, without leaf or fruit, without act or exercise ? Does the 
Lord give a soft heart to continue always, to shew itself only at first con- 
version ? It is too absurd for any rational mind to cbse with. 

Besides, the acts of repentance are necessary, in respect of sins after 
conversion:; therefore repentance itself. It is necessary we should hate, 
forsake, bewail sins, after conversion ; ergo, necessary to repent of 

1. Hatred of those sins is necessary : for if continuance in the state of 
grace be necessarily required to the continuance of pardon, then hatred of 
these sins is required to the pardon of them. But the former all grant, 
and the consequence is clear, because want of hatred to sin, or, which is 
all one, love to sin, is inconsistent with the state of grace, Ps. Ixxix. 10. 
He thai hates not evil, those evils, loves not the Lord ; and he that loves 
not the Lord is not in the state of grace, 1 John iii. 14. with chap. v. 2. 

2. Forsaking of those sins is necessaiy to pardon, for the same reason. 

▼OL. I. O 


Pardon is not continned, but to those that continue in the state of regene* 
ration ; and those that live in sin are not in that state, 1 John iii. 9 and 
Y. 18. As he commits not sin like others, so he continues not commit- 
ting it as others. Where no forsaking of these sins, no regeneration ; and 
where this is not, there is no pardon ; ergo^ without forsaking these, no 

8. Sorrow for these sins is necessary to pardon : for he that is not sorry 
for these sins, takes pleasure in them ; and he that takes pleasure in sin 
is in a state of condemnation, therefore not pardoned, 2 Thes. ii. 12. 
Besides, if it were not necessary, why should the saints afflict themselves 
with it ? Why did Peter weep bitterly ? Why David ? If they were not 
necessary, they were works of supererogation. 

QmsU Whether must sorrow, required to true repentance, be as great 
as our sorrow for outward afflictions, loss of relations, estate, liberty, 
credit, hopes, ^. ? If thus much be necessary, I fear I am in an impeni- 
tent state, &c. I never felt my heart so sensibly affected, so heavily affected 
with sin, as with these. 

Am. 1. Not only as much, but more sorrow for sin, is necessary to 
repentance, than for outward afflictions. He never truly repented, who 
has not been more grieved for his sins than for his sufferings. Mat. x. 18 ; 
Luke xiv. 26, hatred, a less degree of love ; he that loves not these less 
than me, &c. Now sorrow is a sign of love, proportionable to it. He 
that mourns more for the loss of tiiese than losing, dishonouring Christ, 
loves these more than Christ. And such are unworthy of Christ, are in a 
state incapable of any benefit by Christ, an impenitent state. Thus no 
true repentance, where is not more sorrow for sin, than for any affliction 
has befallen, or you can imagine may befall. But lest you may mistake it 
for less, or but equal, when more, observe, 

2. There may be a greater sorrow in a soul truly penitent, than sorrow 
for sin when it is there alone, viz., when sense of a&iction and sense of 
sin both lie upon the soul at once, and the heart is sorrowful for both. 
This double sorrow may exceed sorrow for sin, when single. When these 
two streams meet, the tide of sorrow will be higher. Therefore it is no 
ground to conclude against the truth of repentance, because there has been 
greater sorrow than sorrow for sin alone ; except when both these have 
seized upon the soul together, sorrow for the affliction has exceeded the 
sorrow for sin. David mourned both for his sin and the loss of his child 
at once ; there was more son;ow in his soul than if there had been but one 
occasion of grief: yet his repentance was true, because his sorrow was 
more for his sin than for the loss of the child. There may be greater sor- 
row in the soul than sorrow for sin alone ; yet sorrow for sin may be the 

3. Sorrow and grief for afflictions may seem greater than sorrow for sin, 
when it is not really so. It may seem greater, because many times it is 
more sensible, more passionate, makes greater noise, vents itself more in 
outward expressions, tears, &c. That sorrow which is most passionate, is 
not always greatest in God's account. How passionately does David 
bewail his loss of Absalom ! Yet was his sorrow for sin greater, upon a 
just account, else he had never been approved as a sincere penitent. 
There may be true repentance, not where grief for sin is less, but where 
less outward, less sensible, passionate, &c. It may be greater in other 
respects, more necessary to repentance, more acceptable to God, though 
less in these respects. Therefore observe. 


4. Sorrow for sin may be greater than sorrow for outward BofiferiiigSy 
though it seem not so in many respects. 

(1.) Objective. Because this sorrow for sin has more objects. He mourns 
for more sins than afflictions ; therefore this sorrow is more for sin than 
for sufferings. He is grievedy sorrowful for all known sins, but these infi- 
nitely exceed sensible afflictions in number, and therefore his sorrow for 
these is greater. If his grief for some particular sin should be exceeded by 
grief for some special afflictions, yet sorrow for all sins, being so many, 
will exceed sorrow for sufferings, being so few. But supposing that it is 
not sufficient to true repentance, that sorrow is in this 3en8e greater for 
sin, <&c., because indeed we should be more grieved for any one sin than 
for all afflictions; yet with others it will be sufficient to it. 

(2.) Sidjectivif in respect of the subject. Sorrow for sin takes up more 
of the soul than sorrow for afflictions, &c. This is a passion, and is prin- 
cipally in the sensitive appetite ; but the will and understanding have more 
inf uence upon sorrow for sin. 

[1.] There is more of the will in grief for sin, &c. Quoad voluntatem 
more ; for this is voluntary, that is natural. This is of choice, that seizes 
npon the heart unavoidably. This is comfortable, that is an affliction, part 
of the curse. A true penitent would choose this sorrow, rather than free- 
dom from outward affliction. 

[2.J Every affection, every act of the will, contributes something to this 
sorrow for sin, and so makes it more. A penitent desires he could mourn 
more ; wishes his head were waters, and his eyes fountains of tears, &c. ; 
that all sorrow were turned into sorrow for sin ; loves a broken heart, and 
that word which melts it ; hates the relics of hardness, counts it the great- 
est judgment ; is ashamed he mourns so little for that which deserves so 
much ; and so is more afraid of a hard insensible heart than of outward 
affliction; delights in tenderness, when his heart will melt, bleed, &c. ; 
and is sorrowfrd because sorrow is so small. So it is quoad affectum 
t'd.J The understanding makes sorrow for sin more, by several acts. 
Fintf A man judges sin the greatest cause of sorrow ; the least sin a 
better ground, a juster occasion for the greatest sorrow than the sharpest 
affliction of the least ; thinks afflictions a slender ground in comparison 
of sin. 

Secondly^ He judges he can never sorrow enough for sin, though too 
much for afflictions : thinks tears of blood would not be too great an expres- 
sion of grief for sin ; rivers of tears not sufficient. 

Thirdly 9 He judges and censures himself for the defects of this, for the 
excess of that. Counts it his sin, his misery that he mourns so little for 
sins, so much for afflictions : so more appropriative. Though sorrow for 
outward crosses be more passionate, yet if he can find grief for sin greater 
than it, in respect of will, affections, judgment, according to the tenor of 
the particulars expressed, no reason to conclude against the truth of 
repentance, especially if greater. 

(8.) Interpretative, in respect of endeavours. He that labours to grieve 
more in God*s gracious interpretation, does grieve more. A true penitent 
will aggravate his sins to the utmost ; will entertain such thoughts and 
cimsiderations as may humble him, and increase his sorrow for sin ; will be 
importunate with the Lord to take away the heart of stone ; will be 'Often 
looking npon Christ crucified ; will be diligent in the use of all means which 
are appointed to break, humble, affect his heart with sin ; endeavour io 


mitigate his'soirow for afflictionB, as that which is unprofitable, dangerons; 
but to increase sorrow for sin. So it is quoad eonatum more, 
k (4.) Terminativ^t in respect of the termination of his sorrow. When he 
mourns for afflictions, his sorrow is terminated in sin. He grieves for 
them, becanse they are the issues of sin ; would not think them worthy of 
his sorrow, but only because they are the effects of sin. If the effects be 
so grievougy Oh^ what is the cause ? If I had never sinned, I had never 
suffered, therefore I have more reason to grieve for sin. This is the 
spring, they are but the streams that flow from it. This is that root of 
bitterness, they but branches. This pulls down God's hand to scourge 
me, they are but rods. Oh let me not be so foolish as to grieve at the 
rod, but at that whidi procured it t He that grieves for afflictions, princi- 
pally because they come from sin, grieves more for sin than them. 

The papists say they do not worship an image so much as God, because 
they do not terminate their worship in the image ; but though this evasion 
will not excuse them from idolatry, because they should not worship an 
image at all, yet it is true in this case ; he that grieves for afflictions, but 
terminates his sorrow in sin, grieves more for sin ; so that, if when yon 
mourn for crosses, if principally because for sin, and for sin the cause, no 
reason to conclude against the truth of your repentance. 

(5.) Effective, in respect of the effects. Sorrow for sin in a penitent has 
this issue, he had rather suffer any affliction than commit the least sin. 
And this is a sign, an evidence, that sin is more grievous, that his sorrow 
for it has been greater. He looks upon it as an object more full of sorrow 
and misery than any suffering. Where sorrow for sin has this effect, there 
is no reason to conclude that sorrow for affliction has been greater. He 
that would suffer anything rather than sin in the least, may be assured that 
he is grieved more for sin than afflictions. Yet this is its effect in trae 
mourners, sincere penitents. 

(6.) Baiione oppositionist in respect of the opposition. We find it tme 
in other things, that which seems a little, because much opposed, is really 
more than what seems much when no opposition. Sorrow for sin is 
strongly opposed by Satan, the world, smfid nature ; it inclines naturally 
to happiness, and thinks sorrow contrazy to it ; it loves sin, and will not 
be brought to mourn for it. But sorrow for affliction has no such opposi- 
tion. Satan is a friend to it, nature resists it not, for it is natural ; and 
therefore that which may seem no great degree of sorrow for sin, yet if it 
be sincere, may be accounted greater than passionate grief for afflictions. 

(7.) HabitualUer, and in respect of continuance. That is the greatest 
sorrow, which is of longest continuance. What it wants in height of pas- 
sion and sensibleness is made up in duration, it is permanent. A land- 
flood fills the banks on a sudden, and more water is visible at that time 
than all the year; and yet there is more water conveyed there in an 
ordinary stream, because the current is constant. So sorrow for some 
unexpected, grievous affliction may make his sorrow rise and swell like a 
land-flood ; yet sorrow for sin, continued in a constant exercise of repent- 
ance, is greater than it, though it make not so much noise, because it is of 
longer continuance, more durable. 

Sorrow for affliction is worn out with time, and often quickly over ; but 
sorrow for sin in a true penitent doth never cease, always manifests itself 
upon occasion. 

He that truly mourns for sin will never be comforted in respect of the 
offence of sin, though is always comforted in respect of the guOt of sin. 

Luxe XKL 8.] of bbpentancs. 87 

He is always grieved when he remembers how his sins have offended, dis- 
honoured Gody and so he refuses to be comforted. He need not be sad 
for the guilt, for the danger of his sin, to which it exposed him, because it 
is removed ; no condemnation in reference to the guilt. The Lord says 
he sees no iniquity,. &c., Num. xxiii. 21. Nor need ft penitent any more 
to see it so as to be afiraid, dejected, grieved for the punishment deserved 
by sin ; for he is as safe from Uiat as Uiough he had never sinaed, and so 
may rejoice and be glad in this respect in the midst of his sorrow, be com- 
forted in the midst of his mournings. 

But in reference to the offence it is with true penitents as it was with 
David, Ps. li. 8, his sin ever before him ; and whenever it was in his eye, 
grief was in his heart. Can never consider what injury sin has done to 
God, but the soul will mourn, the heart grieve. When the Lord has once 
opened a spring of sorrow in the heart, it is never quite dried up till he 
come to heaven, if there. So it is more, because it continues longer. 

If your sorrow for sin be in these respects greater than for afflictions, it 
is greater upon all accounts that are necessary, and so no reason to con- 
clude against the truth of repentance. 

Quest, Whether may we mourn for sin in reference to those effects of it 
which concern ourselves ? Whether may sin be the object of our sorrow, 
as it exposes to wrath, makes us miserable, excludes from mercy, brings in 
danger of heU ? Whether do they repent who mourn for sin because of 
these effects ? 

Ans. That this may be resolved, we must distinguish the effects of sin 
that concern ns. Some of them concern us only, seem alone prejudicial 
to us ; as that it brings judgments on us, deprives us of outward mercies, 
exposes us to eternal miseries. Some of them concern both God and us, 
and so it is injurious to both. Such are its defilement, it makes the soul 
deformed so as it cannot please God. Impotency makes it unserviceable, 
BO as it cannot obey God ; contrariety sets the soul in opposition to God, 
contrary to his nature, will, designs, so as it cannot honour him ; nothing 
hot dishonour, displease, and disobey him. 

This premised, take the resolution in four propositions. 

1. We may mourn for sin in respect of those effects that concern us only. 
That sorrow is not unlawful in itself which has these for its objects. It is 
lawful to mourn for things less grievous, for outward temporal afflictions, 
snch as are common to all. The Scripture forbids not this sorrow, but 
only limits it ; bids us mourn moderately, as not without hope, &c. The 
Lord requires not we should be stocks, without sense of sufferings, ' with- 
out natural affections.' No ; aarS^ot are reckoned amongst the greatest of 
sinners, Rom. i. 81. Now, if we may mourn for smaller evils, much more 
for greater ; if for those of this life, then for those that concern eternity ; 
if for bodily afflictions, then for soul judgments ; if for loss of estate, friends, 
then for loss of God, of happiness. It is not unlawful. 

2. This kind of sorrow, if only or principally for these effects, is no act 
of saving repentance. It is raUier, if alone, * the sorrow of the world, 
which workeUi death.' It is not that which worketh repentance unto sal- 
mon. The cause of such sorrow may be, and is, self-love, not love to 
God; the issue may be death, the companion despair ; the subject may be 
t reprobate. Such was the sorrow of Cain, Judas, Ahab, Esau. It is 
true the Lord often works such sorrow in vessels of mercy before he 
bestows grace, and therefore it is ofdled by many a preparation for grace ; 
and so it may be called in some sense; but so understand it as that it has 


no necessary connection with grace. He that goes no fnrther, as divers 
do not, shall never arrive at grace. He who sorrows no otherwise for sin, 
does not ' sorrow after a godly sort/ does not * sorrow nnto repentance,' 
2 Cor. 7. 

8. Sorrow for sin, in reference to those effects which concern both God 
and as, is not only lawful, bat necessary. It is an act of tme repentance 
to moam for those sad issues of sin ; to bewail sin, because it has made 
us deformed, impotent, contrary to God. David, when he repented, was 
affected with the defilement of sin ; he was humbled, mourned for sin, in 
this respect. Hence it is his prayer: Ps. li. 7, 'Purge mo,' &c., 'wash 
me.' Paul bewails his impotency, Rom. vii. 18, 19; and ascribes it to 
sin dwelling in him, ver. 20; and in sense of both cries out, ver. 24. 
Buch sorrow, since it is for sin, not only as it is prejudicial to the sinner, 
but principally and ultimately as it is injurious to God, is, and should be, 
accounted godly sorrow. 

4. Sorrow for sin, the more it is for sin as it is against God, the more 
ingenuous, the more evangelical, the more genuine act of saving repent- 
ance. The more it is for sin, as sin is prejudicial to us, the less ingen- 
uous, &c. ; and a less evident, a less comfortable, sign of repentance unto 
life. There are two sure characters of ingenuous, gospel sorrow : when it 
proceeds from sense of God's love to us, non potest agere p<rnitentiam, qui 
non sperat indidgentiam; and when it proceeds from our love to God, when 
we mourn for offending him, because we love him. Now, these are not, 
or not so visible, in any sorrow for sin as that which mourns for sin as it 
is against God. The other springs rather from self-love, when we bewail 
sin because it is against us, hurtful, dangerous, damnable, Ezek. vi. 9. 
This wan not the temper of David's sorrow, it was of a more evangelical 
strain: Ps. li. 4, 'Against thee,' &c. Why, David had sinned against 
himself, not only against God. He had siuned against bis friend, against 
his own body, soul, estate, family, and involved all these in great dangers, 
exposed all to grievous sufferings. It is true David knew it, but he tokes 
no notice of that. That which grieved, affected him was, that his sin was 
against God; and his sorrow so much respects this, as though he had 
sinned against God alone, as though his sin had been only injurious to 
him. This is the genuine temper of godly sorrow. 

Therefore, though sorrow for the effects of sin may have its place else- 
where, yet when we would sorrow to repentance, wo should look at the 
nature of sin, not at its effects (except such as concern God only, or him 
principally, him more than us) ; sin, in its nature, is more against God 
than in its effects. For the effects of sin are not directly against God, bat 
when one sin is the effect of another. 

That is most properly godly sorrow, which is for sin as it is against God. 
But sin in its nature is most against God, a violation of his law, disobey- 
ing his will, contempt of his authority, &c. That sorrow which arises from 
the consideration of the nature of sin, is most ingenuous, and the most 
certain evidence of sincere repentance. 

Quest. Whether the hatred of sin, which is required to true repentance, 
may consist with any love to sin ? 

Ans, 1. All hatred of sin is here imperfect. No perfection in this life, 
but sense of imperfection. Both graces, and gracious affections, want 
many degrees of perfection. Grace is but of a child's stature, it has perfection 
of parts, but not of degrees. A child has all the parts of a perfect man, 
but wants many degrees of man's perfection. And as with grace, so with 


this affection ; it is not perfect, either ratione objeeti ; sin is not hated as 
it shoold be according to its hatefnlness ; nor ratione faeuUatiSy so mnch 
as it is possible for the heart to hate it ; not raised to sach high degrees of 
hatred, as it may be will be. 

Am. 2. A less degree of hatred may be called love* He that hates sin 
less than he should do, may be said in some sense to love it. A less 
degree of lore is called hatred. Lake ziv. 26. And so a less degree of 
hatred may be called love, though not properly and strictly. For that 
imperfect hatred should be called love, as it is not according to the ordi- 
naiy roles of art, so it is not according to the constant tenor of Scripture 
expressions. I remember no place but this to ground it, and this but ty 

Am, 3. He that truly hates sin, though but imperfectly, cannot be pro- 
perly said to love it. He that hates all sin, and hates it above all that the 
world counts hateful, and abhors himself that he can hate it no more, and 
mourns for the imperfection of his hatred, and strives in the use of appointed 
means to perfect it, does truly hate it. 

In the same subject there cannot be contrary affections to the same 
object. We count it impossible to love and hate the same thing or person. 
In immediate edntraries, positio unius is sublatio alterius. He that hates 
does not love, &c. It is as impossible, as for the same thing to be both 
black and white ; the same water to be at once both hot and cold. It may 
be neither, but it cannot be both ; if one, not the other. So here, and 
though hatred be but in us in a remiss degree, imperfectly, and it may be 
supposed the imperfection arises from the mixture of the contrary affection, 
yet that which is predominant gives the denomination. He that hates sin 
more than he loves it, may be said simply absolutely to hate it. We say 
not water is cold if it be hot above lukewarmness, though it be not hot 
in the utmost extremity. We say not that he loves sin who hates it truly, 
though not perfectly. If he be overpowered to act it, surprised with some 
pleasure in it, this argues not love. For he abhors himself acting, mourns 
bitterly for deUght in it, as Paul, Rom. vii. 

Jfw. 4. He that truly repents, does truly hate sin ; so hate it, as he gives 
no oecasiony upon any just ground, to say he loves it. And by consequence 
true repentance is inconsistent with love to sin, it may be without perfect 
hatred, but it cannot be with any degree of that which may be properly 
called love, Ac. 

Quest. Whether must we repent of original sin ? 

That this may be more clearly propounded and resolved, observe a 
distinction, the non-observance of which occasions much darkness, both m 
men's apprehensions and discourses of this subject. 

Original sin is, 1. Imputed, 2. Inherent. . 

1. Imputed, is Adam's sin, that which he actually committed m eatmg 
the forbidden fruit. CaUed original, because it was the first sm, and com- 
mitted at the beginning of the world, when the first foundations of man s 
original were laid. Imputed, because Adam representing us ^^yK^^^' 
kind, what he did, we did in God's account, he looks upon us as smnmg 

\'^^;w:;,lslit'?atx^ corruption which cleav.J ^^,^2^^^ 
consisting in the privation of original righteousness, ^^.^^^^J^^^ 
imri^usness ; the sad issue and effect of the former sm. ^^ ^^^ 
ing tins original hoHness for himself and his posten^, loet^ for^himself 
tS them r and holiness being gone, a proneness to aU sm necessarily 


followed. It is called nn, becanse it is a elate opposite to the will and law 
of God ; the absence of that which it requires, the presence of that which 
it forbids. Original, because we have it from our birth, from our original. 
Inherent^ because it is not only accounted ours, but is really in us. Of this 
Gen. vi. 5, and Tiii. 21, Job Iv. 5, Ps. li. 7. 

Quest. Whether must we repent of Adam's sin, that which is but imputed 
to us, that which was committed so many years before we were bom ? 

Ans. This must be repented of witii such acts of repentance as it la 
capable of, confessed, bewailed, hated. As to avoiding, forsaking of it, we 
need not be solicitous, because there is [no danger it should be recom- 
mitted. But we must acknowledge, aggravate, mourn for it, abhor it, hate 
the memory of it. So I conceive (though I meet not with any that deter- 
mine this), on this ground. 

1. We are bound to repent and mourn for the sins of others, much 
more for those that are any ways our own. This d fortiori. This has 
been the practice of holy men formerly : David, Fs. cxix. 158, so Jer. 
ziii. 17. Sins of Others, Jer. xiv. 10, many hundred years committed 
before. It is prophesied of the Jews, that when the Lord shall convert 
them, they shall mourn for the sin of their forefathers who pierced him ; 
so Dan. ix. ; and Moses's ordinary practice. If repentance prevent judg- 
ment, then it might prevent those that are inflicted for sins of oUiers^ 
progenitors. The Lord often punishes for their sins ; if we would not suffer 
for them, we should repent of them. And if of others* sins, then of that 
which is ours ; and this is ours by imputation. And justly is it imputed 
to us. For by all human laws, children are chaiged with their fathers' 
debts, the fiskther's treason taints his posterity. 

2. We are bound to rejoice in imputed righteousness, and therefore to 
mourn for imputed sin. Adam*s sin is ours, the same way as Christ's right- 
eousness, viz., by imputation, Hom. v. 19, and contrariorum carUraria sunt 
consequentia. If we must rejoice in Christ's righteousness, we should bewail 
Adam*s sin. And indeed great cause of joy in that it is the marrow, the 
quintessence of the gospel ; the most gladsome part of those fuaTyiXia, 
those glad tidings which are published in the gospel ; the sweetest strain 
of that message, which, the angel says, was ' good tidings of great joy to all 
people,' Luke ii. 10. Imputed righteousness is that blessed design which 
the Father from eternity contrived, which Christ published and performed, 
into which the angels desire to pry, that lost man, who could not be 
saved without righteousness, who had no righteousness of his own to save 
him, should have a righteousness provided for him, whereby he is freed 
from wrath, and entitled to heaven. Sure this is, this will be, an occasion 
of eternal joy ; and if so, imputed sin is a just ground of sorrow. 

8. As long as the Lord manifests bis displeasure against any sin, so loxig 
we are called to mourn for it The Lord is highly provoked, if, when his 
hand is stretched out against any place or person for sin, they will not see 
it, so as to repent of it, and be humbled under it. He interprets this to 
be a contempt, and this highly exasperates. It has been the practice of 
holy men, when wrath was either executed, or threatened, to mourn for 
the sins that occasioned it, though committed by others, and long before. 
See it in Josiah, 2 Chron. xxxiv. 81. There he takes notice of forefathers* 
sins ; and see how he is affected therewith : ver. 27, ' his heart was tender, 
he humbled himself.' 

We are called to mourn for sin, whenever wrath is manifested against 
it ; but the wrath of God is still revealed from heaven against that first 


niuighieoiisness ; his displeasure is sii]! legible in the effects of this sio, 
the dreadMest effects that ever any act produced, no less than all sin, 
and all misery. That threatening, Gen. ii. 17, is still in execution, and the 
execution is terrible ; eveiy stroke is death, spiritual, personal, temporal, 
etemal, take it in the most extensive sense. Adam's soul was struck 
dead immediately ; and by yirtue of that sentence, all his posterity are 
dead men, bom dead in trespasses and sins. Personal death, death of 
afflictions ; all the sorrows and sufferings of this woeful life, they flow from 
this cursed spring. Temporal, in Adam all died ; it he had not sinned, all 
had been immortal. Etemal, all must die for ever that repent not. Great 
eaase then to repent of this sin. 

Quat, Whether must we repent of that original sin, which is inherent ; 
that natural corruption, the loss of original holiness ; and that innate pro- 
pensity to evil ? It may seem not to be any just occasion of sorrow, be- 
cause it is not voluntary, but natural ; having, without our consent, seized 
upon us unavoidably. 

Ans, This is principallv to be repented of, as that which is the mother 
sin, the cause of all actual sins. Nor should the supposed involuntariness 
of it hinder ub from making it the object of our sorrow. 

For, 1, every sin is to be repented of. But this is a sin exceeding sin- 
ftil,findeed, all sins in one. For, what is sin, who can better determine 
than the Lord himself? And he in Scripture determines, that whatever 
is a transgression of the law is sin, whether it be voluntary or no ; not only 
that which we actually consent to, but that which he peremptorily forbids. 
The apostle's definition of sin is unquestionable, 1 John iii. 4, afjM^ia 
i^n n avo/jua ; but no greater transgression than this, since it transgresses 
all at once. We are commanded to be holy ; so the want of holiness is 
forbidden, which is the privative part of this sin. We are conunanded to 
love the Lord with all our hearts ; so the heart's inclination to hate God 
ifi forbidden, which is the positive part. Was not the apostle Paul more 
able to judge what is sin, than any papist, Socinian, &c. ? He calls it sin 
five times. Bom. vi., six times. Bom. vii., three times. Bom. viii., yea and 
to sin, though he then consented not to it. 

2. Suppose (that which is false) no evil is to be repented of, but what 
is consented to, this should not hinder any from repenting of this sin ; for 
all that are capable of repentance have actually consented to their natural 
cormption, have been pleased with it, have cherished it by occasions of 
sin, have strengthened it by acts of sin, have resisted the means whereby 
it should be mortified and subdued, which are all infallible evidences of 
actual consent. That which was only natural, is to us become voluntary ; 
and so, by consent of all, sinful ; and therefore necessarily to be repented of. 

8. The necessity of it is grounded upon unquestionable examples of 
saints, both in the Old and New Testament. Instance in two of the holiest 
men that the Scripture mentions. David, in that psalm, which is left as a 
public testimony of his repentance, to the world, he bewails, acknowledges 
this, Ps. li. 5. Paul does acknowledge, aggravate, bewail it, as one hea^y 
afflicted with it, Bom. vii. His description of it is very observable : as 
that which is not good, ver. 18; in met i*^*! in the unregenerate part, 
that which is not good, that which is evil, ver. 20, sin, six times ; the 
greatest evil, a condenmed forbidden evil, ver. 7 ; a sinful evil, ver. 18, 
xa/ uTf£j3oXjf afjM^TuXii ; a private evil, ver. 20, hinders him from doing 
good ; a positive evil, ver. 17, no more I that do it, but $in; perverse evil, 
grows worse by that which should make it better, ver. 8 ; debasing evil» 


made and denominates him carnal, yer. 14 ; intimate, inherent evil, sin in 
him, yer. 17, in his members ; a permanent evil, olimca h ifM^, yer. 17 ; 
a fruitful evil, yer. 8, all manner of lust; a deceitful eyil, yer. 11, i^i^crariitri; 
an imperious eyil, a law, yer. 23, gives law, commands as by authority ; a 
tyrannical evil, at^tiakuH^ovrd, ver. 28 ; sold, ver. 14 ; a rebellious con- 
flicting, war-like evil, dtvrtar^aTtvSfjLffovy ver. 28 ; an importunate, unreason- 
able evil, ver. 16, forces him to do that which he hates ; a watchful evil, 
yer. 21, is present, va^dxsirat ; a powerful evil, ver. 24, • who shall de- 
liver ?' &o. ; a complete evil, ver. 24, a body furnished with all members 
of unrighteousness ; a deadly evil, ver. 24, body of death, ^aFarei^g;, ver. 
11 ; slew me, ver. 9, 1 died ; a miserable evil, ver. 24, above all things 
made him wretched. 

Paul suffered as many calamities in the world, as any we read of in it ; 
see a catalogue, 2 Cor. xi. 28-28. But all these sufferings could never 
extort such a pnssonate complaint from him, as this corruption. He could 
glory in those ; but sighs, complains, exclaims, in the sense of this. Yoa 
see how large he is in aggravating this. Here is above twenty aggravations 
of this. His sorrow was proportionable. No sin, no suffering, for which 
he expressed so much soul-affliction. And if he saw so much reason to be- 
wail it, it is our blindness if we see it not. The more holy any man is, 
the more sensible of natural corruption. The more they get out of this 
corrupt element, the more heavy it is. Those who feel it not, are drowned 
in it. Elementum nongravitat inproprio loco. Sin is their proper element, 
who are not burdened with natural sinfulness. 

If it was such an intolerable evil in him who was regenerate, how much 
more in the unregenerate ! If it made him account himself wretched who 
was so happy, how much more miserable does it make those who have 
no title to happiness ! H it was such an impetuous evil in him who had 
extraordinary powers of grace to weaken it, how prevailing in us, in whom 
grace is so weak ! If he had cause to complain, bewail, repent of it, much 
more we ! 

Quest. Who are impenitent sinners ? How shall we know them ? How 
may I discern whether I be in that number, in that danger ? 

Ans, 1 shall propound several things whereby ye may know this. 
1. He is an impenitent sinner, who does not leave sin at all. Repent- 
ance is a turning from sin ; he that doth not turn fr^m it at all, does not 
repent at aU. He who lives in sin, does so act it, as he makes it evident 
that he is a worker of iniquity ; does not only afiaprdnn, as a true peni- 
tent may do, sin sometimes by surprisal, without deliberation, full consent, 
unwillingly, &c., but sroil/r a,aa^fav, sins constantly, when he has occasion, 
as though sin were his trade ; is constant in sinning ; not that he is 
always acting it visibly, but that he always acts it, seldom forbears when 
he is tempted ; will swear when provoked, be drunk when he meets with 
company, profane the Sabbath when he has business, thou^ not necessary, 
disobey the word when it doth not please, revenge injuries when he has 
opportunity, lie when advantage, deceive when unperceived. When the 
chief reason why he sins not is because he wants occasion, temptation, 
oppoirtnnity, he is impenitent. He who acts sin in every scene of his life, — 
in his particular calling, is covetous or careless, negligent of Gk)d, to think 
of, depend on him ; in his general calling, frequent omissions, or heartless 
performances ; in his Hiunily, ignorance or profaneness, not instruct, not 
pray for and with them ; to nei^bours, envious, contentious ; in discourse, 
profiuie or graceless ; in dealings, deceitful, disingisnuoiis ; when some sin 

Luke XTTT. 8.] of bepentancb. 48 

reigns in every part of his conversation, — if thus, it is clear as the day, if 
there be any light in the Scripture, he is impenitent. 

2. He that leaves not all sin. Eepentance is a taming from all sin. 
He that tarns not from all does not at all repent. Where true repentance 
is, there is an equal respect to all commands. Leaving off sin must be 
like the Israelites' departure from Egypt, there must not a hoof be left 
behind, Exod. x. 26, the least sin must not be retained, reserved. That is 
hypocritical repentance, which, like Saul's obedience, kills only the vile and 
refuse. It is not enough to reform one part of your conversation, to make 
clean one comer ; the whole will be reformed where true repentance is. If 
carriage to others be reformed, it is well, but not sufficient, except thou 
amend thy deportment to God. It may be thou wilt not be drunk, but if 
thou swear, that is enough to shew thee impenitent. It may be not swear, 
but profane the Sabbath, &c., it may be attend the ordinances ; well, but 
if not obey, if not pray with heart ; if conform to public worship, it is well ; 
but if serve him not in family ; it may be left many sins that formerly 
reigned ; but if there be any thou thinkest too pleasing, too profitable to 
part with, thou ai-t not a true penitent. Turn from all, Ezek. xviii. 21. 

8. He that leaves sin only outwardly, excludes it out of his conversa- 
tion, not out of his heart. Eepentance is a turning with all the heart, 
Joel ii. 12 ; it is not only a turning from all sin, but a turning of all 
the man, the whole man, inward and outward, from all sin. He that 
abstains from all sin outwardly and visibly may pass for a penitent with 
men, but it is not so in God's account, unless sin be turned out of the 
heart as well as out of the life. Man judgeth according to outward appear- 
ance, but the Lord judgeth of repentance by the heart. There is no trae 
repentance where the life is not reformed ; but there may be an unblame- 
able conversation, a life outwardly reformed, where there is no true repent- 
ance. Paul professes that he had lived in all good conscience, &c., until 
that day. Acts xxiii. 1 ; and therefore, since he lived so all his life till that 
day, he lived so before he repented, unblameably, in good conscience out- 
wardly before God, in the account of others, and in his own account ; he 
lived 80 before he had truly repented, as neither others nor his own con- 
science could accuse him for outward sinful acts, Philip, iii. Therefore 
abstinence from sin outwardly is not sufficient. If sin be regarded in the 
heart, there is no true repentance though the life be freed from it. Men 
jtidge of the heart by the life, but God judges of the life by the heart. He 
hears every prayer of a penitent soul, Isa. Ivii. 15 ; yet David says, Ps. 
Ixvi. 18, * If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.' 
^Tiatever his life was, God would not respect, regard him as a penitent, if 
he did regard it in his heart. If ye do not break out into gross acts of sin, 
yet if your hearts entertain them, if you act uncleanness, revenge, covetous- 
ness in your thoughts, you are in a state of impenitency. 

4. He that leaves sin because he cannot commit it. Eepentance is a 
volontazy forsaking of sin ; but sin rather forsakes him than he it. He 
that IB not unclean, because his strength is spent ; is not contentious, 
because he wants means to prosecute suits ; wrongs not his neighbours, 
because he sees them wise to prevent, or able to hinder him ; gives not 
Iii^lf to drunkenness, voluptuousness, because not rich enough to main- 
tab himself in such intemperate courses. The heart may be most despe- 
rately hard and impenitent, and yet may these abstain from sin ; nay, 
there is such a forsaking of, and abstinence from sin in the devil himself, 
he can forbear when he cannot help, when there is necessity. 


He that ems not becanse he cannot would sin if he could ; and because 
he would Bin, it argues him as much impenitent as if he did. He that 
rewards the will for the deed in that which is good, condemns and will 
punish the will for the deed in that which is evil. 

5. He that leaves sin only out of sinister respects, by-ends, because it 
would deprive him of some advantage, or expose him to some loss, if com- 
mitted, of friends, credit, profit, in respect of God or men ; gives not 
himself to intemperance, because it is expensive ; to uncleanness, because 
it is a sin shameful in the account of the world; avoids oppression, revenge, 
because civil laws lay penalties ; wholly omits not ordinances, lest he should 
be accounted an atheist ; he Uiat leaves sin only thus does not repent ; 
for true repentance is ' repentance toward God,* Acts xx. 21. It makes^a 
man forsake sin out of respect to God, because it offends, dishonours him» 
as Joseph, Gen. xxxix. 9 ; but this is to abstain from sin out of respect to 

6. He that leaves one sin for another ; divorces one and engages him- 
self to another ; puts away one, and entertains another in the room of it ; 
will not be prodigal as formerly, but grows more covetous ; will not be 
superstitious, but grows profane ; not omit duties, but is hypocritical in 
performance ; runs away from one extreme to another ; such a reforma- 
tion is no act of repentance. It is but like Jehu*s, 2 Kings x., who 
destroyed Ahab*s Baal, but set up Jeroboam's calves, ver. 29 ; this is not a 
turning from, but unto sin ; as the Pharisees, casting out devils by Beel- 
zebub, one cast out another. 

7. He that leaves sin but for a time ; leaves sin, and resolves to leave 
it while some judgment lies upon him, whilst under affliction, when upon 
a bed of languishing, in fear of death, apprehensive of hell and the last 
judgment. This, in discourse, could make Felix tremble, and almost per- 
suade Agrippa. Many at such times will resolve to abandon such and such 
sins, and to reform their lives if God will prolong them ; but when God's 
hand is removed, they prove the same men, by following their former 
courses. When hfe is restored, hopes of life revive, they return with the 
dog to their vomit, &c. This is not to repent, but to mock God, and 
delude your souls ; this is not to escape out of the snare of the devil, but to 
ensnare your soul ten times more. Ephraim^in affliction would seek God, 
but after-revolts made their case desperate, Hosea vi. 4. 

True repentance is never repented of. But those that return to sin 
hereby shew they are sorry, repent of their shows of repentance, Hosea 
vii. 16. This is returning, but not to the most High. Such are like a 
deceitful bow, break, or return to their unbent posture before they have 
delivered the arrow ; unbend their resolutions before they come effectual. 
God looks upon such as guilty of impenitency in a high degree ; such as 
are so far from repenting of sin heartily, as they are sorry they entertained 
any thoughts of it ; for this is the language of afber-retums. This was 
Pharaoh's repentance ; while the judgment of locusts was on Egypt, he 
confesses his sin and desires pardon, Exod. x. 16, 17, but the locusts and 
his repentance vanish both together. 

8. He that leaves sin, but does not endeavour to subdue it, will be con- 
tent it should be confined, but not crucified ; restrained, but not put to 
death ; will have the fury and rage of it curbed, that it do not break out so 
openly, but will not starve it ; kept under, not rooted out. He that will 
not avoid the occasions of sin, those that nourish it, have drawn him on to 
act sin formerly. He that truly repents of drunkenness will avoid that 


company which has tempted him to it. He that repents of nncleanness, 
vill, as Job, make a covenant with his eyes. He that repents of profane- 
ness in words, will set a watch before his month. He that repents of 
Sftbbath breaking, will so dispose of his affairs before, as he may have no 
occasion to profane it, to absent himself from the public worship. He 
that repents of wanderings in prayer, will be watchfnl against distractions, 
drive them away. He that tarns not from occasions tnms not from sin, 
and so is no trae penitent. He that is not diligent in the nse of mortify- 
ing dnties to weaken sin, will not apply that word to his conscience which 
wonnds his sin ; casts off searching words, words of reproof and terror, as 
too sharp, painfnl corroding plasters for his sore ; rather be exasperated 
against him that speaks them, as one that rails, is too strict. 

He, the strength of whose prayers is not against the strength of sin, can 
pray affectionately for worldly blessings, removal of afflictions, and it may 
be for pardon of sin, but wants heart, feels an ebb, a coolness in his 
affeetionateness, when he should pray against the strength of sin, either 
leaves this out of his prayer, or his heart leaves his prayer when he should 
degire this ; can be content to set apart days for private fasts, when some 
judgment is near or upon him, but never looks upon the power of sin 
within him as a sufficient, a necessary occasion to humble himself before 
God by extraordinaiy mourning and fasting. When such means are not 
nsed constantly, as are appointed by God in ordinary for subduing of 
sin, and extraordinary too, when there is occasion, — ^a dangerous sign of 

The heathens, many of them, went far in a way of outward reformation, 
bnt came short of repentance, because they endeavoured not the destruction 
of the inward power of sin. * 

Without this there is no true repentance ; for that is a turning from sin 
wholly, with the whole heart, not only in respect of sin in its guilt and 
ontwiffd acts, but power and dominion. There is an ixdtxriffig, which is the 
companion of repentance, 2 Cor. vii. 

9. He that so turns from sin as he does not turn to God. This motion 
cannot be perfect without its terminm ad quern. If it be not essential to, 
it is inseparable from repentance, Isa. Iv. 7. So forsake sin, as embrace 
Christ ; so hate sin, as love holiness ; so grieve for it as delight in God's 
ways ; steer the conversation to a quite contrary point. Not only cease 
to do evil, but learn to do good, Isa. i. 16, 17. It is not sufficient not to 
profane God's name ; ho tiiat repents will glorify it ; not only not omit 
holy duties, but perform them in a holy manner ; not only not pollute the 
Sabbath, but sanctify it ; not only not dishonour profession, but adorn it ; 
not only abstain from sin, but exercise grace. There are fruits of repent- 
ance which John requires, Mat. iii. 8, and Luke iii. 8. That repentance 
which brings not forth fruit is not sound, no plant of God's planting; the 
doom of it you may see, ver. 9. 

Would you think it a sufficient evidence of a good vine, that it brings 
forth no wild grapes ? No ; if it be an empty vine, though it have no bad, 
if it bring not forth good grapes, it is good for nothing. Negative righteous- 
ness will never evidence true repentance. It is not enoughjto say with the 
Pharisee, Luke xviii. 11, < I am not as other men,' &o. 

The apostle joins these, repent, turn to God, do works, &c.. Acts xxvi. 20. 
Those that would approve themselves clear in this matter, who would give 
clear evidences to the world and their own consciences that their repentamoe 
is to salvation, and that they sorrow after a godly sort, must produce all 


the effects of repentance which he inquires after, 2 Cor. vii. 11 ; not only 
indignation against sin, clearing themselves from vice, but carefulness to 
express the contrary virtues ; not only fear of offending God, but vehement 
desire to please and honour him ; not only revenge for dishonouring God 
by wicked courses, but zeal for his glory in all the ways of holiness. A 
fruitless repentance is rejected. 

10. He that never had a full, clear discovery of sin. Bepeniance begins 
here. The first step is illumination ; the Lord causes a light to^ shine in 
the soul to discover the hidden things of darkness, sends the Spirit to con- 
vince of sin, makes him believe those acts, &c., to be sins which he 
accounted innocent. 

Discovers sin in its number, multitude of abominations ; carries him, as 
the Spirit carried Ezekiel, from one part of his life, from one corner of his 
soul to another, and still shews him greater and greater abominations, brings 
those sins to his remembrance which it may be he never thought of since they 
were committed. Though the work begin at some master sin, and the 
heart may be affected with one more than the rest, yet it is sensible of all, 
each adds something to increase sorrow. 

In iceight. Makes him feel the burden of sin, shews how they are gone 
over his head, Ps. xxxviii. 4. 

In the aggravations. Such a sin against mercy, under affliction, after 
conviction, reproof, when conscience checked, &c. 
In the effects, what it has done, and what exposed to. 
In the^ evil of it. The sinfulness of it. More evil in it than ever he 
imagined, than ever he thought he could have believed ; more evil in it 
than in anything he ever acted or suffered. 

There must be first knowledge of it before repentance. How can ye 
repent of that ye never knew ? When God gives repentance he firet 
* opens the eyes,* Acts xxvi. 18, * turns from darkness to light.* As a man 
who has walked through a way in the dark, full of serpents, snares, pits, 
when he passes through it again with a light, and sees his danger, he 
wonders that every step was not his death. He that wondered before that 
any should make so much ado about sin, that so much sorrow, so much 
mourning should be pressed ; he that was apt to think that they were 
hypocrites, who talked of their humiliation, tears, and secret mourning for 
sin, to imagine that whatever was pretended, there was no such thing in 
re^ity, will now change his opinions ; sees so much evil in sin as he can 
never sufficiently bewail ; wishes he could command back all that sorrow 
which he has misspent upon his sufferings in the world, that he might spend 
it upon sin as that which most deserves it; thinks all his time little 
enough, his constitution cannot afford tears enough to bewail it; so many, 
80 sinfrd enormities, he wonders that any sin should be counted small, voTbv 

11. He that has not some sense of the corruption of his nature. He 
that repents, bewails actual sins, and he that sees and feels the evil of the 
members, will have some sense of the body. He that tastes bitterness in 
the fruits, will disrelish the root of bitterness. Those who are persuaded 
their natures are good, will be angry at any that shall tell them they have 
wicked, perverse, naughty natures ; never saw cause to complain, as David, 
of their birth- sin ; nor to cry out with Paul, < wretched man I* Those 
that think themselves innocent enough, but for some outward gross acts, 
find no other reason why God should be displeased with them, why they 
should be excluded from heaven or communion with God ; take no notice 

Luxe Xm. 8.] of bbpentance. 47 

of inward ayersoness to God, proneness to OTil, so as to make it an occasion 
of sorrow, hnmiliation, self-abhorrency ; are apt to excase sinfal acts from 
their natures. Wliere there is not in some degree a sense of inbred cor- 
ruption, there the heart is hard, impenitent. 

12. He that is loath his sin should be discovered.^ A penitent is thank- 
M to those that will convince him of any sinful practice. He desires the 
Lord to search him if any way of wickedness. It is his petition to God : 
Job xzxiv. 82, ' That which I see not, teach thon me ; if I have done 
iniqaity,' &c. He would not hide his sins from God ; he knows this is 
opposed to repentance, Prov. zsviii. 18 ; nor would have the Lord hide 
his sins from him. As he would have the Lord discover them, so he is 
not unwilling men should manifest them. He that repents looks upon sin 
as a close traitor ; and who would not be glad to have a close traitor dis- 
covered ? If an enemy lance the imposthume of his heart, whatever be 
the intention of the actor, he will be glad at the event of the act. He that 
wonld have sin hid, is in love with it. He that is unwilling to have sin 
detected in any practice, delights in it. None hide wickedness under their 
tongue, but those in whose mouth it is sweet. Job xx. 12« 18, he would 
spare it. He counts them his best friends who will discover such a 
dangerous enemy. How thankful was Saul to the Ziphites for a discovery 
of a supposed enemy ? 1 Sam. xxiii. 21. He will be as thankful for dis- 
covering sin, as David was to Abigail for preventing sin, 1 Sam. xxv. 82. 
He will be so far from taking this for an occasion of enmity, as he will 
make this a motive to iriendsUp, and consult with the discoverer how he 
may destroy that which is discovered. 

It is a sign he has no mind to turn to God, who will not endure to be 
told when he is out of the way. 

13. He that will not endure a reproof. Those that cannot abide their 
sins should be reproved, either by public ministry or private, will be ready 
to ' lay a snare for him that reproveth,* Isa. xxix. 21, and count him their 
enemy who tells them of sin, ^ough he tfell the truth, as Paul complains. 
Be ready to do him a mischief, as wicked Ahab did Micaiah, 2 Chron. 
xviil. 25. Whatsoever Joash was, the Holy Ghost leaves an eternal brand 
npon him for his severity against Zechariah reproving his sin, 2 Chron. 
xxiv. 22. Those who break out into reproaches against those that reprove 
them, say as those against Jeremiah, chap, xviii. 18 ; or if they break 
not oat into acts, words, yet boil inwardly with rancour and malice. Those 
^ho, instead of reforming the sin reproved, fall upon an inquiry after the 
failings of the reprover, that they may retaliate. Hatred of reproof is a 
sign of a scomer, Prov. ix. 7, 8 ; and scomers are placed in the highest 
rank of sinners, Ps. i. Those are furthest from repentance. Hatred of 
reproof and repentance are two such contraries as can never meet in the 
same subject ; quite contrary things are ascribed to them. Repentance 
leads to life, this to death, Prov. xv. 10. That is to salvation, this to 
destruction, Prov. xxix. 1. You may as well say the same man shall both go 
to heaven and hell, aa say that man is a penitent who hates reproof. You 
may know the temper of a humbled soul in David, Ps. cxli. 5. He is in 
love with sin who will not endure reproof, says to ministers, as David to 
Joab concerning Absalom, 2 Sam. xviii. 61, ' Deal gently for my sake,* &c. 
He that hates it will have it [roughly handled, wiU penitently bear all the 
evil that can be spoke against it ; and not only against sin in general, but 
tgainst his sin. That word pleases him best which represents it most 
hatefoly most dangerous. He desires not the ministers should speak soft 


and pleasing things, to flatter him in his eyil ways, bnt welcomes reproof 
for sin, though they be like the words of David's enemies, sharp as swords; 
the sharper the better, the more healthful. He would not have this dangerous 
gore skinned over, before it be thoroughly searched. He knows reproofs 
for sin, how sharp soever, are ' the reproofs of life,* Prov. xv. 81, 82. 

Dse 1. Terror to impenitent sinners. Hear the doom in the text : 
* Except ye repent,' &c. Those that do not, will not repent, most perish, 
shall perish* There is no way without repentance to avoid perishing, and 
these will not repent, mourn, hate, forsake sin. What will become of 
them ? Christ, the righteous judge, gives sentence, they shall perish, cer- 
tainly, universdly, eternally. 

1. Certainly, For Christ has said it. He speaks peremptorily; not 
they may, but they shall. Here is as much assurance that they shall perish, 
as any saint ever had that he should be saved — ^the word of Christ. It is 
as certain as if one from the dead should affirm it ; and Dives desired, 
though an unbeliever, no more certainty. It is more certain than if an 
angel from heaven should speak it; for, behold, one greater than the 
angels, higher than the heavens, has said it. As sure as Christ is true, as 
sure as Christ is God, if there be any truth in truth itself, then this is cer- 
tainly true, those that repent not shall perish. Si Christus loquatur, &c. 

2. Vnivenally. All, and every one, without exception, whatever he be, 
have, do, or can do, ' Except,' &c. Christ speaks to the Jews, and to all 
without exception — all perish. If any people in the world had any ground 
to plead exemption, sure it was the Jews ; no people ever in greater favour, 
none ever had greater privileges. Whatever you can plead why this should 
not concern you, they had as much ground to plead. 

Are you outwardly in covenant with God ? Bo were they ; to them 
belonged the promises : Bom. ix. 4, ' To whom pertain the covenants and 

Do ye profess yourselves to be the children of God ? Bo might they ; to 
them pertained ' the adoption,' a peculiar people. 

Do ye enjoy those inestimable pledges of his ficivour, the gospel and ordi- 
nances ? So did they ; ' to them were committed the oracles of God,' 
Bom. iii. 2. 

Are you baptized, sealed to be his ? So were they circumcised, received 
circumcision, &c.. Bom. iv. 

Has the Lord vouchsafed you such privileges as no people under heaven 
enjoy besides ; so did he to them, Ps. oxlvii. 19, 20 ; but all these would 
not secure them from perishing without repentance. Even them Christ 
tells, ' Except ye repent,' &c. No more will they secure you ; except you 
repent, you shall perish ; all, every of you. 

Nay, these are so far from exempting you from repentance, as these 
should lead you to it. The impenitent heathen, that never knew God, 
shall more easily escape than you. < Except you repent, you shall perish.' 
* 8. EtemaUy. Soul and body, here and hereafter, now and for ever, 
must perish without redemption : For who shall redeem from it but Christ ? 
and Christ cannot do it except he will act against his own word, except he 
will deny himself. The sentence is passed, and none in heaven will, none 
in earth can, recall it. Men and devils cannot ; angels and saints dare not ; 
God himself will not. This sentence is like the decrees of the Medes and 
Persians, that can never be recalled. Christ has pronounced it, and he 
will not fail to be as good as his word, except his power fail. Nothing 
shall save impenitent sinners frt>m perishing eternally, if Christ have power 


to pnniflh them with everlasting desiraotion. And is not Christ able to 
destroy yon ? Why, all power is given to him, Mat. zxviii. 18 ; power to 
save and power to destroy. And how he will exercise this power he here 
tells ns ; viz., by saving eternally those that repent, and by the eternal 
destmetion of the impenitent : ' He that has the keys of hell and death,' 
Bev. i. 8 ; Rev. iii. 7, ' shntteth, and no man openeth,* That whieh Christ 
has Inhere spoke with his month, he will at the last day execute with his 
hand ; he will thmst impenitent sinners into hell, and lock them there for 
ever : for when he shots, no man, no angel, no» God himself will not 
open. What his hand doth, none will nndo for ever^ and he will do what 
he has spoken ; and that which he speaks is plainly this, impenitents shall 
perish eternally. It cannot be meant of temporal min only (though that 
also be included) for divers of the Jews to whom he spoke (as we may 
presume) did not perish, like those Galileans, temporally ; therefore either 
eternally, or else not at all, whieh cannot be if Christ be true. Perish 
eternally ; eternal torments is the proper portion of such, it is only theirs. 
Who are those that must * suffer tiie vengeance of eternal fire,' but those 
who have been * treasuring up wrath ^? ^., Bom. ii. And who are they 
bat impenitent sinners 7 Who is he that must be * east into outer dark- 
ness,' Ac., but the < unprofitable servant' ? Mat. xxv. 80. And who more 
unprofitable than he who will neither do his Master's wiU, nor shew him- 
self truly sorry for not doing it ? And who is this but an impenitent 
sinner? Who are they that must 'depart into everlasting fire'? &c. 
Christ tells. Matt. xxv. 41, * ye cursed ;' and who are these but impenitent 
sinnerB ? Other sinners are cursed by the law, but these are cursed both 
by law and gospel ; and this is it which makes their misery eternal. He 
iHiom the gospel ourses can never be blessed. If the law only cursed, if 
God only, there might be hopes in the gospel, in Christ ; but he whom 
Christ curses shall he eternally cursed. But Christ curses the impenitent, 
tberefiire they shall perish eternally. 

U$e 2. Exhortation 1. To the practice of this duty, 

Christ urges it, and under such a penalty^ These should be sufficient 
enforcementa. But there are many more considerations to stir up to this 
duty. I shall reduce them to three heads : some concerning, 1. Sin to be 
repented of; 2. Christ that urges repentance; 8. Bepentance itself, the 
duty urged. 1. Conoeming sin. 

(1.) No creature ever got, nor can get, any advantage by sin. Whatever 
gain seems to be in sin, is but an imagination ; and that conceit is put 
upon men by a cheat, viz., by the deceitfhhieBs of sin, the deceitfnhieBS of 
their hearts, and the cunning device of Satan« ^ere is neither pleasure, 
profit, nor credit to be got by sin, nor ever was. Satan, when he presents 
sin, makes a show of these ; but he merely cozens poor sinners, that he 
may ruin them. There is no sinner in tiie world that can pass a right 
judgment, take a true estimate of his incomes by sin, but must say his 
losses are real, great, many ; his gains a mere show, an empty delusion. 

Men seem to gain by sin, when they get or increase their estates ^JV^^^f 
oppreeston, immoderate cares, with neglect of their souls ; ^«\*^^°|l^ 
consider, the curse of God accompanies whatever is so gotten. Ana wnue 
they gather some heaps of earth, they treasure ^IJ^^'^^JT. .^^ 
soifand then let them teU me what they gain, '^*^i\?^?f*^^^^ 

Men fimcy pleasures in undeanness, drunkenness, Ae. Bui ^J^ ^e 
btttaness ilL end, and such bitterness as will V^^^^^^^^^ 
aQ ibrmer imaginary delight. Such pleasure m sm ends m Je bitterness 

^ VOL. I. 


of death, when it brings hell into the conscience, or brings the sonl into 
hell ; it is like poison taken in a sweet potion, pleases the pakte, but con- 
Toys death mto the inward parts ; it inflames, swells, tortures, and destroys 
the soul. 

Ask Daniel * what advantage he got by sin. He might fancy delights in 
those unclean, unfaithful enjoyments ; so he might tiiink, while Satan's 
witchcraft prevailed. But when he is come to himself, then ask him, and 
he will tell you it was an act as full of bitterness as ever man acted ; it 
broke the bones of his comfort, and made him go with sorrow to his grave. 

Ask Saul what be gained by disobedience. He imagined no small advan- 
tage in reserving the best spoils of Amalek ; but really what did he gain ? 
Why, for a few sheep amd oxen, he lost a kingdom, 1 Sam. xv. Indeed, 
this is all the gain in sin : lose a kingdom for some cattle. 

Ask Ananias and Sapphira what advantage they got by sinning. They 
thought to have gained a part of their estate by a lie ; but did Uiey gain 
by it ? No ; they lost their estate, and their lives, and their sonls too. 
Oh woeful gain f 

Nay, ask the devil himself what he got by it. If he would tell the truth, 
he must say he is the greatest loser in the world by sin. It tumbled him 
down from the height of gloiy into the nethermost hell. Sin cast him out 
of the glorious enhappying presence of God into everlasting burnings, where 
he is reserved in chains of darkness. 

This is -confirmed by a general suffrage of all creatures : none ever was 
a gainer by sin. And this consideration may be a sufficient motive to repent. 

(2.) The least sin is infinitely evil. When I say infinite, I say there is 
more evil in it than the tongue of men or angels can express, than their 
largest apprehensions can conceive. When I say infinite evil, I understand 
it is a greater evU than the greatest in the world besides it. A greater evil 
than any.poverty, greatest torment, loathsome sickness, dreadfoUest death, 
nay, than hell itseS. Gather up in your thoughts whatever on earth or in 
hell you count evil, and put them tJl together, and the evil Uiat is in the 
least sin will £eur outweigh them all. It is inconceivably more evil than all 
in the world tc^ether. To be infinitely evil, is to be evil above all we can 
speak or think. Infiniteness is not ascribed usually to any but two : God, 
the greatest good, and sin, the greatest evil. God is infinite essentially ; 
sin is infinite objectively : infinitely evil, because against him who is 
infinitely good, because injurious to an infinite God ; an offence of infinite 
majesty, a contempt of infinite authority, an affront to infinite sovereignty, 
an abuse of infinite mercy, a dishonour to infinite excellency, a provocation 
of infinite justice, a contrariety to infinite holiness, a reproacher of infinite 
gloiy, an enemy to infinite love. 

Oh consider what ye do by continuing impenitent. You harbour an evil 
in your souls that is unspeakably worse than hell ; and act that frequently 
which it was better ye should die ten thousand times than act once. What 
greater occasion of sorrow, than sin the greatest evil 1 What fitter object 
of hatred, than that which is infinitely hateful 1 Eternity is little enough 
to bewail such an infinite evil. Oh think not much to employ some of your 
time in bewailing it. 

(8.) The least sin deserves infinite punishment, i. e., greater than any 

cau endure, express, or imagine. The LcHrd has engaged himself never to 

let any sin go unpunished, £x. xxxiv. 7, and his justice requires that the 

punishment should be equal to the offence : render to every one according 

. • Qu. •David*?— Ed. 

Luke Xm. 8.] op bbpektancb. 61 

to hi8 deserts. Bat the offence is infinite ; and therefore God's justice- is 
obliged to punish every sin infinitely, to inflict as much as is consistmit 
with the creature's being ; and what wants in degrees, to make it up in 
duration. Eternal punishment is the wages of eveiy sin, Bom. vi. 28 ; 
eternal death (as the opposition betwixt death and eternal life does eyidence) 
is as due to eyery sin as wages to a hireling, as a penny to those who 
wrought all day in the vineyard. 

Oh then, what do ye, while ye continue impenitent ? By every word, 
thought, act, draw down eternal vengeance on your heads, and treasure up 
infinite wrath ; such wrath as, though it will be expending to eternity, will 
never be quite spent, nay, will never be diminished. After a thousand 
millions of years' expenses of wrath upon sinners that are impenitent, this 
treasury will be as full as when first opened. 

Oh then, make haste to repent, that your sins may be blotted out ; fcHr 
if the Lord come to reckon with you, and find any one sin on the score 
unblotted out, your payment must be eternal torments. 

(4.) The least sin cannot be expiated without infinite satisfaction. 
Nothing can satisfy God for the injury of the least sin, but that which is 
infinite, u «., such as no creature, no man, no angel, can tender to him ; 
no, nor all the creatures together, by all that they can do or suffer while 
the world endures. God is not satisfied till sufficient amends be made. 
No amends is sufficient, but that which is equal to the injury. The injury 
is infinite ; therefore, nothing can satisfy for it, but that which is infinite. 

He that will satisfy the Lord for the least sin, must bring him that which 
is of more value than heaven and earth, than men and angels, than all the 

' Without blood there is no remission,' Heb. ix. 22. No remission with- 
out blood of an infinite value. If all the creatures on earth, if all the 
glorious saints in heaven, if all the glorious angels in the presence of God, 
should offer to sacrifice their lives for the expiation of one sin, it would not ' 
be accepted, it could not be sufficient ; for their lives, being finite creatures, 
are but of a finite value. Only the blood of him who, being God, derives an 
infinite value upon his blood. 

(5.) It is the cause of all the evils that we count miseries in the world. 
Whatsoever is fearful, or grievous, or hateful, owes its birth to sin. Were 
it not for sin, either no evil would be in the world, or that which is now 
evil would be good. 

Is poverty a burden ? Sin should be much more burdensome ; for there 
had been no poverty but for sin. 

Is the cruelty of men, the crossness of friends, the contention of neigh- 
bours, the unkindness of children, an affliction? We should be much 
more afBieted with sin ; for there had been no such grievance, no self- 
seeking, revengefulness, jars, &c., were it not for sin. 

Is there vanity and vexation of spirit in all outward employments ? Oh 
how then should you be vexed at sin, which has embittered all 1 

Do ye complain of pains, languish under bodily distempers, sicknesses, 
&c. ? Oh rather complain of sin, for this breeds all such miseries ; it is 
the sting and anguish of pain ; sickness had never seized on the body, but 
that sin seized on the soul. 

Is the wrath of God a terror to you ? Oh let sin be more terrible ; for 
we had never known any such thing as wrath in God had it not been for 
sin, nothing but smiles, promises, mercies. 

Are yon afraid of death, that the king of terrors should apprehend you f 


Be more afraid of sin ; the Bons of men had never known, had never feared 
death had it not been for sin. 

Do je tremble at the apprehension of hell, those everlasting torments ? 
Tremble more at the approach of sin ; for there had been no hell, no devil, 
bat for sin. It was sin that prepared both tormentors and torments ; it 
was sin that digged that bottomless pit, and overshadowed it with darkness, 
and filled it with tortures ; it was sin that kindled the wrath of God, which, 
like a river of brimstone, nonrishes, eontmnes those tonnents to eternity. 
There had been no poverty, crossness, vexation, sickness, &e., bnt for sin. 
We hate, we avoid, we monm for Uiese; mnch more should we hate, 
avoid, and monm for sin, which is the cause of them. 

(6.) It is the soul's greatest misery. Those evils which sin has brought 
into ^e world are lamentable, but the miseries wherein it has involved the 
soul are much more grievous. 

[1.] It consmnes the sonl, weakens it, eats away its strength insensibly ; 
a dangerous consumption, leaves no power to act, suffer, bear, resist, 
move, help. So the state of sin is described to be a state of impotency. 
Bom. V. 6. 

[2.] It impoverishes the soul, steals away its riches, its ornaments, those 
riches which are more valuable than all the treasures of the earth, those 
which make the soul rich toward God. When sin broke into the soul it 
robbed, spoiled, ransacked it, left it poor, empty, naked. The state of sin 
is a state of poverty, nothing to cover it, nothing to feed it, nothing to lay 
out for its own necessities. No such beggar on earth as one poor in soul ; 
nay, after the Lord has in part repaired these losses by communicating the 
riches of grace, yet even then the more sin the more poverty, Bev. iii. 17. 

[8.] It defiles the sonl, deprives it of its beauty, lustre, comeliness, 
deforms it with ugly spots, besmears it with loathsome pollutions, such as 
make it hateful in the eye of God, angels, Ac. : ' Ezek. xvi. 6, ' polluted 
in blood.' Hence sin is called ' nncleanness,' Zech. xiii. 1 ; and < filtiiiness,' 
2 Cor. vii. 1 ; Ezek. zxxvi. 25, compared to things most filthy in the world. 
Hence, before the Lord will suffer sinners to come near him, he bids them 
* wash,* &c., Isa. i. 16. Corruptio optimi estpesnma. 

[4.] It enslaves the soul to the body, to Satan, to itself, a worse, a viler 
tyrant than either ; no galley-slave in the world so miserable as a sonl 
enthralled to sin, led captive by Satan, ftc. No thrald(»n so woeful as 
spiritual soul slavery. 

[5.] It confines the soul to itself, to the dungeon of the world, gives no 
liberty to have any converse with God, Ps. cxix. 82 ; it loads it with chains 
of darkness ; those invisible irons enter into the soul, the weight of them 
presses it down to the earth, yea, towards hell. It is bowed down under 
the pressure of them, so as it cannot lift up itself to God ; and thus it lives 
till Christ set it free ; and even then sin is ready, to entangle it with new 
yokes of bondage, to encompass it with new fetters, Heb.* 

[6.] It straitens the soul, contracts it. As it deprives it of what it had, 
so it makes it uncapable of receiving what it wants, blocks up the passages 
whereby grace, comfort, ftc. should be conveyed; so that nothing bnt 
infinite mercy will relieve a sinful soul ; so nothing but infinite power can 
make it capable of relief. Acts xvi. 14. 

[7.] It blinds the soul, deals with it as the Philistines with Samson ; 
not only fetters it, and makes it grind in the prison-house, but puts out 
its eyes, Judges xvi. 21. 

• Qu. •Oal.v.l'^-ED. 


[8.] li woonds it, makes wide gashes, deep and bloody farrows in it, 
*°!?. ^ ®^^ P*^ ^^ i*> ^® ?^ whereof, when felt, is intolerable, Prov. 
xviii. 14, and when not felt is most d^geroos ; leaves it as the thieves 
left the man, Lnke x. 80. 

[9.] It murders the soul: it was so from the beginning, has murdered 
all mankind ; all are < dead in trespasses,' &o., Eph. ii., t. e., dead of this. 
This is that mortal disease which never seized upon any soul bat it deprived 
it of spihtoal life. What the pestilence is to the body, that sin is to the 
sool, a deadly plagae. 

Oh look into yoor soals, see what a lamentable spectacle sin has made 
them, and yon will need no other motive to monm 1 If you would avoid 
misery, and hate that which makes you miserable, sin above all things is 
to be hated, to be avoided, as that which involves in greatest, f. «., in soul 
miseries. Every sinner may cry out, Have you no regard, &c. ? * Bee if 
there be any misery like my misery,' wherewith sin has afflicted me. And 
the sorrow for sin should be answerable to the miseries of sin ; no misery 
like that, no sorrow like this. 

(7.) It is God's greatest adversary ; it has done much against the world, 
more against man's soul ; ay, but that which it does against God is most 
eonsidenble, as that which should move us to hate, bewail, abandon 
it, above all considerations. It has filled the world with fearful evils, 
the soul with woeful miseries ; but the injuries it does to God are most 

The injury of one sin is equal to the ruin of heaven and earth. Christ 
Bays it is better these should pass away than that his law should not remain 
inviolable ; but sin violates it, and would have it quite abrogated. 

It is so injurious as the Lord complains of it. We never find he com* 
plains of anything but sin ; but of Uiis he complains as a burden to him, 
an oppressing burden, that which wearies him, Isa. xliii. 24, Amos ii. 18 ; 
and shall not that be a burden to us ? 

It provokes, angers, highly offends, kindles his wrath, &c. And why, 
bat because it is unspeakably injurious to him? 

In sin there is some contempt of God, low unworthy thoughts. No man 
dorst sin if he did apprehend God to be what he is. 

Borne sacrilege. Sin robs God, and robs him of that which is dearest to 
him, as precious as the apple of his eye, more dear to him than our lives 
to 08, his honour. , 

Some idolatry. The heart gives more respect to something else than God. 

Something like witchcraft ; an implicit compact, an agreement with Satwi, 
fcr some pleasure or profit, &c., and to do that which is most iiyunous to 
God, 1 Sam. xv. 28. 

Some treaton. Sin is high treason against the most high God, a con- 
Bpiniey with the Lord's greatest enemies against him. . 

Some rebdUon ; making use of members and faculties as weapons oi 

mirighteoiuness to fight against God. ^ j v « thnmrh 

%oaitUamhsmy. Sin has a secret language which the Lord bea«, wo^ 

we take no notice of it. It speaks proud and blasphemous **»»f^^*|^' 
God ; denies him to be what he is, so holy, just, ««;;«f ' *^^,^^ch is 
to be what he is not, ignorant, careless ; ascribes that to others wmou » 
only his, goodness, happiness, pleasures, &c. ,^„«:deration make us 

And is sin thus injurious ? &c. How should this ^^j»^^T our 
tremble, that we deferred repentance so long I f^^^^^^^^ ^ 

wnow for, hatred of Bin, is no more. A wonder the Lord wiU grant any 

54 or BBPEKTANCE* [LuxE XTTT. 8. 

time for repentance after the commission of such a provoking act as sin is ! 
Great reason to make haste to break it off by repentance. 

(8.) Consider the multitude of your sins. If any one sin be so infinitely 
evil in itself and in its effects, oh how evil is he, what need to repent, 
who is guilty of a multitude of sins ! And indeed so many, so numerous 
are our sins, as it will be hard to find an expression which may help you 
to conceive how many they are. I cannot better shew how numerable they 
are, than by shewing they are innumerable. 

And this will be evident, if ye consider that before repentance, every act, 
word, thought, is a sin ; you can do, speak, think, nothing but sin. A 
bad tree cannot bring forth good firuit. A soul, till implanted into Christ, 
can bring forth nothing that is good, nothing but sin. And one of the 
first-fruits after this implantation is repentance ; till then nothing but wild 
grapes. Now if every act you did since you were bom be sin, put all those 
acts together, and into what a multitude will they swell 1 They are without 
number, beyond knowledge. He that takes the strictest survey of his life 
and actions that is possible, cannot give an account of ' one of a thousani,' 
Job ix. 8. Let him be as diligent as can be, yet where he takes notice of 
one, a thousand will escape his observation. Those that we know are not 
the thousand part of those we know not. The stars in the heavens, the 
hairs of our head, are far more easily, numbered than our sinful acts. They 
are like the sands on the sea-shore, which cannot be numbered. And if 
sinful acts be innumerable, what account can we take of our words 1 They 
are more than innumerable, as being innumerably more than our actions ; 
ay, and our thoughts more than both. What then ? How many are all 
put together ? Ask man, ask angels ; both will be nonplussed : Ps. xix., 
* Who knows the errors,' &c., Ps. xl. 12. 

We lose ourselves when we speak of the sins of our lives. It may asto- 
nish any considering man to take notice how many sins he is guilty of any 
one day ; how many sins accompany any one single act ; nay, how many 
bewray themselves in any one religious duty. Whensoever ye do any thing 
forbidden, you omit the duty at that time commanded ; and whenever yon 
neglect that which is enjoined, the omission is joined with the acting of 
something forbidden ; so that the sin, whether omission or commission, is 
always double : nay, the apostle makes every sin tenfold, James ii. 10. 
That which seems one to us, according to the sense of the law, and the 
account of God, is multiplied by ten. He breaks every command by sin* 
ning directly against one, and so sins ten times at once; besides that 
swarm of sinful circumstances and aggravations which surround every act 
in such numbers, as atoms use to surround your body in a dusty room^ you 
may more easily number these than those. And though some count these 
but firactions, incomplete sins, yet even from hence it is more difficult to 
take an account of their number. 

And, which is more for astonishment, pick out the best religions duty 
that ever you performed, and even in that performance you may find such 
a swarm of sins as cannot be numbered. In the best prayer that ever you 
put up to God, irreverence, lukewarmness, unbelief, spiritual pride, self- 
seeking, hypocrisy, distractions, &c., and many more, that an enlightened 
soul grieves and bewails ; and yet there are many more that the pure eye 
of God discerns, than any man does take notice of. 

And besides, every one of these many sins manifest themselves in every 
duty many several ways, and every way sinful. 

Now if so many sins be discernible in the best duty, and many more in 


6T617 nnlawfol act, and the acts themselves be iimnmerable that have such 
a Dunberless mnliitnde of siufal attendants, what do ye think will the total 
•rise to ? Even such a sum, as all the arithmetic of men and angek can- 
not give an acconnt of. If one sin, being so infinitely evil, deserve infinite 
ponishment, being so horridly iiyorions to God, being so dangerously 
mischievoos to the soul, call for shame, sorrow, indignation, hatred, &c., 
oh what then does such a multitude of sins, numberless even to astonish- 
ment, call for 1 

2. Considerations from Christ, who enjoins rq>entance. 

U our sins were occasion of sorrow to him, great reason have we to 
mourn for them. But so it is ; our sins made him a man of sorrows. The 
eap which he gives to us, he drank himself; he drank out the dregs and 
bitterness, the wormwood and gall, wherewith this sorrow was mixed. 
That which he left to us is pleasant. The cup which Christ gives us, 
shall we not drink it ? Nay, the cup which Christ drank, shall we refuse 

Our sins made him weep and sigh, and cry out in the anguish of his 
spirit; and shall we make a sport of sin ? 

Made him weep, express his grief in tears, Heb. v. 7 ; disfigured by sor- 
rows, and made him a reproach, Isa. liii. 2-4 ; shall not we grieve ? 

Made him sigh. The weight of our sins made his soul heavy, heavy 
unto death. Mat. xxvi. 87, 88. Why ? Isa. liii. 6, 1 Pet. ii. 24, our 
sins were that deadly weight, &c. 

Made him cry out to heaven, ' My God,' &o., Mat. xxvii. 48. To earth, 
* Have ye no regard, all ye,' &c. He was afflicted by our sins, and shall 
not our souls be aJBUcted 7 * He was wounded for our transgressions,' 
Vid wept not only tears, but blood ; Oh, shall neither our eyes nor hearts 
shew sorrow 7 

8. Considerations from repentance, the duty enjoined. 

That is the time when all happiness begins, when misery ends, the period 
of evils ; the time from whence ye must date all mercies. Till then, never 
e^et to receive the least mercy, or have the least judgment, evil, removed 
without repentance. Till then, 

(1.) Whatever ye do is sinful. ' Without faith it is impossible to please 
God ;' and vrhere no repentance, no faith. Whatever ye think, speak, act, 
is a provocation. Every thought ; for what is said of the old world is true 
of every unrenewed man, not renewed 'by repentance. Gen. vi. 5. Every 
inward act, every word ; for ' out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth 
speaks,' Luke vi. 45. Now there is nothing in the heart but wickedness ; 
therefore the words must be so ; good words cannot be brought out of the 
evil treasure. Every action : as soon gather grapes of thorns, and figs of 
thistles, as good actions from an impenitent : Luke vi. 44, * He that is bom 
of God, sinneth not ' ; but till then, he does nothing but sin. Till repent- 
ance, no man is bom of God ; for that is one of the first vital acts. 

(2.) All your exgoyments are cursed. All the curses of the law are the 
portion of an impenitent sinner; and there are curses for himself, and 
eveiy thing that belongs to him, Deut. viii. 16, 17, &c. ; Dent. xxix. 19, 20. 

A penitent has an undoubted title to all the promises ; but to an impe- 
nitent sinner the curses belong. He that repents not is not within the 
eovenant of grace, and therefore under the law ; which, since it was broken, 
speaks nothing but curses to all under it. The penitent hear nothing but 
from mount Gerizim, the impenitent nothing but from mount Ebal, Dent. 


(8.) AH Bin ifl nnpardoned. The handwriting of ordmanoes, which in 
against sinnerg, is not cancelled till then. Acts iii. 19. They rratiain in 
God's sight, as writ with a pen of iron, Jer. xrii. 1. The Lord will ne^ver 
speak of pardoning till then ; and then, though their sins he as searlet, 
they shall be as white as snow, &c., Isa. i. 18. Sin remains, John iz. 41. 
Impenitence makes other sins unpardonable; that which is small, shall 
never be pardoned. 

(4.) All ordinances ineffectual, oncomfortable, hurtful, damnable. The 
word, the savour of death : till the heart be broken, the seed is rejected in 
stony ground. The sacraments, seals of damnation, 1 Cor. xi. 26. Death 
in the pot, poison. Prayer an abomination, Prov. zxviii. 9. No sacrifice 
acceptable without a broken heart, Isa. i. 15. 

(5.) God is an enemy. No communion with God till agreed ; no agree- 
ment without repentance. Will God count them friends who fight against 
him, will not lay down their arms, their weapons of unrighteousness ? 
He dwells in a penitent heart, Isa. Ixvi., Isa. Ivii. 15. But he is so far 
from dwelling in an impenitent heart, as he will not endure his word 
should be in their mouth, Ps. 1. 16, 17. * He will wound the head of his 
enemies,' &c., Ps. Ixviii. 21. Never expect smile, promise, mercy, till yon 

(6.) Justice is unsatisfied. No satisfaction without compensation ; none 
can make that but Christ : nothing will be accepted but his Xvrpoir, that 
which he paid as the price of redemption. But to whom is he a redeemer ? 
Isa. lix. 20, to them that turn from transgression. Justice is your adver- 
sary ; no agreement without repentance ; nothing but such a dreadful pro- 
cess. Mat. V. 25, to be cast into prison. 

(7.) Wrath is unavoidable. That is the attendant of unsatisfied justice. 
No way to escape without this. Who has warned ? Mark iii. 7, 8 ; Rev. 
xvi. 11, vials are poured out on those that repented not. Jer. xv. 7» 
destroy, because they returned not. 

(8.) Death is terrible. Better to die than live impenitent ; but better 
never live than die impenitent. Death comes to them like the king of ter- 
rors, not as a messenger of peace ; armed with a sting, repentance only 
charms it ; comes as an officer of justice, to drag the soul to execution ; 
Christ's pursuivant, to bring before the dreadful tribunal of an incensed 
judge, before the judgment-seat of Christ, to receive the sentence of eternal 
condemnation. The penitent long for his appearance ; these will call to 
mountains to fall on them, &c. 

(9.) Hell is certain. It was prepared of old for these. Every tree that 
brings not forth the fruits of repentance shall be cut down, &c. They 
cumber the ground, are unfruitful, and hinder others : Bom. viii. 18, 
* If ye live after the fiesh, ye shall die.' It is,' as was said of Judas, /di^g 
r^o; ; none but they, and all they, have that place for their portion. 

(10.) Hopee of heaven are delusions, expectations of happiness dreams, 
. vain groundless fancies, which Satan begets and nourishes, that he may 
more securely ruin impenitent sinners. The apostle asserts it peremp- 
torily. Gal. T. 21. Though it be long since you did these, yet till repent- 
ance, you are still doing, still continue in them. There is not only the 
word of an apostle, but the oath of God ; he swears, hardened einners 
shall not enter into his rest, Heb. iv. 8. 

0^'. God is merciful, infinitely so; will not be so strict as many make 
him. He may save me though I be not so penitent, though sorrow be not 
so great, &c. 


Ans, This is an ordinary conceit, snggested by Satan ; and the matter of 
it is nnreasonabley false, blasphemons, perverse. 

1. It is infinite mercy that God will save any sinner that repents, that 
he will Yonchsafe life upon such terms. It is infinite mercy that any one 
18 saved, that all are not cut o£f in the height of sin. It would bo infinite 
mercy that sinners might be admitted to life npon terms more harsh, 
ehsigeable, difficult. Oh what mercy to have life npon terms so easy, 
equal 1 Woold not that traitor thixik himself graciously dealt with, who, 
having acted treason a great part of his life, should be admitted to favour, 
honour, if but sorry and reform ? Who would expect such easy terms for 
rebellious sinners ? Oh, what would the damned do and snfier to have 
8ueh an offer ! It is unreasonable to think God will save without repent- 
ance because merciful, whenas it is mercy we may be saved upon our 

2. Infinite mercy will not save an impenitent sinner ; it is a false con- 
ceit, and very dangerous to entertain it. It has been the ruin of millions 
to presume on mercy without ground. The Lord does plainly exclude all 
Boeh from all hopes of mercy, Deut. xxix. 20. 

8. To think mercy will save impenitents is a blasphemous conceit, that 
vhieh makes God unjust, untrue, unfaithful. He has said, and sworn ; he 
has engaged justice, truth, faithfiilness for the ruin of impenitent sinners. 
To think he will be so merciful as to save them, is to make God a liar, 
think he will deny himself to save you, trample upon his own glory to 
advance you, and so make an idol of God. 

4. Mereiea should lead to repentance, and not be turned into perverse 

Obj, 1 will repent hereafter, it is time enough ; I am so full of business, 
I cannot attend it now. 

Ant. The matter of this objection is groundless, fiilse, and desperately 
dangerous; for, 

1. This is the devU's suggestion, which he proposes with a cruel inten- 
tion to destroy your souL He would have you defer repentance that you 
may perish. It is the great design which he now drives on amongst you; 
by yielding thereto yon join with your greatest, most deadly enemy, against 
God, Christ, the Spirit, your own souls. He is loath you should escape out 
of his snare. 

2. Yon presume without ground that you have time enon^. You know 
not how soon death may seize on yon, how soon Christ may summon, what 
watch the Master will come. Ybu have no security for one hour, for the 
time is uncertain, and comes upon most when they expect it not ; and why 
not so to you ? And if so, if death come before repentance, oh it will be 
a sad hour, a day of blackness and thick darkness 1 You would be loath 
to leave anything you Talue in the world at such uncertainty, and will you 
leave your souls so ? Will you leave that in continual danger every moment 
to drop into hell ? 

8. If your lives should be prolonged, yet you will have time httle enough 
to repent though you should begin presently. Bfan's life, if longer, affords 
not time sufficient to bewail sin, if sorrow should be proportionable to what 
fan calls for. No pardoned sinner can ever think he bestows too much time 
m numming for sin. Besides, there are daily occasions for continual exer- 
eise of repentance. The work is long, and life is short ; no room therefore 
or reason for delay. 

4. Business and designs in the world should not hinder; for if they be 


worih following, repentance will not hinder them. No man ever lost 
anything by o^ying God in this. This is the way to make the bosiness 
sncoeed, your designs prosper. Repent, and all things shall be well, those 
which seem worst ; bnt till then, never expect bat all will be either crossed 
or cursed. You should rather argue thus : I have much business in the 
world, therefore I will make haste to repent, because I have so little time. 
It is a perverse inference, and savours of hell, where all such are forged, I 
am too busy to repent. 

6. When you say you will repent hereafter, you imagine you may repent 
when you will ; but herein you delude your souls ; it is not in your power 
to repent. It is the gift of God ; < If so be,' &c.. Acts v. 81. He gives it 
when and to whom he pleases. You can never hope to have it till he give ; 
and when have you any ground to hope he will give it, but when he calls 
for it ? But now he c^Is for it, ' now he commands all men to repent,' 
Acts xvii. 80. ' This is the accepted time,' &c., ' To-day, if ye will hear 
his voice,' &c., Heb. iii. 15. To-day is the Lord's time, to-day is your 
time ; who knows what to-morrow may bring forth ? To-morrow the door 
of mercy may be shut, the Lord's hand may be closed, the Lord's patience 
may be terminated. To-morrow it may be too late, and then, alas I where 
are you ? You may defer it till it be too late ; for there is a time when 
the Lord will not be found, when repentance will not be found, though ye 
seek it with tears, Heb. zii. 17 ; and if you now neglect to learn to obey 
the Lord's voice, you may swear that hereafter will be too late. God will 
not hear them hereafter, that will not hear him now, Prov. i. 

6. The longer ye defer repentance, the harder it will be to repent. Yoa 
will be every day the less able ; the longer you neglect to get your hearts 
softened, the more will ye be hardened through Uie deceitfulness of sin, 
Heb. iii. 18 ; the longer ye live in sin, the more ye will be in love with it; 
the longer ye continue in the snare, the faster you will be entangled. Oh, 
make haste while there is hope to escape. It must be done, it is neces- 
sary ; either repent, or perish. Resolve to do it then, while ye may do it 
with most ease, before it become too difficult, impossible. 

7. Ye judge such delays madness in outward things, much more is it 
here ; nothing of greater consequence, of more present necessity. Yoa 
apprehend a present need of rain, and would censure him as void of sense 
or reason, that would say rain will come time enough a month, a year 
hence. But, oh, is there not more need of relenting hearts I You may 
lose a year's fruits by the intemperate drought of the season ; ay, but yoa 
may lose your soul's happiness, not for a* year, but for eternity, by hard* 
ness of heart. If your house should be on fire, would any but a madman 
say, it will be time enough to quench it to-morrow ? For why ? It may 
be consumed to ashes before to-morrow. The least delay may undo you : 
Why, so it is here ; your souls are on fire though you feel it not, the wrath 
of God has kindled on them, and it will bum to the bottom of hell, bum 
and not be quenched till repentance be. Oh, make haste, while there is 
hope, before it be too late, before your souls be quite consumed. The 
Lord, to impenitent sinners, is a consuming fire. 

If one be stung with a serpent, will he say it will be time enough to 
mind the cure hereafter ? None but a mad, a desperate man will say so. 
The poison is difiusive, will spread, and, if not prevented, seize upon the 
vitals, and so become incurable. No poison like the poison of sin ; it is 
like the cruel venom of asps. This serpent has bit the soul ; if it be not 
prevented, it will be mortal to the soul ; no cure for it but the balm of 


Gfleady the blood of Christ ; and this is neyer applied withoat repentance. 
Ob, defer it not, delay is dangerous, it may cost the life of yonr souls. 

8. This has been the ruin of thousands. Ask those wretched souls that 
are cast into outer darkness, what is the reason they are now in that place 
of torment ? They will tell you, because they deferred repentance. It is 
this that shipwrecked so many souls in that lake that bums with fire and 
brimstone; and will you run your souls upon the same rock ? You have 
a whole world of warnings in one. Ask the old world why the Lord 
brought the flood upon them ? why, by a deluge of waters he swept 
them into a deluge of fire, and destroyed ittem in such a terrible manner, 
twice at once ? They will tell you, it was because they repented not at 
the preaching of Noidi. If the men of Nineveh had no more regarded 
the preaching of Jonah, calling them to present repentance, they also had 
been certainly destroyed here and hereafter. 

Ute. Exhort. Does the Lord command it, and presently ? Take heed 
of deferring repentance. Disobedience will be like the sin of witchcraft. 
You have had warning for some years together ; you have had sin disco- 
vered, and the danger of it ; ignorance, drunkenness, profaneness, Sabbath- 
breaking, neglect of worship, resisting holiness, contemning the gospel ; 
sins of place and persons. If you wUl still continue in these sins, when 
the Lord commands now to repent ; take heed he who now commands do 
not the next moment threaten, do not next moment execute. 

Take heed, if there be any regard of your souls ; take heed of continuing 
in any sin, of hardening your hearts in any evil way ; take heed of it, it 
infinitely, it eternally concerns you. It is matter of life and death, and 
that of your souls, and that eternal. This is it I have been doing, ond 
which the Lord employs his messengers to do. Take it in Moses's words, 
and mind it, as if it were the last thing ye should hear : Deut. xxx. 19, If 
ye repent, turn now when the Lord requires, you choose life ; but if you 
wiU live in sin, scorn holiness : I call heaven and earth to record this day, 
and the God of heaven and earth will call me to witness against you at the 
last day. 

Otj. The thief on the cross repented when he was dying ; and so may 
I. Why should I then trouble myself with repentance, while I have health, 
strength, &c. ? 

Ans. His repentance at death, is no ground to defer repentance till death. 
It is dangerous to rest upon it. For, 

1. It is but an example, and that is no ground of hope, that you either 
shall or may find place for repentance then. If you had either permission 
or precept to defer it till theo, or promise that the Lord would then give 
or accept it, you might defer, in hopes you might then repent. But it is 
q[uite contrary. He is so far from tolerating such delay, as he declares 
against it, commands it now ; so far firom promising, &c., as he threatens, Luke 
xxi. 84, 85, and xii. 19, 20, and xvii. 27 ; 1 Thes. v. 2, 8 ; Mat. xxiv. 88. 
An example added to these would be an encouragement ; but without these, 
is no ground at all. Your hopes, without other ground, are delusions ; and 
this example will prove a broken reed, break under those that lean upon 
it, pierce their souls, and suffer soul and body to sink. It is desperate 
madneas, to leave your souls without any hopes for eternity, but what this 

2. It is but one example. The Bible, a history of near four thousand 
years, affords but one instance of one saved by repentance at death. 
Whereas, if we could search the records of etemity, we might find many 


ihoasandB instead of those, who have eiernallj rained their Bonis, by defer- 
ring repentance till dea^. 

All that can be argned from this one example is, that it is possible to 
repent when dying. Nay, if there were a mnltitnde of examples, they 
would but make it probable. A probability might satisfy in matters of 
small concernment ; but in that which concerns the eternal state of your 
souls, nothing less than certainty is sufficient. But here is no certainty, 
here is no probability I If you defer repentance till then, it is ten thousand 
to one yon will never repent. And what then ? It is ten thousand to one 
you wiU perish. It is deperate madness to be satisfied with a possibility ; 
whenas, if for anything in the world, certainty is here necessary. 

It is astonishing, to have your souls in such a state, which will not afford 
so much as a probability of being saved. You should make your salvation 
sure ; but, relying upon one example, you make it not probable. 

Boman history affords us one instance of Horatius Codes, who main- 
tained a pass against a whole army ; but will any state therefore trust their safety 
with one man ? Will any, invaded by a numerous army, employ none bat 
one man to resist it 7 Would not ill that hear of such madness, judge 
such a people besotted, that they might be ruined? Yet there is as 
good ground to do this, and expect victory, as for any to defer repent- 
ance, and expect salvation. Here is but one example for this, and no less 
for that. 

Mithridates affords an instance of one that could take poison without 
danger ; will any therefore eat deadly poison, and hope for hie, because he 
did ? You may as well hope for long life, though ye eat poison, as hope 
to be saved by repenting at death ; there is as good ground for the one as 
the other ; one example. 

Jonah was cast into the sea, and was preserved by a whale ; but will 
any cast himself overboard, in hopes of such an escape ? You may as well 
cast yourselves into the sea, with hopes of such a preservation, from the 
example of Jonah, as defer repentance, in hopes of repenting on your death- 
bed, from the example of the thief. 

8. It is an extraordinary example. Now there is no reason to draw a 
rule from an extraordinary instance. This was little less than miraculous, 
we see it placed in a crowd of miracles ; would you have the Lord work 
miracles to save you f It is high presumption, to expect the Lord should 
save you at your death, if you wilfully neglect Uie ordinary means of salva- 
tion aU your lives. 

Would not you think it strange madness for one to expose himself to 
death, in hopes to be raised again to life by the wonder-working power of 
Christ, because Lazarus was so raised. And why ? But because that 
was extraordinary. It is no less madness to defer repentance till death, in 
hopes you shall then repent, because the thief did then repent and was 
accepted. For this was extraordinary. The Lord will rather shew extra- 
ordinary severity in pxmishing such mad presumption. • 

4. It is an impertinent example. It was not intended it should, and it 
cannot in reason be used to that purpose for which you apply it. It may 
be he never heard of Christ before. It may be he did not ezgoy the ordi- 
nary means of repentance in his life. It is probable he never deferred it, 
in hopes to repent at his death. The case is not alike. However, it is 
certain the Lord never intended it to bo an encouragement for any to live 
impenitently. He left such an example, that no penitent should despair ; 
not that any impenitent should presume. Tli^y may fear, the Lord 


Deter intenda them mercy, who abuse fhia to that purpose that he never 
intended it. 

Obj, But repentance is harsh and nnpleasing ; if I shonld take notice 
of sin, to monm for it, enicify it, I should make my life sad and nneom- 

Afu. 1. Suppose there be something nnpleasing in repentance, as there 
is to eormpt nature ; yet there is infinitely more bitterness in impenitency. 

What is there in repentance so grievous as slavery to sin and Satan ; so 
burdensome as Satan's yoke and tyrrany ? But while yon continue impeni- 
tent, you are his slaves. 

What evil so lamentable as madness ? But impenitents are, in Scrip- 
ture phrase, in God's account, madmen. The prodigal, when he returned 
to his iather, t. «., repented, it is said, he ' came to himself.' He was 
besides himself before, and so are all impenitent sinners. Mtrdvom comes 
from ofMio, amentia ; he that turns not from sin is a madman. 

What so terrible as death ? What bitterness in repentance comparable 
to the bitterness of death ? But impenitents are dead in sins and trespasses. 

What in repentance like the curse of God I What like the guilt of sin, 
80 much, of 80 many 1 What like to the wounds of a terrified conscience I 
What like the lashes of vengeance, revenging justice! What like the 
scorehings of incensed wrath f What like to hell, everlasting fire, the 
gnawing worm that never dies, weeping and gnashing of teeth to eternity 1 

He that will expose himself to these miseries, raUier than displease his 
eorrnpt nature by the practice of repentance, is like one who had rather 
eontmne all his life in a burning fever, than endure a chirurgeon to breathe 
a vein. Or like one who, having drunk poison, will rather die a painful 
death, than take an nnpleasing potion to prevent it. If there were any 
bitterness in repentance, there is incomparably more in impenitency. 

Am, 2. It is fedse that repentance is nnpleasing. It is not so in itself; 
it is not so to any but those whose palates are distempered ; to those whose 
minds the god of this world has blinded, so as they cannot judge ; call bitter 
Bweet, and sweet bitter. It is not so to those who have had experience of 
it, and none else are competent judges. Oh if ye would but practise it, if 
ye would but taste and see what joys, what conoibrts, what delights are in 
repentance, you would soon change your judgment, and cry out upon Satan 
as an impostor, and your hearts as deceitful, for representing it xmpleasing. 
How can that be but comfortable upon which the Lord has entailed so much 
eomfort, to which he has made so many sweet promises : < Blessed are they 
that mourn,' Mat. v ; ' Those that sow in tears shall reap in joy,' Pa. 
czxri. 6, and xcvii. 11. No great distance between seed-time and harvest. 
Who can think that nnpleasing on earth which occasions joy in heaven ? 
Loke XV. 7. While your hewts mourn, bleed for sin, bemoan it, Jer. 
nxL 18, the Lord's bowels yearn toward you. While your spirit is sad 
in the remembrance of sin, the Spirit of joy and glory rests on you. When 
yon are confessing sin, Christ is speaking peace: John xvi. 20, « Sorrow 
"ban be tamed into joy.' While you are returning, nay, but resolving to 
wtom, to repent, the Father is running to embrace you. And oh what 
joy will there be in such embraces ! What joy to see the Father falling 
ttpon yoor neck and kissing, giving such sweet intimations of his love, as men 
1188 to do by such afiectionate expressions ! Oh, let the world judge what 
ibey will, let Satan suggest what he will of repentance, ^ose that have had 
experience of it will count it pleasing, comfortable, ^o%*^«^ _ •. _ 

ilw. 8. It is not so only positively, but comparatively. There is more 


sweeineBS in repentance ihan in all the pleaaores of sin. All the waja of 
Christ are ' ways of pleasantness,' Proy. iii. 17; t. «., most pleasing, eaper- 
lativelj so, beyond comparison. And this is one reason why Moses chose 
rather] affliction, Heb. xi. 26. And why bnt because more desirable, 
and really more delightful, whatever they seem ? The pleasures of sin are 
short, like the light of a candle, qaickly spent if it bom till consumed, but 
often put out. Job xzi. 17. The pleasures of repentance are like the sun 
that shines more and more, Prov. iy. 18. Those are mixed ; the heart is 
sad in the midst of laughter, Prov. xiy. 18 ; like John's litUe book, Roy. 
z. 9, < sweet in the mouth, but bitter in the belly ; ' like Belshazzar's feast, 
Jael's entertainment. These are ure,pspring* in heaven. 

Those are brutish, sensual, have litUe pre-eminence above the pleasures 
of a beast ; these are spiritaid, heavenly, glorious, 1 Peter i. 8. 

Those are groundless ; in fancy, when there is real cause of sorrow ; like 
joy in a frantic man, or a malefactor led to execution ; lamentable joys, 
such as deserve pity; joy when most cause of sorrow. The end in sorrow, 
will be bitterness in Uie end ; for a moment's joy, eternal sorrows ; for a 
few pleasures, many sorrows, Ps. xxxii. 10. 

This sorrow ends in joy ; a moment's sorrow, endless joy, everlasting 
joy ; it is a well of water springing up to eternal life ; a snuJl stream, but 
leads to the ocean. 

Now, judge what ground for this objection, what reason to be hindered 
by a conceit of unpleasantness, since the hardest part of repentance has 
such comfort attending it here, and such joys rewai^ing it hereafter. 
* So in text ; perhaps ' These are re-upspringing.* — Eo. 


