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Full text of "Edwards on revivals : containing A faithful narrative of the surprising work of God in the conversion of many hundred souls in Northhampton, Massachusetts, A.D. 1735 : also Thoughts on the revival of religion in New England, 1742, and the way in which it ought to be acknowledged and promoted"



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" Entered, according to act of congress, in the year 183-2, by Charka Spalding, in the 
clerk's otlicc of the southern district of New York " 




Recommendations op the work, v 

tntroductory remarks by the present editor, , . . . ix 

Faithful Narrative of the Surprising Work, &c, - - - xvii 

Preface by Dr. Watts and Dr. Guysc, xix 

Preface by the Boston Ministers, xxvi 

Testimony of Ministers in Hampshire county, . . . . xxx 

Chap. I. Introductory statement, 31 

Chap. II. The manner of conversion various, yet bearing a great 

resemblance, - 48 

.Chap. III., Of remarkable impressions on the imagination, - - 93 

Chap. IV. The work farther illustrated in particular instances, - 87 

Chap. V. Defects and decline of the work, .... 104 

THOUGHTS ON THE REVIVAL, &c. - - - - 113 

Preface, .... 315 

Part I. Showing that the extraordiiutry work that has of late been 

going on in this land, is a glorious work of God, - - 117 
Sect. 1. We sliould not judge of this work d priori, but by its 

effects, - 117 

Sect. 2. We should judg« by the rule of scripture, ... 121 

Sect. 3. Wo should not judge of the whole by a part, - - - 140 

Sect. 4. The nature of tlie work in general, - - - - 154 

Sect. 5. The nature of the work in a particular instance, - - 162 

Sect. 6. This is a glorious work of God, i74 

Part II. Showing the obligations that all are under to acknowledge, 
rejoice in, and promote this work, and the great danger of 

the contrary, - - 183 

Sect. 1. Thedanger of lying still and keeping long silence respecting 

any remarkable work of God, 183 

Sect. 2. The latter day glory is probably to begin in America, - 189 

Sect. 3. The danger of not acknowledging, and encouraging, and 

especially of deriding, tliis work, 196 

-Sect. 4. Obligations of rulers, ministers, and all sorts, to promote tliis 

work, 211 

iv toNTENTS. 

Part III. Showiri .e, in many instances, wherein the snbjecti?, or zealous 

promoters of this work, have ))een injuriously blamed, - 229 

Sect. 1, The objection that ministers address themselves to the affec- 
tion?;, rather than the understanding, - - - - 231 

Sect. 2. Ministers blamed for speaking terror to those who arc already 

under great terrors, 236 

Sect. 3. The o])jcction of having so frequent meetings, and spending 

so much time in religion, 243 

Sect. 4. Ministers blamed for making much of outcries, faintings, 

and bodily effect!?, - ' 243 

Sect. 5. Ministers blamed for keeping persons together that are under 

great affections, 250 

Sect. 6. Objection against speaking much, and with great earnest- 
ness, by persons affected, 252 

Sect, 1. Some find fault with so much singing in religiotis meetings, 257 

Sect. S. Many dislike the religious meetings of children, to read and 

pray together, 259 

Part IV. Showing what things are to be corrected or avoided in pro- 
moting this Work, or in our behavior under it, - - . 263 
Sect. 1, One cause of errors in a great revival, is spiritual pride, - 270 
Sect. 2, Errors in a revival arising from The adoption of wrong princi- 
ples, - 292 

Sect. 3. Errors from being unobservant of things by which the devil 

has a special advantage, 324 

Sect. 4. Some particular errors that have arisen from these causes, 343 

Sett. 5. Of errors connected with lay exhorting, - - - . 354 

Sect. 6. Of errors connected with singing praises to God, - - 361 

Part V. Showing positively what ought to be done to promote this 

work, 371 

Sect. 1. Of removing hindrances to this M'ork, - . . . 37 j 

Sect. 2. Of what must be done directly to promote the work, - 378 

Sect. 3. Duties of ministers, and particular classes of persons, - 383 

Sect. 4. Of duties that concern all in general, _ . . _ 394 

Sect. 5, The work to be promoted by attention to moral duties, - 402 


T^'hc following recommendations have been politely furnished by gentlemen, 
whose opinions, we doubt not, arc in unison with the body of evangelical 
"clergy in the United States. 

From the President and Professors at Princeton, JV". /. 

"We know of no works on the subject of Revivals of Religion^ at once so 
scriptural, discriminating, and instructive, as those of the late illustrious 
President Edwards. At the present day, when tliis subject so justly en- 
gages a large share of the attention of the religious pubUc, we should be 
glad if a copy of the volume proposed to be republished by Dunning and 
^palding^ could be placed in every dwelling in the United States. It exhibits 
the nature of genuine revivals of rehgion, the best means of promoting 
them, the abuses and dangers to which tliey arc hable, and tlie duty of 
guarding against these abuses and dangers, with a degree of spiritual dis- 
cernment and practical wisdom, which have commanded the approbation of 
Ihe friends of Zion for the greater part of a century. 

Princeton^ September 21, 1831. 

From the President and Professors at JsTew Brunswick, Jsl'. J. 

Much conversation is had at the present day on the subject of revivals of 
Teligion in our country. 

That there is a difference of opinion among professing Christians, as to 
their reality, their nature, and the modes of action to be adopted in promoting 
and conducting them, is also very apparent. 

If by a revival of religion we understand that operation of the Spirit of 
God, which, tlu*ough the instrumentality of his word, produces conviction, 
agitation, and conversion, in liitherto careless and impenitent sinners — or 
excitement, connected with increase of faith, love, zeal, and holy action, in 
the people of God, whether it be exhibited on a smaller or larger scale — in 
the case of individuals, families, churches, districts of covmtry, or whole na* 
tions — it is strange that the possibility or reality of such a work should be 
called in question by those who are famihar with their Bibles, are acquainted 
with church history, or have any correct knowledge whatever either of the 
ordinary or extraordinary operations of the Holy Spirit upon the souls of 
men. In such revivals it is true that there is in some instances only a tempo- 
rary excitement of the passions, without a renewal of the heart, and in others 
a human co-operation wliich will neither bear the test of enlightened reason 
or of the word of God. These circumstances, however, are precisely what 
(from human weakness, and the artifice of Satan to bring the whole work 
into disrepute) we have a right to expect. Any judicious publication on re- 
vivals, and especially that written many years ;igo by the pious and discrimi- 


nating Edwards, cannot fail, and (.specially at the present tunc, to be read 
with more than ordinary interest. Considering President Edwards as hand- 
ling this subject with great propriety and discretion, I do hereby express my 
desire to see his work more extensively circulated through the churches. 

College, J^ew Brunswick, Sept. nth, 1831. 

The Works of President Edwards have acquired no ordinary reputation. 
His "Narrative of Surprising Conversions and Thoughts on Revivals of 
Religion," written after much research and close observation of the various 
effects produced on the minds of gospel-hearers, in a time of general awa- 
kening, cannot fail to profit those who read it in a serious temper. I am 
pleased to hear that tliis Narrative is soon to be published in a form that will 
render it accessible by all, and hope that it may have an extensive circulation. 


Thedogicctl Seminary, J^ew Brunsivick. 

My own views of the " Narrative," &c., of President Edwards, are ex- 
pressed in the above favorable notice of Dr. Cannon. 


I cannot but hope that the work, will receive an extensive and liberal patro- 
nage. It is the best body of practical theology within the compass of my 
knowledge. It is searcliing, instructive, edifying, scriptural. Let it be 
carefully read by every professor of religion, and studied and digested by 
every student of theology, and every young minister of the gospel. Let me 
just mention another desideratum : the republication of the same unrivaled 
author's work on Original Sin. The diffusion of these treatises in separate 
forms, would, with the divine blessing, greatly conduce to the increase of 
sound godliness, and check the progress of pernicious errors. 


JSTew Brunswick, Sept. 1831. 

From Ministers in J^eio Ym-k. 

To those who are acquainted with the writings of President Edwards, the 
highest recommendation of the present work is, that it is the best of them 
all. It is more than ten years since I first read it, and I well recollect my 
surprise that I had not read it before. I then thought it one of the richest 
volumes I ever perused. One impression I distinctly remember ; and that is, 
that great injustice might be done the venerable and devout author, by viewing 
the work in detached parts. As a whole, it cannot be too highly valued, nor 
too extensively read, especially at the present time. 


J^'ew York, September 6, 1831. 

The injportance of reviv(Us of religion is literally infinite : because conver- 
sions are infinitely important ; and the spread and jurisdiction of the gospel 
of God over the minds of men everywhere is properly the grand desideratum 
and the destined prospect of the world. The discrimination of theological 
parties (if these must be and have a name) in the Christian world, will soon 
l)C made extensively bv this criterion of I'rincipi.ks and persons — their 
KNOWN RF.LATioN TO REVIVALS ( )F RELIGION ! At the present time, 
all denominations considered, there are many whosi; ignorance of the whole 
matter is their oidy pnuninent eharactgristic in regard tu it ; many, as nuich 


distinguished by enmity and an affected intellectual superiority to their theory 
and their fruits ; many, by a latent ill-concealed antipathy, that allocts to 
dislike only their excrescences and occasionally spurious accompaniments ; 
and many, I bless God for it, who more and more love them, because they 
love Him, see in his li<^ht their incomparable worth, and desire them, prayer- 
fully, practically, zealously, and yet soberly, in their destined universal 

The age ought not perhaps to be yet dignified as the age of revivals ; be- 
cause the dawn ought not to anticipate, or perfectly to characterize, the per- 
fect day. But it is such an age exactly as will more and more demand, and 
now also does, revival principles, revival ministers, revival Christians, and 
revival scenes and glories multiplied : of course, I think revival puhlicalions, 
areas appositely needed j of the right kind, and calculated to enlighten, and 
guide, and assist the o{>erations of the church of God, in aiming directly at 
the conquest of the world to Jesus Christ and his glorious sceptre. 

With these views, I think the publication of Edwards on Revivals is very 
timely, judicious, and of excellent promise : I therefore cordially desire and 
recommend the extensive circidation and full perusal of that valuable and 
singular treatise. SAMUEL H. COX. 

JVeio York, August 3, 1831. 

I am very glad that we are to have a new edition of " Edwards on Revi- 
vals," &c. Nothing could be more seasonable at the present day. I have 
read the work again and again, and always with new advantage. 


J^eio York, September 24, 1831. 

We would cordially recommend to the Christian public the works of 
President Edwards on Revivals. These works were written in A. D.1736 
and 1742, and contain a faithful narrative of the glorious revival in New 
England by the outpouring of the Holy Ghost in those blessed days, when 
clear, pure, and scriptural views of the doctrines of the gospel, and true 
practical godliness, sincerely characterized the children of the puritans. We 
could sincerely wish that this work, now about to be pubhshed by Dunning 
and Spalding, were in the hands of all our Christian brethren. 

JVeio York, August 5, 1831. 

At the present time, there is no subject of such deep and increasing interest 
to the American churches, as the subject of revivals of religion. It is a sub- 
ject too on which no uninspired man was ever better qualified to speak or 
write than President Edwards — not only on account of his eminently discri- 
minating and sanctified mind, but also on account of his opportunities of ob- 
servation resulting from the extensive work of God which occurred under his 
own eye. I know of notliing so well calculated to exliibit the blessedness of 
such " times of refreshing from the presence of the Lord," and at the same 
time to guard against the self-deception and other evils which are then likely 
to occur, as his " Narrative," and '• Thoughts on the Revival of Religion 
in New England, in 1742^" On this account, I rejoice in another attempt to 
give this work a more extended circulation. W. D. SNODGRASS. 

JSTew York, September 22, 1831. 

The " Narrative of Surprisinir Conversions," and "Thoughts on the Re- 
vival of Religion in New Enylimd," from the pen of President Edivards, and 
originally published, one m 173U, the other in 1742, are works which well de- 


serve to be perused and studied by all who feel a concern for the prosperity 
of the churcb, and who would become acquainted with the various ways in 
which the Goil of grace is pleased to approach tlio soul with the blessings of 
his salvation. 

At the present time, when the divine influence is in a remarkable manner 
manifesting itself far and wide, it seems to be particularly desirable that the 
work should be given to the pubUc in a detached form, so as to be accessible 
to all. JOHN KNOX. 

JVcio Y(»-Jc,Mgiisl,l33\. 

I am pleased to find that it is proposed to republish the work of President 
Edwards on Revivals. The character of the author for intellect and piety, 
has its praise in all the churches, and needs no commendation. The work 
proposed to be republished, as well as the treatise on the affectimis by the same 
author, contain a clear, discriminating, and searching delineation of evan- 
gelical and vital religion. At its first publication it was highly useful, during 
a period of extensive revivals, in promoting the work of God, and in pre- 
venting and removing incident evils. It is hoped that at this period its re- 
publication will be greatly beneficial. THOMAS DE WITT. 

JVm York,.Qngust,6, 1831. 

What President Edwards has written on P».evivals, I consider a full and 
thorough discussion of the whole subject. If ministers of the gospel would 
read it once a year, it seems to me that all controversy among the orthodox 
witli respect to the truths which arc to be mainly insisted on, and the means 
to be used for giving such truths a free access to men's minds, would come 
to an end. If it were circulated among Christians where there is no revival, 
it would tend strongly to arouse the church to a sense of the importance of 
such a blessing, andflead them to seek successfully to promote the quickenino; 
of God's people, and the conversion of sinners. If read in a time of revival, 
it might be expected to give increased tone and energy to the revival feelmg, 
and at the same time to regulate that feeling when excited. If read by minis- 
ter and people in the decline of a revival, it might be expected, under God, to 
stop the ebbings of spiritual feeling, and bring back a heavier and richer 
tide of mercy." I rejoice in its republication, and recommend it to the careful 
perusal of all who love the salvation of sinners. 


Xeio York, September, 1831. 

Dear Sir — I consider the proposed publication of Edwards' work on Revi- 
vals of Religion, as highly important, and, in the present times, specially ap- 
propriate. The work is full of valual)le truth, instructive experifncc, and 
discriminating observation, well calculated to guard against pernicious per- 
version, that characteristic spirit of these days, which Satan would so gladly 
dehidc int«» extravagance and heresy. The ])ublication will richly merit the 
patronage of a Christian pubUc. Yours, &c. 


Brovklijii, ScpLe))d>er 23, 1831. 

1 cuiicur in the forciromii; recominciidalions. 


^\w York, 1831. 


A REVIVAL OF RELIGION is a subject of great interest and importance. The 
phrase has, by common consent, been appropriated to denote a work of the 
Spirit of God, turning the attention of considerable numbers in a place to 
the things of eternity, and bringing many, in a short time, to a saving 
knowledge of Christ. It is merely the success of the gospel, unusually in- 
creased. It is the conversion of numbers of sinners in a short space of time. 
Whatever interest is attached to the institutions of religion, whatever pleasure 
is felt in the success of a preached gospel, or whatever emotions arise, on 
earth or in heaven, at seeing one sinner repent and believe in Christ, all these 
must be heightened and enhanced abundantly at the multiplication of such 
results, which constitutes a revival of religion. The Savior himself sees the 
travail of his soul, and is satisfied, when converts arc multiphed, as trophies 
of his grace. It is only through mistake or misinfomiation, that any who 
love our Lord Jesus Christ are grieved or alarmed at a revival of rehgion. 

These seasons are as important as they are interesting. They constitute 
not only the glory and the rejoicing of the church, but her safety and life. 
In the darkest periods, the church has been saved from utter extinction by 
revivals. The first preaching of the gospel was attended with powerful 
revivals. The book of Acts is a Iiistory of revivals. The reformation from 
popery was almost everywhere accompanied with revivals. There were ex- 
tensive revivals in the times of the Puritans in England. The early churches 
in New England had numerous revivals. Powerful seasons of the same 
kind were experienced in Scotland and Ireland, in the former part of the last 
century. At a later period, extensive revivals took place in England, under 
the preaching of Wesley and Whitefield. The revivals which occurred in Amc^ 
rica, under the ministrations of PresidcntEdwards and liis cotemporaries, were 
distinguished for striking manifestations of divine power and grace, l^umerous 
revivals in the United States marked the close of the last and beginning of 
the present ccntmy, both in the east and the west. And from that time they 
have been regularly growing more frequent, more nmnerous, more powerful 
and rapid, all over our country, to the present time. The last year was un- 
doubtedly distinguished, above all that have preceded it, since the formation 
of the Christian church. Never before has tlie Holy Spirit been poured out 
in so many places at once ; never before has the Lord Jesus gathered so 
many mto his churches, in the same space, of time, "of such as shall be saved^'> 



There is reason to believe, that these displays of divine grace uill continue 
to increase, till one general revival shall extend over the habitable globe. 
We are assured of the universal extension and final triumph ot" the gospel in 
the whole world. We know, from the " sure word of prophecy," that what 
we now sec of the progress and effects of spiritual religion, is only a small 
sample of what is yet to be seen. And we thence infer, that all the revivals 
which have hitherto taken place, are only the first fruits of the glorious harvest. 
It is only by revivals that the work of conversion can overtake the increase of 
population in the world. It is only by revivals that the ministers and other 
instruments and means for sending out the gospel can be furnished. It is 
only in this way that infidelity and the love of the world can be made to yield 
to the authority of Clirist. By no other process can the church gain strength 
and numbers fast enough, to meet the opposition which will inevitably bo 
provoked by the growing influence and power of rehgion. 

It is manifest, therefore, that the church is to calculate upon revivals of re- 
ligion, as habitual events, and to consider the duties and responsibilities 
incident to revivals as her customary burden. Or rather we may say, that the 
state of revival, the rapid gathering in of souls to Christ,, by the labors of his 
people, and in answer to their efficacious prayers, ought to be regarded as 
the natural and appropriate state of the church. And by consequence, the 
absence of revivals iujphes something wrong in the church, of declension, 
neglect of duty, sinning against the Lord Jesus Cluist, destroying the souls 
of men. 

It is incumbent then upon the church, to prepare for such a state of revival 
as we are thus authorized to anticipate. The subject of revivals must be 
more studied, and better understood. And the spirit of revivals must be 
more diligently cultivated. What an impulse would at once be given to the 
study of the art of war, if it were anticipated that the countiy woidd soon be 
involved in such a calamity. Why should not the science of revivals, and 
the course of action required in revivals, become a matter of general study hi 
the church ? Ministers have doubtless much yet to learn concerning revivals, 
the signs of their approach, the means of producing them, the manner of 
conducting them, the way to guard against difliculties, and to secure tlie 
happiest results. And every Christian ought to understand revivals, because 
every one has a part to act in relation to tlrem. There is a growing convic- 
tion in tlie church, of the responsibility wliich rests upon every individual pro- 
fessor of religion, in tunes of revival. In tunes of revival it becomes manifest 
how much the conduct of each one may help or hmder the effect of divine 
truth. But without knowledge on the subject, no one can correctly perform 
his duty in re\nvals. And unless one understands the principles tliat are ap- 
plicable in them, it is impossible he should hb well prepared to act, in tlie 
ever-varying emergencies which a revival docs not fail to exhibit. How great 
the calamity, to prevent or destroy a revival, from not knowing how to act in 
regard to it ! Or to resist and extinguish a real revival, under a mistaken 
opinion that it is spurious ! Or to encourage and cherish a spurious excitement, 
supposing it to be a gcuubxc work of the Siurit of God ! Or to have tlie 


fruits which might have followed a revival stinted or marred, by any imbecile 
or ill-judged procedures ! • 

With these views of revivals, and of their importance as a subject of reli- 
gious study, when th.e publishers of the present volume applied to me, last 
summer, for advice in selecting a book which would be seasonable and ac- 
ceptable in the present revived state of things, I could think of no one so 
appropriate as Edwards on Revivals. I was struck also with the coincidence, 
when on making ii^quiry of several individuals, whose opinion in such a case 
IS of great weight, they spontaneously, and without any suggestion from me, 
designated the same work, as one which it was pavticulaily desirable to 
have circulated in the churches at the present time. If any fiirther evidence 
were needed, it may be found in the testimonials to the value of these writings, 
which the publisher has obtained and prefixed to this volume. Coming as 
they do, from ministers of different evangelical denominations, and men who 
are known to differ in many particulars, the unanimity of their approbation, 
and the unqualified terms in which they have given it, are worthy of particu- 
and grateful notice. It augurs w^ell for revivals, that a work so full, effi- 
*cJent, and thorough, should have united such suffrages in its flivor. 

Probably no uninspired man was ever quahficd for such a work, like Prcsi- 
ilcnt Edwards. To a very clear, discriminating, and philosophical mind, he 
added a habit of patient study and diligent research, excited and governed by a 
love of truth. The clearness, Avhich in others is so often cold and dull, in him 
was warmed and enlivened by an experience in religion, singularly deep and 
spiritual. Having been most thoroughly trained in theology, and received 
practical instruction from his father, and from his grandfather Stoddard, res- 
pecting revivals, he was privileged to be the instrument of producing one of tlie 
most genuine and powerful revivals on record in modern times, the first in a 
series of revivals, of great extent and power. These things conspired to put 
in requisition all the powers of his copious mind, and employ them on the 
subject of revivals. His piety, zeal, faith, judgment, courage, integrity, were 
all tried, and not found v.aniing. He wrote these works with all the savor of 
the revivals fresh upon his soul. His mind was full of revival influence. He 
felt that revivals were the great interest, wliich ought to enlist tlie zeal, and 
absorb the sensibilities of the chuich. Indeed, tlicse writings are so pervaded 
M'ith the revival spirit, that they cannot be properly appreciated, but by one 
who partakes of the same heavenly influence. There is spirituality, a 
thoroughness, a devotedness to the subject, a delicacy of discrimination, 
wliich no man can duly understand, whose mind is in a cold, worldly, unbe- 
lieving, caviling state. None but a revived Christian can rightly compre- 
hend, or judiciously apply, the various principles and rules which are here 
developed. He who reads this, and does not feel himself moved to prize, 
and seek, and pray for revivals, is poorly qualified to use the book, in its 
applications to.others. 

The account given by President Edwards himself, of the work in 1735, in 
the first portion of the subsequent volume, is so full and authentic, that it is 
only ncerlful to mention this a:r Ihn first in a series or cluster of revivals. 


M-hich extended over our wliolo country during a space of twenty years. 
The " Thoughts concerning the Revival," which* occupy the principal part 
of the hook, is a more labored work. It was written in 1742, during the pro- 
gress of a very extensive revival, which commenced in Connecticut and 
Massachusetts, and continued for several years. This is what is generally 
known by the name of "the great revival." I gather from Trumbull's His- 
tory, that it began in Connecticut, early in the year 1740. Its rise in Massa- 
chusetts is traced to the first visit of Mr. Whitefield, who reached Boston in 
September of that year. The Boston ministers seem to have entered zea- 
lously into the work, with the exception of Dr. Chauncey, who afterwards 
•WTote a book against it.* Rev. Gilbert Tennent, a preacher of great elo- 
quence and remarkable success, also visited New England soon after 
Mr. Whitefield, and spent upwards of two months in Boston. He 
likewise labored in Connecticut. The work was more powerful in the 
years 1740, 1741, and 1742, in Connecticut than in Massachusetts. The 
ministers who labored with most extensive effect were Messrs. Mills, Pome- 
roy, Wheelock, and Bellamy, who preached in all parts of the colony, and in 
Massachusetts, wherever their brethren would admit them. Some of the 
leading ministers, however, were bitter enemies of the revival ; and about the 
time that this book was written, 1742, their hoslility had reached its height. 
Dr. Trumbull says, it was the "plan of the old lights, or Arminians, both 
among the clergy and civilians, to suppress, as far as possible, all the zealous 
and Calvinistic preachers." The most severe laws were passed against them, 
and rigorously executed. As the consequence of this withdrawment of so 
many leading ministers, and the opposition which was made to the work, 
the zeal of many degenerated to enthusiasm, discord and fanaticism 
crept in, and in the subsequent years, many grievous separations and other 
evils took place in the churches. Still, however, the work of genuine revival 
seems to have gone steadily forward, notwithstanding these mLxtures of hu- 
man infirmity, so that l)y the year 1748, the balance of public opinion was 
entirely changed, the oppressive laws were repealed, and the ministers who 
had been punished for laboring in revivals, were restored to their rights. 
Much has been said about the disorders which attended these revivals ; but 
Dr. Trumbull says, " Of these, in most of the churches, there was little or 
nothing ; and perhaps they were not greater in any, than were found in the 
church at Corinth, even in the apostolic age." "It was estimated that in two 
or three years of the revival, thirty or forty thousand souls were born into the 
family of heaven, in New England, besides great numbers in New York and 
New Jersey, and in the more southern provinces."! 

President Edwards wrote his "Thoughts on the Re^-ival," in 1742, the 
most critical period of this interesting historj^, when the work seemed to be 
balancing, as it were, between the deadly opposition of some, and the extra- 
wagancies of others. And how admirably calculated was this m.an, how 

* Hr subsequrntly avowod himself a believer in univcrsalism. 
t Trumbull, Hist. Uonn. Kook II. Cliap. 8. 


twidently was he raised up, to hold the scales in such a juncture. To he duly 
estimated, the work should be jud<jed of in connection with the circumstances 
under which it was produced. The manner of laying out his plan, and the 
topics introduced, the practices which he either defended or censured, the 
wisdom with which he conducted his subject, arc much more apparent, to 
those who will make themselves familiar with the historical facts by which it 
is illustrated. 

It would be out of place here, to attempt an extended review of this cele- 
brated treatise. The general plan will be seen from the table of contents. 
He begins his work, by showing very clearly which side he espoused of the 
main qwestion at issue, and by avowing his full conviction that the excitement 
then in progress was a great and glorious work of God. He had no sympa- 
thy at all with those who doubted on this point, or who were so forever harp- 
ing upon real or fancied errors, connected with the work, that they had no 
heart to rejoice in its blessed results. He explains, in a masterly manner, 
how these errors, so far as they had a real existence, were not only compatible 
with a genuine work of grace, but might well have grown out of the work 
itself, from the greatness and the novelty of the excitement, the opposition 
encounteretl, the weakness of the instruments, (modestly including himself,) 
and the imperfection of knowledge and grace in those who were engaged in 
tbe work. And he expresses, in no measured terms, but with equal kind- 
ness, his sense of the offensiveness of their conduct, who stood aloof at such a 
day of the espousals of thechurch, minding nothing but defects and blemishes. 
After all their cry about madness and enthusiasm, the worst madness in the 
sight of God, was to remain cold and inactive at such a time. Nothing can 
exceed the acuteness M'ith which he handles the objections of those, who 
would pretend to judge of revivals by philosophy, or custom, or their own shal- 
low experience. Would that it might ever be so, that those who feel called 
upon to promote the purity of revivals, should begin by such a triumphant vin - 
dication of them, as the glorious work of God's Holy Spirit. Were the 
principles here laid down duly considered, men would be slower than they are 
to discredit the genuineness of a revival, or the piety or orthodoxy of those 
who labor in it, merely because it appears to them to be attended with indis- 
cretions pr irregularities. 

Part second, in which he enforces the obligation of all to be actively en- 
gaged in promoting the work, is full of the most solemn and weighty 
considerations. The principle is fully brought out, that a time of revi- 
vals calls for special efforts, to fall in with the designs of the Spirit, and pro- 
mote and extend the work. It is difficult to conceive how a minister can read 
this part, and while revivals are prevailing all around him, still quiet his con- 
soience without putting forth some special efforts to have his people share 
in the passing mercy. There are some passages in this part which hav<7 
an awful solemnity, and ought to be deeply pondered by those, who are 
not adopting any special miasures to promote and extend the work of 
grace now going on in our land. Those especially, who allow themselves 
to «peak slightingly of these excitements, and to deride or abuse the instru- 
ments that God sees fit to employ, should talvc heed to some of the admoni- 


tions, whicli come -with so much forco, as well as discrimination, from the 
pen of Edwards. 

Havinj» exhibited the danger of not acknowledging and promoting the 
work of revival, in a way calculated to carry trembling to the hearts of those 
that stand aloof from revivals, because they are carried on in a way which does 
not exactly coincide with their views, he next shows the blessedness that 
must necessarily attend a hearty co-operation in the work. Two principles 
are clearly maintained ; that it is at their peril if men fail to acknowledge a 
real revival of religion, through any false notions, or a jmori reasonings of 
their own ; and that a time of revival imposes a special duty upon ministeis 
and others, to go out of their ordinary course, and do something more than 
what is usual, to honor and advance the work. Men may be in fact 
opposers of the work, who do not directly speak against it as a whole ; who 
even acknowledge, in general terms, that there is a good work carried on in 
the country ; but whose habitual conversation shows that they are in fact 
more out of humor with the state of things, and enjoy themselves less than 
they did before the work began. Such arc known, by being more forward to 
take notice of what is amiss than of what is good in the work. And there can 
be no doubt their influence, on the whole, is unfavorable to the re-vival. If 
men viewed things in a just light, the conversion of numbers of siuners would 
so engage their attention, and engross their hearts, that they would not be 
in a humor to dwell perpetually upon the errors of the instruments. 

In the third part, we have a very discrim.inating and hearty defense of the 
subjects and zealous promoters of the work, from many groundless charges 
wliich had been brought against them. He vindicates zealous preachers 
from the charge of appeahng exclusively to the passions. There is no dan- 
ger of raising the affections too high in religion, if they are raised in view of 
the proper objects. Neither are ministers to be blamed for preaching terror 
to awakened sinners, if it is truth, and if proper pains are taken to enhghten 
them, and show them what they must do to be saved. And in regard to fre- 
quent meetings, and the like, he mentions that it is to the honor of God, when 
people are so much employed in outward acts of religion, as to carry a public 
appearance of engagedncss in it, as the main business of life. And though 
it is not true, ordinarily, that the time occupied by reUgious meetings en- 
croaches seriously upon men's worldly business, yet it may often be highly 
proper and useful to do so. And on the subject of frequent prcacliing, in re- 
ply to the objection that one sermon will crowd out another from people's 
minds, this great master of assembhes avers, that the main beneiit of preach- 
ing is by impressions made upon the mind in the time 6f it, and not by any 
efl'ect that arises from the subsequent remembrance of it. 

Having shown in what way, and to vvhat extent, effects on the body are to 
be regarded as probable tokens of God's presence and power ; considered 
how far it is proper to use means for increasing the excitement in an assem- 
l)ly ; and jiistilied the earnestness of those whAe hearts arc full of the love 
of Christ, the practice of frequent singing, and the religious meetings of 
•children, under proper regulations ; he thru proceeds, in part fmirtli, to point 


out what things ought to be corrected or avoided, in promoting the revival. 
If any evidence were wanting, to prove the remarkable integrity and single- 
ness of heart of this eminent servant of Christ, it may be fouud in the plain, 
pointed, and faithful manner in which he has treated this part of the subject. 
It required no small measure of grace to acknowledge, and of firmness to 
point out to public notice, the faults, errors, and delinquencies of those whom 
he had just been strenuously engaged to uphold and defend. 

He begins with remarking, that the last resort of the devil to overthrow 
a revival of religion, is to corrupt it, or carry it to cextremes ; and that the 
errors of its friends and promoters furnish him with liis greatest advantage. 
It is a great mistake for Christians to tliink, that even in the seasons of their 
highest spiritual enjoyment, they are out of danger from the adversary. These 
errors are traced to spiritual pride ; the adoption of some wrong principles, 
respecting the guidance of the Spirit, the prayer of faith, or some other point ; 
and ignorance of Satan's devices. 

No enemy of the revivals could have done tliis part of the work with 
a more luisparing hand than Edwards. Faithful are the wounds of a 
friend. Aud every one, especially every minister, who is actively engaged in 
revivals, and successful in promoting them, should make liimsclf familiar 
with this part of the book, as the chart of liis constant dangers and easily 
besetting sins. He will find many around him, who are fond of tluowing 
these things in his teeth ; aud the only just defense is, so to live and labor 
that they shall not be true. In regard to the use which is lawfully to be 
made of this part, it is proper to obsei-ve, that the points here agitated, are 
points wlrich concern only those who are themselves actively and cordially 
engaged in promoting revivals, to be settled among themselves. Those who 
are unbelieving and inactive, will find matters enough to occupy their atten- 
tion, in the previous pages. Indeed, it would be no bad rule, and would con- 
duce much to the peace of the church, to have it understood, that no person 
should make use of tliis part, in discussing points connected with revivals, 
until he had read, marked, inwardly digested, and cordially approved and 
adopted the previous portions. It would silence many complainers, and 
might awaken some sleeping consciences. 

In commenting thus freely upon the evils which will sometimes be found 
among those who are earnestly engaged in promoting the revival, Edwards 
shows that it was no part of his principles to cover up such tilings, or to pal- 
liate them. He does not admit the doctrine, that speaking of these tilings, 
in a friendly way, and for the purpose of correcting them, and of domg good 
to those who have fallen into them, will stop the revival. But it ought to be 
done by those who are actually engaged themselves in the revival, and not 
by those who are looking on, and taking no part nor responsibility in the work. 

The pride, false principles, ccnsoriousness, and other tilings wliich he has 
pointed out as errors, have not ceased from the church. And this part of the 
book still needs to be studied. Probably the views of our most judicious and 
warm hearted men are a little altered in regard to the importance which 
should be allotted to strong bodily emotions ; and their ideas considerably 


enlarged, respecting the extent to which the instrumentality of private brethren- 
can be profitably employed in ])romoting the revival. The suggestions in 
part fifth, of what things should be done directly to promote the work, arc 
not all as applicable to the present state of society, as they were when writ- 
ten ; though they are still valuable, for the dcvelopement of important prin- 
ciples. And the most of them are of universal apphcation. In particular, 
it is clearly implied in what he says, that the means of re\ival are to be varied 
from time to time, according to the aspects and circumstances of a commu- 
nity. And every engine of influence, which can be used consistently with 
truth, ought to be employed in forwarding the work. Ministers should ex- 
hibit great zeal and resoluteness in pusliing the work forv\'ard. Mr. White- 
field's success was greatly owing to tliis. Coldness and irresolution in 
dealing with worldly, unconverted sinners, only confirm them in their 
course. . The importance of external reformation, and of abounding in deeds 
of charity, as a means of revivals, is clearly set forth by Edwards, and has 
been abundantly evinced in the blessing which has every where followed the 
temperance reform, and the unusual displays of Christian benevolence, in 
the last two years. 

In short, the work is full of the wisest practical instnictions, based upwi 
the most profound knowledge of the true principles on which these things 
proceed. And the hope is now fondly cherished, that the circulation of a 
complete and beautiful edition among the churches, at such a juncture as the 
present, will be eminently serviceable, in giving force, consistency, purity, 
and permanency, to the revivals now in progress throughout the country. 
That the blessing of God, and the enlightening and sanctifying influence of 
tlie Holy Spirit, may secure such a result, is the earnest prayer of 


JVeio Ym-ky March,. 1832.. 








In a Letter to the Rev. Doctor Colman, 

At that time Pastor of Brattle street Church, Boston. 



By the Rev. Dr. Watts and Dr. Guyse of London, and by the Boston Ministers. 



The friendly correspondence which we maintain with our brethren 
of New England, gives us now and then the pleasure of hearing some 
remarkable instances of divine grace in the conversion of sinners, and 
some eminent examples of piety in that American part of the world. 
But never did we hear or read, since the first ages of Chistianity, 
any event of this kind so surprising as the present narrative hath set 
before us. The Rev. and worthy Dr. Colman, of Boston, had given 
us some short intimations of it in his letters ; and upon our request 
of a more large and particular account, Mr. Edwards, the happy and 
successful minister of Northampton, which was one of the chief 
scenes of these wonders, drew up this history in an epistle to Dr. 

There were some useful sermons of the venerable and aged Mr. 
William Williams, published lately in New England, which were 
preached in that part of the country during this season of the glorious 
work of God in the conversion of men ; to which Dr. Colman sub- 
joined a most judicious and accurate abridgment of this epistle : and 
a little after, he sent the original to our hands, to be communicated to 
the world under our care hero in London. 

We are abundantly satisfied with the triith of this narrative, not 
only from the pious character of the writer, but from the concurrent 
testimony of many other persons in New England ; for this thing 
was not done in a corner. There is a spot of ground, as we are here 
informed, wherein there are twelve or fourteen towns and villages, 
chiefly situate in the county of Hampshire, near the banks of the river 
of Connecticut, within the compass of thirty miles, wherein it pleased 
God two years ago to display his free and sovereign mercy in the con- 
version of a great multitude of souls in a short space of time, turning 
them from a formal, cold, and careless profession of Christianity, to 
the lively exercise of every Christian grace, and the powerful prac- 


tice of our holy religion. The great God has seemed to act over 
again the miracle of Gideon's fleece, which was plentifully watered 
with the dew of heaven, while the rest of the earth round about it 
was dry, and had no such remarkable blessing. 

There has been a great and just complaint for many years among 
the ministers and churches in Old England, and in New, (except about 
the time of the late earthquake there,) that the work of conversion 
goes on very slowly, that the Spirit of God in his saving influences is 
much withdrawn from the ministrations of his word, and there are few 
that receive the report of the gospel, with any eminent success upon 
their hearts. But as the gospel is the same divine instrument of grace 
still, as ever it was in the days of the apostles, so our ascended Savior 
now and then takes a special occasion to manifest the divinity of this 
gospel by a plentiful eflusion of his Spirit where it is preached : then 
sinners are turned into saints in numbers, and there is a new face of 
things spread over a town or country : " The wilderness and the 
solitary places are glad, the desert rejoices and blossoms as the 
rose ;" and surely concerning this instance we may add, that " they 
have seen the glory of the Lord there, and the excellency of our God ; 
they have seen the outgoings of God our King in his sanctuary." 

Certainly it becomes us, who profess the religion of Christ, to take 
notice of such astonishing exercises of his power and mercy, and give 
him the glory which is due, when he begins to accomplish any of his 
promises concerning the latter days ; and it gives us further encou- 
ragement to pray, and wait, and hope for the like display of his power 
in the midst of us. " The hand of God is not shortened, that it can- 
not save," but we have reason to fear that our iniquities, our coldness 
in religion, and the general carnality of our spirits, have raised a wall 
of separation between God and us : and we may add, the pride and 
perverse humor of infidelity, degeneracy, and apostasy from the Chris- 
tian faith, which have of late years broken out amongst us, seem to 
have provoked the Spirit of Christ to absent himself much from our 
nation. " Return, O Lord, and visit thy churches, and revive thine 
own work in the midst of us." 

From such blessed instances of the success of the gospel, as appear 
in this narrative, we may learn much of the way of the Spirit of God 
in his dealing with the souls of men, in order to convince sinners, 
and restore them to his favor and his image by Jesus Christ, his Son. 
We aknowlcdgc t})at some particular appearances in the work of con- 
version among men may bo occasioned by the ministry whicli they 
sit under, whether it be of a more or loss evangelical strain, whether 
it be more severe and atfrighting, or more gentle and persuasive. 

PREPACR by dr. watts ANO dr. (iUYSE. XXI 

But wheresoever God works with power for salvation upon the minds 
of men, there will be some discovery of a sense of sin, of the danger 
of the wrath of God, of the all-sufficiency of his Son Jesus, to relieve 
us under all our spiritual wants and distresses, and a hearty consent 
of soul to receive him in the various offices of grace, wherein he is set 
forth in the holy scriptures. And if our readers had opportunity (as 
we have had) to peruse several of the sermons which were preached 
during this glorious season, we should find that it is the common plain 
_ Protestant doctrine of the reformation, without stretching towards 
the Antinomians on the one side, or the Arminians on the other, 
that the Spirit of God has been pleased to honor with such illus- 
trious success. 

We are taught also by this happy event how easy it will be for our 
blessed Lord to make a full accomplishment of all his predictions con- 
cerning his kingdom, and to spread his dominion from sea to sea, 
through all the nations of the earth. We see how easy it is for him, 
with one turn of his hand, with one word of his mouth, to awaken 
whole countries of sleeping sinners, and kindle divine life in their 
souls. The heavenly influence shall run from door to door, filling the 
hearts and lips of every inhabitant with importunate inquiries, What 
'shall we do to be saved ? And how shall we escape the wrath to 
come ? And the name of Christ the Savior sliall diffuse itself like a 
rich and vital perfume to multitudes that were ready to sink and 
perish under the painful sense of their own guilt and danger. Sal- 
vation shall spread through all the tribes and ranks of mankind, as 
the lightning from heaven in a few moments would communicate a 
living flame through ten thousand lamps or torches placed in a proper 
situation and neighborhood. Thus " a nation shall be born in a day" 
when our Redeemer pleases, and his faithful and obedient subjects 
shall become as numerous as the spires af grass in a meadow newly 
mown, and refreshed with the showers of heaven. But the pleasure 
of this agreeable hint bears the mind av^ay from our theme. 

Let us return to the present narrative. 'Tis worthy of our obser- 
vation, that this great and surprising work does not seem to have 
taken its rise from any sudden and distressing calamity or public 
terror that might universally impress the minds of a people : here 
was no storm, no earthquake, no inundation of water, no desolation 
by fire, no pestilence or any other sweeping distemper, nor any cruel 
invasion by their Indian neighbors, that might force the inhabitants 
into a serious thoughtfulness and a religious temper by the fears of 
approaching death and judgment. Such scenes as these have some- 
times been made happily eflectual to awaken sinners in Zion, and 
the formal professor and the hvporrite, have inquired, terrified with 


the tJioug-htsof divine wrath breaking in upon them, '* Who shall 
dwell witli everlasting burnings ?" But in the present case the im- 
mediate hand of God in the work of his Spirit appears much more 
evident, because there is no such awful and threatening Providence 
attending it. 

It is worthy also of our further notice, that when many profane 
sinners, and formal professors of religion, have been affrighted out 
of their present carelessness and stupidity by some astonishing ter- 
rors approacliingthcm, those religious appearances have not been so 
durable, nor tlic real change of heart so thoroughly effected. Many 
of these sort of sudden converts have dropt their religious concerns 
in a great measure when their fears of the threatening calamity are 
vanished. But it is a blessed confirmation of the truth of this pre- 
sent work of grace, that the persons who were divinely wrought 
upon in this seasqn continue still to profess serious religion, and to 
practice it, without returning to their former follies. 

It may not be amiss in this place to take notice, that a very sur- 
prising and threatening Providence has this last year attended the 
people of Northampton, among whom this work of divine grace 
was so remarkable : which Providence at first might have been con- 
strued by the unthinking world to be a signal token of God's dis- 
pleasure against that town, or a judgment from heaven upon the 
people ; but soon afterwards, like Paul's shaking the viper off from 
his hand, it discovered the astonishing care and goodness of God 
expressed towards a place where such a multitude of his young con- 
verts were assembled :. nor can we give a better account of it than 
in the language of this very gentleman, the Rev. Mr. Edwards, 
minister of that town, who wrote the following letter, which was 
published in New England. 

" Northampton, March I9th, 1737. 
" Wo in tliis town wore the last Lord's day the spectators, and 
many of us the subjects, of one of the most amazing instances of 
divine preservation, that perhaps was over known in the land : our 
mooting-house is old and decayed, so that we have been for some 
time biiiUling a new one, whicii is yet unfinished : it has been ob- 
served of late, that the house that we have hitherto met in has 
gradually spread at bottom, tlie cells and walls giving way, especially 
in the forosidc, by reason of the weigiit of timber at top pressing on 
the braces that are inserted into the posts and beams of the house. 
[t has so done more tlian ordinarily this sjjring ; which seems to 
have been occasioned by the heaving of tlie ground by tlic extreme 
frosts of the winter past, and it. is now sett hng again on tiiat side 


which is next the sun, by tlie thaws of the vspring- : l)y this means 
the underpinning- has been considerably disordered, which people 
were not sensible of, till the ends of the joists whicii bore up the 
front gallery, by the walls giving way, were drawn off' from the girts 
on which they rested ; so that in the midst of the public exercise in 
the forenoon, soon after the beginning of the sermon, the wiiole 
gallery full of people, with all the seats and timber, suddenly and 
without any warning, sunk, and fell down, with most amazing noise, 
upon the lieads of those that sat under, to the astonishment of the 
congregation, the house being filled with dolorous shrieking and 
crying ; and nothing else was expected than to find many people 
dead, and dashed to pieces. 

" The gallery in falling seemed to break and sink first in the mid- 
dle ; so that those who were upon it were thrown together in heaps 
before the front door ; but the whole was so sudden, that many of 
them that fell knew nothing in the time of it what it was that had 
befallen them ; and others in the congregation knew not what it was 
that had happened with so great a noise ; many thought it had been 
an amazing clap of thunder : the falling gallery seemed to be broken 
all to pieces before it got down ; so that some that fell with it, as 
well as those that were under, were buried in the ruins, and were 
found pressed under heavy loads of timber, and could do nothing to 
help themselves. 

" But so mysteriously and wonderfully did it come to pass, that 
every life was preserved ; and though many were greatly bruised, 
and tlieir flesh torn, yet there is not, as I can understand, one bone 
broken, or so much as put out of joint, among them all : some that 
were thought to be almost dead at first, are greatly recovered ; and 
but one young woman seems yet to remain in dangerous circum- 
stances, by an inward hurt in her breast ; but of late there appears 
more hope of her recovery. 

" There is none can give any account, or conceive by what means 
it should come to pass, that people's lives and limbs should be thus 
preserved, when so great a multitude were tlms imminently exposed : 
it looked as though it was impossible it should be otherwise, than 
that great numbers should instantly bo crushed to death or dashed in 
pieces : it seems unreasonable to ascribe it to any thhig else, but the 
care of Providence in disposing the motions of every stick of timber, 
and the precise place of safety where every one should sit and fall, 
when none were in any capacity to take care for their own preserva- 
tion- The ])reservation seems to be most wondcrfid, with respect 
to the women and children that were in the middle alley, under the 


gallery, where it cajiie down first, and with greatest force, and where 
was nothing to break the force of the falling weight. 

** Such an event may be a feufficient argument of a Divine Provi- 
dence over the lives of men. We thought ourselves called to set 
apart a day to be spent in the solemn worship of God, to humble 
ourselves under such a rebuke of God upon us in the time of public 
service in God's house, by so dangerous and surprising an accident ; 
and to praise iiis name for so wonderful and as it were miraculous a 
preservation ; and the last Wednnsday was kept by us to that end : 
and a mercy in which the hand of God is so remarkably evident, 
may be well worthy to affect the hearts of all that hear it." 

Thus far the letter. 

But it is time to conclude our preface. If there should be any 
thing found in this narrative of the surprising conversion of such 
number of souls, where the sentiments or the style of the relator, or 
his inferences from matters of fact, do not appear so agreeable to 
every reader, we hope it will have no unhappy influence to discourage 
the belief of this glorious event. We must allow every writer his 
own way ; and must allow him to- choose what particular instances 
he would select, from the numerous cases which came before him. 
And though he might have chosen others, perhaps, of more signifi- 
cancy in the eye of the world, than the Woman and the Child, 
whose experiences he relates at large ; yet it is evident he chose 
that of the Woman, because she was dead, and she is thereby inca- 
pable of knowing any honors or reproaches on this account. And 
as for the Child, those who were present, and saw and heard such 
a remarkable and lasting change, on one so very young, must neces- 
sarily receive a stronger impression from it, and a more agreeable 
surprise than the mere narration of it can communicate to others at 
a distance. Children's language always loses its striking beauties 
at second hand. 

Upon the whole, we declare our opinion, that this account of such 
an extraordinary and illustrious appearance of divine grace in the 
conversion of sinners, is very like by the blessing of God to have a 
happy effect towards the honor and enlargement of the kingdom of 

May the worthy writer of this epistle, and all those his Rev. breth- 
ren in the ministry, who have been honored in this excellent and 
important service, go on to see their labors crowned with daily and 
persevering success ! May the numerous subjects of this surprising 
work hold fast wiiat thry have received, and increase in every Chris- 
tian grace and blessing ! May a plentiful effusion of the blessed 


Spirit, also, descend on the British Isles, and all their American 
plantations, to renew the face of religion there ! And we intreat 
our readers in both Englands, to join with us in our hearty addresses 
to the throne of grace, that this wonderful discovery of the hand of 
God, in saving sinners, may encourage our faith and hope of the ac- 
complishment of all his words of grace, which are written in the Old 
Testament and in the New, concerning the large extent of this sal- 
vation in the latter days of the world. Come, Lord Jesus, come 
quickly, and spread thy dominion through all the ends of the earth. 

London^ October 12, 1737. 



When the disciples of our glorious Lord were filled with sorrow 
upon the heavy tidings of his departure from them, he cheered their 
drooping spirits with that good word, " Nevertheless, I tell you the 
truth : it is expedient for you that I go away : for if I go not away, 
the Comforter will not come unto you ; but if I depart, I will send 
him unto you." And after his ascension, he fulfilled this great and 
precious promise by the extraordinary effusion of his Spirit, under 
whose conduct and influence the " apostles went forth and preached 
every where, the Lord working with them :" so that when we read 
the Acts of the Apostles, we must say ; " Not by might, nor by 
power, but by the Spirit of the Lord of hosts." And though, soon 
after the first days of Christianity, there was a dreadful apostasy, 
yet God did not wholly take his Spirit from his people ; but raised 
up faithful witnesses, to testify against the heresies and corruptions 
of the times wherein they lived. And since Antichrist, that wicked 
one, has been revealed, our Lord, according to his word, has been 
gradually consuming him with the spirit of his mouth, in the refor- 

Nor have we in these remote corners of the earth, where Satan 
had his scat from time immemorial, been left without a witness of 
the divine power and grace. Very remarkable was tlie work of God's 
Spirit, stirring up our forefathers to leave a pleasant land, and trans- 
port themselves over a vast ocean into this then howling wilderness, 
that they might enjoy communion with Christ in the purity of his 
ordinances, and leave their children in the quiet possession of the 
blessings of his kingdom. And God was eminently present with 
them by his word and Spirit. 

Yea, we need look no higher than our own times, to find abundant 
occasion to celebrate the wonderful works of God. Thus when God 


arose and shook the earth,* liis loud call to us in that amazing provi- 
dence was followed, so far as man can judge, with the still voice of 
his Spirit, in which he was present to awaken many, and bring them 
to say trembling, " What must we do to be saved V Yea, as we 
hope, to turn not a few from sin to God in a thorough conversion. 
But wheu the bitterness of death was past, much the greater part of 
those whom God's terrors affrighted, gave sad occasion to remember 
those words. Psalm Ixxviii. 34, 36., " When he slew them, then they 
sought him : and they returned and inquired early after God. And 
they remembered that God was their Rock, and the high God their 
Redeemer. Nevertheless, they did flatter him with their mouth, and 
they lied unto him with their tongue." And there has since been 
great reason to complain of our speedy return to our former sins, 
notwithstanding some hopes given of a more general reformation. 
Yea, when more lately, it pleased God to visit many of our towns 
with a very mortal distemper, to that time in a manner unknown ; 
whereby great numbers of our hopeful children and youth have been 
cut oft", many very suddenly, and with circumstances exceedingly dis- 
tressing and awful ; yet, alas ! we have not generally seen nor duly 
considered God's hand stretched out against us ; but have given him 
reason to complain, as of his ancient people, " Why should ye be 
stricken any more 1 ye will revolt more and more." And accord- 
ingly his anger is not turned away ; but his hand is stretched out still. 
A plain proof of this awful truth, that the most awakening dispen- 
sations can no farther humble and do us good, than as it pleaseth 
God to accompany them with his Spirit, and so command his bless- 
ing upon them. But when the Almighty will work by such means, 
or without them, who can hinder him 1 He acts with sovereign 
liberty and irresistible power. " The wind bloweth where it listeth, 
and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, 
and whither it goeth : so is every one that is born of the Spirit." 
John iii. 8. Such was his wonderful work at Northampton, and the 
neighboring towns in the county of Hampshire, and some other 
places. The Holy Spirit was in a plentiful and extraordinary man- 
ner poured out on persons of every age and condition, without such 
remarkable providences going before to awaken them ; as the dew 
falls in the night, and yet the effects appeared as the light which 
goeth forth. So that we might well admiring say, what has God 
wrought ! Great was the number of them who published the wonders 
of the divme power and grace ; declaring with humility what God 

* The EarUiquako of October 29, Anno 1727. 


had done for their souls. And others who went among them ac- 
knowledged that the work exceeded the fame of it. 

Now the Psalmist observes that God has made his wonderful works 
to be remembered. We therefore apprehend that our Rev. brother 
has done well to record and publish this surprising work of God ; and 
the fidelity of his account would not have been at all doubted of by 
us, though there had not been the concurrent testimony of others to 
it. It is also a pleasure to us to hear what acceptance the following 
narrative has found in the other England, where it has had two im- 
pressions already, and been honored with a recommendatory preface 
by two divines of eminent note in London, viz. the Rev. Dr. Watts 
and Dr. Guyse : after whom it may seem presumption in us to at- 
tempt any thing of this kind. But it having been thought proper to 
reprint this letter here, and disperse it among our our people, we 
thankfully embrace this opportunity to praise the Most High for the 
exceeding riches of his grace, and earnestly to recommend this 
epistle to the diligent reading and attentive consideration of all into 
whose hands these shall come. " He that hath an ear, let him hear 
what the Spirit saith unto the churches." And indeed, the particu- 
lar and distinct account which the author has given of God's dealings 
with the souls of men, at this remarkable season, in the variety of 
cases then set before him, and in many of his observations there- 
upon, we apprehend arc written with that judgment and skill in di- 
vine things as declare him to be a scribe well instructed unto the 
kingdom of heaven ; and we judge may be very useful to ministers 
in leading weary souls to Christ for rest, and for the direction and 
encouragement of all under the like operations of the Holy Spirit. 
Yea, as the author observes, " There is no one thing I know of, that 
God has made such a means of promoting his work among us, as the 
news of others' conversion." We hope that the further spreading 
of this narrative may, by the divine blessing, still promote the con- 
version of souls, and quicken God's children to labor after the clearer 
evidences of their adoption, and to bring forth fruits meet for repent- 
ance. And as this wonderful work may be considered as an earnest 
of what God will do towards the close of the gospel day, it affords 
great encouragement to our faith and prayer in pleading those pro- 
mises which relate to the glorious extent and flourishing of the king- 
dom of Christ upon earth, and that have not yet had their full anJ 
final accomplisliment. And surely the very threatening degeneracy 
of our times calls aloud to us all, to be earnest in prayer for this 
most needed blessing, the plentiful ef!usion of the Spirit of truth and 
holiness. Nor ought the sense of our own unworthiness discourage 
us, when we go to our heavenly Father in the name of his dear Son, 


who has purchased and received this great gift for his people, and 
says to us, " Ask, and it shall be given you. If ye then, being evil, 
know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more 
shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask 
him." Luke xi. 9—13. 

But we must draw to a close. May the worthy author be restored 
to health, and long continue to be a rich blessing to his people ! May 
he still see the pleasure of the Lord prospering in his hand ; and in 
particular, may the Spirit of grace accompany this pious endeavor 
to spread the savor of the -knowledge of Christ, for the everlasting 
advantage of many ! May it please God to revive his work through- 
out this land ; and may all the ends of the earth see his salvation ! 

Boston, November ^th, 1738. 


Minister of CHd South Church. 


Minister of Old South Church. 


Minister of New North Cliurch. 


Minister of BratUe street Church. 

P. S. Since the writing this Preface, one of us has received a 
letter from a Reverend and very worthy minister in Glasgow, in 
which is the following passage : 

" The friends of serious religion here were much refreshed with 
a printed account of the extraordinary success of the gospel, of late, 
in some parts of New England. If you can favor me with more 
particular accounts of those joyful events, when you have opportunity 
of writing to me, it will much oblige me." 




Westfield, October 11, 1738. 

In your letter of August 19, you inform us that the Rev. Dr. 
Watts and Dr. Guyse desire that some other ministers, who were 
eye and ear witnesses to some of those numerous conversions in the 
other towns about Northampton, would attest unto what the Rev. 
Mr. Edwards has written of them. 

We take this opportunity to assure you, that the account Mr. Ed- 
wards has given in his narrative of our several towns or parishes is 
true ; and that much more of the liive nature might have been added 
with respect to some of them. 

We are, Rev. Sir, your brethren and servants, 

WILLIAM WILLIAMS, Pastor of Hatfield. 


of Suffield. 

of Long Meadow. 

of Enfield. 

of Westfield. 

of West Springfield, 


Reverend and Honored Sir, 

Having seen your letter to my honored uncle Wil- 
liams of Hatfield, of July 20, wherein you inform him of the 
notice that has been taken of the late wonderful work of God, 
in this, and some other towns in this county, by the Rev. 
Dr. Watts, and Dr. Guyse of London, and the congregation 
to which the last of these preached on a monthly day of so- 
lemn prayer ; as also, of your desire to be more perfectly ac- 
quainted with it, by some of us on the spot ; and havir^ been 
since informed by my uncle Williams, that you desire me to 
undertake it, I would now do it, in as just and faithful a 
manner as in me lies. 


Introductory Statement. 

The people of the county, in general, I suppose, are as 
sober, and orderly, and good sort of people, as in any part of 
New England ; and I believe they have been preserved the 
freest by far, of any part of the country, from error, and va- 
riety of sects and opinions. Our being so far within the land, 
at a distance from sea-ports, and in a corner of the country, 
has doubtless been one reason why we have not been so much 


corrupted with vice, as most other parts. But without 
question, the rehgion and good order of the county, and their 
purity in doctrine, has, under God, been very much owing 
to the great abiUties and eminent piety of my venerable and 
honored grandfather Stoddard. I suppose we have been the 
freest of any part of the land from unhappy divisions, and 
quarrels in our ecclesiastical and religious affairs, till the late 
lamentable Springfield contention.* 

We being much separated from other parts of the province, 
and having comparatively but little intercourse with them, 
have from the beginning, till now, always managed our ec- 
clesiastical affairs within ourselves : it is the way in which 
the county, from its infancy, has gone on, by the practical 
agreement of all, and the way in which our peace and good 
order has hitherto been maintained. 

The town of Northampton is of about eighty-two years 
standing, and has now about two hundred families ; which 
mostly dwell more compactly together than any town of such 
a bigness in these parts of the country ; which probably has 
been an occasion that both our corruptions, and reformations 
have been, from time to time, the more swiftly propagated, 
from one to another, through the town. Take the town in 
general, and so far as I can judge, they are as rational and 
understanding a people as most I have been acquainted with : 
Many of them have been noted for rehgion, and particularly, 
have been remarkable for their distinct knowledge in things 
that relate to heart rehgion, and Christian experience, and 
their great regards thereto. 

I am the third minister that has been settled in the town : 
the Rev. Mr. Eleazer Mather, who was the first, was ordained 
in July, 1669. He was one whose heart was much in his 
work, abundant in labors for the good of precious souls : he 

♦ The Springfield contention relates to the settlement of a minister there, 
which occasioned too waim debates between some, both pastors and people, 
that were for it, and others that were against it, on acconnt of their different 
apprehensions about his principles, and about some steps that were taken to 
procure his ordination. 


iiad the high esteem and great love of his people, and was 
blest with no small success. The Rev. Mr. Stoddard, who 
succeeded him, came first to the town the November after his 
death, but was not ordained till September 11th, 1672, and 
died February lltli, 1728-9. So that he continued in the 
work of the ministry here, from hia first coming to town, near 
sixty years. And as he was eminent and reno^vned for his 
gifts and graces so he was blest, from the beginning, with ex- 
traordinary success in his ministry, in the conversion of many 
souls. He had five harvests, as he called them : The first 
was about fifty-seven years ago ; the second about fifty-three 
years ; the third about forty ; and the fourth about twenty- 
four ; the fifth and last about eighteen years ago. Some of 
these times were much more remarkable than others, and the 
ingathering of souls more plentiful. Those that are about 
fifty-three and forty, and twenty-four years ago, w^ere much 
greater than either the first or the last : but in each of them, 
IJiave heard my grandfather say, the larger part of the young 
people in the town seemed to be mainly concerned for their 
eternal salvation. 

After the last of these came a far more degenerate time, 
[at least among the young people,) 1 suppose, than ever before. 
Mr. Stoddard, indeed, had the comfort before he died, of seeing 
a time where there were no small appearances of a divine 
work among some, and a considerable ingathering of souls 
even after I was settled with him in the ministry, which was 
about two years before his death ; and I have reason to bless 
God for the great advantage I had by it. In thes3 two years 
there were nearly twenty that Mr. Stoddard hoped to be 
savingly converted ; but there was nothing of any general 
awakening. The greater part seemed to be at that time 
very insensible of the things of rehgion, and engaged in other 
cares and pursuits. Just after my grandfather's death, it 
seemed to be a time of extraordinary dullness in religion : li- 
centiousness for some years greatly prevailed among the 
yx)uth of the town ; they were many of them very much ad- 


dieted to night-walking, and frequenting the^tavein. and lewd 
practices, wherein some by their example exceedingly corrupted 
others. It was their man ner very frequently to get together, in 
conventions of both sexes, for mirth and jollity, which they 
called frolicks ; and they would often spend a greater part of 
the night in them, without regard to any order in the families 
they belonged to : and indeed family government did too 
much fail in the town. It was become very customary with 
many of our young people to be indecent in their carriage 
at meeting, which doubtless would not have prevailed to such 
a degree, had it not been that my grandfather through his 
great age (though he retained his powers surprisingly to the 
last) was not so able to observe them. There had also long 
prevailed in the town, a spirit of contention between two par- 
ties, into which they had for many years been divided, by 
which was maintained a jealousy one of the other, and they 
were prepared to oppose one another in all public affairs. 

But in two or three years after Mr. Stoddard's -death, there 
began to be a sensible amendment of these evils ; the young 
people showed more of a disposition to hearken to counsel, 
and by degrees left off their frolicking, and grew observedly 
more decent in their attendance on the public worship, and 
there were more that manifested a religious concern than 
there used to be. 

At the latter end of the year 1733, there appeared a very 
unusual flexibleness, and yielding to advice in our young 
people. It had been too long their manner to make the 
evening after the sabbath;* and after our public lecture, to be 
especially the times of their mirth and company keeping. 
But a sermon was now preached on the sabbath before the 
lecture, to show the evil tendency of the practice, and to per- 
suade them to reform it ; and it was argued on heads of fa- 
milies, that it should be a thing agreed upon among them to 
govern their families, and keep their children at home at 

♦ It must be noted, that it has never been our manner to observe the even- 
inf that follows the sabbath ; 'but that which precedes it. as a part of the holy 


ihese times ; and witlial it was more privately moved that 
they should meet together the next day, in their several 
neighborhoods, to know each other's minds, which was ac- 
cordingly done, and the motion complied with throughout the 
town. But parents found little or no occasion for the exer- 
cise of government in the case ; tlie young people declared 
themselves convinced by what they had heard from the pul- 
pit, and were willing of themselves to comply with the coun- 
sel that had been given ; and it was immediately, and I sup- 
pose almost universally, complied with ; and there was a 
thorough reformation of these disorders thenceforward, which 
has continued ever since. 

Presently after this, there began to appear a remarkable 
religious concern at a little village, belonging to the congrega- 
tion, called Pascommuck, where a few families were settled, 
at about three miles distance from the main body of the town. 
At this place, a number of persons seemed to be savingly 
wTought upon. In the April following, A. D. 1734, there 
happened a very sudden and awful death of a young man. 
in the bloom of his youth ; who being violently seized with a 
pleurisy, and taken immediately very delirious, died in about 
two days ; which (togetlier with what was preached publicly 
oa that occasion) much affected many young people. This 
w^as followed with another death of a young married woman, 
who had been considerably exercised in mind about the 
salvation of her soul before she was ill, and was in great 
distress hi the beginning of her illness ; but seemed to have 
satisfying evidences of God's saving mercy to her, before her 
death ; so that she died very full of comfort, in a most earnest 
and moving manner warning and counseling others. This 
seemed much to contribute to the solemnizing of the spirits 
of many young persons : and there began evidently to appear 
more of a religious concern on people's minds. 

lu the fall of the year I proposed to the young people, that 
they should agree among themselves to spend the evenings 
after lectures in social religion, and to that end divide them- 
selves into several rompanies, to meet in various parts of the 


town ; which was accordingly done, and those meetings 
have been since continued, and the example imitated by elder 
people. This was followed with the death of an elderly 
person, v/hich was attended with many unusual circum- 
stances, by which many were much moved and affected. 

About this time began the great noise that was in this part 
of the country about Arminianism, which seemed to appear 
with a very threatening aspect upon the interest of religion 
here. The friends of vital piety trembled for fear of the 
issue ; but it seemed, contrary to their fear, strongly to be 
overruled, for the pi-omoting of religion. Many who looked 
on themselves as in a Christless condition, seemed to be 
awakened by it, with fear that God was about to withdraw 
from the land, and that we should be given up to heterodoxy, 
and corrupt principles ; and that then their opportunity for 
obtaining salvation would be past ; and many who were 
brought a little to doubt about the truth of the doctrines the\' 
had hitherto been taught, seemed to have a kind of a trem- 
bling fear with their doubts, lest they should be led into b}'- 
paths, to their eternal undoing : and they seemed, with much 
concern and engagedness of mind, to inquire what was indeed 
the way in which they must come to be accepted with God. 
There were then some things said publicl}^ on that occasion 
concerning " Justification by Faith alone." 

Although great fault was found with meddling with the 
controversy in the pulpit, by such a person, and at that time, 
and though it was ridiculed .by many elsewhere, yet it 
proved a word spoken in season here ; and was most evi- 
dently attended with a very remarkable blessing of Heaven 
to the souls of the people in this town. Tliey received thence 
a general satisfaction with resj)ect to the main thing in ques- 
tion, which they had l)een in trembling doubis and concern 
about ; and their minds were engaged the more earnestly to 
seek that they might come to be accepted of God, and saved 
in the way of the gospel, which had bedn made evident to 
them to be the true and only way. And then it was, in the 
latter part of December, that the Spirit of God began cxtrn- 


ordinarily to set in and wonderfully to work among us ; and 
there were, very suddenly, one after another, five or six 
persons who were to all appearance savingly converted, and 
some of them wrought upon in a very remarkable manner. 

Particularly, I was surprised with the relation of a young 
woman, who had been one of the greatest company keepers 
in the whole town : when she came to me I had never heard 
that she was become in any wise serious, but by the conver- 
sation I then had with her, if appeared to me that what she 
gave an account of, was a glorious work of God's infinite 
power and sovereign grace ; and that God had given her a 
new heart, truly broken and sanctified. I could not then 
doubt of it, and have seen much in my acquaintance with 
her since to confirm it. 

Though the work was glorious, yet I was filled with con- 
cern about the effect it might have upon others. I was ready 
to conclude (though too rashly) that some would be hardened 
by it in carelessness and looseness of life ; and would take 
occasion from it to open their mouths in reproaches of reli- 
gion. But the event was the reverse to a wonderful degree : 
God made it, I suppose, the greatest occasion of awakening 
to others of any thing that ever came to pass in the town. 
I have had abundant opportunity to know the effect it had, 
by my private conversation with many. The news of it 
seemed almost like a flash of lightning upon the hearts of 
young people all over the town, and upon many others. 
Those persons among us who used to be laithcst from se- 
riousness, and that I most feared would make an ill improve- 
ment of it, seemed greatly to be awakened with it ; many 
went to talk with her, concerning what she had met with ; 
and what app3ared in her seemed to be to the satisfaction of 
all that did so. 

Presently upon this, a great and earnest concern about the 
great things of religion, and the eternal world, became uni- 
versal in all parts of the town, and among persons of all 
degrees, and all ages ; the noise among the dry bones waxed 


louder and loader. All other talk but about spiritual and 
eternal things was soon thrown by ; all the conversation in 
all companies, and upon all occasions, was upon these things 
only, unless so much as was necessary for people to carry on 
their secular business. Other discourse than of the things 
of religion would scarcely be tolerated in any company. The 
minds of people were wonderfully taken off from the world : 
it was treated among us as a thing of very little consequence : 
they seemed to follow their worldly business more as a part 
of their duty than from any disposition they had to it. The 
temptation now seemed to lie on thai hand, to neglect worldly 
affairs too much, and to spend too much time in the imme- 
diate exercise of rehgion ; which thing was exceedingly mis- 
represented by reports that were spread in distant parts of 
the land, as though the people here had wholly thrown by all 
worldly business, and betook themselves entirely to reading 
and praying, and such like religious exercises. 

But nlthough people did not ordinarily neglect their worldly 
business, yet there then was the reverse of what commonly 
is : religion was with all sorts the great poncerh, and the 
world was a thing only by the by. The only thing in their 
view was to get the kingdom of heaven, and every one ap- 
peared pressing into it. The engagedness of their hearts in 
this great concern could not be hid ; it appeared in their very 
countenances. It then was a dreadful thing among us to 
lie out of Christ, in danger every day of dropping into hell : 
and what persons' minds were intent upon, was to escape for 
their lives, and to " fly from the wrath to come." All would 
eagerly lay hold of opportunities for their souls, and were 
wont very often to meet together in private houses for reli- 
gious purposes; and such meetings, when appointed, were 
wont greatly to be thronged. 

There was scarcely a single person in the town, either old 
or young, that was left unconcerned about the great things 
of the eternal world. Those that were wont to be the vainest 
and loosest, and those that had been the most disposed to 


ihiak and speak slightly of vital and experimental religion, 
were now generally subject to great awakenings. And the 
work of conversion was carried on in a most astonishing 
manner, and increased more and more ; souls did, as it were, 
come by flocks to Jesus Christ. From day to day, for matiy 
months together, might be seen evident instances of sinners 
brought " out of darkness into marvelous light," and deli- 
vered " out of a horrible pit, and from the miry clay, and 
set upon a rock, with a new song of praise to God in their 

Tliis work of God, as it was carried on, and the number 
of true saints multipHed, soon made a glorious alteration in 
the town ; so that in the spring and summer following, A. 
D. 1735, the town seemed to be full of the presence of God. 
It never was so full of love, nor so full of joy, and yet so full 
of distress, as it was then. There were remarkable tokens 
of God's presence in almost every house. It was a time of 
joy in families, on the account of salvation being brought 
unto them ; parents rejoicing over their children as new 
born, and husbands over their wives, and wives over their 
husbands. The goings of God were then seen in his sanc- 
tuary ; God's day was a dehght, and his tabernacles were 
amiable. Our public assemblies were then beautifcil ; the 
congregation was alive in God's service, every one earnestly 
intent on the public worship, every hearer eager to drink in 
the words of the minister as they came from his mouth ; the 
assembly in general were, from time to time, in tears while 
the word was preached ; some weeping with sorrow and 
distress, others with joy and love, others with pity and con- 
cern for the souls of their neighbors. 

Our public praises were then greatly enlivened ; God was 
then served in our psalmody, in some measure, in the beauty 
of holiness. It has been observable, that there has been 
scarce any part of djvine worship wlierein good men among 
lis have had grace so drawn forth, and their hearts so lifted 
lip in the ways of God, as in singing his praises. Our con - 


g-iegation excelled all that ever I knew in the external part 
of the duty before, the men generally carrying regularly and 
well three parts of music, and the women a part by them- 
selves; but now they were evidently wont to sing with 
unusual elevation of heart and voice, which made the duty 
pleasant indeed. 

In all companies in other days, on whatever occasions 
persons met together, Christ was to be heard of and seen in 
the midst of them. Our young people, when they met, were 
wont to spend the time in talking of the excellency and 
dying love of Jesus Christ, the gloriousness of the way of 
salvation, the wonderful, free, and sovereign grace of God, 
his glorious work in the conversion of a soul, the truth and 
certainty of the great things of God's word, the sweetness of 
the views of his perfections, &c. And even at weddings, 
which formerly were merely occasions of mirth and joUity, 
there was now no discourse of any thing but the things of 
religion, and no appearance of any but spiritual mirth. 

Those among us that had been formerly converted were 
greatly enhvened and renewed with fresh and extraordinary 
incomes of the Spirit of God ; though some much more than 
others, " according to the measures of the gift of Christ r 
Many that before had labored under difficulties about their 
own state, had now their doubts removed by more satisfying 
experience, and more clear discoveries of God's love. 

When this work of God first appeared, and was so extra 
ordinarily carried on among us in the winter, others round 
about us, seemed not to know what to make of it ; and there 
v.^ere many that scoffed at and ridiculed it ; and some com- 
pared, what we called conversion, to certain distempers. But 
it was very observable of many that occasionally came 
among us from abroad with disregard ful hearts, that what 
they saw here cured them of such a temper of mind : Stran- 
gers were generally surprised to find things so much beyond 
what they had heard, and were wont to tell others that the 
state of the town could not be conceived of by those that had 


not seen it. The notice that was taken of it hy the people 
that came to town on occac-ion of the court, that sat heie in 
the beginning of March, was very observable. And those 
that came from the neighborhood to our pubHc lectm'es were 
for the most part remarkably aflected. Many that came to 
town, on one occasion or other, had their consciences smitten 
and awakened, and went home with those impressions that 
never wore off till they had hopefully a saving issue ; and 
those that before had serious thoughts, had their awakenings 
and convictions greatly increased. And there were many 
instances of persons that came from abroad, on visits, or on 
business, that had not been long here before to all appear- 
ance they were savingly wrought upon, and partook of that 
shower of divine blessing that God rained down here, and 
went home rejoicing ; till at length the same work began 
evidently to appear and prevail in several other towns in the 

In the month of March, the people in South Hadley began 
to be seized with deep concern about the tidings of religion ; 
which very soon l)ecame universal. And the work of God 
has been very wonderful there ; not much, if any thing, 
short of what it has been here, in proportion to the size of 
the place. About the same time it began to break forth in 
the west part of Suffield, (where it has also been very great,) 
and it soon spread into all parts of the town. It next ap- 
peared at Sunderland, and soon overspread the town : and 
I believe it was, for a season, not less remarkable than it 
was here. About the same time, it began to appear in a part 
of Deerfield, called Green river, and afterwards filled the 
town, and there has been a glorious work theie : it began 
also to be manifest in the south part of Hatfield, in a 
place called the Hill, and after that the whole town, in the 
second week in April, seemed to be seized, as it were at once, 
with concern about the thuigs of religion ; and the work of 
Ood has been great there. There has been also a very 
general awakening at West Spriugtield, and Lonii Meadow: 


and ill Enfield there was for a time no small concern 
among some that before had very loose persons. About the 
same time that this appeared at Enfield, the Rev. Mr. Bull, 
of Westfield, informed me, that there had been a great altera- 
tion there, and that more had been done in one week there 
than in seven years before. Something of this work like- 
wise appeared in the first precinct in Springfield, piincipally 
in the north and south extremities of the parisli. And in 
Hadley, old town, there gradually appeared so much of a 
work of God on souls as at another time would hav« been 
thought worthy of much notice. For a short time there was 
also a very great and general concern of the like nature at 
Northfield. And wherever this concern appeared, it seemed 
not to be in vain : but in every place God brought saving 
blessings with him, and his word attended with his Spirit 
(as we have all reason to think) returned not void. It might 
well be said at that time in all parts of the country, " Who 
are these that fly as a cloud, and as doves to their win- 

As what other towns heard of and found in this, was a 
great means of awakening them ; so our hearing of such 
a swift and extraordinary propagation, and extent of this 
work, did doubtless for a time serve to uphold the work among 
us. The continual news kept alive the talk of religion, and 
did greatly quicken and rejoice the hearts of God's people, 
and much awakened those that looked on tliemselves as still 
left behind, and made them the more earnest that they also 
might share in the great blessings that others had obtained. 

This remarkable pouring out of the Spirit of God, which 
thus extended from one end to the other of this county, was 
not confined to it, l3ut many places in Connecticut have par- 
took in the same mercy : as for instance the first parish in 
Windsor, under the pastoral care of the Rev. Mr. Marsh, was 
thus blest about the same time as we in Northampton, while 
we had no knowledge of each other's circumstances : there 
has been a very great ingathering of souls to Christ in thnt 


place, and something considerable of the same work begun 
afterwards in East Windsor, my honored father's parish, 
which has in times past been a place favored with mercies 
of this nature above any on this western side of New Eng- 
land, excepting Northampton ; there having been four or 
five seasons of the pouring out of the Spirit to the general 
awakening of the people tliere, since my father's settlement 
among them. 

Tnere was also the last spring and summer a wonderful 
work of God carried on at Coventry under the mintstry of 
the Rev. Mr. Meacham : Ihad opportunity to converse with 
some of Coventry people, who gave me a very remarkable 
account of the surprising change that appeared in the most 
rude and vicious persons there. The like was also very great 
at the same time in a part of Lebanon, called the Crank, 
where the Rev. Mr. Wheelock, a young gentleman, is lately 
settled : and there has been much of the same at Durham, 
under the ministry of the Rev. Mr. Chauncey ; and to appear- 
ance no small ingathering of souls there. And likewise 
among many of the young people in the first precinct in 
Stratford under the ministry of the Rev. Mr. Gould, where 
the work was much promoted by the remarkable conversion 
of a young woman that had been a great company keeper^ 
as it was here. 

Something of this work has appeared in other towns in 
those parts, as I was informed when I was there the last fall. 
And we hav^e since been acquainted with something very 
remarkable of tliis nature at another parish in Stratford, 
called Ripton, under the pastoral care of the Rev. Mr. Mills. 
And there was a considerable revival of religion last summer 
at New Haven, old town, as I was once and again informed 
by the Rev. Mr. Noyes, the minister there, and by others ; 
and ])y a letter which I very lately r3ceived from Mr. Noyes, 
and also by information we have had otherwise, this flou- 
rishing of religion still continues, and has lately much in- 
creased. Mr. Noyes writes, that many this summer have 


been adtkMl to (lie cliuicli, and particularly nieniions several 
young persons that belong to the principal families of that 

There lias been a degree of the same woric at a part of 
Guilford; and very considerable at Mansfieldj under the 
ministry of the Rev. Mr. Eleazer WiUiams; and an unusual 
religious concern at Tolland ; and something of it at lie 
bron, and ]3olton. There was also no small effusion of tlic 
Spirit of God in the North Parish in Preston, in the eastern 
part of Connecticut, which Iwas informed of, and saw some- 
thing of it, when I was the last autumn at the house, and 
in the congregation of the Rev. Mr. Lord, the minister there ; 
who, with the Rev. Mr. Owen of Groton, came up hither 
in May, the last year, on purpose lo see lbs work of God 
here ; and having heard various and contradictory accounts 
of it, were careful when they were here to inform and satisfy 
themselves ; and to that end particularly conversed with 
many of our people ; which they declared to be entirely to 
their satisfaction, and that the one half had not been told 
them, nor could be told them. Mr. Lord told me that when 
he got home he informed his congregation of what he had 
seen, and that they were greatly affected with it, and that it 
proved the begirming of the same work among them, which 
prevailed till there was a general awakening, and many in- 
stances of persons who seemed to be remarkably converted. 
1 also have lately heard that there has been something of the 
same work at Woodbury. 

But this shower of divine blessing has been yet more ex- 
tensive. There was no small degree of it in some parts of 
the Jerseys, as I was hiformed when I was at New York (in 
a long journey I took at that time of the year for my health) 
l)y some people of the Jerseys, whom I saw. Especiall}^ the 
Rev. William Tennent, a minister who seemed to have such 
tilings much at heart, told me of a very great awakening of 
many in a place called the Mountains, under the ministry of 
one Mr. Cross ; and of a very considerable revival of religion 


in aiiollici- place nndcr the minidtiy of his brother, the Rev. 
Mr. Gilbert Teiinent ; and also at another place under the 
ministry of a very pious young gentleman, a Dutch minis- 
ter, whose name, as I remember, was Freelinghousa. 

'^riiis seems to have been a very extraordinary dispensa- 
tion of [)rovidence: God has in many respects gone out of, 
and much l)cyond, his usual and ordinary way. Tire work 
in this town, and some otheis about us, has ])een extraordi- 
nary on account of the universality of it, affecting all sorts, 
sober and vicious, high and low, rich and })oor, wise and 
unwise ; it reached the most considerable families and per- 
sons, to all appearance, as much as others. In former stir- 
rings of this nature, the bulk of the young people have been 
greatly affected, but old men and little children have been 
so now. Many of the last have, of their own accord, formed 
themselves into religious societies, in different parts of the 
town. A loose, careless person C3uld scarcely find a com- 
panion in the whole neighborhood ; and if there was any one 
that seemed to remain senseless or unconcerned, it would be 
spoken of as a strange thing. 

This dispensation has also appeared very extraordinary in 
the numbers of those on whom we have reason to hope it has 
had a saving efiect. We have about six hundred and twenty 
communicants, which include. almost all our adult persorLs. 
The church was very large before, but persons never 
thronged into it as they did in the late extraordinary time. 
Our sacraments are eight weeks asunder, and I received into 
our communion about a hundred before one sacrament^ 
and fourscore of them at one time, whose ap])earance when 
they presented themselves together to make an open, explicit 
profession of Christianity, was very affecting to the congre- 
gation. I took in near sixty before the next sacrament day ; 
and I had very sufficient evidence of the conversion of their 
souls, through divine grace. 

I am far from pretending to be ablci to determine how 
many have lately been the subjects of such mercy : but if I 


laay be allowed to declare any thing that appears to me 
probable in a thing of this nature, I hope that more than 
three hundred souls were savingly brought home to Christ 
in this town in the space of half a year, (how many more I 
don't guess,) and about the same number of males as females; 
which by wliat I hav^e heard Mr. Stoddard say, was far from 
what has been usual in years past, for he observed that in 
his time many more women were converted than men. 
Those of our young people that are on other accounts most 
likely and considerable, are mostly, as I hope, truly pious, 
and leading persons in ways of religion. Those that were 
formerly loose yoiuig persons, are generally, to all appear- 
ance, become true lovers of God and Christ, and spiiitual in 
their dispositions. And I hope that. by far the greater part 
of persons in this town above sixteen years of age, are such 
as have the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ ; and so by 
what I heard, I suppose it is in some other places, particularly 
at Sunderland and South Hadlcy. 

This has also appealed to be a very extraordinary dispen- 

?Ttion, in that the Spirit of God has so much extended not 

only his awakening, Init regenerating influences both to 

elderly persons, and also to those that are very young. It 

has been a thing heretofore rarely to be Iieard of, that any 

were converted past middle age ; but now we have the same 

ground to think that many such have in this time l)een 

savingly changed, as that others have been so in more early 

/years. I suppose there were upwards of fifty persons con- 

/ verted in tliis towji a'oove forty years of age ; and more than 

I twenty of them above fifty, and above ten of them above sixty ;^ 

'' and two of them above seventy years of age. 