He that heUeveth, and is baptized, shaU be saved; but he that believeth not 
shall be damned, — ^Mabk XVI. 16, 

ti^^^^^l^^ '®^^® ^ ^^^^^ attention as any that ever were spoken to 
Se dSd ™^'' ' ®^ "^ *^^ ^^^^"^ ""^ ^^'^*' ^® '''''^ ^^ °^^ ^^"^ 

«^J?tf^i ^""I^-^ ""i ^^^' ""^ """^ departing SaTiour. The last instruc- 
nons of a departing fhend, whom never Uke to see more in the world, they 
make deep impression. 

^rJ^^^^^ ^^ the last words of Christ upon earth, the last wiU of Christ, 
our Husband, our friend, our elder brother. When he had said this, he 
saia no more that the evangelist relates; for, ver. 19, 'after he had 
spoken these words, be was received up into heaven.' 

They are of greatest consequence, the sum of the gospel, the whole 

^itomised in two sentences ; the whole covenant of grace. As much in 

thw verse virtuaUy, as in the whole gospel. Life and death, and the con- 

cutions of both ; the terms of eternal happiness or misery. If a malefactor 

at the bar should see the judge going about to declare to him upon what he 

nught expect life or deatii, how diligently would he attend I All sinners 

are malefactors. The Judge of heaven and earth declares here, upon what 

tenns we maj hve, though we be cast, found guilty, and condemned. It 

M not A matter of credit or estate, but a matter of life and death, of the 

me of OUT eovla. It is no less than eternal hfe or eternal death, that these 

words concern^ And therefore. 

The condition of life is double : 1, principal, faith ; 2, accessory, bap- 
tism. Accessory, X call it, because it is not absolutely necessary to life, as 
&ith is. Ifon privcUio, sed contemptus damnat. And therefore it is left out 
in the latter part. Xt is not, he that is [not] baptized shall be damned, but 
be that believes not. Faith is so necessary, as he that believes not, though 
he be bsptizedy q>^<»>ll he damned. 

Doct. SalTBtiozi €>t damnation depend upon faith and unbelief. No 
nlTfttion hnt bjr faitli. Nothing but damnation by unbeliefs 

Faith is the principal saving grace, and unbelief the chief damning sin. 
Ko no ean ^^ntn withtout this, and this will damn without any other sin : 
Jolmiii. 18, ' is conclemned.' The law, which threatens death for every 
im has already passed sentence of condemnation upon all, because all are 
ims, This sentence is so peremptory as it admits but of one exception, 

64 OF FAITH. . [Mabk XYI. 16. 

which the gospel brings in. All are condemned, and shall be execated, 
except they believe. So that where there is not &ith, the sentence of con- 
demnation is in full force. An unbeliever so continuing is as sure to be 
damned, as if in hell already ; as sore to be cast into outer darkness, as 
if he were tormented in everlasting burnings ; as sure to bear the eternal, 
insupportable wrath of God, as if he had now fellowship with the devil and 
his angels. 

We say of a man that has the symptoms of death, he is a dead man. 
Unbelief is the symptom of eternal death. There is nothing but death to 
be expected where this continues ; no hopes of eternal life if he persevere 
in unbelief. He is dead while he lives ; in hell while he is on earth. 

The great physician of sools gives him over. He that healed all manner 
of diseases cannot cure him, cannot prevent his eternal death who con- 
tinues in unbelief. When tiie plague-sore appears in a person, we con- 
clude him dead, Bhut him up, debar him of society with living men, write 
Lord have mercy upon his door. Unbelief is the sore of an eternal plague, 
of that plague which is incurable. While unbelief continues, he is shut up 
amongst the dead, but in this more miserable, as there is no hopes of life, 
so no hopes of mercy ; he must die without mercy. There is neither life 
nor mercy for an unbeliever. When we see a condemned malefactor upon 
the scaffold, with his neck upon the Uock, and none to plead for his pardon, 
nor hopes of prevailing if there were any to plead, we may conclude he is 
a dead man. 

In snch a condition is an unbeliever, he is condemned already, the in- 
struments of death are ready. There is none in heaven or earth vriU plead 
for his pardon ; nor would the Lord pardon him, so continuing, if all in 
heaven and earth should become intercessors. No hopes for him, except 
he believe, he must die the death, he is condemned already, the mouth of 
the Lord has spoken it. 

Now if faith be so necessary, and unbelief so dangerous, it concerns us 
to know what it is to believe. 

It comprises, 1, knowledge ; 2, assent ; 8, dependence, or relying on 
the Lord Jesus Christ. 

1. Knowledge. Faith is expressed by knowledge, Isa. liii. 11. If 
knowledge be not faith, yet there can be no faith without knowledge. 

That blind £uth of the papists is good for nothing but to lead them into 
the ditch. That ignorance is the mother of devotion, is one of the prin- 
ciples of the father of lies. Sure it is the nurse of unbelief. It is Satan's 
muffler, which he makes use of to lead sinners blindfold into hell; it brings 
them there before they know where they are. Ignorant persons are like 
the Syrians, struck with blindness, 2 Kings vL 20. They thought they 
were going on a hopeful design, but when their eyes were opened, they 
found themselves in the midst of Samaria, in the midst of their enemies. 
The first step to conversion is to open the eyes, to scatter darkness, Acts 
xxvi. 18. He begins the new creation as he did the creation of the world: 
* Let there be light,' Gen. i. The first thing he produces is light. There 
is a dawning of the day before the day-star arise ; some b'ght goes before 
the sun rising. Snch a dawning of knowledge there is b^ore the Son of 
righteousness arise, before Christ dweU in the heart by faith ; some light 
firom the law discovering sin and misery ; some light from the gospel dis- 
eovering Christ's excellency and all-sufficiency. There is a competent 
knowledge of the mysteries of the goq>el, a knowledge more distinct, moztt 
convincing, more affecting, than VbaX which he had in the state of unbelief. 

HaU XYI. 16.] OF FAITH. 66 

2. Assent. As to the principles of the doctrine of Christ, so especially to 
these two tniths : 1, that he has a necessity of a Savioor ; 2, that Christ 
is the only all-snfficient Savionr. 

(1.) There is an absolute necessity of a Savioar, which the Scripture 
declares npon three grounds: 1, the sinfalness of a natural man; 2, his 
misery ; 8, his inability to free himself from it. 

There must be a full and effectual assent to, and belief of, what the Lord 
declares concerning his sinful, miserable, impotent state. 

3. Recumbence, relying upon Christ. To rely upon Christ alone for 
salTation is saving faith. 

It is not to believe him, but to believe on him ; which the New Testament 
expresses by a peculiar phrase, not used by heathen authors : vsaniisn ih 
T09 X^iffrhv, Acts zix. 4; i/^ ifi,l. Mat. ix. 42; M ri¥, or, M rcD, Acts 
xri. 81, M riv Klfptov; Rom. ix. 88, vi<STii)w iv ahT(p\ Mark i. 15, sv rjD 
iiMyyt\/(f»; Bom. iii. 25, iv rp alfiari; Gal. iii. 24, ttg X^ioriv; Eph. i. 15; 
i/( r6 hofLa, John i. 12, &c. 

It is not to give credit to him, but to rely on him ; it is to trust in him. 
To trust in bim is more than to believe him, to assent to his word as true. 
It is, as Lombard explains it, lib. 8, dist. 23, credendo in eum ire, credendo ei 
adkarere, to adhere, depend, rely on him ; not credere, huifidere^fidudam 

This is the essence, the formality of saving faith. There cannot be 
justifying faith without knowledge and assent, but there may be knowledge 
and assent without it ; these are as the body to faith, this relying is the 
seal ; without this, knowledge and assent are but a carcase. The devils 
and hypocrites may have more knowledge, and they may have as firm an 
assent, but this act is above their reach, and they never attain it. 

Now because there is some difference amongst divines about the nature 
and essence of faith, some placing it in assent, some in assurance, &c. ; 

And because there are mistakes amongst ordinary Christians, many con- 
cluding they rely on Christ when indeed they do not; 

And because mistakes are here dangerous, it being a matter of life and 
death eternal, of salvation or damnation, — faith being the first stone on 
which the structure of salvation is raised, and an error in the foundation 
threatens ruin to the whole ; 

It behoves to be diligent in inquiring what this faith is, what the nature 
of this dependence and relying on Christ. 

Now, the best way to find this out will be to discuss those words and 
phrases whereby the Holy Ghost in Scripture expresses faith. From these 
we may get light sufficient to discover the nature of this act; and these are 

1. To believe is to come to Christ, so it is expressed in the New Testa- 
ment; to betake ourselves to him, so in the Old Testament. And both 
express this dependence, this relying on Christ ; for to betake ourselves 
wholly unto one is to rely on him. To say, I betake myself to you alone, 
ia as mnch as I rely only on you. . .^ , 

So •aro, used in the Old Testament for trust, relying, &c., signifies also 
to approach, to draw near, Ezra xxiv. 2,» answerably the apostle, Heb. 

• ThU sentence is evidently incorrect. There are not ^^""^i^;^ 
the Book of Ezra, and TDD does not mean either to trust or to ^VP^^r^ T^' 
Perhap. it oughTto heJ^rtOH. «»ed in the Old Testament ^^f *™*J±*"^^^^ 
-HjniA^ dao to draw nearf^c? xxiv. 2.' In the next paragraph,^nDn » ^^^ 

▼OL. I. 

66 OF FAITH. [Mabk XVI. 16. 

z. 22, JJ^frt^ta/ii^a iv cXij^of op/a Ttttrtui, let ns come with full Bail, with 
all haste, as a ship when it makes all its sail ; or if we take it as it is ren- 
dered, foil assurance of faith, such a confidence as faith is in its fall growth 
and strength ; jet there is also a beginning of oar confidence, Heb. iii. 14. 
The first intent motion of the soul to Christ is &§x^ ^^^ Wotfra^TEu^,* faith in 
its infancy. But to come to the words whereby it is ordinarily expressed 
under this notion : 

To believe is to come to Christ, John vi. 85 ; here, to come is to believe. 
The same may be evidently collected from ver. 64 and 65. We see this 
in the prodigal; he is an emblem of a sinner both in his fall and in 
recovery by faith : Luke xv., ' He went into a far country,' ver. 18. A 
sinner in unbelief is a stranger to Christ, lives at a great distance firom 
him, without God in the world. His employment base, ver. 15; baser is 
the employment of a sinner ; he is sin*s drudge, he is Satan's slave, serves 
them in a cruel bondage ; though he gratify Satan, and provide for his 
lusts, yet he starves his soul, ver. 16. The lusts of the flesh, the vanities 
of the world, are the husks Ihat a sinner feeds on; no wonder if his soul 
pine and languish at the gates of death. All this while he is in a swoon, 
sin has stupified him, he has lost his senses. Though he be ready to 
perish, he apprehends it not ; he comes not to himself till he think of com- 
ing to Christ, ver. 17. Till the Lord awaken the stupified conscience by 
the ministry of the law, till he prick the heart, drop wrath into the soul, 
make some impressions of terror on it, he remains senseless as to the 
condition of his soul; but then he comes to himself, he comes to his 
senses, feels the burden of sin, sees hell ready to swallow him, apprehends 
himself ready to perish. And then, not till then, he resolves, ver. 18, ' I 
will arise,' &c., and he pursues his resolution, ver. 20, he came ; t. e., he 
believed. The word in the Old Testament is tlVTI ; Ps. Ixiv. 10, < The 
righteous shall be glad in the Lord, and ' 12 HDn * shall trust in him.' It 
signifies to fly, to betake one's self to a place of safety ; as the chickens, 
in danger to be seized on, fly under the wings of the hen : Ruth ii. 12, 
< Under whose wings thou art come to trust,' /IIDHa The helpless bird 
pursued by the kite, in danger to be devoured, runs under the wing of the 
dam. Thus it is with a sinner at the first working of faith, he apprehends 
himself pursued by wrath and judgment; he knows if they seize on him he 
must perish without remedy. Oh the sad condition of such a soul ! Oh, 
but he sees Christ spreading his wings' ready to secure perishing sinners; 
he hears him inviting in the gospel to come under his shadow. Oh, how 
sweet is that voice to him (however, while senseless he neglected) ! He 
hears, obeys, and runs to Christ for shelter, and so he is safe : Ps. xxxvi. 7, 
' How excellent is thy loving-kindness, God I therefore the children of 
men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings.' 

To believe in Christ is to fly to him as to a stronghold, a refuge, a 
sanctuary, Nahnm i. 7. The Lord is good, a stronghold, he knoweth 
them ^DPT) that trust in him. And hence it is that from this root come 
some words, JIIDH and ilDHD, which signifies a refuge, a place of security, 
a hiding place : Ps. xci. 2, ' I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and 
fortress: my God; in him will I trust;' Isa. xxx. 8, < They trust in the 
shadow of Egypt; ' Ps. xiv. 6, * The Lord is his refuge.' 

It is with tibe sensible sinner as it was with the man-slayer under the 
law ; if the avenger of blood overtook him before he recovered the city of 

times printed for nOH • ^^^ *^® correction is put beyond doubt by the references. 
Indeed, every Hebrew word in this sermon is misprinted.^En. 

MaU XVL 16.] OF FAITH. 67 

refage, he was to kOl him. The awakened sizmer perceives that he is ptur* 
sued by revenging jastice, it follows him as Asahel did Joab, pursues him 
close, he tarns not to the right hand nor to the left, and if he overtake 
him, the sinner dies witnont mercy, he dies eternally. Now there is no 
dty of refage for the sinner bat Christ only; he is discovered, he is set 
open in the gospel, and he that gets into him is safe, revenging justice 
cannot touch him. And therefore the poor sinner makes haste, he flies as 
for his life, the life of his soul, he knows he is but a dead man if justice 
reach him ; he casts off sin, which clogs him in his flight, he looks not 
aside to the world, he puts forth the whole strength of his soul, and makes 
out to Christ with all his might, and never rests till he get into him. 
This vigorous motion of the soul towards Christ is faith. Those dull and 
doggish souls, who have no motion to Christ but some wishes, some faint 
inclinations, know not what faith is. 80 eager was the apostle in his ten- 
dency to Christ, as he cast off all things as dung, how precious soever they 
had been to him before; he threw away all as loss and dung that might 
hinder him in his way to Christ, Phil. iii. Be found in him as in the city 
of refage. Joab knew that he was obnoxious to justice ; he heard Adon^fJi 
was put to death for a crime that he was guilty of, he expected nothing but 
death except some extraordinary course were taken to prevent it. Now 
what course he takes you may see ; 1 Kings ii. 28, ' he caught hold on .the 
horns of the altar.' Answerably, a sensible sinner, he apprehends his 
gailt, his provocation, he has received the sentence of death within himself, 
he knows there are thousands in hell for those very sins whereof he is guilty, 
tad he concludes his soul will be in hell ere long, it may be the next hour, 
if he take not some course to secure himself from justice. Now there is 
no sanctuary for a guilty soul but Christ only ; therefore he flies to the 
tabernacle of the Lord, and so takes hold on the horns of the altar ; he 
flies to Christ, lays hold on him, resolves if he die he will die there. There 
he is safer than Joab in his sanctuary ; for Christ is that strong tower to 
which the righteous fly and are safe, Prov. xviii. 10. This making out to 
Christ with all the strength of the soul for refuge is faith. To believe is 
to come, fly, Heb. vi. 18. 

2.;To believe in Christ is to lean upon him, to stay and rest on him. The 
word is ]]/Vf and it is used when Saul is said to lean upon his spear, 
2 Bam. i. 6. Hence comes ]J^1SfD, which signifies a stay, a staff whereon 
we lean to support oarselves. So the Lord is called : Ps. xviii. 18, * The 
Lord was my stay.' Thus, to lean upon Christ is to trust in him, when 
we stay on him as the only staff and support of our souls. So the word 
is rendered, Isa. x. 20, when we rest on him. So we have it, 2 Chron. 
xiv. 11, * Help us, Lord our God, for we rest,' &c. More especially, 
Prov. iii. 5, * Trust in the Lord,' &c. ; Isa. 1. 10, < Let him trust in the name 
of the Lord, and stay himself,' &c. ; where to trust and to stay, HDIl and 
)7tf are all one, one is explained by the other. 

Now this leaning does most significantly express this act of faith we call 
relying; and so the word is rendered 2 Chron. xiii. 18, 2 Chron. xvi. 7, 8. 

There is another word of the same signification, by which the Holy 
Ghost expresses faith in the Old Testament, and that is ySD, which signi- 
fies to lean or stay upon : Isa. xlviii. 2, * Stay themselves upon the God 
of Israel,' 130D3, which is explained to be trusting, Isa. xxvi. 8 ; T>DD, 
vhose mind is stayed, because he trusteth nit92. So 2 Kings xviii. 21, 
' Thou trastest upon the staff of this bruised reed, on which if a man lean ' 
(•lpD>), Ac. 

66 OF FAITH. [Mabk XYL 16. 

Now these words give ns great light to discern what this act of Baying 
faith is. A sinner, before the Lord stir him up to believe, is in a dead 
sleep; and there he dreams of heaven, and who surer of it than he ? Bat 
when the Lord awakens him, he finds that he has been all this while 
sleeping on the battlements of hell ; all his former hopes and persuasions 
prove bat fancies and delnsions. He thought himself safe enough, but he 
finds that he stands upon the veiy brink of the bottomless pit ; has no sure 
footing neither ; he stands in a slippery place ; and the verj weight of his 
sins is enough to carry him down headlong into that place of torment. 
Sin is a fall, ^afd^rrufia ; and it is a wonder that every sin is not a fall 
into hell. One sin was heavy enough to cast many hundreds of angels 
from the height of gloiy into the lower hell. And alas, then, says the 
sinner, what shall become of me, who have the weight of so many thousand 
sins upon my soul ! How shall I stand under so many, when they were 
sunk by the weight of one 1 Oh what sad thoughts will assail the soul of 
a sinner, when he is fully apprehensive of his danger t Ay, but this is 
not all ; he not only stands on the ridge of destruction, in such a tottering 
condition, but Satan is pushing at him, and incensed justice is ready to 
tumble him down. And what if a tempest of wrath should arise, if the 
Lord, in just indignation, should come upon him as a whirlwind ? what 
would then become of him ? Had he not need to look out for some sup- 
port, for something to stay his soul on, which otherwise is every moment 
in danger to tumble into hell ? He has nothing at present that keeps him 
standing but the patience of God. Oh but this is abused, provoked ; this 
is no sure support, he is not sure of it an hour ; it may withdraw the 
next moment, and then where is he ? What then can stay the soul from 
falling into everlasting burnings ? Why, none but Christ. Unless he stay 
his soul upon him, he falls, he sinks, he perishes without remedy. This 
he hears and believes, and makes out to Christ for support. Not being 
able to stand under the weight of sin, under the pressures of wrath and 
justice, he leans upon Christ. The burdened sinking soul rests upon 
Christ, and so is established, Ps. cxii. 7, 8. 

8. To believe in Christ is to adhere to him, to cleave to him, cling about 
him. The two words last instanced in, rendered to trust, do also signify 
a close adhering : Numb. xzi. 15, * Lieth upon the border of Moab,' runs 
dose to it. We may got some sparks from this word to light us in this 
search. A man that has safiered shipwreck is left to the mercy of the 
waves ; has nothing in his reach to secure him but some planks or mast. 
How will he cling to it 1 how fast will he clasp ! He will hold it as if it 
were his life, 2 Emgs xviii. 5, Deut. iv. 4. He knows he is a dead man 
if he leave it ; and Uierefore if any wave drive him off, he makes to it again 
with all his might, and clasps it faster. He knows there is no way but 
sink and perish if he part with it. 

A sinner, when the Lord begins to work faith in him, apprehends him- 
self in a golf of wrath ; all &e billows and waves go over him, and the 
depths are ready to swallow him up. Now in this case he sees no other 
security but Christ ; he is the only tahtda post naufragium, the only plank 
that is left (after our miserable wreck in Adam) to bring a sinner to shore; 
and therefore he cleaves to him ; his soul clasps about him ; he holds him 
as he would hold his soul ready to leave him, if it could come into his 
embraces. He knows, if he part, he sinks for ever; and therefore if any 
apprehension of wrath, of sin, of unworthiness, would tlrive him 0S9 he 
clings closer to him, or he sinks eternally. 


4. To belieye in Christ is to roll, to east ottrselyes npon him. The 
word is ^^, rendered by trast i Ps. xxii. 8, < He trasted in the Lord,' 
TXW bn bjiy ^® rolled himself upon the Lord ; so Ps. xxzvii. 5, Commit 
thj way/ rnrP.Vff b)^f ^oVL thy way npon the Lord ; and what that is» the 
next words shew, nD2> ^^ ^^ to tmst in him ; so Prov. xvi. 8, / Commit 
thy works auto tJie Lord,' bji, the same word, roll thy works npon, &e. 
The expression is explained by another word,*|^|£^: Ps. Iv. 28, * Cast thy 
burden upon the Lord,' &e., a metaphor taken from one ready to fiiU 
down under a heavy burden ; he casts it upon one more able to bear it. 

Now sin is a heayy, a most grievous burden ; the Lord himself complains 
of the weight of it, Amos ii. 18. The weight of sin, though Christ had 
none of his own, made him sweat, and sweat blood ; made his soul heavy. 
It is burdened with the wrath and heavy indignation of God ; it is clogged 
with the curses and threatenings of the law, so called frequently. No 
wonder if one sin be as a millstone about the neck of the soul, able to sink 
it into the bottom of hell. 

But though it be so burdensome, yet the sinner, till conversion, finds no 
weight in it. No wonder, since he is dead in trespasses. Cast rocks and 
mountains upon a dead man, he feels them not. 

Ay, but when the Lord begins to work faith, and brings the sinner to 
himself, then he feels it burdensome indeed ; he wonders at his former 
stapidness, he groans under the weight, he apprehends himself even sink- 
ing under the burden ; and if he be not eased of this burden, he feels it 
will press him into hell. He lies grovelling under the weight, and cries, 
Help, help, or else I sink, I perish ; and who is there that can help the 
Bonl in this sad condition ? 

If he should call to the angels, they know it is too heavy, they dare not 
eome near it ; they can remember since the weight of one sin sunk some 
thousands of their companions into the bottomless pit. 

If he should call to the saints, they have enough of their own burden, 
Ps. xxxviii. 4. 

If he should call to the inferior creatures, they need help as well as he. 
It is the weight of sin that makes the whole creation groan and travail in 
pain, Rom. viii. 22. Let the oppressed sinner cry out to whom he will, 
they will all answer, as the king to the woman, ' If the Lord do not 
help,' &c. 

Why, then, must the burdened sinner perish ? Is there no remedy ? 
Yes, the Lord has laid help on one that is mighty. Christ is willing, and 
he is only able to ease the burdened soul. He invites him to come ; he 
will take the burden on himself, rather than the soul shall sink under it. 
Kow, the sinner hearing this, it is glad tidings indeed to him : he closes 
vith Christ, rolls himself, casts his burdened soul upon him, and so 
believes. For a siimer thus burdened, thus sensible of the weight of sin, 
to roll himself upon Christ, is to believe in him. 

5. To believe in Christ, is to apply him. It is an intimate application, 
nieh as that of meat and drink by one pinched with hunger, and fainting 
vith thirst. Hence faith is expressed by eating, John vi. 51, 58, 54, 56. 
To eat there, is to believe. It is not sacramentid eating, as some mistake 
it; for then aU that partake not of that ordinance should be damned (no 
infants should be saved), and all that partake of it should be saved; 
whereas this is against experience, that against charity, both against 
troth. But it is a spiritual eatbg, that is, believing, as we are led by the 
eoboenoe to expound it, verse 85* That which is eatmg here, is there 

70 OP FAITH. [Mabk XVI. 16. 

eomiDg (fiducial ooming); and that which is drinking here, is there 
believing. So in the Old Testament, *T&D) ordinarily rendered to trust, 
rely, or stay on one» does also signify to nourish, to refresh and comfort, 
as one fainting is refreshed with wine : Cant. ii. 5, ^])13QD) ' ^^7 ^^ ^^^ 
flaggons ;' and the only other word untouched, which the Old Testament 
uses for faith, p^, signifies in Eal nutrire, in Hiphil Jidere. This is 
enough to evince that faith is an application, such an application of Christ 
as that of nourishment to one that is hungry. And this tends something 
to discover the nature of this act, which we shall make evident by a Scrip- 
ture allusion, Gen. xxi. The state of Hagar and her son in tiie desert 
resembles the state of a sinner in unbelief. They are for their insolency 
cast out of Abraham's family ; they wander, and lose themselves in the 
wilderness ; and, which is worse, their provision is quite spent, and nothing 
is to be looked for but a miserable death. Nay, death is already seizing 
on Ishmael ; he faints, and she not enduring to see him die in this extre- 
mity, withdraws herself, lifts up her voice, and weeps, verse 16. Now the 
Lord, pitying them in this forlorn condition, shews her a well of water. 
Oh wi^ what great eagerness, do ye think, with what greediness, does she 
apply this water, to save the life of her dying child ! Thus it is with a 
sinner ; he is cast out from the presence of God for his rebellion ; he 
wanders, and loses God, and then loses himself. In this sad condition his 
provisions are spent, he has nothing to support his soul, nothing to feed 
on but wind. His soul faints and languishes, and lies gasping even at the 
gates of eternal death. This is his sad condition, and this he apprehends 
when the Lord begins to work faith ; and oh with what anguish does the 
apprehension thereof ajfiict him ! Nothing can save his soul from death 
but a draught of the water of life, a taste of Christ. The Lord in this 
extremity discovers Christ, opens his eyes to see the fountain of life 
opened in the gospel. And when the sinner, in sense of his dying con- 
dition, applies Christ for life, then he believes. When the soul tales in 
this water of life as greedily as the hunted hart, who in danger of death, 
both from burning thirst within, and the eager pursuers without, pants 
after, and plunges himself in the water-brooks : when the soul, in sense of 
such extremities from the indignation of God on all sides, takes in this 
water of life as he would take in life itself, then he believes, Ps. xlii. 1, 2. 

6. To believe in Christ is to receive him, John i. 12. Receiving is 
explained by believing ; so that to receive is to believe on him. Col. ii. 6, 7. 
As faith has taken root by this first act of receiving, so let it grow strong 
and fruitful. Sometimes the object of it is otherwise expressed ; so that 
to believe in Christ is to receive his righteousness, and to receive remission 
of sins. And these expressions give light to discover the nature of this 
act, as we shall improve them by a similitude or two. 

A poor man over head and ears in debt, who owes more than he can pay, 
if himself and all that he has were sold for payment. The seijeants arrest 
him, and hale him to prison, and there he is like to spend all his days 
miserably in a dungeon ; while he is afflicted with the sad apprehension of 
his misery, and even at the prison door, and one offers him a sum that will 
discharge all that he owes, oh how will the poor man be transported with 
such an offer ! how joyfully will he receive it, though it were upon oondi- 
tion that he should be his benefactor's servant all his life ! 

The case is parallel. Sinners are debtors to the great God. Sins are 
eaUed i^uXi/Aara, Mat. vi. 12. The least sin is such a debt, as the sinner's 
body and soul is not of sufficient value to discharge it. But justice must 

MaBK XVI. 16.] OFFAITB. 71 

be satisfied, and in default hereof, the sinner is every moment in danger to 
be oast into hell, and most not come out till he have paid that which he can 
never pay, the utmost farthing. 

Now while the sensible soul is dejected with these apprehensions, Christ 
in the gospel offers him his righteousness, of such value that it will satisfy 
the utmost demand of justice. 

Now when the sinner receives this with such an open heart, such a trans- 
ported soul, as a debtor dragged to prison would receive a jewel able to 
satisfy all his creditors, when he thus receives it, he believes. Bom. v. 17. 
This gift of righteoasness is that which is elsewhere called our Xur^ov, the 
price of our redemption. To receive this, is to believe. For that which 
is receiving the gift of righteousness, ver. 17, and receiving the atonement, 
verse 11, is sfyled, being justified by faith, verse 1. 

To believe, is to receive remission of sins. Acts xxvi. 18. And this affords 
another simile, to illustrate the matter in hand. 

A condemned person upon the scaffold, all the instruments of death ready, 
and nothing wanting but one blow to separate soul and body, while he is 
possessed with sad apprehensions of death, one unexpectedly comes, and 
brings him a pardon. Oh how will his heart welcome it ! How wiU his 
hands receive it, as though his soul were in his hands I So here. 

A sinner, whUe in unbelief, is condemned already, he has received the 
sentence of death in himself; and there remains nothing but a fearful 
expectation of jadgment, and the fiery indignation, nothing but an expecta* 
tion of execution, but a step betwixt him and the eternal death. He hears 
the gospel in this condition offering mercy, and proclaiming a pardon through 
the precious blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

Now for the dying soul to revive at these glad tidings, to welcome Christ, 
to receive him for tiiie remission of sins, as the condemned person with his 
neck upon the block would receive a pardon, is to believe. Acts x. 48. 

7. To believe in Christ, is to apprehend him, to lay hold of him, to 
embrace him : Bom. ix. 30, ' have attained to righteousness.' The best 
Latin translators render xartXetfit, by apprehendsrunt, have apprehended, 
have laid hold on the righteousness of faith, i. e., the righteousness of 
Christ, who is the Lord our righteousness, the proper object of justifying 
faith. Now what it is to apprehend the righteousness of Christ, or Christ 
who is our righteousness, we are taught, verse 83. So that to believe on 
him, and to apprehend his righteousness, is all one. 

It is to embrace Christ, Heb. xi« 18 ; A^waedfuvoi; they had not yet re« 
ceived the promises, «. «., Uie things promised. Christ was not yet exlubited, 
he was afar off; but he was offered In the promise, there they embraced 
him, i: e,, believed on him. For there the apostle is giving an account of 
the several acts of faith, whereof this is the principal, to embrace Christ in 
the promise. 

And this we may improve to discover the nature of this saving act, Mat. 
xiv. 29-81. There Peter was so bold, as to come out of the ship and walk 
npon the waters. But when the tempest grew strong, then his heart 
£ul8 him, and then he begins to sink, and sinking he cries out. Lord, 
save me ! Christ, seeing him ready to perish, stretches out his hand, or, 
u some render it, takes him by the hand, and so cures him. Answerably 

To walk in the ways of sin, is to walk as it were upon the waters ; there 
is no sure footing, how bold soever sinners are to venture. If patience 
were not infinite, we should sink eveiy moment. The sensible sinner, he 

72 OF FAITH. [Hash XYI. 16. 

begms to see his danger, patience will long ere withdraw, it' will not be 
always abnsed; a tempest of wrath will arise; nay» he finds it grow 
boisterous, it does already raffle his conscience, he is as snre to sink, as if 
he were walking upon the waves. Nay, he feels his soul already sinking ; 
no wonder if he cry out as a lost man, as one ready to be swallowed up in 
a sea of wrath. 

But now Christ stretches out his hand in the gospel. Now for the soul 
in sense of its sinking state, to stretch out itself to lay hold on that ever- 
lasting arm, that only can save him from going down into the bottomless 
pit, this is to believe. Cant. iii. 4, apprshendi eum ;* to hold him, as one 
falling from a steep place, in danger to be dashed in pieces, holds a branch, 
a bough that ho meets with, that he catches at in his fall ; to hold Christ, 
as that only which can stay him, when he finds himself falling into hell 
and eterad destruction; to embrace, as he would embrace life, gloiy, 

This may be sufficient to discover the nature of &ith. But for further 
evidence, observe what is included in it, as appears by the former. 

1. Sense of misery. It is a sensible dependence. Faith presupposes 
sense of misery. When the Lord brings a sinner to believe, he makes him 
thoroughly apprehensive of his miserable condition by reason of sin and 
wrath ; he not only assents to it, but is sensible of it. 

A man that has read or heard much of the sad effects of war, he may 
assent, believe that it is a great misery to be infected with war. Ay, but 
when the enemy is at his door, when they are driving his cattle, and 
plundering his goods, and firing his houses, he not only assents to it, but 
he sees, he feels the miseries of it ; he has more sensible, more affecting 
apprehensions of it than ever. A sinner that continues in unbelief, hearing 
the threatenings, the wrath denounced against unbelievers, he may assent 
to this, that unbelievers are in a miserable condition ; but when the Lord 
is working faith, he brings this home to himself; he sees justice ready to 
seize on him, he feels wrath kindling upon him. He now not only believes 
it, but has a quick sense of it. He has often heard of the misery of 
such a condition by the hearing of the ear, but now his eye sees it, and he 
sees it so as his eye affects his heart. He has often heard of the burden 
and danger of sin, but now he feels it. He apprehends himself at the point 
ei sinking under it. He has often heard how terrible the wrath of God is, 
but looking on it at a distance, it did no more affect him than a painted 
fire ; ay, but now he feels the heat of it, it begins to kindle in his soul, and 
scorch his conscience. He has heard of dreadful threatenings and curses 
denounced against such and such sins, but he looked upon them as at a 
distance, as discharged at random ; ay, but now he sees them levelled at 
himself, his soul in the butt, the mark to which those arrows aim and are 
directed, and the poison thereof drinks up his spirits. He reads and hears 
the terrible things denounced against sin, as though he were another man, 
and is affected with them as though they were not the same things. He 
wonders at his former stupidness. This thunder is not afar off, but it 
startles him, as though he were even in the thunder-cloud. Till it be thus 
in some degree, he will not believe, will not come to Christ, till they not 
only enter his fancy and understanding, but prick his heart. The physician 
is neglected, while the patient thinks himself in health. The whole, t. e., 
those that think themselves whole, see no need of the great physician. 
Till the sinner apprehend himself, his soul sick unto death, Christ is not 

* MeiC3r. 

MaU XVI. 16.] OF FAITH. 78 

looked, after. The malefactor will never sne for a pardon to purpose, till 
he be (or apprehend himself in danger to be) condemned. No f ying to 
this stronghold, tiU there be some fear of pursuers. There will be no flying 
to Christ, no belieying in him, without some sense of miseiy. . Lot would 
never have fled to the mountain, but that the country was all in a flame» 
Gen. X. 28. 

2. A rejecting of other dependenees, other supports. It is a sole de- 
pending, a relying upon Christ alone. While Uie sinner depends upon 
anything else, in himself, or without himself, for safety, he believes not on 
Christ, he stands no longer upon* his own legs. While the sinner stands 
upon his own bottom, his own righteousness, his good meaning, good 
nature, good deeds, his charitableness or religiousness, his beiug better 
than others, or not so bad as most, and upon this raises hopes of pardon, 
he is far from fiuth, he is but in the condition of the unjustified Pharisee. 
But when he looks upon these as no greater securities than tow or stubble 
would be, to shroud him from a consuming fire, then he will look out for 
a better screen to interpose betwixt his soul and that fiery indignation that 
his sins have kindled. 

When the soul, feeling the flame of wrath kindling on her, cries out as 
one that is already perishing, None but Christ, none but Christ, then he is 
in the highway to faith. 

If the dove which Noah sent out could have found rest for the sole of 
her feet elsewhere, she would not have returned unto the ark, Gen. viii. 12. 
Such an averseness there is in our natures to Christ, as he is the last thing 
a sinner looks after. If he can rest in anything else, if he can find rest in his 
friends, in his boon companions, in his accommodations, in his worldly 
employments, in his religious duties, in his good accomplishments ; if he 
find rest to the sole of his foot here, the ark is forgotten, he returns not to 
Christ. But when he sees a deluge of wrath overwhelm him, when the 
waters of God*s wrath rise so high as nothing appears but the ark, nothing 
to rest on but Christ, nothing but drowning and perishing in the common 
deluge, except he get into the ark, then he rests not till he gets into Christ, 
then he flies to him as for his life. See faith thus working in Ephraim, 
Hosea xiv. 4. They reject all foreign dependences : ' Asshur shall not 
save us ; ' they reject all dependence on themselves : * we will not ride,* Ac. 
They reject all that they had formerly idolised, and that by relying on themy 
they knew that this was the high way to mercy. None but the fatherless, 
rh j^^yi». Till the sinner apprehend himself as an orphan, without 
strength, without counsel, all his supports dead which were a father to him, 
he will not betake himself to Christ as his only guardian ; till he thus 
betake himself to Christ, he believes not. 

8. Submission. Paitb is a very submissive grace. Sin and wrath lie so 
heavy, as the soul is bended to what the Lord wiU. If he will but Pardon 
me, says the humbled sinner, if he will but forgive me, let him deal with 
me otherwise as seems good in his eyes. If he will but shew ^^^7^ r^ 
the Lord do it when and how he pleases. Ps. xxxvii. 7, * Best, that is, 
trust ; but the word is DH, ' be silent to the Lord.' That is ihe tem^r 
of fiuth, whatever the Lord says or does, the beUeving soul is silent, ne 
is sensible of so much sinfuhiess and wretchedness, as worse cannoi oe 
said of him than he is, worse cannot be inflicted on him than ^« f ^^f^®" ^ 
and therefore let the Lord say of him, and do with him ^f;|jf/£^*^^^ 
he puU his mouth in the dust, and is silent. Only let his life be given 
• Qn. ♦ BtandB npon' ?— Ed. 

74 OF FAITH. [Mass XYL 16. 

him, the life of his soul, and however otherwise the Lord proceeds, he will 
not reply. If the Lord say, he shall continue upon the rack of terror, he 
submits ; only, says he, Lord, save my life, let me have that for a prey. 
If the Lord say, though he pardon him, yet he will make him exemplary 
by sharp afflictions, Uiat the contagion of his example may not spread, 
Lord, says he, only spare my life ; whatever is not hell is mercy to 
such a wretch as I am. 

The siuner has been battered by the law, justice does besiege him, wrath 
is ready to assault, he sees himself reduced to extremity, he stands not upon 
terms, indents not with the besieger, but yields at discretion, will be at the 
mercy of the conqueror, cautious for nothing but his hfe, stands upon 
nothing but his soul, that this may not perish for ever. Whatever is not 
death, whatever is not eternal wrath, is infinite mercy to such a rebel as I 
have been. If the shipwrecked man can get to shore, can save himself 
from drowning, he regards not the wetting of his clothes, the spoiling of 
his goods ; a greater matter is in danger ; so it is with a sinner, in whom 
faith is working. His soul is in a sea of wrath, he is ready to sink ; if he 
can but reach Christ, get to shore, he is content, though he come there 
naked, stripped of all that was otherwise dear to him. For why ? His 
soul is in danger ; if the Lord let that escape, come what will come else, 
he submits, he is silent. 

4. Resolution to persist in his dependence. It is a resolute dependence, 
he is resolved to keep his hold whatever the event be. He knows justice 
is incensed, and the wrath of God is kindled against him, and whether or 
no the Lord may proceed to destroy him, he knows not ; but he appro- 
bends withal that there is no other way to pacify the Lord, no other way 
to escape wrath, but by casting himself on Christ, and therefore he resolves 
to persist in it. 

It is with him as with Esther in her undertaking for the Jews, Esther 
iv. 16. If she should go, and the king not hold forth the golden sceptre 
to her, she was but a dead woman ; but then if she did not go there was 
no other way to save her and her nation from ruin, and tiierefore she 
resolves, ' I will go in unto the king, and if I perish, I perish.* So here, 
if I go to Christ (thinks the trembling sinner), and take sanctuary in him, 
it may be justice may pursue me thither ; Oh, but if I go not, then there 
is nothing for me but certain destruction ; thereupon he resolves, I will 
go to Christ, I will lay hold on him, and if I perish I will perish there ; if 
wrath seize on me, it shall find me in the arms of Christ ; if I die, I will 
die at his feet. 

When Joab had fled for refuge to the tabernacle, and caught hold of 
the horns of the altar, Benaiah, sent to execute him, bids him leave his 
sanctuary : 1 Kings ii. 80, * Thus says the king. Come forth.* < Nay,* 
says Joab, * but I will die here ; * if there be no mercy for me, no remedy 
but I must die, I will die here. 

Thus the humbled sinner when he has taken sanctuary in Christ, and 
laid hold of Christ ; when Satan or his own guilty soul tell him that he 
must come forth, there is no mercy for such a traitor, such a heinous 
offender ; nay, says the believing soul, but if I must die, I will die here ; 
if justice smite me, it shall smite me with Christ in my arms ; though he 
kill me, yet will I rely on him ; here will I live, or here will I die ; I will 
not quit my hold, though I die for it. 

This his resolution as to his former evil way. He will not quit his hold 
of Christ, to return to his former courses, though he die here. As the 

MaBK XVI. 16.] OF FAITH. 75 

three ehildren, Dan. iii. 17, 18, ' The Lord on whom I rely is able to 
deliTer me ; bat if not/ I will never serve my lusts any more. 

5. Snpport. It is an establishing dependence. The heart that tmsts, 
that relies on Christ, is in some degree or other fixed, more or less estab- 
lished : Ps. cxii. 7, 8, ' His heart is fixed, trusting in the Lord.' His 
heart is established, ^DD, rendered to trust, to lean ; transitive signifies to 
vnderprop : Ps. Ixxi. 6, * By thee have I been holden up from the womb.' 
A man cast into the sea scrambles up to a rock to secure him ; the rock 
is firm enough, able to support; ay, but the apprehension of his late danger 
has left impressions of fear on him ; he is still timorous ; though he be 
above the water, he knows not but a storm may blow him off, or a wave 
may wash him again into the deep. 

Christ 18 the rock of ages ; he that stays on him stands firm ; he cannot 
but have some support for the present, though he has little confidence, no 
assurance. He cannot yet say. The Lord will shew me mercy, I shall have 
pardon, he will be reconciled, I shall be saved ; he cannot conclude this 
certain. Though there be certUudo objecti, yet not certitudo subjecti; 
though it be sure he shall not perish, yet he is not sure, he is not fully 
persuaded of it. Only this he has to support him, it may be the Lord will 
pity me, will shew mercy. He has that which was Benhadad*s support in 
his great extremity, 1 Kings xx. 81. The Lord is a merciful king, and 
this is the only way to find mercy, peradventure he will save my life. 
Who knows but the Lord may be reconciled ? Who can tell ? Jonah 
iii. 9. This bears up the heart at present, and by degrees he finds more 
and more support. It is with him as with the lepers, 2 Kings vii. 8, 4 : 
1, he may ; 2, he will ; 8, he has. 

6. A consent to accept Christ on his own terms. This is included in 
the phrase of coining to Christ, and receiving him, whereby faith is ordi- 
narily expressed. For we must not understand by coming, any corporal 
motion, bat a motion of the soul. Now the wUl is anima locomotwa 
JaeuUaSy the sours moving faculty, the organ whereby it performs this 
motion ; it moves to an object by consent, and from an object by dissent. 
When it consents to take Christ, it comes to him ; it is included in the 
phrase of receiving Christ ; for this is an act of the soul too ; and the will 
is the soul's receptive power ; it is as the hand of the soul, which closes 
when it dissents, and opens when it consents. The will is naturally closed 
•gainst Christ, but consent opens it ; and when the will is open to receive 
huQ, it always receives him ; when it opens, it consents ; when it consents, 
it receives, «. e., believes. 

n. Of the object. Having largely opened the act of saving faith, it 
remains that I declare what the object of it is; for virtues, as other habits, 
being defined by their acts and objects, as being their prime essentials, the 
essence and nature of this saving faith will be apparent when to the expli- 
cation of its acts I have added a declaration of its object. 

Now, this I shall endeavour, 1, in general; 2, more distinctly in some 
particular propositions. 

1. In general. The object of justifying or saving faith is Christ; it is 
he by and in whom fiaith seeks pardon and salvation. For this purpose 
to him a believer flies, on him he leans and rolls himself, to him he cleaves 
and clings. It is Christ he applies, receives, apprehends, and embraces 
vhen he would obtain pu^on and life. I should rehearse to you a great 
pttt of the gospel if I should allege all those testimonies which the Scrips 

76 OF FAITH. [Mam XVI. 16. 

tare g^vee to this troth, Gal. ii. 16, Acts x^. 81, Bom. ix. 88, Gal. ui. 26, 
1 Peter ii. 6, John iii. 16, 18, 86. 

2. More particularly. 

(1.) The whole word of God is the adequate and general object of faith, 
when faith is taken for assent. Saving faith believes the histories, the 
precepts, the threaienings ; but as it believes these, it is not saving; for 
those that shall not be saved, viz., the devils and reprobates, may believe 
as much. Justifying faith assents to the whole, but it does not justify as 
it assents to the whole, but as it rests on Christ; even as the hand which 
feeds the body hath many offices, to work, to receive, to defend ; but it 
feeds not, but as it conveys nourishment to the mouth. As the rations! 
soul has many powers and acts besides the power to understand, — ^it 
remembers, and wills, and fancies, but it understands not but as it appre- 
hends the truth of its object, — so justifying fiiith has many acts besides 
that whereby it justifies: it believes the threatenings, yields to the com- 
mands, assents to the historical relations of the word, but it justifies only 
as it respects Christ. So that the whole word of God is not the proper 
and specifical object of saving faith. 

(2.) The mercy of God is but a partial object of fidth. A partial, I say, 
because this alone is not enough to give faith any hold. Faith can find 
no mercy to pitch on but in and through Christ, nor is there any mercy 
for a sinner out of him. Therefore Christ must be added before mercy 
can be an ample object for faith to fix on. Christ is the only mercy-seat 
of faith. Would it find mercy ? it nrast seek it where it is to be found, 
where it is seated: Rom. iii. 25, h v^Utro 6 Qil^ tXaariipm, whom God 
has placed as a mercy-seat ; the same word, Heb. ix. 5, xaratxtAl^ovra rJ 
t>M&rfi^io¥. The mercy-seat in the tabernacle was a type of Christ ; and the 
posture of it is no more mysterious than comfortable, Exod. xxv. It was 
the covering of the ark, above it were the cherabims of gloiy, the seat of 
the divine Majesty; and therefore he is said to sit betwixt the cherobims, 
Ps. box. 1. Under it were the tables of the covenant, or of the testimony, 
as it is called, Exod. xxv. ; t.«., of the law, which bea^ testimony against 
sinners, which accuses, curses, condemns. Christ the mercy-seat is inter- 
posed betwixt the judge and the condemning law. Take away Christ, and 
nothing can be expected from the Judge but the law in its rigour, law 
without mercy. As the law will shew no mercy, that is all for justice, so 
the Lord will shew no mercy but on the mercy-seat, none but through 
Christ. Christ must be added to make mercy a complete, a fit object for 
faith. Without him it is but a partial object, if any at all. Mercy 
through Christ is faith's object. If faith pitch on mercy without him, it 
will pitch upon that which will not support it. 

(8.) The promises of the gospel, they are the less principal, the subser- 
vient objects of faith. The promise is as the dish wherein Christ, the bread 
of life, the manna from heaven, is set before faith, and presented to it. Both 
are served up together; but faith feeds not on the dish, but on the manna, 
the bread of life in it. 

The promise is as a glass, a prospective, wherein the Day-star, the Sun 
of Righteousness is discerned. When we make use of a glass to discover 
a star, we look upon both; but our sight is not terminated in the glass, 
the use of it is to be subservient to a farther discovery, to be helpful to 
our sight to discover the star, which is the principal object. So faith, 
' with open face,* does, in the promise, ' as in a glass behold the glory of 
God,* take a view of Christ who is the brightness of his Father's glory. 

liABX XYI. 16.] OF FiJTH. 77 

The promise ia bat sabservient to that happy, that delightful sight of 
Christ. And therefore I call it a sabserrient object, a mediate, less prin* 
eipal object. 

(4.) The proper and principal object of faith is the person of Christ; not 
the promise of Christ, not the benefits of Christ, bat the person of Christ; 
not the promise, as we shewed before. Faith is not an assent to a propo- 
sition affirmed, bat affiance in a Sayionr offered ; not the benefits firstly 
and principally. F^kith unites the soul to Christ; it is the bond of our 
conjugal union. Now, we marry not the dowry, but the person. 

That faith respects Christ himself in the first place, appears by the notions 
of faith, which we may collect from Scripture. 

Faith is the hand of the soul; so it receives Christ himself, who is the 
gift of God, John iv. 10. 

It is the arm of the soul; so it embraces Christ, Cant. iii. 4. 

It is the eye of the soul; so it looks upon Christ, as the stung Israelites 
upon the brazen serpent, John iii. 14, 15. 

• It is the mouth of the soul; so it feeds on Christ the bread from heaven, 
John vi. 82--d4. 

It is ihe/oot of the soul; so it comes to Christ, Mat. xi., John vi. 

It is the lips of the soul ; so it kisses Christ, Ps. ii. In all it has an im- 
mediate respect to Christ, to his person. 

(5.) The person of Christ, as invested with his righteousness, is the formal 
object. Not the person of Christ barely considered, but as clothed with a 
righteousness quahfying him to a Mediator, a Saviour; as one that has 
Mfilled the law and satisfied justice in whatever it could demand on our 
behalf. As Christ without this would not be a Saviour, so without this he 
cannot be the object of saving faith : Bom. iii. 25, * Through faith in his 
blood ;' where blood, being the most signal part of his satisfaction, is put 
for bis whole righteousness. Here is in this verse whatever is assigned as 
a special object of faith. Here is Christ and his righteousness expressly 
the formal object ; faith in his blood, called a^oXur^ufft;, ver. 24, through 
the redemption, i, e., through the satisfaction of Christ, who paid a satis- 
factory price (a xOr^ov) that captive sinners might be delivered. And that 
price was his righteousness, here called his blood: tU significeturjtdem non 
aUd quam ad Chrieti sacrificium ferri. 

The person of Christ, the principal object, in the particle 8v, Jesus Christ, 
whom, &c. 

The gospel, the subservient olrject, intimated in w^oihro, whom God has 
set forth ; as in the decree and in his understanding, so in the gospel, now 
seen, Bev. xi. 19. 

The mercy of God the partial object, to be a propitiation, a mercy-seat, 
and this by his blood : ut per hastiam corporis sui hominibua propitium 
facerei Veum.* Faith does, in the business of our justification, embrace 
whole Christ; but it is properly terminated in his blood.f That is the 
proper (as I take it), the formal object of saving faith, that righteousness 
by virtue of which Christ is a Saviour. 

(6.) The benefits of Christ are but the secondary objects of faith. Bom. 
viii. 82 ; they seem more properly to be the end of faith. We depend not 
upon pardon or salvation, but upon Christ for pardon and salvation; and 
that not as having obtained, but that we may obtain them. 

• Origen« 

t Fides totum Christam amplectitur, et proprie in ejuB sanguine terminatur. — 

78 OF FAITH. [Mabk XVI. 16. 

Faith at first relies on Christ, not as one that has pardoned sin, \ai as 
one through vhom alone pardon is to be obtained. The persuasion t^at 
sin is pardoned is a conseqaent of jastifying fiuth, it is not the jostii^iog act.' 

in. How does the Lord work faith ? That is the next thing- we under- 
took to shew, in what manner, by what steps and degrees, the Lord ordi- 
narily proceeds when he brings a sinner to believe. Having giving an 
acooont of the act and object, let us see how the Lord brings the act and 
object together. 

Bat, 1, we shall not attempt to shew how this is wrought in infancy or 
those of nnriper years, for that is a secret; the Scripture seems reserved 
in this case, and secret thmgs belong not to as. 

And, 2, there are some extraordinary cases wherein the Lord proceeds 
not in the ordinary method. He ties not himself to one track. He is a 
most free agent, and works as when, so how, he pleases. We shall only 
follow him in the ordinary, the beaten road, where his footsteps are visible 
by Scripture and experience. 

And, 8, in ordinary cases there is great variety in respect of circum- 
stantials ; it may be as much variety as there is in faces. Now, as no 
limner will undertake to draw a piece that shall Exactly resemble eveiy 
face in every feature and lineament, though, without any curious inspection 
of particulars, he may draw one that will easily distingnish a man from any 
other creature, so we will not undertake to give such a discovery as wiU 
exactly answer every one's experience in circumstantials, but such as may 
be sufficient to distinguish a saving work from that which is but common 
to those that are not sound believers. And this will be very useful, both 
for discovering faith where it is, and for direction where it is not, to shew 
what way they must walk in who would attain it. To proceed then. 

The Lord, when he works faith in those that enjoy the gospel, and are 
capable of improving it, doth ordinarily proceed by these steps, and brings 
them to believe by these degrees. 

1. A discovery of sin, which the Lord makes by the law and by the Spirit, 
Bom. viiy 7. The law of God is a light. A sinner, while he continues in 
unbelief, he shuts it out as an unwelcome guest ; hates the light, John iii. 
20 ; but now the Lord brings it into the soul and conscience, and this dis- 
covers sin to purpose. In the dark great things seem small, and small 
things are not discerned ; while in security, great sins are extenuated, 
neglected, and small sins are not at all taken notice of, but this makes a 
discovery of great and small. 

The Spirit of God concurs with the law. It is his office, and one of the 
first he performs to the unbelieving world, John xvi. 8, fXi/gc/. Before he 
convince of righteousness, he shsJl make evident their sin, give them a 
demonstration of it, make their sin manifest. That is the import of the 
word, sXs^^^o; yd^ i^ri TJav diikSi¥* a clear manifestation.) 

This is the first thing he works by the ministry of the word, when it is 
efiectual, Acts xxvi. 18, to open their eyes, before he turn them to God, 
before they receive forgiveness of sin, before they have faith to receive it : 
He opens their eyes, &c. They were as blind men before, but now they 
see sin in its colours. Their apprehensions of sin now difier as much from 
those they had of it formerly, as the conceits which a blind man has of 
colours difier from his apprehensions of them when his eyes are opened. 
He apprehends his sins in their number and danger, guilt and stain, weight 

• ChryBOSt. 

ILkBK XYL 16.] OF FAITH. 79 

and heinonsness, in their diahononring and incensing quality as to God» in 
theijf defiling and damning power as to himself. 

* Tbe Spirit of God remove all exonses which he made use of to extenuate 
em, make it seem light, and keep the weight of it from his conscience ; now 
he looks on it as aggravated, as exceeding sinfal, exceeding damnable. 

And though this discovery hegin with some one particular sin, which the 
Lord sets home to the conscience, as the apostle first convinced the Jews 
• of their sin in crucifying Christ, Acts ii., yet usually it rests not in one, 
but proceeds to more. As a man run much in debt is first arrested for 
one sum, but when he is clapped up, then one action is laid on him after 
another^ till he be charged with the whole debt ; so after the sinner is under 
this arrest of the law, when one sin has seized efiectually on the conscience, 
the rest (as David said of his enemies) like bees, &c., he can say with a 
sad heart, ' Lord, how are they increased that trouble me.' 

As the Lord led Ezekiel from one place to another, and the further he 
'Went the greater abominations he discerned, Ezek. viii. 6, from the door 
of the court, ver. 7, to the door^lf the gate of the Lord's house, ver. 14, 
and frotm thence to the inner court, ver. 16 ; so the Spirit of the Lord leads 
the sinner from one part of his house to another, from one room, one 
&culty of his soul to another, and still discovers greater, more and more 
abominations ; leads him from the profaneness of his ordinary conversation 
to the sins of his religious duties, and from the sins of his life to the sins 
of his heart, from the streams of sin in his actions to the spring of sin 
which bubbles up continually in every part of his soul. Job xiii. 26. He 
brings to mind the sins that he has forgotten, makes him possess the sins 
of his youth, of his youngest years ; though he had let them slip out of his 
mind, yet the Lord takes a course to retain them, he seals them up in a 
bag, Job xiv. 17. And now the bag is opened, and the sinner sees what 
he is to reckon for, he cries out as the prophet's servant : 2 Kings vi. 15, 
' How shall we do T and as David, Ps. xxxviii. 4, * Mine iniquities are gone 
over mine head : as an heavy burden, they are too heavy for me.' 

2. Application of the desert of sin. The Lord convinces him that all 
those dreadful things which are denounced against sin belong to him, so 
that he applies them in particular to himself. He not only apprehends in 
general what is due to sin, the curses and threatenings of the law, the sen- 
tence of condenmation, the wrath of God, &c., but he applies these in 
particular : I have sinned thus and thus, and these are due to my sins, 
and therefore these are my portion. 

Heretofore he looked upon these in general without any personal appli- 
cation ; or if he applied them it was to others : Such and such a notorious 
sinner, these will fall heavy upon him, but I am not so wicked, mercy will 
keep off these from me. Oh, but now these are laid at his own door ; his 
conscience tells him (as Nathan did David), * Thou art the man.' So he 
takes it to himself: I am the man whom the Lord threatens, whom the 
law condemns, whom justice pursues, whose portion is the wrath of God, 
who am s^iienced to death. He looks not upon the tempest of wrath as 
afar ofi^ as that which may spend itself before it reach him, but he feels it 
beat upon his own vessel, ready to sink it ; the sea of wrath works and is 
tempestuous about him, and his conscience speaks, as Jonah i. 12, * I know 
that for my sake this great tempest is come,' it is I, that vengeance follows ; 
it is I, that in justice and sentence of law stand condemned to eternal death. 

He comes not to the assizes as formerly, to be a spectator, to see others 
tried and eondemned. He sees himself now at the bar, himself arraigned 

80 OF FAITH. [Maek XVI. 16. 

and indicted, he cannot bat plead gailty. He is clearly cast in law, and 
he hears the sentence of condemnation as though his name were writ in the 
Scripture, as though the Lord did by name pronounce sentence against him. 

This is the work of the spirit of bondage, of which. Bom. viii. 15, where 
observe the order and opposition. 

The order. The spirit of bondage goes before the spirit of adoption ; 
again, intimating plainly, they had received the spirit of bondage formerly, 
viz., before they had received the spirit of adoption. They had fearfol 
apprehensions of wrath, before they had the assurances of a Father's love. 

The opposition. These two spirits are opposed in their works. The 
work of the spirit of adoption is to witness together without our spirits, the 
spirit of believers, that they are the children [of God] ; and, therefore, the 
work of the spirit of bondage is to witness together with the spirits, the 
consciences of unbelievers that they are the children of wrath. 

And as the spirit of adoption works this comfortable assurance by way 
of a practical reasoning, in like manner does the spirit of bondage give in 
the contrary testimony by way of a syllogism. ' Cursed is every one that 
continues,' &c. But I have continued in practices quite against the law, 
ergo^ I am cursed. < The wages of sin is death ;' but thousands of sins lie 
upon my charge, ergOf eternal death is due to me. ' The wrath of God is 
revealed from heaven,' &c. But I am guilty of so much ungodliness, so 
much unrighteous ; therefore what remains but that the wrath of God 
should be revealed from heaven against me ? The Lord Jesus shall be 
revealed from heaven in flaming flre, taking vengeance on them that know 
not God, and obey not the gospel of our Lord, 2 Thes. i. 7, 8, but I have 
disobeyed the gospel, and, therefore (unless salvation come by the Lord 
Jesus Christ), I shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the 
presence of God, verse 9. ' He that believes not is condemned already,' 
John iii. ' The wrath of God abides on him ;' but I have continued in 
unbelief, ergo, I am condemned, the wrath of God abides on me, and 
(unless some gracious provision be made for my perishing soul) I shall be 
damned. This application, &c., is another step to faith. And though the 
condition of a sinner under these convictions seem sad, yet is far more 
hopeful than the state of those who continue secure and senseless, because 
they are in the way, they are upon the anvil ; and though the law be a 
hammer to them (as the word is called, Jer. xxiii. 29), and the strokes 
thereof be terrible, yet this is the way to be polished, to be made fit stones 
for Christ's temple, for the New Jerusalem ; whereas secure sinners are 
as stones in the quarry, far off from that which is but a preparative to faith 
and salvation. 

8. Compunction. The soul is wounded with the apprehensions of sin 
and wrath ; the weight of them lie heavy upon his conscience, they enter 
as iron into his soul : Acts ii. 87, ' When they heard this,' when their sin 
was applied particularly, ye have crucified, verses 86 and 28, and appre- 
hended what was due in particular for such a horrid act, ' they were pricked 
at the heart,' xarfiru/ijffair, it pierced their hearts as though tiiey had been 
run through with a sword or a spear. So the word is used I A. O. y^tftfcvrs; 
g/^sAv t\ xai lyx^^*^' Such acute anguish, such piercing grief, did^wound 
their souls, as though a sword had lanced their very hearts, Jer. vi. 4. It 
b a rending of the heart elsewhere, Joel ii. 18, a ploughing up of the heart. 
The law armed with wrath makes deep furrows in the heart. Now what 
anguish will follow such a rending, a wounding of the heart, we may imagine ; 
bat our thoughts and our words will come short of the sinner's sense. 

Mask XVI. 16.] of faith. 81 

The issae of snch a particniar application of wrath must needs be fear, 
horror, angaish, and fearfnl expectations of judgment. The very discourse 
of this made Felix to tremble, Acts xxiv. 25, mach more might the gaoler 
tremble, who had the sense of it, Acts xvi. 29. 

The Lord sometimes makes nse of outward providences, the sight or 
report of some fearful judgment, or the quick apprehensions of death, to 
startle the sinner, and likewise^ to bring him to the sense of his misery. 
These may be subservient to the word, to begin or increase this consterna- 
tion of the soul, as- we see the earthquake was to the gaoler, verse 28. 

And the Lord,, when he makes his word effectual, he fixes the eye of the soul 
upon these sad things, holds it to ihem. This is grievous to nature, the sin- 
ner will be inclined to shake off these sad thoughts^ and Satan will be ready 
to offer hiuQ diversions enough, to draw him to his jovial companions, that 
he nay drown or sing away these cares, or to engage him in deep worldly 
busmees, that the noise of the world may drown the cries of his conscience. 
He will tempt him to shake them off, as Felix did when he began to tremble 
at Paul's preaching of judgment, ' Go thy way for this time ; when I have 
convenient season I will call for thee,* ver. 2&. Or carnal friends, &c. 
Ay, but when the Lord intends hereby to fit the soul for Christ, he pre- 
vents this diversion, he holds the iron in the furnace until it be malleable ; 
he fixes the eye upon sin and wrath, so that whithersoever he turns, his 
sin is with him, and hell before him ; the cry of sin, and the curse of the 
law, is ever in his ears, Fs. li. 8. The pillar of fire leaves him not till he 
be on the borders of Canaan, till it leads him to the Lord Jesus Christ. 

He continues him under the spirit of bondage, where work is fear. Bom. 
Tiii. ; he abides under these fears, this anguish, hanging as it were by a thread 
over the bottomless pit, till he be fit for the glad tidings of the gospel. 

But hence observe, the Lord is very various in this dispensation, both 
as to the continuance of those fears and terrors, as also to Uie measure and 
degree of them. Some lie long upon the rack of terror ; to others he does 
bat as it were shew the torture. Some lie long under the pangs of the 
new birth, their throes are strong, and many others have a more quick and 
easy deliveiy. The apprehensions of wrath seize upon some as an earth- 
qoike, which makes the foundations of the soul to shake, and with violence 
breaks or unhinges the door of the heart ; in others, the door is unlocked, 
the bolts knooked off with a blow or two, and the heart opened to Christ 
in a gentler way. Some are led through these dreadful visions of wrath, 
even to the pit of despair ; others have a door opened, when they are newly 
come into this valley of the shadow of death. 

It is the Lord's design in all upon whom he thus works, to make them 
Biek of sin ; but in some it is a burning, a raging fever ; in others it is 
hot as a stomaeh sickness, which makes them loathe si&, and vomit it up 
as bitter and nauseous. 

But though this humiliation be in some more, in some less, both as to 
time and degree, yet in all, when the Lord draws to believe, there is so 
iLnch as to drive Uiem utterly out of themselves unto the Lord Jesus. 

4. Inquiry, how he shall avoid this misery, what he shall do to be freed 
from that burden of sin and wrath, which is rea^ to sink him ; what he 
ihall do to pacify that wrath that bums like fire, and is ready to devour ; 
how he shall satisfy that justice which pursues, and is every moment ready 
to smite him dead ; what course he shall take to escape those everlasting 
bonuDgs, into which he is in danger to &11 every hour ? When Peter's 
Bennon had wounded the Jews with sense of their sin, this is the imme- 

VOL. I. F 

82 OF FAITH. [Mabk XVI. 16. 

diate issae of it, Acts ii. 87, < What shall we do T So in the gaoler ; when 
the apprehension of his misery shaked his soul, even as the earthquake 
shaked the prison, Acts zvi. 80, it puts him upon this inquiry, * What shall 
I do to he saved ?' Nor does the sinner in this case inquire as npon the 
hye, carelessly, indifferently ; but his whole soul puts itself forth in this 
inquiry. As a man run through with a sword has present death before 
his eyes, would inquire for a chirurgeon, — Oh for a chirurgeon, or else I 
die I or as one whose house is on fire, and the flames all about his ears, 
would inquire how he may quench it ; or as a man upon the sea, when 
the waves and storms beat the ship upon the rock, when he apprehends 
the vessel broke, and the waters breaking in upon him, would inquire what 
he should do to escape death and drowning, — he inquires as for his life. 
He is not as one that comes to a shop to cheapen a commodity, indifferent 
whether he have it or no, unless he can get an extraordinary pennyworth ; 
but he inquires as one that resolves to have it, whatever it costs him. He 
inquires of the way, as a soldier after a route inquires after a stronghold : 
he is pursued by the enemy, death is at his heels ; he resolves to press in, 
if he can find the way, whatever danger or difficulty encounter him, Luke 
xvi. 16. John was the messenger of the Lord, sent before Christ to pre- 
pare the way for him, * to prepare the way of the Lord,* &c. And this he 
does by declaring their sins, and the wrath of God coming upon them for 
sin, Mat. iii. 7, 10. Now when they were effectually possessed with the 
sense thereof, tiiey press. The straitness of the gate, the crowd of impe- 
diments wherewith Satan, the world, their lusts stop up the way, shall not 
hinder them ; they resolve to press through, to put their whole strength 
and might, as a man that would break through a thick crowd. An inquiry 
thus resolved is another step to faith. 

5. A renunciation, a renouncing of all unsafe ways, all indirect courses, 
to procure peace. When the sinner comes to inquire what course he shall 
take, he may meet with many counsellors, and he does not always at first 
pitch upon the best. Satan and his carnal acquaintance will advise him to 
return to his former sinful courses, those that have been so delightful to 
him formerly, that in them he may find ease. If he follow this counsel, he 
is lost ; but if this seem too gross, too dangerous, if the flame already 
kindled be so terrible as he dares not add fuel to it ; if he be convinced 
that this is not the way to quench the fire, but to make it flame higher : 
it may be one more specious may be suggested ; he will betake himself to 
hear and pray, to wait upon the ordinances, to reform some things amiss, 
and think hereby to pacify God, who seems so angry, to satisfy justice, 
which is so incensed, and so to get ease to his afflicted conscience. Ay, 
but if he rest here, he will never come to faith ; and therefore when the 
Lord intends a saving work, he will not suffer him to rest in these. These 
are good in themselves, and necessary ; but, if rested in, they are perni- 
cious. The Lord will convince him that these are the way, not the end. 
To rest in them upon these terms is to make them saviours, not the way 
to a Saviour. He will shew him that these amount not to the least mite, 
whereas he owes ten thousand talents. He will shew him the sinfulness 
of them, that they are so far from satisfying, as that thereby he runs fur- 
ther upon the score ; that these are so far from saving him, as that he 
needs a Saviour when he has done his best, lest the sins of his best deeds 
should condemn him. He knocks down these rotten pillars, on which the 
soul would find an unsafe support ; so that he falls flat down under the 
sense of his sinfulness and impotency. He sees, for all that he has, or all 

MaBK XVI. 16'.] OF FAITH. 88 

thai be can do, he most perish, unless help be laid npon one that is more 
mjghtj. He empties him of all opinion of bis own righteousness, of his 
own sufficiency. He spreads his net in the gospel to catch this lost sin- 
ner, that will else be a prey to Satan. Now, as fishermen, when they would 
be sure of a good draught, they beat the sides of the river ; they know if 
the fish can lie secure in any hole, they will never come into the net ; thus 
the Lord drives the sinner out of conceit of himself, out of every lurking- 
place, that he may run straight to Christ. 

Faith is a flying to Christ. Now in this motion there is something from 
which, a terminus a quo ; this is not only his own wickedness, but his own 
righteousness. This is the stronger hold of the two, and usually holds out 
longer. To drive him out of it, ti^e Lord shews him the vanity and weak- 
ness of it, that it is but like those. Nab. iii. 12. The least blast of the 
Lord's displeasure will make them fall, as ripe figs in a storm of wind ; that 
they are but as broken reeds, if he lean on them they will break under, 
pierce him rather than support, and let him fall into hell besides. He says 
to him, as Babshakeh to Hezekiah, 2 Kings xviii. 21, ' If a man lean on 
it, it will go into his hand and pierce it.' And so he brings him to the 
apostle's opinion, who, Phil. iii. 8, counted his own privileges, righteous- 
ness, but as loss and dung. And now he is in the highway to Christ ; 
there is but a step betwixt him and faith. 

A soul in this distress, like a drowning man, will catch at every twig to 
save his life ; but if the Lord intend to bring him to shore, he will not 
suffer him to trust to that, that will let him sink and sink with him ; not 
trust to his own righteousness, performances, &c. He takes him not off 
from performing these, but from resting in them. Oh ! alas ! says the 
humbled soul, if I have nothing else to save me, I perish for ever. He 
sees these are but a refuge of lies : Isa. zxviii. 17, ' The hail shall sweep 
away,' &c. It is a deceitful refuge ; I shall have nothing of what I expect 
from it. It is such a shelter, as a 6tonn will beat down about my ears 
and sweep it away. If I take sanctuary in my duties, righteousness, these 
will not secure me. Justice will pluck me from the horns of these altars, and 
slay me. And therefore he looks further. 

6. Revelation of Christ. When the Lord has brought him out of these 
by-ways wherein he would lose himself, he shews him the true way, the 
only way to pardon and life. When he has diverted him from his deceitful 
refuges, he shews the distressed sinner a city of refuge opened in Christ. 

He shews him the glory and excellency of Christ, represents him as 
' fairer than the children of men, the chiefest in ten thousand, and infi- 
nitely loving and lovely.' 

He shews the sufficiency of Christ ; that there is nothing can be required 
to deliver and enhappy a humbled sinner, but it is to be found in him ; 
that he is able to save to the utmost, Heb. vii. 25. 

He shews his necessity of Christ, that there is ' no other name,' &c. 
Acts iv. 12. No other sanctuary will secure, no other price will discharge 
him, and no other surety will be accepted. 

He shews him a possibility that Christ may save and pardon him ; he 
has pardoned such and such, whose sins were so great and so many ; he 
came to save what was lost, and why not him ? 

He shews him a certainty of it in case he will believe, that he will cast 
off none that come to him ; that he will lose none, suffer none to miscarry, 
that cast themselves on him. 

The sinner has heard these things, it may be, often before, but he heard 

84 OF FAITH. [Marx XYI. 16. 

thorn as though he heard them not. He was like the Jews when the veil 
was upon them ; seeing, he saw, hat perceived not ; hearing, he heard, 
hnt understood not. Not because they were not clearly revealed, bnt 
because of his blindness, onbelief, carelessness ; his carnal heart was not 
moved with spiritual discoveries, looked on them as not so much concern- 
ing him. He heard of this as a man with a full stomach hears of a feast ; 
or as one that thinks himself above the fear of justice hears of a pardon ; 
he finds no need of it, and so little regards it. Thus he heard of Christ 
before. Oh but now he hears these things as though he were another man, 
as though he had another soul. The report of Christ is glad tidings indeed. 
He hears of Christ as one in the executioner's hand, ready to die, hears 
of a pardon. He looks on Christ as one that has been all his days in a 
dungeon would look on the sun : 2 Cor. iv. 6, the discovery of Christ is 
to him as a glorious light shining on a sudden upon one in darkness. He 
was before in Satan's dungeon, as the apostle was before the revelation of 
Jesus Christ, verse 4 ; his eyes was put out. And besides, the object was 
veiled ; he saw no more beauty in Christ than the Israelites saw gloiy in 
Moses's face when the veil was upon it, verse 8. But now his eye is opened, 
the veil is removed (for to that the apostle alludes), and he sees a glorious 
light, a glorious beauty in the fo/ce of Christ. 

7. Hope. Though he despair as to himself, yet the Lord keeps him from 
despairing as to Christ. Though he have no hope in himself, yet * there 
is hope in Israel,' there is hope in the gospel * concerning this thing.' 
Though he be ready to sink under the pressure of sin and wrath, yet tSie 
discoveries of the gospel keep his head above water. He continues trem- 
bling under the apprehensions of wrath and misery, yet the Lord keeps 
him from falling quite down. The discoveries of Christ afford so much 
hope as somewhat strengthens the feeble knees, and yields some support 
to the trembling soul. He continues in a fluctuating condition, sometimes 
up, sometimes down, according as tHe impressions of law or gospel prevail, 
sometimes more, sometimes less. His feet are sometimes quite gone, his 
hold is lost, and he is ready to say. My hope is perished from me. Yet 
the Lord has made such provision in the gospel that though he foil, yet 
shall he rise ; though he sink, yet will the Lord bring him up again. 
Some twig or other the Lord helps him to in the gospel, and holds him by 
it till he bring him to shore. He apprehends justice pursuing him, he 
hears it crying out to an incensed God, Shall I smite him ? shall I smite ? 
and he is in dreadful expectations of the fatal blow. Oh but he hears 
withal there is a sanctuary, there is a city of refuge set open in the gospel 
if he could but reach it ; if he could but get into it, there is hopes for hun, 
there he might be safe, there he might be secure from revenging justice. 
It never seized on any sinner that was fled thither for refuge. 

He feels that sin has stung his soul ; the sting of that fiery serpent is 
deadly, the poison thereof drii^ up his spirits, he feels it even seizing 
upon his vitals ; it has brought him even to the gates of death, all the art 
of men and angels cannot cure the wound. Oh but he hears withal there 
is a brazen serpent lifted up in the gospel, there is a healing, a sovereign 
virtue in Christ, there is balm in Gilead, there is a physician there, one 
that can heal a dying soul with a word, with a touch, nay, with a look. If 
he might have but a sight of him, might be admitted but to touch him, 
though it were but the hem of his garment, there is hopes. Though I were 
dead, yet should I live ; no poison too deadly, too strong for that sovereign 
virtue that is in Christ. 

Mam XVI. 16.] of faith. 86 

He apprehends the waves and billows of God*s indignation ready to go 
over him, ready to sweep him out of the land of the living ; he knows not 
how soon he may be buried under those waves, under that wrath ; he lives 
in a fearful expectation of- it, and here the waves grow higher and higher. 
Oh but he hears withal there is an ark able to save him from that deluge, 
if he could but reach it ; if he could but get into it, he might be safe ; if 
Christ would but put forth his hand and teke him in, he should be above 
that dreadful flood. 

Wrath is due to thee, says the law, it is coming, thy damnation sleeps 
not ; it is swifl destruction, wrath will come upon &ee speedily. Oh but, 
says the gospel, there is a Jesus, a Jesus that delivers from the wrath to 
come. Oh how sweet is that sentence to the sensible sinner, Jesus who 

Alas, says the sensible sinner, I am but a dead man, the sentence of 
death is passed upon me, I am condemned already ; I am now in the hands 
of justice, ready for execution. Oh but does not the gospel speak of a 
pardon ? There is a pardon out for some that are condemned, here is some 
hope for me ; though the sentence of condemnation be passed, yet it is not 
absolute ; though I be cast in law, and judgment passed against me, yet if 
I could but believe, execution might be stopped. There is life to be had 
for some who have received sentence of death. My condition is not hope- 
less, unless my unbelief make it so, 1 John v. 11, 12. There is life for 
condemned wretches if they believe. Though wrath has so tea seized on 
me as to proceed to sentence, yet wrath will not abide on me unless I abide 
in unbelief ; there is some hopes if I could but believe. Thus the sensible 
sinner is helped up from sinking ; hope keeps his head above the waves, 
or brings him up again when he is already overwhelmed and seems quite 

When he is even oppressed by the powers of darkness, and the dismal 
apprehensions of wrath and misery, the Lord opens some crevice, lets in 
some glimpse of hope. The discoveries of Christ in the gospel are as ' a 
door of hope opened to him in this valley of Achor,' Zech. ix. 11. Here 
is the state of a lost sinner represented by the state of the Jews captivated 
in Babylon : where yon may see the misery of it, ' in a pit ' ; the helpless- 
ness of it, ' no water* ; the hopes of it, though prisoners, yet '.prisoners of 
hope ' ; the grounds of those hopes, whoUy out of themselves, in the blood 
of the covenant, and this stronghold. 

Their misery, which sinners in the way to faith are sensible of, they are 
in a pit, a dark pit ; the state of nature is a state of darkness, it is Satan's 
dungeon, not a spark of saving light ; and therefore when brought out of 
it they are said to be ' turned from darkness to light, and from the power 
of SiUan to God,' Acts xxvi. They are bound, fettered in this dungeon ; 
and therefore the Dutch render it ' thy bounden ones ;' they are loaden 
with fetters, with that which is worse than fetters and iron, the bonds of 
iniquity. They are in no capacity of themselves to scramble out of this 
dismal condition ; nay, the mouth of the pit is closed, the Lord has shut 
it up, and shut them up in it, Bom. xi. 82, 0t;irf xXiitfi. And as of them- 
selves they cannot get out of it, so they cannot live in it, they have not so 
much as water to live upon ; a pit wherein there is no water, no succour, 
no comfort, no refreshment, nothing to refresh or sustain their souls for a 
moment. He apprehends the misery of it, a pit wherein there is no 
sneoonr, destitute of all remedy. So he now finds it, he must look out if 
he mean to live. 

86 OF FAITH. [Mark XVI. 16. 

Bat as it is helpless, is it hopeless too ? No ; a sensible sinner, thongh a 
prisoner, yet a prisoner of hope, he hears there is a refage, a stronghold 
for him ; thongh he be now sunk into this pit, thongh there be no water 
to keep him alive in it, yet there is the blood of the covenant to bring him 
ont of it. This is it which makes him a prisoner of hope ; an eye of hope, 
in this forlorn state, upon this stronghold, upon this blood of the covenant, 
is one step out of the pit, one step towards faith. 

8. Self-abhorrence. This springs from the former. Hopes that he may 
find mercy with God, and probability that he may have pardon through 
Christ, fill him with indignation against sin, and himself for sin ; makes 
him condemn himself and justify God, though he should proceed against 
him with the greatest severity. When the soul is cast down low, under 
dreadful apprehensions of wrath and misery, and then raised up, though 
but a little, to some hopes of deliverance, it makes a great impression upon 
the heart. And is there hopes for me, says the sinner, who have so much, 
so long, so highly offended God ? for me, who have so shamefully abused 
mercy, so vilely contemned Christ 7 Is there hopes for me, who might 
have been now in hell, in a hopeless condition ? for me, when so many less 
sinners than I are without hope ? for me, who have done all I could to 
make my condition desperate ? Can the Lord be inclinable to shew me 
mercy ? Can Christ entertain any thoughts of peace concerning me ? Is 
this possible ? Is there hopes after all ? Oh then what a wretch am I, 
that have so dishonoured such a God I that have so affronted, so wounded 
such a Saviour ! Oh there is no hell too grievous for such a wretch as I 
am, no wrath too heavy for such a rebel as I have been, no vengeance too 
severe for such injuries, such sins as mine. How few are there in hell, 
who have more deserved hell than I ! I am, I hear, in a way to mercy, in 
a way of hope, when so many better than I are in that place of torment, 
shut up in a despairing state for ever. And is it that Gcd whom I have 
80 provoked, so dishonoured, that has made this difference ? Has all those 
millions of provocations been levelled against that God, against that God 
that gives me hopes of mercy ? Oh what a monster am I ! Oh how 
exceeding monstrous are my sins ! Nothing in earth or hell so vile as I ! 
No sins so abominable as these of mine ! The provocations of devils and 
damned souls are not worse than mine. They sin not against a God that 
gives hopes, as I' have done. The sinner thus affected, apprehends he 
cannot speak bad enough of himself and of his sins. 

This makes him abhor himself, this makes him sick of sin. That 
which was before as a sweet morse], it is now nauseous to his soul, it lies 
heavy on his stomach, he is sick of it, Mat. ix. 12. The sinner will not 
come to the physician, nor will the great physician undertake his cure, 
till he be, more or less, in some degree or other, thus sick of sin. This 
nauseating of sin, this loathing of it, and himself for it, is another step to 

9. Valuing of Christ. He has far other thoughts of Christ than hereto- 
fore. When he is brought so low in the sense of his own vileness, sinful- 
ness, misery, impotency, and sees the excellency, the all-sufficiency of Christ 
discovered in the gospel, his thoughts of Christ are raised. He that heard 
before of the blood and righteousness, of the satisfaction and intercession, 
of the love and bounty of Christ, as common things, words of course, of 
which he had but common thoughts, he finds a strong, a strange alteration 
as to his apprehensions of the value, worth, and necessity of Uiem. Dis- 
courses of Christ are not tedious now ; he thinks he can never hear enough 

MaBK XYI. 16.] OF FAITH. 87 

of them ; they do not pass ont as they come in ; they do not glide through 
his mind, without leaving any impression. He finds his thoughts of Christ 
raised by every word. He was before in a soul lethargy, as, ^as ! the most 
are. Tell him of cure, he minds it not, he is insensible. Ay, but now he 
has such thoughts of Christ, as one tortured with the stone has of that 
which he hears may give him ease and cure. He prizes Christ, as one 
ready to die with thirst and heat would prize a well of waters, as Samson, 
Judges XV. 18, or Hagar. He prizes Christ now, as one in cruel, miserable 
bondage in Turkish slavery would prize a ransom. So does he value this 
Avr^r. He looks on Christ now, as one that has been long in a dark dun- 
geon would look upon the light, if a beam of it should break in on a sudden 
upon him in that dismal place, Mai. iv. Suppose a man bom blind should 
have his eyes opened on a sudden, and see tiie sun rising in its gloty, what 
thoughts would he have of it ! Such thoughts has ^e sensible sinner 
now of Christ, when, his eyes being opened, he sees him revealed in the 

He wonders at his former blindness and stupidness, that his apprehen- 
sions of Christ should be so low, when he has been so clearly revealed in 
the word. Where Christ is truly preferred before all things, there are the 
seeds of faith. But I suppose this high esteem of Christ is in order of 
nature, though not in order of time, before actual faith. For till Christ be 
thus valued, the sinner is not willing to accept of Christ on his own terms ; 
till he be the pearl of great price, he is not willing to sell all for him, to 
renounce all, that he may cleave only to Christ for pardon. 

10. Strong desires after Christ. It is the goodness of a thing which 
makes it the object of our desires ; and the more excellent that goodness 
is apprehended to be, the more ardent are our desires. The more neces- 
sary it is apprehended, the more restless, and importunate, and insatiable 
are our desires, and the more easily will we yield to any terms upon which 
it may be obtained. 

Now the discovery of the sinner's misery and impotency, makes him 
apprehend an absolute necessity of Christ. The discovery of Christ's all- 
sufficiency, as able to save and relieve him to the utmost, makes him 
apprehend a transcendent excellency in Christ. Hence his desires after 
Christ are ardent, importunate, such as make him ready to stoop to any- 
thing, so as he may have Christ. 

His desires are ardent. He longs for Christ as Rachel for children, Gen. 
XXX. 1. Oh give me Christ, or else I die. Wrath will overwhelm me, 
jostiee will seize on me, hell will swallow me up ; there is no way but I 
most perish, without Christ. Give me Christ, or else I die. 

His heart is carried after Christ, as David's was to that which he calls 
the law, the word, the testimony of God ; he longed, he breathed, he panted 
after them : Ps. cxix. 40, ' I have longed after,' &c. ; ver. 20, ' My soul 
breaketh for the longing that it hath,' &c. His heart was so far stretched 
ont in longing desires, as it was ready to break. Now indeed that which 
he thus intensely desired was Christ, veiled under the expressions, law, &c., 
ior we cannot by the law here understand the covenant of works (for what 
is to be desired in that ?) but Hfe. Now life, upon the terms of that law 
or covenant, is become impossible ; and that which is impossible, is not 
desirable. The object of desire is a; possible good. It is not the doctrine 
of the covenant of works. What then can it be, but the doctrine of the 
covenant of grace, since the whole doctrine of the Scripture is referred to 
one of these covenants ? That kw, &c., which he longed for, was that 

88 OF FAITH. [Mabk XYI. 16. 

which is contained in the covenant of grace. And what is the snm of that 
but Christ ? This is it which he longed for. And indeed Christ was as 
fully and sufficiently held forth in the Old Testament as in the New, though 
not BO clearly and perspicuonsly. They had the gospel under that adminis- 
tration, which we call the law or Old Testament, sufficiently, though not so 
evidently as we. And therefore Paul, who preached the gospel as purely 
aud fully as ever it was preached in the world, professeth tibat he preached 
nothing but what was contained in the law and the prophets, nothing in 
the New but what was in the Old Testament, Acts zzvi. 22. 

David had the doctrine of the gospel of Ohrist, of salvation by Christ 
then. And this was it his heart was fio*drawn out after ^ and so he expresses 
it, Ps. cxix. 81, 174. The law wherein he delighted was the doctrine of 
salvation, and so the doctrine of Christ, in whom alone salvation is to be 
found ; and Christ is called salvation, Luke iL 28. That which Simeon 
saw David longed for ; he longed for it ardently. And so does the sensible 
sinner long for Christ as for salvation, when he finds himself in such danger 
to be damned ; longs for Christ as for life, when he sees death and hell 
before him, and no hopes of life without Christ. 

This makes his desires importunate. Nothing else will satisfy him ; he 
will not be put off with any else. If the Lord would offer him a world in 
this case, it would not satisfy. Alas, says he, what would a thousand 
worlds avail me, if, after a momentary enjoyment of them, I must go to 
hell for ever ! What will these profit me, so long as the Lord's wrath 
bums against me ! What will all the pleasures and riches of the world 
avail me, so long as I am but a condemned person, and in danger eveiy 
hour to be led forth to execution I Oh no ; let me have Christ, whatever 
I want. Let me have him who can procure a pardon for a condemned 
soul ; let me have him who can make my peace with an incensed God ; 
let me have him who can save me from the wrath to come. Oh Christ, or 
nothing. Alas ! whatever else I have or the world can afford, they are 
woeful comforts, miserable comforts to a perishing soul. A Jesus, a Saviour 
for a lost soul ; none but Christ. 

Effectual desires. Such as make them stoop to -any terms, submit to 
any conditions, so he may have Christ. He wiU not now capitulate with 
Christ ; but so us he may have himself, he may make his own terms. He 
is ready to do anything, to suffer anything, to part with anything, so he 
may gain Christ. So it was with the apostle, Philip, iii. ; those things 
which were gain to him, of which he thought to make the greatest advan- 
tage, he would part with them tis loss, as freely as a man would part with 
that which he were like to lose by, as that which is like to undo him. And 
those things which he counted his glory before, he would part with them 
as cxhfiakoLj as duog, as freely as one would cast dung out of his lodging. 
And why ? That he might gain Christ ; that he might be found in him. 
Ask the soul now (who was resolved before to keep such and such a sin, 
notwithstanding all that Christ ooald do or say in the ministry of the 
gospel). Wilt Uiou part with such a lust, that which has been so gainful, 
brought in such a revenue of pleasure, profit, or applause ? Oh, says he, 
it is loss now ; it would undo me if I should not quit it ; I should lose 
Christ, I should lose my soul, if I live in it ; I'll part with it as freely as I 
would part with a mortal disease, as with that which would ruin me. 

He desires Ctirist, as Esau longed for meat when he was ready to faint 
and die for hunger ; if Jacob would but give him meat, he might make his 
own terms for it. Gen. xzv. 80-82 : * Sell me thy birthright,* says he. 

MaBK XVI. 16.] OF FAITH. 89 

Here was hard terms ; for the birthright concerned the office of the priest- 
hood, a pre-eminence over the brethren, and a doable portion of the father's 
estate. But though this might seem hard, yet Esau's necessity is so great, 
his appetite so strong, that he sticks not at it, ver. 82. So the sinner hears 
what he must part with, if he will have Christ ; and when Satan or his 
coimpt heart would persuade him it is a hard bargain, yet he finds his 
extremity so great, death so near him, he will not stand on it. Behold, I 
am at the point to die ; there is but a step between me and eternal death ; 
my soul is ready to drop into hell ; and what will these riches, these plea- 
sorGs, these lusts do to me ? I shall die, if I had ten thousand times more 
of the best of these, if I haye not the bread of life, if I have not Christ. 
And therefore he resolves as firmly as if he were tied by Jacob's oath, that 
he will quit all, if he may but have life, if Christ will be life to him. He 
longs for Christ, as Shechem did for Dinah, Gen. zziv. 8. He would give 
anything, if he might but obtain his desires, ver. 11, 12. Oh but they 
stand not upon dowry ; they propound terms of another nature, ver. 15. 
He and his people must be circumcised, if he meant to have Dinah ; and 
to be circumcised was painful, it was perilous too, and it is like at that 
time reproached to the heathen. But yet so was his heart drawn out after 
her, as even these hard terms pleased him, ver. 18, 19. It pleased him 
BO as, how grievous soever it might seem, he deferred not to do it. 

Thus it is with a sinner in this case ; he is so taken with Christ, he does 
so long for him, that if the match may be but made up, whatever terms 
Christ will propound shall please him, even the reproach of Christ, even 
dangers and sufiferings for Christ shall please him, so he may but enjoy 
him. WhateTer stands in the way shall be cut off, though it be as dear to 
him as his own flesh, as a right hand or right eye. Even his heart shaU 
be circumcised, since Christ would have it so ; how painful soever it seem, 
yet it does please him, he will not defer to do it, se as Christ may be 
given him. 

And when it is come to this, the seeds of faith (which are in the heart 
when Christ is so highly valued, as I shewed in the fonner head) begin to 
sprout forth. S«ch an ardent, importunate, effectual desise after Clmst is 
a sprig of flEuth ; but yet he is not come to cast himself <m Christ, to that 
actual dependence on him, whereby the Holy Ghost seems most frequently 
to represent faith unto us, one step frurther he must go before he come 
to this. 

11. A persuasion that the Lord would have them to believe that Christ 
is willing they should rest on him for pardon and life. Not only that he 
will receive those that come to him, but that he is willing they should 
come ; not only that he will not fail those who rely on him, but Uiat he is 
wiUing they should rely on him. He convinces the sensible sinner not only 
of the necessity of faiUi, that unless he believe, there is nothing for him but 
wrath and condemnation, no way but this to avoid hell and eternal death. 
Not only of the exceUency of &ith, and of the certain advantage which 
may be got by believing, that if he could believe, the storm would be oyer, 
jastice would be satisfi^, wrath would be appeased, pardon, and reconcilia- 
tion, and life would be his portion, but also that it is a duty, yea, his duty 
to belieye, and to believe now. Many times the sensible sinner sticks at 
this, he finds a difficulty here not easily mastered. Though he be satisfied 
it is a duty to some to rest on Christ, and apply the promise, those who 
are deeply hnmbled, and fitly qualified, yet he questions whether it be hi$ 
duty, at least whether it be y^t lus duty. He doubts whether Christ's 

90 or FAITH. [MiBK XYI. 16. 

invitations and commands be directed to him for this purpose. He eyes 
not the aathority of Christ so much as his mercy in such injanctions, and 
doubts that he is not yet a fit subject for such mercy. He looks upon 
believing as a privilege rather than a duty, a privilege that he is altogether 
unfit for, unworthy of. He is not yet sufficiently prepared, not humbled 
enough ; he is too sinful, too unworthy, to have anything to do with Christ 
and the promise. It may be a duty to others, but it would be presumption 
in him to lay hold on Christ in the promise. That is bread for children, 
he cannot presume that a crumb of it belongs to him. Will the Lord 
invite such a woeful prodigal as I have been to return to his house ? May 
such a rebel as I have been have access to the King of glory ? Will the 
golden sceptre be holden out to me ? Does Christ stretch out his arms to 
such a sinful piece of deformity ? May I come into his embraces ? Oh, 
it is no easy matter to persuade a humbled soul of this. But yet he waits 
upon the Lord in the use of appointed means, and in the use of them the 
Lord lifts him above this difficulty, and satisfies his doubts, removes his 
scruples, persuades him that it is his will, even that he should believe. 
And indeed, as faith of assurance comes ordinarily by the application in 
particular of a promise, so the soul comes not ordinarily to this faith of 
dependence but by the particular application of Christ's commands and 
invitations, till he be persuaded that the general command to believe con- 
cerns him, and is, as it were, directed to him in particular. 

When he hears these gracious invitations, * Come unto me, all ye,' &c., 
' Ho, every one that thirsteth, come,* &c., and ' let whosoever will, come,' 
Why, says he, it seems Christ would have me come to him ; I am the 
person, how unworthy soever, whom he invites, importunes, beseeches. 
When he hears the command, 1 John iii. 28, he takes it to himself, as 
though he were named in it : It is the will and pleasure of Christ that I 
should believe ; he directs his command unto, and lays it to me. When 
he hears that to believe is to give glory to God, Bom. iv. 20, Why, says 
he, though I have so much dishonoured Christ, he will count himself glori- 
fied by my believing in him. When he hears that he that believes not 
makes God a liar, 1 John v. 10, If I should not believe, says he, I should 
cast this dishonour on him ; my keeping off from Christ puts this affiront 
on him ; either I must believe him or give him the lie. Oh, I have dis- 
honoured, affironted him too much already, shall I add this to all the 

12. He resolves to comply with the Lord's invitation, to obey his com- 
mand, and so casts himself upon Christy cleaves to him, rests on him, 
embraces him, and holds him fast. 

Though I be the unworthiest sinner that ever had access to Christ, yet 
since he delights to glorify the freeness and riches of his grace in admit- 
ting those that are most unworthy, and since he expresses it by inviting 
me, shall I not hearken to him 7 shall not I comply with his gracious 

Though I be unworthy to come, yet is not he worthy to be obeyed ? I 
am cast away for ever if I cast not myself on Christ ; and now he stretches 
out his arms to receive me, what can I desire more ? I perish if I come 
not ; and now when he invites me to come, shall I refuse ? shall I defer ? 
shall I destroy myself and dishonour him both at once, by forbearing to do 
what he commands me, when I am damned if I do it not ? 

The invitation of Christ encourages him, but his own extremity forces 
him to roll himself on Christ ; it forces him, &c. 

Ham XVI. 16. j op faith. 91 

It is with the sinner-in this case as it was with those four lepers, 2 Kings 
vii. 8, 4. Thus says the sensihle sinner within himself, "Wliy stay I in 
this state of nnhelief till I die ? What coarse soever offer itself, there is 
bat one way to escape death, and that is by ranning to Christ. If I say, 
I will enter into the city, if I return back to my former evil ways, whether 
of profaneness or formality, the wrath of God beleagaers that state, a 
famine is there, no relief can come into it, my son! will certainly perish 
there ; bat if I sit still here in the state where I am, without ventaring on 
Christ, why, here I shall surely die, I am every moment in danger of 
eternal death. Now therefore, come, let me fall into the hands of Christ ; 
if he save me alive, I shall live, and if he kill me, I shall but die. There 
is hopes I may live by coming to him, bat if I go not, there is nothing but 
certain death. Nay, the humbled soul has more encouragement here than 
the lepers. There is not only provisions for life enough in Christ's all- 
snfficiency, he has his invitation to come to him for life ; nay, he has his 
promise, that if he will come, he shall live. 

Upon this, the soul resolves, and ventures, renouncing all other ways 
and supports, resolving to submit to Christ's terms, whatever they be ; he 
casts his perishing soul into the arms of Christ, and there he rests. 

Now, when the Lord has brought the sinner thus far, he is actually 
arrived at that faith which is saving and justifying. I have explained this 
act at large before. I need add no more, only a brief account of some of 
the consequences of this act. 

18. The Lord discovers his faith to him, possesses him with an appre- 
hension that he does truly believe. The former is the direct act of faith, 
this is a reflex act ; when he has acted faith, to know that it is faith which 
he acts. 

And sometimes it is a good while before the believer knows that he be- 
lieves indeed. As a man fallen into the water, in danger of being drowned, 
yet drawn out to land with much ado, through the fear and amazement 
that is on him, though he be safe, yet for a while knows not where he is, 
&c. As it is l^e power of the Spirit that works faith, so it is the light of 
the Spirit that discovers faith when it is wrought, 1 Cor. ii. 12. 

14. This makes way for assurance, that assurance which we call dis- 
cursive ; wherein the Spirit of God witnesses together with the spirit of a 
convert, that he is a believer ; by consequence brings him in this testimony, 
that he has everlasting life. He that believes has everlasting life ; but I 
believe, ergo^ I have, kc. 

There is another kind of assurance, from an immediate testimony of the 
Spirit, without such an application of Scripture grounds. 

Bat whether this assurance be intuitive or discursive, if it be an act of 
£kith, it is not the justifying act ; indeed, it seems rather an effect than an 
act of that faith, and that which follows after it, and sometimes at a great 
distance, Eph. i. 

15. From this assuranee proceeds sometimes peace, sometimes comfort, 
sometimes a joy, triumph, and glorying in God. Peace, freedom from fears 
and terrors ; comfort, a degree above peace ; joy, which is comfort in its 
exaltation ; peace, which is the hushing of the storm ; comfort, which is as 
the breaking out of the sun ; triumph, joy, which is as the sun shining in 
its fall strength. Bom. v. 1--8. 

Use 1. Information. See here the misery of unbelievers. Here is a 
dreadful representation of this in these words, we need go no farther. 
Here is the handwriting of God in the text, as terrible to anbelieyers aa 

02 OF FAITH. [Mabe XYI. 16. 

that handwriting on the wall was to Belshazzar, Dan. t. 5, 6. Methinks 
the countenance of every unbeliever, that sees or hears these words, should 
be changed. * He that believes not shall not see,' &c. Particularly here 
is misery negative : ' He shall not see life ; ' positive, ' the wrath of God,' 
&c. We have here an epitome of hell as the portion of an unbeliever. 
The miseries of hell are no more ihsxipcma damni, and pana sensus, and both 
these are entailed upon unbelievers : < Ho shall not see life ;' here is the 
pain of loss ; the pain of sense : ' The wrath of God abides on him.' An 
unbeliever is so far in hell upon earth as hell can be upon earth. He is 
without life ; he is dead spiritually ; he has not the least degree of spiritual 
life, no breathing, no motion truly vital and spiritual ; he is dead legally ; the 
law has passed sentence of death on him, he ' is condemned already,' ver. 18, 
and the sentence is so far executed, as that the wrath of God does now actually 
abide. He is without God, the author of life ; without'Christ, the purchaser 
of life ; without the covenant, the promise of life, and without hopes of 
heaven, the seat of everlasting life ; without grace, the beginnings of life ; 
without hopes of this ; so far he is from it, that it is out of sight; nor shall 
he ever see it, or hopes of it, till he believe. Distinctly, 

(1.) He is without Christ, the fountain of life. It is &ith by which the 
soul is contracted to Christ. An unbeliever is a stranger, an enemy to 
Christ, whatever friendship he pretend. And so is Christ a stranger, an 
enemy to him. It is faith by which the soul is united to Christ. An 
unbeHever is as far from Christ as earth is from heaven ; you may as well 
mingle and join heaven and earth together as join an unbeliever to Christ, 
Eph. ii. 12. 

It is faith by which Christ dwells in the heart, Eph. iii. 17. Christ dwells m 
the heart by faith. Satan dwells in the heart by unbelief. The heart of 
an unbeliever is the place where Satan has his throne. The heart of a 
believer is the habitation of Christ. The heart of an unbeliever is the 
habitation of the devil, Eev. viii. 2. Christ has possession of a believing 
soul, but the soul of an unbeliever is possessed by the devil. The strong 
man armed keeps that house, there he dwells, there he rules, Eph. ii. 2, vioTg 
rrii dv-c/^fi/a^, Uie children of unbelief, so rendered. Bom. xi. 82. He 
rules there, not only in heU, but on earth ; not only then, but now, tvv 
m^ovvTos, now, and will do for ever, till Christ come by faith to put him 
out of possession. 

An unbeliever has nothing to do with the person of Christ ; that I have 
shewed ; nor has he any rights to the purchase or benefits of Christ. 
Instance in two, which comprise the rest : the blood of Christ, or the 
righteousness performed on earth ; the intercession of Christ, continued in 

An unbeliever has nothing to do with the righteaugneu of Christ ; for 
this is the righteousness of faith. Bom. iii. 22. Nor with the itUercmion 
of Christ, John zvii. 9, 20. 

Now, being without Christ, it follows necessarily they are without life, 
1 John V. 11, 12. And who is he that has the Son ? Ver. 10, he that 

(2.) He is without the covenant, the evidence of life. An unbeliever is 
not at all specified in the covenant of grace; it no more belongs to him than 
the writings, the evidences of another man's lands belong to you, who were 
never thought of, never mentioned in the drawing of them up. Believing 
is our first entering into covenant with God ; how can he that never 
entered into covenant be in it ? 

MaBK XYI. 16.J OF FAITH. 98 

Unbelievers are strangers to the covenant, Eph. ii. 12. The covenant 
of grace is called the law of faith, Bom. iii. 27, as the covenant of works 
is oJled there the law of works. 

Now as Adam, not performing perfect obedience, which was the con- 
dition of the covenant of works, could have no benefit by that covenant, 
no more can he who believes not have any benefit by the covenant of grace. 

Unbelievers are not in covenant with Christ ; their league is with hell, 
their covenant is with death. Christ looks on them as confederates with 
Satan, that cursed league is inconsistent with any confederacy with Christ, 
and that league is never dissolved till ye believe. Your pretended 
renouncing of sin and Satan is but a deluding of your souls, a mocking of 
Christ ; yon never break your league with Satan, never enter into covenant 
with Chiist till ye believe. 

An unbeliever has nothing to do with the promises ; for the promises 
are but as so many articles of the covenant, and so it is called a covenant 
of promise, Eph. ii. Now what has he to do with the articles of a cove- 
nant that never entered into it ? Rom. iv. 18. The promise is through 
the righteousness of faith ; and, ver. 16, it is of faith. It is of faith that 
we have a right to any promise. The promises of life and pardon are all 
to fieuth : * If thou believest in the Lord Jesus, thou shalt be saved ; ' ' He 
that believes has everlasting life.' The promises are a sealed fountain to 
an unbeliever, it is open to nothing but faith. It is children's bread, and 
we are the children of God through faith. An unbeliever has neither a 
hand, nor a mouth, either to gather or to eat any crumb of this manna. 

And as nothing to do with the covenant, so neither with the seals of it. 
What right has he to the seals of your writings or evidences, who has 
nothing to do with the writings and evidences themselves ? The covenant 
is evidence for heaven, under the hand and seal of God ; a deed of gift 
under the seal of heaven. How does the seal belong to him, who has 
nothing to do with the deed ? j 

Indeed, the seals of the covenant are, as Augustine, verbum visibiU, I 

visibUia promissio, visible promises. Now he that has no right to the ' 

audible promise, that which offers pardon and life to the ear, has no right 
to the visible promise, which offers pardon and life to the eye, since the 
very same thing is tendered in both. As we must not apply tl\e audible 
promise to an unbeliever, so must we not apply the visible promise ; there 
is the very same reason for both. The promise belongs to believers and 
their seed, both visible and audible promises, for they should never be 
separated. Neither of them belongs to unbelievers, nor their seed, for they 
are not the heirs of promise. And to make over the inheritance, or the 
seals and evidences of it to them, would be to give the heir's inheritance, 
in its sealed evidences, to pretenders and intruders, to those to whom 
Christ in his will and testament never bequeathed it, — an injustice that 
we should use all our care to avoid. While a man is visibly in unbelief 
nothing can be sealed to him but condemnation, because he has no evidence 
for anything else. So the seal is either set to this, or nothmg. 

(8.) Wi^ont grace, the beginning of life. He that is an unbeliever, 
whatever fine show he make in the flesh, whatever he pretend, profess, or 
practise, how specious soever his deportment be, whatever outward con- 
fonnity he shew, either to the rules of law or gospel, he is a graceless 
person. How finely soever the sepulchre is painted and beautified without, 
if fiuth be not within, there is nothing but dead bones and rottenness ; 
nothing bat what is as loathsome in the eye of God, as the rottenness of a 

94 OP FAITH. [Mabk XVI. 16. 

dead carcase is to ns. For it is faith that purifies the heart. Acts xv. 9. 
Till the heart be purified by faith, nothing is pore, either within or withoat, 
Titns i. 15. There is not the least degree of holiness or sanctification, 
till faith ; it is that by which we are sanctified, Acts zxvi. 18. Faith is a 
root-grace ; there is not, there cannot be, a spring of holiness, till faith be 
fastened in the heart. 

No degree of spiritual life without faith : Gal. ii. 20, * The life that I 
live is by faith in the Son of God ;' by faith uniting Christ to the soul as 
the principle. Till then the soul is dead, even as the body is dead when 
not in conjunction with the soul. This is his state, ho is dead in sins and 
trespasses, and so are his actings ; all his works are dead works, till there be 
faith in Christ, as appears by that connection, * repentance from dead works.* 

(4.) He has no title to heaven, which is everlasting life. No title ; for 
how should he come by it ? The Lord never ordained heaven for unbe- 
lievers ; * he has chosen the poor, rich in faith.' He has prepared hell for 
unbelievers, Rev. xxi. 8. Christ never purchased that for them. He is 
* become the atithor of eternal salvation to those (only) who believe.* Those 
that contend most for the extent of Christ's death, will never say that the 
blood of Christ ever brought any unbeliever, so persevering, into heaveu. 
He was given, and gave himself only for this end. 

He was never promised to them. Nay, all the threatenings, in law or 
gospel, are the portion of unbelievers. Take one for all, and that from 
the mouth of Christ, who speaks mercy and life when there is any to be had ; 
and they are part of the last words he spoke in this world, Mark xvi. 16. 

They have no right by adoption. They were never adopted. Unbe- 
lievers are not the sons of God, but the children of the devil. No sonship 
but by faith. Gal. iii. 26 ; those that are not so by faith, are not so at all ; 
for all that are sons, are so by faith. 

(5.) They are far from life ; so far, as they never come in sight of it, never 
see life. Aiid if they can never come in sight of it, what hopes can they have 
to enjoy it ? Hope of heaven without faith, is a castle in the air, a structure 
without a foundation. Alas ! how can they hope to enjoy it, whom the 
Lord calls ofi* from all hopes ever to see it ! While ye are without faith, 
ye are wi^iont hopes, in that forlorn condition of the Ephesians, before they 
believed, Eph. ii. 12. 

(6.) All this is certain, as sure as the Lord is true. For it is he that 
speaks it, and he speaks it peremptorily. He does not say, possibly he 
may never see life ; or probably he may never see life ; but he shall never 
see it. As sure as the Lord wUl not lie, as sure as he is able to make good 
that word, so sure is this, he that beUeves not shall not see life. 

This is the sentence of the gospel. If it had been a sentence of the law, 
that is not so peremptory, that admits of an exception, the gospel may 
relieve one against the sentence of the law. Ay, but this is tJ^e sentence 
of the gospel, the final decision of this case, which admits of no exception, 
against which there is no relief, neither here nor hereafter, the last de- 
claration of God*s will concerning a sinner, that if he behoves not he shall 
certainly die, and that without any further hopes of mercy or remedy ; he 
shall never see life. 

Here is the negative misery of an unbeliever. Oh that this might stir 
you up to search your hearts, to examine seriously, as becomes yon in a 
business of such consequence, &c. 

Come we to his misery expressed positively. < The wrath of God abides 

MaBK XVL 16.] OF PAITH. 96 

on him.* Eyeiy word is dreadfnl, and big with terror. It is wrath, and 
the wrath of God, and the wrath of God on him, and the wrath of God 
abiding on him. 

(1.) Wrath. It is not anger or displeasure only, though that be dread- 
ful ; but wrath, sabllmated anger, anger blown up into a terrible flame. 
This is it which kindles upon unbelievers, a consuming fire, the furnace 
made seven times hotter. This is the portion of unbelievers, their lines 
£Edl in this place ; they are children of wrath, and this is their heritage. 
There is no quitting of this woeful relation, but only by faith. < Who can 
stand before thee when thou art angry T Is there no abiding of it then ? 
Who then can stand before it, when it flames forth into wrath ? Isa. 
zxxiii. 14, ' Who can dwell,' &c. 

(2.) It is the wrath of God. It is not the wrath of a king, though that 
be as the roaring of a lion, at which all the beasts of the field do tremble ; 
it is not the wrath of all the kings of the earth ; it is not the wrath of all 
the men on the earth, or aU the angels in heaven put together. What 
then ? It is a wrath infinitely more dreadftd ; it is the wrath of that God, in 
comparison of whom all the men on earth, all the angels in heaven, all the 
creatures on earth, are as nothing. All their wrath put together is as 
nothing compared with the wrath of God. Theirs would but be as the 
breath of one's nostrils ; whereas the wrath of God is as a whirlwind, such 
a one as rends the rocks, and tears up the mountains, and shakes the 
foundations of the earth, and shrivels up the heavens like a scroll, and 
causes the whole fabric of heaven and earth to stagger like a drunken 
man. Oh, * who knows the power of his wrath 1 ' Their wrath is but like 
a spark ; his wrath is like a river, a sea of kindled brimstone, Isa. xzz. 83. 
This wrath, this wrath of God will be thy portion, if thou believe not. 

(8.) It is the wrath of God on him. He says not, it is near him, or 
coming towards him, but it is on him. Not that all the wrath of God is 
on him already, for there are vials of wrath that will never be emptied, 
never emptier, though the Lord be pouring them forth to all eternity. It 
is compared to a river, and that is continually running ; and when it has 
run some hundred years, there is as much to come as if there were none 
run by already ; it will run on thee to eternity, unless by believing thou 
stop it, divert the course of it in time. 

But it is all on him as to the sentence. He is adjudged to all the wrath 
of God already, and execution is beginning, though the beginning be small 
in comparison of what ^it will proceed to hereafter. The first fruits of 
wrath are reaped now, but a full harvest is coming ; and the longer thou 
continuest in unbelief, the riper thou art for that dreadful harvest. All 
that thou hast from God now, thou hast it in wrath ; for as all the ways of 
God are mercy to the believer, so all his ways are wrath to the unbeliever. 
The execntion is begun now, and the Lord is ready, if thou prevent it not, 
for a farther, a full execution. He does ' whet his sword,' Ps. vii. 12, 18. 
If yoo continue in xmbelief, you are likely to be the butts of the Lord's 
indignation ; his arm, his sword will fall upon you. 

(4.) It is abiding wrath. If this wrath were but for a moment, it were 
more tolerable, but it is abiding wrath ; it is not on and off, but always on 
him withoot intermission ; and there, unless he believe, it will abide for 
ever, wherever he is, whatever he does, wherever he goes. The curse and 
the wrath of God are in efiect the same thing ; and what the Lord denounces 
agftinst the Israelites concerning the curse, holds true against unbelievers 
as to this wrath of God : Deut. xxviii. 16, 17, * The wrath of God is on 

96 OF FAITH. [Mabk XYI. 16. 

him in the city/ &c. The wrath of God is on him in every ^lace, in every 
state, in every enjoyment, in every undertaking. 

This is the woefol, the miserable condition of every unbeliever. 

Quest, Bat who are unbelievers ? Are there any amongst us in this 
dreadful ease ? 

Ans. 1. He that has no other faith than a bare assent to the truths of 
the gospel, a belief that all that is declared concerning Christ is true, all 
that is delivered in the Scripture is the truth ; he that has no other faith 
than this is an unbeliever, for the devils have as much as this comes to, 
James ii. 19. If he go no further, he shall no more see life than they. 

Ans, 2. He that goes on in any known sin of omission or commission ; 
whether it be an acting of what God forbids, uncleanness, intemperance, 
profaning of God*s name or day or ordinances, worldliness, idleness, injus- 
tice, covetousness ; or neglect of what €k>d requires, neglect of heating the 
word, prayer, meditation, self-examination, &c. 

When you hear this or that condemned as a sin in the word, and yet 
will continue in it, here is enough to evidence you are unbelievers. The 
apostle speaks of ' the obedience of faith ; ' they are inseparable, children 
of disobedience who are children of unb^ief ; the apostle uses one word for 
both, Eph. ii. 2 ; Rom. xi. 82. ' Faith purifies the heart,' Acts xv. 9 ; 
when that is panned the conversation will be purified ; where it is not, 
there is no faith. If you go on, allow yourselves in any unlawful thing, 
this is your portion. 

Ans. 8. He that finds not an universal change in himself. He who finds 
he did love any sin, and does not now hate it, did delight in it, or make 
light of it, and does not now bewail it, count it his burden and affliction ; 
he that did scorn purity, or at least slight holiness, and is not now in 
love with it, that durst once venture on si&, and does not now fear it ; 
he that has had low thoughts of Christ, and does not now highly value 
him, so as to part with all for him, so as to prefer him before his chief joy; 
he that did neglect Christ, and does not now hunger and thirst after him ; 
he that did immoderately follow the world, and does not now contemn it ; 
he that did gratify the flesh, and does not now strive to crucify it ; he 
that did count the word and prayer a burden, and does not now count them 
his delight; that has been careless, heartless in holy duties,* and does not 
now stir up his soul, and strive with his heart to get it raised to God in 
them, — he that does not find such a change is an unbeliever ; for when 
the Lord works faith, he works such a change. 

If this be thy case, all the dreadful things are thy portion. Apply them 
as you love your souls, put not off conviction ; for you are never like to 
come to faith till convinced of unbelief. 

Use 2. Exhortation. This should excite sinners to mind this duty, as 
that which is of greatest concernment. This I shall direct to sinners that 
are secure : these should never be at rest till they find their hearts willing 
to accept of Christ upon his own terms ; sensible sinners, those who are 
willing thus to close with Christ, should never rest till they be brought to 
depend on Christ, to rest theirselves on him for pardon and life. Here are 
two sorts of sinners, and two acts of faith. I think this distinction neces- 
sary, the conditions ot these persons being so different, they must be led to 
a different act of £uth ; for a secure sinner, not yet sensible of his sin and 
misery, not yet willing to leave all for Christ, not yet resolved to come under 
the government of Christ, &c., for such a one to depend on Christ for 
pardon and life, is not believing, but presumption. He must first be brought 

UaBX XVI. 16.J OF FAITH. 97 

to this, to be willing to accept of Christ as he is offered ; till then he has 
no gronnd to expect pardon and life from Christ ; till then he has no 
encoonigement to rely on Christ for it ; till then we cannot press it on him 
as his dnty. 

Bnt for the sensible sinner, who is already bronght thus far, who is bur- 
dened with his sin, abhors himself for it, who prefers Christ before all, who 
has such ardent, importunate, effectual desires after Christ (as I explained 
to you), it is his next duty to cast himself on Christ for life and salvation. 
This is that the gospel calls him to, to which, in this use, I shall encourage 
him, propounding some motives, removing impediments, answering objec- 
tions, and giving some directions distinctly, in reference to these different 
states, as the case shall require. 

For motives I shall go no further than the text. Here is the weightiest 
duty propounded, with the weightiest motive in the world : believing the 
duty; everlasting life the motive. Every word contains the strongest 
attractive. Here is life for him that will believe ; here is everlasting life, 
and here is this <U present, < hath everlasting life.' * He that believes hath 
everlasting lift.' 

1. Here is life for him that believes. And what more sweet, more 
necessary, more desirable, than life, especially to him who is in apparent 
danger of death 1 A man that is sentenced to death, that is condemned 
already, that is every moment in expectation to be led to execution, what 
would not he do that he might have life ? Why this is the condition of 
every man by nature, not one in the world excepted ; he is a chDd of wrath, 
a son of death ; the great Judge of the heaven and earth has passed the sen- 
tence of death on him. It stands on record in his righteous law ; you may find 
it everywhere in the Scripture. The mouth of the Lord does there pro- 
nounce it, Thou art condemned already, ver. 18 ; every moment in dan- 
ger of eternal death. And in this condition thou remainest, till that 
almighty power, that raised Jesus Christ from the dead, work this great, 
this difficult work, which is beyond the power of men or angels, futh in 
thee. Now if there be any sense of thy condition, if sin and Satan have 
not quite stupified thee, wilt thou not cry out for life ? Is not life desir- 
able ? Why, there is no way bnt one to save thy life. This is the only 
way, and this is a sure way. Believe, and thou shalt have life ; otherwise 
thou art a dead man. All the world cannot save thy life : no way but this. 
Unless thou believe, thou art never like to see life, never like to feel any 
thing bnt the wrath of God. 

2. Here is everlasting life to him that believes. A condemned man 
would be glad of a reprieve ; he would do much for thai Ay, bnt here is 
not only a reprieve, but a pardon, if thou believest. Here is not only a 
respiting of the execution, but a revoking, a nulling of the sentence of death. 
Here is not only a reprieve, not only a pardon for a malefactor, a rebel ; 
but the highest advancement and preferment. A son of death becomes an . 
heir of life and glory ; * heirs of God, and co-heirs with Christ.' He is not 
only brought fire>m l:ds dungeon and fetters unto light and liberty, but 
brought to a crown, to a kingdom ; not only raised from the dunghill, but 
set amongst princes, those ^at are heirs apparent of the crown of life and 
glory ; a kiiigdom that cannot be shaken, a crown that fadeth not away, 
that which he shall enjoy, that which he shaU wear for ever, everlast- 
ing life. X J 

Oh what a motive is this ! Everlasting life is a big, pregnant word. 
There is more in it than the whole world will hold. There is more in it 

TOL. I. <* 

98 or VAiTH. [Mabx XYI. 16. 

than in all the kingdoms of the earth and tfie glory of them put together. 
There is all in it that the eternal decree of love does grasp. There is all 
in it that the precious blood of Christ conld purchase ; that snm, that price, 
in comparison of which (so rich, so valuable is it), that all the treasures of 
the earth amount not to a mite. There is all in it that the coYenant of 
grace and the everlasting gospel can hold. There is more in it than tongue 
can express, than heart can imagine, than angels can comprehend. All 
this is in it ; and all this will be thine, if thou believest : nay, all this is 

8. Here is everlasting life at present for him that believes. ' He that 
believes,' fp^c/. He does not say he may have it, as though it were only 
possible or probable ; he does not say he shaU have it, as though it were 
merely future ; but he hath it, it is his own at present. Whatever is com- 
prised in this pregnant word, he hath right to it all at present, and he hath 
something of it in possession ; and he is as sure of the rest as if he now 
had it, and as if he were actually possessed of it. And here I shall come 
to open this more fully. 

(1.) He hath it in the decree of God. The Lord purposed from eter- 
nity to bring his chosen to everlasting life by faith. Faitii is an effect of 
that eternal purpose, such an effect as is an evident and infsJlible sign of 
its cause ; a certain evidence of those that are comprised in that purpose 
of love, an infallible character of an elect soul, and therefore called ' the 
faith of God's elect,' Titus i. 1. 

The purpose of God is secret : it runs under ground till £uth, and 
then it breaks forth, then this secret comes to light when the soul 
believes. Faith is the first saving appearance of it : he that believes may 
conclude that he is elected to life. He has eternal life by an unchange- 
able decree, a purpose as unchangeable as Gt)d himself, that can no more 
be changed than that God who is ' without variableness or shadow of 

Upon this account the apostle speaks of those that believe, as having 
already obtained the inheritance of life, Eph. i. 11, 12, he speaks of himself 
and others then on earth as having obtained. And how had they obtained 
it ? he adds, being predestinated ; and who are these that had obtained it 
by this purpose ? Why, those that trust in Ghrbt. Believe then, and 
that great question. Am I elected f will be no more a question, there need 
be no more doubt of it. Believe, and you have everlasting life by the decree 
of heaven. 

(2.) He hath it by the purchase of C9irist. It is bought for a believer; 
it is bought and paid for ; and what is more his own than that which is so 
purchased for him ? Everlasting life is a purchased possession, Eph. i. 14. 
^e purchaser is Christ ; the price was his blood ; a price of such value ss 
did fhlly satisfy him of whom the purchase was made. But for whom did 
he purdiase it ? Why for all those, and only those, that believe. Christ had 
no need to purchase any thing for himself, he wanted nothing ; he pur- 
chased for others ; and who are they ? ver. 16. Believe then, and etmnal 
life is as much thine as that which is bought and paid for in thy name, 
and for thy use. The Lord is engaged, not only in point of mercy and 
favour, but as he is just and righteous, to let thee have it, it was purdiased 
for thee. 

(8.) He hath it by the sentence of the gospel. As an unbeliever has the 
sentence of death passed against him by the law, so a believer has the sentence 
of life passed for him by the gospel ; both in chap. iii. the former, ver. 

UaBX XYI. 16.] . OF FAITH. 99 

18, the latter in the text; bo John i. 6 ; and this latter supersedes the 
former. If a man who has received sentence of death from the law, can 
appeal to the gospel, and there plead that he believes, the gospd will qoit 
him, and declare him an heir of life, by virtue of the sentence of God him- 
self pronoonced and recorded in the gospel. The sentence of death is of 
ibree no longer than the sinner continues in unbelief. As soon as he 
believes, from that time forth he hath everlasting life. If any question his 
right to it, he has the verdict of the gospel, the sentence and judgment of 
the Lord of life ; that is sufficient to decide all controversy, and put it out 
of question that he has everlasting life. 

(4.) He hath it in title. He is bom to it, 1 Pet. i. 8-5. Those who 
are kept through faith unto salvation, are begotten again to an inheritance 

Faith is one of the first acts of a new-born soul, a sure evidence that he 
28 bom again, that he is bom of God ; and he that is bom of God is a 
child of God, and all his children are heirs. Bom. viii. 16, 17. Believe, 
and you are sons of God, and then this is your portion. Evwlasting life 
is as maeh yours as the portion bequeathed to you by your father. Believe, 
then yon are heirs, and this is your inheritance ; you have this life as your 

(5.) He hath it by covenant. The covenant of grace is a covenant of 
life ; the Lord therein engages to give everlasting hie to those that enter 
into covenant with him. Now faith is our first entrance into covenant 
with God. When the soul consents to accept of Christ upon his own 
temur, the match is made up. The day of believing is the day of espousals ; 
Christ becomes his husband, and everlasting life is his dowry, it is made 
sore to him. Now a dowry is appointed and made sure to a woman ; 
thoQgh she have not the full possession and disposal of it while her hus- 
band lives, yet none will deny but she has a jointure. So, though a 
believer have not the full possession of heaven now, yet there is no reason 
to deny but he hath eternal life ; for it is a dowry made sure to every one 
that believes, 1 Cor. iii. 22, 28. A believer has the word of Christ for 
it, his promise. Bom. iv. 16. He has it under the hand of Christ, a 
written evidence, John xz. 81. He has it under the seal of Christ, sealed 
evidence, Bom. iv. 11. He has it under the oath of God, Isaiah liv. 9, 10, 
Heb. vL 17, 18. 

(6.) He hath it in possession in some respect. He has possession of it 
in his head. Believe, and you are united unto Christ ; uxiited to him as 
really, as intimately, as inseparably, as head and members are united. 
Christ and believers make but one body. The union is so near, as both 
head and members have one name ; both are called Christ, 1 Cor. xii. 12. 
The Lord Jesus and believers make but one Christ. Now, Christ is in 
posflooflion of everlasting life ; and therefore they are, because Christ and 
they are but one. The best, the principal part of a believer, his head, is 
in possession, and therefore he is said to be in possession. Hence it is 
that believers, as though they were in heaven already, are said to sit in 
heavenly places, even while they are on earth, £ph. ii. 6. Christ and 
befieven ^ing so much one, what is ascribed to Chnst is ascribed to them ; 
what 18 suffer^, done, enjoyed by him, is said to be done, suffered, enjoyed 
by them. Because Christ was oracified, they are said to be cmcified, 
QaL ii. 20. Because Christ is risen, therefore they are said to be risen. 
Gal. iii. 1. Because Christ is set at his right hand in heavenly places, 
'EpL L 8, and set down together there, Eph. ii. 6. But how can this be? 

100 OF FAITH. [Mabk XYI. 16. 

They are still on earUi. Why, it is trae in respect of Christ, it is in 
Christ Jesns ; he is their head, and he is in possession, and therefore the 
best part of them is in possession already. Christ is their hnsband; he is 
gone before to take possession of heaven in their name, on their behalf: 
' I go to prepare,' &c. And what is in the husband's possession belongs 
to the wife. BeUeve bat this, and thou art in some respect in heaven 

(7.) He has the beginning of everlasting life now. That life which will 
last for ever, is began as soon as ye beUeve, Eph. i. 18, 14. They have 
the earnest of this inheritance as soon as they believe ; and it is such an 
earnest as does not only make sore the bargain, the contract, bat is part 
of payment, part of the purchase. That light which they have now from 
the Spirit of truth, is the same in kind, though not in degree, with that 
which they shall have in that inheritance. That joy which they have now 
from the Comforter, is the same in kind, though not in degree, with the 
joys of heaven, John xiv. 16. That glory which they have now from the 
Spirit of glory resting in them, is part of fiiat which heaven affords, though 
short in degree, 1 Pet. iv. 14. That holiness which they have now from 
the Spirit of holiness, is the same in kind, though in less degree than in 
heaven, John iv. 14. The same water of life that overflows in heaven, is 
springing on earth in the heart of a believer. It springs not so fast now, 
nor does it rise so high ; but it is the same well, and it is in him now, 
and all the powers of darkness cannot hinder it from springing up to ever- 
lasting Hfe. He has everlasting life now as in a well, there he diall have 
it as in a river. * 

(8.) He has everlasting life for his use and advantage upon all occasions. 
He is not only a proprietor, and in part a possessor of it, as appears 
before, but an usufructuary. He may make use of heaven for whatever he 
needs, and whenever he has occasion. 

He may have access to the throne of grace, the best place in heaven, 
whenever he will. Faith sets open the door ; he may come with boldness 
and confidence, Eph. iii. 12, Heb. iv. 16. And coming in faith, he may 
come with fiill assurance that he shall have whatever he asks, 1 John 
V. 18, 14. 

(9.) All this is sure. He is sure of all that is present. He is sure of 
all that is not yet in possession ; as sure of it as if he had it already. 
This the expression imports, he hath. He is as sure of heaven as if he 
were in heaven. Nay, he is surer of heaven than his mere being in heaven 
could make him ; for the fallen angels had a being once in heaven ; but 
that was no assurance of everlasting life to them there; the event proves 
that a believer on earth is more sure of everlasting life in heaven, than 
those angels were when they were actually in heaven. But how come they 
to be thus sure ? Why, it is partly through faith, 1 Pet. i. 4, 6. Through 
fSedth. Oh, but may not their faith fail ? No, so long as Christ has any 
interest in heaven, so long as he has any power to prevail with his Father, 
who will easily be prevailed with for those whom he eternally loves. Now 
he has prayed to this purpose, Luke xzii. 82. But was not this peculiar 
to Peter, wherein others share not ? No ; for he adds. Strengthen thy 
brethren. When thou findest the benefit of this prayer, securing thy &ith, 
strengthen thy brethren with this encouragement. Now what encourage- 
ment had this been to them, if Christ did not pray for them as well as 
him? John zvii. 20. 

2. Impediments that hinder men from believing, that keep them short 

XYL 16.] OF FAITH. 101 

of saying faith. These must be diaooTered, and removed. I shall endeayonr 
both together. 

The impediments are many. Satan nses his utmost craft and power to 
multiply and enforce them. I shall insist on some, that I apprehend to be 
the prinoipaly most common, and most dangerous. 

^1.^ A conceit they have faith ahready, when really they have it not. 
This 18 Satan's great engine, whereby he destroys heaps upon heaps (as it 
is said of Samson), ruins multitudes of those that live under the gospel. 
When the light of it discovers the necessity of fiuth so clearly as there 
can be no gainsaying, he comes up with his reserve to secure the hold, and 
make good the ground that he has in a sinner, when his forlorn of atheism 
is routed. What, says he, though there be no salvation, no life, without 
£uth, yet trouble not thyself, thou hast fiuth already. Hereby he kteps 
off conviction, renders the word ineffectual, hardens the sinner in his 
unbelief, and makes him secure there, without looking out for faith in the 
use of those means whereby faith might be attained. This conceit is as a 
great stone rolled to the door of the sepulchre, to make the soul, who lies 
buried in a state of unbelief, sure from starting. It is such a mistake as 
if a physician should judge the disease of a man desperately sick to be 
quite contrary to what it is, and should prescribe him physic accordingly. 
The patient [is] in this case under a double mischief, both which are mortal. 
He not only wants that which is proper for the allaying of his distemper, 
but he has that applied which feeds and heightens it. So the sinner, under 
his mistake, avoids that which is proper to his distemper, rousing and 
convincing truths, threatenings, and representations of the misery of 
unbelief. He puts away these as belonging to others, and applies the 
promises and sweetnesses of the gospel as his portion, presuming he is a 
believer ; whenas, considering the true state of his soul, these are as deadly 
to him as poison ; Satan mi^es use of these to destroy him. These to a 
believer are the savour of life ; but to him, being but a believer in conceit 
only, they are the savour of death. 

Now this mistake arises from another. He mistakes the nature of true 
faith, and so takes himself to be a believer, when he is not. He takes an 
historical faith for a justifying faith, or a temporary faith for a saving faith, 
or a presumptuous credulity for sound believing. Satan, concurring with 
a deceitful heart, can put a counterfeit faith into the habit of that which 
is saving, as Bebekah dressed up Jacob like his elder brother ; and so far 
dehide a credulous soul, one that is willing to have it so, as he blesses 
himself, takes the blessing as his portion ; whenas indeed he is under the 
curse, and the wrath of God abides on him. 

Now to remove this, the counterfeit must be uncased, the imposter must 
be discovered ; the vizard must be taken off, that the true face of that 
glorious £uth or presumption may be discerned, which is most commonly 
mistaken for that which is saving and justifying. 

A sinner is thus deceived sometimes with an historical, a temporary 
fiuth, sometimes with a credulous presumption. For the former, 

[1.] He believes the Scripture, that all is true, and orthodox and divine 
truths. He believes all the articles of the Christian &ith ; he does not 
doubt of or question any of them. He believes that all that is related in 
the Bible is true ; that all the commands are just and good, and ought to 
be obeyed ; that all the threatenings are true and righteous, and will be 
executed ; that all the promises are true and gracious, and will be fulfilled. 
And he that believes all this, is not he a believer ? Is not this faith? He 

102 OF FAITH. [Mabk XVI. 16. 

believes thai Christ is the Saviour, a Saviour of sinners, those that 
believe; the only Saviour; that there is no salvation in any else. 
Hence he concludes that he has faith, and he is a believer, and shall 
be saved. And if any shonld tell him he has no faith at all, then he 
would wonder at it, and tell him he is very uneharitable ; his £uth is as 
good as the best. 

For the discovery and removing of this dangerous mistake, take notice, 
that this iaith comes far short of that which is saving. Though it be 
necessary to believe thus much, yet to believe thus much is not sufficient 
to salvation. There is no saving faith without this; but all this may be, 
and much more, where yet there is no saving &ith. This is a common 
fiuth, common both to elect and reprobates; it is not that special fidth 
whibh is saving, called the faith of God's elect. And to convince yon of 
this, take some testimonies of Scripture. 

Hypocrites may have such a £uth as this, and apostates too, such as 
shall never see life. Those hearers of the word, which are compared to 
the stony ground, those in whom the word had no saving effect, had yet 
such a &itii as this, Luke viii. 15. They received the word, and received 
it with joy, and beUeved too, and yet fell away, turned apostates, whereas 
saving faith never fitils. 

Beprobates may have this £Edth, even such as Simon Magus the sorcerer. 
Acts viii. 18. He believed, and continued with Philip, attending on the 
word which he believed, and was so affected as he was filled with wonder 
and admiration ; and yet Peter tells him he had neither part nor lot in the 
Holy Ghost, in that which was saving. If he had any &ith at all in reality, 
it could amount to no less than this; and yet his heart was not right in 
the sight of God, though he seemed to be right in the sight of Philip and 
the rest, else they would never have baptized him. Yet it was not so in 
the sight of God; for aU his faith, and for all the show that he made of 
more than this, yet he was in the gall of bitterness, ver. 28. Those that 
are in a damnable state may have l^s faith. 

Nay, thoBO that are in a state of damnation actually, even the devils, 
may have this £Edth, James ii. 19. The devils know as much of the 
nature and attributes of Gtod. as men can know, and much more ; and they 
know it so clearly, with evidence and conviction, as they cannot but 
believe it; they believe it so effectually, as it makes them tremble. Now, 
the truth of God is one of his attributes, so that knowing the Scripture to 
be the word of God, they cannot but believe that it is universally true; 
relations, assertions, promises, threatenings, they believe all ; that which 
they would least believe, the threatenings, these they so believe as it 
makes them tremble. They believe not only natural truths, such as the 
light of nature can discover, but supernatural truths, such as depend upon 
divine revelation, the truths of Christ and the gospel. 

That Christ is the Son of the living and true God, is a truth not known 
but by revelation, Mat. xvi. 16. Here seems to be much in Peter's acknow- 
ledgement and belief of this ; yet the devils do acknowledge and believe this. 
Mat. viii. 28, Luke viii. 26, Mark v. 7, 8. 

They believe the gospel to be the doctrine of salvation, the preaching of 
the gospel to be the way of salvation. This appears sufficiently by their 
opposing of it ; but there is a plain testimony of it, Acts xvi. 16, 17. It 
is well if some amongst us did not come short of the devil in this. If they 
believed it indeed to be the way of salvation, methinks they should be 
more in this way. The spirit of divination, which was a devil, believea 

ILlBX XYI. 16.] OP FAITH. ' 108 

and aoknowledges that Paul and his oompanions were the servants of the 
Most High, and the gospel they preached the way of salvation. 

Tfaosy yon see, the devils believe the gospel ; and there is no article of 
the Christian faiUi but they believe it, these being contained in the gospel. 
So that those who have no more Mih than this, have no more reason to 
conelnde they have saving faith than that the devils have it. Yon most 
have another kind of faith than this, else yon shall no more see life than 
those that are in hell abready. 

Oh, bnt, says another, I have more than this; I not only believe that 
Christ is a Saviour, bnt I trost he will be my Saviour. I have hopes of 
heaven and salvation, and I hope in Christ for salvation, and I hope in 
Christ alone for it. Now, this is it which the devils can never attain to, 
though they have some kind of faith ; yet their Mih has no confidence, 
they are without hope. 

For removal of mistakes in this, consider that all this may be no more 
than presumption. Though faith be not without some confidence, yet 
there may be great confidence where there is no true faitli at all. Faith 
is not wiliiout hope ; but hope there may be where there is no faith. Job 
speaks of the hypocrite's hope, — a hope that is not saving, that is in those 
who shall never be saved, — a hope like the spider's web, Job viii. 18, 14, 
which, together with those that rely on it, will be swept down into de- 
struction. We have a clear instance of it in the parable of the virgins, 
Mat. XXV. The foolish virgins, when the door was shut, yet they come to 
the door, which they would never have done but that they had some hopes 
to be let in. They had some confidence they should be admitted into the 
marriage chamber as well as the rest, and they hoped in Christ the bride- 
groom for it; and that makes them call upon him to open, ver. 11. And 
it seems they hoped in him alone for it, for they apply themselves to him 
only; and yet this was but vain presumption, Chnst shuts them out, and 
will not own them, ver. 12. 

For a fuller discovery of this mistake, we shall lay down some grounds 
by which presumptuous hopes and confidence may be discovered firom true 
fiutii, shewing the difference betwixt faith and presumption in some parti- 
culars which the Scripture affords us. They differ, 

[l.j In their rise; vide Sermon on James. 

[2.J In their object. Faith pitches upon whole Christ, presumption will 
but have part of him. Christ is so precious in the eye of fiuth, it cannot 
endure he should be divided ; he cannot spare, he cannot be without any 
of him. He will not have the Lord Jesus separated ; he will have him as 
a Lord as well as a Jesus, as his Lawgiver no less than a Saviour. That 
is the voice of faith in Thomas, John xx. 27-29, as a Lord to rule him as 
well aa a Jesus to save him. 

He embraces Christ coming by water as well as blood. He would have 
him lor purity as much as for pardon, for sanctification as much as for 
satisfiiction. Pardon will not satisfy him without purity ; heaven will not 
please him without holiness; he sees something of it in holiness. He 
would have complete redemption. He would be redeemed not only from 
hell, and death, and the wrath to come, but from that which might give 
Christ any distaste at present, he would be redeemed from a canial 
temper within, from a vain conversation without. He counts it but the 
one half of salvation to be saved from hell hereafter, and the powers of 

His lusts are an affliction, a torment to him, if he were freed from other 

104 or FAITH. {Mask XVL 16. 

iormentoTB. A carnal, worldly temper, cormpi temper of heart, is a misery 
Bomething like hell to him. He would have Christ to save him, to saTO 
him from these, or else he eamiot eoont himself happy. He would have 
Christ to be his King in all his royalties. He is welcome to him, not only 
with his crown for ^oiy and happiness, bat with his sword and sceptre. 
He woold have Christ come with his sword to cireomcise his heart, to eat 
him off from carnal, worldly interest, to woand his lasts, to pat to death 
his dearest corraption. The sceptre of Christ is lovely and glorioos in his 
eye. He woold have him come into his seal with the government upon 
his shoaldera. He desires nothing more than to be broaght folly and 
onreservedly onder the government of Christ. He woold have Christ re^ 
in him here in holiness and nghteoosness, as moeh as he woold reign with 
him hereafter in glory and happiness. Here is the proper genios and the 
trae strain, the genoine character of saving faith; and he woold have all 
Christ, and this above all. 

Bot now presomption woold have Christ divided; it can be content with 
part of him. It shews itself to be presomption in that it will pick and 
choose something in Christ it likes, something in Christ it dislikes; it 
will take what it likes, and leaves the rest. A presomer, he woold have 
Christ's righteoosness to satisfy jostice, procore him a pardon, and por- 
chase him heaven; bot he cares not for Christ's holiness. When he looks 
open that, he sees no beaoty in it, nor comeliness that he shoold desire 
it. Socb strictness, soch holiness, soch pority, he hopes he may be saved 
withoot that; however, he will ventore it. He has no mind to the strait 
and holy ways of Christ ; that is a yoke too grievoos, it is a borden too 
heavy; he hopes Christ will be so gracioos as to dispense with him here: 
The Lord be mercifol to me in this, I cannot digest it f As moch of Jesos 
as yoo will, bot as little of him as Lord ; or if as Lord, yet not really, 
oniversally, or solely. 

Not reaUy. He will call him Lord, profess and acknowledge him to 
be his Lord as well as the best. So the foolish virgins, Mat. xxv. ; and 
those presomptooos hypocrites, Mat. vii. 21, 22. This was verbal, not 
real ; bot while his tongoe confesses him, his heart does not stoop to him. 

Or if they yield to hmi in some things, yet not in all ; if they admit him 
as their Lord, yet not as absolote Lord ; they sabmit bot in part, not 
oniversally. Some things they may do, yea, many things, in compliance 
with Christ, bot not all ; something or other seems too precise, too diffi- 
colt, too hazardoos ; it entrenches too moeh open their ease, or pleasores, 
or carnal homoors, or worldly interest ; the -sceptre of Christ most waive 

Some sins they will leave, yea, many sins ; bot some or other is too 
pleasant, and too gainfbl, and that is the reason they cannot part with it ; 
the sword of Christ most not tooch it 

Here is presomption indeed f If they entertain Christ, either he most 
come withoot his sceptre, or else his sceptre most be broken; they will not 
come onder the entire government of Christ. Either he most lay aside bis 
sword, or else it most be only onsheathed at their discretion. He most 
spare what they cannot part with, and do execotion only where they will 
appoint him, and yet they will hope to be saved by him. Can presomption 
appear in more Uvely coloors ? Alas, how apparent is this in most of 
those who say they hope in Christ for salvation ! And how many, in whom 
it is not so apparent, yet in their own consciences, if they woold look there 
impartiaUy, Uiey mig^t read this presomption pot together with all their 

MaBK XVI. 16.] OF FAITH. 105 

hopes, or indeed made np of nothing else, so that if this presumption were 
subtracted from them, the hopes remaining would be a eypher, and stand 
iar nothing, except it be to delade them. 

[8.] In the gromids. Presumption properly is a confidence without 
ground. Then he presumes, who is confident he shall be saved, when his 
confidence has no bottom ; either no ground at all, or that which is as 
good as none. The grounds of presumption, such as they be, are either 
without or within him. Without him, such as these, God is merciful, he 
delights not in the death of sinners, he would have all men to be saved, &c. 
Christ is a Saviour, he died to save sinners, &c. 

These indeed, when there is a special reason for a particular application, 
are grounds of hope, but to one who is yet in impenilency and unbelief, 
they affi>rd no more hopes than to Cain or Judas ; for why might not either 
of them draw this conclusion from the premises as well as such a one ? 
Yet if Cain, or Judas, or the like, should conclude thus, God is merciful ; 
Christ died for sinners, ergo I shall be saved, who would not say this is 
presumption ? 

The grounds within them are ordinarily their own righteousness, their 
good meaning, purposes, inclinations ; they mean well, whatever fault be 
found with them. They do no man wrong, give every one his own, are 
not so bad as others, nay, much better than many about them. Upon 
such grounds did the presumptuous Pharisee raise his confidence, Luke 
xviii. 11, 12 ; or their outward conformities and ei^oyment of ordinances, 
such as theirs, Luke ziii. 87, &c. ; or upon their performances, doing much 
in an outward formal way of religion. So theirs, Mat. vii. 22, 28. But 
now a true believer grounds his confidence and hopes of heaven upon 
something which the Scripture assigns as proper and peculiar to the heirs 
of heaven, which can be found in none but those that are in a saving state. 
He draws not his conclusion but from such premises as are confirmed by 
the Spirit of God. He concludes his interest in mercy and salvation, 
becanse he finds the first fruits of salvation, the effects of special mercy, in 
his soul, he has the earnest of the Spirit in his heart, this makes sure the 
contract for eternal life, £ph. i. He concludes Christ died for him, be- 
cause he finds the saving effects of his death produced in his soul. He 
has lively hopes, because he is alive to God, he is bom again, he is be- 
gotten to these hopes, 1 Peter i. 8. His hopes of glory arise from Christ 
within him, CoL i. 27. He finds Christ dwelling in him, Eph. iii. 7, 
working in him, acting him by his Spirit, and thereby testifying to him 
that he is a son, and so an heir. He concludes that he is' in Christ, 
because he is ' a new creature,' 2 Cor. v. 17. He finds 'old things passed 
away, and all things become new.' His old vain, carnal, wanton imagina- 
tbns are passed away. His old secure, benumbed, unfaithful conscience 
is passed away. His old perverse, stubborn, rebellious will, he has a new 
will. His old strong, sensual, corrupt, unbelieving, impenitent heart is 
gone ; he has a new heart, a heart of flesh, bearing the image of Christ. 
His old disordered, misplaced, inordinate affections, Ac., his old vain, 
sii^ conversation is altered, he has a new life, all things are become new. 
He has new thoughts, new inclinations, new intentions, new designs, new 
resolutions, new desires, new delights, new employments, new conversa- 
tiim, aU suitable to the state and hopes of a new creature, becoming one 
who is renewed in the spirit of his mind, which has put on that new man, 
which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness, as the 
jostle speaks, Eph. iv. 22-24. He can say, he was sometimes darkness, 

106 or FAITH. [Mau XVL 16. 

Imt now ha is light m the Ixnd, Eph. ▼. 8; someiimes e&nuJ, bQt 
now in some measure spiritual; sometimes worldly, hat now in some 
degree has his eonversation in heaven; sometimes pro&ne, hut now 
in part holy. There is soch a change, as in the Corinthians, 1 Cor. 

[4.] In the effects. As faitii and presumption do differ in their natmne, 
so they produce different effects, and these effects may he referred to three 
heads. They respect Christ, or sin, or the persons themselves. 

First. The efiects of faith, in reference to Christ, are a high esteem of 
him, strong desires after him, unfeigned love to him. 

Ffesumption does not tninscendently value Christ so as to prefer him 
before his chief joy ; nor effectually desire him, so as to part with all for 
him ; nor sincerely love him, so as to cleave to him only. Something 
takes place of Chnst in his mind and heart, though it may be self-love 
(which is very strong in a presumptuous confident) does so blind him as 
he does not perceive it, will not believe it But of these effects of £uth I 
have spoken sufficiently in the explication. 

Secondly. The effects of faith in reference to sin are fear of it, hatred of 
it, sorrow for it. Faith sets the heart fully against sin, as that which is 
dreadful, hateful, and most grievous, whereas presumption slights sin, at 
least some sins, makes no great matter of them, cleaves to some, and is 
indifferent as to others ; presumes it shall go well with him though he go 
on in this or that evil way. 

First. A true believer fears sin ; faith makes him afiraid of it as of a 
dreadful evil, Heb. xi. 7. Where faith is in the heart, the heart is moved 
with fear, this makes such an impression on him, all the scorns of the 
world will not prevail with him to neglect a duty. Though he see not the 
effects of sin, though they be future and at a great distance, as the flood 
seemed to be, yet being warned of God, he is moved with fear. His own 
experience is enough to render sin fearful to him. He has felt the burden 
of sin oppressing his soul, he is afraid to add more weight to a pressure 
that he has found too heavy for him. While the Lord was workiiig feith 
in his heart, he found his iniquities going over his head, Ps. xxzviii. 4. 
He has felt sin straining his conscience. He remembers the anguish of a 
wounded spirit, he is now afraid of it as of a serpent His soul has been 
scorched with sin, he remembers that it kindled wrath in his soul, and now 
he dreads the fire, is afraid of coming near the flame ; whereas presump- 
tion is bold and venturous, will play with the flame, will be tampering 
with some evil or other, though it singe him, and at last he drops into hell, 
as the moth, making too bold with the candle, at hut loses her wings, and 
fidls down lame or dead beforo it 

The voice of faith is that of Joseph, * How shall I do this great wicked- 
ness, and sin against God ! ' but the voice of presumption is like that of 
Lot concerning Zoar; he says of this or that sin, «Is it not alittleone?' 
my soul may live in it and be secure. 

That which seems to be a great sin to futh seems a little one to pre- 
sumption ; that which &ith trembles at, this makes bold with it He 
presumes that the Lord is not so strict and severe as to condemn him for 
not straining at such sms as he counts but like a gnat, presumes he may 
come to heaven though he be not so strict and precise as the word would 
have him. To be so precise, is to be over righteous in his conceit, he will 
make bold to gratify himself in one or other forbidden path, whatever come 
of it Presumption is a bold, a venturous humour ; he blesses himself, 

Mask XYE. 16.] of faith. 107 

and sajSy I shall have peace, though he walk after the stabbomness of his 

Secondly. A true belieyer hates sin. He is not only angry at it, dis- 
pleased with it, but he hates it, pnrsnes it to the deatii, seeks its ruin, 
would have it utterly destroyed, root and branch, the body of death and all 
its members, would have the whole crucified, and shews his .hatred by 
diligence in use of all means to get it mortified. He hates all sin, eveiy 
false way, even those that he has most loved, wherein he has most 
delighted. His hatred is universal and impartial. Faith in Christ is 
always accompanied with a dear love to Christ, and love to Christ always 
attended with hatred of sin : Ps. xcvii. 10, * Ye that love the Lord, hate 
evil.* Being so much in love with Christ, and knowing there is nothing so 
contrary, so injurious, so hateful to Christ as sin, he cannot but hate that 
which is so contrary to him whom his soul loves, Ps. cixxix. 21. Eveiy 
sin is hateful to Christ, and therefore he hates every sin. But self-love is 
predominant in the presumer ; he hates sin no further than self-love leads 
him, no further than it is contrary to his own humours, inconsistent with 
his own interest, or disagreeing with his temper. 

Hatred springs from some contrariety betwixt the person so affected and 
the object hated. Now a believer has a new nature, to which sin is as 
contrary as darkness is to light, John i. 11, 12. Now as in the natural 
birth, so in this supernatural, there is a new form, a new nature ; he is 
renewed after the image of God in holiness. Now sin and holiness are as 
contnury as hell and heaven, as filthiness and purity. Hence it is, that 
there is in every true believer an antipathy to sin, as being contrary to that 
new nature, lliat divine nature which he partakes of, he comes to partake 
of it by the promises, and so consequenUy by fiuth, without which the 
promises afford us nothing, 2 Pet. i. 4 ; and by this escapes the pollutions 
of the world through lust. This divine nature puts him upon this, by all 
means to flee to Christ, make an escape from the pollutions of sin, as that 
which is hateful and contrary to him. 

But there is no such principle in a presumer, and therefore no such act. 
He may be angry at sin, and so may avoid it, and put some restraint upon 
it, so as he may seem to have escaped the pollution, but he hates it not ; 
he contents himself to restrain it, that it break not forth into outward acts, 
but he seeks not to ruin it. Or though he may hate some sin, as being 
contrary to his temper, or inconsistent with his credit, profit, safety, or 
other interests, but he does not hate all sin ; there is one or other that he 
is always in love or league with; and if he would deal faithfully and impar* 
tially with his soul, he might discover it. But presumption is a bhnd, 
hood-winked boldness, which, as it will not see that which is hateful in a 
bebved sin, so it will not see, will not believe that he loves it. Or if this 
cannot be avoided, rather than his presumptuous heart will yield to con- 
viction, he will presume that the sin which he loves and lives in, is no sin, 
or at least, no such sin as will keep him out of heaven, or argue a danmable 

Thirdly. Sorrow for sin. A believing heart is a new heart, a heart of 
flesh, a heart that receives deep impressions from the love of Christ, a heart 
that will melt and bleed when he remembers the injuries, the unkindnesses 
that he has offered to Christ, Zech. xii. 10. When the soul looks upon 
(%rist with the eye of &ith, when he sees what he has done, and against 
whom ho has done it ; when he sees Christ pierced, and pierced by him, 
end willing to be wounded, that the soul that was thus unkind, thus cruel 

108 OF FAITH. pUElBK XYI. 16. 

to him, might have life by him, oh this makes him moam, and monm 
greatly, and mourn bitterly, as they moomed for Jodah at Hadadrimmon, 
a placid in the valley of Megiddon, where that peerless prince was slain. 

The sool looks upon Chnst, represented in this posture in the gospel, 
set forth there, as if he were pierced and crucified before his eyes. His 
eye sees, and so sees this spectacle of love and wonder, as his eye affects 
his heart. Oh, says he, what have I done ? what have I been doing all 
this while that I have lived in sin ? Have I been all this while piercing 
Christ ? Has every sin (when I am guilfy of so many) wounded Christ ? 
Have I been all this while crucifying him, aad put him to an open shame ? 
Have I been piercing him who loves me, who so loved me as to be willing 
to die for me ? And does he now love one who has been so unkind, so 
cruel to him ? Will he pardon me after such provocations ? Will he think 
thoughts of love and peace to one that has thus used him ? Will he 
embrace one who is covered with such bloody sins ? Why, yes ; behold 
he offers love to such a wretch ; he stretches out his arms to embrace me 
who have pierced him ; he will make no other use of those wounds that I 
have given him, but to heal me by them. Oh the wonders of Christ's love ! 
Oh the bloody guilt of my sins 1 Oh these thoughts enter deep into a 
believing heart : it melts him, he is all dissolved into sorrow. The rod of 
Moses did not smite the rock more effectually when the waters gushed out 
of it, than this thought, this sight of a pierced Christ, strikes and pierces 
the heart. He now tastes in his sins the bitterness of death, the bitterness 
of Christ's death ; no wonder if he mourn bitterly. 

But now a presTimptuous heart is a hard heart ; it is a heart of stone. 
It melts not, it bleeds not, when it sees Christ set forth bleeding and dying. 
The love of Christ makes no deep impressions on it ; it glides off, as wat^ 
from a stone. There is no such heart-meltings, no such passionate relent- 
ings, no such breaking reflections on Christ or upon sin, no such great or 
bitter mourning. 

Presumption is impudent. He hardens his face, and will not blush in 
secret for all his unworthy dealings with Christ. His heart is hardened ; 
it will not bleed, though he sees Christ pierced before him. Indeed, how 
can it be that his heart should break into sorrow for that which his heart 
loves and delights in ? 

Thirdly. The effects, in reference to these persons, are humility and 
watchfulness in the believer, pride and security in the presumer. 

First. A believing heart is a humble heart. Faith lays the soul low, in 
sense of its own vileness, emptiness, impotency ; in sense of former sinful- 
ness, present nnworthiness ; in sense of its many wants, weaknesses, dis- 
tempers, corruption. As nothing more ezalteth Christ, so nothing more 
debaseth man. As it advances man high in the account of Gbd, so it lays 
him low in his own eyes. The Lord, having a design to display the riches 
of his grace, made choice of faith as the fittest instrument, as that which 
gives all to God, and nothing to man. It is the soul's going out of him- 
self, as having nothing but sin and misery, unto Christ for all. It has a 
double aspect : one to himself, there it sees nothing but guilt, weakness, 
emptiness ; another to Christ, and there it sees righteousness, strength, 

Faith empties a man of himself, self-conceit, self-sufficiency, self-con- 
fidence, makes him seem nothing, that Christ may be all in all. Where 
the strongest faith, the greatest humility, Mat. viii. 7-10 ; judges himself 
unworthy of the least favour, counts himself the greatest of sinners, less 

MaBK XTL 16.] OF FAITH. 109 

than the least of all mercies, thinks better of others than of himself, 
patient of reproo&, and ready to stoop to the meanest service that Christ 
shall call him to ; ascribes all he has to Christ and grace. 

Whereas presumption is proud and haughty, swells a man full, and raises 
him high in his own conceit It is attended with self-conceit and self-con- 
fidence ; thinks well of himself, and stands upon his own bottom ; counts 
himself fit for services above him, and is impatient of reproofs, contradic- 
tions, and what he judges underviEduings. Some strains hereof are visible 
in that presumptuous Pharisee, Luke xviii. 11, 12. 

Secondly. A holy jealousy and watchfalness over himself. Bom. zi. 20. 
Because he stands by faith, therefore he is not high-minded or self-confident, 
but wary and watchful ; careful that he may not receive the grace of God 
in vain ; fearful lest he should make unworthy returns ; jetdous over his 
heart, as knowing it to be treacherous and unfaithful ; watchful over his 
spirit, that it do not start aside from Christ ; careful that no mercy may 
slip bis notice, that no rod or affliction may speak in vain ; keeps a strict 
hand over his soul in all his ways, especially in ordinances of worship ; 
trembles at the word ; and in a word, works out his salvation with fear and 
trembling. Easy to be convinced of miscarriages, thankful for such dis- 
coveries, such smitings are acceptable to him, when he is himself; and 
ordinarily his own heart smites him first, and more than others. 

But presumption is careless and secure, gives the reins to his heart. 
The temper of his spirit is loose and negligent, even in acts of worship ; 
bears up against conviction in miscarriage, staves it off, and is stubborn 
against the word when it crosses him. 

We may see this in the deportment of the Jews, the presumptuous part 
of them, under the ministry of Christ himself. 

[5.] In their properties. True faith being a form far differing fi*om 
presumption, the properties that flow firom it are far different. 

First, It is a purifying faith. The confidence, which is either the act 
or attendant of it, is a lively hope, that will be working out all impurity of 
flesh and spirit. As a living spring will not long continue mudded, but is 
still working out the mud and impure mixtures which defile it, 1 John 
iii. 8. Vids sermon on Mat. vii. 21. 1. He makes it his work. 2. It is 
his beauty. Impurity is an eye-sore to faith ; this looks upon sin as its 
deformity and defilement, as tiiat which is nasty and loathsome. Now as 
one that affects beauty will not endure anything upon the face, the seat of 
beauty, which is nasty and loathsome, wiU use all means to wash off such 
a defilement, to remove that which is looked upon as an ugly defilement, 
so does he who has this hope labour to purify himself from Uie defilements 
of sin, to free himself from it, as that which he knows is most loathsome 
to Christ, in whose eye he would be lovely. And Christ is his pattern. 
* He that hath this hope in Christ, purifies himself as Christ is pure.* He 
sets the holiness of Christ before him as his pattern ; he would have that 
purity copied out in his soul ; he would be holy, as he is holy ; he would 
have ' the same mind to be in him which was in Christ.' And though he 
knows, when he has done his best, he shall come far short of this high 
example, yet since the Lord has set it before him, he vnll strive to come 
as near it as he can. He will be following of Christ, though it be hand 
patnbus aquis^ though it be at a great distance, through the weakness of 
the flesh, lliough he come for short of him, yet he will strive to keep 
Christ in his sight, Heb. xii. 1, 2. Though he cannot make so large steps 
as his glorious forerunner, yet he will be careful to make straight steps to 

110 OF FATTH. [ICaBX XVL 16. 

hifl feet ; he will not step out of that holy way wherein Christ is gone 
before him ; he will not turn aside to the right hand or to the left, into 
by-paths of sin and yanity ; bat endeavours to follow Christ fnlly, folly, 
though weakly. Other examplest even the greatest, he will not follow 
farther, or otherwise, than they follow Christ, 1 Cor. zi. 1, 1 Pet. ii. 21. 
He will not encoarage himself, by the sins and failings of the most eminent 
saints, to grow loose, or take liberty to do the least thing that may be 
offensive. They did thos and thas formerly, they do so and so now. 
Well, says he, be it so, bat they are not my pattern. Woold Christ do 
so and so ? I mast follow him. 

Ay, but presumption writes not after this copy. This will make bold to 
waive Christ's footsteps, where the way seems cross, or ragged, or deep, or 
difficult ; especially if he see any, who have the repute of holiness, go 
before him herein. He copies out the blots of God's saints, those characters 
in their lives which agree not with the original. He encourages himself by 
their sins and fiEtilings ; his hopes feed upon their corruptions, and nourish 
themselves thereby. Noah, Lot, David, Peter, these and these sinned thus 
and thus, and yet were saved. My sins, says he, that I fall into now and 
then, are not worse, are not so bad as these. And therefore though I con- 
tinue in this or that evU, why should I doabt of salvation ? Here is the 
true face of presumption without any mask. 

A true behever abuses not his hopes, so as to grow more loose, to sin 
more freely, to make more liberty to himself in things doabtfdl or sus- 
picious, to be negligent of more purity, careless of an increase in 
holiness, higher degrees of grace. He argues not thus : My condition is 
safe, I am sure of heaven, therefore I need care for no more ; if I should 
take liberty in such and such things, to decline a little from the strictness 
of the rule, it would cut me off from salvation ; and therefore why should 
I not gratify myself herein ? He contents not himself with such a degree 
of purity, such a measure of holiness, as will be sufficient barely to bring 
him to heaven. No ; but because he has this hope, therefore he is more 
careful to avoid sin, therefore he purifies himself more and more, therefore 
he would be more heavenly, therefore he strives after more holiness. Hope 
spurs him on in the way that is called holy ; hope makes those ways plea- 
sant and delightful to him ; hope quickens his endeavours, makes him 
unwearied in the pursuit of holiness, engages him cheerfully against all 
difficulties, incumbrances, opposition, that would hinder his growth and 
proficiency in holiness. 

Those hopes that encourage a person to sin more freely, to walk more 
loosely, to count strictness and preciseness more than needs, to count 
purity and holiness in the strength, life, power, exercise, and daily increase 
of it needless, any degree of holiness or righteousness too much, they 
are no better than a damning and deluding presumption. 

These hopes put a man upon an universal purity ; purifies himself, all 
that is in himself, both inward and outward man, and that especially 
which is most himself, his heart and soul. Acts xv. 9. Faith purifies both 
heart and life, but it exerts its purifying virtue first in the heart. Thai is 
the spring of impurity ; and the streams will never run clear to purpose in 
the conversation, till ihe spring be cleansed. * A good man, oat of the 
good treasure of his heart, brings forth good things,' Mat. zii. 88. Till the 
heart be good, nothing is good ; till that be purified, all is defiled. Even 
that which makes the greatest show of purity, that holiness which is not 
minted in the heart, and brought out into the life from thence, as out of a 

Hark XVt. 16.] of faith. Ill 

good treaflozy, howoTer it gliaier, it is bat counterfeit coin, it is not current 
with Christ, however it may be with men. When he brings it to the tonch- 
Btone, it will be found bnt dross, or gilded wickedness. It is not of the 
stamp of heaven, if it bear not the impression of that precions faith which 
purifies the heart. A tme believer wUl not content Mmself with ontward 
parity, with visible holiness, a refined conversation, though he has all care 
of that ; bat if he coold converse in the world like an angel, as to ontward 
parity, holiness, innocency, yet, so long as he find vain thoaghts lodge in his 
mind, so long as he feels sinfol, impore notions stirring in his heart, thongh 
they shoold never break forth into ontward act, nay, thoagh they shoidd 
never proenre fall inward consent, yet this he accoants an imparity, a 
defilement not to be endnred. Those secret motions of sin, which no eye 
sees bnt the eye of God, are his harden and afSiction. Faith makes him 
restless, indnstrioas to get his heart and mind pnrified from these. These 
bads of that root of bitterness, his natural corruption, he is cropping them 
ofi", casting them out as that which defiles him. He is daily striking at 
the root itself, that by degrees his heart may be cleansed from that mass of 

Bat now presamptaon rests in an external parity, satisfy themselves with 
an outside holiness, consisting in avoiding gross sins, and the outward acts 
of religion and righteousness, and presume upon this they shall get to 
heaven, whoever be excluded. In tiie mean time they|trouble not Siem- 
selves with inward purity, to get their minds and hearts purged ; sinful 
thoughts, impure motions are tolerated. The body of sm is no burden. 
The stirrings and actings of natural corruption are winked at. All is well 
enough, if it break not forth into open acts. If the outside be clean, they 
look no further. This they take as a sufficient evidence for heaven. They 
will scarce believe that there are any who do more. This was the very 
temper of the presumptuous Pharisees, who were so confident of heaven, as 
thoagh it had been reserved alone for them. Thus does Christ describe 
them, while he pricks their swelling confidence with those sharp menaces. 
Mat. xxiii. 25-27. 

I have insisted the longer on this head, because the particulars in it are 
very plain and distinguishing ; so as, if you would deal faithfiilly with your 
souls, in applying them, and examining by them, you might be able to 
discern wheUier the hopes of heaven be the issues of a true fiuth, or of a 
vain presumption. 

1. The presamer makes not holiness his work, it is not his great 
business to purify himself. He minds it not serionsly. If he mind it 
at all, it is bat apon the by. There is something else that is more his 
design, which has not only more of his time and endeavoars, bat more of 
bis heart. 

2. Holiness is not parity to him. It is not an ornament, a beauty in 
his eye. He is not in love with it. The face of it is not so lovely, that 
be should be at so mach pains to wipe off, to wash oat the spots which are 
contrary to it. As the judgments or fimcies of some persons are so depraved 
by custom or example, that they count a spotted, a patched, a painted fiEice 
beaatifoly so these confidents please themselves with their bespotted 
souls, yea, and presume that ^e Lord is pleased with them ; so well 
pleased with them, as that he will admit them into heaven, though they be 
not cleansed, purged, purified. And, which heightens this presumption, 
they will believe this in contradiction to what the Lord has plainly and 
positively declared, that ' without holiness no man shall see the Lord/ 

112 OF VAiTH. [Mark XYI. 16. 

and that the pare in heart are blessed by Gbd, and shall alone be admitted 
to see him. 

Secondly, Tme faith is worldng &ith. Presnmption is an idle &ney. 
Saving faith is operatiTe, Gal. v. 6, in^ou/Mmii. It worketh, and it * worketh I 
by love.' It worketh, and therefore ccdled effectual, Philem. 6, and 1 Thes. I 
ii. 18. There is an effectual working in those that believe. It is effectual | 
to make them walk worthy of God, verse 12. How that ? Why, as the 
apostle, verse 10. Where this is rooted in the heart, it grows up and 
spreads itself in aU the branches of obedience, and is filled with the fruits 
of righteousness. It makes a man active for God, and thereby shews it is 
a living principle, a lively faith, a lively hope, 1 Peter i. 8 ; whereas the 
hope and fiaith of presumers is dead: no breathings after Christ, no i 
vigorous motions towards him, no lively actings for him. No wonder, for i 
it is dead, and hereby appears to be so, James ii. 17 ; verse 20, he says it 
again, it is as a carcase, a body without a soul. Not that good works are the 
soul of faith, but because they are the vital acts of it. Where there is no 
vital acts, there is no soul ; because the soul where it is will be acting, will 
shew itself by acts of life. Even a new-bom infiuit, though it cannot walk 
and work as a grown man, yet it cries, and breathes, and moves, and sucks ; 
and hereby shews it is alive, that there is a soul, a principle of life in it 
Whereas a child coming into the world, if it do not put forth some of these 
acts, if it do not cry, move, or breathe at least, we tiien conclude it is still- 
bom, it is already dead. Not because these acts are its life, but because 
they are the signs of life. 

So that the apostle makes good works to be the vital acts of faith, where- 
by a living fiuth may be ^stinguished from a dead. Presumption, if 
it do not cry after God, move towards him, breathe after him, ding 
to him, as Uie child to the breast, act for him in a lively manner, 
according to the proportion of strength received, it is but a mole, a 
lump of flesh, not informed with a living soul. Though there may seem 
to have been some conception, some tumour, yea, some travail too, some 
legal pangs like those of the new birth, yet that which is brought forth is 
but a dead thing, if it want these vital acts which the apostle calls works. 
It is but a picture of fisdth, how much soever it resemble it. Though it 
have the colour, the features, the lineaments, the proportions of a living 
child, yet these are no more than you may see in a picture. Without 
these acts it is but a painted faith. If you would make it appear to be 
alive indeed, you must do it by the acts of obedience, by good works. 

Quest. But you will say, May not presumptuous hypocrites do good 
works ? May not they abound in them ? in good works of all sorts, 
works of charity, and works of righteousness, and works of piety and reli- 
gion ? Did not the Pharisees exceed in works of piety ? Was not that a 
notable work of charity in Ananias and Sapphira, when they sold their 
estate, and brought the greatest part of it to be disposed of for the relief of 
those that were in want? Did not those presumptuous hypocrites, 
Mat. vii. 22, do many wonderful works ? If good works be common to both, 
how can this be a distinguishing character to know the one from the other ? 

An$. Presumption may be attended with good works, and a presnmer 
may go as £ur in this respect as a true believer. He may do the same 
works, if you look only to the outside of them ; but if you look in the inside 
of those works, there is a great difference ; and such a one as a man, if he 
will faithfully and impartitdly examine, may discern in himself, though he 
cannot discern in another. 

Mam XVI. 16.J of paith. 118 

This differeoce is intimated by the apostle James, ii. 28 ; he wrought for 
God as a friend, and so the Lord accounted him. His works were acts of 
friendship to God ; they proceeded from love to him ; not out of love, or 
fear of punishment, or hopes of reward only ; but because he was a friend, 
and loved him. A true friend, though he have no fear to lose any thing, 
nor hopes to gain any thing by what he does, yet he will appear and act 
for his friend. Why ? Because he loves him. Thus it was with Abraham, 
and thus it is with every true believer. If there were neither heaven nor 
hell, neither hopes of the one, nor fear of the other, yet he would do what 
is well pleasing to God ; he would be acting for him because he is his friend, 
he loves him. Where there is love, there will be acts of love ; and the acts 
of this love and friendship to God is obedience, John xiv. 15, and zv. 14. 

But this difference, which is but intimated by James, is plainly expressed 
by Paul, Gal. v. 6, ' Faith works by love.' Presumption works by some- 
thing else ; he has some other principle or motive that sets him a-work. 
The papist works that he may merit heaven. The Pharisee works that 
he may be applauded, that he may be seen of men, that he may have 
a good esteem, a good report with them. The slave works lest he should 
be beaten, lest he should be damned. The formalist works, that he may 
stop the mouth of conscience, that will be accusing, disquieting him, if he 
do nothing. The time-server works, because it is the custom, the feishion, 
the way to stand or to rise, to gam his own ends, or secure his own inte- 
rest. The ordinary professor works, because it is a shame to do nothing, 
where so much is professed; the temporary, because he is in a good 
mood. These are all presumers in their kind, or as bad as presumers. 
But the true believer works because he loves. This is the principal, if not 
the only motive, that sets him a- work. If there were no other motive 
within or without him, yet would he be working for God, acting for 
Christ, because he loves him ; it is like fire in his bones. 

But presumption works not by love. Either it is idle, or it is acted by 
some other principle. Some of the fore-mentioned motives, or some other 
of like nature, set him a- work, when he betakes himself to any work that 
is good. If he acted by love, it is not love to Christ, but self-love. Indeed, 
the presumer makes himself his centre : all the lines in the whole circum- 
ference of his life, all his acts and works that have a show of goodness, are 
drawn from hence ; and here they all meet and are united. He loves him- 
self so well, as he would be happy, he would not be damned, he would 
be applauded and esteemed, he would not be disquieted by a clamorous 
accusing conscience, he would avoid reproach and shame, he would compass 
his own ends. And these, or the like, are the weights that sot all the 
wheels on motion when he seems to move for God ; if these were taken off, 
all would stand still. Love does not sway him. Faith is active, and 
works for God, because he loves ; and presumption is idle, or else works 
for himself, being acted by self-love. 

Thirdly, True faith is' precious ; it is like gold, it will endure a trial. Pre- 
sumption is but a counterfeit, cannot abide to be tried, 1 Pet. i. 7. A true 
believer fears no trial. He is willing to be tried by God, Psa. xxvi. 2, 
cxxziz. 28. He is willing to have his faith tried by others, he shuns not 
the touchstone. He is much in trying himself. He would not take any- 
thing upon trust, especially that which is of such moment. He is willing 
to hear the worst as well as the best. That preaching pleases him best 
which is most searching and distinguishing, Heb. iv. 12. He is loath to 
be deluded with vain hopes. He would not be flattered into a good 

VOL. I. H . 

114 <Hr FAITH. [MabkXVI. 16. 

eoDceit of his gplHtnal state without gronnd. When trials are offered, he 
complies with the apostle's adTiee, 2 Cor. xiii. 15. 

But presumption takes things upon tmst, will not be at the trouble to 
try, and is loath to be troubled with searching troths. That teaching 
pleases him best, which keeps at a distance, comes not near his con- 
science, makes no scmtiny m his sonl. Bach a man as would convince 
him that his hopes are bnt delusions, his confidence presumption, he takes 
him for an enemy, though he do but tell him the truth, and that truth which 
is most necessary for him. When he is called to trial in the ministry of 
the word, and means offered whereby his heart might be searched, he keeps 
off, as a cheater would keep off from the touchstone with his coimterfeit coin. 
Why, would you drive me to despair ? says he ; trouble not me with so 
many scruples ; I trust my faith is as good as those who make a greater 
show : however, God is merciful, and I will trust him with my salvation 
without more ado. And thus he is wiUing to delude himself; ay, and will 
be deluded. Those that do pity him, and would undeceive him, are sus- 
pected, or scorned, or hated. 

Fourthly, True faith is growmg. It comes not to its full stature at once, 
but by degrees. There is a growing from faith to faith, Rom. i. 17, a 
passing from weakness to strength, and from one degree of strength to 
another, and in the way a conflicting with doubts, wealmesses, discourage- 
ments, opposition. So it passes from acceptance to dependence, and from 
dependence on him for pardon and life, to a life of dependence, a resting 
on him for all things ; and from dependence to assurance, and from a weak 
assurance to a friU assurance. The beginnings of it are small and weak, 
and there is a sense of this weakness, and strivings after increase. ' I 
believe,* &c., Mark ix. 24. A true believer is apprehensive of his weakness, 
and feeble as his faith is, finding unbelief strong, is struggling with it, com- 
plains of it, bewails it, diligent in the use of all means to get fiuth encouraged 
and strengthened, and grows up accordingly. 

But now presumption starts up on a sudden, and comes to its full growth 
and maturity in a moment. There is no such sense of weakness, meets 
with no such opposition, finds no such cause to complain of unbelief, no 
such wrestling with doubts, no such need of diligence for increase. His 
faith, t. e.j his presumption, is as strong at the first, as it is after many 
years* standing ; sensible of no increase in the use of means. 

Fifthly, In the extent. True faith, in its actings, reaches both to the 
things of eternity and the things of this life. I^esnmption trusts God 
only as to his soul and salvation ; things which he less minds than tempond 
things. A true believer trusts God with all. A presumer hopes, or, as 
he says, trusts that God will be gracious to his soul ; but as to the things 
of the world he trusts himself; he will rely upon his own wit, or prudence, 
or industry, or friends, or parts, or interest. That which we mind not, 
value not, we can be more free to leave to the care and in the tmst 
of others ; but that which is above all dear to us, we are cautions in 
trusting any with it but ourselves. This is the truth of the business. 
Those that ordinarily presume so much of heaven, the things of this life 
are dearest to them, and most valued by them, therefore they will take 
care of these themselves ; but the things of eternity they much mind not, 
and therefore they leave these, as they say, to God's mercy. 8o that their 
trusting God with their souls is no more than this in plain English, they do 
not much mind them. And this appears, in that they think no industry 
and pains too much, all care litde enough for their estates or posterity, 

Ma&k XVI. 16.] or FAiTK. 116 

little fear lest their care sboold be immoderate, lest it should intrench too 
much upon that care and tkne that is due to their sonle ; little or no 
scruple kst the means they nse, the courses they take, should be ixregular. 
Or If there be any scruple, yet if they see the same used ordinarily by 
others, that will be a sufficient salvo, a sufficient warrant to proceed therein. 

They make haste to be rich or great, or get from under the cross, poverty, 
disrespect, &c. They will take nearer ways than God sets open to them ; 
thej will not stay to take God along with them, or to see him going before 
th^ (as those ttiat trust him will do), they will not be hindered by busy- 
ing themselves much about their souls, they are in haste : and hereby 
they shew plainly they helieve not in God ; for he that believes will not 
make haste, Isa. xzviii. 16. He that truly trusts in him, will stay God*s 
time, and use God's meanSf and walk in God*s way, though it seem about ; 
they will not neglect their souls for haste ; they know this would be to make 
more haste than good speed. Nor would they step out of the way, the way 
that is holy and righteous, though they may escape a loss, an affliction by 
it, ihoQgh they might gain some desirable advantage by it. True faith goes 
leamDg upon God, and therefore will keep his way, Ps. zzxvii. 84. He 
that wiU not be liberal for the promoting and honouring of the gospel ; he 
thai fears poverty or affliction more than he fears sin ; he that is more 
carefol for the things of the world than for his soul ; he that takes indirect 
or suspected courses, to get, or increase, or secure his estate ; he that is 
not jcttlous or watchful, lest his cares for the world (when he is much 
engaged therein) should be immoderate, — ^it is plain he does not trust God 
wiUi his estate ; and he that does not trust God for his estate, whatever he 
think or pretend, he does not trust God for his soul, for his salvation ; his 
hopes of heaven and salvation are but presumption. 

Thus I have given you an account of the differences betwixt fietith and 
presumption ; and hereby, if you deal faithfully with your souls, you may 
be able to discern whether you truly believe indeed, or whether you only 
presume. This may be sufficient through the Lord's concurrence to dis- 
cover mistakes in this weighty business, and so to remove the first impedi- 
ment which keeps men from faith, viz., a conceit they have faith, when in 
truth they have no such thing. 

2. Impediment. A conceit that faith is a business of no great difficulty. 
Men wonder why any should make such ado about believing ; they think 
it an easy thing to believe, and so trouble not themselves much about it, 
make it not their business to look after it. This conceit being so common, 
it is a plain evidence there are few who have it. Those who think it such 
an easy matter to believe, shew plainly they never did believe, nay, they 
do not so much as know what it is to believe indeed. And as it is a sign 
they want it, so it is an impediment that keeps them from it. 

To remove it, consider what the Scriptures declare concerning faith in 
opposition to this conceit. 

(1.) It is the gift of God. It is not the work of man's hand, or of his 
head, or of his heart. It is something without him, not in him naturally ; 
SOTiething above him, out of the reach of nature, though improved and 
raised to the height. It must be reached down by the hand of God, other- 
wise man can never come by it : Philip, i. 29, ' To yon it is given,' &c. 
It is not a gift of nature, nor a gift acquired by the improvement of nature's 
abilities, but a gift supernatural, a gift of grace, Eph. ii. 8. Both salva- 
tion and feiih are of grace ; neither of them of ourselves, both the gift of 
God. What Christ said to Pikte in another case, is true here, John 

116 OF FAITH. [MabkXVI. 16. 

xix. 11. There is no seeds of it, no propensity to it in nature, it most 
come from a foreign hand ; nay, there is no power in natore to receive it 
when it is offered ; the hand is fall, and intus existens, &c, : ' How can ye 
believe ? * John ▼. 44. 

(2.) Man is naturally unwilling to receive it. Not only without it, 
unable to procure it, but unwilling to receive it, John v. 40. Coming is 
believing. Now, though Christ, who is truth itself, told them this was the 
only way to life, yet, though their life lay on it, they were not willing to 
come, they were resolved not to come at him, not to believe. Is not he 
unwilling to receive a thing who will die rather than receive it ? Oh but 
though tiiey were unwilling to come to Christ, yet suppose Christ should 
condescend to come and offer himself to them, could they be then unwill- 
ing ? Sure then we should see them willing to receive him. No ; not 
then : ' He came to his own, and his own received him not,' John i. 11. 
Those who challenged the Messias as peculiar to themselves, tiiose to whom 
he was promised, those who had so long expected his coming, yet when 
he comes, they receive him not. So the Lord complains : * ^rael would 
none of me.' Christ takes up the complaint. Mat. zziii. 27. They would 
not be gathered by him, when he would have gathered them ; they would 
not receive him, when he offered himself to them. They were so far from 
receiving him, as they hated the sight of him : ' Light is come into the 
world, and men love darkness rather than light,' John iii. 19. Here is 
not only a bare unwillingness, but an averseness rising up into hatred, Isa. 
Ixv. 2. Here is not only an unwillingness, but a rebellious opposition. 
And such an opposition to faith, to Christ, there is in the heart of every 
man till bom again. Ye do but flatter and delude yourselves if you think 
you are better disposed than the Jews. It is thus with every man, all men, 
though no natural man will believe it. The Jews could think better of 
themselves than they were ; this is not only the delusion of these days, 
Mat. xxiii. 29. They would not believe they should have opposed the 
prophets, as their forefathers did, and yet even then were they opposing 
Chnst himself, the prince of prophets. No wonder if men will not believe 
now they oppose Christ and faiUi, even when in the ministry of the word 
they do daily resist and oppose them. But however you delude yourselves, 
this is the truth of God ; there is a desperate opposition in every unre- 
generate heart against fiuth, against Christ himself. 

(8.) This opposition is so strong as it requires an exceeding mightj 
power to overcome it. 

The power of nature cannot master it. Indeed, this is wholly employed 
for the strengthening of unbelief, to enforce the opposition against feutb. 
The stronger a man's parts are, wit, memory, judgment, reason, affections, 
the more vigorously does he oppose faith. That is evident in the scribes 
and Pharisees, men amongst the Jews of greatest parts ; and those most 
heightened and improved, in them the opposition was strongest. 

The power of divine institutions alone cannot master this. What more 
powerful than the word ? Yet this alone cannot prevail : ' The weapons 
of our warfare,' 2 Cor. x. 4, 5, * mighty through God ; ' ay, but in them- 
selves too weak for unbelief ; too weak, though managed by an apostie, 
the greatest of the apostles. ' Paul may plant ; ' ay, but all this is labour 
in vain without a higher, a mightier power, 1 Cor. iii. 5-7 ; too weak, 
though managed by an angel, as you may see in the ministry of the angel 
Gabriel to Zacharias, leading him to a particular fJEuth, a business one would 
think of less difficulty, tho circumstances considered, Luke i. 11, 19, 20. 

MaBK XVI. 16.] OF FAITH. 117 

Too weak, thongh managed by Christ himself. How little did his 
ministry preTail against the opposition of the onbelieving Jews 1 So little, 
as he complains : ' I have laboured in vain,' Isa. zlix. 4. Oh the wonder- 
fol power of unbelief ! the incredible strength of this opposition ! that the 
power of the word in the ministry of durist himself, yea, the power of 
miracles, wherewith his ministry was enforced, could not prevail against 
it, John xii. 87, 88. 

Nfly, thd power of God does not master it when it is put forth only in a 
common way ; for a common consurrence is always vouchsafed ; without 
that we cannot move nor breathe, yet we see unbelief is seldom overcome, 
this opposition to faith seldom mastered. 

Bat ihe power of God, the almighty power of God, must be put forth in 
a special manner to prevail aguinst this opposition. That almighty arm 
must be made bare, and stretched out; it must be put forth in the infinite- 
ness of its strength, that a sinner may be made able or. willing to believe, 
Isa. liii. 1 ; that the report of Christ may be believed, the arm of the Lord 
must be revealed, it must be made bare, Isa. lii. 10; alluding to the 
gesture of men, who setting themselves to some special work in good 
earnest, that they may use the force of it with less encumbrance, strip the 
arm up to the elbow. Such a power is required to raise sinners out of the 
grave of unbelief as was requisite to raise Christ from the dead. Thus the 
apostle pregnantly expresses it, Eph. i. 19, 20. 

8. Impediment. A conceit that the terms of Christ are hard. This 
keeps off a sinner from closing with Christ as he is offered. Satan, who 
seeks by all means to hinder the match betwixt Christ and a sinful soul, 
he represents the conditions hard ; and the heart, which is under the power 
of Satan's suggestions, does easily believe him. Oh, says he, if I accept 
of Christ as he is offered, I must leave my sins, I must be deprived of my 
ease, my former stolen pleasures, my former sweet delights; I must 
abandon such a course that has been so gainful, so advantageous to me, 
that which has uphold my credit and repute, that which has been such a 
solace, a refreshment to me ; I must relinquish such a practice to which I 
have been so long accustomed, which is so endeared to me ; Christ declares 
it offensive to him, he will not tolerate it ; I must enter into that way which is 
so strait and holy, that path which seems so sad and melancholy, which is 
jeered and derided by others, and which has been so distastefol to me. 
Oh, this seems a hard saying, this keeps him off from giving his consent to 
Christ. He sees something desirable in Christ, he sees some reason to 
close with him, he sees some necessity of him, there is no salvation with- 
out him. Oh, but if he yield to Christ, his beloved sin, his Benjamin 
must go. This seems hard, he cannot yield to it, and so when Christ has 
been long treating with him in the ministry of the word, the match is 
broken upon this account ; Christ stands upon too hard terms, thus he 
apprehends. This is the true cause why the ambassadors of Christ prevail 
80 little in their treaty with sinners ; the main cause why Christ being 
ofEered to so many, is accepted by so few. The greatest part do not like 
Christ's terms, they seem too strict, too hard. 

. It moeh concerns us therefore to endeavour the removing of this, it being 
the great stumbling-block, the great rock of offence upon which so many 
fidl and split ther souls. For this purpose consider, 

(1.) The terms of Christ are easy, whatever Satan or a corrupt heart 
soggest to the contrary. •They are as easy as possible can be, as easy as 
the nature of the matter can possibly admit of, as easy as can be desired 

118 or FAITH. *' [MabkXTL16. 

with any reuon. They could not he easier withoat the greatest absurdity 
and eontradietioii imaginahle. They are such as those who ohjeei against 
them woold in a like ease count them easy enough in all reason* Satan 
knows them to he so; and those wretched sools who are now damned for 
not aeeepting, withoat doaht do now aelmowledge them easy and reason- 
able, though they would not see it till it was too late. That this may not 
prove the sad case of any of yoa» I will make it plain to yon; so plam, as 
if any will not close with them, as they will certainly pwish, so they will 
perish without all excuse. Suppose a man should offer to restore si^t to 
another upon condition he would not wilfnUy shut his eyes, is it possible 
he should have his sight upon any other terms f Or could he desire lus 
sight upon any easier terms? Would it not be absurd, unreasonable, 
impossible for him to desire to see, while he is resolred to shut his ^es? 
The case is like here ; Christ offers to discover to a sinner the things that 
concern his peace, if he will not shut his eyes, if he will not give himself 
up to he blinded by Satan. He offers to discover himself to him, if he 
will not turn his back on Christ when he is presented to his view. Could 
he have this happy sight upon any other, upon any easier terms ? Is it 
possible to have it upon other? Is it reascmable to desire it upon easier 
terms ? A prince offers to adopt a man for his son, and to admit him to 
the state and privileges of a son, upon these terms, that he do not wilfully 
continue in the state of a slave. Could this be done upon other, np<m 
easier, terms ? The Lord offers to adopt a sinner for his son, to admit 
him into the state and privil^es of that blessed sonship upon these terms, 
that he do not wilfully continue in the slavery of sin and the service of 
Satan. Now, can this be done upon any other easier terms ? Axe not 
these two states inconsistent? Is it not utterly impossible that a man 
should be in the state of a son and of a slave both at once? Is it not a 
plain contradiction ? Would it not be absurd to desire it, to think of it? 
Christ offers to restore sinners to the glorious liberty of the sons of God, 
if they be but willing to leave their dungeon, to have their fetters knocked 
off. Is it possible they should have libwty while they are resolved to con- 
tinue in their fetters ? Your sins are your fetters ; hence they are called 
the bonds of wickedness, the bend of iniquity. It is a most absurd con- 
tradiction, a most unreasonable thing, to desire to he at liberty and in 
fetters both at once. Can ye have liberty upon easier terms than to leave 
your fetters ? 

Christ offers to be reconciled to you, to deU^^t in you, to make yon 
beautiful and lovely, if you will but part with your leprosy, your deformity, 
sin, which makes yon nasty and loathsome to him. Now, would you have 
Christ to be in love with deformity ? Would yon have him delight in that 
which is nasty and loathsome ? Can any have beauty upon easier terms 
than to part with their leprosy, their deformity ? Nay, is it possible to 
have it upon any other, npon any easier terms ? Can* Christ pardon you 
when you will not lay down your weapons ? Or would you have him heal 
you while you will not part with your disease ? Is not this a plain contra- 
diction ; to be cured, and not part with the disease ? 

If a physician should undertake to secure his patient^s life in case he 
will not drink poison, is it possible he should do it otherwise ? Why, sin 
is the poison of the soul ; sinful words are called the poison of asps, sinfnl 
practices are called the poison of dragons. Dent, xzxii. 88. Now, Christ 
will secure the life of the sinner if he will not d?ink in this poison, if he 
will not drink in iniquity, Ac. Would you not i>>inW him a TP«^m^n that 

Mam XVI. 16.1 • * of paith. 119 

would have life upon any other terms besides these terms ? What, live 
and not leave this deadly poison ! 

8appo8e a man having wandered from home and lost himself, should 
meet with one that would lead him home, but upon these terms, that he 
would leave that path which leads him directly further and further from 
it; would you not think him void of all sense and reason that would be 
brought home upon other terms, that would go backward and forward, 
north and south, at once ? This is the case. The sinner has lost himself, 
lost his soul, lost heaven, lost the way to it. Christ meets the sinner, 
oEqtb to bring him home, to bring him to heaven; but it is upon these 
terms, he must not still walk on in the path that leads directly to hell, for 
these lie quite contrary, as north and south. And are these terms hard ? 
Or rather must not he bid defiance to all reason, that would think of coming 
to heaven upon any other terms ? If a man were to make his own terms, 
would any be so ridiculous, so absurd, as to say, I will come to heaven in 
that way that leads directly to hell ? Would you have Christ, by making 
other terms, to make himself more absurd, more ridiculous, than any man 
that has the use of reason would be ? Oh, the unreasonableness of sin 1 
the absurdness of a deluded soul ! May not the Lord say, ' Are not my 
ways equal ? house of Israel, are not your ways unequal ?' Could I 
have stooped lower to sinners? Could I have condescended further? 
Could I have devised terms more easy, more equal, for a sinner^s happi- 
ness ? Those whose hearts now quarrel with them, will hereafter be so 
confounded with the clear apprehensions of their equity, that they will be 
struck dumb and speechless when they shall stand before the judgment- 
seat of Christ, when he shall then demand why they refused him when 
offered upon terms so easy, so equal ; the sense hereof will strike them 
dumb and silent. This is so clear as I doubt not but it is seen even in 
the darkness of hell. I question not but the apprehension does wound 
those damned souls with more anguish than any pang of death, when they 
remember that they refused Christ when he was offered upon such easy, 
such equal, terms. 

This is the first consideration, the terms of Christ are easy. Not as 
easy is opposed to difficult, for there is difficulty therein to corrupt nature, 
but as it is opposed to that which is harsh, rigid, or unequal. So they are 
most easy. 

(2.) The grounds upon which thou thinkest the terms of Christ to be 
hard, are fiedse and delusive. He is a cheater that suggests them to thee ; 
there is a design therein to cheat thee of heaven, to cozen thee of thy soul. 
Examine them a little, and this will be plain. If thou closest with Christ, 
says that deluder, thou losest thy ease, thy pleasures, thy gains, thy 
friends and boon companions, &e. These are the grounds upon which . 
Christ's terms are judged to be hard. Well, but inquire a little further, 
what ease, pleasures ? Christ will abridge thee of no ease but that which 
is Unlawful, of no pleasures but those that are impure and sinful, of no 
gain but that which is unjust and unrighteous, of no friends but those that 
are unworthy of the name of friends, those that are indeed enemies to 
Christ and thy soul. When all is cast up, if thou dose with Christ, thou 
losest no more than these by the bargain, and then thou losest nothing 
that is worth the keeping. To lose these is indeed the greatest gain. 
Thou art lost, undone if thou quit them not. Would any man be loath to 
part with that which will undo hun ? Shall the match betwixt Christ and 
thy soul be broke upon such terms ? Wilt thou judge Christ's terms hard 

120 OP FAITH. [Mark XYI. 16. 

because he would haTe thee part with that which shall certainly and 
eternally ruin thee ? Wilt thou break with him upon this ? Wilt thou suffur 
thy soul to be thus cheated ? Consider of it a little better, and ^iew those 
things more distinctly, and do it seriously. Be mindful Uiat I am by the 
appointment of Christ in a treaty with thee about thy soul, the issue of it 
will be life or death to thee for ever. 

[1.] Thou art at ease now, neglecting thy soul, and [not] troubling thy- 
self much about thy eternal estate. But if thou accept of Christ, this 
spiritual sloth must be shaked off. Now, thou art loath to for^o thy 
ease, and art ready to forego Christ rather than thy ease. And is Christ 
indeed so little set by ? Is thy soul of so small value with thee that thou 
wilt not trouble thyself about it ? Well, but this is not the way to avoid 
trouble, this is not the way to enjoy thy lasting ease. Believe it, for it is 
certain truth, this ease will end in endless torments. Oh, that is a woeful 
ease that has such a woeful issue ! Woe to them that be at ease 1 So 
soon as that fool in the gospel had said, ' Soul, take thy ease,' the tor- 
mentors take his soul; l^is night, Luke sdi. 19. If thou break with 
Christ for thine ease, thou art no wiser than that fool, nor wilt thou flEire 
any better. Torment for ease, intolerable torments for a litUe ease, 
eternal torments for a moment's ease ! foolish, deluded soul, wilt thou 
make such a bargain ? wilt thou break with Christ for a little ease ? Well, 
take heed thou dost not find it a ' little-ease' indeed when it will be too late 
to repent. 