It has heretofore been looked on as a strange thing, when 
any had seemed to be savingly wrought upon, and remark- 
ably changed in their childhood ; but now I suppose, near 
thirty were to apj)earance so wrought upon, betv.een ten and 
fourteen years of age, and two between nine and ten, and 
one of about four years of age ; and because I suppose this 


lasl will be witli most tlifficulty believed, I will hcieafter give 
a particular account of it. The influences of God's Spirit 
have also been very remarkable on children in some other 
places, particularly at Sunderland and South Hadley, and 
the west part of Suffield. There are several families in this 
town that are all hopefully pious ; yea, there are several nu- 
merous families, in which I think we have reason to hope that 
all the children are truly godly, and most of them lately l^ecome 
so: and there are very few houses in the whole town, into which 
salvation has not come in one or more instances. There are 
seveial negroes, that from what was seen in them then, and 
what is discernible in them since, appear to have been truly 
born again in the late remarkable season. 

God has seemed to have gone out of his usual way, in the 
quickness of his work, and the swift progress his Spirit has 
made in his operations on the hearts of many. It is wonder- 
ful that persons should be so suddenly, and yet so greatly 
chaiiged. Many have been taken from a loose and careless 
way of living, and seized with strong convictions of their 
guilt and misery, and in a very little time old things have 
passed away, and all things have become new with them. 

God's work has also appeared very extraordinary in the 
degrees of the influences of his Spirit, both in the degree of 
awakening and conviction, and also in the degree of saving- 
light, and love, and joy, that many have experienced. It 
has also been ver}'^ extraordinary in the extent- of it, and its 
being so swiftly propagated from town to town. In former 
times of the pouring out of the Spirit of God on this town, 
though in some of them it is very remarkable, yet it reached 
no further than this town ; the neighboring towns all around 
continued mimoved. 

The work of God's Spirit seemed to be at its greatest 
height in this town, in the former part of the spring, in March 
and April, at which time God's work in the conversion of 
souls was carried on among us in so wonderful a manner, 
that so far as J, Ijy looking back, can judge from the particu- 

48 Manner of conversion various. 

lar acquaintance T have had with souls in this wovk, it ap- 
pears to luc probaljle to have been at the rate at least of fom' 
persons in a day, or near thirty in a week, take one with an- 
other, for five or six weeks together. When God in so re- 
markable a manner took the work into his own hands, there 
was as much done in a day or two, as at ordinary times with 
all endeavors that men can use, and with such a blessing 
as we commonly have, is done in a year. 

I am very sensible how apt many would be if they should 
see the account I have here given, presently to think with 
themselves that I am very fond of making a great many con- 
verts, and of magnifiying and aggrandizing the matter ; and 
to think that, for want of iudgment, I take ever)^ religious 
pang, and enthusiastic conceit, for saving conversion ; and I 
don't much wonder if they should be apt to think so : and 
for this reason T have forborne to publish an account of this 
great work of God, though I have often been put upon it ; but 
having now as I thought a special call to give an account of 
it, upon mature consideration I thought it might not be beside 
my duty to declare this amazing work, as it appeared to me, 
to be indeed divine, and to conceal no part of the glory of it, 
leaving it with God to take care of the credit of his own work, 
and running the venture of any censorious thoughts which 
might be entertained of me to my disadvantage : but that 
distant persons may be under as great advantage as may be, 
to judge for themselves of this matter, 1 would be a little more 
large and particular. 


*lltc niannar of conversion various^ yet bearing a great 

I THEKEFOKE procecd to give an account of the manner of 
persons l>eiii,if wroui^hl upon : and here there is a vast variety, 


perhaps as manifold as the subjects of the operation ; but yet 
in many things there is a great analogy in all. 

Persons are first awakened with a sense of their miserable 
condition by nature, the danger they are in of perishing 
eternally, and that it is of great importance to them that they 
speedily escape, and get into a better state. Those that be- 
fore were secure and senseless, are made sensible how much 
they were in the way to ruin in their former courses. Some 
are more suddenly seized with convictions ; it may be by 
the news of others' conversion, or something they hear in pub- 
lic or in private conference ; their consciences are suddenly 
smitten as if their hearts were pierced through Avith a dart : 
Others have awakenings that come upon them more gradu- 
ally ; they begin at first to be something more thoughtful and 
considerate, so as to come to a conclusion in their minds, 
that it is their best and wisest way to delay no longer, but to 
improve the present opportunity ; and have accordingly set 
themselves seriously to meditate on those things that have 
the most awakening tendency, on puipose to obtain convic- 
tions ; and so their awakenings have increased, till a sense 
of their misery, by God's Spirit setting in therewith, has had 
fast hold of them. Others that, before this wonderful time, 
had been somewhat religious and concerned for their salva- 
tion, have been awakened in a new manner, and made 
sensible that their slack and dull way of seeking was never 
like to attain their purpose, and so have been roused up to a 
greater violence for the kingdom of heaven. 

These awakenings, when they have first seized on per- 
sons, have had two effects : one was, that they have brought 
them immediately to quit their sinful practices, and the 
looser sort have been brought to forsake and dread their 
former vices and extravagancies. When once the Spirit of 
God began to be so wonderfully poured out in a general way 
through the town, people had soon done with their old quar- 
rels, backbitings, and intermeddling with other men's mat- 
ters ; the tavern was soon left empty, and persons kept very 



much at home ; none went abroad, unless on necessary 
business, or on some religious account, and every day seemed 
in many respects like a sabbath day. And the other effect 
was, that it put tl.em on earnest application to the means of 
salvation, reading, prayer, meditation, the ordinances of 
God's house, and private conference ; their cry was, " What 
shall we do to be saved ?" The place of resort was now 
altered ; it was no longer the tavern, but the minister's 
house, that was thronged far more than ever the tavern had 
been wont to be. 

I'here is a very great variety as to the degree of fear and 
trouble that persons are exercised with before they obtain any 
comfortable evidences of pardon and acceptance with God : 
some are from the beginning carried on with abundantly 
more encouragement and hope than others: some have had 
ten times less trouble of mind than others, in whom yet the 
issue seems to be the same. Some have had such a sense 
of the displeasure of God, and the great danger they were in 
of damnation, that they could not sleep at night ; and many 
have said that when they have laid down, the thoughts of 
sleeping in such a condition have been frightful to them, 
and they have scarcely been free from terror while they have 
been asleep, and they have awaked with fear, heaviness, 
and distress still abiding on their spirits. It has been very 
common that the deep and fixed concern that has been on 
person's minds has had a painful influence on their bodies, 
and has given disturbance to animal nature. 

The awful apprehensions persons have had of their mi- 
sery, have for the most part been increasing, the nearer they 
have approached to deliverance; though they often pass 
through many changes and alterations in the frame and cir- 
cumstances of their minds. Sometimes they think them- 
selves wholly senseless, and fear that the Spirit of God has 
left them, and that they are given up to judicial hardness ; 
yet they appear very deeply exercised about tliat fear, and 
are in great earnest to obtain convictions again. 



Together with those fears, and that exercise of mind which 
is rational, and which tliey have just ground for, they have 
often suffered many needless distresses of thought, in which 
Satan probably has a great hand, to entangle them and block 
up their way ; and sometimes the distemper of melancholy 
has been evidently mixed ; of which, when it happens, the 
tempter seems to make great advantage, and puts an un- 
happy bar in the way of any good effect. One knows not 
how to deal with such persons ; they turn every thing that 
is sciid to them the wrong way, and most to their own dis- 
advantage ; and there is nothing that the devil seems to 
make so great a handle of, as a melancholy hmnor, unless 
it be the real corruption of the heart. 

But it has been very remarkable that there has been far 
less of this mixture in this time of extraordinary blessing 
than there was wont to be in persons under awakenings at 
other times ; for it is evident that many that before had been 
exceedingly involved in such difficulties seemed now strangely 
to be set at liberly. Some persons that had before, for a long 
time, been exceedingly cxtangled with peculiar temptations, 
of one sort or other, and unprofitable and hurtful distresses, 
were soon helped over former stumbling blocks, that hin- 
dered any progress toward saving good ; and convictions 
have wrought more kindly, and they have been successfully 
carried on in the way to life. And thus Satan seemed to 
be restrained, till towards the latter end of this wonderful 
time, when God's Spirit was about to withdraw. 

Many times persons under great awakenings were con- 
cerned, because they thought they were not awakened, but 
miserable, hard-hearted, senseless, sottish creatures still, and 
sleeping upon the brink of hell. The sense of the need they 
have to be awakened, and of their comparative hardness, 
grows upon them with their awakenings ; so that they seem 
to themselves to be very senseless, when indeed most sensi- 
ble. There have been some instances of persons that have 
had as great a sense of their danger and misery as their 


natures could well subsist under, so that a little more would 
probably have destroyed them ; and yet they have expressed 
themselves much amazed at their own insensibility and 
sottishness, in such an extraordinary time as it then was. 

Persons are sometimes brought to the borders of despair, 
and it looks as black as midnight to them a little before the 
day dawns in their souls ; some few instances there have 
been of persons who have had such a sense of God's wrath 
for sin, that they have been overborne and made to cry out 
under an astonishing sense of their guilt, wondering that 
God suffers such guilty wretches to live upon earth, and that 
he doth not immediately send them to hell : and sometimes 
their guilt does so glare them in the face that they are in 
exceeding terror for fear that God will instantly do it ; but 
more commonly the distresses under legal awakenings have 
not been to such a degree. In some, these terrors do not 
seem to be so sharp, when near comfort, as before ; their con- 
victions have not seemed to work so much that way, but 
they seem to be led further down into their own hearts, to 
a further sense of their own universal depravity, and dead- 
ness in sin. 

The corruption of the heart has discovered itself in various 
exercises in the time of legal convictions ; sometimes it 
appears in a great struggle, like something roused by an 
enemy, and Satan, the old inhabitant, seems to exert him- 
self, like a serpent disturbed and enraged. Many in such 
circumstances have felt a great spirit of envy towards the 
godly, especially towards those that are thought to have been 
lately converted, and most of all towards acquaintance and 
companions, when they are thought to be converted. In- 
deed, some have felt many heart-risings against God, and 
murmurings at his ways of dealing with mankind, and his 
dealings with themselves in particular. It has been much 
insisted on, both in public and private, that persons should 
have the utmost dread of such envious thoughts, which, if 
allowed, tend exceedingly to quench the Spirit of God, if not 


to provoke him finally to forsake them. And when such a 
spirit has much prevailed, and persons have not so earnestly 
strove against it as they ought to have done, it has seemed 
to be exceedingly to the hindrance of the good ol their souls ; 
but in some other instances, where persons have been much 
terrified at the sight of such wickedness in their hearts, God 
has brought good to them out of evil ; and made it a means 
of convincing them of their own desperate sinfulness, and 
bringing them off fiom all self-confidence. 

The drift of the Spirit of God in his legal strivings with 
persons, has seemed most evidently to be, fo make way for, 
and to bring to, a conviction of their absolute dependence on 
his sovereign powder and grace, and a universal necessity of a 
Mediator, by leading them more and more to a sense of their 
exceeding wickedness and guiltiness in his sight ; the pollu- 
tion and insufficiency of their own righteousness, that they 
can in no wise help themselves, and that God would be 
wholly just and righteous in rejecting them, and all that they 
do, and in casting them off forever : though there be a 
vast variety, as to the manner and distinctness of persons' 
c6nvictions of these things. 

As they are gradually more and moic convinced of the 
corruption and wickedness of their hearts, they seem to them- 
selves to grow worse and w^orse, harder and blinder, and 
more desperately wicked, instead of growing better ; they 
are ready to be discourged by it, and oftentimes never think 
themselves so far off from good, as when they are nearest. 
Under the sense which the Spirit of God gives them of their 
sinfulness, they often think that they differ from all others ; 
their hearts are ready to sink with the thought that they are 
the worst of all, and and that none ever obtained mercy that 
were so wicked as they. 

When awakenings first begin, their consciences are com- 
monly most exercised about their outward vicious course, or 
other acts of sin ; but afterwards are much more burdened 
with a sense of heart-sins, the dreadful corruption of their 


nature, their enmity against God, the pride of their hearts, 
their unbeHef, their rejection of Christ, the stubborn- 
ness and obstinacy of their wills ; and tbe like. In 
many, God makes much use of their own experience, 
in the course of tbeir awakenings and endeavors after 
saving good, to convince them of their own vileness and 
universal depravity. 

Very often under first awakenings, when they are l:r jught 
to reflect on the sin of their past lives, and have something 
of a terrifying sense of God's anger, they set themselves to 
walk more strictfy, and confess their sins and perform many 
religious duties, with a secret hope of appeasing God's anger 
and making up for the sins they liave committed : and often- 
times, at first setting out, their affections are moved, and they 
are full of tears in their confessions and prayers, which tliey 
are ready to make very much off as tbough they were some 
atonement, and had power to move coriespondent aflfectiong 
in God too : and hence they are for a while big with expec- 
tation of what God will do for them ; and conceive that they 
grow better apace, and shall sooti be thoroughly converted. 
But these affections are but short lived ; they quickly find 
that they fail, and then they think themselves to be grown 
worse again : they don't find such a prospect of being soon 
converted, as they thought: instead of being nearer, they seem 
to be farther off; their hearts they think are grown harder, 
and by this means their fears of perishing greatly increase. 
But though they are disappointed, they renew their attempts 
again and again ; and still as their attempts are multiplied 
so are their disappointments ; i\\\ fails, they see no token of 
having inclined God's heart to them, they don't see that he 
hears their prayers at all, as they expected he would ; and some- 
times there have been great temptations arising hence to leave 
off seeking, and to yield up the case. But as they are still more 
terrified vvithfears of perishing, and their former hopes of prevail- 
ing on God tobe merciful tothemina great measure fail; some- 
times their religious affections have turned into heart-risings 


against God, because that he does net pily them, and seems 
to have httle regard to their distress, and piteous cries, and 
to all the pains that they take ; they think of the mercy that 
God has shown to others^ how soon, and how easily others 
have obtained comfort, and those too that were worse than 
they, and have not labored so much as they have done, and 
sometimes they have had even dreadful blasphemous 
thoughts, in these circumstances. 

But when they reflect on these wicked workings of heart 
against God, if their convictions are continued, and the Spi- 
rit of God is not provoked utterly to forsake them, they have 
more distressing apprehensions of the anger of God towards 
those whose hearts work after such a sinful maner about him ; 
and it may be have great fears that they have committed 
the unpardonable sin, or that God will surely never show 
mercy to them that are such vipers ; and are often tempted 
to leave off in despair. But then perhaps, by something 
they read or heard of the infinite mercy of God, and all-suf- 
ficiency of Christ for the chief of sinners, they have some en- 
couragement and hope renewed ; but think that as yet they 
are not fit to come to Christ; they were so wicked that Christ 
will never accept of them : and then it may be they set them- 
selves upon a new course of fruitless endeavors in their own 
strength to make themselves better, and still meet with new 
disappointments. They are earnest to inquire what they 
shall do ? They do not know but there is something else to 
be done in order to their obtaining converting grace, that 
they have never done yet. It may be they hope that they 
are something better than they were ; but then the pleasing 
dream all vanishes again. If they are told that they trust 
too much to their own strength and righteousness, they go 
about to strive to bring themselves off from it, and it may be 
think they have done it, when they only do the same thing 
under a new disguise, and still find no appearance of any 
good, but all looks as dark as midnight to them. Thus they 
wander about from mountain to hill, seeking rest and finding 


none ; when they are beat out of one refuge they fly to an- 
other, till they are as it were debilitated, broken, and subdued 
with legal humblings ; in which God gives them a convic- 
tion of their own utter helplessness and insufllciency, and dis- 
covers the true remedy. 

When they begin to seek salvation, they are commonly 
profoundly ignorant of themselves ; they are not sensible 
how blind they are, and how little they can do towards bring- 
ing themselves to see spiritual things aright, and towards 
putting forth gracious exercises in their own souls : they are 
not sensible how remote they are from love to God, and other 
holy dispositions, and how dead they are in sin. When 
they see unexpected pollution in their own hearts, they go 
about to wash away their own defilements, and make them- 
selves clean ; and they weary themselves in vain, till Gcd 
shows them that it is in vain, and their help is not where they 
have sought it, but elsewhere. 

But some persons continue wandering in such a kind of 
labyrinth ten times as long as others, before their own ex- 
perience will convince them of their insufficiency ; and 
so it appears not to be their own experience only, but the 
convincing influence of God's Spirit with their experience, 
that attains the effect : and God has of late abundantly 
shown that he does not need to wait to have men convinced 
by long and often repeated fruitless trials ; for in multitudes 
of instances he has made a shorter work of it : he has so 
awakened and convinced persons' consciences, and made tliem 
so sensible of their exceedingly great vileness, and giv^en them 
such a sense of his wrath against sin, as has quickly over- 
come all their vain self-confidence, and borne them down 
into the dust before a holy and righteous God. 

There have been some who have not had great terrors, 
but haye had a very quick work. Some of those that have 
not had so deep a conviction of these things before their con- 
version, have, it may be, much more of it afterwards. God 
has appeared far from limiting himself to any certain method 


lii his pioceedings with sinners under legal convictions. In 
some instances it seems easy for our reasoning powers to dis- 
cern the methods of Divine Wisdom, in his dealings with the 
soul under awakenings : in others his footsteps cannot be 
traced, and his ways are past finding out : and some that 
are less distinctly wrought upon in what is preparatory to 
grace, appear no less eminent in gracious experiences after- 

There is in nothing a greater difference, in different per- 
sons, than with respect to the time of their being under 
trouble ; some but a few days, and others for months or 
years. There were many in this town, that had been, be- 
fore this effusion of God's Spirit upon us, for years, and some 
for many years, concerned about their salvation ; though 
probably they were not thoroughly awakened, yet they wTre 
concerned to such a degree as to be very uneasy, so as to 
liv^e an vmcomfortable, disquieted life, and so as to continue 
in a way of taking considerable pains about their salvation, 
but had never obtained any comfortable evidence of a good 
state, who now, in this extraordinary time, have received 
light ; but many of them were some of the last. They 
first saw multitudes of others rejoicing, and with songs of 
deliverance in their mouths, who seemed wholly careless and 
at ease, and in pursuit of vanity, while they had been bowed 
down with solicitude about their souls : yea, some had lived 
licentiously, and so continued till a little before they were 
converted, and grow up to a holy rejoicing in the infinite 
blessings God had bestowed upon them. 

And whatever minister has the like occasion to deal with 
souls, in a flock under such circumstances as this was in the 
last 5'ear, I cannot but think he will soon find himself under 
a necessity, greatly to insist upon it with them, that God is 
under no mannei" of obligation to show mercy to any natural 
man, whose heart is not turned to God ; and that a man can 
challenge nothing, either in absolute justice, or by free pro- 
mise, from any thins: he docs before he ha? believed on Jesus 


Christ, or has true repentance begun in liim. It appears to 
me, that if I had taught those that came to me under 
trouble, any other doctrine, I should have taken a most di- 
rect course utterly to have undone them. I should have 
directly crossed what was plainly the drift of the Spirit of 
God in his influence upon them ; for if they had believed 
what I said, it would either have promoted self-flattery and 
carelessness, and so put an end to their awakenings, or che- 
rished and established their contention and strife with God, 
concerning his dealings with them and others, and blocked 
up their way to that humiliation, before the Sovereign Dis- 
poser of life and death, whereby God is wont to prepare them 
for his consolations. And yet those that have been under 
awakenings, have oftentimes plainly stood in need of being 
encouraged, by being told of the infinite and all-sufficient 
mercy of God in Christ ; and that it is God's manner to 
succeed diligence, and to bless his own means, that so awa- 
kenings and encouragements, fear and hope, may be duly 
mixed, and proportioned to preserve their minds in a just 
medium between the two extremes of self-flattery and de- 
spondence, both which tend to slackness, and negligence, and 
in the end, to security. I think I have found that no dis- 
courses liave been more remarkably blessed, than those in 
which the doctrine of God's absolute sovereignty with re- 
gard to the salvation of sinners, and his just liberty with 
regard to his answering the prayers or succeeding the pains 
of natural men, continuing such, have been insisted on. I 
never found so much immediate saving fruit, in any mea- 
sure, of any discourses I have offered to my congregation, as 
some from those words, Rom. iii. 19. ; " That every mouth 
may be stopped ;" endeavoring to show fnjm thence that it 
would be just with God forever to reject and cast off mere 
natural men. 

In those in whom awakenings seem to have a saving 
issue, commonly the first thing that appears after their legal 
troubles, is a conviction of the justice of God in their con- 


demnation, in a sense of their own exceeding sinfulness, and 
tlie vileness of all their performances. In giving account of 
this, they expressed themselves very variously ; some, that 
God was sovereign, and might receive others and reject 
them : some, that they were convinced that God might justly 
bestow mercy on every person in the town, and on every 
person in the world, and damn themselves to all eternity ; 
some, that they see that God may justly have no regard to 
all the pains they have taken, and all the prayers they have 
made ; some, that they see that if they should seek and take 
the utmost pains, all their lives, God might justly cast them 
into hell at last, because all their labors, prayers, and tears^ 
cannot make an atonement for the least sin, nor merit an}^ 
blessing at the hands of God ; some have declared them- 
selves to be in the hands of God, that he can and may dis- 
pose of them just as he pleases ; some, that God may glorify 
himself in their damnation, and they wonder that God has 
suffered them to live so long, and has not casi them into 
hell long ago. 

Some are brought to this conviction by a great sense of 
their sinfulness in general, that they are such vile, wicked 
creatures, in heart and life : others have the sins of their 
lives in an extraordinary manner set before them, multitudes 
of them coming just then fresh to their memories, and being 
set before them with their aggravations ; some have their 
minds especially fixed on some particular wicked practice 
they have indulged ; some are especially convinced by a 
sight of the corruption and wickedness of their hearts ; some, 
from a view they have of the horridness of some particular 
exercises of corruption which they have had in the time of 
their awakenings, whereby the enmity of the heart against 
God has been manifested ; some are convinced especially by 
a sense of the sin of unbelief, the opposition of their hearts 
to the way of salvation by Christ, and their obstinacy in re- 
jectino; Iiim and his irrare. 


There is a great deal of difference as to persons' distinct- 
ness here ; some, that have not so clear a sight of God's jus- 
tice in their condemnation, yet mention things that plainly 
imply it. They find a disposition to acknowledge God to 
be just and righteous in his threatenings, and that they are 
deserving of nothing. And many times, tliough they had 
not so particular a sight of it at the beginning, they have 
very clear discoveries of it soon afterwards, with great hum- 
blings in the dust befoie God. 

Commonly persons' minds immediately before this dis- 
covery of God's justice, are exceedingly restless, and in a kind 
of struggle and tumult, and sometimes in mere anguish : 
but generally as soon as they have this conviction, it imme- 
diately brings their minds to a calm, and a before unexpected 
quietness and composure : and most frequently, though not 
always, then the pressing weight upon their spirits is taken 
away, and a general hope arises that some time or other God 
will be gracious, even before any distinct and particular dis- 
coveries of mercy ; and often they then come to a conclusion 
within themselves, that they will lie at God's feet, and wait 
his time ; and they rest in that, not being sensible that the 
Spirit of God has now brought them to a frame wliereby they 
are prepared for mercy ; for it is remarkable that persons 
when they first have this sense of the justice of God, rarely 
in the time of it think any thing of its being that humihation 
that they have often heard insisted on, and that others' ex- 

In many persons, the first conviction of Ihe justice of God 
in their condemnation, which they take particulor notice of, 
and probably the first distinct conviction of it that they have 
is of such a nature as seems to be above any thing merely 
legal : though it be after legal humblings, and much of the 
sense of their own helplessness, and of the insufficiency of 
their own duties ; yet it does not appear to be forced by mere 
legal terrors and convictions ; but rather from a high exercise 
of grace, in saving repentance and evangelical humiliation : 


for there is in it a sort of complacency of soul in the attribute 
of God's justice, as displayed in his threatenings of eternal 
damnation to sinners. Sometimes at the discovery of it, they 
can scarcely forbear crying out, His just ! His just! Some 
express themselves, that they see the glory of God would 
shine bright in their own condemnation ; and they are ready 
to think that if they are damned, they could take i)art with 
God against themselves, and would glorify his justice therein. 
And when it is thus, they commonly have some evident 
sense of free and all-sufficient grace, though they give no 
distinct account of it ; but it is manifest by that great degree 
of liope and encouragement that they then conceive, though 
they were never so sensible of their own vileness and ill-de- 
servingSj as they were at that time. 

Some, when in such circumstances, have felt that sense of 
the excellency of God's justice, appearing in the vindictive 
exercises of it against such sinfulness as theirs was, and have 
had such a submission of mind in their idea of this attribute, 
and of those exercises of it, together with an exceeding loath- 
ing of their own unworthiness, and a kind of indignation 
against themselves, that they have sometimes almost culled 
it a willingness to be damned ; though it must be owned 
they had not clear and distinct ideas of damnation, nor does 
any word in the Bible require such self-denial as this. But 
the truth is, as some have clearly expressed it, that salvation 
has appeared too good for them, that they were worthy of 
nothing but condemnation, and they could not tell how to 
think of salvation's being bestowed upon them, fearing it w^as 
inconsistent with the glory of God's majesty, that they had 
so much contemned and affronted. 

That calm of spirit that some persons have found after 
their legal distresses, continues some time before any special 
and delightful manifestation is made to the soul, of the grace 
of God, as revealed in the gospel ; but very often some com- 
fortable and sweet view of a merciful God, of a sufficient Re- 
deemer, or of some great and joyful things of the gospel, im- 


mediately follows, or in a very little time : and in some, the 
first sight of their just desert of hell, and God's sovereignty 
with respect to their salvation, and a discovery of all-sufficient 
grace, are so near that they seem to go as it were together. 

Tl)ese gracious discoveries that are given, whence the first 
special c nforts are derived, are in many respects very va- 
viou ; more frequently Christ is distinctly made the object of 
the mind, in his all-sufficiency and willingness to save sin- 
ners : but some have their thoughts more especially fixed on 
God, in some of his sweet and glorious attributes manifested 
in the gospel, and shining forth in the face of Christ. Some 
view the all-sufficiency of the mercy and grace of God ; some, 
chiefly the infinite power of God, and his ability to save them, 
and to do all things for them ; and some look most at the 
truth and faithfulness of God : in some, the truth and cer- 
tainty of the gospel in general is the first joyful discovery 
they have ; in others, the certain truth of some particular 
promises ; in some, the grace and sincerity of God in his in- 
vitations, very commonly in some particular invitation in the 
mind, and it now appears real to them that God does indeed 
invite them. Some are struck with the glory and wonder- 
fulness of the dying love of Christ ; and some with the suffi- 
ciency and preciousness of his blood, as offered to make an 
atonement for sin ; and others w^ith the value and glory of 
his obedience and righteousness. In some, the excellency 
and Joveliness of Christ, chiefly engages their thoughts ; in 
some, his divinity, that he is indeed the Son of the living- 
God ; and in others, the excellency of the way of salvation 
by Christ, and the suitableness of it to their necessities. 

Some have an apprehension of these things so given, that 
it seems more natural to them to express it by siglit or dis- 
covery ; others tliink what they experience better expressed 
by the realizing conviction, or a lively or feeling sense of 
heart; meaning, as I suppose, no other difference but wlint 
ismerelv circumstantial or crradual, 


There is often in the mind some particular text of scripture, 
holding forth some evangelical ground of consolation ; some- 
times a multitude of texts, gratious invitations, and promises, 
flowing in one after another, fiUing the soul more and more 
with comfort and satisfaction ; and comfort is given to some 
while reading some portion of scripture ; but in some it is at- 
tended with no particular scripture at all, either in reading or 
meditation. In some, many divine things seem to be dis- 
covered to the soul as it were at once ; others have their 
minds especially fixing on some one thing at first, and after- 
wards a sense is given of others ; in some with a swifter, and 
others a slower succession, and sometimes with interrup- 
tions of much darkness. 

The way that grace seems sometimes first to appear, after 
legal humihation, is in earnest longings of soul after God 
and Christ, to know God, to love him, to be humbled before 
him, to have communion with Christ in his benefits, which 
longings, as they express them, seem evidently to be of such 
a nature as can arise from nothing but a sense ot the super- 
lative excellency of divine things, with a spiritual taste and 
relish of them, and an esteem of them as their highest hap- 
piness and best portion. Such longings as I speak of are 
commonly attended with firm resolutions to pursue this good 
forever, together with a hoping, waiting disposition. When 
persons have begun in such frames, commonly other expe- 
riences and discoveries have soon followed, which have yet 
more clearly manifested a change of heart. 

It must needs be confessed that Christ is not always dis- 
tinctly and exphcitly thought of in the first sensible act of 
grace (though most commonly he is) ; but sometimes he is 
the object of the mind only implicitly. Thus sometimes 
when persons have seemed evidently to be stript of all their 
own righteousness, and to have stood self-condemned as 
guilty of death, they have been comforted with a joyful and 
satisfying view that the mercy and grace of God is sufficient 
for them : that their sins, though never so great, shall be no 


hindeiance to their being accepted ; that there is merc\ 
enough in God for the whole world, and the like, when they 
give no account of any particular or distinct thought of 
Christ ; but yet when the account they give is duly weighed, 
and they are interrogated about it, it appears that the reve- 
lation of the mercy of God in the gospel is the ground of this 
their encouragement and hope ; and that it is indeed the 
mercy of God through Christ that is discovered to them, and 
that it is depended on in him, and not in any wise moved by 
any thing in them. 

So sometimes disconsolate souls among us have been re- 
vived and brought to rest in God, by a sweet sense given of 
his grace and faithfulness, in some special invitation or pro- 
mise, in which is no particular mention of Christ, nor is it 
accompanied with any distinct thought of him in their 
minds ; but yet it is not received as out of Christ, but as one 
of the invitations or promises made of God to poor sinners 
through his Son Jesus, as it is indeed ; and such persons 
have aftervvards had clear and distinct discoveries of Christ, 
accompanied with lively and special actings of faith and love 
towards him. 

It has more frequently been so among us that when per- 
sons have first had the gospel ground of relief for lost sinners 
discovered to them, and have been entertaining their minds 
with the sweet prospect, they have thought nothing at that 
time of their being converted ; to see that there is such an 
all-sufficieucy in God, and such plentiful provision made in 
Christ, after they have been borne down and sunk with a 
sense of their guilt and fears of wrath, exceedingly refreshes 
them ; the view is joyful to them, as it is in its own nature 
glorious, and gives them quite new and more delighful ideas 
of God and Christ, and greatly encourages them to seek con- 
version, and begets in them a strong resolution to give up 
themselves, and devote their whole lives to God and his Son, 
and patiently to wait till God shall see fit to make all efloo- 


tiial ; and very often they entertain a strong persuasion that 
he will in his own time do it for them. 

There is wrought in them a holy repose of soul in God 
through Christ, and a secret disposition to fear and love him, 
and to hope for blessings from him in this way ; and yet 
they have no imagination that they are now converted ; it 
does not so much as come into their minds : and very often 
the reason is, that they do not see that they do accept of this 
sufficiency of salvation that they behold in Christ, having 
entertained a wrong notion of acceptance ; not being sen- 
sible that the obedient and joyful entertainment which their 
hearts give to this discovery of grace, is a real acceptance of 
it. They know not that the sweet complacence they feel in 
the mercy and complete salvation of God, as it includes par- 
don and sanctification, and is held forth to them only through 
Christ, is a true receiving of this mercy, or a plain evidence 
of their receiving it. They expected I know not what kind 
of act of soul, and perhaps they had no distinct idea of it 

And indeed it appears very plainly in some of them that 
before their own conversion they had very imperfect ideas 
what conversion was. It is all new and strange, and what 
there was no clear conception of before. It is most evident, 
as they themselves acknowledge, that the expressions that 
were used to describe conversion, and the graces of God's 
Spirit, such as a spiritual sight of Christ, faith in Christ, 
poverty of spirit, trust in God, resignedness to God, <fcc., were 
expiiessions that did not convey those special and distinct 
ideas to their minds which they were intended to signify, in 
some respects, no more than the names of colors are to con- 
vey the ideas to one that is blind from his birth. 

This town is a place where there has always been a great 
deal of talk of conversion and spiritual experiences ; and 
therefore people in general had before foimed a notion in 
their own minds what these things were ; but when they 
come to be the subjects of them themselves, they found them- 



selves much confounded in their notions, and overthrown in 
many of their former conceits. And it has been very ob- 
servable, that persons of the greatest understanding, and that 
had studied most about things of this nature, have been more 
confounded than others. Some such persons that have lately 
been converted, declared that all their former wisdom is 
brought to nought, and they appear to have been mere babes, 
who knew nothing. It has appeared that none have stood 
more in need of enlightening and instruction, even of their 
fellow-Christians, concerning their own circumstances and 
difficulties, than they : and it has seemed to have been with 
delight, that they have seen themselves thus brought down 
and become nothing, that free grace and divine power may 
be exalted in them. 

It was very wonderful to see after what manner persons' 
affections were sometimes moved and wrought upon, when 
God did, as it were, suddenly open their eyes, and let into 
their minds a sense of the greatness of his grace, and the 
fullness of Christ, and his readiness to save ; who before were 
broken with apprehensions of divine wrath, and sunk into 
an abyss under a sense of guilt, which they were ready ta 
think was beyond the mercy of God ; their joyful surprise 
has caused their hearts as it were to leap, so that they have 
been ready to break forth into laughter, tears often at the 
same time issuing hke a flood, and intermingling a loud 
weeping : and sometimes they have not been able to forbear 
crying out with a loud voice, expressing their great admim- 
tion. In some, even the view of the glory of God's sove- 
reignty in the exercises of his grace has surprised the soul 
with such sweetness as to produce the same effects. 1 re- 
member an instance of one, who, reading something con- 
cerning God's sovereign way of saving sinners, as being 
self-moved, and having no regard to men's own righteous- 
ness as the motive of his grace, but as magnifying himself 
and abasing man, or to that purpose, felt such a sudden 
rapture of jov and delight in the consideration of it : and yet 


he then sirspected himself to be in a Christless condition, 
and had been long in great distress for fear that God would 
not have mercy on him. 

Many continue a long time in a course of gracious exer- 
cises and experiences, and do not think themselves to be con- 
verted, but conclude themselves to be otherwise ; and none 
knows how long they would continue so, were they not 
helped by particular instruction. There are undoubted in- 
stances of some that have lived in this way for many years 
together ; and continuing in these circumstances of being 
converted and not believing it, has had various consequences 
with various persons, and with the same persons at various 
times; some continue in great encouragement and hope, that 
they shall o]:>tain mercy in a steadfast resolution to persevere 
in seeking it, and in a humble waiting for it at God's foot; 
but very often, when the lively sense of the sufficiency of 
Christ, and the riches of divine grace begins to vanish upon a 
withdrawment of the influence of the Spirit of God, they return 
to greater distress than ever ; for tbey have now a far greater 
sense of the misery of a natural condition than before, being 
in a new manner sensible of the reality of eternal things, and 
the greatness of God, and his excellency, and how dreadful 
it is to be separated from him, and to be subject to his wrath; 
so that they are sometimes swallowed up with darkness and 
amazement. Satan has a vast advantage in such cases to 
ply them with various temptations, which he is not wont to 
neglect. In such a case, [)ersons do very much need a guide 
to lead them to an understanding of what we are taught in 
the word of God of the nature of grace, and to help them to 
apply it to themselves. 

1 have been much blamed and censured by many, that I 
should make it my practice, when I have been satisfied con- 
cerning persons' good state, to signify it to them : which thing 
has been greatly misrepresented abroad, as innumerable other 
things concerning us, to prejudice the country against the 
whole affair. But let it be noted that what I have underta- 


ken to judge of, lifts ratlier been qnalificalions, and declared 
experiences, tlian persons : not but that I have tliought it 
ray duty as a pastor to assist and instruct persons in apply- 
ing scripture rules and characters to their own case (in doing 
of which, I think many greatly need a guide) ; and have, 
where I thought the case plain, used freedom in signifying 
my hope of them, to others ; but have been far from doing 
this concerning all that I have had some hopes of ; and I 
believe have used much more caution than many have 
supposed. Yet I should account it a great calamity to 
be deprived of the comfort of rejoicing with those of my 
flock, that have been in great distress, whose circum- 
stances I have been acquainted with, when there seems 
to be good evidence that those that were dead are alive, 
and those that Avere lost are found. I am sensible the 
practice would have been safer in the hands of one of a 
riper judgment, and greater experience; but yet there has 
seemed to be an absolute necessity of it on the forementioned 
accounts ; and it has been found to be that which God has 
most remarkably owned and blest among us, both to the per- 
sons themselves and others. 

Grace in many persons, through this ignorance of their 
state, and their looking on themselves still as the objects of 
God's displeasure, has been like the trees in winter, or like seed 
in the spring suppressed under a liard clod of earth ; and many 
in such cases have labored to their utmost to divert their minds 
from the pleasing and joyful views they have had, and to sup- 
press those consolations and gracious affections that arose 
thereupon. And when it has once come into their minds 
to inquire whether or no this was not true grace, they 
have been much afiaid lest they should be deceived with 
common illuminations and flashes of affection, and eternally 
undone with a false hope. But when they have been better 
instructed, and so brought to allow of hope, this has awa- 
kened the gracious disposition of their hearts into life and 
vigor, as the warm beams of (he sun in the spring have 


quickened the seeds and productions of the earth : grace, 
being now at Uberty, and cherished with hope, has soon 
flowed out to their abundant satisfaction and increase. 

There is no one thing that I know of that God has made 
such a means of promoting his work among us as the news 
of others' conversion ; in the awakening of sinners, and en- 
gaging them earnestly to seek the same blessing, and in the 
quickening of saints. Though I have thought that a minis- 
ter's declaring his judgment about particular persons' expe- 
riences might from these things be justified, yet 1 am often 
signifying to my people how unable otie man is to know an- 
other's heart, and how unsafe it is depending merely on the 
judgment of ministers or others, and have abundantly in- 
sisted on it with them, that a manifestation of sincerity i n 
fruits brought forth is better than any manifestation they can 
make of it in words alone, can be ; and that without this, all 
pretenses to spiritual experiences are vain ; as all my congre- 
gation can witness. And the people in general, in this late 
extraordinary time, have manifested a very great dread of 
being deceived, being exceedingly fearful lest they should 
build wrong, and some of them backward to receive hope, 
even to a great extreme. 

Conversion is a great and glorious work of God's power, 
at once changing the heart, and infusing life into the dead 
soul ; though that grace that is tlien implanted does more 
gradually display itself in some than in others. But as to 
fixing on the precise time when they j)ut forth tlie very first 
act of grace, there is a great deal of diOerence in diflerent 
persons ; in some it seems to be veiy discernible when the 
very time of this was ; but others are more at a loss. In 
this respect there arc very many that do not know the time, 
(as has already been observed,) that when they have the first 
exercises of grace, do not know that it is the grace of con- 
version, and sometimes do not think it to be so till a long 
time after : and many, even when they come to entertain 
great hope that they are converted, if they remember what they 


experience in the first, exercises of grace, tliey are at a loss 
whether it was any thing more than a common illumination ; 
or whether some other more clear and remarkable experience 
that they had afterwards was not the first that was of a saving 
nature. And the manner of God's work on the soul is (some- 
times especially) very mysterious, and it is with the kingdom 
of God as to its manifestation in the heart of a convert, as is 
said, Mark iv. 26, 27, 28. " So is the kingdom of God, as if 
a man should cast seed into the ground, and should sleep, 
and rise, night and day, and the seed should spring, and 
grow up he knoweth iiot how ; for the earth bringetli forth 
of herself, first the blade, then the ear, then the full corn in 
the ear." 

In some, converting light is like a glorious brightness 
suddenly shining in upon a person, and all around him : 
they are in a remarkable manner brought out of darkness 
into marvelous light. In many others it has been like the 
dawning of the day, when at first but a Ifttle light appears, 
and it may be is presently hid with a cloud ; and then it 
appears again, and shines a little brighter, and gradually in- 
creases with intervening darkness, till at length, perhaps, it 
i)reaks forth more clearly from behind the clouds. And 
many are, doubtless, ready to date their conversion wrong, 
throwing by those lesser degrees of light that appeared at 
first dawning, and calling some more remarkable experience 
they had afterwards, their conversion, which often in great 
measure arises from a wrong understanding of what they 
have always been taught, that conversion is a great change, 
wherein " old things are done away, and all things become 
new," or at least from a false arguing from that doctrine. 

Persons commonly at first conversion, and afterwards, 
have had many texts of scripture brought to their minds, 
that are exceeding suitable to their circumstances, which 
often come with great power, and as the word of God or 
Christ indeed ; and many have a multitude of sweet invita- 
tions, promises, doxologies, flowing in one after another, 


bringing great light and comfort with them, filling the soul 
brinifull, enlarging the heart, and opening the mouth in re- 
ligion. And it seems to me necessary to suppose that there 
is an immediate inliuence of the Spirit of God oftentimes in 
bringing texts of scripture to the mind ; not thai I suppose 
it is done in a way of immediate revelation, without any 
manner of use of the memory, but yet there seems plainly 
to be an immediate and extraordinary influence in leading 
their thoughts to such and such passages of scripture, and 
exciting them in the memory. Indeed, in some God seems 
to bring texts of scripture to their minds no otherwise than 
by leading them into such frames and meditations as harmo- 
nize with those scriptures ; but in many persons there seems 
to be sometliing more than this. Those that, while under 
legal convictions, have had the greatest terrors, have not al- 
ways obtained the greatest light and comfort ; nor have they 
always light most suddenly communicated ; but yet, I think, 
the time of conversion has generally been most sensible in 
such persons. Oftentimes the first sensible change after the 
extremity of terrors, is a calmness, and then the light gra- 
dually comes in ; small glimpses at first, after their midnight 
darkness, and a word or two of comfort, as it were, softly 
spoken to them. The}'^ hav3 a little taste of the sweetness 
of divine grace, and the love of a Savior, when terror and 
distress of conscience begins to be turned into a humble, 
meek sense of their own unworthiness before God ; and 
there is felt inwardly, perliaps, some disposition to piaise God ; 
and after a little while the liglit comes in more clearly and 
powerfully. But yet, I think, more frequently, great terrors 
have been followed with more sudden and great light and 
comfort ; when the sinner seems to be as it were subdued 
and brought to a calm, from a kind of tumult of mind, then 
God lets in an extraordinary sense of his great mercy 
through a Redeemer. 

The converting influences of God's Spirit ver}^ commonly 
bring an extraordinary conviction of the reality and certainty 


of tlie great things of religion ; (though in some this is 
much greater, some time after conversion, than at first ;) 
they have that sight and taste of the divinity, or divine ex- 
cellency, that there is in the things of the gospel, that is 
more to convince them than reading many volumes of argu- 
ments without it. It seems to me that in many instances 
among us, when the divine excellency and glory of the 
things of Christianity have been set before persons, and they 
have at the same time as it were seen, and tasted, and felt 
the divinity of them, they have been as far from doubting 
of the truth of them, as they are from doubting whether 
there be a sun, when their eyes are open upon it in the 
midst of a clear hemisphere, and the strong blaze of his 
light overcomes all objections against his being. And yet 
many of them, if w^e should ask them why they believed 
those things to be true, would not be able well to express or 
communicate a sufficient reason to satisfy the inquirer, and 
perhaps would make no other answer but that they see them 
to be true : but a person might soon be satisfied, by a par- 
ticular conversation with them, that what they mean by such 
an answer is, that they have intuitively beheld, and imme- 
diately felt, most illustrious works, and powerful evidence of 
divinity in them. 

Some are thus convinced of the truth of the gospel in 
general, and that the scriptures are the word of God : others 
have their minds more especially fixed on some particular 
great doctrine of the gospel, some particular truths that they 
are meditating on ; or arc in a special manner convinced of 
the divinity of the things they are reading of, in some por- 
tion of the scripture. Some have such convictions in a 
much more remarkable manner than others ; and there are 
some that never had such a special sense of the certainty of 
divine things impressed upon them with such inward evi- 
dence and strength, who have yet very clear exercises of ^ 
grace, such as love to God, repentance, and holiness. And 
if they be more particularly examined, they appear plainly 


to Iiave ail inward, firm persuasion of the reality of divine 
things, such as they did not use to liave before their conver- 
sion. And those that have the most clear discoveries of 
divine truth, in the mtmner that has been spoken of, cannot 
have this always in view. When the sense and relish of the 
divine excellency of these things fades, on a withdrawment 
of the Spirit of God, they have not the medium of the con- 
viction of their truth at command : in a dull frame, they 
cannot recall the idea and inward sense they had, perfectly 
to mind ; things appear very dim to what they did before ; 
and though there still remains an habitual strong persuasion, 
yet not so as to exclude temptations to unbelief, and all pos- 
sibility of doubting, as before ; but then at particular times, 
by God's help, the same sense of things revives again, hke 
fire that lay hid in ashes. 

I suppose the grounds of such a conviction of the truth 
of divine things to be just and rational, but yet in some 
God makes use of their own reason much more sensibly 
than in others. Oftentimes persons have (so far as could be 
judged) received the first saving conviction from reasoning 
which they have heard from the pulpit ; and often in the 
course of reasoning which they are led into in their own 

The arguments are the same that they have heard hun- 
dreds of times ; but the force of the arguments, and their 
conviction by them, is altogether new ; they come with a 
new and before unexperienced power : before, they heard it 
was so, and they allowed it to be so ; but now they see it to 
be so indeed. Things now look exceedingly plain to them, 
and they wonder that they did not see them before. 

They are so greatly taken with their new discovery, and 
things appear so plain and rational to them, that they are 
often at first ready to think they can convince others, and 
are apt to engage in talk with every one they meet with, 
almost to this end ; and when thev are disappointed, are 

74 IyIA^J^£R ojt' conversion various 

ready to wonder tlmt their reasonings seem to make no more 

Many fall under such a mistake as to be ready to 
doubt of their good state, because there was so much use 
made of their own reason in the convictions they have re- 
ceived : they are afraid that they have no illumination above 
the natural force of their own faculties : and many make 
that an objection against the spirituahty of their convictions, 
that it is so easy to see things as they now see them. They 
have often heard that conversion is a woik of mighty power, 
manifesting to the soul what no man or angel can give such 
a conviction of ; but it seems to them that the things that 
they see are so plain, and easy, and rational, that any body 
can see them ; and if they are inquired of why they never 
saw so before, they say, it seems to them it was because they 
never thought of it. But very often these difficulties arc 
soon removed by those of another nature ; for when God 
withdraws, they find themselves as it were blind again ; they 
for the present lose their realizing sense of those things that 
looked so plain to them, and by all that they can do they 
cannot recover it, till God renews the influences of his Spirit. 

Persons after their conversion often speak of things of re- 
ligion as seeming new to them ; that preaching is a new 
thing ; that it seems to them they never heard preaching 
before ; that the Bible is a new book : they find there new 
chapters, new psalms, new histories, because they see them 
in a new light. Here was a remarkable instance of an aged 
woman that had spent most of her days under Mr. Stod- 
dard's powerful ministry, who, reading in the New Testa- 
ment concerning Christ's suOerings for sihners, seemed to 
be surprised and astonished at what she read, as at a thing 
that was real and very wonderful, but quite new to her, inso- 
much that at first, before she had time to turn her thoughts, 
she wondered within herself that she had never heard of it 
iDfcfore ; but then immediately recollected herself, and thought 
(hat she had often heard of it and read it, but never till now 


saw it as a thing real ; and then cast in her mind how won- 
derful this was, that the Son of God should undergo such 
things for sinners, and how she had spent her time in un- 
gratefully sinning against so good a God, and such a Savior; 
though she was a person, as to what was visible, of a very 
blameless and inoffensive life. And she was so overcome 
by these considerations that her nature was ready to fail 
under them. Those that were about her, and knew not 
what was the matter, were surprised, and thought she was 

Many have spoken much of their hearts being drawn out 
in love to GocJ and Christ ; and their minds being wrapt 
up in delightful contemplation of the glory and wonderful, 
grace of God, and the excellency and dying love of Jesus 
Chiist; and of their souls going forth in longing desires 
after God and Christ. Several of our young children have 
expressed much of this, and have manifested a willingness 
to leave father and mother, and all things in the world, to 
go to be with Christ. Some persons have had longing de- 
sires after Christ, which have risen to that degree as to take 
away their natural strength. Some have been so overcome 
with a sense of the dying love of Christ to such poor, wretch- 
ed, and unworthy creatures, as to v. eaken the body. Se- 
veral persons have had so great a sense of the glory of God 
and excellency of Christ, that nature and life have seemed 
almost to sink under it ; and in all probability, if God had 
showed them a little more of himself, it would have dissolved 
their frame. I have seen some, and been in conversation 
with them in such frames, Avho have certainly been perfectly 
sober and very remote from any thing like enthusiastic wild- 
ness : and have talked, when able to speak, of the glory of 
God's perfections, and the wonderfulness of his grace in 
Christ, and their own unworthiness, in such a manner that 
cannot be perfectly expressed after them. Their sense of 
their exceeding littleness and vileness, and their disposition 
to abase themselves before God, has appeared to be s^reat in 


proportion to their liglit and joy. Such persons among us 
as have been distinguished with the most extraordinary dis- 
coveries of God, have commonly in nowise appealed with the 
assuming, and self-conceited, and self-sufficient airs of enthu- 
siasts, but exceedingly the contrary ; and are eminent for a 
spirit of meekness, modesty, self-diffidence, and low opinion 
of themselves. No persons seem to be so sensible of their 
need of instruction and so eager to receive it as some of them 
are. Those that have been thought to be converted among 
us have generally manifested a longing to lie low and in the 
dust before God : withal complaining of their not being able 
to lie low enough. They very often speak much of their 
sense of the excellency of the way of salvation by free and 
sovereign grace, through the righteousness of Christ alone : 
and how it is with dehght that they renounce their own 
righteousness, and rejoice in having no account made of it. 
Many have expressed themselves to this purpose, that it 
would lessen the satisfaction they hope for in heaven to have 
it by their own righteousness, or in any other way than as 
bestowed by free grace, and for Christ's sake alone. They 
speak much of the inexpressibleness of what they experience, 
how their words fail, so that they can in nowise declare it : 
and particularly speak with exceeding admiration of the su- 
perlative excellency of that pleasure and delight of soul w^iich 
they sometimes enjoy ; how a little of it is sufficient to pa}- 
them for the pains and trouble they have gone through in 
seeking salvation, and how far it exceeds all earthly plea- 
sures ; and some express much of the sense which these 
spiritual views give them of the vanity of earthly enjoy- 
ments, how mean and worthless all these things appear to 

Many, while their minds have been filled with spiritual 
dehghts, have as it were forgotten their food ; their bodily ap- 
\yt\Ale has failed, while their minds have been entertained 
with meat to eat that others know not of. The light and 
comfort which some of them enjov, gives a now relish to 


iheir common blessings, and causes all things about them to 
appear as it were beautiful, sweet, and pleasant to them. 
All things abroad, the sun, moon, and stars, the clouds and 
sky, the heavens and earth, appear as it were with a cast of 
divine glory and sweetness upon them. The sweetest joy 
that these good people among us express is not that which 
consists in a sense of the safety of their own state, and that 
now they are out of the danger of hell ; frequently in times 
of their highest spiritual entertainment this seems to be as 
it were forgotten. The supreme attention of their minds is 
to the glorious excellencies of God and Christ which they 
have in view ; not but there is very often a ravishing sense 
of God's love accompanying a sense of his excellency, and 
they rejoice in a conviction of the faithfulness of God's pro- 
mises as they respect the future eternal enjoyment of God. 

The joy that many of them speak of, as that to which 
none is to be paralleled, is that which they find when they 
are lowest in the dust, emptied most of themselves, as it were 
annihilating themselves before God, when they are nothing 
and God is all ; thus seeing their own unworthiness, de- 
pending not at all on themselves but alone on Christ, and 
ascribing all glory to God : then their souls are most in the 
enjoyment of satisfying rest, excepting that, at such times, 
they apprehend themselves to be not sufficiently self-abased ; 
for then above all times do they long to be lower. Some 
speak much of the exquisite sweetness and rest of soid that 
is to be found in the exercise of a spirit of resignation to 
God, and humble submission to his will. Many express 
earnest longings of soul to praise God ; but at the same 
time complain that they cannot praise him as they would 
do, and ihey want to have others help them in praising him : 
they want to have every one praise God, and are ready to 
call upon every thing to praise him. They express a long- 
ing desire to live to God's glory, and to do something to liis 
honor ; but at the same time cry out of their insufficiency 
and barrenness : that they are poor, impotent creatures, can 


do nothing of themselves, and are utterly insufficient to 
glorify their Creator and Redeemer. 

While God was so remarkably present among us by his 
Spirit, there was no book so delighted in as the Bible ; es- 
pecially the book of Psalms, the prophecy of Isaiah, and the 
New Testament. Some, by reason of their esteem and love 
to God's word, h:.ve at some times been greatly and wonder- 
fully delighted and affected at the sight of a Bible : and 
then also, there was no time so prized as the Lord's da}^, 
and no place in this world so desired as God's house. Our 
converts then appeared remarkably united in dear affection 
to one another, and many have expressed much of that 
spirit of love which they felt toward all mankind ; and par- 
ticularly to those that had been least friendly to them. 
Never, I believe, was so much done in confessing injuries, 
and making up differences, as the last year. Persons after 
their own conversion have commonly expressed an exceeding 
desire for the conversion of others : some have thought that 
they should be willing to die for the conversion of any soul, 
though of one of the meanest of their fellow- creatures, or of 
their worst enemies ; and many have indeed been in great 
distress with desires and longings for it. This work of God 
bad also a good effect to unite the people's affections much 
to their minister. 

There are some persons that I have been acquainted with, 
but more especially two, that belong to other towns, that 
have been swallowed up exceedingly with a sense of the 
awful greatness and majesty of God ; and both of them told 
me to this purpose, that if they in the time of it had had the 
least fear that they were not at peace with this so great a 
God, they should instantly have died. 

It is to be remarked, that some persons by their conversion 
seem to be greatly helped as to their doctrinal notions of 
religion ; it was particularly remarkable in one, who having 
been taken captive in his childhood, was trained up in 
Canada, in the Popish religion ; and some years since re- 


turned to this his native place, and was in a measure brought 
off from Popery : but seemed very awkward and dull of 
receiving any true and clear notion of the Protestant scheme, 
till he was converted ; and then he was remarkably altered 
in this respect. 

There is a vast difference, as has been observed, in the 
degree and also in the particular manner of persons' expe- 
riences both at and after conversion ; some have grace 
working more sensibly in one way, others in another. Some 
speak more fully of a conviction of the justice of God in 
their condemnation ; others more of their consenting to the 
way of salvation by Christ ; some, more of the actings of 
love to God and Christ : some, more of acts of affiance, in a 
sweet and assured conviction of the truth and faithfulness of 
God in his promises : others more of their choosing and 
resting in God as their whole and everlasting portion, and 
of their ardent and longing desires after God, to have com- 
munion with him ; others more of their abhorrence of them- 
selves for their past sins, and earnest longings to live to 
God's glory for the time to come. Some have thtir mind 
fixed more on God ; others on Christ, as I have observed 
before ; but it seems evidently to be tiie same work, the 
same thing done, the same habitual change v7rou'.iiit in the 
heart ; it all tends the same way, and to the same end ; and 
it is plainly the same Spirit that breathes and acts in various 
persons. There is an endless variety in the particular man- 
ner and circumstances in which persons are wrought on ; 
and an opportunity of seeing so much of such a work of 
God, will show that God is further from confining himself 
to certain steps and a particular method in his work on souls, 
than it may be some do imagine. I believe it has occa- 
sioned some good people among us, that were before too 
ready to make their own experiences a rule to others, to bo 
loss censorious and more extended in their charity. The 
work of God has been glorious in its variety ; it has the 
)Uore displayed the manifold ness and unsearchableness of 


the wisdom of God, and wrought more charity among his 

There is a great difference among those that are converted; 
as to the degree of hope and satisfaction that they have con- 
cerning their own state. Some have a high degree of 
satisfaction in tliis matter ahnost constantly ; aad yet it is 
rare that any do enjoy so full an assurance of their interest 
in Christ, that self-examination should seem needless to 
them ; unless it be at particular seasons, while in the actual 
enjoyment of some grctit discovery, that God gives of his 
glory and rich grace in Christ, to the drawing forth of extra- 
ordinary acts of grace. But the greater part, as they some- 
times fall into dead frames of spirit, are frequently exercised 
with scruples and fears concerning their condition. 

They genen^lly have an awful apprehension of the dread- 
fulness and fatal nature of a false hope ; and tliere has been 
observable in most a great caution lest in giving an account 
of their experiences, they should say too much, and use too 
strong terms : and many, after they related their experiences, 
have been greatly afflicted with fears lest they have played 
the hypocrite, and used stronger terms than their case would 
fairly allow of ; and 3'et could not find how they could cor- 
rect themselves. 

I think that the main ground of the doubts and feai-s which 
persons, after their conversion, have been exercised with about 
their own state, has been that they found so much corruption 
remaining in their hearts. At first their souls seem to be all 
alive, their hearts arc fixed, and their affections flowing ; 
they seem to live quite above the world, and meet with but 
little ditTiculty in religious exercises ; and they are ready to 
ihink it will always be so : though they are truly abased un- 
der a sense of their vileness by reason of former acts of sin, 
yet they are not then sufficiently sensible what corruption 
still remains in their hearts ; and therefore are surprised 
when they find that they begin to be in dull and dead frames, 
to be troubled with wandering thoughts in the time of public 


and piiyate worship, and to be iitteiiy unable to keep them- 
selves from them ; also when they find themselves, unaftected 
at seasons in which they think there is the greatest occasion 
to be affected ; and when they feel worldly dispositions work- 
ing in them, and it may be piide, and envy, and stirrings of 
revenge, or some ill spirit towards some person that has in- 
jured them, as well as other workings of indwelling sin : 
Their hearts are almost sunk with the disappointment ; and 
they are ready presently to think that all which they have 
met with is nothing, and that they are mere hypocrites. 
. They are ready to argue that if God had indeed done such 
great things for them as they hoped, such ingratitude is in- 
consistent with it : they cry out of the hardness and wick- 
edness of their hearts ; and say there is so much corruption, 
that it seems to them impossible that there should be any 
goodness tliere ; and many of tlienj seem to be much more 
sensible how corrupt their hearts are than ever they were be- 
fore they were converted ; and some have been too ready to 
be impressed with fear, that instead of becoming better, thej 
are grown much worse, and make it an argument against the 
goodness of their state. But in truth the case seems plainly to 
be, that now they feel the pain of their own wound ; they 
have a watchful e3^e upon their hearts, that they did not use 
to liave : they take more notice what sin is tliere, and sin is 
now more burthensome to them ; they strive more against it, 
and feel more of the strength of it. 

They are somewhat surprised that they should in''this re- 
spect find themselves so different from the idea that they ge- 
nerally had entertained of godly persons ; for though grace 
be indeed of a far more excellent nature tlian they imagined, 
yet those that are godly have much less of it, and much 
more remaining corruption than they thought. They 
never realized it, that persons were wont to meet with such 
difficulties after they were once converted. When they are 
thus exercised with doubts about their state, through the 
dea<lness of their frames of spirit, as lonji' as these frames last, 



they are commonly unable to satisfy themselves of the truth 
of their grace, by all their self-examination. When they 
hear of the signs of grace laid down for them to try them- 
selves by, they are often so clouded, that they do not know 
how to apply them : they hardly know whether they have 
such and such things in them or not, and whether they have 
experienced them or not ; that which was sweetest, and best; 
and most distinguishing in their experiences, they cannot re- 
cover a sense or idea of. 

But on a return of the influences of the Spirit of God to 
revive the lively actings of grace, the light breaks through 
the cloud, and doubting and darkness soon vanish away. 

Persons are often revived out of their dead and dark frames, 
by religious conversation : while they are talkitig of divine 
things, or ever they are aware, their souls are carried away 
into holy exercises with abundant pleasure. And oftentimes 
while they are relating their past experiences to their Christian 
brethren, they have a fresh sense of them revived, and the 
aame experiences in a degree again renewed. Sometimes while 
persons are exercised in mind with several objections against 
the goodness of their state, they have scriptures, one after 
another, coming to their minds, to answer their scrUples and 
unravel their difficulties, exceedingly apposite and proper to 
their circumstances ; by which means their darkness is scat- 
tered ; and often before the bestowment of any new remark- 
able comforts, especially after long continued deadness and 
ill frames, there are renewed humblings in a great sense of 
their own exceeding vileness and unworthiness, as before 
their first comforts were bestowed. 



Of remarkable impressions on the imagination. 

Many in the country have entertained a mean thouglit of 
this great work that there has been among us, from what 
they have heard of impressions that have been made on per- 
sons' imaginations. But there have been exceedingly great 
misrepresentations, and innumerable false reports concerning 
that matter. It is notj that I know of, the profession or 
opinion of any one person in the town, that any weight is to 
be laid on any thing seen with the bodily eyes : I know the 
contrary to be a received and established principle among us. 
I cannot say that there have been no instances of persons 
that have been ready to give too much heed to vain and use- 
less imaginations ; but they have been easily corrected ; and 
I conclude it will not be wondered at that a congregation 
should need a guide in such cases to assist them in distin- 
guishing wheat from chaif. But such impressions on the 
imagination as have been more usual, seem to me to be plaiur 
ly no other than what is to be expected in human nature in 
such circumstances, and what is the natural result of the 
strdng exercise of the mind, and impressions on the heart. 

I do not suppose that they themselves imagined that they 
saw any thing with their bodily eyes; but only have had 
within them ideas strongly impressed, and as it were hvely 
pictures in their minds ; as for instance, some when in great 
tei'rors throui^h fear of hell, have had lively ideas of a dreadful 
furnace. Some, when their hearts have been strongly im- 
pressed, and their aflections greatly moved with a sense of the 
beauty and excellency of Christ, it has wrought on their 
imaginations so, that, together with a sense of his glorious 
spiritual perfections, there has arisen in the mind an idea of 
one of glorious ninjesty, and of a sweet and a gracious as- 


pect. So some, wlieti they have heen greatly alTected with 
Christ's death, have at the same time a Uvely idea of Christ 
hanging upon the cross, and of his blood running from his 
wounds ; which things will not be wondered at by them that 
have observed how strong affections about temporal matters, 
will excite lively ideas and pictures of different things in the 

But yet the vigorous exercise of the mind, does doubtless 
more strongly impress it with imaginary ideas in some, than 
in others, which probably may arise from the difference of 
constitution, and seems evidently in some partly to arise from 
their pecuhar circumstances. When persons have been ex- 
ercised with extreme terrors, and there is a sudden change to 
light and joy, the imagination seenas more susceptive of strong 
ideas, and the inferior powers, and even the frame of the 
body, is much more affected and wrought upon, than when 
the same persons have as great spiritual light and joy after- 
wards ; of which it might perhaps be easy to give a reason. 
The aforementioned Rev. Messrs. Lord and Owen, who, I 
believe, are esteemed persons of learning and discretion, where 
they are best know n, declared that they found these im- 
pressions on persons' imaginations quite different things from 
what fame had before represented to them, and that they were 
what none need to wonder at, or be stumbled by, or to that 

There have indeed been some few instances of impressions 
on persons' imaginations, that liave been something myste- 
rious to me, and f have been at a loss about them; for 
though it has been exceedingly evident to me by many 
things that appeared in them, both then (when they related 
them) and afterwards, that they indeed had a great sense of 
tlie spiritual excellency of divine things accompanying them : 
yet 1 have not been able well to satisfy myself, whether their 
imaginary ideas have been more than could naturally arise 
from their spiritual sense of things. However, 1 have used 
the utmosi rimtion in such cases: sfreat rare hnsheen taken 


both ill public and in private, to teach persons the diirerence 
between what is spiritual and what is merely inmginary. I 
have often warned persons not to lay the stress of their hope 
on any ideas of any outward gloiy, or any external thing 
whatsoever, and have met with no opposition in such instruc- 
tions. But it is not strange if some weaker persons, in 
giving an account of their experiences, have not so prudently 
distinguished between the spiritual and imaginary part ; 
which some that have not been well affected to religion might 
take advantage of. 

There has been much talk in many parts of the country, 
as though the people have symbolized with the Quakers, 
and the Quakers themselves have been moved with such re- 
ports ; and came here, once and again, hoping to find good 
waters to fish in ; but without the least success ; and seem 
to be discouraged, and have left off coming. There have 
also been reports spread about the country, as though the first 
occasion of so remarkable a concern on peoples' minds here, 
was an apprehension that the world was near to an end, 
which was altogether a false report : Indeed after this stirring 
and concern became so general and extraordinary, as has 
been related, the minds of some wer*e filled with speculation, 
what so great a dispensation of divine providence might fore- 
bode ; and some reports were heard from abroad, as though 
certain divines and others thought the conflagration was 
nigh : but such reports were never generally looked upon as 
worthy of notice. 

The work tliat ha? now been wrought on souls is evident- 
ly the same that was wrought in my venerable predecessor's 
days ; as I have had abundant opportunity to know, having 
been in the ministry here two years with him, and so con- 
versed with a considerable number that my grandfather 
thought to be savingly converted in that time ; and having 
been particularly acciuainted with experiences of many that 
were converted under his ministry before. And T know no 
one of thein that in llie least doubts of its beins: of the same 


Spirit, and the same work. Persons have now no otiierwise 
been subject to impressions on their imaginations than for- 
merly : the work is of the same nature, and has not been 
attended with any extraordinary circumstances, excepting 
such as are analogous to the extraordinary degree of it before 
described. And God's people, that were formerly converted, 
have now partook of the same shower of divine blessing in 
the renewing, strengthening, edifying influences of the Spi- 
rit of God, that others have in his converting influences ; and 
the work here has also been plainly the same with that 
which has been wrought in those of other places that have 
been mentioned as partaking of the same blessing. I have 
particularly conversed with persons about their experiences 
that belong to all parts of the county, and in various parts of 
Connecticut, where a religious concern has lately appeared ; 
and have been informed of the experiences of many others 
by th6ir own pastors. 

It is easily perceived by the foregoing account that it is 
very much the practice of the people here to converse freely 
one with another cf their spiritual experiences, which is a 
ihing that many have been disgusted at. But however our 
people may have in somfe respects gone to extremes in it, yet 
it is doubtless a practice that the circumstances of this town, 
and neighboring towns, has naturally led them into. What- 
soever people are in sucli circumstances, where all have their 
minds engaged to such a degree, and in the same affair, that 
it is ever uppermost in their thoughts, — they will naturally 
make it the subject of conversation one with another when 
they get together, in which they will grow more and more 
free : restraints will soon vanish ; and they will not conceal 
from one another what they meet with. And it has been a 
practice which in the general has been attended with many 
good efl'ccts, and what God has greatly blest among us: but it 
must be confessed there may have been some ill consequences 
of it; which yet are rather to be. laid to the indiscreet ma- 
nagement of it, than (o tlie practice itself; and none ran 


wonder if among such a multitude some fail of exercising so 
much prudence in choosing the time, manner, and occasion 
of such discourse as is desirable. 


This work further illustrated in particular instances. 

But to give a clearer idea of the nature and manner of the 
operations of God's Spirit in this wonderful effusion of it, I 
would give an account of two particular instances. The 
first is an adult person, a young woman whose name was 
Abigail Hutchinson. I select her case especially because she 
is now dead, and so it may be more fit to speak freely of, her 
than of living instances : though I am under far greater dis- 
advantages on other accounts to give a full and clear narra- 
tive of her experiences than I might of some others ; nor can 
any account be given but what has been retained in the 
memories of her near friends and some others of what they 
have heard her express in her life-time. 

She was of a rational, understanding family : there could 
be nothing in her education that tended to enthusiasm, but 
rather to the contrary extreme. It is in no wise the temper 
of the family to be ostentatious of experiences, and it was far 
from being her temper. She was before her conversion, to 
the observation of her neighbors, of a sober and inoffensive con- 
versation, and was a still, quiet, reserved person. She had 
long been infirm of body, but her infirmity had never been 
observed at all to incline her to be notional or fanciful, or to 
occasion any thing of religious melancholy. She was under 
awakenings scarely a week before there seemed to be plaiii 
evidence of her being savingly converted. 

She was first awakened in the winter season, on Monday, 
by somethiiifT she heard her l>rotiicr ^ay of the necessity of 


being in good earnest in seeking regenerating grace, together 
with the news of the conversion of the young woman before 
mentioned, whose conversion so generally affected most of 
the young people here. This news wrought mucli upon 
her, and stirred up a spirit of envy in her towards this young 
woman, whom she thought very unworthy of being distin- 
guished from others by such a mercy ; but withal it en- 
gaged her in a firm resolution to do her utmost to obtain the 
same blessing ; and considering with herself what course 
she should take, she thought that she had not a sufficient 
knowledge of the principles of religion, to render her capable 
of conversion ; whereupon she resolved thoroughly to search 
the scriptures ; and accordingly immmediately began at the 
beginning of the Bible, intending to read it through. She 
continued thus -till Thursday ; and then there was a sudden 
alteration, by a great increase of her concern, in an extraor- 
dinary sense of her own sinfulness, particularly the sinful- 
ness of her nature, and wickedness of her heart, which came 
upon her (as she expressed it) as a flash of lightning, and 
struck her into an exceeding terror. Upon which she left 
off reading the Bible in course as she had begun, and turned 
to.. the New Testament, to see if she could not find some re- 
lief there for her distressed soul. 

Her great terror, she said was, " that she had sinned 
against God." Her distress grew more and more for three 
days ; until (as she said) she saw nothing but blackness of 
darkness before her, and her very flesh trembled for fear of 
God's wrath : she wondered and was astonished at herself, 
that she had been so concerned for her body, and had applied 
so often to physicians to heal that, and had neglected her 
soul. Her sinfulness appeared with a very awful aspect to 
her, especially in three things, viz. her original sin, and her 
sin in murmuring at God's providence, in the weakness and 
afllicLions she had been under, and in want of duty to parents, 
though others had looked upon her to excel in dutiful ness. 
On Saturday t?lic wut: ^o earnestly engaged in reading the 


Bible and other books, that she continued in it, searching for 
something to reUeve her, till her eyes were so dim, that she could 
not know the letters. While she was thus engaged in read- 
ing, prayer, and other religious exercises, she thought of 
those words of Christ wlierein he warns us not to be as the 
heathen, that think they shall be heard for their much speak- 
ing ; which, she said, led her to see that she had trusted to 
her own prayers and religious performances, and now she 
was put to a nonplus, and knew not which way to turn her- 
self, or where to seek relief. 

While her mind was in this posture, her heart, she said, 
seemed to fly to the minister for refuge, hoping that he could 
give her some relief. She came the same day to her brother, 
with the countenance of a person in distress, expostulating 
with him, why he had not told her more of her sinfulness, 
and earnestly inquiring of him what she should do. She 
seemed that day to feel in herself an enmity against the Bi- 
ble, which greatly affrighted her. Her sense of her own ex- 
ceeding sinfulness continued increasing from Thursday till 
Monday ; and she gave this account of it, that it had been 
an opinion, which till now she had entertained, that she was 
not guilty of Adam's sin, nor any way concerned in it, be- 
cause she was not active in it ; but that now she saw she 
was guilty of that sin, and all over defiled by it ; and that 
the sin which she brought into the world with her, was alone 
sufficient to condemn her. 

On the sabbath-day she was so ill that her friends thought 
it not best that she should go to public worship, of which she 
seemed very desirous : but when she went to bed on the sab- 
bath-day night, she took up a resolution that she would the 
next morning go to the minister, hoping to find some relief 
there. As she awaked on Monday morning, a little before 
day, she wondered within herself at the easiness and calm- 
ness she felt in her mind, which was of that kind she never 
felt before ; as she thought of this, such words as these were 
in her mind : '' The words of the Lord are pine words, health 



to the soul, and marrow to the bones :" and then these words 
came to her mind, " the blood of Christ cleanses from all 
sin ;" which were accompanied with a hvely sense of the 
excellency of Christ, and his sufficiency to satisfy for the sins 
of the whole world. She then thought of that expression, 
" It is a pleasant thing for the eyes to behold the sun ;" 
which words then seemed to her to be very applicable to Je- 
sus Christ. By these things her mind was led into such 
contemplations and views of Christ as filled her exceedingly 
full cf joy. She told her brother in the morning that she 
had seen (that is, in realizing views by faith) Christ the last 
night, and that she had really thought that she had not 
knowledge enough to be converted ; but, says she, God can 
make it quite easy ! On Monday she felt all day a constant 
sweetness in her soul. She had a repetition of the same dis- 
coveries of Christ three mornings together, that she had on 
Monday morning, and much in the same manner at each 
time, waking a little before day ; but brighter and brighter 
every time. 

At the last time on Wednesday morning, while in the en- 
joyment of a spiritual view of Christ's glory and fullness, her 
soul was filled with distress for Christless persons, to consider 
what a miserable condition they were in : and she felt in 
herself an inclination immediately to go forth to warn sinners; 
and proposed it the next day to her brother to assist her in 
going from house to house ; but her brother restrained her, 
by telling her of the unsuitableness of such a method. She 
told one of her sisters that day, that she loved all mankind, 
but especially the people of God. Her sister asked her why 
she loved all mankind ? She replied, because God had made 
them. After this there happened to come into the shop 
■where she was at work, three persons that were thought to 
have been lately converted ; her seeing them as they stepped 
in one after another into the door, so affected her, and so 
drew forth her love to them, that it overcame her, and she 
almost fainted : and when they began to talk of the things 


of religion, it was more than she could bear ; they were 
obliged to cease on that account. It was a very frequent 
thing with her to be overcome witli a How of affection to them 
that she thought godly, in conversation with them, and some- 
times only at the sight of them. 

She had many extraordinary discoveries of the glory of 
God and Christ ; sometimes in some particular attributes, 
and sometimes in many. She gave an account that once, 
as those four words passed through her mind, Wisdom, 
Justice, Goodness, and TrutJt, her soul was filled with a 
sense of the glory of each of these divine attributes, but es- 
pecially the last : Truth, said she, sunk the deepest ! And 
therefore, as these words passed, this was repeated, Truth, 
Truth ! Her mind was so swallowed up with a sense of 
the glory of God's truth and other perfections, that she said 
it seemed as though her life was going, and that she saw it 
was easy with God to take away her life by discoveries of 
himself. Soon after this, she went to a private religious 
meeting, arxd her mind was full of a sense and view of the 
glory of God all the time ; and when the exercise was ended, 
some asked her concerning what she had experienced ; and 
she began to give them an account ; but as she was relating 
it, it revived such a sense of tho same things, that her strength 
failed, and they were obliged to take her and lay her upon 
the bed. Afterwards she was greatly affected, and rejoiced 
with these words, " Worthy is the Lamb that was slain." 

She had several days together a sweet sense of the excel- 
lency and kiveliness of Christ in his meekness, which dis- 
posed her continually to be repeating over these words, which 
were sweet to her. Meek and loioly in heart, Meek and 
loioly in Jteart. She once expressed herself to one of her 
sisters to this purpose, that she had continued whole days 
and whole nights in a constant ravishing view of the glory 
of God and Christ, having enjoyed as much as her life could 
bear. Once, as her brother was speaking of the dying love 


of Christ, she told liim that she had such a sense of it, that 
the mere mentioning of it was ready to overcome her. 

Once, when she came to me, she told how tliat at such 
and sucli a time she thought she saw as much of God, and 
had as much joy and pleasure as was possible in this hfe, 
and that yet afterwards God discovered himself yet far more 
abundantly, and she saw the same things that she had seen 
before, yet more clearly, and in another and far more excel- 
lent and delightful manner, and was filled with a more ex- 
ceeding sweetness ; she likewise gave me such an account 
of the sense she once had, from day to day, of the glory of 
Christ, and of God, in his various attributes, that it seemed 
to me she dwelt for days together in a kind of beatific vision 
of God ; and seemed to have, as I thought, as immediate an 
intercourse with him, as a child with a father : and at the 
same time she appeared most remote from any high thought 
of herself, and of her own sufficiency, but was like a little 
child, and expressed great desire to be instructed, telling me 
that she longed very often to come to me for instruction, 
and wanted to live at my house, that I might tell her her 

She often expressed a sense of the glory of God appearing 
in the trees, and growth of the fields, and other works of 
God's hands. She told her sister that lived near the heart 
of the town, that she once thought it a pleasant thing to live 
in the niiddle of the town ; but now, says she, I think it 
much more pleasant to sit and see the wind blowing the 
trees, and to behold what God has made. She had some- 
times the powerful breathings of the Spirit of God on her 
soul, while reading the scripture, and would express a sense 
that she had of the certain truth and divinity thereof. She 
sometimes would appear with a pleasant smile on her coun- 
tenance ; and once when her sister took notice of it, and 
asked why she smiled, she replied, I am brimfull of a sweet 
feeling within ! She often used to express how good and 
sweet it was to lie low before God, and the lower, said she, 


the better ! and that it was pleasant to think of lying in the 
dust all the days of her life, mourning for sin. She was 
wont to manifest a great sense of her own meanness and 
dependence. She often expressed an exceeding compassion 
and pitiful love which she found in her heart towards per- 
sons in a Christless condition, which was sometimes so strong, 
that as she was passing by such in the streets, or those that 
she feared were such, she would be overcome by the sight of 
them. She once said, that she longed to have the whole 
world saved ; she wanted, as it were, to pull them all to her ; 
she could not bear to have one lost. 

She had great longings to die, that she might be with 
Christ ; which increased until she thought she did not know 
how to be patient to wait till God's time should come. But 
once when she felt those longings, she thought with herself, 
if I long to die, why do I go to physicians ? Whence she 
concluded that her longings for death were not well regu- 
lated. After this she often put it to herself which she should 
choose, whether to live or to die, to be sick or to be well ? and 
she found she could not tell, till at last she found herself 
disposed to say these words : I am quite willing to live, and 
quite willing to die ; quite willing to be sick, and quite wil- 
ling to be w^ell ; and quite willing for any thing that God 
will bring upon me ! And then, said she, I felt myself 
perfectly easy, in a full submission to the will of God. She 
then lamented much that she had been so eager in her 
longings for death, as it argued want of such a resignation 
to God as ought to be. She seemed henceforward to con- 
tinue in this resigned frame till death. 

After this her illness increased upon her ; and once, after 
she had before spent the greater part of the night in extreme 
pain, she waked out of a little sleep with these words in her 
heart and mouth : I am wiUing to sufler for Christ's sake ; 
I am willing to spend and to be spent for Christ's sake ; I 
am willing to spend my hfe, even my very life, for Christ's 
sake ! And though she had an extraordinary resignation 


with respect to life or death, yet the thoughts of dying were 
exceedingly sweet to her. At a time when her brother was 
reading in Job, concerning worms feeding on tbe dead body, 
she appeared with a pleasant smile ; and being inquired of 
al)out it, she said it was sweet to her to think of her being 
in sucb circumstances. At another lime, when her brother 
mentioned to lier the danger there seemed to be that the ill- 
ness she then labored under might be an occasion of her 
death, it filled her with joy that almost overcame her. At 
another time, when she met a company following a corpse 
to the grave, she said it was sweet to her to think that 
they would in a little time follow her in like manner. 

Her illness, in the latter part of it, was seated much in 
her throat ; and swelling inward, filled up the pipe so that 
she could swallow nothing but what was perfectly hquid, 
and but very little of that, and with great and long stiUg- 
glings and stranglings ; that which she took in flying out 
at her nostril, till she at last could swallow nothing at all. 
She had a raging appetite to food, so that she told her sister, 
when talking with her about her circumstances, that the 
worst bit that she threw to her swine, would be sweet to 
her : but yet when she saw that she could not swallow it, 
she seemed to be as perfectly contented without it, as if she 
had no appetite for it. Others were greatly moved to see 
what she underwent, and were filled with admiration at her 
unexampled patience. At a time when she was striving in 
vain to get down a little food, something liquid, and was very 
much spent with it, she looked up on her sister with a smile, 
saying, " O sister, this is for my good 1" At another time, 
when her sister was speaking of what she underwent, she 
told her that she lived a heaven upon earth for all that. 
She used sometimes to say to her sister, under her extreme 
sufferings, " It is good to be so !" Her sister once asked her 
why she said so ? " Why,*' said she, " because God w'ould 
have it so : it is best that things should be as God would 
have them : it looks best to me." After her confinement, as 


they were leading her from the bed to the door, she seemed 
overcome by the sioht of things abroad, as showing forth 
the glory of the Being that had made them. As she lay on 
her death-bed, she would often say these words, " God is my 
friend !" And once looking up on her sister, with a smile, 
said, " O sister ! how good it is ! how sweet and comforta- 
ble it is to consider and think of heavenly things !" and 
used this argument to persuade her sister to be much in 
such meditations. 

She expressed on her death-bed, an exceeding longing, 
both for persons in a natural state, that they might be con- 
verted, and for the godly, that they might see and know 
more of God. And when those that looked on themselves 
as in a Christless state, came to see her, she would be greatly 
moved with compassionate affection. One in pariicular, that 
seemed to be in great distress about the state of her soul, and 
had come to see her from time to time, she desired her sister 
to persuade not to come any more, because the sight of her 
so wrought on her compassion, that it overcame her nature. 
The same week that she died, when she was in distressing 
circumstances as to her body, some of the neighbors that 
came to see her asked if she was willing to die ? She re- 
plied that she was quite wilhng either to live or die ; she 
was willing to be in pain ; she was willing to be so always 
as she was then, if that was the will of God. She willed 
what God willed. They asked her whether she was wilhng 
to die that night ? She answered, Yes, if it be God's will. 
And seemed to speak all with that perfect composure of 
spirit, and with such a" cheerful and pleasant countenance, 
that it filled them with admiration. 

She was very weak a considerable time before she died, 
having pined away with ftxmine and thirst, so that her flesh 
seemed to be dried upon her bones ; and therefore could say 
but little, and manifested her mind very much by signs. 
She said she had matter enough to fill up all her time with 
talk, if she had but strength. A few days before her death, 


some asked her whether she held her integrity still 7 Whe- 
ther she was not afraid of death? She answered to this 
purpose, that she had not the least degree of fear of death. 
They asked her why she would be so confident ? She an- 
swered, If I should say otherwise, I should speak contrary 
io what I know : there is, says she, indeed a dark entry that 
looks something dark, but on the other side there appears 
such a bright shining light, that I cannot be afraid ! Siie 
said, not long befoie she died, that she used to be afraid how 
she should grapple with death ; but, says she, God lias 
showed me that he can make it easy in great pain. Several 
days before she died she could scarcely say any thing but 
just yes and no, to questions that were asked her, for she 
seemed to be dying for three days together ; but seemed to 
continue in an admirably sweet composure of soul, without 
any interruption, to the last, and died as a person tliat went 
to sleep, without any struggling, about noon, on Friday, 
June 27th, 1735. 