[2.] For sinful pleasures. Thou now eatest, drinkest, and art merry; 
carnal mirth and jollity is that which makes thy life desirable to thee. Thou 
givest the reins to thy sinful appetite, usest no curb to thy receptions.* 
Thou singest away care, and drinkest away sorrow, and laughest at those 
that would restrain thee, or are so precise as not to follow thee in these 
excesses. Or if thy excesses be not open, yet there is some secret sin 
which^thou hidest under thy tongue, and pleasest thyself with it as with a 
sweet morsel. There is some forbidden fruit or other on which thou 
feedest with much delight. Now if thou shouldst close with Christ, all the 
sport would be spoiled. And so it would indeed, so far as it is sinful, and 
in things unlawful, so far as it is immoderate and excessive in things 
lawful. And wilt thou break with Christ for this ? Are sinful pleasures 
of more value with thee than Christ, than thy soul, than heaven, than 
life ? It may be so, but then they are taken upon the devil's report. 
But will you behold them, and judge of them, as Christ represents them? 
Methinks those that profess themselves Christians should be as ready to 
believe the Spirit of Christ as the father of lies. Why, then, the pleasures 
of sin are worse than the bitterest affliction. The Spirit of God testifies 
that they were so to Moses, Heb. xi. 26. The bitterness of death is in 
the pleasures of sin, and they will prove such bitterness in the end. If 
Christ be put off for these, and the way of holiness declined as a sad, 
uncouth, melancholy path, that which is pleasant to the palate will be 
torture to the bowels. Rev. x. 9. Lazarus's sores and poverty is far better 
than a fulness of such delights ; and so Christ propounds it in the parable, 
and so he found it who fared deliciously eveiy day ; being in torments, he 
could see it. ' And in hell,' says the text, < he lift up his eyes.' He 
could see it then, though he would not see nor believe it before, Luke 
xvi. 28 : ' Son, remember,' ver. 26. Oh that is a sharp memorandum ; it 
cuts deep. Remember thou hadst thy pleasures. Thou hadst them ; but 
Qu. * affections * ?— En. 

Mark XVI. 16.J . of patth. 121 

now they are gone, they are vanished ; nothing remains hut the remem- 
brance of them ; and this does more torture him than ever the eigoyment 
delighted him. Thou hadst thy pleasures.- Oh, but what has he now ? 
Why, now then art tormented. Ay, thou art, and thou wilt be. This 
will be true in every moment of an endless eternity, thou art tormented. 
And as sure as these are the words of Christ, this will be thy condition, 
who wilt not quit thy sinful pleasures to close with Christ. Oh that you 
would now remember it, before the time come, when it will be too late to 
remember it, before you be in that place where it will be a hell to remem- 
ber it. Have you not seen a distracted man skip, and dance, and laugh, 
and sing, as though he were the merriest man alive ? But have you not, 
withal, pitied that mirth, as being the issue of madness and distraction ? 
Such is the mirth of those who will not quit their sinful pleasures to follow 
Christ. It is the mirth of madmen ; tibeir jollity and pleasures are the 
acta of spiritual frenzy and distraction. It is said the prodigal ' came to 
himself' when he resolved to come to his father, when he was upon his 
return to Christ. Before, while he run in his way of pleasures, he was 
beside himself, Luke xv. 17. So is every sinner, till he leave all to return 
to Christ. He is beside himself, his mirth is but frenzy, his delights are 
the issues of distraction. Oh, lamentable mirth ! If he knew his con- 
dition, it would soon damp all his joy ; his laughter would be turned into 
mourning, and his joy into heaviness. But he is beside himself; and what 
clearer symptoms of madness than this ? He will forego Christ rather 
than his pleasures. 

[8.] Unlawful gain. Whether it be got in an ungodly way, by laying 
out those thoughts, that time, those endeavours, for the things of the 
world, which should be employed for the things of heaven ; or whether it 
be got in an unrighteous way, by unjust or indirect courses in word or 
deed. Take the apostle's estimate of such gain, and then judge whether 
the relinquishing of this be any just ground for to count Christ's terms 
hard, James v. 1-S. To hoard up such gain is to hoard up sorrows ; it 
is for a man to make a bed of thorns for himself, which will make him 
weep and howl, and pierce him through with many sorrows, to heap up 
racks, to heap up miseries. It is not a heap of precious things, but a 
mass of corruption. It is not a treasure, but a canker, a consuming rust, 
which will not only consume the rest of his substance, but himself, and 
that in a grievous manner, as with fire. This is gain with a witness ; but 
it is such as will bear witness against him, and cast him in the day of 
judgment. Ye have heaped up, ye think ye have heaped up treasure ; 
true, but it is a treasure of wrath, and so you will find it at the last day. 
Now sum up this together, and then judge whether you will lose anything 
by quitting this for Christ. Such gain is a hoard of sorrows, a heap of 
miseries, a mass of corruption, a consuming rust and canker, a devouring 
fire, a condemning witness ; and, if this be not enough, a treasure of wrath. 
And will any man count it a loss to be rid of such a horrible evil as this ? 
And are they not miserably cheated who will be persuaded to quit Christ 
rather than to quit such a dreadful mischief? This may be sufficient to 
clear this second consideration. 

(8.) Christ will make up what you seem to lose by accepting him with 
real gains, and that in abundant measure, in a transcendent manner. 
Though, by closing with the terms of Christ, you lose nothing that is 
worthy the keeping, you lose nothing but what it is a gain to lose, as 
appears by the former consideration. Yet he will make up that seeming 

122 OF FAITH. [IfABK XTI. 16. 

loss with better things, each as are inoomparablj, unspeakably, incon- 
ceivably, infinitely better. 

For carnal ease, yon shall have spiritoal rest; rest from the intolerable 
and cruel slavery of sin and Satan ; rest from the troubles of a disquieting 
conscience, < Come unto me,' &c.. Mat. xi. 28 ; rest from the vexations of 
the world, < In the world,' &o., John xvi. 88 ; eternal rest, ' There remains 
a rest for the people of God,' Heb. iv. 9 ; ' Blessed are they that die in the 
Lord ; for they rest,' &c., Bev. xiv. 18. 

For sinful pleasures, the comforts of the Holy Spirit, * I will send the 
Comforter;' for fiiiding pleasures, everlasting joy, Isaiah Ixi. 7; for unsatis- 
fying pleasures, satisfying delights : Ps. xxxvi. 8, ' abundantly satisfied ;' 
for pleasures that are not worthy the name of pleasures, unspeakable joys; 
for impure pleasures, glorious joy, 1 Pet. i. 8 ; for embittered pleasures, 
fulness of joy ; for the pleasures of mad men, the Master's joy, Mat. xxi. 
21, John XV. 11 ; for the pleasures of sin, the joy of Christ. 

Set these things together, and see if there be any comparison. 

For unlawful gain, the riches of Christ's purchase ; for uncertain riches, 
an inheritance immortal, undefiled, &c. ; for riches on earth, treasures in 
heaven ; for a little gain on earth, the unsearchable riches of Christ ; for 
thorny pricking ei^oyments, a rich crown of glory ; for a little gain, that 
which is as good as nothing, that which amounts to no less than all thrngs, 
1 Cor. iii. 21-28, < will I give to inherit all things.' 

For carnal friends that ye may lose, the Lord will admit you into an 
inward friendship with himself, with his Son, with his Spirit, with the 
glorious angels, with the spirits of just men made perfect, with all that are 
excellent upon earth ; such a friendship, as all together shall have one 
heart, and one spirit, and one interest, and one habitation ; all these 
joined in one blessed league, to promote one interest, even that interest 
which is thiue, and Christ the head of this league. Oh what is the league 
with death, the covenant with hell, the confederacy with the greatest carnal 
men on earth, to this league ! Oh, if men be not wholly given over to the 
spirit of delusion, the terms of Christ will never be counted hard. 

Compare the terms upon which you give up yourselves to sin and Satan, 
with the terms of Christ, and see then if they be hard. Till you accept 
of the terms of Christ, while you close with those of sin and Satan, what 
is your state, your employment, your reward ? By these you may judge 
of Satan's terms. 

As to your state, you are slaves, slaves and drudges to the vilest of 
creatures, to the most unmerciful tyrant in the world, ' led captive by Satan 
at his wiU,' at his lust. 

Your employment is to fight against God, and to wound and destroy your 
own souls. This you do continually; you are slaves upon no better 
terms. Your lusts are weapons of unrighteousness, and Satan continually 
sets you on work thus to use these weapons against God, against your own 
souls. And lest sinners should be unwilling to do this, if they should see 
what they are doing, he puts out the eyes of these wretched slaves. He 
deals with you as the Philistines did with Samson when they had taken 
him captive, Judges xvi. 21. 

And what reward, what encouragement, may they expect for this hard, 
intolerable service? Why, 'the wages of sin is death.' Here is all; 
when the poor sinner hath spent himself, soul and all, in their service, and 
comes to look for a reward, behold they put him to death. Here is no 
other reward for him but eternal death. 

MaBK XVL 16.] OF FATTB. 128 

These ara the tenns npon which yon serve sin and Satan. These are 
the terms which yon count better than the terms of Christ. Christ's 
terms are hard, but these are easy to yon. And* is it so indeed ? Or are 
not sinners bhnded and bewitched, who call bitter sweet, and sweet bitter ; 
darkness light, and light darkness ; hard easy, and easy hard ? If the 
Lord open yonr eyes, and undeceive yon, this may be sufficient to remove 
the third impediment. 

4. Impediment. Is a man's resting in his own righteousness. While 
a man rests in himself, he will never rest on Christ. While he stands 
npon anything in himself, he never rolls himiself npon Christ. He will 
never rejoice alone, rely alone upon Christ Jesus, who has any confidence ' 
in the flesh. The apostle including his own righteousness in this word 
flesh, directly opposes these, Phil. iii. 

But are there any such ? Alas ! nothing more common amongst the 
Jews, who professed so much confidence in the Messias. Nothing is more 
ordinary now amongst those who profess that Christ is their only Saviour, 
than to neglect him, and rest on their own righteousness. How common 
is it for men to state their righteousness thus. They hear the word, 
desire the ordinances, pray in public and in private ; they mean well, are 
charitable to those in want, deal honestly, do no man wrong, keep the 
commandments as well as ever they can, hope their hearts are as good as 
the best ; fall into no great sins, or when they are overtaken with sin, they 
are sorry for it ; and for this they trust that God will be merciful to them, 
and will save them, whatever become of outrageous sinners ; for this they 
hope to find pardon, to procure acceptance with God ; and here they rest, 
and ground their hopes of heaven. 

Now this is one of Satan's strongest holds, whereby he keeps sinners 
safe and sure from coming to Christ. Against this did Christ and the 
apostles bend the force of their ministry. For you may see the apostle 
Panl in travail with this design, especially in his Epistle to the Bomaos 
and Galatians. He knew Christ would never be formed in them, till they 
were cured of this tympany, this false confidence and conceit of their own 
righteousness. Against this did Christ direct that parable of the Pharisee 
and Publican, Luke xviii. 9. This was the great stumbling* block of the 
Jews, npon which they fell and split their souls. Instead of resting on 
Christ, Bom. ix. 80-82, chap. x. 8, they placed and established their own 
righteousness in the outward conformity to the law ; and because they did 
outwardly observe it, for this they concluded that God was pleased with 
them, would pardon, and bless, and save them. They thought this right- 
eousness sufficient, stood upon it, and would not stoop to any other; 
submitted not to the righteousness of God, and so came short of the right- 
eousness of &ith, never attained it. Such a block was this in their way, as 
the Gentiles found righteousness sooner than they. The Pubhcans, who had 
no such thing to rest on, were more easily persuaded to cast themselves on 
Christ, than the confident Pharisees. 

To remove this, let me shew how groundless and dangerous this is. 

(1.) Yon have, as yon suppose, some righteousnesss ; but have you not 
withal some sin? You can recount several religious, charitable, right- 
eous acts, but is there no one act of sin you are guilty of ? I hope there 
is none so brutishly stupid, as to have such a thought. If this be acknow- 
ledged, then further ye may be assured, that all your supposed righteous- 
ness will not countervail one sin, and that either in reference to the honour 
of God, or to thy own salvation. 

124 OF FAITH. [Mabk XYI. 16. 

All thy righteonsness does not so mnch hononr God, as that one sin does 
disbononr him. He gets not so mnch by all thy righteonsness, if it were 
far more than it is, as he loses by that sin. ' Heaven and earth shall pass 
away/ &c. So tender is the Lord of his law, as he had rather heaven and 
earth should pass away, than that this* part of the law should be aboli^ed. 
Now every sin would abolish that part of the law, against which it is 
directed ; every sin wonld do that, which the Lord had rather heaven and 
earth shonld perish, than it shonld be done. And the Lord knows the 
tendency of it, and accordbgly resents it. The injury that is in sin, con- 
sidering against whom it is directed, is infinite ; but no finite creature, no 
finite righteousness, can infinitely honour him. One sin will do more to 
condemn thee, than all thy other righteousness can do to save thee. For 
the least sin is such a wrong, a dishonour to God, as he cannot in justice 
admit the sinner into heaven, or into his favour, till he be satisfied for it. 
Now all thy other righteousness cannot satisfy the Lord for that one sin ; 
nay, all the righteousness of men and angels cannot make amends for that 
one sin. For when they are perfectly righteous, they are no more than 
they ought to be ; they do no more than they owe, therefore they cannot 
thereby satisfy for that one sin. For the payment of one debt does not 
discharge another. 

So then, all thy righteousness vanishes at the appearance but of one sin. 
One sin renders all thy other righteous acts unavailable to salvation. What 
then will it do, when thou art guilty of many millions of sins ? If one sin 
will dash all thy righteousness out of countenance, and quite deface it ; 
where will it appear before so many swarms of sins, as the Lord may 
charge thee with? Alas, poor deluded sinner, thou leanest upon a 
shadow, a shadow already vanished, when thou restest on thy own right- 

(2.) The righteousness that you rest upon is no righteousness ; and 
therefore when you rest upon it you rest upon nothing : you hang the 
weight of salvation and your souls upon nothing. 

This will appear if you grant but that one supposition, which every one 
but he that is stark blind will acknowledge. Grant but that you are guilty 
of one sin, and the apostle will thence infer that you are guilty of all, James 
ii. 10. The parts of the law are so linked together, that he who trans- 
gresseth one part thereof, does in some way and degree or other transgress 
the whole law. Now, he that is a righteous man is an observer of the law ; 
therefore, he that is a transgressor of it is not righteous, and consequently 
has no righteousness, except in his deluded fancy and imagination. What 
righteousness has he then, who continually transgresses the rale, who 
seldom or never observes it as far as he can, who, to be sure, never 
observes it as far as he ought ? And is not this your case ? And does not 
every one see it, whose mind the God of this world has not blinded ? The 
church's acknowledgment is observable, Isa. Ixiv. 6. We have no more 
righteousness to rest in but what is indeed no righteousness at all, no more 
than filthy rags are clean. 

Farther, that observance of the rule of righteousness which is not done 
in a due manner, and for sincere ends, is no part of that righteousness 
which is according to law. That which is not done in a due manner, wants 
the form, is but the carcase of a righteous act, wants that which is the soul 
of it, and therefore is no more a righteous act than that lump of flesh is a 
man, which wants a reasonable soul. 

* Qu.* the least*?— Ed. 

MaBK XYI. 16.] OF FAITH. 125 

And thai which is done out of sinister respects is not a righteous act, 
bat an aot of hypocrisy. Now whosoever rests in his own righteousness, 
he never did anything in a due manner, never anything with a sincere aim ; 
and therefore, how confident soever he is of his righteousness, the truth is, 
he never did any righteous act in his life ; and so when he rests upon his 
righteousness, he rests upon that which he never had, upon nothing, upon 
that which is not, nor ever was in being. 

Moreover, there is no righteousness but either that which is legal or evan- 
gelical ; but this self-confident has neither. Legal righteousness he has 
none ; indeed, there is none now in the world ; for the law acknowledges 
no righteousness but that which is absolutely perfect. And he is not only 
without righteousness, but without sense and reason, that will arrogate to 
himself such a perfection. 

Nor has he any evangelical righteousness ; for that is the righteousness 
of God, of Christ, of fedth, as the Holy Ghost calls it. But he that rests 
in his own righteousness has none of these ; for his own righteousness is 
not the righteousness of God, nor of Christ, nor of faith. Nay, by resting 
on his own, he makes himself altogether incapable of this righteousness ; 
that must be renounced before this can be received, as the apostle shews 
by his own practice, Philip, iii. ; so that the righteousness which he rests on 
is no righteousness that tiie Scripture will acknowledge, and therefore none 
at all ; so that trusting to this, thou trustest upon noUiing, layest the stress 
of thy soul and salvation upon nothing. 

(8.) Inquire a little farther, and we shall discover the righteousness 
which men rest on is indeed unrighteousness ; that seeming righteousness 
which they rest on is really unrighteousness. That this may be evident, 
take notice that the righteonsness of a self-confident is made up of acts . 
which he conceives to be righteous. Now acts are specified by their end, 
a true rule in morality, which holds true in divinity. It is the end that gives 
both name and nature to the act. If the end be not good, the act, what- 
ever the matter of it be, is stark naught. If the end be ungodly, the act is 
ungodly, though for the matter it be one of the highest acts of divine wor- 
ship. If the end be unrighteous, the act is unrighteous, though for the 
matter it be one of the highest acts of justice. Now he that rests in his 
own righteousness is an unbeliever, and he that is an unbeliever has no 
good principles, his heart is not purified, his mind and conscience is defiled, 
Titus i. 15. Now he that has no good principle can have no good end in 
anything that he does. An unholy heart cannot have an holy end, for the 
streams rise no higher than the spring. The fruit can be no better than 
the tree. It is Christ's own reasoning, Mat. vii. 15-17. Then, since his 
end cannot be good and righteous, it must be evil and unrighteous ; for 
there is no medium, no third thing in this case. And his end being un- 
righteous in all his acts, all his acts must needs be unrighteous, so that 
tl^ righteousness which he rests on is all of it unrighteousness. It is a 
plain case ; all the ends and purposes of these self-confidents are perverse 
and wicked, and tend some way or other to the promoting (though they will 
not discern it) of some other iniquity, so that the acts of righteousness 
which they rest on, when they are silted, will be found no better than 
insfanments of iniquity, weapons of unrighteousness. To conclude then, 
that which they rest on under the notion of righteousness is really and 
indeed unrighteousness. The matter, when it is searched to the bottom, 
appears to be this : they trust that for their righteousness God will accept 
them, be well pleased with them, and admit them into heaven. Now, whether 

126 OF FAITH. [Mabk XVI. 16. 

this be a greater madness or a greater wickedness is not easy to determine; 
sore it is in a high degree both. 

(4.) Those that trast in their own righteousness are enemies to all 
righteousness. Their righteoosness is not onlj no righteousness, it is not 
only unrighteousness, but their resting on it bears upon it the bnmd of an 
high enmity against all that is righteous. They are enemies to the right- 
eousness of God, of Christ, of the law, of the gospel. 

If you rest in your own righteousness, you are enemies to the righteous- 
ness of God ; for the righteousness of God consists principally in his truth 
and justice. Now this confidence rises up against both, for bis truth is 
engaged that no man shall come to heaven without a righteousness that 
can satisfy his justice, and justice has declared that it will not be satisfied 
with any imperfect, sinful righteousness. Yet this self-confident believes 
and rests on it, that his own righteousness will please and satisfy God, and 
that, however it appear to be sinful and unrighteous, it will make his way 
to heaven notwithstanding, so that to trust in this is indeed to trust that 
God is unrighteous, that God is no God ; for he is no God if he be not true 
and just, if he be not a righteous God, and he is not righteous if he be not 
true and just. 

If you rest in your own righteousness, you are enemies to the righteous- 
ness of Christ. This confidence in self-righteousness thrusts Christ's 
righteousness out of doors, leaves no place for it, no use of it. It counts 
the blood of the covenant an unholy thing, a thing of no use or value ; 
tramples upon the blood of Christ as an useless, a fruitless thing ; counts 
Christ to have done and suffered so many things in vain, Cral. ii. 21. Now 
the self-confident says he has a righteousness that comes by the law, by 
some outward works and acts which the law requires ; places his righteous- 
ness in some outward observance of and conformities to the law, and so 
would make Christ to have died in vain ; for why did he die, but that lost 
man might have a righteousness to bring him to heaven ? If men have 
this in themselves, Christ's undertaking, and his sufierings too, were vain 
and needless. In vain did he take upon him ' the form of a servant,* in 
vain was he * made under the law,' in vain did he * fulfil all righteousness,' 
in vain did he become a * man of sorrow,' in vain did he bear the wrath of 
God, in vain was he wounded, scourged, and crucified. All this was need- 
less and waste if men have a righteousness of their own to be rested on. 
Oh, what a horrid reflection does this cast upon Christ t What a monstrous 
provocation is this 1 No imagination can fathom the depth of it. 

If you rest on your own righteousness, you are enemies to the righteous- 
ness both of the law and of &e gospel, for by thus doing, you give the lie 
to both. The law says, there is no life to be had wiUiout perfect obe- 
dience ; the self-confident says, he shall have life, though he have neither 
such an obedience, nor faith to be justified from the defects of it. The law 
says, ' Cursed is every one that continues not in all things,' &c.. Gal. iii. 10; 
he says, he shall be blessed, though he continue not in all things, no, nor 
any thing, as it is prescribed in the law, though he rest not only upon him 
who only can free a sinner from the curse. 

It gives lie to the gospel too ; for that says, < By the works of the law 
shall no flesh be justified.' But he says, he shall be accepted for his works, 
for his righteous acts, and his observance of the law therein. The gospel 
says, no sinner shall come to heaven but by the righteousness of Christ, 
the righteousness of faith : he trusts he shall find acceptance and life for 
his own righteousness. See here what it is to rest in your own righteous- 

MaBK XVI. 16.] OP FAITH. 127 

View it in its own coloors, and then jndge whether it be not a 
horrid provocation, since it is no better than this when nnmasked, than to 
troflt he shall have acceptance and Ufe, and procure it by such a horrible 
wickedness, as this appears to be. If tiiere be any fear of God, any respect 
to Christ, any regard to yonr own souls, let this consideration finght you 
from resting on any righteousness of your own. 

Thus much for the removing of the impediments, which keep insensible 
sinners from believing. 

I now proceed to answer those objections which are ordinarily made by 
sensible sinners ; those that are convinced of their sin and misery, who are 
apprehensive of the weight and burden of sin and wrath ; who not only see, 
but feel an absolute necessity of Christ ; who highly value Christ, and 
prefer him above all ; and whose seals are drawn out in strong and restless 
desires after hun. These are they indeed whom Christ invites to come to 
him, and rest their weary souls on liim. But several discouragements 
there are ordinarily cast in their way by Satan and unbelief, which hinder 
them from complying with Christ, and closiug with the promise. These I 
shall endeavour to remove, but briefly ; because, considering how small the 
number is of humbled and awakened souls, in comparison of these who are 
secure and insensible, I fear it will not be so generally seasonable. Some 
few I shaU touch on. 

1. One objection wherein humbled souls are ordinarily entangled is 
drawn from election. Oh, says the soul, I fear I am not elected ; and then 
what ground have I to believe in Christ, to rest on him for pardon and 
life ? Faith is peculiar to chosen vessels, it is called * the faith of God's 
elect.' If I knew that I belonged to the election of grace, then I might 
believe indeed ; but till then, I cannot, I dare not ; till then, I cannot 
think that Christ or the promise belongs to me. To this I answer, 

(1.^ It is impossible to know election before faith ; therefore to desire 
this, 18 to go about to compass impossibilities. This was never done, nor 
ever wiU be. 11 this had been stood upon, there had been no faith in the 
world, no soul had ever believed in Christ ; for it is not possible for any to 
know he is elected till he believe. This is to desire to see thy name is 
writ in the book of life, written in heaven, before thou hast an eye to see 
it. It is the eye of faith that only sees this, that alone can read this ; it 
is impossible you should see it without an eye, without this eye. 

It is impossible you should read this in the book of life till that book be 
opened ; now it is a book shut and sealed till faith open it. Election is a 
secret, it runs under ground till faith. When the soul believes, then it 
first breaks forth ; then, and not till then, is this secret made known and 
brought to light. When you desire assurance of it before, you desire to 
know that which cannot be known, to see that which cannot be discerned. 

(2.) It is preposterous. To attempt this, is to set the cart before the 
horse, to desire to be at the end before ye are in the way ; as if a man would 
be at a good distance from him,* before he set a foot out of his own door : 
ts if the Israelites would have been in Canaan, that pleasant land, before 
ihey were come out of Egypt. 

This is to have a conclusion proved without any premises, without any 
good medium to prove it by. You must first have the ground and medium 
before you can reason and draw the conclusion. If ever you would con- 
ehide on good ground that you are elected, feith must be the ground on 
which you must conclude it. I believe, therefore, I am elected ; that is 

•Qa. •home'?— En. 

128 OF FAITH. [Mabk XVI. 16. 

the method wherein the Lord would have yon reason. First, make that 
sore, I belieye ; and then this conclnsion will be easy and certain, 1 am 
elected. This is the apostle's method, 1 Thes. i. 4, firat the work of faith, 
and then the election of God. 

The work of a sinner's salvation is like Jacob's ladder ; it reaches from 
earth to heaven, and so has many rounds : the highest round is election, 
that is as high as heaven ; the lowest round is fiaith, that is on earth. 
Now would ye be at the highest round before you have set foot on the lowest 
step ? No ; be not unreasonable, invert not the order that God has set. 
If you would get up to this great height, and mount this heavenly ladder, 
begin at the bottom ; begin at faith, that is the lowest step, and so you will 
ascend by degrees towards election, the knowledge and assurance of it. 

(8.) It is impertinent to trouble thyself about this. It is a secret, and 
so the Lord will keep it till thou believest. It is not his will that it should 
be known to any before faith. To inquire into it before^ is to pry into 
God's secrets. Indeed, if a man were certain that he were not elected it were 
another case, but as it is not certain that thou art elected, so it is not certain 
that thou art not elected. Thou hast no means to know either the one or 
the other till faith certainly ; till then the Lord reserves it in his own breast as 
a secret. Now ' secret things belong to God,' Dent. zxix. 29. The Lord 
shews here what belongs to him, and what belongs to us, that we should 
mind our duty, and not busy ourselves with impertinencies. Whether 
thou art elected or no at this time is a secret which the Lord never discloses 
to an unbeliever, and therefore till faith it belongs not to thee. But that 
thou shouldst believe is no secret ; that is a revealed duty ; the law, the 
gospel enjoins it. The law of faith is a known law ; this is it which belongs 
to thee, to do all the words of the law. Thou wilt not believe, lest it should 
be too much boldness, being uncertain whether thou art elected ; but is it 
not a greater boldness to pry into God's secrets ? Thou thinkest it would 
be presumption to believe, though God reveals it to be his will ; but is it 
not greater presumption to inquire into that which it is his will thou shooldst 
not know ? 

Observe the apostle's order, 2 Pet. i. 10. Both belong to thee, but not 
both together, but one after the other, as the Holy Ghost has placed them. 
First make thy calling sure : till then it belongs not to thee to seek assur- 
ance of election ; till then thou wilt seek in vain, never find it. The duty 
that lies upon thee, and which must first be looked to, is to make sure thy 
calling. The Lord calls thee now to believe ; answer his call by believing, 
and so thy calling will be sure. This being assured, thou art in the high- 
way to assure thy election. Thy diligence will not miscarry, because thoa 
takest the way, and followest the method that God prescribes thee. Bat 
to follow thy own way, and give diligence in that which belongs not to thee, 
is not the way to prosper. Believe in the Lord, and so shalt thou prosper; 
but unless thou believest, thou wilt never be established as to thy election. 
(4.) You think it needless, unreasonable, to pry into God's decrees before 
you apply yourselves to other undertakings ; and it is as unreasonable here. 
When you are dangerously sick, and the physician tells you unless you take 
such a course of physic, your case is desperate, do ye use to reason thus : 
If I knew that God had decreed my recovery, I would take that course that 
is so like to restore me ; but till I know that God has decreed my recovery, 
I'll take nothing. Sure we should think such a reasoner not only sick, but 
distracted. Thus it is here. The sinner is ready to perish ; apply thyself 
to Christ, says the Lord, cast thyself on him, apply the promise ; there is 

MaBK XYI. 16.] OF FAITH. 129 

no other way to save thy life. Oh, says he, if I knew the Lord had decreed 
my salTation, I would venture on Christ ; hat till I know this, I must Hot 
helieve. Oh the nnreasonahleness of nnhelief I Satan's suggestions make 
poor ereatnres aot as though they were distracted. This is as if an Israehte, 
stong with the fiery serpent, should have said, If I knew that the Lord had 
decreed my core, I wotdd look upon the brazen serpent ; bat till I know 
this, though there be no other way to save my life, I wiU not look on it. 
If all the stung Israelites had been tiius resolved, it is like they had all 

Or as if one pursued by the avenger of blood, should have set him down 
in the way to the city of refuge, when he should have been flying for his 
life, and said, If I knew that the Lord had decreed my escape, I would 
make haste for refuge ; but till I know this, I will not stir, till I die for it. 
Would not this be counted a wilful casting away his life, with a neglect of 
that provision which God had made to save it ? Was it not sufficient that 
a way was made for his escape, and a way feasible enough, the city of 
refuge always open ? Even so are the arms of Christ always open to receive 
a humbled, distressed, perishing sinner flying to him for refuge. And wilt 
thou destroy thyself, by suffering Satan to entangle thee with a needless, 
impertinent, and unreasonable scruple ? If there be no way but one, and 
any encouraging probability to draw men into it, they fly into it without 
delay, never perplexing themselves with the decrees and secrets of God. 
This is thy case, Christ is thy way ; there is no way but this one, fly to it 
as for thy life ; and let not Satan hinder thee, by diverting thee to impossi- 
bilities and impertinencies. Do thus, and prosper. When the disciples 
were inquiring after an impertinent secret. Acts i. 6, 7, Christ takes them 
off, and directs them to the duty that then lay upon them : < It is not for 
yon to know,' &e. 

Obj. 2. Oh but I am unworthy to come near Christ, unworthy to have 
anything to do with the promise. Will Christ entertain such an unworthy 
wretch as I am ? I have not only no merit, but no motive, nothing to 
engage, nothing but what may disoblige him, most highly engage him 
against me. Oh the sense of my unworthiness sinks my heart, and does 
utterly discourage me. 

Arts. 1. Christ never excluded any upon this account, because they were 
unworthy. Christ never laid this as a bar to keep thee out ; why shouldst 
thou make use of it to bar thyself out ? He has always ^ewed himself 
ready to entertain a humbled returning sinner, how unworthy soever. 
Christ makes this no exception ; why dost thou make it one ? He never 
spoke word of discouragement to this, and why dost thou make it a dis- 
couragement ? Who more unworthy than the prodigal, either really, or in 
his own apprehension ? How unworthy he was really, you may see in the 
former part of the parable ; how unworthy in his own apprehension, you 
may see by his own expression. Yet does not this hinder him from return- 
ing, nor did it hinder the father (who there represents Christ) from receiv- 
ing and embracing him. When he returns, filled with shame and sorrow, 
burdened with the sense of his former unworthy carriage, see how freely, 
bow affectionately, how joyfully he entertains hun. See it, and never let 
the thought of onworthiness discourage thee more. Methinks the sad heart 
of a humble, dejected sinner should revive and leap within him to see this 
afiectionftte passage. When this worthless wretch is afiir off, he runs and 
meets him ; when he comes at him, he fiUls about his neck and kisses him ; 
when he has brought him home, he has the kindest entertainment that love 


laO 07 FAITH. [MaBkXVI. 16. 

ean make him, thinks nothing too dear^ nothing too good to welcome him, 
who in the mean time is tfiinVing nothing so inle, nothing so bad, so base 
and miworthy, as himself. He rejoices in him as one would do who receives 
a dear child £rom the dead. He rejoices himself, and he calls heaven and 
earth to rejoice with him. Oh see here the tender compassions, the wonder- 
ful kindness, the overflowing affections of Christ to the nnworthiest of sinners, 
when he does bat really return to him. As sure as that parable is ChrisVs, 
so sure will this be thy welcome, thy entertainment, poor dejected soul, if 
thou wilt but return to him. Thou hast unworthy thoughts of Christ, if 
the thoughts of thy unworthiness do discourage thee from coming to him. 
Will that hinder Christ from receiving thee, that never hindered him from 
admitting any ? 

Am. 2. None that were worthy did ever believe. None such ever came 
to Christ, nor did Christ ever receive any such ; and wilt thou have that 
before thou believest, which none ever could have ? There are none, there 
never were any, really worthy ; and those that think themselves worthy, 
will not believe, cannot cast themselves on Christ ; or if they should come, 
yet would not Christ receive such. It is not his way, it stands not with 
his honour. Look over all those thousands or millions that have trusted 
in Christ, thou canst not find one amongst them all that were worthy. If 
thou canst find any thing in them that will bear the name of worth, they 
brought it not to Christ, but received it from him ; they had it not before 
faith, but received it by faith. And wilt thou be such a one before thou 
believest, as never any one will be after thee ? If none had believed but 
those that were worthy, there had never been a believer in the world, there 
had been no faith on earth, there had been no soul in heaven. And wilt 
thou be such a one as neither heaven nor earth will afford ? If thou wilt 
never believe till thou art worthy, thou wilt never believe while thou hast a 
being. If thou must either believe while thou art unworthy, or not at all, 
why does unworthiness hinder thee, unless thou intendest to continue in 
unbelief for ever? 

Oh it is true, you will say, none are worthy, all are unworthy I but I am 
more unworthy than any, there is none like me for that. Well, suppose 
this were true, which is not so likely, yet consider. 

Am. 8. It is most for Christ*8 honour to receive those which are most 
unworthy. It suits best with his greatest and dearest design ; it tends 
most to promote that which he most aims at, when he graciously receives 
those that are most unworthy. And therefore thy unworthiness should 
not discourage thee, nay, it should rather encourage. For wiU not Christ 
do that freely, which most advances his own great and glorious design ? 
You doubt not but an intelligent man will do that freely, which is most for 
his own interest. Why, it is the interest of Christ to receive those that 
are most unworthy ; and will he not freely do it ? Do ye think he does 
not know his interest ? WiU ye make him more ignorant than the sons of 
men ? Or do ye think he will neglect his interest ? Can he be guilty of 
negligence ? To make unworthiness a discouragement, accuses Christ of 
both, casts those unworthy reflections of ignorance or negligence. Sure to 
do thus, is as great an unworthiness, as tiiat which you object. Thoogh 
you be worthy to be neglected, yet sure Christ will not neglect himself, his 
own great design and interest. This is Christ's design in admitting sinners, 
to make his fireeness and riches of his grace most conspieuous, to nuke his 
grace glorious, £ph. i. 10>12 ; ii. 7-9. This is his counsel, his purpose, 
his design, his interest ; to shew the exceeding riches of his grace. Now 

MaBX XVL 16.] OF FAITH. 181 

gnee is most rich, grace is most grace, when it is most free. That k 
plain to any who understand what grace is ; and grace is most free when 
it is shewed to those that are most unworthy, those who hare nothing in 
the world to boast of. Then it appears in its liyely colours, then it slunes 
forth in the riches of its glory. Well, then, thou art unworthy, thou art 
most unworthy ; thou art greatly afflicted, deeply humbled under the sense 
of thy utter unworthiness ; and does this discourage thee from coming to 
Christ ? Dost thou think for this he will reject thee 7 Why, thou art the 
person in whom, above others, Christ may meet with that which he most 
aims at ; thou aft he on whom Christ may make himself, his grace, most 
glorious. Thou art the fittest subject for Christ to accomplish his great 
design on. And why 7 Because thou art, and art sensible thou art, most 
unworthy. La here, that which thou objectest as a discouragement to keep 
thee from him, from believing in him, proves a great encouragement to 
hasten thee to him. 

An$. 4. Christ, in pursuance of his gracious design, does, as it were, 
pick out those that are most unworthy. Who is more worth ? he that can 
bring money and a price, something of worth to Christ ; or those that have 
nothing 7 Now Christ will have those to come that have nothing, Isa. 
It. 1. Who are worthy? Those that are rich and full, or those that are 
hangry and empty 7 Why, these will Christ choose, while he r^ects the 
other : * He fills the hungry,' &c. Who are more worthy, the righteous or 
sinners? Why, Christ (uills the unworthiest of these : ' He came not to 
call the righteous, but sinners,' &o. Who are more worthy, the wise or 
the foolish ? the mighty or the weak ? the noble and honourable, or the 
base and despised ? those that are something or those that are nothing? 
Why, Christ pitches most on the more unworthy, 1 Cor. i. 26-28. If 
thou wouldst be more worthy, thou wouldst be among those whom Christ 
is wont to reject or pass by; while thou art more unworthy in thy own 
apprehension, thou art one of those whom Christ is wont to choose and 
pick out for himself. And is unworthiness a discouragement ? Thou 
hast more encouragement now than thou wouldst have, if thou wert in thy 
own sense more worthy. 

Ant. 5. Unworthiness does rather qualify you for Christ than otherwise, 
and therefore should rather encourage you to come to him than keep yon 
from him. The Jews plead ill for &e centurion, when they allege that he 
was worthy, Luke vii. 4. He pleads better for liimself, and there is more 
truth, more ingenuity m his plea, that wherewith Christ is more taken, 
ver. 6, 7 ; not worthy that Chnst should come to him, not worthy he should 
eome to Christ. But does he fare worse for this ? No ; he obtains all that 
he desires» and a transcendent commendation besides. No subjects so' 
capable of Christ and his benefits as unworthy creatures; not only in 
reference to Christ's honour, of which before, but in respect of their neces- 
sities, those that render them unworthy. If they were not such, they were 
not in such a capacity of a Saviour. Are yon such in a spiritual sense, as 
you find Luke ziv. 21 7 Why, these are they whom God invites to the 
marriage of his Son. Are yon in Laodicea's state ? a condition unworthy 
cnoagh. Rev. iii. 16. Why, Christ offers the riches and treasures of his 
purchase unto such, ver. 16. None else are so capable of them. Art thou 
poor, afflicted with thy soul-poverty ? Why, who else should Christ enrich 
bat such ? His treasures wcmld be slighted by, and thrown away upon 
others. Art thou blind, afflicted with that darkness that covers thy soul ? 
Who else should Christ restore to light but such ? His eye-salve others 

182 w FAITH. [Mask XVI. 16. 

will count needless. Art ihon naked ? Hast nothing to hide thy soul 
defilements, nothing to cover the shame of thy inward nakedness ? Why, 
who else should Glmst clothe bnt the naked ? The white raiment will be 
nseless to others. Art thon halt and maimed, thy sonl oat of joint, and 
discomposed ? Why, who else should Christ cure but the maimed ? The 
more desperate thy case seems to be, the more will it be for his credit and 
honour to undertake and effeet the cure. The whole need not the physi- 
cian, bnt the sick. Art thon wretched and miserable 7 Who else should 
Christ enhappy but those that are miserable f Art thou sinful, exceeding 
sinful, ashamed, grieved, burdened with thy sinfulness? Why, who 
else should Christ pardon but sinners ? Art thou over-spread with sool- 
pollntion ? Who else should the blood of Christ cleanse but those that are 
polluted ? For whom was the fountain opened ? Art thou empty ? Who 
else should Christ fill but the empty ? To what end else did it please the 
Father that in him should all fulness dwell ? Can he fill those who are 
full already ? Are they capable of it ? Art thou lost indeed, and in thy 
own sense ? Who else should Christ seek but those that are lost ? Should 
he seek those that never went astray? He came to seek them that were 
lost. Art thou a captive to sin, to Satan, weary of it, groanest under it? 
Who else should Christ redeem but the captives ? Art thou nothing, less, 
worse than nothing, in thy own apprehension? To whom else should 
Christ be all in all ? To whom else can he be so ? Can he be all in all 
to those who are something in themselves ? 

Take a view of whatever makes thee worthy* in thy own apprehension; 
and being sensible of it, afflicted with it, and it renders thee more capable 
of Christ ; so far is it from being a discouragement to keep thee from him. 

Ans, 6. To believe is not only a privilege, but a duty. (Ful. Serm. on 

An$. 7. The longer you continue in unbelief, the more unworthy you 
will be to come at Christ. Whatever tends to make you unworthy is hereby 
increased. Is it hardness of heart ? Your hearts will be daily more and 
more hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. Is it inability to be ser- 
viceable to Christ ? You will be eveiy day more unfit, more unable to do 
him service. Sin is every day wounding and weakening your souls. Yon 
lose time too, wherein you might do him much service^ you lose both 
ability and opportunities. Is it sinfalness ? You will grow every day more 
and more sinful. Is it the defileiaent and loathsome pollution of your 
hearts ? Your souls will every day grow more and more loathsome ; no 
stepping out of that puddle of sin, till you come out to Christ. You will 
still wallow more and more in it till you believe, still more besmear your- 
selves with that which renders you loathsome and hateful in the eye of 
Christ. Is it the multitude of your sins ? You will find them grow more 
and more numerous ; that horrid heap will rise higher and higher, swell 
bigger and bigger. Is it the heinousness and grievousness of your sins? 
Till you believe, they every moment grow more and more heinous, more 
provoking. They cry louder and louder to the Lord against you. You 
add to them more unbelief, which has in it a peculiar provocation above 
the rest. 

If you be unworthy now, you will be much more unworthy hereafter. 
If it discourage you now, it will much more discourage you when it is 
greater ; so that if you believe not now, it is like you may never believe, 
n you leap not over this discouragement* when it is but as a mole-hill in com- 

* Qa. * unworthy' ?— Ed. t On James i. 6 ; the next Sennon bnt one.--£D. 

MaBK XYI. 16.] OF FAITH* 188 

parison, how will jon get over it when it is grown into a mountain ? If 
joa now suffer yonrselres to be carried down with this stream, how will 
yon get np it, when the waters of it are swelled higher and higher, and 
break in npon yon with greater violence ? It is most unreasonable to let 
nnworthiness <^ooarage you now from believing, unless you never intend 
to believe ; for you will never be less unworthy. 

If a man were to wade through a river, er die for it, he would enter 
it when it is lowest ; for when he still sees it rising higher and higher, 
the longer he stays the more he may be afraid to venture. The water, 
which is but to the knees now, may be above his height in a little time. 
So here thy nnworthiness is now at the lowest that ever it will be ; thy 
life lies on it to believe on Christ. The longer thou stayest, the deeper, 
the larger will thy nnworthiness grow. If thou beest not careless of thy 
life, venture now. 

Ans. 8. Unbelief is the greatest nnworthiness, the most provoking, that 
which seals thee up under all former nnworthiness, bindB it all upon thee, 
that which adds a new aggravation to all ; not ozdy incenses justice, but 
refuses merdy. It is the only excluding nnworthiness. 

Aru, 9. The Lord requires no other worthiness of thee but faith, nothing 
but a cordial acceptance of Christ as he is offered. He that hath this, the 
Lord will no more question him for his nnworthiness, than the Lord*s own 
goodness and faithfulness can be questioned. 

06;. 1. But I am not prepared for Christ ; I am not sufficiently humbled, 
I have not had experience of the work of the spirit of bondage as others 
have. I never was so deeply afflicted with the apprehensions of God's 
wrath ; nor have I had such terrors of conscience as are usual in others 
when the Lord is bringing them to Christ. 

Ans, 8. It may be you lay more stress upon those terrors and legal 
hnmblings than is requisite. To prevent miscarriages, and remove mis- 
takes herein, which seem to be the grounds of the ol^ection (observe) that 
you may form right apprehensions of this matter, before which this scruple 

(1.) Legal terrors are no parts of faith or conversion ; they are neither 
essential nor integral parts. Those are essential parts which make up the 
essence of a thing, as soul and body are the essential parts of a man. Those 
are integral parts which make up the entireness of a thing, as the several 
members are integral parts of a man's body. 

Those parts which give the essence to a thing begin with it, and con- 
tmne with it while it is in being, but these terrors cease as soon as faith 
begins, and so they are no essential parts. A thing cannot be complete 
and entire without its integrals ; the body, when it wants some members, 
is lame, or maimed, or defective ; but faith may be entire and complete 
without these; it is not the more defective when these are gone and 
vanished ; so Uiey are not integrals. They are so far from being parts, as 
they are no degrees of faith ; though some step to it, yet not the least 
degree of it. As the dryness of wood is no degree of heat or fire which 
kindles the wood, though it tend something to make it kindle more easily ; 
80 these, though they may something dispose a man towards faith, yet 
they are not any degree of faith. The least degree of true faith is saving, 
but these hnmblings may be in those who shall never be saved. 

(2.) They are no causes of fisdth ; no efficient causes to produce faith ; 
nor subservient causes, by which alone the Lord does immediately produce 
it ; nor moving causes, which oblige the Lord to work it. 

184 OF FAITH. [Mask XVI. 16. 

Thej are not eiBcienl catises which work faith, or have any Turtne in 
themselTes to effect it. The mere pulling off the glovea does not make 
clean the hands, there mnst he a fitrther act to do that, they mnst be 
washed. Those are bnt as the polling off the gloves, something by way of 
preparation, bnt no canses that will do the work And as tiiey are no 
causes of faith in themselves, so the Lord does not work &ith by these 
only, nor by these as the next and proper means. These are wronght by 
the law, &ith is wronght by the gospel ; that is the means by which the 
Lord produces faith ; not the law, nor any effect of the law. The Spirit of 
Christ begets faith, not as a spirit of bondage, bnt as a sanctifying Spirit. 
Unless this regenerating Spirit proceed to a £uther work, those legal 
hnmbfings will be vain and fruitless. 

Nor are they moving causes, such as engage or induce the Lord to bestow 
fidth. When these terrors are in the lughest degree, the Lord remains 
free whether he will give faith or no, and we see his proceedings are answer- 
able. Sometimes he bestows it, sometimes he denies ; bnt if these laid 
any engagement npon him, he could never deny ^th to any who are onee 
under tiie spirit of bondage ; for the Lord will answer all engagements. 

(8.) These are no conditions of any promise. The Lord has not pro- 
mised fidth, or any grace, to these legal preparations ; bo that as these can- 
not engage him to give fiiith, so he has not engaged himself thereto. There 
needs no proof of this, because no such promise can be produced. But 
the ground hereof is clear ; for those who have gone no farther than these 
legal humblings are yet in a state of nature, and these jH-eparatory works 
are common to reprobates. Now the Lord promises no grace to nature, 
nor to any thing Uiat can be found in a mere natural man ; no such thing 
is ever made the condition of any promise : otherwise the Lord could not 
deny grace to reprobates, could not deny fidth to vessels of wrath, without 
the forfeiture of his truth and fitdthfidness ; for where the condition is 
foond, to bun the promise must be accomplished, the truth and fidthfulness 
of God requires it. Nothing which can be found in castaways ean be the 
condition of a gracious promise ; but these terroro may be found in a high 
degree in reprobates and mere natural men, ergo^ ftc. 

(4.) ^Hiese are not necessary antecedents of fidth, though they be usuaDy 
antecedents of faith, yet not necessarily ; though they o^inarily go before 
faith, yet not always. It is possible some may have fitdth without these, and 
so it is possible a man may be fit for Christ who never had them. There 
is no place for legal terrore in infancy ; yet that some have been sanctified 
from tiie womb we have some instances in Scripture. And though it be 
denied that infimts are capable of actual fitdth, yet few or none deny bnt 
that age is capable of the habit or principle of fidth. So that the Lord 
may prepare some for Christ in another way than this of legal terrors, 
though ^is be the usual way ; and therefore they are not necessary indis- 
pensable antecedents of faith, though they be the ordinary way to it. 

Hence it follows that, as he who finds in himself undoubted effects and 
evidences of fidth need not question the troth of his fidth for want of legal 
hundlialion, so he that finds in himself the dear evidences of a prepared- 
ness for Christ, need not be discouraged from coming to him for want of 
these legal terrore, because these do not always go before fidth, at least in 
the same degree with it. 

(6.) Though these legal humblings do ordinarily go b^ore fidth, yet 
there is a great variety both as to the measure and continuance. All have 
not alike as to the time they are under them, some have a quicker passage 

Mam X7I. 16.] or paith* . 185 

to Christ. All hare them not in the like degree, in the height and depth 
of them ; some have an easier passage to Christ than others. We find 
not that Zaeohens and Lydia were so deeply humbled, so mnoh terrified, 
as Sanl and the jailor. When good education prevents those gross enor- 
mities which are the occasions of those strong convulsions of conscience ; 
or when the Lord begins to work in younger years, when sin is not so ripe 
nor BO deeply riveted in the sinner by custom ; or when wrath and meroj, 
misery and a redeemer, are both propounded together ; there is many times 
some abatement of terror in these cases. And the Lord, who is a most 
free agent, and works how and in what manner he pleases, may make 
some abatement thereof in other cases, upon such reasons, and for such 
ends, as our shallowness cannot sound. That degree of humbling which 
is sufficient for some may not be enough for others. And that which is 
too little for one may be too much for another; his temper may not bear 
it, his case may not require it. That degree may fit one for Christ which 
will not so much as move another. And therefore you cannot upon any 
ground conclude that you are not prepared for Christ because you are not 
afflicted with such a degree of terror as you may meet with in some others ; 
a threatening word, a hght apprehension of wrath, may fright some out of 
their ways of sin, which others will not leave till they be fired out. 

(6.) Yon must not judge of your preparedness for Christ by the depth of 
your humblings or the height of your terrors, but by the effects thereof. 
Judge of your fitness for Christ by those things wherein this fitness con- 
sists, that is a sure way, not by those things which are accidental to it 
and separable from it, as this or that degree of legal humiliation may be ; 
to judge by these is the way to mistake. Inquire not how much or how 
long you have been under the spirit of bondage, but what is the issue of 
it, what is the end, and how much thereof is hereby attained. The end 
of those l^al humblings is to fit you for Christ, they are but means used 
for this end. If the end be attained, the means are no farther necessary 
nor desirable. Whether more or less of those means have been applied, 
if you be prepared for Christ by that measure of humiliation you are under, 
be it more or be it less, no mere is necessary or desirable, because the end 
of these means is attained. He is an unreasonable patient that will have ' 
more physic than is requisite for his health, a strange person that wiU 
have the chirurgeons to lance and scarify or cauterise him more than is 
necessary for the cure of his wound. If you be fit for Christ it is enough, 
bow little soever your humblings have been. 

Oh, but how shall this be known, whether I be fit for Christ ? Why, it. 
is best known by those things wherein this fitness consists. They are such 
as these ; I will but name them. 

(1.) He that is brought off from all dependence on himself and his own 
righteousness, so as to see and feel an absolute necessity of Christ. 

(2.) He that is fallen out with every sin, so as to hate that which he has 
formerly most loved, and resolved to pursue every lust to the death. 

(8.) He that hungers and thirsts after Christ, so as to be ready and will- 
iDg to part with all for him. 

(4.^ He that is in love with holmess, purity of heart and life, so as he Is 
heartdy willing to comply with Christ in all his ways, even in those that 
are most strait and holy. He that, upon a faithful and impartial search, 
and observance of his heart, finds that he is truly and indeed brought thus 
far, whatever his humiliation have been, he is ^sufficiently prepared for 

186 OF FAITH. [Habx XYI. 16. 

If this be thy cate, thou hast no more gronnd (for want of legal ham- 
blmge) to be disconraged from coming to Christ, and resting on him for 
pardon and life, than those who are abready cksped in his everlastbg 

Ohj. Oh, bnt Christ does only heal the broken-hearted; he has comfort 
indeed, bat it is only for the moomers. Now, alas! my heart is hard, it 
is a heart of stone; I find not that soilness, that tenderness, those tears 
and meltings, which is requisite in those retomers whom Christ will 

An$. 1. Obsetre, there is a threefold tenderness, a tenderness of heart 
and will, a passionate tenderness, and a tenderness in expressions. 

Tenderness of heart or wUl is when the will is pliable, when it is facile 
and easy to yield to Christ. And so that is a hard heart which is stiff 
and ontractable, which will not be persaaded, is not yielding and comply- 
ing with the will of Christ. This the Scriptore calls a hard heart ; and it 
is so, whatcTcr meltings or relentiags there be in it upon occasion. There 
are some natural men who will find strange meltings and passionate motions 
within them at the hearing of some pa^etical discourse on the sufferings 
of Christ, or the like affecting exercise, whose hearts are nevertheless as 
hard, in Scripture phrase, as the nether millstone; even as that wax, which 
you call hard, will melt if you apply it to a flame, but hard it is, and so 
we account it for all that. That is soft wax indeed which with a little 
warmth becomes ductile and pliable, so as you may mould it into any 
form, and is apt to receive any impression. And that is a soft heart 
which is pliable in the hand of Christ, which will be moulded as he woald 
have it, which is not stiff against his word, but yields to any signification 
of his wiU. 

The pamonate tenderness consists in grief and sorrow, when these 
passions or affections are easily raised, excited, and drawn out by their 
proper objects and occasions, when the objects of them are sin, and the 
unkindness and dishonour to God that is in sin. The Scripture comprises 
this also under the notion of a soft and tender heart. The heart in Scrip- 
ture is both will and affections. 

The tenderness of expreagions consists in tears and weeping, and this is 
properly a softness or tenderness of complexion. 

Now, for the application of the several parts of this distinction to onr 

Ans, 2. This tenderness of expression in tears and weeping may be where 
there is no tenderness of heart in Scripture sense. This, as it is free, so 
it signifies rather a tender complexion of body than a tender constitution 
of the heart. This is not a property, but a common and separable accident 
of a soft heart. There may be tears, and that in abundance, and possibly 
in some consideration of sin too, where the heart is extremely hard. And, 
on the contrary, there may be a very tender heart, a heart of flesh, the 
blessing of the covenant, where there are no tears at all. It is in this case 
as it is with words in reference to prayer, there may be a prayer where 
there are no words, as in Hannah ; and there may be words, yea, veiy 
high expressions, where there is no prayer; for the essence of a prayer 
consists in the desires and motions of the soul, the expressions are but the 
dress and outward garb of it. So here, there may be a soft heart where 
there are no tears, and there may be many tears where the heart is exceed- 
ing hard ; for tenderness of hesjt consists principally in a pliableness to 
the will of Christ, seconded with some motion of tiie affections. 

MaBJL XYI. 16. j 07 FAITH. 187 

And as words and expressions in prayer, so tears mi^ proceed from some 
other cause than tenderness of heart. Indieed, they depend much upon age, 
natural temper of the mind, or complexion of the hody. 

So that from want of this tenderness of expression you cannot duly con- 
clude a hardness of heart either in yourselves or others. Indeed, if crosses, 
disappointments, loss of friends, and other sorrowful accidents in the world, 
can diraw tears from you, and the consideration of sin, its unkindness, dis- 
honour, heinousness will draw none, this alters the case ; this signifies the 
want of them is from the constitution of a hard heart rather than a less 
tender complexion of hody. 

Otherwise you cannot from hence conclude your heart is hard, and so 
have no ground from hence to discourage you from coming to Christ and 
resting on him. If there were a just ground to discourage from helieving, 
it might as well hinder those who have true faith from heing true believers ; 
for many, who are truly and eminently so, while they can find a heart 
bleeding for sin, yet want an eye that can weep for it ; the renewed con- 
stitation of their souls help them to that, but the temper of their bodies 
will not afiford this. 

Ans. 8. The way to have clear evidence of a soft and tender heart, is to 
believe. This is Qie direct way, both to get present hardness removed, and 
to get a sure evidence that former hardness is removed. This is clear from 
what I have premised. Tenderness of heart, that which the Lord in 
Scriptore most coinn^ends to us, consists principally in a pliableness with 
the will of Christ, an easiness to be persuaded by him, a facileness to yield 
to him, a softness that will be easily bended into a compliance with his 
good pleasure. Now this is the will of Christ, that thou wouldst come 
to him, believe in him, rest on him. This is his will, wilt thou comply ? 
This he calls thee to, wilt thou answer his call ? This he persuades thee to, 
art thou easy to be persuaded by him ? This is thy present duty, that will 
affiird thee the clearest evidences. We are apt to flatter ourselves with 
imaginaiy compliances in duties past or future. Oh, say the Jews, if the 
Messias would come, how would we receive him ! how would we rejoice in 
him I but when he has come indeed, and they were put upon trial by a 
present duty, the deceit appeared. Instead of receiving him, they rejected 
him ; instead of welcoming him with joy, they pursue and persecute him 
with a strong hatred. So in another case, they flatter themselves with a 
compliance, upon an imaginary supposal. Oh, say they, if we had lived in 
the days of our forefathers, we would never have treated the prophets as 
they did. And yet when Christ himself, the great prophet, waa amongst 
them, and their present duty was to hear him, the deceit appeared, tiie 
hardness of their hearts was manifest. They treat him as unworthily as 
ever their forefathers did the former prophets. We have the same deceit- 
ful hearts, and are as ready to impose upon ourselves by the very like 
delusion. Oh, says one, if I should be assaulted with such a foul tempta- 
tion, how far would I be from yielding to it ! and yet the temptation that 
he is under at present, he yields to it. Oh, says another, if I were called 
to suffer, as martyrs formerly, I hope I should suffer cheerfully, and part 
with all ; and yet his present duty he neglects ; the sacrificing knife of a 
mortifying course must not touch his lust ; he cannot suffer that, who 
fancies he would readily suffer all. Indeed, these imaginary compliances 
aigue no tenderness of heart, but that which is merely imaginary ; it is but 
a fancy, a delusion, there is no reality in it. But if thou wouldst not be 
deluded, here thou mayest have a just trial. How doest thou demean thy- 

188 ov FAITH. [Mask XYI. 16. 

self towards thy present dnty ? K thy heart be tender indeed, it will not 
be stiff against it, it will yield to it. 

Christ requires thee to abandon eveiy sin, the Insts, eamal or worldly, 
which thon hast been so fast in leagne with ; doest thon yield here ? Does 
thy heart say, * Lo, I come to do thy will, God ; thy law is in my heart ; 
my sod has received the impressions of it, I desire nothing more in all the 
world than to be rid of sin. 

Christ requires thee to receive him as thy Lord ; does thy heart yield? 
Does thy soul answer, 1*11 have no Lord, no king but Jesus ; his burden 
shall be light to me, his yoke shall be easy ; Oh that he would bore mine 
ear, that I might be in his service for ever I Oh that he would free me 
from this slavery to sin and the world, which is so intolerable to me 1 

Christ requires thee to come and cast thyself on him ; here is thy pre- 
sent duty. Wilt thon be persuaded to it ? Yield now, and thou needest 
not doubt but thy heart is soft and tender. A persuadable heart is a soft 
heart ; thou needest never any more make this a discouragement. 

Ana, 4. As for that passionate tenderness, which consists in grief and 
sorrow for sin, never expect these to purpose, till thou believest. These 
ingenuous meltings, those passionate relentings, those streams of sorrow, 
which thou wantest and longest for, they are the fruits, not the fore- 
runners, of faith. If thou expect them full and ripe before thou believest, 
thou expectest fruits of a tree before it be planted. That which pierces 
the heart, that which makes it a spring of sorrow, that which sends forth 
the streams of it in abundance, is the sight of Christ pierced, the sight of 
him by faith ; it is the eye of faith beholding Christ pierced, and pierced 
for thee, that will so affect the heart, as to dissolve it into sorrow, and 
spring in it a bitter mourning, Zech. zii. 10. When the eye of faith sees 
Christ pierced, when it sees him lifted up in that highest expression of his 
love, when the heat of that love reaches the heart, when the shines of 
Christ's countenance, the beams of the Sun of righteousness, penetrate icto 
the soul, then will it melt, then will it dissolve indeed, then will it flow 
out in streams of sorrow. Those meltings that are most kindly, that 
sorrow which is most ingenuous, is the proper issue of faith, that which 
follows it, not that which goes before it. When thou hast experience of 
the loving-kindness of Christ ; when thou feelest his tender compassions 
to thee ; when thou findest him as it were falling upon thy neck, and kissing 
thee; what, such love, such compassions, such kindness for me! for 
me, who have been so unkind, so unworthy! for me, who have been 
such a rebel, such a prodigal ! oh, a heart of flint will melt now, and the 
rock will be dissolved into waters t This is the effect of faith ; it is unrea- 
sonable to expect the effect till the cause is in being. The want of this 
should not discourage from believing ; it is not to be expected before. But 
if thy heart desires it, the want, the desires of it, should quicken thee to 
make haste to Christ, make haste to believe ; because this is the only way 
to obtain what thou desirest, to be possessed of this melting temper. 

Ohj, Ob, but I have slept out the day of my gracious visitation ; I fear 
the time of mercy is expired. I have often resisted the Spirit, long neglected, 
yea, rejected the offers of Christ and mercy ; and now I am afraid the 
decree is gone forth against me. Alas 1 I fear it is too late. 

Am. This is a tender point, I must proceed warily in it. The resoh' 
tion may be useful to all, and therefore I shall insist a little on it. For 
answer, 1, I premise some things by way of concession ; 2, add some 
things for satisfaction. 

MaBK XVI. 16.] OP FAITH. 139 

1. By way of concession. (1.) It is granted, there is a time wherein 
the Lord offers mercy ; which being determined and come to its period, the 
Lord withdraws, the sinner is left to himself in a forlorn condition, to reap 
the woefnl firnits of his own obstinacy. 

This time expires, when the Lord, provoked by obstinate resistance and 
wilfnl refdsals, gives over the sinner as hopeless and incurable ; will use 
no more importunity, will strive no longer ; leaves him to those lusts, and 
in that state which he has chosen ; seals him up under spiritual judgments ; 
gives him up to blindness of mind, hardness of heart, a spirit of slumber, 
a reprobate sense. Nothing more evident in Scripture than that there is 
such a time of grace, and such a period of it, Ezek. zxiv. 18. The Lord 
would have purged them, while he afforded means for this purpose. They 
resisting those means, rendering them ineffectual, this time ended. And 
this was the end of it, Thou shalt not be purged ; and the Lord seals it, 
ver. 14. Mat. xxiii. 87, Christ would have gathered them. While he 
endeavoured this, it was their time of mercy ; but they would not be 
gathered ; this puts a period to that time. He leaves them, that is the 
issue of it, and their house is left unto them desolate, Luke ux. 42. They 
had light to discover the things which concerned their peace. All the while 
that shined, it was their day; but they neglected, shut their eyes, employed 
about other objects ; so these thingis are hid from their eyes. There is 
their night, the sad period of that gracious day, Isa. Iv. 6. There is a time 
when the Lord may be found, while he is near. That is the time of mercy. 
But the expression implies there is a time when he will not be found, when 
he is gone hi out of sight, out of caU. That is the time succeeding the 
former, a time of rejection. As sinners have their time of rejecting Ch)d, so 
he has his time of rejecting them, Prov. i. When the Lord calls, stretches 
out his hand, that is the time of mercy ; but their continued refusals and 
neglects puts a period to that time, it ends sadly. 

When this woeful period comes, the gospel, in itself a message of peace 
and love, has then a new commission of a sad tenor, Isa. vi. 10. When 
this period comes, then comes forth that dreadful decree, * He that is 
unrighteous, let him be unrighteous still,' &c.. Rev. xxii. 11. 

(2.) This time of visitation is sometimes longer, sometimes shorter ; it 
is continued to some more, to some less. The period comes sometimes 
later, sometimes more suddenly. And no particular man knows but his 
own share therein may be the shortest. 

This time is in some places measured hy years. Three years is allotted 
them who are represented by the fig-tree. Mat. xiii. 6, 7. With much 
importunity, one year longer is obtained. And about so many years was 
Christ gathering Jerusalem : the time of that their visitation was of betwixt 
three and four years' continuance. This time is elsewhere expressed by a 
day, as if it were confined in such a narrow compass : Heb. iii., * To-day, if 
ye will hear his voice.' This is the day of salvation ; and this, as other days, 
is sometimes shorter, sometimes longer. To some it is a longer day, like the 
days of summer ; to others it proves a winter day, a day of short continuance. 

To determine precisely of the continuance of this time, to say thus long 
it shall be, and no shorter, to fix its period, is a presumption for any son 
of man to undertake. The length and period of these times and seasons 
of grace, the Lord has reserved in his own power, they are amongst his 
secrets. He has cut off all occasions of presuming on his patience, leaving 
us at uncertainties. No man can make account of another hour, he is not 
sore of any farther moment. 

140 OF FAITH. [Habk XYL 16. 

Only this seems clear in the negative : the time of grace to a particolai 
man is not always as long as his life, how short soever his life be. The 
longest time of patience we find allotted to any, is that determined for the 
old world, Gen. vi. 8. These are those days of which the apostle Peter 
says, that the long-suffering of God waited on them, and that Christ, by his 
Spirit in his servant Noah, preached to them, 1 Pet. iii. 19, 20, which 
Spirit, in his ministry, did strive with them ; so that this was the time of 
their visitation, and the continuance of it is an hundred and twenty years. 
Yet this was not the seventh part of the time to which their lives were 
ordinarily prolonged before the flood. An hundred and twenty years, com- 
pared with their lifetime, is not so long for them as ten years are now for 
us. I think we may conclude, though the time of grace be sometimes 
shorter, sometimes longer, yet it is seldom drawn out to the length of life- 
time. Sin often puts a shorter period to it. Many men who live under 
the gospel, outlive their time of grace. 

(8.) It were just with the Lord to put a period to the time of grace, upon 
the first refusal of any offer of grace. A wonderful thing if Christ and 
mercy be. ever again offered, after it has been once refused ; for as the 
apostle argues, 2 Pet. ii. 4, ' If God spared not the angels that sinned, but 
cast them down to hell,' why should man expect any favour or forbearance ? 
The angels were glorious and powerful creatures ; man is an impotent and 
contemptible worm in comparison. Those angels, for one sin, were destroyed ; 
men loaden with multitudes of sins are spared. Those angels perished, 
for anything appears to us, without any mercy so much as once offered 
them ; sinful men have Christ and mercy tendered, before justice seize on 
them. Now, if it were just with the Lord to destroy ^e angels, without 
any offer of grace made to them, may he not justly proceed against sinfol 
men, after grace offered and rejected by them ? Might he not justly pro- 
ceed upon the first rejecting of it ? 

(4.) It must be granted that any refusal of Christ and mercy is exceed- 
ing dangerous. If we consider who Christ is, what pardon cost him, who 
the sinner is to whom these are offered, we may easily see that any sdight- 
ing or refusal of these offers does highly provoke the Lord to take yon at 
the first word. You make excuses. You cannot yet close with the terms 
of the gospel : you are too busy, you have no leisure. Well may the 
Lord say, Be it so ; yet you shall have leisure enough to see your madness in 
eternal torments ; you shall have leisure enough in that endless eternity. 
You use delays. You cannot yet enter into the strict and holy ways of Christ ; 
you will have a little more ease, a little more pleasure, a little more gain by 
sin. Well may he say, Ye will not when ye may, ye shall not when ye would ; 
ye shall never taste of the sweetness and happiness of my holy ways. Ye 
will not take Christ, and submit to him, on the terms he is offered. Well, 
it shall be so ; ye shall never have Christ ; ' ye shall die in your sins.* Ye 
will not come when I invite you. Well, * not one of you shall taste of my 
supper.' It is Christ's threatenmg in so many words. Mat. xiv. 24. The 
apostle insinuates the danger in the form of that expression, Heb. ii. 8. Hers 
is very great danger; here is occasion enough of fear, lest the Lord, being 
thus provoked, should < swear in his wrath, Ye shall never enter into his rest.' 

(5.) Some, in special manner, have great cause to fear that their day is 
past. I say not Uiey have ground certainly to conclude it, but canse to 
fear it. Some signs of an expired day of grace are visible upon them, sneh 
as are probable signs, though not infallible. Such as these, to give yon 
briefly some instances : 

MaBX Xn. 16.] OF FAITH. 141 

[1.] A long, wilfal contintiance in known Bins, nnder a searching, con- 
Tineing, and lively ministiy. Take it as I deliver it, lest it be mistaken. 
When a man continues in sins, in known sins, continues long in them, 
eontinnes in them wilfully and obstinately, and that is resolved to do it, 
nnder a ministry that shews him it, convinces him of it, threatens it, declares 
the danger and sinfulness, and brings this home to his heart and conscience, 
I say not this is a certain sign, but I say it is a dangerous sign, that the 
day of his visitation is expired. I say not this case is utterly desperate ; 
bnt were I without assurance of heaven, and under doubts and fears of my 
eternal state, yet would I not be in that sinner's condition for ten thousand 
worlds, for such are scarce ever recovered. 

[2.] When the means of grace are withdrawn upon contempt and refusals, 
when the candlestick is removed, the glory departed, the light of the gospel 
gone, then it is too plain the day is at an end. When you see the sun set 
and the light gone, you doubt not but the day is expired. When no gospel 
light is left, the things that concern a sinner's peace must needs be hid 
from his eyes. And this is it wherewith Christ shuts up Jerusalem's 

[8.] When men withdraw from the means of grace, though the means 
be not withdrawn from them. A man may make it night in his chamber 
when it is day abroad, by shutting out tiiat light which makes the day. 
Thns may a man bring a night upon himself in particular, though those in 
the same place enjoy a day of visitation, when, aiter other disobediences to 
tiu word, he adds this contempt, he will not so much as hear it ; when, he 
puts away the word from him, or puts himself from it. Thus the Jews' 
day ended. Though they might have had the word, they would not. Acts 
xiii. 46. That which was hereby brought to the Gentiles, departed fromi 
the Jews ; that was light and salvation, ver. 47. Those that put them- 
sdves from the word, or put the word from them, put light and likewise 
salvation from them ; and when they are gone, sure the day of grace is 

[4.] When the Spirit will strive no more with a sinner, then he is cast 
off. The means of grace are continued, and he attends on them ; and has 
formerly, in the ministry of the word, found some motions of heart, some 
stirrings of affection, some stru^lings of conscience ; but now all is hushed 
and gone, the sense of his soul is locked up, as it were, in a deep slumber; 
a stupefying humour is seized upon every faculty, and the promises, the 
thieatenings, the terror of the law, the sweetness of the gospel, fall on his 
heart with no more effect than if it were a senseless thing. This is a 
dangerous sign his time is past. When the Spirit will strive no more with 
a sinner, his day is at an end. The end of the old world's day is thus 
described, Gen. vi. 8. 

2. Though all this must be granted, yet there remains enough to satisfy 
this scruple. We shall comprise it in tiiese heads. 

(1.) It is not usual with Christ to put an end to the time of grace when 
his gradous offers are first refused. Though he might justly do it upon 
the first provocation, yet such is his mercy, his patience, he will not be so 
provoked. He breaks not off the treaty with sinners when his terms are 
first rejected, but sends his ambassadors again and af(ain to beseech, to 
importune, to persuade sinners to be reconcSed, and to be at peace with 
him. The treaty, when sinners would break it off, is often resumed, and 
those gracious proposals renewed and also reinforced, 2 Ohron. xxxvi. 15, 
on wh^h yon have a eonmient, Jer. xxv. 8, 4. The Lord from time to 

142 OF FAITH. [Mask XVI. 16. 

time diligently addressed himself to tliem by the prophets. No time was 
slipped ; they rise early day by day, and that for divers yean. 

He nses not to depart, though he might jnstiy, whan the heart opens 
not to him at the first knock, bat he stands knocking, Bev. iii. 20. Hs* 
stands long, all the day long, Cant. t. 2. Thon^ there is more proToea- 
tion in the nnkindness of his sponso than of strangers, yet this ooeasioDS 
not a sadden departare. He stays till his head be wet with the drops of 
the night. When they will not be gathered at first, he tries again, he tries 
often : Mat. xziii., * How often wonld I have gathered yon ?' &c. He 
withdraws not the golden sceptre, if sinners come not in, when it is first 
holden forth. He stretches it oat all the day long, even to the stiff-necked, 
those that will not stoop to it, those that rebel and rise np against the 
sceptre of his Son. If the day should end at the first proTocation, if this 
day should be thus shortened, no flesh would be sayed. There aie divers 
hours in this day ; if they come not in at one, he tries another. He goes 
out at the third, the sixth, the ninth, the eleventh, all the hours into which 
their day was divided, Mat. xx. 8. He that, when he was first called, said 
he would not go, was not shut out because he went not at the first call, 
Mat. xxi. 26, 80. The Lord waits to be gracious ; that imports a con- 
tinued patience and expectance, 1 Pet. iii. 20. He strives, he gives not 
over at the first impulse. He comes seeking firuit for some years together, 
one year after another, Luke xiii. 6, 7. That seems great severity, Mark 
xi. 18. It was not a good, a seasonable year for figs; it afforded not many. 
This seems extraordinary rigid and severe, that he should be so quick with 
it as to curse and blast it at the first disappointment. But it appears so 
only as to the emblem, the fig-tree. As to Jerusalem, which it signifies, 
this was not the first disappointment. He had been with her again and 
again, and a third time, before he blasts her. He both comes and sends; 
and contents not himself to send once, how ill soever his messengers be 
treated, but sends a second, a third, a fourth time, as Mark xii. 1, 2, 4, 5, 
&e. He is not wont to take sinners at the first word ; to offer no more, 
when they once refuse ; to try no more, when they once resist. Alas ! even 
the best, those that yield at length, yield not at first ; they resist too long, 
too much. When Christ would lay his yoke on them, how easy soever it 
is, he finds them like an untamed heifer, a bullock unaccustomed to the 
yoke. Bo they demean themselves. So it was with Ephraim, when 
returning, Jer. xxxi. 18. His demeanour was no better than that of an 
untamed and unruly beast. So Ephraim complains, and so all the people 
of God, who observe the carriage of their hei^ towards Gk>d while he is 
reducing them. Before you make your resisting and refusals a discourage- 
ment, first see if you can meet with any who can truly say they never 
resisted or refused. 

(2.) No man can certainly determine concerning himself or another that 
the time of grace is past, especially where the means of grace are continued 
and made use of. Some probabilities there may be, which I gave an 
account of in the premised concessions ; but no peremptory certainty. 
Some cause there may be to fear it, but no ground iU>solutely to eondnde 
it. Indeed, one exception there lies against this rule. When it is known 
that a person hath committed the sin against the Holy Ghost, it may be 
known that there is no mercy, no more time of mercy for him. If that be 
certain, it will be an infallible sign his day of grace is ended. And it may 
be sometimes known that this unpardonable sin is committed; for the 
apostle makes it a rule that we should not pray for him that has sinned 

Marx XVI. 16.] of faith. 148 

unto death. Now if it conld never be known when a man is guilty of this 
on onto death, his rule would be utterly useless and unpracticable ; he 
shonld lay down such a rule as none could ever practise or walk by. But 
to leave further inquiries into that, this may be sufficient for our present 
purpose, that the ground of the objection now before us, cannot be a ground 
to any one to conclude that he has committed the unpardonable sin. The 
ground of the scruple is refusing offers of mercy, resisting the Spirit. Now 
eveiy one that resists the Holy Ghost, thou^ he do it long and often, does 
not sin that sin against the Holy Ghost which shall not be pardoned. This 
is clear from Acts vii. 51. He tells the Jews they * always resisted the 
Holy Ghost ; ' they had resisted, and resisted the Holy Ghost, and that 
siriTing with them in the most powerful ministry that ever the world 
enjoyed. Not only their fathers, in the ministry of the prophets, but in 
the ministry of Christ himself and of the apostles, wherein the Holy Ghost 
appeared in the clearest light and greatest power, in the glory, power, and 
oonTincing evidence of miracles. Here they had resisted the Holy Ghost ; 
and that not once only, or seldom, or for a short time, but always. And 
yet these had not sinned against the Holy Ghost unpardonably ; for Stephen, 
full of the Holy Ghost, prays for their pardon, ver. 60. Now if their sin 
had been that against Uie Holy Ghost, he would not have prayed for them, 
there is a ude which prohibits that, 1 John v. 16. Further, Saul was one 
of the resistors of the Holy Ghost, being one of his persecutors, ver. 58, 
and so one that he prayed for. And his prayer was heard for Saul ; his 
conversion, of which you have an account presently after, is accounted a 
retam of Stephen's prayer. So that though he did resist the Holy Ghost, 
jet sinned not unpardonably ; otherwise Stephen would not have prayed 
for him, he could not have been pardoned, he would not have been converted. 
From hence also it appears that a man may resist the Holy Ghost much, 
long, often, so as to amount to an alvoays^ and yet his day of mercy may 
[not] be expired. And so it was with Saul, whom grace at last conquered, 
after such resistance. Though you have resisted the Holy Ghost, you 
cannot from hence be certain that you have sinned the unpardonable sin, 
jou cannot hence be certain that the time of mercy is at an end. There 
is no certainty of it for all this. 

(8.) There are strong probabilities, such as are next to certamties, for 
the sensible or gospel-sinner, that this day is not past. I shall give you 
Bome signs of it ; some that will be probable grounds, some that may be 
certain grounds, that his time of mercy is not expired. 

[1.1 Fear that it is past is a probable sign it is not past; for Satan 
nsually troubles those most with fears of this who have least cause to fear 
it, and leaves them most secure and fearless who have most cause to be 
feaifoL This is the way whereby he promotes his great design upon 
sinners. His great interest is to make them sure to himself; to effect tiiis, 
he strives to cut off all endeavours by representing them hopeless, so he 
tells them their day is past, it is to no purpose. 

He would take off insensible sinners from endeavours by representing 
them needless ; their state is safe, or else they have time enough, they 
need not fear, he will not have them disturbed with any such fears while 
they are in his custody, that being quiet, they mav not so much as think 
of an escape. ' The strong man armed keeps the house,* &c., Luke xi. 21. 
They are asleep in sin, and while they are so, he is sure of them, so he is 
concerned to keep l^em from being awakened with any such fears. liVhile 
they are Uras lulled asleep, they dream that mercy, grace, heaven, and all 

144 ov FAITH. [Mabk XVI. 16. 

is Bare ; ihey pnt away the OTil day &r from ihem when it is just upon 
them ; * They cry peace, peace, when sadden destraetion is coming upon 
them ; ' they will not so much as apprehend, conceive of it, till they he in 
travail ; they go on, hless themseWes, say they shall have peace. Dent, 
xxix. 19. Such a security had seized on the old world when their day was 
expired, Luke zvii. 27. When the Lord had rejected the Jews, and so 
their day was gone, the effects hereof was a spirit of slnmher, Rom. zi. 8. 
The word in the prophet, D*n, signifies to nod, Isa. xxix. 10, which is the 
consequent of a sleepy or lethargic hnmonr, which leaves them senseless : 
* Eyes they have, bat see not ; ears, but hear not.' They see no cause of 
fear, nor will they hear of any ; without sense of danger, and so without 
fear. Such a spirit of slumber is a sign of an expired day. But when the 
soul is fearful it is wakeful, the spirit of slumber has not seized on it ; that 
is a probable sign the time of mercy is not past. Your fears may give you 
hope in this case. 

[2.] When there is a diligent attending upon the means of grace, it is a 
sign the day of grace is still continued. When the Lord gives the heart to 
be diligent in the use of his appointments, to be diligent in hearing him in 
the word, seeking him by prayer, and giving encouragements to his mes- 
sengers, it is a sign the Lord is not yet gone, he has something farther to 
do before he depart. We find not that the Lord utterly rejects a people 
till they some way or other reject him in his messengers, or in those means 
of grace wherein he offers himself. The Lord gives encouragement to those 
that diligently seek him ; those that hear him, watching at his gates, and 
waiting at the posts of his doors ; and so long as here is encouragement, 
the time of mercy is not past ; when that is gone, all hopes are gone. 

When the Lord sends forth his disciples, he orders, that when any 
received them, there they should stay, and their staying was a continuing, 
a prolonging of the day of grace and visitation ; but if any would not receive 
them, t. «., hearken to them, entertain them, encourage them, they were 
to shake off the dust of their feet, as a token that such were cast aS by the 
Lord, Mat. x. 14. And we find Paul and Barnabas proceeding according 
to this rule, Acts xiii. 46, 61. When the Jews put away the word from 
them, they shook off the dust, to signify that the Lord had so shaken off 
that people, he had quite left them off, their time was past. 

When the Lord is gone, a spirit of sloth and torpor seizes on the soul ; 
he will not stir up himself to follow after God or wait on him, a spirit of 
contempt possesses him, he cares not for the means of grace. He hears 
now and then out of custom, but if some by-respects did not move him, 
he cares not much if he never heard at all. As this temper provokes God 
to put a period to the day of grace, so, when it is ended, this sloth and 
contempt increases. As it was before, in its beginnings and progress, a 
cause, and so it is now, in its height, a sign that the Lord has cast him 
off, his time is past and gone. 

But when there is a heart to prize the means of grace, and to attend on 
them accordingly, it is a probable sign not only that the day of grace is 
continued, but that the Lord will continue it yet longer, if this be ^y case. 

[8.] When there are desires after the breathings and workings of the 
Spirit in the ordinances, this is a sign of more evidence and probability 
than the former. When the soul cannot be contented with this, that he 
eojoys the means of grace, and that he waits on them, unless he find him- 
self wrought upon by them, unless he find some enlightenings, some 
motions of the heart, some stirrings of affection ; cannot rest in the bare 

Mask XYI. 16.] of faith. 146 

pexfonnaiice of holy duties unless be find some light and heat of the Spirit 
in them ; is not satisfied that he prays nnless he find that his heart moves 
therein more than his lips, nor that he hears the word nnless his soul be 
affeeted with what he bears. If this be thy case, thou countest it a sad 
day, a sad duty (whatever other respect may commend it to thee), when 
no other impression is made on thy soul, thou bast no cause to roar thy 
day is past. The Lord never withdraws while bis presence is desired. 
The Spirit never leaves that soul which is ready to make him welcome, 
while his workingB and breathing are acceptable and desired. These 
deeires argue be might be welcome if be would come in; bis workings 
would be acceptable if he would vouchsafe it. The Lord is with you while 
you are with him ; and so far as you truly desire bis effectual presence, so 
far he counts you with him. The hord does not judge of ns by what we 
are, bat what we would be. 

[4.] When the Spirit is striving with the soul. When he not only 
desires Uie strivings of the Spirit, but feels them, this is not only a strong 
probability, but an evident certainty that his time is not past. When the 
Spirit looks into the mind, and lets in some light to discover the things 
that concern a sinner's peace ; when Christ is knocking at the heart, and 
using importunity to get in ; when he is awakening tbe conscience to a 
sense of sin and misery ; when the Spirit is thus enlightening, convincing, 
persuading, bumbling; when the word is brought home to the mind, heart, 
and oonscience with these effects, it is evident the Spirit is not gone, for 
he 18 now at work. If this be thy case, thy day is so fieurfrom being ended, 
that it is now at the height. This is the accepted time, this is thy hour, 
take heed thou do not sbp it. Satan makes the hour of thy visitation an 
hour of temptation ; he would make thee let it slip by persuading thee it 
is past already ; but as sure as be is a liar this is truth, it is now thy day ; 
this is the accepted time, and will be a day of salvation if thou improve it, 
if thon yield to the Spirit's strivings, and resist no longer : * My Spirit 
shaU not always strive,' Gen. vi. 8, and then sets down how long the Spirit 
should strive. The length of our days is measured by the continuance of 
the Spirit's striving. Every hour that he strives is an hour of that day. 
It is not night till the Spirit will strive no longer. And therefore your day 
is not yet ended who feel the Spirit still striving. 

[6.] When the soul is grieved for former refiisal; when the heart bleeds 
to think of former resistance. This clearly signifies the day is not past. 
Ton may see this in Ephraim, Jer. zxzi. 18. Here is first observable his 
resistance : when the Ix^rd took him in band, would have laid his yoke upon 
him, brought bim under his government, be demeaned himself as a bullock 
unaecnstomed to the yoke; be was wanton, unruly, slung off and refused, 
withdrew bis shoulder and resisted. Turn thou, else no turning. Then 
take notice bow he resents this. When he came to himself be bewails it. 
This was it for which he bemoaned himself; of this he was ashamed, con- 
founded ; for this be smote upon bis thigh, used all the actions of one 
moaning himself under pain and grief ; such grief, shame, sorrow did the 
thoughts of bis former resistings and refusals smite bis heart with. If 
this be thy case, why then surely it is the time of mercy ; for so Ephraim 
in this condition found it, ver. 20. Though he spake against him for bis 
former froward refusals, and perverse resistings, yet when he saw Ephraim 
remember this, so as bis soul was troubled for it, why the Lonl does 
etraeetly remember bim, wod his bowels are troubled for relenting Ephraim. 
I win sorely see here. If Ej^raam's case be thine, though thou have 

VOL. I. K 

146 OF FiiTH. [Mabx XVI. 16. 

refiifited as he did, yet if thou art troubled for it, aa he waa, the Lord \ 
thee of merej ; it is not only a time wherein he offers, bnt a time wherein 
he will Toaehaafe it ; he assnrea thee of it. It is so far from being past 
already, as it shall neyer be past ; thou mayest be sore of it, if the Lord's 
word can make it sore. 

[6.] When the Spirit has prevailed with the sonl to refuse aod resist no 
longer* When it does not only strive, bat prevail with a sinner, so far as to 
be heartily willing to yield to Christ 00 his own terms. Thisis an undoubted 
sign that the time is not past, when the soul strives and wrestles with that 
principle of opposition and resistance that is in itself, &c. If this be thy 
case, thy day is so far from being ended, as it shall never end. 

(4.) The readiest way to put this out of question is to believe, to cast 
thy soul on Christ. There is no dauger for a sensible sinner to venture on 
this ; there is all encouragement. Thy day is not so past, but if thou come 
in there is mercy for thee ; if thou lay down thy weapons and submit, 
Christ will receive thee. He does not say, I have mercy, but it is only 
for those who have [not] refiised and resented. This is contrary to the 
tenor of the gospel. The pnmiises are not in any such strain. That who- 
soever believes, not that those only who have not resisted so long or bo 
much, but that * whosoever believes shall be saved ;' ' He that comes, I 
will in no wise cast out,' upon no consideration, however he have resisted 
and refused. The apostle Paul is an encouraging instance. Who had 
more resisted and refosed than he ? Consider what resistance he made. 
It was a scornful resistance. Acts iz. 6. He kicked against Christ, he 
rejected his offers with scorn. It was a violent and bloody resistance ; he 
resisted Christ unto blood and slaughter of his messengers ; he embrued 
himself in the blood of Christ's members. Acts viii. 1, 8^ ix. 1, 2. It was 
a continued resistance ; he was one of those of whom Stephen complains, 
Acts vii. 51. Now, was his time of mercy expired for all this ? No ; he 
believed and found mercy, and he found merc^ for this very purpose, that 
he might encourage thee, that he might be a pattern, an encouraging 
instance to all humbled and returning sinners, whatever their refusals or 
resistanoe have been. He tells you so expressly : 1 Tim. i. 16, < For this 
cause,' &c. Christ holds him out as a standing instance of his great long- 
suffering, that every humbled and returning sinner, apt to be discouraged 
from believing by the sad consideration of his former rebellious and 
obstinate resistance, might in him clearly see that he is not so short and 
quick with sinners as to cut them off from mercy for some resistings, no, 
not for such resistings as Saul's were. They put not a period to his time of 
mercy, but upon believing he found mercy. If thou hadst resisted as he 
did, yet believe as he £d, and thou shalt find like mercy. The Holy 
Ghost has recorded this example on purpose to encourage those that should 
believe hereafter. 

Obj, 6. Another discouragement which keeps sensible sinners from 
believing, is a fear that they nave sinned the unpardonable sin. There are 
two extrcones of iaith (as every grace and virtue has its extremes), pre- 
sumption and despair. If Satan can drive the sinner into either, both 
being at the greatest distance from the middle, he keeps them far enough 
from faith. Now that his malicious attempts may be successful, be suits 
them to the condition of the sinner. Those that are secure he draws them 
to presumption, of which before. Those that are sensible and awakened, 
he would drive them to despair, and the most effectual engine to this 
purpose is that which is now before us, a suggestion that they have sinned 

MaBK Xyi. 16.] OF FAITH. 147 

against tha Holy Ghost, and so there remams no more sacrifice for sin, 
Christ can profit them nothing, it is impossible they shoidd be renewed 
either by repentance or faith. 

This is a temptation whereby he too often perplexes awakened sinners ; 
nay, this fiery dart he sometimes sticks in the consciences of believers too. 
Those that are not assaulted have no security but they may be. There- 
fore it will not be amiss to give some satis&ction to this scruple, such as 
may serve either for cure or prevention. 

That which will be most satisfactory is a right understanding of the 
nature of this sin. The great advantage of that prince of darkness is, that 
he assaults the soul in the dark, and when he wants light to judge, puts 
that upon him for this sin, which indeed is no such thing. The texts 
wherein this sin is described will scatter this darkness. I shall not engage 
in a full discourse on this subject, but only open this sin by opening those 
texts, so £ur as may be sufficient for my present purpose, as briefly as may 
be consistent with perspicuity. There are many scriptures where this sin 
is mentioned, but I find but three where it is described : Mat. xii., Heb. 
vi. and x., with the other evangelists concurring. And from these scrip- 
tures we may collect this description of this sin. It is a blasphemous 
renouncing of Christ and his doctrine out of hatred, and against conviction 
by the Holy Ghost's light and testimony. We shall take it into parcels, 
that you may see distinctly how every part is contained in all and every of 
those alleged texts. (1.) It is a renouncing or denying of Christ. ^2.^ 
With blasphemy and reproaches. (S.) Out of hatred and malice. (4.) 
Against light and conviction. The two former are as the matter of it; the 
two latter the form which constitutes this sin in its peculiar being, and 
distingnisheth it from all other sins. 

(1.) A renouncing or denying of Christ and his doctrine. You may see 
this in the scribes and Pharisees, Mat. xii. When Christ by a miracle had 
drawn the people to acknowledge that he was the Messias, ver. 28, nay, 
say the Pharisees, he is not the Messias for all this, this he does by the 
power of Satan ; he is not the king of Israel, the king of the church, but 
he tampers with the prince of devils. He is not the prophet, but a con- 
juror, a deluder, and consequently he is not the great high priest that 
must be a sacrifice for sinners ; for a sinner cannot be a sacrifice for sin. 
This more expressly elsewhere : ' We will not have this man to reign,' 
Luke xix., and so rejected him as king. No: 'but he deceives the 
people,' John vii. 12. So rejected him as prophet. And after crucify- 
iug him as a malefactor, shed his blood as the blood of a notorious sinner, 
and so utterly denied him to be the priest, even when they made him a 

So answerably in Heb. vi. It is a Ming away, a falling off firom Christ, 
his ways and truths, a puttiug him to open shame ; not only a putting 
Christ away, but a putting him away with shame and reproach ; a crucify- 
ing him again, that is a renouncing of him with a witness. 

So Heb. X. 29. A treading the Son of God under foot, a casting him 
down firom being king, so as to trample on him ; accounting the blood of 
the covenant an unholy thing, no better than common blood, the blood of 
a malefactor. So his priesthood is renounced ; for it was that blood by 
which he was sanctified or consecrated to be a sacrifice, John xvii. 19. 

Doing despite to the Spirit. So the prophetical office of Christ and the 
doctrine which he teaches is rejected ; for it is the Spirit of grace and truth 
bj which Christ executes his prophetical office. 

146 OF 7AITH. [Hl&K XVI. 16. 

ChriBt 18 reooiuioedy both when there is a falling off from him, after he 
baa been profeeeed and acknowledged, bo it is deeeribed in that Epistle, or 
when there is an opposing of bun, when clearly and conTineinglj pro* 
poonded, thongh he have not been openly professed. So it is described in 
the Gospel as ike sin of the Pharisees. Here is some difference in the 
subjects, bnt the act is the same, a renouncing of Christ in both. 

(2.) With blasphemies and reproaches. This sin is expressly called 
blasphemy. Mat. zii. 81 and 82, speaking a word, that is, a blasphemoos 
word, such as is shamefiil and reproachfnl to him. The blaspheming of 
the Son is called blaspheming of the Holy Ghost, because it is against the 
Son as discovered and borne witness to by the Holy Ghost ; against the 
person, offices, and doctrine of the Son, but against the light and testimony 
of the Holy Ghost. Their particular blasphemy is set down, ver. 24, 
where they do as bad as call Christ a conjuror, and the Holy Ghost, 
whereby he acted, an evil spirit, the prince of devils. Expressly, Mark 
iii. 22, 80. And this was their blasphemy, ver. 29 ; this sin is blasphem- 
ing too, as described Heb. vi. 6, a putting Christ to open shame, ascribing 
that openly to him which is shameful and reproachful. It is the same 
word which is used Mat. i. 19, va^dfi^/bbar/^f/v, to make a shameM 
example of her. He was willing to put her away, but not so as to make 
her a public shame and reproach. But this sin is a putting Christ away, 
a rejecting him in a shamefcd and reproachful way, with blasphemies and 
opprobrious reflections and aspersions. So Heb. x. 29, iwfffiaag ; to use 
one iiyuriously and contumeliously, rendered coniumeUd affteere. When 
Christ, as held out by the light and testimony of the Spirit of grace, is 
shamefully abused, either in words or deeds, he and the Spirit are blas- 
phemed ; really blasphemed, by injurious affionts ; verbally, by opprobrioos 
and reproachful speeches. The word will bear either, so that in all the 
descriptions it is blasphemy. 

(8.) Out of hatred and malice. This is the rise, the principle, from 
whence this sin proceeds ; it is from hatred of Christ and his tmt^. It is 
not for want of care and watchfulness, as in sins of surprisal ; nor from 
want of knowledge, as in sins of ignorance ; nor from passion and fear, as 
in sins of infinnity ; nor from boldness merely, as in some sins of presump- 
tion ; but from hatred and malice. This was the rise of it in the Pharisees, 
this was at the bottom. That which appeared was horrible, they l»oke 
out into blasphemies ; but Christ minds not that only, but what was 
within. Mat. xii. 24, 26. He takes an estimate of their'sin, not by their 
words only, but by their thoughts, which were boiled up and set a-workiog 
by hatred and malice. And this he charges them with expressly elsewhere, 
John XV. 25; cited from Ps. xxxv. 19, where the word is D^T, used 
1 Sam. xix. 6, hated him as Saul did David. This put them upon r^ect- 
ing his government, Luke xix. 14, upon rejecting his doctrine, John iii. 19, 
John vii. 7. This put them upon seekhig his life, and murdering him 
when they had found opportunity. It was not anger, for that acts rashly; 
but they consulted how they might do it, John xi. 58, acted deliberately, 
and so were wilful and malicious murderers. 

Aristotle puts this difference betwixt anger and hatred, o /aip 70^^ dm- 
^aM j3o6Xfrflii ci^ ^^/^f ro/, 6 Sk ft^ii Inai. Anger would make him suffer who 
has occasioned it, but hatred would deprive him of his being. Nothing 
less would satisfy the hatred wherewith they were acted but a aham^ and 
cruel death. And this hatred is expressed by the like acts, Heb. vi. 6 ; 
they crucify him again ; not as to the physical action ; that cannot be repeated, 

HuuK XVI. 16.] or VAiTH. 119 

Chnat is now above their malice ; but as to judicial interpretation. They 
disprove* not what the Jews did» they have the same malicious mind, they 
use him as far as may be like the Jews ; if the same could be done, they 
would do it again. Their actings against him, his truth, his members, are 
equivalent, they will bear such an interpretation. What clearer expres- 
sions of hatred, than Heb. z. 29, to trample on him, to vilify his blood as 
the blood of a malefactor. If their tongues do not speak it, their actions 
do. All is of malice, they do despite to the Spirit of grace. Their actings 
are £rom spite and malice. It is clear, in all the descriptions, that there 
is in this sin a hatred against Christ. 

Bui observe, that it is not necessaiy to this sin, that this hatred should 
be of truth as truth, or of Christ as Christ, t. 0., as a Bedeemer, as a 
Saviour, as the Son of God, or the Messiah ; for so he cannot be the object 
of hatred ; but it is a hatred of the truth and of Christ, and of the Spirit 
witnessing of him, as these are contrary to their desires and expectations, 
to their lusts and interests, John iii. 19, vii. 7 ; Mat, xxi. 8 ; Uiey feared 
Christ would deprive them of that power, honour, good opinion, which 
they then inherited amongst the people, &c. 

(4.) All this must be against light and conviction. This is express, 
Heb. vi. 4-6 ; it is the Ming away from Christ of those that have been 
enlightened ; so Heb. z. 26, a siiming after the receipt of knowledge, a 
sinning wilfully, which cannot be but against knowledge. 

There is some question of this concerning the Pharisees, started by some 
who would otherwise state this sin ; but I see no reason for it, I sea much 
in Scripture against it. 

They knew that Christ wrought miracles, they acknowledge it, John 
xL 47. It is strange if they were not convinced that these miracles were 
acts of a divine power, the finger of God. Can we think them more stupid 
than the Egyptian magicians ? They saw and acknowledged the finger of 
God in Moses's miracles, £xod. viii. 19. Were they blmder than those 
instruments of Satan jin the midst of Egyptian darkness ? There was a 
convincing light went along with the miracles of Christ, which shewed their 
original, and convinced all the people who was the auUior of ihem : John 
xi. 47, 48, ' All will believe on him,' Mat. xii. 22, 28 ; John vii. 81 ; iii. 2. 
* We,' u tf., he, and those of his sect, the Pharisees, they knew it, were 
convinced of it ; and when they spake otherwise, said they were of the 
devil, they had something within them that gainsaid them ; they said it 
with some relnctancy of conscience. 

They were convinced that Christ was the Messias ; the light of the Holy 
Ghost, shining in his doctrine and miracles, discovered tiiis unto them ; 
though they were loath to see it, unwilling to believe it. Their rebellious 
will rising up against their judgment, did dheck and oppose this light, but 
it could not be avoided, nor quite suppressed. Christ tells them they kneir 
him, John vii. 28. They knew he was the heir : Mat. zzi. 87, 88, * This 
is the heir.' They knew who he was, a]»d they perceived that Christ 
intended them in that pwtble, ver. 45, 46. All the three evangelists agree 
in it. This was that which completed this sin, so as it became unpardon* 
aUe, Lnke zziii. 84. There were some of those actors against Christ that 
aoald not be forgiven, Luke zii. 10 ; for those Christ prays not ; he would 
not pray for that which he knew could not be granted. 

But there were some who might be forgiven, for such he prays; and who 
wen those ? Why, those who knew not what they did, acted not against 
• Qu. ' disapprove'?— Bn. 

150 OF VAiTH. [Mabk XYL 16. 

knowledge and conTiciion. Bo then, those who knew what they did, are 
they who could not be forgiven. Their sin, acted against knowledge and 
conscience, was the nnpardonable sin. 80 Peter encouraging the Jews to 
repent, by proposing hopes of pardon, lays down this as £e ground of the 
encouragement. Acts iii. 17-19, as your rulers, Herod and Pilate did, 
implying that if they acted against knowledge, if they had known him to be 
the Lord of life whom they crucified, there had been no hopes or encour- 
agement for them. 

Answerably, the apostle Paul shews how it came to pass that he found 
mercy, after he had so blasphemously and maliciously opposed Christ: * I 
did it ignorantly,' 1 Tim. i. 18. There were all other ingredients of that 
unpardonable sin in Paul's sin, but this only, he acted not against know- 
ledge and conscience ; if he had not done it ignorantly, he hud found no 
mercy, as the expression seems to insinuate. 

This seems to be the reason why this sin directed against Christ is yet 
called the sin against the Holy Ghost. Light and conviction is the work 
of the Holy Ghost ; his office and operation is to convey light, and thereby 
effect conviction. When Christ discovered convincingly by the light and 
testimony of the Holy Ghost is thus renounced, the Holy Ghost is blas- 
phemed, which discovers and bears witness of him ; his light and testimony 
is rejected and renounced. The Holy Ghost gave the Pharisees a double 
testimony of Christ. One, 

[1.] Outward. Those miracles which he wrought were the work of the 
Spirit, ver. 28 (and elsewhere the receiving of miraculous gifts is called 
the receiving of the Holy Ghost), and they were wrought by the Spirit of 
God to testify of Christ, John v. 86 ; Mat. zii. 28. 

[2.] Inward. And that is, when the Holy Ghost brings the light, which 
shines in the doctrine and mbrades, home to the mind and conscience, with 
convincing evidence. When Christ appearing with this evidence is re- 
nounced, the Holy Ghost, whose evidence and testimony this is, is therein 
renounced, and so blasphemed. 

And by this we may be led to conceive aright of that distinction, Luke 
zii. 10. Christ may be considered two ways, either as appearing in the 
weakness of human state, as merely the Son of man ; or else as appearing 
in the light of the Holy Ghost, viz., in the light and evidence of his doc- 
trine and miracles, whereby he is declared to be the Son of God with power. 
Blasphemy against the Son of God, in the former appearance, may be for- 
given, but blasphemy against the Son, in the latter appearance, shall not 
be forgiven ; because then it is the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost, 
which, attended with the fore-mentioned ingredients, is declared to be un- 

Thus you see what this sin is. Not every blasphemy, nor every blas- 
phemous renouncing of Christ ; no, nor every blasphemous opposition of 
Christ out of hatred ; but withal this is done against knowledge and eon- 
science. It is not evezy sin against knowledge and conscience ; nor every 
blasphemy against knowledge and consdenoe; nor every blasphemons 
renouncing of Christ against these ; but when there is all this out of hatred 
and malice. You must not judge yourselves or others guilty of it, because 
of one or more ingredients ; there must be a concurrence of all, both matter 
and form, the form especifdly, else there cannot be this sin. 

And this being positively cleared, will afford some negatives which may 
be most satisfactory in this case. I shall instance in su^ as are most apt 
to be mistaken ; such sins, which humbled souls or others may take to be 

IdAMK XVI. 16.] or VAITR. 151 

the sin against the Holy Ghost, when indeed they are no such thing, fall 
short (^ it in something or other which is essential thereto. 

1. It is not every forsaking of Christ. Then not only Jndas, bnt the 
rest of the disciples had been guilty of this sin ; for they forsook him, 
and that in his greatest extremity, when their love shonld most have shewed 
itself in cleaving to him, Mat. xxvi. 66, Mark xiv. 60. They all fled, and 
left him, to secore themselves. Only John most be excepted ; we find him 
after in the high priest's hall. Hence is drawn an instance of Christ's 
&ithfalness in miJdng good his word, Mat. x., Lake ix. 28. John, who 
fled not firom Christ to save his life, he saved it ; he survived them all, 
lived to a great age, and died in his bed. All the rest, who fled to save 
their lives, lost them, and were plucked out of the world by violent death. 
But though they lost their lives, they did not lose their souls ; they found 
pardon and favour, both to be saved themselves, and to be instruments for 
the saving of others. They were &r from this sin, though one might think, 
by flying from Christ, they came near it. 

2. It is not every resisting of the enlightening Spirit. A man may be 
guilty of sinning against the Holy Ghost, in such a high way as that of 
resistance, and yet not be guilty of that sin against the Holy Ghost. 
Many of those who did resist the Holy Ghost in the ministry of Christ, did 
yield afterwards to it in the ministry of the apostles, and so were converted 
and pardoned. I shewed you this before, from Acts vii. 61. Indeed, if 
all shonld sin unpardonably who resist the Spirit, who is there that would 
be pardoned ? for who is there that has not resisted ? Upon what account 
shonld the grace of the Spirit be called victorious, but that it meets with 
resistanee ? It is conquering grace, not because it is not resisted (that is 
no great conquest where there is no opposition), but because it prevails 
against resistance ; not because it meets with no opposition, but because 
it masters all opposition. 

8. It is not every persecuting of Christ, his truth, and members ; no, 
not that which is out of spite and hatred. Such a persecutor was Paul, an 
eager persecutor, Philip, iii. 6, which zeal made it a piece of his religion. 
His seal was as a burning flame, as wild-fire in the church ; he wasted it, 
made havoc of it. His violence transported him beyond all bounds. Gal. 
i. 18. He did it out of hatred and malice, nothing would satisfy him but 
the blood and slaughter of Christ's saints. Acts xxii. 4, Acts ix. 1. An 
outrageous persecutor, pursued them with exceeding rage and frury. Acts 
xxvL 11, his cruelty reached not only their bodies, but their souls. He 
* compelled them to blaspheme,' and that was the high-way to destroy their 
souls. Now all this Christ takes as done against himself. Acts ix. 4, 6. 
All this fury and bloody rage is resented by Christ as let out upon himselft 
sod yet he finds mercy. 

4. It is not every blasphemy. 

(1.) Not every blasphemy injected. There may be blasphemous sugges- 
tions east into ti^e mind, without any guilt of blasphemy, where they are 
not entertained and consented to, but rejected and cast out with indigna- 
tion. In this case the soul is as it were ravished, and may be nothing the 
less chaste and pure, when it is a mere patient as to this force, and no 
consent yielded. Christ himself was assaulted by Satan with such sugges- 
tions. In the history <^ his temptation, you may observe Satan's dnft is 
to &Bteo on him this doubt, that he was not the Son of God. 

(2.) Not every blasphemy admitted. Blasphemous suggestions may be 
admitted so Cur by the saints of God, as to occasion some doubtinga of a 

152 or FAITH. [Mabx XYI. 16. 

blasphemoofl iendenej, ^.^./ooneeniiDg the providence of God, the natoies 
and offices of ChriBt, the trath and divinitj of Boriptnre. What unworthy 
thonghts had the pea]mitt of the proyidence of Qt>d» Ps. Izxiii. for which 
he cenrares himself severely as a fool and a beast. 

Some of the disciples, after his death, seem to qnestion whether he was 
the Messias, the Bedeemer of Israel, Lnke zxiv. 21. They had believed 
this before, bat now things bemg of another appearance, they call it into 
question, as the words imply. They had the word of God, the word of 
Christ, which is now scripture to us, that Christ after his sufferings should 
rise the third day, Mat. xviii. And yet when this was come to pass, and 
they had divers testimonies of it, they doubt of the truth of his word, so 
that he upbraids them, Luke zxiv. 26, 26. 

(S.) Not every blasphemy expressed. Saul forced some blasphemous 
expressions from the saints that he persecuted, Acts xxvi. To secnre 
themselves from his rage, they utter some reproachful speeches against 
Christ, his truths, or ways. 

(4.) It is not that particular blasphemy, Mat. xii., in the matter and 
substance of it, if it be without that attendant, which formalised and aggra- 
vated it to that height in those Pharisees (though it has been of late other- 
wise determined). This to me is an evident reason of it. All the Jews, 
or others, who knew that Christ wrought these miracles, and yet did not 
receive or acknowledge him to be the Messias, I see not how they could 
avoid that blasphemy, at least in thought. For knowing that he wrought 
such miracles, and that they were wrought to testify that he was the Messias, 
either they thought that he did them by the Spirit and power of God, and 
then how could they choose but believe that he was the Christ, without running 
into as great a blasphemy, by thinking that the Spirit of God would give 
such a testimony to a lie ? And it is evident many of them did not believe 
him then to be the Messias, being not converted till after his death. Or 
else they thought he did those miracles by some other spirit and power 
than that of God. No third thing can be imagined. And what other 
spirit and power could that be, but the same to which those Pharisees blas- 
phemously ascribe it ? Yet Uiey might do that ignorantly, which those 
Pharisees did against conviction. And so, though they were guilty of blas- 
pheming the Holy Ghost, yet not of that unpardonable blasphemy, though 
it was materially the same blasphemy, yet wanted that ingredient, which 
does formalise it into the unpardonable sin. 

Yea, it seems probable to me, that Paul before his conversion was guilty 
of this particular blaspheming materially considered, as beforo expressed ; 
that he ascribed those miracles to the working of Satan. Which may thus 
appear : he could not but know that Christ wrought miracles : this was 
generally known and acknowledged by those of his own sect, the Pharisees. 
li was not denied by the most malicious enemies that Christ had, John 
xi. 47. It is like Saul was an eye-witness of some of them, coming to the 
passover (as all such were bound to do), when Christ wrought many of his 
miracles. Mat. xxi. 14. At least he could not but know that the apostles 
wrought miracles ; and they were done expressly to confirm this truth, that 
Jesus was the Messias. Either then he thought these mirlusles were done 
by Uie Spirit of God, and then he had been convinced that Jesus was the 
Christ ; but this he says he was ignorant Of while he was a persecutor. 
And since he thought them not done by the Spirit of God, what spirit 
could he think they wero done by, but Beelzebub, that evil spirit ? Now 
this was materially the very blasphemy of the Pharisees his associates. 

MaBK XYI. 16.] OF FAITH. 158 

And indeed lie eon&esea he was a blasphemer, 1 Tim. i. 18, bat adds, that 
whieh hindered his blasphemy from being that unpardonable blasphemy 
sgainst the Holy Ghost, < I did it ignorantly.' He did not know, he did 
not believe, thai Jesus, whom he persecuted and blasphemed, was the 
GhrisW acted and testified of by the Holy Ghost. If the rest of the 
Pharisees had done it ignorantly too, as he did, for anything I can see, 
their blasphemy had not risen up to the height of that sin which is de- 
clared to be unpardonable. 80 that, in fine, that particular blasphemy. 
Mat. xii., is not the unpardonable sin, but when it is against knowledge and 

5. Every denying and renouncing of Christ, when it is against knowledge 
and conviction, is not the sin against the Holy Ghost. For Peter denied 
and renounced Christ, when he clearly knew, and was convinced that he 
was the Christ ; when he fully believed it, and had openly professed and 
acknowledged it. Mat. xvi. 16. He denies him after admonition, denies 
him openly and scandalously, and this with cursing and swearing, against 
conscience, former resolutions, solemn engagements. A horrid sin indeed 1 
Yet Peter repented, was pardoned. This was not the sin against the Holy 
Ghoei. There was something of infirmity in it. He did it out of fear and 
passion, not wilfully, not presumptuously. 

6. Every presumptuous sin is not the sin against the Holy Ghost. 
Though this be a sin of high provocation, and all persons, especially the 
people of God, are highly concerned to watch against it, as David, Ps. 
xix. 12. The Seventy render it, &vi d^XXor^/«v, and vulgar, ab cdimiSf from 
strange sins. They are sins to which the people of God should be wholly 
strangers ; and yet David himself was not altogether a stranger to it. There 
was too much presumption in those sins of adultery and murder. This 
latter especially was wilful, agamst knowledge and conscience, upon deli- 
beration. He compassed not the death of Uriah, but by a series of plots 
and contrivances succeeding one another. And see how the prophet charges 
him, 2 Sam. zii. 9. In that he charges him with the despising the com- 
mandment of the Lord, he accuses him of sinning presumptuously. For 
this is the very phrase, by which the Holy Ghost expresses a presumptuous 
sin. Num. xv. 80, 81. And it is expressed by tiie same phrase, Heb. 
X. 28. A heinous sin indeed 1 There was no sacrifice for this sin under 
the law. If a man sinned ignorantly, an atonement might have been made 
for him by a sacrifice, so the Lord appointed. But if a man sinned pre- 
sumptuously, no sacri^ce was appointed, none could be accepted in lieu of 
his hhf he was to die without mercy. This was a grievous sin indeed, yet 
not unpardonable; so David found it. But there is something more 
grievous in the sin against the Holy Ghost. For the apostle argues there 
from the less to the greater ; from that as a less sin, to this as a greater, 
Heb. X. 28, 29. He that sins against the Holy Ghost (for he is describing 
that wickedness), shall be thought worthy of much sorer punishment, than 
be that, sinning presumptuously, despises Moses's law. And why worthy 
of much sorer punishment, but because it is a much more grievous sin ? 
The sin against the Holy Ghost is not a sin of presumption only, but 
something more, something worse ; something that has in it more provo- 
cation, and shall have sorer punishment. 

Obj. 7. Faith is an application of the promise ; the promise is condi- 
tkmaL And there are none have any ground to apply the promise, but 
they that have the condition, that is, it upon which the promise is suspended. 
Now, alas 1 I have not the condition, and what ground have I to apply the 

154 OF FAITH. [Mabx XYL 16. 

promise ? I lAve no ground to belieye. To apply the promise without 
ground, is not to believe, bat to presume. It wonld be gronndless pre- 
sumption in me to offer it 

Ans. 1. Faith may be without the application of a promise. This cleared, 
the main foundation of this scruple falls. Now it is clear, both from the 
principal object and the first acts of faith. 

The principal object of faith is quid incampUxumt it is Christ himself, not 
a proposition nor a promise ; so that, if there be no promise which thoa 
canst apply, yet is there an object for thy faith. Christ may be embraced, 
though not in a promise. It is true Christ must be discovered and offered, 
before he can be the object of faith ; but so he may be in other parts of 
the word, not in the promise only. The whole gospel discovers and pro- 
pounds Christ to sinners ; the promises are but some parts of the gospel. 
The promise is not the only or the principal object of fiiith, but Christ 

And it is clear from the acU of flEdth too. The first acts of frdth are 
acceptance of, or dependence on Christ, not the application of a promise. 
The application of a conditional promise is for assurance, and that is a 
consequent of fiuth, or faith in its growth and elevation, not in its first 
actings, Eph. i. The Spirit seals the promise to a soul by application, but 
that is aflber believing ; some acts of faith go before it. The first act of 
believing is a hearty acceptance of Christ for a Lord and Saviour, or a soul's 
dependence on him for pardon and holiness. Indeed, these are both one ; 
for to take Christ for a Lord and Saviour, which I call acceptance, and to 
commit myself to him, to be pardoned and governed by him, which is 
d^endence, is the same thing. 

You say you have no ground to apply the promise ; well, but have yon 
no ground to accept of Christ as he is offered, to apply yourselves to him 
for pardon and life, to commit your souls to him to be saved and ruled by 
him ? have you no ground for this ? Why, the command of God is a 
sufficient ground for this, he enjoins you to do it. The promise has a 
condition, you say, and the want of it hinders you firom applying the 
promise. Ay, but what condition has the command to hinder you from 
obeying ? Will not the Lord be obliged but upon condition ? Is he not 
absolute Lord ? 

You say you may not apply the promise ; but may you not give yoor 
consent that Christ shall be your Lord and husband, and rest on him 
accordingly ? Why, this is it you are called to do ; do but this heartily, 
and you believe on Ihe Son, though you cannot apply the promise, John i. 
The receiving of Christ is the heart's consent to take him upon his own 
terms; and Ihis is believing. Where this is there is fiuth, though there be 
no application of a promise. 

Ans, 2. There are absolute promises, to which no condition is annexed; 
general offers of Christ, not restrained to special qualifications, Isa. zlviii. 9, 
Jer. zxxiii. 8, Micah vii. 18, Ezek. zzxvi. 26, Bev. xxi. 17. Now, though 
the want of the condition hinder a sensible sinner firom applying conditional 
promises, yet why should want of the condition hinder him firom applying 
those promises that have no conditions ? I speak to those that are sensible 
and humbled ; for secure and presumptuous sinners are too apt to catch at 
these, and thereby to harden and encourage themselves in their presump- 
tion, to their ruin ; such have neither share nor lot in this encouragement. 
But for the humbled sinner, who is weary of sin, and would count it the 
greatest mercy to be rid of it, the way to these pronuses is set open to 

MaBX XYI. 16.] OF FAITH. 153 

them. They were go delivered on purpose for their encouragement. To 
these I speak: Though ye cannot apply a conditional promise, yet can yon 
not apply yonrselves to Christ in an absolnte promise? May yon not 
apply Christ to yonrselres in those free and general offers, wherein the 
Lord tenders him to yon ? 

These are sufficient grounds of dependence, if not of assurance ; suffi- 
cient enoouragements to receiye Christ, though not to apply him and rejoice 
in him as already received ; sufficient to make him yours, if sons.* These 
offers will make him yours if you will close with them, though not prove 
him yours ; that follows acceptance. 

If a man should hold out his hand and offer you a jewel, you would 
think that a sufficient ground to take it, though he should not express by 
any special qualifications that he intended it for you in particular ; nay, 
though he should speak never a word, yet being one who is not wont to 
delude any, his holding it out and offering it to you would be a sufficient 
enoouragement to receive it. So it is here, the Lord holds out Christ to 
humbled sinners in the general offers of the gospel ; and he is never wont 
to delade any^ much less those that are returning to him. Is not his offer 
a sufficient ground for yon to receive what he offers ? If you cannot apply 
him npon promised conditions, yet may you not receive him offered freely ? 
But * whosoever will,' &c., dose with that word, come and embrace Christ 
as he 18 offered; and in so doing you believe, though you cannot apply any 
other promise. 

Am. 8. The least degree of the condition in sincerity shews title to the 
promise. Perfection is required by the law, but it is not the condition of 
any promise of the gospel; perfection would be acceptable under the 
gospel, but sincerity is accepted. The gospel would have us strive after 
perfection, but it has pardon for imperiections; it has promises to the 
least degrees in truth, when accompanied with greatest imperfections, Mat. 
xii. 20. Though there be but in the soul a spark from heaven, more 
smoke than heat, almost smothered in corruptions and imperfections, yet 
this has the promise. Not to quench is to kindle, not to break is to 
strengthen ; a fMiutctg^ where much more is intended than expressed. 
Mat. V. What less degree of righteousness or holiness than a sincere 
desire of it I Yet this has the promise of satisfaction and blessedness. 
And lest this should be thought a high degree of desire, it is expressed by 
willingness. It may be the sensible sinner concludes he wants the con- 
dition, because he has it not in such or such a degree, and then the dis- 
couragement is raised upon a mistake. The least degree shews thy right 
to the promise. 

Afu^ 4. He that has the condition of any one promise has title to all 
the promises; to all, except those which are made upon some special and 
sjngnlar account; for he that has the condition of any one promise is in 
Christ And in Christ <all the promises are yea and amen;' they shall 
all be accomplished to such a one faithfully and certainly. He that has 
the condition of any one promise is thereby admitted into the covenant of 
grace, the leagne with Christ. Now, the promises are so many several 
axtieles of the covenant, and he that is in league and covenant with Christ 
diall have the benefit of all the articles ; he may upon that ground plead 
his right thereto. 

The covenant is made up of so many promises, as a golden chain of so 
many links; one link draws with it all the whole chain. He that haahold of 

Qa.<imneit'^— £d. 

166 or VAXTH. . [Mabk XYI. 16. 

one, by Tirtne of that he has hold of alL Indeed, he that has the eonditicm 
of any one promise, has the conditions of all the promises really; if not in 
his own apprehensions, in one degree or other, in principle or in act. For 
every condition of a promise evangelical is some gramoos qoality, or some 
act of such a quality. Now, as there is a concatenation of vices (is 
moralists), so there is a connection of graces (as divines). They are never 
found single, they are never divided; tiie sonl that is possessed of one is 
possessed of all. 

The sensible soul may be apt to conclude he has no qualification and no 
condition of any promise; it is because he has not such and such; but this 
is a great mistake, and he herein discourages himself from applying the 
promise without ground; for if he has any one, he has all and every one 
indeed, though not in his own apprehension ; for they are never really 

Ans, 5. You may have the condition though you discern it not. It may 
be discernible in you though you do not see it, will not acknowledge it. 
Here is one difference between the humbled and secure sinner ; the secure 
confident will conclude he has those qualifications which he never had ; 
the humbled is apt to conclude he has them not when he is in possession 
of them. You cannot persuade those but they have that which they have 
not ; you cannot persuade these that they have that which indeed they 
have. The least degree of the condition is not easily discernible ; for that 
If hich Is least is next to nothing, and it must be a quick eye that can dis- 
cern that ; and when it is come to be discernible by others, yet it is not 
easily discerned by himself; in that dejected state he is not apt to believe 
it ; he has had such a sight and sense of his sinfulness and misery as hath 
brought himself quite out of conceit with himself, so he is more apt to 
suspect the worst than to believe anything that is good concerning hiniself ; 
and, ther^ore, if the humbled soul would not mistake, he should Hot judge 
himself till he has duly examined, not pass sentence before a just triid. 

And' because he is more apt to mistake himself, he should consult with 
those who have more light to discover it, and will more impartially judge 
of it. Let me propdund a question or two for trial : Hast thou not for- 
saken every sin ? Is not thy heart resolved against eveiy evil way ? Doeet 
not thou confess, bewail, and set thyself against every sin ? Why, this is 
the condition of a promise, Prov. viii. 18. WouUst thou not eome to 
Christ if he would entertam thee ? Wouldst thou not leave eveiy by-path, 
how pleasant soever, wherein thou hast lost him ? Doeet not thou heartily 
consent to come to Christ upon those terms on which he calls thee ? Why, 
this is a condition of a promibe, John vi. 

Ans, 6. Go to Christ for the condition. Believe, and yon have the con- 

IV. It remains that I should shew by what means fidth may be attained. 
Faith is the gift of God, but he gives it in his own way. Those that would 
come by it must walk in this way. If you would receive this g^ set 
yourselves in that way wherein he is wont to communicate it* 

Faith is the work of God. But he worics it not immediately, but in the 
use of appointed means. He can work it without means, but he will not 
do so ordinarily. It will be presumption to expect extraordinary acts, 
while the ordmary way is open. 

The means prescribed eannot effect fiuth of themselves. They are no 
further effectual, than as instruments in the hand of him who as the pnn- 

JCask XVI. 16.T OF riXTH. 157 

etpal cause. They can do noihing without him. Bat Tsaallj he does no- 
thmg in this business without them. It is bis power that worics faith ; 
hot in thai way, and by those means, whieh he has prescribed. Though 
he has not absolntely tied and confined himself to them, yet he has tied and 
confined ns. Though he is fi»e, yet the means are necessary to us. 

I shall but instance in two, liz., prayer, and hearing the word ; and will 
6ndeayoaic.to shew you that they are means appointed for this end ; and 
withal how you may use them so as this end may be attained, laying down 
some particular directions for this purpose. 

1. For prayer^ that one way wherein the Lord will be sought, and 
wherein he may be found. That is one means which the Lord will have 
nsed for this end, Ezek. xxxri. 26. Here is a promise of the first grace, 
under the notion of a new heart He promises conversion and regenera- 
tion, of which faith is a principal part. But in what way will he accom- 
plish this and those other promises ? What means will he have used for 
this end ? That he shews, ver. 87. 

So Saul, after he was humbled and struck down in an extraordinary way, 
before his couTersion was completed by the Lord concurring with the 
ministiy of Ananias, before he was filled with the Holy Ghost, we find him 
seeking of God, Acts ix. 11. The Lord takes notice of this in Saul, and 
will haye Ananias to take notice of it, to encourage him in his wock. 
Here is the way wherein this chosen vessel was carried. And you see, both 
by precept and example, that it is your way ; if ever you would meet with 
fiuth, walk in it. It concerns every sinner who is not careless of his soul, 
who has any regard of everlasting life, any fear of everlasting death, any 
care of his eternal state, who is not desperately regardless of idl that is 
dearest to him, to be seeking God for faith. For upon this are the issues 
of li£B and death. You especially, to whom the Lord has shewed so much 
merey, as to shew you your want of faith, your necessity of it, your misery 
without it, be diligent, be importunate wiUi God in prayer, Uiat he would 
give you faith. Whatever you do, pray ; whatever you pray for, pray for 
luth especially. The life of your souls depends on it. 

Pray diligently. Spend that time in prayer which you have been wont 
to mis-spend in idleness, in vanities, in unnecessary employments. You 
have thrown away too much time already ; that which remains is short, 
yon know not how short. Labour to redeem it. Bedeem time from your 
vanities and recreatioDS, from your worldly business, yea, from your meat 
and sleep, rather than want time to seek God for this. For fiiith is of £ur 
more concernment to you than the world, than your pleasures, yea, than 
your meat and sleep, than your bodies and lives; the everlasting life of 
soul and body depends on fitith. The wrath of God is more dreadful thui 
poverty and wants, yea, than death itself. And till you believe, the wrath 
of God abides on you. Oh then seek God for this, above all things seek 
him, seek him night and day, give him no rest, &c. 

Phi(y importunately. Seek faith of God, as a condemned malefaetor 
would beg a pardon. There is no pardon without &ith. Seek this of 
God, as one that feels and sees a sword at his breast, sees death present 
brfore his eyes, would sue for his life. There is no life for you without 
fiuth. Fall down before God, and cry to him as for life. Oh give me 
&ith, else I die 1 I may live without friends, or wealth, or honours, or 
pleasaxes ; but I cannot live without faith. There is nothing but death 
for me in nnlelief. Lord, whatever thou deny me, deny me not £uth. I 
am lost, nndone, I perish, I am a dead man, without faith. It had been 

158 OF FAITH. [Mask XVI. 16. 

better I had never been bom, than to lire m unbelief; the wrath of God 
abides on me, while I abide in this woeful state ; and so it is like to abide 
on me for ever. I shall never see life, unless I believe ; there is no hope 
lor me till then. My case is miserable and desperate tUl I believe, and I 
can never believe unless thon give me faith. Lord, give me fiuth, or else 
I die. Get the sense of yonr misery without £uth, and let this stir yon up 
to be importunate. Content not yourselves to seek it in a careless, heart- 
less, formal way ; but seek it as that on which the life and happiness of 
your souls depends. 

Obj. But what ground has he to pray, who is an unbeliever ? His 
prayer is sin : < The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord/ 
Prov. XV. What encouragement has he that his prayer may be heard, who 
cannot pray in £uth? What has he to plead for himself, either for 
audience or acceptance, who has no promise to be heard, who has no inte- 
rest in the int^cession of Christ for acceptance ? It seems either that 
prayer is not his duty, or dse that he has no encouragement to perform it. 

This is a difficulty which may be of very dangerous consequence, if it be 
not removed. There is that wrapt in it, which is apt to mislead some in 
their judgments, others in their practice, and that in a way very ii^urious 
and dishonourable to God, very dangerous and pernicious to the souls of 
men. And therefore it highly concerns us to remove this stumbling-block, 
and satisfy thia scruple, which Batan may make such a great advantage of, 
both against God and men. That this may be done clearly and folly, I shall 
(1.) shew the ground of the objection is a mistake ; (2.) prove that prayer 
is a necessary duty to unbelievers ; (8.) shew that they have encourage- 
ment to pray ; (4.) what pleas they may use for themselves in begging for 
faith. For the 

(1.) The ground of the objection is this, that the prayer of an unbeliever 
is sin, that it is a sin for bun to pray ; and hence it is inferred, that he 
ought not to pray. That the mistoke herein may appear, fibserva, 

[l.J Though an unbeliever sin in praying, yet it is not a sin for him to 
pray. There is sin in the manner of his praying ; but prayer, as to the 
act and substance of it, is his duty. He sins, not because he prays, that 
is required of him, but because he prays amiss, not in that manner that is 
required of him. There are abominations in the prayers of a wicked man, 
but for him to pray is not an abomination, it is the good and acceptable 
will of God, that which he commands. He commands him to pray, and 
he sins not in complying with the command, so far it is obedience ; but he 
prays not as he ought to do, there is his sin. Now he should leave his 
sin, not his duty. He should pray better in another manner, that is all 
which can be inferred, not that he should not pray at all. For so he leaves 
not his sin, but his duty. A hoy is learning to write ; he scribbles at first 
imtowardly, makes, it may be, more blots than letters. It is his fsiult that 
he blots, not that he writes, that is his duty ; in this case you would have 
him leave blotting, not leai» writing. So here, the act of prayer is a dufy, 
but the manner of performing this act» therein is the fault ; this should be 
corrected, but the act should not be omitted. Ay, but since an unbeliever 
cannot perform his duty in the manner that he ought, were it not as good 
he should not perform it at all ? No, not so. For observe, 

[2.] An undue performing is better than a total neglect. Better he 
should do what he can in a way of obedience than do nothing at all ; bet- 
ter pray as he can, though he cannot pray as he ought, than not pray 
at all. 

MaBK XVI. 16.} OF FAITH. 169 

If your Berrant do what yott command, you like it better (though he do 
it not in that manner, and for that end which yon desire) than if he should 
rafiise to obey you at all. 

An unbelieyer sins, whether he pray or pray not. Such a woeful neces^ 
sity has sin brought him into, that he cannot but sin, whatever he does. 
But in this case tiie less evil must be chosen. Now when the Lord enjoins 
a duty, not to do it at all is a total disobedience ; to do it in an undue 
manner is but a partial disobedience. Not to do the act is a wilful diso- 
bedience ; to fail in the manner of doing it is an unayoidable disobedience. 
Now a total disobedience is far worse than that which is but partial ; a 
wilful disobedience is far more provoking than an unavoidable failing. He 
may do the act if he will ; if he do it not, he wilfully rebels : he cannot do 
it as be ought, his falling short therein is that which cannot be avoided. 
So it is &r more excusable, far less sinful, to pray as he can, than not to 
pray at all. His best is bad enough ; yet he must do his best, else he 
sins more, and shall suffer more. 

[8.] If an unbeliever must not pray, because he sins in praying, then 
beHevers themselves must not pray for this reason too, because they also 
sin in praying. < In many things we offend aU,' James iii. 2. ^ All their 
righteousness is as a menstruous rag,' Isa. Iziv. 6. The best of them, when 
they do their best,- fall far short of praying in that manner as they ought ; 
they sin in the manner themselves. 

Ob, but they siu less herein than unbelievers. 

I answer. If they may pray, though they sin in praying, because they 
sin less ; by the same reason unbelievers may pray, because they sin less 
in praying than in omitting prayer, as before. 

[4.] If an unbeliever may not pray, because he sins in praying, then by 
the same reason he must not do any thing at all, because he cannot do 
any thing in the world, but in doing of it he sins. He must not do any 
thing spiiitnal, or civil, yea, or natural ; for he sins in all as much as in 
praying. He must not read, nor hear the word (though this be the plain 
duty of heathens and infidels), because not mixing the word with faith, he 
sins in that. He must not work, not do the necessary duties of his calling 
(if this were a sufficient reason) for he sins in that, Prov. xxi. 4. He must 
not eat ; for that ensnares him in sin. His table is a snare. He must not 
speak ; for therein he sins, Prov. xii. 18. He must not walk or converse 
with men, for even his way is an abomination, Prov. xv. 9. 

Now if this bo absurd, tiiat an unbeliever must not hear, nor work, nor 
speak, nor eat, nor move, notwithstanding he sins in all these (as indeed 
there can scarce any greater absurdity fall into the imagination of a man), 
then it is absurd that an unbeliever must not pray, notwithstanding he sins 
in praying. If that woeful necessity of sinning in all these will not hinder 
any of them from being his duty, no more can it hinder prayer from being 
his duty. This may Im sufficient to shew the vanity of the objection, the 
mistake of the ground upon which it is raised. 

(2.) The necessity of it. Prayer is a necessary duty to wicked men and 
unbelieTers ; and that will appear many ways. But briefly : 

[1.] The Lord's express commands directed to such, eigoining them to 
seek him and call upon him, Isa. Iv. 6. It is taken by many to be an 
exhortation directed to the Gentiles not yet converted ; and so pn^er is a 
duty before conversion ; but whetiier it be Gentiles or Jews for whom it is 
intended, it is for such as are wicked and unrighteous, as appears, ver. 7. 
Wicked and imrighteous men are enjoined to seek God, and call upon him, 

160 OF rAiTH. [Mabk XVI. 16. 

and those that are aneh in a high degree. The moat abominable ahmer in 
the world is called the man of sin, and that is the expression here ; the 
* nnrighteous* is in the original the ' man of iniquity.' Bo Acts Tiii., Peter 
lays iJ^e iiynnotion npon Simon Magus, when he Imew him to be a grace- 
less wretch, Ter. 21, 28. He directs him to pray, ver. 22. 

[2.] Neglect of prayer by nnbelievera is threatened. The prophet's impre- 
cation is the same in effect with a threatening, Jer. z. 26, and the same 
imprecation, Ps. Izxiz. 6. The prophets wooid not have used such an 
imprecation against those that call npon God, bat thai their neglect of call- 
ing on his name makes them liable to his wrath and fnry ; and no neglect 
makes men liable to the wrath of God bat the neglect of duty. Prayer 
then is a duty even to the heathen, the neglect of which provokes him to 
poar oat his fciry on them. 

[8.] We have examples for it in Scriptare, such as are imqiiestionable. 
The example of the prophets by divine instinct calling wicked men to this 
duty, Joel i. 14, all the inhabitants ; and yet many of the inhabitanU 
were extremely wicked, such as deserved to be cat off both from choreh 
and state, and such as the Lord is threatening to cat off by a destroying 
judgment, ver. 15. And yet all these must join in prayer, he leaves no 
scruple for joining in this duty with wicked men ; yea, sucking children 
must join too, lest any think that little ones have nothing to do with 
prayer, Joel ii« 16. 

[4.] The Lord charges the neglect of this duty upon wicked men as a 
heinous crime ; as that which involves them, or shews them to be involved, 
in the greatest and most horrible guilt. 

First. He charges it as an act of pride and contempt of God, Ps. x. 4. 
'If prayer be not the duty of wicked men, then pride and contempt of God 
is no sin. The connection which the Holy Ghost makes between these 
does make this evident. 

Secondly. It is charged as the casting off all fear of Gud, which is the 
height of profiimeness, Job. xv. 4. If it be not a duty for all to pray, it is 
not a sin to cast off all fear of Gk>d. 

Thirdly. It is charged as atheism, one of the charactera by which the 
atheist is described, Ps. xiv. 1, 2. Those that do not seek God, say in 
their hearts there is no God. So ver. 4. Who are they that say in their 
hearts there is no God ? Why, he describes them to be soch as call not 
upon the Lord. This is a plain sign of speculative, a principal act of 
practical atheism. So Psalm x. It may be read, * All his thoughts are, 
there is no God.' He that will not seek after God, does hereby i^ew that 
all his thoughts are, there is none. Those that would not have all men 
to pray, would have all men to be atheists. Atheism is not a sin, if calling 
on God be not their duty. 

[5.] This will appear, if we consider what prayer is, in these particulars. 

Fir$t, It is an act of respect and honour due to God from every man by 
the light of nature. It is not an act of positive and instituted worship, 
peculiar to the church and the true membera thereof, as the seals of the 
covenant are ; but it is an act of natural worship due from men, not as 
they are Christians, but as they are men ; and so due from men always, 
and indispensably due. No sinfulness can disoblige any man from his 
duty ; no, nor anything else but that whidi makes him cease to be a man; 
for thai which is due by the law of nature is of eternal obligement ; and 
we see the light of nature led the marinere in Jonah to this duty, thou^ 
those heathens had no revealed light, no knowledge of Scriptnre. 

MaBX ZYI. 16.] OF VAITH. 161 

Those that would not have wicked men to pray, would not haye them 
give that honour and respect to God which is due by the light and dictate 
of natore. 

Further. "Pnyer is an acknowledgment of yonr dependence upon God: 
Pa. Ixzix. 6. * That acknowledge thee not, by calling on thy name.' The 
plain import of prayer is to acknowledge that all we have we receive it 
from God, and that all we want we expect it from God alone. Now, if it 
were [not the duty of unbelievers to pray, it would not be their duty to 
acknowledge their dependence on the Lord ; not to acknowledge that he 
is God, and that they are creatures ; that in him they live and move, and 
have their being ; that every good and perfect gift comes from the Father 
of lights ; but tiiat they might have these without him. 

Finally. Prayer, if we consider it in its essence and nature, is a motion 
whidi the soul makes to God ; it is the soul's desire of what it asks ; it is 
but the turning God*s commands into requests. Now, if it were not the 
duty of unbelievers to pray, it is not their duty io desire to please God, 
to know him, to obey him. To instance in that which is for our present 
purpose. If it be not the duty of unbelievers to pray for faith, it is not 
their duty to desire faith ; for prayer is essentiaUy a desire, &c. When 
the Lord has declared that without faith it is impossible to please him, it 
would not be their duty to desire to please him. When he has declared 
that frdth gives glozy to God, it would not be their duty to desire^to glorify 
him. When he has declared this to be his commandment, that they 
believe, &c., it would not be their duty to desire to obey him, and to 
comply with his revealed will. When he has declared that he that 
believes not makes God a liar, it would not be their duty to desire not to 
give God the lie. 

If it be a necessary duty for unbelievers to desire these things, it is their 
necessary duty to pray for them ; for prayer essentially is nothing but the 
soul's desire. 

(3.) I shall endeavour to shew what encouragement a man, yet without 
faith, may have to address himself to the Lord in prayer. 

He has no such encouragement as the Lord offers to believers ; but some 
encouragement he hath, especially a sensible sinner, one who is in the 
way to fruth, though he be not yet arrived at it. I will give you an account 
of this in some particulars. And herein I shall not leave the good old 
way, though the path wherein I walk may seem solitary. 

[1.] He may &id some acceptance with God, some kind of acceptance ; 
not a full acceptance, so as his person shall be accepted with his prayer ; 
for the person cannot be accepted till he be in Christ, and he is not in 
Christ but by fiedth; and so the person of an unbeliever cannot be 

Nor is it an absolute acceptance ; for in that srase, * without foith it is 
impossible to please God ;' he cannot please him absolutely. But he may 
find in his prayer a comparative acceptance, and that both negatively f — 
the Lord is not so much displeased with his prayers, though there be sin 
m them, as with other sinful acts. He was not so much displeased with 
Ahab humbling himself, as with his other wickedness. A less degree of 
displeasure is something considerable ; it may bear the name of acceptance 
by some warrant from Scripture ; for as a less degree of love is called 
bailed, Luke xiv. 26, so a less degree of displeasedneas may be called 

We may express it positively too. The Lord is more pleased with the 

VOIm I. ^ 

162 or VAXTH. \Mabx. XVL 16. 

prajen of soeh, tluai he is with not only their open sms, bat than he is 
with other acts that have a show of goodnees. For as acts of nn tgainst 
the first table are more heinons, and do more proyoke God, than aets of 
sin against the seoond, so, in proportion, acts of obedienoe to the preeq)t8 
of the first table, sndi as prayer, being an aot of worship immediafcalj 
respecting God, are more pleasing to him than acts of justice or ehari^ 
respecting men. 

Snch acts ci worship, though in unbeUevers, tiiey are not spuitoaUy 
good ; yet there may be a moral goodness in them, which is pleanog and 
acceptable to God, so far forth that he likes the work, and ai^roves it with 
that common aUowanee which he afibrds to all things done in co mp liance 
with his will, and bearing any stamp of his own goodness ; though not bo 
much as to aceept the person, and receive it into any qiecial favour. He 
has a common aeceptMice for common and moral goodness, and the moce 
by how much the more it respects himsetf ; and a^ of worship, such as 
prayer^ respect him more than others. When there is a moral and com- 
mon affection and sincerity in prayer. Gen. xx. 6, as some yet in unbelief 
may hare, though not a special and spiritual affection, the Lord likes it, 
and accepts it, so &r as it is the work and effect of his own common 
grace. This our dinnes grant in their contests with the Arminians. (Vid* 
Pemble, p. 88.) 

Now this is some encouragement to pray. Yon cannot do anything in 
unbelief more pleasing to God. You displease him more when you ne^ed 
prayer : he has a comparative likmg of them, a common acceptance and 
approbation for them. 

[2.] The Lord may hear such prayers ; he may so fiftr aceept them as to 
hear them. Though he have not engaged himself by promise to do it» yet 
he has not tied up himself, so as he may not do it. Ilioug^ an unbeliever 
have no promise, and so no certainty that his prayers shall succeed, yet he 
has some probability ; there is some likelihood that they will not miseany. 
He has a nu^ be for it, and that is counted encouragement enough to act 
in other cases. Peter gives this encouragement even to Simon Magus to 
pray. Acts ix. 22. He determines it not against him, but leaves in sos- 
pense a question undecided for or against him ; possibly thy sin may not 
be forgiven, but perhaps it may be fi>igiven, prayer may prevail for ptfdon. 
The men of Nineveh were hereby encouraged to pray, Jonah iii. 9. It is 
not certain he will, it is not certain he will not ; he may, for anything we 
know. They had thus much, and no more encouragement, in Joel iL 14. 

The people of God sometimes find no more encouragement than sueh a 
may be, Amos v. 16. Caleb expresses no more, Jos. xiv. 12. You count 
this an encouragement enough to put you upon moral endeavonia, and why 
not upon prayer ? Though it be not certain that he will hear and answer, 
yet he may hear and answer; there is nothing certain to the contraiy. 
Boldien do continually venture their lives, and merchants do constanUy 
venture their estates, when they have no surer ground to succeed. And is 
not this encouragement enough to engage in a necessary duty ? 

[8. J The Lord does many times answer the prayers of unbelievers. We 
have many examples hereof in Scripture. It is not only a may &e, but we 
see it actually done. Twhmaal is represented to us as a persecutor, and as 
one excluded from Abraham's spiritual seed, Ckd. iv. 29, and yet the Lord 
heard his cry in the day of his extremity. Gen. xxi. 17. The mariners in 
Jonah are expressed to be heathens and idolaters, yet seeking God impor- 
tunately that he would not let let them perish for Jonah's life, whom they 

KaSK XYI. 16.] OF VAITB. 168 

east into the sea, Jonah i. 14, and we ha^e the return of their prayer in 
the next Ter. 16, < The sea ceased,* &c. ; so the men of Nineveh, whose 
wickedness was gone np to heuyen ; yet crying unto the Lord, he was 
entreated, and answers them graciondy, Jonah iii. 10. Yea, Ahab, the 
wickedest king that ever Israel had, though they had few or none but such 
as were wicked after the division, yet none like him, 1 Kings xzi. 25. 
Yet when he humbled himself, and sought God, he prevailed; and he sends 
him an answer of his prayer by the prophet, who had denounced the wrath 
of God against him, ver. 28, 29. 

8o that the Lord hears the prayers of such who have less ground to 
hope for any such thiug than the sensible sinner. Here is that which may 
encourage bU, to pray, hut here is more encouragement for such a one ; he 
may fare better, when the worst fare so well. 

[4.] The Lord has more respect to those prayers that are made for 
spiritual mercies than petitions put up for temporal blessings ; such are 
more pleasing to him, more accoiding to his will, and he manifests it by 
making readier returns thereto. He has expressed his liking and approba- 
tion of prayers, not so much in respect to the person praying as in respect 
to the things prayed for, and has answered them upon this account. There 
is a notable instance hereof in his acceptance of Solomon's petition, 1 Kings 
iii. 10-12. The Lord was well pleased with his prayer because of the 
thing that he prayed for, ver. 10 ; and because he asked an understanding 
heart, and not such things as nature is more apt to desire; upon this 
aeeoont the Lord grants his request, ver. 11, 12, and that with an over- 
plus, Yer, 18. Yet this seems to be but a moral accomplishment, an- 
endowment that might fitly qualify him as a magistrate to discern between 
right and wrong, good and bad, to do judgment and justice^ 

And if the Lord be better pleased with petitions for moral accomplish- 
ments than with those for riches, or long life, and outward success, by 
eonsequeiice he<nay be better pleased with prayers for spiritual blessings 
than tiiose for moral accomplishments ; if he be so ready to hear prayers 
for moral virtues, he may be more ready to hear prayers for spiritual 
graces. Corrupt nature has less inclination to these, the Lord is more 
honoured by them, and is more pleased with them. 'What an encourage- 
ment is this for those that want faith, to pray for it ; being the chief spiritual 
accomplishment, and that which is the root of ihe rest. What hopes are 
here, tiiat such requests will be heard and granted. What encouragement 
that such a request will please the Lord, when that very thing is asked 
which is most pleasing to him. 

[6.] If unbelievers should seek spiritual blessbgs of God, as feur as 
natural men may do, the Lord would seldom or never reject their requests. 
I do not only say he woold not ordinarily deny them, but he would seldom 
or never deny them. But this must be taken cautiously. It must be 
observed that few, or rather none, in the state of unbelief, do seek for 
apiiitaal blessings to the utmost of their ability, as far as they may do. It is 
Ukely that sensible sinners come nearest to this; but even they, when they 
stretch ont ^eir endeavours farthest, do fall short of what they might do ; 
when they do most, they do not their utmost. And it must be fiuiher 
observed, that if natural men should do their utmost, yet this would not 
oblige the Lord to confer grace on them. No prayers or endeavours of 
naloial men whatsoever, not the utmost improvement of the power of nature 
herein, can lay any engagement upon God ; but he remains free, when all is 
done, to bestow grace or deny it. This we hold firm against Pelagians of 

164 07 FAITH. * [MiLBxXYLlG. 

all sorts and sizes. Bat yet we say there cannot be an instance given of 
any one man in the world that oyer soaght God so far as a natnral man 
may do for spiritual blessings, and was notwithstanding denied and ngeeted. 
Such an example cannot be prodnced, nor hath it yet fallen nnder any 
man's observation. There seems to be an instance to the contrary in 
Esau, bat it is a mistake, Heb. xii. 14. For this was a repentance in his 
&ther, not a repentance in himself, that he soaght so careftilly and so pas- 
sionately. The word /tcravo/a, rendered repentance, signifies a change of 
the mind ; and this was it which he soaght of his fattier, to change his 
&ther's mind. Isaac, his father, had given the blessing to Jacob, his 
brother ; he wonld have his father change his mind as to this particular, 
and give the blessing, not to his brother, but to him. This was the repent- 
ance that he soaght ; he would have Isaac repent of this, that he had given 
the blessing of the first-bom to the yoanger brother. Gen. xzvii. Now as 
this consideration clears up the justice of God in his proceedings against 
sinners, since none perish but such as do not what in them lies, do not 
their utmost to be saved, so it gives a great encouragement to all, especially 
to sensible sinners, to stir up themselves to seek faith, seeing no instance 
can be given of any who sought it of God, so far as a natural man may do, 
that ever miscarried, or were rejected. It cannot be observed that any man 
ever sought it so far as his power would reach, and so far as he was hereto 
moved by the Spirit of God, and yet fell short of faith ; it hath not been 
observed that such prayers did not succeed. 

[6.] The Lord does more respect the prayers of those for whom he has 
designed faith, when they seek him for it, than the prayers of others. 
Their persons and prayers are not fiilly accepted till they actuaUy believe, 
but their requests are more accepted than their prayers for other things, or 
the prayers of other men. And there is special reason for it; for the Lord 
has some love for them even before they believe ; not that which is called 
amor complacentta, the love of complacency and delight, for so he affects 
none but those that actually believe, and are thereby brought into a state 
of union with Christ, and reconciliation to God ; but he aJects such with 
that love which is called amor benevolentitB, a love of good will ; he bears 
them a secret good will, though he do not yet express it. He has an 
inclination to do them good, it is his purpose to bestow fedth and those 
spiritual blessings on them which they are praying for. Now their prayers 
concurring with his ovni purpose, and being agreeable both to his re- 
vealed and his secret will as to the matter of them, must needs be so far 

Besides, Christ has purchased faith and spiritual blessings for those to 
whom the Father has designed them. And tiie intercession of Christ is, 
as it were, a continual representation of those sufferings whereby he has 
purchased these blessings for them, that by virtue thereof, they may be 
communicated in their season. Therefore, when such pray for faith, they 
pray for that which he did not only purchase, but for which he is then 
interceding. Now such prayers as go along with the intercession of Christ, 
and are interested in it, must needs be so far acceptable and prevail. He 
that is seeking that of God, for which Christ himself is interceding, will 
surely be heard. As redemption, so Christ's intercession is not only for 
actual believers, but for those of his chosen who want faith, that they may 
be made believers. The prayers of such for faith will be heard and 
answered, not by their own virtue, but by virtue of the intereession of 

Eabe XVL 16.] or faith. 166 

But what eneooragemant is all this, though yeiy great in itsetf, to a 
sensible sinner, since he knows not, nor can know, that God has designed 
£uth for him, and consequently knows not that the Lord bears any good 
will to him, or that Christ has any respect to him in his intercession ? 

I answer, whether he know it or no, these things, though hidden and 
secret, will have their effect, and they will have snch an influence on his 
prayers as will render them so hr accepted as to prevail for answer. 

And £ftrther, though he know not this certainly, for there can be no cer- 
tainty of it till he belicTe actually, yet he has some probabilities for it, 
some probable grounds on which to hope it. The Lord has brought the 
sensible sinner into the way that leads to faith, he has given him a heart 
to use the means whereby faith is attained, he has carried him on so feur as 
few go but those that reach. And these are fair probabilities that the Lord 
bas designed fidth for him, that he has a good will to give it him, and that 
Christ is interceding for this purpose. 

Such encouragement there is even for unbelievers to pray for faith, such 
encoumgement the sensible sinner has to seek God for it. It is not only 
lus duty to pray, there is not only a necessity for it, Imt he may do it wiUi 
great hopes to succeed. He has special encouragement, not only to pray 
diligent^, importunately, but to carry him on cheerfully in this duty. And 
though this last consideration speak peculiarly to the humbled sinner, yet 
ibe other particulars encourage every sinner to be much and often in seek- 
ing God for fiuth. 

(4.) What pleas may the sensible sinner use in prayer ? What has he 
to plead for himself when he is seeking faith of God ? 

A believer indeed has many and strong pleas. He may plead the pro- 
mise, whereby the Lord has engaged himself to hear him. He may plead 
the covenant, wherein the truth and fitithfulness of God is engaged. He 
msy plead the mediation of Christ, his purchase and intercession. He may 
plMd Christ*s relation to him as his fnend, his brother, as his head, hui 
husband. Here is strength in Uiese pleas, and such as afford strong sup- 
port. But what has the sensible sinner to plead, who has no interest in 
the covenant or promise, who knows not that Christ has any love for him, 
or any relation to him ? Why, even he has many things to plead, though 
they come short to these ; such as may make him fervent, importunate, 
•nd affectionate; such as may encourage him thereto, and support his 
beart therein. And these are the proper ends of using pleas in prayer. 
Not to move God, or make any impression on him, for such motion would 
infiar some change, some alteration in God, and that is inconsistent with 
bis perfection, who is without variableness or shadow of changing. But 
the use and end of them is to make impression on our own hearts, to work 
upon our afilBctions, to stir us up to more fervency and importunity, and to 
sffi>rd some support and encouragement, that our hearts may not be dead 
sod formal, and our spirits may not sink and faint in our addresses to 
^H>d. Now the sensible sinner has many things which he may make use 
of for this purpose. He may plead, 

[1.] His misery. How miserable he is without faith. I spread before 
yon the miseries [of] an unbeliever in the first use. The sensible sinner 
may spread this before God, as Hezekiah did Babshakeh*s letter in his 
prayer. This was the plea which the man in the gospel used for his son, 
list. zvii. 15, « My son is miserably vexed.' He lays open his misery, 
▼«r. 16, and this plea prevailed, ver. 18. As he pleaded for his son, plead 
thou for thy soul, ky open its miseries before Christ, Lord, what misery 

166 OF FAITH. [Mask XYL 16. 

IB it to be eidnded from life, to be dead while I live ! Unless thon giye 
me fidth, I shall never see life. What miseiy is it to be imder wrath ! 
How great is my misery, who am nnder the wrath of the great God t How 
nnayoidable my misery, who am under abiding wrath ! What joy can I 
have in any enjoyment, when the wrath of God is mixed with aU ! What 
comfort can my life be to me, when the wrath of God hangs eontinnally 
over me I Oat of the depths cry nnto God, out of the depths of that miseiy 
wherein nnbelief has sank thee. Lord, hear me t bring my sonl oat of this 
mire and clay, oat of unbelief, the pit wherein there is no water, no com- 
fort, no refreshment, no relief. Thou takest no pleasure of the miseries of 
wretched creatures. It is no delight to thee that I am miserable, bat rather 
that I should live. Lord, give me fiiith, or else I shaU never see life ; give 
me faith, or else I shall be for ever miserable. 

[2.] He may plead mercy. This was the publican's plea, Luke xviii. 18, 
and it prevailed, ver. 14. This is the proper plea for a sensible sinner, the 
suitableness, the largeness, the freeness of mercy. He may plead. 

First, The suitableness of mercy. His misery, of which he is so sensible, 
renders mercy suitable to him. Misery is the proper object of merer. 
Who is mercy for, if not for the miserable ? Mercy would be lost, it would 
be an useless perfection, an attribute without use or exercise, if it did not let 
out itself to misery; for it has no other object, but those that are miserable. 

Secondly, The largeness of mercy, Ps. cxlv. 9. His mercy is like the 
firmament spread over all this lower world ; and every inferior creature 
partakes more or less of its influence, according to its exigence and capacity. 
True, may he say, I have made myself, by sm, the vilest^ of all creatores; 
I am become worse than the beasts that perish ; as vile as a worm, u 
loathsome as a toad, by reason of the venomous corruption that is in my 
heart, and this woeftd contrariety to the nature of a holy God. But there 
is mercy over all, even over such vDe and loathsome creatures as these ; 
there may be some over me, though wrath do now abide on me. Oh let that 
mercy, whose gloiy it is to stretch itself over all, reach my soul ako ! Oh 
that tiie blessed and powerful influence thereof would beget faith in my heart! 

Thirdly, The freeness of mercy. That is its nature, its genius. It needs 
no motive, it expects no worth nor value in its object, to draw it oat It 
runs freely ; no sin or unworthiness can stop the current of it. It is a 
great depth ; though there be a mountain of sin, it can cover and overflow 
it ; that can no more hinder the outflowings of mercy, than a rock can 
hinder the motions and flowings of the sea. Here is an encouraging plea 
for a sensible sinner. Lord, may he say, I have nothing to move ti^ee to 
shew me mercy, nothing to engage thee to be gracious to me ; nothing bat 
what may engage thee against me, to shut me out from mercy. Oh hot 
free mercy can move itself ; it looks for no motive from without ; there is 
enough to move it in its own bowels. If sin and unworthiness may exclude 
a sinner from faith and mercy, I may lie down in sorrow and despair for 
ever. Oh but it is the glory of mercy to run freely, to flow out upon those 
that are most unworthy. Such am I, Lord, the unworthiest of any ever 
sought faith in thee^ that ever found mercy with thee. But the more un- 
worthy, the more will it be for the glory of thy mercy that I perish not ; 
the more will the lustre and riches of thy grace appear, in giving me &ith. 
Glorify thy mercy on such an object. Have mercy on me, Lord, that I 
perish not. 

[8.] He may plead his impotency, his own inability to believe, and the 
insufficiency of all things to help him to faith, unless the Lord help him. 

Mabx XVI. 16.] or rArcH. 167 

This was the poor impotent man's plea, he that lay at the pool of Bethesda, 
John ▼. 6, 7, and it prevailed. Let this be thy plea. I have been sick of 
sbkf nay, spiritually dead in nnbelief many years ; there is a fountain opened 
for sin and for nncleanness, a healing, sovereign virtue in that fountain, 
able to restore my soul to life and health. But, alas 1 I eannot move 
towards it of myself, and I have none to put me in. I have been a long 
time in this langnishing condition, and I ^lall be so for ever, unless thou 
pity me. There is life for me in Christ, if I could but come to him, if I 
could but touch him ; but such is my impotenoy, to such a low condition 
has sin brought my soul, that of myself I cannot come to Christ ; I cannot 
move towards him, though I die for it. There is none come to him, unless 
the Esther draw them. Lord, * draw me, and I shall run after thee^* I 
would believe ; * Lord, help my unbeUeL* Help, Lord ; for vain is the 
help of man. There is no help for me in myself; there is no help for me 
in any creature. I am altogether helpless, I am utterly hopeless, unless 
the Lord help. Such is the violence <^ my distemper, such is the strength 
of my unbelief, as it is too hard for men or angdb, it is too hard for all 
creatures, for all ordinances ; nothing can overpower it but an infinite, an 
almighty power. Stretch out that almighty arm, and rescue my perishing 
soul from going down into destruction. This is a work beseeming the 
greatness of that power which worketh wonders, to which nothing is impos- 
sible, nothing difficult. Is anything too hard for God ?. Lord, shew thy- 
self to be God ; shew forth thy glory, by doing that for me which men and 
angels, which heaven and earth cannot do for me. They all say to me, 
while they see me perishing. If the Lord do not help thee, how shall we 
help ? Oh I have destroyed myself, but in thee alone is my help. The 
more helpless my condition is, the more will it be for thy glory to help me. 
In vain is salvation hoped for from the mountains, in vain is &ith expected 
from prayers, from ordinances, &o. ; it is the Lord alone can help me to 
fiuth. Help, Lord, for vain is all other help. 

[4.] He may plead the will of God. He commands sinners to believe ; 
he threatens them in case they will not believe ; he declares that he is 
highly dishonoured by nnbelief. He appointed his gospel to be preached, 
and sends messengers to preach it, for this very end, that sinners might be 
broa^t to faith. He complains when his report is not believed^ and he is 
^orified by believing. All this makes it evident that it is his wUl the sen- 
sible sinner should believe. Hence he may encourage himself to pray for 
faith. Lord, I have been too long disobedient to the heavenly call, I have 
too long resisted thy holy will ; but now I would comply with the will of 
God, so far as I know it. I have no way to know it but by the word, and 
that speaks plainly, it is thy command I should believe. Why, Lord, let 
thy will be done in my heart ; let this law of faith be written in my inward 
parts. If it were not thy will, I durst not ask it, I could not expect it ; 
but Binee it is thy will, Lord, let it be done on eaorth, as it is [in] heaven. 
What may be done, if the will of God may not be done ? What may I 
seek for, if not for this, that thy will may be done ? What may be obtained, 
if this will not be obtained, that the wiU of God may be fulfilled? If I 
should ask of thee riches, or long life, or great things for myself, this might 
be thoo|^ rather my will than thine ; but it is thy will that I should believe : 
' Lord, not my will, but thine be done.' Give me a heart to believe, that 
I may obey thee, for thou hast commanded it. Give me a heart to bdiieve, 
thai I may please thee, for thou hast declared it to be thy good pleasure. 
Give ma a heart to believe, that I may honour thee, for thou hast declared 

168 ov VAiTH. [Mabk XVI. 16. 

tliat gives gloiy to fhee. He may plead thia wifh great encouragement that 
his plea wiU prevail ; for what petitions will saceeed, if not those which are 
for things according to his will, those wherewith he is hest pleased, and 
things which tend most for his glory ? Thoogh the person of a petitioner 
were distastefhl to the prince, yet if his petition were for things that pleased 
him, and tended to the advancement of his honour and interest, and such 
as he had ei^oined those that are least acceptable to him to sae for, in all 
probability they would be granted. So, though the person of the sensible 
sinner be not accepted in ^e sight of God, yet since, when he prays for 
&ith, he petitions for that whidi is most acceptable to God, &c., there is 
great hopes fhey will succeed, there is much encouragement in such a plea. 

[6.] He may plead the descent of faith, it is the gift of God : and the 
nature of this gift, it is a free gift. A gift, Philip, i. 29 ; a free gift, EpL 
ii. 8. Not only salvation, but faith, the condition of salvation, the way to 
it, is x^'^f^f * ^^^ &^' Hence the sensible sinner may argne. Faith is 
a gift, therefore it may be asked, sued for ; it is a free gift, and therefore 
it may be given to those that are unworthy ; and then, why not to me ? 
It is not to be bought or purchased, it is a gift ; it is not to be merited or 
deserved, it is a free gift. The Lord expects no such thing as price or 
merit : tiie nature of the benefit will not admit it. Now, may I not seek 
that which the Lord is wont to give ? May I not obtain that which is wont 
to be given freely ? It is a gift that comes from the Father of lights, who 
gives Hberally, and upbraids no num. The sinner may set this against all 
that sinfUness, unworthiness, unpreparedness, which Satan usually suggests 
to the humbled soul, to hinder him from praying, or to cut him off from 
hopes of succeeding. 

[6.] He may plead the examples of those who have obtained fidth, and that 
against the greatest unlikelihoods and improbabilities that may be. C^ Who 
would have thought that she, whose heart was the seat of seven derils* 
should ever have been made a receptacle for faith and the Holy Spirit of 
promise ? Who would have thought that those bloody wretches who 
crucified Christ should ever have found grace to believe, and entertain him 
in their hearts by fiuth ? Yet so did some thousands of them. Acts ii. 
Who would have thought that Saul, who was such a persecutor, such a 
blasphemer, should ever have found mercy to become a believer ? Yet he 
found mercy, and mercy to believe, and for this end that his example might 
be a standing plea for encouraging all that should believe after him to the 
end of the world, 1 Tim. i. 18, 16, 16. 

[7.] He may plead his willingness to submit to any condition, the 
lowest, the meanest that can be, so he may but find this &vour with the 
Lord. We find the prodigal maldng use of this, Luke xv. 18, 19. Loid» 
such a wretch as I have been, have HtUe reason to expect that high rdatioa 
of a son, that dear a£bction of a father, that is loo much for one so un- 
worthy. Only I would be thine, though in a lower relation ; I would 
belong to thee ; I would not be quite shut out firom a father's house, thou^ 
I can never look to be entertained as a child. Lord, do but entertain me, 
though in the lowest capacity, though in the meanest employment ; let 
me be thy servant, so I may but have a place in the fitmily ; nay, let me 
be but the meanest of servants, a hired servant, no better used, no more 
respected. I will submit, I will be thankful, whatever my condition be, so 
I be not quite disowned. Lord, let me be thine, and it is enough, in what 
relation soever; and that I may be thine, give me a heart to believe ; with- 
out faith I can have no interest in thee. This plea in the prodigal was 

MjUIK XVL 16.] OF FAITH. 169 

prowling for more than he had the eonfidenee to plead for, ver. 21. 22. 
The fitther's affeetion breaks out in the midst of the plea, and cats him off 
there, would not let him vilify himself farther. Instead of using of him as 
a hired servant, he commands his servants to wait on him as his son. 
Bach A plea was that of the woman of Canaan, Mat. xv. 26, 27. 

[8.] He may pkad Christ's prayer. He, when he was on earth, prayed 
for thoee that did not then, that do not yet believe, John xvii. 20. He 
prays not only for those who did actually, but for those who yet had not 
&ith, for those who yet were not in the way to faith, for those who yet had 
no being. Now the sensible sinner is in a more hopeful condition than 
some of those for whom Christ prays ; for he is in the way to fidth, and 
that is A strong probability that he is one for whom Christ put up this 
petition. And for what does he pray ? see ver. 21. He prays that they 
may have union with the Father and himself. Now the bond of this union 
is foiih. He prays then that those who did not yet believe may have faith 
in him, and so union with him. He prays that sensible sinners may have 
foith. Now, though the Lord hear not sinners, yet he always hears his 
Son. He was hevd in that which he feared, he cannot be denied in that 
which he desired. Here is a strong plea ind^« Methinks it should be 
strong enough, not only to confirm faith in those that have it, but to work 
fiuth in those that want it. Methinks it should be effectual, not only to 
persuade the humbled sinner to pray, but to believe; not only to pray with 
some hopes, but to pray in foith. 

[9.] He may plead the compassions of Christ to hardened and rejected 
sinners. For from hence he may argue there are more compassions for 
him, Luke xix, 41, 42. This was the city who shewed such obstinacy in 
rejecting Christ, that he gives her over as one whose condition was despe- 
rate, of whom he had not hopes ; and yet even for such he has some pity, 
which breaks out into tears. Now if Christ have such compassions for 
those who so long and so obstinately opposed him, that he sees cause to 
cast them off as utterly incurable, has be not some compassion for the 
sensible sinner, whose soul is struck with remorse for his former disobedience 
to Christ, and whose heart is inclining to yield to him ? If he be so 
passionately touched with their condition, who are so rebellious as to refuse 
all further treaty with Christ, has he not compassions for those who are in 
parley with him, and are about to submit to him ? This is the state of a 
sensible sinner, and this is a hopeful plea which he may draw from Christ's 
tenderness. If he have such pity for obstinate enemies, he has some 
affections for those that incline to be his friends. If he lament the 
unbelief of those, he may be ready to further the work of faith in these. 

[10. J He may plead the workings of the Spirit ahready begun, though 
they be but initial and preparatory. In the sensible sinner there is some 
illnmiTiation, some conviction, some humiliation, some sorrow, some hopes, 
some desires, some endeavours after more. These look like the beginnings, 
the foundation of a greater work. Some strongholds of Satan are demo- 
lished, the rubbish is removing, the materials are preparing, the outworks 
are begun. Are not these in order to that spiritual structure which is the 
^niit's master-piece, the work of foith ? Now the Spirit of God does not 
use to leave his work imperfect, unfinished, but upon some great provoca- 
tion. The sensible sinner may plead this : Lord, thou hast let in some 
l^t into my mind and conscience, let it not end in darkness ; let it be 
like that li^t which shines more and more unto a perfect day. The Spirit 
of convietion has awakened my soul, Oh let it not end in a spirit of slumber. 

170 OF FAITH. [MaekXYI.16. 

There are some sparks of thy own kindling, let them not be extingniahed. 
All thy works are perfect, let not this be nnlike the rest, bat cany it on 
to peifeetion. 

[11.] He may plead the respect which the Lord shews to irrational 
creatures. He hears their cries, will he shut ont the ery of my perishing 
sonl ? He hears them crying for food, will he not hear me for that which 
nnconceivably more concerns me, for that withont which my soul will die 
for ever ? Ps. civ. 21, 27, cxlvii. 9, 10, czlv. 15, 16. Does the Lord take 
care for oxen ? 1 Cor. ix. 9. Will he take care of hons and ravens, and 
will he not regard my perishing soul ? 

[12.] He may plead his necessity, his extreme need of faith: Mat. ix. 12, 
* The whole need not a physician, bat they that are sick.' O Lord, my 
seal is sick, sick anto deatii. Unbelief will be my death, it will be tlra 
eternal deaUi of body and soal, imless the great physician nndertake the 
core. Will not he, who shewed so mneh compassion on diseased bodies, 
have some -pity on a dying soal ? * Is there no balm in Gilead ? Is there 
no physician there 7 ' I die, I perish, there is no help for me in heaven 
or earUi, nnless Christ will care me ; none else can core me of onbelief. 
Thoagh others pass by, an4 have no regard to see me wallowing in my 
blood, yet will the good Samaritan so pass by ? Has he no compassion 
for me ? He came to seek that which was lost, Lake xix. 10. I am lost, 
not only as the rest of the world, bat I feel myself lost, will he not seek 
me whom he came to find ? He is found of those that seek him not, will 
he not be found of me who seek him ? Will he not be found of me whom 
he came to seek ? shall a lost soul find him ? 

2. The other means for the attaining of faith is hearing ths ward. This 
is a means of the Lord's appointing, and which he ordinarily uses for this 
end, John xvii. 20. He prays for some that were to believe afterwards, 
but were to believe through the word in the ministry of his servants. And 
all that the Holy Ghost mentions afterwards as believers were brought to 
believe by the ministry of the word. The Jews, Acts iv. 4 ; the Gentiles, 
Acts, xiii. 48 ; the Ephesians, Eph. i. 18 ; the Corinthians, Acta xviii. 8. 
And therefore the ministers of the gospel are called ' ministers by whom 
they believed,' 1 Cor. iii. 5. And the word preached is called * the word of 
fiiitii,' Bom. X. 8. He shews the necessity of this means by a gradation, 
verse 14, 15. There must be a mission, that there may be preachers ; 
there must be preaching, that there may be hearing ; there must be hearing, 
that there may be believing ; and so he concludes his discourse, verse 17. 

Those that will have faith without hearing would have it out of God's 
way, and are such ever like to find it ? If the word be not preached it 
cannot be heard. The Lord may work it in an extraordinary way, bat 
can it be expected the Lord should step out of his ordinary pn^ to meet 
those who shew so much contempt of God and of their souls as they will 
not wait on him for faith in the way that he has appomted ? Will God 
work miracles to save those who so much despise him and his great salva- 
tion ? Nay, the Lord will have the ministry of the word moie honoured 
in this respect than miracles. He has used miracles sometimes for to 
startle and humble sinners in order to fiedth, but has referred those persons 
at the same time to the ministry of the word for the working of &ith. We 
find not that ever the Lord so much honoured miracles as to work &ith 
by them without the word, though we find the Lord ordinarily so fitf 
honouring the ministry of the word as to work fiuth by it without miracles. 
Miracles are ceased many hundred years ago, yet the Lord has been work* 

Mabk XVL 16.] OF yAiTH. 171 

ing iaith in all ages by the ministiy of the word. And when miracles were 
in nm, they were bnt nsed as gnbsendent to the word, to prepare for faith, 
whieh the Lord would work by hearing the word. Sanl was strack down 
and humbled in a miraculous way, but he was sent to hear Ananias, that 
he might be possessed with the Spirit of faith ; he was not fdled with the 
Holy Ohost till then, it descended on him in his ministry, Acts ix. 6. The 
jailor was humbled by a miraculous earthquake. Acts xyi. 27, 28, but the 
Lord would not work faith in him by that miracle, he reserved the honour 
of that work to the ministry of Paul and Silas, yer. 80, 81, 82, 84. 

Hearing the word is the ordinary means to attain faith, and was the 
ordinary means when the Lord appeared in extraordinaiy and miraculous 
dispensations. If you would have faith, then, 

(1.) Be diligent in hearing. Neglect no opportunities, especially none 
that are offered on that day which the Lord has set apart for this purpose. 
When men neglect these opportunities, it signifies too plainly that they yet 
have no faith. If it had been wrought in them by the word, the word 
would be more esteemed by them ; they would not proclaim their con- 
tempt of it so openly by such gross neglects. It is strange, if men can so 
much despise that which has even been an instrument to save their lives, 
to deliver their souls from death ; and as these neglects signify they yet 
have no faith, so hereby they run the hazard never to have it ; for the 
word is not effectual without the Spirit, and the Spirit breathes not always. 
The Spirit blows where and when it listeth. What know you but the Spirit 
may vouchsafe a gale when you are wilfully absent ? And when you have 
provoked him by neglecting such an opportunity, such an advantage for 
your soul, what know you but that the Spirit of God may never vouchsafe 
any more ? You that would have fiuth, neglect no opportunity ; the neglect 
of one may be the loss of your souls. 

(2.) If you would have faith by hearing, give way to no prejudice against 
the word, nor him that delivers it. If the devil cannot keep men from 
hearing, his next attempt is to fill them with prejudice, that so they may 
get no more benefit by hearing than if they heard not. The apostle speaks 
of some whose consciences are seared with a hot iron. This prejudice was 
one of those hot irons wherewith he seared the minds and hearts of the 
Jews : so that the word, in the ministry of Christ himself, made so little 
impression on them ; you find them frequently in the gospel expressing 
their prejudices against him, and this was it which made Uie gospel, in the 
ministiy of the apostles, ineffectual to the Gentiles. The apostle was a 
babbler to the Greeks, and his preaching foolishness. Give not way to 
such prejudice against the word, if you would have it prove a word of fiuth. 

I know a natural man cannot of himself pluck up the roots of Uiis preju- 
dice, it grows deep in the corruption of his heart ; but yet the branches, 
the aeta of it, are for the most part so unreasonable, as reason itself would 
east them out if it were but exercised. To give you an instance or two : 

He 18 not of our way and judgment, he complies not with our ancient 
customs and practices. This is tibe common rise of many men's prejudice 
against their ministers ; but now, was not this the very rise of that preju- 
dice which the Jews had against Christ and the apostles ? They were not 
of their way and judgment, they decried their old customs and usages ; is 
it reasonable to give way to that which was their ruin, and to entertain it 
upon the same account ? 

Oh, but he shews no learning, has no eloquence in his style, no orna- 
ment in his discourse. This is a common prejudice too, but very rarely 

172 07 FAITH. [Mabx XVL 16. 

objeeted by any, but gaeh as eannot judge what is sonnd leammg or tnie 
eloquence ; a clear, masculine style, a spiritual, judicious discourse, signi- 
fies nothing to these persons, who have more of self-conceit than judgment 
Some ridiculous quibbles, or affected jingles, is that which they count 
eloquence ; some scraps of stories, and patches of Qteek and Latin phrsses, 
which school-boys may reach, and men of judgment count below them, is 
that which they call learning. 

But if the objections were more judicious, yet would this prejudice be 
unreasonable ; for must the feuse of divine truth be patched and painted 
before it can please you ? must it be set off with the colours of £uicy, and 
borrow some beauty-spots from human learning ? can you not like it but 
in a wanton dress, nor embrace it but in the habit of a harlot? must the 
truth of God be adulterated to please you ? or were not Christ and the 
apostles wise enough to know what habit did best become it ? I question 
not but Paul, yea Christ himself, would have been counted a babbler by 
such profane and foolish wretches as these. 

Oh, but he speaks out of spite, and his reproving my sins is edged with 
spleen. But is not this to take upon thee the prerogative of God f Doest 
thou presume herein to know the heart of him that speaks ? This is not 
only to be unreasonable, but presumptuously wicked ; to make thyself like 
God in knowing the heart, but to act like the devil, in forming an accusa- 
tion that is without all ground. 

Other pr^udices, as unreasonable as these, I might pursue. But judge 
of the rest by these ; and if ever you would have &e word to beget fiiith, 
empty the heart of prejudice agidnst it. 

(8.) Take most heed to that word which most concerns you. Mind that 
most which is most suitable to the state of your souls. Now the truths 
that are most proper for a state of unbelief are such as these : — 

Fim, Those which discover the sinfulness, the misery, and impoteney 
of an unbeliever ; his sin which brings this miseiy upon him, and his impo- 
teney that keeps him under it. Attend diligently to that word which 
discovers the sinfulness of a natural man's heart and life, which shews that 
his heart is a puddle of corruption, a spring of sin, a seed-plot of wicked- 
ness, a sink of uneleanness, a habitation of devils and impure lusts, a 
raging sea casting up mire and filth, which, though it may seem calm and 
quiet sometimes, yet ruffled a little with the wind of temptation, is restless, 
raging, and tempestuous, overflows all banks and bounds, which shews the 
sinfulness of his life, that it is a continued act of rebellion against him ; 
that every thought, word, act, is an offence and dishonour to him ; that his 
whole way is an abomination to the Lord ; which shews the sinfulness of 
sin, which sets it out in its colours, which presents you with the aggrava- 
tions of it, holds it out in its weight and pressure, which sets it forth in its 
dimensions, the height, and depth, and length, and breadth of his wickedness. 

Attend to that word which discovers the misery of an unbeliever ; that 
he is under the curses and threatenings of the law, under the sentence of 
condemnation, pursued by the justice of God, exposed to the wrath of the 
Most High, and every moment in danger of hell. Mind that* word which 
expresses the weight of those curses and threatenings, the danger of that 
sentence, the severity of that justice, the teitor of that wrath, the dreadfdl- 
ness of Uiose everlasting burnings. 

Attend to that word which i^ews the impoteney of an unbeliever ; of 
himself he can do nothing to shake off tlus sxnfiilness, to escape those 
curses, to repeal that sentence, to satisfy that justice, to appease thiU wrath, 

HaBK XVI. 16.] OF FAITH. 178 

or to avoid eteraal torments ; that while he contmnes in this state, all this 
sinfulness increases, this misery grows bigger and swells higher. 

Secondly y Those tmths which tend to conviction ; mind Uiose and apply 
them. When the word comes home to any of year consciences and tells 
yon this is yonr case, if ever yon desire fiEuth, yield to snch convictions, 
apply that word to yoorselves, and say, I am the man that am thus sinful, 
whose heart and life has been snch a provocation to God ; I am the man 
who am thus miserable, the threatenings are directed against me, the sen- 
tence is passed against me ; I am the man whom justice pursues, and on 
whom the wrath of God abides. When the word is applied in particular, 
and the soul convinced thus in particular of its own sinfulness and misery ; 
Satan is dislodged out of one of his strongholds, and the sinner is in a fur 
way towards faith. To be convinced of unbelief is a good step to faith. 
Satan knows this, and therefore he opposes conviction with all his might, 
and raises in the soul all the prejudice against it that he can possibly; 
suggests to the sinner that this is the way to distract him and drive him to 
despair, whenas that malicious spirit knows it is the way of peace ; but 
this way of peace he would not have the sinner know, lest he should lose 
him, and therefore he puts the soul upon resistance, would have him rise 
op against the convincing power of the word, and stave it off with all his 
art and might. When the word comes near the conscience, and the minister 
is fastening conviction on it, he cries out in the soul against him, as he did 
against Christ in the possessed man, ' Art thou come to torment me before 
my time ? What have I to do with thee ? ' Whereas this is not the way 
to be tormented, but to avoid everlasting torments ; this is not the way to 
wound you, but to make you sensible how you are wounded, that so ye 
may be more capable of cure, and may make haste to the physician who 
only can cure you. 

And therefore, as you desire &iih, as you love your souls, and would 
not gratify Satan in destroying them ; yield to the conviction, yield to the 
ecmvineing power of the word ; resist not that Spirit whom Christ sends on 
purpose to convince you of sin, because you have not believed in him. 
When the Spirit has done this work effectuiJly, wheii the soul is convinced 
of unbelief and of the miseries that attend it, when he applies these to 
himself, then he is under sail for faith and happiness. 

Thirdly^ Those truths that discover the rich grace and all-sufficient 
righteousness of the Lord Jesus. When the sinner is sensible of his wound, 
it will be seasonable to apply that word which leads him to the balm that 
is in Gilead, which discovers Christ lifted up for the healing of wounded 
sinnere ; when he sees himself miserable by unbelief, the word that dis- 
covers Jesus the author and finisher of faith will be in season ; when the 
Spirit has convinced him of sin, the word should be applied to convince 
hnn of righteousness, that there is a righteousness sufficient to expiate his 
sin, sufficient to redeem him firom misery. 

He should mind that word that may moderate^ his fears, raise his hopes, 
quicken his desires, attract all his heart and affections to Christ. 

Each part of the word, as it is in season, should be laid up in the mind 
and pondered there ; diversions from the world or carnal company should 
be avoided ; the loose vagaries which the mind is wont to take in hearing, 
and after, should be curbed ; the word must be kept close to the heart by 
fixed thoughts till it works its effsct. 

And the soul should be lifted up in prayer to God for the concurrence 
and the co-operation of his Spirit. 


Now the just shaU Uve hy faith,— Bxb. X« 88. 

Thbbb words are used four times, Hab. ii. 4, Bom. i. 17, Gal. iii. 11, and 
here. In ihe Epistles to the Romans and Galatians, they respect jnstin- 
cation, Paul making use of them to prove that we are justified bj £uth. 
In Hab. ii. 4, and ttie text, they respect our conversatton, and hold forth 
what should secure and support a righteous man in all dangers and neces- 
sities. It is plain in the prophet ; for having, in chap, i., foretold the 
calamities which the Chaldeans should bring upon the Jews, in this verse 
he propounds faith as the security of just men in those misenee ; he shall 
live by this, when others die by the sword ; this shall keep him sJive, hold 
his head above water, when that inundation of wrath shall break in upon 
Judea« And the apostle borrowing these words of Habakkuk (save that he 
follows the Seventy, and not the Hebrew text in the latter part), holds out 
this as the security of the Hebrews,' in the midst of all trials, temptations, 
and persecutions, while they are in this world, till the Lord, who has*pro- 
mised to come, do come, and give them the end of their feith ; he eiboito 
and encourages them to perseverance and constancy from verse 26, and 
propounds patience as a means necessary to this end, verse 86. And that they 
may be patient, tells them the exercise of it will not be tedious, nor firuitless, 
verse 87. The Lord will come suddenly, and reward their patience witii a 
triumph in glory. And in the mean time they are well provided for, they 
have that which will keep them aUve, will secure them in all necenitiesi 
against all dangers. ' The just shall live by faith.' 

Obg. It is the privilege, or the duty, of the just to live by fiuth. 

In the prosecution of it I shall observe this method : What 7 How ? 

I. What is it to live by faith ? 

Ans. This living by faith is not a single and transient act, bat something 
habitual and permanent. And therefore its nature, as of other habits, will 
best appear in its acts and objects. 

1. The acts of faith. The Scripture holds them forth under the noti<» 
of dependence and recumbency. And we may thus describe it : living by 
faith is constant dependence on God, as one without whom we oannot live. 
Three things concur to its constitution. 

Hbb. X. 88.] 07 LiviNa bt faith. 175 

(1.) A B6D86 and acknowledgment that we cannot live without God. 
This k presnppoBed. Onr life depends on him ; and it is onr life to 
depend, life in its latitude ; life and all that pertains to it ; life and live- 
lihood ; life of body and soul ; in its being and well-being ; in its being 
and actings, and all that maintain it in both. God is that to the soul, 
which the soul is to the body, enlivens it and acts it ; so Christ quickens 
and acts the soul. The body cannot live, or move, or act, or grow, it 
cannot hear, or see, or smell, or touch, without the soul. No more the 
soul without Christ. Christ is the life of the soul, and faith is the bond, 
the copula which unites the soul to Chrirt. And so by means of faith we 
live, fidth uniting us with the principle of life. Both these are remarkably 
holden forth, Gfd. ii. 20, ' I am crucified with Christ : nevertheless I live ; 
yet not I, but Christ liveth in me : and the life that I live is by faith in 
the Son of God.' Even as we may say, the body lives ; yet not tiie body, 
but the soul lives in it ; and the l^e ^at it lives, is by means of its union 
with the soul. So in a spiritual sense, the soul lives ; yet not the soul, 
but Christ lives iu it ; and the life that it lives, is by fidth in Christ uniting 
Christ to it 

(2.) There is a relying on God for all these, for continuance of what we 
have, and supply of what we want ; rolling ourselves, and the burden of 
our afiaira, on God. This is the formal act of faith. And because it is above 
us, and few are acquainted with it, I will draw it down to your capacities, 
and offer it to your senses in a simile or two, which the words, whereby 
the Hebrews express it, afford us. The first is HWt to lean, to stay upon, 
to rely. It is used 2 Sam. i. 6, where Jt is said of Saul, < he leaned upon 
his spear,' in^}rr^jQ2^3> the same word : Pov. iii. 6, * Lean not to thine 
own imderstanding,' ».'e*, as some render it, * trust not.' For these are 
used as synonymes : Isa. L, * Let him trust in the name of the Lord, and 
stay himself upon his God ;' |];t2^and TVXX* are of the same force. For 
to trust God, is to stay ourselves on him. Even as one standing upon a 
hi^ precipice, and perceiving himself ready to fall, takes hold of some 
bc»agh, and stays hiniself by it, and hangs there, he is said to live by stay- 
ing himself there, because it saves him from death, so we live by faitib, 
because by this we stay ourselves on God, and so escape falling into heU, 
sin, aad eternal death, though we stand continually on a precipice. We 
live by faith, because, were it not for fitith, we shoxdd die ; but for this stay, 
Satan would push us into hell, and our hearts into a gulf of sin, wherein we 
might sink and perish ; but that faith, laying hold on Christ, leaning upon 
him, is held above water, and so lives by faith, as a drowning man lives 
by means of that which stays him firom sinking. 

The other word for fiuth is )1DM which comes firom pK to nourish, and 
thence flXMy a nurse. This affords another simile, which clears that other 
act, whereby we rely on God for all we want. As the infant depends and 
hangs upon the breast of the nurse, and so by depending and sucking'is 
said to live, so we do live by such an act of faith. The Lord draws out 
and offers to onr £uth his promises, providences, ordinances, as so many 
breasts, on which faith hangs, and sucks out of them life, comfort, 
nomulunent. As infiuits live by sucking, so the just live by believing, by 

(8.) Constancy, frequency. It is a continued thing ; a life of fiuth, 
not one act of believing ; a whole life of acts. Since we always stand 
upon the brink of sin and death, and have no security fiM>m falfing, but 
(lod's maintaining, aad our apprehending of him, we should continually 

176 OF LXTIHO BT FAITH. [HrB. X. 88. 

depend and hang upon God, never let go onr hold ; for then we fidl without 
recovery. If we live by faith, when we neglect fidth, we die. Oar whole 
life shoold be a continued act of dependence on God — ^when we eat, or 
drink, or sleep, or work, or pray, &c ; apply ourselves as often to God by 
faith, as the in&nt to the breast, without which it cannot live. We should 
exercise fiuth more frequently than we use bread ; for we live more by it than 
by bread. < Man lives not by bread, but by every word,* ^. If we believe, 
God can command other things to nourish in the want of bread. This for 
the act, the objects follow. 

2. The object of faith is God in Christ, as made known in his attributes, 
offices, relations, promises, and providences. We may refer the objects 
and support of faith to these heads. 

(1.) Divine attributes. Those are the pillows and grounds of faith, 
rocks of etemily, upon which faith may securely repose : ' Though the earth 
should be removed,* &c, < The name of the Lord* (t. 0., his attributes) < is 
a strong tower, the righteous fly into it,' and faith admits and there secures 
them. Hence this is flEuth's ordinary plea in Scripture. ' For thy name's 
sake,' t. e,, for the glory of those attributes whereby thou art known to us, 
as men are known by tiieir names. These are frequently propounded and 
made use of as the objects and supports of fiedth. 

[1.] Power. This is it on which the heroical faith of Abraham fixed: 
Bom. iv. 21, ' Being fully persuaded that what he had promised he was 
able to perform.' 

[2.] Wisdom. This upheld Peter's faith, when Christ, so often ques- 
tioning his love, might have made him doubt of it : * Lord, thou knowest 
all things, thou knowest I love thee,' John xxi. 17. And David's &ith 
acts upon the omnisciency and immensity of God, Ps. cxxxiz. 

[8.] Justice. This was David's plea : Ps. cxliii. 11, ' For thy righteous- 
ness* sake bring my soul out of trouble.' And Daniel's, ix. 16, ' Lord, 
according to all thy righteousness, I beseech thee,' &e. 

[4.] Faithfulness. This was die foundation on which Solomon raised 
that prayer, so full of faith, 1 Kings viii. 88, ' There is no God like unto 
thee, who keepest covenant and mercy with thy servants ;' and Dan. ix. 4, 
Heb. X. 28. 

[5.} Truth. David useth this, Ps. cxv. 1, ' For thy truth's sake ;' and 
frequently, * Do this according to thy word,' Ps. cxix. 164. 

[6.] Mercy. Faith never finds more strong support, nor ever fixes with 
80 much delight as here: Ps. cxix. 149, ' Hear my voice, according to thy 
loving-kindness ;' Ps. oxxx. 7, * Let Israel hope in the Lord : for with 
the Lord there is mercy ;' Ps. lii. 8, ' I trust in the mercy of God for ever 
and ever.' 

(2.) The offices of Christ. These are strong supports to fiuth as any, 
thou^ less made use of : in special his 

Priestly office. The apostle, Heb. iv. 14-16, urges them from this con- 
sideration to approach God with fiiith and confidence, to come boldly unto 
the throne of grace. Paul, Bom. iii. 24, makes Christ's satisfaction the 
object of our faith, * whom God has set forth to be a propitiation through 
faith in his blood.' And this, joined with his intercession, raises his faiih 
into a triumph, so as he makes a confident chidlenge to all opposers : 
Bom. viii. 88, 84, * Who shall lay any thing to the charge/ &o. ? * Who is 
he that condemneth ?' 

Begal Office. Peter, persuading the Jews to believe, holds oat Christ 
not only as a Saviour but a Prince: Acts v. 81, * Him hath God exalted to 

Ebb. X. 88.] ov liyino bt vaith. 177 

be a Prince ;' and Nathanael's fiEuth pitches hero, John i. 49, 60, * Thoa 
art the King of Israel.' 

Prophetical Office. This was prophesied : Dent, zviii. 15, ' The Lord 
thy God will raise np unto thee a Prophet ; onto him he shall hearken,' 
t. tf.y believe ; and cited twice in Acts iii. 21, and vii. 87, to persnade faith. 

(8.) Matnal relations betwixt God and his people. These are the sweet 
food of faith, which, digested, nourish it into strength, and enable it to 
Tigorons actings ; and to tins end we find them frequently used by the 
saints: Ps. czix. 94, ' I am thine, save me ;' and Jer. ziv. 9, ' Thon, O 
Lord, art in the midst of ns, and we are ealled by thy name ; leave [us] 
not.' And from particular relations : servant, Ps. cxlui. 12, * Destroy all 
them that afflict my soul ; for I am thy servant.' And Jer. iii. 14, the 
Lord, to encourage the &ith of the backsliding Jews, clothes himself with 
the relation of a husband : * Turn, backsliding children, for I am mar- 
ried to you.' Father, Isa. bdii. 15, ad. fin., ' Doubtless thou art our 
Father ;' where there are the strongest actings of faith upon divers relations. 

(4.) Promises. These and faiUi are so usually joined, as though they 
were relatives. These are the breasts of consolation, out of which faith 
sucks. These are the wells of salvation, out of which faith draws joy, &e. 
These have been the supports of the saints' £Euth upon all occasions. 
Many instances will be needless. See it in Solomon, 1 Kings viii. 24-26, 
* Who hast kept with thy servant David my father that thou promisedst 
him.' So Jacob, Gen. xzzii. 9, 12, < Thou hast said, Betum unto thy 
country, and to thy kindred, and I will deal well with thee,' &o. 

(5.) Ph>vidence8 of God are objects and encouragements to faith. The 
consideration of what he has done for others, and for themselves, has sup- 
ported the saints. These are the hands of God stretched out, on which 
fiuth takes hold. David, Ps. czix. 182, ' Look upon me, and be merciful 
unto me, as thou art wont to do to those that love thy name.' And from 
his own experience, 1 Sam. xvii. 87, ' The Lord that delivered me out of 
the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out 
the hand of this Philistine.' This was Paul's support when all forsook 
him in his greatest extremities, 2 Tim. iv. 17, 18. Some will not believe 
God, except, with Thomas, they may see and feel. Now herein God offers 
himself to be seen and felt, and leaves men without excuse if they continue 
in unbelief. 

n. How do they, how must we, live by fiedth ? Here I shall give parti- 
cular directions how faith may act with most advantage upon its several 
objects formerly propounded, and shew what support and encouragement 
£uth may find from Uiem in aU its actings. 

1. Attributes of God. For the direction and encouragement of faith in 
acting npon them, observe eight particulars : 

[1.] Study the attributes. Labour to know them distinctly, effectually. 
Though fiuth be not knowledge, yet it is not without it. Nay, the more 
we know, the more we believe : Ps. ix. 10, * Those that know thy name 
will trust in thee ;' thy name, u 0., those excellencies whereby God is 
made known. Be much in thoughts of God, firequent, delightful, consistent, 
efficacious thoughts ; such as bring a divine influence into the soul, and fill 
it with heat and light ; leave deep impressions of God upon the heart, 
abstract him firom aiU imperfection, and lift him above all perfections visible 
or imaginable, such thoughts as beget veneration ; for high apprehensions 
beget great expectation, and this makes the actmgs of faith easy. Those 

VOL. I. ^ 

178 ijf Lima bt faith. [Hsb. X. 88. 

who have known much have belioTed much ; much in contemplation, sbong 
in faith, as Abraham, Moses. Imitate David, who, studying the omniscience 
and immensity of God, Fs. cxiodz., cries oat, ver. 17, ' How precious are 
&y thoughts nnto me, God,' &c. Then follows the actings of his fiedth, 
rer. 19, ' Sorely thoa wilt slay the wicked.* Let what yon have seen of 
these divine beaaties make yon sick of love till yon see more. Learn 
Moses's importunity to see God : * Let me see thy glory,' Ezod. xzxiii. 
< Shew me tihy glory : cause thy goodness to pass before me.' Display thy 
glorious excellencies; dart out some lightsome beam that may discover 
tiiee ; unveil thyself: open my eyes, scatter clouds, remove interpositions. 
The more ye see, the more ye believe. 