She had long been infirm, and often had been exercised 
with great pain ; but she died chiefly of famine. It was, 
doubtless, partly owing to her bodily weakness, that her na- 
ture was so often overcome, and ready to sink with gracious 
aflfection ; but yet the truth was, that she had more grace, 
and greater discoveries of God and Christ, than the present 
frail state did well consist with. She wanted to be where 
strong grace might have more liberty, and be ^\^thout the 
clog of a weak body ; there she longed to be, and there she 
doubtless now is. She was looked upon among us as a very 
eminent instance of Christian experience ; but this is but a 
very broken and imperfect account I have given of her. 
Her eminency would much more appear, if her experiences 
were fully related, as she was wont to express and manifest 
them, while living. I once read this account to some of 
her pious neighbors, who were acquainted with her, who 
said, to this purpose, that the picture fell much short of the 
life ; and particularly that it much failed of duly represent- 


ing her humility, and that admirable lowHness of heart, that 
at ail times appeared in her. But there are, blessed be God ! 
many hving instances of much the like nature, and in some 
things no less extraordinary. 

But I now proceed to the <>ther instance that I would give 
an account of, which is of the httle child before mentioned. 
Her name is Pliebe Bartlet, daughter of William Bartlet. 
I shall give the account as I took it from the mouths of her 
parents, whose veracity none that know them doubt of. 

She was born in March, in the year 1731. About the 
latter end of April, or the beginning of May, 1735, she was 
greatly affected by the talk of her brother, who had been 
hopefully converted a little before, at about eleven years of 
age, and then seriously talked to her about the great things 
of religion. Her parents did not know of it at that time, 
and were not wont, in the counsels they gave to their chil- 
dren, particularly to direct themselves to her, by reason of 
her being so young, and as they supposed, not capable of 
understanding : but after her brother had talked to her, they 
observed her very earnestly to listen to the advice they gave 
to the other children ; and she was ubyerved very constantly 
to retiie, several times in a day, as was concluded, for secret 
prayer, and grew more and more engaged in religion, and 
was more frequent in her closet, till at last she was wont to 
visit it five or six times in a day ; and was so engaged in it, 
that nothing would at any time divert her from her stated 
closet exercises. Her mother often observed and watched 
her, when such things occurred as she thought most likely 
to divert her, either by putting it out of her thoughts, or other- 
wise engaging her inclinations, but never could observe her 
to fail. She mentioned some very remarkable instances. 

She once of her own accord spoke of her unsuccessfulness, 
in that she could not find God, or to that purpose. But on 
Thursday, the last day of July, about the middle of the day, 
the child being in the closet, where it used to retire, its mo- 
ther heard it speaking aloud, which was unusual, and never 


had been observed before : and her voice seemed to be as of one 
exceedingly importunate and engaged ; but her mother could 
distinctly hear only these words, (spoken in her childish man- 
ner, but seemed to be spoken v\^ith extraordinary earnestness 
and out of distress of soul,) Pray^ blessed Lord, give me 
salvation ! I pray ^ heg, pardon all my sins ! When the 
child had done prayer, she came out of the closet, and 
sat down by her mother, and cried out aloud. Her mother 
very earnestly asked her several times, what the matter 
was, before he could make any answer ; but she continued 
crying exceedingly, and writhing her body to and fro, like 
one in anguish of spirit. Her mother then asked her, whe- 
ther she was afraid that God would not give her salvation. 
She answered, ' Yes, I am afraid I shall go to hell ! ' Her 
mother then endeavored to quiet her; and told her she 
would not have her cry ; she must be a good girl, and pray 
every day, and she hoped God would give her salvation. 
But this did not quiet her at all ; but she continued thUvS 
earnestly crying, and taking on for some time, till at length 
she suddenly ceased crying, and began to smile, and presently- 
said with a smiling countenaace, ' Mother, the kingdo^n of 
heaveii is come to me ! ' Her mother was surprised at the 
sudden alteration, and at the speech ; and knew not what 
to make of it, but at first said nothing to her. The child 
presently spoke again, and said, ' There is another come to 
me, and there is another, there is three ;' and being 
asked what she meant, she answered. ' One is. Thy will be 
done, and there is another, Enjoy him forever ;' by which it 
seems, that when the child said, ' There is three come to 
me,' she meant three passages of her Catechism that came to 
her mind. 

After the child had said this, she retired again into her 
closet ; and her mother went over to her brother's, who was 
next neighbor ; and when she came back, the child, being 
out of the closet, met her mother with this cheerful speech. 
■ I can find God now ! ' referring to what she had before 


complained of, that she could not find God. Then the child 
spoke again and said; ' I love God ! ' Her mother asked her 
how well she loved God, whether she loved God better than her 
father and mother, she said, ' yes.' Then she asked her whe- 
ther she loved God better than her little sister Rachel ? She 
answered, ' Yes, better than any thing ! ' Then her eldest sis- 
ter, referring to her saying she could find God now, asked her 
where she could find God. She answered, ' In heaven.' Why, 
said she, have you been in heaven 7 ' No,' said the^child. 
By this it seems not to have been any imagination of any 
thing seen with bodily eyes, that she called God, when she 
said, I can find God now. Her mother asked her whe- 
ther she was afraid of going to hell, and that had made her 
cry. She answered^ " Yess, I was, but now I shan't."' Her 
mother asked her whether she thought that God had given 
her salvation ; she answered, " yes." Her mother asked her 
when. She answered, " to-day." She appeared all the af- 
ternoon exceedingly cheerful and joyful. One of her neigh- 
bors asked her how she felt herself? She answered, I feel 
better than I did." The neighbor asked lier, what made 
her feel better ? she answered, " God makes me." That 
evening as she lay in bed, she called one of her Httle cousins 
to her that was present in the room, as having something to 
say to him ; and when he came, she told him.. that " heaven 
was better than earth." The next day being Friday, her 
mother asking her her catechism, asked her what God made 
her for. She answered, " To serve him," and added, " everv 
body should serve God, and get an interest in Christ." 

The same day the elder children, when they came home 
from school, seemed much affected with the extraordinary 
change that seemed to be made in Phebe : and her sister 
Abigail standing by, her mother took occasion to counsel her 
now to improve her time to prepare for another world : on 
which Phebe burst out in tears, and cried out, " Poor Nab- 
by !" Her mother told her she would not have her cry, she 
hoped that God would give Nabby salvation ; but that did 


not quiet her, but she continued earnestly crying for some 
time ; and when she had in a measure ceased, her sister 
Eunice being by her, she burst out again, and cried, " Poor 
Eunice !'' and cried exceedingly ; and when she had almost 
done, she went into another room, and there looked up on 
her sister Naomi, and burst out again, crying, " Poor Amy !" 
Her mother was greatly affected at such a behavior in the 
child, and knew not what to say to her. One of the neigh- 
bors coming in a little after, asked her what she had cried 
for. She seemed at first backward to tell the reason : her 
mother told her she might tell that person, for he had given 
her an apple ; upon which she said, she '• cried because she 
was afraid they would go to hell." 

At night a certain minister that was occasionally in the 
town, was at the house, and talked considerably with her of 
the things of religion ; and after he was gone, she sat leaning 
on the table, with tears running out of her eyes : and being 
asked what made her cry, she said it was " thinking about 
God." The next day being Saturday, she seemed, great 
part of the day, to ■ in a very affectionate frame, had four 
turns of crying, and seemed to endeavor to curb herself and 
hide her tears, and was very backward to talk of the occa- 
sion of it. On the sabbath-day she was asked whether she 
believed in God ; she answered " yes :" and being told that 
XlJhrist was the Son of God, she made ready answer, and 
said, " I know it." 

From this time there has appeared a very remarkable, 
abiding change in the child : slie has been very strict upon 
the sabbath; and seems to long for the sabbath-day before it 
comes, and will often in the week time be inquiring how 
long it is to the sabbath-day, and must have the days par- 
ticularly counted over that are between, before she will be 
contented. And she seems to love God's liouse, and is very 
eager to go thither. Her mother once asked her why she 
had such a mind to go ? whether it was not to see fine folks'? 
She said. '= No, it was to hear Mr. Edwards preach.'' "When 


she is in the place of worship, she is very far from spending 
her time there as children at her age usually do, but appears 
with an attention that is very extraordinary for such a child. 
She also appears very desirous at ail opportunities to go to 
private religious meetings ; and is very still and attentive at 
hoii'e in prayer-time, and has appeared .iflfected in time of 
family prayer. She seems to delight much in hearing re- 
ligious conversation. When I once was there with some 
others that were strangers, and talked to her something of 
religion, she seemed more than ordinarily attentive ; and 
when we were gone, she looked out earnestly after us, and 
said, " I wish ihey would come again !" Her mother asked 
her why ? says she, " I love to hear them talk." 

She seems to have very much of the fear of God before 
her eyes, and an extraordinary dread of sin against him ; of 
which her mother mentioned the following remarkable in- 
stance. Some time in August, the last year, she went with 
some larger children to get some plums, in a neighbor's lot, 
knowing nothing of any harm in what she did ; but when 
she brought some of the plums into the house, her mother 
mildly reproved her, and told her that she must not get 
plums without leave, because it was sin : God had com- 
manded her not to steal. The child seemed greatly sur- 
prised, and burst out in tears, and cried out, " I will not have 
these pl'iiiis!" and turning to her sister Eunice, very ear- 
nestly said to her, " Why did you ask me to go to that plum- 
tree ? I should not have gone if you had not asked me." 
The other children did not seem to be much aflected or con- 
cerned ; but there was no pacifying Phebe. Her mother 
told her she might go and ask leave, and then it would not 
be sin for her to eat them ; and sent one of the children to 
that purpose ; and when she returned, her mother told her 
that the owner had given leave, now she might eat them, 
and it would not be stealing. This stilled her a httle while : 
but presently she broke out again into an exceeding fit of 
crying : her mother asked her what made her cry again ? 


Why she cried now, since they had asked leave ? What ii 
was that troubled her now ? And asked her several times 
very earnestly, before slie made any answer ; but at last 
said, " it was because, because it was sinP She continued 
a considerable time crying, and said she would not go again 
if Eunice asked her a hundred times ; and she retained her 
aversion to that fruit for a considerable time, under the re- 
membrance of her former sin. 

She at sometimes appears greatly affected, and delighted 
with texts of scripture that come to her mind. Particularly, 
about the beginning of November, the last year, that text 
came to her mind, Rev. iii. 20. " Behold 1 stand at the door 
and knock : If any man hear my voice, and open the door, 
I will come in and sup with him, and he with me."' She 
spoke of it to those of the family, with a great appearance of 
joy, a smiling countenance, and elevation of voice, and 
afterwards she went into another room, where her mother 
overheard her talking very earnestly to the children about it, 
and particularly heard her say to them, three or four times 
ovefj with an air of exceeding joy and admiration, " Why it 
is to sup with God.'''' At some time about the middle of 
winter, very late in the night, when all were in bed, her mo- 
ther perceived that she was awake, and heard her, as though 
she was weeping. She called to her, and asked her what 
was the matter. She answered with a low voice, so that 
her mother could not hear what she said ; but thinking that 
it might be occasioned by some spiritual affection, said no 
more to her ; but perceived her to lie awake, and to continue 
in the same frame, for a considerable time. The next morn- 
ing, slie asked her wheihcr she did not cry the last night : 
The child answered, " Yes, I did cry a little, for I was think- 
ing about God and Christ, and they loved me."' Her mother 
asked her whether to think of God and Christ's loving her 
made her cry : She answered, " Yes, it does sometimes." 

She has often manifested a great concern for the good of 
others' souls : and has been wont many times affectionatelv 


lo counsel the other children. Once about the latter end of 
September, the last year, wlien she and some others of the 
children were in the room by themselves, husking Indian 
corn, the child, after a while, came out and sat by the fire. 
Her mother took notice that she appeared with a more than 
ordinarily serious and pensive countenance, but at last she 
broke silence, and said, " 1 have been talking to Nabby and 
Eunice." Her mother asked her what she had said to them. 
" Why," said she, " I told them that they must pray, and pre- 
pare to die, that they had but a little while to live in tliis 
world, and they must be always ready." When Nabby came 
out, her mother asked her whether she had said that to them. 
''' Yes," said she, " she said that, and a great deal more." At 
other times, the child took her opportunities to talk to the 
other children about the great concern of their souls, some* 
times, so as much to affect them, and set them into tears. She 
was once exceedingly importunate with her mother to go 
with her sister Naomi, to pray. Her mother endeavored to 
put her off; but she pulled her by the sleeve, and seemed as 
if she would by no means be denied. At last her mother told 
her that Amy must go and pray herself; " but," says the 
child, " she will not go ;" and persisted earnestly to beg of 
her mother to go with her. 

She has discovered an uncommon degree of a spirit of 
charity ; particularly on the following occasion : A poor man 
that hves in the woods, had lately lost a cow, that the family 
much depended on, and being at the house, he was relating 
his misfortune, and telling of the straits and difficulties they 
were reduced to by it. She took much notice of it, and it 
wrought exceedingly on her compassion : and after she had 
attentively heard him a while, she went away to her father, 
who was in the shop, and entreated him to give that man a 
cow ; and told him that the poor man had no cow ; that the 
hunters or something else had killed his cow ; and entreated 
him to give him one of theirs. Her father told her that they 
could not spare one. Then she entreated him to let him and 


his family come aad live at his house, and had much more 
talk of the same nature, whereby she manifested bowels of 
compassion to the poor. 

She has manifested great love to her minister ; particularly 
when 1 returned from my luug journey for my health, the 
last fall. When she heard of it she appeared very joyful at the 
news, and told the children of it, with an elevated voice, as 
the most joyful tidings : repeating it over and over, " Mr. Ed- 
wards is come home ! Mr. Edwards is come home !" She 
still continues very constant in secret prayer, so far as can be 
observed, (for she seems to have no desire that others should 
observe her when she retires, but seems to be a child of a re- 
served temper), and every night before she goes to bed, will 
say her catechism, and will by no means miss of it : she 
never forgot it but once, and then after she was in bed, thought 
of it, and cried out in tears, " I have not said my catechism !'' 
and would not be quieted, till her mother asked her the cate- 
chism as she lay in bed. She sometimes appears to be in 
doubt about the condition of her soul, and when asked whe- 
ther she thinks that she is prepared for death, speaks some- 
thing doubtfully about it : at other times seems to have no 
doubt, but when asked, replies yes, without hesitation. 


Defects and decline of the work. 

In the former part of this great work of God among u^. 
till it got to its height, we seemed to be wonderfully smiled 
upon, and blest in edl respects. Satan (as has been already 
observed) seemed to be unusually restrained. Persons that 
before had been involved in melancholy, seemed to be as it 
were waked up out of it ; and those that had been entangled 
with extraordinary temptations,, seemed wonderfully to be se' 


lit liberty ; aiitl not only so, but it was the most remarkable 
time of health that ever I knew since I have been in the 
town. We ordinarily have several bills put up every sabbath, 
for persons that are sick ; but now w^e had not so much as 
one for many sabbaths together. But after this it seemed to 
be otherwise : when this work of God appeared to be at its 
greatest height, a poor weak man that belongs to the town, 
being in great spiritual trouble, was hurried with violent 
temptations to cut his own throat, and made an attempt, but 
did not do it effectually. He after this continued a consider- 
able time exceedingly overwhelmed with melancholy ; but 
has now of a long time been very greatly delivered by the 
light of God's countenance lifted up upon him, and has ex- 
pressed a great sense of his sin in so far yielding to tempta- 
tion ; and there are in him all hopeful evidences of his having 
been made a subject of saving mercy. 

In the latter part of May it began to be very sensible that 
the Spirit of God was gradually withdrawing from us, and 
after this time Satan seemed to be more let loose, and raged 
in a dreadful manner. The first instance wherein it ap- 
peared, was a person's putting an end to his own life, by 
cutting his throat. He was a gentleman of more than com- 
mon understanding, of strict morals, religious in his beha- 
vioi", and a useful, honorable person in the town ; but was 
of a fomily that are much prone to the disease of melancholy, 
and his mother was killed with it. He had, from the be- 
ginning of this extraordinary time, been exceedingly con- 
cerned about the state of his soul, and there were some 
things in his experience that appeared very hopefully ; but 
he durst entertain no hope concerning his own good state. 
Towards the latter part of his time he grew much discou- 
raged, and melancholy grew amain upon him, till he was 
wholly overpowered by it, and was in great measure past, a 
capacity of receiving advice, or being reasoned with to any 
purpose : the devil took the advantage, and drove him into 
despairing thoughts. He was kept awake nights, medi- 



tating tenor ; so that he had scarce any sleep at all, for a long" 
thiie together. And it was observed at last, that he was 
scarcely well capable of managing his ordinaiy business, and 
was judged delirious by the coroner's inquest. The news 
of this extraordinarily affected the minds of the people here, 
and struck them as it were with astonishment. After this, 
multitudes in this and other towns seemed to have it 
strongly suggested to them, and pressed upon them, to do as 
this person liad done. And many that seemed to be under 
no melancholy, some pious persons, that had no special dark- 
ness, or doubts about the goodness of theii* state, nor were 
under any special trouble or concern of mind about any 
thing spiritual or temporal, yet had it urged upon them, as 
if somebody had spoken to them. Cut your oivn throat, 
now is a good oj^portunity. Noio, now ! So that they 
were obliged to fight with all their might to resist it, and yet 
no reason suggested to them why they should do it. 

About the same time there were two remarkable instances 
of persons led away with strange, enthusiastic delusions — 
one at Suffield, another at South Hadley. That which has 
made the greatest noise in the country was of the man at 
South Hadley, whose delusion was, that he thought himself 
divinely instructed to direct a poor man in melancholy and 
despairing circumstances, to say certain words in prayer to 
God, as recorded in Psal. cxvi. 4. for his own relief. The 
man is esteemed a pious mail. I have, since this error of 
hisj had a particular acquaintance with him ; and I believe 
none would question his piety, that had such an acquaint- 
ance. He gave me a particular account of the manner how 
he was deluded, which is too long to be here inserted. But 
in short, he was exceedingly rejoiced and elevated with this 
extraordinary work, so carried on in this part of the country ; 
and was'^ix)ssessed with an opinion that it was the beginning 
of the glorious times of the church spoken of in scripture : 
and had read it as the opinion of some divines, that there 
would be many in these times that should be endued with 


extraordinary gifts of the Holy Ghost, and had embraced 
the notion ; though he had at fust no apprehensions that 
any besides ministers would have such gifts. But he since 
exceedingly laments the dishonor he has done to God, and 
the wound he has given religion in it, and has lain low- 
before God and man for it. 

After these things, the instances of conversion were rare 
here in comparison of what the)^ had before been, (though 
that remarkable instance of the little child was after this,) 
and the Spirit of God not long after this time appeared very 
sensibly withdra^^^ng from ail parts of the county ; (though 
we have heard of its going on in some places of Connecticut, 
and that it conthiues to be carried on even to this day.) But 
icligion remained here, and I believe in some other places, 
the main subject of conversation for several months after 
this. And there were some turns, wherein God's ^vork 
seemed something to revive, and we were ready to hope that 
all was going to be renewed again : yet in the main there 
was a gradual decline of that general, engaged, lively spirit 
in religion, which had been before. Several things have 
happened since, that have diverted people's minds, and 
turned their conversation more to others' affairs, particularly 
his excellency, the governor, coming to this place, and the 
committee of general court, on the treaty with the Indians : 
and afterwards the Springfield controversy ; and since that, 
our people in this town have been engaged in the building 
of a new meetinsr-house : and some other occurrences mischt 
l)e mentioned, that have seemed to have this eflfcct. But as 
to those that have been thought to be converted among us, 
in this time, they generally seem to be persons that have had 
an abiding change wronglit on them. I have had particular 
acquaintance with many of them since, and they generally 
appear to be persons that have a new sense of things, new 
apprehensions and views of God, of the divine attributes, and 
Jesus Christ,' and the o;reat things of the gospel : tliey have 
a new sense of the truih of tliem, and they alTecl them in a 


new manner ; though it is very far from being always aUke 
with them, neitlier can they revive a sense of things when 
they please. Their hearts are often touched, and sometimes 
filled, with new sweetnesses and delights ; there seems to be 
an inward ardor and burning of heart that they express, 
the like to which they never experienced before ; sometimes, 
perhaps, occasioned only by the mention of Christ's name, 
or some one of the divine perfections. There are new appe- 
tites, and a new kind of breathings and pantings of heart, 
and groanings that cannot be uttered. There is a new kind 
of inward labor and struggle of soul towards heaven and 

Some, that before were very rough in their temper and 
manners, seem to be remarkably softened and sweetened. 
And some have had their souls exceedingly filled, and over- 
whelmed with light, love, and comfort, long since the work 
of God has ceased to be so remarkably carried on in a ge- 
neral way : and some have had much greater experiences 
of this nature than they had before. And there is still a 
great deal of religious conversation continued in the town, 
among young and old ; a religious disposition appears to be 
still maintained among our people, by their upholding fre- 
quent private religious meetings ; and all sorts are generally 
worshiping God at such meetings, on sabbath-nights, and 
in the evening after our public lecture. Many children in 
the town do still keep up such meetings among themselves. 
I know of no one young person in the town that has re- 
turned to former ways, or looseness and extravagancy in 
any respect ; but we still remain a reformed people, and God 
has evidently made us a new people. 

I cannot say that there has been no instance of any one 
person that has carried himself so that others should justly 
be stumbled concerning his profession ; nor am I so vain as 
to imagine that we liave not been mistaken concerning any 
that we have entertained a good opinion of, or that there are 
none pass among us for sheep, that are indeed wolves in 


sheep's clothiug, who probably ma)^ some time or other dis- * 
cover themselves by their fruit. We are not so pure 
but that we have great cause to be humbled and ashamed 
that we are so impure, nor so religious but that those that 
watch for our halting may see things in us whence they 
may take occasion to reproach us and religion : but in the 
main there has been a great and marvelous work of con- 
version and sanctification among the people here ; and they 
have paid all due respect to those who have been blest of 
God to be the instruments of it. Both old and young have 
shown a forwardness to hearken not only to my counsels, 
but even to my reproofs from the pulpit. 

A great part of the country have not received the most 
favorable thoughts of this affair ; and to this day many re- 
tain a jealousy concerning it, and prejudice against it. I 
have reason to think that the meanness and weakness of 
the instrument that has been made use of in this town, has 
prejudiced many against it ; it does not appear to me strange 
that it should be so : but yet this circumst'ance of this great 
work of God is analogous to other circumstances of it. God 
has so ordered the manner of the work in many respects, as 
very signally and remarkably to show it to be his own pe- 
culiar and immediate work, and to secure the glory of it 
wholly to his own almighty power and sovereign grace. 
And whatever the circumstances and means have been, and 
though we are so unworthy, yet so hath it pleased God to 
work ! And we are evidently a people blessed of the Lord ! 
And here, in this corner of the world, God dwells, and 
manifests his glor}^ 

Thus, Rev. Sir, I have given a large and particular ac- 
count of this remarkable affair ; and yet, considering how 
manifold God's works have been among us, that are worthy 
to be written, it is but a brief one. I should have sent it 
much sooner, had I not been greatly hindered by illness in 
my family, and also in myself It is, probably, much larger 


than you expected, and it may be tlian you would have 
chosen. I thought that the extraordinariness of the thing, 
and the innumerable misrepresentations which have gone 
abroad of it, many of which have, doubtless, reached your 
ears, made it necessary that I should be particular. But I 
would leave it entirely to your wisdom to make what use of 
it you think best, to send a part of it to England, or all, or 
none, if you think it not worthy ; or otherwise to dispose of 
it as you may think most for God's glory, and the interest 
of religion. If you are pleased to send any thing to the 
Rev. Dr. Guyse, I should be glad to have it signified to him 
as my humble desire, that since he, and the congregation 
to which he preached, have been pleased to take so much 
notice of us as they have — that they would also think of us 
at the throne of grace, and seek there for us, that God would 
not forsake us, but enable us to bring forth fruit answerable 
to our profession and our mercies, and that our light may 
shine before men, that others seeing our good works, may 
glorify our Father who is in heaven. 

When I first heard of the notice the Rev. Dr. Watts 
and Dr. Guyse took of God's mercies to us, I took occasion 
to inform our congregation of it in a discourse from these 
words : " A city that is set upon a hill cannot be hid." And 
having since seen a particular account of the notice the Rev. 
Dr. Guyse, and the congregation he preached to, took of it, 
in a letter you wrote to my honored uncle Williams, I read 
that part of your letter to the congregation, and labored as 
much as in me lay to enforce their duty from it. The con- 
gregation were very sensibly moved and affected at both 

I humbly request of you. Rev. Sir, your prayers for this 
county, in its present melancholy circumstances, into which 
it is brought by the Springfield quarrel, which, doubtless, 
above all things that have happened, has tended to put a 
stop to the glorious work here, and to prejndice this country 


against it, and hinder the propagation of it. I also ask your 
prayers for this town, and would particularly beg an interest 
in them for him, who is, 

Honored sir, 
With humble respect, 
Your obedient son and servant, 

Nov. 6, 1736. 

'^■^C\ ■ 









Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for 
our God Isaiah xI. 3. 



In the ensuing treatise, I condemn ministers assuming, or taking 
too much upon them, and appearing as though they supposed that they 
were the persons to whom it especially belonged to dictate, direct, and 
determine ; but perhaps shall be thought to be very guilty of it myself: 
and some, when they read this treatise, may be ready to say that I con- 
demn this in others, that I may have the monopoly of it. I confess 
that I have taken a great deal of liberty freely to express my thoughts 
concerning almost every thing appertaining to the wonderful work 
of God that has of late been carried on in the land, and to declare 
what has appeared to me to be the mind of God, concerning the duty 
and obligations of all sorts of persons, and even those that are my su- 
periors and fathers, ministers of the gospel and civil rulers : but yet 
I hope the liberty I have taken is not greater than can be justified. 
In a free nation, such liberty of the press is allowed, that every author 
takes leave without offense, freely to speak his opinion concerning 
the management of public affairs, and the duty of the legislature, and 
those that are at the head of the administration, though vastly his su- 
periors : as now at this day, private subjects offer their sentiments 
to the public, from the press, concerning the management of the war 
with Spain ; freely declaring what they tiiink to be the duty of par- 
liament, and the principal ministers of state, .&c. We in New Eng- 
land are at this day engaged in a more important war : and I am sure 
if we consider the sad jangling and confusion that has attended it, 
we shall confess ihat it is highly requisite that somebody should speak 
his mind concerning the way in which it ought to be managed : and 
that not only a few of the many particulars, that are the matter of 
strife in the land, should be debated on the one side and the other in 
pamphlets ; (as has of late been done with heat and fierceness 
enough ;) which does not tend to bring the contention in general to 


an end, but rather to inflame it, and increase the uproar : but that 
something should be published to bring the affair in general, and the 
many things that attend it that are the subjects of debate, under a 
particular consideration. And certainly it is high time that this was 
done. If private persons may speak their minds without arrogance, 
much more may a minister of the kingdom of Christ speak freely 
about things of this nature which do so nearly concern the interest of 
the kingdom of his Lord and Master, at so important a juncture. If 
some elder minister had undertaken this, I acknowledge it would 
have been more proper ; but I have heard of no such thing a doing, 
or like to be done. I hope therefore I shall be excused for underta- 
king such a piece of work. I think that nothing that I have said can 
justly be interpreted, as though I would impose my thoughts upon 
any, or did not suppose that others have equal right to think for them- 
selves, with myself. We are not accountable one to another for our 
thoughts ; but we must all give an account to Him who searches our 
hearts, and has doubtless his eye especially upon us at such an extra- 
ordinary season as this. If I have well confirmed my opinion con- 
cerning this work, and the way in which it should be acknowledged 
and promoted, with scripture and reason, I hope others that read it 
will receive it as a manifestation of the mind and will of God. If 
others would hold forth further light to me in any of these particulars, 
I hope I should thankfully receive it. I think I have been made in 
some measure sensible, and much more of late than formerly, of my 
need of more wisdom than I have. I make it my rule to lay hold of 
light and embrace it wherever I see it, though held forth by a child or 
an enemy. If I have assumed too much in the following discourse, 
and have spoken in a manner that savors of a spirit of pride, no won- 
der that others can better discern it than I myself. If it be so, I ask 
pardon, and beg the prayers of every Christian reader, that I may 
have more light, humility, and zeal ; and that I may be favored with 
such measures of the divine Spirit, as a minister of the gospel stands 
in need of at such an extraordinary season. 




The error of ihose who have had ill thoughts of the great 
rehgious operation on the minds of men, that has been car- 
ried on of late in New England (so far as the ground of such 
an error has been in the understanding, and not in the dis- 
position) seems fundamentally to lie in three things : 

Firsts In judging of this work a priori. 

Secondly^ In not taking the holy scriptures as a whole 
rule whereby to judge of such operations. 

Thirdly^ In not justly separating and distinguishing the 
good from the bad. 


We shoidd not judge of this ivork a priori, but by its 

They have greatly erred in the way in which they have 
gone about to try this work, whether it be a work of the 
Spirit of God or no, viz. in judging of it a priori ; from the 
way that it began, the instruments that have been employed, 
the means that have been made use of, and the methods 


that have been taken and succeeded in carrying it on. 
Whereas, if we duly consider the matter, it will evidently 
appear that such a work is not to be judged- of a priori, but 
a posteriori : we are to observe the effect wrought ; and if, 
upon examination of it, it be found to be agreeable to the 
word of God, we are bound, without more ado, to rest in it 
as God's work ; and shall be like to be rebuked for our ar- 
rogance, if we refuse so to do till God shall explain to us how 
he has brought this effect to pass, oi- why he has made use 
of such and such means in doing it. Those texts are 
enough to cause us with trembling to forbear such a way of 
proceeding in judging of a work of God's Spirit, Isa. xl. 13, 
14. " Who hath directed the Spirit of the Lord, or being his 
counselor hath taught him ? With whom took he counsel, 
and who instructed him, and who taught him in the path of 
judgment, and taught him knowledge, and showed to him 
the way of understanding ?" John iii. 8. " The wind blow- 
eth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, 
but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth." 
We hear the sound, we perceive the effect, and from thence 
we judge that the wind does indeed blow ; without waiting 
before we pass this judgment, first, to be satisfied what should 
be the cause of the wind's blowing from such a part of the 
heavens, and how it should come to pass that it should blow 
in such a manner, at such a time. To judge a priori, is a 
a wrong way of judging of any of the works of God. We 
are not to resolve that we will first be satisfied how God 
brought this for the other effect to pass, and why he hath 
made it thus, or why it has pleased him to take such a 
course, and to use such and such means, before we will ac- 
knowledge his work, and give him the glory of it. This is 
too much for the day to take upon it with respect to the 
potter. " God gives not an account of his matters : His 
judgments are a great deep : He hath his way in the sea, 
and his path in the great waters, and his footsteps are not 
known : and who shall teach God knowledge, or enjoin him 


liitf v/ay, or say uiilo liim what doest thou 7 We know not 
what is the way of tlie Spirit, nor how the bones do grow 
in the womb of her that is with child ; even so we know not 
the works of God who maketh all." No wonder therefore if 
those that go this forbidden way to w^ork, jn judging of the 
present wonderful operation, are perplexed and confounded. 
We ought to take heed that we do not expose ourselves to 
the calamity of those who pried into the ark of God, when 
God mercifully returned it to Israel, after it had departed 
from them. 

Indeed God has not taken that course, nor made use of 
those means, to begin and carry on this great work, which 
men in their wisdom would have thought most advisable, if 
he had asked their counsel ; but quite the contrary. But it 
appears to me that the great God has wrought like himself, 
in the manner of his carrying on this work ; so as very much 
to show his own glory, and exalt his own sovereignity, power 
and all-sufficiency, and pour contempt on all that human 
strength, wisdom, prudence, and sufficiency, that men have 
been wont to trust, and to glory in ; and so as greatly to cross, 
rebuke, and chastise the pride and corruptions of men ; in a 
fulfillment of that, Isa. ii. 17. " And the loftiness of man shall 
be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men, shall be made 
low, and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day." God 
doth thus, in intermingling in his providence so many stum- 
bling-blocks with this work ; in suffering so much of human 
weakness and infirmity to appear ; and in ordering so many 
things that are mysterious to men's wisdom : in pouring out 
his Spirit chiefly on the common people, and bestowing his 
greatest and highest favors upon them, admitting them nearer 
to himself than the great, the honorable, the rich, and the 
learned, agreeable to that prophecy, Zech. xii. 7. ''The 
Lord also shall save the tents of Judah first, that the glory 
of the house of David, and the glory of the inhabitants of 
Terusalem, do not magnify themselves against Judah." 
Those that dwelt in the tents of Judah were the common 


people that dwelt in the country, and were of inferior rank. 
The inhabitants of Jerusalem were their citizens, their men 
of wealth, and figure : and Jerusalem also was the chief 
place of the habitation or resort of their priests, and Levites, 
and their officers and judges ; there sat the great Sanhedrim. 
The house of David were the highest rank of all, the royal 
family, and the great men that were round about the king. 
It is evident by the context, that this prophecy has respect to 
something further than the saving the people out of the Ba- 
bylonish captivity. 

God in this work has begun at the lower end, and he has 
made use of the weak and foolish things of the world to car- 
ry on his work. The ministers that have been chiefly im- 
proved, some of them have been mere babes in age and 
standing, and some of them such as have not been so high 
in reputation among their fellows as many others ; and God 
has suffered their infirmities to appear in the sight of others, 
so as much to displease them ; and at the same time it has 
pleased God to improve them, and greatly to succeed them, 
while he has not so succeeded others that are generally re- 
puted vastly their superiors. Yea, there is reason to think 
that it has pleased God to make use of the infirmities and 
sins of some that he has improved and succeeded ; as parti- 
cularly their imprudent and rash zeal, and censorious spirit, 
to chastise the deadness, negligence, earthly-mindedness, and 
vanity that have been found among ministers in the late 
times of general declension and deadness, wherein wise vir- 
gins and foolish, ministers and people, have sunk into such 
a deep sleep. These things in ministers of the gospel, that 
go forth as the embassadors of Christ, and have the care of 
immortal souls, are extremely abominable to God ; vastly 
more hateful in his sight than all the imprudence, and intem- 
perate heats, wildness, and distraction (as some call it) of 
these zealous preachers. A supine carelessness, and a vain, 
carnal, worldly spirit, in a minister of the gospel, is the worst 
madness and distraction in the sight of God. God m^y also 


make use at this day, of the unchristian censoriousness of 
some preachersj the more to humble and purify some of his 
own children and true servants, that have been wrongfully 
censured, to lit them for more eminent service and future 
honor that he designs them for. 


We should judge by the ride of scrijHure. 

Another foundation-error of those that do not acknowledge 
the divinity of this work, is not taking the holy scriptures 
as a tohole^ and in itself a sufficient rule to judge of such 
things by. They that have one certain consistent rule to 
judge by, are like to come to- some clear determination ; but 
they that have half a dozen different rules to make the thing 
they would judge of agree to, no wonder that instead of justly 
and clearly determining, they do but perplex and darken them- 
selves and others. They that would learn the true measure 
of any thing, and will have many different measures to try 
it by, and find in it a conformity to, have a task that they 
will not accomplish. 

Those that I am speaking of, will indeed make some use 
of scripture, so far as they think it serves their turn ; but do 
not make use of it alone, as a rule sufficient by itself, but 
make as much, and a great deal more use of other things, 
diverse and wide from it, to judge of this work by. As par- 

1. Some make jjhilosophy, instead of the holy scriptures, 
their rule of judging of this work ; particularly the philoso- 
phical notions they entertain of the nature of the soul, its fa- 
culties and affections. Some are ready to say, " There is but 
little sober solid religioa in this work : it is little else but flash 
and noise. Religion now-a-days all runs out into transports 



and high flights of the passions and affections." In their 
philosophy, the affections of the soul are something diverse 
from the will, and not appertaining to the noblest part of the 
soul, but the meanest principles that it has, that belong to 
men as partaking of animal nature, and what he has in com- 
mon with the brute creation, rather than any thing whereby 
he is conformed to angels and pure spirits. And though they 
acknowledge that there is a good use may be made of the af- 
fections in rehgion, yet they suppose that the substantial part 
of rehgion does not consist in them, but that they are rather 
to be looked upon as something adventitious and accidental 
in Christianity. 

But I cannot but think that these gentlemen labor under 
great mistakes, both in their philosophy and divinity. It is 
true, distinction must be made in the affections or passions. 
There is a great deal of difference in high and raised affec- 
tions, which must be distinguished by* the skill of the obser- 
ver. Some are much more sohd than others. There are 
many exercises of the affections that are very flashy, and little 
to be depended on ; and oftentimes there is a great deal that 
appertains to them, or rather that is the effect of them, that 
has its seat in animal nature, and is very much owing to the 
constitution and frame of the body ; and that which sometimes 
more especially obtains the name of passion, is nothing solid or 
substantial. But it is false philosophy to suppose this to be 
the case with all exercises of affection in the soul, or with all 
great and high affections ; and false divinity to suppose that 
religious affections do not appertain to the substance and es- 
sence of Christianity : on the contrary, it seems to me that the 
very life and soul of all true religion consists in them. 

I humbly conceive that the affections of the soul are not 
properly distinguished from the will, as though they were 
two faculties in the soul. All acts of the affections of the soul 
are in some sense acts of the will, and ail acts of the will are 
acts of the affections. All exercises of the will are, in some 
degree or other, exercises of the soul's appetition or aversion ; 


or which is the same thing, of its love or hatred. The soul 
wills one thing rather tlian another, or chooses one thing ra- 
ther than another, no otherwise than as it loves one thing 
more than another ; but love and hatred are affections of the 
soul : and therefore all acts of the will are tiiily acts of the 
affections ; though the exercises of the will do not obtain the 
name of passions, unless the will, either in its aversion or op- 
position, be exercised in a high degree, or in a vigorous and 
lively manner. 

All will allow that true virtue or holiness has its seat 
chiefly in the heart, rather than in the head : it therefore 
follows from what has been said alread3^ tliat it consists 
chiefly in holy affections. The things of religion take place 
in men's hearts^ no further than they are affected with them. 
The informing of the understanding is all vain, any farther 
than it affects the heart ; or which is the same thing, has 
influence on the affections. 

Those gentlemen that make light of these raised affec- 
tions in rehgion, W\\\ doubtless allow that true religion and 
holiness, as it has its seat in the heart, is capable of very high 
degrees, and high exercises in the soul. As for instance : 
they will doubtless allow that the holiness of the heart or 
will is capable of being raised to a hundred times as great 
a degree of strength as it is in the most eminent saint on 
earth, or to be exerted in a hundred times so strong and 
vigorous exercises of the heart ; and yet be true religion or 
holiness still, but only in a high degree. Now therefore I 
would ask them, by what name they will call these high and 
vigorous exercises of the will or heart ? Are the)^ not high 
affections ? What can they consist in, but high acts of love ; 
strong and vigorous exercises of benevolence and compla- 
cence ; high, exalting, and admiring thoughts of God and 
his perfections : strong desires after God, &c. ? And now 
what are w^e come to, but high and raised affections ? Yea, 
those very same high and raised affections that before they 
objected against, or made light of, as worthy of little 


I suppose furthermore that all will allow that there is no- 
thing but solid religion in heaven : but that there, rehgion 
and holiness of heart is raised to an exceeding great height, 
to strong, high, exalted exercises of heart. Now what other 
kinds of such exceeding strong and high exercises of the 
heart, or of holiness as it has its seat in their hearts, can we 
devise for them, but only holy affections, high degrees of 
actings of love to God, rejoicing in God, admiring of God, 
<fcc. ? Therefore these things in the saints and angels in 
heaven are not to be despised and cashiered by the name of 
great heats and transports of the passions. 

And it will doubtless be yet further allowed, that the more 
eminent the saints are on earth, and the stronger their grace 
is, and the higher its exercises are, the more they are like 
the saints in heaven ; i. e. (by what has been just now ob- 
served) the more they have of high or raised affections in 

Though there are false affections in rehgion, and affec- 
tions that in some respects are raised high, that are flashy, 
yet undoubtedly there are also true, holy, and solid affec- 
tions ; and the higher these are raised, the better : and if 
they are raised to an exceeding great height, they are not 
to be thought meanly of, or suspected, merely because of 
their great degree, but on the contrary to be esteemed and 
rejoiced in. Charity, or divine love, is in scripture repre- 
sented as the sum of all the rehgion of the heart ; but this is 
nothing but a holy affection : and therefore, in proportion 
as this is firmly fixed in the soul, and raised to a great 
height, the more eminent a person is in holiness. Divine 
love or charity is represented as the sum of all the religion 
of heaven, and that wherein mainly the religion of the 
church in its more perfect state on earth shall consist, when 
knowledge, and tongues, and prophecyings shall c^ase ; and 
therefore the higher this lioly affection is raised in the church 
of God, or in a gracious soul, the more excellent and perfect 
is the state of the church, or a particular soul. 


If we take the scriptiues for oui* rule, then the gieatei and 
higher are the exercises of love to God, delight and compla- 
cence in God, desires and longings after God, delight in the 
children of God, love to mankind, brokenness cf heart, ab- 
horrence of sin, and self-abhorrence for sin ; and the peace 
of God which passeth all understanding, and joy in the 
Holy Ghost, joy unspeakable and full of glory ; admiring 
thoughts of God, exulting and glorying in God ; so much 
the higher is Christ's religion, or that virtue which he and 
his apostles taught, raised in the soul. 

It is a stumbling to some, that rehgious affections should 
seem to be so powerful, or that they should be so violent (as 
they express it) in some persons : they are therefore ready to 
doubt whether it can be the Spirit of God, oi- whether this 
vehemence be not rather a sign of the operation of an evil 
spirit. But why should such a doubt arise from no other 
ground than this? What is represented in scripture, as 
more powerful in its effects, than the Spirit of God ? which 
is therefore called " the power of the Highest," Luke i. 35 ; 
and its saving effect in the soul called " the power of godli- 
ness." So we read of the " demonstration of the Spirit, and 
of power," 1 Cor. ii. 4. And it is said to operate in the minds 
of men with the "exceeding greatness of divine power," 
and " according to the working of God's mighty power," 
Eph. i. 19. So we read of "the effectual working of his 
power," Eph. iii. 7. And of the "power that worketh in 
Christians," v. 20. And of the " glorious power," of God 
in the operations of the spirit. Col. i. 11. And of " the work 
of faith," its being wrought '' with power," 2 Thess. i. 11. 
And in 2 Tim. i. 7. the Spirit of God is called " the spirit 
of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." So the Spirit 
is represented by a mighty wind, and by fire, things most 
powerful in their operation. 

2. Many are guilty of not taking the holy scriptures as a 
sufficient and whole rule, whereby (o judge of this work, 
whether it be the work of God ; in that they judge by those 


things which the scripture does not give as any signs or 
marks whereby to judge one way or the other, and therefore 
do in no wise belong to the scripture rule of judging, viz. 
the effects that religious exercises and aifections of mind have 
upon the body. Scripture rules respect the state of the mind, 
and persons' moral conduct, and volunlaiy behavior, and not 
the physical state of the body. The design of the scripture 
is to teach us divinity, and not ph3^sic and anatomy. Minis- 
ters are made the watchmen of men's souls, and not their 
bodies ; and therefore the great rule which God has com- 
mitted into their hands, is to make them divines, and not 
physicians. Christ knew what instructions and rules his 
church would stand in need of better than we do ; and if he 
had seen it needful in order to the church's safety, he doubt- 
less would have given ministers rules to judge of bodil}^ 
effects, and would have told them how the pulse should beat 
under such and such religious exercises of mind ; when men 
should look pale, and when they should shed tears ; when 
they should tremble, and whether or no they should ever be 
faint or cry out ; or whether the body should ever be put 
into convulsions : he probably would have put some book 
into their hands, that should have tended to make them 
excellent anatomists and physicians : but he has not done it, 
because he did not see it to be needful. He judged, that if 
ministers thoroughly did their duty as watchmen and over- 
seers of the state and frame of men's souls, and of their 
voluntary conduct, according to the rules he had given, his 
church would be well provided for, as to its safety in these 
matters. And therefore those ministers of Christ and over- 
seers of souls, that busy themselves, and are full of concern 
about the involuntary motions of the fluids and solids of men's 
bodies, and from thence are full of doubts and suspicions 
of the cause, when nothing appears but that the state and 
frame of their minds, and their voluntary behavior is good, 
and agreeable to God's word ; 1 say, such ministers go out 
of the place that Christ has set them in, and leave their 


proper business, as much as if they should undertake to tell 
who are under the influence of the Spirit by their looks or 
their gait. I cannot see which way we are in danger, or 
how the devil is like to get any notable advantage against 
us, if we do but thoroughly do our duty with respect to those 
two things, viz. the state of person's minds, and their 
moral conduct, seeing to it that they may be maintained in 
an agreeableness to the rules that Christ has given us. If 
things are but kept right in these respects, our fears and 
suspicions arising from extraordinary bodily effects seem 
wholly groundless. 

The most specious thing that is alledged against these 
extraordinary effects on the body, is-, that the body is im- 
paired and health wronged ; and that it is hard to think that 
God, in the merciful influences of his Spirit on men, would 
wound their bodies, and impair their health. But if it were 
so pretty commonly, or in multiphed instances (which I do 
not suppose it is), that persons received a lasting wound to 
their health by extraordinary religious impressions made 
upon their minds, yet it is too much for us to doLermine that 
God shall never bring an outward calamity, in bestowing a 
vastly greater spiritual and eternal good. Jacob, in doing 
his duty in wrestling with God for the blessing, and v/hile 
God was striving with him, at the same time that he re- 
ceived the blessing from God, suffered a great outward ca- 
lamity from his hand : God impaired his body so that he 
never got over it as long as he lived. He gave him the 
blessing, but sent him away halting on his thigh, and he 
went lame all his life after. And yet this is not mentioned 
as if it were any diminution of the great mercy of God to 
him, wlien God blessed him, and he received his name 
Israel, because as a prince he had power with God, and had 

But, say some, the operations of the Spirit of God are of a 
benign nature ; nothing is of a more kind influence on human 
nature than the merciful breathings of God's own Spirit. 


But it has been a tiling generally supposed and allowed in 
the church of God, till now, that there is such a thing as 
being sick of love to Christ, or having the bodily strength 
weakened by strong and vigorous exercises of love to him. 
And however kind to human nature the influences of the 
Spirit of God are, yet nobody doubts but that divine and 
eternal things, as they may be discovered, would overpower 
the nature of man in its present w^eak state ; and that there- 
fore the body, in its present weakness, is not fitted for the 
views and pleasures and employments of heaven : and that 
if God did discover but a little of that which is seen by the 
saints and angels in heaven, our frail natures would sink 
under it. Indeed, I know not what persons may deny now, 
to defend themselves in a cause they have had their spirits 
long engaged in, but I know these things did not use to be 
denied or doubted of. Let us rationally consider what we 
profess to believe of the infinite greatness of the things of 
God, the divine wrath, the divine glory, and the divine infi- 
nite love and grace in Jesus Christ, and the vastness and 
infinite importance of the things of eternity ; and how rea- 
sonable it is to suppose that if it pleases God a little to with- 
draw the veil, and let in hght into the soul, and give some- 
thing of a view of the great things of another world in their 
transcendent and infinite greatness, that human nature, that 
is as the grass, a shaking leaf, a weak withering flower, 
should totter under such a discovery ? Such a bubble is too 
weak to bear the weight of a view of things that are so vast. 
Alas ! What is such dust and ashes, that it should support 
itself under the view of the awful wrath or infinite glory 
and love of Jehovah ! No wonder therefore that it is said, 
" No man can see me and live, and flesh and blood cannot 
inherit the kingdom of God." That external glory and 
majesty of Christ which Daniel saw when '• there remained 
no strength in him, and his comeliness was turned in him 
into corruption," Dan. x. 6, 7, 8., and which the apostle 
John saw when he fell at his feet as dead, was but an image 


or shadow of that spiritual glory and majesty of Christ 
which will be manifested in the souls of the saints in another 
worldj and which is sometimes, in some degree, manifested 
to the soul in this world, by the influences of the Spirit of 
God. And if the beholding the image and external repre- 
sentation of this spiritual majesty and glory, did so over- 
power human nature, is it unreasonable to suppose that a 
sight of the spiritual glory itself, which is the substance of 
which that was but the shadow, should have as powerful an 
effect ? The prophet Habakkuk, speaking of the awful 
manifestations God made of his majesty and wrath, at the 
Red sea, and in the wilderness, and at Mount Sinai, where 
he gave the law ; and of the merciful influence and strong 
impression God caused it to have upon him, to the end that 
he might be saved from that wrath, and rest in the day of 
trouble, says, Hab. iii. 16. " When I heard, my belly trem- 
bled, my lips quivered at the voice, rottenness entered into 
my bones, I trembled in myself, that I might rest in the day 
of trouble." Which is much such an effect as the discovery 
of the same majesty and wrath, in the same awful voice 
from Mount Sinai, has had upon many in these days, and 
to the same purposes, viz. to give them rest in the day of 
trouble, and save them from that wrath. The Psalmist 
also speaks of very much such an effect as I have often seen 
on persons under religious affections of late. Psalm cxix. 131. 
" I opened my mouth and panted, for I longed for thy com- 

God is pleased sometimes in dealing forth spiritual bless- 
ings to his people, in some respect to exceed tlie capacity of 
the vessel, in its present scantiness, so that he does not only 
fill it full, but he makes their cup to run over, agreeable to 
Psalm xxiii. 5., and pours out a blessing, sometimes in such 
a manner and measure that there is not room enough to re- 
ceive it, Mai. iii. 10., and gives them more riches than they 
can carry away ; as he did to Jehoshaphat and bis people, 
in a time of great favor, by the word of his prophet Jeha- 



ziel, ill answer to an earnest })rayer, when the people blessecl 
the Lord in the valley of Berachah, 2 Chron. xx. 25, 26, 
It has been with the disciples of Christ, for a long time, a 
time of great emptiness upon spiritual accounts : they have 
gone hungry, and have been toiling in vain, during a <iark 
season, a time of night with the church of God ; as it was 
with the disciples of old, when they had toiled all night for 
something to eat and caught nothing, Luke v. 5, and John 
xxi. 3. But now^, the morning being come, Jesus appears 
to his disciples, and takes a compassionate notice of their 
wants, and says to them, " Children, have ye any meat T 
and gives some of them such abundance of food, that they 
are not able to draw their net ; yea, so that their net breaks, 
and their vessel is overloaded, and begins to sink ; as it was 
with the disciples of old, Luke v. 6, 7, and John xxi. 6. 

We cannot determine that God never shall give any per- 
son so much of a discovery of himself, not only as to weaken 
their bodies, but to take away their lives. It is supposed by 
very learned and judicious divines, that Moses' life was taken 
away after this manner ; and this has also been supposed to 
be the case with some other saints. Yea, I do not see any 
solid sure grounds any have to determine, that God shall never 
make such strong impressions on the mind by his Spirit, that 
shall be an occasion of so impairing the frame of the body, 
and particularly that part of the body, the brain, that persons 
shall be deprived of the use of reason. As I said before, it 
is too much for us to determine, that God will not bring an 
outward calamity in bestowing spiritual and eternal bless- 
ings: so it is too much for us to determine, how great an 
outward calamity he will bring. If God give a great in- 
crease of discoveries of himself, and of love to hini; the bene- 
fit is infinitely greater than the calamity, though the life 
should presently after be taken away ; yea, though the soul 
should not immediately ha taken to heaven, but should lie 
some yeai>^ in a deep sleep, and then be taken to heaven ; 
or, which is irmch the same thirig. if it be deprived of the use 


of its faculties, and 1)6 inactive and unserviceable, as if it lay 
in a deep sleep for some years, and then should pass into glory. 
We cannot determine how great a calamity distraction is, 
when considered with all its consequences, and all that might 
have been consequent, if the distraction had not happened ; 
nor indeed whether (thus considered) it be any calamity at 
all, or whether it be not a mercy, by preventing some great 
sin, or some more dreadful thing, if it had not been. It is a 
great fault in us to limit a sovereign, all-wise God, whose 
judgments are a great deep, and his ways past finding out, 
where he has not limited himself, and in things concerning 
which he has not told us what his way shall be. It is re- 
markable, considering in what multitudes of instances, and to 
how great a degree, the frame of the body has been over- 
powered of late, that persons' lives have notwithstanding been 
preserved, and that the instances of those that have been de- 
prived of reason have been so very few, and those, perhaps, all 
of them, persons under the peculiar disadvantage of a w^eak, 
vapory habit of body. A merciful and careful divine hand is 
very manifest in it, that in so many instances where the 
ship has begun to sink, yet it has been upheld, and has not 
totally sunk. The instances of such as have been deprived 
of reason are so few, that certainly they are not enough to 
cause us to be in any fright, as though this work that has 
been carried on in the country, was like to be of baneful in- 
fluence ; vmless we are disposed to gather up all that we can 
to darken it, and set it forth in frightful colors. 

There is one particular kind of exercise and concern of 
mind, that many have been overpowered by, that has been 
especially stumbling to some ; and that is the deep concern 
and distress that they have been in for the souls of others. I 
am sorry that any put us to the trouble of doing that which 
seems so needless, as defending such a thing as tliis. It 
seems like mere trifling in so plain a case, to enter into a for- 
mal and particular debate, in order to determine whether 
there be any thing in the greatness and importance of the case, 


that will answer, and bear a proportion to the greatness of 
the concern that some have manifested. Men may be al- 
lowed, from no higher a principle than common ingenuity 
and humanity, to be very deeply concerned, and greatly ex- 
ercised in mind, at seeing others in great danger of no 
greater a calamity than drowning, or being burnt up in a 
house on fire. And if so, then doubtless it will be allowed to 
be equally reasonable, if they saw them in danger of a ca- 
lamity ten times greater to be still much more concerned : 
and so much more still, if the calamity was still vastly greater. 
And why then should it be thought unreasonable, and looked 
upon with a very suspicious eye, as if it must come from 
some bad cause, when persons are extremely concerned at 
seeing others in very great danger of suffering the fierceness 
and wrath of Almighty God to all eternity ? And besides it will 
doubtless be allowed that those that have very great degrees of 
the Spirit of God, that is a spirit of love, may well be sup- 
posed to have vastly more of love and compassion to their 
fellow-creatures, than those that are influenced only by com- 
mon humanity. Why should it be thought strange that 
those that are full of the Spirit of Christ, should be proportion- 
ably, in their love to souls, like to Christ ? who had so strong 
a love to them and concern for them, as to be willing to drink 
the dregs of the cup of God's fury for them ; and at the 
same time that he offered up his blood for souls, offered up 
also as their high priest, strong crying and tears, with an ex- 
treme agony, wherein the soul of Christ was as it were in 
travail for the souls of the elect ; and therefore in saving 
them he is said to see of the travail of his soul. As such a 
spirit of love to and concern for souls was the Spirit of Christ, 
so it is the spirit of the church ; and therefore the church. 
in desiring and seeking that Christ might be brought forth 
in the world, and in the souls of men, is represented. Rev. 
xii. as " a woman crying, travaihng in birth, and pained 
to be delivered." The s[)irit of those that have been in dis- 
tress for the souls of others, so far as I can discern, seems not 


to be different from that of the apostle who travailed for souls, 
and was ready to wish himself accursed from Christ for 
others. And that of the psalmist, Psalm cxix. 53. " Horror 
hath taken hold upon me, because of the wicked that forsake 
thy law." And v. 136. " Rivers of waters run down mine 
eyes, because they keep not thy law." And that of the pro- 
phet Jeremiah, Jer. iv. 19. " My bowels ! my bowels ! I am 
pained at my very heart ! My heart maketh a noise in me ! 
I cannot hold my peace ! Because thou hast heard, O my 
soul, the sound of the trumpet, the alarm of war !" And so, 
chap. ix. 1. and xiii. 17. and xiv. 17. and Isa. xxii. 4. We 
read of Mordecai, when he saw his people in danger of being 
destroyed with a tempoial destruction, Esther iv. 1. that 
he " rent his clothes, and put on sackcloth with ashes, and 
went out into the midst of the city, and cried with a loud 
and bitter cry." And why then should persons be thought 
to be distracted, when they cannot forbear crying out at the 
consideration of the misery of those that are going to eternal 
destruction ? 

3. Another thing that somfe make their rule to judge of 
this work by, instead of the holy scriptures, is history, or for- 
mer observation. Herein they err two ways : First, if there 
be any thing new and extraordinary in the circumstances of 
this work that was not observed in former times, that is a 
rule with them to reject this work as not the work of God. 
Herein they make that their rule, that God has not giv^en 
them for their rule ; and limit God, where he has not limited 
himself And this is especially unreasonable in this case : 
for whosoever has well weighed the wonderful and mysteri- 
ous methods of Divine Wisdom, in carrying on the work of 
the new creation, or in the progress of the work of redemp- 
tion from the first promise of the seed of the woman to this 
time may easily observe tliat it has all along been God's 
manner to open new scenes, and to bring forth to view 
things nev/ and wonderful, such as eye hath not seen, nor 
ear heard, nor entered into the heart of men or angels, to the 


astonisliineiit of heaven and earth, not only in the revelation 
he makes of his mind and will, but also in the works of his 
hands. As the old creation was carried on through six days, 
and appeared all complete, settled in a state of rest on the 
seventh ; so the new creation, which is immensely the great- 
est and most glorious work, is carried on in a gradual pro- 
gress, from the fall of man to the consummation of all things 
at the end of the world. A^nd as in the progress of the old 
creation there were still new things accomplished ; new won- 
ders appeared every day in the sight of the angels, the spec- 
tators of that work ; while those morning stars sang together, 
new scenes were opened or things that they had not seen be- 
fore till the whole was finished ; so it is in the progress of 
the new creation. 80 that that promise, Isa. Ixiv. 4. "For 
since the beginning of the world, men have not heard nor 
perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, be- 
sides thee, what he hath prepared for him that waiteth for 
him ;" though it had a glorious fulfillment in the days of 
Christ and the apostles, as the words are applied, 1 Cor. ii. 
9. yet it always remains to be fulfilled in the things that are 
yet behind, till the new creation is finished, at Christ's deh- 
vering up the kingdom to the Father. And we live in those 
latter days, wherein we may be especially waiianted to ex- 
pect that things will be accomplished concerning which it 
will be said. Who hath heard such a thing ? Who hath seen 
such things 7 

And besides, those things in this work that have been 
chiefly complained of as new, are not so new as has been 
generally imagined : though they have been much more 
frequent lately, in proportion to the uncommon degree, extent 
and swiftness, and other extraordinary circumstances of the 
work, yet they are not new in their kind, but are things of 
the same nature as have been found and well approved of 
in the church of God before, from time to time. 

We have a remarkable instance in Mr. l^olton, that noted 
minister of the church of England, who, being awakened 


by the preaching of the famous Mr. Perkiijs, iriiiiister uf 
Christ in the University of Cambridge, was subject to such 
terrors as threw him to the ground, and caused him to roar 
with anguish ; and the pangs of the new birth in him were 
such, that he lay pale and without sense, like one dead ; as 
we have an account in the FuJfiUinq' of the Scripture^ the 
5th edition, p. 103, 104. We have an account in the same 
page of another, whose comforts under the sunshine of God's 
presence were so great, that he could not forbear crying out 
in a transport, and expressing in exclamations, the great 
sense he had of forgiving mercy and his assurance of God's 
love. And we have a remarkable instance in the life of Mr. 
George Trosse, written by himself, (who, of a notoriously 
vicious profligate liver, became an eminent saint and minis- 
ter of the gospel) of terrors occasioned by awakenings of 
conscience, so overpowering the body as to deprive, for some 
time, of the use of reason. 

Yea, such extraordinary external effects of inward im- 
pressions have not only been to be found in here and there 
a single person, but there have also before now been times 
wherein many have been thus affected, in some particular 
parts of the church of God ; and such effects liave appeared 
in congregations, in many at once. So it was in the year 
1625, in the west of Scotland, in a time of great outpouring 
of the Spirit of God. It was then a frequent thing for many 
to be so extraordinarily seized with terror in the hearing of 
the word, by the Spirit of God convincing them of sin, that 
they fell down, and were carried out of the church, who af- 
terwards proved most solid and lively Christians ; as the 
author of the Fulfilling of the ^Scripture informs us, p. 185. 
The same author, in the preceding page, informs of many 
in France that were so wonderfully affected with the preach- 
ing of the gospel, in the time of those famous divines, Farel 
and Viret, that for a time they could not follow their secular 
business. And p. 186, of many in Ireland, in a time of 
great outpouring of the Spirit there, in the year 1628, that 


were so filled with divine comforts, and a sense of God, that 
they made but liltle use of either meat, drink, or sleep, and 
professed that they did not feel the need thereof. The same 
author gives an account of very much such things in Mrs. 
Catharine Brettergh, of Lancashire, in England, p. 391, 
392, as have been cried out of, here amongst us, as wild and 
distracted : how that after great distress, which very much 
affected lier body, the sweat sometimes bursting out upon 
her, God did so break in upon her mind with light and dis- 
coveries of himselfj that she was forced to burst out, crying, 
" O the joys, the joys, the joys, that I feel in my soul ! O 
they be wonderful, they be wonderful ! The place where 1 
now am is sweet and pleasant ! How comfortable is the 
sweetness I feel, that delights my soul ! The taste is pre- 
cious ; do you not feel it ? O so sweet as it is !" And at 
other times, ^' O my sweet Savior, shall I be one with thee, 
as thou art one with the Father ? And dost thou so love me 
that am but dust, to make me partaker of glory with Christ? 

how wonderful is thy love ! And O that my tongue and 
heart were able to sound forth thy praises as I ought." At 
another time she burst forth thus : " Yea, Lord, I feel thy 
mercy, and am assured of thy love ! And so certain am I 
thereof, as thou art that God of truth , even so certainly do 

1 know myself to be thine, O Lord my God ; and this my 
soul knoweth right well !" Which last words she again 
doubled. To a grave minister, one Mr. Harrison, then with 
her, she said, "My soul hath been compassed with the ter- 
rors of death, the sorrows of hell were upon me, and a wil- 
derness of wo was in me ; but blessed, blessed, blessed be 
the Lord my God ! he hath brought me to a place of rest, 
even to the sweet running waters of life. The way I now 
go in is a sweet and easy way, strewed with flowers ; he 
hath brought me into a place more sweet than the garden 
of Eden. O the joy, the joy, the dehghts and joy that I 
feel ! O how wonderful !" 


Great outcries under awakenings were more frequently 
heard of in former times in the country, than they have been 
of late, as some aged persons now living do testify : particu- 
larly I think fit here to insert a testimony of my honored 
father, of what he remembers formerly to have heard. 

" I well remember that one Mr. Alexander AUyn, a Scots 
gentleman of good credit, that dwelt formerly in this town, 
showed me a letter that came from Scotland, that gave an 
account of a sermon preached in the city of Edinburgh (as 
I remember) in tlie time of the sitting of the general assem- 
bly of divines in that kingdom, that so affected the people, 
that there was a gi-eat and loud cry made throughout the 
assembly. I have also been credibly informed, and how of- 
ten I cannot now say, that it was a common thing, when the 
famous Mr. John Rogers, of Dedham, in England, was 
preaching, for- some of his hearers to cry out ; and by what 
I have heard, I conclude that it was usual for many that 
heard that very awakening and rousing preacher of God's 
word, to make a great cry in the congregation." 


Windsor, May 5, 1742. 

Mr. Flavel gives a remarkable instance of a man that he 
knew, that was wonderfully overcome with divine comforts ; 
which it is supposed he knew, as the apostle Paul knew the 
man that was caught up to the third heaven. He relates 

" As the person was traveling alone, with his thoughts 
closely fixed on the great and astonishing things of another 
world, his thoughts began to swell higher and higher, like 
the water in Ezekiel's vision, till at last they became an 
overflowing flood. Such was the intenseness of his mind, 
such the ravishing tastes of heavenly joys, and such his full 
assurance of his interest therein, that he utterly lost all sight 
and sense of this world, and the concernments thereof, and 



for some hours knew not where he was, nor whiit he was 
about : but having lost a great quantity of blood at the nose, 
he found himself so faint that it brought him a little more 
to himself And after he had washed himself at a spring, 
and drank of the water for his refreshment, he continued to 
the end of his journey, which was thirty miles ; and all this 
while was scarce sensible, and says he had several trances 
of considerable continuance. The same blessed frame was 
preserved all that night, and in a lower degree, great part of 
the next day : the night passed without one wink of sleep, 
and yet he declares he never had a sweeter night's re^t in 
all his life. Still (adds the story) the joy of the Lord over- 
flowed him, and he seemed to be an inhabitant of another 
world. And he used, for many years after, to call that day 
one of the days of heaven ; and professed that he under- 
stood more of the life of heaven by it, than by all the books 
he ever read, or discourses he ever entertained about it." 

There have been instances before now, of persons' crying 
out in transports of divine joy, in New England. We have 
an instance in Captain Clapp's memoirs, published by the 
Rev. Mr. Prince, not of a silly woman or child, but a man of 
solid understanding, that in a high transport of spiritual joy, 
was made to cry out aloud on his bed. His words, p. 9, are, 
« God's Holy Spirit did witness, I do believe, together with 
my spirit, that I was a child of God, and did fill my heart 
and soul with such full assurance that Christ was mine, that 
it did so transport me, as to make me cry out upon my bed, 
with a loud voice, He is come, he is come !" 

There has, before now, been both crying out and falling 
down, in this town, under aAvakenings of conscience, and in 
che pangs of the new birth, and also in some of the neighbor 
towns. In one of them, more than seven years ago, was a 
great number together that cried out and fell down, under 
convictions ; in most of which, by good information, was a 
hopeful and abiding good issue. And the Rev. Mr. Williams, 
of Deerfield, gave me an account of an aged man in that 


town, many 3^ears before lliatj that being awakened by his 
preaching, cried out aloud in the congregation. Tliere have 
been many instances in this and some neighbor towns, before 
now, of persons fainting with joyful discoveries made to their 
souls : once several together in this town. And there also 
formerly have been several instances here, of persons' flesh 
waxing cold and benumbed, and their hands clenched, yea, 
their bodies being set into convulsions, being overpowered 
with a strong sense of the astonishingly great and excellent 
things of God, and the eternal world. 

Secondly^ Another way that some err in making history 
and former observation their rule to judge of this work, in- 
stead of the holy scripture, is in comparing some external ac- 
cidental circumstances of this work, with what has appeared 
sometimes in enthusiasts ; and as they find an agreement in 
some such things, so they reject the whole work, or at least 
the substance of it, concluding it to be enthusiasm. So, great 
use has been made to this purpose of many things that are 
found amongst the (Quakers ; however totally and essentially 
different in its nature this work is, and the principles it is 
built upon, from the whole religion of the Quakers. So, to 
the same purpose, some external appearances that were found 
amongst the French prophets, and some other enthusiasts in 
former times, have been of late trumped up with great assu- 
rance and triumph. 

4. I would propose it to be considered, whether oi* no some, 
instead of making the scriptures their only rule to judge of 
this work, do not make their own experience the rule, and 
reject such and such things as are now professed and expe- 
rienced, because they never felt them themselves. Are there 
not many, that chiefly on this ground, have entertained and 
vented suspicions, if not peremptory condemnations of those 
extreme terrors, and those great, sudden, and extraordinary 
discoveries of the glorious perfections of God, and of the 
beauty and love of Christ ; and such vehement affections, 
such high transports of love and joy, such pity and distress 


for the souls of others, and exercises of mind that have such 
great effects on j3ersons' bodies, merely, or chiefly, because 
they knew nothing about them by experience ? Persons are 
very ready to be suspicious of what they have not felt them- 
selves. It is to be feared many good men have been guilty 
of this error ; which yet does not make it the less unreason- 
able. And perhaps there are some that upon this ground do 
not only reject these extraordinary things, but all such con- 
viction of sin, and such discoveries of the glory of God, and 
excellency of Christ, and inward conviction of the truth of 
the gospel, by the immediate influence of the Spirit of God, 
that are now supposed to be necessary to salvation. 

These persons that thus make their own experiences their 
rule of judgment, instead of bowing to the wisdom of God. 
and yielding to his word as an infallible rule, are guilty of 
casting a great reflection upon the understanding of the 
Most High. 


We should not judge of the whole hy a 'pari. 

Another foundation error of those that reject this work^- 
is their not duly distinguishing the good from the bad, and 
very unjustly judging of the whole by a part ; and so reject- 
ing the work in general, or in the main substance of it, for 
the sake of some things that are accidental to it, that are evil. 
They look for more in men that are divinely influenced, be- 
cause subject to the operations of a good spirit, than is justly 
to be expected from them for that reason, in this imperfect 
state, and dark world, where so much blindness and corrup- 
tion remains in the best. When any profess to have re- 
ceived light, and influence, and comforts from heaven, and to 
have had sensible communion with God, many are ready to 


expect tliat now they appear like angels, and not still like 
poor, feeble, blind, and sinful worms of the dust. There being 
SO much corruption left in the hearts of God's own children, 
and its prevaiUng as it sometimes does, is indeed a mysterious 
thing, and always a stumbling-block to the world ; but will 
not be so much wondered at by those that are well versed in, 
and duly mindful of, two things, viz. First, The word of 
God, which teaches us the state of true Christians in this 
world ; and Secondly, their own hearts, at least if they have 
any grace, and have experience of its conflicts with corrup- 
tion. They that are true saints are most inexcusable in 
making a great difficulty of a great deal of blindness, and 
many sinful errors in those that profess godliness. If all our 
conduct, both open and secret, should be known, and our 
hearts iaid open to the world, how should we be even ready 
to fly from the light of the sun, and hide ourselves from the 
view of mankind ! And what great allowances would it be 
found that we should need, that others should make for us ! 
perhaps much greater than we are willing to make for others. 
The great weakness of the bigger part of mankind, in any 
affair that is new and uncommon, appears in not distin- 
guishing, but either approving or condemning all in the 
lump. They that highly approve of the affair in general, 
cannot bear to have any thing at all foimd fault with ; and 
on the other hand, those that fasten their eyes upon some 
things in the affair that are amiss, and appear very disagree- 
able to them, at once reject the whole. Both which errors 
oftentimes arise from want of persons' due acquaintance with 
themselves. It is rash and unjust when we proceed thus in 
judging, either of a particular person, or a people, or of such 
an affair as the present wonderful influence on the minds of 
the people of this land. Many, if they see any thing very 
ill in a particular person, a minister or private professor, will 
at once brand him as a hypocrite. And if there be two or 
three of a people or society that behave themselves very irre- 
gularly, the whole must bear the blame of it. And if there 


be a few, tlioiigli it may be not above one in a liimdrcd, 
that professed, and had a show of being the happy partakers 
of what are called the saving benefits of this woriv, that prove 
nought, and give the world just grounds to suspect them, 
tlie whole work must be rejected on their account ; and those 
in general that make the like profession must be condemned 
for their sakes. 

So careful are some persons lest this work should be de- 
fended, that now they will hardly allow that the influences 
of the Spirit of God on the heart, can so much as indirectly, 
and accidentally, be the occasion of the exercise of corrup- 
tion, and commission of sin. Thus far is true, that the 
influence of the Spirit of God in his saving operations, will 
not be an occasion of the increase of the corruption of the 
heart in general, but on the contrary of the weakening of it : 
but 5^et there is nothing unreasonable in supposing, that at 
the same time that it weakens corruption in general, it may 
be an occasion of turning what is left into a new channel, 
and so of there being more of some certain kinds of the exer- 
cise of corruption than there was before ; as that which tends 
to hinder and stop the course of a stream, if it does not do it 
wholly, may give a new course to so much of the water as 
gets by the obstacle. The influences of the Spirit, for in- 
stance, may be an occasion of new ways of the exercise of 
pride, as has been acknowledged by orthodox divines in 
general. That spiritual discoveries and comforts may, 
through the corruption of the heart, be an occasion of the 
exercises of spiritual pride, did not use to be doubted of, till 
now it is found to be needful to maintain the war against 
this work. 

They that will hardly allow that a work of the Spirit of 
God can be a remote occasion of any sinful behavior or 
unchristian conduct, I suppose will allow that the truly gra- 
cious influences of the Spirit of God, yea and a high degree 
of love to God, is consistent with these two things, viz. a 
considerable degree of remaining corruption, and also many 


errors in judgment in matters of religion, and in matters of 
practice. And this is all that need to- be allowed, in order 
to its being, most demonstratively evident, that a high degree 
of love to God may accidentally move a person to that which 
is very wrong, and contrary to the mind and will of God. 
For a high degree of love to God will strongly move a person 
to do that which he believes to be agreeable to God's will ; 
and therefore, if he be mistaken, and be persuaded that that 
is agreeable to the will of God, which indeed is very contrary 
to it, then his love will accidentally, but strongly, inchne him 
to that, which is indeed very contrary to the will of God. 

They that are studied in logic have learned that the na- 
ture of the cause is not to be judged of by the nature of the 
effect, nor the nature of the effect from the nature of the 
cause, when the cause is only causa sine qua non^ or an 
occasional cause ; yea, that in such a case, oftentimes the 
nature of the effect is quite contrary to the nature of the 

True disciples of Christ may have a great deal of false 
zeal, such as the disciples had of old, when they would have 
fire called for from heaven to come down on the Samaritans, 
because they did not receive them. And even so eminently 
holy, and great, and divine a saint as Moses, who conversed 
with God frdtn time to time, as a man speaks with his friend, 
and concerning whom God gives his testimony, that he ivas 
very mee/v, above any man ujwn the face of the earth, 
yet may be rash and sinful in his zeal, when his spirit is 
stirred by the hard-heartedness and opposition of others, so 
as to speak very unadvisedly with his hps, and greatly to 
offend God, and shut himself out from the possession of the 
good things that God is about to accomplish for his church 
on earth ; as Moses was excluded Canaan, though he had 
brought the people out of Egypt, Psalm cvi. 32, 33. And 
men, even in those very things wherein they are influenced 
by a truly pious principle, yet, through error and want of 
due consideration and caution, may be very rash with their 


zeal. It was a truly good spirit that animated that excellent 
generation of Israel that was in Joshua's time, in that affair 
that we have an account of in the twenty-second chapter of 
Joshua ; and yet they were rash and heady with their zeal, 
to go about to gather all Israel together to go up so furiously 
to war with their brethren of the two tribes and half, about 
their building the altar Ed, without first inquiring into the 
matter, or so much as sending a messenger to be informed. 
So the Christians that were of the circumcision, with warmth 
and contention condemned Peter for receiving Cornelius, as 
we have account, Acts xi. This their heat and censure 
was unjust, and Peter was wronged in it ; but there is all 
appearance in the story that they acted from a real zeal and 
concern for the will and honor of God. So the primitive 
Christians, from their zeal for and against unclean meats, 
<:ensured and condemned one another : this was a bad effect, 
and yet the apostle bears them witness, or at least expresses 
his charity towards them, that both sides acted from a good 
principle, and true respect to the Lord, Rom. xiv. 6. The 
zeal of the Corinthians with respect to the incestuous man, 
though the apostle highly commends it, yet he at the same time 
saw that they needed a caution, lest they should carry it too 
far, to an undue severity, and so as to fail of Christian meek- 
ness and forgiveness, 2 Cor. ii. 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, II* and chap, 
vii. 11. to the end. Luther, that great reformer, had a great 
deal of bitterness with his zeal. 

It surely cannot be wondered at by considerate persons, 
that at a time when multitudes all over the land have their 
affections greatly moved, great numbers should run into 
many errors and mistakes with respect to their duty, and 
consequently into many acts and practices that are impru- 
dent and irregular. I question whether there be a man in 
New England, of the strongest reason and greatest learning, 
but what would be put to it to keep master of himself, tho- 
roughly to weigh his words, and consider all the conse- 
quences of his behavior, so as to behave himself in all re- 


rip'ects pmdently, if he were so strongly impressed with a 
sense of divine and eternal things, and his affections so ex- 
ceedingly moved, as has been frequent of late among the 
common people. How little do they consider human natiue 
who look upon it so insu{>erable a stumbling-block when 
such multitudes of all kinds of capacities, natural tempers, 
educations, customs, and manners of life, are so greatly and 
variously affected, that imprudencies and irregularities of con- 
duct should abound ; especially in a state of things so uncom- 
mon. and when the degree, extent, swiftness, and power of the 
operation is so very extraordinary, and so new, that there 
has not been time and experience enough to give birth to 
rules for peoples' conduct, and so unusual in times past, that 
the writings of divines do not afford rule? to direct us in such 
a state of things. 

A great deal of norse and tumult, confusion and uproar, 
and darkness mixed with hght, and evil with good, is al- 
ways to be expected in the beginning of something very ex- 
traordinary, and very glorious in the state of things in hti- 
man society, or the church of God. As after nature has 
long been shut up in a cold, dead state in time of winter, 
when the sun returns in the spring, there is, together with 
the increase of the light and heat of the sun, very dirty and 
t.em|:>estuous weather, before all is settled calm and serene, 
and all nature rejoices in its bloom and beauty. It is in the 
new creation, as it was in the old, the Spirit of God first 
moved upon the face of the water^^, which was an occasion 
of great uproar and tumult, and things were gradually 
brought to a settled state, till at length all stood forth in that 
beautiful, peaceful order, when the heavens and the earth 
were fmished, and God saw every thing that he had made, 
and, behold, it was very good. When God is about to bring 
to pass something great and glorious in the world, nature is 
in a ferment and struggle, and the world as it were in tra- 
vail. As when God was about to introduce the Messiah into 
ihc world, and thnt new and glorious dispensation that he 



set up, he shookihe heavens and the earthy and shook all na- 
tions. There is nothing that the church of God is in scrip- 
ture more frequently represented hy than vegetables ; as a 
tree, a vine, corn, &c., which gradually bring forth their 
fruit, and are first green before they are ripe. A great revi- 
val of religion is expressly compared to this gradual produc- 
tion of vegetables, Isa. Ixi. 11. "As the earth bringeth forth 
her bud, and as the garden causeth the things that are sown 
in it to spring forth \ so the Lord God will cause righteous- 
ness and praise to spring forth before all the nations." The 
church is in a special manner compared to a palm-tree, Cant, 
vii. 7, 8. Exod. xv. 27. 1 Kings vi. 29. Psalm xcii. 12. Of 
which tree this pecuhar thing is observed, that the fruit of it; 
though it be very sweet and good when it is ripe, yet, before 
it has had time to ripen, has a mixture of poison. 

The weakness of human nature has always appeared in 
times of great revival of rehgion, by a disposition to run to 
extremes and get into confusion ; and especially in these three 
things, enthusiasm, superstition, and intemperate zeal. So it 
appeared in the time of the reformation very remarkably ; and 
also in the days of the apostles ; many were tlien exceedingly 
disposed to lay weight on those things that were very notional 
and chimerical, giving heed to fables and whimsies, as appears 
by 1 Tim. i. 4. and iv. 7. 2 Tim. ii. 16. and v. 23. and Tit. i. 
14. and iii.9. Many, as ecclesiastical history informs us, fell off 
into the most wild enthusiasm, and extravagant notions of 
spirituahty, and extraordinary illumination from heaven be- 
yond others : and many were prone to superstition, will- wor- 
ship, and a voluntary humihty, giving heed to the command- 
ments of men, being fond of an unprofitable bodily exercise; 
as appears by many passages in the apostles' writmgs : and 
what a proneness then appeared among professors to swerve 
from the path of duty, and the spirit of the gospel, in the ex- 
ercises of a rash indiscreet zeal, censuring and condemning 
ministers and people ; one saying, I am of Paul, another. 
I of Apollos, another. I of Cephas ; judging one another for 


iliti'ereiices of opinion about smaller matters, unclean meats, 
lioly days, and holy places, and their different opinions and 
j)ractices respecting civil intercourse and communication uith 
their heathen neighbors ! And how much did vain jang- 
ling and disputing and confusion prevail through undue heat 
of spirit, under the name of a religious zeal! 2 Tim. vi. 4, 
5. 2 Tim. ii. 16. and Tit. iii. 9. And what a task had the 
apostles to keep them within bounds, and maintain good or- 
der in the cluuches ! How often are they mentioning their 
irregularities ! The prevailing of such like disorders seems 
to have been the special occasion of writing many of their 
epistles. The church, in that great effusion of the Spirit 
that was then, and the strong impressions that God's people 
were then under, was under the care of infallible guides, that 
watched over them day and night ; but yet so prone were 
the}, througli tlie weakness and corruption of human na- 
ture to get out of the way, that irregularity and confusion 
rose in some churches, where there was an extraordinary out- 
pouring of the Spirit to a very great height, even in tlie 
apostles' lifetime, and under their eye. And though some of 
the apostles lived long to settle the state of things, yet pre- 
sently after they were dead, the Christian church ran into 
many superstitions and childish notions and practices, and 
in some respects into a great severity in their zeal. And 
let any wise person that has not, in the midst of the disputes 
of the present day, got beyond the calmness of consideration, 
impartially consider to what lengths we may reasonably sup- 
pose many of the primitive Christians, in their heat of zeal, 
and under their extraordinary impressions, would soon have 
gone, if they had had no inspired guides ; and whether o]- 
no it is not probable that the church of Corinth in particular, 
by an increase of their irregularities and contentions, would 
not in a little time have broke to .pieces, and dissolved in a 
state of the utmost confusion : and yet this would have been 
no evidence that there had not been a most glorious and re- 
markable outpouring of the Spirit in that city. But ns for 


iiSj we have no iafallible apostle to guide and direct us, to 
rectify disorders, and reclaim us when we are wandering ; 
but every one does what is right in his own eyes ; and they 
that eir in judgment, and are got into a wrong path, conti- 
nue to wander, till experience of the mischievous issue con- 
vinces them of their error. 