[2.] 'Assure thy interest in the attributes. Let thy knowledge be appli- 
catory. Be not satisfied that thou seest God, till thou see him to be thine ; 
what he is in himself, but what he is to thee. It was a great refreshment 
to Moses that he was admitted, from the top of PiiE^ah, to view the pro- 
mised land ; but how would he have rejoiced if the Lord had assured him 
that he should exgoy a share in it I It is a great encouragement to fEuth to 
view the excellencies of God in an abstracted sense ; but the assurance of 
interest therein raises it to a triumph, to say with David, Ps. Ixxiii. 26, 
* God is my portion for ever ;* and Ps. xvi. 5, < The portion of mine inhe- 
ritance.' For if the Lord be thy portion, then thou mayest conclude, 
Omnipoteney is my portion, immensity, all-suJB&ciency, ^. Say not. If so, 
then I should be omnipotent, &c. There is a vast difference betwixt iden- 
tity and interest, betwixt conveying of a title and transmutation of nature. 
A friend gives thee an invaluable treasure, and all the securities of it that 
thou canst desire ; wilt thou deny it is thine because thou art not changed 
into its nature ? The attributes are thine, as thy inheritance, as thy lands 
are thine ; not because thou art changed into their nature, but because the 
title is conveyed to thee, it is given thee, and improved for thy benefit. If 
another manage it, who can do it with greater advantage to thee, than thon 
to thyself, it is no infringement of thy title. Even so the Lord has given 
thee himself, and interest in all his glorious attributes, that whatever is in 
him shall be thine, and for thee ; but he improves these for thee, and does 
it with infinite more advantage than thou canst for thyself. It is true, he 
drives another interest, his own glory, but never separates it from thy hap- 
piness : these are accumulative, not privative. Whenever God advances 
his glory, he at the same time promotes thy interest : nor does this make 
iby title to God less than thy title to thy estate, for that is managed for 
God's glory too, else thou gainest nothing by it. It is true, we see not, 
we enjoy not, the total of tiiese rich revenues which daily arise out of this 
glorious inheritance, but it is treasured up for us till we come at age in 
glory. Then the treasuiy shall be opened, and then we shall see that all 
the glorious outgoings of God, the appearance of his excellencies in this 
world, have been wifii special respect to enrich us, to enhappy us, when we 
never thought of it. Oh what support, what encouragement to fidth, to be 
assured that all God's attributes axe mine, thine ; as much thine, as the por- 
tion thy fiither left thee as thine inheritance; as the drink in thy cup, or the 
meat on thy trencher I for so much is holden out in those exjnressions, 
Ps. xvi. 6, ^otoi ipl^ TSyC^i phrases taken from tiiose shares which were 
assigned to every one in feasts. Gen. xliii. 84, 1 Sam. i. 4, Ac., ' My lines 
are Men in a pleasant place,' &c. With what confidence may &ith take 
possession, and make use of them, at all essays, upon all occasions ! 

But some may say this is a high privilege, fitr above poor wei^lings, and 

Hbb. X. 88.] OF UVUfB BT FAITH. 179 

requires a high degree of graee to attain it. Not so'; the lowest degree of 
fidth gives thee interest in this, for the least act of hiih puts thee into 
covenant with God; and the tenor of the covenant is, that God will be 
thy God. Faith begets assurance, and assurance begets faith; yet this is 
not a eircle, because not ad idem* A weak fiiith will assure, bnt assnrance 
begets a strong faith. 

[8.J When tiioa art acting thy fiuth, so dispose and methodise the attri- 
butes of God as thou mayest thereby prove and make it evident to faith 
that God is both able and willing to do what thou wonldst believe. That 
God is willing and able are two aruas, two handles, on which both the 
hands of fidth may take hold, and so act more strongly (as we do) than if 
it use bat one. A man ready to drown, if he can lay hold upon anything 
with both hands to keep him from sinking, is more secure than if he can 
bat stay himself by one. Faith is bnt weak when it fastens but upon one 
of these; the doabting of either will keep off faith from its stedfastness. 
Martha's fiedth was not stedfast, John xi., when she questioned whether 
Christ was able; and the leper's &ith staggered when he doubted whether 
Christ was willing, Mat. viii. 2: *If thou wilt thou canst.' The way to 
make it strong in its daily actings is to confirm it in both these, which we 
may do by making use of the attributes to prove it. That he is able, 
£uth may be persuaded from his omnipotency, omnisciency, all-sufficiency; 
that he is willing, from his mercy, faithfulness, immutability; and some 
prove both these, as his infiniteness, immensity, eternity. Learn to draw 
argaments from these; and when these two premises are confirmed, &ith 
win easOy draw sweet and strong conclusions. Thus, the Lord is able to 
subdue my lusts, to make all grace abound, to tread Satan under my feet, 
and the Lord is willing, &c. ; fidth will easily conclude these shall be done. 
It is tnie the nUnor needs most confirmation ; we are most subject to doubt 
of God's willingness ; but the Lord has provided against this remarkably; 
Hofr whereas there is but one attribute to prove God able directly, viz., his 
power, for the other do it by consequence, there are many titles that 
directly prove him willing, as mercy, goodness, bounty, grace, love, loving- 
kindnees, compassion, bowels of compassion, patience, long-suffering. Get 
fiuth fixed upon this double basis, and it will stand firm. 

[4.] Let faith fix on that attribute which^is most suitable to thy condi- 
tion. And here fidth may meet with many encouragements: firtt, there is 
no condition thou canst possibly fiall into but some attributes afford sup- 
port ; secondly f there is enough in that attribute to uphold thee, as much 
as thou standest in need of, as much as thou canst desire; thirdly, there 
18 infinitely more; though tiiiy condition were worse than it is, worse than 
ever any was, yet there is more than thou needest, more than thoa canst 
desire, more than thou canst imagine, infinitely more. Some one attribute 
will answer all thy necessities; some most, some many. "FoT^fint, some 
of God's attributes encourage faith in every condition. 

OmUipoUney. ^When thou art surrounded with troubles and dangers, 
there is the power of God to rely on; so Jehoshaphat, 2 Chron. xx. Art 
thoa called to difficult duties above thy strength, strong lusts to oppose, 
violent temptations to resist, weighty employments to undertake? Let 
fidth sopport thee and itself on omnipotency, as Paul : *■ I can do all things 
throo^ Christ strengthening me.' Art thou called to grievous sufferings ? | 

Imitate the thrqe children, act on God'q power : < Our God whom we trust | 

is aMe to deliver us.' Dost thoa want means for effecting what thou ex- j 

peetesty and so seest no possibility in reason or nature for obtaining it ? 

180 OF uvmo BT 7AJTH. [Hbb. X. 88. 

Aot like Abraham; believe he is able. Bom. iv. 21, to perfioim wiihoat 
meanB, or against means. Art thon a£niid to ML away ? Stay thyself on 
Ood*8 power: ' We are kept by the power of God through fiEut^' 

Omniseimey, Wantest Uion direction, knowest not what to do, at thy 
wit's end? Eye omnisciency: 2 Chron. xx. 12, 'Neither know we whiU 
to do, but onr eyes are apon thee.' The Lord knows how to deliver the 
ri^teons. When thou searchest thy soul, and art afraid a treacheroiis 
heart should deceive thee, trust omnisciency. He searches the heart, and 
can teach thee to search it. Art thou uplnraided for hypocrisy, and home 
down by Satan's suggestions, so as thou almost suspectest thy integrity? 
Let omniscience support thee here; he knows, he sees the least gracious 
motion. Fearest thou secret plots of Satan, crafty conveyances of wicked 
men, such as no eye can see or discover ? Trust omnisciency. 

ImmengUy. Art thou deserted by friends, or separated from them by 
imprisonment, banishment, infectious diseases ? Let &ith eye immensity; 
as Christ, ' Yet I am not alone,' &c. Fearest thou remote designs in other 
countries, nay, in the other world, in hell ? Thou canst not be there to 
prevent; ay, but the Lord is everywhere. 

AU-sujfficieney. Let faith set this against all thy wants. I want riches, 
but the Lord is all-sufficient ; liberty, children, friends, credit, health, he 
is liberty, &c, 1 want grace, the means of grace, comfort; be is these. 
Dost thou fear death? The Lord is life. Dost thou fear casting off? 
The Lord is unchangeable. Nay, whatsoever thou fear, or want, or desire, 
there is one more that will give universal and full support. 

Mercy. This will hold when all faiL It is the strength of all other sap- 
ports, and that in all conditions. There is no condition so low but mercy 
can reach it, none so bad but mercy can better it, none so bitter but mercy 
can sweeten it, none so hopeless but mercy can succour it. It bears up 
&ith, when nothing else can, under the guilt of sin and sense of wrath; in 
misery, that is the time when &ith should eye mercy. Hence yon may 
argue strength into faith. If one attribute answer many, yea, all, condi- 
tions, wiU not all answer one ? 

Secondly^ There is enough in any one attribute to support thee as much 
as thou needest or desirest, let thy corruptions be never so strong, thy wants 
never so many. 

Thirdly^ There is more than enough, than thou needest or canst desire; 
more than is necessary for thy condition, for a worse than thine, for the 
worst that ever was. If thy dangers were greater than can be paralleled in 
former ages, if the impetuousness of all those lusts that have broke out 
since the creation were united in thine, yet there is more power in God 
than is needful for thy condition. If thou wert pinched with all the wants 
that all the indigent men in the world were ever pressed with, yet all- 
sufficiency can do more than supply. Suppose there were many more 
worlds, and in each ten thousand more sinful creatures than in tbjs, and 
every one's sins ten thousand times more sinful than thine, yet^mercy 
could do more than pardon. And faith may say. If mercy can pardon, 
more than pardon, so many more than mine, and so much more l^inons, 
why may not mercy pardon mine ? 

[5.] There is no condition possible but some attribute encourages faith; 
so there is nothing in God that discourages faith in any conditicm, the most 
formidable condition. The most formidable attributes administer comfort 
and confidence to a believer, as purity, jealousy, justice. Oh, says a 
doubting soul, I am impure in heart, life, in my best services, and the 

HeB. X. 88.] OF UVXNO BT FAITH. 181 

Lord is of pmer eyes than to behold iniqaitj ; what eneooragement can I 
have to approach God in faith ? Yes, enongh; there is support in thftt 
which thon makest nse of to deject thee. The Lord is pore, and loves 
polity; therefore may faith say, he will make me pure. He is jealons of 
sin, he hates it, punishes it ; therefore faith condndes he will destroy my 
Insts, for they are the objects of his hatred, not my person ; he will be a 
eonsoming fire to them, not to me. Faith may feel God embracing with 
one hand while the other is wounding his lusts. 

Justice, both punitive and remunerative, encourage fiuth. That which 
IS a rock of offence to crush unbelievers and grind them to powder, is a 
rock of repose and security to faith. The most terrible attribute is com- 
fortable. Lord, I have sinned, deserved wrath; but my Surety hath done 
and suffered all that thy righteous law requires, — ' he was wounded for my 
transgressions,' &c., — and it is not consistent with justice to punish the 
same offences twice : ' Shall not the Lord of heaven and earth do justice?' 
Hence fiuth may conclude, justice itself cannot condemn, cannot lay any- 
thing to my charge. Bom. viii. 88, 84 ; nay, justice is my security that I 
shall not suffer, for that would be injustice. Punitive justice has now 
another object, thine enemies, sin, to subdue it, Satan, to trample him 
under foot, the wicked, &e. : < It is a righteous thing with the Lord to 
render vengeance to those that trouble you,' 2 Thes. i. 6, 7. 

[6.] Leiun to draw arguments for confirmation of faith in acting upon 
attributes. These we may raise : first, from ourselves, laying this ground, 
that whatever engages God encourages faith; for it is easier to believe that 
one will act for us who is engaged, than one who has no inducement thereto. 
Now, to speak after the manner of men, yet not Vithout Scripture warrant, 
the Lord seems to be engaged and induced to employ his attributes for us : 
1, by our necessities, I am poor and needy; 2, our impotency, ' We have 
no strength against this great multitude,' as Jehoshaphat; 8, deficiency of 
other helps, ' Help, Lord, for vain is the help of man ;' 4, danger, < Save 
us, or else we perish;' 5, misery, ' I am brought low,' Ps. cxlii. 6; ' attend 
to my cry,* &c. 

Secondly, From the attributes themselves separately considered. To in- 
stance in two that £uth makes most use of, power and mercy. Power 
renders everything easy. This consideration much strengthens fidth. For if 
we have a firiend who can do for us a business of great importance with ease, 
without trouble or expense, with turning of a hand, or motion of a finger, 
or speaking a word, it is no hard matter to believe he will do it. Now 
thus it is. There is nothing that we stand in need of, but the Lord can 
do it as easily as we can move a finger, or speak a word. And can we 
doubt the Lord will not do it. 

Then for mercy, this pleases him. * He delights to shew mercy.' Now 
ran we doubt the Lord will do that for us which he delights to do ? Jer. 
iz. 24. 

Thirdly, From attributes associated. We may doubt of creature power, 
because it is limited, but he is omnipotent. The creature may have 
strength, but want wisdom, and this may disable him, and weaken our con- 
fidence ; but God is omniscient. A friend may have strength and wisdom 
too, but may be far firom us ; oh, but he is omnipresent. A man may have 
all these, but be prevented by death ; but God is eternal. A man may 
have power, wisdom, propinquity, life, but not be willing; but God is 
mercifril, gracious, compassionate, and joins other attributes to his mercy, 
the more to confirm fkiith. Mercy endures for ever; there is eternity. 

182 OF UYINe BT FAITH. [HSB. X. 88. 

Over all bis works ; there is immensity* Abimdant in goodness^ there is 
its infiniteness. His compassions fail not, there is unohaogeableneas. 

Fourthly, From God's design in manifesting his attributes, m., his 
gloiy. Here is a stronghold for faith. It is not only onr interest, bat 
the Lord's concernment, to employ his attributes for ns; not onr happiness 
only, bat his own glory. Hence that argoment so frequently used, * For 
thy name sake.* It is no matter for ns, Lord, though we perish ; bat 
what wilt thou do for thy great name ? He will not lose his end, nor be 
crossed in his design. If faith may confirm itself in acting by one argu- 
ment, how much strength will all add ? 

[7.] Compare the attributes with what men usually trust, and see how 
innnitely they transcend; how much more reason there is to rely on God's 
attributes than on riches, strength, princes. Riches are an uncertain, 
unsatisfying, insufficient, limited, deceitful nothing, Prov. xziii. 5. God 
is an unohfljigeable, satisfying, all-sufficient, faithful, all things. Strength 
is a yain, depending weakness. €k)d is perfect, independent, omnipotent. 
Princes are shaking, piercing, broken reeds, 2 Eix^ zviii. 20. God is the 
Bock of Ages. Is there not more encouragement to trust the Lord than 
to put confidence in princes ? to trust in the living God, than in uncer- 
tain riches ? to trust in the Lord of Hosts, than in chariots or horses ? 
Ps. xz. 7. Shall men think it reason to trust in a spider's web. Job zviii. 
14, to trust in a shadow, Isaiah xxz. 8, in Tanity, Isaiah lix. 4, in a lie, 
Jer. zxix. 81, in nothing, Prov. xziii. 5, and shaU not we think it reason- 
able to trust in the Lord ? 

[B.J Learn from the attributes to answer all objections that may dis- 
courage £Euth, viz., I cannot believe, have used all means, &c. ; God is able 
to work faith. But my own impotenoy is moral, sinful, contracted by sm; 
God is merciful. But I am unworthy; he is gracious. But I have turned 
grace into wantonness ; he is patient. But I have abused patience, and 
what reason to expect he should longer forbear me ? his love. But I hare 
played the harlot ; he is unchangeable. But he may cease to love me, as 
he did the angels, and yet be unchangeable ; he is faithful, his faithfulness 
was not engaged to the angels. But I am unfaithful, and the unfiEdthfal- 
ness of one party disengages the other. But he is infinite; it is so, asyoa 
object, with men, but his thoughts are not as ours, nor his ways as oar 
ways. But infiniteness discourages, if infinitely above ; there is an infinite 
distance ; how can, how dare my faith lay hold, approach ? There is a 
Mediator, which brings me to the second, 

2. The offices of Christ. To direct and encourage fidth herein, take 
these rules. 

(1.) Acquaint thyself with the offices of Christ, what they contain and 
hold forth to us, and for us. If faith be left in the dark, it will stagger, 
not know where to fix ; may lay hold of a shadow, and rest upon a totter- 
ing basis ; cannot be stedfast nor confident. Knowledge of Christ is put 
for faith in Christ. ' By his knowledge shall my righteous servant justifj^ 
many,' Isaiah liii. 11. < I know whom I have believed,' 2 Tim. i. 12. 
Find out what faith may lay hold on in every office, what are its supports 
in his 

[1.] Kingly office. 1. As he is king, he is lawgiver; writes laws in 
our hearts. Gives not only laws to be obeyed, but hearts to obey ; lavs 
for obedience, and principles of obedience. 2. To subdue our enemies, 
Ps. ii. 6, 8, our lusts, the world, the powers of darkness. He will bruise 
them with a rod of iron. * He leads captivity captive,' Eph. iv. 11, 12. 

Hkb. X. 88.] 07 uviHa bt faith. 188 

8. To role ns. The goyemmeni is on his shoulders. He sets his tturone 
in our hearts, and lakes care that we live under his government in peaoe» 
plenty, safety ; peace of conscience, plenty of grace, perseverance. 

[2.] Prophetical. To declare his Father's will, the mysteries of salva- 
tion ; to continue it as written and preached, and so to give pastors when 
he ascended, £ph. iv. 11 ; to make as understand it; to enlighten our 
minds ; to send the Spirit of truth to clear up obscurities, resolve doubts, 
remove scruples, satisfy cases of conscience. 

[8.] As priest. So he suffered, and intercedes. His sufferings are both 
satisfJEictory and meritorious. As satis&ctory, he has redeemed us from 
the law's curse, God's wrath, death and hell. As meritorious, he has 
purchased all things, pardon, peace, grace, glory ; and for this life all good 
things, a spiritual title to them, a sanctified use of theoi. He interceded 
on earth by fervent and affectionate prayers, with sighs apd tears, .Heb. 
vii. 5, John zvii. ; and he now lives to mike intercessio.n, appearing before 
the Father, presenting his merits, and effectually applyii^g Uiem; silencing 
Satan's accusation, rendering our persons and prayers acceptable. Oh 
what work is here for faith ! If the just had nothing else to liv^ on, here 
is enough for the life of faith, 

(2.) These offices are purely relative ; wholly ours, for us, in reference 
to us ; relative both teoundum esse et operaH^ both in their constitution 
and execution. He was made king, priest, &c., for us, and does exercise 
these for us. They are essentially relative, depending on us, as one term 
of the relation upon another. As there cannot be a &ther without a child, 
80 Christ had not been king without believers, who are kis kingdom, 
1 Cor. XV. 24. There cannot be a priest without a sacrifice ; nor a 
sacrifice, except some for whom to offer it. It is otherwise in the former 
olject; God's attributes are absolute essentially, their relation to us is but 
accidental. Their being is not for us, but only their acting. God had 
been onmipotent, onmiscient, merciful, &c., if no creatures had ever 
received a being. Therefore here is more support for faith than in the 
attributes. Where there is more interest, there may be more confidence. 
Faith may plead, Christ is my king, and was anointed, crowned, in refer- 
ence to me. For this end he came to the kingdom, that he might govern 
me. He is my priest, consecrated for my sake, in reference to my guilt, 
my necessities, that he might satisfy for me. Christ is my prophet ; for 
this end he was anointed, and received the Spirit without measure, Isaiah 
Ixi. 1, that he might instruct me ; ergo^ I will be confident. 

(8.) These being the offices of Christ, he is to perform them ex officio^ 
as a duty. He, who was independent, and stood in no need of us, was 
pleased, for the encouragement of our &ith, to come under the engagement 
of a duty. The Father's command is upon him, and therefore not only 
called a son, but a servant : Isaiah xlii. 1, ' Behold my servant, whom I 
have chosen.' It is [not] out of courtesy to us, but out of obedience to 
God, that he acts ; Christ submits to it : Ps. xl. 5, * Mine ear hast thou 
bored. Behold I come to do thy will.* A perpetual servant. Safely we 
may say there is as strong an engagement laid upon Christ, as upon any 
of us, to do our duty. This brings us to such a dilemma. Either we must 
believe, or else think Christ is impotent, negligent, or ignorant ; for none 
else omit their office. Can he be impotent, unable, to whom all power is 
given in heaven and earth ? Or ignorant, who is the wisdom of the Father ? 
Or ne^ent, who was ' fiBdthiul to him that appointed him,' by the tes- 
timony of God? Heb. iii. 2. Nay, fiiitb may draw aiguments firom the 

184 OF UVXNG BY 7AITR. [HSB. X. 88. 

offices themselYes to oonfiite this blasphemous coneeit, ihat Christ will not 
to the utmost execute his offices. If he should not, it most be for want 
of power, wisdom, or will. But the offices exclude these. As a king, he 
is able ; as a prophet, he is wise : ' He that made the eye, shall he not 
see ?' as a priest, he is willing, * a merciful high priest.' 80 that you must 
either believe or blaspheme. Here is then as strong a plea as is imagin- 
able : Lord, it is thine office to do this. It is true there was nothing that 
could oblige thee ; but it pleased the Father so to appoint, and it {leased 
thee, dear Saviour, to submit, and undertake these offices. Such poor 
creatures as I may fail in our duties, and be unfaithful in our trust, but 
heaven and earth shall perish, the blessed angels shall turn devils, and 
glorified saints apostates, before my glorious Mediator fail his office; 
&erefore I believe. 

(4.) Christ, as he is Mediator, is both God and man, and executes his 
offices as Mediator. Here then £edth hath all the encouragement that both 
heaven and earth can ajQTord. He is Gk>d; for where he is called the 
Wonderful Counsellor, i. 0., our Prophet, and the Prince of Peace, that is, 
oar King, there he is called the mighty God, the everlasting Father, Isa. 
ix. 6. And as eur priest, so our God too ; for his blood is called, Acts 
XX. 28, the blood of God. Therefore all the attributes of God are engaged 
for the performance of these offices. He is man too, 1 Tim. ii. 5, * the 
man Christ Jesus ;' and therefore all the affections of a man ; not meta- 
phorically, as they are ascribed to God, but properly : he loves, rejoices, 
delights, compassionates, as the sons of men. Nay, these affections are 
more tender in him than in any man ; because his bodily constitution, upon 
which these motions depend, was more pore, and his temperament more 
exact. Nay, our faith in acting here has another great advantage, viz., 
Christ's experience. It is some encouragement for tiiose who are pressed 
under afflictions and sufferings to consider him whom they depend on for 
relief, of a sweet affectionate nature ; but are much more confident if they 
know that he has had experience of the like sufferings, and groaned under 
the same afflictions, knows what it is, &c. Now this support fedth has 
firom the consideration of Christ's manhood. He himself has been a 
sufferer, a man of sorrows, acquainted with the same griefs that afflicts ns, 
Heb. ii. 16. He was made perfect through sufferings. He ran throng 
the whole circle of afflictions. And why ? See verse 17, * That he might 
be a merciful and faithful High Priest :' and verse 18, * For in that he 
himself suffered, being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.' 
For this end he suffered, that he might learn to pity them, and be as ready 
as able to relieve them. And this the apostle holds forth as a ground of 
confident access, Heb. iv. 15, 16. Ajrt thou poor, despised ? He was 
set at nought. Art thou calumniated ? so he. Deserted of friends, and 
hated of most ? tempted by Satan, forsaken of God ? So he, when he 
cried out to heaven, to eaxth. Let fiiith conclude, he does pity, he will 
succour. • 

(6.) Let faith begin first to act on the priestly office. This is the basis of 
the other. The high priest, a type of Christ, had a crown on his head, 
the ensign of royal dignity; and Urim and Thunanim on his breast, 
emblems of the prophetical office, to denote that the kingly and priestly 
office are grounded on the sacerdotal. Begin then at the foundation. 
Persuade thyself that he is thy Priest, and it will be easy to believe him 
thy King and Prophet. If he have executed that, he will execute these. 
Believe that he suffered for thee, and thou mayest without difficulty believe 

HkB. X. 88.] OF UVINO BT FAITH. 185 

tbtt he will sanctify thee, iUaminate thee ; for faith has great advantage 
here. The worst is past, sufferings, the greatest employment is finished, 
the rest is small. That which is most diffictdt is overcome, the rest is 
ea^. That which was painiol and grievous is past, all that remains is 
del^htlul. That which was accompanied with shame and ignominy is 
past, that which is to be done is high and glorious. The con£ct is over, 
that which remains is triumph and dividmg the spoils. Here faith may 
act stron^y. Has Christ suffered, done the greatest, the most painful, 
that which was ignominious ? Will he not do the less, that which is 
delightful and glorious ? Has he suffered 7 Will he not do 9 Has he 
conquered 7 Will he not divide the spoils ? Was he wounded for my 
tnuugressions ? Will he not wound them? Did he shed his blood? 
Will he not shed his love in my heart ? Was he emptied of his glory, and 
filled with wrath ? Will he not empty me of sin, and fill me with grace ? 
Has he taken away the guilt of sin, which cost him so dear, so many 
prayers and tears, so many wounds and blood ? and will he not take away 
the power of sin, which he can do with a word ? 2. The other offices 
depend on this ; grace, peace, light, glory, must be purchased before they 
can be bestowed. The purchase belongs to the priestly office, the com- 
munication to the other. Let faith first believe they were purchased, and 
it is easy to believe they will be bestowed, especially if it consider, 8, that 
die end why they were purchased was that they might be communicated. 
Here faith may act strongly. The end why Christ purchased knowledge 
and holiness was that he might impart them. Surely though poor, wea^k, 
improvident creatures fail of their ends, Christ will never so dishonour 
hiinself, never be so disappointed ; especially in that which cost him so 
dear, in his master-piece, his greatest and most glorious design. Has he 
suffered so many things in vain, so much wrath, so much torture and soul- 
affliction, so much blood, &c., to sanctify me ? Oh I shaU be sanctified t 

(6.) They are adequate to our conditions. This is necessary for the life 
of faith, that in every condition possible it have something to rely on. 
And in these we may find it. When lusts are strong, temptations violent, 
grace weak, God's ways unpleasant, let faith look on Christ as thy king ; 
it is his office, it is his glory to succour thee ; he triumphs when we con- 
quer. Christ will act as a king, will be royal and magnificent : Luke zxii. 
25, ivt^treu, * The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship,' &c. He will 
give like a king, conquer like a king, like himself. 

In sense of ignorance, want of &e means of grace, want of the Spirit, 
danger of seducing, perplexity of mind, &c., look to Christ as your prophet ; 
it is his office, his honour. 

In sense of wrath, guilt of sin, let faith go to Christ's satisfaction. In 
the sense of its pollution derived on our persons and services, go to his 
intercession. It would be too tedious to direct how faith should act in 
every particular. We will instance in one less taken notice of, the prayjur 
of Chnst upon earth, the pattern of his intercession in heaven, John xvii., 
where he prays for union, freedom firom evil, sanctification, joy, persever- 
ance, glory, for all believers. Here what he prayed for. How he prayed, 
see Heb. v. 7, ' In the days of his flesh, he offered up prayers and suppli- 
cations, with strong crying and tears.' Upon this faith may thus act, and 
as strongly as upon any ground in the world. The prayers of poor sinners 
that believe on Christ are always heard, much more the prayers of the Son 
of God. Their weak cries never return unanswered ; how prevalent, then, 
are the strong cries of Jesus Christ 1 Their tears are so precious, as the 


Lord puis them in his bottle ; of bow much more value are the tears of 
Christ I They never wrestle with sighs and groans but jureyail with God; 
how much more prevalent with God are the sighs and groans of Christ 
Those prayers, cries, and tears are not foigot, Uiey are on eternal record 
in heaven ; they were presently answered, he was heard in that which he 
feared, and the answers shall be returned to the end of the world, and shall 
fall, may faith say, into my bosom ; for he prayed for me, wept for me, 
cried for me, and therefore was heard for me, for he was always heard, 
John xi. 22. Let faith go to God on this aoeonnt, Christ has prayed that 
I might be sanctified, united, &e. 

(7.) Consider how aiSectionately Christ executed these offices on earth, and 
it will be a strong ground to believe he will not neglect them in heaven. 
He looked upon this as his work, that for which he was sent, to which he 
was called, his calling and vocation, and went about it with all his soul, 
all his strength, strong desires : Luke zii. 60, ' I have a baptism to be 
baptized with ; and how am I straitened till it be accompli^ed.' This 
baptism was his death and the grievous sufierings that attended it; he was 
to be drenched in a sea of wrath and sufferings, which, being Uie most 
intolerable that ever were suffered, might have been most formidable. Bat 
even death, which, when but ordinary, nature shuns as the most fearfol 
evO, Christ desires it, and so passionately as can scarce be expressed. 
* How am I straitened ! ' 0Um;^o/mb/, my soul is so big with desire, aa there 
is not room for it in the body. How is my soul pained with desire to 
sacrifice my life, my blood, for my lost people ! The intenseness of his 
. desires appears in that slmrp rebuke he gives Peter, when he persuaded 
him to save himself, not to expose his life : Mat xvi. 28, < Get thee behind 
me, Satan; thou art an o£bnce to me.' That temptation to save himself 
ftom death, which he so much desired, was as detestable, as offensive to 
him, as a suggestion of Satan, and he requites Peter with no better titl« 
for Ihat unacceptable counsel, though immediately before he had pronounced 
him blessed, ver. 17. This appears in that he uses all means to bring men 
into a capacity of receiving benefit by his offices, invitations, commanda, 
promises, threatenings, complaints, expostulations. 

See with what delight: Ps. xl. 8, 'I delight to do thy will, O my God ; 
yea, thy law is writtc^ in my heart.' The will of God in which he de- 
lighted, was (as appears by the coherence, and the quotation of this place, 
Heb. X. 5) that Clurist should make his soul an offaring for sin, as more 
acceptable to God than all other burnt-offerings and sin-offerings. This 
law was in his heart, ^^D *p/)3, in the midst of his bowels. He did as 
much delight in it as we do in following those inclinations which natore 
has implanted in our hearts, as we do in eating and drinking. So he 
expresses it, John iv. 88, * My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, 
and to finish his work.' He was as willing to bleed and die for thee as 
thou art to eat when hungry. He delighted as much to be scourged, 
wounded, crucified, as thou delightest in meat when most delicious. 

His sorrow you may see in his tears and pathetical complaints when 
men excluded themselves from the benefit of his offices : Luke xix. 41, 
< He beheld the city, and wept over it.' There is his tears. And oh what 
a compassionate complaint was that, < Oh that thou hadst known in this 
thy day I ' &c. 

For his joy, see Luke x. 21, ' In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit,' &c. 
For his zeal, it was so ardent, as the disciples apply tiiat of the psafanist, 
Ps. bdx. 9, to Christ: John ii. 17, ' The zeal of thine house hath eaten me 

HbB. X. 88.] OF JJYIHQ BY FAITH. 187 

pp/ xarifayi fi^^ ^J)ri!73K, devorcmt me. The flame was so hot within, as 
it drank up the vital moisture. Exhaimt succum viudem^ et emaeiavU 

N0W9 fiuth will say, if the Lord was so affectionate on earth, certainly he 
18 the same in heaven, and will there execute his offices with as much 
delight, desire, and zeal. He changes not, whatever we do. Where is 
thy zeal, and thy strength, &c. Can the Lord neglect ? No ; we are his 
members, dearer to hun than his natural body. Can he forget? No; 
though a mother may forget her sucking child, yet cannot he forget us. We 
are graven upon the pahns of his hfuids. He remembers veiy well who 
tbey^are for whom he was pierced. 

(8.) The Father and the Spirit are engaged for the execution of these 
offices. The Father, he decreed it, so Christ is a * Lamb slain from the 
foundation of the world.' He sent Christ : John xvii. 18, ^ As thou hast 
sent me into the world.' He commands it: John x. 17, 18, speaking of 
laying down his life, he adds, * This commandment have I received of my 
Father.' He approves it: when he entered upon his office, he had a 
wonderful approbation from heaven from the excellent glory, ' This is my 
beloved Son.' He therefore loves the Son : * Therefore does my Father 
love me, because I lay down my life,' John x. 17. He swears the con- 
tinnance of Christ in office : * The Lord has sworn, and will not repent. Thou 
art a priest for ever,' Heb. vii. 21. 

[l.j Faith here grows confident. If the Lord have decreed, and sent 
Christ for this end, and commanded him to execute his offices, if he do 
approve and love him for it, and has sworn he shall do it, shall sanctify, 
justify, enlighten, certainly he will do it, here is no room for doubting. 

[2.J Faith appropriates. He decreed him for me, to sanctify me, &c.y 
sent him to enlighten &c., me, commands him to subdue my lusts, &c., 
loves him because he does so much for me. 

The Spirit is engaged too ; for, 1, he furnished Christ for the execution, 
Isa. bd. 1. And will the Spirit lose his labour, come short of his end ? 
2. He co-operates with Christ in the execution. Sanctifioation is the great 
work of the kingly office ; he is the Spirit of holiness. Bom. i. 4, illumina- 
tion of the prophetical office, he is the Spirit of truth and wisdom. And 
the issue of the priestly office is comfort from the sense of justification ; 
and he is the Spirit of comfort, of adoption. Faithjhath all the security 
that heaven can afford in acting oh the offices of Christ. 

8. Promises. How fiiith may act with most advantage upon promises* 
and get support and encouragement from them in its actings. 

(1.) Consider the latitude of them. There are promises suitable to all 
estates. No condition wherein faith may not find support from promises. 
Soul, body, estate, relations, actions, there are promises for all; promises, 
I say, that are explicitly, in express terms, quoad Jormam. 

Bnt besides these, there are innumerable more that we take little notice 
of, which are promises implicitly, virtually, or by just consequence. And 
there is little in the Scripture out of which faith may not extract the 
comfort of a promise, titles, assertions, relations, prayers, commands, 

The UUm of God are virtually promises. When he is called a sun, a 
shield, a strong tower, a hiding-place, a portion. The titles of Christ, light 
<^ the world, bread of life, the way, truth, and life; the titles of the 
Spirit, the Spirit of truth, of holiness, of glory, of grace, and supplication, 
the sealing, witnessing Spirit ; faith may conclude as much out of these 

188 OF Livnvo BT FAITH. [Hbb. X. 88. 

as out of promises. Is the Lord a sun? Then he will infloenoe me, &e. 
Is Christ life? Then he will enliven me, &e. 

Assertions, Many things deliyered in Soriptnre as assertions may he 
applied promissorily. As, *He that walketh uprightly, walketh surely;' 
i. e., he shall walk surely : Gal. y. 22, < The frnits of the Spirit are loTe, 
joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, fiiith, meekness, temper- 
ance.' Faith may conclude, therefore the Spirit in me will bring forth 
these fruits. 

Bdations of what the Lord has done for his people formerly are in effect 
promises, as is evident from Dent. viii. 8, ' He humbled thee, and suffered 
thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna; that he might make thee know 
that man liveth not by bread only,' &c. This here is a bare relation, bat 
Christ seems to make use of it as a promise. Mat. iv. 4. From relations 
of what God has done for his people in times past, £uth may conclude, the 
Lord will do the like for the future. If he delivered others who trusted in 
him formerly, he will deliver me if I trust in him now : Ps. zxii. 4, 5, 
* Our fathers trusted in thee, and thou didst deliver them : they cried onto 
thee, and were delivered,' &c. He is the same God, the same engagements 
are on him. And from such we may not only conclude the same mereieSi 
but others also proportionable to them, nay, exceeding them. David went 
against Ch>liah in tiie name of the Lord, and prevailed. If I go in like 
manner against my lusts, I shall prevail against them. 

Prayers of God's ancient people are virtually promises to us. What 
prayers they made for the church and themselves, we may, ciBtsris paribus^ 
apply as promises. We have a remarkable ground for this, 2 Ghron. 
XX. 9, where Jehoshaphat makes use of Solomon's prayer mentioned, chap, 
vi. 28, as of a promise, and urges several of his petitions as though they 
had been promises. The reason is this, whatever the faithful pray for, it 
is granted, therefore their prayers are promises, and the answers to them 

Commandments of God are virtually promises, equivalent to them. Not 
only by proportion, as that command, Luke xvii. 4, Mat. xviii., to forgiye 
our brodier till seventy times seven, faith may conclude, the Lord will 
forgive much more. But directly as that, ' Thou shalt love the Lord,' &c., 
we may read it as a promise ; for whatever the Lord command his people, 
he has engaged himself to give strength to obey. So that every command 
may be read by the eye of faith as a promise in this sense, I will enable 
thee to love me, &o. < The just shall live by faith ;' faith reads it, I will 
enable the just to live by faith ; * mortify your members ; ' Met him deny 
himself.' The reason is, because the Lord writes his law in our hearts, 
Jer. xxxi. 88. And every law written there becomes gospel, every precept 
a promise ; for to write laws in our hearts is to make our hearts answer- 
able to the laws, t. e., both willing and able to obey : * We are not under 
the law,* for it is in us, ' but under grace.' If a man command a thing, 
and engage to enable the performance, his command is equivalent to a pro- 
mise. He works all our works in us. 

Nay, which is strangest, ihreatenings are by just consequence promises. 
The ihreatenings denounced against the wicked are promises to tiie godly. 
Where any sin is threatened, a promise to the opposite virtue is contained 
in that threatening. This by the role of contraries. * The wicked shaU 
be turned into hell ;' faith may conclude, the godly shall be carried into 
heaven. « Cursed are those that do the work of the Lord negligently,' 
therefore blessed are those that do it faithfully. Th^ antithesis we find in 


Scripture betwixt these warrants faith : < Say to the righteous, It shall go 
well with him ; but woe to the wicked, it shall be ill with him/ Isa. 
iii. 10, 11 ; ' He that believes shall be saved,* &o., that is frequent. And 
when one member of the opposition is not expressed, faith may be bold to 
add it, as following by necessary oonseqnence. Faith may extract as mnch 
comfort oat of that terrible chapter, Dent, xxviii., as out of any. Here is 
food enough for faith to live on. 

(2.) Collect the promises ; treasure them up ; methodise them aright ; 
meditate on them. Many in one. 

Gather them. They are the meat that you must live upon in this wil- 
derness, angels' food. Be as careful to gather them as the Israelites to 
gather manna. Be often searching the mines. Suffer not these pearls of 
great price to lie neglected in the field. These must defray all the charges 
of your pilgrimage. The angels take much pains (so the word va^xlt^at 
implies) to pry into the gospel, much more should we ; for these are the 
sweetest strains, the quintessence of the gospel, and we are more concerned 
than they. If the angels had had such promises as believers, none of them 
had fallen. In reading and hearing, take special notice of promises. 
Treasare them up. Let your memories be like the pot in the ark, always 
full of this spiritual manna. Otherwise you confine God*s gracious work- 
ing by way of promise to times and means, to reading and hearing, whereas 
we always stand in need of promises, but have not always opportunities to 
read and hear. ^ A promise treasured up will afford comfort in our beds, 
in onr callings, in a dungeon, banishment. Faith will starve or be unactive 
at snch times if you have no treasure. 

Dispose them so as you may have some ready for all occurences, emer- 
gencies, upon all occasions, that no accident, no employment may surprise 
you without a promise of support. To live by faith is to make every act 
of your life an act of faith; and how can that be except you have a promise 
suitable to every act, condition, and accordingly apply it ? Pray, hear, eat, 
walk, work, all in the strength of a promise, for direction, protection, 
strei^gth, success in all. This is the life of faitii. 

Meditate firequently and seriously on them. They are the sweetest lines 
that Christ writes to his spouse, will you not often peruse these 7 There 
is migesty in the commands, severity in the threatenings, but love is pre- 
dominant in promises, nothing but sweetness, we should let them stay 
long on our palates. What concoction is to the natural life, that medita- 
tion is to this life of fiiith ; no meat will nourish and preserve life except 
it be digested. They are sweeter than honey and the honey-comb ; you 
get little sweetness except you squeeze it out by meditation. This clasps 
faith and the promises together, removes discouragements, suggests argu- 
ments. The comforts and acts of this believing life are much weakened 
and interrupted by neglect of meditation. 

(8.) Accustom yourselves to a holy kind of discourse and reasoning. 
Faith does not abolish, but improve reason. Whatever is requisite to the 
eonstitntion of a man may be useful to him as a Christian. The application 
of promises is nothing but sanctified reason exercised by faith. Argue 
from general promises to particulars, from specials to you as individual, 
from typicals to reals, from temporals to spirituals, from spirituals to 

From generals to individuals. All things shaU work for good, &c., 
therefore this loss, affliction, distemper, temptation. All the ways of God 
are mercy, tberdbre this way, though cross to my desires, interests. 

190 OF UVZNO BT FAITH. [Hbb^ X. 88. 

endeaTonrs. Whatsoever ye ask,* it shall be done ; therefore this want slmll 
be supplied, this lust snbdaed, this temptation conqaered, this oecnireDce 
sanctified : ' It shall go well,* Ac., Isa. iii., therefore now when it seems to 
be worst. 

From specials to yoor own partionlars. From those which seem appro- 
priated to one person, if there be no peooliar reason for a restriction ; for 
it is with these promises as with judicial laws, they are of universal extent 
if their reason be so. Hence the apostle applies that to the Hebrews which 
was made in special to Joshua : ' I will not leave thee,' Heb. xiii. 5. So 
may we those to Abraham : ' I am thy shield,' &c., Gen. xv. 1, ' I will 
bless those that bless thee,' &e., the same Q-od, the like privilege. And 
that to Peter: < I have prayed that thy faith fail not.' There is the eame 
necessity, the like temptations, and as great weakness. And that of Psnl: 
* My grace shall be si^cient,' 2 Cor. xii. 9. The same engagements on 
God, such lusts in us, and less strength. 

From typical promises to accomplishments in the antitype. There is 
ground for it, 1 Cor. x. 6, ritrw fi/i,u¥ iysv^^ffav. So Egypt was a type of 
our natural condition, Pharaoh of our spiritual enemies ; the water out of 
the rock, and manna from heaven, of spiritual nourishment by Christ ; 
the cloud and fire, of direction and protection, Canaan of heaven. The 
promises of these to them are promises of the antitype to us, and the 
accomplishment an encouragement to our faith, such as these : * I will he 
honoured upon Pharaoh,' &o., Exod. xiv. 4 ; * My presence shall go with 
thee,' Exod. xxxiii. 14; 'Ye shall eat the good things of the land,' 
Isa. i. 19. 

From temporals to spirituals. From those to the body to those for the 
soul. Spiritual blessings are included in temporal promises. Videntiff 
temparaUa proponi, quando specials pramitan oecuUd ngnificatur. Temporals 
are pledges of spirituals, hence Paul ai^es, 2 Tun. iv. 18, * The Lord 
shall preserve thee from every evil work.' Christ useth the like argument to 
confirm faith : Mat. vi. 25, ' Is not the life more than meat, and the body 
than raiment ?' And the apostle, 1 Cor. ix. 9, ' Does God take care for 
oxen ? ' &c. An argument d minori ad majiu is strong with Gk)d. Will 
he give his beloved food for the outward man, and let the soul fiunish ? 
WiU he guard the body with angels, and let the soul be a prey to Satan ? 
Will he maintain the outward man in health and strength, and suffer thesool 
to languish under spiritual distempers ? Will he heal all bodily diseases, 
and not the soul's more grievous and dangerous ones? Will he take eare 
for the body, and neglect the soul ? do less for precious souls than vile 
bodies ? Will special love afford but common mercies ? Shall the body 
prosper, and not the soul, when he delights more in the soul's prosperity ? 

From spirituals to temporals. This is strong in all respects, d me^fari ad 
minus. Will he do the greater, and not the less 9 Will he give the king- 
dom of God, and not add the inconsiderable things of earth ? Will he give 
the most precious things in heaven and earth, and not paper and thread to 
wrap them in 9 Will he afford the entertainment of a Father's house, 
and not a few husks ? Will he deliver the soul from death, and not the 
feet from falling ? Will he give special, eternal, and not common menses? 
the upper springs, and not the lower ? the fountain, and not a few drops ? 
Faith may here be confident. 

(4.) Confine not God in his performances to things, degrees, times, or 
persons. Let not faith so act, as to limit him in acting. This limiting of 
God occasions disappointments, and these discourage ; and discouragements 

HxB. X. 88.] ov LivzNa bt vatth. 191 

weaken faith, impair its strength and £fe. Expect not peremptorily, either 
the indlTidoals which seem to be promised, or the decrees of them. The 
eondnsions of faith in its argnings most not exceed tne premises. Con- 
dugio seqvdiwr d^eriorem partem, Conelade not peremptorily, bnt when the 
promise is peremptory. There are some things which God does not pro- 
mise peremptorily, degrees of grace, arbitrary assistances, ontward blessings, 
mward joy. In applying snch promises, fiuth need not conclude absolutely, 
but either conditionally, I diidl have this if it be good for me ; or dis- 
junetiTely, I shall have either this, or something better. It is an ordinary, 
but, I think, a great misapprehension, that we do not belieye, but when we 
confidently expect the very things promised. I think it is more than God 
requires in applying any promises, bnt those which are necessary for our 
being ; in those which concern our well-being, we do hereby limit the Holy 
One of Israel, where he hath not limited himself. This is not to believe, but 
to tempt God. 

For times. In applying promises, we must not. always expect a present 
acoompliahment, but wait and depend. These are vital acts of faith, and 
to continue in the exercise of these, is to live by faith. Times and seasons 
are in God*s hands, it is his prerogative to fit acts to seasons. We take 
notice of time, but he only knows opportunity, as what is good, so when it 
is BO. When he seems slack, though time pass, yet he never lets slip an 
opportonity. How long did the fidthful Jews expect the Messiah's coming, 
and Japhet*8 persuasion, yet both promised ! How long have we expectMl 
the &11 of Babylon, and erecting of David's tabernacle ? The like for par- 
ticular persons. Abraham had a son promised, he stayed long for perform- 
ance. And so David lor the kingdom ; it was so long deferred, till his 
faith was near expiring ; it was veiy weak, when he said, ' I shall one day 
fidl by the hands of Smil.' The liveliness of faith is never more evident 
than in long expectations. ' He that believes makes not haste,' Isa. xxviii. 16. 
It is unbelief that hastes, Ps. xxxi. 22, cxvi. 11. 

Confine not the accomplishment to persons. It is probable Isaac 
believed the promises made to him and his father should be accomplished 
in Esan, God performed them to Jacob. If the promise be performed to 
yon or yours, to this child, if not to that ; God is fiedthful, and &ith is not 
in vain« 

(6.) As to conditional promises, if you have the qualification in sincerity, 
let not the want of degrees discourage you fh>m application. The lowest 
degree of grace entities to the promise. It may be grace is not broke forth 
into % flame ; it is acceptable to Christ when it does but smoke : < He will 
not ^ench,' Ac. It may be you are not grown to the tallness of a cedar, 
Qirist delists in a reed, a bruised reed : ' He will not break the bruised 
reed.' He deals not with poor worms, as one that sells, but gives. There- 
fore he propounds conditions of so low a rate, as in contracts with men 
would scarce admit the notion of conditions; gives, if ask; satisfy, if desire; 
accept, if come ; bestow, if receive. And in this respect the covenant of 
grace is in reality absolute, though, according to the form of proposal, it 
seems conditional. 

€bd descends to as low conditions as are imaginable ; and yet the least 
degree of the lowest condition gives interest in the promise. ' Blessed are 
the pure,' Ac., he says not perfectly pure. Oh but I am impure in heart 
and life, how can I appfy this promise ? The Lord comes lower, < Blessed 
are they that hunger and thirst.' To thirst after puri^, is less than to be 
actually pure. Oh but thirst is a high degree of desire, I fear mine amounts 

192 OF umfa bt faith. [Heb. X. 88. 

not to 80 mach. The Lord comes lower : * If there be a wiUing mind, it 
is accepted/ 2 Cor. viii. 12. ' Whosoever will, let him take the water of 
life freely/ Bev. zni. 17. Willingness, the lowest degree of desire, and 
desire, the lowest condition imaginable, entitles to the highest degree of 

Bat farther ; suppose yoa have but the qualification in so weak a degree 
as you do not discern it, yet should not this discourage from applying the 
promises. For observe it, believing is more acceptable to God, and gives 
clearer title to the promise than any condition annexed thereto. For this 
is the principal condition of the covenant, others are but accessories ; this 
makes others acceptable, none can be accepted without it ; by this the rest 
are attained, none are attainable without this. Therefore ye ^ould believe, 
that ye may be qualified, not refuse because ye are not. If you bring fisuth 
to a promise, you bring that which most pleases Gh)d, and that which will 
bring the rest. 

(6.) He that can lay just claim to one promise, has interest in all ; he 
that can apply any one, has property in every one. This observation is 
necessary to advance the present design. For all the promises are requisite 
to maintain the life of faith ; he that excludes hims^ from any, confines 
the influence of faith to some part of his life, which should be diffused 
through all. Yet this is ordinary with weak believers, to apply some, bat 
restnun themselves from others, as pertaining only to saints of higher 
attainments and greater eminency. This is a mistake. He that applies 
one, should apply aU ; all the promises are his, as clearly as his inheritance ; 
he that possesses one is heir of all. The first act of faith gives interest in 
Christ ; and he that hath Christ, hath all ; for in him all the promises are 
yea and amen, 2 Cor. i. 20. The least act of faith admits you into cove- 
nant ; and the promises are but parcels of the covenant, he that has the 
whole has every part. If the Lord has given you possession of any one, 
though by the weakest act of faith, he has given you interest in all ; and 
therefore let no discouragement hinder from applying any. < He that over- 
comes shall inherit all things,* Bev. xxi. 7. All promises are included in 
this one. And who is he that overcomes ? John tells us, 1 John v. 4, 
* This is the victory, even our faith.' He, then, that believes has right 
to all promises, and shall inherit all; and therefore should confidently 
apply adl. 

(7.) The Lord's word is more valuable in his account, than all his works ; 
he will suffer all the works of his hands to perish, rather than fiul in the 
least degree to perform the most inconsiderable promise. Angels and men 
shall be destroyed, heaven and earth shall be annihilated, rattier than one 
tittle of a promise shall fail of its full accomplishment : Luke xvi. 17, ' It 
is easier for heaven and earth to pass away, than one tittle of the law to 
fiul ;' and Mat. v., neither luruj nor xt^dtUf nor the least letter, nor the least 
point. His glory is as much interested in the gospel, therefore he uses an 
expression comprehensive of both : Mat. xxiv. 85, ' My words shall not pass 
away.' The heavens shall vanish into darkness, and the earth sink into 
nothing, rather than the least letter of a promise shall not be fnlfiUed. Faith 
resting on a promise, has a surer foundation than the earth, and stronger 
pillars than the heavens ; therefore let it repose there with confidence in 
every act, and live there secure in all occurrences. 

8. Persuade thyself, that God had a particular respect to thee in eveiy 
promise. This is the great objection, which does much prejudice faith in 
its life and actings. The Lord did not intend this for me ; he might respect 

HsB. X. 88.] OF LivxNa bt faith. 198 

othen, those with whom he eooTened familiarly, but not saoh a wonn as L 
This ^ an error which, thongh yon think it arises only from a mean 
eoneeit of yonrselves, yet indeed it proceeds from too low apprehensions 
of God, the impartialness of his love, and the infinite comprehensiveness 
of omniscience. 

If the Lord should appear to yon in a visible shape, as to Abraham, and 
make yon a promise, as one friend to another, then yon would not question 
his intention and respect. Why, consider yon were as fall in the eye of 
Qod when he engaged himself by promises, as Abraham was when he talked 
with him &ce to fiiice. Nothing is past or fntnre in respect of Gh>d's all- 
seeing eye. Things past to ns will be present to him nnto eternity. 
Things fritnre from ns were present to him to* all eternity. Nothing is 
hid or unobserved, Heb. iv. 18, nr(aj(fi>jfffiiHi, The &cee of all things 
are naked and open, as one of our fistces to another ; even those things 
which are so small, as they seem unworthy to come under divine cognisance ; 
every sparrow, every hair, much more his jewels, his peculiar treasure. 
All believers that were, are, or ever will be, were as fully and distinctly in 
God's eye, while he was purposing to engage himself hf promise, as our 
fingers are to us, when our eyes are fixed most intensely upon our hands : 
* I have graven tbee upon the palms of my hands.* The Lord had as special 
and distinct a respect to every believer in each promise of the covenant, as 
a fiither has to each child in every legacy that he bequeaths by vrill, when 
he divides his estate among them, and sets out every child his portion. 
And therefore faith may wiUi as much confidence make use of every pro- 
mise, and live upon them, as any child may upon the portion left lum by 
his ffttlier's will. This notion is well grounded ; for God's covenant is not 
only called awf^xii a compact, but dia^xfif a will or testament. Mat. xxvi. 28, 
and so the Seventy-two ordinarily render, iinjl. What a sweet encourage- 
ment is this to act and live by faith, to consider you were in the thoughts 
and eye of God promising, as a child in the eye of a father making his will ; 
and that God gave you the promises to live upon, as a &ther gives a child 
an inheritance, a portion ; and his eye as full upon you, as upon Abraham 
or David, when he made them promises fiice to face ! 

(9.) Consider, it is all one with God to do as to say, to perform as to 
promise ; it is as easy, he is as willing, as able, to one as the other. There 
is no such distance betwixt Gk)d's saying and doing, as amongst men. His 
saying is doing : Ps. xxxiii. 9, * He said, and it was done ; he commanded, 
and it stood hsL* His rh yiyw is xo^fiMrtita : ver. 6, * By the word of the 
Lord were the heavens made ; ' Heb. xi. 8, * The worlds were framed by 
the word of the Lord.' There is omnipotency in his word, both of com- 
mand and promise : therefore called, * the word of his power,' Heb. i. 8. 
One word of his can do more in an instant, than the united powers of 
heaven and earth can do td eternity. 

This consideration removes at once the chief discouragements that hinder 
the lively actings of Dedth ; for what is it that weakens our confidence of 
the promises' ^rformance, but because we look upon the accomplishment 
as uncertain or difELcuH, or future and afiff off I Now from hence fiuth 
may conclude the performance is certain, easy, and present. 

It is eertain. The root of all certainty is God's will. He is willing to 
promise, for he has actuaUy done it. He is as vrilling to perform, for it is 
all one with him to do as say. 

It is eaty. What more easy than a word I An act is not more difficult. 
♦ Qu. «from'?— Ed. 

VOL. I. N 

194 m Livxsro bt FAira. [Hbb. X. 88. 

And one word will give accomplkbrnait to all the promises : no pains, 
trouble, cost, hazard. The covenant is oar tree of life, the promises are 
its branches, laden with all precious fruits. The least word, the least breath, 
from God*s month, will shake all the froits into your bosoms. Will not 
he speak so little who has done so mnch, sent his Son to suffer so much, 
let his Spirit strive so much ? There is but one word betwixt you and all 
the happiness contained in the great and precious promises. And is it not 
easy for faith to believe that it is easy for God to speak one word ? This 
may be faith's plea. Only speak the word, and it shall be done. Nay, it is 
done, the accomplishment is pr09ent^ the word is passed out of his lips. 
You have as much for the accomplishment of promises, as all things that 
now exist had for their creation, God's word. He does when he says ; his 
saying is doing. Nothing remains on God's part to be done further. That 
which suspends your enjoyments is want of faith ; do but believe, and all 
is said, all is done, to make you happy. You may as easily believe that 
he will perform, as that he has promised. It is easy to believe that he has 
promised : you question not that. There is as much reason to believe he 
will perform, for it is all one to him. Men promise great things, but can- 
not perform without trouble, expense, or hazard ; therefore may we donht 
of them. But there are no such things incident to Ch>d's perfonnanees ; 
no more trouble or pains to perform a promise than to make it He can 
perform all with less trouble than we can speak, do all he has said as easily 
as anything he does. 

10. Believers have a just and unquestionable title to all things promised, 
besides that title which the promise conveys. They have right to them, 
and therefore have no reason to doubt but the gracious God will bestow 
them, especially when he has confirmed the former title by promise. All 
that is promised was bequeathed to believers by the eternal will of the 
Father, and purchased for them by the precious blood of Christ, and they 
are instated therein by many endearing and interestmg relations. They 
have as much right thereto as an heir to his inheritance, or a wife to her 
jointure ; for they are co-heirs with Christ, and married to him : 1 Cor. 
iii. 28, ' All is yours.' All. This is more than if he had said a kingdom, 
though this is much ; nay, more than if he had said, aU the kingdoms of 
the earth ; nay, more than if heaven and earth were yours. What then is 
all ? Why heaven and earth, and all in both. All in heaven that yon are 
capable of, and all in earth that is desirable and good. Not only angels 
and men ; not only riches, pleasures, glory ; but the Father (that which is 
more than all), Christ, and the Spirit ; all that they are, have, can do, so 
isix as these are communicable, attributes, offices, functions. All these are 
your own, though you do not believe it. You have jus ad rem, right to 
these, upon other accounts besides the promise. Faith gives jtu in re, 
actuid possession. Here is great encouragement for believers to act £uth 
in the promises, from this consideration. Will a child doubt that a pions 
and indulgent father will not give him his own, though he do not promise 
it ? But if he engage himself by promise, he will be confident. Shall we 
be more confident of the justice of men, than the righteousness of God ? 
He has made all your own, and will he be so unjust as to detain it ? He 
has promised to give all that is yours, and will he add unfiuthfulnees to 
injustice, such injustice as is odious anxongst men ? Shall not the Lord of 
heaven and earth be righteous ? Faith cannot doubt here. Either yoa 
must believe, or cast such horrid aspersions on God, as though he were 
as uigust or unfaithful as the worst of men. 

Hbb. X. 88.] 07 Limro si twrm 195 

The whole glorions essence of God is engaged for the perfbnnanee of 
eyery promise. It is of as mnch coneemment as the Deify. He would 
cease to be God if he should fail to perform any promise. This woold 
nndeify him. For he ceases to be God, when he ceases to be most perfect ^ 
for this is the proper and essential notion of God, to be quid perfectimmum. 
If there be absence of any perfection, or the presence of any imperfection, 
he would not be God. Bat non-performance argaes both ; this divests him 
of all perfection, and consequently makes him most impeHect. 

FaUhfidness, He is not £uthfiil amongst men, who answers not his 
engagements ; he fails his tnists who keeps not promise. 

Truth. ' He that believes not, makes God a liar ;* for how is he tme 
who doth not what he says he will do ? 

Justice, That does suum cuique tribuere. The promise makes every 
thing promised onr own, and it is injnstice not to give it. 

Goodn£89. He is bad amongst men, who is not as good as his word. 
Holiness. His promise is as sacred as oiar vows to him. Violation of 
a vow is a profanation, so is non-performance of a promise. If he perform 
not, it is because either he will not, and then where is mercy ? or cannot, 
and then how is he all-sufficient ? If he cannot, it is either for want of 
wisdom, and then where is his omniscience ? or ability, then how is he 
omnipotent ? or opportxmity, then how is he omnipresent ? Nothing but 
absence in him can occasion the want of an opportunity. Either he never 
intended it, and then how is he upright ? It is odious dissimulation, with 
men, to speak what they never intend. Or he did once intend it, but now 
does not ; then how is he unchangeable ? If he is not unchangeable, he is 
not eternal ; for there is no succession, no variation in eternity. If not 
eternal, not infinite. If not all these, not God. 

As sure as he is God, as sure as he has any perfection, he will perform 
his promises. He that doubts of performance, doubts of God's being by 
consequence. Unbelief is horrible atheism, it dethrones God. You may 
as well say there is no God, as say there shall be no performance. The 
glory of his being is concerned ; that is infinitely more than our happiness. 
He loses nothing if he perform ; all, if he do not. 

His engagements are infinite. Every perfection engages, and every 
perfection is infinite ; therefore the obligements are strong, and the perfor- 
mance sure, above the apprehension of men and angels. 

We have all the confirmations and assurances, ad extra^ that the most 
suspicious heart can desire. 

God*B word. That is more than the word of angels, more than all his 
works, as much as himself. He engages himself when he engages his word ; 
he should deny himself if he should fail. Men may be men, though 
unfaithful, but God cannot be God : his being is concerned. 

Writing. We have them under God's hand, have his hand to shew. 
He would not have us to depend upon uncertain revelations, here Satan 
might have deluded us, but inspired holy men of God to write what he 
dictated, has delivered it as his act and deed. His word of promise written, 
is more assuring than a voice from heaven would be, 2 Pet. i. 19. 

Sealed. The sacraments are seals of the righteousness of faith, seals of 
the covenant wherein faith apprehends that righteousness. ' The covenant 
of promises.' * The New Testament in my blood.' A double seal : without, 
the impressions are Christ's sufferings in blood ; a seal within, the Spirit, 
Eph. i. 18 ; 2 Cor. i. 22. 

Sureties. A surety equal with the principal. He who counts it no rob- 

196 Of u^nro bt pars. [Hkb. X. 88« 

beiy to be eqmd with Ood ; eqnal, both m fidthftdness and soffieieiMj^ u 
wilUng and as Me ; no xobbeiy to ba equal irith Ood, a diapaiagenient 
to be compared with men or angels ; he who aeea no sted&atneas in Bainta 
or angelsy sees nothing else in &a : he has engBged with himself his Son 
and heir, and made hun tiie mediator of this better coTenant, Heb. YiiL 6, 
and ix. 15 ; Heb. vii. 22, he who Talnes his fiuthftdness more than his hb. 

PUdffe, Of asmneh worth, and more than heaTon and earth, the eternal 
Spirit: 2 Cor. i. 22, ' Who* hath sealed ns, and gi^renns the earnest of the 
Spirit ;' ehap. y. 5, 6, ' Who hath given unto as the earnest of the Spirit. 
Therefore we are always confident/ &c. ; Eph. L 18, 14, * In whom ye 
were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our 
inheritance.' God will forfeit his Spirit, rather than fiiil his promise. 

Oath. He has confiimed it by an oath, Heb. vi. 17, 18 ; we have no 
more cause to fear the promised not be performed than thai God will be 

H^ifnsmt. Besides those in heaven who bear witness with the Father, 
the Word and Spirit ; and those in earth, 1 John T.t 8, the Spirit, the 
water, and the bbod ; ' Christ the fiuthfol witness,' Bev. i. 5 ; and the 
* Spirit which beaieth witness with onr spixits,' Bom. viii. 16 ; we have 
heaven and earth, men and angels, to witness. These things were not done 
in a comer. As the Lord calls heaven and earth to witoess a^jainst the 
mi&ithfalness of men, so may we call them to witness the fiathfidness 
of God. 


Bta let him ask in faith. — Jambs I. 6. 

Tbe apostle, in the fonner venes, after the prefiEMe, directs the Jews how 
they ahonld bear afflictions, -vis., with joy, ver. 2, 8 ; patience, ver. 4 ; 
wisdom, ver. 5. 

* Servant.' 1, By universal subjection, and in respect of their state ; not, 
2, by particular employment in respect of their use, as Nebuchadnezzar, 

* All joy/ Not in respect of the afflictions themselves, for th^ are 
grievous, and we are not required to be Stoics ; but in respect of tbe issue, 
to prevent sin, pui^ corruption, increase holiness, glorify God, and try 
grace, ver. 8. 

' Perfect work.' Eatennvi, to all its objects, occasions. Intensive, in all 
its acts. 

* Lack wisdom.' To demean himself under afflictions so as to attain the 
Ibnner ends. 

* It shall be given.' There is a promise, the object of &ith, with an 
encouragement to act faith from God's gracious disposition. He gives, 
gives to many, to all men ; gives much, liberally and freely too, he up- 
braids none ; how much soever he gives, he never thinks much. 

But the promise is conditional, and the condition is expressed : ver. 6, 
* Let him ask in fiuth ; ' otherwise he asks in vain, ver. 7. 

06t. He that would have God to give what he asks, must ask in faith: 
Mark zi. 24, < Whatsoever things ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye 
receive them, and ye shall have them ; ' Mat. zxi. 22, * Whatsoever ye ^ 
shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.' A great privilege, but ' 

Quat. What is it to ask in &ith? 

An$. To this some things are requisite as necessary conditions, though 
more remotely ; some things as essential ingredients. 

L The necessary conditions respect the petitioner, asker, the thing 
asked, the manner of asking. 

1. The asker must be in the fiuth, or rather fiuth in him; the petitioner 
must, be a believer. How can he ask in faith, who has no faith? John 
xvL 28 ; how can he ask in Christ's name who believes not in it? There 


is no aadience, no answer, for him that is not a believer : John ix. 81, 
' God heareth not sinners.* Those that live in bid, Uye not by fidth ; or if 
yoa live not in it as to visible practice, yet if it live in yon, have entertain- 
ment, love, approbation in the heart. When there is no faith there will 
be no audience : Ps. Ixvi. 18, < If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord 
will not hear me.' God will not hear that which.displeases so as to answer 
it. But prayer without faith does not please him, it is impossible it should, 
for Heb. xi. 6, ' without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that 
oometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them 
that diligently seek him.* God will not accept the service till the person 
be accepted, Heb. xi. 4 ; Abel obtained witness that he was righteous, and 
then God testified of his gifts. He obtained both by £uth. 

2. The thing asked for must be an object of faith ; such things as yoa 
may upon good grounds believe that God will grant. There must be a 
belief, a persuasion, that the things desired are lawful according to bis 
will : 1 John v. 14, ' And this is &e assurance that we have in him, that 
if we ask anything according to his will, he heareth us.* No assurance he 
will hear, without assurance that what we ask is according to his will ; now 
that is according to his will for which we have command or promise ; for 
these, though not properly his will, yet are ordinarily so called, they are 
that will to which our practice must be conformable. His decreeing or 
secret will belongs not to us, it is not the rale of our practice in praying, 
hearing, &c., but that which is revealed by conunand or promise. Example, 
too, may direct and encourage this act of faith; bat it must be the example 
of the godly, approved and ordinary. Extraordinary examples are no rale 
for us, as that of David, Ps. cix., praying against particular enemies ; it 
is extraordinary, since he had (as it is supposed) extraordinary assistance 
to discern that his particular enemies were incorrigible ; otherwise, though 
it may be lawful to pray against the public enemies of God, his ways, and 
people, or against the cause and practices of particular enemies, yet not 
against their persons. If there be no persuasion, or none upon these 
grounds, the prayer is not of fidth, and so it is sin; for whatever is not of 
faith is sin, and sin can expect no comfortable return from God. He that 
cannot behold it will not hear it, or hear it so as to reward it but with 
punishment. A fervent prayer for a thing unlawful is a crying sin. 

8. The manner of asking must be futhful. As it must be in Jide as to 
the person, and dejide as to the object, so fidditer as to the manner. Ab 
he must be bonus that asks, and bonum that is asked, so must he ask this 
benif in three particulars. 

(1.) With fervency. He does not ask in faith that asks not fervently: 
James v« 16, ' The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth 
much.' And what prayer that is, see ver. 15, * the prayer of fiuUi.' It 
mnst be ^cig ira^ouAbfni, it must be an inwrought prayer, proceeding 
from the powerful working of the Spirit in the heart. Now what the woik- 
ings of the Spirit are in the heart as to prayer the apostle tells. Bom. viii. 
26, ' si^ that cannot be uttered.* Such prayers as shew the parties to 
be inpyov/jktvoi in a good sense, t. «., possessed with the Holy Spirit, and 
acted by it. Prayers must be strivings : Rom. v. 80, < Strive together 
with me in your prayers.' He that will prevafl must wrestle, as Jacob; 
give the Lord no rest, as^Isaiah Ixii. 7. Cold, heartless prayers aigae 
want of £uth, and will want success; teach God to deny. If there be only 
lip labour, draw near with the lips only, God will withdraw. If we pray 
as if we prayed not, God will hear asthon^ he heard not, take littb notice 

JaXXB I. 6.] ViOTB IN PBATEB. 199 

ezeept to correet. Strong cries oply reach and pierce heaven ; snch were 

(2.) With snbmission. We mnst not limit God. To limit the Holy 
One of Israel is to tempt him, and that is a notorions effect of unbelief, 
Heb. iii. 9, 12, and xi. 18. We mast not limit God as to time, place, 
persons, things, degrees. 

Time. Be willing to stay God's time. He that believes, makes not 
haste. It was an nnbelieving prince that said, * Why shoold I wait on the 
Lord any longer ?* And Hab. ii. 8, 4, ' The vision is for an appointed 
time ; though it tarry, wait for it,' &c. 

Plae&, Jacob would not have prayed in £uth for provision, if he would 
not have had it in Egypt. 

Penofu. Noah would not in fidth have asked blessings for Ham, if he 
had limited God as to the person. We must leave the Lord to his own 
way of free dispensation. 

Things. Lawful things are temporal or spiritual ; and these necessary 
far being, as grace, and the means of grace ; or well-being, as joy, assur- 
ance, enlargements. 

Temporal blessings must be desired with such conditions as they are 
promised, and besides, with refiarence to God's good pleasure, and caution 
of their expediency for us; if it seem good to thee, if they be good for us. 
Spiritual blessings for well-being, though (hey may be desired with more 
importunity, as being of more worth, and more expressly promised, yet 
wiUi the like references. But spirituals necessary to salvation may be 
desired absolutely, without reserves, conditions, exceptions, because they 
are so promised, and we are so conmianded. 

Degrees. We must not limit God to degrees of grace, or plenty or 
plansibleness of the means, but refer it to inlnite wisdom to bestow what 
degrees he knows will make us most serviceable, and what kind of means 
soever he will please to make effectual for attaining those degrees. 

(8.) With right intentions. It is not bene, except ad bonum: James iv. 
8, * Te ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss.' We must pray to 
glorify God, make us serviceable to him, capable of communion wiUi him. 
We mnst not desire grace to excel others, or, as Simon Magus, the Spirit, 
to be admired, pnds^. We must not desire gifts, to advance our credit, 
get applause ; riches, to satisfy lusts, to live at ease, &o. This is to ask 
amiss ; and he that asks amiss, must miss of an answer. 

These are the necessary conditions of this duty. I call them but con-*. 
ditiont, because, thoi^;h we cannot pray in faith without them, yet we may 
have these, and yet not pray in faith. 

n. The essential ingredients of this duty are the actings of lEuth in 
prayer, which are one or other of these four. He whose fidth puts forth 
any one of these acts prays in £uth. 

!• Particular application. Believing the promise whereby God has 
engaged himself to give what he asks ; so to ask in faith is to pray irith 
confidence the Lord will grant the petition, because he has promised ; to 
pray with David, * Do good to thy servant,' &c., and to rest assured he 
will do it, because it is his word, his promise, 1 Kings viii. 24-26. 

2. Fiducial recumbence. Casting himself upon God, without the media* 
tion of a promise, and relying^ depending on him for the grant of what he 
asks, when fiedth in prayer supports itse& upon God immediately ; which 
act of faith has place either when there is no particular promise of the 

200 FAITH m PB4TBB. [Jahks L 6. 

thing asked, or fidth is bo weak as it eaanot make nse of it by way of 
application. There are other supports of futh besides a promise, and 
other acts of fiuth besides applying a promise, which the sonl patting forth 
in prayer may be said to ask in fiaith, and this act of dependence is one in 
special. FaiUi can read an answer of prayer in the name of God, and stay 
itself there, when a promise appears not, or, through Heuth's weakness, 
cannot support it, Isaiah L 10, 11. 

8. A genend persuasion that the prayer shall be heard. Icall it general, 
to distinguish it from that particular persuasion that the thing asked shall 
be presently granted, or granted at all, which is not simply necessary to 
this duty. The prayer may be heard, though the thing desired be not 
presently bestowed, or not bestowed at all. And so a man may pray in 
fidth, though he be not confident that what he prays for shall be given 
him, much more that it shall not be presently given. Zaoha ri ah prayed 
in &ith, and it is like he prayed when he was young, yet a child, thoo^ 
that whidi he asked, was not given him till he was old, Luke i. 18. Noah 
prayed that God would persuade Japhet to dwell in the tents of Shem, and 
he prayed in faith ; yet this was not granted till many hundred years after. 
Ghnst prayed in fidth that the cup nught pass from him, the bitterness of 
death ; yet he had not a particular persuasion that this should be granted; 
for this persuasion had been &lse, for it was not granted ; yet was his 
prayer heard, Heb. y. 7* Paul prayed in faith that he might be free from 
that messenger of Satan; that mercy was not granted; yet was his prayer 
heard and graciously answered : 2 Cor. zii. 9, ' My grace is sufficient* A 
prayer may be heard, though the mercy desired be not granted; thereSpre 
it is not necessary to this duty that a man should have a special persuasion 
to receive what he asks. He prays in fiuth, who is persuaded in general 
that his prayer shall be hea^, referring the answer to the wisdom and 
goodness of God, to be returned when and in what kind he pleases. He 
tiiat believes God will hear his prayer, though he be not confident that he 
will grant this particular desired, yet prays in fidth. 

4. A special confidence that the very same thing which is asked shall be 
given. This is the highest and rarest act of fidth ; and if the mercy 
desired be temporal, it is extraordinary, not raised in the heart but by 
special instinct ; yet may it now and then be vouchsafed to some who are 
admitted to sweeter flEimiliarity and nearer communion with God, Ps. xxviL 

Use. Take notice of the misery of unbelievers. They that cannot pray 
•in faith must not expect to have their prayers heard. All men have not 
'fidth, though most presume. They cannot give an account how or when 
it was wrought, cannot shew their faith by their works. Such, though they 
make many prayers, God will not hear. If this be your case, what will ye 
do for support in distress, for supply of wants, for removal of fears and 
daubers ? It is the great, the sweet privilege of believers, whatever they 
ask in Christ's name it shall be given. It is the misery of unbelievers, 
whatever they ask it shall be denied, or given in wrath. * Call upon me/ 
says the Lord to believers, * in the day of trouble, and I will hear you.* 
Unbelievers must read the contrary : * Though ye call, I will not hear,* &e. 
To believers Christ says, * Ask, and it shall be given ; seek, and ye shall 
find ; knock, and it shall be opened unto you :' but to them. Though ye 
ask, I will not give, &o. Christ says to them, as to the Jews, * Te shall 
seek me, but shall not find me, and whither I go ye shall not come ;* and if 
they must not come to Christ, whither then ? Christ will neither hear 
them in life, nor at death, nor liter death. Those that live in unbelief may 

Jakes 1. 6.] faith in vrmykb. 201 

lead their doom, ver. 7 ; those that die id it, Chzist will send them to the 
gods they hate served. He will say. Ye woold not come to me, believe in 
me, thai ye might have life ; therefore ye shall die in your sins, die now, 
die for ever. And after death, if yon come with the foolish viigins, and 
knock at the bridegroom's chamber, Christ will profess, * I know yon not»' 
and command a sad and everlasting departure. 

01^. The Ninevites prayed, and were heard, Jonah iii. 7, 8, 10. Ahab 
pays, and is heard, 1 Kings zzi. 27, 29 ; yet both unbelievers, Ahab noto- 
lionsly, ver. 25, 26. 

Am. 1. As a prayer may be heard, yet the thing prayed for not granted, 
so the thing desired may be granted, and yet the prayer not heard : so it 
is with nnbelievers ; for, to speak strictly and properly, a prayer is not 
heard, but when both person and prayer is accepted. None are accepted but 
in Christ, and none aie in Christ but by &ith; therefore unbelievers, both 
person and prayer, are not accepted, and consequently their prayer not 
heard ; though what they pray for be granted, it is not out of respect to 
the prayer. 

Ans. 2. The Lord gives nothing but temporal things upon the prayers of 
unbelievers. The Ninevites obtained but a temporal deUverance, no more 
does Ahab ; not a removal of the judgment threatened, but a delay of the 
execution ; not forgiveness, but forbearance. In the next generation, as 
some observe, Nineveh was quite destroyed ; and the evil threatened to 
Ahab's family surprised it in his son's days, and the severest part of it is 
executed upon himself, chap. xxii. 24. Unbelievers do not unfeignedly 
desire spiritual mercies, grace, regeneration, holiness ; none desire these 
but those that in some degree have them, ' found of them that seek him not.' 
And will the Lord hear a prayer not accompanied with unfeigned desires? 
An», 8. He gives not temporals in mercy, when unbelievers pray for 
them. Israel desires a king, he gives them one in wrath : they desire flesh, 
he sends quails, but sends his wrath upon them ; that pleasant meat had 
bitter sauce, Ps. cvi. 15, Num. vi. 11, 88, Ps. Ixxviii. 29-81. He gives them 
outward blessings, but curses them. Unbelievers, as such, have nothing 
in mercy, because neither rise nor issue merciful ; not the rise, they pro- 
ceed not from love ; nor the issue, they make them not better. That is 
cursed which brings not a soul-blessing with it Then only prayer is heard 
properly when mercy is the return of it. 

Obj. If the Lord will not hear, why should we pray ? 
Aru, 1. We are obliged to obedience, though we be not assured of any 
reward. Subjection to God is necessary, being founded in our natures, as 
his creatures, and such creatures. Bewiurd is arbitrary, as being grounded 
merely on his will, which moves freely. Though Gk)d do not hear, we are 
bound to pray, for he has conunanded. 

Am. 2. Though unbelievers sin in praying, and therefore Gk>d will not 
hear them, yet they sin worse in not praying at all. It is a more heinous 
sin not to pray, than not to pray in faith. A total omission is a greater 
abomination than an undue performance. It is much worse to fail in the 
substance than in the manner only. 

Am, 8. It is more dangerous not to pray at all, than to pray amiss. The 
danger is proportionable to the heinousness of the sin. He may deny 
mercy to those that pray amiss, but he will pour wrath on those that pray 
not at all, Jer. x. 25. 

Uie. Exhortation to practise this duty. Whatever ye do, ask ; whenever 
ye ask, ask in £&ith. Nothing more necessary than prayer ; no qualifica- 


iion of prayer more neeeesary than- faith. Of all daties and privileges, 
none more advantageons and comfortable than prayer ; but it is fidthfol 
prayer : for without faith there is neither advantage by it, nor eomfoit 
in it. To pray, and not in faith, is to profiine ttie ordinance, to 
take God's name in vain, and to pray in vain. Pray as mneh, as often 
as you will, if not in faith, you lose your labour. The apostle is per- 
emptory : ver. 7, * Let not Uiat man think he shall receive any thing of the 

Now to prevent this wavering, this doubting, so dishonourable and offen- 
sive to God ; so pr^'udicial, dimgerous, uncomfortable to you : let me pre- 
scribe some directions, the observance of which will establish the heart, 
and encourage £uth, in your approaches to God. 

Direct, 1. Get assurance of your interest in the covenant ; that Christ has 
loved you, and washed you from your sins in his blood ; that he has given 
you his Spirit ; that you are reconciled and in favour. If you be sure yoa 
are his iiEtvourites, you may be sure to have his ear. As acceptance of per- 
sons goes before acceptance of services, so assurance of that is the ground 
of confidence in this : 1 John v. 18-16, ' These things have I written, 
that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the 
name of the Son of God. And this is the confidence that we have in him, 
that, if we ask any thing according to his wiU, he heareth us. And if we 
know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the peti- 
tions that we desired of him.' First, assurance that ye have eternal life, 
and then confidence that he will hear. If ye know that ye have right to 
eternal life by &ith, the first fruits of it, then ye may be sure he will hear 
and grant ; not hear in vain, but make sweet returns to the petitions he 
hears, ver. 15. : John xv. 7, ' If ye abide in me, and my words abide in 
you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.' First assure 
your union, and then doubt not of your audience. Union goes before 
audience, so assurance of one goes before assurance of the other. 

Faith in its infancy may put forth some weaker acts of recumbency and 
dependence upon God for answer of prayer ; but till it be grown up to 
assurance, it cannot be confident that he will hear or answer. 

Direct. 2. Consider, the Lord is engaged to hear prayer. If the Lord be 
engaged, strong engagements lie upon him to hear. Faith may conclude 
he will hear, for he will not, he cannot, be false to his engagement ; bat be 
is engaged strongly, by his titles, attributes, Ac. 

(1.) His titles : Ps. Izv. 2, < thou that hearest prayer 1 ' This is one 
of his titles of honour, he is a God that hears prayer ; and it is as tmiy 
ascribed to him as mercy or justice. He hears ail prayer, ' therefore unto 
tl^ee shaU all flesh come.' He never rejects any that deserves the name of 
a prayer, how weak, how unworthy soever the petitioner be. All flesh 1 
and will he (may faith say) reject mine only ? Bom. x. 12, < He is rich 
unto all that call upon him ;' Ps. kxxvi. 5, ' Thou art plenteous in merey 
to all that call upon thee ;' Heb. xi. 6, < A rewarder of Ihem that diligently 
seek him.' This must be believed as certainly as we believe that God is. 
As sure as God is the true God, so sure is it that none who sought him 
diligently departed from him without a reward. He rewards all seekers, 
for indeftnita in materia nseetsaria aquipoUet univeraaU. And if all, why 
not me ? You may as well doubt that he is God as doubt that he will not 
reward, not hear prayer ; so James i. 5, ' K any man lack wisdom, let him 
ask of God, that ^veth to all men liberally, and upbraidelh not, and it 
shall be given him.' 


(2.) His attributes. To instance in his power and goodness; from 
hence fiiith may infer that he is both willing and able to hear, and from 
hence confidently condnde that he shall be heard. These are strong sup- 
ports of fiuth, like the pillars of Solomon's temple : Boaz, * In &m is 
struigth/ t. e., he is able ; and Jachim^ < He will establish/ t. e.^ he is 
willing, 2 Ghron. iii. 17. When yon pray, consider he is, 

[1.] Able to hear and give what yon ask. It is gross atheism to donbt 
of this, to question omnipotency. If able to do all things, then sure what 
you pray for. Omnipotency his no bounds, no nil ukra to it, no limit to 
this but his will : Ps. czzxv. 6, * Whatsoever the Lord pleased, that did 
he in heaven and earth.' Consider he can do, 

Fintf Abundantly, £ph. iii. 20. He can do more than we ask. We 
can think more than we have any reason or necessity to ask ; he can do 
more than we can think, abundantiy more, exceeding abundantly. He has 
done more at the requests of his people than we can ask, and he can do 
more than he has done: create more worlds; Heb. vii. 25, '.Save to the 

Secondly^ Easily. He can do the greatest thing you ask more easily 
than you can do the least thing you think. That which all the united 
strength of men and angels, the whole creation, cannot do at all, or not 
without great labour and travail, he can do as easily as you can move a 
finger or turn an eye ; he can do that with a word, with a look, which all 
the creatures in heaven and earth cannot do with their whole strength ; 
Mat. Tiii. 8, he can work a miracle with a word, how easily then can he 
do an that you need ask I And if it be so easy for him to grant, why 
should fiuth doubt ? 

Thirdly^ Safely. Without any loss or damage to himself, without any 
diminution of that infinite store that is in himself. Whatever he gives he 
has never the less, for he bestows favours as the sun communicates light ; 
the sun loseth nothing by shining, the more it shines the more illi;strious ; 
the more he bestows, the more glorious. All that you can desire is not so 
much to God as a drop is to the whole ocean. The sea would lose some- 
thing, though an inconsiderable loss, by the subtraction of a drop ; but 
Ood, whatever he gives, loses nothing, because what he bestows are things 
without him. 

[2.] He is willing. Faith seldom questions God's power ; that which 
hinders its actings is doubts whether he is willing. But there is more 
reason to question this, for he is as willing as he is able. His goodness is 
infinite, and. so nothing less than his greatness. Nay, he is as willing (if 
not more willing) to hear as you are to pray, as willing to grant as you to 
petition, as willmg you should have what you desire as you are to have it; 
nay, more ; which appears from, 

Ftfsf , His secret will. He was willing, resolved, determined to hear, 
before you were willing to ask. He decreed it from eternity; he was veil- 
ing before you had a will, a being. Nay, he was not only willing before, 
but he was the cause why you are willing. You must not think that your 
prayers move God to be willing; his will is the same for ever, not subject 
to ihe least motion or alteration. Prayers are rather a sign than a cause 
thai God is willing. He is not made willing because we pray, but because 
he is willing he stirs up our hearts to pray : Ps. x. 17, ' Lord, thou hast 
heard the desire of the humble : thou wilt prepare their heart, thou wilt 
cause thine ear to hear.' He is first desirous to do us good^ and then 
I us desire it, and pray for it, that we may have them in his own way, — 

204 FAITH ZM nMJSM. [JlHXS L 6. 

a clear evidence he is more desirous than we, becanse he makes ns, so oor 
desires spring from this. 

Secondly t His reyealed will. He that prescribes the only eonrse where- 
by prayer may get andience without fail, and commands ns to Mow that 
eonrse, is more willing prayer shall be heard than those that are negligent 
in obserying that only fidlible way. Bnt so it is, the Lord has commanded 
and prescribed such a course, which punctually followed, prayer can never 
return without the answer desired. But the best of men are more or leas 
negligent in observing this prescript; therefore he is more willing oar 
prayers should be heard than we ourselves. 

Now, since the Lord is willing, and so willing, to hear, why should we 
not believe that he will hear? ^What strong encouragement is here to 
pray in faith 1 There is as much reason to believe that God will hear as 
there is to believe tiiat you are willing to be heard. You may as well 
doubt that you are unwilling to be heard, as that God is unwilling to hear. 

Thirdly, Christ's intercession. A great encouragement to &i1h, and ao 
it is propounded by the apostle : Heb. iv. 14, 16, ' Seeing that we have a 
great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, 
let us hold fiist our profession ;* * Let us come boldly unto the throne of 
grace, that we may obtain mercy,' &c.; /bbircb ^^aUtg, a confideni free- 
dom to speak all your mind and heart. And speak it with assurance of 
prevailing : Heb. x. 19, 22, < Having boldness to enter into the holiest bj 
the*blood of Jesus ; let us draw near with a true heart, in full assurance 
of £uth :' h 4rXi}eofo£ia WtfTfoi;. Why ? Having a high priest whose 
office is to intercede. In him, as such, we may have access with boldness 
and confidence, £ph. iii. 12; o^r va^Pfidav, &c., h wwoi^oii. This 
affords many things to embolden fidth, and make it confident in its access 
by prayer. 

First, He appears for us, Heb. ix. 24 ; he entered into heaven for this 
purpose ; and for this end he sits on the right hand of the Majesty in the 
heavens, Heb. viii. 1. How confident might you present a petition, if 
assured that one who not only has the greatest power, but all power, in 
the court where you prefer it, would appear for you 1 Christ has all power 
in heaven and earth ; in that court where your petition is to be presented, 
he appears for you who thinks it no robbery to be equal with God, he who 
can do whatever he will in the whole world. And can you doubt but that 
your petitions will prevail, when Christ owns you and stands up in yora 

Secondly, He presents us, our persons, unto God ; presents us as a^ 
quitted from guilt, adorned with his righteousness, united to himself; in 
so near relations, as if we be rejected he must be rejected. He presaats 
us as free fi^m whatsoever might exasperate justice, provoke wrath, or 
render ns in our addresses in the leastwise unacceptable, Zech. iii. 4. No 
filthy garments, nothing in our persons, so presented, can prejudice our 
petitions. This was typified by the high priest carrying the names of all 
the tribes on his breast into the holy of holies. He presents us to his 
Father as the travail of his soul ; as though he should say, ' Behold I, and 
the children whom thou hast given me.' He presents us as those that are 
as dear to him as his spouse, does as it were take us by the hand and lead 
us to his Father and our Father, Eph. iii. 12 ; ^Mayor/iif seems to inti- 
mate such a similar posture. And Paul's expression, as some think, does 
imply as much : Philip, iii. 12, * I follow after, if that I may apprehend 
that for which I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.' He presents us as 

Jambs L 6.] tattb. in pbatkb. 205 

those that are as near to him as his own members. And in reference to 
that intimate union we are said, Eph. ii. 6, to ' sit with him in heavenly 
pkees.' He presents us in such a lovely, endearing postnre, as we need 
not doabt of acceptanoe, though himself should not pray for us: John 
xvi. 27, the Father himself loveth you, because he hatti loved me. And 
when we are thus presented, what reason to doubt but that the Lord will 
hold forth the golden sceptre ? 

Thirdly, He offsrs our prayers. This was the high priest's office, Heb. 
V. 1, and viii. 8. And he was a type of Christ therein. The Lord receives 
our petitions from his hand, Bev. viii. 4. He, as it were, takes us in one 
hand, and our petitions in the other, and in this engaging posture delivers 
them ; and can yon &ar the Lord will reject a petition delivered by the hand 
of Christ? 

Fourthly, He sanctifies our prayers, and separates whatever is offensive 
from them. The Levitical priests were his type in this, who were to bear 
the iniquity of the holy things, Exod. xxviii. 86, 88. When the Lord 
looks upon Christ he takes notice of nothing but holiness in the prayers 
presented by him ; he reads nothing in them as offered by Christ, but 
holiness to the Lord, Christ expunges the rest. Christ is always ready at 
hand to present them : ' He ever lives,' &o. He intercedes as Paul for 
Onesimus: ' I beseech thee for my sons,' Philem. 9. And if there be any- 
thing blame-worthy, put that on mine account, ver. 18, 19. He stands up 
as our advocate, to prevent the prejudice that sin might bring to our prayers, 
1 John ii. 1. He not only petitions, but pleads. It is just and equal that 
the Lord should not take notice of sin in our prayers, so as to reject them, 
because he has fully satisfied even for every failing. If anything should 
make fiiith doubt of the success of prayer, it is their sinfulness ; but Christ 
prevents that, for he has so fully satisfied for that, as the Lord will not, 
cannot take notice of it, so as to be angry with prayers, tt is through the 
virtue of Christ's intercession that our prayers are not dead works, that 
they are fireed from that guilt that would make them deadly. For this end 
he entered into the holy place with blood, Heb. ix. 12, sprinkling unclean 
prayers, that they may be sanctified and pure, 18, 14. And when they are 
thus purged, they are services acceptable to God, 1 Peter ii. 5. It is 
Christ's woxk to purge, and this his end, Mai. iii. 8, 4. He shall sit as a 
refiner and purifier of silver, and he shall purify the sons of Levi, &c. 
Now, is there any room for fidth to doubt here ? Will not the Lord accept 
of Hui which is rendered acceptable by Christ? Can he be displeased 
with that which through Christ is pleasant to him? Will he reject a peace- 
offiniag ? Mai. i. 11. Christ's intercession leaves no exception. Will he 
deny a prayer agamst which he has no exception ? Faith must either be 
confident here, or entertain blasphemous thoughts of God. 

Fifthly, He answers all accusations that can be firamed against our 
prayers. And indeed he having undertaken to remove all just ground of 
aecusation, whatever is that way suggested reflects upon the sufficiency of 
his undertaking; and therefore it nearly conceins him to vindicate them, 
since if any exceptions can be taken to our prayers, for the utter rejecting 
of them, Ins own merit and satisfiEustion is equally liable thereto. Hence it 
is thai he takes up Satan with such indignation for accusing Joshua : 
Zeeh. iii. 1, 2, ' The Lord rebuke thee, Satan,' &c. And hence it is thai 
Pud's confidence rises up into a triumph : Bom. viii. 88, ' Who can lay 
anything to the charge of God's elect ?' Sbo. And if our prayers can be 
cbaiged with nothing to hinder the Lord firom answering, why should wo 


doubt bat he will answer them ? Will the Lord reject ifaftt agunet which 
there is no exception ? Can we imagine the Lord will be of such a 
disposition, as none bnt the perversest of men are guilty of, to except 
against that which is freed from exception ? Or will the Lord hearken 
to Satan rather than his own Bon ? Such reason is there for confidence 
here, that we must either belicTe, or entertain most horrid thon^ts of 

Sixthly, He mingles his own prayers and intercession with our requests. 
He joins with ns, and as it were petitions that our petitions may be 
received. He addis the virtue of his merits to our prayers, and this, as 
incense, does sweeten and make them acceptable ; so that these and all 
other services are like those contributions of the samts which Paul mentions, 
Philip, iv. 18, an odour of a sweet smell, or like Noah's offering. Gen. 
viii. 21, from which the Lord smelled a sweet savour. 

This was typified by the legal service. While the people under the 
law were praying without, the priest offered incense withm, Luke i. 8-10; 
answerably, while we are praying, Christ offers incense to sweeten them, 
and make them ascend as a delightful odour before God, Bev. viii. 8, 4. 

Seventhly, That Christ does not only present us and our petitions onto 
the Father, but does as it were prefer a petition himself to the Lord, that 
he would answer our prayers, so that if the Lord deny us he must deny 
him too ; and can we doubt Christ will be denied ? We are as sure to be 
heard as Christ himself, and the Father always hears him, John ri. 42, 
xii. 28. No surer ground of confidence in the world than Christ's prayer 
for us. 

It is true indeed, the Scripture, in describing Christ's intercession, uses 
some expressions which must not be taken properly ; for if so understood, 
according to the letter, they import something inconsistent with Christ's 
glorious state, and his equality with the Father. But yet we have ground 
enough to say and believe ^at Christ prays for us, for Christ ^mself 
professes it, John xvii. He did pray, and he promises he will pray, John 
xvi. 26, John xiv. 16. And the Father expects and requires it, Ps. ii. 8, 
even after his exaltation. 

There are four acts of Christ which amount to as much as prayers for 
us, are more than equivalent thereto, and afford more encouragement to 
faith than if he should now pray for us after the manner of men. I do the 
more willingly insist on this particular, because Christ's praying for ns, 
and the success of our prayers, is such a confirmation of faith as leaves no 
room for doubting. 

(1.) His requests on earth, which are properly and formally a prayer, 
and such a prayer as, though made on earth, is no less effectual than if it 
were now made in heaven, for he is always heard, then as well as now, 
John xi. 42. This prayer is delivered to us, John xvii. Wherein observe 
for whom, ver. 20, not only for his disciples, but for all that shall believe 
to the end of the world. For what ? For all things that we stand in 
need of while we are on earth, nay, to all eternity. It is so comprehen- 
sive as there is nothing we can desire of God but may be reduced to some 
of his petitions ; so that whatever we need desire was granted to Christ 
praying for us, before we actually pray for it. There^re in respect onr 
petitions are as good as granted before they be performed,* Cluist has 
prevented us in desiring aU things of his Fatiier for us that we can desire 
for ourselves. Therefore when we go to pray, faith may be encouraged to 
• Qu, 'preferred'?— Ed. 


eonsider that Chriflt prayed for osi and waa heard as to those Tery parti- 
enlars which we are to pray for. 

(2.) The ery of his hlood ; that is metaphorically, yet really a prayer. 
It is a pleading, a speaking blood : ' It speaks better things/ &e., Heb. 
zii. 24* It is as effectual to procure the bestowing of those things which 
are pnrchased by it as innocent blood is to procure vengeance for those that 
spill it. Christ's blood is an importunate, a prevailing advocate, it is never 
non-suited; its plea is justice; it is just the Lord should hear our prayers, 
since this was one end for which the blood of Christ was shed ; it is just 
our request should be granted, since his blood was the price of this pri- 
vilege ; the Lord should be unjust, and undervalue the blood of his Son, 
if he should not give that which he shed his blood to purchase. You must 
either believe upon this consideration, or blaspheme. It is the blood of 
the covenant, Heb. x. 29, by which the blessings of the covenant were 
purchased and are confirmed. Now that is one article of the covenant, 
that whatever we ask in Christ's name shall be given ; and his blood cries 
for the performance of this, and justice itself hears it. It is but a righteous, 
a just Uiing in reference to Christ, though pure mercy to U6« that all our 
prayers should be heard. 

(8.) The will of his divine nature ; this is transcendently a prayer. A 
prayer I call it, because his prayer on earth runs in the same tenor: John 
xvii. 24, < Father, I will,' &e. It is the will of Christ, as he is God, that 
all our prayers should be heard, else he would not so often promise it. A 
prayer transcendently, because though it differ from ours in form, yet it 
&r, yea infinitely, transcends them in efficacy. His bare will, as he is God, 
18 more effdctual for the comfortable returns of our petitions Uian if as man, 
and as he was upon earth, he should prostrate lumself, and with strong 
cries and tears importune the Lord to answer us ; for his divine will is 
all one with his Father's will, they differ not ; therefore if the Father 
should deny him, he should deny himself. Here is encouragement 
indeed ; we may as well imagine he will deny himself as doubt he will 
deny us. 

(4.) The desires of his human nature. This is effeotuallly a prayer, it 
has all that is essential to a prayer. The voice and outward posture are 
but accidents. It is a mental, though not a vocal prayer; has as much of 
a prayer in it as any angel or soul can make, 1 Sam. i. 18. This was his 
desire on earth, and this is his desire in heaven, that all our prayers may be 
answered. His affection to us was not impaired by his removal, but rather 
improved, and he that was heard in that which he feared will be heard in 
thttt which he desires. Now let faith put all these together, and it will be 
easy to read the necessity of an answer. Let it observe the premises, and 
it may well conclude the Lord will answer. If the Lord will hear his 
Son, i he will not deny himself, if he cannot be unrighteous, if he cannot 
be changeable, then he will hear us. 

4. The Spirit's office. He is a Spirit of supplication, Zech. zii. 10. It 
is his function to intercede for us, to pray in us, i. e., to make our prayers. 
He, as it were, writes our petitions in the heart, we offer them; he indites 
a good matter, we express it. That prayer which we are to believe 
will be accepted, is the work of the Holy Ghost ; it is his voice, motion, 
operation, and so his prayer. Therefore when we pray he is said to pray, 
and our groans are called his, and our design and intent in prayer his 
meaning, f ^^^^ux rou ^mltfiMrogf Bom. viii. 26, 27, &u¥afrt>jiififidnras ; he 
joins with us in prayer, and supports us under infirmities with his own 


starength, vrtpvrvyx^^' ^t ^A*^* ^^^^ prayer is the work of the Spirit, 
appears in many particalars. 

(1.) He stirs as ap to pray. He prepares and disposes, incites and inclines 
the heart to make requests ; removes that backwardness, averseness, in- 
disposedness, that is in ns naturally unto this spiritual service : Ps. z. 17, 
* Thou wOt prepare their hiaart.' He prepares it by his Spirit. IraerpdUUt 
says Augustine, qtUa irUerpellare nos facU. He intercedes for us, because 
he makes us to intercede. He stirs us up to do it, nos ad preoa inttiffat, 
excites us, provokes us to pray. NeMo spotUe pramecUUai vd unam sylhiam 
potest, no man of his own accord can premeditate one syllable, says Calvin, 
nisi areano spiritus sui instinetu nos Deus pulsat, but that €k)d by the secret 
instinct of his Spirit does knock up the heart to it ; he puts the heart into 
a praying frame, and sometimes excites us so powerfolly, as we cannot 
withhold from pouring out our souls before him. As it was with the 
prophet in another case, — Jer. xx. 9, * His word was in mine heart as a 
burning fire,' &c., — so, as to prayer, the workings of the Spirit are some- 
times so powerful in the heart, so fill the soul, tiiat it cannot contain, hot 
must vent itself, and pour out its requests. Thus with David: Fs. 
TTTJT. 2, 8, * I was dumb with silence ; I held my peace, even from good; 
and my sorrow was stirred. My heart was hot within me ; while I was 
musing, the fire burned : then spake I with my tongue.' Those that have 
i the spirit of prayer, do find this by experience, especially when the Lord 
intends, and is about to shew them some special £avour, or do some great 
thing for them, he stirs them up answerably to seek it; so that oto, if 
they observe it, they may discover the return of their prayers in the temper 
and workings of their hearts to it. The Spirit's preparing the heart to pray, 
signifies the Lord will cause his ear to hear. 

(2.) He presents matter, teaches what we shall pray for. This is plain 
in the apostle's expression. Bom. viii. We know not what is proper and 
expedient for us, what is seasonable, what is best for us, or when it will be 
so. We of ourselves would be ready to ask that which is impertinent, or 
unseasonable, or hurtful to us ; we would have ease, and liberty, and 
plenty, and deliverance out of troubles, or freedom from sufferings ; we 
would have joy and assurance, yea, triumphs and raptures ; we would have 
these or the like presently, and in full measure, at such a time, or in soeh I 
a degree as might be prejudicial to our souls ; and so we would seek them I 
if we were left to ourselves, if the Spirit did not better direct us, and lead 
us to what is most necessary, and proper, and advantageous. And this Mora 
et^v Imy/x^^^h he helps us to pray according to the will of God, for such 
things as are according to his will. Ut benepossU mens orwre, says Ambrose,* 
pr€B^U Spiritus f et dedueU earn in viam reetam ; that the soul may pray 
well, the Spirit goes before it, and guides it into the right way, that we 
may not seek what is carnal, nor things that are either too smidl or too 
great for us. A good physician knows what diet is most proper, and when 
it will be most for the advantage of health. The opportuneness of meat 
sometimes restores the health, which, if it be taken unseasonably, endangers 
the patient ; therefore, says he, because we know not what to pray for, and 
how we ought to seek it, postuUu pro nobis Spiritus, the Spirit intercedes for 
us, viz., by directing us what to ask. 

(8.) He helps his people to expressions ; and therefore tiiat manner of 
praying seems best, which gives most liberty to the Spirit in its woikiDgs, 
and leaves us under his influence and assistance, not only as to the inwaid, 
* Ambr. L iv., Epist 28. 


bat also as to the ontward manner of praying, letting the Spirit olotlie his'own 
matter in his own dress, and taking words from him as well as things, when 
he is pleased to afford them. I do not say that all the expressions nsed hy 
his people in prayer are from the Spirit, nor that he always helps them to 
expressions immediately. Whether they have them hy the use of aach 
means as he has appointed and concnrs with, or whether they have them 
hy immediate suggestion, either way they are from the assistance of the 
Spirit ; and that he is ready to assist them some way, even as to words, 
seems signified hy the apostle's expression. Bom viii. which I have opened 
before, and shall now farther insist on. The word is u^^Mvnty^dni ; ifrvy- 
X,dnn xarSt r/Va, is to act as an accuser, a xar^yo^og ; vvsgtvruy^dvtn Mg 
rim, is to act as an advocate, a ovt^yo^oi. And so the Holy Ghost is 
freqaenUy in the New Testament called an Advocate. Ila^axXijro;, as the 
Spirit is called hy onr Lord Jesns, is an Advocate, one called in for the 
assistance of a client. And very fitly may vra^Axkfirof be rendered an 
advocate, this comprehending the other notions, whereby it is expressed, 
particolarly that of a comforter, by which it is translated. For an advocate 
is the comfort and encohragement of his client, advises him, pleads for him, 
moves for him, draws up his petitions or motions, dictating the form or 
words. And so va^Xi^tg in other authors is sometimes used for a prayer 
or petition, and votfaxakiTif is to petition or invocate. Now the Holy Ghost 
is an advocate for his people, hoth with men and with God. And by 
observing how he performs Uiis office for them with men, we may probably 
eollect how he peHbrms it for them with God. He acts as an advocate for 
them with men, by telling them what they shall say when they are brought 
before men's tribunal, Mat. x. 20, Mark xiii. 11, Luke xii. 11, 12, and 
xxi. 14, 15 ; answerably he acts as their advocate with God by dictating or 
suggesting to them what they shall say in prayer, when they come to the 
throne of grace. And so the best interpreters that I meet with explain the 
expression. Vduti verba et sugpiria nobis intus dictat,* he doth as it were 
inwardly dictate to us words and sighs ; he assists us by his holy inspira- 
tion both with powerful and effectual words and sighs ; he telleth us as it 
were within what we shall say, prompteth as it were our lesson to us.f 

(4.) He stirs up affections in prayer suitable to the subject thereof, joy 
or sorrow, and love and delight, with earnest desires, called ertmyfihi ; fills 
the heart with affections and motions, as manifest themselves by sighs and 
groans, and cannot otherwise be expressed, therefore called aXaXiir^i ; so 
foil of affectionate worMngs as it cannot find vent by words. 

A pretender to the Spirit has more in his expressions than is in his heart ; 
bot one effectually assisted by the Spirit, has more in his heart than he 
ean express ; the words of those over-reach, but the expressions of these 
£dl short of what they feel within. The Spirit helps his people to the 
sense of their spiritual state, makes them sensible of their spiritual wants, 
their inward distempers, their soul-grievances ; makes them apprehensive 
of the importance, the necessity, the excellency of what they are to seek, 
and hence spring love to them, desires after them, zeal and fervour in 
seeking them. Hence those affectionate workings in their hearts, which 
are too big to be let out by words, which are signbied by sighs and groans, 
such as cannot otherwise be uttered. 

(5.) He sets graces in prayer; helps the weakness and infirmity of 
spiritual habits and principles, and draws them out into vigorous exercise. 
He helps the soul to approach with confidence, and yet with reverence ; 
* Besa. t Eng. Annot 

VOL. I. P 

210 FAZTB ZM nuTXB. [Jaicbs I. 6. 

with filial fear, and yet i?ith an emboldened fidth ; with zeal and importonity, 
and yet with humble snbmission ; with lively hope, and yet with eelf-deiuilL 
Ab it is the Spirit of Bupplioaiiony bo it is the Spirit of grace, not only 
works graee in the heart, but sets it a-work, and brings it into exercise, as 
in other acts and duties, so especially in that of supplication. 

(6.) He removes, or helps the sonl against distempers which are ready 
to seize on the soul in prayer, distractions, straitness of heart, indifferency, 
formality, lakewarmness, hypocrisy, weariness, pride, self-confidence. Now 
since thus much of prayer is to be ascribed to the Spirit, since he giyes 
both matter and form, expression and affection, the act and motion to the 
act, since he teaches both when, and what, and how we should pray, affords 
assistance answerable, well may believers* prayers be counted the work, 
&c., of the Spirit. And this consideration affords great encouragement to 
faith. If prayer were our own work only, we might fear it would be rejected, 
for all our righteousness is as filthy rags ; but the work of the Spirit must 
needs be acceptable, yea, accepted. If we ourselves only spoke, the Lord 
might shut his ear and refuse to hear sinners. But prayer is the voice of 
the Spirit : he speaks in us and by us. Mat. x. 20 ; and the Lord will 
certainly listen to that voice. Prayer is the motion of the Spirit, and what- 
ever motion he makes in the court of heaven, it can never be rejected. If 
we prayed of ourselves only, the Lord might refuse to send any comfortable 
returns ; but since the Spirit intercedes for us, the Lord cannot deny him, 
else he should deny himself. Nobis gemendi et inUrpeUandi impanit afechm,* 
The Spirit intercedes as effectually, though not in the same manner, as 
Christ. Christ intercedes by office, the Spirit by operation. Christ appears 
in person for us, and pleads our cause himself ; the Spirit inspires and 
assists us to plead for ourselves. Not only through Christ, but by the 
Spirit we have access, £ph. ii. 18. And will the Lord exclude those who 
have access by the Spirit ? The Spirit * strengthens us with might iu the 
inner man,' £ph. iii. 16, and the strength of the Spirit will prevul, as 
Jacob. Come armed with this strragth, and you may come boldly, Heb. 
X. 15, 19. 

5. Consider his proridence. That affords many encouragements to fluth. 

(1.) He hears those that cannot pray, answers that which cannot be 
called a prayer. He hears irrational creatures, brutes, listens to their cries, 
though they want both matter and form of praying. He rewards their veiy 
looks, answers their expectations, fulfils their desires, though they do not, 
nor cannot be properly said, either to look up to him, or wait on him, or 
desire of hitn. Ps. civ. 21, ' The young lions roar after their prey, and 
seek their meat of God ; ' ver. 27, * These wait all upon thee, that thon 
mayest give them their meat in due season : thou openest thine hand;' 
ver. 28, * They are filled with good ; ' Ps. cxlvii. 9, < He giveth to the beast 
his food, to the young ravens that cry ;' Ps. cxlv. 15, 16, * The eyes of all 
wait upon thee, and thou giveat them meat in due season : thou openest 
thine hand, and satisfiest tiie desire of every living thing.' They do bat 
open their eyes, and God opens his hand. They do but intimate a natural 
desire by crying and looking, and God satisfies. 

Now may faith say, as 1 Cor. ix. 9, < Doth God take care for oxen f or 
saith he it altogether for our sakes ? For our sakes no doubt, that he 
that prayeth should pray in fiedth,' &c. Will the Lord hear lions and ravens, 
and will he not hear me ? Will he satisfy their natural, and not my spiritual 
desires ? Will he regard when their eyes are lift up, and not the lifting 

* August. 


Jahib 1. 6.] riiTH m fba.txb*' 211 

np of my heart f Am not I much better than they ? It is Christ's own 
aigoment to strengthen faith. Mat. yI. 26. Shall he not much more hear 
me ? ver. 80. He that will doabt h^re, desenres the brand of eXiy&rtarogt 
may well pass for one that has little faith. It is very weak, if this will not 
snpport it. 
(2.) He grants some tilings to men that they pray not for ; mnch more 

"1 he grant whep they pray : Isa. ixv. 1, < I am found of them that sought 
me not ; ' ver. 24, * Before they call, I will answer.' Some things, nay, 
the greatest, are granted to those that pray not. No prayer had any infln- 
eoee in election, and our prayers did oontribate nothing to the glorioas 
work of redemption. These fountains of all oar mercies were digged with- 
oat the help of any ; the greatest, the sweetest streams of Iotc that issue 
hence ran freely, before our prayers can draw them out. Begeneration, 
JDstification, pardon, adoption, reconciliation, are bestowed on those who 
cannot, who will not pray for them. For we cannot unfeignedly desire 
these, before they are given ; and will we pray for that which we do not 
desire ? And how many other mercies, which we thought not of before we 
enjoyed them 1 Much precious fruit faUs into our laps, before we by prayer 
shake the tree. It may be they were the issue of some other's prayers, 
bat not of ours. Now if the water of life do flow in such streams upon us 
when we pray not, how pleasantly will they flow when they are drawn by 
the attractive power of prayer 1. If the Lord is found when we seek not, 
open when we knock not, answer when we call not, how much more will 
he open and answer when we knock and call 1 If the greatest be vouch- 
safed before we have hearts to pray, how confident may we be that prayer 
will obtain the less ! 

(8.) He makes some kind of returns to the prayers of unbelievers. He 
heard the vcnce of Ishmael, Gen. xzi. 17, 18, &c., a persecutor ; of Ahab, 
the most abominable of all the twenty kings of Israel. Now if they be 
heard in any sense, who hate God and are hated of him, they whose prayers 
are as the bowlings of dogs, an abomination, to whom God is no way engaged, 
who have none to intercede, none to help their infirmities, no promise, how 
mnch more those who are his servants, and have interest in the intercession 
of Christ? 

6. Consider the nature and dignily of prayer, which affords divers argu- 
ments to confirm faith. 

(1.) It is God's ordinance, instituted and enjoined for this end. He 
commands ns to pray, that we may be heard ; and therefore ordinarily, 
where you meet with a command, you find a promise : * Call upon me in 
the day of trouble, and I will answer ; ' 'Ask, and ye shall have,' Mat. viii. 
7, 8. When he commands prayer, he promises audience. It was his 
intention in this institution. Therefore if the Lord should not hear, his 
ordinance would be in vain, the Lord should lose his end. And is it not 
more easy to believe the Lord will hear it, than to believe he will come 
shcrt of his end ? 

(2.) He in Scripture adorns it vnth, and ascribes to it, many transcendent 
privileges, such as, considered, may fortify the most langaishing ftdth. 
There is a strength in prayer which has power with God : Hos. xii. 8, 4, 
' By his strength he had power with God : yea, he had power over the 
angel, and prevailed ; he wept, and made supplication unto him.' That 
straagth was weeping and sapplication. With this he wrestled. Gen. xxzii. 
24. He had power, i.<., was a prince, a princely deportment. * Poor dust 
and ashes, in a praying posture, are in the state of princes, hononiaUe and 


powerful, in snch a state as the Lord will not resist ; therefore it mnst 
prevail. The Lord may seem to wrestle, as though he wonld give a repulse 
to llie assanlts of prayer, but this is but to exercise the strength of this 
princely champion ; he honours it so much, as in the issue he always snffsrs 
it to prevail. No wonder if it be powerful, for it lays hold on God's strength. 
So some apply that, Isa. zzvii. 5, ' Let him lay hold of my strength, tiiat 
he may make peace with me, and he shall make peace.' The Lord, for 
our encouragement, condescends to express the power of grace in such 
terms, as though it laid some restraint upon his infinite self: Exod. xzxii. 
10, < Let me alone.* He seems so unwilling to deny prayer, as though he 
were unable to act anything against it. That is a transcendent expression, 
Isa. xlv. 11, ' Thus saith the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker, 
Ask me of things to come concerning my sons ; and the work of my hands, 
command ye ma.' A wonderful indulgence 1 An astonishing condescen- 
sion 1 As though askmg were commanding. It is blasphemy to imagine 
that the creature should command the sovereign Majesty of heaven ; yet 
thus much we may safely infer, prayer shall as surely prevail, as though it 
could command ; it shall prevail as much with God, though infinitely above 
us, as we can do with those who are under our command. 

(8.) Prayer is the Lord's delight, the most pleasing service we can 
ordmarily tender ; therefore he does not only most frequently command it, 
but importunately sue for it. Let me hear thy voice, says Christ to his 
spouse. Cant. ii. 14, for thy voice is sweet, ft is sweet as incense, Ps. 
cxli. 2 ; Frov. xv. 8, his delight ; ascends as ihe odour of a sweet smell ; 
BO sacrifice more acceptable. One sincere prayer pleases him better than 
hundreds of rams, or thousands of rivers of oU. Therefore, after he had 
declared how little he needs or regards sacrifices and burnt-offerings, he 
tells what would better please him: Ps. 1. 14, 15, * Offer unto God thanks- 
giving; and pay thy vows to the Most High : and call upon 1dm in the day 
of trouble ; I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.' The reason is, 
it most glorifies him ; it acknowledges and gives a clear testimony to most 
of his glorious perfections, power, wisdom, bounty, goodness, immensity, 
all-sufficiency, providence. Now Uiat which most glorifies him does most 
please, for his glory is the end of all his administrations. Now, will the 
Lord reject that which pleases him? will he not listen to that wherein his 
soul delights ? will he not make gracious returns to that which is the most 
acceptable service f 

(4.) He threatens men for not answering prayer : Prov. xxi. Id, * Whoso 
stoppeth his ears at the <Sty of the poor, he shall cry himself, bat shall 
not be heard.' Now, will he do that himsdf for which he threatens us ? 
Mat. xviii. 28. He will deal severely with those who will not hearken to 
the importunity of such as seek to them in their want and distress. 

7. The things prayed for may afford arguments for £uth. Either they 
are of great consequence or of small consequence. If small, then fidth 
may argue, WiU the Lord stand with me for small things 7 will he deny 
inferior mercies f will he who has granted greater things deny less ? wiU 
not infinite love vouchsafe small favours 7 will he who has given me Christ 
deny any thing, any small thing ? will not he who has delivered your souls 
firom death detiver your feet firom filling ? If of great consequence, fidth 
may argue, Though it be great, yet the Lord has granted greater to me, to 
others. Is anytiiing greater thui Christ f any of more importance than 
pardon of sin? is anymore precious than the blood of Christ? I can ask 
nothing so great but the Lord has already granted greater ; or, suppose it 

Jamib 1. 6.] ruTH IN PBAnB. 218 

be the greatest thing that ever was gnmted to or desired by jon, the 
greater it is the more encouragement to ask it, the more hopes God will 
grant it. It becomes the great God to grant great things, ' To him alone 
who does great wonders/ Ps. czzzvi. 4. When yon ask great things, yon 
ask such as becomes God to give, ' whose mercy is great aboTC the hea- 
yens,' Ps. hii. 10. Nothing under heaven can be too great for him to 
give. The greater things he bestows, the greater glory redomids to his 
name. Great and wondrons works speak the glorioas honoor of bis 
majesty, Ps. cxIt. 5. Great personages shew their magnificence by great 
presents ; it is their delight, their honour. God shews his infinite great- 
ness by doing such things, bestowing such favours, as are above the crea- 
tare*s power. Jehohsaphat argues, 2 Ghron. xz. 6, ' Art thou not God in 
heaven ? and rulest not thou over all the kingdoms of the heathens ? and 
in thine hand is there not power and might, so that not none is able to 
wittkstand thee ? ' But suppose the greatness of what you desire does dis- 
courage, consider it is great only in your apprehension. Nothing is great 
to God. See how he is described, Isa. xl. 15, 17, 22. What greater than 
this vast fabric of heaven and earUi 7 How did the Lord make this only 
with a word ? Let there be, and it was so, Ps. xxziii. 6. It is true the 
Lord speaks not, but this manner of expression tells us the effecting of the 
greatest things is no more to him than the speaking of a word is to us, 
2 Chron. xiv. 11, so 1 Sam. xiv. 6. It is all one with God to save by few 
or many ; to do that which seems great to us, as that which seems small. 

8. Consider the promises. The Lord has promised he will hear. If ye 
doubt he will hear, ye doubt he is not faithful. Consider how many, how 
universal, how engaging. 

(1.) The muUituds. No duty, no act, to which the Lord has made so 
many promises as to prayer. Now, why should the Lord multiply his 
promises, but that he will never fail to answer, but that he would have us 
to be confident we shall never fail ? 

(2.) UnivenaUty, He has promised again and again to hear whoever 
prajB, and grant whatever is prayed for. Whoever prays, whatever they 
pray for, they shall be answered, it shall be granted. Who8oei>er: Joel 
ii. 82, ' Whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered;* 
repeated Acts ii. 21 ; ' plenteous in mercy to all that call upon him,* 
Pb. Ixxxvi. 6; 'nigh to all,* Ps. cxlv. 16; « rich unto all,' Rom. x. 12. 
Whatsoever: ' All &ings whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye 
shall receive,* Mat. xxi. 22 ; John xvi. 28, ' Ye shidl ask me nothing ; 
whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you ; * 
1 John iii. 22, * Whatsoever we ask, we receive of him;* Jolm xv. 7, *Asik 
what you will, and it shall be done unto you.* 

(8.) The obUgement, It is more engaging to him than an oath, he more 
values it than we our lives. It is more valuable to him than heaven and 
earth ; he will suffer these to perish rather than a jot of his word shall fail : 
' Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my word shall not pass away.* 
The Lord would lose more by failing to answer than you by failing of an 
answer. That is engaged for your security, which is more precious to God 
than anything you ask: his word, truth, faithfulness, his seal, his oath, the 
blood of his Son, aU these are engaged in a promise. 

9. Consider your relation to God. He is your Father ; Christ teaches 
OS to begin with this. This is a strong support to faith, and Christ makes 
this use of it, to encourage us to pray, and pray in fiuth : Mat. vii. 7, 8, 
'Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it 

214 VAITH IK PR4TU. [JaMSB I. & 

shall be opened to yon,' &o. There is the promise.* The argnment whereby 
he wonld persnade ns fo believe the promise in praying, see ver. 9-11. 
The Lord is ready to give to them that ask, as the most indulgent fisher 
to the best beloved child ; nay, more ready, much more ready : * How 
much more shall your Father wMoh is in heayen give good things to them 
that ask himl' ver. 11. He is mnoh more ready to give the grestest 
iaTonrs, than earthly parents to give the least. That vrhieh is ffood thxn^ 
in MatUiew, is the Spirit in Lnke zi. 18. And what greater g^ than the 
Spirit? There are many things may hinder earthly parents, poverty, or 
covetonsness, bnt nothing to hmder God, he has infinite treasures and a 
large heart ; he can give whatever we ask, 'The earth is the Lord's,' fte.; 
and he is more willing, as mnoh more as heayen is above earth. 

10. He gets glory by hearing prayer. We do not only glorify him by 
praying, as I shewed before, bnt he glorifies himself by answering prayer, 
Ps. 1. The Lord gets by giving, gets that which is of more aeeonnt with 
him than what he gives. It is his interest to grant as well as ours to 
receive. If the Lord should reject our prayers, he would reject his own 

11. Consider the success of others, how effectual the prayers of God's 
ancient people have been ; this affords great encouragement. 

(1.) You never find any prayer wholly denied. In all the Scripture, not 
one example of a faithful prayer without a gracious return. ' He never 
said to the house of Jacob, Seek my fiice in vain.' Those instances wkidi 
seem to contradict this do confirm it. David prayed for the life of his 
child and prevailed not, but his prayer was answered in that the Lord gave 
him another child, honourably bom, and rarely endowed. Moses prays 
that he might take possession of Canaan, he vras not heard as to that par- 
ticular, but the Lord gratifies his prayer with a mirade, shews him what he 
desired in a miraculous way, commits the conduct of the Israelites to a 
dear relation of his, his servant Joshua, and, instead of the earthly, trans- 
lates him into the heavenly Canaan, where Moses will acknowledge it was 
the sweetest return of prayer he ever had experience of. Though on eaith 
he complained the Lord would not hear him, yet there he does praise the 
Lord for so answering his prayer. And if the Lord did never deny prayer, 
will he begin now ? 

(2.) He usually gave more than vnis prayed for : Pa. xxi. 4, ' He asked 
life of thee, and thou gavest it him, even length of days for ever and ever.' 
So to Solomon, 1 Kings iii. 9-18. Abraham prays for one, God gives 
many, by Hagar, Gen. xvii., Sarah, Eeturah, Gen. xxv. David desired one 
thing, Ps. xxvii. ; he gives that, and withal a kingdom, dominion, g^oiy. 
Jacob seems to desire nothing but for safety and necessity, bread and 
raiment, and to return in peace ; but the Lord adds plenty to safety, brings 
him back with great substance and a numerous issue : Gen. xxviii. 20, * V 
God will be wi& me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will ff^ 
me bread to eat, and raiment to put on.' There is his vow, his desire. 
See his return, chap, xxxii. 10, ' I went over this Jordan with this stafl^ 
and now I am become two bands.' And if the Lord will give more than is 
prayed for, sure, may fidth say, he will give as much. The Lord is not 
less bountiful now than in former times ; his ear is not straitened nor his 
hand shortened, his ear is as open to hear, and his hand as open to reward. 

(8.) Prayer procured greater things in former times than any you have 
now occasion to ask. It wrought miracles, and that may be ascribed to it 
which the apostle attributes to faith, Heb. xi. 88-86; fiuth in prayer, 

jAlfSS I. 6.] FAITH nf FBATXB. 215 

faithfnl prayer. This, as handled by Elias, was 9xe key of heaveB, which 
he thereby opened when and how he pleased, James v. 17, 18. Prayer 
preserved Daniel in the midst of devouring lions ; the opening of his month 
did shut theirs. This brought Jonah out of the midst of the sea, out of 
the belly of a whale, safe on shore. This revoked the sentence of death 
passed on Hezekiah, caused the sun to go backward, and brought an angel 
from heaven to destroy Sennacherib*s host. This ruined an army of ten 
hundred thousand, and made them fly and fall before Asa, 2 Chron. xiv. 12. 
It drew out the Lord's hand, destroys Jehosbaphat*s enemies by their own 
hands, arms them against themselves, and ruins them without his help, 
ehap. zx. This brings light into a dungeon, an angel from heaven into a 
prison, breaks off chuns, and opens iron gates, Acts zii. 5-7, &c. Bid it 
work miracles in former times, and will it not procure ordinary mercies 
now ? Is it lees effectual ? Does the Lord less regard it, or love us ? 

(4.) He heard his ancient people not only for themselves, but for others; 
for those whom he would not hear praying for themselves ; for unbelievers, 
for the most abominable of sinners ; and that not only for one, or few, but 
for whole cities, whole nations ; Abraham for Abimelech, a heathen, a 
prince in whose territories there was no fear of God. The Lord tells him 
this. Gen. zx. 7, and he was as good as his word, ver. 17. How often did 
he hear Moses for a whole nation in high rebellion against God I Even 
in the height of his fury he appeased him. Nay, he hears Abraham for 
five cities, the most abominable that were to be found on the earth. Gen. 
xviii. 23-83. He makes six motions for the Sodomites, and the Lord 
rejects not one. He condescends, even to astonishment. We may think 
it had been wonderful if the Lord had but yielded to the first, to save five 
whole cities destined to destruction, if there had been in them but fifty 
righteous persons ; but so prevalent is prayer, as the Lord yields to save 
&fe cities for ten men, verse 82. Now if the Lord will hear his people 
for others, will he not hear me for myself? If he would hear them for 
heathens, rebels, idolaters. Sodomites, will he not hear me in covenant 
with him, justified by him, obedient to him, approved of him? 

Ob;. But does not the church complain : Ps. Izxx. 4, ' Lord God of 
hosts, how long wilt thou be angry against the prayer of thy people ?' 
Lam. iii. 8, ' When I cry and shout, he shutteth out my prayer.' 

Afu. This may be misapprehension ; think the Lord angry when he is 
not; or when not at their prayers, but at their sins. Zion complains, 
* The Lord had forsaken,' &c., but the Lord convinces her it was a mis- 
take, Isaiah xlix. 14-16. They thought the Lord denies because he 
delayed ; think him angry, because he did not answer presently; whereas 
delay itself is sometimes a gracious answer, a sign of love rather than 
anger. To besUfw mercies when petitioners are unfit for them, is to 
answer prayer in anger ; to defer till then is love« Their eyes may be so 
fixed on the particubr desired, as to take no notice of whatever other is 

12. Consider your own experiences, how many times God has answered 
your prayers formerly; that will be a great encouragement to trust him for 
time to come. Those that have tried God, are inexcusable if they will not 
tmst him. His word is a sufficient ground for fidth in prayer; but expe- 
rience, withal, should exclude all doubting. This should both encourage 
to pray and believe. David made this use of it : Ps. cxvi. 2, < Because he 
hath inclined his ear unto me, therefore will I call upon him as long as I 
live.' Those who know what it is to eigoy communion with God in prayer, 


and make conscience to pray freqaenUj and fervenUj, mast needs have 
many experiences of sweet returns. It may be yon have been afflicted in 
conscience, and by ciying to God, found comfort, as Dayid, Psalm cxvi. ; 
or in doubts and perplexities, ' I cried to God, he resolved me ;* or in 
wants and necessities, and ' he supplied me ;' or in fear and dangers, and 
'he deliyered me;' or in trouble and affliction, and 'he supported and 
relieved me,' and sanctified it to me; or under temptation, buffeted by 
Satan, and ' his grace was sufflcient for me ;' or assaulted with some strong 
lusts, and * he subdued them, and strengthened me ;' or very desirous of 
some blessing, and ' he bestowed it on me.' Now faith should argue from 
these experiences. The Lord has heard me formerly, and why should I 
doubt but he will hear me now? He is the same God still, and prayer is 
as prevalent, as acceptable. My person and services were unworthy theo, 
and this did not hinder, therefore it will not now, Ps. vi. 9. Paul's faith 
grows confident from former experiences : 2 Tim. iv. 17, * The Lord stood 
with me, and strengthened me,' &c. There is his experience. See what 
inference his fiedth makes, verse 18, < The Lord shall deliver me from eveiy 
evil work,* &c. So David, 1 Sam. xvii. 84-87. In like manner we should 
conclude, because the Lord has heard me so frequently, so freely, so 
graciously, notwithstanding all my failings, weaknesses, nnworthiness, 
^erefore I will believe he will hear me still, he will answer me for time to 

18. Limit not yourselves, nor the Lord, to the particular desired. Yon 
may pray in faith, though you be not confident that the very thing desired 
shall be granted ; for if you apprehend that this is the only way to pray m 
fiuth, you will neglect oUier ways. And since this particular confidence is 
but required sometimes, you will but pray sometimes in faith, whereas this 
is always required. To prevent this, consider there are divers acts which 
£uth may put forth in prayer, any of which, in its season, will make the 
duty a prayer of faith. 

(1.) Sometimes determinately ; or, if the word be not too bold, peremp- 
torily. Faith may so act when you pray, being in covenant, for things 
absolutely necessary for God's glory and your salvation, those things which 
have a necessary connection with these. So you may ask in faith so much 
of temporal or spiritual blessings, as without which you cannot honour 
God, or be serviceable in your callings, and be confident of receiving 

Or, when the Lord promises peremptorily and absolutely, faith is to 
keep proportion with ^e promise. If he promise absolutely, we may 
believe absolutely that we shall receive : so Heb. xiii. 5, ' I will never 
leave thee, nor forsake thee.' He promises peremptorily ; so we desire 
he would not forsake us, and believe we shall be heard in this deter- 
minately : so John xiii. 1, he says absolutely, * Having loved his own, he 
loved them to the end.' So we may pray he would love us with an ever- 
lasting love, and believe that he will hear us in this particular : so Bom. 
vi. 14, < Sin shall not have dominion over you.' 

Or when he ))romises conditionally, but has made you partakers of the 
condition ; for then it is equivalent to an absolute promise : so Mark xvi. 
16, ' He that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved.' If he have given 
faith, you may pray for salvation, and believe that he will hear, t.0., he 
will save : Prov. xxviii. 18, < He that confesseih and forsaketh his sins, 
shall have mercy.' If he have enabled you to confess and forsake your 
sins, in judgment, affection, and practice, you may pray for and expect to 

James I. 6.] waitr in pbatbb. 217 

find merey. So Mat. v., if 70a monm, yon may pray for comforti and 
believe you shall receive it. 

(2.) Sometimes indefinitely. That is, wlien yon believe yonr prayer 
shall be heard, though faith define not, t.^., pitch not upon any particular 
way, bow, or when, or in what kind. He may be sometimes said to pray 
in faith who believes his person and prayer shall be accepted, though faith 
expect not a particular answer. This has place when the promise is in- 
definite, when a mercy is promised under a general notion, without defining 
the way, time, manner, kind, when, and how, or in what it shall prove a 
mercy to me : so Rom. viii. 28, ' All things work together for good to them 
that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.' K 
you pray that such an occurrence or dispensation may work for good, and 
believe that it shall in general, though you be not confident that it shall 
do it in such a manner, time, way, degree, yet you may pray in faith : 
so Isaiah iii. 10, ' Say to the righteous that it shall be well with him.' If 
you pray it may go well in every condition, and believe it shall, and you 
shall receive a suitable answer : so Joel ii. 82, * Whosoever shall call on 
the name of the Lord, shall be delivered.' Though ye believe not ye shall 
be delivered at such a time, in such a manner, by such means ; yet if in 
general ye be confident of deliverance, ye shall have it. 

(8.) Sometimes disjunctively. Believe not precisely that you shall 
receive this you pray for ; but either this, or some other ; something as 
good or better in reference to God's glory and your happiness ; this is 
sufficient when you are not certain whether that you pray for be best for 
you ; I say not, whether it seem, but whether it be. In this case, it is not 
required you should believe determinately that you shall receive what you 
pray for, but disjunctively, either this, or some other. In such a condi- 
tion was Paul : Philip, i. 23, 24, * I am in a strait betwixt two, having a 
desire to depart, and to be with Christ ; which is far better : nevertheless 
to abide in the fiesh is more needful for you.' When you are in such a 
strait you may pray for what you apprehend to be best, but not believe you 
shall be heard in that precisely; but either in that, or some other thin^ 
better or equivalent ; so in praying for riches, posterity, deliverance, and 
indeed all things that are in their own nature, or to you, indifferent ; you 
may desire riches, &c., but it is not necessary you should be confident that 
God will make you rich ; but either do this or something as good. 

(4.) Sometimes conditionally. We are to pray for nothing but what is 
commanded or promised ; and the things we are to pray for are held forth 
in the word with two sorts of conditions, some annexed to the promise, 
some to the thing promised. Spiritual blessings are conditional, because 
sometimes conditions are annexed to the promises, whereby God engages 
himself to give them. Now when he has already wrought the conditions, 
we may pray in £uth for them absolutely, as before. When the conditions 
are not wroaght, then we should for the conditions themselves, not for the 
blessings conditionally : as Mat. v. 6, that we may hunger and thirst after 
righteousness ; and Rev. ii. 10, that we may be faithful unto death. Tem- 
poral blessings are conditional, because conditions are annexed to the things 
themselves, and they are such as these : if it seem good, if it be thy will, 
if it be for thy glory, if it be for my soul's good. Temporal favours are to 
be asked in faith, but fiuth must act conditionally. The like is to be 
observed about the removal of afflictions, and vouchsafing of spiritual 
favours that tend to our well-being : fiuth in asking these must be acted, 
but acted conditionally, and with submission. An example we have in 


DaTid, a man strong in faith and mneb in prayer : 2 Sam. xv. 25, 26, * If 
I shall find favoor in the eyes of the Lord, he will bring me again, and 
shew me both it and his habitation. Bat if he thus say, I have no delight 
in thee; behold, here I am, let him do to me as seemeth good nnto 
him.' And in Christ himself, his faith acted conditionally : Mat. zxvi. 89, 
< K it be possible, let this cap pass from me : neyertheless, not as I will, 
bat as thoa wilt' 

14. Labonr to remove those disoonragements which hinder the exercise 
of faith in prayer, or weaken it in its actings. 

(1.) Great discooragement is, jealoosy that the Lord has not heard yon 
formerly. K yoa entertain sach coneeits that God has denied, rejected 
yonr petitions formerly, yon may be apt to fear he will, or may do so fSor 
time to come. Bach fears and jeabasies are as worms at the root, or as a 
palsy in the hand of ficdtb, deprives it of strength and stedfastness ; they 
are as storms, which ansettle, shock faith, and make it waver as a wave of 
the sea, ver. 7. This mast be removed, as inconsistent with that confi- 
dence which the Lord expects in all that approach to him. To remove it, 
consider, the Lord may answer yonr prayers when yon take no notice of it. 
He has many ways to answer oar petitions, whenas we ordinarily take 
notice bat of one ; and if the retam come not that way, we conclade there 
is none, and thereby both wrong the Lord and oorselves. We may think 
he does not hear, we are not answered, when he both hears and answers na. 
Take notice how many ways God may answer yonr prayer, and you will 
see mnch more reason to conclade that he granted all, thoogh yon did not 
observe how, than that he ever denied any. 

[1.] Prayer is answered when it is accepted, thoogh there be no other 
effect of it visible. Prayer is not in vain, if the person be accepted, and 
the service approved. Do yon think it is nothing to please God, to do 
that wherein his sonl delights, to offer that which ascends to him aa the 
odoar of a sw^t smell ? Is it nothing to obey God, to honoar him, to 
give a testimony to his glorioas perfections ? Is it nothing, to be admitted 
to sach sweet intimate commanion with God in sach a familiar way, to 
speak to him as a man to his friend, as a child to his &ther ? Suppose 
yon shoald reap no other benefit by prayer, is not here as mnch as wiD 
amoant to an answer ? If you will not measare the retam of yonr prayers 
by lower inferior advantages, these are the most blessed retnms. It ahoold 
be more desirable in yoar accoant to please him, than to be happy yonr- 
selves. His glozy shoald be more valaable than yonr salvation, or all the 
means that tend to it. And sach society with him shoald be esteemed the 
first-fraits of heaven. Yet these are the privileges of every accepted 
prayer ; and therefore, if it be accepted, thoagh it obtain nothing more, it 
is abandantly answered. 

[2.] He sometimes makes prayer an answer to itself, answers when yon 
are praying : Isa. Ixv. 24, * While they are yet speaking, I will hear ;' not 
only hears, bat answers, answers the prayer by enabling as to pray, Dan. 
ix. 20, 21. While Daniel was speaking in prayer, an angel was sent in 
answer to his desires. Yon will jndge this is a sweet retam. Bat how 
maeh more is it for the Holy Ghost to be sent into the heart, and thereby 
to have powerfal assistance, comfortable enlargements, heavenly affections, 
and vigoroas exercise of graces ; to have the soal winged with holy affec- 
tions, to fly into the bosom of Christ ; to have heaven as it were opened, 
and the veil withdrawn, that the light of God's conntenance may break ont 
and shine npon the soal 1 These are the greatest, the sweetest of spiritoal 

James I. 6.J faith in pbatbb. 219 

Uesflings, and infinitelj traDseend all outward enjoyments, Ps. iv. &^. 
Well then may they he accounted most hlessed answers. 

[8.] He sometimes answers prayers by discoTering the defects of prayer, 
eonyincing his people of those failings which might make them fail of being 
answered ; discovers the defects of prayers, and the sinfulness of them, 
fbrnudify, Inkewannness, unbelief, carelessness, sloth, irreyerence, hypo- 
crisy, self-seeking, or what else may render their prayer offensive. If 
prayer obtain this, to have such sins, and the evil of them discovered, it 
is a great advantage, a great mercy ; and if it obtain so much, sure it is 
not unanswered. 

[4.] It is a gracious answer sometimes to be denied. Ton account it a 
good answer to a petition when you have that which is better than the 
things desired ; but when you desire that which is not good, the denial is bet- 
ter tiban the grant. The denial is a mercy, the grant would be a judgment. 
8o it was witii David : he was importunate for the life of his child ; but 
was it not better for him that the Lord granted not its life, since it would 
have been a living monument of his ignominy, wherein every beholder 
might have read both his shame and heinous sin ? The Lord is merciful 
oftentimes in denying outward blessings, worldly enjoyments, to his chil- 
dren ; denies them plenty of temporals, lest it should bring leanness into 
their souls ; denies Uiem health, that their souls may prosper ; denies com- 
fort in dearest relations, by making them cross and uncomfortable, lest 
they should steal away the heart from himself. These denials are great 
mercies, and therefore sweet returns of prayer. 

[5.] He sometimes answers, by bestowing only some degree of the thing 
desired, not the whole. The Lord answers Moses's prayer, by giving him 
a view of Canaan, not the full possession. Those who pray for increase of 
grace are answered, when the Lord draws out the heart in stronger desires 
after it. Desires after grace are a degree of grace. If the messenger of 
Batan, against which Paul prays, were some corruption, his prayer was 
answered, not totally, so as to be freed from assaults, but in some degree, 
so as to have power sufficient to resist. The prayers of God's people for 
the destruction of antichrist are answered in some degree, in that the 
impostures of that man of sin are discovered, and so many nations fallen 
off; many hate her, though make her not desolate. 

[6.] He may hear the prayer, though he do not answer it presently. 
Delay is no denial : prayer is sure to be heard, though the Lord sometimes 
seems slow in granting what is prayed for. Delay is sometimes a mercy. 
He never defers, when it is seasonable to grant : 2 Pet. iii. 9, ' The Lord 
is not slack, as some men count slackness ;' t. tf., as though he had altered 
bis purpose, forgot his promise, or careless to accomplish either. He 
deiemd in mercy, in long-suffering. He is not slack, though he may seem 
so to ns, ver. 8. The promise was of the day of judgment, the coming of 
Christ, which is the prayer of the church, Bev. zx. 20. Quickly, because 
as soon as ever it is seasonable, he will come instantly, not defer one 
moment. As soon as it will be a mercy : Luke zviii. 17, * Shall not God 
avenge his elect, though he bear long with them ? I tell you that he will 
avenge them speedily.' Stay long, and yet speedily. He stays that we 
may exercise £uth in prayer, Heb. z. 85, &c. Christ prayed for his ene- 
mies, and was answered after his resurrection. Stephen prayed for his 
persecntors, and answered after his death in Saul's conversion. How long 
did God's ancient people pray for the coining of the Messiah, and the pri- 
mitive Christians for good magistrates, all the futhful for the ruin of anti- 

2&0 7AITH IN nULYKSL. [JaMBB L 6. 

oHrist, and the primiiiTe martyrs for yengeance againsf their persecators? 
Bey. yi. 10. Prayers are seed, though they as it were lie under ground; 
talents laid up in heayen for improyement. One talent in prayer will be 
improyed to ten in its return. Though the answer be as a cloud m your 
days, it may coyer the heayens for your posterity, and rain showers of 
blessings. The last times will be times of greatest mercies, because the 
times of so many prayers, many answers are reseryed for them. There 
is therefore no reason to conclude you are denied, because not presently 
answered. * 

[7.] He may grant the mercy desired, though not to the person for 
whom it is desired. He may answer your prayers by bestowing that on 
another which you desire for yourselyes. So Moses was answered ; he 
desired himself might conduct the Israelites into Canaan ; the Lord appoints 
a dear relation of his, Joshua his seryant, to be their conductor, and pro- 
yides better for Moses ; or he may bestow that upon yourselyes which yoa 
desire for others ; so he answered David, Ps. xzxy. 18 ; his prayer retoraed 
into his own bosom. The Lord will not suffer prayer to be in yain for 
hypocrites, for such were these, yer. 11, 12 ; or by bestowing it upon one 
as dear to thee as he that is prayed for. Abraham desired the promise 
might be accomplished in Ishmael, the Lord fulfils it to Isaac. Isaac 
intended and desired the blessing might fall upon Esau, the Lord bestows 
it on Jacob ; and what Dayid desires for his first child by Bathsheba, he 
grants to the second, to Solomon ; the apostles desired the benefits of the 
Messiah might principally be the portion of the Jews, the Lord youchsafes 
them to the Gentiles. There is no reason to conclude he denies, becaose 
he answers not as to the individual. 

[8.] He answers by granting something else in lieu of what is desired, 
though he bestow not the same thing. He answers if he grant something 
as good, something better : Jer. xly. 5, ' Seekest thou great things for 
thyself? seek them not : for, behold, I will bring evil upon all flesh, saith 
the Lord ; but thy life will I give unto thee for a prey.' It was better for 
Barnch to have his life where he went, than to enjoy a plentiful estate 
where he would have no security of his life. God seldom or never denies 
the particular desired, but he gives something as good or better, in one or 
all tiiese four respects. 

. Ist, In. kind. When we pray for temporals, he gives spirituals. The 
apostles desired Christ would rule as a temporal king ; he uses them as his 
instruments to erect a spiritual kingdom. They desire outward prefer- 
ment, to sit at his right hand or left in worldly pomp ; he assures them of 
spiritual and eternal glory, they should sit upon twelve thrones. 

2d, In reference to the rule of goodness, his own will ; which being 
summi bona^ that which is agreeable must needs be best That is aff«t»», 
which is T2 &i2j &^fgro9. That is best for us which pleases him best. If 
he make not a return according to our wills, yet always according to his 
will ; and that being the rule of goodness, that which is conformable to it 
is best for us. 

8d, In reference to the great end of all we pray for, God*s glory. If 
he give not the very thing desired, yet he will give something that will tend 
more to his glory ; and that which most conduces to it is best ; not only 
in respect of God, but us, for our chief happiness consists in his glory ; 
the more we honour him the more is our happiness, and that is best, sore, 
which makes us most happy. That is a sweet answer to prayer, when he 
gives that which is better than what we desire. 


4th, In referenco to the particnlar end of joor desire. If he give not the 
merey desired, jet something that will as much advance the end for which 
yon desire it. And if you have your end for which, what you aimed at, 
you have your desires, for the means is not otherwise desirable. As if 
yon desire a blessing that you may live contentedly; if he bestow not that, 
but another mercy that will afford as much or more contentment. You 
desire an alteration of your condition, that you may live more contentedly; 
if the Lord do not alter your condition, but change your heart, so as to 
make it contented with your present state, though he do not raise your 
condition in respect of riches, credit, as high as your desires, yet if he 
bring down your heart and desires to your condition, so as to be tiierewith 
fully satisfied and contented, he gives that which is as good or better than 
what you desire, and so zetums a sweet answer to your prayers. Or if 
your desires pitch upon some particular means to subdue a lust, though he 
grant not, yet if he offer another, which is as or more effectual to subdue 
that lust, he grants what is as good or better. Or if you desire the removal 
of some affliction, that you might with more liberty and cheerfulness serve 
the Lord, though he remove it not, yet if he enable you under that afflic- 
tion to serve him with as much cheerfulness and enlargement of heart, he 
grants your request, and answers your prayers. 

2. Discouragement is sense of unwortluness. A humble soul will be 
apt to say, How can I believe the Lord will hear me who am so vile, not only 
in respect of the common condition of mankind, being but dust and ashes, 
a worm, less, worse, but also being more than ordinary sinful, having often 
profaned this ordinance, and abused former comfortable returns ; and in 
respect of my condition in the world, being so mean and contemptible, as 
I cannot be confident of access to men of any extraordinary note in the 
world ; how much less can I be confident of acceptance or audience with 
the great and holy God ? 

To remove this, consider, 

(1.) The Lord never heard any that either were really worthy, or did 
account themselves so. All that ever had access to, and audience with 
God, have been really, and in their own esteem, unworthy. The Lord 
requires not that his people should bring any worth with them to com- 
mend their prayers to him. The want of personal worth did never hinder 
the Lord from answering prayer. Therefore no reason to be discouraged 
for want of that which is neither necessary nor ever was present. No flesh 
is justified in his sight. 

(2.) The more unworthy, and withal the more sensible of it, the more 
hopes of answer and acceptance. This is so fEur firom being any just impedi- 
ment to faith, as it should rather encourage it; for Scripture and experience 
teO us it is both the Lord*s gracious disposition and practice to do most 
for them who are, or seem to themselves to be, most unworthy : * He fills 
the hungry,' Luke i. 58, 48, but < oasts down the mighty,' ver. 52. He 
pronounces them blessed who are poor. Mat. v. ; calls not many wise and 
noble, 1 Cor. i. 26-28 ; seeks that which is lost, Luke vi. 19, 20 ; saves 
rinners, the chief of them, 1 Tim. i. 15 ; invites beggars, sends out his 
servants to fetch them, Luke xiv. 21, 28 ; those who have no money, no 
worth, worth nothing, Isa. Iv. ; pities those whom no eye pities, Ezek. 
xvi. 6 ; condescends lowest to those who are lowest. He takes pleasure 
in it, he gets honour by it. Hereby is the freeness, the riches of grace 
made more conspicuous, infinite mercy appears more merciful. 

Consider bat the different demeanour and success of the Pharisee and 

222 VAiTH nr pbatxb. [Jamss L 6. 

pabliean as to this dniy, and it will put it past doabt. Consider what self- 
confidenoe and conoeitedness in the one, what humility and sense of 
onworthiness in the other : Lake zviii. 10 to the 15th, * This man went 
away justified, rather than the other.' Justified, t. «., pardoned, aoeepted, 
answered. Rather, u e., ezolusively ; he was justified, and not the other. 
The reason is observable : ver. 14, * For every one that ezalteth himself 
shall be abased ; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.* Sense of 
unworthiness should rather strengthen than discourage.' 

(8.) Prayer and praying in faith is not only a privilege, but a du^; and 
is any one unworthy to do his duty ? If it was only a privilege, unworthi- 
ness might be some plea to keep off sinners from meddling with prayer or 
acting faith, but since it is a duty, you cannot witii any reason, cannot 
without absurdity make use of it to discourage you. What, are jon 
unworthy to obey God, to do what he conmiands, to do as he requires ? 
The very conceit of this is absurd ; men would laugh at such a plea ; God 
will be far from accepting it. Would you take it well from your servant, 
if he should neglect to do what you command under pretence that ha is 
unworthy to obey you ? Yes, you would count it a jeer, you will think 
him idle, and foolish too in finding no better excuse for his idleness. The 
case is alike in reference to God ; we are unworthy to receive, but not to 
obey. There is no show of reason why this should be a discouragement. 

(4.) Though you be unworthy to be heard, yet Christ is worthy ; it is 
he that undertakes to present your petition, and procure an. answer. 
Believers, when they are found praying, they are found as Paul, Philip, 
iii. 9, * not having their own righteousness, but that which is through the 
faith of Christ, that which is of God by faith.* Faith makes Christ yours, 
and so his righteousness yours. It unites to Christ as to your head : 
Caput et membra mnt quad una mystiea persona. When the Lord looks 
on you he finds you having Christ's righteousness, and that is enough 
to make both persons and prayers righteous, to cover all unworthiness in 
either that might hinder acceptance. Though Christ conmiunicates not 
his merits, so as we can deserve anything, yet he communicates the efficaey 
and benefits of interest in his merits, so as if they be not ours they are for 
us ; he deserves, he is worthy that we should be heard. 

8. Discouragement is weakness of prayers. A humble soul will be ^»t 
to say, I am not only unworthy, but my prayers are weak; much unlike to 
the prayers of God*s people formerly, accompanied with many infirmities, 
deadness of heart, straitness of spirit, formality, distractions. 

To remove this, consider, 

(1.) You may mistake, and think your prayers weak, when they are 
strong. The strength of prayer consists not in anything outward, not in 
expressions either by word or tears, not in outward gestures or enlarge- 
ments. It is a hidden, an inward strength. Those may be sometimes 
the signs, but never the sinews. Men may judge of its strength by multi- 
tude, vehemency, or patheticabiess of expression; but ' the Lord seeth not 
as man seeth ; man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord 
looketh on the heart,' 1 Sam. xvL 7. Man's judgment differs far from his; 
man may judge that weak which he judges strong. The strength of prayer 
lies in the heart, in the motion of the affections, and the exercise of graoes; 
and above all affections, in zeal ; above all graces, in faith. Faith and 
fervency is the strength of prayer ; faith principally, and fervency bat as it 
springs from faith. All affectionateness without this is not prevalent, not 
powerful. Cut out of £edth, and you cut out of the strength of prayer; for 


though it be the most prevalent exercise on earth, and has power both 
with God and men, yet withont £uth, it is Hke Samson deprived of his 
loclji, Jadges xvi. 17. The great champion of Israel, his strength went 
from him, and he became weAk, and like another man. So prayer when 
withont faith it becomes weak, and like those bodily exercises which profit 
not. Yon should not be disconraged from believing, because your prayers 
are wea)c, bat rather he hereby persuaded to exercise futh that your prayers 
may be strong. 

(2.) iBxamine whether those weaknesses be voluntary or involuntary, 
whether through unavoidable infirmity, or carelessness, sloth, and negU- 
genoe. If they be voluntary, prayer is weak, and you willing and content 
it should be so ; if slothful, and will not stir up yourselves to lay hold on 
God ; want strength, because you will not exercise it, will not summon up 
spiritual forces of affection and graces to follow after God, then I confess 
your condition is sad, and full of sin and discouragements. So long as you 
continue thus slothful, the word affords little encouragement. You must 
pny* ^ you would be heard, not pray as though you prayed not. You 
must cry, if you would be answered ; offer up stroi)g cries. You must 
follow hard after God, if you would find him ; lay hold on him, and stir up 
aU your strength to do it, if you would eiyoy him. But if these weaknesses 
be involuntary, t. «., if you bewail, mourn for them ; if they be your burden 
and affliction ; if you long, thirst, breathe after more strength ; if you 
earnestly endeavour to shake off these distempers, and be diligent in the 
use of ail appointed means to gather more strength to your prayers ; this 
mourning, longing, endeavouring are signs the Lord will not take notice of 
your infirmities, will not charge your weaknesses upon you, nor impute 
them to you ; they shall not hinder the Lord from hearing and answering, 
nor should not hinder you frt)m believing. In these cases, the Lord accepts 
the will for the deed, 2 Ck>r. viii. 12, answers and rewards weak prayers as 
though they were strong. He stands* not so much upon the quantity of 
your strength, but that he will accept the sincerity of your endeavours. He 
will look upon you and reward you, not according to what you are, but 
would be. He> that has but a little strength, and puts it all out in prayer, 
ahaU more prevail than he that prays wit£ much strength comparatively, if 
he do not pray with all. This is plain from Christ^s testimony of the widow, 
Luke xxi. 8. Her two mites was more than twenty talents cast in by one 
thai had an hundred. The Lord is so gracious, he will accept of a little 
from those who cannot do much, better than of much from them who can 
do more. He despises not the day of small things, takes special notice of 
a little strength in Philadelphia, Bev. iii. 8. There is no reason, therefore, 
to be discouraged from weaknesses, if not voluntary. 

(8.) If you be weak, labour to pray in faith, that yon may be strong. 
This should rather be a motive, than a discouragement. Would you think 
him reasonable who, being weak, would neglect or refuse nourishment, 
because he is weak ? He should rather receive it, and has more need to 
do it, that he may be strong. So here. To act faith in prayer, is the best 
way to get ability and strength to pray powerfully. Faith draws together 
both domestic and auxiliary forces, stirs up the strength of the soul, and 
withal engages the strength of Christ ; and they that wrestle with that 
strength shidl surely prevail. The efficacy of the head is divided into the 
body, by means of the union betwixt head and members. Now it is faith 
that miites to Christ ; he who has all power in heaven and earth dwells in 
our hearts by fitdth, it makes his strength ours. The ancients, through 


faith, * out of weakneBS were made strong,' Heb. zi. 84 ; not only strong 
in battle, to prevail against the armies of the aliens, but strong in prayer, 
to prevail with God. If you woold be strong in prayer, yon must pray in 
iaitii, that your weaknesses may be hereby scattered, infirmities pnt to flight. 
These should not drive yon from your confidence, bat engage yon to be 
confident, since this is the only way to grow strong. 

4. Disconragement. My prayers are not only weak, bat sinfbl. The 
weakness is too voluntary ; sloihfxd, and too willing to be so, loth to stir 
up myself ; lukewarm, and shake it not off ; pray as though grace were 
asleep, and my soul in a slumber. 

Ana. I must suppose that, though there be much sinfulness and weak- 
ness in your prayers, yet there is something gracious, else there can be 
nothing spoken tiiat will afford the least encouragement ; though much 
corruption, yet something spiritual ; though much of the flesh, yet some 
workings of the Spirit ; some actings of grace, though in a low degree ; 
some desires after God that are sincere, though weak; some motions towtrd 
Christ, though slow and feeble ; some apprehensions of the Lord, though 
distracted and hindered with other impertinencies ; some heat, so much as 
argues the soul alive to God, though in a slumber ; though much of sin, 
yet something of holiness. This supposed, take what I have to say in this 
case in two propositions. 

(1.) So fEur as your prayers are sinful, you can expect no answer ; God 
will not reward, cannot approve the sinfulness of prayer. 

[1.] Sinful prayers, as sinful, are all one in God's account as other sinfol 
acts. And the wages of these are death ; no other reward can be expected 
for these but this ; expect rather he should punish than answer. It is troe 
these or other sins are pardoned, through the satisfEiction of Christ, to those 
that repent and believe. You must repent for the sins of those prayers, 
and pray that the Lord would pardon them, and then believe he will pardon; 
and this is all faith is to expect in this case. Christ never purchased any- 
thing, nor did the Lord ever promise anything, to prayers as they are sinful. 
You cannot expect God should answer or reward them as such ; it is infinite 
mercy that he will pardon them. Gracious acts, as such, will be rewarded ; 
but as sinful, it is well if they be pardoned. 

[2.] though the Lord pardon, yet he may, and usually does, eorreet his 
people for them. They will not be rewarded ; all that Christ procured for 
them is pardon, nor such a pardon as will exempt them from smarting 
sufferings. He does visit sinful prayers with stripes. Though he pardon, 
yet he may chastise severely, Ps. xcix. 8. It is madness, a hellish impos- 
ture, to think God is as well pleased with us acting sinfully, as graciously. 
He rewards this, he will not pardon that without satisfaction of infinite 
value ; nor so, but he will manifest his displeasure by afflicting. 

[d.] Though these afflictions tend to good, yet the way is grievons. 
They tend to good to believers, as it is promised. Bom. viii. It is good 
for them that are afflicted. So it is good for one in a lethargy to be 
cupped, for one whose wounds are gangrened to be cut, lanced, cauterised. 
These are good in these cases, but grievous in themselves. Were it not 
better to be in health, to want wounds, than to need such cures, to be in 
such a condition, when nothing will be so good as that which is so grievous? 
It is madness to think it is not better to shake off sloth, than to pray so as 
we can expect no answer, so as we must pray for pardon of prayers and 
bring afflictions. Prayers as sinful must not be answered, may be par- 
doned, will be chastised for the good of believers, but in a way that is 

James 1. 6.J faith in p&ateb. 225 

grieroQS, and in itself no way desirable. Yon see what we mast expect 
from prayers as sinficd. 

(2.) So far as the prayer is gracious, there is enconragement. For, 
[1.] The Lord will accept, and in some way or other answer, a prayer in 
any degree gracious, though there be much corruption or weakness in it. 
Thai prayer where grace is acted, though weakly, and in which the Spirit 
assists, though less powerfully, is more or less acceptable. For, 1, grace 
is the work, the gift of God, Deia coronal dona ma. He accepts, rewards 
his own gift, whereyer it is. And the work of the Spirit is well pleasing to 
him, though its attendants be offensive ; he can discern and separate wheat 
from chaff, gold from dross. 2. He will not quench the smoking flax. 
Heavenly, spiritual heat is pleasing to him, though it flame not, Uiough 
nothing but smoke be visible. He takes notice of a little strength in 
Philadelphia, Rev. iii. 7, 8, and promises much to that little. 8. K the 
mixtures of corruption and weakness be bewailed and repented of^ they are 
pardoned. If the righteousness of Christ be applied by ficuth, this mH be 
a satisfaction for those offences ; and if the Lord be satisfied, what can 
hinder him from answering ? Offences not imputed, are in effect no offences ; 
and the Lord, satisfied, will be as gracious as though he had not been 

[2.] When there is much of corruption and little of grace in a prayer, 
though the Lord may answer, yet ordinarily, if not always, the answer is 
not so frill, speedy, comfortable, satisfying, nor perceivable. Though the 
Lord pardons the sins and Mings of wei^ prayers, yet he may, and often 
does, aflSiict for them ; and part of the affliction may consist in the quality 
of the answer. The Lord often proportions his answer to our prayers ; 
slothfril prayers have slow answers, &c. Experience bears witness to this, 
and David observed it, Ps. xviii. He tells us the Lord answered him : 
ver. 6, * He heard my voice, my cry came before him.* He tells us how 
he answered him : ver. 20, ' The Lord rewarded me according to my 
righteonsness ; according to the cleanness of my hands hath he recompensed 
me.' Though he answer not propter^ yet aeeuntlum preces : though not /or 
the holiness, fervency, affectionateness of our prayers, yet according to the 
holiness, &c., of them. Though they be not causes why he answers, either 
meriting, as papists, or moving, as ignorants conceive, yet they may be 
qualifications to fit us for, or presages or signs of, gracious answers. They 
may qualify, aliud est de causa agere, &o., aliud de quantitaUi as Gregory. 
Though they do not procure, yet they may prepare, dispose, and fit, the 
soul for receipt of an answer. When the Lord will open his hand to bestow 
a bom:itifrd answer, he enlarges the heart to seek it, and withal to receive 
it : see it in Dan. ix. A dead, lukewarm heart would not prize spiritual 
mercies, could not make good use of temporal blessings. When the Lord 
will give an answer of a better nature, he puts the heart into a better temper. 
They are signs of a gracious answer. Bernard says of works, they are 
Jutura responsionis prasagia, comfortable signs of a comfortable answer ; 
oeculUB predesttnalionis judicia, argumeuts ttiat the Lord intends, and is 
resolved to deal bountifully. When the heart is shut, it is a sign the Lord 
intends to shut his hand. Mat. vii. 2. According to the measure of our 
prayers, the degrees of grace and affection exercised in them, God measures 
out his blessings in answer to them. So it is ordinarily. He that sows 
sparin^y most reap accordingly. He that prays but little, and prays not 
well, him no reason to expect large or gracious returns. 
, [8.] Since the Lord is so gracious as to accept, and in some degree or 

VOL. I. p 


other answer weak and sinfiil prayers, and to own that which proceeds from 
grace and his Spirit in them, thongh accompanied with snch oormptions as 
might provoke him to reject them, and pnnish yon for them, hence yoa 
have encouragement to believe the Lord will answer them, and to expect 
the returns thereof; and you will have good warrant to do this, if yon do 
that first which he requires. If you exercise repentance, i, e,<, bewail the 
sins and weakness of your prayers, abhor yourself for giving so much way 
thereto, and resolve to endeavour, with all your strength, in the use of all 
appointed means, to avoid them for time to come ; if you exercise faiih, 
i. e., rest upon Christ for pardon of those provocations, apply those pro- 
mises which offer pardon, and lay hold on that righteousness of Ghtist 
whereby he has satisfied the Lord for those offences ; this done, you maj, 
nay, you ought, to believe that the Lord will not only answer yourprayen 
for time to come, but to expect returns of prayers past. 

8. Use. For examination. Try whether we pray in £uth. It is a work 
of great importance ; for if ye pray not in faith at all, it is a sign ye have 
no faith ; and then ye are under Uie law, cut off from Christ, exposed to 
the curse, liable to eternal wrath. What is hell but abiding wrath ? If je 
have faith, but act it not in prayer, you deprive yourselves of the benefit of 
this ordinance, ver. 7 ; prayer is the conduit-pipe appointed by God to 
convey all the blessings of the upper and lower springs to the children of 
men ; but if the passage be obstructed, it will be useless, of no advantage 
to you. Want of faith is a dangerous obstruction ; this vnll hinder the 
passage of all mercy ; not a drop of the water of life will be conveyed bj 
prayer without faith. Therefore there is great reason to examine ; and to 
help you, take some characters. 

(1.) Backwardness to pray is a sign you pray not in faith. He that 
believes he shall have whatever he asks, freely, without upbraiding, will be 
ready and forward to ask upon all occasions* If you did believe, yoa 
would omit no opportunity to address yourselves to God this way ; you 
would not neglect it in your families, in secret, in public : those who omit 
it, undervalue it, make no great account of it, spend whole days without it, 
count it a burden, say. What a weariness is it! take no pleasure, oo 
delight, come to it as a task, cannot be said to pray in faith. 

(2.) Carelessness in praying. Prayer is a blessed engine, which, being 
carefully managed by faith, will procure a^ mercies that you need, for time 
or eternity ; never made use of it in vain ; if yon did believe this, yoa 
would not be so negligent in prayer, but would stir up yourselves and dili- 
gently improve all your might in prayer. Those who pray only with their 
lips, draw near only with their months, make it only an exercise of the 
body, and suffer their hearts and thoughts to wander without control, pray 
as if they prayed not, do not pray in faith ; if you prayed in fruth, yoa 
would observe the condition of such a prayer, one of which is fervency. 
Where Inkewarmness, indifferency, formality, distractions are tolerated, 
faith is not exercised. 

(8.) Perplexity and solicitousness after prayer. This was a sign Hannah 
prayed in faith, 1 Sam. i., because, though she spake out of the abundance 
of her complaint and grief; yet, after, her countenance was no more sad. 
Faith is expressed by casting our burden upon the Lord ; he that groans 
and is oppressed under a burden, when it is laid on another is at ease ; be 
that acts fJEuth in prayer casts his burden upon God ; therefore, after such 
a prayer, the oppressed soul will be at ease, ' return to its rest ; * no heart- 
dividmg cares molest it : < Be careful for nothing.' 

James 1. 6.] jpaith in pbayeb. 227 

(4.) Is the promise your encouragement in prayer ? Does this draw you 
to pray ? does this quicken yon in praying ? does this encourage to expect 
a return after prayer ? do you plead the word ? do you urge the promise ? 
Then it is faith. Thus the people of God have done in their prayers of 
faith ; so Moses, Num. xiv. 17, 18 ; and Solomon, 1 Kings viii. 2^-26 ; 
Neh. i. 8; so David, Ps. cxix. 26, 28, 68, 66, 76, 116. Do you plead the 
word of promise. Though I be unworthy to be heard, yet the Lord is 
worthy to be honoured ; and it is not for thy honour to neglect thy word ; 
though I can do nothing to engage thee, yet thou hast engaged thyself, and 
the Lord will be true to his engagements ; though nothing be due to me 
but wrath, yet the Lord hath made this mercy due to me by his promise, 
therefore I will expect it ; the Lord will not detain what himself has made 
doe ; though I forget my promises and resolutions for God, yet the Lord ' 
will not forget his covenant ; it is his attribute, ' a God keeping covenant ; ' 
and thongh the Lord may deny me, yet he will not deny himself? Does 
the faithfdlness and righteousness of God encourage you to ask and to 
expect an answer ? Do you plead these, as David frequently, ' Deliver me 
in thy righteousness,' Ps. cxix. 40 ; Ps. cxliii. 1 ; though my unrighteous- 
nesses do testify against me, yet the Lord is righteous from everlasting to 
everlasting ; and is it not a righteous thing with the Lord to do what he 
has said ? Though I am unfaithful, and have dealt fialsely in the covenant, 
jet my nnfaithfubess cannot make the faithfulness of God of no effect. 
The Lord has promised, and faithful is he who has promised, who also 
will do it ; thus to conclude, thus to act upon the promises, and upon the 
nghteousness and faithfulness of God engaged in the promise, is the work 
of faith ; and the prayer where such actings are found, is of faith ; where 
the promise raises the heart to hope, and hope quickens it to more fre- 
quency, more fervency in prayer. 

(5.) Can you submit to Uie Lord*s time for an answer, believing that your 
prayer shall either be answered now or hereafter, when it is best for you ? 
This b enough to denominate your prayers. Faith is a submissive grace ; 
it will not prescribe to the Lord, nor limit the Holy One ; it will acknow- 
ledge him to be both xd^iot roD douva/ x(ti roD ^ht doDvoe/, as Chrysostom, 
both Lord of what he gives, and of the time when he will give it ; some- 
times the Lord answers presently. Gen. xxiv. 12-16, Dan. ix. ; sometimes 
' the vision is for an appointed time,' Hab. ii. 8 ; and then, ' though it 
tany, we must wait for it ;' so do those who live (who pray) by faith, ver, 4. 
It is uncertain to us when the appointed time is, whether now or hereafter: 
' It is not for us to know the times and the seasons,' Acts i. 7 ; so Christ 
told his disciples when they were a little too peremptory as to a present 
answer: • Wilt thou at this time?' &c., * It is not for you to know,' &c., 
and withal commands them to wait, ver. 4. Faith will be content to act 
open what God has revealed ; it is unbelief that pries into God's secrets : 
fiuth will be content with God's time ; it is unbelief would confine the Lord 
to oar time : ' He that believes makes not haste ;' he will stay God's leisure, 
refer himself for the time to him who knows what time is best ; it is unbe- 
lief that is so hasty, must have it npw, or not at all, as that wretch, 
2 Kings vi. 88. It is sufficient, ordinarily, to constitute a prayer of faith, 
to believe the Lord will answer, either in our time or his, either now or 
hereafter ; either at present, or when it will be more seasonable, more a 
nterey ; and to rest satisfied with this ; if faith act thus in prayer, you 
pray in fiuth. 

(6.) Are you persuaded the Lord will give either what you desirei or 

228 VAiTH m PRATEB. [Jaxbs L 6. 

what is better ? Do yon rest in this, that yon shall have what yon ask, 
either in kind or in an eqnivalenoy ; that the Lord will satisfy yonr desires, 
either as to the letter of yonr petition, or as to the intention of it ? Do yon 
acqniesce in this, that the Lord will answer yon, either according to yonr 
will, or according to his will ; that he will give either what yon think best 
or what he thinks best ? Do yon believe you shall be heard, either ad votun- 
tatem, or ad salutem / as Angnstine ; that he will give either what yon 
desire, or what is better than the thing yon desire ? if so, yon pray in flEiith. 

It is a great mistake to think yon pray not in faith, unless yon believe 
the very particular shall be granted which you ask. Faith acts in a greater 
latitude, hath a larger sphere, it reaches as far as that providence which 
orders the returns of prayer ; faith acts for an answer, according as the 
Lord IS wont to make answers. Now this is clear in Scripture and expe- 
rience, that the Lord doth answer, not only by giving the thing desired, but 
by vouchsafing something else, as much, or more desirable : Acts i., * Wilt 
thou restore the kingdom ?* &c., ver. 6 ; this was it they desired, a temporal 
kingdom. He gratifies them not in this, yet grants that which was much 
better : ver. 8, ' Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come 
upon you : and ye shall be witnesses unto me,' &c. ; and as faith is not 
confined in such narrow bounds, so it will not confine the Lord to them, it 
will not limit the Holy One of Israel. To limit the Lord is to tempt him ; 
and to tempt God is an act of unbelief, that unbelief whereby the Israelites 
provoked God in the wilderness, Ps. Ixxviii. 41 ; this is censured under 
the notion of unbelief, ver. 22 ; it was firom their unbelief that they limited 
God. They were not contented with manna, though angels* food, that 
whichTthe Lord thought best for them ; they must have flesh too ; they 
must have fiesh or nothing, ver. 18 ; their lusting was a peremptory desire, 
an issue of unbelief. We may judge of the nature of this desire by the 
quality of the answer ; if it had been a desire of £uth, it had been answered 
in mercy ; but the Lord answers them in wrath, ver. 29-81. Ad voltin- 
totem auditi sunt Israelita, He gave them their own desire ; since they 
would not be satisfied, unless they had that very thing which Uiey desired, 
they had it indeed, but they had tibe wrath of God with it. The Lord does 
not answer the desires of faith in this manner ; they are of another strain ; 
they will be satisfied either with what is desired, or with what the Lord 
counts better. It is unbelief that must have that which is desired, or 
nothing ; faith is not so peremptory. When we pray for things not abso- 
lutely necessary, or not comparatively necessary, i. e,, not so necessaiy, but 
something else may be more necessary, we may pray in faith, though we 
believe not that the particular we desire shall be granted ; it is sufficient in 
these cases, if we believe the Lord will either vouchsafe that, or something 
else which he knows to be more convenient : and therefore if your fidth 
act accordingly in prayer, it may be called a prayer of faith. 

(7.) Can you suspend your hopes of an answer upon a condition, upon 
such conditions as have warrant and approbation in Scripture? Faith 
acted conditionally is enough, in some cases, to constitute a prayer of 
faith. Abraham prayed in faith, yet his prayer runs in a conditional 
strain, Gen. xviii. 29, 80, 82 ; so Solomon, 1 Kings viii, 85, 44, 47 ; so 
Christ himself, Luke zzii. 42. The apostle mentions a conditional con- 
fidence, 1 John V. 14. The confidence is, that he will hear when we ask; 
the condition is, if we ask according to his will ; or, which comes to the 
same issue, if we ask what is good for us, all things considered, for what 
is good for ub is according to his will. 


In case, then, 70a are aocertain what is according to his will, if he have 
not absolutely manifested, by command, promise, or other equivalent that 
what you desire is that which he wills, ei^er in substance or circumstance, 
or in case yon are uncertain whether that you pray for be absolutely good 
for you, or so good, but something else may be better, in these cases, when 
you believe that what you pray for shall be granted, if it be according to 
his will, or if it be best for you, you pray in faith; no more is required. 

Augustine gives this rule for regulating our prayers as to temporals, 
and it holds in spirituals, when there is that uncertainty now spoken of: 
Quando pstUU Umporalia^ peUu cum modOf ask them with restriction, i. «., 
conditionally, ilU commiuUs, ut si profit, det; si seit obessBf non del, refer it 
to him to give if it be good, to deny if it be hurtful, qidd autem obest, quid 
prositf novU medieus, non isffrotus; submit will and wisdom to him. 

Before we conclude, it is requisite to resolve some cases. 

1. Since it is necessary that those who would receive must pray in faith, 
t. «., must be confident and assured that their prayers shall be answered, 
whiU can they expect who want assurance, who (as to their own appro* 
hensions) have not the grounds of this confidence? How can they be 
confident of this privilege, who are full of fears and doubts that they are 
not in that state on which this privilege is entailed? How can they 
pray in faith, who fear they have not faith ? How can they believe their 
prayers will be accepted, who see no ground to believe that their persons 
are accepted ? This is the case of those who, being in or newly past the 
pangs of the new birth, have the seeds of faith, but not the evidence. 
Faith is in its infancy, not grown up to that maturity as to know itself. 
Such walk in darkness, and see no light ; have no light to discover that 
God is their Father, tiiat the promise is their portion, that Christ inter- 
cedes for them, or that the Spirit intercedes in ^em. What support can 
these have in reference to the success of their prayers ? This may be the 
ease also of such who have had assurance, but have now lost it ; who are 
in that sad condition as they have occasion to invert the apostle's expres- 
sion, that they were sometimes light in the Lord,*but now they are darkness ; 
tbeir former evidence is blotted, former light clouded, the Spirit of God 
Bospending his assuring and evidencing testimony, either for trial or upon 
Bome provocation. The question here will be, What encouragement and 
support such may have as to the issue of their prayers ? can such pray in 
faith ? or can they pray so as their prayers shall be granted ? 

An». A faith of dependence may constitute a prayer of fiuth, where assur- 
ance is wanting; and therefore those who, through the weakness of faith, 
or through the withdrawings of God in time of desertion, are destitute of 
sssorance, may yet pray in faith, if so be they exercise this £uth of depen- 
dence. To open this a little, a faith of dependence, as but a may be^ God 
May answer ; a faith of assurance has a tnU he, says, God wUl answer. 
That says. Probably the Lord will hear ; this says. Certainly the Lord 
will hear. Jonathan went out against the Philistines in the strength oi 
that faith we express by depending or relying upon God, and it rose no 
lugher than thus, < It may be,' 1 Sam. xiv. 6. Now, faith thus acted in 
prayer makes it a prayer of faith. But to resolve this case more fully and 
eleariy, 1 shall endeavour four things. 

(1.) To shew that this relying on God for answer is sufficient to make a 
prayer of faith, that this £aith of dependence is enough in some cases. 
And thus I proceed. It is this faith which justfies a sinner. The person 
being justified is accepted; the person being accepted, the prayer is 


aeoepted, and bo will be answered. A sinner is not jastified by assoranoe, 
bat by an act of dependence or relying on Christ; for he is jastified by 
the first act of faith, when he first believes. Bat assaranee is after the 
first act of belieTing, Eph. i. 18. The Spirit's sealing, which causes 
assurance, is after believing; apon which he is jastified, person and 
prayers accepted. A faith of dependence, without assurance, is sufficient to 
render the prayer acceptable and capable of an answer. And therefore this 
relying, acted in prayer, makes it a prayer of faith. Besides, this faith is 
sometimes all that is required, and all that is expressed, in those prayers 
which have been graciously answered, Joel ii. 12-14. The prophet 
directs them how to address themselves to the Lord. Faith is neoessaiy 
in all such addresses, yet all the faith whereby they made this address is 
in those words, ' Who knoweth ?* &c., which amounts to no more than this 
faith of dependence. It is no more than this, It may be the Lord will 
return and repent, &o,, Jonah iii. 9. That faith, in the strength of which 
they were to send up those mighty cries, goes no farther than a tMOf 60, 
Who can tellf &c. ; yet this prayer prevailed, ver. 10. So that it ii clear 
firom hence, that a faith of dependence, acted in prayer, will prevaO with 
God for an answer, and make it a prayer of faith. 

(2.) I will shew the objects upon which this faith is acted, and by which 
it is supported, and how it is to be exercised on them in the cases pro- 
pounded. The objects to which I will be confined at this time are 

[1.] The name of God. The Lord directs those that are in darkness to 
this object, Isa. 1. 10 ; and there is enough in this name to encourage and 
support the weakest, and to silence all his fears and doubts as to the 
success of his prayers. See it declared, Exod. xxxiv. 6, 7. Here is firm 
footing for that fiuth which is so weak and small as it cannot be discerned 
by him that hath it. It is said of Abraham, that he ' staggered not through 
unbelief,* Bom. iv. 20 ; and the reason is, because he had firm footing for 
both feet. He that stands but upon one leg may easily stagger ; he that 
is persuaded that God is able, but not willing, or willing, but not able, his 
faith stands but upon one leg. But Abraham was persuaded of both : 
the promise, that persuaded him God was willing ; his power, that per- 
suaded him he was able; both expressed, ver. 21. Therefore his fidth 
having ground for both jfeet, stood sure and stedfast ; it staggered not. 
Now file name of God affords as good ground for faith ; there is that in it 
which may persuade a doubting soul that God is both able and willing. 
f The Lord, the Lord God ;' Heb., * Jehovah, Jehovah EL' The strong 
God; he that has his being of himself, and gives a being to things that are 
not. This shews he is able, able to give a being to all you want or desire, 
though they are to be brought out of nothing; able to make thee pray, and 
able to make all desirable returns to thy prayers, nay, * above what you 
can ask or think.' And that he is willing, the rest of his name shews, 
' merciful, gracious,' &c. He is merciful, and misery is a proper plea for 
mercy, and am I not miserable ? He is gracious, and grace expects no 
motive from without ; free grace will move itself; nor will it be stopped 
by any hindrance within me. Unworthiness cannot hinder, for then it is 
most grace when it rests in the most unworthy ; and am not I such f 
Long continuance in sin cannot hinder, if broken off by repentance, for he 
is long-suffering ; no, nor the abounding sinfulness of sin, for he is abun- 
dant in goodness ; no, nor the infinite multitude and variety of sins, for 
he forgives iniquity, truisgressioni and sin ; nor the huge number of peti- 

Jakes I. 6.] faith in psateb. 281 

tioners, he keeps mercy for thoasands. And though the doubting soul 
cannot in prayer plead his truth (another letter of his name) in reference 
to the covenant, as not knowing his interest in the covenant, yet he may 
plead it in reference to the declaration of his name ; as sure as God is true, 
so sure he is merciful and gracious, &c. 

[2.] The free offers of Christ. The Scripture abounds with them ; I will but 
instance in one : John vi. 87, ' All that the Father giveth me shall come to me ; 
and him that cometh to me, I will in no wise cast out.* That which fiEuth prin- 
cipally eyes in Christ for the success of prayer, is his intercession, his office as 
advocate. Now, though a doubting soul dare not rely upon Christ as one that 
u his advocate, yet may it rely on him as one that offera to be its advocate. 
He professes that he will in no wise refuse any that will retain him. Christ, 
may the soul say, prayed for his enemies, for those that were murdering 
him, and may he not then intercede for me ? It is true I have been an 
enemy, but oh how do I hate myself for that enmity 1 I have now laid 
down arms, and now, though 1 can do little for him, yet I resolve never 
more to oppose him, though I perish. And since he was so gracious, as to 
pray for his murderers, who knows but he may intercede for me ? And 
fnrUier, Christ prayed not only for those who did actually beUeve, but for 
those who should afterwards believe, John xvii. 20. He prayed for those 
who then had no faith when he prayed. And is not this thy case, poor 
doubting or deserted soul ? Is not this the worst thou canst make of it ? 
Canst thou say anything worse of thyself than this, I do not believe, I 
have no £uth ? Well, then, seek to Christ, rely on him, as one that prayed, 
as one that intercedes for unbelievers ; and hereby thou wilt shew Uiou 
hast faith, and thy prayers will be answered, as the Lord useth to answer 
prayers of fisuth. 

[8.] The general promise ; such as are not restrained to those qualifica- 
tions and conditions, which Uie dark soul apprehends to be out of its reach ; 
such as that, Heb. xi. 6, < He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek 
him ;' Joel ii. 82, ' Whosoever shall call on ihfi name of the Lord, shall 
be delivered.' Tlie doubting soul may thus reason. There was nothing in 
man could move the Lord to make these promises, and there is nothing 
in man can hinder him from performing them when and where he pleases. 
And who knows but he may perform them to me ? It is true I have 
neglected Christ formerly, oh but now I resolve to seek him indeed. And 
thon^ I be not certain that he will be found of me, yet I will seek him 
early, seek him first, before all others, seek him principally, above all 
others ; who knows but I may at last find him ? He has been found of 
those that sought him formerly ; he has been found of those that sought 
him not ; and will he not be found of me that seek him ? 

(8.) The acts of this fiedth, in which it is exercised, and by which it may 
be discerned. 

[1.] A renouncing of all supports and refuges, but Christ. See it in 
retomlng Ephraim : Hosea xiv. 8, ' We will no more rely on Assyria, nor 
tnist in our armies of horse.' So the soul will no more rely on his own 
wisdom and righteousness, on his own works and performances. When he 
comes to pray, he will not ground his confidence on what he doth, or what 
be is, or what he is not, as the Pharisee ; he perceives these to be but a 
refuge of lies. And though he become hereby destitute and helpless, and 
has not thus much to comfort him, that God is his Father, yet here is his 
rapport in this orphan state, * In thee the fatherless find mercy.' 
[2.] Submission. A depending soul will be content with anything, if 


the Lord will bat own him, if ChriBi will bnt smile, entertain him. This 
is visible in the retoming prodigal, Lnke zv« 18> 19. To my&ther; 
there is faith. Though thoa hast dealt with me as a Father, yet I am 
unworthy to be called a son, unworthy to be entertained and employed aa 
a son. Lord, let me be anything, so as I may have a being in thy hoose ; 
let me bnt come under thy roof, and I will be content though I have no 
other usage, respect, reward ; the meanest office in thy house is too good, 
only let me not be shut out of doors. 

The woman of Canaan, though she followed Christ with such strength of 
faith and importunity of prayer, as he admires her, yet so submissive, she 
will be content with crumbs, anything that has relation to children, though 
not the relation itself, yea, though it be but the crumbs that &11 from the 
table. Mat. zv. 22. So 2 Sam. xv. 25. 

[8.] Acceptation. He will yield to any terms, so as the Lord will but 
grant his chief desires. Tell him, if he will have Christ, and Mow him, 
he must forsake ail ; he embraces the motion, he says. This is a fidthfbl 
saying, and worthy of all acceptation. He says with Mephibosheth, Nay, 
let him take all, if my Lord will return to my soul in peace. Tell him, if 
he will inherit the land of promise, he must come out of Egypt, he is con- 
tent, he will not leave a hoof behind. All his lusts shall go, if Christ will 
but come, small and great, secret and open, pleasant and profitable ; his 
Zoars, his little ones, shall be turned into ashes ; his Herodias, his pleasant 
beloved sins shall be divorced. The best and fattest of the cattle, his pro- 
fitable and gainful sins, shall be put to the sword, with the rest of the 
children of Ajnalek ; his secret idols, those that are hid in the stuflT, shall 
not only be buried, but, as Moses with the calf, ground to powder. Tell 
him, if he will be joined to Christ, he must forget his kindred and fieUher's 
house, his former old acquaintance and conversation ; he is satisfied, so as 
the King will delight in his beauty, so as Christ will but take pleasure in 
him. Tell him, if he will have Christ as an intercessor, he must submit 
to him as a king ; Oh, says he, if the golden sceptre may be but holden 
forth, I will submit to it for ever. Tell him, if he will have the Spirit of 
Christ, he must have him as a Spirit of grace, as well as a Spirit of sup- 
plication : he yields with cheerfulness ; he looks upon holiness as garments 
of wrought gold, that which will both enrich and beautify him ; the 
sanctifying work of the Spirit is acceptable to him, as well as the sealing 
work. Tell him, he that will name the name of the Lord with acceptance, 
must depart firom iniquity : he answers presently, ' What have I any more 
to do 'with idols ?' This accepting Christ, and the Spirit of Christ, upon 
gospel terms, is called faith, John i. 12. 

[4.] Appropriation. Coming unto Christ, stretching out his soul to 
lay hold on him, opening his heart to embrace him, fiying upon the wing 
of desire to draw near him. Thus faith is expressed by ' drawing near,' 
Heb. z. 22. Though he cannot draw near with full assurance of faith* yet 
with a full sail of aJOfection. By ' embracing the promise,' Heb. zi. IS; 
though he cannot embrace the promise, as having received it for his pre- 
sent portion, yet he embraces it as seen afar off. By laying hold, Heh. 
vi. 18 ; though he cannot lay hold of Christ as his treasure and possession, 
yet on the hope set before lum. By * coming to Christ,* John vi. 85 ; I 
am unworthy to come near him, yet he is worthy to be obeyed, and he 
commands me to come. Though I be not sure he will entertain me, yet 
there is no way but ruin if I come not. He invites* me, and who knows 
but he may receive me ? I have none else to come to, the world I have 

James L 6.] faith in pratzb. 

renoanced, and to come to it is to ran apon the sword of an enemy ; my 
Insts I have forsaken, and to return to them is to run back into min. 
There is none bnt Christy none but Christ, my soal can come to for 
refuge. And lo he calls me, wby, * Behold I come nnto thee, for thoa art 
the Lord.' ^ 

[5.] Besolntion. Being come, he resolves to continue there. If he die, 
he wiU die at his feet. If he perish, he will perish with Christ in his 
arms. If justice seizes on him, it shaU slay him at the horns of the altar. 
Nothing shall fright him from his hold. Come death, come hell, I will not 
let thee go. Nay, the more he is afraid, the faster he clings. * What 
time I am afraid, I will tmst in thee.' ' Though he kill me' (as he may 
justly), ' yet will I trust in him,' yet will I hold him fast ; and those that 
find me dead, shall find my heart, my hands fastened upon Christ. And 
as nothing shall fright, so nothing shall persuade him to leave his hold. 
He answers all, a? Ruth did Naomi : Ruth i. 16, 17, ' Whither thou goest, 
I will go,' &c. 

[6.] Expectation. Being thus resolved to cleave to Christ, he ezpecta 
something from him. Though his hopes be weak, his hold is strong. 
There is a hope before him, though he apprehend it not in him, which he 
lays hold of. Although he cannot come to the throne of grace with that 
ML assurance of hope which the apostle mentions, though he arrive not 
there with full sail, yet he has a sweet breeze of probability, enough to 
keep him in motion, and hold his head above water, and this may support 
him in the mean time : Ps. ix. 18, ' The expectation of the poor shall not 
perish for ever.' Though it may stick upon the fiats, and dash now and 
then against the rock, yet it shall not perish ; or though it may seem to 
perish for a time, yet it shall not perish for ever. 

(4.) The special encouragements which this faith may have, in referee ce 
to the success of prayer. 

[1.] This relying upon God, engages him to answer, and the Lord will 
not &il his engagements. If one rely upon a great person for a favour, and 
have encouragement from him so to do, it will not stand with his credit and 
hononr to disappoint him ; much less will the Lord fail those whom he has 
encouraged to depend on him. He is tender of his honour. If such a 
soul come to him, and tell him. Thou hast invited me to fiy to thee for 
refuge ; I have none else to defend me, I have renounced all other depend- 
encies ; if thou fail me, I perish ; he that thus fiies to the Lord for refuge, 
shaU find in due time strong consolation. Christ will not deliver those up 
to justice, who fiy to him for sanctuary. 

[2Vj Christ highly commends this fisuth of dependence, seems to admire 
it, and to be extraordinarily taken with it : Mat. viii. 8, * Speak the word 
only, and my servant shall be healed.' Here is no more expressed than a 
fidth of dependence ; if there be any assurance, it is but a half assurance, 
thai which respected the power of Christ, not his willingness, no intimation 
of that. So Mat. xv., of the woman of Canaan. Christ beats her ofi* there 
firom all assurance ; that which she asked was not proper for her : ' It is 
not meet to cast the children's bread to dogs.' Nor was he sent for this 
purpose. He leaves her no ground for assurance, yet by this faith of de- 
pendence she clings to him, pleads with him, urges him so far till he yields, 
till she prevails, and she prevails as far as she will. See here the power of 
this faith put forth in prayer, it can prevail with Christ for the obtaining of 
aU we desire. 

[8.] The obedience of one that has but a faith of dependence in seeking 


God is in some respect more excellent tlian theirs who have assnranee. 
For a child that has his father's smile and love to be affsctioDate and 
obseqaions is no great matter ; bat for one whom his flEither does not own, 
who knows not that he shall have any share in the inheritance, [toj be 
obedient and affectionate, this is excellent and rarelj ingennons ; so for 
one that is assured of the love of Gk>d, that walks in the light of his conn- 
tenance, and knows heaven is his portion, to be much in seeking God, and 
waiting on him, is not so much, but for bim who sees nothing bnt frowns 
in the face of God, and has no assurance of any reward for his attendance 
on him, to be much in prayer, eager in following him, diligent in waiting 
on him, this is obedience of a rare ingenuous temper, and cannot bnt be 
highly acceptable in the sight of God. For one to say as the martyr, 
Though I know not that Christ loves me, yet will I die, be burned for hun. 
Will not the Lord value such an affection ? will he not reward such ? will 
he not make sweet returns to such prayers ? 

[4.] He that has this faith of dependence has really interest in all the 
privileges that attend assurance, though not in his own apprehension. 
This faith justifies the person, and the person being justified, the prayer is 
accepted. This gives an interest in the covenant, and he that is in cove- 
nant has right to all promises. This gives interest in Christ, and he that 
has that has interest in his intercession, his Father's love, his Spirit's 
assistance; and what more is required to make prayer successful? If 
prayer be accepted, it will be answered, though he apprehends it not, if the 
Lord be engaged by promise, if Christ intercede, if the Spirit assist. 

2. Case. There is a confidence to be found in unregenerate men in their 
addresses to God. We see too many are confident as to their state tbat 
they shall be saved, and they may be as confident as to their duties that 
they shall be accepted, as to their prayers that they shall be heard when 
they pray for salvation. As nothing is more dangerous, so nothing more 
common than such presumptions. And they are so high and strong, as it 
is one of the most difficult works of gospel ministers to demolish and level 
these confidences, to beat sinners out of them. This is one of Satan's 
strongholds, wherein he secures natural men against the assaults of law 
and gospel tending to reduce them, and bring them to surrender and yield 
themselves to Chnst upon gospel terms. Such confidence we see in the 
Pharisee, Luke xviii. And the prophet declares against it in the degene- 
rate and profane Israelites, Amos iii. 9-11. Here the question will be, 
how the confidence of fiuth may be known and distinguished from this pre- 
sumptuous confidence, how a txue believer may discern that his confidence 
in approaching to God is not the presumption of hypocrites, and how pre- 
sumptuous sinners may be convinced that their carnal boldness is not the 
confidence of faith ? that so the prayers of faith may be distinguished from 
the prayers of presumption and carnal confidence. 

Ans. The confidence of faith in prayer differs from this presumptuous 
confidence in its rise, grounds, attendants, and effects. 

(1.) In its rise. The carnal man arrives at this confidence he knows not 
how. If we should say to it, as the master of the feast to him that wanted 
the wedding garment, < How camest thou hither ? ' he can give no satisfy- 
ing answer, he can give no rational account how he came by it, he has had 
it ever since he can remember, ever since he was accustomed to pray. He 
attained it with ease, it cost him nothing; it sprang up in him as a 
mushroom, on a sudden, without his care or industry. Whereas the confi- 
dence of £uth is not in an ordinary way so soon, nor so easily* nor so 

JufXB I. 6.] FAITH IK PBATBB. 285 

insensibly attained. Believers can many times remember their oamal 
confidence was cast down by the spirit of bondage, and that their spiritaal 
confidence was not raised bat with difEicnlty, and by degrees ; it was a work 
of time and labour, like the casting down of monntains and the filling of 
Talleys. The work of law and gospel too were little enough to effect it. 
After the convictions of sin and wrath, their own vileness and unworthiness 
had made a valley in their spirits, had undermined their mountain of pre- 
sumption which stood so iast, and had laid them low and vile in their own 
apprehensions, it was a work of dif&culty to raise their souls to this confi- 
dence. They found fearfulness and confidence struggle in their souls, as 
the twibs in Rebecca's womb. Gen. zzv. 22 ; a strife as betwixt Pharez 
and Zara, Gen. xzxviii., which would get out first ; doubtings and fearful- 
ness putting out the hand before this confidence could break forth, and the 
soul in the mean time, as it were, in travail. 