If we look over this affair, and seriously weigh it in its cir- 
cumstances, it will appear a matter of no great difficulty to 
account for the errors that have been gone into, supposing 
the work in general to be from a very great outpouring of the 
Spirit of God. It may easily be accounted for, that many 
have run into great errors, and into just such errors as they 
they have. It is known, that some that have been improved 
as great instruments to promote this work, have been very 
j^oung ; and how natural is it for such as are themselves 
newly awaked out of sleep, and brought out of that state of 
darkness, insensibility, and spiritual death, which they had 
been in ever since they were born ; and have a new and 
wonderful scene opened to them ; and have in view the 
reality, the vastness, and infinite importance, and nearness 
of spiritual and eternal things ; and at the same time are 
s-urprised to see the world asleep about them ; and have not 
the advantage of age and experience, and have had but little 
opportunity to study divinity, or to converse with aged expe- 
rienced Christians and divines ; I say, how natural is it for 
such to fall into many errors with respect to the state of man- 
kind, with which they are so surprised, and with respect to 
the means and methods of their relief? Is it any wonder 
that they have not at once learned how to make all the allow- 
ances that are to be made, and that they do not at once find 
out that method of dealing w4th the world, that is adapted to 
the mysterious state and nature of mankind ^ Is it any won- 
der, that they cannot at once foresee what the consequences 
of things will be, what evils are to be guarded against, and 
what difficulties are like to arise, thai are to be provided for ? 


We have long been in a strange stupor ; the influences of 
the Spirit of God upon the heart have been but httle felt, and 
the nature of them but little taught ; so that they are in ma- 
ny respects new to great numbers of those that have lately 
fallen under them. And is it any wonder that they that ne- 
ver before had experience of the supernatural influence of the 
Divine Spirit upon their souls, and never were instructed in 
the nature of these influences, do not so well know how to 
distinguish one extraordinary new impression from another, 
and so (to themselves insensibly) run into enthusiasm, taking 
every strong impulse or impression to be divine ? How na- 
tural is it to suppose, that among the multitudes of illiterate 
people (most of which aft in their youth) that find themselves 
so wonderfully changed, and brought into such new, and be^ 
fore (to them) almost unheard of circumstances, that many 
should pass wrong, and very strange judgments of both per- 
sons and things that are about them ; and that now they 
behold them in such a new light, they in their surprise 
should go further from the judgment that they were wont to 
make of them than they ought, and in their great change of 
sentiments should pass from one extreme to another ? And 
why should it be thought strange, that those that sceirce ever 
heard of any such thing as an outpouring of the Spirit of 
God before ; or if they did, had no notion of it ; do not know 
how to behave themselves in such a new and strange state 
of things ? And is it any wonder that they are ready to 
hearken to those that have instructed them, that have been 
the means of dehvering them from such a state of death and 
misery as they were in before, or have a name for being tlie 
liappy instruments of promoting the same work among 
others ? Is it unaccountable that persons in these circum- 
stances are ready to receive every thing they say, and to drink 
down error as well as truth from them ? And why should 
there be all indignation and no compassion towards thof=p 
that are thus misled ? 


When these persons are extraordinarily affected with u. 
new sense, and recent discovery they have received, of the 
greatness and excellency of the Divine Being, the certainty 
and infinite importance of eternal things, the preciousness of 
souls, and the dreadful danger and madness of mankind, to- 
gether with a great sense of God's distinguishing kindness 
and love to them ; no wonder that now they think they must 
exert themselves, and do something extraordinary for the ho- 
nor of God and the g(»od of the souls of their fellow-creatures, 
and know not how to sit still, and forbear speaking and act- 
ing with uncommon earnestness and vigor. And in these 
circumstances, if they be not persons of more than common 
steadiness and discretion, or have notfsome person of wisdom 
to direct them, it is a wonder if they do not proceed without 
due caution, and do things that are irregular, and that will, 
in the issue, do much more hurt than good. 

Censuring others is the worst disease witli which this af- 
fair has been attended : but yet such a time as this is indeed 
a time of great temptation to this sinful error. When there 
has been such a time of great and long continued deadness, 
and many are brought out of a state of nature, into a state of 
grace, in so extraordinary a manner, and filled with such un- 
common degrees of hght, it is natural for such to form their 
notions of a state of grace wholly from what they experience ; 
many of them know no other way ; for they never have been 
taught much about a state of grace, and the different degrees 
of grace, and the degrees of darkness and corruption that 
grace is consistent with, nor concerning the manner of the 
influences of the Spirit in converting a soul, and the variety 
of the manner of his operations : they therefore forming their 
idea of a state of grace only by their own experience, no won- 
der that it appears an insuperable difficulty to them to recon- 
cile such a state, of which they have this idea, with what they 
observe in professors that are about them. It is indeed in it- 
self a very great mystery, that grace should be consistent 
with so much and such kind of corniption as tometimes pre- 


vails in the truly godly ; and no wonder that it especially 
appears so to uninstructed new converts, that have been con- 
verted in an extraordinary manner. 

Though censoriousness be a thing that is very sinful, and 
is most commonly found in hypocrites and persons of a 
pharasaical spirit, yet it is not so inconsistent with true god- 
liness as some imagine. We have remarkable instances of 
it in those holy men that we have an account of in the book 
of Job : not only were Job's three friends, that seem to have 
been eminently holy men, guilty of it, in very unreasonably 
censurinLic the best man on earth, very positively determining 
that he was an unconverted man ; but Job himself, that was 
not only a man of true piety, but excelled all men in piety, 
and particularly excelled in a humble, meek, and patient 
spirit, was guilty of bitterly censuring his three friends, as 
wicked, vile hypocrites. Job xvi. 9, 10, 11. "He teareth me 
in his wrath who hateth me, he gnasheth upon me with his 
teeth ; mine enemy sharpeneth his eyes upon me : they have 
gaped upon me with their mouth. God hath delivered me 
to the ungodly, and turned me over into the hands of the 
wicked." So he is very positive in it that they are hypo- 
crites, and shall be miserably destroyed as such, in the next 
chapter, v. 2, 3, 4. "Are there not mockers with me? And 
doth not mine eye continue in their provocation ? Lay down 
now, put me in surety with thee, who is he that will strike 
hands with me ? For thou hast hid their heart from under- 
standing, therefore shalt tliou not exalt them." And again, 
V. 8, 9, 10. " Upright men shall be astonished at this, and 
the innocent shall stir up himself against the hypocrite : The 
righteous also shall hold on his way, and he that hath clean 
hands shall be stronger and stronger. But as for you all, 
do you return and come now, for I cannot find one wise man 
(i. e. one good man) among you." 

Thus I think the errors and irregularities that attend tliis 
work, may be accounted for, from the consideration of the 
infirmity and weakness and common corruption of mankind. 


together with the circumstances of the work, though we 
should suppose it to be the work of God. And it would not 
be a just objection in any to say, if these powerful impres- 
sions and great affections are from the Spirit of God, why 
does not the same Spirit give strength of understanding and 
capacity in proportion, to those persons that are the subjects 
of them ; so that strong affections may not, througli their 
error, drive them to an irregular and sinful conduct ? For I 
do not know that God has any where obliged himself to do it. 
The end of the influences of God's Spirit is to make men spi- 
ritually knowing, wise to salvation, which is the most excel- 
lent wisdom ; and he has also appointed means for our gain- 
ing such degrees of other knowledge as we need, to conduct 
ourselves regularly, which means should be carefully used : 
But the end of the influence of the Spirit of God is not to in- 
crease men's natural capacities, nor has God obliged himself 
immediately to increase civil prudence in proportion to the 
degrees of spiritual light. 

If we consider the errors that attend this work, not only 
as from man, and his infirmity, but also as from God, and by 
his permission and disposal, they are not strange, upon the 
supposition of its being, as to the substance of it, a work of 
God. If God intends this great revival of religion to be the 
dawning, or a forerunner of a happy state of his church on 
earth, it may be an instance of the divine wisdom, in the be- 
ginning of it, to sutler so many irregularities and errors in 
conduct, to which he knew men, in their present weak state, 
were most exposed, under great religious affections, and when 
animated with great zeal. For it will be very likely to be of 
excellent benefit to his church, in the continuance and pro- 
gress of the work atterwards : Their experience in the first 
setting out, of the mischievous consequences of tliese errors, 
and smarting for them in the beginning, may be a happy dc 
fense to them afterwards, for many generations, from these 
errors, wliich otherwise they might continually be exposed to. 
As when David and all Israel went about to bring back ihr^ 


ark into the midst of the land, after it had been long absent, 
first in the land of the Philistines, and then in Kirjathjearim, 
in the utmost borders of the land ; they at first sought not 
the Lord after the due order, and they smarted for their error ; 
but this put them upon studying tlie law, and more tho- 
roughly acquainting themselves with the mind and will of 
God, and seeking and serving him with great circumspec- 
tion ; and the consequence was glorious, viz. their seeking 
God in such a manner as was accepted of him ; and the ark 
of God's ascending into the heights of Zion, with those great 
and extraordinary rejoicings of the king and all the people, 
without any frown or rebuke from God intermixed ; and 
God's dwelling thenceforward in the midst of the people, to 
those glorious purposes that are expressed in the 68th psalm. 
And it is very analogous to the manner of God's dealing 
with his people, to permit a great deal of eiror, and suffer the 
infirmity of.his people much to appear, in the beginning of a 
glorious work of his grace for their felicity, to teach them 
what they be, to humble them, and fit them for that glorious 
prosperity he is about to advance them to, and the more to 
secure to himself the honor of such a glorious work : for by 
man's exceeding weakness appearing in the beginning of it, 
it is evident that God does not lay the foundation of it in 
man's strength or wisdom. 

And as we need not wonder at the errors that attend this 
work, if we look at the hand of men that are guilty of them, 
and the hand of God in permitting them, so neither shall 
we see cause to wonder at them, if we consider them with 
regard to the hand that Satan has in them. For as the 
work is much greater than any other outpouring of the 
Spirit that ever has been in New England, so no wonder 
that the devil is more alarmed and enraged, and exerts him- 
self more vigorously against it, and does more powerfully 
endeavor to tempt and mislead those that are the subjects of 
it, or are its promoters. 




The nature of the work in general. 

Whatever imprudences there have been, and whatever 
sinful irregularities ; whatever veliemence of the passions, 
and heats of the imagination, transports and ecstasies ; and 
whatever error in judgment, and indiscreet zeal ; and what- 
ever outcries, and faintings, and agitations of body ; yet it 
is manifest and notorious, that there has been of late a very 
uncommon influence upon the minds of a very great part of 
the inhabitants of New England, from one end of the land 
to the other, that has been attended with the following ef- 
fects, viz. a great increase of a spirit of seriousness and sober 
consideration of the things of the eternal world. ; a disposi- 
tion to hearken to any thing that is said of things of this 
nature, with attention and affection ; a disposition to treat 
matters of religion with solemnity, and as matters of great 
importance ; a disposition to make these things the subject 
of conversation ; and a great disposition to hear the word of 
God preached, and to take all opportunities in order to it ; 
and to attend on the public worship of God, and all external 
duties of religion in a more solemn and decent manner ; so 
that there is a remarkable and general alteration in the face 
of New England in these respects : multitudes in all parts 
of the land, of vain, thoughtless, regardless persons, are 
quite changed, and become serious and considerate. There 
is a vast increase of concern for the salvation of the precious 
soul, and of that inquiry, what shall I do to be saved ? The 
hearts of multitudes have been greatly taken ofT from the 
things of the world, its profits, pleasures, and honors, and 
there has been a great increase of sensibleness and tender- 
ness of conscience : multitudes in all parts have had their 
consciences awakened, and have been made sensible of the 


pernicious nature and consequences of sin, and what a 
dreadful thing it is to he under guilt and the displeasure of 
God, and to hve without peace and reconcihation with him. 
They have also been awakened to a sense of the shortness 
and uncertainty of life, and the reality of anotlier world and 
future judgment, and of the necessity of an interest in 
Christ : they are more afraid of sin, more careful and inqui- 
sitive that they may know what is contrary to the mind and 
will of God, that they may avoid it, and what he requires of 
them, that they may do it ; more careful to guard against 
temptations, more watchful over their own hearts, earnestly 
desirous of being informed what are the means that God 
has directed to for their salvation, and diligent in the use of 
the means that God has appointed in his word, in order to it. 
Many very stupid, senseless sinners, and persons of a vain 
mind, have been greatly awakened. There is a strange al- 
teration almost all over New England amongst young peo- 
ple : by a powerful, invisible influence on their minds, they 
have been brought to forsake those things in a general way, 
as it were, at once, that they were extremely fond of, and 
greatly addicted to, and that they seemed to place the liap- 
piness of their lives in, and that nothing before could induce 
them to forsake ; as their frohcking, vain company keeping, 
night walking, their mirth and jollity, their impure language, 
and lewd songs : in vain did ministers preach against those 
things before, and in vain were laws made to restrain them, 
and in vain was all the vigilance of magistrates and civil 
officers ; but now they have almost every where dropped 
them, as it weie, of themselves. And there is a great alte- 
ration amongst old and young as to drinking, tavern haunt- 
ing, profane speaking, and extravagance in apparel. Many 
notoriously vicious persons have been reformed, and become 
externally quite new creatures : some that are wealthy, and 
of a fashionable, gay education ; some great beaux and fine 
ladies, that seemed to have their minds swallowed up with 
nothing but the vain shows and pleasures of the world, have 


been wonderfully altered, and have relinquished these vani- 
ties, and are becomes erious, mortified, and humble in their 
conversation. It is astonishing to see the alteration that is 
in some towns, where before was but little appearance of 
religion, or any thing but vice and vanity : and so remote 
was all that was to be seen or heard amongst them from 
any thing that favored of vital piety or serious religion, or 
that had any relation to it, that one would have thought, if 
they had judged only by what appeared in them, that they 
had been some other species from the serious and reUgious, 
' which had no concern with another world, and whose na- 
tures were not made capable of those things that appertain 
to Christian experience, and pious conversation ; especially 
was it thus among young persons : and now they are trans- 
formed into another sort of people ; their former vain, 
worldly, and vicious conversation and dispositions seem to be 
forsaken, and they are, as it were, gone over to a new world : 
their thoughts, and their talk, and their concern, affections 
and inquiries, are now about the favor of God, an interest in 
Christ, a renewed, sanctified heart, and a spiritual blessed- 
ness, and acceptance and happiness in a future world. And 
through the greater part of New England, the Holy Bible is 
in much greater esteem and use than it used to be ; the 
great things that are contained in it are much more regarded, 
as things of the greatest consequence, and are much more 
the subjects of meditation and conversation ; and other 
books of piety that have long been of established reputation, 
as the most excellent and most tending to promote true god- 
liness, have been abundantly more in use ; the Lord's day 
is more religiously and strictly observed ; and abundance 
has been lately done at making up differences, and confessing 
faults one to another, and making restitution ; probably more 
within these two years, than was done in thirty years before : 
it has been so undoubtedly in many places. And surprising 
has been the power of that Spirit that has been poured out 
on the land, in many instances, to destroy old grudges, and 


make up long continued breaches, and to bring tliose that 
seemed to be in a confirmed irreconcilable alienation, to em- 
brace each other in a sincere and entire amity. Great num- 
bers under this influence have been brought to a deep sense 
of their own sinfulness and vileness ; the sinfulness of their 
lives, the heinousness of their disregard of the authority of 
the great God, and the heinousness of their living in con- 
tempt of a Savior : they have lamented their former negli- 
gence of their souls, and neglecting and losing precious time. 
Their sins of hfe have been extraordinarily set before them ; 
and they have also had a great sense of their sins of heart ; 
their hardness of heart, and enmity against that which is 
good, and proneness to all evil ; and also of the worthless- 
ness of their own religious performances, how unworthy 
their prayers, praises, and all that they did in religion, was 
to be regarded of God : and it has been a common thing 
that persons have had such a sense of their own sinfulness, 
that they have thought themselves to be the worst of all, and 
that none ever was so vile as they : and many seem to have 
been greatly convinced that they were utterly unworthy of 
any mercy at the hands of God, however miserable they 
were, and though they stood in extreme necessity of mercy, 
and that they deserved nothing but eternal burnings ; and 
have been sensible that God would be altogether just and 
righteous in inflicting endless damnation upon them, at the 
same time that they have had an exceeding affecting sense 
of the dreadfulness of such endless torments, and have ap- 
prehended themselves to be greatly in danger of it. And 
many have been deeply affected with a sense of their own 
ignorance and blindness, and exceeding helplessness, and so 
of their extreme need of the divine pity and help. And so 
far as we are worthy to be credited one by another, in what 
we say, (and persons of good understanding and sound mind, 
and known and experienced probity, have a right to be be- 
lieved by their neighbors when they speak of things that 
fall under their observation and experience,) multitudes in 


New England have lately been brought to a new and great 
conviction of the truth and certainty of the things of the 
gospel ; to a firm persuasion that Christ Jesus is the Son of 
God, and the great and only Savior of the world ; and that 
the great doctrines of the gospel touching reconciliation by 
his blood, and acceptance in his righteousness, and eternal 
life and salvation through him, are matters of undoubted 
truth, together with a most affecting sense of the excellency 
and sufficiency of this Savior, and the glorious wisdom and 
grace of God shining in this way of salvation : and of the 
wonders of Christ's dying love, and the sincerity of Christ 
in the invitations of the gospel, and a consequent affiance 
and sweet rest of soul in Christ, as a glorious Savior, a strong 
rock and high tower, accompanied with an admiring and 
exalting apprehension of the glory of the divine perfections, 
God's majesty, holiness, sovereign grace, &c. ; with a sensi- 
ble, strong, and sweet love to God, and delight in him, far 
surpassing all temporal dehghts, or earthly pleasures ; and a 
rest of soul in him as a portion and the fountain of all good, 
attended with an abhorrence of sin, and self-loathing for 
it, and earnest longings of soul after more holiness and con- 
formity to God, with a sense of the great need of God's 
help in order lo holiness of life ; together with a most dear 
love to all that are supposed to be the children of God, and 
a love to mankind in general, and a most sensible and ten- 
der compassion for the souls of sinners, and earnest desires 
of the advancement of Christ's kingdom in the world. And 
these things have appeared to be in many of them abiding 
now for many months, yea, more than a year and half: with 
an abiding concern to live a holy life, and great complaints 
of remaining corruption, longing to be more free from the 
body of sin and death. And not only do these effects ap- 
pear in new converts, but great numbers of those that were 
formerly esteemed the most sober and pious people, have, 
under the influence of this work, been greatly quickened, 
and their hearts renewed with greater degrees of light, re- 


newed repentance and humiliation, and more lively exercises 
of faith, love, and joy in the Lord. Many, as 1 am well 
knowing, have of late been remarkably engaged to watch, 
and strive, and fight against sin, and cast out every idol, and 
sell all for Christ, and give up themselves entirely to God, 
and make a sacrifice of every worldly and carnal thing to the 
welfare and prosperity of their souls. And there has of late 
appeared in some places an unusual disposition to bind them- 
selves to it in a solemn covenant with God. And now in- 
stead of meeting at taverns and drinking houses, and meet- 
ings of young people in frolics and vain company, the 
country is full of meetings of all sorts and ages of persons, 
young and old, men, women, and Httle children, to read and 
pray, and sing praises, and to converse of the things of God 
and another world. In very many places the main of the 
conversation in all companies turns on religion, and things 
of a spiritual nature. Instead of vain mirth amongst young 
people, there is now either mourning under a sense of the 
guilt of sin, or holy rejoicing in Christ Jesus ; and instead 
of their lewd songs, are now to be heard from them songs of 
praise to God, and the Lamb that was slain to redeem them 
by his blood. And there has been this alteration abiding on 
multitudes all over the land, for a year and half, without any 
appearance of a disposition to return to former vice and 
vanity. And under the influences of this work, there have 
been many of the remains of those wretched people and 
dregs of mankind, the poor Indians, that seemed to be next 
to a state of brutality, and with whom, till now, it seemed to 
be to little more purpose to use endeavors for their instruction 
and awakening, than with the beasts ; whose minds have 
now been strangely opened to receive instruction, and have 
been deeply affected v/ith the concerns of their precious 
souls, and have reformed their lives and forsaken their for- 
mer stupid, barbarous, and brutish way of Uving — and par- 
ticularly that sin to which they have been so exceedingly 
addicted, their drunkenness — and are become devout and 


serious persons ; and many of them to appeaiance brought 
truly and greatly to delight in the things of God, and to 
have their souls very much engaged and entertained with 
the great things of the gospel. And many of the poor ne- 
groes also have been in like manner wrought upon and 
changed. And the souls of very many little children have 
been remarkably enlightened, and their hearts wonderfully 
affected and enlarged, and their mouths opened, expressing 
themselves in a manner far beyond their years, and to the 
just astonishment of those that have heard them ; and some 
of them from tune to time, for many months, greatly and 
delightfully affected with the glory of divine things,, and the 
excellency and love of the Redeemer, with their hearts 
greatly filled with love to and joy in him, and have con- 
tinued to be serious and pious in their behavior. 

The divine power of this work has marvelously appeared 
in some instances I have been acquainted with, in support- 
ing and fortifying the heart under great trials, such as the 
death of children, and extreme pain of body : wonderfully 
maintaining the serenity, calmness, and joy of the soul, in 
an immovable rest in God, and sweet resignation to him. 
There also have been instances of some that have been the 
subjects of this work, that under the blessed influences of it 
have, in such a calm, bright, and joyful frame of mind, been 
carried through the valley of the shadow of death. 

And now let us consider : is it not strange that in a Chris- 
tian, orthodox country, and such a land of light as this is, 
there should be many at a loss w^hose work this is, whether 
the w^ork of God, or the work of the devil ? Is it not a shame 
to New England that such a work should be much doubted 
of here ? Need we look over the histories of all past times, 
to see if there be not some circumstances and external ap- 
pearances that attend this work, that have been formerly 
found amongst enthusiasts ? Whether the Montanists had 
not great transports of joy, and whether the French prophets 
had not agitations of body ? Blessed be God ! He does not 
put us to the toil of such inquiries. We need not say, Who 


shall ascend into heaven, to bring us down something 
whereby to judge of this work ? Nor does God send us be- 
yond the seas, nor into the past ages, to obtain a rule that 
shall determine and satisfy us. But we have a rule near at 
hand, a sacred book that God himself has put into our 
hands, w^th clear and infallible marks, sufficient to resolve 
us in things of this nature ; which book I think we must 
reject, not only in some particular passages, but in the sub- 
stance of itj if we reject such a work as has now been de- 
scribed, as not being the work of God. The whole tenor of 
the gospel proves it ; all the notion of religion that the scrip- 
ture gives us confirms it. 

I suppose there is scarcely a minister in this land, but from 
sabbath to sabbath used to pray that God would pour out his 
Spirit, and work a reformation and revival of religion in the 
country, and turn us from our intemperance, profaneness, 
uncleanness, worldhness, and other sins ; and we have kept, 
from year to year, days of public fasting and prayer to God, 
to acknowledge our backslidings, and humble ourselves for 
our sins, and to seek of God forgiveness and reformation : 
and now when so great and extensive a reformation is so 
suddenly and \vonderfully accomplished, in those very things 
that we have sought to God for, shall we not acknowledge 
it ? Or when we do, do it with great coldness, caution, and 
reserve, and scarcely take any notice of it in our public 
prayers and praises, or mention it but slightly and cursorily, 
and in such a manner as carries an appearance as though 
we w^ould contrive to say as httle of it as ever we could, and 
were glad to pass from it 1 And that because (although in- 
deed there be such a work attended with all these glorious 
effects, yet) the work is attended with a mixture of error, 
impriidencies, darkness, and sin ; because some persons are 
carried away with impressions, and are indiscreet, and too 
censorious with their zeal ; and because there are high trans- 
ports of religious affection ; and because of some effects on 
persons' bodies that we do not understand the reason of ? 




The nature of the %oork in a jiarticular instance. 

I have been i^articulaiiy acquainted with many persons 
that have been the subjects of the high and extraordinary 
transports of the present day ; and in the liighest transports 
of any of the instances that I have been acquainted with, 
and where the affections of admiration, love, and joy, so far 
as another could judge, have been raised to a higher pitch 
than in any other instances I have observed or been in- 
formed of, the following things have been united, viz. a very 
frequent dwelling, for some considerable time together, in such 
views of the glory of the divine perfections, and Christ's excel- 
lencies, that the soul in the mean time has been as it were 
perfectly overwhelmed, and swallowed up with light and 
love and a sweet solace, rest and joy of soul, that was altogether 
unspeakable ; and more than once continuing for five or 
six hours together, without interruption, in that clear and 
lively view or sense of the infinite beauty and amiableness 
of Christ's person, and the heavenly sweetness of his excel- 
lent and transcendent love ; so that (to use the person's awn 
expressions) the soul remained in a kind of heavenly ely- 
sium, and did as it were swim in the rays of Christ's love, 
hke a little mote swimming in the beams of the sun, or 
streams of his light that come in at a window ; and the 
heart was swallowed up in a kind of glow of Christ's love, 
coming down from Christ's heart in heaven as a constant 
stream of sweet light, at the same time the soul all flowing 
out in love to him ; so that there seemed to be a constant 
flowing and reflowing from heart to heart : the soul dwelt 
on high, and was lost in- Ciod, and seemed ahiiost to leave 
the body ; dwelling in a pure delight that fed and satisfied 
the soul ; enjoying pleasure without the least sting, or any 


interruption : a sweetness that the soul was lost in ; so that 
(so far as tlie judgment and word of a person of discretion 
may: be taken, speaking upon the most deliberate considera- 
tion) what was enjoyed in each single minute of the whole 
space, which was many hours, was undoubtedly worth more 
than all the outward comfort and pleasure of the whole life 
put together ; and this without being in any trance, or being 
at air deprived of the exercise of the bodily senses : and the 
like heavenly delight and unspeakable joy of soul, enjoyed 
from time to time, for years together ; though not frequently 
so long together, to such a height : extraordinary views of 
divine things, and religious affections, being frequently at- 
tended with very great effects on the body, nature often sink- 
ing under the weight of divine discoveries, the strength of 
the body taken away, so as to deprive of all ability to stand 
or speak ; sometimes the hands clenched, and the flesh cold, 
but senses still remaining ; animal nature often in a great 
emotion and agitation, and the soul very often, of late, so 
overcome with great admiration, and a kind of omnipotent 
joy, as to cause the person (wholly unavoidably) to leap with 
all the might, with joy and mighty exultation of soul ; the 
soul at the same time being so strongly drawn towards God 
and Christ in heaven, that it seemed to the person as though 
soul and body would, as it were of themselves, of necessity 
mount up, leave the earth and ascend thither. These effects 
on the body did not begin now in this wonderful season, that 
they should be owing to the influence of the example of the 
times, but about seven years ago; and began in a much 
higher degree, and greater frequency, near three years ago, 
when there was no such enthusiastical season, as many 
account this, but it was a very dead time through the land : 
they arose from no distemper catched from Mr. Whitefield or 
M-V.K Tennent, because they began before either of them 
came into the country ; they began, as I said, near three 
years ago, in a great increase, upon an extraordinary 
self-dedication, and renunciation of the world and re- 
signation of all to God, made in a great view of God's 


excellency, and high exercise of love to him, and rest and joy- 
in him ; since which time they have been very frequent ; and 
began in a yet higher degree, and greater frequency, about a 
year and a half ago, upon another new resignation of all to 
God, with a yet greater fervency and delight of soul ; since 
which time the body has been very often fainting, with the 
love of Christ ; and began in a much higher degree still, the 
last winter, upon another resignation and acceptance of God, 
as the only portion and happiness of the soul, wherein the 
whole world, with the dearest enjoyments in it, were re- 
nomiced as dirt and dung, and all that is pleasant and glori- 
ous, and all that is teirible in this world, seemed perfectly to 
vanish into nothing, and nothing to be left but God, in 
whom the soul was perfectly swallowed up, as in an infinite 
ocean of blessedness : since which time there have often 
been great agitations of body, and an unavoidable leaping 
for joy ; and the soul as it were dwelling almost without in- 
terruption, in a kind of paradise ; and very often, in high 
transports, disposed to speak of those great and glorious 
things of God and Christ, and the eternal world, that are in 
view, to others that are present, in a most earnest manner, 
and with a loud voice, so that it is next to impossible to avoid 
it : these effects on the body not arising from any bodily dis- 
temper or weakness, because the greatest of all have been in 
a good state of health. This great rejoicing has been a re- 
joicing with trembling, i. e. attended with a deep and lively 
sense of the greatness and majesty of God, and the person's 
own exceeding littleness and vileness. Spiritual joys in this 
person never were attended, either formerly or lately, with 
the least appearance of any laughter or lightness of counte- 
nance, or manner of speaking; but with a peculiar abhorrence 
of such appearances in spiritual rejoicings, especially since 
joys have been greatest of all : these high transports, when 
they have been past, have had abiding effects in the increase 
of the sweetness, rest, and humihty that they have left upon 
the soul ; and a new engagedness of heart to live to God's 


honor, and watch and fight against sin. And these things 
not in one that is in the giddy age of youth, nor in a new- 
convert, and unexperienced Christian, but in one that was 
converted above twenty-seven years ago ; and neither con- 
verted, nor educated in that enthusiastical town of Northamp- 
ton (as some may be ready to call it) but in a town and fa- 
mily that none that I know of suspected of enthusiasm ; and 
in a Christian that has been long, and in an uncommon 
manner, growing in grace, and rising, by very sensil)le de- 
grees, to higher love to God, and weaned ness from the world, 
and mastery over sin and temptation, through great trials 
and conflicts, and long continued struggling and fighting 
with sin, and earnest and constant prayer and labor in reli- 
gion, and engagedness of mind in the use of all means, at- 
tended with a great exactness of life : which growth has 
been attended, not only with a great increase of religious af- 
fections, but with a w^onderful alteration of outward beha- 
vior, in many things, visible to those who are most intimate- 
ly acquainted, so as lately to have become as it were a new 
person ; and particularly in living so much more above the 
world, and in a greater degree of steadfastness and strength 
in the way of duty, and self-denial, maintaining the Christian 
conflict against temptation, and conquering from time to 
time under great trials ; persisting in an nnmoved, untouched 
calm and rest, under the changes and accidents of time. 
The person had formerly in lower degrees of grace, been 
subject to unsteadiness, and many ups and downs, in the 
frame of mind : the mind being under great disadvantages, 
through a vapory habit of body, and often subject to melan- 
choly, and at times almost overborne witli it, it having been 
so even from early youth ; but strength of grace, and divine 
light, has, of a long time, wholly conquered these disadvan- 
tages, and carried the mind in a constant manner, quite 
above all such effects of vapors. Since that resignation spo- 
ken of before, made near three years ago, ^very thing of 
that nature seems to be overcome and crushed by the power 


of faith and trust in God, and resignation to him ; tlie per- 
son has remained in a constant, uninterrupted rest, and hum- 
ble joy in God, and assurance of his favor, without one hour'^s 
melancholy or darkness, from that day to this ; vapors have 
had great effects on the body, such as they used to have be- 
fore, but the soul has been always out of their reach. And 
this steadfastness and constancy has remained through great 
outward changes and trials ; such as times of the most ex- 
treme pain, and apparent hazard of immediate death. What 
has been felt in late great transports is known to be nothing 
new in kind, but to be of the same nature with what was 
felt formerly, when a little child of about five or six years of 
age ; but only in a vastly higher degree. These transporting 
views and rapturous affections are not attended with any en- 
thusiastic disposition to follow impulses, or any supposed pro- 
phetical revelations ; nor have they been observed to be at- 
tended with any appearance of spiritual pride,_but very much 
of a contrary disposition, an increase of a spirit of humility 
and meekness, and a disposition in honor to prefer others. 
And it is worthy to be remarked, that at a time remarkably 
distinguished from all others, wherein discoveries and holy 
affections were evidently at the greastest height that ever 
happened, the greatness and clearness of divine light being 
overwhelming, and the strength and sweetness of divine love 
altogether overpowering, which began early in the morning 
of the holy sabbath, and lasted for days together, melting all 
down in the deepest humility and poverty of spirit, reverence, 
and resignation, and the sweetest meekness and univeisal 
benevolence ; I say, it is worthy to be observed, that there 
were these two things in a remarkable manner felt at that 
time, viz. a peculiar sensible aversion to judging others that 
were professing Christians of good standing in the visible 
chinch that they were not converted, or with respect to their 
degrees of grace ; or at all intermeddling with that matter, 
so much as to ^determine against and condemn others in tlie 
thought of the heart ; it appearing hateful, as not agree- 
ing witli that lamb-like liumilit}^, meekness, gentleness, 


and cliarily, wliicli tlie soul tlien, above otiier limes, saw 
the beauty of. and felt a disposition to. The disposition 
that was then felt was, on the contrary, to prefer others to 
self, and to hope that they saw more of God and loved him 
better : though before, under smaller discoveries, and feebler 
exercises of divine affections, there had been felt a disposition 
to censure and condemn others. And another thing that 
was felt at that time, was a very great sense of the import- 
ance of moral, social duties, and how great a part of religion 
lay in them : there was such a new sense and conviction of 
this, beyond what had been before, that it seemed to be as it 
were a clear discovery then made to tlie soul : but in general 
there has been a very great increase of a sense of these two 
things, as divine views and divine love have increased. 

The things already mentioned have been attended also 
with the following things, viz. an extraordinary sense of the 
awful majesty and greatness of God, so as oftentiiiics to take 
away the bodily strength ; a sense of the holiness of God, 
as of a llame infinitely pure and bright, so as sometimes to 
overwhelm soul and body ; a sense of the piercing all-seeing 
eye of God, so as sometimes to take away the bodily strength ; 
and an extraordinary view of the infinite terribleness of the 
wrath of God, which has very frequently been strongly im- 
|)ressed on the mind, together with a sense of the ineffable 
misery of sinners that are exposed to this v/ratli, that has 
been overbearing : sometimes the exceeding pollution of the 
person's own heart, as a sink of all manner of abomination, 
and a nesl of vipers, and the dread fulness of an eternal hell 
of God's wrath, opened to view both together ; with a clear 
view of a desert of that misery, without the least degree of 
divine pity, and that by the pollution of the best duties ; 
yea, only by the pollution and irreverence, and want of hu- 
mility that attended once speaking of the holy name of 
God, when done in the best manner that ever it was done ; 
the strength of the body very often taken away with a deep 
mourning for sin, as committed against so holy and good a 


God, sometimes with an affecting sense of actual sin. some- 
times especially indwelling sin, sometimes ihe consideration 
of the sin of the heart as appearing in a particular thing, as 
for instance, in that there was no greater forwardness and 
readiness to self-denial for God and Christ, that had so denied 
himself for us ; yea, sometimes the consideration of sin that 
was in only speaking one word concerning the infinitely 
great and holy God, has beeri so affecting as to overcome the 
strength of nature : a very great sense of the certain truth 
of the great things revealed in the gospel ; an overwhelming 
sense of the glory of the work of redemption, and the way 
of salvation by Jesus Christ ; the glorious harmony cf the 
divine attributes appearing therein, as that wherein mercy 
and truth are met together, and righteousness and peace 
have kissed each other ; a sight of the fullness and glorious 
sufficiency of Christ, that has been so affecting as to over- 
come the body : a constant immovable trust in God through 
Christ, with a great sense of his strength and faithfulness, 
the sureness of his covenant, and the immutability of his 
promises, so that the everlasting mountains and perpetual 
hills have appeared as mere shadows to these things : some- 
times the sufficiency and faithfulness of God as the covenant 
God of his people, appearing in these words, I AM THAT 
I AM. in so affecting a manner as to overcome the body : 
a sense of the glorious, unsearchable, unerring wisdom of 
God in his works, both of creation and providence, so as to 
swallow up the soul, and overcome the strength of the body: 
a sweet rejoicing of soul at the thoughts of God's being in- 
finitely and unchangeably happy, and an exulting gladness 
of heart that God is self-sufficient, and infinitely above all 
dependence, and reigns over all, and does his will with abso- 
lute and uncontrollable power and sovereignty ; a sense of 
the glory of the Holy Spirit, as the great Comforter, so as to 
overwhelm both soul and body ; only mentioning the word 
Comforter^ has immediately taken away all strength ; that 
word, as the person expressed it, seemed great enough to fill 


heaven and earth : a most vehement and passionate desire 
of the honor and glory of God's name ; a sensible, clear, 
and constant preference of it not only to the person's own 
temporal interest) but spiritual comfort in this world ; and a 
willingness to suffer the hidings of God's face, and to hve 
and die in darkness and horror if God's honor should re- 
quire it, and to have no other reward for it but that God's 
name should be glorified, although so much of the sweetness 
of the light of God's countenance had been experienced : a 
great lamenting of ingratitude, and the lowness of the de- 
gree of love to God, so as to deprive of bodily strength ; and 
very often vehehient longings and faintings after more love 
to Christ, and greater conformity to him ; especially longing 
after these two things, viz. to be more perfect in humility 
and adoration ; the flesh and heart seems often to cry out 
for a lying low before God, and adoring him with greater 
love and humility : the thoughts of the perfect humility 
with which the saints in heaven worship God, and fall down 
before his throne, have often overcome the body, and set it 
into a great agitation. A great delight in singing praises to 
God and Jesus Christ, and longing that this present life may 
be. as it were, one continued song of praise to God ; longing, 
as the person expressed it, to sit and sing this life away ; and 
an overcoming pleasure in the thoughts of spending an 
eternity in that exercise : a living by faith to a great degree ; 
a constant and extraordinary distrust of our own strength 
and wisdom ; a great dependence on God for his help, in 
order to the performance of any thing to God's acceptance, 
and being restrained from the most horrid sins, and running 
upon God, even on his neck, and on the tliick bosses of his 
buckler : such a sense of tlie black ingratitude of true saints' 
coldness and deadness in rehgion, and their setting their 
hearts on the things of this world, as to overcome the bodily 
frame : a great longing that all the children of God might 
be lively in religion, fervent in their love, and active in the 
service of God ; and when there have been appearances of 



it ill others, rejoicing so in beholding the pleasing sight, that 
the joy of soul has been too great for the body : taking 
pleasure in the thoughts of watching and striving against 
sin, and fighting through the way to heaven, and filling up 
this hfe with hard labor, and bearing the cross for Christ, as 
an opportunity to give God honor ; not desiring to rest from 
labors till arrived in heaven, but abhorring the thoughts of 
it, and seeming astonished that God's own children should 
be backward to strive and deny themselves for God : earnest 
longings that all God's people might be clothed with humility 
and meekness, like the Lamb of God, and feel nothing in 
their hearts but love and compassion to all mankind ; and 
great grief wlien any thing to the contrary seems to appear in 
any of the children of God, as any bitterness, or fierceness of 
zeal, or censoriousness, or reflecting uncharitably on others, 
or disputing with any appearance of heat of spirit ; a deep 
concern for the good of others' souls ; a melting compassion 
to those that looked on themselves as in a state of nature, 
and to saints under darkness, so as to cause the body to faint : 
a universal benevolence to mankind, with a longing, as it 
were, to embrace the whole world in the arms of pity and 
love ; ideas of suffering from enemies, the utmost conceiva- 
ble rage and cruelty, with a disposition felt to fervent love 
and pity in such a case, so far as it could be realized in 
thought ; fainting with pity to the world that lies in igno- 
rance and wickedness ; sometimes a disposition felt to a life 
given up to mourning alone in a wilderness over a lost and 
miserable world ; compassion towards them being often to 
that degree that would allow of no support or rest but in 
going to God and pouring out the soul in prayer for them : 
earnest desires that the work of God that is now in the land 
may be carried on, and that with greater purity, and freedom 
from all bitter zeal, censoriousness, spiritual pride, hot dis- 
putes, &c. ; a vehement and constant desire for the setting 
up of Christ's kingdom through the earth, as a kingdom of 
holiness, purity, love, peace, and happiness to mankind : the 


soul often entertained witli unspeakable delight, and bodily- 
strength overborne at the thoughts of heaven, as a world of 
love, where love shall be the saints' eternal food, and they 
shall dwell in the light of love, and swim in an ocean of 
love, and where the very air and breath will be nothing but 
love ; love to the people of God. or God's true saints, as such 
that have the image of Christ, and as those that will in a 
very little time shine in his perfect image, that has been at- 
tended witli that endearment and oneness of heart, and that 
sweetness and ravishment of soul, that has been altogether 
inexpressible : the strength very often taken away with 
longings that others might love God more, and servo God 
better, and have more of his comfortable presence, than the 
person that was the subject of these longings, desiring to 
follow the whole world to heaven, or that every one should 
go before, and be higher in grace and happiness, not by this 
person's diminution, but by others' increase : a delight in 
conversing of things of religion, and in seeing Christians 
together, talking of the most spiritual and heavenly things 
in religion, in a lively and feehng manner, and very fre- 
quently overcome with the pleasure of such conversation : 
a great sense often expressed of the importance of the duty 
of charity to the poor, and how much the generality of 
Christians come short in the practice of it : a great sense of 
the need God's ministers have of much of the Spirit of God, 
at this day especially, and most earnest longings and wiest- 
lings with God for them, so as to take away the l)otlily 
strength : the greatest, fullest, longest continued, and most 
constant assurance of the favor of God, and of a title to fu- 
ture glory, that ever I saw any appearance of in any person, 
enjoying, especially of late, (to use the person's own expres- 
sion,) the riches of full assurance : formerly longing to die 
with something of impatience, but lately, since that resigna- 
tion forementioned about three years ago, an uninterrupted, 
entire resignation to (»od with respect to life or death, sick- 
ness or health, ease or pain, which has remained unchanged 


and unshaken, wlien actually under extreme and violent 
pains, and in times of threatenings of immediate death ; 
but though there be this patience and submission, yet the 
thoughts of death and the day of judgment are always ex- 
ceeding sweet to the soul : this resignation is also attended 
with a constant resignation of the lives of dearest earthly 
friends, and sometimes when some of their lives have been 
imminently threatened ; often expressing the sweetness of 
the liberty of having wholly left the world, and renounced 
all for God, and having nothing but God, in whom is an 
infinite fullness. These things have been attended with a 
constant sweet peace and calm and serenity of soul, without 
any cloud to interrupt it ; a continual rejoicing in all the 
works of God's hands, the works of nature, and God's daily 
works of providence, all appearing with a sweet smile upon 
them ; a wonderful access to God by prayer, as it were, 
seeing him, and sensibly immediately conversing with him, 
as much oftentimes (to use the person's own expressions) as 
if Christ were here on earth, sitting on a visible throne, to 
be approached to and conversed w^ith ; frequent, plain, sen- 
sible, and immediate answers of prayer ; all tears wiped 
away ; all former troubles and sorrows of life forgotten, and 
all sorrow and sighing fled away, excepting grief for past 
sins, and for remaining corruption, and that Christ is loved 
no more, and that God is no more honored in the world, and 
a compassionate grief towards fellow-creatures ; a daily sen- 
sible doing and suffering every thing for God, for a long time 
past, eating for God, and w^orking for God, and sleeping for 
God, and bearing pain and trouble for God, and doing all as 
the service of love, and so doing it with a continual, unin- 
terrupted cheerfulness, peace, and joy. O how good, said 
the person once, is it to work for God in the day-time, and 
at night to lie down under his smiles ! High experiences 
and rehgious affections in this person have not been attended 
with any disposition at all to neglect the necessary business 
of a secular calling, to spend the time in reading and prayer, 


and other exercises of devotion ; but worldly business has 
been attended with great alacrity, as part of the service of 
God ; the person declaring that it being done thus, it is 
found to be as good as prayer. Tliese things have been ac- 
companied with an exceeding concern and zeal for moral 
duties, and that all professors may with them adorn the doc- 
trine of God their Savior ; and an uncommon care to per- 
form relative and social duties, and a noted eminence in 
them ; a great inoffensiveness of life and conversation in the 
sight of others ; a great meekness, gentleness, and benevo- 
lence of spirit and behavior ; and a great alteration in those 
things that formerly used to be the person's failings ; seeming 
to be much overcome and swallowed up by the late great 
increase of grace, to the observation of those that are most 
conversant and most intimately acquainted : in times of the 
brightest light and highest flights of love and joy, finding 
no disposition to any opinion of being now perfectly free 
from sin, (agreeable to the notion of the Wesleys and their 
followers, and some other high pretenders to spirituality in 
these days,) but exceedingly the contrary : at such times es- 
pecially, seeing how loathsome and polluted the soul is, soul 
and body, and every act and word appearing like rottenness 
and corruption in that pure and holy hght of God's glory : 
not slighting instruction or means of grace any more for 
having had great discoveries ; on the contrary, never more 
sensible of the need of instruction than now. And one 
thing more may be added, viz. that these things have been 
attended with a particular dishke of placing religion much 
in dress, and spending much zeal about those things that in 
themselves are matters of indifference, or an affecting to 
show humihty and devotion by a mean habit, or a demure 
and melanclioly countenance, or any thing singular and 



This is a glorious work of God. 

Now if such things are enthusiasm, and the fruits of a 
distempered brain, let my brain be evermore possessed of that 
happy distemper ! If this be distraction, I pray God that 
the world of mankind may be all seized with this benign, 
meek, beneficent, beatifical, glorious distraction ! If agita- 
tions of body were found in the French prophets, and ten 
thousand prophets more, it is httle to their purpose who bring 
it as an objection against such a work as this, unless their 
purpose be to disprove the whole of the Christian religion. 
The great affections and high transports that otheis have 
lately been under, are in general of the same kind with 
those in the instance that has been given, though not to so 
high a degree, and many of them not so pure and unmixed, 
and so well regulated. I have had opportunity to observe 
many instances here and elsewhere ; and though there are 
some instances of great affections in which there has been a 
great mixture of nature with grace, and in some a sad de- 
generating of religious affections ; yet there is that unifor- 
mity observable, that it is easy to be seen that in general it 
is the same spirit from whence the work in all parts of the 
land has originated. And what notions have they of reli- 
gion, that reject what has been described as not true rehgion ? 
What shall we find to answer those expressions in scripture, 
" the peace of God that passes all understanding ; rejoicing 
with joy unspeakable and full of glory, in beheving and in 
loving an unseen Savior ; all joy and peace in believing ; 
God's shining into our hearts, to give the light of the know- 
ledge of the glory of God, in the face of Jesus Christ ; with 
open face beholding, as in a glass, the glory of the Lord, 
and being changed into the same image, from glory to glory. 


even as by the Spirit of the Lord ; having the love of God 
shed abroad in our hearts, by the Holy Ghost given to us : 
having the Spirit of God, and of glory rest upon us ; a being 
called out of darkness into marvelous hght ; and having the 
day-star arise in our hearts :" 1 say, if those things that have 
been mentioned do not answer these expressions, what else 
can we find out that does answer them ? Those that do not 
think such things as these to be the fruits of the true Spirit, 
would do well to consider what kind of spirit they are wait- 
ing and praying for, and what sort of fruits they expect he 
should produce when he comes. I suppose it will generally 
be allowed that there is such a thing as a glorious outpouring 
of the Spirit of God to be expected, to introduce very joyful 
and glorious times upon religious accounts ; times wherein 
holy love and joy will be raised to a great height in true 
Christians : but if those things that have been mentioned 
be rejected, what is left that we can find wherewith to patch 
up a notion, or form an idea, of the high, blessed, joyful re- 
hgion of these times ? What is that any have a notion of, 
that is very sweet, excellent, and joyful, of a religious na- 
ture, that is entirely of a different nature from these things ? 
Those that are waiting for the fruits in order to determine 
whether this be the work of God or no, would do well to con- 
sider two things : 1. What they are waiting for : whether it 
be not this ; to have this wonderM religious influence that 
is on the minds of people over and past, and then to see how 
they will behave themselves? That is, to have grace subside, 
and the actings of it in a great measure to cease, and to have 
persons grow cold and dead, and then to see whether after 
that, they will behave themselves with that exactness and 
brightness of conversation, that is to be expected of lively 
Christians, or those that are in the vigorous exercises of grace. 
T lie re are many that will not be satisfied with any exact- 
ness or laboriousness in religion now, while persons have 
their minds much moved, and their affections are high ; for 
they lay it to their flash of alfection, and heat of zeal, a:^ they 


call it : they are waiting to see whether they will carry them- 
selves as well when these affections are over : that is, they 
are waiting to have persons sicken and lose their strength, 
that they may see whether they will then hehave them- 
selves like healthy, strong men. I would desire that they 
would also consider whether they be not waiting for more 
than is reasonably to be expected, supposing this to be really 
a great work of God, and much more than has been found 
in former great outpourings of the Spirit of God, that have 
been universally acknowledged in the Christian church ? 
Do not they expect fewer instances of apostasy, and evi- 
dences of hypocrisy in professors, and those that for the pre- 
sent seem to be under the influences of the Spirit, than were 
after that great outpouring of the Spirit in the apostles' days, 
or that which was in the time of the reformation ? And do 
not they stand prepared to make a mighty argument of it 
against this work, if there should be half so many? And 
2. They would do well to consider how long they will wait 
to see the good fruit of this work, before they will determine 
in favor of it. Is not their waiting unlimited ? The visible 
fruit that is to be expected of a pouring out of the Spirit of 
God on a country, is a visible reformation in that country : 
What reformation has lately been brought to pass in New 
England, by this work, has been before observed : and has 
it not continued long enough alread}^, to give reasonable sa- 
tisfaction ? If God cannot work on the hearts of a people 
after such a manner, as to show his hand so plainly, as rea- 
sonably to expect it should be acknowledged in a year and 
a half, or two years time ; yet surely it is unreasonable, that 
our expectations and demands should be unlimited, and our 
waiting without any bounds. 

As there is the clearest evidence, from those things that 
have been observed, that this is the work of God, so it is evi- 
dent that it is a very great and wonderful, and exceeding glo- 
rious work of God. This is certain, that it is a great and 
wonderful event, a strange revolution, an unexpected, sur- 


prising overturning of things, suddenly brought to pass ; such 
as never has been seen in New England, and scarce ever has 
been heard of in any land. Who that saw the state of things 
in New England a few years ago, the state that it was settled 
in, and the way that we had been so long going on in, would 
have thought that in so little a time there would be such a 
change ? This is undoubtedly either a very great work of 
God, or a great work of the devil, as to the main substance 
of it. For though undoubtedly, God and the devil may work 
together at the same time, and in the same land ; and when 
God is at work, especially if he be veiy remarkably at work, 
Satan will do his utmost endeavor to intrude, and by inter- 
minghng his work, to darken and hinder God's work ; yet 
God and the devil do not work together in producing the 
same event, and in effecting the same change in the hearts 
and lives of men. But. it is apparent that there are some 
things wherein the main substance of this work consists, a 
certain effect that is produced, and alteration that is made in 
the apprehensions, affections, dispositions, and behavior of 
men, in Avhich there is a likeness and agreement everywhere : 
Now this, I say, is either a wonderful work of God, or a 
mighty work of the devil ; and so is either a most happy 
event greatly to be admired and rejoiced in, or a most awful 
calamity. Therefore if what has been said before, be suffi- 
cient to determine it to be, as to the main, the work of God, 
then it must be acknowledged to be a very wonderful and 
glorious work of God. 

Such a work is, in its nature and kind, the most glorious 
of any work of God whatsoever ; and is always so spoken of 
in scripture. It is the work of redemption (the great end of 
all other works of God, and of which the work of creation 
was but a shadow) in the event, success and end of it. It is 
the work of a new creation, that is infmitely more glorious 
than the old. 1 am bold to say, that the work of God in the 
conversion of one soul, considered together with the source, 
foundation, and purchase of it, and also the benefit, end, 



and eternal issue of it, is a more glorious work of God than 
the creation of the whole material universe : it is the most 
glorious of God's works, as it above all others manifests the 
glory of God : it is spoken of in scripture, as that which shows 
the exceeding greatness of God)s yotocr^ and the glory 
and riches of divine grace, and wherein Christ has the 
most glorious triumph over his enemies, and wherein God is 
mightily exalted : and it is a work above all others glorious, 
as it concerns the happiness of mankind ; more happiness, 
and a greater benefit to man, is the fruit of each single drop 
of such a shower, than all the temporal good of the most 
happy revolution in a land or nation amounts to, or all that a 
people could gain by the conquest of the woiid. 

And as this work is very glorious in ita nature, so it is in 
its degree and circumstances. It will appear very glorious if 
we consider the unworthiness of the people that are the sub- 
jects of it ; what obligations God has laid us under by the 
special privileges we have enjoyed for our souls' good, and the 
great things God did for us at our first settlement in the land ; 
and how he has followed us with his goodness to this day, 
and how w^e have abused his goodness ; how long we have 
been revolting more and more (as all confess), and how very 
corrupt we were Vjecome at last ; in how great a degree we 
had cast off God, and forsaken the fountain of living v/aters : 
how obstinate we have been under all manner of means that 
God has used with us to reclaim us : how often we have 
mocked God with hypocrital pretenses of humiliation, as in 
our annual days of public fasting, and other things, while 
instead of reforming, we only grew worse and worse ; how 
dead a time it was every wlier^ before this work began : If 
we consider these things, we shall be most stupidly ungrateful 
if we do not acknowledge God's visiting of us as he has done, 
as an instance of the glorious triumph of free and sovereign 

The work is very glorious if we consider the extent of it ; 
being in this respect vastly beyond any former outpouring of 


the Spirit that ever was known in New England. There 
has formerly sometimes been a remarkable awakening and 
success of the means of grace, in some particular congrega- 
tion ; and this used to be much taken notice of, and acknow- 
ledged to be glorious, though the towns and congregations 
round about continued dead : but now God has brought to 
pass a new thing, he has wrought a great work of this na- 
ture, that has extended from one end of the land to the other, 
besides what has been wrought in other British colonies in 

The work is very glorious in the great numbers that have, 
to appearance, been turned from sin to God, and so delivered 
from a wretched captivity to sin and Satan, saved from ever- 
lasting burnings, and made heirs of eternal glory. How 
high an honor, and great reward of their labors, have some 
eminent persons, of note in the church of God, signified that 
they should esteem it, if they should be made the instruments 
of the conversion and eternal salvation of but one soul ? And 
no greater event than that is thought worthy of great notice 
in heaven, among the hosts of glorious angels, who rejoice 
and sing on such an occasion : and when there are many 
thousands of souls thus converted and saved, shall it be es- 
teemed worth but little notice, and be mentioned with cold- 
ness and indifference here on earth, by those among whom 
such a work is wrought ? 

The work has been very glorious and wonderful in many 
circumstances and events of it, that have been extraordinary, 
wherein God has in an uncommon manner made his hand 
visible, and his power conspicuous ; as in the extraordinary 
degrees of awakening, the suddenness of conversions in in- 
numerable instances, in whom though the work was quick, 
yet the thing wrought is manifestly durable. How common . 
a thing has it been for great part of a congregation to be at 
once moved, by a mighty invisible power ; and for six, eight, 
or ten souls to be converted to God (to all appearance) in an 
exercise, in whom the visible change still continues ? How 


great an alteration has been made in some towns ; yea, some 
populous towns ; the change still abiding? And how many- 
very vicious persons have been wrought upon, so as to become 
visibly new creatures? God has also made his hand very visi- 
ble, and his work glorious, in the multitudes of little children 
that have been wrought upon : I suppose there have been 
some hundreds of instances of this nature of late, any one of 
which formei-ly would have been looked upon so remarkable, 
as to be worthy to be recorded, and pu Wished through the 
land. Tile work is very glorious in its influences and effects 
on many that have been very ignorant and barbarous, as I 
before observed of the Indians and Negroes. 

The work is also exceeding glorious in the high attain- 
ments of Christians, in the extraordinary degrees of light, 
love, and spiritual joy, that God has bestowed upon great 
multitudes. In this respect also, the land in all parts has 
abounded in such instances, any one of which, if they had 
happened formerly, would have been thought worthy to be 
taken notice of by God's people, throughout the British domi- 
nions. The New Jerusalem in this respect has begun to 
come down from heaven, and perhaps never were more of 
the prelibations of heaven's glory given upon earth. 

There being a great many errors and sinful irregularities 
mixed with this work of God, arising from our weakness, dark- 
ness, and corruption, do not hinder this work of God's power 
and grace from being very glorious. Our follies and sins that we 
mix, d© in some respects manifest the glory of it. The glory of 
divine power and grace is set off with the greater lustre, by 
what appears at the same time of the weakness of the earth- 
en vessel. It is God's pleasure that there should be some- 
thing remarkably to manifest the weakness and unworthi- 
ness of the subject, at the same time that he displays the ex- 
cellency of his power, and riches of his grace. And I doubt 
not but some of those things that make some of us here on 
earth to be out of humor, and to look on this work with a 
sour, displeased countenance, do heighten the songs of the 


angels, when they praise God and the Lamb for what they 
see of the glory of God's all-sufficiency, and the efficacy of 
Christ's redemption. And how unreasonable is it that we 
should be backward to acknowledge the glory of what God 
has done, because withal, the devil, and we in hearkening 
to him, have done a great deal of mischief. 





The danger of lying still, and keeping lo?ig silence re- 
specting any remarkable loork of God. 

There are many things in the word of God, that show 
that when God remarkably appears in any great work for his 
church, and against his enemies, it is a most dangerous thing, 
and highly provoking to God, to be slow and backward to 
acknowledge and honor God in the work, and to lie still and 
not to put to a helping hand. Christ's people are in scrip- 
ture represented as his army ; he is the Lord of hosts or 
armies : He is the Captain of the host of the Lord, as he 
called himself when he appeared to Joshua, with a sword 
drawn in his hand, Joshua v. 13, 14, 15. He is the Cap- 
tain of his people's salvation ; and therefore it may well be 
highly resented if they do not resort to him when he orders 
his banner to be displayed ; or if they refuse to follow him 
when he blows the trumpet, and gloriously appears going 
fortli against his enemies. God expects that every hving 
soul should have his attention roused on such an occasion, 
and should most cheerfully yield to the call, and heedfully 


and diligently obey it ; Isaiah xviii. 3. -'All ye inhabitants 
of the world, and dwellers on the earth, see ye when he hft- 
eth up an ensign on the mountains ; and when he bloweth 
the trumpet, hear ye." Especially should all Israel be ga- 
thered after their captain, as we read they were after Ehud, 
when he blew the trumpet in mount Ephraim, when he had 
slain Eglon, king of Moah, Judg. iii. 27, 28. How severe 
is the martial law in such a case, when any of an army re- 
fuses to obey the sound of the trumpet, and follow his gene- 
ral to the battle? God at such a time appears in pecuhar 
manifestations of his glory ; and therefore not to be affected 
and animated, and to lie still, and refuse to follow God, will 
be resented as a high contempt of him. If a subject should 
stand by, and be a spectator of the solemnity of his prince's 
coronation and should appear silent and sullen, when all the 
multitude were testifying their loyalty and joy, -svith loud 
acclamations ; how greatly would he expose liimself to be 
treated as a rebel, and quickly to perish by the authority of 
the prince that he refuses to honor ? 

At a time when God manifests himself in such a great 
work for his church, there is no such thing as being neuters ; 
there is a necessity of being either for or against the King 
that then gloriously appears. As when a king is crowned, 
and there are public manifestations of joy on that occasion, 
there is no such thing as standing by as an indifferent spec- 
tator ; all must appear as loyal subjects, and express their 
joy on that occasion, or be accounted enemies : so it always is 
when God, in any great dispensation of his pived the 
true religion of the old continent ; the church of ancient 
times has been there, and Christ is from thence : but that 
there may be an equality, and inasmuch as that continent 
has crucified Christ, they shall not have the honor of com- 
municating religion in its most glorious state to us, but we 
to them. 

The old continent has been the source and original of 
mankind, in several respects. The first parents of mankind 
dwelt there ; and there dwelt Noah and his sons ; and there 
the second Adam was born, and was crucified, and rose 
again : and it is probable that, in some measure to balance 
these things, the most glorious renovation of the world shall 
originate from the new continent, and the church of God in 
that respect be from hence. And so it is probable that that 
will come to pass in spirituals, that has in temporals, with 
respect to America ; that whereas, till of late, the world was 
supphed with its silver and gold and earthly treasures from 
the old continent, now it is supplied chiefly from the new, so 
the course of things in spiritual respects w^ill be in like man- 
ner turned. 


And it is worthy to be noted that America was discovered 
about the time of the reformation, or but Uttle before ; which 
reformation w^as the first thing that God did towards the 
glorious renovation of the world, after it had sunk into the 
depths of darkness and ruin under the great Antichristian 
apostasy. So that as soon as this new world is (as it were) 
created, and stands forth in view, God presently goes about 
doing some great thing to make way for the introduction of 
the church's latter day glory, that is to have its first seat in, 
and is to take its rise from that new w^orld. 

It is agreeable to God's manner of working, when he ac- 
comphshes any glorious work in the world, to introduce a 
new and more excellent state of his church, to begin his 
work where his church had not been till then, and where 
was no foundation already laid, that the power of God might 
be the more conspicuous ; that the work might appear to be 
entirely God's, and be more manifestly a creation out of no- 
thing ; agreeable to Hos. i. 10, " And it shall come to pass 
that in the place where it was said unto them, ye are not my 
people, there it shall be said vinto them, ye are the sons of 
the living God." When God is about to turn the earth into 
a paradise, he does not begin his work where there is some 
good growth already, but in a wilderness, where nothing 
grows, and nothing is to be seen but dry sand and barren 
rocks ; that the light may shine out of darkness, and the 
W'orld be replenished from emptiness, and the earth watered 
by springs from a droughty desert ; agreeable to many pro- 
phecies of scripture, as Isa. xxxii. 15. " Until the Spirit be 
poured from on high, and the wilderness become a fruitful 
field ;" and chap, xviii. 19. " I will open rivers in high 
places, and fountains in the midst of the valleys ;• I will 
make the wilderness a pool of w^ater, and the dry land 
springs of water ; I will plant in the wilderness tlie cedar, 
the shittah-tree, and the myrtle and oil-tree ; I will set in 
the desert the fir-tree, and the pine, and the box-tree to- 
gether ;" and chap, xliii. 20. " I will give waters in the wil 



derness, and rivers in the desert to give drink to my people, 
iny chosen." And many other parallel scriptures might be 

I observed before, that when God is about to do some great 
work for his church, his manner is to begin at the lower 
end ; so when he is about to renew the whole habitable 
earth, it is probable that he will begin in this utmost, mean- 
est, youngest, and weakest part of it, where the church of 
God has been planted last of all ; and so the first shall be 
last, and the last first ; and that will be fulfilled in an emi- 
nent manner in Isa. xxiv. 19. " From the uttermost part of 
the earth have we heard songs, even glory to the righteous." 

There are several things that seem to me to argue, that 
when the Sun of Righteousness, the sun of the new hea- 
vens and new earth, comes to rise, and " comes forth as the 
bridegroom" of his church, " rejoicing as a strong man to 
run his race, having his going forth from the end of heaven, 
and his circuit to the end of it, that nothing may be hid 
fiom the light and heat of it ;"*" that the sun shall rise in 
the west, contrary to the course of this world, or the course 
of things in the old heavens and earth. The course of God's 
providences shall in that day be so wonderfully altered in 
many respects, that God will, as it were, change the course 
of nature, in answer to the prayers of his church ; as God 
changed the course of nature, and caused the sun to go from 
the west to the east, when Hezekiah was healed, and God 
promised to do such great things for his church, to deliver it 
out of the hand of the king of Assyria, by that mighty 
slaughter by the angel, which is often used by the prophet 
Isaiah, as a type of the glorious deUverance of the church 
from her enemies in the latter days : the resurrection of He- 

* It is evident that the Holy Spirit, in those expressions in Psalm xix. 4, 5, 
G., has respect to something else besides the natural sun ; and that an eye is 
had to the Sun of Rig-hteousness, that by his lig-ht converts the soul, makes 
wise the simple, cnhg-htens the eyes, and rejoices the heart ; and by his 
preached gospel enlightens and warms the world of mankind ; by the 
psalmist's own application, in v. 7.. and the apostle's application of v. 4. in 
Rom. X. 1° 


zekiah, the king and captain of the church, (as he is called, 
2 Kings XX. 5.) as it were, from the dead, is given as an 
earnest of the church's resurrection and salvation, Isaiah 
xxxviii. 6., and is a type of the resurrection of Christ. At 
the same time there is a resurrection of the sun, or coming 
back and rising again from the west, whither it had gone 
down ; which is also a type of the Sun of Righteousness. 
The sun was brought back ten degrees, which probably 
brought it to the meredian. The Sun of Righteousness has 
long been going down from east to west, and probably when 
the time comes of the church's deliverance from her enemies, 
so often typified by the Assyrians, the light will rise in the 
west, till it shines through the world, like the sun in its me- 
ridian brightness. 

The same seems also to be represented by the course of 
the waters of the sanctuary, Ezek. xlvii., which was from 
west to east, which waters undoubtedly represent the Holy 
Spirit, in the progress of his saving influences, in the latter 
ages of the world ; for.it is manifest that the whole of those 
last chapters of Ezekiel, are concerning the glorious state of 
the church that shall then be. 

And if we may suppose that this glorious work of God 
shall begin in any part of America, I think, if we consider 
the circumstances of the settlement of New England, it must 
needs appear the most likely of all American colonies, to be 
the place whence this work shall principally take its rise. 

And if these things are so, it gives us most abundant rea- 
son to hope that what is now seen in America, and especially 
in New England, may prove the dawn of that glorious day : 
and the very uncommon and wonderful circumstances and 
events of this work, seem to me strongly to argue that God 
intends it as the beginning or forerunner of something 
vastlv s^reat. 



The danger of not acknowledging^ and encouraging, 
and especially of deriding^ this work. 

I HAVE thus long insisted on this point, because if these 
things are so, it greatly manifests how much it behooves us 
to encourage and promote this work, and how dangerous it 
will be to forbear to do so. 

It is very dangerous for God's professing people to lie still, 
and not to come to the help of the Lord, whenever he re- 
markably pours out his Spirit, to carry on the work of re- 
demption in the application of it ; but above all, when he 
comes forth in that last and greatest outpouring of his Spirit, 
to introduce that happy day of God's power and salvation, 
so often spoken of. That is especially the appointed seeison 
of the application of the redemption of Christ ; it is the 
proper time of the kingdom of heaven upon earth, the ap- 
pointed time of Christ's reign ; the reign of Satan as god 
of this world lasts till then : this is the proper time of actual 
redemption, or new creation, as is evident by Isa. Ixv. 17, 
18., and Ixvi. 12., and Rev. xxi. 1. All the outpourings of 
the Spirit of God that are before this are, as it were, by way 
of anticipation. 

There was indeed a glorious season of the application of 
redemption, in the first ages of the Christian church, that 
began at Jerusalem on the day of pentecost ; but that was 
not the proper time of ingathering ; it was only, as it were, 
the feast of the first fruits ; the ingathering is at the end of 
the year, or in the last ages of the Christian church, as is 
represented. Rev. xiv. 14, 1,5, 16., and will probably as much 
exceed what was in the first ages of the Christian church, 
though that filled the Roman empire, as that exceeded all 


that had been before, under the Old Testament, confined 
only to the land of Judea. 

The great danger of not appearing openly to acknowledge, 
rejoice in, and promote that great work of God, in bringing 
in that glorious harvest, is represented in Zech. xiv. 16, 17, 
18, 19. " And it shall come to pass, that every one that is 
left of all the nations which come up against Jerusalem, 
shall even go up, from year to year, to worship the King, 
the Lord of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles. 
And it shall be that whoso will not come up, of all the 
families of the earth, unto Jerusalem, to worship the King, 
the Lord of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain. And 
if the family of Egypt go not up, and come not, that have 
no rain, there shall be the plague wherewith the Lord w^ll 
smite the heathen that come not up to keep the feast of 
tabernacles. This shall be the punishment of Egypt, and 
the punishment of all nations that come not up to keep the 
feast of tabernacles." It is evident by all the context, that 
the glorious day of the church of God in the latter oges of 
the world, is the time spoken of. The feast of tabernacles 
here seems to signify that glorious spiritual feast, which God 
shall then make for his church, the same that is spoken of 
Isa. XXV. 6., and the great spiritual rejoicings of God's peo- 
ple at that time. There were three great feasts in Israel, at 
which all the males were appointed to go up to Jerusalem : 
the feast of the passover ; and the feast of the first fruits, or 
the feast of pentecost ; and the feast of ingathering, at the 
end of the year, or the feast of tabernacles. In the first of 
these, viz. the feast of the passover, was represented the pur- 
chase of redemption by Jesus Christ, the paschal lamb, that 
was slain at the time of that feast. The other two that fol- 
lowed it, were to represent the two great seasons of the ap- 
plication of the purchased redemption : in the former of 
them, viz. the feast of the first fruits, which was called the 
feast of pentecost, was represented that time of the outpour 
ing of the Spirit that was in the first asTPs of the Christinn 


church, for the bringing in the first fruits of Christ's redemp- 
tion, which began at Jerusalem, on the day of pentecost : 
the other, which was the feast of ingathering, at the end of 
the year, which the children of Israel were appointed to keep 
on occasion of their gathering in their corn, and their wine, 
and all the fruit of their land, and was called the feast of ta- 
bernacles, represented the other more joyful and glorious 
season of the application of Christ's redemption, which is to 
be in the latter days ; the great day of ingathering of the^ 
elect, the proper and appointed time of gathering in God's 
fruits, when the angel of the covenant shall thrust in his 
sickle, and gather the harvest of the earth ; and the clusters 
of the vine of the earth shall also be gathered. This was 
upon many accounts the greatest feast of the three : there 
were much greater tokens of rejoicing in this feast, than any 
other : the people then dwelt in booths of green boughs, and 
were commanded to take the boughs of goodly trees, branches 
of palm-trees, and the boughs of thick trees, and willows of 
the brook, and to rejoice before the Lord their God : which 
represents the flourishing, beautiful, pleasant state the church 
shall be in, rejoicing in God's grace and love, triumphing 
over all her enemies, at the time typified by this feast. The 
tabernacle of God was first set up among the children of 
Israel, at the time of the feast of tabernacles ; but in that 
glorious time of the Christian church, God will, above all 
other times, set up his tabernacle amongst men. Rev. xxi. 3. 
" And I heard a great voice out of heaven, saying, The ta- 
bernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, 
and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with 
them, and be their God." The world is supposed to have 
been created about the time of year wherein the feast of ta- 
bernacles was appointed ; so in that glorious time God will 
create a new heaven and a new earth. The temple of 
Solomon was dedicated at the time of the feast of taberna- 
cles, when God descended in a pillar of cloud, and dwelt in 
the temple : so at this happy time, tlie temple of God shall 


be gloriously built up in the world; and God shall, in a won- 
derful manner, come down from heaven to dwell with his 
church. Christ is supposed to have been born at the feast of 
tabernacles ; so at the commencement of that glorious day, 
Christ shall be born ; then, above all other times, shall " the 
woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, 
that is in travail, and pained to be dehvered, bring forth her 
son, to rule all nations," Rev. xii., at the beginning. The 
feast of tabernacles was the last feast that Israel had in the 
whole year, before the face of the earth was destroyed by the 
winter ; presently after the rejoicings of that feast were past, 
a tempetuous season began, Acts xxvii. 9. " Sailing was 
now dangerous, because the feast was now already past." 
So this great feast of the Christian church will be the last 
feast she shall have on earth : soon after it is past, this lower 
world will be destroyed. At the feast of tabernacles, Israel 
left their houses to dwell in booths, or green tents, which 
signifies the great weanedness of God's people from the 
world, as pilgrims and strangers on the earth, and their great 
joy therein. Israel were prepared for the feast of tabernacles, 
by the feast of trumpets, and the day of atonement, both on 
the same month ; so way shall be made for the joy of the 
church of God, in its glorious state on earth, by the extraor- 
dinary preaching of the gospel, and deep repentance and 
humiliation for past sins, and the great and long continued 
deadiiess and carnality of the visible church. Christ, at the 
great feast of tabernacles, stood in Jerusalem, and cried, 
saying, " If any man thirst, let him come unto me and 
drink : he that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, 
out of his belly shall flow rivers of Uving waters :" signify- 
ing the extraordinary freedom and riches of divine grace 
towards sinners at that day, and the extraordinary measures 
of the Holy Spirit that shall be then given, agreeable to Rev. 
xxi. 6., and xxii. 17. 

It is threatened here in this fourteenth chapter of Zecha- 
riah, that those who at that time shall not come to keep this 


feast, i. e. that shall not acknowledge God's glorious works, 
and praise his name, and rejoice with his people, but should 
stand at a distance, as unbelieving and disaffected, upon 
them shall be no rain ; and that this shall be the plague 
wherewith they shall all be smitten ; that is, they shall have 
no share in that shower of divine blessing that shall then 
descend on the earth, that spiritual rain spoken of, Isa. xliv. 
3. But God would give them over to hardness of heart, 
and bUndness of mind. 

The curse is yet in a more awful manner denounced 
against such as shall appear as opposers at that time, v. 12. 
*' And this shall be the plague wherewith the Lord shall 
stnite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem, their 
flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, 
and their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their 
tongue shall consume away in their mouth." Here also in 
all probability it is a spiritual judgment, or a plague and 
curse from God upon the soul, rather than upon the body, 
that is intended ; that such persons, who at that time shall 
oppose God's people in his work, shall, in an extraordinary 
manner, be given over to a state of spiritual death and ruin, 
that they shall remarkably appear dead while aHve, and shall 
be as walking rotten corpses, while they goabout amongst men. 

The great danger of not joining with God's people at that 
glorious day is also represented, Isa. Ix. 12. " For the nation 
and kingdom that will not serve thee shall perish ; yea, those 
nations shall be utterly wasted." 

Most of the great temporal deliverances that were wrought 
lor Israel of old, as divines and expositors observe, were 
typical of the great spiritual works of God for the salvation 
of men's souls, and the dehverance and prosperity of his 
church, in the days of the gospel ; and especially did they 
represent that greatest of all deliverances of God's church, 
and chief of God's works of actual salvation, that shall be 
in the latter days, which, as has been observed, is above all 
others, the appointed time, and proper season of actual re 


demption of men's souls. But it may be observed that if 
any appeared to oppose God's work in those great temporal 
deliverances ; or if there were any of his professing people, 
that on such occasions lay still, and stood at a distance, and 
did not arise and acknowledge God in his work, and appear 
to promote it ; it was what in a remarkable manner incensed 
God's anger, and brought his curse upon such persons. 

So when God wrougfit that great work of bringing the 
children of Israel out of Egypt (which was a type of God's 
delivering his church out of the spiritual Ei^^ypt, at the time 
of the fall of Antichrist, as as evident by Rev. xi. 8., and 
XV. 3.), how highly did God resent it, when the Amalekites 
appeared as opposers in that affair ! And how dreadfully did 
he curse them for it ! Exod. xvii. 14, 15, 16. " And tlie 
Lord said unto Moses, write this for a memorial in a book, 
and rehearse it in the ears of Joshua ; for I will utterly put 
out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven. And 
Moses built an altar, and called the name of it Jehovah- 
Nissi ; for he said, because the Lord will have war with 
Amalek, from generation to generation." And accordingly 
we find that God remembered it a long time after, 1 Sam. 
XV. 3. And how highly did God resent it in the Moabites 
and Ammonites, that they did not lend a helping hand, and 
encourage and promote the affair ! Deut. xxiii. 3, 4. " /\.n 
Ammonite or Moabite shall not enter into the congregation 
of the Lord ; even to their tenth generation, shall they not 
enter into the congregation of the Lord forever ; because 
they met you not with bread and with water, in the way 
when ye came forth out of Egypt." And how were the 
children of Reuben, and the children of Gad, and the half 
tribe of Manasseh, threatened, if they did not go and help 
their brethren in their wars against the Canaanites, Deut. 
xxxii. 20, 21, 22, 23., " And Moses said unto them, if ye 
will do this thing, if ye will go armed before the Lord to 
war, and will go all of you armed over Jordan, before the 
Lord, until he hath driven out his enemies from before him, 



and the land be subdued before the Lord, then afterward ye 
shall return and jjc guiltless before the Lord, and before 
Israel, and this land shall be your possession before the Lord ; 
but if ye will not do so, behold, ye have sinned against the 
Lord, and be sure your sin will find you out." 

That was a glorious work of God that he wrought for Is- 
rael, when he delivered them from the Canaanites, by the 
hand of Deborah and Barak : almost every thing about it 
showed a remarkable hand of God. It was a prophetess, one 
immediately inspired by God, that called the people to the 
battle, and conducted them in the whole affair. The people 
seem to have been miraculously animated and encouraged 
in the matter, when they willingly offered themselves, and 
gathered together to the battle ; they jeoparded their lives in 
the high places of the field, without being pressed or hired ; 
when one would have thought they should have but little 
courage for such an undertaking ; for what could a number 
of. poor, weak, defenseless slaves do, without a shield or 
spear to he seen among forty thousand of them, to go 
against a great prince, with his mighty host, and nine hun- 
dred chariots of iron. And the success did wonderfully show 
the hand of God ; which makes Deborah exultingly to say, 
Judg. V. 21 . " O my soul, thou hast trodden down strength 1" 
Christ with his heavenly host was engaged in that battle ; 
and therefore it is said, v. 20, " They fought from heaven, 
the stars in their courses fought against Sisera." The work 
of God. therefore, in this victory and deliverance that Christ 
and his host wrought for Israel, was a type of that victory 
and dehverance which he will accomplish for his church in 
that great battle, that last conflict that the church shall have 
with her open enemies, that shall introduce the church's lat- 
ter day glory ; as appears by Rev. xvi. 16, (speaking of that 
great battle) " And he gathered them together into a place, 
called in the Hebrew tongue, Armageddon," i. e. the moun- 
tain of Megiddo ; alluding, as is supposed by expositors, to 
the place where the iDattle was fought with the host of Si- 


sera, Judg. v. 19. '' The king's caine and fought; tlie kings 
of Canaan, in Taanach, by the waters of Megiddo." Which 
can signify nothing else, than that this battle, which Christ 
and his church shall have with their enemies, is the antitype 
of the battle that was fought there. But what a dreadful 
curse from Christ, did some of God's professing people Israel, 
bring upon themselves, by lying still at that time, and not 
putting to a helping hand ? Judg. v. 23. " Curse yc Meroz, 
said the angel of the Lord, curse ye bitterly the inhabitants 
thereof, because they came not to the help of the liOrd, to the 
help of the Lord against the miglity." The Angel of tlie 
Lord was the Captain of the host ; he that had l«^d Israel 
and fought for them in that battle, who is very often called 
the Angel of the Lord^ in scripture ; the same that appeared 
to Joshua with a sword drawn in his hand, and told him 
that he was come as the CajJtain of the host of the hord ; 
and the same glorious Captain that we have an account of, 
as leading forth his hosts to that battle, of which this was 
the type. Rev. xix. 11, &c. It seems the inhabitants of Me- 
roz were unbelieving concerning this great work, nor w^ould 
they hearken to Deborah's pretenses, nor did it enter into 
them that such a poor defenseless company should ever pre- 
vail against those that were so mighty ; they did not acknow^- 
ledge the hand of God, and therefore stood at a distance, and 
did nothing to promote the work : but what a bitter curse 
from God, did they bring upon themselves by it ! 

It is very probable tliat one great reason why the inhabit- 
ants of Meroz were so unbelieving concerning this work, was 
that they argued a 'priori ; they did not like the beginning of 
it, it being a woman that first led the wa}^, and had the chief 
conduct in the affair ; nor could they believe that such des- 
picable instruments, as a company of unarmed slaves, were 
ever like to effect so p^reat a tiling ; and pride and unbelief 
wrought together, in not being willing to follow Deborah to 
the battle. 


It was another glorious work of God that he wrought for 
Israel, in the victory that \vas obtained by Gideon over the 
Midianites and Airialekites, and the children of the east, 
when they came up against Israel like grasshoppers, a mul- 
titude that could not be numbered. This also was a re- 
markable type of the victory of Christ and his church over 
his enemies, by the pouring out of the Spirit with the 
preached gospel, as is evident by the manner of it, which 
Gideon was immediately directed to of God ; which was not 
by human sword or bow, but only by blowing of trumpets, 
and by lights in earthen vessels. We read on this occasion, 
Gideon called the people together to help in this great affair ; 
and that accordingly, great numbers resorted to him, and 
came to the help of the Lord, Judg. vii. 23, 24. But there 
were some also at that time, that were unbelieving, and 
would not acknowledge the hand of God in that work, though 
it was so great and wonderful, nor would they join to pro- 
mote it ; and they were the inhabitants of Succoth and Pe- 
nuel : Gideon desired their help, when he was pursuing after 
Zeba and Zalmuna ; but they despised fiis pretenses, and 
his confidence of the Lord's being on his side, to deliver those 
two great princes into the hands of such a despicable com- 
pany, as he and his three hundred men, and would not own 
the work of God, nor afford Gideon any assistance : God 
proceeded in this work in a way that was exceeding cross to 
their pride. And they also refused to own the work, because 
they argued a priori ; they could not believe that God would 
do such great things by such a despicable instrument ; one 
of such a poor mean family in Manasseh, and he the least 
in his father's house ; and the company that was with him 
appeared very wretched, being but three hundred men, and 
they weak and faint : but we see how they suffered for their 
folly, in not acknowledging, and appearing to promote this 
work of God. Gideon when he returned from the victory, 
took them, and taught them with the briers and thorns 
of the wilderness^ and heat doion the tower of Pemiel^ 


(he brought down their pride, and their false confidence) and 
slew the tnen of the city^ Judg. viii. This, in all proba- 
bihty, Gideon did, as moved and directed by the Angel of the 
Lord, that is, Christ, that first called him. and sent him forth 
in this battle, and instructed and directed him in the whole 

The return of the ark of God to dwell in Zion, in the 
midst of the land of Israel, after it had been long absent, 
first in the land of the Philistines, and then in Kirjath-jearim, 
in the utmost borders of the land, did livelily represent the 
return of God to a professing people, in the spiritual tokens 
of Ills presence, after long absence from them ; as well as 
the ark's ascending up into a mountain typified Christ's as- 
cension into heaven. It is evident by the psalms that were 
penned on that occasion, especially the sixty-eighth psalm, 
that the exceeding rejoicings of Israel, on that occasion, re- 
presented the joy of the church of Christ, on his returning 
to it, after it has been in a low and dark state, to revive his 
work, bringing his people back, as it were, fi^om Bashan, 
and fro?n the depth of the sea, scattering their spiritual 
enemies, and causing that though they had lien among 
the pots, yet they should be as the loings of a dove, covered 
with silver, and her feathers xoith yellow gold ; and 
giving the blessed tokens of his presence in his house, that 
his people may see the goings of God their King in his 
sanctuary ; and that the gifts which David, with such royal 
bounty, distributed amongst the people on that occasion, (2 
Sam. vi. 18, 19, and 1 Chron. xvi. 2, 3.) represent spiritual 
blessings, that Christ liberally sends down on his church, by 
the outpourings of his Spirit. See Psalm Ixviii. 1, 8, 13, 
18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24. And we have an account how 
that all the people, from Shihor, of Egypt, even unto the 
entering in of Hemath, gathered together, and appeared to 
join and assist in that great affair ; and that all Israel 
" brought up the ark of the covenant of the Lord, with 
shouting, and with sound of the cornet, and with trumpets. 


and \vith cymbals, making a noise with psalteries and harps," 
1 Chron. xiii. 2, 5, and xv. 28. And not only the men, but 
the women of Israel, the daughters of Zion, appeared as 
publicly joining in the praises and rejoicings that were on 
that occasion, 2 Sam. vi. 19. But we read of one of David's 
wives, even Michal, Saul's daughter, whose heart was not 
engaged in the affair, and did not appear with others to re- 
joice and praise God on this occasion, but kept away, and 
stood at a distance, as disaffected, and disliking the manage- 
ments ; she despised and ridiculed the transports and extra- 
ordinary manifestations of joy that then were ; and the curse 
that she brought upon herself by it, was that of being barren 
to the day of her death. Let this be a warning to us ; let 
us take heed, in this day of the bringing up of the ark of 
God, that while we are in visibihty and profession the spouse 
of the spiritual David, we do not show ourselves to be indeed 
the children of false hearted and rebellious Saul, by our 
standing aloof, and not joining in the joy and praises of the 
day, and disliking and despising the joys and affections of 
God's people, because they are to so high a degree, and so 
bring the curse of perpetual barrenness upon our souls. 