(2.) In the ground*. Presumption has either no ground at all, or else it 
is raised upon nothing but the sand ; in some it springs from their natural 
temper, they can be bold and confident with men, and they will be so with 
God ; he may complain of them as of those, Ps. 1. 21, ' Thou thoughtest I 
was altogether such a one as thyself.' Their apprehensions of God differ 
little from those they have of men, and so they make as bold with him as 
they do with their familiars. They sometimes ground it upon their prayers, 
especially if they be long and often in this duty, they think they oblige 
God thereby, and conclude something is due to them from God upon this 
account, and accordingly they expect it. Hence it is thfit when the returns 
do not answer their expectations, they are ready to expostulate with God, 
as though he did them wrong, like those, Isa. Iviii. 2, 8. Sometimes they 
raise it upon the same foundation with the Pharisee, Luke xviii. They 
are not so bad as some, and they do more good than others, and therefore 
are confident they shall fare well at God's hands. But now the confidence 
of faith is to be found in those who are most bashful and modest as to their 
natural constitutions, when once they are renewed and fortified by the power 
of grace. Christ and the promise is the ground of this confidence. They 
rest not in their prayers, nor any part of their own righteousness ; they 
know that all their shreds put together will make no more than a menstru- 
008 cloth, a garment both ragged and loathsomely bespotted. This is 
occasion of shame and blushing, they can have no confidence to be seen in 
such a woful habit. They count all their prayers, abstinences from sin, i 

and actual righteousness but loss, look on tiiem all as lost, and have no | 

confidence to be found anywhere, in anything, but in Christ, Phil. iii. But I 

what the grounds of it are I have given a large account before. ! 

is.) In the attendants. Confidence of faith is accompanied with, | 

1.] Reverence ; a filial and a holy fear of God. The apostle, who so | 

often exhorts the fidthfnl Hebrews to draw near with boldness, with eonfi- 
dence, with full assurance of faith, brings it attendant with it: Heb. xii. 28, | 

' Being confident we shall receive,' Ac. Let us hold fast this confidence, i 

and thereby we shall be enabled to serve God with reverence. Hope (often 
put for faitti and confidence) is joined with fear: Ps, cxlvii. 11, Ps. v. 7, 
* In the multitude of thy mercy, there is confidence,' &c. A believer is | 

sensible of his own vileness, and apprehensive of the migesty and holiness , 

of God, low thoughts of himself, and high thoughts of God. These thoughts | 

impress upon the soul an awful respect of God, fill it with reverence, and | 

an ingenoons dread lest any action or word should pass him in this duty 
not beseeming such a mi^esty, that might be in the least offensive or dis- I 

236 FAITH nr pbaybb. [James L 6. 

honourable to him, as we see a child is then most afraid to offend his taiher 
when he is nearest him. The presomptnoos have a good oonoeit of 
themselves, bat low thoughts of God. The Pharisee was an emblem of 
such. In his prayer, he is more in praising himself than praising God. 
Or if upon any occasion their thonghts of God be raised, yet so slight and 
powerless, as they leave little or no impression npon the heart. The higher 
they rise in these speculations, the weidcer is their influence ; as the stars, 
we see, they are so high they give little light. Their apprehensions leave 
no awe or dread of God upon their hearts * Or if there be any impressiona 
of fear, yet it is a fear of smarting and suffering from him rather than of 
displeasing or dishonouring him ; as slaves, that would not dread the dis- 
pleasure or disparagement of their master, but that they^are afraid of stripes 
and blows. 

[2.] Resignation of his will and wisdom to the will and wisdom of God. 
He will be content with God's time, his way, his measure, his will, as to 
the answer of his prayers, and all the circumstances thereof. But pre- 
sumptuous confidence must have what he desires, or nothing ; when he 
expects it, or not at all ; in that way and degree he looks for it, or else it 
is not worth the having. It is a proud stiffness of spirit, his will must be 
the rule to measure his receipts, his wisdom must be judge what is best ; 
these must not veil nor lower to the will and wisdom of God. He is like a 
sturdy beggar, that must have what he asks, or else you must look for ill 
language from him. If the Lord will not punctually gratify his desires, he 
has hard thoughts pf him, murmurs and repines against him, as you see in 
the Israelites all along under their conduct by Moses. True confidence is 
like the ground of it, Christ ; a tender plant will bow and bend to the will 
and at the pleasure of €h>d, but counterfeit confidence is like a sturdy oak, 
or a diy stick, that will break rather than bend. 

(4.) In the effetix. Confidence begets, 

[l.J Fervency. We see by experience, where there are hopes of attain- 
ing, they will quicken up to eagerness in pursuing. A due confidence of 
receiving will make a believer vehement and fervent in asking. The apostle 
makes a prayer of faith to be a fervent prayer ; James v., that which is a 
prayer of faith, ver. 15, is described to be a fervent prayer, ver. 16. 
And Ellas, who is given as an instance of one praying in fiaith, and his 
prayer is there expressed by this character of fervency, verse 17, «fodivxJ) 
^fogifilf^aro ; according to the letter it is, ' he prayed in his prayer,'--a 
form of speech, it is usual with the Hebrews, to express vehemenoy; he 
prayed vehemently. True confidents pray their prayers, others do but toy 
their prayers. 

If a man desire a thing above him, and have hopes that he may reach it, 
he will stretch out himself to do it. This hope, this confidence of attain- 
ing what we desire of God, will make our prayers to be a stretching oat of 
our souls to God, according to the import of that expression, Acts xiL 5, 
r^vX^ 'xni^^t &n extended prayer was made, a prayer wherein the aonl 
was extended and stretched out to God. 

That prayer which springs from this confidence is a soul-labour, the 
travail of the soul ; the heart is in labour while it is in prayer. But that 
of the presumptuous is but lip-labour, a labour of the outward man, a 
bodily exercise ; the heart and affections are cold, dead, without lively 
motion. Or if there be any heat, life, fervency, in Uiem, it is but at some 
times, and for some things. There may be some eagerness at some times, 
as when they are under some strong convictions, in some imminent danger, 

James 1. 6.J faith in fbatbb. 287 

or under some sharp afiUciion ; ' in their affliction they will seek me early.' 
Then diligently, at other times carelessly. 

Or they may be eager for some things, for temporal blessings, for 
ontward deliverance. They may howl npon their beds for com and wine, 
bat not for holiness, not for power against endeared lasts ; they pray for 
these, like Angastine before his conversion, as if they were afraid to be 
heard. Or they may be affectionate in some parts of prayer. There may 
be some heat and importnnity in petition when their necessities of oatward 
things are pressing, Isa. xxvi. 16. They poared oat a prayer ; their hearts, 
as tJboagh they were dissolved by the ardency of desires for deliverance, 
ran oat in their petitions. Oh bat what melting was there in their confess- 
ing and bewailing sin ! what heat and affectionateness in their praises of 
Qod t No ; when snob are to offer a sacrifice of praise, there is no fire 
on the altar, no heat nor ardoar of affection ; no fire from heaven, at least 
nothing bat strange fire, snch as their own interests and concernments 

%* This Sermon appears to be unfinished.— Ed. 


These aU died in faith.— Eeb. XI. 18. 

Thb aposUe having in the former chapter exhorted them to persevere in 
the faith, in this he explains the nature of it. 1. Describing it by some 
properties, ver. 1. 2. Confirming the description by examples of the 
faithful in general, ver. 2, particularly of Abel, ver. 4, Enoch, ver. 5, 6, 
Noah, ver. 7, Abraham, ver. 8, 9, 10, Sarah, ver. 11, 12, and gives aa 
account of their faith in four particulars, ver. 13. 1. The continuance of 
their fiEuith : died ; as lived by it, so died in it. 2. The object of it, the 
promises. 8. The acts of it : (1.) see; (2.) persuaded ; (8.) embraced. 
4. The effect of it, an acknowledgment they were strangers. From the 

Obs. The elders died in the faith. 

1. In the profession of the faith. They held fast the truths of God to 
the death. They denied not, they made not shipwreck of faith ; thej 
suffered not Satan or his instruments to cheat them of it ; exchanged it not 
for fancies, delusions ; did not apostatise, fall from it, as was prophesied 
of many in the last times ; made not their opinions subservient to carnal 
interests ; did not tack about, not carried about with every wind. Judg- 
ments firmly anchored in truth could ride out foul weather, bear up against 

2. In the state of faith. As they lived, so th^y died believers. Having 
begun in the Spirit, they did not end in the flesh. They kept fiiithfally 
the Spirits ^'a^axaratf^jxii. They lost not the habit of faith ; suffered it 
not to decay, languish ; but strengthened it, bore on towards perfection ; 
that when Uieir outward man decayed, flEuth increased, and was strongest 
in the greatest weakness, in death. 

8. In the expression of faith. The genuine expression of faith in God 
is faithfulness to God ; and they were faithful unto the death. Though 
sometimes in the place of dragons, yet did not deal falsely in the covenant; 
endeavoured to perform the conditions of it, to walk before God in upright- 
ness. Deal faitiifully in the covenant, when do what is promised, answer 
engagements, as intent upon repentance and new obedience. 

4. In the exercise of faith. Though the other be true, this seems most 
proper. As they acted faith in their life, so in their death. Their life 


was the life of faith, as Paul, Gal. ii. 20. Faith had an inflaence into 
eyeiy act of their life. Natural acts, Sarah conceived by faith, and was 
delivered, Heb. xi. ; civU acts, Abraham sojoamed, ver. 9 ; spiritual acts, 
Abel sacrificed by faith, ver. 4 ; ordinary acts, Abraham's travel, ver. 8 ; 
extraordinary f Noah's building an ark, ver. 7. What they did, they did by 
fiedth, i.e., depending upon Christ for strength, believing the promise for 
assistance and success. And from the considerations of God's nature, 
attributes, providence, and their experiences of his goodness and faithful- 
ness, did whatever they were commanded, went wherever they were called, 
expected whatever was promised. Thus they lived, and thus they died in 
fiedth, with confidence that God would perform what he had promised, even 
after their death, to them or theirs. Those that were begun to be per- 
formed in their lives, should be perfectly accomplished in or after their 
death ; and those that were not at all performed before, should be fully 
accomplished after. God had promised to Abraham the land of Canaan, 
and heaven which that typified, and the Messias the purchaser of it. 
Abraham died in fsuth, that is, went out of the world confident that he 
should be admitted into heaven, ver. 10, and that his posterity should 
inherit the land of Canaan, and that the Messias should proceed from his 
loins. He saw the day of Christ, and that sight, strengthened by faith, 
made the day of death a day of joy, a gladsome day. Died in faitHj t.^M 
in expectation of the performance of promises. 

1/9$. Let us endeavour to imitate the ancient worthies ; so to live by 
faith, as we may die in it. There can be no scruple of endeavouring an 
imitation here, since their example is commended to us by God, verse 2. 
Paul exhorts, Philip, iv. 8, ' Whatsoever things are of good report,' &o. He 
that dies in the fisuth dies honourably, comfortably, happily. 

1. Honourably. He honours God, and God honours him. A strong 
fiedth does honour God at any time, Rom. iv. 20, sure then in death, since 
faith has then the most discouragements. How the Lord honours faith, 
we need go no farther for instance than this chapter, where the apostle, by 
special instinct from God, makes honourable mention of faith and the 
faithful, and leaves an eternal monument thereof to all posterity. Thus 
shall it be done to the men who honour God, whom God will honour ; 
their memory shall be blessed, and all generations shall call them so. 
When they are dead, and turned to ashes, rather than they shall want a 
testimony, the Lord will give one from heaven, a sufficient vindication 
against all the slander of the world. And who will put dishonour upon 
these whom the Lord will honour ? 

2. Comfortably. Faith and joy are mutual causes. Where strong 
fiuth, there is strong consolation in life or death. When faith ebbs, joy 
ebbs ; a spring-tide of faith brings a strong stream of joy. Where tiiere 
is vXj)^^op/a riOTtmgf full assurance of fail^, then the soul is carried with 
full sail mto the bosom of Christ. A weak fedth does but creep into 
heaven, strong fidth gives an abundant entrance, 

8. Happily. ' He that continues faithful to the end, shall be saved.' 
It is he who must hear that ravishing welcome from the mouth of God, 
* Well done, good and £uthful servant,' and must receive a glorious crown 
from the hand of Christ; ' Be thou faithful unto death,' &c. Faith enters 
with triumph into heaven, it conquers all opposition ; < This is your victoiy 
whereby ye overcome the world, even your faith.' It conquers Satan; the 
shield of faith quenches his darts, conquers sin, conquers death, jam 
devenhan eU ad triarios; it disarms him, and then enters heaven wiUi a 

240 OF DYING IN FAITH. [HsB. XL 18. 

triumph, ' death, where is thy sting ?' Oiven victory through Christ. 
What we have through him, we have by £uth in him. 

Directions. 1. That yon may live and die in the faith of Christ, in the fiuth 
once delivered to the saints, u «., in the troths of Christ ; that yon may 
be constant and immoveable, not tossed to and fro, not carried away with 
the error of the wicked, the prevailing delusions of the times ; that you 
may not be carried down the stream of error, the waters which tiie dragon 
vomits, Bev. zii. 16 ; take this golden rule : < Beceive the truth in the 
love of it,' 2 Thes. ii. 10. If you would continue in the truth, and have 
the Lord establish you in it, love the truth for itself, and loye it above all 
inferior respects whatsoever. He that loves, espouses the truth only for 
some sinister advantages, out of custom, for applause, to avoid censure, 
&c., when these cease, will divorce the truth, and embrace any error that 
will comport with these respects. This is the great reason of the unfaith- 
fulness of these times ; why do many relinquish, disclaim those truths, 
which they formerly held, maintained, professed? Why, they did not love 
the truth for itself, but for some base respects ; they never were in love 
with the beauty of truth, but only its garb, its dowry ; and therefore when 
error comes in a garb more pleasing to carnal minds, with a dowry more 
advantageous to their base hearts, ^ese wantons will entertain the truth 
no longer, but embrace error, a strumpet in room thereof. He that loves 
truth only for applause will embrace error when it is more plausible. He 
that loves carnal pleasures more than truth, will be r^ady to entertain those 
errors that will grant a toleration. He that receives the truth only, or 
principally, because it is generally received, will change his opinion when 
the times change. Nay, if a man*s carnal heart were not apt to M oat 
with truth, yet the Lord is so much in love with it as he will not suffer 
those to be blessed with it, who will not love it for itself, who prostitute it to 
base respects. He gives such up to strong delusions, &c. 

2. That you may live and die in the siate of £uth, get into that happy 
state. G^t faith rooted and grounded in your hearts, and then you are 
sure : * Kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.' You can 
neither live nor die without faith. While ye live without faith yon are 
under the sentence of condemnation, and if ye die without £uth, death will 
lead you to execution. Be not deceived, think not that to be fiaith which 
is not ; think not you have faith, because you believe the word of Qod is 
truth, and what it reveals concerning God, and Christ, and holiness, and 
happiness, is true. This is faith indeed, but such a faith as the devils have ; 
such a faith will be no advantage either in life or death ; it will diatingniflh 
thee from an infidel, but not from an unbeliever. That faith which is 
saving, which receives testimony from God, &c., is such a faith as will 
make you willing to embrace Christ both as prince and Saviour; willing 
to obey him, as to be saved by him ; to be sanctified as well as justified ; 
that worketh by love, purifietii the heart, brings forth the fruits of the 
Spirit. This is the fiuth by which ye mustf live, in which ye must die, 
if ye will die happily, comfortably, &c. That you may attain this fidth, 
be diligent in attending upon the word. This direction is the apostle's. 
Bom. X. 14, 17. It is the word that both begets fiuth, and nourishes 
it. Those that neglect the word (it is evident to me) care not how they 
live, nor how they die. 

8« That you may live and die in the expression of faith ; t. «., that yon 
may not deal unfiuthfully in the covenant; consider how horribly wretched 
sudi unfiuthfulness is. Those that use to deal unfiuthfully with men, lie, 

HbB. XI. 18.] OF DTINO Of FAITH. 241 

or forswear, to get some advantage, there may be some temptation to this ; 
bnt he that deaJs imfaithfoUy with God, deals nnfaithfallj with God to 
undo, to ruin himself. There is no advantage in the world to be got 
hereby, to tempt a man to it ; the sin is desperately wicked and inexcns- 
able. He that deals nn£uthfhlly in the covenant does God a high dis- 
pleasure, that he may damn himself. What do ye, when yon neglect 
£uth, repentanoe, &c.? what tempts yon to it? what advantage ex- 
pect ye? 

4. That ye may die in the exercise of faith, (1.) learn to live in the 
exercise of it. The more faith is acted, the easier it will be to exercise. 
Those who are strangers to the life of faith while they live, will find it a 
strange work to act it when they die. If yon exercise it not now, it will in 
an ordinary way be impossible to act it Uien. The way to die in faith is 
to live by it. Learn now to live in a continual dependence upon God, to 
trust him with all you have, for all you want, to rely on him for supply of 
wants, assistance in duties, success of endeavours, strength to resist tempta- 
tions, subdue lusts, bear afflictions, a blessing on your enjoyments. Walk 
always leaning upon God ; so the word ]9t2^ imports ; depend on him, as 
the child upon the mother's breast ; by the attractive power of faith, draw 
out of his all-sufficiency whatever you want. The life that you live, let it 
be by faith, &c., and then your death will be like these worthies* ; and this 
may be writ upon your monument, at least it will be writ in heaven, 
< These all died in the faith.' 

(2.) Treasure up the promises in your hearts, in your memories. No 
such treasure as this. You will find riches a vain thing in that hour, they 
cannot deliver from death ; but faith acted on the promises will both sup- 
port in it, and deliver from it. These you will find the best cordials, 
sweeter than manna, the bread of life. That soul can never faint that feeds 
on them. Faith supports the soul when death assails, and these support 
faith ; they are the staff of bread ; if faith feed on them, they will nourish 
it into strength, such strength as will break through the terrors and 
pangs of death in a triumph. Let not the promises lie neglected, as 
though of no use. Choose out those that are most pertinent, those that 
will support in the conflict, and raise your expectation of approaching 

(8.) Clear up your evidences for heaven. While your title is dark, faith 
will be weak. How can ye be confident of the eternal blessings of the 
covenant, while ye have no assurance that you are in covenant ? How can 
ye with confidence go out to meet the bridegroom, when ye know not 
whether ye have oil in your lamps ? Oh then give all diligence to make 
your calling and election sure. Till that be sure, faith will scarce find any 
firm footing, and so stagger and waver. Examine yourselves whether in 
the faith ; give no rest to yourselves till ye know ye have interest in him, 
who through death has destroyed him that had the power of death, Heb. 
ii. 14, 15. You can never be confident ye shall depart in peace, till ye be 
assored that Christ is your salvation. 

When yon have cleared this evidence, endeavour to keep it clear. Sin 
blote it, guilt is a blur in the evidence. If you avoid not these in your 
lives, you will scarce read your evidence at death, and then faith may be non- 
ploBsed and to seek, when most [you] need it. Endeavour to keep a good 
conseionee always, in all things, towards God and man, that so you may 
have the testimony of God and of your conscience on your deathbeds : as 
2 Cor* i. 12» ' That in simplicity and godly sincerity yon have had your 

242 or BTDva m viiTB. IHxb. XI. 18. 

eoDTenaiioii.' Oh, sooh a ieBtimony will be a greal eneonngement to 
fedth, when all outward encouragements fail. 

(4.) Lay up experiences, ^e remembrance of experiments of God*8 
meroy and fidthftdness in your Utos will be a sweet support to fidth in 
death. God's people have made good nse of experiences to this porpose ; 
David, Paul, 2 Tim. iv. 18. FaaUi from such promises* will draw sweet 
eondosions* The Lord has delivered me from the dominion of sin, and 
the oraelty of Satan, therefore he will deliver me from the power of death. 
The Lord has given me the first frnits of heaven while I lived, he will give 
me a foil harvest of glory after death, 

* Qu. *inemife0'^-£D. 


And eonfe$»ed that they voen itrangen. — ^Heb. XI. 18. 

Yon have here an acoonnt'of the life and death of those fiuthfol seirantfl 
of God, the patriarchs. Of their death, ' These all died,* &c. ; of their life, 

* Strangers luid pilgrims.' That they Uina died, we have Ood's testimony, 

* These all,* &c. That they thns lived, we have their own eonftssion ; they 
were strangers all their life, they were futhfbl to the death, and are thns 
recorded as examples to the people of God in all ages, that they may thns 
live, thus die. 

06f. Those that wonld die in the £uth, shonld live as strangers and 

For ezplioation I shall shew, 1. What it is to die in the £uth ; 2. What 
to live as strangers. 

For the first, it is to die as those ancient people of God did : 1. In the 
piofeesion ; 2. In the state ; 8. In the expression ; 4. In the exercise of 
iaith, of which hefore. 

For the second, I shall first shew the M, secondly, the wm^ 

The people of God in all ages thus lived. Jacob professeth it to Pharaoh, 
both of himself and his fiithers. Gen. xlvii. 9. ^e Lord himself, in the 
following age, styles all the Israelites thus. Lev. xxv. 28. Bnt they were 
not setUed in Canaan, and that might be the reason. No. After it was 
given them as their inheritance, when they had possession of it, and had 
eontinned in possession some hundred years, in David's time, yet does he 
profess this of himself and all his fiithers, Ps. xxxix. 12. But it may be 
David spake this when he was nnder persecution and in banishment, when 
he w|s hunted as a partridge, &c. No ; it was when he was established 
npon the throne of Jndah and Israel, when he had conquered all opposars 
tbroad and at home, as it is evident, 1 Ghron* xxix. 15. Nor was tUs tiie 
condition of God's people under the law only ; no other is their state nnder 
the gospel. The aposUe writes to them nnder this notion, 1 Pet. ii. 11. 
That it is so is evident ; but in what respects are they so ? 

Am. They are strangers and pilgrims : 

1. In respect of their station, the place of their abode. While they are 
in the world, they are in a strange country ; while they are p re s en t in the 
world, they are fiur firom home. The world is a strange couz^, and their 
hahitations in it, how much soever their own in civil respects, are but as 


inns in that joarney homeward. The land of promise was hat to Abraham 
a strange ooontry ; his dwelling there was bat a sojooming, so far was he 
from thinking himself at home, yer. 9. 

The world is a strange country to the people of God, and the men of the 
world are men of a strange language, strange customs, strange laws, &r 
differing from that of their own country. A strange language, the language 
of Ashdod. To hear God's name profaned, his people reproached, hoHness 
vilified, miscalled ; to hear unclean, unsavoury, revengeful language ; to 
hear men wholly taken up with discourse of the earth, and earthly things, 
oh this is, or should be, strange language to the people of God ; there is 
no such word ever heard in their own countiy. While in the world, they 
are amongst a people of a strange tongue, strange customs and laws too, 
such as were never enacted, nor had place in their own country. To neglect 
the worship of God in public, in their families, to make provision for the 
flesh, ^., to lay up treasure on earth, to neglect God, their souls, etemitj, 
these and such like are customs of the world ; and they think it strange 
(so common is it) that God's people will not run with tiiiem, 1 Pet. iv. 4, 
not swear, be drunk. A people of strange doctrines, Heb. xiii. 9 ; strange 
vanities, Jer. viii. 19 ; of a strange God too, 2 Cor. iv. 4. He is their 
lawgiver ; the course of this world is according to his laws, Eph. ii. 2. The 
laws of their own country have no place here : the law of fiiith, love, self-denial, 
loving enemies, &c. Such a country is the world to the people of God, a 
strange countiy ; and in this respect they are strangers. 

2. In respect of their design, their motion, it is still homewards. This 
strange countiy likes them not, nor they it ; they are travelling towards 
another, that which is, that which they account, their home, that better 
country, that heavenly country, that city prepared for them, that city whose 
builder and maker is God. Thus these faithful worthies, ver. 14, they that 
say, t. 0., that confess, &c., do plainly declare, ver. 16. That heavendy county 
is the place of the Lord's abode ; and because he is their God, this is their 
country, their home. This they look for, ver. 10, this they seek, ver. 14, 
this they desire, ver. 16 ; their expectations, their affections, their endeavours 
are for heaven, when they are like themselves. YThile they are present in 
the world, they are absent from home. So their life here is in motion ; 
they are in a journey ; they are travelling homewards, and that is to heaven. 
This is their journey's end, the end of tiieir pilgrimage ; and till they come 
there, till they be at home in heaven, they are strangers. 

8. In respect of their enjoyments. They are but accommodated here 
like strangers. Much would be a burden, a hindrance to them in their 
journey ; they have more in hopes than hand. These worthies died, not 
having received the promises, t. «., all the good things promised : no, their 
richest enjoyments are at home ; no matter for state and superfluities in a 
journey. They are not known in those strange places where they pass, no 
matter how they seem to strangers. Though they be princes, sons of God, 
heirs of a crown, their Father sees it best, safest for them, to travel in a 
disguise. No matter what strangers take them for, 1 John iii. 2, what 
they now enjoy are but like the accommodations of an inn, enough for tra- 
vellers. Their treasure, their crown, their glory is at home, their Father's 
house ; till they come there they are strangers. 

4. In respect of their usage. They are not known in the world, and so are 
often coarsely used. In this strange country they meet with few friends, hut 
many injuries. See how the world used those of whom it was not worthy, 
ver. 86-88. Here is strangers indeed, and strangely us ed. No wonder if 

HcB. XI. 13.J OF uvmo as btbarobbs. 245 

a stranger be jeered and derided ; his habit, bis manners, his language, is 
not coi^ormed to the place where he is. llieir habit, language, practices, 
most be after their own country fashion, snch as become heaven : now 
this being contrary to the world, meets with opposition, scorn, reproaches, 
haired. This was the portion of Christ, of his disciples, of his people in 
all ages ; and this is the reason they are not of the world, Uiey are strangers, 
John xvii. 14. If they have something that commands ontward respect, it 
may be they will find some ; but the hearts of worldly men are against 
them, John zy. 18, 19. 

6. In respect of their continnance. Their abode on earth is bnt short. 
A stranger, a traveller stays not long in one place. Upon this account does 
David call himself and the people of God strangers, 1 Ghron. zzix. 15. 
They dwell but as Abraham in tabernacles, ver. 9, in tents, moveable 
dwellings, quickly, easily removed ; no dwellhig that has a foundation that 
is lasting, durable, tiU at home, ver. 10. Continuance on. earth but a 
shadow, but a passage. 

6. In respect of their relations. I^eir dearest relations are in another 
eountry. Their Father, their Husband, their Elder Brother, their dearsat 
Friend, their Comforter, and the far greatest part of their brethren and 
fellow-members, are all in heaven. He that lives at a distance from his 
relations may well pass for a stranger. 

Uu 1. B^roof of those who profess themselves to be the people of God, 
and yet live not like his people ; live on earth, as though earth was their 
home, and mind heaven as little as they mind a strange country ; suffer 
their thoughts, affections, endeavours, to be so taken up with liie earth, 
and the things of it, as Uiough the world were all the home they expect ; 
instead of being strangers to the world, are strangers to the thoughts of, 
to the employments of, to the endeavours for heaven ; rise up early, ftc., 
to lay up treasure on earth, and lap up their hearts and souls with it. No 
wonder if these people be unwilling to die, since they must part from the 
world as one parts from his own country to go into banishment. They 
that thus live in the world cannot expect to die in the £uth. Whose image 
and superscription do they bear ? 

Uie 2. Exhortation to the people of God. Ton are strangers and pil- 
grims, oh endeavour to live as strangers. Tou expect to die in the £uth, 
oh live then as you may so die. 

(I.) Be not familiar with the world. Let the pleasures, the carnal inte- 
rests of it, be strange things to you, 1 Pet. ii. 12. * Be not conformed to 
the world,' Bom. xii. 2. If you count heaven your home, your country, 
diq>arage not heaven so much as to prefer the customs, the Cuhions, the 
practices, the language of the world, before those of your own country. To 
be ashamed to hold forth a heavenly conversation before the world, is to be 
ashamed of your own country, of heaven. Let your lives testify that yon 
are citizens of heaven, that you are strangers. 

(2.) Be patient under si^erings, under the affironts, reproaches, hard 
usages you meet with from the world. It is the portion of strangers. If 
ye were known, ye might expect better usage ; but here you are strangers, 
yon must put up wrongs and injuries. "W^t folly for one in a strange 
country to seek to right himself ? Expect no vindication till in your own 

(8.) Be content with what things yon enjoy. Though it seem small or 
poor, it is enough for a stranger. More would be a burden to you, and 
travellers should avoid burdens, if they long to be at home. The things of 

248 or umra ab stbanosbs. [Hbb. XI. 18. 

the world are enmbenome ; thej may make jonr journey tedioiu, and 
keep yoa longer from yoor desired home. Be content for a while ; it is 
bat a while, imd yoa will be at home, and then yoa will find better enter- 
tainment, and more plenty. 

(4.) Set not yonr hearts apon any thing here below. Remember, while 
yoa are on earth, yoa are bat in an inn. What folly woald it be for a tra- 
Teller, who has fiur* home, to fall in love with, and fix himself in his inn? 
Saeh folly, or worse, woold it be for yoa to fix on the world. Mind the 
things here below as tyi transUu ; ase them as though ye ased them not 

(6.) Make haste home. Make no longer stay than needs mast in this 
stiange eoantry. Make straight steps to yqar feet ; disbarden yoorselTeB 
of worldly eares, projects, fled^y lasts, that weight timt does so easily beset 
yoa* What yoa have to do here, do it with all yoor might, that you may 
be fit for home. Despatch, make haste ; remember whiter yoa are going, 
and to whom. Toar Father expects yoa ; the Bridegroom thinks long tOl 
yoa come, he that will delight in you for ever. Yoa are bat now con- 
tracted; the marriage will not be solemnized till yoa come home; and 
there he stands ready to entertain yoa, to embrace yoa in the anns of 
everlasting love. Hear how sweetly he invites yoa : Gant. ii. 10, * Rise 
ap, my love, my fail one, and come away.' Oh tarn not aside into by- 
paths of sin and vanity. Look not back, close with sweet exhortation, 
Heb. xii. 1, 2. Oh let the sight, the thoa^^ts of Jesas, qaicken yoor pace. 
And while you are absent in the body, let your hearts be at home, your 
hearts in heaven, where are yoar treasure, yoar joys, yoar crown, yonr 
glory, yoor inheritance, yoar husband. Oh, is not here allorement enonjg^ ? 
This is the way to be at home while you are firom home. 

(6.) Be not too fearlol of death. It is a sleep now ; Christ's death did 
change the property of it ? and will a pilgrim, a weary traveller, be afraid 
of sleep ? When you are come to the gates of death, there is but one step 
then betwixt you and home, and that is death. Methinks we should pass 
this cheerfolly, the next step your foot will be in heaven. How does it 
cheer the weary traveller, to think this is the last day's journey ; to-mor- 
row, to-morrow I shall be at my own home, with tJl my dear relations. 
There I shall have ease and rest, and many welcomes. Suppose this last 
be the worst, the most stormy day of all my journey, to-morrow will mslca 
full amends for it. 

' Now such a day is the day of death, the last day of a wearisome pilgri- 
mage, and that which brings the stranger to his long home, into the bosom 
of God, into the embraces of Christ, unto all those joys and engagements 
that his own country afford, such as eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Ac. 
This is 'partly the way to live as strangers, to live so as ye may die in 
the fiiith ; and those that die in the faith die in the Lord, and those are 

•Qq. 'a&ir'?-ED. 


Tea doubdetSf and I count aU things but lots for ths eaBceUeney of ths know* 
ledge of Chriet Jena my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss ofaU 
things^ and do count them but dung^ that I may win Christ. — Pbxlxp. in.8. 

HsBB ape the sweet Btrains of a gospel spirit, letting out itself in express- 
ing a dear love to> a high esteem of Christ, and him alone ; advancing 
Christ above all, giving mm the throne» and making all competitors his 

The oeeasion of them we may find in the former verses, wherein I 
eannot let pass some sweet and raised expressions without giving yon a 
taste, glancing at them by the way, that yon may understand them, and 
the coherence of these with them. Some teachers there were amongst 
them who drove on a pemidons design to corrupt the doctrine of tiie 
gospel and dishonour Christ, by joining with him the works and obser- 
vances of the law, in point of justification and salvation. To prevent the 
mischief of this unworthy medley, he gives them saving advice, which we 
may take up in four parcels. 

1. To rest joyfully in Christ alone, to embrace him with delight, and 
rest satisfied in his righteousness, the sdl-sufiiciency of his undertaUng and 
performance for pardon and gloiy, ver. 1 ; and l»Bt they should nauseate 
this doctrine as too often repeated and inculcated, he teUs them * to write 
the same things, to him was not grievous,' because most sweet and 
delightfhl, most necessary and profitable ; ' to them safe.' They were in 
danger to be removed from him that called them unto the grace of Christ, 
unto another gospel. The repetition of this was necessaiy to prevent the 
danger; it was safe, i.«., saving; no doctrine saving but that which 
advances Christ alone, and preserves his glory entire in those points. 

2. To beware of false t^uihers, those that adulterated the gospel, and 
made a medley of righteousness by works and faith, and bring in their 
ceremonial or moral observances to share with Christ, as partial grounds 
at least of their confidence and rejoicing. And he sets on this advice with 
sharp terms, as being tender of the glory of Christ, bitter and vehement 
against his co-rivals. He rebukes them &ww^fMc, cuttingly, shaq>ly, vide 
ver. 2. He calls them * dogs,' those that did rend and tear the simplicity 
of gospel doctrine, and divide the glory of man's salvation betwixt fidth and 
works ; such as did baik out reproaches against the apostles and their 


doctrine delivered in its native purity and simplicity. It will be osefial to 
observe here the different temper and carriage of this divme apostle in 
different cases. When things were indifferent, and less necessary and 
doubtful, flEurther from the heart of gospel truth and the great mysteiy of 
Christ, then who more mild, who more indulgent ? who more complying 
in things indifferent ? He became all things, &c. In things donbtfnl, of 
less moment, he calls for meekness, forbearance, peace, love ; he breathes 
nothing else but the mild spirit of his gracious Lord, Bom. xiv. 1. But 
when opinions were broached that intrenched upon the glory of Christ, and 
tended to subvert souls, and pervert the gospel, why then the apostle is 
another man, a Boanerges; he seems to speak fire and thunder, fwra 
tonitrua. No terms are bad enough, too bad for such seducers. Though 
they were cried up and applauded as the only pastors and shepherds, be 
calls them * dogs.' They thought themselves the only patrons of good 
works, he calls them ' evil workers.* They would be thought the onlj 
legitimate children, he calls them ' concision ;' to shew his dislike of their 
abusing and idolising circumcision, he gives it a by-name. So Hezekiah 
calls the brazen serpent (at first set up by God's appointment), when it 
was abused and idolised, Kehnshtan, in contempt of that which was 
advanced to the dishonour of God, a piece of brass ; or concision, cutting 
off. This advancing of circumcision into Christ's place tended to cut 
them off from Christ, from the church of Christ. It did not only occasion 
division amongst the members, but did tend to out them off from the 
head ; a ruining, destructive evU. Let us be followers of the apostle, as 
he followed Christ; learn when to be mild, and when to be zeabns. 
(See Luther on Gal.) 

8. He opposes to these seducers the examples of the apostles and 
faithful, to encourage them to cleave to that doctrine which advanced 
Christ alone, and renounced all things coming in competition with himi 
ver. 8. As though he had said. Ye e&all lose nothing by closing with this 
doctrine, and following us herein; whatever they protend, we are the 
circumcision, we only are truly circumcised in the account of God. Yoa 
reject not God's institution, he himself has laid it aside ; you lose no 
privilege by it, we have that which these rites intended and held forth. 
We have it in Christ more perfectly, more excellently. They have the 
shadow, we have the substance. They have the outward rite, we have the 
spiritual benefit intended by it ; we have it in a transcendent manner, in 
its growth and height. They, by sticking to the ceremony, keep them- 
selves in nonage ; we are heirs, and eigoy the substance of these cere- 
monies. We are circumcised in heart ; Christ has cut off the foreskin of 
our hearts, the guilt and power of sin. 

' Worship God in spirit;' we understand the spiritual sense of all rites, 
types, ceremonies. Christ is the truth and substance of them ; in him we 
have all. We worship him, accordingly, in spirit and truth, and so by 
Christ's verdict are the only true worshippers, John iv. 14. We place not 
worship in carnal observances, as they do. 'Bodily exercise profits 
nothing ;' it is the heart and spirit that God requires, and this we give 
him. Follow their example. No worship without the spirit. 

' And rejoice in Christ ;' xauxi'^/itvot, we glory in him. Let them glory 
in their carnal rites, ceremonial observances, legal righteousness, outward 
privileges, we will rejoice in Christ alone ; nay, glory, exult, triumph in 
him. Joy in its strength is exultation, which is a kind of vaulting or 
leaping of the soul, yea, a leaping out of itself to its object. Their sonls 

Phujp. m. 8.] THS snoKLuarr enowledob of ohbist. 249 

leaped for joy at the contemplation of the infinite fulness, all*safficienej, 
glorious and transcendent excellency, of Christ. A man boasts when he is 
fall of that which he thinks excellent. They counted it not only their 
happiness, but their glory, to have Christ, and Christ alone. They, with 
undauntedness and ftdl contentment, set Christ against all that the false 
teachers could pretend to, all that could be offered in competition with 
Christ. He was the only ground of their joy and confidence. In him 
they exulted, triumphed, gloried, though they parted with all, lost all for 
him. See here Christians* temper. 

' No confidence in flesh ;' carnal rites, ceremonies, privileges, perfor- 
mances ; of which after. These were not ground of joy, satisfaction, con- 
fidence ; they relied not upon these for pardon, acceptance ; expected not 
mercy nor sidvation for these. Christ only, he alone was the ground of 
their confidence, rejoicing, exulting. 

4. He enforces his advice by his own example. If there were any reason 
to glory, or be confident in carnal prerogatives, outward performances, he 
had as much reason to do it as any of them all, ver. 4. He could boast 
of as many privileges, as much self-righteousness, as they that could most, 
which he shews in many severals, ver. 5. 1. ' Circumcised ;' the seal of 
the covenant, and thereby he was outwardly in covenant with God ; a great 
honour, and that which entitled him to many privileges. 2. * Stock of 
Israel ;' of that nation which the Lord set apart for himself when he 
rejected all the nations of the earth besides. One of the * Israelites,' to 
whom, Bom. ix. 4, 5, belonged the adoption, &c. 8. ' Of the tribe :' as 
he was one of the most honoured people, so one of the most noble tribe, 
that of Benjamin ; bom, not of a bondmaid, but the patriarch's beloved 
Bachel; a tribe honoured with the first of Israel's kings, in reference to 
whom, it was like, himself was called Saul. He might have gloried in his 
Dobihty, bom of a tribe, a family, which was not strangers to the blood- 
royal. 4. * A Hebrew :' one of that honoured people, and noble tribe, in 
the most honourable way ; not by afSnity, but by pure descent both by 
Hather and mother. A proselyte's ofiGspring might be a Hebrew, but not a 
' Hebrew of the Hebrews,' as he was. 6. * A Pharisee:' one of the strictest 
and most honoured sects amongst them ; those were counted eminently 
religions, both negatively and positively, &c. 6. Ver. 6, * zeal :' as one 
of the most religious sect, so was he most zealous in that way of religion ; 
not profane, careless, indiiSerent, but zealous and active, according to his 
judgment and conscience. 7. * Righteous:' not eager only in persecuting 
those whom he counted enemies of righteousness, but righteous himself, 
in point of outward conformity to the law and institutions of God ; so 
observant thereof, as he was AfHufUig^ in the eye of men, and in his own 
account, ' blameless,' without spot ; his conversation not stained with any 
gross sins; an exact man in his life and deportment, living answerable to 
his knowledge and judgment. 

All these grounds of confidence the apostle had before he was converted, 
and if he would have been as vain-glorious as the false teachers, if he would 
have been injurious to Christ and his soul, might have rested here, and 
gloried therein as well as they ; but far was he from this temper. He 
adds, ver. 7, those things fore-mentioned which formerly he counted gain; 
thought to gain pardon, acceptance,' salvation by them ; now, since he 
knew Christ, he was of another judgment; now he counts them loss. He 
law he had lost his soul, been a lost man for ever, if he had rested on 
these for salvation, if he had made these the grounds of his confidence ; 


and therefore Christ being made known to him as the only way to gam 
pardon, acceptance, life, he renounced his former pnTilegea, hia former 
legal righteonsnesfl. He would not lean upon these broken reeds, which 
might have let his soul fall into hell. He would have no more confidence 
in the flesh, but in Christ only, by whom he expected to gain that which 
in vain he expected from these. 

Now, because this might seem a wonder and hard to be belicTed, that 
the apostle should renounce, cast away that which others counted their 
gain, treasure, ornament, their glory and confidence, that which they 
thought highly commended them, and made them acceptable in the sight 
of God, and glorious in the eyes of men ; to procure the easier belief, to 
express further the height of his resolution herein, and the fixedness of his 
h«fft in what he had done, he affirms it again, and that with an assevera- 
tion, together with divers heightened expressions, ver. 8, ' Yea, doubtless,' 
&c. He did not only count them loss, but he had actually renounced 
them. It was not only his judgment, but his practice. He did not only 
count them loss, but dung, filth, excrements, when compared with Christ. 
He did not only thus account, thus renounce these things fore-mentioned, 
but all things, even those things that he had done and suffered for Christ, 
since he knew Christ. Not thitt he repented of what he had done or suf- 
fered, nor that he thought these would not be graciously rewarded, but in 
point of confidence, in point of justification. If he had brought these before 
God's tribunal to be accepted, pardoned, justified, saved for them, he had 
been lost, they would have proved the loss of his soul. God would no 
more accept of these as satisfiustion for sin, or meritorious of eternal life, 
than he would accept of dung. And therefore in these respects he did that 
which the Lord would have done, he counted them loss and dung. He 
smelt a savour of death in those things which had been his confidence be- 
fore for acceptance and lifo. 

And further, he adds the cause of this strange effect, * The excellency of 
the knowledge,' &c. It was the discovery of Christ that wrought his heart 
to this temper. It was his view of a sinner's transcendent advantage by 
Christ, that made him account all these loss. It was the wonderful excel- 
lency of the knowledge of Christ, that made all these things seem as dung. 
When we are in the dark, we are glad of candle-light, and glow-worms wUl 
make a fair show in our eyes ; but when the sun is risen and shmes in 
his full strength, then candle-light seems needless or offensive, and the 
worms that glittered in the dark, make no better show than other vermin. 
So when men are in the state of nature and darkness, then their church 
privileges and carnal prerogatives, then their outward performances and 
self-righteousness, make a fibcie show in their eyes. They are apt to gloiy 
in them, and rely on them, as that by which they may gam the fovour of 
God and eternal lifo. Ay, but when Christ appears, when the Sun of 
righteousness arises in the heart and discovers his excellency, his all-suffi- 
ciency, then a man's own sparks vanish; then all his formerly beloved and 
rich esteemed ornaments are cast off; then all he has, and all he has done, 
privileges and outward services, are loss and dung. None but Christ, 
none but Christ, for pardon, acceptance, life. This is the excellent effect 
of this excellent knowledge. 

We may explain the other expressions hereafter. Now (that we spend 
not all the time in exposition), take from the cause this 

Obi. The knowledge of Christ is an excellent knowledge. There ii a 
transcendent excellency in the knowledge of Christ. 


Now to proceed most for edification in handling this truth, we will shew, 

1. What knowledge of Christ is that which is so excellent. It is not 
ererj knowledge, nor every knowledge of Christ that is so. The dcYJls, 
the reprohates, have, living nnder the gospel, some apprehensions of Christ, 
and so have the elect before conversion, which yet is not this excellent know- 
ledge. That which is transcendent, is such as the apostle was, such for nature, 
thon^ not for degrees. The Scripture abounds with characters of this 
knowledge, and it were easy to be large in describing it. But I shall con- 
fine myself to such as the apostle's ducourse in these verses offers to us ; 
and three we have in the text That knowledge of Christ which is excel- 
lent, 18, 

(1.) Extensive ; apprehends him in all those notions and respects wherein 
the gospel principally discovers him. Three words in this verse which the 
apostle uses, do comprise all or most of the rest, < Christ,* < Jesus,' * Lord ; ' 
not only as Christ, but as Jesus ; not only as Jesus, but as Lord. Appre- 
hend what he is, 

1st, Li his nature and offices; these are included in the word Christ, i.«., 
the Messias, him whom the Lord anointed to be Mediator. Enow him as 
God, as man, and what necessity sinners had of such a mediator ; and so 
in his offices, apprehend what he is, as king, as prophet, as priest ; what 
excellent and rich advantages flow from each of these into tiiie state and 
souls of believers. What was the inducement which brought him under 
such engagements for sinners ? The dimensions of his love. Eph. iii. 18, 
19, * To know what is the height, length,' &c., we can, though we have 
no measure will fully reach the dimensions. 

2d, Li the intention and execution of his offices, that in the word Jesus, 
a Saviour, how he exercises these offices to bring about man's salvation. 
What saving acts belong to each office, and how to apply yourselves to 
every one of them for salvation. 

8d, Li the consequents of his offices, that is, dominion in Christ, sub- 
jection in us. We have both in the name Lord, Rom. xiv. 9. Many will 
take notice of Christ as a Saviour, but not as Lord ; but this is to ^e a 
view of Christ in an eclipse, to apprehend Christ wiUiout his crown. This 
is not to know Christ in all his discovered excellencies, and so is not the 
excellent knowledge of Christ. 

(2.) Appropriating ; so the apostle, ' Christ Jesus my Lord.* The mar- 
row of the gospel, as Luther observes, is in these pronouns, meum^ nostrum^ 
He bids us read these with great emphasis. TolU mevm et tolle Dewn, 
says another, take away propriety, and you take away God, take away 
Christ. To apprehend him yours upon good grounds, is the excellency of 
this knowledge. Christ is notionally known by the evil angels; they know 
he is a Saviour, a King, a Priest ; but they apprehend him not with appli- 
cation as their Saviour, their Head, as a Priest and Mediator for them. 
But this excellent knowledge apprehends him, and propriety in him ; my 
Lord, my Jesus, my Advocate, who intercedes for me : my King, who has 
writ his laws in my heart ; my Prophet, who has turned my darkness into 
light, shining in my dark heart ; my Sacrifice, who has loved me and washed 
me, ^c. ; my Head, who quickens and conveys holy quickening influences 
into me, ifi^ i^g. 

(8.) Effectual. Has a powerful efficacy both upon heart and life, boUi 
upon judgment, affection, and practice. We see it in the apostle ; this 
excellent knowledge of Christ raised his esteem of him, possessed him with 
contempt of all things else, kindled his affections, ardent desires after him» 


intense delight in him, made him both active and passiye for Christ : ' for 
whom I have suffered the loss of all things.' Where this excellent know- 
ledge is, there Christ is exalted as the chiefest of ten thousand, as the 
highest excellency, as the richest advantage, as the sweetest enjoyment, as 
the only matchless beanty, as the most giorions object Christ ontshines 
all in his judgment, where this excellent knowledge shines. The greatest 
glory in the worid is but as a ^ow-worm, compared with the snn in its 
noonday brightness ; the choicest excellency seems base when Christ appears ; 
the chiefest gain in the world is loss, when Christ is gained ; the richest 
treasure is dung, when Christ's riches are displayed ; the most esteemed 
accomplishment is vile, when the preciousness of Christ appears ; all things 
put together which natural men, which the most judicious of them, do value 
and most prize, put in the balance with Christ, are then but vanity, and 
then apprehended to be lighter than vanity. Whatever the heart was set 
upon before, it leaves them, it shakes them off, and turns to Christ, and 
cleaves to him with unspeakable complacency and contentment. Did he 
before admire riches, or pomp and greatness, or honour and authority, or 
natural parts, a strong memory, or a good judgment, or a nimble wit, or a 
reaching head, acquired accomplishments or moral honesty? Ay, but 
when Christ appears, he has the pre-eminence. He says to the best of 
these, when they would take his heart and judgment. Friend, sit lower ; a 
worthier than thou must have this place. He that is higher than the 
heavens must have the highest place in my esteem, the chiefest room in my 
heart. If you will sit at Christ's feet, and minister to him, then welcome ; but 
the throne is for Christ Jesus my Lord. It has a powerful efficacy npon 
the affections, to kindle desire, and raise joy in Christ, as the object tran- 
scendently desirable and delightful. He covets no gain so much now» but 
to gain Christ. He sees no righteousness now available, but the righteous- 
ness of Christ ; he pants and gasps after this righteousness, as that only 
that can shroud him from revenging justice, and stand betwixt him and 
that righteous God which is otherwise a consuming fire to sinners. His 
chiefest desire on earth is to be found in Christ. He oares more indifferently 
in what state as to the world, in what condition soever the Lord find him, 
so he be found in Christ ; cares not though he be found in prison, found 
covered with reproaches, found enrironed with afflictions, found naked as 
to his own righteousness, privileges, ei^oyments, personid excellencies, so 
he may be found in Christ. This was Uie apostle's temper, &c. Christ is 
his glory, and the crown of his rejoicing ; he exults, triumphs, glories in 
Christ, though he lose all for him. Even as a poor beggar discovering a 
rich mine or some vast treasures, is ready to leap for joy that he has found 
that which will make him rich for ever ; he casts away his former rags, he 
despises his former poor and wooden ftimiture, for he has discovered that 
which will enrich him and make his condition plentiful ; so the soul to 
whom the Lord has made this rich, this excellent discovery of Christ, he 
has found a mine more precious than gold, and larger than all the fiuse of 
the earth ; he casts off the menstruous rags of his own righteousness ; his 
former accomplishments are now but as a beggar's furniture ; his hesji is 
full of joy ; he says, Bejoice, my soul ; he says. Rejoice with me, O my 
friends, for I have found the pearl of great price ; I have discovered the 
unsearchable riches of Christ, that which will make me rich and happy for 
ever : < My lines are fallen,' &o. ; ' Return to thy rest, my soul.' 80 
the apostle : < We are the circumcision, and that rejoice in Christ Jesus.* 
And it has an influence upon his practice. If he have not, as the apostle, 

Philip, in. 8.] tbx ezcxllbnt knowledob or obbist. 258 

Eph. iv. 20, * gnffered the loss of all,' he is ready to do it when Christ calls 
for it. Whatever he eazmot ODJoj with Christ, he casts from him with 
indignation, casts to the moles. He renounces the profits of sin, abandons 
the pleasures of sin, lays aside the honour of his own righteousness, parts, 
gifts, performances, so &r as would obscure the ^ory of Christ ; is ready 
to lose all, that he may gain Christ, to part wiUi e^eiything, that Christ 
may be all in all. 

(4.) Fiducial. It brings the soul to rest upon Christ and his righteous- 
ness alone, for pardon, acceptance, salvation, and to cast away all those 
rotten props, good nature, well meaning, harmless life, honest carriage, 
just dealing, church privileges, natural accomplishments, religious perfor- 
mances, upon which he relied, and made the grounds of his confidence 
before. Who more confident Uutn Paul before he knew Christ ? His being 
numbered amongst the people of God, his strictness in an outward way of 
religion, his zeal in the way of his conscience, his blameless conversation, 
were iho things for which he thought himself sure of heaven. Here was 
his confidence ; but when Christ was made known, to rest in these he saw 
was to trust in the arm of fiesh, to lean upon a broken reed ; and there- 
fore, when the joyful discovery of Christ was made to his soul, he had no 
more confidence in the fiesh, Uien he would, not own his righteousness of 
the law as a ground of confidence : ' Not having,' &c. The soul that has 
this excellent discovery of Christ, will make nothing but Christ his confi- 
dence ; despair in himself, how good soever he be, what good soever he 
has done, and only rely on Christ his righteousness. 

(5.) Useful. He that has it studies to improve Christ, to make use of 
him for those glorious and blessed purposes for which he knows Christ is 
given, such as the apostle expresses, ver. 9, 10 : to find the blessed advan- 
tages of his righteousness for pardon, acceptance, and right to gloty, and 
that upon all occasions of doubting, all contracting of new guilt. ' Power 
of his resurrection : ' lifbmg him up, not only out of the state of sin, but 
also above all pressures, incumbrances of life and the world, to seek those 
things that are above, and enjoy him who is exalted for, &c., and to be 
raised of him, and brought to him who is the earnest of our resurrection, 
the first-fruits of the dead. * Fellowship of his sufferings,' in union and 
participation. To find by comfortable experience that Christ suffered in 
his stead, and to receive what he purchased by his blood, merited by his 
sufferings ; and to find a compassionate presence and support from Christ 
in all sufferings for him, knowing, Heb. viii. 18, 19.* ' Conformable to 
his death :' to find the power of Christ's death killing sin, crucifying his 
heart unto the world and the world unto him, that so he may be crucified 
with Christ, but so die and suffer as he may reign with him. This is the 
notion, these the properties of that knowledge. of Christ which is excellent. 

2. Why is the knowledge of Christ excellent ? in what respects ? upon 
what account ? 

(1.) Because it is that knowledge which the most excellent creatures on 
eaiih, yea, the most excellent in heaven, did ardently desire, laboriously 
seek after, and which obtained, they rejoice and glory in. The most excel- 
lent on eajrth are the saints, Ps. xvi., and amongst them, the most exceUent 
were the patriarchs, the kings, the prophets, the apostles ; and all these 
eoonted the knowledge of Chnst their joy, their chief desire. So Abraham, 
John viii. 56, he saw but the discoveries of Christ afar off, and he rejoiced; 
he saw bat the dawnings of that day wherein Christ's knowledge should 
* 8o in the text ; evidently a misprint.— Ed. 


shine in its strengih and glory, and his heart was glad ; a gHmpee of this 
excellent vision, at many hnndred years' distance, filled him wiUi joy and 
gladness. Moses preferred the reproach of Christ before all the treasures 
of a flourishing kingdom, Heb. zi. 26 ; and if snflerings for Christ were so 
precious in his esteem, what then was the knowledge of Christ's sufferings 
for sinners ? This was the great inquiry of the prophets, this was it after 
which they searched diligently, 1 Pet. i. 10, 11. They inquired, they 
searched, and searched again (it is twice repeated), and seurehed diligently; 
they searched for this as for hidden treasures. Oh how excellent was it in 
their account I Nay, both prophets and kings wero ambitious of this as 
their greatest glory, Luke x. 28, 24. Nay, the Lord Jesus himself r^'oioed 
that Uie Lord would Touchsafe this excellent disoovexy to the unworthy 
sons of men, ver. 21, nyo^JJaaarOf his spirit leaped within him for joy, that 
this excellent knowledge should be voudisafed to sinners. Sure thera was 
something transcendent, something exceeding excellent, in that which would 
occasion the Spirit of Christ to leap for joy within him, when he was in the 
condition of a man of sorrows. For the apostles, it is most yisible in Paul, 
who was, while in darkness, a deadly enemy to Christ and the knowledge 
of him ; but the appearance of Chnst to him wrought a wonderful altera- 
tion. He was afterwards privileged above the rest, rapt up into the third 
heaven, and saw thero visions of glory such as transported him, such as 
were past exprossion ; but whatever gloxy he saw, he saw nothing that more 
affected his heart than the sight of Christ, than the excellent knowledge of 
his Lord Jesus. The excellency of this took up his heart, engrossed his 
affections, 1 Cor. ii. 1, 2. He sought not excellency of speech or wisdom ; 
his eye was so taken with the splendour of Christ's knowledge, as nothing 
else seemed excellent to him. 8ome might expect, if of the like temper 
with divers in these times, that an apostle coming from the third heaven 
should have brought with him some new glorious discoveries, some lofty 
seraphical notions, above the pitch of the other apostles' doctrine. But 
what brought he ? Why, that which he preached. And what was that f 
He tells us in 1 Cor. i. 28; and that not with wisdom of words, but in such 
a way as the wise men of the world counted it foolishness, ver. 17, 18. 
But was it thus indeed as vain men imagined ? No ; the preaching of 
Christ was the wisdom, the power of God, ver. 24 ; glorious and exoel^t, 
if anything in God be so. A constellation of glorious exeelleneies appears 
in discoveries of Christ. Christ crucified, preached in plainness and sim- 
plicity, if the Spirit of God be a competent judge, is the most excellent, the 
most glorious discovery that ever was, that ever will be made to the sons 
of men on earth. And if this glory be hid, as it seems to be to those who 
expect something more new, rare, costly, nauseate the plain preaehing of 
Christ, 2 Cor. iv. 8, 4. . . . 

Nor is this only the joy and desire of the most exoellent on earth, but 
also of the most excellent creatures in heaven. The angels, thou^ they 
eigoy the blessed vision of God, and are eternally happy in it, yet one 
sight more they earnestly desire, and that is of Christ the Mediator, as 
manifested in the gospel, 1 Petcor i. 12. They stoop down, they stretch 
out themselves to pry into the things preached in the gospel, to know the 
mystery of Christ there manifested ; and this was prefigmned by the pos* 
ture of the chembims upon the ark, Exod. xxxvii. 9. Now, Christ was 
typified by the mercy-seat, and the name itself is ascribed to him, Bom. 
iii. 25; whom God has set forth to be iXatfr^fiw, a propitiatory. Now, 
towards Christ was the Smm of the chembims; they looked eamestly, they 


pried into tlie glorious mysteiy of Grod reconciled to man through the 
blood of Christ; their faces were towards it, their eyes continually on it ; 
so wonderful, so excellent is it in their account, as tiiey think it not below 
them to learn more of this by the discoveries made to the church, Eph. 
iii. 10. The Lord makes known the mystery of Christ to the church in 
the preaching of the gospel, and even the principalities and powers learn 
more of this mystery by the preaching of tiie gospel to the <^urch. And 
how they rejoice in this knowledge, you may see by their deportment at 
the first appearance of Christ in the world, Luke ii. 18. Sure that must 
be an excellent knowledge which the cherubims of glory, the principalities 
and powers in heavenly places, do so earnestly desire, do so greatly rejoice 
in, when they are less concerned in it than men in many respects. 

(2.) In knowing Christ we know the glorious excellencies of God, John 
xiv. 7. The Father and Christ are so like, as he that knows the one 
knows the other also, sees the Son, sees the Father. This is so apparent, 
as Christ seems to wonder that Philip, who had seen him, should speak as 
though he had not seen the Father, ver. 8, 9. He is known in the know- 
ing of Christ, and seen in the seeing of Christ. Hence he is called * the 
image,' Col. i. 15, — ^that which represents, and in a lively manner holds 
forth to us, the infinite perfections of God ; therefore styled, Heb. i. 8, 
* the character,' * — not a shadow of him, not a dead, superficial representa- 
tion of him, such as pictures and portraitures are, but a living, express, 
subsisting, perfect representation. The similitude seems to be borrowed 
from a signet's impression, which represents all the sculptures and linea- 
ments of the seal. But no similitude can reach this mystety; only this 
we learn by this expression, that as Christ is perfectly distinct from, so is 
he a fall and perfect resemblance of the Father, of the same nature and 
essffiice with lum, so that there is no perfection in the Father but the 
same is substantially in the Son, so that in knowing Christ we apprehend 
(as weakness will suffer) the excellencies of God ; hence the gloiy of God 
is said to shine in the face of Christ, 2 Cor. iv. 6, so that those who know 
Christ, thereby see the glory of God in the fitce of Christ. That know- 
ledge, that light which discovers Christ, discovers the glorious excellencies 
of God, the brightness whereof appears in the face of Christ. Nor is this 
only true of Clmst as he is the Son of God, of the same nature with the 
Father, but also as he is Mediator. Ift the great work of redemption, the 
Lord caused his glory to pass before the sons of men. Never was tiiere 
guch a full, such a clear, discovery of God's glorious perfections, as was 
made to the world in Christ. In him we may see infinite power, wisdom, 
justice, mercy, holiness ; glorious truth, faithfulness, unchangeabless ; the 
glory of love, of free grace, of goodness ; he even caused all his goodness 
to pass visibly before us in Christ, so that he who knows Christ hiows all 
these glorious excellencies ; ergo^ &c. 

(8.) It mfdces those that have it excellent, 2 Cor. iii. ; having preferred 
the gospel ministry before the legal ministrations, as far more exceeding 
glorious, he prefers also our state under the gospel before theirs under the 
law. They knew but little and darkly, the veil was before them; but we 
may know more, and more clearly, for the veil is taken away in Christ, 
ver. 16. Bo that now, as verse 18, in the gospel, as in a glass, we may 
with unveiled faces behold the glory of Christ ; and so behold it, as it wiU 
work a glorious change in the beholders. As Moses by conversing with 
God seemed to be changed into the same image, from the glory of God 
• That is, XHP^^'^S* translated * express image.'— En. 


with whom he converged there passed some glory upon him, which shined 
in his face ; so that, as verse 7, they could not stedfiistly behold, &c. 
Even so by knowing Christ, and beholding the glory of God shining in his 
£Euse, the sonl is as it were changed into the same image, from glory to 
glory; t. «., from his glory there passes a glory npon the sonl, as there 
did upon his face ; bat this is done by the Spirit of the Lord, the Spirit 
of holiness working in the soul those gracious qualities which are the 
beginnings of glory here, and the most glorious accomplishment of which 
created nature is capable, holiness being a conformity to, a resemblance 
of, the image of Christ, who is the Lord of glory. So that you see there 
is an excellent transforming virtue in this knowledge, it leaves a glorious 
tincture npon the soul, it assimilates the soul to Christ, in part here, and 
perfectly hereafter, 1 John iii. 2. The seeing of Christ will make those 
that see him like unto him. Set a glass full in the sun, and you will see 
in it something like the glory of the sun, a bright, shining splendour, 
dazzling the eye of the beholder. Such a glory appeared with Moses 
when he had been with God ; such a glory (though not visible) shines in 
every soul that is much with Christ, often viewing him, fixing his eye on 
him ; and if the grossness, the incapacity of the subject did not hinder, 
they would be and seem more glorious ; but hereafter this shall be re- 
moved, and then not only the soul but the body shall be like unto Christ, 
in Christ in glory, Philip, iii. 21. Even as the moon, conceived to be a 
gross, dark body in itself as the earth is, yet when it is fiill against the 
sun (in opposition) we see in it some resemblance of the sun's glory; the 
lustre of the sun darted on it makes it seem a lightsome, glorious body 
like itself; even so will the enjoyment, the sight of Christ, glorify those 
that truly know him. So excellent is this knowledge, as it will make those 
that have it excel in (^ory. 

There are four steps and degrees by which the Lord raises fallen man, 
now more vile and base than the beasts that perish, to the height of glory 
and excellency; and they are all ascribed in Scripture to this knowledge of 

[1.] The removal of that which makes him vile, that which is his greatest 
debasement and deformity, that which renders him not only contemptible, 
but odious and loathsome, and that is the pollution, the filth of sin, where- 
with the soul fallen from God is besmeared ; it covers him as a garment, 
and it is a garment of filthiness, a covering of excrements, Zech. iii. 8. 
Man is sunk into the mire and clay, into tibe puddle of corruption, and 
there he sticks, no escaping for him by anything in the power of nature ; 
that which works his escape is this knowledge of Christ, 2 Peter ii. 20. 

[2.] Partaking of the £vine nature ; one of the highest expressions in 
Scripture. Not of the essence and nature of God, but of holiness, the 
nearest resemblance of God that is to be found in anything created. It is 
the image of God, Col. iii. 10. The image of God stamped upon the soul 
of man in his creation, was by the fall broken and shattered, quite defaced. 
Now how is it renewed ? He tells us, * in knowledge.* Holiness is the 
image of God, as being a resemblance of him who is < the Holy One,' &o., 
and so called the divine nature ; and by this knowledge of Ghnst we come 
to partake of this : 2 Peter i. 8, 4, * All things that pertain,' &o., are given, 
but how 9 * Through the knowledge of Christ.' Now what things are these 
that are thus given ? He instances in two most considerable : verse 4, 
' exceeding great,' &o., and * the divine nature.' 
I [8.] Investing us with the righteousness of Christ; a privilege so hi^ 


and glorioas, as man or angel coold never have expected it, never believed 
it, if the same meroy that vouchsafed it had not clearly revealed it ; an 
ezceUency, in comparison of which the apostle connts all other excellencies 
as dang ; in the apprehending of which consists the excellency of this 
knowledge which he so highly advances, as appears, ver. 9. How we come 
to be invested with it, the prophet shews, Isa. liii. 11. We are justified by 
his righteousness ; but how justified ? By his knowledge. It is this 
fiducial knowledge that leads a man out of himself, and all confidence in 
the flesh, to rely only upon Christ, by which he is made partaker of Christ's 

f 4.] Eternal glory. And then man is at the height, he can rise no higher ; 
and hither he is raised by this knowledge of Christ, John xvii. 8. The 
knowledge of Christ is the light of life, tibe dawning of approaching glory. 
When Christ is first known, the day of glory breaks, and the more it 
increases, it shines more and more unto the peifect day, unto perfect glory. 

Oh how excellent is this knowledge, that raises a man to such a height 
of glory, that invests him with so many excellencies ! 

8. Christ himself is most excellent, ergo, &c. We may conclude of the 
act by the object ; the knowledge of the most excellent object is the most 
excellent knowledge, such is Chnst's. 

(1.) There is nothing in him but what is excellent. There is a mixture 
in all created bemgs ; where there is something excellent, there is also 
something deficient. Search out the best accomplished creature on earth, 
and something or other will be found distasteful in it. The heavens, 
though they seem the most excellent of all things visible, and their.excellency 
seems to be their lucidness and purity, yet in the Lord's sight even they 
are not pure. Job xv. 15. Nay, the angels, though the most excellent of 
all invisibles, and their chief excellency be wisdom, — * wise as an angel,' — 
yet the Lord charges them with folly. Job iv. 18. Those glorious creatures 
are conscious of something not fit to be seen by the eye of God ; they 
cover their feet, Isa. vi. 2. Ay, but Christ he is altogether lovely ; whatever 
is in him is excellent, nothing in him deficient, distasteful, imperfect ; 
' Usurer than the children of men,' ' higher than the heavens ;' so far tran- 
scends the angels, as they adore him, Heb. i. 6, as infinitely below him ; 
nothing in Christ but what is worthy of all love, all delight, vil admiration, 
everlasting praises of saints and angels. 

(2.) All excellencies that are in the creatures are eminently to be found 
in Christ. Take a survey of heaven and earth, and whatever you see that 
is truly excellent in any, in all things therein, look up to Christ, and you 
may see it transcendently in him. Whatever is truly amiable, desirable, 
delightful, or admirable, whatever takes thy heart, if it be worthy of thy 
heart, look upon Christ, and there it shines in its full brightness. Every 
excellency that is scattered here and there in the creatures, are altogether 
in Christ ; all the several Hues of perfection and transcendent loveliness do 
all meet and centre in him. 

(8.) All these excellencies are in him in a more excellent manner : perfectly, 
wimout any shadow of imperfection ; infinitely, without any bounds or 
limits ; unchangeably and eternally, they ebb not, they wane not, they are 
always there in the full, they alter not, Uiey decay not. He is infinitely all 
excellencies, without variableness or shadow of clumging. The angels kept 
not their first habitation, the heavens shall wax old as a garment, the glory 
of man is as the fiower of the grass, but Christ is yesterday, and to-day, 
and the same for ever, for ever altogether exceUent. 

VOL. I. B 


(4.) Not only all that are in the ereatnree, bat innomerable more excel- 
lencies than are in all the creatures together, are in Ohrist alone. Kot 
only the creatures* fulness, bat the folness of the Godhead dwells in him, 
bodily, t. e,f snbsiantially, personally. Besides all that he has oommnm- 
cated to heaven or earth, there are unspeakably more excellencies in him 
than eye ever saw, or ear heard, or can enter into the heart of man to con- 
ceive, Col. ii, 9. 

Oh how excellent mast that knowledge be, whose object is so transcend- 
ently excellent ! 

Use I. Eeproof^ to those that despise, neglect the knowledge of Christ. 
If it be excellent in itself, and so in Uie account of Gtod, so by the testimony 
of the Holy Ghost, so in the esteem of all that are excellent, then Uiey 
deserve rebuke who despise it. But is there any Christian who despises 
the knowledge of Christ ? Oh that most that bear that name were not guilty 
thereof, and worthy of this rebuke 1 Who they are, yoa may know by these 
two characters. 

1. Those who are not diligent to get and increase this knowledge. 
Nothing excellent is attained without di%ence, rcb xocXob x^^'* knowle^f^e 
especiaUy. Those that think it not worth their diligence, despise it. If 
you thought it precious, you would search after it ; if it were a treasure in 
your esteem, you would dig for it ; you would carefiilly, constantly search 
the Scripture, for that is the mine where this treasure is to be found, that 
is the field where it is hid, — hid, not that it should not be found, but that 
it should be sought after. What a sad thing is it, that those who profess 
themselves Christians, should spend whole days, nay, whole weeks, without 
looking into, without reading, without searching the Scripture. The Loid 
has writ to us (as he complains), not only the great things of the law, but 
the excellent mysteries of Christ, the great things of the gospel, and these 
count them a vain thing. Do ye not count it a vain thing, when ye care 
not for looking into it ? Say not ye are too busy- What, are ye too busy 
to know Christ ? are ye too busy to be saved ? or is there any possibility 
of being saved without this excellent knowledge of Christ ? Say not yoa 
want time ; alas ! it is want of heart, not want of time ; want of affection 
to it, not want of time for it, that keeps men from knowledge. That time 
which you merely mis-spend in idleness, or needless pastimes, or satisfying 
your unclean, intemperate, or worldly lusts, would be sufficient to get this 
knowledge. If ye counted it excellent, ye would redeem time for it Say 
not. What needs so much knowledge, so much diligence ? Those that think 
it excellent will never think they can have too much knowledge, or that it 
cost them too much diligence, f^v. ii. 2-4. No getting knowledge without 
crying to God for it, seeking diligently after it. Hiose that have not thns 
sought it do yet want it, and those that are not diligent to get it despise it. 

2. Those that strive not to communicate this knowledge to others, to 
their relations, brethren, children, family. That which ye count excellent, 
ye will not withhold from dear relations. You would catechise, instruct 
your children and servants, you would be often instilling the principles of 
the knowledge of Christ into them ; you would not let any one be ignorant 
that has relation to yoa, or abides with you. This was Abraham's com- 
mendation, and will be to all generations. Gen. xviii. 19. He would not 
only make them know the way, but command them to keep it. Tbxm that 
would be found faithful must follow him; whatever Satan or a corrupt 

• Probably the author wrote ra xaXa ;^aX. §-/, meaning ra xoXa %«X««» 
icri, — Ed. 


heart may tell thee> none shall eome into Abraham's bosom bat those that 
walk in his steps. Those parents that instruot not their children, they are 
like the cmel ostrich, Jobxxxix. 14-17t yon bring them forth, bat yoa leave 
them carelessly, to be a prey to Satan and eyexy vile last ; yoa let their 
souls perish, and by this you shew that yoa are hardened ; this is to ose 
them as thoogh they were not yours ; this is the most woeful, the most 
onnatural neglect, not to care what becomes of their seals, to leave them to 
perish for ever ; better they had never been bom, than live without the 
knowledge of Christ. You would think her an unnatural wretch, that 
having brought a child into the world, would let it starve for want of 
nourishment. Why, those are more unnatural, more cruel, that bring not 
their children to the knowledge of Christ. ' My people perish for lack of 
knowledge,* says the Lord. Your children perish for want of knowledge, 
and you neglect to help. Oh consider, if they perish, at whose hands must 
their blood be required ? Will it not be a sad thing, that children should 
appear against their parents at the tribunal of Christ ! Oh these are they 
who gave me life, but they let my soul perish t Woe is me that ever they 
brought me into this world ! through their neglect must I be tormented in 
that flame for ever t That ignorance in which they suffered me to live haa 
brought me into this outer darkness ! You that have the charge of families 
must give an account of them ; not only for their profaneness, which you 
may restrain, bat for that ignorance wluch you might remove. Oh bring 
not the guilt of their eternal ruin upon your souls 1 Oh that the liord 
would give you hearts to resplve upon more care of the souls of your family, 
&c., to instract them at home in a way of catechising, and to bring them 
hither to be instructed I And here I shall endeavour it by explaining the 
principles of the knowledge of Christ, in the most easy and familiar way. 
Oh that yoa would concur herein, and let it appear that the knowledge of 
Christ is ezeellent in your esteem 1 This is one of the greatest ornaments, 
this is one of the best provisions yon can make for your children, to bring 
them to the excellent knowledge of. Christ. But ignorance of Ghristi in 
yourselves or them, is a pernicious evil. 

(1.) This is to despise Christ, to c<mtemn God, to contemn him in the 
most full expression of his love. The Lord, in revealing Christ to the 
world, made out the richest manifestation of his glory that ever he vouch- 
safed to the children of men; therefore to neglect the knowledge of Christ 
is to contemn God in the riches of his glory. What greater contempt of 
Christ than not to take notice of him ? 

(2.) This is a brutish sin. A man without knowledge is scarce a man ; 
let him be what he will for other accomplishments, how comely, how rich, 
how noble, how powerful soever, if he want the knowledge of Christ, he is 
like ft beast. It is not I, but the Holy Ghost that so terms him, Ps. 
xlix. 20. He that is in the world's account a man of honour, is in God's 
aeconnt, without this, little better than a beast. He deserves no more the 
name of a Christian. that wants the knowledge of Christ, than an ape 
deserves to be called a man ; he may have some resemblance of a Christian, 
as an ape has of a man, but without this he wants the soul, the life of a 

(8.) It is ft n^ther-ain, the root of all destmctiye evils. The two 
main eorsed branches that spring from the root of bitterness, are unbe- 
lief and profaneness. No bith without kncMvledge, whatever the blind 
papists imagine, who are eonoemed to shuxt tiie light, lest their apostasy 
should be discovered. ' Those that know thy name,* &c. Ps. ix. IQ. 


These are bo inseparable, as the Holy Ghost pats the one for the other, 
Isa. liii. 11. All your confidenoe without this is bnt presumption, no jna- 
tifying fiedth, for that gives honour to God, and is of a saving virtue and 
efficacy to the soul ; but confidence without knowledge is dishonourable to 
6h>d, destructive to the soul. No benefit by Christ's death, no partaking of 
his righteousness, without faith, and no faith without knowledge. Ignorant 
persons are apt to say, Christ died for me, and then what needs so much 
to do ? Ay, but those that will live without the knowledge of Christ shall 
find that Christ died for none but those that know him ; as for others, he 
never knew them, so far was he from dying for them. 

It is the mother of profaneness. Why does drunkenness, uncleanness, 
so abound ? Why, some have not the knowledge of Christ, they love dark- 
ness rather than light, and therefore their deeds are evil. If the Sun of 
righteousness did shine in their hearts, these yrarka of darkness would 
never appear in their lives. Men have not yet learned Christ as the 
truth is in Jesus, for, Eph. iv. 21, 22, every ^owledge will not be effec- 
tual to restrain sin. We see that the air is not by the light of the 
moon preserved fi*om stinks and unwholesomeness ; it is the light of the 
sxm does this. Whatever knowledge you have, if your lives be corrupt, yoa 
want the excellent knowledge of Christ. These vermin appear not where 
Christ shines. The grace of God, manifested in Christ, when it appears 
effectually unto men, it teaches them to deny ungodliness, &c. Where 
ihia ungodliness, this worldliness is, where there is not sobriety, godliness, 
there Christ has not yet appeared to purpose. You are yet in darkness, 
if these works of darkness be yet in request ; nor is there any escaping 
out of these snares of the devil, but by the knowledge of Christ. 

(4.) It is most contrary to Christ : he is light, and this is darkness ; he 
is wisdom, this is folly. What communion has light with darkness ? Ton 
have nothing to do with Christ while you know hun not, nor will he have 
any thing to do with you. These are they to whom Christ will say here- 
after. Depart from me, I know you not. 

Contnuy to the design of Christ. His sovereign end is his glory ; there- 
lore did he create the world, and manifest himself to his creatures, that he 
might be glorified. Now he can no other way be glorified by the creatorBS 
but by their acknowledging him to be glorious, and how can they acknov" 
ledge him who do not biow him ? 

Contrary to his interest. He can have no soul- worship without this, no 
fear, no love, no desire. All these presuppose knowledge ; turn fenmtur 
in incognitum. If there were none in the world but such as know not 
Christ, he would have no service in the world. This renders men unser 
viceable to Christ, to others unfruitful, such as cumber but the ground ; 
it calls for the axe to the root, it brings forth nothing bnt briers and 

(5.) It lays you under many dreadful threatenings. It is the ooeasion 
«f the Lord's controversy with a people, Hosea iv. 1. A dreadfbl thing to 
have God contend against you ; the issue of this controversy was the utter 
ruin of that people, ver. 6. A fearful thing to &11 into the hands of the 
living God. Do ye ? Are ye stronger ? Oh, ye will say, he is merdfiil ; 
ignorance is not such a sin, but mercy will pass by it ; he that made os 
will save us ; he will not damn his creatures for a little ignorance fthus 
will some be ready to say) : bnt see how punctually, yet how dreadiQlly» 
the Lord answers, as though he intended to meet witib this objection, Im. 
sxvii. 11. How contrary are God's thoughts to yours herein ; that which 


they make their reason why they hope to escape, he alleges as the reason 
why they shall not escape ; no mercy, no favonr, no, not to those that he 
made and fonned : that does not so much engage him for yon as ignorance 
engages him against you. I add no more bat that, 2 Thes. i. 7-9, than 
whi<£ I know not if there be any more terrible expressions in all the book 
of God. 

(6.) Ignorance in this land is altogether inexcusable. Invincible igno- 
rance does excuse in part, but all ignorance of those who have the use of 
reason, and enjoy the gospel, is yn\M, If ye know not Christ, since thero 
is light enough Touchsafed to discover him, it is because you ^rill not know 
him. This is it which will render the condition of many amongst us more 
intolerable in the day of judgment than that of Sodom and Gomorrah. 
Li^t is come, and men shut their eyes. If this land had been.a place of 
darkness, where Christ had never appeared in his gospel, if it had been a 
shadow of death, where the light of life never shined, then the Lord's con- 
troversy with us had not been so great, then we might have had some plea 
to mitigate his indignation ; but when he has made this land a valley of 
risions, when no nation under heaven has more means of knowledge, and 
yet gross ignorance continues amongst us, we are laid open to wrath with- 
out the least excuse to shroud us from it : < If I had not come to you,' &c., 
John XV. 22. Oh, sad condition, that we who have the word in our tongue, 
the gospel preached in season and out of season, and so many exceUent 
discoveries for the opening and applying it, should make no other use of 
all this, but to leave us inexcusable I So will all that know not Christ be ; 
they wili not have a word to plead for their ignorance at the tribunal of 
Christ, because they might have known him, but that they were unwilling 
to know him, wilfully neglected it. 

U$e n. Exkortatian* 1. To those that want it. Be exhorted to get it ; 
2. To those that have some degrees of it, Be exhorted to grow in it : Prov. 
i7. 5-7, ' It is- excellent ;' and this should be a sufficient motive to put you 
upon endeavours to attain it. Excellency is a powerful attractive to every 
spirit that is not debased, degenerated, and sunk below itself into the earth ; 
why here is a transcendent excellency, this knowledge far exceeds all natu- 
ral, all moral accomplishments whatsoever. The apostle, who was able to 
judge of things that are excellent, counted his highest privileges, his rarest 
endowments, dung in comparison of it. And as it is excellent in itself, so 
viU it make you excellent in the esteem of God ; but without it, whatever 
ye have besides, ye are vile persons. Oh, but how shall we get this excel- 
lent knowledge ? What means shall we use to attain it ? 

Am, 1. Be convinced of your want of the knowledge of Christ, be sen- 
sible of it, be humbled for it, bewail it in the presence of Gbd. He that 
thinks he knows Christ sufficiently, when indeed he has not attained to 
this excellent knowledge, his case is desperate, his blindness is next to 
ineorable, Prov. xxvi. 12. Far more hopes of one that knows not, and 
bewails his want of knowledge, than of him tkat thinks himself wise 

An$. 2. Begin at the foundation, lay a good ground-work in the prin- 
ciples of the Imowledge of Christ, otherwise you will but build in the air. 
This is the apostles' method, the first nourishment they tendered was milk, 
afterwards strong meat ; he would not carry the Hebrews further till he 
had folly established them in the principles of the doctrine of Christ, Heb. 
ri. 1. This is one main reason of the woefol apostasies in our times ; 
many professors never laid a good foundation, never were well grounded in 

THX xxoBLunri XMowXiBDaB or OBBIBT. [Philip, m. 8. 

iliefle principles of Christ ; beeanse ihey are ordinarily tan§^i in oafteoluBmfl, 
and learnt by ehildren, they think this below them, trouble not themselves 
with them, and so these prime fondamental troths being never &stened and 
rooted by soond understanding in their judgments, they are easily plucked 
from them; and the foundation being gone, no wonder if all the rest eanlj 
follow. It is an easy matter indeed to say the words of a catechism, and 
to get some slight apprehension of these truths, but to have a dear and 
well-grounded knowledge of them is an excellency not below the highest 
professor on earth, indeed that which many never attain to. This yon 
must endeavour if you would know Christ to purpose. 

Am. 8. Let the word of <jk>d be familiar to you. What is to be known 
of Christ is here to be learned. Col. iii. 16. Be much in reading the Scrip- 
ture, it ia Christ's advice to the Jews, John v. 89, i^vnan, search daily, 
search diligently, search as for a treasure, as for the pearl of great price, 
here it is to be found. Those that are strangers to ^e Scripture wiU be 
strangers to Christ. You may as well see without light as know Christ 
witibout the knowledge of the Scripture. Follow tiie Lord's advice to Isneli 
see how strictly, how punctually he enjoins this. Dent. vi. 6-9. 

Be much in hearing the word. Christ is wrapped up in the Scripture, 
here the covering is unfolded and exposed to open view, here he is set as 
crucified, &c. It is the Lord's ordinance, instituted for this end, to bring 
sinners to the knowledge of Christ, to open their eyes that they may see 
him, to unveil Christ that ye may behold him with open &ce. Whenever 
you read or hear, be sure to meditate ; you must not think the Lord will 
work knowledge by a miracle, this is the means by which he makes it 
effectual, the knowledge of Christ will never be rooted in your souls witboat 

Aru. 4. Make use of those who are already acquainted with Christ, 
< Forsake not the assembling,' &c., Heb. x. 25, Pro. ziii. 20 and zv. 7. 
Turn your vain worldly discourse into inquiries after Christ. When jon 
meet with anything dark, see whether the Lord has discovered it to othen; 
when anything doubtful, seek resolution ; let not the fear to bewray jonr 
weakness hinder you from propounding the doubts and difficulties pa 
meet with. 

An$. 5. Be much in seeking God ; beseech him to open your eyes, to 
remove the veil, to discover Christ mo^ dearly; both adyice and promise, 
James i. 5. 

2. To those that have attained some degree of this excellent knowledge: 
Content not yourselves with present attainments, let this light shine more 
and more unto the pedect day ; follow the apostle's advice, 2 Peter iii. IB, 
grow in knowledge of the excellency of his person, the fulness of his satis- 
faction, the worth of his graces, the mystery of his will in the gospel, the 
sweetness of vision and communion with him, the dimensions of hu love, 
the riches of his righteousness. 

For direction : 

(1.) Make all your other knowledge subservient to this. Lesrn the 
heavenly art of making use of all other knowledge, so as to discover more 
of Christ, to make him better known. The knowledge of the world ; when 
you discover anything vile, mean, worthless, useless, hence you may infer 
there is no such thing in Christ ; so the world may be a foil to set off 
Christ, to represent him to your minds as purely, perfectly, transoendentlj 
excellent, as the darkness of a dungeon sets off the sun. 

When you see anything lovely, desirable, in the world, see Christ in it, 

Philip, in. 8.] thb bxoellent smowledgb of obbibt. 26S 

this came froin him, all lower excellencies dropped firom this fonntain ; 
thence yon may conolnde there is infinitely more of this valne in him. 
What are these sparks, these weak glimmerings, to the San of right- 

The knowledge of sin ; the more yon see of its guilt, and pollution, and 
daomableness, the more you may discover oi your necessity of Christ ; of 
the wonders of his love, who would become sin for us, who would bear our 
sins, &c., who would be wounded, of the yalue of his blood, of his right- 
eousness, which could expiate and remove such horrid evil, and bring 
heaven out of such a hell. 

Make such use of the knowledge of yourselves, of the creatures, of the 
Scripture, even those parts thereof that seem more remote from Christ ; 
they all point at him, and will lead you to discover more of them, if you be 
wise to observe, and careful to follow their direction. I, says the apostle, 
1 Cor. ii. 2, Paul had much other knowledge, he was brought up at the 
feet of Gamaliel ; he had improved it by his studies, his travels, his experi- 
ence, but as he valued it not in comparison, so he cared not for it but in a 
subserviency to the knowledge of Christ crucified. As the light of grace 
shall end in that of glory, so the light of nature shall end in that of grace, 
that light which will discover more of Christ. Other things should serve 
and be made use of as vantage-ground to help us to a better prospect of 
Christ. Every advance in other knowledge should be to us as Zaccheus 
getting up into the tree that he might see Jesus passing by. Other light 
should serve us as a candle to find the jewel, the pearl of great price, and 
view it better ; it should be as the opening of the window, or the with- 
drawing of the curtain to let in the sun, to let in more of this excellent 

(2.) Get nearer him, and keep near him ; the nearer to him, the more 
foil, and clear, and satisfying view you may have of him. Oh, live not at 
a distance from Christ, be not satisfied with such a temper of heart, such a 
performance of holy duties, such a manner of conversation as theirs who 
are Deut off from him ! You will have but a dim sight of Christ at so great 
distance. Take heed of what may estrange you, take heed of neglects, 
unkindnesses ; beware of sin, it is iniquity that separates, Isa. lix. 2 ; 
take heed especially of sins against light and love, there is more of offence 
in these, more of provocation, and so they will occasion greater estrange- 
ment, fturther withdrawings ; and the more remote you are from Christ, 
the more you will be out of sight of him ; your sight will not be so clear, 
nor foU, nor refreshing. Beware of sins against light ; if you abuse it, if 
you disobey it, if you follow not the conduct of it, if you turn aside into 
by-path»when the light shews you the right way, if you stand still, or draw 
back when it is going before you, if you detain it in unrighteousness, so to 
use the light you have is the way to be left in darkness. If a friend hold 
you a torch, and you turn aside or demean yourself as if it were an offence 
to you, that might move him to knock it out, or leave you without it. 

Beware of sinning against love. You may well tlunk Christ will less 
bear this than other miscarriages. This will provoke him to depart, as 
the spouse found, Cant. v. 6, and when he removes, the light is gone, and 
you will be at a loss for the sight of Christ. Christ, like the sun, is seen 
and discovered by his own light ; but such miscarriages will raise clouds, 
or cause an eclipse, and you may see no more of Christ than of the sun in 
a dariL gloomy winter day ; nay, these may raise a dismal storm, wherein 
you may see neither sun nor stars for many days. 


(8.) Fix yonr mindB, the eye of yonr botiLs, upon him ; let your souls be 
to Christ in the like posture as the cherabinis were to his type the mercy-seat : 
' Towards the xoercy-seat was the fsLces of the chembims/ £zod. zzxTii. 9. Let 
the £Etce of yonr souls be still towards Christ, yonr eye often on him, as the 
angels, Mat. xviii. 10 ; that is not only their duty, bnt their happiness ; 
and count it yours, for it is so. Such a vision of God does establuh them 
in their blessed and glorious state, such a beholding of Christ will enhappj 
you with more of this excellent Imowledge of him. Let the thoughts of 
Christ be pleasing to you, let him be your meditation, and let your meditation 
of him be sweet, Ps. civ. 84 ; that will be the way to have your eye fixed. 
We stay not in the sight of that which does not please us, a short view will 
be enough or too much ; but a short view of Christ, a glance by some 
transient, fleeting thought, will not be enough to get much knowledge, to 
make any considerable discovery of him. The mind should stay on him, 
and view him well ; and that it may stay there, it must be pleased with 
the sight, else it will be on and off, as soon off as on. Let no sight be so 
taking, so delightful, as a sight of Christ; then your minds will not be 
backward to dwell on him, as it dwells on that which it would study, and 
study thoroughly. Labour so to study Christ, that is the way to know him 
more fully, more thoroughly. 

Study the excellencies of his person, the infinite advantage of his offices. 
What riches of wisdom and knowledge are held forth to you in Ids pro- 
phetical office, even all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, Col. ii. 8 ; 
what riches of power and glory are offered you in his kingly office ; what 
safety and protection in all dangers ; what power and assistance in all 
services; what supplies and sufficiency in all wants; what encouragements 
and supports in all trials and sufferings ; what victories and triumphs, after 
all conflicts with the world, with the powers of darkness, with the strength 
of corruption ; what assurance this regal, this glorious office affords us, that 
in all these we shall be more than conquerors I 

What riches of grace and compassion, of pardon and forgiveness, in his 
priestly office ; what riches of holiness and glory he has purchased by his 
suffering, and is prevailing for by his intercession ; what we gain by his 
sufferings, what we are redeemed from by his death, what we may expect 
from his appearing for us at the right hand of God, and ever living there 
to intercede for us ! 

. View Christ all over, as those that would see something of all the dimen- 
sions of his love, which appear in all his offices, in the imdertaking, in the 
performance of them : * The height,' &c. Let your minds stay here, as 
those that have a mind to know what you can of that which passes know- 
ledge ; study Christ, as those who have the minds and souls of men prin- 
cipally for this end, that they might be employed upon Christ ; you should 
dig for this as for hidden treasure. The mind is digging while it is study- 
ing ; the more you study, the further you dig, and the further you dig, the 
more you will discover of this infinitely large and precious mine, the 
unsearchable riches of Christ. 

(4.) Seek not the knowledge of Christ merely to know, that may be the 
end of a vainly curious mind ; but seek to know him, that you may eiy'oy 
him more, that you may improve him better, that you may gain more 
heavenly and spiritual advantage by him, Mat. xiii. 45, 46. A merchant 
that travels into other countries, his end is not to view the places, and ihe 
rarities of them; that he minds but upon the by; but his design is to meet 
with commodities, whereby he may get the advantage to raise an estate. 


Such shotild yonr design be, a labonring ta get more acqaaintance with 
Christy not merely to see and know more than others, — ^that may be done 
for ostentation, or ont of cariosity, — but to discover that which may make 
your sools rich unto God ; that yon may discern that in him which may 
make you willing to sell all to possess and ei^oy him, to suffer the loss of 
all things to gain Christ. Pi|pss to get near him, as the woman in the 
(Gospel, that you may find a healing, a sovereign virtue coming from him ; 
labour to get into the light which discovers him, that you may be under his 
influences, those healing, quickening, strengthening, comforUng influences 
upon which the strength, life, comfort, and activeness of your souls depends ; 
that you may derive from him more spiritual life, sense, strength, refresh- 
ment, motion, and activeness ; that you may purtake more of his riches, 
taste more of his sweetness ; that you may adore, admire him more, and 
be more in his praises ; that you may be engaged and enabled to honour 
him more, and serve him better, to do and suffer more for him ; so to 
discover him, as to know the power of his resurrection, &c., Philip, iii. 10, 
so as to be excited and enabled to follow after, ver. 12, 18. 

(5.) Content not yourselves with light without heat. Let eveiy spark of 
knowledge beget some spiritual and heavenly heat, let it kindle you into 
more zeal for him, more ardent desires after him, more flames of love to 
him, more fervour of spirit in seeking, in following him. If the light 
whereby you discover anything of Christ be not accompanied with spiritual 
heat, it mil prove but a fruitless blaze, which will soon go out, and end in 
smoke, come to nothing or worse. Satisfy yourselves with no knowledge 
of Christ, but such as makes you in love with him, Cant. i. 8. The 
apprehensions they had of Christ gave them a taste, a delicious relish of 
him, such as made them in love with him, sick of love. Let it raise you 
to such a heat of resolution as it did Peter, Mat. xxvi. 85. Let it excite 
in you such desires as in David, Ps. Ixiii., raise you to such a value of 
Christ as the spouse had. Cant. v. 5, 6, 10, 16. If it beget not heat of 
affection, it will not be like the light of the rising sun, which shines more 
and more, &c., but like a flash of lightning, which appears and vanishes 
in a moment, and often does more hurt than good. 

(6.) Live up to the knowledge you have; that is the way to attain more. 
Let the light that shines in your minds shine in your lives. Imprison not 
the truth ; so you do when it is in your understandings, but confined there 
so as the influence of it does not reach your conversations. This will 
provoke the Lord to leave you in darkness, it was the effect of this crime 
in the heathen ; this was the cause of that darkness and those delusions 
amongst the papists, 2 Thes. ii. The pleasure they had in unrighteous- 
ness prevailed against the belief and knowledge of Christ and his truths, 
and rendered it impractical; so that though they knew his ways, they would 
not walk therein ; though they knew the will of Christ, they would not do 
it, therefore he gave them up to be blinded by Satan. If you so abuse the 
discoveries of Christ, they will be rarely, sparingly vouchsafed ; the Lord 
will not entrust you with more, but rather take from you what you have. 
But on the contrazy, there is a promise to improve knowledge, John vii. 17. 
If according to your knowledge ye do more for Christ, ye shall know more 
of him. If you follow the light, the light will follow you, you will have it 
in more abundance ; but if you walk not answerable to your knowledge, if 
you contradict it in the temper of your hearts, or course of your lives, you 
take the course not to have it augmented, but to have less of it, or none at 
all. If a Mend hold a light to you, and you will not follow it, that will not 


move him to add to it, or make it brighter, but rather to pnt it oat. If 
the light whereby Christ discoTers himself to yon be not used for ^ose 
purposes for which it is vouchsafed ; if it do not lead yon effectually to a 
fuller compliance with him, to an exacter conformity to him, to higher 
degrees of holiness, self-denial, mortification, contempt of the world ; this 
is^the way not to have the light increased, but rather extinguished. 

(7.) Let humility keep pace with knowledge, and be of an equal and 
proportionable growth. If knowledge puff you up, take heed the light be 
not puffed out. Pride would be the attendant of knowledge, but it never 
thrives nor comes to good where this is not checked. It is such a weed as 
sucks away the life and sweetness of knowledge ; it is not only an enemy 
to it in its own nature and quality, sucking away the moisture that should 
make it grow, but it provokes the Lord to blast it. He resists the proud, 
beats down that in which they exalt themselves, but gives grace to the 
humble, inspires both mind and heart with more grace, gives both more 
holiness and more knowledge. 

(8.) Make use of Christ's prophetical office. As he is a prophet, he is 
engaged to give the light of the knowledge of himself. He came under 
the obligation of this office for this end, that he might instruct his people 
by his word and Spirit, and lead them up to clear and effectual appre- 
hensions of himself. Let this encourage you to labour for it, to seek him 
for it, to trust him for it. Endeavours succeed through prayer, and prayer 
prevails through faith. 

n. Doct, Those that have attained the excellent knowledge of Christ will 
not think much to lose all things that they may gain Christ. 

Explication. What by gaining Christ? What by all things ? What by 
losing or suffering the loss of these all things ? 

First, To gain Christ is to get interest in him, and participation of 

1. He gains Christ who gets interest in him, right to him, union with 
him ; he who is joined to Christ, as members to the head, married to 
Christ in an everlasting covenant ; he that has interest in his person, his 
offices, his righteousness, his sufferings, his intercession, his administra- 
tions, and that which is the spring of all this, his love ; he that is mterested 
in the affection, the love of Christ, the acts and expressions of it, — he has 
gained Christ. 

2. He that partakes of Christ, the benefits of his purchase, all those 
spiritual and eternal blessings wherewith those that have interest in him 
are blessed ; he that gets the graces and advantages of his mediatorship, 
of his offices, righteousness, sufferings, resurrection, &c., so as to have 
communion with him in all t^ese, and a communication of all that he has 
procured, and bestows upon all that are his, he has gained Christ. To 
gain pardon of sin, right to eternal life, reconciliation with Gk>d, holiness 
in its life, power, exercise, increase, perseverance, the exceeding great and 
precious promises, high and glorious privileges, sweet and honourable 
relations which the gospel tenders, all things that are good in this life, the 
presence of Christ in every state, employment, the assistance of Christ in 
every service, acceptance Uirough Christ of every endeavour, the joys and 
comforts of the Spirit, the foretastes of heaven, and a full assurance of 
actual possession ; to partake of Christ in these respects is to gain him. 
This is that for which he, and all that know Christ with him, are ready to 
lose all. And if the worth and value of Christ, and these invaluable 

Philip. III. 8.] •fhx exoellbnt knowledge of ohbist. 267 

advantages by him, be duly weighed, it will seem no wonder that those 
who know him think not much to