Let us take heed that we be not like the son of the bond- 
woman, that was born after the flesh, that persecuted him 
that was born after the Spirit, and mocked at the feasting 
and rejoicings that were made for Isaac when he was 
weaned ; lest we should be cast out of the family of Abra- 
ham, as he was, Gen. xxi. 8, 9. That affair contained 
spiritual mysteries, and was typical of things that come to 
pass in these days of the gospel ; as is evident by the 
apostle's testimony. Gal. iv. 22. to the end. And particu- 
larly it seems to have been typical of two things. 1. The 
weaning of the church from its milk of carnal ordinances, 
ceremonies, shadows, and beggarly elements, upon the 
coming of Christ, and pouring out of the Spirit in the days 
of the apostles. The church of Christ, in the times of the 
Old Testament, was in its minority, and was a babe ; and 


the apostle tells us that babes must be fed with milk, and 
not with strong meat ; but when God weaned his church 
from these carnal ordinances, on the ceasing of the legal 
dispensation, a glorious gospel feast was provided for souls, 
and God fed his people with spiritual dainties, and filled them 
with the Spirit, and gave them joy in the Holy Ghost. Ish- 
inael, in mocking at the time of Isaac's feast, by the apostle's 
testimony, represented the carnal Jews, the children of the 
literal Jerusalem, who when they beheld the rejoicings of 
Christians, in their spiritual and evangelical privileges, were 
filled with envy, deriding, contradicting and blaspheming. 
Acts ii. 13. and chap. xiii. 45. and xviii. 6. And therefore 
were cast out of the family of Abraham, and out of the land 
of Canaan, to wander through the earth. 2. This weaning 
of Isaac's seems also to represent the conversion of sinners, 
which is several times represented in scripture by the weaning 
of a child ; as in Psalm cxxxi. and Isa. xxviii. 9. Because 
in conversion the soul is weaned from the enjoyments of the 
world, which are as it were the breast of our mother earth ; 
and is also weaned from the covenant of our first parents, 
which we as naturally hang upon, as a child on its mother's 
breasts : and the great feast that Abraham made on that 
occasion represents the spiritual feast, the heavenly privi- 
leges, and holy joys and comforts, which God gives souls at 
their conversion. Now is a time when God is in a remark- 
able manner bestowing the blessings of such a feast. Let 
every one take heed that he does not show himself to be the 
son of the bond-woman, and born after the flesh, by standing 
and deriding, with mocking Ishmael ; lest they be cast out 
as he was, and it be said concerning them, these sons of the 
bond-woman shall not be heirs with the sons of the free- 
woman. Do not let us stumble at the things that have 
been, because they are so great and extraordinary ; for if we 
have run with the footmen, and they have wearied us, how 
shall v;e contend with horses ? There is doubtless a time 


coming when God will accomplish things vastly greater and 
more extraordinary than these. 

And that we may be warned not to continue doubting 
and unbelieving concerning this work, because of the extra- 
ordinary degree of it, and the suddenness and swiftness of 
the accomplishment of the great things that pertain to it ; 
let us consider the example of the unljelieving lord in Sa- 
maria, who could not believe so extraordinary a work of 
God to be accomplished so suddenly as was declared to him ; 
the prophet Elisha foretold that the great famine in Samaria 
should very suddenl}^, even in one day, be turned into an 
extraordinary plenty ; but the work was too great, and too 
sudden for him to believe ; says, he, if the Lord should 
make loindoivs in heaven, might this thing be 7 And 
the curse that he brought upon himself by it, was that he 
saw it with his eyes, and did not eat thereof, but miserably 
perished, and was trodden down as the mire of the streets, 
when others were feasting and rejoicing. 2 Kings, chap, 

When God redeemed his people from their Babylonish 
captivity, and they rebuilt Jerusalem, it was, as universally 
owned, a remarkable type of the spiritual redemption of 
God's church ; and particularly, was an eminent type of the 
great deliverance of the Christian church from spiritual 
Babylon, and their rebuilding the spiritual Jerusalem, in the 
latter days ; and therefore they are often spoken of under 
one by the prophets ; and this probably was the main reason 
that it was so ordered in providence, and particularly noted 
in scripture, that the children of Israel, on that occasion, 
kept the greatest feast of tabernacles that ever had been 
kept in Israel, since the days of Joshua, when the people 
were first settled in Canaan (Neh. viii. 16, 17.) ; because at 
that time happened that restoration of Israel, that had the 
greatest resemblance of that great restoration of the church 
of God, of which the feast of tabernacles was the type, of 
any that had been since Joshua first brought the people out 


of the wilderness, and settled them in the good land. But 
we read of some that opposed the Jews in that affair, and 
weakened their hands, and ridiculed God's people, and the 
instruments that were improved in that work, and despised 
their hope, and made as though their confidence was little 
more than a shadow, and v/ould utterly fail them : " What 
do these feehle Jews ? (say they) Will they fortify them- 
selves ? Will they sacrifice ? Will they make an end in a 
day? Will they revive the stones out of the heaps of the 
rubbish which are burnt? Even that which they build, if 
a fox go up, he shall even break down their stone-wall." 
Let not us be in any measure like them, lest it be said to us, 
as Nehemiah said to them, Neh. ii. 20., " We his servants 
will arise and build ; but you have no portion, nor right, nor 
memorial in Jerusalem." And lest we bring Nehemiah's 
imprecation upon us, chap. vi. 5., " Cover not their iniquity, 
and let not their sin be blotted out from before thee ; for 
they have provoked thee to anger, before ihe builders." 

As persons will greatly expose themselves to the curse of 
God, by opposing, or standing at a distance, and keeping 
silence at such a time as this ; so for persons to arise, and 
readily to acknowledge God, and honor him in such a work, 
and cheerfully and vigorously to exert themselves to promote 
it, will be to put themselves much in the way of the divine 
blessing. What a mark of honor does God put upon those 
in Israel, that wilUngly offered themselves, and came to the 
help of the Lord against the mighty, when the angel of the 
Lord led forth his armies, and they fought from heaven 
against Sisera? Judg. v. 2, 9, 14, 15, 17, 18. And what a 
great blessing is pronoimced on Jael, the wife of Heber, the 
Kenite, for her appearing on the Lord's side, and for what 
she did to promote this work ? v. 24. Which was no less 
than the curse jjrouounccd in the preceding verse, against 
Meroz, for lying still : Blessed above women, shall Jael, 
the Wife of Heber the Kenite, be, blessed shall she be 
above women in the tent. And what a blessing is pro- 



nounced on those which shall have any hand in the de- 
struction of Babylonj which was the head city of the king- 
tlom of Satan, and of the enemies of the church of God ? 
Psahn cxxxvii. 9. " Happy shall he be that taketh and 
dasheth thy little ones against the stones." What a parti- 
cular and honorable notice is taken, in the records of God's 
word, of those that arose and appeared as David's helpers, 
to introduce him into the kingdom of Israel, in the 1 Chron. 
xii. The host of those that thus came to the help of the 
Lord, in that work of his, and glorious revolution in Israel, 
by which the kingdom of that great type of the Messiah was 
set up in Israel, is compared to the host of God, v. 22. " At 
that time, day by day, there came to David, to help him, 
until it was a great host, like the host of God." And doubt- 
less it was intended to be a type of that host of God, that 
shall appear with the spiritual David, as his helpers, when 
he shall come to set up his kingdom in the world ; the same 
host that we read of, Rev. xix. 14. The Spirit of God then 
pronounced a special blessing on David's helpers, as those 
that were co-workers with God, v. 18. " Then the Spirit 
came upon Amasai, who was chief of the captains, and he 
said, thine are we David, and on thy side, thou son of 
Jesse ; peace, peace be unto thee, and peace be to thine 
helpers, for thy God helpeth thee." So we may conclude 
that God will much more give his blessing to such as come 
to the help of the Lord, when he sets his own dear Son as 
King on his holy hill of Zion ; and they shall be received 
by Christ, and he will put peculiar honor upon them, as 
David did on those his helpers : as we have an account, in 
the following words, v. 18. " Then David received them, 
and made them captains of the band." It is particularly 
noted of those that came to David to Hebron, ready armed 
to the war, to turn the kingdom of Saul to him, according 
to the word of the Lord, that " they were men that had 
understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to 
do." V. 23. and 32. Herein thev differed from the Phari 


sees and other Jews, that did not come to tlie help of the 
Lord, at the time that the great Son of David appeared to 
set up his kingdom in the world, whom Christ condemns, 
that they had not understanding of those times, Luke xii. 
56. " Ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky, and 
of the earth ; but how is it, that ye do not discern these 
times ?" So it always will be, when Christ remarkably 
appears on earth, on a design of setting up his kingdom 
here, there will be many that will not understand the times, 
nor what Israel ought to do, and so will not come to turn 
about the kingdom to David. 

The favorable notice that God will take of such as appear 
to promote the work of God, at such a time as this, may 
also be argued from such a very particular notice being 
taken in the sacred records, of those that helped in rebuilding 
the wall of Jerusalem, upon the return from the Babylonish 
captivity. Nehem. iii. 


Obligations of rulers, ministers, and all sorts, to pro- 
Tiiote this work. 

At such a time as this, when God is setting his King on 
his holy hill of Zion, or estabUshing his dominion, or show- 
ing forth his regal glory from thence, he expects that his 
visible people, without exception, should openly appear to 
acknowledge him in such a w ork, and bow before him, and 
join with him. But especially does he expect this of civil 
rulers : God's eye is especially upon them, to see how they 
behave themselves on such an occasion. If a new king 
comes to the throne, when he comes from abroad, and enter? 
into his kingdom, and makes his solemn entry into the 


royal city, it is expected that all sorts should acknowledge 
him ; but above all others is it expected that the great men 
and public officers of the nation should then make their 
appearance, and attend on their sovereign, with suital^le con- 
gratulations, and manifestations of respect and loyalty : if 
such as these stand at a distance, at such a time, it will be 
much more taken notice of, and will awaken the prince's 
jealousy and displeasure much more, than such a behavior 
in the common people. And thus it is, when that eternal 
Son of God, and heir of the world, by whom kings reign. 
and princes decree justice, whom his Father has appointed 
to be King of kings, comes as it w^ere from afar, and in the 
spiritual rokens of his presence, enters into the royal city 
Zion ; God has his eye at such a time, especially upon those 
princes, nobles, and judges of the earth, spoken of, Prov. viii. 
16., to see how^ they behave themselves, whether they bow 
to him, that he has made the head of all principality and 
power. This is evident by Psalm ii. 6, 7, 10, 11, 12. " Yet 
have I set my King upon my holy hill of Zion. 1 will 
declare the decree ; the Lord hath said unto me, thou art 
my Son, this day have I begotten thee. Be wise now there- 
fore, O ye kings, be instructed ye judges of the earth ; serve 
the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling ; kiss the 
Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when 
his wrath is kindled but a little." There seems to be in the 
words an allusion to a new Icing's coming to the throne, and 
making his solemn entry into the royal city 5 (as Zion was 
the royal city in Israel ;) when it is expected that all, espe- 
cially men in public office and authority, should manifest 
their loyalty by some o[)en and visible token of respect, by 
the way^ as he passes alojig ; and those that refuse or ne- 
glect it arc in danger of ])eing immediately struck down, 
and perishing from ihc v^iy^ by which the king goes in 
solemn procession. 

The day wherein God does in an eminent manner send 
forth the rod of Christ's strength out of Zion, \\\\\{ he may 


I iile in the midst of his enemies, the day of liis power wherein 
liis people shall be made wilhng, is also eminently a day of 
his wrath, especially to such rulers as oppose him, or will 
not bow to him ; a day wherein he " shall strike through 
kings, and fill the places with the dead bodies, and wound 
the heads over many countries." Psalm ex. And thus it is, 
that when the Son of God gir^ds his siuo7^d njwn his 
thigh, ivith his glory and his majesty, and in his ma- 
jesty rides prosperously, because of truth, meekness, and 
righteousness, his right hand teaches him terrible things. 
It was the princes of Succoth especially, that suffered punish- 
ment, when the inhabitants of that city refused to come to 
the help of the Liord, when Gideon was pursuing after Ze- 
bah and Zalmunna ; we read that Gideon took the elders 
of the city, and thorns of the wilderness, and briers, and 
with them he taught the men of Succoth. It is especially 
taken notice of that the riders and chief men of Israel, were 
called upon to assist in the affair of bringing up the ark of 
God ; they were chiefly consulted, and were principal in the 
management of the affair. 1 Cliron. xiii. 1. " And David 
consulted with the captains of thousands and hundreds, and 
with every leader." And xv. 3.5. " So David and the elders 
of Israel, and the captains over thousands, went to bring up 
the ark of the covenant of the Lord out of the house of 
Obed-edom, AVith joy." So 2 Sam. vi. 1. And so it was 
when the ark was brought into the temple, 1 Kings viii. 1, 
3, and 2 Chron. v. 2, 4. 

And as rulers, by neglecting their duty at such a time, will 
especially expose themselves to God's great displeasure, so by 
fully acknowledging God in such a work, and by cheerfully 
and vigorously exerting themselves to promote it, they will 
especially he. in the way of receiving peculiar honors and re- 
wards at God's hands. It is noted of the princes of Israel, 
that they especially appeared to honor God with their princely 
offering, on occasion of the setting up the tabernacle of God 
in the congregation of Israel (which T have observed already 


was done at the time of the feast of tabernaclesj and was a 
type of the tabernacle of God's being with men, and his 
dwelhng with men in the latter days). And with what 
abundant particularity is it noted of each prince how much 
he offered to God on that occasion, for their everlasting 
honor, in Num. vii. ? And so with how much favor and 
honor does the Spirit of God take notice of those princes in 
Israel that came to the help of the Lord in the war against 
Sisera ? Judg. v. 9. " My heart is towards the governors of 
Israel, that offered themselves willingly among the people." 
And V. 14. ^' Out ot Machir came down governors." v. 15. 
" And the princes of Issachar were with Deborah." And in 
the account that we have of the rebuilding the wall of Jeru- 
salem, in Nehem. iii., it is particularly noted what a hand 
one and another of the rulers had in this affair ; we have 
an account that such a part of the wall was repaired by the 
ruler of the half part of Jerusalem, and such a part by the 
ruler of the other half part of Jerusalem, and such a part 
by the ruler of part of Beth-haccerem, and such a part by 
the ruler of part of Mizpah, and such a part by the ruler of 
the half part of Bethzur, and such a part by the ruler of 
Mizpah, v. 9, 12, 14, 15, 16, 19. And there it is particu- 
larly noted of the rulers of one of the cities, that they put 
not their necks to the work of the Lord, thuugh the common 
people did ; and they are stigmatized for it in the sacred re- 
cords, to their everlasting reproach, v. 5. " And next unto 
ihem the Tekoites repaired ; but their nobles put not their 
necks to the work of the Lord." So the Spirit of God, with 
special honor, takes notice of princes and rulers of several 
tribes, that assisted in bringing up the ark. Psalm Ixviii. 27. 
And I humbly desire that it may be considered whether 
we have not reason to fear that God is provoked with this 
land, that no more notice has been taken of this glorious 
work of the Lord, that has been lately carried on, by the civil 
authority ; that there has no more been done by them, as a 
public acknowledgment of God in this work, and no more 


improvement of their authority to promote it, either by ap- 
pointing a day of public thanksgiving to God, for so un- 
speakable a mercy, or a day of fasting and prayer, to humble 
ourselves before God, for our past deadne^s and unprofitable- 
ness under the means of grace, and to seek the continuance 
and increase of the tokens of his presence ; or so much as 
to enter upon any public consultation, v^hat should be done 
to advance the present revival of religion, and great reforma- 
tion that is begun in the land. Is there not danger that such 
a behavior, at such a time, will be interpreted by God, as a 
denial of Christ ? If but a new governor comes into a pro- 
vince, how much is there done, especially by those that are 
in authority, to put honor upon him, to arise, and appear 
publicly, and go forth to meet him, to address and congratu- 
late him, and with great expense to attend upon him, and 
aid him ? If the authority of the province, on such an oc- 
casion, shotild all sit still, and say and do nothing, and take 
no notice of the arrival of their new governor, would there 
not be danger of its being interpreted by him, and his prince 
that sent him, as a denial of his authority, or a refusing to 
receive him, and honor him as their governor ? And shall 
the head of the angels, and Lord of the universe, come down 
from heaven, in so wonderful a manner, into the land, and 
shall all stand at a distance, and be silent and inactive on 
such an occasion ? I would humbly lecommend it to our ru- 
lers, to consider whether God does not say to them, be wise 
now ye rulers^ be ifistructed ye judges of Neiv England ; 
kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the 

It is prophesied, Zech. xii. 8., that in the glorious day of 
the Christian church, the house of David, or the rulei-s in 
God's Israel, shall be as God, as the angel of the Lord, 
before his people. But how can such rulers expect to have 
any share in this glorious promise, that do not so much a? 
openly acknowledge God in the work of that Spirit, by 
which the glory of that day is to be accomplished ? The 


days are comiiigj so often spoken of, when the saints shall 
reign on earth, and all dominion and authority shall be given 
into their hands : but if our rulers would paitake of this 
honor, they ought, at such a day as this, to bring their glory 
and honor into the spiritual Jerusalem, agreeable to Rev. 
xxi. 24. 

But above all others, is God's eye upon ministers of the 
gospel, as expecting of them that they should arise and ac- 
knowledge and honor him in such a work as this, and do 
their utmost to encourage and promote it : for to promote 
such a work, is the very business which they are called and 
devoted to ; it is the office to which they are appointed, as 
co-workers with Christ, and as his embassadors and instru- 
ments, to awaken and convert sinner&y and establish, build 
up, and comfort saints ; it is the business they have been 
solemnly charged with, before God, angels, and men, and 
that they have given up themselves to, by the most sacred 
vows. These especially are the officers of Christ's kingdom, 
that above all other men upon earth, do represent his person, 
mto whose hands Christ has committed the sacred oracles, 
and holy ordinances, and all his appointed means of grace, 
to be administered by them ; they are the stewards of his 
household, into whose hands he has committed its provision ; 
the immortal souls of men are committed to them, as a flock 
of sheep are committed to the care of a shepherd, or as a 
master commits a treasure to the care of a servant, of which 
he must give an account : it is expected of them, above all 
others, that they should have understanding of the times, 
and know what Israel ought to do ; for it is their business to 
accjuaint themselves with things pertaining to the kingdom 
of God, and to teach and enlighten others in things of this 
nature. We that are employed in the sacred work of the 
gosi)el ministry, are the watchmen over the city, to whom 
God has committed the keys of the gates of Zion ; and if 
when tlic riglitful King of Zion comes to deliver his people 
from the eiiciiiy that oj>[)rcsscs iheni, we refuse to open the 


gates to him, how greatly shall we expose ourselves to his 
wrath ? We are appointed to be the captains of the host in 
this war ; and if a general will highly resent it in a private 
soldier, if he refuses to follow him when his banner is dis- 
played, and his trumpet blown, how much more will he re- 
sent it in the officers of his army ? The work of the gospel 
ministry, consisting in the administration of God's word and 
ordinances, is the principal means that God has appointed 
for carrying on his work on the souls of men ; and it is his 
revealed will, that whenever that glorious revival of rehgion 
and reformation of the world, so often spoken of in his word, 
is accomplished, it should be principally by the labors of his 
ministers ; and therefore how heinous will it be in the sight 
of God, if when a work of that nature is begun, we appear 
unbeheving, slow, backward, and disaffected ? There was 
no sort of persons among the Jews that was in any measure 
treated with such manifestations of God's great displeasure, 
and severe indignation, for not acknowledging Christ, and 
the work of his Spirit, in the days of Christ and his apostles, 
as the ministers of religion : see how Christ deals with them 
for it, in the twenty-third chapter of Matthew ; with what 
gentleness did Christ treat publicans and harlots, in com- 
parison of them ? 

When the tabernacle was erected in the camp of Israel, 
and God came down from heaven to dwell in it, the priests 
were, above all otliers, concerned and busily employed in the 
solemn transactions of that occasion, Levit. viii. and ix. 
And so it was at the time of the dedication of the temple of 
Solomon, 1 Kings viii., and 2 Chron. v. and vi. and vii., 
which was at the time of the feast of tabernacles, at the 
same time that the tabernacle was erected in the wilderness : 
and the Levites were primarily and most immediately con- 
cerned in bringing up the ark into mount Zion ; the busi- 
ness properly belonged to them, and the ark was carried upon 
their shoulders. 1 Chron. xv. 2. " Then David said, none 
ought to carry the ark of God but the Levites ; for them 



hath the Lord chosen to caiiy the ark of God, and to minis- 
ter unto him forever." And v. 11, 12. " And David called 
for Zadok and Abiathar, the priests, and for the I^evites, for 
Uriel, Asaiah, and Joel, Shemaiah, and Ehel,and Aminadab, 
and said unto them, ye are the chief of the fathers of the 
Levites ; sanctify yourselves, both ye and your brethren, that 
you may bring up the ark of the Lord God of Israel unto 
the place that I have prepared for it." So we have an ac- 
count that the priests led the way in rebuilding the wall of 
Jerusalem, after the Babylonish captivity, Neh. iii., at the 

If ministers preach never so good doctrine, and are never 
so painful and laborious in their work, yet, if at such a day 
as this, they show to their people, that they are not well af- 
fected to this work, but are very doubtful and ' suspicious of 
it, they will be very hkely to do their people a great deal more 
hurt than good : for the very fame of such a great and ex- 
traordinary work of God, if their people were suffered to be- 
lieve it to be his work, and the example of other towns, toge- 
ther with what preaching they might hear occasionally, would 
be hkely to have a much greater influence upon the minds of 
their people, to awaken them and animate them in religion, 
than all their labors with them : and besides their minster's 
opinion would not only beget in them a suspicion of the work 
they hear of abroad, whereby the mighty hand of God that 
appears in it, loses its influence upon their minds, but it will 
also tend to create a suspicion of every thing of the like na- 
ture, that shall appear among themselves, as being something 
of the same distemper that is become so epidemical in the 
land ; and that is, in effect, to create a suspicion of all vital 
religion, and to put the people upon talking against it, and 
discouraging it, wherever it appears, and knocking it in the 
head, as fast as it rises. And we that are ministers, by look- 
ing on this work, from year to year, with a displeased coun- 
tenance, shall effectually keep the sheep from their pasture, 
instead of doing the part of shepherds to them, by feeding 


them ; and our j3eople had a great deal better be without any 
settled minister at all, at such a day as this. 

We that are in this sacred office, had need to take heed 
what we do, and how we behave ourselves at this time : a 
less thing in a minister will hinder the work of God, than in 
others. If we are very silent, or say but little about the work, 
in our pubUc prayers and preaching, or seem carefully to 
avoid speaking of it in our conversation, it will, and justly 
may be interpreted by our people, that we who are their 
guides, to whom they are to have their eye for spiritual in- 
struction, are suspicious of it; and this will tend to raise the 
same suspicions in them ; and so the fore-mentioned conse- 
quences will follow. And if we really hinder, and stand in 
the way of the work of God, whose business above all others 
it is to promote it, how can we expect to partake of the glo- 
rious benefits of it 7 And by keeping others from the benefit 
of it, we shall keep them out of heaven ; therefore those aw- 
ful words of Christ to the Jewish teachers should be consi- 
dered by us, Mat. xxiii. 13. "Wo unto you, for you shut 
up the kingdom of heaven ; for ye neither go in yourselves, 
neither suffer ye them that are entering, to go in." If we 
keep the slieep from their pasture, how shall we answer it to 
the great Shepherd, that has bought the flock with his pre- 
cious blood, and has committed the care of them to us ? I 
would humbly desire of every minister that has thus long re- 
mained disaffected to this work, and has had contemptible 
thoughts of it, to consider whether he has not hitherto been 
hke Michal without any child, or at least in a great measure 
barren and unsuccessful in his work : T pray God it may not 
be a perpetual barrenness as hers was. 

The times of Christ's remarkably appearing in behalf of 
his church, and to revive religion, and advance his kingdom 
in the world, are often spoken of in the prophecies of scripture, 
as times wherein he will remarkably execute judgments on 
such ministers or shepherds, as do not feed the flock, but 
hinder their being fed, and so deliver his flock fi-om them, as 


Jer. xxiii. thionghout, and Ezek. xxxiv. throughout, and 
Zech. X. 3, and Isa. Ivi. 7, 8, 9, (fee. I observed before, 
that Christ's solemn, magnificent, entry into Jerusalem, 
seems to be designed as a representation of his glorious 
coming into his church, the spiritual Jerusalem ; and 
therefore it is worthy to be noted, to our present pur- 
pose, that Christ at that time, cast out all them that sold 
and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables (»f the 
money-changers, and the seats of them that sold doves ; 
signifying that when he should come to set up his kingdom 
on earth, he would cast out those out of his house, who, in- 
stead of being faitliful ministers, officiated there only for 
worldly gain ; not that I determine that all ministers that are 
suspicious of this work, do so ; but I mention these things to 
show that it is to be expected, that a time of a glorious out- 
pouring of the Spirit of God to revive rehgion, will be a time 
of remarkable judgments on those ministers that do not serve 
the end of their ministry. 

The example of the unbelieving lord in Samaria, should 
especially be for the warning of ministers and rulers. At the 
time when God turned an extreme famine into a great 
plenty, by a wonderful work of his, the king appointed this 
lord to have the charge of the gate of the city ; where he 
saw the common people, in multitudes, entering with great 
joy and gladness, loaden with provision, to feed and feast 
their almost famished bodies ; but he himself, though he saw 
it with his eyes, never had one taste of it, but being weak 
with famine, sunk down in the crowd, and was trodden to 
death, as a punishment of God, for his not giving credit to 
that great and wonderful work of God, when sufficiently 
manifested to him, to require his behef. Ministers are those 
that the King of the church has appointed to have the charge 
of the gate, at which his people enter into the kingdom of 
heaven, there to be entertained and satisfied with an eternal 
feast ; ministers have the charge of the house of God, which 
is the gate of heaven. 


Ministers should especially take heed of a spirit of envy to- 
wards other ministers, that God is pleased to make more 
use of to carry on this work, than they ; and that they do 
not, from such a spirit, reproach some preachers, that have 
the true spirit, as though they were influenced by a false spi- 
rit or were bereft of reason, and were mad, and were proud, 
false pretenders, and deserved to be put in prison, or the 
stocks, as disturbers of the peace ; lest they expose themselves 
to the curse of Shemaiah, the Nehelamite, who envied the 
prophet Jeremiah, and in this manner reviled him, in his let- 
ter to Zephaniah the priest, Jer. xxix. 26, 27. " The Lord 
hath made thee priest, in the stead of Jehoiada the priest, 
that ye should be officers in the house of the Lord, for every 
man that is mad, and maketh himself a prophet, that thou 
shouldst put him in prison, and in the stocks. Now there- 
fore, why hast thou not reproved Jeremiah of Anathoth, 
which maketh himself a prophet to you ?" His curse is de- 
nounced in V. 32. " Therefore, thus saith the Lord, behold, 
I will punish Shemaiah the Nehelamite, and his seed ; he 
shall not have a man to dwell among his people, neither 
shall he behold the good that I will do for my people, saith 
the Lord, because he hath taught rebellion against the 
Lord." All those that are others' superiors or elders, should 
take heed that at this day they be not like the elder brother, 
who could not ^ear it, that the prodigal should be made so 
much of, and should be so sumptuously entertained, and 
would not join in the joy of the feast : was like Michal, 
Saul's daughter, offended at the music and dancing that he 
heard ; the transports of joy displeased him ; it seemed to 
him to be an unseemly and unseasonable noise and ado, that 
was made; and therefore stood at a distance, sullen, and 
much offended, and full of invectives against the young 

It is our wisest and best way, fully, and without reluc- 
tance, to bow to the great God in this work, and to be en- 
tirely resigned to him, with respect to the manner in which 


he carries it on, and tlie instruments he is pleased to make use 
of, and not to show ourselves out of humor, and suUenl}^ to re- 
fuse to acknowledge the work, in the full glory of it, because 
we have not had so great a hand in promoting it, or have 
not shared so largely in the blessings of it, as some others ; 
and not to refuse to give all that honor that belongs to others, 
as instruments, because they are young, or are upon other 
accounts much inferior to ourselves, and many others, and 
may appear to us very unworthy, that God should put so 
much honor upon them. When God comes to accomplish 
any great work for his church, and for the advancement of 
the kingdom of his Son, he always fulfills that scripture, Isa. 
ii. 17. " And the loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and 
the haughtiness of men shall be made low, and the Lord 
alone shall be exalted in that day." If God has a design of 
carrying on this work, every one, whether he be great or 
small, must either bow to it, or be broken before it. It may 
be expected that God's hand will be upon every thing that is 
high, and stiff, and strong in opposition, as in Isa. ii. 12, 13, 
14, 15. "For the day of the Lord of hosts, shall be upon 
every one that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is 
lifted up, and he shall be brought low ; and upon all the 
cedars of Lebanon, that are high and lifted up, and upon all 
the oaks of Bashan, and upon all the high mountains, and 
upon all the hills that are hfted up, and upon every high 
tower, and upon every fenced wall." 

Not only magistrates and ministers, but every living soul, 
is now obhged to arise and acknowledge God in this work, 
and put to his hand to promote it, as they would not expose 
themselves to God's curse. All sorts of persons, throughout 
the whole congregation of Israel, great and small, rich and 
poor, men and women, helped to build the tabernacle in the 
wilderness ; some in one way, others in another, each one 
according to his capacity : every one whose heart stirred him 
up, and every one whom his Spirit made willing ; all sorts 
contributed, and all sorts were employed in that affair, in la- 


bors of their hands, both men and women : some brought 
gold and silver, others blue, purple, and scarlet, and fine 
linen ; others offered an offering of brass ; others, with whom 
was found shittim-wood, brought it an offering to the Lord : 
the rulers brought onyx-stones, and spice, and oil ; and some 
brought goats' Jiair, and some rams' skins, and others badgers' 
skins. See Exod. xxxv. 20, &c. And we are told, v. 29., 
" The children of Israel brought a wiUing offering unto the 
Lord, every man and woman, whose heart made them will- 
ing." And thus it ought to be in this day of building the 
tabernacle of God ; with such a wilUng and cheerful heart 
ought every man, woman, and child, to do something to 
promote this work : those that have not onyx-stone, or are 
not able to bring gold or silver, yet may bring goats' hair. 

As all sorts of persons were employed in building the ta- 
bernacle in the wilderness, so the whole congregation of 
Israel were called together to set up the tabernacle in Shiloh, 
after they came into Canaan, Josh, xviii. 1. And so again 
the whole congregation of Israel were gathered together, to 
bring up the ark of God from Kirjath-jearim ; and again, 
they were all assembled to bring it up out of the house of 
Obed-edom into mount Zion ; so again, all Israel met to- 
gether to assist in the great affair of the dedication of the 
temple, and bringing the ark into it : so we have an account 
how that all sorts assisted in the rebuilding the wall of Jeru- 
salem, not only the proper inhabitants of Jerusalem, but 
those that dwelt in other parts of the land ; not only the 
priests and rulers, but the Nethinims and merchants, hus- 
bandmen and mechanics, and women, Neh. iii. 5, 12, 26, 
31, 32. And we have an account of one and another, that 
he repaired over against his house, v. 10, and 23, 28., and of 
one that repaired over against his chamber, v. 30. So now, 
at this time of the rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem, every 
one ought to promote the work of God within his own 
sphere, and by doing what belongs to him, in the place in 
which God has set him : men in a private capacity may re- 


pair over against their houses ; and even those that have 
not the government of families, and have but part of a house 
belonging to them, should repair, each one, over against his 
chamber : and every one should be engaged to do the ut- 
most that lies in his power, laboring with the utmost watch- 
fulness, care, and diligence, with united hearts, and united 
strength, and the greatest readiness, to assist one another in 
this work : as- God's people rebuilt the wall of Jerusalem^ 
who were so diligent in the work that they wrought from 
break of day till the stars appeared, and did not so much as 
put off their clothes in the night, and wrought with that care 
and watchfulness, that with one hand they wrought in the 
work, and with the other hand held a weapon, besides the 
guard they set to defend them, and were so well united in it, 
that they took care that one should stand ready^ with a 
trumpet in his hand, that if any were assaulted in one part, 
those in the other parts, at the sound of the trumpet, might 
resort to them, and help them, Neh. iv., at the latter end. 

Great care should be taken that the press should be im- 
proved to no purpose contrary to the interest of this work. 
We read that when God fought against Sisera, for the de- 
liverance of his oppressed church, they that haiidle the pen 
of the writer came to the help of the Lord in that affair, 
Judg. V. 14. Whatever sort of men in Israel they were that 
were intended, yet as the w^ords were indited by a Spirit that 
had a perfect view of all events to the end of the world, and 
had a special eye in this song, to that great event of the de- 
liverance of God's church, in the latter days, of which this 
deUverance of Israel was a type, it is not unlikely that they 
have respect to authors, those that should fight against the 
kingdom of Satan, with their pens. Those therefore that 
publish pamphlets to the disadvantage of this work, and 
tending either directly or indirectly to bring it under suspi- 
cion, and to discourage or hinder it, would do well thoroughly 
to consider whether this be not indeed the work of God, and 
whether, if it be, it is not likely that God will go forth as 


rlre, to consume all that stands in his way, and so burn up 
those pamphlets ; and whether there be not danger that tlie 
lire that is kindled in them, will scorcli the authors. 

When a people oppose Christ in the work of his Holy 
Spirit, it is because it touches them in something that is dear 
to their carnal minds, and because they see the tendency ol 
it is to cross their pride, and deprive them of the objects of 
their lusts. We should take heed that at this day we be not 
like the Gadarenes, who, when Christ came into their coun- 
try in the exercise of his glorious power and grace, triumph- 
ing over a legion of devils, and dehvering a miserable crea- 
ture, that had long been their captive, were all alarmed, 
because they lost their swine by it, and the whole multitude 
of the country came and besought him to depart out of their 
coasts : they loved their filthy swine better than Jesus Christ, 
and had rather have a legion of devils in their country, with 
their herd of swine, than Jesus Christ without them. 

This work may be opposed, not only by directly speaking 
against the whole of it : persons may say that they believe 
there is a good work carried on in the country, and may 
sometimes bless God, in their public prayers, in general terms, 
for any awakenings or revivals of religion there have lately 
been in any part of the land, and may pray that God 
would carry on his own Avork, and pour out his Spirit 
more and more ; and yet, as I apprehend, be in the sight 
of God great opposers of his work : some will express 
themselves after this manner, that are so far from acknow- 
ledging and rejoicing in the inCmite mercy and glorious 
grace of God, in causing so happy a change in the land, 
that they look upon the religious state of the country, take 
it in the whole of it, much more sorrowful than it was ten 
years ago, and whose conversation, to those that a,re well ac- 
quainted with them, evidently shows that they are more out 
of humor with the state of things, and enjoy themselves 
less, than they did before ever this work began. If it be 
manifestly thus witli us, and our talk nud behavior with 



respect to this work be siicli as has (though but) an indirect 
tendency to beget ill thoughts and suspicions in others con- 
cerning it, we are opposers of the work of God. 

Instead of coming to the help of the Lord, we shall act- 
ually fight against him, if we are abundant in insisting on 
and setting forth the blemishes of the work, so as to manifest 
that we rather choose, and are more forward to take notice 
of what is amiss, than what is good and glorious in the 
work. Not but that the errors that are committed, ought to 
be observed and lamented, and a proper testimony borne 
against them, and the most probable means should be used 
to have them amended ; but an insisting much upon them, 
as though it were a pleasing theme, or speaking of them with 
more appearance of heat of spirit, or with ridicule, or an air 
of contempt, than grief for them, has no tendency to correct 
the errors, but has a tendency to darken the glory of God's 
power and grace, appearing in the substance of the work, 
and to beget jealousies and ill thoughts in the minds of others 
concerning the whole of it. Whatever erroi's many zealous 
persons have run into, yet if the work, in the substance of it, 
be the work of God, then it is a joyful day indeed ; it is so 
in heaven, and ought to be so among God's people on earth, 
especially in that part of the earth where this glorious work 
is carried on. It is a day of great rejoicing with Christ him- 
self : the good Shepherd, when he finds his sheep that was 
lost, lays it on his shoulders rejoicing, and calls together his 
friends and neighbors, saying, Rejoice with me : if we there- 
fore are Christ's friends, now it should be a day of great re- 
joicing with us. If we viewed things in a just light, so great 
an event as the conversion of such a multitude of sinners, 
would draw and engage our attention much more than all 
the imprudencies and irregularities that have been ; ouv 
hearts would be swallowed up with the glory of this event, 
and we should have no great disposition to attend to any 
thing else. The imprudencies and errors of poor feeble 
worms, do not hinder or prevent great rejoicing, in the pre- 
<?pncft of the angel? of God, over so many poor sinners that 


have repented, and it will be an argument of something very 
ill in us, if they prevent our rejoicing. 

Who loves, in a day of great joy and gladness, to be much 
insisting on those things that are uncomfortable ? Would it 
not be very improper, on a king's coronation da}^, to be much 
in taking notice of the blemishes of the royal family ? Or 
would it be agreeable to the bridegroom, on the day of his 
espousals, the day of the gladness of his heart, to be much 
insisting on the blemishes of his bride ? We have an account 
how that, at the time of that joyful dispensation of Provi- 
dence, the restoration of the church of Israel after the Ba- 
bylonish captivit}^, and at the time of the feast of taberna- 
cles, many wept at the faults that were found amongst the 
people, but were reproved for taking so much notice of the 
blemishes of that affair, as to overlook the cause of rejoicing. 
Neh. viii. 9, 10, 11, 12. "And Nehemiah, which is the Tir- 
shatha, and Ezra the priest, the scribe, and the Levites that 
taught the people, said unto all the people. This day is holy 
unto the Lord your God, mourn not nor weep ; for all the 
people wept when they heard the words of the law. Then 
he said unto them, go your way, eat the fat, and drink the 
sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is 
prepared, for this day is holy unto our Lord ; neither be you 
sorry, for the joy of the Lord is your strength. So the liC 
vites stilled all the people, saying, hold your peace, for the 
day is holy, neither be ye grieved. And all the people went 
their way, to eat, and to drink, and to send portions, and to 
make great mirth, because they had understood the words 
that were declared unto them." 

God doubtless now expects that all sorts of persons in 
New England, rulers, ministers and people, high and low. 
rich and poor, old and young, should take great notice of his 
hand in this mighty work of his grace, and should appear 
to acknowledge his glory in it, and greatly to rejoice in it, 
every one doing his utmost, in the place that God has set 
them in. to promote it. And God, according to his wonder- 


ful patience, seems to be still waiting to give us opportuniiy 
thus to acknowledge and honor him. But if we finall}'- re- 
fuse, there is not the least reason to expect any other, than 
that his awful curse will pursue us, and that the pourings 
out of his wrath will be proportionable to the despised out- 
pourings of his Spirit and grace. 




This work that has lately been carried on in the land, is 
the work of God, and not the work of man. Its beginning 
lias not been of man's power or device, and its being carried 
on depends not on our strength or wisdom ; but yet God ex- 
pects of all, that they should use their utmost endeavors to pro- 
mote it, and that the hearts of all should be greatly engaged in 
this affair, and that we should improve our utmost strength in 
it, however vain human strength is without the power of God : 
and so he no less requires that we should improve our utmost 
care, wisdom, and prudence, though human wisdom, of itself, 
be as vain as human strength. Though God is wont to 
carry on such a work, in such a manner, as many ways to 
show the weakness and vanity of means and human en- 
deavors in themselves, yet at the same time he carries it on 
in such a manner as to encourage dihgence and vigilance in 
the use of proper means and endeavors, and to punish the 
neglect of them. Therefore, in our endeavors to promote 
this great work, we ought to use the utmost caution, vigi- 
lance, and skill, in the measures we take in order to it. A 
great affair should be managed with great prudence : this i;^ 
the most important affair that ever New England was called 
to be concerned in. When a people are engaged in war 


with a powerful and crafty nation, it concerns tliem to ma- 
nage an affair of such consequence with the utmost discre- 
tion. Of what vast importance then must it be, that we 
should be vigilant and prudent in the management of this 
great war that New England now has, with so great a host 
of such subtle and cruel enemies, wherein we must either 
conquer or be conquered, and the consequence of the victory 
on one side, will be our eternal destruction, in both soul and 
body in hell, and on the other side, our obtaining the king- 
dom of heaven, and reigning in it in eternal glory ? We 
had need always to stand on our watch, and to be well 
versed in the art of war, and not to be ignorant of the de- 
vices of our enemies, and to take heed lest by any means we 
be beguiled through their subtlety. 

Thoifgh the devil be strong, yet in such a war as this, he 
depends more on his craft than his strength : and the course 
he has chiefly taken, from time to time, to clog, hinder, and 
overthrow revivals of religion in the cliurch of God, has 
been by his subtle, deceitful management, to beguile and 
mislead those that have been engaged therein ; and in such 
a course God has been pleased, in his holy and sovereign 
providence, to suffer him to succeed, oftentimes, in a great 
measure, to overthrow that which, in its beginning, appeared 
most hopeful and glorious. The work that is now begun in 
New England, is, as I have shown, eminently glorious, and 
if it should go on and prevail, would make New England a 
kind of heaven upon earth : is it not, therefore, a thousand 
pities, that it should be overthrown, through wrong and im- 
proper management, that we are led into by our subtle ad- 
versary, in our endeavors to promote it ? 

In treating of the methods that ought to be taken to pro 
mote this work, I would, 

Firsts Take notice, in some instances, wherein fault has 
been found with the conduct of those that have appeared to 
be the subjects of it, or have been zealous to promote it (a? 
I apprehend) beyond just cause. 


l^econdly^ I would show wliat things ought to be col- 
lected or avoided. 

Thirdly^ I would show positively what ought to be done 
to promote thid glorious work of God. 

I. I would take notice of some things at which offense has 
been taken without, or beyond just cause. 


The objection that ministers address themselves to the 
affections^ rather than the understanding. 

One thing that has been complained of, is ministers' ad- 
dressing themselves rather to the affections of their hearers, 
than to their undei standings, and striving to raise their pas- 
sions to the utmost height, rather by a very affectionate 
manner of speaking, and a great appearance of earnestness, 
in voice and gesture, than by clear reasoning, and informing 
their judgment ; by which means it is objected that the af- 
fections are moved without a proportionable enlightening of 
the understanding. 

To which I would say, I am far from thinking that it is 
not very profitable for ministers, in their preaching, to en- 
deavor clearly and distinctly to explain the doctrines of reli- 
gion, and unravel the difficulties that attend them, and to 
confirm them with strength of reason and argumentation, 
and also to observe some easy and clear method and order in 
their discourses, for the help of the understanding and me- 
mory ; and it is very probable that these things have been 
of late too much neglected by many ministers ; yet I believe 
that the objection that is made, of afTections raised without 
enlightening the understanding, is in a great measure built 
on a mistake, and confused notions ttiat some have about 
the nature and cause of the aflections, and the manner in 


which they depend on the understanding. All afiections are 
raised either by light in the under standing ^ or by some er- 
ror and delusion in the understanding ; for all affections 
do certainly arise from some apprehension in the understand- 
ing, and that apprehension must either be agreeble to truth, 
or else be some mistake or delusion ; if it be an apprehen- 
sion or notion that it is agreeable to truth, then it is light in 
the understanding. Therefore the thing to be inquired 
into is, whether the apprehensions or notions of divine and 
eternal things, that are raised in people's minds by these af- 
fectionate preachers, whence their affections are excited, be 
apprehensions that are agreeable to truth, or whether they 
are mistakes. If the former, then the affections are raised 
the way they should be, viz. by informing the mind, or con- 
veying light to the understanding. They go away with a 
wrong notion, that think that those preachers cannot affect 
their hearers by enlightening their understanding, that do 
not do it by such a distinct and learned handling of the doc- 
trinal points of, religion as depends on human discipline, or 
the strength of natural reason, and tends to enlarge their 
hearers' learning and speculative knowledge in divinity. 
The manner of preaching without this may be such as shall 
tend very much to set divine and eternal things in a right 
view, and to give the hearers such ideas and apprehensions 
of them as are agreeable to truth, and such impressions on 
their htarts as are answerable to the real nature of things : 
and not only the words that are spoken, but the manner of 
speaking, is one thing that has a great tendency to this. I 
think an exceeding affectionate way of preaching about the 
great things of religion, has in itself no tendency to beget 
false apprehensions of them ; but on the contrary, a much 
greater tendency to beget true apprehensions of them, than 
a moderate, dull, indifferent way of speaking of them. An 
appearance of affection and earnestness in the manner of 
delivery, if it be very great indeed, yet if it be agreeable to 
the nature of the subject, and be not beyond a proportion tr> 


its importance and worthiness of affection, and there be no 
appearance of its bein^^ feigned or forced, has so much the 
greater tendency to beget true ideas or apprehensions in the 
minds of the hearers of the subject spoken of, and so to en- 
lighten the understanding ; and that for this reason, that 
such a way or manner of speaking of these things does in 
fact more truly represent thein, than a more cold and indif- 
ferent way of speaking of them. If the subject be in its 
own nature worthy of very great affection, then a speaking 
of it with very great affection is most agreeable to the nature 
of that subject, or is the truest representation of it, and 
therefore has most of a tendency to beget true ideas of it in 
the minds of those to whom the representation is made. 
And I do not think ministers are to be blamed for raising the 
affections of their hearers too high, if that w^iich they are 
affected with be only that which is worthy of affection, and 
their affections are not raised beyond a proportion to their 
importance or worthiness of affection. I should think my- 
self in the way of my duty to raise the affections of ray 
hearers as high as possibly I can, provided that they are af- 
fected with nothing but truth, and with affections that are 
not disagreeable to the nature of what they are affected with. 
I know it has long been fashionable to despise a very earnest 
and pathetical way of preaching ; and they, and they only, 
have been valued as preachers, that have shown the greatest 
extent of learning, and strength of reason, and correctness 
of method and language ; but I humbly conceive it has 
been for want of understanding, or duly considering human 
nature, that such preaching htis been thought to have the 
greatest tendency to answer the ends of preaching ; and the 
experience of the present and past ages abundantly confirms 
the same. Though, as I said before, clearness of distinction 
and illustration, and strength of reason, and a good method, 
in the doctrinal handhng of the truths of religion, is many 
ways needful and profitable, and not to be neglected, yet an 
increase in speculative knowledge in divinity, is not what is 



SO much needed by our people, as something else. Men 
may abound in this sort of light, and have no heat. How 
much has there been of this sort of knowledge, in the Chris- 
tian world, in this age ! Was there ever an age wherein 
strength and penetration of reason, extent of learning, ex- 
actness of distinction, correctness of style, and clearness of 
expression, did so abound ? And yet was there ever an age 
wherein there has been so little sense of the evil of sin, so 
little love to God, heavenly mindedness, and holiness of hfe, 
among the professors of the true religion ? Our people do 
not so much need to have their heads stored, as to have their 
hearts touched ; and they stand in the greatest need of that 
sort of preaching that has the greatest tendency to do this. 
Those texts, Isa. Iviii. 1. " Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy 
voice like a trumpet, and show my people their transgres- 
sion, and the house of Jacob their sins." And Ezek. vi. 11. 
" Thus saith the Lord God, Smite with thine hand, and 
stamp with thy foot, and say, Alas, for all the evil abomina- 
tion of the house of Israel !" I say these texts (however 
the use that some have made of them has been laughed at) 
will fully justify a great degree of pathos, and manifestation 
of. zeal and fervency in preaching the word of God : they 
may indeed be abused, to justify that which would be odd 
and unnatural, amongst us, not making due allowance for 
difference of manners and custom, in different ages and na- 
tions ; but let us interpret them how we will, they at least 
imply, that a most affectionate and earnest manner of deli- 
very, in many cases, becomes a preacher of God's word. 

Preaching of the word of God is commonly spoken of in 
scripture in such expressions as seem to import a loud antl 
earnest speaking ; as in Isa. xl. 2. " Speak ye comfortably 
to Jerusalem, and cry unto hei', that her iniquity is par- 
doned." And V. 3. " The voice of him that crieth in the wil- 
derness, prepare ye the way of the Lord." v. 7. "The voice 
said cry. And he said, what shall I cry 7 All flesh is grass, 
and all the goodUness thereof, as the llower of the field." Jer. 


ii. 2. " Go and cry in tlie ears of Jerusalem, saying, Thus 
saith tfie Lord, dec." Jonah i. 2. " Arise, go to Nineveh, that 
great city, and cry against it." Isa. Ixi. 1, 2. " The Spirit of 
the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord hath anointed 
me, to preach good tidings to the meek, to proclaim liberty 
to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that 
are bound, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and 
the year of vengeance of our God." Isa. Ixii. IL "Behold, 
the Lord hath proclaimed unto the end of the world, Say ye 
to the daughter of Zion, Behold, thy slavation cometh, (fcc." 
Rom. 'x. 18. " Their sound went into all the earth, and theii- 
words to the end of the world." Jer. xi. 6. '' Proclaim all 
these words in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jeru- 
salem, saying, Hear yc the words of this covenant, and do 
them." So chap. xix. 2. and vii. 2. Prov. viii. 1. " Doth not 
wisdom cry, and understanding put forth her voice ?" v. 3, 4. 
" She crieth at the gates, at the entry of the city, at the com- 
ing in at the doors ; unto you, O men, I call, and my voice 
is to the sons of men ?" And chap; i. 20. "Wisdom crieth 
without, she uttereth her voice in the streets." chap. ix. 3. 
" She hath sent forth her maidens, she crieth upon the high 
places of the city." John vii. 37. " In the last day, that great 
day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying. If any man 
thirst, let him come unto me and drink." 

It seems to be foretold, that %e gospel should be especially 
preached in a loud and earnest manner, at the introduction 
of the prosperous state of religion, in the latter days. Isa. xl. 
9. " O Zion, that bringeth good tidings, get thee up into the 
high mountain ! O Jerusalem, that bringeth good tidings, 
hft up thy voice with strength ! lift up and be not afraid ! 
Say unto the cities of Judah, behold your God !" Isa. hi. 7, 
8. "How beautiful upon the mountains, are the feet of him 
that bringeth good tidings ! Thy watchmen shall lift up the 
voice." Isa. xxvii. 13. " And it shall come to pass, in that 
day, that the great trumpet shall be blown, and they shall 
come which were ready to perish." And this will be one 


way, that the church of God will cry at that time, Hke a 
travailing woman, wlien Christ mystical is going, to be 
brought forth ; as Rev. 12. at the beginning. It will be by 
ministers, that are her mouth : and it will be tips way that 
Christ will then cry, like a travailing woman, as in Isa. xhi. 
14. " I have long time holden my peace : I have been still 
and refrained myself; now will I cry, like a travailing wo- 
man." Christ cries by his ministers, and the church cries 
by her officers. And it is worthy to be noted, that the word 
commonly used in the new testament, that we translate 
f reach, properly signifies to proclaim aloud like a crier. 


Ministei^s blamed for speaking terror to those who are 
already under great terrors. 

Another thing that some ministers have been greatly 
blamed for, and I think unjustlyj is speaking terror to them 
that are already under great terrors, instead of comforting 
them. Indeed, if ministers in sucl>a case go about to terrify 
persons with that which is not true, or to affright them by 
representing their case wors# than it is, or in any respect 
otherwise than it is, they are to the condemned ; but if they 
terrify them ordy by still holding forth more light to them, 
and giving them to understand more of the truth of their 
case, they are altogether to be justified. When siimers' con- 
sciences are greatly awakened by the Spirit of God, it is by 
light imparted to the conscience, enabling them to see their 
case to be, in some measare, as it is ; and if more light be 
let in, it will terrify them still more : but ministers are not 
therefore to be blamed that they endeavor to hold forth more 
light to the conscience, and do not rather alleviate the pain 
they are under, by intercepting and obstructing that light 


that shines aheady. To say anything to those who liave 
never beheved in the Lord Jesus Christ, to represent their 
case any otherwise than exceeding terrible, is not to preach 
the word of God to them ; for the word of God reveals no- 
thing but truth, but this is to delude them. Why should we 
be afraid to let persons that are in an infinitely miserable 
condition, know the truth, or bring them into the hght, for 
fear it should terrify them ? It is light that must convert them, 
if ever they are converted. The more we bring sinners into 
the light, while they are miserable, and the light is terrible 
to them, the more likely it is, that by and by the light will 
be joyful to them. The ease, peace, and comfort, that natu- 
ral men enjoy, have their foundation in darkness and blind- 
ness ; therefore as that darkness vanishes, and light 
comes in, their peace vanishes, and they are terrified : but 
that is no good argument why we should endeavor to hold 
their darkness, that we may uphold their comfort. The 
truth is, that as long as men reject Christ, and do not saving- 
ly believe in him, however they may be awakened, and how- 
ever strict, and conscientious, and laborious they may be in re- 
ligion, they have the wrath of God abiding on them, they are 
his enemies, and the children of the devil ; (as the scripture 
calls all that be not savingly converted, Mat. xiii. 38. 1 John 
iii. 10.), and it is uncertain v/hether they shall ever obtain 
mercy : God is under no obligation to show them mercy, 
nor will he be if they fast and pray and cry never so much ; 
and they are then especially provoking God under those ter- 
rors, that they stand it out against Christ, and will not ac- 
cept of an offered Savior, though they see so much need 
of him : and seeing this is the truth, they should be told so, 
that they may be sensible what their case indeed is. 

To blame a minister for thus declaring the trutli to those 
who are under awakenings, and not immediately administer- 
ing comfort to them, is like blaming a surgeon, because 
when he has begun to thrust in his lance, whereby he has 
already put his patient to great pain, and he shrinks and 


cries out with anguish, he is so cruel that he will not slay 
his hand, but goes on to thrust it in further, till he conies to 
the core of the wound. Such a compassionate physician, 
who as soon as his patient began to flinch, should withdraw 
his hand, and go about immediately to apply a plaster, to 
skin over the wound, and leave the core untouched, would 
be one that would heal the hurt slightly, crying Peace, peace, 
when there is no peace. 

Indeed something else besides terror is to be preached to 
them, whose consciences are awakened. The gospel is to be 
preached to them : they are to be told that there is a Savior 
provided, that is excellent and glorious, who has shed his 
precious blood for sinners, and is every way sufficient to save 
them, that stands ready to receive them, if they will heartily 
embrace him ; for this is also the truth, as well as that they 
now are in an infinitely dreadful condition : this is the word 
of God. Sinners at the same time that they are told how 
miserable tlieir case is, should be earnestly invited to come 
and accept of a Savior, and yield their hearts unto him, with 
all the winning, encouraging arguments, for them so to do, 
that the gospel afibrds : but this is to induce them to escape 
from the misery of the condition that they are now in : but 
not to make them think their present condition less misera- 
ble than it is, or at all to abate their uneasiness and distress, 
while they are in it : that would be the way to quiet them, 
and fasten them in it, and not to excite them to fly from it. 
Comfort, in one sense, is to be held forth, to sinners under 
awakenings of conscience, i. e. comfort is to be offered to them 
in Clirist, on condition of their flying from their prcsoit 
miserable state^ to him : but comfort is not to be adminis- 
tered to them, in their present state, as any thing that they 
have now any title to, or while out of Christ. No comfort is 
to be administered to them, from any thing in them, ixny of 
their qualifications, prayers, or other performances, past, pre- 
sent, or future ; but ministers should, in such cases, strive to 
their utmost to take all such comforts from them, though it 


greatly increases tlieir tenor. A person tliat sees himself 
ready to sink into hell, is ready to strive, some way or other, 
to lay God under some obligation to him ; but he is to be 
beat off from every thing of that nature, though it greatly in- 
creases his terror to see himself wholly destitute, on every 
side, of any refuge, or any thing of his own to lay hold of; 
as a man that sees himself in danger of drowning, is in ter- 
ror, and endeavors to catch hold on every twig within his 
reach; and he that pulls away those twigs from him, increases 
his terror ; yet if they are insufficient to save him, and by 
being in his way, prevent his looking to that which will save 
him, to pull them away is necessary to save his life. 

If sinners are in any distress, from any error that they em- 
brace, or mistake they are under, that is to be removed : for 
instance, if they are in terror from an apprehension that they 
have committed the unpardonable sin, or that those things 
have happened to them that are certain signs of reprobation, 
or any other delusion, such terrors have no tendency to do 
them any good ; for these terrors are from temptation, and 
not from conviction : but that terror which arises from con- 
viction, or a sight of truth, is to be increased ; for those that 
are most awakened, have great remaining stupidity, they 
have a sense of but httle of that which is ; and it is from re- 
maining blindness and darkness, that they see no more ; and 
that remaining blindness is a disease, that we ought to en- 
deavor to remove. T am not afraid to tell sinners, that are 
most sensible of their misery, that their case is indeed as mi- 
serable as they think it to be, and a thousand times more so ; 
for this is the truth. Some may be ready to say that though 
it be the truth, yet the truth is not to be spoken at all times, 
and seems not to bo seasonal)le then : but it seems to me, 
such truth is never more seasonable than at such a time, 
Avhen Christ is beginning to open the eyes of conscience. 
Ministers ought to act as co-workers with him ; to take that 
opportunity, and to the utmost to improve that advantage, 
and strike while the iron is hot, and when the lisht has be- 


gun to shine, then to remove all obstacles, and use all proper 
means, that it may come in more fully, and the work be done 
thoroughly then. And experience abundantly shows, that 
to take this course, is not of a hurtful tendency, but very 
much the contrary : I have seen, in very many instances, 
the happy effects of it, and oftentimes a very speedy happy 
issue, and never knew any ill consequence, in case of real 
conviction, and when distress has been only from thence. 

I know of but one case, wherein the truth ought to be 
withheld from sinners in distress of conscience, and that is 
the case of melancholy : and it is not to be withheld from 
them then, because the truth tends to do them hurt, but be- 
cause if we speak the truth to them, sometimes they will be 
deceived, and led into error by it, through that strange dispo- 
sition there is in them, to take things wrong. So that that 
which, as it is spoken, is truth ; as it is heard and received, 
and applied by them, is falsehood ; as it will be, unless the 
truth be spoken with abundance of caution and prudence, 
and consideration of their disposition and circumstances. But 
the most awful truths of God's word ought not to be with- 
held from public congregations, because it may happen that 
some such melancholic persons may be in it ; any more than 
the Bible is to be withheld from the Christian world, because 
it is manifest that there are a great many melancholic, per- 
sons in Christendom, that exceedingly abuse the awful things 
contained in the scripture, to their own wounding. Nor do 
I think that to be of weight, which is made use of by some, 
as a great and dreadful objection against the terrifying 
preaching that has of late been in New England, viz. that 
there have been some instances of melancholic persons that 
have so abused it, that the issue has been the murder of 
themselves. The objection from hence is no stronger against 
awakening preaching, than it is against the Bible itself. 
There arc hundreds, and probably thousands of instances, 
might l)e produced, of persons that have murdered them- 
selves, under religious melancholy : these murders probably 


never would liavc been, if it had not been for the Bible, or if 
the world had remained in a state of heathenish darkness. 
The Bible has not only been the occasion of these sad effects, 
but of thousands; and I suppose millions, of other cruel mur- 
dersj that have been committed, in the persecutions that have 
been raised, that never would have been, if it had not been 
for the Bible. Many whole countries have been, as it were, 
deluged with innocent blood, whicii would not have been, if 
the gospel never had been preached in the world. It is not 
a good objection against any kind of preaching, that some 
men abuse it greatly to their hurt. It has been acknowledged 
by all divines, as a thing common in all ages, and all Chris- 
tian countries, that a very great part of those that sit under 
the gospel, do so abuse it, that it only proves an occasion of 
their far more aggravated damnation, and so of men's eter- 
nally murdering their souls ; whicli is an effect infinitely 
more terrible than the murder of their bodies. It is as un- 
just to lay the blame of these sclf-inurders to those ministers 
who have declared the awful truths of God's word, in the 
most lively and affecting manner they were capable of, as it 
would be to lay the blame of hardening men's hearts, and 
blinding their eyes, and their mure dreadful eternal damna- 
tion, to the prophet Isaiah, or Jesus Christ, because this was 
the consequence of their preaching, with respect to many of 
their hearers. Isa. vi. 10. John ix. 39. Mat. xiii. 14. 
Though a very few have abused the awakening preaching 
that has lately been, to so sad an effect as to be the cause of 
their own temporal death ; yet it may be, to one such in- 
stance, there have been hundreds, yea, thousands, that have 
been saved, by this means, from eternal death. 

What has more especially given offense to many, and 
raised a loud cry against some preachers, as though their 
conduct were intolerable, is their flighting poor innocent 
children, with talk of hell-fire, and eternal damnation. But 
if those that complain so loudly of this, really believe, 
what is the general profession of the country, viz. that all 



are by nature the children of wrath, and heirs of hell ; and 
that every one that has not been born again, whether he be 
young or old, is exposed every moment to eternal destruction, 
under the wrath of Almighty God : I say, if they really be- 
lieve this, then such a complaint and cry as this betrays a 
great deal of weakness and inconsideration. As innocent as 
children seem to be to us, yet, if they are out of Christ, they 
are not so in God's sight, but are young vipers, and are infi- 
nitely more hateful than vipers, and are in a most miserable 
condition, as well as grown persons ; and they are naturally 
very senseless and stupid, being horn as the wild ass^s colt, 
and need much to awaken them. Why should we conceal 
the truth from them ? Will those children that have been 
dealt tenderly with, in this respect, and lived and died insen- 
sible of their misery, till they come to feel it in hell, ever 
thank parents, and others, for their tenderness, in not letting 
them know what they were in danger of? If parents' love 
towards their children was not blind, it would affect them 
much more, to see their children every day exposed to eter- 
nal burnings, and yet senseless, than to see them suffer the 
distress of that awakening, that is necessary in order to their 
escape from them, and that tends to their being eternally 
happy, as the children of God. A child that has a danger- 
ous wound, may need the painful lance, as well as grown 
persons ; and that would be a foolish pity, in such a case, 
that should hold back the lance, and throw away the life. 
I have seen the happy effects of dealing plainly and tho- 
roughly with children, in the concerns of their souls, without 
sparing them at all, in many instances ; and never knew 
any ill consequence of it, in any one instance. 



TJie objection of having so frequent religious meetings^ 
and sjjending so much time in religion. 

Another thing, that a great deal has been said against, 
is having so frequent religious meetings, and spending so 
much time in rehgion. And indeed there are none of the 
externals of religion, but what are capable of excess : and I 
believe it is true, that there has not been a due proportion ob- 
served in religion of late. We have placed religion too much 
in the external duties of the first table ; we have abounded in 
religious meetings, and in praying, reading, hearing, singing, 
and religious conference ] and there has not been a propor- 
tionable increase of zeal for deeds of charity, and other duties 
of the second table ; (though it must be acknowledged that 
they are also much increased.) But yet it appears to me, 
that this objection of persons' spending too much time in re- 
hgion, has been in the general groundless. Though worldly 
business must be done, and persons ought not to neglect the 
business of their particular callings, yet it is to the honor of 
God, that a people should be so much in outward acts of re- 
ligion, as to carry, in it a visible, public appearance, of a great 
engagedness of mind in it, as the main business of life : and 
especially is it fit, that at such an extraordinary time, when 
God appears unusually present with a people, in wonderful 
works of power and mercy, that they should spend more time 
than usual in religious exercises, to put honor upon that God 
that is then extraordinarily present, and to seek his face ; as 
it was with the Christian cliurch in Jerusalem, on occasion 
of that extraordinary pouring out of tlie Spirit, soon after 
Christ's ascension. Acts ii. 40. '- And they continued daily, 
with one accord, in the temple, and breaking bread from 
house to house." And so it was at Ephcsus, at a time of 


great outpoiuing of the Spirit there ; the Christians there at- 
tended pubUc religious exercises, every day for two years to- 
gether. Acts xix. 8, 9, 10. " And he went into the syna- 
gogue, and spake boldly for the space of three months, dis- 
puting and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of 
God : but when divers were hardened, and believed not, but 
spake evil of that way before the multitude, he departed from 
them, and separated the disciples, disputing daily in the 
school of one Tyrannus. And this continued by the space 
of two years ; so that all they which dwelt in Asia heard the 
word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks." And as to 
the grand objection of six days shalt thou labor, all that 
can be understood by it, and all that the very objectors them- 
selves understand by it, is that we may follow our secular la- 
bors in those six days, that are not the sabbath, and ought to 
be diligent in them : not but that sometimes we may turn from 
them, even within those six days, to keep a day of fasting, or 
thanksgiving, or to attend a lecture; and that more fre- 
quently or rarely, as God's providence and the state of things 
shall call us, according to the best judgment of our discre- 

Though secular business, as I said before, ought not to be 
neglected, yet I cannot see how it can be maintained, that 
religion ought not to be attended, so as in the least to injure 
Qur temporal affairs, on any other principle^J:han those of in- 
fidelity. No one objects against injuring one temporal affair 
for the sake of another temporal affair of much greater im- 
portance ; and therefore, if eternal things are as real as tem- 
poral things, and are indeed of infinitely greater importance ; 
then why may we not voluntarily suffer, in some measure, 
in our temporal concerns, while we are seeking eternal riches, 
and immortal glory ? It is looked upon no way improper 
for a whole nation to spend considerable time, and much of 
their outward substance, on some extraordinary temporal oc- 
casions, for the sake only of the ceremonies of a public re- 
joicing ; and it would be thought dishonorable to be very 


exact about what we spend, or careful lest we injure our es- 
tates, on such an occasion : and wliy should we be exact 
only with Almighty God, so that it should be a crime to be 
otherwise than scrupulously careful, lest we injure ourselves 
in our temporal interest, to put honor upon him, and seek our 
own eternal happiness ? We should take heed that none of 
us be in any wise like Judas, who greatly complained of 
needless expense, and waste of outward substance, to put ho- 
nor upon Christ, when Mary broke her box, and poured the 
precious ointment on his head : he had indignation within 
himself on that account, and cries out, " Why was this waste 
of the ointment made ? For it might have been sold for 
more than three hundred pence, and have been given to the 
poor." Mark xiv. 3, 4, 5, (fee, and John xii. 4, 5, &c. 

And besides, if the matter be justly considered and ex- 
amined, I believe it will be found, that the country has lost 
no time from their temporal affairs by the late revival of reli- 
gion, but have rather gained time ; and that more time has 
been saved from frolicking and tavern haunting, idleness, un- 
profitable visits, vain talk, fruitless pastimes, and needless 
diversions, than has lately been spent in extraordinary reli- 
gion ; and probably five times as much has been saved in 
persons' estates, at the tavern, and in their apparel, as has 
been spent by religious meetings. 

The great complaint that is made against so much time 
spent in religion, cannot be in general from a real concern 
that God may be honored, and his will done, and the best 
good of men promoted ; as is very manifest from this, that 
now there is a much more ear)iest and zealous outcry made 
in the country against this extraordinary religion, than was 
before against so much time spent in tavern haunting, vain 
company keeping, night walking, and other things which 
wasted both our time and substance, and injured our moral 

The frequent preaching that has lately been, has in a \mi- 
licular manner been objected against as unprofitable and pre- 


judicial. It is objected that when sermons are heard so very 
often, one sermon tends to thrust out-another ; so that persons 
lose the benefit of all : they say two or three sermons in a 
week is as much as they can remember and digest. Such 
objections against frequent preaching, if they be not from an 
enmity against rehgion, are for want of duly considering the 
way that sermons usually profit an auditory. The main 
benefit that is obtained by preaching, is by impression made 
upon the mind in the time of it, and not by any effect that 
arises afterwards by a remembrance of what was delivered. 
A-nd though an after remembrance of what was heard in a 
sermon, is oftentimes very profitable ; yet, for the most part, 
that remembrance is from an impression the words made on 
the heart in the time of it ; and the memory profits as it re- 
news and increases that impression ; and a frequent inculca- 
ting the more important things of religion in preaching, has 
no tendency to rase out out such impressions, but to increase 
them, and fix them deeper and deeper* in the mind, as is 
found by experience. It never used to be objected against, 
that persons, upon the sabbath, after they have heard 
two sermons that day, should go home, and spend the re- 
maining part of the sabbath in reading the scriptures, and 
printed sermons ; which, in proportion as it has a tendency 
to affect the mind at all, has as much of a tendency 
to drive out what they have heard, as if they heard, another 
sermon preached. It seems to have been the practice of the 
apostles to preach every day in places where they went ; yea, 
though sometimes they continued long in one place. Acts 
ii. 42 and 46. Acts xix. 8, 9, 10. They did not avoid 
preaching one day, for fear they should thrust out of the 
minds of their hearers what they had delivered the day be- 
fore ; nor did Christians avoid going every day to hear, for 
fear of any such bad effect, as is evident by Acts ii. 42, 46. 

There arc some things in scripture that seem to signify as 
much, as that there sliould be preaching in an extraordinary 


frequency, at the time when God should be about to intro- 
duce that flourishing state of religion that should be in the 
latter days ; as that in Isa. Ixii. at the beginning : " For 
Zion's sake will I not hold my peace, for Jerusalem's sake 
I will not rest ; until the righteousness thereof go forth as 
brightness, and the salvation thereof, as a lamp that burnetii : 
and the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy 
glory." And ver. 5, 6. '• For as a young man marrieth a vir- 
gin, so shall thy sons marry thee : and as the bridegroom re- 
joiceth over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee. I 
have set watchmen upon thy walls, Q Jerusalem, which shall 
never hold their peace, day nor night." The destruction of 
the city of Jericho, is evidently, in all its circumstances, in- 
tended by God as a great type of the overthrow of Satan's 
kingdom ; the priests blowing with trumpets at that time, 
represents ministers preaching the gospel ; the people com- 
passed the city seven days, the priests blowing the trumpets ; 
but when the day was come that the walls of the city were 
to fall, the priests were more frequent and abundant in blow- 
ing their trumpets ; there was as. much done in one day then, 
as had been done in seven days before ; they compassed the 
city seven times that day, blowing their trumpets, till at 
length it came to one long and perpetual blast, and then the 
walls of the city fell down flat. The extraordinary preach- 
ing, that shall be at the beginning of that glorious jubilee of 
the churchy is represented by the extraordinary sounding of 
trumpets throughout the land of Canaan, at the beginning 
of the year of jubilee ; and by the reading of the law before 
all Israel, in the year of release, at the feast of tabernacles. 
And the crowing of the cock, at the break of day, which 
brought Peter to repentance, seems to me to be intended to 
signify the awakening of God's church out of their lethargy, 
wherein they had denied their Lord, by the extraordinary 
preaching of Clic gospel that shall be at the dawning of the 
day of the church's light and glory. And there seems at 


ihis day to be an uncommon hand of Divine Piovidencc, in 
animating, enabling, and upholding some ministers in such 
abundant labors. 


Ministers blamed for making much of outcries ^ fainting s, 
and bodily effects. 

Another thing wherein I think some ministers have 
been injured, is in being very much blamed for making so 
much of outcries, faintings, and other bodily eiTects ; speak- 
ing of them as tokens of the presence of God, and arguments 
of the success of preaching ; seeming to strive to their ut- 
most to bring a congregation to that pass, and seeming to 
rejoice in it, yea even blessing God for it, when they sec 
these effects. 

Concerning this I would observe, in the first place, that 
there are many things, with respect to cryings out, falling 
down, &c., that are charged on ministers, that they are not 
guilty of. Some would have it that they speak of these 
things as certain evidences of a work of the Spirit of God on 
the liearts of their hearers, or that they esteem these bodily 
effects themselves to be the work of God, as though the Spirit 
of God took hold of, and agitated the bodies of men ; and 
some are charged with making these things essential, and 
supposing that persons cannot be converted without them ; 
whereas I never yet could see the person that held either of 
these things. 

But for speaking of such effects as probable tokens of God's 
presence, and arguments of the success of preaching, it seems 
to me they arc not to be blamed ; because I think they arc 
so indeed : and tlicrcforc when I see thcmtjxcited by preach- 
ing the important truths of God's word, urged and enforced 


by proper arg-nments and motives, or as consequent on any 
other means that are good, I do not scruple to speak of them, 
and to rejoice in them, and bless God for them as such ; and 
that for this (as I think) good reason, viz. that from time to 
time, upon proper inquiry and examination, and observation 
of the consequences and fruits, I have found that these are 
all evidences that the persons in whom these effects appear, 
are under the influences of God's Spirit in such cases. Cry- 
ings out, in such a manner, and with such circumstances as 
I have seen them from time to time, is as much an evidence 
to me, of the general cause it proceeds from, as language : 
I have learned the meaning of it the same way that persons 
learn the meaning of language, viz. by use and experience. 
I confess that when I see a great crying out in a congregation, 
in the manner that I have seen it, when those things are 
held forth to them that are worthy of their being greatly af- 
fected by, I rejoice in it much more than merely in an ap- 
pearance of solemn attention, and a show of affection by 
weeping ; and that because when there have been those out- 
cries, I have foimd from time to time a much greater and 
more excellent effect. To rejoice that the work of God is 
carried on calmly, without much ado, is in effect to rejoice 
that it is carried on with less power, or that there is not so 
much of the influence of God's Spirit : for though the de- 
gree of the influence of the Spirit of God on jy articular per- 
sons is by no means to be judged of by the degree of exter- 
nal appearances, because of the different constitutions, tem- 
pers, and circumstances of men ; yet if there be a very pow- 
erful influence of the Spirit of God on a mixed multitude, it 
will cause, some way or other, a great visible commotion. 

And as to ministers' aiming at such effects, and striving 
by all means to bring a congregation to that pass, that there 
should be such an uproar among them ; I suppose none aim 
at it any otherwise, than as they strive to raise the affections 
of their hearers to such a height as very often appears in 
these effects ; and if it be so, that those affections are com- 



monly good, and it be found by experience that such a de- 
gree of them commonly has a good effect, I think they are 
to be justified in so doing. 


Ministers blamed for keeping persons together that are 
under great affectioyis. 

Again, some ministers have been blamed for keeping per- 
sons together, that have been under great affections, v^hich 
have appeared in such extraordinary outward manifestations. 
Many think this promotes confusion, that persons in such 
circumstances do but discompose each others' minds, and dis- 
turb the minds of others ; and that therefore it is best they 
should be dispersed, and that when any in a congregation 
are strongly seized, that they cannot forbear outward mani- 
festations of it, they should be removed that others' minds 
may not be diverted. 

But I cannot but think that those that thus object go upon 
quite wrong notions of things : for though persons ought to 
take lieed that they do not make an ado without necessity ; 
for this will be the way in time to have such appearances 
lose all their effect ; yet the unavoidable manifestations of 
strong rehgious affections tend to a happy influence on the 
minds of by-standers, and are found by experience to have 
an excellent and durable effect ; and so to contrive and order 
things, that others may have opportunity and advantage to 
observe them, has been found to be blessed, as a great means 
to promote the v/ork of God ; and to prevent their being in 
the way of observation, is to prevent the effect of that which God 
makes use of as a principal means of carrying on his work 
at such an extraordinary time, viz. example ; which is often 


spoken of in scripture as one of the chief means by which 

God would carry on his work, in the time of the prospeiity 
of religion in the latter days : I have mentioned some texts 
already to this purpose, in what I published before, of the 
tnarks of a work of the true Spirit ; but would here men- 
tion some others. In Zech. ix. 15, 16., those that in the 
latter day should be filled in an extraordinary manner with tlie 
Holy Spirit, so as to appear in outward manifestations, and 
making a noise, are spoken of as those that God, in these 
uncommon circumstances, will set up to the view of others,- 
as apprize or ensign, by their examph and the excellency of 
their attainments, to animate and draw others, as men gather 
about an ensign, and run for a prize, a crown, and precious 
jewels, set up in their view. The words are, "And they 
shall drink, and make a noise, as through wine ; and they 
shall be filled like bowls, and as the corners of the altar : and 
the Lord their God shall save them, in that day, as the flock 
of his people ; for they shall be as the stones of a crown, 
lifted up as an ensign upon his land." (But I shall have 
occasion to say something more of this scripture afterwards.) 
Those that make the objection I am upon, instead of suffer- 
ing this prize or ensign to be in public view, are for having 
ir removed, and hid in some corner. To the like purpose is 
that, Isa. Ixii. 3. " Thou shalt be a crown of glory in the 
hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem, in the hand of thy 
God." Here it is observable, that it is not said. Thou shalt 
be a crown upon the head, but m theJiayid of the Lord, i. e. 
held forth in thy beauty and excellency, as a prize, to be be- 
stowed upon others that shall behold thee, and be animated 
by the brightness and lustre which God shall endow thee 
with. The great influence of the example of God's people, 
in their bright and excellent attainments, to propagate reli- 
gion in those days, is further signified in Isa. Ix. 3. " And the 
Gentiles shall come to thy fight, and kings to the brightness 
of thy rising." With ver. 22. " A little one shall become a 
thousand, and a small one a strong nation." And Zech. 


X. 8j 9. " And they shall increase, as they have increased ; 
and I will sow them among the people." And Hos. ii. 23. 
" And I will sow her unto me in the earth." So Jer. xxxi, 



Objection against speaking much, and loith great ear- 
7iestnesSj by persons affected. 

Another thing that gives great disgust to many, is the 
disposition that persons show, under great affections, to speak 
so much, and with such earnestness and vehemence, to be 
setting forth the greatness, and w^onderfulness, and impor- 
tance of divine and eternal things, and to be so passionately 
warning, inviting, and entreating others. Concerning which 
I would say, that I am far from thinking that such a dispo- 
sition should be wholly without any limits or regulation (as 
I shall more particularly show afterwards) ; and I believe 
some have erred in setting no bounds, and indulging and 
encouraging this disposition without any kind of restraint or 
direction : but yet it seems to me that such a disposition in 
general, is what both reason and scripture will justify. Those 
that are offended at such things, as though they were unrea- 
sonable, are not just : upon examination it will probably be 
found that they have one rule of reasoning about temporal 
things, and another about spiritual things. They will not 
at all wonder, if a person, on some very great and affecting 
occasion of extraordinary danger or great joy, that eminently 
and immediately concerns him and others, is disposed to 
speak much, and with great earnestness, especially to those 
to whom he is united in the bonds of dear affection, and 
great concern for their good. And therefore if they were 


just, why would not they allow it in spiritual things ? And 
much more in them, agreeably to the vastly greater impor- 
tance, and more affecting nature of spiritual things, and the 
concern which true religion causes in men's minds for the 
good of others, and the disposition it gives and excites to 
speak God's praises, to show forth his infinite glory, and talk 
of all his glorious perfections and works ? 

That a very great sense, of the right kind, of the impor- 
tance of the things of religion, and the danger sinners are 
in, should sometimes cause an almost insuperable disposition 
to speak and warn others, is agreeable to Jer. vi. 10, 11. 
" To whom shall I speak and give warning, that they may 
hear ? Behold, their ear is uncircumcised, and they cannot 
hearken : behold,, the word of the Lord is unto them a re- 
proach ; they have no delight in it. Therefore I am full of 
the fury of the Lord ; I am weary with holding in ; I will 
pour it out upon the children abroad, and upon the assembly 
of the young men together ; for even the husband with the 
wife shall be taken, the aged, with him that is full of days." 
And that true Christians, when they come to be, as it were, 
waked out of sleep, and to be filled with a sweet and joyful 
sense of the excellent things of religion, by the preaching of 
the gospel, or by other means of grace, should be disposed to 
be much in speaking of divine things, though before they 
were dumb, is agreeable to what Christ says to his church, 
Cant. vii. 9. " And the roof of thy mouth is like the best 
wine, for my beloved, that goeth down sweetly, causing the 
lips of those that are asleep to speak." The roof of the 
church's mouth, is the officers of the church that preach the 
gospel ; their word is to Christ's beloved, like the best wine, 
that goes down sweetly ; extraordinarily refreshing and en- 
livening the saints, causing them to speak, though before 
they were mute and asleep. It is said by some that the 
people that are the subjects of this work, when they get to- 
gether, talking loud and earnestly in their pretended great 
joys, several in a room talking at the same time, make a 


noise just like a company of drunken persons. On which I 
would observe, that it is foretold that God's people should do 
so, in that forementioned place, Zech. ix. 15, 16, 17., which 
I shall now take more particular notice of : the words are as 
follows : " The Lord of hosts shall defend them ; and they 
shall devour aud subdue with sling stones ; and they shall 
drink, and make a noise, as through wine, and they shall be 
filled like bowls, and as the corners of the altar : and the 
Lord their God shall save them in that day, as the flock of 
his people ; for they shall be as the stones of a crown, lifted 
up as an ensign upon his land : for how great is his good- 
ness ! and how great is his beauty ! Corn shall make the 
young men cheerful, and new wine the maids." The words 
are very remarkable : here it is foretold, that at the time 
when Christ shall set up a universal kingdom upon earth, 
ver. 20., the children of Zion shall drink till they are filled 
like the vessels of the sanctuary ; and if we would know 
what they shall be thus filled with, the prophecy does in ef- 
fect explain itself : they shall be filled as the vessels of the 
sanctuary that contained the drink offering, which was wine ; 
and yet the words imply that it shall not literally be wine 
that they shall drink and be filled with, because it is said 
they shall drink and make a noise, as through ivine, as if 
they had drank wine ; which implies that they had not 
literally done it, and therefore we must understand the words, 
that they shall drink into that, and be filled with that, which 
the wine of the drink offering represented, or was a type of, 
which is the Holy Spirit, as well as the blood of Christ, that 
new wine that is drank in our heavenly Father's kingdom : 
they shall be filled with the Spirit, which the apostle sets in 
opposition to a being drunk with wine, Eph. v. 18. This 
is the new wine spoken of, ver. 17. It is the same with that 
best \oine, spoken of in Canticles, VAa^ goes down sweetly, 
causins^ the lips of those that are asleep to speak. It is 
here foretold that the children of Zion, in the latter days, 
should be filled with that which should make them cheerful, 


and cause them to make a noise as through wine, and by 
which these joyful, happy persons, that are thus filled, shall 
be as the stones of a crown hfted up as an ensign upon God's 
land, being made joyful in the extraorduiary manifestations 
of the beauty and love of Christ : as it follows. How great 
is his goodness ! and hoio great is his beauty ! And it 
is further remarkable, that it is here foretold that it should 
be thus especially amongst young people ; Corn shall make 
the young men cheerful^ and new wine the maids. It 
would be ridiculous to understand this of literal bread and 
wine : without doubt, the same spiritual blessings are signi- 
fied by bread and wine here, which were represented by 
Melchizedeck's bread and wine, and are signified by the 
bread and wine in the Lord's supper. One of the marginal 
readings is, shall tnake the young men to speak ; which is 
agreeable to that in Canticles, of the best ivine^s causing 
the lips of those that are asleep to speak. 

We ought not to be, in any measure, hke the unbelieving 
Jews in Christ's time, who were disgusted both with crying 
out with distress and with joy. When the poor blind man 
cried out before all the multitude, Jesus, thou son of David, 
have mercy on me ! and continued instantly thus doing, 
the multitude rebuked him, and charged him that he should 
hold his tongue, Mark x. 46, 47, 48., and Luke xviii. 3S, 39. 
They looked upon it to be a very indecent noise that he 
made ; a thing very ill-becoming him to cause his v^oice to 
be heard so much and so loud among the multitude. And 
when Christ made his solemn and triumphant entry into 
Jerusalem, (which, I have before observed, was a type of the 
glory and triumph of the latter days,) the whole multitude 
of the disciples, of all sorts, especially young people, began 
to rejoice and praise God, with a loud voice, for all the 
mighty works that they had seen, saying, Blessed be the 
King that conieth in the name of the Lord ! Peace in 
heaven, and glory in the highest ! The Pharisees said to 
Christ, Master, rebuke thy disciples. They did not im- 


derstand such great transports of joy ; it seemed to them a 
very unsuitable and indecent noise and clamor that they 
made, a confused uproar, many crying out together, as 
though they were out of their wits ; they wondered that 
Christ would tolerate it. But what says Christ ? 1 tell you^ 
that if these should hold their peace^ the stones would im- 
mediately cry out. The words seem to intimate as much 
as that there was cause enough to constrain those whose 
hearts were not harder than the very ptones, to cry out, and 
make a noise ; which is something like that other expression, 
of causing the lijJS of those that are asleep to sj^eak. 

When many, under great religious affections, are earnestly 
speaking together, of divine wonders, in various parts of a 
company, to those that are next to them ; some attending 
to what one says, and others to another, there is something 
very beautiful in it, provided they do not speak so many as 
to drown each others' voices, that none can hear what any 
say ; there is a greater and more affecting appearance of a 
joint engagedness of heart, in the love and praises of God. 
And I had rather see it, than to see one speaking alone, and 
all attending to what he says ; it has more of the appearance 
of conversation. When a multitude meets on any occasion 
of temporal rejoicing, freely and cheerfully to converse to- 
gether, they be not wont to observe the ceremony, of but one 
speaking at a time, while all the rest, jn a formal manner, 
set themselves to attend to what he says ; that would spoil 
all conversation, and turn it into the formality of set speeches, 
and the solemnity of preaching. It is better for lay persons, 
when they speak one to another of the things of God, when 
they meet together to speak after the manner of Christian 
conversation, than to observe the formality of but one speak- 
ing at a time, the whole multitude silently and solemnly 
attending to what he says ; which would carry in it too 
much of the air of the authority and solemnity of preaching. 
What the apostle says, 1 Cor. xiv. 29, 30, 31., " Let the 
prophets speak, two, or three, and let the other judge : if any 


thing be revealed to another that sitteth by, let the first hold 
his peace ; for ye may all prophesy, one by one, that all 
may learn, and all may be comforted ;" I say, this does not 
reach this case ; because what the apostle is speaking of, is 
the solemnity of their rehgious exercises, in public worship, 
and persons speaking in the church by immediate inspira- 
tion, and in the use of the gift of prophecy, or some gift of 
inspiration, in the exercise of which they acted as extraordi- 
nary ministers of Christ. 


iSonie find fault wiiJi so much ainging in religious 

Another thing that some have found fault with, is 
abounding so much in singing in religious meetings. Ob- 
jecting against such a thing as this, seems to arise from a 
suspicion already established of this Work : they doubt of 
the pretended extraordinary love and joys that attend this 
work, and so find fault with the manifestations of them. If 
they thought persons were truly the subjects of an extraor- 
dinary degree of divine love, and heavenly rejoicing in God, 
I suppose they would not wonder at their having a disposi- 
tion to be much in praise. They will not object against the 
saints and angels in heaven singing praises and hallelujahs 
to God, without ceasing, day or night ; and therefore doubt- 
less will allow, that the more the saints on earth are like 
them in their dispositions, the more they will be disposed to 
do like them. They will readily own that the generality of 
Christians have great reason to be ashamed that they have 
so little thankfulness, and are no more in praising God, 
whom they have such infinite cause to praise : and wJiy 
therefore should Christians be found fault with for showing 



a disposition to be much in praising God, and manifesting a 
delight in that heavenly exercise ? To complain of this, is 
to be too much like the. Pharisees, who were disgusted when 
the multitude of the disciples began to rejoice, and with loud 
voices to praise God, and cry hosanna, when Christ was en- 
tering ^nto Jerusalem. 

There are many things in scripture that seem to intimate, 
that praising God, both in speeches and songs, will be what 
the church of God will very mucli abound in, in the ap- 
proaching glorious day. So on the seventh day of com- 
passing the walls of Jericho, when the priests blew with the 
trumpets, in an extraordinary manner, the people shouted 
with a great shout, and the wall of the city fell down flat. 
So the ark was brought back from its banishment, with ex- 
traordinary shouting and singing of the whole congregation 
of Israel. And the places in the prophecies of scripture, 
that signify that the church of God, in that glorious jubilee 
that is foretold, shall greatly abound in singing and shouting 
forth the praises of God, are too . many to be mentioned. 
And there will be cause enough for it : I believe it will be a 
time wherein both heaven and earth will be much more full 
of joy and praise than ever they were before. 

But what is more especially found fault with in the sing- 
ing tliat is now practiced, is making use of hymns of human 
composure. And I am far from thinking that the book of 
psalms should be thrown by in our pubhc worship, but that 
it should always be used in the Christian church, to the end* 
of the world : but I know of no obligation we are under to 
confine ourselves to it. I can find no command or rule of 
God's word, that does any more confine us to the words of 
the scripture in our singing, than it does in our praying ; we 
speak to God in both : and I can see no reason why we 
should limit ourselves ^o such particular forms of words, that 
we find in the Bible, in speaking tor him by way of praise, in 
metre, and with music, than when we speak to him in prose, 
by way of prayer and supplication. And it is really needful 


tliat we sliould have sonic other songs besides the psalms of 
David : it is unreasonable to suppose that the Christian 
church, should forever, and even in times of her greatest 
light, in her praises of God and the Lamb, be confined only 
to the words of the Old Testament, wherein all the greatest 
and most glorious things of the gospel, that are infinitely 
the greatest subjects of her praise, are spoken of under a 
veil, and not so much as the name of our glorious Redeemer 
ever mentioned, but in some dark figure, or as hid under the 
name of some type. And as to our making use of the words 
of others, and not tliose that are conceived by ourselves, it is 
no more than we do in all our public prayers ; the whole 
worshiping assembly, excepting one only, makes use of the 
words that are conceived by him that speaks for the rest. 


Many dislike the religious meetings of children, to read 
and fray together. 

Another thing that many have disliked, is. the religious 
meetings of children, to read and pray together, and perform 
religious exercises by themselves. What is objected, is chil 
dren's want of that knowledge and discretion that is requisite 
in order to a decent and profitable management of rehgious 
e;xercises. But it appears to me the objection is not sufficient : 
children, as they have the nature of men. are inclined to 
society ; and those of them that are capable of society one 
with another, are capable of the influences of tli.e Spirit of 
God, in its active fruits ; and if they are inclined by a reli- 
gious disposition that they have from the Spirit of God, to 
improve their society one with another, in a religious man- 
ner) and to religious purposes, who should forbid them ? If 
they have not discretion to observe method in their religious 


performances, or to speak sense in all that they say in prayer, 
they may, notwithstanding, have a good meaning, and God 
understands them, and it does not spoil or interrupt their de- 
votion one with another. We that are grown persons, have 
defects in our prayers, that are a thousand times worse in 
the sight of God, and aie a greater confusion, and more ab- 
surd nonsense in his eyes, than their childish indiscretions. 
There is not so much difference before God, between children 
and grown persons, as we are ready to imagine ; we are all 
poor, ignorant, foolish babes, in his sight : our adult age does 
not bring us so much nearer to God, as we are apt to think. 
God in this work has shown a remarkable regard to httle 
children • never was there such a glorious work amongst 
persons in their childhood, as has been of late in New Eng- 
land : he has been pleased in a wonderful manner to perfect 
praise out of the mouths of babes c^nd suckUngs ; and many 
of them have more of that knowledge and wisdom, that 
pleases him, and renders their religious worship acceptable, 
than many of the great and learned men of the v/orld : it 
is they, in the sight of God, are the ignorant and foolish 
children : these are grown men, and a hundred years old, 
in comparison with them ; and it is to be hoped that the 
days are coming, prophesied of Isa. Ixv. 20., when " the 
child shall die a hundred years old." 

I have seen many happy effects of children's religious 
meetings ; and God has seemed often remarkably to own 
them in their meetings, and really descended from heaven to 
be amongst them : I have known several probable instances 
of children being converted at such meetings. I should 
therefore think, that if children appear to be really moved to 
it, by a religious disposition, and not merely from a childish 
affectation of imitating grown persons, they ought by no 
means to be discouraged or discountenanced : but yet it is 
fit that care should be taken of them, by their parents, and 
pastors, to instruct and direct them, and to correct imprudent 
conduct and irregularities, if tliey are perceived ; or any 


thing by which the devil may pervert and destroy the design 
of their meetings. All should take heed that they do not 
find fault with, and despise the rehgion of children, from an 
evil principle, lest they should be like the chief priests and 
scribes, who were sore displeased at the religious worship and 
praises of httle children, and the honor they gave Christ in 
the temple. We have an account of it, and of what Christ 
said upon it, in Mat. xxi. 15, 16. " And when the chief 
priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and 
the children crying in the temple, and saying, hosanna to 
the Son of David, they were sore displeased, and said unto 
him, Hearest thou what these say ? And Jesus saith unto 
them, Yea, have ye never read. Out of the mouths of babes 
and sucklings, thou hast perfected praise ?" 




Having thus observed, in some instances, wherein the 
conduct of those that have appeared to be the subjects of this 
work, or liave been zealous to promote it, has been objected 
against, or complained of, without or beyond just cause, I 
proceed now, in the 

Second place, to show what things ought to be corrected 
or avoided. 

Many that are zealous for this glorious work of God, are 
heartily sick of the great noise there is in the country about 
imprudences and disorders ; they have heard it so often 
from the mouths of opposers, that they are prejudiced against 
the sound ; and they look upon it that that which is called 
a being jprudent and regular .^ which is so much insisted 
on, is no other than being asleej), or cold and dead in reli- 
gion, and that the great imprudence that is so much cried 
out of, is only being ahve, and engaged in the things of God : 
and they are therefore rather confirmed in any practice, than 
brought off from it, by the clamor they hear against it, as 
imprudent and irregular. And to tell the truth, the cry of 
irregularity and imprudence has been much more in the 
mouths of those that have been enemies to the main of tlic 
work, than others ; for they have watched for the halting of 


the zealous, and eagerly catched at any thing that has bepn 
wrong, and have greatly insisted on it, made the most of it, 
and magnified it ; especially liave they watched for errors 
in zealous preachers, that are much in reproving and con- 
demning the wickedness of the times : they would therefore 
do* well to consider that scripture, Isa. xxix. 20, 21. " The 
scorner is consumed, and all that watch for iniquity are cut 
off, that make a man an offender for a word, and lay a snare 
for him that reproveth in the gate, and turn aside the just 
for a thing of nought." They have not only too much in- 
sisted on, and magnified real errors, but have very injuriously 
charged them as guilty, in things wherein they have been 
innocent, and have done their duty. This has so prejudiced 
the minds of some, that they have been ready to think that 
all that has been said about errors and imprudences, was in- 
jurious, and from an ill spirit ; and has confirmed them in 
it, and there is no such thing as any prevailing impru- 
dences ; and it has made them less cautious and suspicious 
of themselves, lest they should err. Herein the devil has had 
an advantage put into his hands, and has taken the advan- 
tage ; and, doubtless, has been too subtle for some of the 
true friends of religion. That would be a strange thing 
indeed, if in so great a commotion and revolution, and such 
a new state of things, wherein so many have been engaged, 
none have been guilty of any imprudence ; it would be such 
a revival of religion as never was yet, if among so many 
men, not guided by infallible inspiration, there had not been 
prevailing a pretty many notable errors in judgment and 
conduct : our young preachers, and young converts, must in 
general vastly exceed Luther, the head of the reformation, 
who was guilty of a great many excesses in that great af- 
fair in which God made him the chief instrument. 

If we look back into the history of the church of God in 
past ages, we may observe that it has been a common device 
of the devil, to overset a revival of religion, when he finds 
he can keep men quiet and secure no longer, then to drive 


tliem to excesses and extravagances. He holds them back 
as long as he can, but when he can do it no longer, then lie 
will push them on, and if possible, run ihem upon their 
heads. And it has been b}'^ this means chiefly, that he has 
been successful, in several instances, to overthrow most hope- 
ful and promising beginnings : yea, the principal means by 
which the devil was successful, by degrees, to overset that 
grand religious revival of the world, that was in the primi- 
tive ages of Christianity, and in a manner to overthrow the 
Christian church through the earth, and to make way for, 
and bring on the great Antichristian apostasy, that master- 
piece of all the devil's works, was to improve the indiscreet 
zeal of Christians, to drive them into those three extremes, 
of enthusiasm^ superstitio?i^ and severity towards oppo- 
sers ; which should be enough for an everlasting warning 
to the Christian church. 

Though the devil will do his diligence to stir up the open 
enemies of religion, yet he knows what is for his interest so 
well, that in a time of revival of religion, his main strength 
shall be tried with the friends of it, and he will chiefly exert 
himself in his attempts upon them, to mislead them. One 
truly zealous person, in the time of such an event, that seems 
to have a great hand in the affair, and draws the eyes of 
many upon him, may do more (through Satan's being too 
subtle for him) to hinder the work, than a hundred great, and 
strong, and open opposers. 

In the time of a great loork of Christ, his liands, with 
which he works, are often wounded in the house of his 
friends ; and his work hindered chiefly by them : so that if 
any one inquires, as in Zech. xiii. 6., "What are those 
wounds in thine hands ?" He may answer, those with which 
I was ivoimded in the house of nuj friends. 

The errors of the friends of the work of God, and especially 
of the great promoters of it, give vast advantage to the ene- 
mies of such a work. Indeed there are many things that are 
no- errors, but are only duties faithfully and thoroughly done, 



that wound the minds of such persons more, and are more 
cross to them, than real errors : but yet one real error gives 
opposers as much advantage, and hinders and clogs the work, 
as much as ten that are only supposed ones. Real errors do 
not fret and gall the enemies of religion, so much as those 
things that are strictly right ; but they encourage them more ; 
they give them liberty, and open a gap for them ; so that 
some that before kept their enmity burning in their own 
bowels, and durst not show themselves, will on such an oc- 
casion take .courage, and give themselves vent, and their 
rage will be like that of an enemy let loose ; and those that 
lay still before, having nothing to say, but what they would 
be ashamed of, (agreeable to Tit. ii. 8.), when they have 
such a weapon put into their hands, will fight with all vio- 
lence. And indeed the enemies of religion would not know 
what to do for weapons to fight with, were it not for the er- 
rors of the friends of it ; and so must soon fall before them. 
And besides, in real errors, things that are truly disagreeable 
to the rules of God's word, we cannot expect the divine pro- 
tection, and that God will appear on our side, as if our errors 
were only supposed ones. 

Since therefore the errors of the friends and promoters of 
such a glorious work of God, are of such dreadful conse- 
quence ; and seeing the devil, being sensible of this, is so as- 
siduous, and watchful, and subtle, in his attempts with them, 
and has thereby been so successful to overthrow religion 
heretofore, certainly such persons ought to be exceeding cir- 
cumspect and vigilant, diffident and jealous of themselves, 
and humbly dependent on the guidance of the good Shep- 
herd. 1 Pet. iv. 7., " Be sober, and watch unto prayer." 
And chap. v. 8., " Be sober, be vigilant ; because your ad- 
versary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about." For per- 
sons to go on resolutely, in a kind of heat and vehemence, 
despising admonition and correction, being confident that 
they must be in the right, because they are full of the Spirit, 


is directly contrary to the import of these words, be sober, be 

It is a mistake, I have observed in some, by which they 
have been greatly exposed, to their wounding, that they 
think they are in no danger of going astray, or being misled 
by the devil, because they are near to God ; and eo have no 
jealous eye upon themselves, and neglect vigilance and cir- 
cumspection, as needless in their case. They say, they do 
not think that God will leave them to dishonor him, and 
wound religion, as long as they keep near to him : and I be- 
lieve so too, as long as they keep near to God in that respect, 
that they maintain a universal and diligent watch, and care 
to do their duty, and avoid sin and snares, with diffidence in 
themselves, and humble dependence and prayerfulness : but 
not merely because they are near to God, in that respect, that 
they now are receiving blessed communications from God, in 
refreshing views of him ; if at tlie same time they let down 
their watch, and are not jealous over their own hearts, by 
reason of its remaining bhndness and corruption, and a 
subtle adversary. It is a grand error, for persons to think 
they are out of danger of the devil, and a corrupt, deceitful 
heart, even in their highest flights, and most raised frames of 
spiritual joy. For persons in such a confidence to cease to 
be jealous of themselves, and to neglect watchfulness and 
care, is a presumption by which I have known many wofull}?' 
ensnared. However highly we may be favored with divine 
discoveries and comforts, yet as long as we are in the world, 
we are in the enemy's country ; and therefore that direction 
of Christ to his disciples, is never out of date in this world ; 
Luke xxi. 30., " Watch and pray always, that ye may be 
accounted worthy to escape all these things, and to stand be- 
fore the Son of man." It was not out of date with the dis- 
ciples, to whom it was given, after they came to be filled so 
full of the Holy Ghost, and out of their bellies flowed rivers 
of living water, by that great eflfusion of the Spirit upon them, 
that began on the day of pentecost. And though God stands 


ready to protect his people, especially tliose that are near to 
him, yet he expects great care and labor of all ; and that we 
should put on the whole armor of God, that we may stand in 
the evil day : and whatever spiritual privileges we are raised 
to, we have no warrant to expect piotection in any other 
way ; for God has appointed this whole life as a state of la- 
bor, to be all as a race or a battle ; the state of rest, wherein 
we shall be so out of danger, as to have no need of watching 
and fighting, is reserved for another world. I have known 
it in abundance of instances, that the devil has come in very 
remarkably, even in the midst of the most exalted, and upon 
some accounts excellent frames : it may seem a great mys- 
tery that it should be so ; but it is no greater mystery, than 
that Christ should be taken captive by the devil, and carried 
into the wilderness, immediately after the heavens had been 
opened to him, and the Holy Ghost descended like a dove 
upon him, and he heard that comfortable, joyful voice from 
the Father, saying, This is ray beloved Son, i?i whom I 
am well pleased. In like manner, Christ in the heart of a 
Christian is oftentimes, as it were, taken by the devil, and car- 
ried captive into a wilderness, presently after heaven has been, 
as it were, opened to the soul, and the Holy Ghost has de- 
scended upon it like a dove, and God has been sweetly own- 
ing the believer, and testifying his favor to him as his be- 
loved child. 

It is therefore a great error and sin in some persons, at this 
day, that they are fixed in their way, in some things that 
others account errors, and will not hearken to admonition 
and counsel, but are confident that they are in the right of 
it, in those practices that they find themselves disiX)sed to, 
because God is much with them, and they have great de- 
grees of the Spirit of God. There were some such in 
the apostles' days : the apostle Paul, writing to the Corin- 
thians, was sensible that some of them would not be easily 
convinced that they had been in any error, because they 
Jooked upon themselves spiritual, or full of the Spirit of 


Gocl. 1 Cor. xiv. 37, 38. " If any man think himself to be 
a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge tliat the things 
that I write unto you, are the commandment of the Lord ; 
but if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant." 

And although those that are spiritual amongst us have no 
infallible apostle to admonish them, yet let me entreat them, 
by the love of Christ, calmly and impartially to weigh what 
may be said to them, by one that is their hearty and fervent 
friend (though an inferior worm) in giving his humble opi- 
nion concerning the errors that have been committed, or that 
we may be exposed to, in methods or practices that have been, 
or may be fallen into by the zealous friends or promoters of 
this great work of God. 

In speaking of the errors that have been, or that we are in 
danger of, I would in the 

First place, Take notice of the causes whence the errors 
that attend a great revival of religion usually arise ; and "as 
I go along, take notice of some particular errors that arise 
from each of those causes. 

Secondly^ Observe some errors that some have lately gone 
into, that have been owing to the influence of several of those 
causes conjunctly. 

As to the first of these, the errors that attend a gi'eat revi- 
val of religion, usually arise from tliese three things. 1. Un- 
discerned spiritual pride. 2. Wrong principles. 3. Igno- 
rance of Satan's advantages and devices. 



One cause of errors in a great revival^ is spiritual 

The first, and the worst cause of errors, that prevail in 
such a state of tilings, is spiritual pride. This is the main 
door by which the devil comes into the hearts of those that are 
zealous for the advancement of religion. It is the chief inlet 
of smoke from the bottomless pit, to darken the mind, and 
mislead the judgment : this is the main handle by which 
the devil has hold of religious persons, and the chief source 
of all the mischief that he introduces, to clog and hinder a 
work of God. This cause of error is the main spring, or at 
ledst the main support of all the rest. Till this disease is 
cured, medicines are in vain applied to heal other diseases. It 
is by this that the mind defends itself in other errors, and 
gTiards itself against light, by which it might be corrected 
and reclaimed. The spiritually proud man is full of light 
already, he does not need instruction, and is ready to despise 
the offer of it. But if this disease be healed, other things are 
easily rectified. The humble person is like a little child, he 
easily receives instruction ; he is jealous over himself, sensi- 
ble how liable he is.td go astray ; and therefore if it be sug- 
gested to him that he does so, he is ready most narrowly and 
impartially to inquire. Nothing sets a person so much out 
of the devil's reach, as humility, and so prepares the mind 
for true divine light, without darkness, and so clears the eye 
to look on things as they truly are. Psalm xxv. 9. " The 
meek will he guide in judgment, and the meek he will teach 
his way." Therefore we should fight neither with small 
nor with great, but with the king of Israel : our first care 
should be to rectify the heart, and pull the beam out of our 
eye, and then we shall see clearly. 


I know that a great many things at this day are very in- 
juriously laid to the pride of those that are zealous in the 
cause of God. When any person appears, in any respect, 
remarkably distinguished in religion from others, if he pro- 
fesses those spiritual comforts and joys that are greater than 
ordinary, or if he appears distinguishingly zealous in rehgion, 
if he exerts himself more than others do in the cause of reli- 
gion, or if he seems to be distinguished with success, ten to 
one but it will immediately awaken the jealousy of those 
that are about him ; and they will suspect (whether they 
have cause or no) that he is very proud of his goodness, 
and that he affects to have it thought that nobody is so good 
as he ; and all his talk is heard, and all his behavior beheld, 
with this prejudice. Those that are themselves cold and dead, 
and especially such as never had any experience of the power 
of godliness on their own hearts, are ready to entertain such 
thoughts of the best Christians, which arises from a secret 
enmity against vital an(J fervent piety. 

But then those that are zealous Christians should take 
heed that this injuriousness of those that aie cold in reli- 
ligion, do not prove a snare to them, and the devil do not 
take advantage from it, to blind their eyes from beholding 
what there is indeed of this nature in their hearts, and make 
them think, because they are charged with pride wrongfully, 
and from an ill spirit, in many things, that therefore it is so 
in every thing. Alas, how much pride have the best of us 
in our hearts ! It is the worst part of the body of sin and 
death. It is the first sin that ever entered into the universe, 
and the last that is rooted out ; it is God's most stubborn 
enemy ! 

The corruption of nature may all be resolved into two 
things, pride and loorldly-mindedness, the devil and the 
beast^ or self and the world. These arc the two pillars of 
Dagon's temple, on which the whole house leans. But the 
former of these is every way, the worst part of the corruption of 
nature ; it is the first born son of the devil, and his image in 


the heart of man cbiefly consists in it : it is the last thing in 
a sinner that is overborne by conviction, in order to conver- 
sion ; and here is the saint's hardest conflict ; it is the last 
thing that he obtains a good degree of conquest over, and 
liberty from ; it is that which most directly mihtates against 
God, and is most contrary tot he Spirit of the Lamb of God ; 
and it is most like the devil its father, in a serpentine deceit- 
fulness and secrecy ; it lies deepest, is mosjL^ active, and is 
most ready secretly to mix itself w^ith every thing. 

And of all kindj of pride, spiritual pride is, upon many ac- 
counts, the most hateful ; it is most like the devil ; it is most 
like the sin he committed in a heaven of light and glory, 
where he was exalted high in divine knowledge, honor, beauty, 
and happiness. Pride is much more difficultly discerned 
than any other corruption, for that reason, that the nature of 
it does very much consist in a person's having too high a 
thought of himself: but no wonder that he that has too high 
a thought of himself, does not know it ; for he necessarily 
thinks that the opinion he has of himself, is what he has just 
grounds for, and therefore not too high ; if he thought such 
an opinion of himself was without just grounds, he would 
therein cease to have it. But of all kinds of pride, spiritual 
pride is the most hidden, and difficultly discovered ; and that 
for this reason, because those that are spiritually proud, their 
pride consists much in a high conceit of those two things, 
viz. their light and their humility : both which are a strong 
prejudice against a discovery of their pride. Being proud of 
their lights that makes them not jealous of themselves ; he 
that thinks a clear hght shines around him, is not suspicious 
of an enemy lurking near him, unseen: and then being proud 
of their humility^ that makes them least of all jealous of 
themselves in that particular, viz. as being under the preva- 
lence of pride. There are many sins of the heart that are 
very secret in their nature, and difficultly discerned. The 
psalmist says, Psalm xix. 12., " Who can imderstand his 
errors ? Cleanse thou me from secret faults." But spiritual 


pride is the most secret of all sins. The heart is so deceitful 
and unsearchable in nothing in the world, as it is in this 
matter, and there is no sin in the world, that men are so con- 
fident in, and so difficultl}^ convinced of: the very nature of 
it is to work self-confidence, and drive away self-diffidence, 
and jealousy of any evil of that kind. There is no sin so 
much like the devil, as this ; for secrecy and subtlety, and ap- 
pearing in a great many shapes, undiscerned and unsus- 
pected, and appearing as an angel of light : it takes occasion 
to arise from every thing ; it perverts and abuses every thing ; 
and even the exercises of real grace, and real humility, as an 
occasion to exert itself: it is a sin that has, as it were, many 
lives ; if you kill it, it will live still ; if you mortify and sup- 
press it in one shape, it rises in another ; if you think it is 
all gone, yet it is there still : there are a great many kinds 
of it, that lie in different forms and shapes, one under an- 
other, and encompass the heart like the coats of an onion ; if 
you pull off one there is another underneath. We had need, 
therefore, to have the greatest watch imaginable over our 
hearts, with respect to this matter, and to cry most earnestly 
to the great Searcher of hearts for his help. He that trusts 
his own heart is a fool. 

God's own people should be the more jealous of themselves 
with respect to this particular, at this day, because the tempta- 
tions that many have to this sin are exceeding great : the great 
and distinguishing privileges to which God admits many of 
his saints, and the high honors that he puts on some minis- 
ters, are great trials of persons in this respect. It is true that 
great degrees of the spiritual presence of God, tends greatly 
to mortify pride and all corruption ; but yet, though in the 
experience of such favors there be much to restrain pride one 
way, there is much to tempt and provoke it another ; and we 
shall be in great danger theieby, without great watchfulness 
and prayerfulness. There was much in the circumstances 
that the angels that fell were in, in heaven, in their great 
honors and liigh privileges, in beholding the face of God, and 



view of his iufiiute glory, to cause in them exercises of hu- 
mility, and to keep them from pride ; yet through want of 
watchfulness in them, their great honor and heavenly privi- 
lege proved to be, to them, an undoing temptation to pride, 
though they had no principle of pride in their hearts, to ex- 
pose them. Let no saint, therefore, however eminent, and 
however near to God, think himself out of danger of this : 
he that thinks himself most out of danger, is indeed most in 
danger. The apostle Paul, who doubtless was as eminent 
a saint as any are now, was not out of danger, even just 
after he was admitted to see God in the third heavens, by the 
information he himself gives us, 2 Cor. xii. And yet doubt- 
less, what he saw in heaven of the ineffable glory of the Di- 
vine Being, had a direct tendency to make him appear ex- 
ceeding httle and vile in his own eyes. 

Spiritual pride in its own nature is so secret, that it is not 
so well discerned b}'' immediate intuition on the thing it- 
self, as by the effects and fruits of it ; some of which I would 
mention, together with the contrary fruits of pure Christian 

Spiritual pride disposes to speak of other persons' sins, 
their enmity against God and his people, the miserable delu- 
sion of hypocrites, and their enmity against vital piety, and 
the deadness of some saints, with bitterness, or with laughter 
and levity, and an air of contempt ; whereas pm'c Christian 
humility rather disposes, either to be silent about them, or to 
speak of them with grief and pity. 

Spiritual pride is very apt to suspect others ; whereas a 
humble saint is most jealous of himself; he is so suspicious of 
nothing in the world as he is of his own heart. The spirit- 
ually proud person is apt to find fault with other saints, that 
they are low in grace, and to be much in observing how cold 
and dead they be, and crying out of them for it, and to be 
quick to discern and take notice of their deliciences : but the 
eminently humble Christian has so much to do at home, and 
sees so much evil in his own heart, and is so concerned about 


it, that he is not apt to be very busy with others' hearts ; he 
complains most of himself, and cries out of his own coldness 
and lowness in grace, and is apt to esteem others better than 
himself, and is ready to hope that there is nobody but what 
has more love and thankfulness to God than he, and cannot 
bear to think that others should bring forth no more fruit to 
God's honor than he. Some that have spiritual pride mixed 
with high discoveries and great transports of joy, that dispose 
them in an earnest manner to talk to others, are apt, in such 
frames, to be calling upon other Christians that are about 
them, and sharply reproving them for their being so cold and, 
lifeless. And there are some others that behave themselves 
very differently from these, who in their raptures are over- 
whelmed with a sense of their own vileness ; and when they 
have extraordinary discoveries of God's glory, are all taken 
up about their own sinfulness ; and though they also are 
disposed to speak much and very earnestly, yet it is very 
much in crying out of themselves, and exhorting fellow- 
Christians, but in a charitable and humble manner. Pure 
Christian humility disposes a person to take notice of every 
thing that is in any respect good in others, and to make the 
best of it, and to diminish their failings ; but to have his eye 
chiefly on those things that are bad in himself, and to take 
much notice of every thing that aggravates them. 

In a contrariety to this, it has been the manner in some 
places, or at least the manner of some persons, to speak of 
almost every thing that they see amiss in others, in the most 
harsh, severe, and terrible language. * It is frequent with 
them to say of others' opinions, or conduct, or advice, or of 
their coldness, their silence, their caution, their moderation, 
and their prudence, and many other things that appear in 
them, tliat they are from the devil, or from hell ; that such a 
thing is devilish, or hellish, or cursed, and that such persons 
are serving the devil, or the devil is in them, and they are 
soul-murderers, and the like ; so that the words devil and 
hell are almost continually in their moutl^s. And siirh kind 


of language they will commonly use, not only towards 
wicked men, but towards them that they themselves allow 
to be the true children of God, and also towards ministers of 
the gospel, and others that are very much their superiors. 
And they louk upon it a virtue and high attainment thus to 
behave themselves. " O, (say they,) we must be plain 
hearted and bold for Christ, we must declare war against sin 
wherever we see it, we must not mince the matter in the 
cause of God, and when speaking for Christ." And to make 
any distinction in persons, or to speak the more tenderly, 
because that which is amiss is seen in a superior, they look 
upon as very mean for a follower of Christ, when speaking 
in the cause of his Master. 

What a strange device of the devil is here to overthrow 
all Christian meekness and gentleness, and even all show 
and appearance of it, and to defile the mouths of the chil- 
dren of God, and to introduce the language of common 
sailors among the followers of Christ, under a cloak of high 
sanctity, and zeal, and boldness for Christ ! And it is a re- 
markable instance of the w^eakness of the human mind, 
and how much too cunning the devil is for us ! 

The grand defense of this way of talking is, that they 
say no more than what is true ; they only speak the truth 
without mincing the matter ; and that true Christians that 
have a great sight of the evil of sin, and acquaintance with 
their own hearts, know it to be true, and therefore will not 
be offended to hear such harsh expressions made use of con- 
cerning them and tlier sins ; it is only (say they) hypocrites, 
or cold and dead Christians, that arc provoked, and feel their 
enmity rise on such an occasion. 

But it is a grand mistake to think that we may commonly 
use, concerning one another, all such language as represents 
the worst of each other, according to strict truth. It is really 
true, that every kind of sin, and every degree of it, is devilish, 
and from hell, and is cursed, hellish, and condemned or 
damned : and if persons had a full sight of their hearts, 


ihey would ihink no terms too bad for them ; they would 
look like beasts, like serpents, and like devils, to themselves ; 
they would be at a loss for language to express what tliey 
see in themselves ; the worst terms they could think of 
would seem, as it were, faint to represent what they see in 
themselves. But shall a child, therefore, from time to time, 
use such language concerning an excellent and eminently 
holy father or mother, as that the devil is in them, that they 
have such and such devilish, cursed dispositions, that they 
commit, every day, hundreds of helHsh, damned acts, and 
that they are cursed dogs, hell-hounds, and devils 7 And 
shall the meanest of the people be justified, in commonly 
using such language concerning the most excellent magis- 
trates, or their most eminent ministers ? I hope nobody has 
gone to this height : but the same pretenses of boldness, 
plain heartednessj and declared war against sin, will as well 
justify these things, as the things they are actually made use 
of to justify. If we proceed in such a manner, on such 
principles as these, what a face will be introduced upon the 
church of Christ, the little beloved flock of that gentle 
Shepherd, the Lamb of God ? What a sound shall we bring 
into the house of God, into the family of his dear little chil- 
dren ? How far off shall we soon banish that lovely appear- 
ance of humility, sweetness, gentleness, mutual honor, 
benevolence, complacence, and an esteem of others above 
themselves, which ought to clothe the children of God all 
over ? Not but that Christians should watch over one an- 
other, and in any wise reprove one another, and be much in 
it, and do it plainly and faithfully ; but it does not thence 
follow that dear brethren in the family of God, in rebuking 
one another, should use worse language than Michael the 
archangel durst use when rebuking the devil himself. 

Christians, that are but fellow-worms, ought at least to 
treat one another with as much humility and gentleness as 
Christ, that is infinitely above them, treats them. But how 
did Christ treat his disciples when they were so cold towards 


liim, and so regardless of him, at the time when his soul 
was exceeding sorrowful even unto death, and he in a dismal 
agony was crying, and sweating blood for them, and they 
would not watch with him, aud allow him the comfort of 
their company one hour in his great distress, though he once 
and again desired it of them ? One would think that then 
was a proper time, if ever, to have reproved them for a devil- 
ish, hellish, cursed, and damned slothfulness and deadness. 
But after what manner does Christ reprove them ? Behold 
his astonishing gentleness ! Says he, " What, could ye not 
watch with me one hour ? The spirit indeed is willing, but 
the flesh is weak." And how did he treat Peter when be 
w^as ashamed of his Master, while he was made a mocking- 
stock, and a spitting-stock for him ? Why, he looked upon 
him with a look of love, and melted his heart. 

And though we read that Christ once turned and said 
mito Peter, on a certain occasion, get thee behind me, Sa- 
tan ; and this may seem hke an instance of harshness and 
severity in reproving Peter, yet I humbly conceive that this 
is by many taken wrong, and that this is indeed no instance 
of Christ's severity in his treatment of Peter, but on the 
contrary, of his wonderful gentleness and grace, distinguish- 
ing between Peter and the devil in him, not laying the 
blame of what Peter had then said, or imputing it to him, 
but to the devil that influenced him. Christ saw the devil 
then present, secretly influencing Peter to do the part of a 
tempter to his Master ; and therefore Christ turned him 
about to Peter, in whom the devil then was, and spake to 
the devil, and rebuked him. Thus the grace of Christ does 
not l>ehold iniquity in his people, imputes not what is amiss 
in them to them, but to sin that dwells in them, and to 
Satan that influences them. 

But to return : spriritual pride often disposes persons to 
singularity in external appearance, to aflect a singular way 
of speaking, to use a different sort of dialect from others, or 
to be sinofular in voice, or air of countenance or behavior • 


but he that is an eminently humble Christian, though he 
will be firm to his duty, however singular he is in it, he will 
go in the way that leads to heaven alone, though all the 
world forsakes him ; yet he delights not in singularity for 
singularity's sake, he does not affect to set up himself to be 
viewed and observed as one distinguished, as desiring to be 
accounted better than others, or despising rheir company, or 
a union and conformity to them ; but on the contrary, is 
disposed to become all things to all men, and to yield to 
others, and to conform to them, and please them, in every 
thing but sin. Spiritual pride commonly occasions a certain 
stiffness and inflexibility in persons, in their own judgment, 
and their own ways ; whereas the eminently humble person, 
though he be inflexible in his duty, and in those things 
wherein God's honor is concerned ; and with regard to temp- 
tation to those things he apprehends to be sinful, though in 
never so small a degree, he is not at all of a yieldable spirit, 
but is like a brazen wall ; yet in other things he is of a plia- 
ble disposition, not disposed to set up his own opinion, or his 
own will ; he is ready to pay deference to others' opinions, 
and loves to comply with their inclinations, and has a heart 
that is tender and flexible, like a little child. 

Spiritual pride disposes persons to affect separation, to 
stand at a distance from others, as better than they, and 
loves the show and appearance of the distinction : but on the 
contrary, the eminently humble Christian is ready to look 
upon himself as not worthy that others should be united to 
him, to think himself more brutish than any man, and wor- 
thy to be cast out of human society, and especially unworthy 
of the society of God's children ; and though he will not be 
a companion with one that is visibly Christ's enemy, and 
delights most in the company of lively Christians, will choose 
such for his companions, and will be most intimate with them, 
and does not at all delight to spend away much time in the 
company of those that seem to relish no conversation but 
about worldly things ; yet he does not love the appearance 


of an open separation from visible Christians, as being a kind 
of distinct company from them, that are one visible company 
with him by Christ's appointment, and will as much as pos- 
sible shun all appearances of a superiority, or distinguishing 
himself as better than others : his universal benevolence de- 
lights in the appearance of union with his fellow-creatures, 
and will maintain it as much as he possibly can, without 
giving open countenance to iniquity, or wounding his own 
soul ; and herein he follows the example of his meek and 
lowly Redeemer, who did not keep up such a separation and 
distance as the Pharisees, but freely ate with publicans and 
sinners, that he might win them. 

The eminently humble Christian is, as it were, clothed 
with lowliness, mildness, meekness, gentleness of spirit and 
behavior, and with a soft, sweet, condescending, winning air 
and deportment ; these things are just like garments to him, 
he is clothed all over with them. 1 Pet. v. 5. " And be 
clothed with humility." Col. iii. 12. " Put on, therefore, as 
the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kind- 
ness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long suffering." 

Pure Christian humility has no such thing as roughness, 
or contempt, or fierceness, or bitterness in its nature ; it makes 
a person like a little child, harmless and innocent, and that 
none need to be afraid of ; or like a lamb, destitute of all 
bitterness, wrath, anger, and clamor, agreeable to Eph. iv. 31. 

With such a spirit as this ought especially zealous minis- 
ters of the gospel to be clothed, and those that God is pleased 
to imi)rove as instruments in his hands of promoting his 
work : they ought indeed to be thorough in preaching the 
word of God, without mincing the matter at all ; in hand- 
ling the sword of the Spirit, as the ministers of the Lord of 
hosts, they ought not to be mild and gentle ; they are not to 
be gentle and moderate in searching and awakening the 
conscience, but should be sons of thunder : the word of God, 
which is in itself sharper than any two-edged sword, ought 
not to be sheathed by its ministers, but so used that its sharp 


edges may have their full effect, even to the dividing asun- 
der soul and spirit, joints and marrow (provided they do it 
without judging particular persons, leaving it to conscience 
and the Spirit of God to make the particular application) : 
but all their conversation should savor of nothing but lowli- 
ness and good will, love and pity to all mankind ; so that 
such a spirit should be like a sweet odor diffused around 
them wherever they go, or Uke a light shining about them, 
their faces should, as it were, shine with it ; they should be 
like lions to guilty consciences, but like lambs to men's per- 
sons. This would have no tendency to prevent the awa- 
kening of men's consciences, but on the contrary, would 
have a very great tendency to awaken them ; it would make 
way for the sharp sword to enter ; it would remove the ob- 
stacles, and make a naked breast for the arrow. Yea, the 
amiable, Christ-like conversation of such ministers, in itself 
would terrify the consciences of men, as well as their terril^le 
preaching ; both would co-operate one with another, to sub- 
due the hard, and bring down the proud heart. If there 
had been constantly and universally observable such a be- 
havior as this in itinerant preachers, it would have terrified 
the consciences- of sinners, ten times as much as all the in- 
vectives, and the censorious talk there has been concerning 
particular persons, for their opposition, hypocrisy, delusion, 
Pharisaism, <fcc. These things in general have rather stu- 
pified sinners' consciences ; they take theni up, and make 
use of them as a shield, wherewith to defend themselves 
from the sharp arrows of the word, that are shot by these 
preachers : the eneniies^ of the present work have been glad 
of these things with all their hearts. Many of the most 
bitter of them are probably such as in the beginning of this 
work had their conscierYces something galled and terrified 
with it ; but these errors of awakening preachers are the 
things they chietly make use of as plasters to heal the sore 
that was made in their consciences. 



Spiritual pride takes great notice of opposition and inju- 
ries that are received, and is apt to be often speaking of 
them, and to be much in taking notice of the aggravations 
of them, either with an air of bitterness or contempt : where- 
as pure, unmixed Christian humilit}^, disposes a person rather 
to be hke his blessed Lord, when reviled, dumb, not opening 
his mouth, but committing himself in silence to Him that 
judgeth righteously. The eminently humble Christian, the 
more clamorous and furious the world is against him, the 
more silent and still will he be ; unless it be in his closet, and 
there he will not be still. Our blessed Lord Jesus seems 
never to have been so silent as when the world compassed 
him round reproaching, buffeting, and spitting upon him, 
with Icud and virulent outcries, and horrid cruelties. 

There has been a great deal too much talk of late among 
many of the true friends of lehgion about opposition and per- 
secution. It becomes the followers of the Lamb of God, 
when the world is in an uproar about them, and full of cla- 
mor against them, not to raise another noise to answer it, 
but to be still and quiet : it is not beautiful, at such a time, 
to have pulpits and conversation ring with the sound, perse- 
cution^ Ijersecution^ or with abundant talk- about Pharisees, 
carnal persecutions, and the seed of the serpent. 

Meekness and quietness among God's people, when op- 
posed and reviled, would be the surest way to have God re- 
markably to appear for their defense, it is particularly ob- 
served of Moses, on the occasion of Aaron and Miriam their 
envying him, and rising up in opposition against him, that 
he '' was very meek, above all men upon the face of the 
earth," Numb. xii. 3., doubtless because he remarkably 
showed his meekness on that occasion, being wholly si- 
lent under tlie abuse. And how remarkable is the ac- 
count that follows, of God's being, as it were, suddenly 
roused to appear for his vindication? And what high honor 
did he put upon Moses ? And how severe were his rebukes 
of his oppose rs ? The story is very remarkable, and worth 


every one's observing. Nothing is so effectual to bring God 
down from heaven in the defense of his people, as their pa- 
tience and meekness under sufferings. When Christ " girds 
his sword upon his thigh, with his glory and majesty, and in 
his majesty rides prosperously^ his right hand teaching him 
terrible things, it is because of truth and meekness and right- 
eousness." Psalm xlv. 3, 4. " God will cause judgment to be 
heard from heaven ; the eaith shall fear and be still, and 
God will arise to judgment, to save all the meek of the earth." 
Psalm Ixxvi. 8, 9. " He wnll lift up the meek, and cast the 
wicked down to the ground." P^alm cxlvii. 6. " He will 
reprove with equity, for the meek of the earth, and will 
smite the earth Vvith the rod of his mouth, and with the 
breath of his lips will he slay the wicked." Isa. xi. 4. The 
great commendation that Christ gives the church of Phila- 
delphia, is, that "Thou hast kept the word of my patience." 
Rev. iii. 10. And we may see what reward he promises her, 
in the preceding verse, " Behold, I will make them of the syna- 
gogue of Satan, which say they are Jews and are not, but do 
lie ; behold, I will make themto come and worship at thy feet, 
and to know that I have loved thee." And thus it is that 
we might expect to have Christ appear for us, if under all 
reproaches we are loaded with, we behavedourselves with a 
lamblike meekness and gentleness ; but if our spirits are 
raised, and we are vehement and noisy with our complaints 
under color of Christian zeal, this will be to take upon us our 
own defense, and God will leave it with us to vindicate our 
cause as well as we can : yea, if we go on in a way of bit- 
terness, and high censuring, it will be the way to have him 
rebuke us, and put us, to shame before our enemies. 

Here some may be ready to say. " it is not in our own 
cause that we are thus vehement, but it is in the cause of 
God ; and the apostle directed the primitive Christians to 
contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints," 
But how was it that the primitive Christians contended ear- 
nestly for the faith ? They defended the truth with argu- 


mentSj and a holy conversation ; but yet gave their reasons 
with meekness and fear : they contended earnestly for the 
faith, by fighting violently against their own unbelief, and 
the corruption of their hearts ; yea. they resisted unto blood, 
striving against sin ; but the blood that was shed in this 
earnest strife, was their own blood, and not the blood of their 
enemies. It was in the cause of God, that Peter was so 
fierce, and drew his sword, and began to smite with it ; but 
Christ bids him put up his sword again, telling him that 
they that take the sword shall perish by the sword ; and 
while Peter wounds, Christ heals. They contend the most 
violently, and are the greatest conquerorsin a time of perse- 
cution, who bear it with the greatest meekness and patience. 

Great humility improves even the reflections and re- 
proaches of enemies, to put upon serious self-examination, 
whether or no there be not some just cause, whether they 
have not in some respect given occasion to the enemy to 
speak reproachfully : whereas spiritual pride improves such 
reflections to make them the more bold and confident, and to 
go the greater lengths in that for which they are found feult 
with. I desire it may be considered whether there has been 
nothing amiss of late, among the true friends of vital piety 
in this respect ;*and whether the words of David, when re- 
viled by Michal, have not been misinterpreted and misapplied 
to justify them in it, when he said, I will be yet more vile, 
and will be base in mine own sight. The import of his 
words is that he would humble himself yet more before 
God, being sensible that he was far from being sufticiently 
abased ; and he signifies this to Michal, and that he longed 
to be yet lower, and had designed already to abase himself 
more in his behavior : not that he would go the greater 
length, to show his legardlessness of her revilings ; that 
would be to exalt himself, and not more to abase himself, as 
more vile in his own sight. 

Another effect of spiritual pride is a certain unsuitable and 
self-confident boldness before God and men. Thus some in 


their great rejoicings before God, have not paid a sulTicient 
regard to that rule, in Psahii ii. 11. Tliey have not re- 
joiced with a reverential trembling, in a proper sense of the 
awful majesty of God, and the awful distance between God 
and them. And there has also been an improper boldness 
before men, that has been encouraged and defended, by a 
misapplication of that scripture, Prov. xxx. 25. " The fear 
of man bringeth a snare." As though it became all persons, 
high and low, men, women, and children, in all religious 
conversation, wholly to divest themselves of all manner of 
shamefacedness, modesty, or reverence towards^man ; which 
is a great error, and quite contrary to scripture. There is a 
fear of reverence that is due to some men. Rom. xiii. 7. 
" Fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor." And there is 
a fear of modesty and shamefacedness, in inferiors towards su- 
periors, that is amiable, and required by Christian rules. 1 
Pet. iii. 2. " While they behold our chaste conversation, cou- 
pled with fear." AikI 1 Tim. ii. 9. " In hke manner also, 
that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shame- 
facedness and sobriety." And the apostle means that this 
virtue shall have place, not only in civil communication, but 
also in spiritual communication, and in our religious con- 
cerns and behavior, as is evident by what follows. Ver. 11, 
12. " Let the women learn in silence, with all subjection. 
But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over 
the man, but to be in silence." Not that I would hence infer 
that women's mouths should be shut up from Christian con- 
versation • but all that I mean from it at this time is, that 
modesty or shamefacedness, and reverence towards men, 
ought to have some place, even in our rehgious communica- 
tion one with another. The same is also evident, by 1 Pet. 
iii. 15 '' Be ready always to give an answer, to every man 
that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you, with 
meekness and fear." It is well if that very fear and shame- 
facedness, which the apostle recommends, has not sometimes 
been condemned, under the name of a cAirsed fear of man. 


It is beautiful for persons when they are at prayer as the 
mouth of others, to make God only their fear and their dread, 
and to be wholly forgetful of men that are present, who, let 
them be great or small, are nothing in the presence of the 
great God. And it is beautiful for a minister, when he speaks 
in the name of the Lord of hosts, to be bold, and put off all 
fear of men. And it is beautiful in private Christians, though 
they are women and childreUj to be bold in professing the 
faith of Christ, and in the practice of all lehgion, and in 
owning God's hand in the work of his power and grace, 
without any fear of men, though they should be reproached 
as fools and madmen, and frowned upon by great men, and 
cast off by parents and all the world. But for private Chris- 
tians, women and others, to instruct, rebuke, and exhort, with 
a like sort of boldness as becomes a minister when preaching, 
is not beautiful. 

Some have been bold in some things that have really been 
errors ; and have gloried in their Iwldneas in practicing them, 
though cried out of as odd. and irregular. And those that 
have gone the greatest lengths in these things, have been by 
some most highly esteemed, as those that come out, and ap- 
pear bold . for the Lord Jesus Christ, and fully on his side ; 
and others that have professed to be godly, that have con- 
demned such things, have been spoken of as enemies of the 
cross of Christ, or at least very cold and dead ; and mau}^ 
that of themselves were not inclined to such practices, have 
by this means been drivsn on, being ashamed to be iDehind, 
and accounted poor soldiers for Christ. 

Another effect of spiritual pride is assu^ning : it often- 
times makes it natural to persons so to act and speak, as 
though it in a special manner belonged to them to be taken 
notice of and much regarded. It is very natural to a person 
that is much under the influence of spiritual pride, to take 
all that respect that is paid him : if others show a disposition 
to submit to him, and yield him the deference of a preceptor, 
he is open to it, and freely admits it ; yea, it is natural for 


him to expect such treatment, and to take much notice of it 
if he fails of it, and to liave an ill opinion of others that do 
not pay him that which he looks upon as Ins prerogative : 
he is apt to think that it belongs to him to speak, and to 
clcthe himself with a judicial and dogmatical air in conver- 
sation, and to take it upon him as what belongs to him, to 
give forth his sentence, and to determine and decide : 
whereas pure Christian humility vaunteth not itself^ doth 
not behave itself unseemly^ and is apt to j)refer others in 
honor. One under the influence of spiritual pride, is more 
apt to instruct others, than to inquire for himself, and. natu- 
rally puts on the airs of a master : whereas one that is full 
of pure humility, naturally has on the air of a disciple ; his 
voice is, " What shall I do ? What shall I do that I may 
live more to God's honor ? What shall I do with this wicked 
heart ?" He is ready to receive instruction from any body, 
agreeable to James i. 19. " Wherefore, my beloved brelhren, 
let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak." The emi- 
nently humble Christian thinks he wants help from every 
body, whereas he that is spiritually proud, thinks that every 
body wants his help. Christian humility, under a sense of 
others' misery, entreats and beseeches ; spiritual pride affects 
to command, and warn with authority. 

There ought to be the utmost watchfulness against all 
such appearances of spiritual pride, in all that profess to have 
been the subjects of this work, and especially in the promo- 
ters of it, but above all, in itinerant preachers : the most 
eminent gifts, and highest tokens of God's favor and bless- 
ing, will not excuse them : alas ! what is man at his best 
estate ! What is the most highly favored Christian, or the 
most eminent and successful minister, that he should now 
think he is sufficient for something, and somebody to be re- 
garded, and that he should go forth, and act among his fel- 
low-creatures, as if he were wise, and strong, and good ! 

Ministers that have been the principal instruments of car- 
rying on this glorious revival of religion, and that God has 

288 ministers' temptations to assuming. 

made use of, as it were, to bring up his people out of Egypt, 
as he did of Moses, should take heed that they do not pro- 
voke God as Moses did, by assuming too much to themselves, 
and by their intemperate zeal, to shut them out from seeing 
the good things that God is going to do for his church in 
this world. The fruits of Moses' unbelief, which provoked 
God to shut him out of Ganaart, and not to suffer him to 
partake of those great things God was about to do for Israel 
on earth, were chiefly these two things : First, his mingling 
bitterness with his zeal : he had a great zeal for God, and 
he .could not bear to see the intolerable stiff-neckedness of the 
people, that they did not acknowledge the work of God, and 
were not convinced by all his wonderathat they had seen : 
but human passion was mingled with his zeal. Psalm cvi. 
32, 33. *' They angered him also at the w^aters of strife ; so 
that it went ill with Moses for their sakes : because they 
provoked his spirit, so that he spake unadvisedly with his 
lips." Hear now ye rebels, says he, with bitterness of lan- 
guage. vSecondly, he behaved himself, and spoke with an 
assuming air : he assumed too much to himself: hear now, 
ye rebels, must ive fetch \oater out of this rock ! Spirit- 
ual pride wrought in Moses at that time : his temptations to 
it were very great, for he hkd had great discoveries of God, 
and had been privileged with intimate and sweet communion 
with him, and God had made him the instrument of great 
good to his church ; and though he was so humble a person, 
and, by God's own testimony, meek above all men upon the 
face of the whole earth, yet his temptations were too strong 
for him : which surely should make our young ministers, 
that have of late been highly favored, and have had great 
success, exceeding careful, and distrustful of themselves. 
Alas ! how far are we from having the strength of holy, 
meek, aged Moses ! The temptation at this day is exceed- 
ing great, to both those errors that Moses was guilty of ; there 
is great temptation to bitterness and corrupt passion with 
zeal ; for there is so much unreasonable opposition made 


against this glorious work of God, and so'much stiff-neck- 
edness manifested in multitudes of this generation, notwith- 
standing all the great and wonderful works in which God 
has passed before them, that it greatly tends to provoke the 
spirits of such as have the interest of this work at heart, so 
as to move them to speak unadvisedly with their lips. And 
there is a.lso great temptation to an assuming behavior in 
some persons : when a minister is greatly succe.eded, from 
time to time, and so draws the eyes of the multitude upon 
him, and he sees himself flocked after, and resorted to as an 
oracle, and people are ready to adore him, and to offer sacri- 
fice to him, as it was with Paul and Barnabas, at Lystra, it 
is almost impossible for a man to avoid taking upon him the 
airs of a master, or some extraordinary person ; a man had 
need to have a great stock of humility, and much divine as- 
sistance, to resist the temptation. But the greater our dan- 
gers are, the more ought tt) be our watchfulness and prayer- 
fulness, and diffidence of ourselves, lest we bring ourselves 
into mischief. Fishermen that have been very successful, 
and have caught a great many fish, had need to be careful 
that they dq not at length begin to burn incense to their net. 
And we should take warning by Gideon, who, after God had 
highly favored and exalted him, and made him the instru- 
ment of working a wonderful deliverance for his people, at 
length made a god of the spoils of his enemies, which be- 
came a snare to him and to his house, so as to prove the 
ruin of his family. 

All yoiing ministers,' in this day of the bringing up the ark 
of God, should take warning by the example of a young 
Levite in Israel, viz. Uzza, the son of Abinadab. He 
seemed to have a real concern for the ark of God, and to be 
zealous and engaged in his mind, on that joyful occasion of 
bringing up the ark, and God made him an instrument to bring 
the ark out of its long contuiued obscurity in Kirjath-jearim, 
and he was succeeded to bring it a considerable way towards 
Mount Zion ; but for his want of humility, reverence, and 



circumspection, and assuming to himself, or taking too much 
upon him, God broke forth upon him, and smote him for his 
error, so that he never hved to see and partake of the great 
joy of his church, on occasion of the carrying up the ark 
into Mount Zion, and the great blessings of heaven upon 
Israel, that were consequent upon it. Ministers that have 
been improved to carry on this work, have been chiefly of 
the younger sort, who have doubtless (as Uzza had) a real 
concern for the ark ; and it is evident that they are much 
animated and engaged in their minds (as he was) in this joy- 
ful day of bringing up' the ark ; and they are afraid what 
will become of the ark under the conduct of its ministers 
(that are sometimes in scripture compared to oxen) ; they 
see the ark shakes, and they are afraid these blundering 
oxen will throw it ; and some of them, it is to be feared, 
have been over officious on this occasion, and have assumed 
too much to themselves, and havfe been bold to put forth 
their hand to take hold of the ark, as though they were the 
only fit and worthy persons to defend it. 

If young ministers had great humility, without a mixture, 
it would dispose them especially to treat ageji ministers 
with respect and reverence, as their fathers, notwithstanding 
that a sovereign God may have given them greater assist- 
ance and success than they have had. 1 Pet. v. 5. " Like- 
wise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder ; yea, all 
of you, be subject one to another ; and be clothed with hu- 
mility ; for God lesisteth the proud, and giveth giace to the 
humble." Lev. xix. 32. " Thou shalt rise up before the 
hoary head, and honor the face of the old man, and fear thy 
God ; I am the Lord." 

As spiritual pride disposes persons to assume much to 
themselves, so it also disposes them to treat others w^ith neg- 
lect:- on the contrary, pure Christian humilit}^ disposes per- 
sons to honor all men. agreeable, to that rule, 1 Pet. ii. 17. 

There has been In some, that I believe are true friends of 
religion, too much of an appearance of this fruit of spiritual 


pride, in their treatment of those that they looked upon to be 
carnal men ; and particularly in refusing to enter into any 
discourse or reasoning with them. Indeed to spend a great 
deal of time in jangling and warm debates about religion, is 
not the way to propagate religion, but to hinder it ; and some 
are so dreadfully set against this work, that it is a dismal 
task to dispute with them, all that one can say is utterly in 
vain ; I have found it so by experience ; and to go to enter 
into disputes about religion, at some times, is quite unseason- 
able, as particularly in meetings for religious conference, or 
exercises of worship. But yet we ought to be very caroful 
that we do not refuse to discourse with men, with any ap- 
pearance of a supercilious neglect, as though we counted them 
not worthy to be regarded ; on the contrary, we should conde- 
scend to carnal men, as Christ has condescended to us, to 
bear with our unteachableness and stupidity, and still to fol- 
low us with instructions, line upon line, and precept upon 
precept, saying, Come let us reason together ; setting light 
before us, and using all manner of arguments with us, and 
waiting upon such dull scholars, as it were hoping that we 
should receive light. We should be ready with meekness 
and calmness, without hot disputing, to give our reasons, why 
v/e think this work is the work of God, to carnal men when 
they ask us, and not turn them by as not worthy to be 
talked with ; as the apostle directed the primitive Christians 
to be- ready to give a renson of the Christian faith xind hope, 
to. the enemies of Christianity. I Pet. iii. 15. "Be ready al- 
ways to give an answer to every man that asketh you a rea- 
son of the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear." 
And we ought not to'condemn all reasoning about things of 
religion, under the name of carnal reason. For my part, I 
desire no better than that those that oppose this work, should 
come fairly to submit to have the cause betwixt us tried by 
strict reasoning. 

One quaUfication that the scripture speaks of, once and 
again, as. requisite in a minister, is, that he should be apt to 


teachj 1 Tim. iii. 2. And the apostle seems to explain what 
he means by it, in 2 Tim. ii. 24. 25. ; or at least there ex- 
presses one thing he intends by it, viz. that a minister should 
be ready meekly to condescend to and instruct opposers. 
" And the servant of the Lord must not strive, but be gentle 
unto all men, apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing 
those that oppose themselves, if God peradventure will give 
them repentance, to the acknowledging of the truth." 


Errors in a revival^ arising from the adoption of wrong 

Secondly, Another thing from whence errors in conduct^ 
that attend such a revival of religion, do arise, is lorong 

And one erroneous principle, than which scarce any has 
proved more mischievous to the present glorious work of God, 
is a notion that it is God's manner, now in these days, to 
guide his saints, at least some that are more eminent, by in- 
spiration, or immediate revelation, and to make known to 
them what shall come to pass hereafter, or what it is his* will 
that they -should do, by impressions that he by his Spirit 
makes upon their minds, either with or without texts of 
scripture ; whereby something is made known to them, that 
is not taught in the scripture as the words lie in the Bible: 
By such a notion the devil has a great "floor opened for him ; 
and if once this opinion should come to be fully yielded to, 
and established in the church of God, Satan would have op- 
portunity thereby to set up himself as the guide and oracle 
of God's people, and to have his word regarded as their in- 
fallible rule, and so to lead them where he would, and to in- 
troduce what he pleased, and soon to bring the Bible into 


neglect and contempt. Late experience in some instances, 
has shown that the tendency of this notion is to cause per- 
sons to esteem the Bible as a book that is in a great measure 

This error will defend and support all errors. As long as 
a person h^s a notion that he is guided by immediate direc- 
tion from heaven, it makes him incorrigible and impregnable 
in all his misconduct : for what signifies it, for poor blind 
worms of the dust, to go to argue with a man, and endeavor 
to convince him and correct him, that is guided by the im- 
mediate couYisels and commands of the great Jehovah ? 

This great work of God has been exceedingly hindered 
by this error ; and till we have (juite taken this handle out 
of the devil's hands, the work of God will nevei- go on with- 
out great clogs and hinderances. But Satan will always 
have a vast advantage in his hands against it, and as he has 
improved it hitherto, so he will do still : and it is evident that 
the devil knows the vast advantage he has by it, that* makes 
liim exceeding loath to let go his hold. 

It is strange what a disposition there is in* many well-dis- 
posed and religious persons, to fall in with and hold fast this 
notion. It is enough to astonish one that such multiplied, 
plain instances of the foiUng of such supposed revelations, in 
the event, do not open every one's eyes. I have seen so 
many instances of the faihng of such impressions, that would 
almost furnish a history : I have been acquainted with them 
when made under all kinds of circumstances, and have seen 
them fail in the event, when made with such circumstances 
as have been fairest and brightest, and most promising ; . as 
when they have been n*iade upon the minds of such, as there 
was all reason to think were true saints, yea, eminent saints, 
and at the very time when they have had great divine dis- 
coveries, and kave been in the high exercise of true commu- 
nion with God, and made with great strength, and with great 
sweetness accompanying, and I have had reason to think 
with an excellent heavenly frame of spirit, yet continued. 


and made with texts of scripture, that seemed to be exceed- 
ing apposite, yea, many texts following one another, extra- 
ordinarily and wonderfully brought to the mind, and with 
great power and majesty, and the impressions repeated over 
and over, after prayers to be directed ; and yet all has most 
manifestly come to nothing, to the full conviction of the per- 
sons themselves. And God has in so many instances 6f late 
in his providence, centered such things with darkness, that 
one would think it should be enough quite to blank the ex- 
pectations of suoh as have been ready to think highly of such 
things ; it seems to be a testimony of God, that he has no 
design of reviving revelations in his church, and a rebuke 
from him to the groundless expectations of it. 

It seems to me that that scripture, Zech. xiii. 5., is a pro- 
phecy concerning ministers of the gospel, in the latter and 
glorious day of the Christian church, which is evidently 
spoken of in this and foregoing chapters ; the words are, " I 
am no prophet; I am a husbandman : for man taught me 
to keep cattle from my youth." The words, I apprehend, 
are to be interpreted in a spiritual sense ; / am a husband- 
man. The work of ministers is very often. in the New Tes- 
tament, compared to the business of the husbandman, that 
take care of God's husbandry, to whom he lets out his vine- 
yard, and sends them forth to labor in his field, where one 
plants and another waters, one sows and another reaps ; so 
ministers are called laborers in God's harvest. And as it is 
added, mayi taught me to keep cattle from, my youth ; so 
Che worK of a minister is very often in scripture represented 
by .the business of a shepherd or pastor. And whereas it is 
said, / am no projjhel : .hut m^an' taught m.e from, my 
youth : it is as much as to say, I do not preteiKl to have re- 
ceived my skill, whereby I am fitted for the business of a pas- 
tor or shepherd in the church of God, by imiifcdiate inspira- 
tion, but by education, by being trained up to the business 
by human learning, and instructions I . have received from 
my youth or childhood, by o»*dinary means. 


And why cannot wc be contented with tlie divine oracles, 
that holy, pure word of God, that we have in such abun- 
dance, and such clearness, now since tiie canon of scripture 
is completed ? Why should we desire to have any thing 
added to them by impulses from above ? Why should not 
we rest in that standing rule that God has given to his 
church, which the apostle teaches us is surer than a voice 
from heaven ? And why should we desire to make the scrip- 
ture speak more to us than it does ? .Or why should any 
desire any higher kind of intercourse with Heaven, than that 
which is by having the Holy Spirit given in liis sanctifying 
influences, infusing and exciting grace and hohness, love 
and joy, which is the highest kind of intercourse that the 
saints and angels in heaven have with God, and the chief 
excellency of the glorified man Christ Jesus ? 

Some that follow impulses and impressions, go away with 
a notion that they do not other than follow the guidance of 
God's word, and make the scripture their rule, because the 
impression is made with a text of scripture that comes to 
their mind, though they take that text as it is impressed on 
their minds, and improve it as a new revelation, to all intents 
and purposes, or as the revelation of a particular thing, that 
is now newly made, while the text in itself, as it is in the 
Bible, implies no such thing, and they themselves do not 
suppose that any such revelation was contained in it befo.re. 
As for instance, suppose that text should come into a person's 
mind with strong impression. Acts ix. 6., " Arise, and go 
into the city : and it shall be told thee what thou must do." 
And he should interpret it as an immediate signification of 
the will of God, that he should now forthwith go to such a 
neighbor town, and as a revelation of that future event, viz. 
that there he should meet with a further discovery of his 
duty. If such things as th^e are revealed by the impres- 
sion of these words, it is to all intents a new revelation, not 
the less because certain words of scripture are made use of 
in the case : here are propositions or truths entirely new, 


that are supposed now to be revealed, that those words do 
not contain in themselves, and that till now theic was no 
revelation of any where to be found in heaven or earth. 
These propositions, that it is God's mind and will that such 
a person by name,- should arise at such a time, and go from 
such a place to such a place, and that there he should meet 
with discoveries, are entirely new propositions, wholly differ- 
ent from the propositions contained in that text of scripture, 
no more contained, .or consequently implied in the words 
themselves, without a new revelation, than it is implied that 
he should arise and go to any other place, or that any other 
person should arise and go to that" place. The propositions 
supposed to be now revealed, are as really different from those 
contained in that scripture, as they are from the propositions 
contained in that text, Gen. v. 6., " And Seth lived a hun- 
dred and five years, and begat Enos." 

This is quite a different thing from the Spirit's enlighten- 
ing the mind to understand the precepts or propositions of 
the word of God, and know what is contained and revealed 
in thein, and what consequences may justly be drawn from 
them, iivA to see how they are applicable to our case and 
circumstances ; which is done without any new revelation, 
only by enabling the mind to understand and apply a reve- 
lation already made. 

Those texts of scripture that speak of the children of God 
as led hy the Spirit^ have been by some brought to defend 
a being guided by such impulses ; as particularly, those 
Rom. viii. 14., " For as many as are led by the Spirit of 
God, they are the sons of God :" and Gal. v. 18., "But if 
ye are led by the Spirit, ye are not under the law." But 
these texts themselves confute them that bring them ; for it 
is evident that the leading of the Spirit that the apostle 
speaks of is «, gracious leading, or what is peculiar to the 
children of God, and that natural men cannot have ; for he 
speaks of it as a sure evidence of their being the sons of 
God, and not under the law 4 but a leading or directing a 


person, by immediately revealing to him where he should 
gOj or what shall hereafter come to pass, or what shall *be 
the future consequence of his doing thus or thus, if there be 
any such thing in these days, is not of the nature of the 
gracious leading of the Spirit of God, that is peculiar to God's 
children ; it is no more than a common gift ; there is no- 
thing in it but what natural men are capable of, and many 
of them have had in the days of inspiration : a man may 
have ten thousand such revelations and directions from the 
Spirit of God, and yet not have a jot of grace in his heart : 
it is no more than the gift of prophecy, which immediately 
reveals what will be, or should be hereafter ; but this is but 
a common gift, as the apostle expressly shows, 1 Cor. xiii. 2, 
8. If a person has any thing revealed to him from God, or 
is directed to any thing by a voice from heaven, or a whis- 
per, or words immediately suggested and put into his mind, 
there is nothing of the nature of grace merely in this ; it is 
of the nature of a common influence of th& Spiiit, and is 
but dross and dung, in comparison of the excellency of that 
gracious leading of the Spirit that the saints have. Such a 
way of being directed where one shall go, and what he shall 
do, is no more than what Balaam had from God, who from 
time to time revealed to him what he should do, and when 
he had done one thing, then directed him what he should 
do next ; so that he was in this sense led by the Spirit, for a 
considerable time. There is a tnore excellent way that the 
Spiiit of God leads the sons of God, that natural men can- 
not have, and that is, by inclining thenl to do the will of 
God, and go in the shining path .of truth, and Christian ho- 
liness, from a holy, heavenly disposition, which the Spirit of 
God gives them, and enlivens in them, wiiich inclines them, 
and leads them to those things that are excellent, and agree- 
able to God's mind, whereby they " are transformed, by the 
renewing of their minds, and prove what is that good, and 
acceptable, and perfect will of God," as in Rom. xii. 2. And 
so the S})irit of Gud docs in a gracious manner teach the 



saints their duty ; and teaches them in a higlier manner 
than ever Balaam, or Saul, or Judas were taught, or any 
natural man is capable of while such. The Spirit of God 
enlightens them with respect to their duty, by making their 
eye single and pure, whereby the whole body is full of light. 
The sanctifying influence of the Spirit of God rectifies the 
taste of the soul, whereby it savors those things that are of 
God, and naturally relishes and delights in those things that 
are holy and agreeable to God's mind, and Uke one of a dis- 
tinguishing taste, chooses those things that are good and 
wholesome, and rejects those things that are evil ; for the 
sanctified ear tries words, and the sanctified heart tries ac- 
tions, as the mouth tastes meat. And thus the Spirit of God 
leads and guides the meek in his way, agreeable to his pro- 
mises ; he enables them to understand the commands and 
counsels of his word, and rightly to apply them. Christ 
blames the Pharisees that they had not this holy distinguish- 
ing taste, to discern and distinguish what was right and 
wrong. Luke xii. 57. " Yea, and why, even of your own 
selves, judge ye not what is right ?" 

The leading of the Spirit which God gives his children, 
which is peculiar to them, is that teaching them his statutes, 
and causing them to understand the way of his precepts, 
which the psalmist so very often prays for, especially in the 
119th psalm ; and not in giving of them new statutes^ and 
neio jprecepts : he graciously gives them eyes to see, and 
ears to hear, and hearts to understand ; he causes them to 
understand the fear of the Lord, and so brings the blind by 
a way they knew not, and leads them in paths that they had 
not known, and makes darkness hght before them, and 
crooked things straight. 

So the assistance of the Spirit in })raying and preaching, 
seems by some to have l3een greatly misunderstood, and they 
have sought after a miraculous assistance of inspiration, by 
immediate suggesting of words to them, by such gifts and 
influences of the Spirit, iii praying and teaching, as the 


npostle speaks of, 1 Cor. xiv. 14, 26. (which many natural 
men had in those clays), instead of a gracious holy assistance 
of the Spirit of God, which is the far more excellent way 
(as 1 Cor. xii. 31., and xiii. 1). The gracious and most ex- 
cellent kind assistance of the Spirit of God in praying and 
preaching, is not by immediate suggesting of words to the 
apprehension, which may be with a cold, dead heart, but by 
warming the heart, and filling it with a great sense of those 
things that are to be spoken of, and with holy affections, that 
that sense and those affections may suggest words. Thus 
indeed the Spirit of God may be said indirectly and medi- 
ately to suggest words to us, to indite our petitions for us, 
and to teach the preacher what to say ; he fills the heart, 
and that fills the mouth ; as we know that when men are 
greatly affected in any matter, and their hearts are very full, 
it fills them with matter for speech, and makes them elo- 
quent upon that subject ; and much more have spiritual af- 
fections this tendency, for many reasons that might be 
given. When a person is in a holy and lively frame in se- 
cret prayer, it will wonderfully supply him with matter, and 
with expressions, as eveiy true Christian knows ; and so it 
will fill his mouth in Christian conversation, and it has the 
like tendency to enable a person in public prayer and 
preaching. And if he has these holy influences of the 
Spirit on his heart in a high degree, nothing in the world 
will have so great a tendency to make both the matter and 
manner of his public performances excellent and profitable. 
But since there is no immediate suggesting of words from 
the Spirit of God to be expected or desired, they who neglect 
and despise study and premeditation, in order to a prepara- 
tion for the pulpit, in such an expectation, are guilty of pre- 
sumption ; though doubtless it may be lawful for some 
persons, in some cases, (and they may be called to it) to 
preach with very little stud}^ ; and the Spirit of God, by tlie 
heavenly frame of heart that he gives them, may enable 
them to do it to excellent purj)o.se. 


Besides this most excellent way of the Spirit of God, in 
assisting ministers in pubhc performances, which (considered 
as the preacher'ri privilege) far excels inspiration, there is 
a common assistance which natural men may have in these 
days, and which the godly may have intermingled with a 
gracious assistan,ce, which is also very different from inspira- 
tion, and that is his assisting natural principles ; as his as- 
sisting the natural apprehension, reason, memory, conscience, 
and natural affection. 

But to return to the head of impressions and immediate 
revelations ; many lay themselves open to a delusion by ex- 
pecting direction from heaven in this way, and waiting for 
it : in such a case it is easy for persons to imagine that they 
have it. They are perhaps at a loss concerning something, 
undetermined what they shall do, or what course they should 
take in some affair, and they pray to God to direct them, and 
make known to them his mind and vdll ; and then, instead 
of expecting to be directed, by being assisted in consideration 
of the rules of God's word, and their circumstances, and 
God's providence, and enabled to look on things in a true 
light, and justly to weigh them, they are waiting for some 
secret immediate influence on their minds, unaccountably 
swaying their minds, and turning their thoughts or inchna- 
tions that way that God would have them go, and are ob- 
serving their own minds, to see vrhat arises there, whether 
some texts of scripture do not come into the mind, or whe- 
ther some ideas, or inward motions and dispositions do not 
arise in something of an unaccountable jnianner, that they 
may call a divine direction. Hereby they are exposed to 
two things. First, they lay themselves open to the devil, 
and give him a fair opportunity to lead them where he 
pleases ; for they stand ready to follow the first extraordinary 
impulse that they shall have, groundlessly concluding it is 
from God. And secondly, they are greatly exposed to be 
deceived by their own imaginations ; for such an expecta- 
tion awakens and quickens the imagination ; and that often- 


times is called an uncommon impression, that is no such 
thing ; and they ascribe that to the agency of some invisi- 
ble being, that is owing only to themselves. 

Again, another way that many have been deceived, is by 
drawing false conclusions from true premises. Many true 
and eminent saints have been led into mistakes and snares, 
by arguing too much from that, that they have prayed in 
faith ; and that oftentimes \vhen the premises are true, they 
have indeed been greatly assisted in prayer for such a par- 
ticular mercy, and have had the true spirit of prayer in ex- 
ercise, in their asking it of God ; but they have concluded 
more from these premises than is a just consequence from 
them : that they have thus prayed is a sure sign that their 
prayer is accepted and heard, and that God will give a gra- 
cious answer, according to his owai wisdom, and that the 
particular thing that was ask^d shall be given, or that which 
is equivalent ; this is a just consequence from it ; but it is 
not inferred by any new revelation now made, but by the 
revelation that is made in God's word, the promises made to 
the prayer of faith in the holy scriptures : but that God will 
answer them in that individual thing that they ask, if it be 
not a thing promised in God's word, or they do not certainly 
know that it is that which will be most for the good of God's 
church, and the advancement of Christ's kingdom and glory, 
nor whether it will be best for them, is more than can be 
justly concluded from it. If God remarkably meets with 
one of his children w^hile he is praying for a particular mercy 
of great importance, for himself, or some other person, or any 
society of men, and does by the influences of his Spirit 
greatly humble him, and empty him of himself in his prayer, 
and manifests himself remarkably in his excellency, sove- 
reignty, and his all-sufficient power and grace in Jesus Christ, 
and does in a remarkable manner enable the person to come 
to him for that mercy, poor in spirit, and with humble resig- 
nation to God, and with a great degree of faith in the divine 
sufficiency, and the sufficiency of Christ's mediation, tliat, 


person has indeed a great deal the more reason to hope that 
God will grant that mercy, than otherwise he would have ; 
the greater probability is justly inferred from that, agreeably 
to the promises of the holy scripture, that the prayer is ac- 
cepted and heard ^ and it is much more probable that a 
prayer that is heard will be returned \vith the particular 
mercy that is asked, than one that is not heard. And there 
is no reason at all to doubt, but that God does sometimes 
especially enable to the exercises of faith, when the minds 
of his saints are engaged in thoughts of and prayer for some 
particular blessing they greatly desire ; i. e. God is pleased 
especially to give them a believing frame, a sense of his full- 
ness, and a spirit of humble dependence on him, at such 
times as when they are thinking of and praying for that 
mercy, more than for other mercies ; he gives them a par- 
ticular sense of his ability to do that thing, and of the suffi- 
ciency of his power to overcome such and such obstacles, 
and the sufficiency of his mercy, and of the blood of Christ, 
for the removal of the guilt that is in the w^ay of the bestow- 
ment of such a mercy in particular. When this is the case, 
it makes the probability still much greater, that God intends 
to bestow the particular mercy sought, in his own time, and 
his own way. But here is nothing of the nature of a reve- 
lation in the case, but only a drawing rational conclusions 
from the particular manner and circumstances of the ordi- 
nary gracious influences of God's Spirit. And as God is 
pleased sometimes to give his saints particular exercises of 
faith in his sufficiency, with regard to particular mercies they 
seek, so he is sometimes pleased to make use of his w^ord in 
order to it, and helps the actings of faith with respect to such 
a mercy, by texts of scripture that do especially exhibit the 
sufficiency of God's power or mercy, in such a like case, or 
speak of such a manner of the exercise of God's strength 
and grace. The strengthening of their faith in God's suffi- 
ciency in this case is therefore a just improvement of such 
scriptures ; it is no more than what those scriptiu*es, as they 


stand in the Bible, do hold forth just cause for. But to take 
them as new whispers or revelations from heaven, is not 
making a just improvement of them. If persons have thus 
a spirit of prayer remarkably given them, concern mg a par- 
ticular mercy, from time to time, so as evidently to be assisted 
to act faith in God, in that particular, in a very distinguish- 
ing manner, the argument in some cases may be very strong 
that God does design to grant that mercy, not from any 
revelation now made of it, but from such a kind and manner 
of the ordinary influence of his Spirit, with respect to that 

But here a great deal of cq^ution and circumspection must 
be used in drawing inferences of this nature : there are many 
ways persons may be misled and deluded. The ground on 
which some expect that they shall receive the thing they have 
asked for, is rather a strong imagination, than any true hum- 
ble faith in the divine sufficiency. They have a strong per- 
suasion that the thing asked shall be granted, (which they 
can give no reason for,) without any remarkable discovery 
of that glory and fullness of God and Christ, that is the 
ground of faith. And sometimes the confidence that persons 
have that their prayers shall be answered, is only a self- 
righteous confidence, and no true faith : they have a high 
conceit of themselves as eminent sahits, and special favorites 
of G(Jd, and have also a high conceit of the prayers they 
have made, because they were much enlarged and affected 
in them ; and hence they are positive in it that the thing 
will come to pass. And sometimes when once they have 
conceived such a notion, they grow stronger and stronger in 
it ; and this they think is from an immediate divine hand 
upon their minds to strengthen their confidence ; whereas it 
is only by their dwelling in their minds on their own excel- 
lency, and higli experiences, and great assistances, whereby 
they look brighter and brighter in their own eyes. Hence it 
is found by observation and experience, that nothing in the 


world exposes so much to enthusiasm, as spiritual pride and 

In order to drawing a just inference from the supposed as- 
sistance we have had in prayer for a particular mercy, and 
judging of the probability of the bestowment of that indivi- 
dual mercy, many things must be considered. We must 
consider the importance of the mercy sought, and the prin- 
ciple whence we so earnestly desire it ; how far it is good, 
and agreeable to the mind and will of God ; the degree of 
love to God that we exercised in our prayer ; the degree of 
discovery that is made of the divine sufficiency, and the de- 
gree in which our assistance is manifestly distinguishing 
with respect to that mercy. And there is nothing of greater 
importance in the argument than the degree of humihty, po- 
verty of spirit, self-emptiness, and resignation to the holy 
will of God, which God gives us the exercise of in our seek- 
ing that mercy : praying for a particular mercy with much 
of these things, I have often seen blessed with a remarkable 
bestowment of the particular thing asked for. 

From what has been said, we may see which way God 
may, only by the ordinary gracious influences of his Spirit, 
sometimes give his saints special reason to hope for the be- 
stowment of a particular mercy they desire and have prayed 
for, and which we may suppose he oftentimes gives eminent 
saints, that have great degrees of humility, and much*com- 
munion with God. And here, I humbly conceive, some 
eminent servants of Jesus Christ that have appeared in the 
churcVi of God, that we read of in ecclesiastical story, have 
been led into a mistake ; and through want of distinguishing 
such things as these from immediate revelations, have thought 
that God has favored them, in some instances, with the same 
kind of divine influences that the apostles and prophets had 
of old. 

Another erroneous principle that some have embraced, 
that has been a source of many errors in their conduct, is, 
that persons ought, always to do whatsoever the Spirit of 


God (though but indirectly) inclines them to. Indeed the 
Spirit of God in itself is infinitely perfect, and all his imme- 
diate actings, simply considered, are perfect, and there can be 
nothing wrong in them ; and therefore all that the Spirit of 
God inclines us to directly and immediately, without the in- 
tervention of any other cause that shall pervert and misim- 
prove what is from the Spirit of God, ought to be done ; but 
there may be many things that we may be disposed to do, 
which disposition may indirectly be from the Spirit of God, 
that we ought not to do. The disposition in general may 
be good, and be from the Spirit of God, but the particular de- 
termination of that disposition, as to particular actions, objects, 
and circumstances, may be ill, and not from the Spirit of 
God, but may be from the intervention or interposition of 
some infirmity, blindness, inadvertence, deceit, or corruption 
of ours ; so that although the disposition, in general, ought 
to be allowed and promoted, and all those actings of it that 
are simply from God's Spirit, yet the particular ill direction, or 
determination of that disposition which is from some other 
cause, ought not to be followed. 

As for instance : the Spirit of God may cause a person to 
have a dear love to another, and so a great desire of delight 
in his comfort, ease, and pleasure : this disposition, in general, 
is good, and ought to be followed ; but yet through the in- 
tervention of indiscretion, or some other bad cause, it may be 
ill directed, and have a bad determination, as to particular 
acts ; and the person indirectly, through that real love that 
he has to his neighbor, may kill him with kindness ; he 
may do that out of sincere good will to him. that may tend 
to ruin him. A good dispositioi* may, through some inad- 
vertence or delusion, strongly inchne a person to that, which 
if he saw all things as they are, would be most contrary to 
that disposition. The true loyalty of a general, and his zeal 
for the honor of his prince, may exceedingly animate him 
in war ; but yet this that is a good disposition, through in- 
discretion and mistake, may push him forward to those things 



that give the enemy great advantage, and may expose him 
and his army to ruin, and may tend to the ruin of his mas- 
ter's interest. ' 

The apostle does evidently suppose that the Spirit of God, 
in his extraordinary, immediate, and miraculous influences 
on men's minds, may in some respect excite inclinations in 
men, that if gratified, would tend to confusion, and therefore 
must sometimes be restrained, and in their exercise, must be 
under the government of discretion. 1 Cor. xiv. 31, 32, 33. 
" For ye may all prophesy, one by one, that all may learn, 
and all may be comforted. And the spirits of the prophets 
are subject to the prophets ; for God is not the author of con- 
fusion, but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints." 
Here, by the sjiirits of the prophets^ according to the known 
phraseology of the apostle, is meant the Spirit of God acting 
in the prophets, according to those special gifts with which 
each one was endowed. And here it is plainly imphed that 
the Spirit of God, thus operating in them, may be an occa- 
sion of their having sometimes an inclination to do that, in 
the exercise of those gifts, which it was not proper, decent, 
or profitable that they should ; and that therefore the inclina- 
tion, though indirectly from the Spirit of God, should be re- 
strained, and that it ought to be subject to the discretion of 
the prophets, as to the particular time and circumstances of 
its exercise. 

I can make no doubt but that it is possible for a minister 
to have given him by the Spirit of God, such a sense of the 
importance of eternal things, and of the misery of mankind, 
that are so many of them exposed to eternal destruction, to- 
gether with such a love to souls, that he might find in him- 
self a dispositioi^ to spend all his time, day and night, in 
warning, exhorting, and calling upon men, and so that he 
must be obliged, as it were, to *do violence to himself ever to 
refrain, so as to give himself any opportunity to eat, drink, or 
sleep. And so I believe there may be a disposition in like 
manner, indirectly excited in lay persons, through the inter- 


vention of their infirmity, to do what only belongs to minis- 
ters. Yea, to do those things that would not become either 
ministers or people : through the influence of the Spirit of 
God, together with want of discretion, and some remaining 
corruption, women and children might feel themselves in- 
clined to break forth and scream aloud, to great congrega- 
tions, warning and exhorting the whole multitude, and to go 
forth and halloo and scream in the streets, or to leave the fa- 
milies they belong to, and go from house to house, earnestly 
exhorting others ; but yet it would by no means follow that 
it was their duty to do these things, or that they would noc 
have a tendency to do ten times as much hurt as good. . 

Another wrong principle from whence have arisen errors 
in conduct, is, that whatsoever is found to be of present and 
immediate benefit, may and ought to be practiced, w^ithout 
looking forward to future consequences. Some persons seem 
to think that it sufliciently justifies any thing that they say 
or do, that it is found to be for their present edification, and 
the edification of those that are with them ; it assists and 
promotes their present affection, and therefore they think they 
should not concern themselves about future consequences, 
but leave them with God. Indeed, in things that are in 
themselves our duty, being required by moral rules, or abso- 
lute positive commands of God, they must be done, and fu- 
ture consequences must be left with God ; our election and 
discretion takes no place here : but in other things we arc 
to be governed by discretion, and must not only look at the 
present good, but our view must be extensive, and we must 
look at the consequences of things. It is the duty of minis- 
ters especially to exercise this discretion : in things wherein 
they are not determined by an absolute rule, and that are not 
enjoined them by a wisdom superior to their own, Christ has 
left them to their own discretion, with that general rule, that 
they should exercise the utmost wisdom they can obtain, in 
pursuing that which, upon the best view of the conse- 
quences of things they can get, will tend most to the ad- 


vancement of his kingdom. This is imphed in those words 
of Christ to his disciples, when he sent them forth to preach 
the gospel, Mat. x. 16. " Be ye wise as serpents." The 
scripture always represents the work of a gospel minister by 
those employments that do especially require a wise foresight 
of and provision for future events and consequences. So it 
is compared to the business of a steward, that is, a business 
that in an eminent manner requires forecast, and a wise 
laying in of provision, for the supply of the needs of the 
family, according to its future necessities ; and a good minis- 
ter is called a wise steward : so it is compared to the business 
of a husbandman, that almost wholly consists in those things 
that are done with a view to the future fruits and conse- 
quences of his labor : the husbandman's discretion and 
forecast is eloquently set forth in Isa. xxviii, 24, 25, 26. 
•'Doth the ploughman plough all day to sow ? Doth he open 
and break the clods of his ground ? When he hath made 
plain the face thereof, doth he not cast abroad the fitches, 
and scatter tlie cummin, and cast in the principal wheat, and 
the appointed barley, and the rye, in their place ? For his 
God doth instruct him to discretion, and doth teach him." 
So the work of the ministry is compared to that of a wise 
builder or architect, who has a long reach, and comprehen- 
sive view ; and for whom it is necessary, that when he be- 
gins a building, he should have at once a view of the whole 
frame, and all the future parts of the structure, even to the 
pinnacle, that all may be fitly framed together. So also it 
is compared to the business of a trader or merchant, who is 
to gain by trading with the money that he begins with : 
this also is a business that exceedingly requires forecast, and 
without it, is never like to be followed with any success, for 
any long time : so it is represented b;^ the business of a fish- 
erman, which depends on craft and subtlety : it is also com- 
pared to the business of a soldier that goes to war, which is 
a business that perhaps above any other secular business, 


requires great foresight, and a wise provision for future 
events and consequences. 

And particularly ministers ought not to be careless how 
much they discompose and ruffle the minds of those that 
they esteem natural men, or how great an uproar they raise 
in the carnal world, and so lay blocks in the way of the 
propagation of religion. This certainly is not to follow the 
example of that zealous apostle Paul, who, though he would 
not depart from his enjoined duty to please carnal men, yjet 
wherein he might with a good conscience, did exceedingly 
lay out himself to please them, and if possible to avoid 
raising in the multitude prejudices, oppositions, and tumults, 
against the gospel ; and looked upon it that it was of great 
consequence that it should be if possible avoided. 1 Cor. x. 
32, 33, " Give none offense, neither to the Jews, nor to the 
Gentiles, nor to the church of God : even as I please all 
men, in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the 
profit of many, that they may be saved." Yea, he declares 
that he laid himself out so much for this, that he made him- 
self a kind of a servant to all sorts of men, conforming to 
their customs and various humors, in every thing wherein 
he might, even in things that were very burdensome to him, 
that he might not fright men away from Christianity, and 
cause them to stand, as it were, braced and armed against 
it, but on the contrary, if possible, might with condescension 
and friendship win and draw them to it ; as you may see, 
1 Cor. ix. 19, 20, 21, 22, 23. And agreeable hereto, are 
the directions he gives to others, both ministers and people : 
so he directs the Christian Romans ''not to please them- 
selves, but every one please his neighbor, for his good, to 
edification," Rom, xv. 1, 2. " And to follow after the things 
that make for peace," chap. xiv. 19. And he presses it in 
terms exceeding strong, Rom. xii. 18. " If it be possible, as 
much as lieth in you, hve peaceably with all men." And 
he directs ministers to endeavor if possible to gain opposers 
by a meek condescending treatment, avoiding all appearance 


of Strife or fierceness, 2 Tim. ii. 24, 25, 26. To the like 
purpose the same apostle directs Christians to " walk in wis- 
dom towards them that are without," Eph. iv. 5. And to 
avoid giving offense to others, if we can, " that our good 
may not he evil spoken of," Rom. xiv. 16. So that it is 
evident that the gieat and most zealous and most successful 
propagator of vital religion that ever was, looked upon it to 
be of great consequence to endeavor, as much as possible, by 
all, the methods of lawful meekness and gentleness, to avoid 
raising the prejudice and opposition of the world against re- 
ligion. When we have done our utmost there will be oppo- 
sition enough against vital religion, against which the carnal 
mind of man has such an enmity ; (we should not therefore 
needlessly increase and raise that enmity) as in the apostle's 
days, though he took so much pains to please men, yet be- 
cause he was faithful and thorough in his work, persecution 
almost every w^iere was raised against him. 

A fisherman is careful not needlessly to ruflSe and disturb 
the water, lest he should drive the fish away from his net ; 
but he will rather endeavor, if possible, to draw them, into 
it. Such a fisherman was the apostle. 2 Cor. xii. 15, 16. 
" And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you; though 
the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved. But 
be it so, I did not burden you, nevertheless, bping crafty, I 
caught you with guile." 

The necessity of suflTering persecution in order to being a 
true Christian, has undoubtedly by some been carried to an 
extreme, and the doctrine has been abused. It has been 
looked upon necessar\^ to uphold a man's credit amongst 
others as a Christian, that he should be persecuted. I have 
heard it made an objection against the sincerity of particular 
persons, that they were no more hated and reproached. And 
the manner of glorying in persecution, or the cross of Christ, 
has in some been very wrong, so as has had too much an 
appearance of lifting up themselves in it, that they were very 
much hated and reviled, more than most, as an evidence of 


their excelling- others, in being good soldiers of Jesus Christ. 
Such an improvement of the doctrine of the enmity between 
the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent, and of 
the necessity of persecution, becoming credible and custo- 
mary, has a direct tendency to cause those that would be 
accounted true Christians, to behave themselves so towards 
those that are not well affected to religion, as to provoke 
their hatred, or at least to be but little careful to avoid it, 
and not very studiously and earnestly to strive (after the 
apostle's example and precepts) to please them to their edifi- 
cation, and by meekness and gentleness to win them, and 
by all possible means to live peaceably with them. 

I believe that saying of our Savior, /came not to send 
feace on earthy hut division^ has been abused ; as though 
when we see great strife and division arise about religion, 
and violent heats of spirit against the truly pious, and a loud 
clamor and uproar against the work of God, it was to be 
rejoiced in, because it is that which Christ came to send. It 
has almost been laid down as a maxim by some, that the 
more division and strife, the better sign ; which naturall}^ 
leads persons to seek it and provoke it, or leads them to and 
encourages them in such a manner of behavior, such a 
roughness and sharpness, or such an affected neglect, as has 
a natural tendency to raise prejudice and opposition ; instead 
of striving, as the apostle did to his utmost, by all meekness, 
gentleness, and benevolence of behavior, to prevent or as- 
suage it. Christ came to send a sword on earth, and to cause 
division, no otherwise than he came to send damnation ; for 
Christ, that is set for the glorious restoration of some, is set 
for the fall of others, and to be a stone of stumblingf, and 
rock of offense to them, and an occasion of their vastly more 
aggravated and terrible damnation ; and this is always the 
consequence of a great outpouring of the Spirit and revival 
of vital religion ; it is the means of the salvation of some, 
and the more aggravated danmation of others. But cer- 
tainly this is no just argument, that men's exposedness to 


damnation is not to be lamented, or that we should not exert 
ourselves to our utmost, in all the methods that we can 
devise, that others might be saved, and to avoid all such 
behavior towards them as tends to lead them down to hell. 

I know there is naturally a great enmity in the heart of 
man against vital rehgion ; and I believe there would have 
been a great deal of opposition against this glorious work of 
God in New England, if the subjects and promoters of it 
had behaved themselves never so agreeably to Christian 
rules ; and I believe if this work goes on and spreads much 
in the world, so as to begin to shake kingdoms and nations, 
it will dreadfully stri* up the rage of earth and hell, and will 
put the world into the greatest uproar that ever it was in 
since it stood ; I believe Satan's dying struggles will be the 
most violent : but yet I believe a great deal might be done 
to restrain this opposition, by a good conformity to that of 
the apostle James, Jam. iii. 13. " Who is a wise man and 
endued with knowledge ? Let him show out of a good con- 
versation, his v/orks, with meekness of wisdom." And I 
also believe that if the rules of Christian charity, meekness, 
gentleness, and prudence, had been duly observed by the 
generality of the zealous promoters of this work, it would 
have made three times the progress that it has ; i. e. if it 
had pleased God in such a case, to give a blessing to means 
in proportion as he has done. 

Under this head of carelessness of the future consequences 
of things, it may be proper to say something of introducing 
things new and strange, and that have a tendency by their 
novelty to shock and surprise people. Nothing can be more 
evident from the New Testament, than that such things 
ought to be done with great caution and moderation, to avoid 
the offense that may be thereby given, and the prejudices 
that might be raised, to clog and hinder the progress of reli- 
gion : Yea, that it ought to be thus in things that are in 
themselves good and excellent, and of great weight, provided 
they are not things that are of the nature of absolute duty. 


which, though they may appear to be innovations, yet can- 
not be neglected without immoraUty or disobedience to the 
commands of God. What great caution and moderation 
did the apostles use in introducing things that were new, and 
aboUshing things that were old, in their day ? How gradual 
were the ceremonial performances of the law of Moses re- 
moved and abolished among the Christian Jews ? And how 
long did even the apostle Paul himself conform to those 
ceremonies which he calls weak and beggarly elements ? 
Yea, even the rite of circumcision, (Acts xvi. 3.) that he 
speaks so much in his epistles of the worthlessness of, that 
he might not prejudice the Jews against Christianity ? So it 
seems to have been very gradually that the Jewish sabbath 
was abolished, and the Christian sabbath introduced, for the 
same reason. And the apostles avoided teaching the Chris- 
tians in those early days, at least for a great while, some high 
and excellent divine truths, because they could not bear them 
yet. 1 Cor. iii. 1, 2. Heb. v. 11. to the end. Thus strictly 
did the apostles observe the rule that their blessed Master 
gave them, of not putting new wine into old bottles, lest they 
should burst the bottles, and lose the wine. A.nd how did 
Christ himself, while on earth, forbear so plainly to teach his 
disciples the great doctrines of Christianity, concerning his 
satisfaction, and the nature and manner of a sinner's justi- 
fication and reconciliation with God, and the particular bene- 
fits of his death, resurrection, and ascension, because in that 
infant state the disciples were then in, their minds were not 
prepared for such instructions ; and therefore the more clear 
and full revelation of these things was reserved for the time 
when their minds should be further enlightened and strength- 
ened by the outpouring of the Spirit after his ascension. 
John xvi. 12, 13. " I have yet many things to say unto you, 
but ye cannot bear them now : howbeit, when he, the Spirit 
of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth." And 
Mark iv. 33. " And with many such parables spake he the 
word unto them, as they were able to bear it." These 



things might be enough to convince any one, that does not 
think himself wiser than Christ and his apostles, that great 
prudence and caution should be used in introducing things 
into the church of God, that are very uncommon, though in 
themselves they may be very excellent, lest by our rashness 
and imprudent haste we hinder religion much more than we 
help it. 

Persons that are influenced by an indiscreet zeal are always 
in too much haste; they are impatient of delays, and there- 
fore are for jumping to the uppermost step first, before they 
have taken the preceding steps ; whereby they expose them- 
selves to fall and break their bones. It is a thing very taking 
with them to see the building rise very high,^and all their en- 
deavor and strength is employed in advancing the building 
in height, without taking care withal proportionably to enlarge 
the bottom ; whereby the whole is in danger of coming to the 
ground ; or they are for putting on the cupola and pinnacle 
before they are come to it, or before the lower parts of the 
building are done; which tends at once to put a stop to the 
building, and hinder its ever being a complete structure. 
Many that are thus imprudent and hasty with their zeal, 
have a real eager appetite for that which is good ; but are like 
children, that are impatient to wait for the fruit till the proper 
season of it, and therefore snatch it before it is ripe : Often- 
times in their haste they overshoot their mark, and frustrate 
their own end ; they put that which they would obtain fur- 
ther out of reach than it was before, and establish and 
confirm that which they would remove. Things must have 
time to ripen : The prudent husbandman waits till he has 
received the former and the latter rain, and till tl^ie harvest is 
ripe, before he reaps. We are now just as it were beginning 
to recover out of a dreadful disease that we have been long 
under ; and to feed a man recovering from a fever witli strong 
meat at once, is the ready way to kill him. The reforma- 
tion from popery was much hindered by this hasty zeal : 
Many were for immediately rectifying all disorders by force, 


which were condemned by Luther, and were a great trouble 
to him. See Sleiden's histoiy of the reformation, p. 52, <fcc. 
and book v. throughout. It is a vain prejudice that some 
have lately imbibed against such rules of prudence and mo- 
deration : they will be forced to come to them at last ; they 
will find themselves that they are not able to maintain their 
cause without them : and if they will not hearken before, ex- 
perience will convince them at last, when it will be too late 
for them to rectify their mistake. 

Another error, that is of the nature of an- erroneous princi- 
ple, that some have gone upon, is a wrong notion that they 
haveof an attestation of Divine Provide nee to persons or things. 
We go too far when we look upon the success that God gives 
to some persons, in making them the instruments of doing 
much good, as a testimony of God's approbation of those per- 
sons and all the courses they take. It is a main argument 
that has been made use of to defend the conduct of some of 
those ministers, that have been blamed as imprudent and ir- 
regular, that God has smiled upon them and blessed them, 
and given them great success, and that however men charge 
them as guilty of many wrong things, yet it is evident that 
God is with them, and then who can be against them ? And 
probably some of those ministers them,5clves, by this very 
means, have had their ears stopped against all tiiat has been 
said to convince them of.their misconduct. But there are in- 
numerable ways that persons may be misled, in fojming a 
judgment of the mind and will of God, from the events of 
Providence. If a person's success be a reward of something 
that God sees in him, that he approves of^ yet it is no argu- 
ment that he approves of every thing in him. Who can tell 
how far the divine grace may go in greatly rewarding some 
small good that he sees in a person, a good meaning, some- 
thing good in his disposition, while he at the same time, in 
sovereign mercy^ hides his eyes from a great deal that is bad, 
that it is his pleasure to forgive, and not to mark against the 
person, though in itself it be very ill I God has not told us 


after what manner he will proceed in this matter, and we go 
upon most uncertain grounds when we undertake to deter- 
mine. It is an exceeding difficult thing to know how far 
love or hatred are exercised towards persons or actions, by all 
that is before us. God w^as pleased in his sovereignty to give 
such success to Jacob in that, which from beginning to end, 
was a deceitful, lying contrivance and proceeding of his, that 
in that way he obtained that blessing that was worth infi- 
nitely more than the fatness of the earth, and the dew of hea- 
ven, that was given to Esau, in his blessing, yea, worth more 
than all that the world can afford. God was for a while 
with Judasj so that he, by God's power accompanying him, 
wrought miracles and cast out devils ; but this could not 
justly be interpreted as God's approbation of his person, or 
his thievery, that he lived in at the same time. 

The dispensations and events of Providence, with their 
reasons, are too little understood by us, to be improved by us 
as our rule, instead of God's word ; God has his loay in the 
sea, and his "path in the inighty waters^ and his footsteps 
are not known, and he gives us no account of any of his 
matters ; and therefore we cannot safely take the events of 
his providence as a revelation of his mind concerning a per- 
son's conduct and behavior, w^e have no warrant so to do, 
God has never appointed those things, but something else to 
be our rule ; we have but one rule to go by, and that is his 
holy word, and when we join any thing else with it as having 
the force of a rule, v/e are guilty of that which is strictly for- 
bidden, Deut. iv. 2. Prov. xxx. 6. and Rev. xxii. 18. They 
who make what they imagine is pointed forth to them in pro- 
vidence, their rule of behavior, do err, a.s well as those that 
follow impulses and impressions : we should put nothing in 
the room of the word of God. It is to be feared that some 
have been greatly confirmed and emboldened b}^ the great 
success that God has given them, in some things that have 
really been contrary to the rules of God's holy word. If it 
has been so, they have been guilty of presumption, and 


abusing God's kindness to them, and the great honor he has 
put upon them : they have seen that God was with them, and 
made them victorious in their preaching ; and this it is to be 
feared has been abused by some to a degree of self-confidence ; 
it has much taken off all jealousy of themselves ; they have 
been bold therefore to go great lengths, in a presumption that 
God was with them, and would defend them, and finally baffle 
all that found fault with them. 

Indeed there is a voice of God in his providence, that may 
be interpreted and well understood by the rule of his word ; 
and providence may to our dark minds and weak faith, con- 
firm the word of God, as it fulfills it : but to improve Divine 
Providence thus, is quite a different thing from making a 
rule of providence. There is a good use may be made of 
the events of providence, of our own observation and expe- 
rience, and human histories, and the opinion of the fathers, 
and other eminent men ; but finally all must be brought to 
one rule, viz. the word of God, and that must be regarded 
as our onhj rule. 

Nor do I think that they go upon sure ground, that con- 
clude that they have not been in an error in their conduQt, 
because that at the time of their doing a thing, for whi^h they 
have been blamed and reproached by others, they were fa- 
vored with special comforts of God's Spirii. God's bestowing 
special spiritual mercies on a person at such a time, is no sign 
that he approves of ever}^ thing that he sees in him at that 
time. David had very much of the presence of God while 
he lived in polygamy : and Solomon had some very high 
favors, and peculiar smiles of Heaven, and particularly at the 
dedication of the temple, while he greatly multiplied wives to 
himself, and horses, and silver, and gold ; all contrary to the 
most express command of God to the king, in the law of 
Moses, Deut. xvii. 16, 17. We cannot tell how far God may 
hide his eyes from beholding iniquity in Jacob, and seeing 
perverseness in Israel. We cannot tell what are the reasons 
of God's actions any tUrther than he interprets for himself. 


God sometimes gave some of the primitive Christians, the ex- 
traordinary influence of his Spirit, when they were out of the 
way of their duty ; and contiimed it, while they were abusing- 
it; as is plainly implied, 1 Cor. xiv. 31, 32, 33. 

Yea, if aperson has done a thing for which he is reproached, 
and that reproach be an occasion of his feeling sweet ex- 
ercises of grace in his soul, and that from time to time, I do 
not think that is a certain evidence that God approves of the 
thing he is blamed for. For undoubtedly a mistake may be 
the occasion of stirring up the exercise of grace, in a man that 
has grace. If a person, through mistake, thinks he has re- 
ceived some particular great mercy, that mistake may be the 
occasion of stirring up the sweet exercises of love to God, and 
true thankfulness and joy in God. As for instance, if one 
that is full of love of God should hear credible tidings, con- 
cerning a remarkable deliverance of a child, or other dear 
friend, or of some glorious thing done for the city of God, no 
wonder if, on such an occasion, the sweet actings of love to 
God, and delight in God should be excited, though indeed 
afterwards it should prove a false report that he heard. So if 
one that loves God, is much maligned and reproached for 
doing that which he thinks God required and approves, no 
wonder that it is sweet to such a one to think that God is 
his friend, though men are his enemies ; no wonder at all, 
that this is an occasion of his, as it were, leaving the world, 
and sweetly betaking himself to God, as his sure friend, and 
finding sweet complacence in God ; though he be indeed in 
a mistake, concerning that which he thought was agreeable 
to God's will. As I have before shown that the exercise of a 
truly good affection, may be the occasion of error, and may 
indirectly incHne a person to do that which is wrong ; so on 
the other hand, error, or a doing that which is wrong, may 
be an occasion of the exercise of a truly good affection. The 
reason of it is this, that however all exercises of grace be from 
the Spirit of God, yet the Spirit of God dwells and acts in 
the hearts of the saints, in some measure after the manner of 


a vital, natiiial principle, a principle of new nature in them ; 
whose exercises are excited by means, in some measure as 
other natural principles are. Though grace be not in the 
saints, as a mere natural jyrinciple, but as a sovereign agent, 
and so its exercises are not tied to means^ by an immutable 
law of nature, as in mere natural principles ; yet God has so 
constituted, that -grace should dwell so in the hearts of the 
saints, that its exercise should have some degree of connec- 
tion with means, after the manner of a principle of nature. 

Anotlier erroneous principle that there has been something 
of, and that has been an occasion of some mischief and con- 
fusion, is that external order in matters of religion, and use of 
the means of grace, is but little to be regarded ; it is spoken 
lightly of under the names of ceremonies and dead forms, <fec. 
And is probable the more despised by some because their 
opposers insist so much upon it, and because they are so con_ 
tinually hearing from them the cry of disorder and confu- 
sion. It is objected against the importance of external order 
that God does not look at the outward form, he looks at the 
heart: but that is a weak argument against its importance, 
that true godliness does not consist in it ; for it may be equaL 
lymade use of against all the outward means of grace what- 
soever. True godliness does not consist in ink and paper, 
but yet that would be a foolish objection against the import- 
ance of ink and paper in religion, when without it we could 
not have the word of God. If any external means at all are 
needful, any outward actions of a public nature, or wherein 
God's people are jointly concerned in public society, without 
doubt external order is needful : the management of an ex- 
ternal, affair that is public, or wherein a multitude is con- 
cerned withoutorder, is in every thing found impossible. With- 
out order there can be no general direction of a multitude to 
any particular designed end, their purposes will cross one ano- 
ther, and they will not help but hinder one another. A mul- 
titude cannot act in union one with another without order; 
confusion separates and divides them, so that there can be no 


concert or agreement. If a multitude would help one ano- 
ther in any affair, they must unite themselves one to another 
in a regular subordination of members, in some measure as it 
is in the natural body ; by this means they will be in some 
capacity to act with united strengtli : and thus Christ has 
appointed that it should be in the visible church, as 1 Cor. 
xii. 14. to the end, and Rom. xii. 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. Zeal with- 
out order will do but little, or at least it will be effectual but a 
little while. Let a company that are very zealous against 
the enemy, go forth to war, without any manner of order, 
every one rushing forward as his zeal shall drive him, all in 
confusion, if they gain something at first onset, by surprising 
the enemy, yet how soon do they come to nothing, and fall 
an easy, helpless prey to their adversaries 7 Order is one of 
the most necessary of all external means of the spiritual good 
of God's church : and therefore it is requisite even in heaven 
itself where there is the least need of any external means of 
grace ; order is maintained amongst the glorious angels there. 
And the necessity of it in order to the carrying on any design, 
wherein a multitude are concerned, is so great, that even the 
devils in hell are driven to something of it, that they may car- 
ry on the designsof their kingdom. And it is very observa- 
ble, that those kinds of irrational creatures, for whom it is 
needful that they should act in union and join a multitude 
together, to carry on any work for their preservation, they do 
by a wonderful instinct that God has put into them, observe 
and maintain a most regular and exact order among them- 
selves ; such as bees and some others. And order in the visi- 
ble church is not only necessary to the carrying on the designs 
of Christ's glory and the church's pros'perity,. but it is abso- 
lutely necessary to its defense ; without it, it is like a city 
without walls, and can be in no capacity to defend itself from 
any kind of mischief: and so however it be an* external 
thing, yet is not to be despised on that account ; for though it 
be not the food of souls, yet it is in some respect their defense. 
The people of Holland would be very foolish to despise the 


dikes tliat kceji out the sea from oveuwhelmiiig them, under 
the names of dead stones and vile earth, because the matter 
of which they are built is not good to eat. 

It seems to be partly on the foundation of this notion of 
the worthlessness of external order, that some have seemed 
to act on that principle, that the power of judging and openly 
censuring others should not be reserved in the hands of par- 
ticular persons, or consistories appointed thereto, but ought to 
be left at large, for any body that pleases to take it upon 
them, or that think themselves fit for it ; but more of this 

On this foundation also, an orderly attending on the stated 
worship of God in families, has been made too light of; and 
it has been in some places too much of a common and cus- 
tomary thing to l)e absent from family worship, and to be 
abroad late in the night at religious meetings, or to attend reli- 
gious conversation. Not but that this may be, on certain 
extraordinary occasions ; I have seen the case to be such in 
many instances, that I have thought did afford sufficient war- 
rant for persons to be absent from family prayer, and to be 
from home till very late in the night : but we should take 
heed that this docs not become a custom or common practice; 
if it should be so, we shall soon find the consequences to be 
very ill. 

It seems to be on the same foundation of the supposed un- 
profitableness of external order, that it has been thought by 
some, that there is no need that such and such religious ser- 
vices and performances should be limited to any certain oflSce 
in the church ; (of which more afterwards.) And also that 
those offices themselves, as particularly that of the gospel mi- 
nistry, need not be limited as it used to be, to persons of a 
liberal education ; but some of late have been for having 
others that they have supposed to be persons of eminent ex- 
perience, publicly licensed to preach, yea, and ordained to the 
work of the ministry ; and some ministers have seemed to 
favor such a thing : but liow little do they seem to look for- 




ward, and consider the unavoidable consequences of opening 
such a door ? If once it should become a custom, or a thing 
generally approved and allowed of, to admit persons to the 
work of the ministry that have had no education for it, be- 
cause of their remarkable experiences, and being persons of 
good understanding^ how many lay persons would soon ap- 
pear as candidates for the work of the ministry ? I doubt 
not but that I have been acquainted with scores that would 
have desired it. And how shall we know where to stop ? 
If one is admitted because his experiences are remarkable, 
another will think his experiences also remarkable ; and we 
perhaps shall not be able to deny but that they are near as 
great : if one is admitted because, besides experiences, he has 
good natural abilities, another by himself, and many of his 
neighbors, may be thought equal to him. It will be found 
of absolute necessity that there should be some certain, visible 
limits fixed, to avoid bringing odium upon ourselves, and 
breeding uneasiness and strife amongst others ; and I know 
of none better, and indeed no other that can well be fixed, 
than those that the prophet Zechariah fixes, viz. that those 
only should be appointed to be pastors or shepherds in God's 
church, that have been taught to keep cattle from their 
youth, or that have had an education for that purpose. Those 
ministers that have a disposition to break over these limits, 
if they should do so, and make a practice of it, w^ould break 
down that fence, which they themselves after a while, after 
they have been wearied with the ill consequences, would be 
glad to have somebody else build up for them. Not but that 
there may probably be some persons in the land, that have 
had no education at college, that are in themselves better 
qualified for the work of the ministry than some others that 
have taken their degrees, and are now ordained. But yet I 
believe the breaking over those bounds that have hitherto 
been set, in ordaining such persons, would in its conse- 
quences be a greater calamity, than the missing such persons 
in the work of the ministry. The opening a door for the 


admission of unlearned men to the work of the ministry, 
though they should be persons of extraordinary experience, 
would, on some accounts, be especially prejudicial at such a 
day as this ; because such persons, for want of an extensive 
knowledge, are oftentimes forward to lead others into those 
things, which a people are in danger of at such a time, above 
all other times, viz. impulses, vain imaginations, superstition, 
indiscreet zeal, and such like extremes ; instead of defend- 
ing them from them, for which a people especially need a 
shepherd, at such an extraordinary season. 

Another erroneous principle that it seems to me some have 
been, at least, in danger of, is, that ministers, because they 
speak as Christ's embassadors, may assume the same style, 
and speak as with the same authority that the prophets of 
old did, yea, that Jesus Christ himself did in Mat. xxiii., "Ye 
serpents, ye generation of vipers," &c., and other places ; and 
that not only when they are speaking to the people, but also 
to their brethren in the ministry ; which principle is absurd, 
because it makes no difference in the different degrees and 
orders of messengers that God has sent into the world, though 
God has made a very great difference : for though they all 
come, in some respect, in the name of God, and with some- 
thing of his authority, yet certainly there is a vast difference 
in the degree of authority with which God has invested 
them. Jesus Christ was one that was sent into the world 
as God's messenger, and so was one of his apostles, and so 
also is an ordinary pastor of a church ; but yet it does not 
follow, that because Jesus Christ and an ordinary ministsr 
are hot h messengers of God, that therefore an ordinary mi- 
nister in his office, is vested with an equal degree of authority, 
that Christ was in his. As there is a great difference in their 
authority, and as Clnist came as God's messenger, in a vastly 
higher manner, so another style became him, more authorita- 
tive than is proper for us worms of the dust, though we also 
are messengers of inferior degree. It would be strange if 
God, when ho has made so i]rreat a difference in the degree 


in which he has invested different messengers with his au- 
thority, should make no difference as to the outward appear- 
ance and show of authority, in style and behavior, which is 
proper and fit to be seen in them. Though God has put 
great honor upon ministers, and they may speak as his em- 
bassadors, yet he never intended that they should have the 
same outward appearance of authority and majesty, either in 
their behavior or speech, that his Son shall have, when he 
comes to judgment, at the last day ; though both come, in 
different respects and degrees, in the name of the Lord. 
Alas ! can any thing ever make it enter into the hearts of 
worms of the dust, that it is fit and suitable that it should be 

Thus I have considered the two first of those three causes 
of error in conduct that were mentioned. 


Errors from bei7ig ignorant or unobservant of thing s^ hy 
which the devil has a special advantage. 

I COME now to the third and last cause of the errors of 
those that have appeared to be the subjects or zealous pro- 
moters of this work, viz. a being ignorant or unobservant of 
some particular things, by which the devil has special ad- 

And here I would particularly take notice, 1. Of some 
things with respect to the inward experiences of Christians 
themselves. And 2. Something with regard to the external 
effects of experiences. 

I. There are three things I would take notice of with re- 
gard to the experiences of Christians, by which the devil has 
many advantages against us. 


1. The first thing is the mixture there oftentimes is in the 
experiences of true Christians ; whereby when they have truly 
gracious experiences, and divine and spiritual discoveries 
and exercises, they have something else mixed with them, 
besides what is spiritual : there is a mixture of that which is 
natural, and that which is corrupt, with that which is divine. 
This is what Christians are liable to in the present exceeding 
imperfect state : the great imperfection of grace, and feeble- 
ness and infancy of the new nature, and the great remains of 
corruption, together with the circumstances we are in in this 
world, where we are encompassed all round with what tends 
to pollute us, exposes to this. And indeed it is not to be sup- 
posed that Christians ever have any experiences in this world 
that are wholly pure, entirely spiritual, without any mixture 
of what is natural and carnal : the beam of light, as it comes 
from the fountain of light upon our hearts, is pure, but as it is 
reflected thence, it is mixt : the seed as sent from heaven and 
planted in the heart, is pure, but as it springs up out of the 
heart, is impure ; yea there is commonly a much greater mix- 
ture, than persons for the most part seem to have any ima- 
gination of ; I have often thought that the experiences of 
true Christians are very frequently as it is with some sorts of 
fruits, that are enveloped in several coverings of thick shells 
or pods, that are thrown away by him that gathers the fruit, 
and but a very small part of the whole bulk is the pure ker- 
nel, that is good to eat. 

The things, of all which there is frequently some mixture 
with gracious experiences, yea with very great and high ex- 
periences, are these three, hiunan^ or natural affection and 
2)assion ; imjjressions 07i the imagination ; and a degree 
of self-righteousness or sjririttial pride. There is very 
often with that w^hich is spiritual a great mixture of that 
affection or passion which arises from natural principles ; so 
that nature has a very great hand in those vehement motions 
and flights of the passions that appear. Hence the same de- 
grees of divine communications from heaven, shall have 
vastly different effects, in what outwardly appears, in persons 


of different natural tempers. The great mixture of that 
which is natural with that which is spiritual, is very manifest 
in the peculiar effects that divine influences have in some 
certain fa-iiilies, or persons of such a blood, in a distinguishing 
manner of the operating of the passions and affections, and the 
manner of the outward expressions of them. I know some 
remarkable instances of this. The same is also evident by 
the different effects of divine communications on the same 
person at different times, and in different circumstances : 
The novelty of things, or the sudden transition from an op- 
posite extreme, and many other things that might be men- 
tioned, greatly contribute to the raising of the passions. And 
sometimes there is not only a mixture of that which is com- 
mon and natural with gracious experience, but even that 
which is animal, that which is in a great measure from the 
body, and is properly the result of the animal frame. In what 
true Christians feel of affections towards God, all is not always 
purely holy and divine ; every thing that is felt in the affec- 
tions does not arise from spiritual principles, but common and 
natural principles have a very great hand ; an improper self- 
Jove may have a great share in the effect. God is not loved 
for his own sake, or for the excellency and beauty of his own 
perfections as he ought to be ; nor have these things in any 
wise, that proportion in the effect that they ought to have. 
So in that love that true Christians have one to another, very 
often there is a great mixture of what arises from common 
and natural principles, with grace ; and self-love has a great 
hand : the children of God be not loved purely for Christ's 
sake, but there may be a great mixture of that natural love 
that many sects of heretics have boasted of, who have been 
greatly united one to anothei', because they were of their 
company, on their side, against the rest of the world ; yea, 
there may be a mixture of natural love to the opposite sex, 
with Christian and divine love. So there may be a great 
mixture in that sorrow for sin that the godly have ; and also 
in their joys ; natural piinciple? may greatly contribute to 


what is felt, a great many ways, as might easily be shown, 
would it not make my discourse too lengthy. There is no- 
thing that belongs to Christian experience that is more liable 
to a corrupt mixture than zeal ; though it be an excellent 
virtue, a heavenly flame, when it is pure : but as it is exer- 
cised in those who are so little sanctified, and so little hum- 
bled, as we are in the present state, it is very apt to be mixed 
with human passion, yea with corrupt, hateful affections, 
pride and uncharitable bitterness, and other things that are 
not from heaven but from hell. 

Another thing that is often mixed with what is spiritual 
in the experiences of Christians, are, impressions on the ima- 
gination ; whereby godly persons, together with a spiritual 
understanding of divine things, and conviction of their reality 
and certainty, and a strong and deep sense of their excellency 
or great importance upon their hearts, have strongly im- 
pressed on their minds external ideas or images of things. A 
degree of imagination in such a case, as I have observed else- 
where, is unavoidable, and necessarily arises from human 
nature, as constituted in the present state ; and a degree of 
imagination is really useful, and often is of great benefit • 
but when it is in too great a degree, it becomes an impure 
mixture that is prejudicial. This mixture very often arises 
from the constitution of the body. It commonly greatly con- 
tributes to the other kind of mixture mentioned before, viz. 
of natural affections and passions ; it helps to raise them to a 
great height. 

Another thing that is often mixed with the experiences of 
true Christians, which is the worst mixture of all, is a degree 
of self-righteousness or spiritual pride. This is often mixed 
with the joys of Christians : the joy that they have is not 
purely the joy of faith, or a rejoicing in Christ Jesus, but is 
partly a rejoicing in themselves : there is oftentimes in their 
elevations a looking upon themselves, and a viewing their 
own high attainments ; they rejoice partly because they are 
taken with their own ex[)eriences and great discoveries, which 


makes the in in their own apprehensions so to excel ; and 
this heightens all their passions, and especially those effects 
that are more external. 

There is a much greater mixture of these things in the 
experiences of some Christians than others ; in some the 
mixture is so great, as very much to obscure and hide the 
beauty of grace in them, like a thick smoke that hinders all 
the shining of the fire. 

These things we ought to be well aware of, that we may 
not take all for gold that glistens, and that we may know 
what to countenance and encourage, and what to discourage; 
otherwise Satan will have a vast advantage against us, for 
he works in the corrupt mixture. Sometimes for want of 
persons distinguishing the ore from the pure metal, those ex- 
periences are most admired by the persons themselves that 
are' the subjects of tliem, and by others, that are not the most 
excellent. The great external effectSj and vehemence of the 
passions, and violent agitations of the animal spirits, is some- 
times much owing to the corrupt mixture (as is very appa- 
rent in some instances), though it be not always so. I have 
observed a great difference among those that are vmder high 
affections, and seem disposed to be earnestly talking to those 
that are about them ; some insist much more, in their talk, 
on what they behold in God and Christ, the glory of the 
divine perfections, Christ's beauty and excellency, and won- 
derful condescension and grace, and their own unworthiness, 
and the great and infinite obligations that they themselves 
and others are under to love and serve God : some insist al- 
most wholly on their own high privileges, then* assurance of 
God's love and favor, and the weakness and wickedness of 
opposers, and how much tliey are above their reach. The 
latter may have much of the presence of God, but their ex- 
periences do not appear to be so solid and unmixed as the 
former. And there is a great deal of difference in persons' 
earnestness in their talk and behavior ; in some it seems to 
come indeed from the fullness of their hearts, and from tiie 


great sense they have of truth, a deep sense of the certainty 
and infinite greatness, excellency, and importance of divine 
and eternal things, attended with all appearances of great 
humility ; in others their earnestness seems to arise from a 
great mixture of human passion, and an undue and intem- 
perate agitation of the spirits, which appears by their ear- 
nestness and vehemence not heing proportioned to the nature 
of the subject they insist on, but they are violent in every 
thing they say, as much when they are talking of things of 
smaller importance, as when speaking of things of greater 
weight. I have seen it thus in an instance or two, in which 
this vehemence at length issued in distraction. And there 
have been some few instances of a more extraordinary nature 
still, even of persons finding themselves disposed earnestly 
to talk and cry out, from an unaccountable kind of bodily 
pressure, without any extraordinary view of any thing in 
their minds, or sense of any thing upon their hearts ; 
wherein probably there was the immediate hand of the 

II. Another thing by which the devil has great advantage, 
is the unheeded defects there sometimes are in the experi- 
ences of true Christians, and those high affections wherein 
there is much that is truly good. 

What I now have respect to is something diverse from 
that defect, or imperfection of degree, which is. in every holy 
disposition and exercise in this life, in the best of the saints. 
What I aim at is experiences being especially defective in 
some particular thing, that ought to be in them ; which, 
though it be not an essential defect, or such a defect as is in 
the experiences of hypocrites, which renders them utterly 
vain, monstrous, and altogether abominable to God, yet is 
such a defect as maims and deforms the experience ; the 
essence of truly Christian experiences is not wanting, but 
yet that is wanting that is very needful in order to the proper 
beauty of the image of Christ in such a person's experi- 
ences ; but things are very much out of a due proportion. 



There is indeed much of some things, but at the same time 
there is so httle of some other things that should bear a pro- 
portion, that the defect very much deforms the Christian, 
and is truly odious in the sight of God. 

What I observed before was something that deformed the 
Christian, as it was too mueh^ something mixed, that is not 
belonging to the Christian as such ; what I speak of now is 
something that deforms the Christian the other way, viz. by 
there not being enough, something wanting, that does be- 
long to the Christian as such : the one deforms the Christian 
as a monstrous excrescence, the other as thereby the new 
creature is maimed, and some member in a great measure 
wanting, or so small and withering as to be very much out 
of due proportion. This is another spiritual calamity that 
the saints are liable to through the great imperfection of 
grace in this life ; like the chicken in the egg, in the begin- 
ning of its formation, in which, though there are indeed the 
rudiments or lineaments of all the parts, yet some few parts 
are plain to be seen, when others are hid, so that without a 
microscope it appears very monstrous. 

When this deficiency and disproportion is great, as some- 
times it is in real saints, it is not only a great deformity in 
itself, but has many ill consequences ; it gives the devil 
great advantage, and leaves a door open for corruption, and 
exposes to very deformed and unlovely actions, and issues 
oftentimes in the great wounding of the soul. 

For the better understanding of this matter, w^e may ob- 
serve that God, in the revelation that he has made of him- 
self to the world by Jesus Christ, has taken care to give a 
proportionable manifestation of two kinds of excellences or 
perfections of his nature, viz. those that especially tend to 
possess us with awe and reverence, and to search and hum- 
ble us, and those that tend to win, and draw, and encourage 
us : by the one, he appears as an infinitely great, pure, holy, 
and heart-searching Judge ; by the other, as a gentle and 
gracious Father and a loving friend : by the one he is a 


pure, searching, and burning flame ; by the other a sweet, 
refreshing hglit. These two kinds of attributes are, as it 
were, admirably tempered together in the revelation of the 
gospel : there is a proportionable manifestation of justice and 
mercy, holiness and grace, majesty and gentleness, authority 
and condescension. God hath thus ordered that his divei"se 
excellences, as he reveals himself in the face of Jesus Christ, 
should have a proportionable manifestation, herein providing 
for our necessities : he knew it to be of great consequence that 
our apprehensions of these diverse perfections' of his nature 
should be duly proportioned one to another ; a defect on the 
one hand, viz. having much of a discovery of his love and 
grace, without a proportionable discovery of his awful ma- 
jesty, and his holy and searching purity, would tend to spi- 
ritual pride, carnal confidence, and presumption ; and a de- 
fect on the other hand, viz. having much of a discovery of 
his holy majesty, without a proportionable discovery of his 
grace, tends to unbelief, a sinful fearfulness, and spirit of 
bondage : and therefore herein chiefly consists that defi- 
ciency of experiences that I am now speaking of The 
revelation God has made of himself in his word, and the 
provision made for our spiritual welfare in the gospel is per- 
fect, but yet the actual light and communications we have, 
are not perfect, but many ways exceeding imperfect and 
maimed. And experience plainly shows that Christians 
may have high experiences in some respects, and yet their 
circumstances may be unhappy in this regard, that their ex- 
periences and discoveries are no more general. There is a 
great -diflference among Christians in this respect ; some have 
much more general discoveries than others, who are upon 
many accounts the most, amiable Christians. Christians 
may have experiences that are very high, and yet there may 
be very much of this deficiency and disproportion : their 
high experiences are truly from the Spirit of God, but sin 
comes in by the defect ; (as indeed all sin is originally from 
a defective., privative cause ;) and in such a case high dis- 


coveries, at the same time that they are enjoyed, may be, 
and sometimes are, the occasion, or causa sine qua non of 
sin ; sin may come in at that back door, the gap that is left 
open ; as spiritual pride often does : and many times the 
Spirit of God is quenched by this means, and God punishes 
the pride and presumption that rises, by bringing such dark- 
ness, and suffering such awful consequences and horrid 
temptations, as are enough to make one's hair stand on end 
to hear them. Christians therefore should dihgently observe 
their own hearts as to this matter, and should pray to God 
that he would give them experiences in wliich one thing 
may bear a proportion to another, that God may be honored, 
and their souls edified thereby ; and ministers should have 
an eye to this, in their private dealings with the souls of 
their people. 

It is chiefly from such a defect of experiences that some 
things have arisen that have been pretty common among 
true Christians of late, that have been supposed by many to 
have risen from a good cause ; as particularly talking of di- 
vine and heavenly things, and expressing divine joys with 
laughter, or a light behavior. I believe in many instances 
such things have arisen from a good cause, as their causa 
sine qua noii, that high discoveries and gracious joyful af- 
fections have been the occasion of them ; but tlie proper 
cause has been sin, even that odious defect in their expe- 
rience, whereby there has been wanting a sense of the awful 
and holy majesty of God as present with them, and their 
nothingness and vileness before him, proportionable to the 
sense they have had of God's grace and the love of Christ. 
And the same is true in many cases of persons' unsuitable 
boldness, their disposition to speak with autbority, intempe- 
rate zeal, and many other things that sometimes appear in 
true Christians, under great religious affections. 

And sometimes the vehemence of the motion of the animal 
spirits, under great affections, is owing in considerable mea- 
sure, to experiences being thus partial. I have known it in 


several instances, that persons have hcen greatly aflTected with 
the dying love of Christ, and the consideration of ihe happi- 
ness of the enjoyment of him in heaven, and other things of 
that nnture, and their animal spirits at the same time have 
have been in a great emotion, but in the midst of it have had 
given them a deep sense of the awful, holy majesty of God, 
and it has at once composed them, and quieted animal na- 
ture, without diminishing their comfort, but only has made 
it of a better and more solid nature ; when they have had a 
sense both of the majesty and grace of God, one thing has, 
as it weve, balanced another, and caused a more happy sedate- 
ness and composure of body and mind. 

From these things we may learn how to judge of expe- 
riences, and to estimate their goodness. Those are not al- 
ways the best experiences, the^t are attended with the most 
violent affections, and most vehement motions of the animal 
spirits, or that have the greatest effects on the body ; nor are 
they always the best, that do most dispose persons to abound 
in talk to others, and to speak in the most vehement man- 
ner ; (though these things often arise from the greatness of 
spiritual experiences ;) but those that are the most excellent 
experiences that are qualified as follows : 1. That have the 
least mixture, or are the most purely spiritual. 2. That are 
the least deficient and partial, in which the diverse things that 
appertain to Christian experience are proportionable one to 
another. And 3. That are raised to the highest degree. It 
is no matter how high they are raised, if they are qualified as 
before mentioned, the higher the better. Experiences thus 
qualified, will be attended with the most amiable behavior, 
and will bring forth the most solid and sweet fruits, and will 
be the most durable, and will have the greatest effect on the 
abiding temper of the soul. 

If God is pleased to carry on this work, and it should prove 
to be the dawning of a general revival of the Christian church, 
it may be expected that the time will come, before long, 
when the experiences of Christians shall be much more ge- 


nerally thus qualified. We must expect green fruits before 
we have ripe ones. It is probable ihat hereafter the disco- 
veries which the sairits shall have of divine things, will be in 
a much higher degree than yet have been ; but yet shall be 
so ordered of an infinitely wise and all-sufficient God, that 
they shall not have so great an effect, in proportion, on the 
body, and will be less oppressive to nature ; and that the out- 
ward manifestations will rather be like those that were in 
Stephen, when he was full of the Holy Ghost, when all 
that sat in the council^ looking steadfastly on him, saiv 
his face, as it had been the face of an angel. Their in- 
ward fullness of the Spirit of God, in his divine, amiable, and 
sweet influences, shall, as it were, shine forth in a heavenly 
aspect, and manner of speech and behavior. But, 

III. There is another thing concerning experiences of Chris- 
tians, of which it is of yet greater importance that we should 
be aware, than either of the preceding, and that is the dege- 
nerating of experiences. What I mean, is something di- 
verse from the mere decay of experiences, or their gradually 
vanishing, by persons' losing their sense of things : it is per- 
sons' experiences growing by degrees worse and worse in 
their kind, more and more partial and deficient, in which, 
things are more out of due proportion ; and also have more 
and more of a corrupt mixture, the spiritual part decreases, 
and the other useless and hurtful parts greatly increase. 
There is such a thing, and it is very frequent, as experi- 
ence abundantly evidences : I have seen it in very many in- 
stances ; and great are the mischiefs that have risen through 
want of being more aware of it. 

There is commonly, as I observed before, in high expe- 
riences, besides that which is spiritual, a mixture of three 
things, viz. natural or common affections and workings of 
the imagination, and a degree of self-righteousness or spiri- 
tual pride. Now it often comes to pass, that thicugh persons' 
not distinguishing the wheat from the chaff, and lor want of 
watchfulness and humble jealousy of themselves, and laying 


great weight on the natural and imaginary part, and yielding 
to it, and indulging of it, that part grows and increases, 
and the spiritual part decreases ; the devil sets in, and 
works in the corrupt part, and cheriohes it to his utmost ; 
till at length the experiences of some persons, who began 
well, come to but little else, but violent motions of carnal af- 
fections, with great heats of the imagination, and a great de- 
gree of enthusiasm, and swelling of spiritual pride; very 
much like some fruits which bud, blossom, and kernel well, 
but afterwards are blasted with an excess of moisture; so 
that though the bulk is monstrously great, yet there is little 
else in it but what is useless and unwholesome. It appears 
to me very probable, that many of the heresies that have 
arisen, and sects that have appeared in the Christian world, 
in one age and another, with wild enthusiastical notions and 
practices, began at first by this means, that it was such a de- 
generating of experiences that first gave rise to them, or at 
least led the way to them. 

There is nothing in the world that does so much expose 
to this degenerating of experiences, as an unheeded spiritual 
pride and self-confidence, and persons' being conceited of their 
own stock, without a humble, daily and continual depend- 
ence on God. And this ver}'' thing seems to be typified of 
old, by the corrupting of the manna. Some of the children 
of Israel, because they had gathered a store of manna, trusted 
in it, there being as they apprehended, sufficient in the store 
they had gathered and laid up, without humbly looking to 
heaven, and stooping to the earth for daily supplies ; and the 
consequence was, that their manna bred worms and stank, 
Exod. xvi. 20. Pride, above all things, promotes this dege- 
neracy of experiences, because it grieves and quenches the 
Spirit of the Lamb of God, and so kills the spiritual part ; 
and it cherisiies the natural part, it inflames the carnal aflfec- 
tions, and heats the imagination. 

The unhappy person that is the subject of such a degene- 
racy of experiences, for the most part, is not sensible of his 


owQ calamity ; but because he finds himself still violently 
moved, and has greater heats of zeal, and more vehement 
motions of his animal spirits, thinks himself fuller of the Spirit 
of God than ever. But indeed it is with him, as the apostle 
says of the Galatians, Gal. iii. 3. " Having begun in the 
Spirit, they are made perfect by the flesh." 

By the mixture there is of common affection with love to 
God, the love of true Christians is liable to degenerate, and 
to be more and more built on the foundation of a supposition 
of being his high and peculiar favorites, and less and less on 
an apprehension of the excellency of God's nature, as he is 
in himself. Sd the joy of Christians, by reason of the mix- 
ture there is with spiritual joy, is liable to degenerate, and to 
come to that at last, as to be but little else but joy in self, joy 
in a person's own supposed eminency, and distinction from 
others in the favor of God. So zeal, that at first might be in 
great part spiritual, yet through the mixture there is, in a long 
continuance of opposition and controversy, may degenerate 
more and more into human and proud passion, and may come 
to bitterness, and even a degree of hatred. And so love to 
the brethren ma}" by degrees come to little else but fondness, 
and zeal for a party ; yea, through a mixture of a natural 
love to the opposite sex, may degenerate more and more, till 
it issues in that v/hich is criminal and gross. And I leave it 
with those who are better acquainted with ecclesiastical his- 
tory, to inquire whether such a degeneracy of affections as 
this might not be the first thing that led the way, and gave 
occasion to the rise of the abominable notions of some sects 
that have arisen, concerning the community of women. How- 
ever that is, yet certainly the mutual embraces and kisses of 
persons of diiferent sexes, under the notion of Christian love 
and holy kisses, are utterly to be disallowed and abominated, 
as having the most direct tendency quickly to turn Christian 
love unto unclean and brutish lust, which will not be the 
better, but ten times the worse, for being christened by the 
name of Christian love. I should also think it advisable, 


that meetings of young people, of both sexes, in the evening, 
by themselves, without a minister, or any elder people amongst 
them, for religious exercises, should be avoided : for though 
for the present, while their minds are greatly solemnized with 
lively impressions, and a deep sense of divine tilings, there may 
appear no ill consequences ; yet we must look to the further 
end of things, and guard against future dangers and advan- 
tages that Satan might gain against us. As a lively, solemn 
sense of divine things on the minds of young persons may 
gradually decay, so there will be danger that an ill improve- 
ment of these meetings may gradually prevail ; if not in any 
unsuitable behavior while together in the meeting, yet when 
they break up to go home, they may naturally consort toge- 
ther in couples, for other than religious purposes ; and it may 
at last come to that, that young persons may go to such meet- 
ings, chiefly for the sake of such an opportunity for company- 

The defect there sometimes is in the experiences of Chris- 
tians exposes them to degenerate, as well as the mixture that 
they have. Deficient, maimed experiences do sometimes be- 
come more and more so : the mind being wholly intent on 
those things that are in view, and those that are most want- 
ing being neglected, there is less and less of them, and so the 
gap for corruption to come in grows wider and wider. And 
commonly both these causes of the degenerating of experi- 
ences operate together. 

We had need to be jealous over ourselves with a godly jea- 
lousy, as the apostle was over the Christian Corinthians, lest 
by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his sub- 
telty,so our minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that 
is in Christ. God indeed will never suffer his true saints to- 
tally and finally to fall away, but yet may punish their pride 
and self-confidence, by suffering them to be long led into a 
dreadful wilderness, by the subtle serpent, to the great wound- 
ing of their own souls, and the interest of religion. 



And before I dismiss this head of the degenerating of ex- 
periences, I would mention one thing more that tends to it ; 
and that is persons' aiming in their experience to go beyond 
the rule of God's word, i. e. aiming at that, which is indeed. 
in some respect, beyond the rule. Thus some persons have 
endeavored utterly to root out and abolish all natural affec- 
tion, or any special affection or respect to their near relations, 
under a notion that no other love ought to be allowed, but 
spiritual love, and that all other love is to be abolished as 
carnal, and that it becomes Christians to love none upon the 
account of any thing else, but the image of God ; and that 
therefore love should go out to one and another only in that 
proportion in which the image of God is seen in them. They 
might as well argue that a man ought utterly to disallow of, 
and endeavor to abolish all love or appetite to their daily food, 
under a notion that it is a carnal appetite, and that no other 
should be tolerated but spiritual appetites. Why should the 
saints strive after that, as a high attainment in holiness, 
which the apostle, in Rom. i. 31., mentions as one instance 
wherein the heathen had got to the most horrid pass in wick- 
edness, viz. a being- without natural affection 7 

Some have doubted whether they might pray for the con- 
version and salvation of the souls of their children, any more 
than for the souls of others ; because the salvation of the 
souls of others would be as much to God's glory, as the sal- 
vation of their children ; and they have supposed that to pray 
most for their own, would show a selfish disposition. So 
they have been afraid to tolerate a compassionate grief and 
concern for their nearest friends, for fear it would be an argu- 
ment of want of resignation to God. 

And it is true, there is great danger of persons' setting their 
hearts too much upon their earthly friends ; our love to earthly 
friends ought to be under the government of the love of God, 
and should be attended with a spirit of submission and resig- 
nation to his will, and every thing should be subordinated to 
his glory : but that is no argument that these aflections should 
be entirely uboli^hed, which the CiCiitor of the world liar, put 


within mankind, for the good of mankind, and because he 
saw they would be needful for them, as they must be united 
in society, in the present state, and arc of great use, when 
kept in their proper place ; and to endeavor totally to root 
them out, would be to reproach and oppose the wisdom of 
the Creator. Nor is the being of these natural inclinations, 
if well regulated, inconsistent with any part of our duty to 
God, or any argument of a sinful selfishness, any more than 
the natural abhorrence that there is in the human nature of 
pain, and natural ■ iaclination to ease that was in the man 
Christ Jesus himself 

It is the duty of parents to be more concerned, and to pray 
more for the salvation of their children, than for the children 
of their neighbors ; as, much as it is the duty of a minister to 
be more concerned for the salvation of the souls of his flock, 
and to pray more for them, than those of other congregations, 
because they are committed to his care ; so our near friends 
are more committed to our care than others, and our near 
neighbors, than those that Hve at a great distance ; and the 
people of our land and nation are more, in some sense, com- 
mitted to our care, than the people of China, and w^e ought 
to pray more for them, and to be more concerned that the king- 
dom of Christ should flourish among them, than in another 
country, where it would be as much, and no more for the 
glory of God. Compassion ought to be especially exercised 
towards friends. Job vi. 14. Christ did not frown upon a 
special affection and compassion for near friends, but coun- 
tenanced and encouraged it from time to time, in those that, 
in the exercise of such an affection and compassion, applied 
to him for relief for their friends ; as in the instance of the 
woman of Canaan, Jairus, Mary and Martha, the centurion, 
the widow of Nain, and many others. The apostle Paul, 
though a man as nuich resigned and devoted to God, and 
under the power of his love, perliaps as any mere man that 
ever lived, yet had a jicculiar concern for liis countrymen the 
Jews, the rather on tliat accoimt. thaltbey were his hrvthrcn 


and kinsmen according to the flesh ; he had a very high 
degree of compassionate grief for them, insomuch that he 
tells us he had great heaviness and continual sorrow of heart 
for them, and could wish himself accursed from Christ for 

There are many things that are proper for the saints in 
heaven, that are not suitable to the state God has set us in, 
in this world : and for Christians, in these and other in- 
stances, to affect to go beyond the present state of mankind, 
and what God has appointed as fit for it, is an instance of that 
which the wise man calls a being righteous overmuch^ and 
has a tendency to open a door for Satan, and to cause reli- 
gious affections to degenerate into something very unbecoming 
of Christians. 

Thus I have, as I proposed, taken notice of some things 
with regard to the inward experiences of Christians, by which 
Satan has an advantage. I now proceed in the 

11. place, to take notice of something with regard to the 
external effects of experiences, which also gives Satan an ad- 
vantage. What I have respect to, is the secret and unac- 
countable influence that custom has upon persons, with re- 
spect to the external effects and manifestations of the inward 
affections of the mind. By custom, I mean both a person's 
being accustomed to a thing in himself, in his own common, 
allowed, and indulged practice, and also the countenance and 
approbation of others amongst whom he dwells, by their ge- 
neral voice and practice. It is well known, and appears 
sufficiently by what I have said already in this treatise and 
elsewhere, that I am far from ascribing all the late uncom- 
mon effects and outward manifestations of inward expe- 
riences to custom and fashion, as some do ; I know it to 
be otherwise, if it be possible for me to know any thing of 
this nature by the most critical observation, under all manner 
of opportunities of observing. But yet, this also is exceeding 
evident by experience, that custom has a strange influence 
in these things : I know it by the different manners and de- 


grees of external effects and manifestations of great affections 
and high discoveries, in different towns, according to what 
persons are gradually led into, and insensibly habituated to, 
by example and custom ; and also in the same place, at dif- 
ferent times, according to the conduct that they have : if 
some person is among them to conduct them, that much coun- 
tenances and encourages such kind of outward manifesta- 
tions of great affections, they naturally and insensibly pre- 
vail, and grow by degrees unavoidable : but when afterwards 
they come under another kind of conduct, the manner of ex- 
ternal appearances will strangely alter: and yet it seems to 
be without any proper design or contrivance of those in whom 
there- is this alteration ; it is not properly affected by them, 
but the influence of example and custom is secret and insen- 
sible to the persons themselves. These things have a vast 
influence in the manner of persons' manifesting their joys, 
whether with smiles and an air of lightness, or whether with 
more solemnity and reverence ; and so they have a great 
influence as to the disposition persons have under high affec- 
tions to abound in talk ; and also as to the manner of their 
speaking, the loudness and vehemence of their speech ; 
(though it would be exceeding unjust, and against all the 
evidence of fact and experience, and the reason of things, to 
lay all dispositions persons have to be much in speaking to 
others, and to speak in a very earnest manner, to custom.) It 
is manifest that example and custom has, some way or other, 
a secret or unsearchable influence on those actions that are 
involuntary, by the difference that there is in different places, 
and in the same places at different times, according to the 
diverse examples and conduct that they have. 

Therefore, though it would be very unreasonable, and pre- 
judicial to the interest of religion, to frown upon all these ex- 
traordinary external effects and manifestations of great reli- 
gious affections (for a measure of them is natural, necessary, 
and beautiful, and the effect in no wise disproportioned to the 
spiritual cause, and is of great benefit to promote religion ;) 


yet I think they greatly err who think that these things 
should be wholly unlimited, and that all should be encou- 
raged in going in these things to the utmost length that they 
feel themselves inclined to : the consequence of this will be 
very bad : there ought to be a gentle restraint held upon 
these things, and there should be a prudent care taken of 
persons in such extraordinary circumstances, and they should 
be moderately advised at proper seasons, not to make more 
ado than there is need of, but rather to hold a restraint upon 
their inchnations ; otherwise extraordinary outward effects 
will grow upon them, they will be more and more natural 
and unavoidable, and the extraordinary outward show will 
increase, without any increase of the internal cause ; persons 
will find themselves under a kind of necessity of making a 
great ado, with less and less affection of soul, till at length 
almost any slight emotion will set them going, and they 
will be more and more violent and boisterous, and will grow 
louder and louder, till their actions and behavior become 
indeed very absurd. These things experience proves. 

Thus I have taken notice of the more general causes 
whence the errors that have attended this great revival of 
religion have risen, and under each head have observed 
some particular errors that have flowed from these fountains. 
I now proceed, as I proposed, in the 

Second place, to take notice of some particular errors that 
have risen from several of these causes ; in some perhaps 
they have been chiefly owing to one, and in others to another, 
and in others to the influence of several, or all conjunctly. 



Some pai^ticular errors that have arisen from these 

And here the first thing I would take notice of, is cen- 
suring others that are professing Christians, in good standing 
in the visible church, as unconverted. I need not repeat 
what I have elsewhere said to show this to be against the 
plain, and frequent, and strict prohibitions of the word of 
God : it is the worst disease that has attended this work, 
most contrary to the spirit and rules of Christianity, and of 
worst consequences. There is a most unhappy tincture 
that the minds of many, both ministers and people, have 
received that way. The manner of many has been, when 
they first enter into conversation with any person, that seems 
to have any show, or make any pretenses to religion, to dis- 
cern him, or to fix a judgment of him, from his manner of 
talking of things of religion, whether he be converted, or ex- 
perimentally acquainted with vital piety or not, and then to 
treat him accordingly, and freely to express their thoughts 
of him to others, especially those that they have a good 
opinion of as true Christians, and accepted as brethren and 
companions in Christ ; or if they do not declare their minds 
expressly, yet by their manner of speaking of them, at least 
to their friends, they will show plainly what their thoughts 
are. So when they have heard any minister pray or preach, 
their first work has been to observe him on a design of dis- 
cerning him, whether he be a converted man or no ; whe- 
ther he prays like one that feels the saving power of God's 
Spirit in his heart, and whether he preaches like one that 
knows what he says. It has been so much the way in 
some places, that many new converts do not know but it is 
their duty to do so ; they know no other way. And when 


once persons yield to such a notion, and give in to such a 
humor, tliey will quickly grow very discerning in their own 
apprehension, they think they can easily tell a hypocrite : 
and when once they have passed their censure, every thing 
seems to confirm it, they see more and more in the person 
that they have censured, that seems to them to show plainly 
that he is an unconverted man. And then, if the person 
censured be a minister, every thing in his public perform- 
ances seems dead and sapless, and to do them no good at all, 
but on the contrary, to be of deadening influence, and poi- 
sonous to the soul ; yea, it seems worse and worse to them ; 
liis preaching grows more and more intolerable ; which is 
owing to a secret, strong prejudice, that steals in more and 
more upon the mind, as experience plainly and certainly 
shows. When the Spirit of God was wonderfully poured 
out in this place, more than seven years ago, and near thirty 
souls in a w^eek, take one with another, for five or six weeks 
together, were to appearance brought home to Christ, and all 
the town seemed to be alive and full of God, there Was no 
such notion or humor prevailing here ; when ministers 
preached here, as • very many did at that time, young and 
old, our people did not go about to discern whether they were 
men of experience or not : they did not know that they 
must : Mr. Stoddard never brought them up in that way ; 
it did not seem natural to them to go about any thing of that 
nature, nor did any such thing enter into their hearts ; but 
when any minister preached, the business of every one was 
to listen and attend to what he said, and apply it to his own 
heart, and make the utmost improvement of it. And it is 
remarkable, that never did there appear such a disposition in 
the people, to relish, approve of, and admire ministers' 
preaching as at that time : such expressions as these were 
frequent in the mouths of one and another, on occa- 
sion of the preaching of strangers here, viz. that they re- 
joiced that there were so many such eminent ininisters iii 
the country ; and they icoiidered they never heard the 

OF ministers' censuring other ministers. 345 

fame of them before : they were thankful that other towns 
had so good means ; and the like. And scarcely ever did 
any minister preach here, but his preaching did some re- 
markable service ; as I had good opportunity to know, be- 
cause at that time I had particular acquaintance with most 
of the persons in the town, in their soul concerns. That it 
has been so much otherwise of late in many places in the 
land, is another instance of the secret and powerful influ- 
ence of custom and example. 

There has been an unhappy disposition in some ministers 
toward their brethren in the ministry in this respect, which 
has encouraged and greatly promoted such a spirit among 
some of their people. A wrong improvement has been 
made of Christ's scourging the buyers and sellers out of the 
temple ; it has been expected by some, that Christ was now 
about thus to purge his house of unconverted ministers, and 
this has made it more natural to them to think that they 
should do Christ service, and act as co-workers with him, to 
put to their hand, and endeavor by all means to cashier those 
ministers that they thought to be unconverted. Indeed, it 
appears to me probable that the time is coming, when awful 
judgments will be executed on unfaithful ministers, and that 
no sort of men in the world will be so much exposed to di- 
vine judgments ; but then we should leave that work to 
Christ, who is the Searcher of hearts, and to whom ven- 
geance belongs ; and not without warrant take the scourge 
out of his hand into our own. There has been too much 
of a disposition in some, as it were, to give ministers over as 
reprobates, that have been looked upon as wolves in sheep's 
clothing ; which has tended to promote and encourage a spiiit 
of bitterness towards them, and to make it natural to treat 
them too much as if they knew God hated them. If God's 
children knew that others were reprobates, it would not be 
required of them to love them ; we may hate those that we 
know God hates ; as it is lawful to hate the devil, and as 
the saints at the day of judgment will hate the wicked. 



Some have been too apt to look for fire from heaven upon 
particular ministers ; and this has naturally excited that dis- 
position to call for it, that Christ rebuked in his disciples at 
Samaria. For my part, though I believe no sort of men on 
earth are so exposed to spiritual judgments as wicked minis- 
ters, yet I feel no disposition to treat any minister as if I sup- 
posed that he was finally rejected of God ; for I cannot but hope 
that there is coming a day of such great grace, a time so ap- 
pointed for the magnifying the riches and sovereignty of 
divine mercy, beyond what ever was, that a great number of 
unconverted ministers will obtain mercy. There was no 
sort of persons in Christ's time, that were so guilty, and so 
hardened, and towards whom Christ manifested such great 
indignation, as the priests and scribes, and there were no 
such persecutors of Christ and his disciples as they ; and 
yet in that great outpouring of the Spirit that began on the 
day of pentecost, though it began with the common people, 
yet in the progress of the work, after a while, " a great com- 
pany of priests in Jerusalem were obedient to the faith," 
Acts vi. 7. And Saul, one of the most violent of all the 
persecuting Pharisees, became afterwards the greatest pro- 
moter of the work of God that ever was. I hope we shall 
yet see in many instances a fulfillment of that in Isa. xxix. 
24. " They also that erred in spirit shall come to under- 
standing, and they that murmured shall learn doctrine." 

Nothing has been gained by this practice. The end that 
some have aimed at in it has not been obtained, nor is ever 
like to be. Possibly some have openly censured ministers, 
and encouraged their people's uneasiness under them, in 
hopes that it would soon rome to that, that the uneasiness 
would be so general, and so great, that unconverted minis- 
ters in general would be cast off, and that then things would 
go on happily : but there is no likelihood of it. The devil 
indeed has obtained his end ; this practice has bred a great 
deal of unhappiness among ministers and people, has spoiled 
Christians' enjoyment of sabbaths, and made them their 


most uneasy, uncomfortable, and unprofitable days, and has 
stirred up great contention, and set all in a flame ; and in 
one place and another where there was a glorious work of 
God's Spirit begun, it has in a great measure knocked all in 
the head, and their ministers hold their places. Some have 
aimed at a better end in censuring ministers ; they have 
supposed it to be a likely means to awaken them : whereas, 
indeed, there is no one thing has had so great a tendency to 
prevent the awakening of disaffected ministers in general ; 
and no one thing has actually had such influence to lock up 
the minds of ministers against any good effect of this great 
work of God in the land, upon their minds, in this respect : 
I have known instances of some that seemed to be much 
moved by the first appearance of this work, but since have 
seemed to be greatly deadened by what has appeared of this 
nature. And if there be one or two instances of ministers 
that have been awakened by it, there are ten to one on whom 
it has had a contrary influence. The worst enemies of this 
work have been inwardly eased by this practice ; they have 
made a shield of it to defend their consciences, and have 
been glad that it has been carried to so great a length ; at 
the same time that they have looked upon it, and improved 
it, as a door opened for them to be more bold in opposing the 
work in general. 

There is no such dreadful danger of natural men's being 
undone by our forbearing thus to censure them, and carrying 
it towards them as visible Christians ; it will be no bloody, 
hell-peopling charity, as some seem to suppose, when it is 
known that we do not treat them as Christians, because we 
have taken it upon us to pass a judgment on their state, on 
any trial, or exercise of our skill in examining and discern- 
ing them, but only as allowing them to be worthy of a public 
charity, on their profession and good external behavior ; any 
more than Judas was in danger of being deceived, by Christ's 
treating him a long time as a disciple, and sending him forth 
as an apostle (because he did not then take it upon hini to 


act as the Judge and Searcher of hearts, but only as the 
Head of the visible church). Indeed, such a charity as this 
may be abused by some, as every thing is, and will be, that 
is in its own nature proper, and of never so good tendency. 
I say nothing against dealing thoroughly with conscience, 
by the most convincing and searching dispensation of the 
word of God : I do not desire that that sword should be 
sheathed, or gently handled by ministers ; but let it be used 
as a two-edged sword, to pierce, even to the dividing asunder 
soul and spirit, joints and marrow ; let conscience be dealt 
with, without any compliments ; let ministers handle it in 
flaming fire, without having any more mercy on it, than the 
furnace has on those metals that are tried in it. But let us 
let men's persons alone : let the word of God judge them, 
but do not let us take it upon us till we have warrant for it. 
Some have been ready to censure ministers because they 
seem, in comparison of some other ministers, to be very cold 
and lifeless in their ministerial performances. But then it 
should be considered that for aught we know, God may here- 
after raise up ministers of so much more excellent and hea- 
venly qualifications, and so much more spiritual and divine 
in their performances, that there may appear as great a differ- 
ence between them, and those that now seem the most lively, 
as there is now between them, and others that are called dead 
and sapless ; and those that are now called lively ministers 
may appear to their hearers, when they compare them with 
others that shall excel them, as wretchedly mean and their 
performances poor, dead, dry things ; and many may be ready 
to be prejudiced against them, as accounting them good for 
nothing, and it may be calling them soul-murderers. What 
a poor figure may we suppose, the most lively of us, and those 
that are most admired by the people, do make in the eyes of 
the saints of heaven, any otherwise than as their deadness, 
deformity and rottenness is hid by the veil of Christ's right- 


Another thing that has been supposed to be sufficient war- 
rant for openly censuring ministers as unconverted, is their 
opposing this work of God that has lately been carried on in 
the iand. And there can be no doubt with me but that oppo- 
sition against this work may be such, as to render either 
ministers or people, truly scandalous, and expose them to 
public ecclesiastical censure ; and that ministers hereby may 
utterly defeat the design of their ministry (as I observed be- 
fore) ; and so give their people just cause of uneasiness : I 
should not think that any person had power to oblige me, 
constantly to attend the ministry of one, who did from time 
to time, plainly pray and preach against this work, or speak 
reproachfully of it frequently in his public performances, after 
all Christian methods had been used for a remedy, and to no 

But as to determining how far opposing this work is con- 
sistent with a state of grace, or how far, and for how long 
time, some persons of good experience in their own souls, 
through prejudices they have received from the errors that 
have been mixed with this work, or through some peculiar 
disadvantages they are under to behold things in a right view 
of them, by reason of the persons they converse with, or their 
own cold and dead frames, is, as experience shows, a very 
difficult thing ; I have seen that which abundantly convinces 
me that the business is too high for me ; I am glad that God 
has not committed such a difficult affair to me ; I can joy- 
fully leave it wholly in his hands, who is infinitely fit for it, 
without meddhng at all with it myself We may represent 
it as exceeding dangerous to oppose this work, for this we 
have good warrant in the word of God ; but I know of no 
necessity we are under to determine whether it be possible 
for those that are guilty of it to be in a state of grace or no. 

God seems so strictly to have forbidden this practice, of 
our judging our brethren in the visible church, not only be- 
cause he knew that we were too much of babes, infinitely too 
weak, fallible and blind, to be well capacitated for it, but also 


because he knew that it was not a work suited to our proud 
hearts ; that it would be setting us vastly too high, and 
making us too much of lords over our fellow-creatures. 
Judging our brethren and passing a condemnatory sentence 
upon them, seems to carry in it an act of authority, especially 
in so great a case, to sentence them with respect to that state 
of their hearts, on which depends their hableness to eternal 
damnation ; as is evident by such interrogations as those (to 
hear which from God's mouth,ls enough to make us shrink 
into nothing with shame and confusion, and sense of our own 
blindness and worthlessness), Rom. xiv. 4. " Who art thou 
that judgest another man's servant ? To his own master he 
standeth or falleth." And James iv. 12. " There is one Law- 
giver that is able to save and to destroy ; who art thou that 
judgest another ?" Our wise and merciful Shepherd has gra- 
ciously taken care not to lay in our way such a temptation 
to pride ; he has cut up all such poison out of our pasture ; 
and therefore we should not desire to have it restored. 
Blessed be his name that he has not laid such a temptation 
in the way of my pride ! I know that in order to be fit for 
this business, I rhust not only be vastly more knowing, but 
more humble than I am. 

Though I believe some of God's own children have of late 
been very guilty in this matter, yet by what is said of it in 
the scripture, it appears to me very likely, that before these 
things which God has lately begun have an end, God will 
awfully rebuke that practice ; may it in sovereign and infi- 
nite mercy be prevented, by the deep and open humihation 
of those that have openly practiced it. 

As this practice ought to be avoided, so should all such 
open visible marks of distinction and separation that imply 
it : as particularly, distinguishing such as we have judged to 
be in a converted state with the compellations of brother or 
sister, any further than there is a visible ecclesiastical dis- 
tinction. In those places where it is the manner to receive 
such, and such only to the communion of the visible church . 


as Recommend themselves by giving a satisfying account 
of their inw^ard experiences, there Christians may openly dis- 
tinguish such personsj in their speech and ordinary behavior, 
with a visible separation, without being inconsistent with 
themselves : and I do not now pretend to meddle with that 
controversy, whether such an account of experience be requi- 
site to church-fellowship : but certainly, to admit persons to 
communion with us as brethren in the visible church, and 
then visibly to reject them, and to make an open distinction 
between them and others, by different names or appellations, 
is to be inconsistent with ourselves ; it is to make a visible 
church vnthin a visible church, and visibly to divide between 
sheep and goats, setting one on the right hand, and the other 
on the left. 

This bitter root of censoriousness must be totally rooted 
out, as we would prepare the way of the Lord. It has nou- 
rished and upheld many other things contrary to the humi- 
lity, meekness, and love of the gospel. The minds of many 
have received an unhappy turn, in some respects, with their 
religion. There is a certain point or sharpness, a disposition 
to a kind of warmth, that does not savor of that meek, lamb- 
like, sweet disposition that becomes Christians. Many have 
now been so long habituated to it, that they do not know 
how to get out of it ; but we must get out of it ; the point 
and sharpness must be blunted, and we must learn another 
way of manifesting our zeal for God. 

There is a way of reflecting on others, and censuring them 
in open prayer, that some have ; which, though it has a fair 
show of love, yet is indeed the boldest way of reproaching 
others imaginable, because there is implied in it an appeal to 
the Most High God, concerning the truth of their censures 
and reflections. 

And here I would observe by the way, that some have a 
way of joining a sort of imprecations with their petitions for 
others, though but conditional ones, that appear to me wholly 
needless and improper : they pray that others may either be 


converted or removed. I never heard nor read of any such 
thing practiced in the church of God till now, unless it be 
with respect to some of the most visibly and notoriously aban- 
doned enemies of the church of God. This is a sort of 
cursing men in our prayers, adding a curse with our bless- 
ing; whereas the rule is bless and curse not. To pray 
that God would kill another, is to curse him with the hke 
curse wherewith Elisha cursed the children that came out of 
Bethel. And the case must be very great and extraordinary 
indeed to warrant it, unless we were prophets, and did not 
speak our own words, but words indited by the immediate 
inspiration of the Spirit of God. It is pleaded that if God 
has no design of converting others, is is best for them, as well 
as best for others, that they should be immediately taken 
away and sent to hell before they have contracted more guilt. 
To which I would say, that so it was best that those chil- 
dren that met Elisha, seeing God had no design of convert- 
ing them, should die immediately as they did ; but yet Eli- 
sha's imprecating that sudden death upon them, was cursing 
them ; and therefore would not have been lawful for one that 
did not speak in the name of the Lord as a prophet. 

And then if we give way to such things as these, where 
shall we stop ? A child that suspects he has an unconverted 
father and mother, may pray openly that his father and mo- 
ther may either be converted, or taken away and sent to hell 
now quickly, before their guilt is greater. (For unconverted 
parents are as likely to poison the souls of their family in 
their manner of training them up, as unconverted ministers 
are to poison their people.) And so it come to that, that it 
might be a common thing all over the country, for children 
to pray after this manner concerning their parents, and breth- 
ren and sisters concerning one another, and husbands con- 
cerning their wives, and wives concerning husbands ; and so 
for persons to pray concerning all their unconverted friends 
and neighbors ; and not only so, but we may also pray con- 
cerning all those saint.s that are not lively Christians, that 


they may either he enlivened or taken away ; if that be true 
that is often said by some at this day, that these cold, dead 
saints do more hurt than natural men, and lead more souls 
to hell, and that it would be well for mankind if they were 
all dead. 

How needless are such petitions or imprecations as these ? 
What benefit is there of them ? Why is it not sufficient for us 
to pray that God would provide for his church, and the good 
of souls, and take care of his own flock, and give it needful 
means and advantages for its spiritual prosperity? Does 
God need to be directed by us in what way he shall do it ? 
What need we ask of God to do it by killing such and such 
persons, if he does not convert them ? unless we delight in 
the thoughts of God's answering us in such terrible ways, 
and with such awful manifestations of his wrath to our fel- 

And why do not ministers direct sinners to pray for them- 
selves, that God would either convert them or kill them, and 
send them to hell now, before their guilt is greater ? In this 
way we should lead persons in the next place to self-murder: 
for many probably would soon begin to think that that which 
they may pray for, they may seek, and use the means of. 

Some with whom I have discoursed about this way of 
praying, have said that the Spirit of God, as it were, forces 
them to utter themselves thus, as it were forces out such 
words from their mouths, when otherwise they should not 
dare to utter them. But such a kind of impulse does not 
look like the influence of the Spirit of God. The Spirit of 
God sometimes strongly inclines men to utter words ; but 
not by putting expressions into the mouth, and urging to 
utter them ; but by filling the heart with a sense of divine 
things, and holy affections ; and those affections and that 
sense incUnes the mouth to speak. That other way of men's 
being urged to use certain expressions, by an unaccountable 
force, is very probably from the influence of the spirit of the 




Of errors co7inected with lay exhorting. 

Another thing I would take notice of, in the manage- 
ment of which there has been much error and misconduct, 
is lay exhorting ; about which there has been abundance of 
disputing, jangUng, and contention. 

In the midst of all the disputes that have been, I suppose 
that all are agreed as to these two things, viz. 1. That all 
exhorting one another of laymen is not unlawful or impro- 
per ; but on the contrary, that some exhorting is a Christian 
duty. And 2. I suppose also, all will allow that there is 
something that is proper only for ministers; that there is 
some kind or way of exhorting and teaching or other, that 
belongs only to the office of teachers. All will allow that 
God has appointed such an office as that of teachers in the 
Christian church, and therefore doubtless will allow that some- 
thing or other is proper and pecuhar to that office, or some 
business of teaching that belongs to it, that does not belong 
as much to others as to them. 

If there be any w^ay* of teaching that is pecuhar to that 
office, then for others to take that upon them, is to invade 
the office of a minister : which doubtless is very sinful, and 
is often so represented in scripture. But the great difficulty 
is to settle the bounds, and to tell exactly how far laymen 
may go, and when they exceed their limits : which is a mat- 
ter of so much difficulty, that 1 do not wonder if many in 
their zeal have transgressed. The two ways of teaching 
and exhorting, the one of which ought^ordinarily to be left 
to ministers, and the other of which may and ought to be 
practiced by the people, may be expressed by those two names 
oi preachings and exhorting in a way of Christian con- 
versation. But then a great deal of difficulty and contro- 


versy arises to determine what is 'preachings and what is 
Christian conversation. However I will humbly offer my 
thoughts cencerning this subject of lay exhorting, as follows. 
I. The common people in exhorting one another ought 
not to clothe themselves with the like authority with that 
which is proper for ministers. There is a certain authority 
that ministers have, and should exercise in teaching, as well 
as governing the flock. Teaching is spoken of in scripture 
as an act of authority, 1 Tim. ii. 12. In order to a man's 
preaching, special authority must be committed to him. Rom. 
X. 15. " How shall they preach, except they be sent ?" Mi- 
nisters in this work of teaching and exhorting are clothed 
with authority, as Christ's messengers, Mai. ii. 7. and as re- 
presenting him, and so speaking in his name, and in his 
stead, 2 Cor. v. 18, 19, 20. And it seems to be the most 
honorable thing that belongs to the office of a minister of the 
gospel, that to him is committed the word of reconciliation, 
and that he has power to preach the gospel, as Christ's mes- 
senger, and speaking in his name. The apostle seems to 
speak of it as such, 1 Cor. i. 16, 17. Ministers therefore in 
the exercise of this power, may clothe themselves with autho- 
rity in speaking, or may teach others in an authoritative 
manner. Tit. ii. 15. " These things speak and exhort, and 
rebuke, with all authority : let no man despise thee." But 
the common people, in exhorting one another, ought not thus 
to exhort in an authoritative manner. There is a great deal 
of difference between teaching as a father amongst a com- 
pany of children, and counseling in a brotherly w^ay, as the 
children may kindly counsel and admonish one another. 
Those that are mere brethren ought not to assume authority 
in exhorting, though one may be better, and have more ex- 
perience than another. Laymen ought not to exhort as 
though they were the embassadors or messengers of Christ, 
as ministers do; nor should they exhort, and warn, and 
charge, in his name^ according to the ordinary import of 
such an expression, when applied to teaching ; indeed in one 


sense, a Christian ought to do every thing lie does in reU- 
gion in the name of Christ, i. e. he ought to act in a depend- 
ence on him as his Head and Mediator, and do all for his 
glory : but the expression as it is usually understood, when 
applied to teaching or exhorting, is speaking in Christ's stead, 
and as having a message from him. 

Persons may clothe themselves with authority in speak- 
ing, either by the authoritative words they make use of, or 
in the manner, and authoritative air of their speaking : though 
some may think that this latter is a matter of indifferency, or 
at least, of small importance, yet, there is indeed a great deal 
in it : a person may go much out of his place, and be guilty 
of a great degree of assuming, in the manner of his speaking 
those words, which as they might be spoken, might be pro- 
per for him : the same words spoken in a different manner, 
may express what is very diverse : doubtless, there may be 
as much hurt in the manner of a person's speaking, as there 
may in his looks ; but the wise man tells us, that " a high 
look is an abomination to the Lord," Prov. xxi. 4. Again, a 
man may clothe himself with authority, in the circumstances 
under which he speaks : as for instance, if he sets himself 
lip as a lyuhlic teacher. Here I would have it observed, that 
1 do not suppose that a person is guilty of this, merely be- 
cause he speaks in the hearing of many : persons may speak, 
and speak only in a way of conversation, and yet speak in 
the hearing of a great number, as they often do in their com- 
mon conversation about temporal things, at feasts and enter- 
tainments, where women, as well as others, do converse free- 
ly togetlier about worldly things, in thehearing of a considera- 
ble number ; and it may happen to be in tlie hearing of a 
great number, and yet without offense : and if their conver- 
sation on such occasions should turn on spiritual things, and 
they should speak as freely and openly, I do not see why it 
would not ]je as harmless. Nor do I think, that if besides a 
great nuniljer boing present, persons speak with a very ear- 
liest and loud voice, this is for them to set up themselves as 


public teachers, if they do it from no contrivance or premedi- 
tated design, or as purposely directing themselves to a con- 
gregation or multitude, and not speaking to any that are com- 
posed to the solemnity of any public service ; but speaking 
in the time of conversation, or a time when all do freely con- 
verse one with another, they express what they then feel, di- 
recting themselves to none but those that are near them, and 
fall in their way, speaking in that earnest and pathetical 
manner, to which the subject they are speaking of, and the 
affecting sense of their souls naturally leads them, and as it 
were constrains them : I say, that for persons to do thus, 
though many happen to hear them, yet it does not appear to 
me to be setting themselves up as public teachers : yea, if 
this be added to these other circumstances, that all this hap- 
pens to be in a meeting-house ; I do not think that merely 
its being in such a place, much alters the case, provided the 
solemnity of public service and divine ordinances be over, and 
the solemn assembly broke up, and some stay in the house 
for mutual religious conversation ; provided also that they 
speak in no authoritative way, but in a humble manner, 
becoming their degree and station, though they speak very 
earnestly and pathetically. 

Indeed modesty might in ordinary cases restrain some per- 
sons, as women, and those that are young, from so much as 
speaking, w^hen a great number are present ; at least, when 
some of those present are much their superiors, unless they 
are spoken to : and yet the case may be so extraordinary, as 
fully to warrant it. If something very extraordinary hap- 
pens to persons, or if they are in extraordinary circumstances ; 
as if a person be struck with lightning, in the midst of a great 
company, or if he lies a dying, it appears to none any viola- 
tion of modesty for him to speak freely, before those that are 
much his superiors. I have seen some women and children 
in such circumstances, on religious accounts, that it has ap- 
peared to me no more a transgressing the laws of humility 


and modesty, for them to speak freely, let who will be present, 
than if they 'were dying. 

But then may a man be said to set up himself as a pubhc 
teacher, when he in a set speech, of design, directs himself 
to a multitude, either in the meeting-house, or elsewhere, as 
looking that they should compose themselves to attend to 
what he has to say ; and much more when this is a con- 
trived and premeditated thing, without any thing hke a con- 
straint, by any extraordinary sense or affection that he is 
then under ; and more still, when meetings are appointed 
on purpose to hear lay persons exhort, and they take it as 
their business to be speakers, while they expect that others 
should come, and compose themselves, and attend as hearers ; 
when private Christians take it upon them in private meet- 
ings, to act as the masters or presidents of the assembly, and 
accordingly from time to time to teach and exhort the rest, 
this has the appearance of authoritative teaching. 

When private Christians, that are no more than mere 
brethren, exhort and admonish one another, it ought to be 
in a humble manner, rather by way of entreaty, than with 
authority : and the more, according as the station of persons 
is lower. Thus it becomes women, and those that are young, 
ordinarily to be at a greater distance from any appearance of 
authority in speaking than others : thus much at least is 
evident by that in 1 Tim. ii. 9, 11, 12. 

That lay persons ought not to exhort one another as 
clothed with authority, is a general rule, but it cannot justly 
be supposed to extend to heads of -families in their own 
families. Every Christian family is a little church, and the 
heads of it are its authoritative teachers and governors. Nor 
can it extend to schoolmasters among their scholars ; and 
some other cases might perhaps be mentioned, that ordinary 
discretion will distinguish, where a man's circumstances do 
properly clothe him with authority, and render it fit and 
suitable for him to counsel and admonish others in an au- 
thoritative manner. 


11. No man but only a minister tliat is duly appointed to 
that sacred calling, ought to follow teaching and exhorting 
as a call'mg^ or so as to neglect that which is his 'proper 
calling. A having the office of a teacher in the church of 
God implies two things : 1, a being invested with the au- 
thority of a teacher ; and 2, a being called to the business 
of a teacher, to make it the business of his life. Therefore 
that man that is not a minister, that takes either of these 
upon him, invades the office of a minister. Concerning 
assuming the authority of a minister, 1 have spoken already. 
But if a layman does not assume authority in his teaching, 
yet if he forsakes his proper calling, or doth so at least in a 
great measure, and spends his time in going about from 
house to house, to counsel and exhort, he goes beyond his 
line, and violates Christian rules. Those that have the 
office of teachers or exhorters, have it for their calling, and 
should make it their business, as a business proper to their 
office ; and none should make it their business but such. 
Rom. xii. 3, 4, 5, 7, 8. " For I say, through the grace 
given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think 
of himself more highly than he ought to think ; but to think 
soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the pro- 
portion of faith. For as we have many members in one 
body, and all members have not the same office ; so we 
being many, are one body in Christ. He that teacheth, let 
him wait on teaching ; or he that exhorteth, on exhortation." 
1 Cor. xii. 29. '.^ Are all apostles ? Are all prophets ? Are 
all teachers ?" 1 Cor. vii. 20. " Let every man abide in the 
same caUing wherein he was called." 1 Thes. iv. 11. "And 
that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and 
to work with your own hands, as we commanded you." 

It will be a very dangerous thing for laymen, in either of 
these respects, to invade the office of a minister ; if this be 
common among us, we shall be in danger of having a stop 
put to the work of God, and the ark's turning aside from us, 
before it comes to Mount Zion, and of God's making a 


breach upon us ; as of old there was an unhappy stop put 
to the joy of the congregation of Israel, in bringing up the 
ark of God, because others carried it besides the Levites : 
and therefore David, when the error was found out, says, 
1 Chron. xv. 2., " None ought to carry the ark of God, but 
the Levites only ; for them hath the Lord chosen to carry 
the ark of God, and to minister unto him forever." And 
because one presumed to touch the ark that was not of the 
sons of Aaron, therefore the Lord made a breach upon them, 
and covered their day of rejoicing with a cloud in his anger. 

Before I dismiss this head of lay exhorting, 1 would take 
notice of three things relating to it, upon which there ought 
to be a restraint. 

1. Speaking in the time of the solemn worship of God, 
as public prayer, singing, or preaching, or administration of 
the sacrament of the holy supper ; or any duty of social 
worship : this should not be allowed. I know it will be 
said, that in some cases, when persons are exceedingly af- 
fected, they cannot help it ; and I believe so too : but then 
I also believe, and know by experience, that there are several 
things that contribute to that inability, besides merely and 
absolutely the sense of divine things they have upon their 
hearts. Custom and example, or the thing's being allowed, 
have such an influence, that they actually help to make it 
impossible for persons under strong affections to avoid speak- 
ing. If it was disallowed, and persons at the time that they 
were thus disposed to break out, had this apprehension, that 
it would be a very unbecoming, shocking thing for them so 
to do, it would be a help to them as to their ability to avoid 
it : their inability arises from their strong and vehement 
disposition ; and so far as that disposition is from a good 
principle, it would be weakened by the coming in of this 
thought to their minds, viz. " What I am going to do, will 
be for the dishonor of Christ and rehgion :" and so that in- 
ward vehemence, that pushed them forward to speak, would 


fall, and they would be enabled to avoid it. This experi- 
ence confirms. 

2. There ought to be a moderate restraint on the loudness 
of persons talking mider high affections; for if there be not, 
it will grow natural and unavoidable for persons to be louder 
and louder, without any increase of their inward sense : till 
it becomes natural to them, at last, to scream and halloo to 
almost every one they see in the streets, when they are much 
affected : but this is certainly a thing very improper, and 
what has no tendency to promote religion. The man Christ 
Jesus, when he was upon earth, had, doubtless, as great a 
sense of the infinite greatness and importance of eternal 
things, and the worth of souls, as any have now-a-days ; but 
there is not the least appearance in his history, of his taking 
any such course, or manner of exhorting others. 

3. There should also be some restraint on the abundance 
of persons' talk, under strong affections ; for if persons give 
themselves an unbounded liberty, to talk just so much as they 
feel an inclination to, they will increase and abound more 
and more in talk, beyond the proportion of their sense or affec- 
tion ; till at length it will become ineffectual on those that 
hear them, and by the commonness of their abundant talk, 
they will defeat their own end. 


Of errors connected loith singing praises to God. 

One thing more I would take notice of before I conclude 
this part, is the mismanagement that has been in some places 
of the duty of singing praises to God. I believe it to have 
been one fruit of the extraordinary degrees of the sweet and 
joyful influences of the Spirit of God that have been lately 
given, that there has appeared such a disposition to abound 



in that duty, and frequently to fall into this divine exercise ; 
not only in appointed solemn meetings, but when Christians 
occasionally meet together at each other's houses. But the 
mismanagement I have respect to, is the getting into a way 
of performing it, without almost any appearance of that reve- 
rence and solemnity with which all visible, open acts of di- 
vine worship ought to be attended ; it may be two or three 
in a room singing hymns of praise to God, others that are 
present talking at the same time, others about their work, 
with little more appearance of regard to what is doing, than 
if some were only singing a common song, for their amusement 
and diversion. There is danger, if such things are continued, 
of its coming to that by degrees, that a mere nothing be made 
of this duty, to the great violation of the third commandment. 
Let Christians abound as much as they will in this holy, 
heavenly exercise, in God's house, and in their own houses ; 
but w^hen it is performed, let it be performed as a holy act, 
wherein they have immediately and visibly to do with God. 
When any social, open act of devotion, or solemn worship of 
God ie performed, God should be reverenced as visibly pre- 
sent, by those that are present. As we would not have the 
ark of God depart from us, nor provoke God to make a 
breach upon us, we should take heed that we handle the ark 
with reverence. 

With respect to companies singing in the streets, going to, 
or coming from, the place of public worship, I w^ould humbly 
offer my thoughts in the following particulars. 

1. The rule of Christ concerning ^^?«^//??.^ new wine into 
old bottles^ does undoubtedly take place in things of this na- 
ture, supposing it to be a thing that in itself is good, but not 
essential, and not particularly enjoined or forbidden. For 
things, so very new and uncommon, and of so open and pub- 
lic a nature, to be suddenly introduced and set up and prac- 
ticed, in many parts of the country, without the matter being 
so nmch as first proposed to any public consideration, or 
giving any opportunity for the people of God to weigh the 


matter, or to consider any reasons tliat might be oflered to 
support it, is putting new wine into old bottles with a wit- 
ness ; as if it were with no other design than to burst them 
directly. Nothing else can be expected to be the consequence 
of this, than uproar and confusion, and great otfense, and 
unhappy mischievous disputes, even among the children of 
God themselves : not that that which is good in itself, and is 
new, ought to be forborne, till there is nobody that will dis- 
Hke it ; but it ought to be forborne till the visible church of 
God is so prepared for it, at least, that there is a probability 
that it will not do more hurt than good, or hinder the work 
of God more than promote it ; as is most evident from Christ's 
rule, and the apostles' practice. If it be brought in, when 
the country is so unprepared, that the shock and surprise on 
persons' minds, and the contention and prejudice against reli- 
gion, that it is hke to be an occasion of, will do more to hinder 
religion, than the practice of it is like to do to promote it, 
then the fruit is picked before it is ripe. And indeed, such a 
hasty endeavor to introduce such an innovation, supposing 
it to be good in itself, is the likeliest way to retard the effec- 
tual introduction of it ; it will hinder its being extensively 
introduced, much more than it will promote it, and so will 
defeat its own end. But, 

2. As to the thing itself, if a considerable part of a congre- 
gation have occasion to go in company together to a place of 
public worship, and they should join together in singing 
praises to God, as they go, I confess, that after long considera- 
tion, and endeavoring to view the thing every way, with the 
utmost diligence and impartiahty I am capable of, I cannot 
fmd any valid objection against it. As to the common ob- 
jection from Matt. vi. 5. " And when thou prayest, thou shalt 
not be as the hypocrites are ; for they love to pray standing 
in the synagogues, and in the corners of the streets, that they 
may be seen of men ;"' it is strong against a single person's 
singing in the streets, or in the meeting-house, by himself, as 
offering to God personal worsliip: but as it is brought against 


a considerable company, their thus pubhcly worshiping God, 
it appears to me to have no weight at all ; to be sure it is of 
no more force against a company's thus praising God in the 
streets, than against their praising him in the synagogue or 
meeting-house, for the streets and the synagogues are both 
put together in these words of our Savior, as parallel in the 
case that he had respect to. It is evident that Christ speaks 
of personal, and not public worship. If to sing in the streets 
be ostentatious, then it must be because it is a public place, 
and it cannot be done there without being very open ; but it 
is no more public than the synagogue or meeting-house is 
when full of people. Some worship is in its nature private, 
us that which is proper to particular persons, or families, or 
private societies, and has respect to their particular concerns : 
but that which I now speak of is performed under no other 
notion than a part of God's public worship, without any rela- 
tion to any private, separate society, or any chosen or picked 
number, and in which every visible Christian has equal liber- 
ty to join, if it be convenient for him, and he has a disposi- 
tion, as in the worship that is performed in the meeting-house. 
When persons are going to the house of public worship, to 
serve God there with the assembly of his people, they are 
upon no other design than that of putting public honor upon 
God ; that is the business they go from home upon, and even 
in their walking the streets on this errand, they appear in a 
public act of respect to God ; and therefore if they go in com- 
pany with public praise, it is not a being public when they 
ought to be private. It is one part of the beauty of public wor- 
ship, that it be very jnihlic ; the more public it is, the more open 
honor it puts upon God; and especially is it beautifidinthat part 
of public worship, viz. public praise : for the, very notion of 
public praising of God, is to declare abroad his glory, to pub- 
lish his praise, to make it known, and proclaim it aloud, as 
is evident by innumerable expressions of scripture. It is fit 
that God's honor should not be concealed, but made known 
in the great congregation, and proclaimed before the sun, and 


upon the house-tops, before kings, and all nations, and that 
his praises should be heard to the utmost ends of the earth. 

I suppose none will condemn singing God's praises, 
merely because it is performed in the open air, and not in a 
close place : and if it may be performed by a company in 
the open air, doubtless they may do it moving, as well as 
standing still. So the children of Israel praised God, when 
they went to Mount Zion, with the ark of God ; and so the 
multitude praised Christ, when they entered with him into 
Jerusalem, a little before his passion ; and so the children of 
Israel were wont, from year to year, to go up to Jerusalem, 
when they went in companies, from all parts of the land, 
three times in a year, when they often used to manifest the 
engagedness of their minds, by traveling all night, and ma- 
nifested their joy and gladness, by singing praises, with great 
decency and beauty, as they went towards God's holy moun- 
tain ; as is evident by Isa. xxx. 29. " Ye shall have a song, 
as in the night, when a holy solemnity is kept, and gladness 
of heart ; as when one goeth with a pipe, to come into the 
mountain of the Lord, to the Mighty One of Israel." And 
Psalm xlii. 4. " When I remember these things, I pour out 
my soul in me ; for I had gone with the multitude, I went 
with them to the house of God, with the voice of joy and 
praise, with a multitude that kept holy day." Psalm, c. 4. 
" Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts 
with praise." When God's people are going to his house, 
the occasion is so joyful to a Christian in a lively frame, (the 
language of whose heart is, Come^ let us go up to the 
house of the Lord, and who is glad when it is so said to 
him,) that the duty of singing praises seems to be pecu- 
Uarly beautiful on such an occasion. So that if the state of 
the country was ripe for it, and it should be so that there 
should be frequent occasions for a considerable part of a con- 
gregation to go together to the places of public w^orship, and 
there was in other respects a proportionable appearance of 
fervency of devotion, it appears to me that it would be ra- 


vishiiigly beautiful, if such things were practiced all over 
the land, and would have a great tendency to enhven, ani- 
mate, and rejoice the souls of God's saints, and greatly to 
propagate vital religion. I believe the time is coming when 
the world will be full of such things. 

3. It seems to me to be requisite that there should be 
the consent of the governing part of the worshiping socie- 
ties, to which persons have joined themselves, and of which 
they own themselves a part, in order to the introducing of 
things in public worship, so new and uncommon, and not 
essential, nor particularly commanded, into the places where 
those worshiping societies belong : the peace and uni5n of 
such societies seems to require it ; seeing they have volun- 
tarily united themselves to these worshiping societies, to that 
end, that they might be one in the affairs of God's public 
worship, and obliged themselves in covenant to act as breth- 
ren and mutual assistants, and members of one body, in 
those affairs, and all are hereby naturally and necessarily led 
to be concerned with one another, in matters of religion and 
God's worship ; and seeing that this is a part of the public 
worship, and worship that must be performed from time to 
time in the view of the whole, being performed at a time 
when they are meeting together for mutual assistance in 
w^orship, and therefore that which all must unavoidably be 
in some measure concerned in, so at least as to show their 
approbation and consent, or open dislike and separation from 
them in it ; I say, it being thus, charity, and a regard to the 
union and peace of such societies, seems to require a consent 
of the governing part, in order to the introducing any thing 
of this nature (unless they think those societies unworthy 
that they should be joined to them any longer, and so first 
renounce them, as the worshiping societies of which they 
are members). Certainly, if we are of the spirit of the 
apostle Paul, and have his discretion, we shall not set up 
any such practice without it : he, for the sake of peace, con- 
formed, in things wherein he was not particularly forbidden, 


to tlie Jews, when among them ; and so when among those 
that were without the law, conformed to them, wherein he 
might. To be sure those go much beyond proper Umits, 
who, coming from abroad, do immediately of their own 
heads, in a strange place, set up such a new and uncommon 
practice among -a people. 

In introducing any thing of this nature among a people, 
their minister especially ought to be consulted, and his voice 
taken, as long as he is owned for their minister. Ministers 
are pastors of worshiping societies, and their heads and guides 
in the affairs of public worship. They are called in scrip- 
ture, those that rule over them., and their people are com- 
manded to obey theni^ because they watch for their souls, 
as those that must give account. If it belongs to these 
shepherds and rulers to direct and guide the flock in any 
thing at all, it belongs to them so to do, in the circumstan- 
tials of their public worship. 

Thus I have taken particular notice of many of those 
things that have appeared to me to be amiss, in the manage- 
ment of our religious concerns, relating to the present revival 
of religion, and have taken liberty freely to express my 
thoughts upon them. Upon the whole, it appears manifest 
to me, that things have, as yet, never been set agoing in 
their right channel ; if they had, and means had been 
bles&ed in proportion as they have been now, this work would 
have so prevailed, as before this time to have carried all afore 
it, and have triumphed over New England as its conquest. 

The devil, in driving things to these extremes, besides the 
present hindrance of the work of God, has, I believe, had in 
view a twofold mischief hereafter, in 'the issue of things ; 
one with respect to those that are more cold in religion ; to 
carry things to such an extreme, that people in general, at 
length having their eyes opened, by the great excess, and 
seeing that things must needs be wrong, he might take the 
advantage to tempt them entirely to reject the whole work, 
as being all nothini!; l^ut delusion and distraction. And 


another is with respect to those that have been very warm 
and zealous, of God's own children that have been out of 
the way, to sink them down in unbelief and darkness. 
The time is coming, I doubt not, when the bigger part of 
them will be convinced of their errors ; and then probably 
the devil will take advantage to lead them into a dreadful 
wilderness, and to puzzle and confound tTiem about .their 
own experiences, and the experiences of others ; and to 
make them to doubt of many things that they ought not to 
doubt of, and even to tempt them with atheistical thoughts. 
I beheve if all true Christians all over the land, should now 
at once have their eyes opened, fully to see all their errors, it 
would seem for the present to damp religion : the dark 
thoughts, that it would at first be an occasion of, and the 
inward doubts, difficulties, and conflicts that would rise in 
their souls, would deaden their lively affections and joys, 
and would cause an appearance of a present decay of reli- 
gion. But yet it would do God's saints great good in their 
latter end ; it would fit them for more spiritual and excellent 
experiences, more humble and heavenly love, and unmixed 
joys, and would greatly tend to a ipore powerful, extensive, 
and durable prevalence of vital piety. 

I do not know but we shall be in danger, by and by, after 
our eyes are fully opened to see our errors, to go to contrary 
extremes. The devil has driven the pendulum far beyond 
its proper point of rest ; and when he has carried it to tlie 
utmost length that he can, and it begins by its own weight 
to swing back, he probably will set in, and drive it with the 
utmost fury the other way, and so give us no rest, and if pos- 
sible prevent our settling in a proper medium. ' AVhat a poor, 
bhnd, weak, and miserable creature is man, at his best es- 
tate ! We are like poor, helpless sheep ; the devil is too 
subtle for us. What is our strength ! What is our wisdom ! 
How ready are we to go astray ! How easily are we drawn 
aside, into innumerable snares, while we in the mean time 

OUR NEED OP Christ's help. 359 

are bold and confident, and doubt not but that we are right 
and safe We are foolish sheep, in the midst of subtle ser- 
pents, and cruel wolves, and do not know it. O how unfit 

m needof the wisdom, the power, the condescension, patience 
forgmf'ness, and gentleness of our good Shepherd ! 





In considering of means and methods for promoting this 
glorious work of God, I have aheady observed, in some in- 
stances, wherein there has been needless objecting and com- 
plaining, and have also taken notice of many things amiss, 
that ought to be amended : I now proceed in the 

Third and last place, to show positively, what ought to 
be done, or what courses (according to my humble opinion) 
ought to be taken to promote this work. The obligations 
that all are under, with one consent, to do their utmost, and 
the great danger of neglectipg it, were observed before. I 
hope that some, upon reading what was said under that head, 
will be ready to say, What shall we do ? To such readers 
I wQuld now offer my thoughts, in answer to such an in- 


Of removing the hi7idrances to this work. 

And that which I think we ought to set ourselves about 
in the first place, is to remove stumbling-blocks. When God 
is revealed, as about to come, gloriously to set up his kingdom 


in the world, this is proclaimed, " Prepare ye the way of the 
Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God," 
Isa. xl. 3. And again, Isa. Ivii. 14., " Cast ye up, cast ye 
up ; prepare the way ; take up the stumbling-block out of 
the way of my people." And chap. Ixii. 10., " Go through, 
go through the gates ; prepare you the way of the people ; 
cast up, cast up the highway ; gather out the stones." 

And in order to this, there must be a great deal done at 
confessing of faults, on both sides : for undoubtedly many and 
great are the faults that have been committed, in the jangling 
and confusions, and mixtures of light and darkness, that 
have been of late. There is hardly any duty more contrary 
to our corrupt dispositions, and mortifying to the pride of man ; 
but it must be done. Repentance of faults is, in a peculiar 
manner, a proper duty, when the kingdom of heaven is at 
hand, or when we especially expect or desire that it should 
come ; as appears by John the Baptist's preaching. And if 
God does now loudly call upon us to repent, then he also 
calls upon us to make proper manifestations of our repent- 
ance. I am persuaded that those, that have openly opposed 
this work, or have from time to time spoken lightly of it, 
cannot be excused in the sight of God, without openly con- 
fessing their fault therein ; especially if they be ministers. 
If they have any way, either directly or indirectly, opposed 
the work, or have so behaved in their public performances or 
private conversation, as has prejudiced the minds of their 
people against the work, if hereafter they shall be convinced 
of the goodness and divinity of what they have opposed, they 
ought by no means to palliate the matter, and excuse them- 
selves, and pretend that they always thought so, and that it 
was only such and such imprudences that they objected 
against, but they ought openly to declare their conviction, 
and condemn themselves for what they have done ; for it is 
Christ that they have spoken against, in speaking lightly of, 
and prejudicing others against this work ; yea, worse than 
that, it is the Holy Ghost. And though they have done it 


ignorantly, and in unbelief, yet when they find out who it is 
that they have opposed, undoubtedly God will hold them 
bound pubhcly to confess it. 

And on the other side, if those that have been zealous to 
promote the work, have in any of the forementioned in- 
stances openly gone much out of the way, and done that 
which is contrary to Christian rules, whereby they have 
openly injured others, or greatly violated good order, and so 
done that which has wounded religion, they must publicly 
confess it, and humble themselves, as they would gather out 
the stones, and prepare the way of God's people. They who 
have laid great stumbling-blocks in other's way, by their open 
transgression^ are bound to remove them, by their open re- 

Some probably will be ready to object against this, that 
the opposers will take advantage by this to behave themselves 
insolently, and to insult both them and religion. And in- 
deed, to the shame of some, they have taken advantage by 
such things ; as of the good spirit that Mr. Whitefield showed 
in his retractions, and some others. But if there are some 
imbittered enemies of rehgion, that stand ready to improve 
every thing to its disadvantage, yet that ought not to hinder 
doing an enjoined Christian duty ; though it be in the mani- 
festation of humility and repentance, after a fault openly 
conimitted. To stand it out, in a visible impenitence of a 
real fault, to avoid such an inconvenience, is to do evil to 
prevent evil. And besides, the danger of an evil consequence 
is much greater on the other side ; to commit sin, and then 
stand in it, is what will give the enemy the greatest advan- 
tage. For Christians to act like Christians, in openly hum- 
bling themselves, when they have openly offended, in the 
end brings the greatest honor to Christ and religion ; and in 
this way are persons most likely to have God appear for 

Again, at such a day as this, God does especially call his 
people to the exercise of extraordinary meekness and mutual 


forbearance : for at such a time, Christ appears as it were 
coming in his kingdom, which calls for great moderation in 
our behavior towards all men ; as is evident Phil. iv. 5., "Let 
your moderation be known imto all men : the Lord is at 
hand." The awe of the divine majesty that appears present 
or approaching, should dispose us to it, and deter us from the 
contrary. For us to be judging one another, and behaving 
with fierceness and bitterness, one towards another, when he 
who is the Searcher of all hearts, to whom we must all give 
an account, appears so remarkably present, is exceeding un- 
suitable. Our business at such a time should be at home, 
searching ourselves, and condemning ourselves, and taking 
heed to our own behavior. If there be glorious prosperity to 
the church of God approaching, those that are the most meek, 
will have the largest share in it : for when Christ'" rides 
forth, in his glory and majesty, it is because of truth, meek- 
ness, and righteousness." Psalm xlv. 3, 4. And when God 
remarkably " arises, to execute judgment, it is to save all the 
meek of the earth." Psalm Ixxvi. 9. And it is " the meek 
that shall increase their joy in the Lord." Isa. xxix. 19. 
And when the time comes that God will give this lower world 
into the hands of his saints, it is " the meek that shall inherit 
the earth.'i. Psalm xxxvii. 11. and Mat. v. 9. "But with 
the froward, God will show himself unsavory." 

Those, therefore, that have been zealous for this work, 
and have greatly erred and been injurious in their zeal, ought 
not to be treated with bitterness. There is abundant reason 
to think, that most of them are the d^ar children of God, 
for whom Christ died ; and therefore that they >\ill see their 
error. As to those things, wherein we see them to be in an 
error, we have reason to say of them as the apostle, Philip, 
iii. 15., " If any are otherwise minded, God shall reveal this 
unto them." Their errors should not be made use of by us, 
so much to excite indignation towards them, but should in- 
fluence all of us, that hope that we are the children of God, 
to humble ourselves, and become more entirely dependent on 


the Lord Jesus Christ, when we see those, that are God's 
own people, so ready to go astray. And those ministers 
that have been judged, and injuriously dealt with, will do 
the part of Christ's disciples, not to judge and revile again, 
but to receive such injuries with meekness and forbearance, 
and making a good improvement of them, more strictly ex- 
amining their hearts and ways, and committing themselves 
to God. This will be the way to have God vindicate them 
in his providence, if they belong to him. We have not yet 
seen the end of things ; nor do we know who will be most 
vindicated, and honored of God, in the issue. Eccl. vii. 8. 
" Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof ; 
and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit." 
Contrary to this mutual meekness, is each party's stigma- 
tizing one another with odious names, as is done in many 
parts of New England, which tends greatly to widen and 
perpetuate the breach. Such distinguishing names of re- 
proach, do, as it were, divide us into two armies, separated, 
and drawn up in battle array, ready to fight one with another, 
which greatly hinders the work of God. 

And as such an extraordinary time as this does especially 
require of us the exercise of a great deal of forbearance, ojie 
totoards another ; so there is peculiarly requisite in God's 
people, the exercise of great patience, in waiting on God, 
under any special difficulties and disadvantages they may be 
under, as to the means of grace. The beginning of a re 
vival of rehgion will naturally and necessarily be attended 
with a great many difficulties of this nature ; many parts of 
the reviving church will, for a while, be under great disad- 
vantages, by reason of what remains of the old disease, of a 
general corruption of the visible church. We cannot expect 
that, after a long time of degeneracy and depravity in the 
state of things in the church, things should all come to rights 
at once ; it must be a work of time : and for God's people 
to be over hasty and violent, in such a case, being resolved 
to have every thing rectified at once, or else forcibly to de- 


liver themselves, by breaches and separations, is the way to 
hinder things coming to rights as they otherwise would, and 
to keep them back, and the way to break all in pieces. Not 
but that the case may be such, the difficulty may be so in- 
tolerable, as to allow of no delay, and God's people cannot 
continue in the state wherein they were, without violations of 
absolute commands of God. But otherwise, though the dif- 
ficulty may be very great, another course should be taken. 
God's people should have their recourse directly to the throne 
of grace, to represent their difficulties before the great Shep- 
herd of the shesp, that has the care of all the affairs of his 
church ; and when they have done, they should wait pa- 
tiently upon him : if they do so, they may expect that in his 
time, he will appear for their deliverance : but if instead of 
that, they are impatient, and take the work into their own 
hands, they will betray their want of faith, and will dishonor 
God, and cannot have such reason to hope that Christ will 
appear for them, as they have desired, but have reason to 
fear that he will leave them to manage their affairs for them- 
selves, as well as they can : when otherwise, if they had 
waited on Christ patiently, continiiing still instant in prayer, 
they might have had an appearing for them, much more 
effectually to deliver them. "He that believeth shall not 
make haste ;" and it is for those that are found patiently 
waiting on the Lord, under difficulties, that he will especially 
appear, when he comes to do great things for his church, as 
is evident by Isa. xxx. 18. and chap. xl. at the latter end, 
and xlix. 23., and Ps. xxxvii. 9., and many other places. 

I have somewhere, not long since, met with an exposition 
of those words of the spouse, that we have several times 
repeated in the book of Canticles, " I charge you, O daugh- 
ters of Jerusalem, that ye stir not up, nor awake my love, 
till he please," wliicli is the only satisfying exposition that 
ever I met with ; which was to this purpose, viz. that when 
the church of God is under great difficulties, and in distress, 
and Christ does not appear for her help, but seems to neglect 


liei, as tliough lie were asleep, God's people, or the daugh- 
ters of Jerusalem, in such a case, should not show a liasty 
spirit ; and not having patience to wait for Christ to awake 
for their help, till liis time comes, take indirect courses for 
their own deliverance, and use violent means for their es- 
cape, before Christ appears to open the door for them ; and 
so, as it were, stir up^ and awake Christy before his time, 
When the church is in distress, and God seems not to ap- 
pear for her in his providence, he is very often represented 
in scripture, as being asleep ; as Christ was asleep in the 
ship, when the disciples were tossed by the storm, and the 
ship covered with waves : and God's appearing afterwards 
for his people's help, is represented as his awaking out of 
sleep. Psalm vii. 6. and xxxv. 23. and xUv. 23. and lix. 4. 
and Ixxiii. 20. Christ has an appointed time for his thus 
awaking out of sleep : and his people ought to wait upon 
him ; and not, in an impatient fit, stir him up before his 
time. It is worthy to be observed how strict this charge is 
given to the daughters of Jerusalem, which is repeated three 
times over in the book of Canticles, chap. ii. 7. and iii. 5. 
and viii. 4. In the second chapter and six first verses, is 
represented the supports Christ gives his church, while she 
is in a suffering state, as the lily among thorns : in the 
seventh verse is represented her patience in waiting for 
Christ, to appear for her deliverance, when she charges the 
daughters of Jerusalem not to stir up, nor awake her love 
till he please, by the roes and the hinds of the field ; 
which are creatures of a gentle, harmless nature, are not 
beasts of prey, do not devour one another, do not fight with 
their enemies, but fly from them ; and are of a pleasant, 
loving nature, Prov. v. 19. In the next verse, we see the 
Church's success, in this way of waiting under sufferings, 
with meekness and patience ; Christ soon awakes, speedily 
appears, and swiftly comes : The voice of rny beloved ! 
Behold^ he conieth^ leaping upon the mountains^ skipping 
upon the hills ! 




Of what must be done directly to promote the work. 

What has been mentioned hitherto, has relation to tlie 
behavior we are obh^d to, as we would prevent the hin- 
drances of the work ; but besides these, there are things that 
must be done, more directly to advance it. And here it 
concerns every one, in the first place, to look into his own 
heart, and see to it that lie be a partaker of the benefits of 
the work himself, and that it be promoted in his own soul. 
Now is a most glorious opportunity for the good of souls. 
It is manifestly with respect to a time of great revival of re- 
ligion in the world, that we have that gracious, earnest, and 
moving invitation proclaimed in Isa. Iv., "Ho, every one that 
thirsteth 1" &c. as is evident by what precedes in the fore- 
going chapter, and what follows in the close of this. Here, 
in the sixth verse, it is said, " Seek ye the Lord, while he 
may be found ; call upon him, while he is near." And it is 
with special reference to such a time, that Christ proclaims 
as he does, Rev. xxi. 6., "I will give unto him that is athirst, 
of the fountain of the water of life freely." And chap. xxii. 
17. "And the Spirit and the bride say, come ; and let him 
that heareth say, come ; and let him that is athirst, come ; 
and whosoever will, let him take the w^ater of life freely." 
And it seems to be with reference to such a time, which is 
typified by the feast of tabernacles, that Jesus, at that feast, 
stood and cried, as we have an acccount, John vii. 37, 38., 
" In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and 
cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me and 
drink. He that believeth on me, out of his belly shall flow 
rivers of hving water." And it is with special reference to 
God's freeness and readiness to bestow grace at such a time, 
that it is said in Isa. Ix. 11., of the spiritual Jerusalem, "Thy 


gates shall be open continually, they shall not be shut day 
or night." 

And though I judge not those that have opposed this 
work, and would not have others judge them, yet, if any 
such shall happen to read this treatise, I would take the 
liberty to entreat them to leave off concerning themselves so 
much about others, and look into their own souls, and see to 
it that they are the subjects of a true, saving work of the 
Spirit of God. If they have reason to think they never 
have been, or it be but a very doubtful hope that they have, 
then how can they have any heart to be busily and fiercely 
engaged about the mistakes, and the supposed false hopes of 
others ? And I would now l^eseech those that have hitherto 
been something inclining to Arminian principles, seriously 
to weigh the matter with respect to this work, and consider 
whether, if the scriptures are the word of God, the work 
that has been described in the first part of this treatise, must 
not needs be, as to the substance of it, the work of God, and 
the flourishing of that rehgion, that is taught by Christ and 
his apostles ; and whether any good medium can be found, 
where a man can rest, with any stability, between owning 
this work, and being a deist ; and also to consider whether 
or no, if it be indeed so, that this be the work of God, it 
does not entirely overthrow their scheme of religion ; and 
therefore whether it does not infinitely concern them, asthey 
would be partakers of eternal salvation, to relinquish their 
scheme. Now is a good time for Arminians to change their 
principles. I would now, as one of the friends of this work, 
humbly invite them to come and join with us, and be on 
our side ; and if 1 had the authority of Moses, I would say 
to them as he did to Hobab, Num. x. 29., " We are journey- 
ing unto the place, of which the Lord said, I will give it 
you : come thou with us, and we will do thee good : for 
the Lord hath spoken good concerning Israel." 

As the benefit and advantage of the good improvement of 
such a season, is extraordinary great ; so the danger of neg- 


lecting and niisimpioving it is proportionably great. It is 
abundantly evident by the scripture, that as a time of great 
outpouring of the Spirit is a time of great favor to those that 
are partakers cf the blessing ; so it is always a time of re- 
markable vengeance to others. So in Isa. Ixi. 2. the same 
that is called " the acceptable year of the Lord," is called also, 
" the day of vengeance of our God." So it was amongst the 
Jews, in the apostles' days : the apostle in 2 Cor. vi. 2. says 
of that time, that it was " the accepted time, and day of sal- 
vation ;" and Christ says of the same time, Luke xxi. 22^ 
" These are the days of vengeance." At the same time that 
the blessings of the kingdom of heaven were given to some, 
there was an " axe laid at the root of the trees, that those 
that did not bear fruit might be hewn down, and cast into 
the fire," Matt. iii. 9, 10, U. Then was glorified,, both the 
goodness and severity of God, in a remarkable manner. Rom. 
xi. 32. The harvest and the vintage go together: at the 
same time that the earth is reaped, and God's elect are ga- 
thered into the garner of God, " the angel that has power 
over fire thrusts in his sickle and gathers the cluster of the 
vine of the earth, and casts it into the great wine-press of the 
wrath of God," Rev. xiv. at the latter end. So it is foretold, 
that at the beginning of the glorious times of the Christian 
church, at the same time that "the hand of the Lord is 
known towards his servants, so shall his indignation, towards 
his enemies," Isa. Ixvi. 14. So when that glorious morning 
shall appear, wherein " the Sun of Righteousness shall arise 
to the elect, with healing in his wings, the day shall burn as 
an oven to the wicked," Mai. iv. 1, 2, 3. 

There is no time hke such a time, for the increase of guilt, 
and treasuring up wrath, and desperate hardening of heart, 
if men stand it out ; which is the most awful judgment, aiiid 
fruit of divine wrath, that can be inflicted on any mortal. 
So that at a time of great grace, and pouring out of the Spirit, 
and tVie fruits of divine mercy, is evermore also a time of 


great outpouring of something else, viz. divine vengeance 
on those that neglect and misimprove such a season. 

The state of the present revival of religion, has an awful 
aspect upon those tliat are advanced in years. The work 
has been chiefly amongst those that are young ; and compa- 
ratively but few others have been made partakers of it. And 
indeed; it has commonly been so, when God has begun any 
great work for the revival of his church ; he has taken the 
young people, and has cast' off the old and stiff-necked gene- 
ration. There was a remarkable outpouring of the Spirit of 
God on the children of Israel in the wilderness, on the younger 
generation, their little ojies, that they said should he a 
prey^ the generation that entered into Canaan with Joshua ; 
which is evident by many things in scripture. That gene- 
ration seems to have been the most excellent generation that 
ever was in the church of Israel. There is no generation, 
of which there is so much good, and so little hurt spoken in 
scripture, as might be shown, if it would not be too long. In 
that generation that were under twenty years, when they 
went out of Egypt, was that kijidiiess of youth, and love of 
espousals, spoken of, Jer. ii. 2, 3. But the old generation 
were passed by, and remained obstinate and stiff-necked, were 
always murmuring, and would not be convinced by all God's 
wondrous w^orks that they beheld. God, by his awful judg- 
ments that he executed in the wilderness, and the affliction 
that the people suffered there, convinced and humbled the 
younger generation, and fitted them for great mercy, as is 
evident by Deut. ii. 16, but he destroyed the old generation ; 
" he swore in his wrath that they should not enter into his 
rest, and their carcasses fell in the wilderness ." When it was 
a time of great mercy, and pouring out of God's Spirit on their 
children, it was remarkably a day of vengeance unto them, 
as appears by Psalm xc. Let the old generation in this land 
take warning from hence, and take heed that they do not re- 
fuse to be convinced, by all God's wonders that he works be- 
fore their eyes, and that they do not continue forever object- 

382 (;reat danger of aged persons. 

ing-, murnuiring, and caviling against the wofk of (^od, lest 
while God is bringing their children into a land flowing with 
milk and honey, he should swear in his wrath concerning 
them, that their carcasses shall fall in the wilderness. 

So when God had a design of great mercy to the Jews, in 
bringing them out of the Babylonish captivity, and return- 
ing them to their own land, there was a blessed outpouring 
of the Spirit upon them in Babylon, to bring them to deep 
conviction and repentance, and to a spirit of prayer, to cry 
earnestly to God for mercy ; which is often spoken of by the 
prophets : hut it was not upon the old generation, that were 
carried captive. The captivity continued just long enough 
for that perverse generation to waste away and die in their 
captivity ; at least those of them that were adult persons, 
when carried captive. The old generation, and heads of 
famihes, were exceeding obstinate, and would not hearken 
to the earnest repeated warnings of the prophet Jeremiah ; 
but he had greater success among the young people ; as ftp- 
pears by Jer. vi. 10, 11. " To whom shall I speak and give 
warning, that they may hear ? Behold, their ear is uncircum- 
cised, and they cannot hearken : Behold, the word of the 
Lord is unto them a reproach : they have no delight in it. 
Therefore I am full of the fury of the Lord ; I am weary 
with holding in ; I will pour it out upon the chid ren abroad, 
and upon the assembly of the young men together ; for even 
the husband witli the wife (i. e. the heads of families, and 
parents of tlicse children) shall be taken, the aged, with him 
that is full of days." Blessed be God ! there are some of 
the elder people, that have been made partakers of this work; 
and those that are most awakened by these warnings of God's 
word, and the awful frowns of his providence, will be most 
likely to be made partakers hereafter. It infinitely concerns 
them to take heed to themselves, that they may be partakers 
of it ; for how dreadful will it be to go to h*ell, after having 
spent so many years in doing nothing, but treasure up 
wrath ! 



fSEGTlON 111. 

Ditties of ministers and particular classes of persons. 

But above till others whatsoever, does it concein us that 
are ministers, to see to it that we are partakers of this work, 
or that we have experience of the saving operations of the 
same spirit, that is now poured out on the land. How sor- 
rowful and melancholy is the case, when it is otherwise? 
For one to stand at the head of a congregation of God's peo- 
ple, as representing Christ and speaking in his stead, and to 
act the part of a shepherd and guide to a people, in such a 
state of things, when many are under great awakenings, and 
many are converted, and many of God's saints are filled with 
divine light, love, and joy, and to undertake to instruct and 
lead them all, under all these various circumstances, and to 
b^ put to it, continually to play the hypocrite, and force the 
airs of a saint in preaching, and from time to time, in private 
conversation, and particular dealing with souls, to undertake 
to judge of their circumstances, to try to talk with those that 
come to him, as if he knew what they said ; to try to talk 
with persons of experience, as if he knew how to converse 
w^ith them, and had experience as well as they ; to make 
others believe that he rejoices when others are converted, and 
to force a pleased and joyful countenance and manner of 
speech, when there is nothing in the heart, what sorrowful 
work is here ! O how miserably must such a person feel ! 
What a wretched bondage and slavery is this ! What pains, 
and how much art nuist such a minister use to conceal him- 
self! And how weak are his hands! Besides the infinite 
provocation of the Most High God, and displeasure of his 
Lord and Master, that he incurs, by continuing a secret 
enemy to him in his heart, in such circumstances, I think 
there is a great deal of reason, from the scripture, to conclude, 


that no SOI t of men in tlie world, will be so low in hell, as 
ungodly ministers : every thing that is spoken of in scrip- 
ture, as that which aggravates guilt, and heightens divine 
wrath, meets in them ; however some particular persons, of 
other sorts, may be more guilty than some of these. 

And what great disadvantages are unconverted ministers 
under, to oppose any irregularities, or imprudences, or intem- 
perate zeal, that they may see in those that are the children 
of God, when they are conscious to themselves, that they 
have no zeal at all ? If enthusiasm and wildness comes in 
like a flood, what poor weak instruments are such ministers 
to withstand it ? With what courage can they open their 
mouths, when they look inward, and consider how it is \yith 
them ? 

We that are ministers, not only have need of some true 
experience of the saving influence of the Spirit of God upon 
our heart, but we need a double portion of the Spirit of God 
at such a time as this ; we had need to be as full of light, as 
a glass is, that is held out ia the sun ; and with respect to 
love and zeal, we had need at this day, to be like the angels, 
that are a flame of fire. The state of the times extremely 
requires, a fullness of the divine Spirit in ministers, and we 
ought to give ourselves no rest till we have obtained it. And 
in order to this, I should think ministers, above all persons, 
ought to be much in secret prayer and fasting, and also much 
in praying and fasting one with another. It seems to me it 
would be becoming the circumstances of the present day, if 
ministers in a neighborhood would often meet together, and 
spend days in fasting and fervent prayer among themselves, 
earnestly seeking for those extraordinary supphes of divine 
grace from heaven, that we need at this day : and also if, on 
theii occasional visits one to another, instead of spending a\vay 
their time in sitting and smoking, and in diverting, or worldly, 
unprofitable conversation, telling news, and making their re- 
marks on this and the other trifling subject, they would spend 
their time in praying together, and singing praises, and reli- 


gious conference. How inuch do many of the common 
people shame many of ns that are in the work of the ministry, 
in these respects ? Surely we do not i^ehave ourselves so 
much like Christian ministers, and the disciples and embas- 
sadors of Christ, as we ought to do. And while we condemn 
zealous persons for their doing so much at censuring minis- 
ters at this day, it ought not to be without deep reflections 
upon, and great condemnation of, ourselves : for indeed, we 
do very much to provoke censoriousness, and lay a great temp- 
tation, before others, to the sin of judging : and if we can 
prove, that those that are guilty of it do transgress the scrip- 
ture rule, yet our indignation should be chiefly against our- 

Ministers, at this day in a special manner, should act as 
fellow-helpers, in their great work. It should be seen that 
they are animated and engaged, and exert themselves with 
one heart and soul, and with united strength, to promote the 
present glorious revival of religion : and to that end should 
often meet together, and act in concert. And if it were a 
common thing in the country, for ministers to join in public 
exercises, and second one another, in their preaching, I believe 
it would be of great service. I mean that ministers, having 
consulted one another as to the subjects of their discourses 
before they go to the house of God, should there speak, two 
or three of them going, in short discourses, as seconding each 
other, and earnestly enforcing each others' warnings and 
counsels. Only such an api>earance of united zeal in minis- 
ters, would have a great tendency to awaken attention, and 
much to impress and animate the hcarej-s ; as has been found 
by experience, in some parts of the country. 

Ministers should carefully avoid weakening one another's 
hands. And therefore every thing should be avoided, by 
which their interest with their people might be diminished^ 
or their union with them broken. On the contrary, if minis- 
ters have not forfeited their acceptance in that character, in 
the vicible church, by their doctrine or behavior, their brethren 



in the minisUy ought j^tiidioiisly to endeavor to heighten the 
esteem and affection of their people towards them, that they 
may have no temptation to repent their admitting other mi- 
nisters to come and preach in their pulpits. 

Two things that are exceeding needful in ministers, as they 
would do any great matters, to advance the kingdom of Christ, 
are zeal and resolution. The influence and power of these 
things, to bring to pass great effects, is greater than can well 
be imagined : a man of but an ordinary capacity, will do more 
with them, than one of ten times the parts and learning, 
without them : more may be done with them, in a few days, 
or at least weeks, than can be done without them in many 
years. Those that are possessed of these qualities, commonly 
carry the day, in almost all aflfairs. Most of the great things 
that have been done in the world of mankind, the great revo- 
lutions that have been accomplished in the kingdoms and 
empires of the earth, have been chiefly owing to these things. 
The very sight or appearance of a thoroughly engaged spirit, 
together with a fearless courage and unyielding resolution, 
in any person that has undertaken the managing any affair 
amongst mnnkind, g^es a great way towards accomplishing 
the effect aimed at. It is evident that the appearance of these 
things in Alexander, did three times as much towards his 
conquering the world, as all the blows that he struck. And 
how much were the great things that Oliver Cromwell did, 
owing to these things ? And the greater things that Mr. 
Whitefield has done, every where, as he lias run through the 
British dominions (so fai- as they arc owing to means), are 
very much owing to the appearance of these things, which 
he is eminently possessed of. When the people see these 
things apparently in a person, and to a great degree, it awes 
them, and has a commanding influence upon their minds ; 
it seems to them that they must yield ; they, naturally fall 
before them, without standing to contest or dispute the matter ; 
they are conquered as it were by surprise. But while we are 
cold and heartless, and only go on in a dull mannei-, in an 

whitefield's zeal and resolution 381 

old formal round, we sliall never do any great matters. Our 
attempts, with the appearance of such coldness and irresolu- 
tion, will not so much as make persons think of yielding: they 
will hardly be sufficient to put it into their minds ; and if it 
be put into their mindsj the appearance of such indifference 
and cowardice does as it were call for and provoke opposi- 
tion. Our misery is want of zeal and courage ; for not only 
through want of them, does ail fail that we seem to attempt, 
but it prevents our attempting any thing very remarkable, 
for the kingdom of Chiist. Hence, oftentimes it has been, 
that when any thing very considerable, that is new, is pro- 
posed to be done for the advancement of religion, or the 
public good, many difficulties are found out, that are in the 
way, and a great many objections are started, and it may 
be, it is put off from one to another ; but nobody does any 
thing. And after this manner good designs or proposals 
have oftentimes failed, and have sunk as soon as proposed. 
Whereas, if we had but Mr. Whitefield's zeal and courage, 
what could not we do, with such a blessing as we might 
expect ? 

Zeal and courage will do much in persons of but an ordi- 
nary capacity ; but especially would they do great things, if 
joined with great abilities. If some great men, that have ap- 
peared in our nation, had been as eminent in divinity, as 
they were in philosophy, and had engaged in the Christian 
cause, with as much zeal and fervor as some others have 
done, and with a proportionable blessing of Heaven, they 
would have conquered all Christendom, and turned the world 
upside down. We have n^iany ministers in the land that do 
not want for abilities ; they are persons of bright parts and 
learning ; they should consider how much is expected, and 
will be required of them, by their Lord and Master, and how 
much they miglit do for Christ, and what great honor and 
how glorious a reward they might receive, if they had in 
their hearts a heavenly warmth, and divine heat, proportiona- 
ble to their light. 


With respect to candidates for the ministry, I would not 
undertake particularly to determine what kind of examina- 
tion or trial they should pass under, in order to their admis- 
sion to that sacred work : but I think this is evident from 
the scripture, that another sort of trial, with regard to their 
virtue and piety is recjuisite, than is required in order to per- 
sons being admitted into the visible church. The apostle di- 
rects, that hands he laid suddenly on no man ; but that 
they should ^r^^ he tried before they are admitted to the work 
o«f the ministry : but it is evident that persons were suddenly 
admitted, by baptism, into the visible church, from time to 
time, on their profession of their faith in Christ, without such 
caution and strictness in their probation. And it seems to 
me, those would act very unadvisedly, that should enter on 
•that great and sacred work, before they had comfortable sa- 
tisfaction concerning themselves, that they have had a saving 
work of God on their souls. 

And though it may be thought, that I go out of my pro- 
per sphere, to intermeddle in the affairs of the colleges, yet I 
will take the liberty of an Enghshman (that speaks his mind 
freely, concerning pubhc affairs), and the liberty of a minister 
of Christ (who, doubtless, may speak his mind as freely about 
things that concern the kingdom of his Lord and Master), to 
give my opinion, in some things, with respect to those socie- 
ties ; the original and main design of which is to train up 
persons, and fit them for the work of the ministry. . And I 
would say in general, that it appears to me that care should 
be taken, some way or other, that those societies should be 
so regulated, that they should, in fact, be nurseries of piet3^ 
Otherwise, they are fundamentally ruined and undone, as to 
tlieir main design, and most essential end. They ought to 
be so constituted, that vice and idleness should have no hving 
tliere: they ar« intolerable in societies, whose main design is 
to train up youth in Christian knowledge and eminent piety, 
to fit tliein to be pastors of the flock of the blessed .Tesus. I 
have Jierctofore had some acqauitancc with the affairs of a 


college, and experience of what belonged to its tuition and 
government ; and I cannot but think it is practicable enough, 
so to constitute such societies, that there should be no being 
there, without being virtuous, serious, and diligent. It seems 
to me to be a reproach to the land, that ever it should be so 
with our colleges, that instead of being places of the greatest 
advantages for true piety, one cannot send a child thither 
without great danger of his being infected, as to his morals ; 
as it has ceitainly sometimes been with these societies : it is 
i^erfectly intolerable ; and any thing should be done, rather 
than it should be so. If we pretend to have any colleges at 
all, under any notion of training up youth for the ministry, 
there should be some way found out that should certainly 
prevent its being thus. To have societies for bringing per- 
sons up to be embassadors of Jesus Christ, and to lead souls 
to heaven, and to have them places of so much infection, is 
the greatest nonsense and absurdity imaginable. 

And, as thorough and effectual care should be taken that 
vice and idleness be not tolerated in these societies, so cer- 
tainly, the design of them requires, that extraordinary means 
should be used in them, for training up the students in vital 
lehgion, and experimental and practical godliness, so that 
they should be holy societies, the very place should be as it 
were sacred : they should be in the midst of the land foun- 
tains of piety and holiness. There is a great deal of pains 
taken to teach the scholars human learning ; there ought to 
be as much, and more care, thoroughly to educate them in 
religion, and lead them to true and eminent holiness. If the 
main design of these nurseries is to bring up persons to teach 
Christ, then it is of greatest importance that there should be 
care and pains taken to bring those that are there educated 
to the knowledge of Christ. It has been common in our 
public prayers to call these societies the schools of the pro- 
phets ; and if they arc schools to train up young men to be 
prophets, certainly there ought to be extraordinaiy care there 
kiken. to ti-ain them up to be CItristians. 


And I cannot see why it is not on all accounts fit and con- 
venient for the governors and intructors of the colleges, parti- 
cularly, singly and frequently to converse with the students 
about the state of their souls. As is the practice of the Rev. 
Dr. Doddridge, one of the most noted of the present dissent- 
ing ministers in England, who keeps an academy at North- 
ampton, as he himself informs the Rev. Mr.Wadsworth, of 
Hartford, in Connecticut, in a letter, dated at Northampton, 
March 6, 1740 — 41. The original of which letter I have 
seen, and have by me an extract of it, sent to me by Mr. 
Wadsworth, which is as follows : 

" Through the divine goodness, I have every year the plea- 
sure to see some plants taken out of my nursery and set in 
neighboring congregations, where they generally settle with 
a unanimous consent, and that to a very remarkable degree, 
in some very large, and once divided congregations : a cir- 
cumstance in which I own and adore the hand of a wise and 
gracious God, and cannot but look upon it as a token for good. 
I have at present a greater proportion of pious and ingenious 
youth under my care than I ever before had. So that I hope 
the church may reasonably expect some considerable relief 
from hence, if God spare their lives a few years, and continue 
to them those gracious assistances which he has hitherto mer- 
cifully imparted, I will not, sir, trouble yon at present with 
a large account of my method of academical education : only 
would observe, that I think it of vast importance to instruct 
them carefully in the scriptures, and not only endeavor to 
estabhsh them in the great truths of Christianity, but to labor 
to promote their practical influence on their hearts. For which 
purpose I frequently converse with each of them alone, and 
conclude the conversation with prayer. This does indeed 
take up a great deal of time ; but I bless God it is amply re- 
paired, in the pleasure I have in seeing my labor is not in vain 
in the Lord." n 

There are some that are not ministers, nor are concerned 
immediately in those things that appertain to their oflice, or in 


the education of persons for it, that are under great advan- 
tages to promote such a glorious work as this. Some lay- 
men, though it be not their business pubhcly to exhort and 
teach, yet are in some respects under greater advantage to en- 
courage and forward this work, than ministers. As particu- 
larly great men, or men that are high in honor and influence. 
How much might such do to encourage religion, and open 
the way for it to have free course, and bear down opposition, 
if they were but inchned ? There is commonly a certain 
unhappy shyness in great men with respect to rehgion, as 
though they were ashamed of it, or at least, ashamed to do 
very much at it ; whereby they dishonor, and doubtless, 
greatly provoke the King of kings, and very much wound 
religion among the common people. They are careful of 
their honor, and seem to be afraid of appearing openly for- 
ward and zealous in religion, as though it were what would 
debase their character and expose them to contempt. But 
in this day of bringing up the ark, they ought to be like Da- 
vid, that gi'eat king of Israel, who made himself vile before 
the ark ; and as he was the highest in honor and dignity among 
God's people, so thought it became him to appear foremost in 
the zeal and activity he manifested on that occasion ; there- 
by animating and encouraging the whole congregation to 
praise the Lord, and rejoice before him, with all their might : 
and though it diminished him in the eyes of scoflSng Mi- 
chal, yet it did not at all abate the honor and esteem of the 
congregation of Israel, but advanged it ; as appears by 2 Sam. 
vi. 22. 

Rich men have a talent in their hands, in the disposal and 
improvement of which, they might very much promote such 
a work as this, if they were so disposed. They are far be- 
yond others under advantage to do good, and lay up for them- 
selves treasures in heaven. What a thousand pities is it, 
that for want of a heart, they have commonly no share at all 
there, but heaven is peopled mostly with the poor of this 
world ? One would think that our rich men, that call them- 


selves Christians, might devise some notable things^ to dc 
with their mone)^, to advance the kingdom of their professed 
Redeemer, and the prosperity of the souls of men, at this 
time of such extraordinary advantage for it. It seems to me^ 
that in this age, most of us have but very narrow, penurious 
notions of Christianity, as it respects our use and disposal of 
our temporal goods. The primitive Christians had not such 
notions ; they were trained up by the apostles in another 
way. God has greatly distinguished some of the inhabitants 
of New England, from others, in the abundance that he has 
given them of the good things of this life. If they could now 
be persuaded to lay out some considerable part of that which 
God has given them, for the honor of God, and lay it up m 
heaven, instead of spending it for their own honor, or laying 
it up for their posterity, they would not repent of it after- 
wards. How liberally did the heads of the tribes contribute 
of their wealth, at the setting up of the tabernacle, though it 
was in a barren wilderness ? These are the days of the 
erecting the tabernacle of God amongst us. We have a par- 
ticular account how the goldsmiths and the merchants helped 
to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, Neh. iii. 32. The days 
are coming spoken of in scripture, and I believe not very far 
off, when the sons of 2^ion shall come from far, bringing 
their silver and their gold witJi them, unto the name of 
the Lord their God, and to the Holy One of Israel ; and 
when the merchants of the earth shall trade for Christ, more 
than for themselves, and their nierdiandise and hire shall 
he lioliness to the Lord, and shall not he treasured, or laid 
up for posterity, hut shall he for them that dicell before 
the Lord, to eat sufficiently, arid for durable clolJiiiig : 
and when the ships of Tarshish shall bring the wealth of 
the distant parts of the earth, to the jylace of God^s sanc- 
tuary, and to make the place of his feet glorious ; and 
the abundance of the sea shall be converted to the use of 
God's churcJi, ajid she shall suck the milk of the Gen- 
tiles, and suck the breasts of kings. The days are 


coming, when tiie great and rich men of tlie world shall 
bring their honor and glory into the churchy and shall, as 
it were, strip themselves to spread their g-arments under 
Christ's feet, as lie enters triumphantly into Jerusalem ; and 
when those that will not do so shall have no glory, and their 
silver and gold shall be cankered, and their garments moth- 
eaten : for the saints shall then inlierit the earth, and they 
shall reign on earth, and those that honor God he will honor, 
and those that despise him sliall be lightly esteemed. 

If some of our rich men \yould give one quarter of their 
estates to promote this work, they would act a little as if they 
were designed for the kingdom of heaven, and a little as rich 
men will act by and by, that shall be partakers of the spiri- 
tual wealth and glories of that kingdom.' 

Great things might de done for the advancement of the 
kingdom of Christ, at this day, by those that have ability, 
by estabhshing funds for the support and propagation of re- 
ligion ; by supporting some that are eminently qualified with 
gifts and grace, in preaching the gospel in certain parts of 
the country, that are more destitute of the means of grace ; 
in searching out children of promising abiUties, and their 
hearts full of love to Christ, but of poor families, (as doubtless 
there are such now in the land,) and bringing them up for 
the ministry ; and in distributing books that are remarkably 
fitted to promotes vital religion, and have a great tendency to 
advance this work ; or if they would only bear the trouble, ex- 
pense, and loss of sending such books into various parts of the 
land to be sold, it might be an occasion that ten times so many 
of those books should be bought, as otherwise would be ; and 
in establishing and supporting schools in poor towns and 
villages ; which might be done on such a Ibundation, as not 
only to bring up children in common learning, but also, 
might very much tend to their conviction and conversion, 
and being trained up in vital piety ; and doubtless something 
might be done this way, in old towns, and more populous 



places, tliar. might have a great tendency to the flourishing 
of rehgion in the rising generation. 

Of duties that concern cdl in general. 

But I would now proceed to mention some things, that 
ought to be done, at such a day as this, that concern all in 

And here, the first thing I shall mention, is fasting and 
'prayer. It seems to me, that the circumstances of the pre- 
sent work do loudly call God's people to abound in this ; whe- 
ther they consider the experience God has lately given them, 
of the worth of his presence, and of the blessed fruits of the 
effusions of his Spirit, to excite them to pray for the continu- 
ance and increase, and greater extent of such blessings ; or 
whether they consider the great encouragement God has 
lately given them to pray for the outpourings of his Spirit, 
and the carrying on this work, by the great manifestations 
he has lately made of the freeness and riches of his grace ; 
and how much there is in what we have seen of the glorious 
works of God's power and grace, to put us in'mind of the yet 
greater things of this nature, that he has spoken of in his 
word, and to excite our longings for those things, and hopes 
of their approach ; or whether we consider the great opposi- 
tion that Satan makes against this work, and the inany diffi- 
culties with which it is clogged, and the distressing circum- 
stances that some parts of God's church in this land are under 
at this day, on one account and another. 

So it is God's will, through his wonderful grace, that the 
prayers of his saints shovdd be one great and principal means 
of carrying on the designs of Christ's kingdom in the world. 
When God has something very great to accom])lish for his 


church, it is liis will that there should precede it the extra- 
ordinary prayers of his people ; as is manifested by Ezek. 
xxxvi. 37. " I will yet, for this, be inquired of, by the house 
of Israel, to do it for them ;" together with the context. 
And it is revealed that, when God is about to accomplish 
great things for his church, he will begin by remarkably 
pouring out the Spirit of grace and supplication, Zech. xii. 
10. If we are not to expect that the devil should go out of 
a particular person, that is under a bodily possession, without 
extraordinary prayer, 07^ jnayer and fasting ; how much 
less, should we expect to have him cast out of the land, and 
the world, without it. 

I am sensible that considerable has been done in duties of 
this nature, in some places ; but I do not think so much as 
God, in the present dispensations of his providence, calls for. 
I should think the people of God in this land, at such a time 
as this is, would be in the way of their duty, to do three 
times so much at fasting and prayer as they do ; not only, 
nor principally, for the pouring out of the Spirit on those 
towns or places where they belong ; but that God would ap- 
pear for his church, and in mercy to miserable men, to carry 
on his work in the land, and in the world of mankind, and 
to fulfill the things that he has spoken of in his word, that 
his church has been so long wishing and hoping and'wait- 
ing for. They that make mention of the Lord^ at this 
day, ought not to keep silence^ and should give God no 
rest, till he establish, and till he m>ake Jerusalem, a praise 
in the earth, agreeably to Isa. Ixii. 6, 7. Before the first 
great outpouring of the Spirit of God, on the Christian 
church, which began at Jerusalem, the church of God gave 
themselves to incessant prayer, Acts i. 13, 14. There is a 
time spoken of, wherein God will remarkably and wonder- 
fully appear, for the deliverance of his church from all her 
enemies, and when he will avenge his ovm elect : and 
Christ reveals that this will be in answer to their incessant 
prayers, or rrying day and night, Luke xviii. 7. In Israel, 


(lie day of atoiioiiicnf. wliich was ihcir groat, da}' of fasting 
and prayer, preceded and made way for the glorious and 
joyful feast of tabernacles. When Christ is mystically born 
into the world, to rule over all nations, it is represented in 
Rev. xii. as being in consequence of the church's " crying, 
and travailing in birth, and being pained to be delivered." 
One thing here intended, doubtless is, her crying and ago- 
nizing in prayer. 

God seems now, at this very time, to be waiting for this 
from us. When God is about to bestow some great bless- 
ing on his church, it is often his manner, in the first place, 
so to order things in his providence, as to show^ his church 
their great need of it, and to bring them into distress for want 
of it, and so put them upon crying earnestly to him for it. 
And let us consider God's present dispensations towards his 
church in this land : a glorious work of his grace has been 
begun and carried on ; and God has, of late, suffered innu- 
merable difficulties to arise, that do in a great measure clog 
and liinder it, ami bring many of God's dear children into 
great distress ; and yet does not wholly forsake the work of 
Ids hand ; there are remarkable tokens of his presence still 
to be seen, here and there ; as though he was not forward 
to forsake us, and (if I may so say) as though he had a 
mind*to carry on his work ; but only was waiting for some- 
thing that he expected in us, as requisite in order to it. And 
we have a great deal of reason to think, that one thing at 
least is, that we should further acknowledge the greatness 
and necessity of such a mercy, and our dependence on 
God for it, in earnest and importunate prayers to him. And 
by the many errors that have been run into, and the wounds 
we iinve thereby given ourselves and the cause that we would 
promo! i\ and the mischief and confusion we have thereby 
made, (tod has hitluMto been remarkably showing us our 
great and universal dependence on him. and exceeding need 
of his help and gnico : wliirh shoiild encfnfre our cries to 
him for ii. 


Tliere is no way that Chiistians, in a private capacity, 
can do so much to promote the work of God, and advance 
the kingdom of Christ, as by prayer. By this, even women, 
children, and servants, may have a public influence. Let 
persons be never so weak, and never so mean, and under 
never so poor advantages to do much for Christ, and the 
souls of men, otherwise ; yet, if they have much of the 
spirit of grace and supplication, in this way, they may have 
power with Him that is infinite in power, and has the go- 
vernment of the whole world : and so a poor man in his 
cottage may have a blessed influence all over the world. 
God is, if I may so say, at the command of the prayer of 
faith ; and in this respect is, as it were, under the power of 
his people ; as 'princes^ they have power with God, and 
prevail : though they may be private persons, their prayers 
are put up in the name of a Mediator, that is a public per- 
son, bein^ the Head of the whole church, and the Lord of 
the universe : and if they have a great sense of the impor- 
tance of eternal things, and concern for the precious souls of 
men, yet they need not regret it, that they are not preachers ; 
they may go in their eainestness and agonies of soul, and 
pour out their souls before one that is able to do all things ; 
before him they may speak as freely as ministers ; they have 
a great High Priest, through whom they may come boldly 
at all times, and may vent themselves before a prayer-hear- 
ing Father, without any restraint. 

If the people of God, at this day, instead of spending time 
in fiiiitless disputing, and talking about opposers, and judging 
of them, and animadverting upon the unreasonableness of 
their talk and behavior, and its inconsistence with true ex- 
perience, would be more silent in this way, and open their 
mouths much more before God, and spend more time in 
fasting and prayer, they v^ould be more in the way of a 
blessing. And if some Chiistians in the land, that have 
been complaining of their ministers, and struggling in vain 
to dehver themselves from the difliculties thev liave com- 


plained of under their ministry, had said and acted less be- 
fore men, and had applied themselves with all their might 
to cry to God for their ministers, had, as it were, risen, and 
stormed heaven with their humble, fervent, and incessant 
prayers for them, they would have been much more in the 
way of success. 

God, in his providence, appearing in the present state of 
things, does especially call on his people in New England to 
be very much in praying to him for the pouring out of the 
Spirit upon ministers in the land. For though it is not for 
us to determine, concerning particular ministers, how much 
they have of the Spirit of God ; yet in the general, it is 
apparent that there is, at this day, need of very great de- 
grees of the presence of God with the ministry in New 
England, much greater degrees of it than has hitherto been 
granted ; they need it for themselves, and the church of God 
stands in extreme need of it. 

In days of fasting and prayer, wherein the whole church 
or congregation is concerned, if the whole day, besides what 
is spent in our families, was not spent in the meeting-house, 
but part of it in particular praying companies or societies, it 
would have a tendency to animate and engage devotion, 
more than if the whole day were spent in public, where the 
people are no way active themselves in the worship, any 
otherwise than as they join with the minister. The inha- 
bitants of many of our towns are now divided into particular 
praying societies, most of the people, young and old, have 
voluntarily associated themselves in distinct companies, for 
mutual assistance, in social worship, in private houses : 
What I intend therefore is, that days of prayer should be 
spent partly in these distinct praying companies. Such a 
method of keeping a fast as this^ has several times been 
proved, viz. in the forenoon, after the duties of the family 
and closet, as early as might be, all the people of the con- 
gregation have gathered in their particular religious socie- 
ties ; companies of inen liy themselves, and companies of 


women by themselves ; young men by tliemselves, and 
young women by themselves ; and companies of children, 
in all parts of the town, by themselves, as many as were 
capable of social religious exercises ; the boys by themselves, 
and girls by themselves : and about the middle of the day, 
at an appointed hour, all have met together in the house of 
God, to offer up public prayers, and to hear a sermon suita- 
ble to the occasion : and then, they have retired from the 
house of God again, into their private societies, and spent 
the remaining part of the day in prayiug together there, ex- 
cepting so much as was requisite for the duties of the family 
and closet, in their own houses. And it has been found to 
be of great benefit, to assist and engage the minds of the 
people in the duties of the day. 

I have often thought it would be a thing very desirable, 
and very likely to be followed with a great blessing, if there 
could be some contrivance that there should be an agr'eement 
of all God's people in America, that are well affected to this 
work, to keep a day of fasting and prayer to God ; wherein 
we should all unite on the same day in humbling ourselves 
before God for our past long continued lukewarmness and 
unprofitableness ; not omitting humiliation for the errors 
that so many of God's people that have been zealously af- 
fected towards this work, through their infirmity and re- 
maining blindness and corruption, have run into ; and to- 
gether with thanksgiving to God, for so glorious and won- 
derful a display of his power and grace, in the late outpour- 
ings of his Spirit, to address the Father of mercies, with 
prayers and supplications, and earnest cries, that he would 
guide and direct his own people, and that he would con- 
tinue, and still carry on his work, and more abundantly and 
extensively pour out his Spirit ; and particularly that he 
would pour out his Spirit 4ipon ministers ; and that he would 
bow the heavens and come down, and erect his glorious 
kingdom through the earth. Some perhaps may think that 
its being all on the same day, is a circumstance of no great 


consequence ; but I cannot be of that mind : such a cir- 
cumstance makes the union and agreement of God's people 
in his worship the more visible, and puts the greater honor 
upon God, and would have a great tendency to assist and 
enliven the devotions of Christians : it seems to me it would 
mightily encourage and animate God's saints, in humbly 
and earnestly seeking to God, for such blessings which con- 
cerns them all ; and that it would be much' for the rejoicing 
of all to think, that at the same time, such multitudes of 
God's dear children, far and near, were sending up their cries 
to the same common Father, for the same mercies, Christ 
speaks of agreement in asking, as what contributes to the 
prevalence of the prayers of his people, Mat. xviii. 19. 
" Again, I say unto you, that if an}^ two of you, shall agree 
on earth, as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall 
be done for them of my Father which is in heaven." If the 
agreenfent, or united purpose and appointment of but two of 
God's children, would contribute much to the prevalence of 
their prayers, how much more the agreement of so many 
thousands ? Christ delights greatly in the union of his peo- 
ple, as appears by his prayer in John xvii. And especially 
is the appearance of their union in worship lovely and at 
tractive unto him. 

I doubt not but such a thing as I have now mentioned is 
practicable, without a great deal of trouble : some consider- 
able number of ministers might meet together, and draw up 
the proposal, wherein a certain day should be pitched upon, 
at a sufficient distance, endeavoring therein to avoid any other 
public day, that might interfere with the design, in any of 
the provinces, and the business of the day should be parti- 
cularly mentioned ; and these proj)osals should be pubUshed 
and scut abroad, into all parts, with a desire, that as many 
ministers as are disposed to fall in»with them, would propose 
the matter to their congregations, and having taken their 
consent, would subscribe tlieir names, together with the places 
of which they arc ministers, and send back the proposals thus 


subscribed, to the piinter ; (tlie hands of many ministers 
might be to one paper) ; and the printer having received the 
papers, thus subscribed, from all the provinces, might print 
the proposals again, with all the names ; thus they might be 
sent abroad again, with the names, that God's people might 
know who arc united with them in the affair : one of the 
ministers of Boston might be desired to have the oversight of 
the printing and dispersing the proposals. In such a way, 
perhaps, might be fulfilled, in some measure, such a general 
mourning and supplication of God's people, as is spoken of, 
Zech. xii. at the latter end, with which the church's glorious 
day is to be introduced. And such a day might be some- 
thing like the day of atonement in Israel, before the joyful 
feast of tabernacles. 

One thing more I would mention concerning fasting and 
prayer, wherein I think there has been a neglect in ministers ; 
and that is, that although they recommend, and much insist 
on the duty of secret prayer, in their preacliing, so little is 
said about secret fasting. It is a duty recommended by our 
Savior to his follov/ers, just in like manner as secret prayer 
is ; as may be seen by comparing ver. 5, 6. of Matt. vi. with 
ver. 16, 17, 18. Though I do not suppose that secret fast- 
ing is to be practiced in a stated manner, and steady course, 
as secret prayer, yet it seems to me, it is a duty that all pro- 
fessing Christians should practice, and frequently practice. 
There are many occasions, of both a spiritual and temporal 
nature, that do properly require it ; and there are many par- 
ticular mercies, that we desire for ourselves or friends, that it 
would be proper, in this manner, to seek of God. 

Another thing I would also mention, wherein it appears to 
me that there has been an omission, with respect to the ex- 
ternal worship of God. There has been of late, a great in- 
crease of preaching the word, and a great 'increase of social 
prayer, and a great increase of singing praises : these exter- 
nal duties of religion are attended, much more frequently 
than they used to be ; yet I cannot understand that there is 



any increase of the administration of the Lord's supper, or 
that God's people do any more frequently commemorate the 
dying love of their Redeemer, in this sacred memorial of it, 
than they used to do : though T do not see why an increase 
of love to Christ, should not dispose Christians, as much to 
increase in this, as in those other duties ; or why it is not as 
proper, that Christ's disciples should abound in this duty, in 
this joyful season, which is spiritually supper-time, a feast- 
day with God's saints, wherein Christ is so abundantly mani- 
festing his dying love to souls, and is dealing forth so liberally 
of the precious fruits of his death. It seems plain by the 
scripture, that the primitive Christians were wont to celebrate 
this memorial of the sufferings of their dear Redeemer every 
Lord's day : and so 1 believe it will be again in the church of 
Cbrist, in days that are approaching. And whether we at- 
tend this holy and sweet ordinance so often now, or, no, yet I 
cannot but think it would become us, at such a time as this, 
to attend it much oftener than is commonly done in the land. 


The work to be j^romoted by attention to moral duties. 

But another thing I would mention, which it is of much 
greater importance, that we should attend to : and that is 
the duty, that is incumbent upon God's people at this day, 
to take heed, that wdiile they abound in external duties of 
devotion, such as praying, hearing, singing, and attending 
rehgious meetings, there be a proportionable care to abound 
jn moral duties, such as acts of righteousness, truth, meek- 
ness, forgiveness and love towards our neighbor ; which are 
of much greater importance in the sight of God, than all the 
externals of his worship ; which our Savior was particu- 
larly careful, that men should be well aware of. Matt. ix. 


13. "But go ye, and le.'un wliat tliat meanetb^ I will have 
mercy and not sacrifice."' And chop. xii. 7. " But if ye 
had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy and not 
sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless." 

The internal acts and principles of the worship of God, or 
the worship of the heart, in the love and fear of God, trust in 
God, and resignation to God, dec, are the most essential and 
important of all duties of religion whatsoever ; for therein 
consists the essence of all religion. But of this inward reli- 
gion, t^iere are two sorts of external manifestations or ex- 
pressions. The one sort are outward acts of worship, such 
as meeting in religious assemblies,.attending sacraments, and 
other outward institutions, and honoring God with gestures, 
such as bowing, or kneeling before bim, or with words, in 
speaking honorably of him, in prayer, praise, or rehgious 
conference. And tbe other sort, are the expressions of our 
love to God, by obeying his moral commands, of self-denial, 
righteousness, meekness, and Christian love, in our behavior 
among men. And the latter are of vastlv the greatest im- 
portance in the Christian life. God makes little account of 
the former, in comparison of them. They are abundantly 
more insisted on, by the prophets, in the old testament, and 
Christ and his apostles, in the new. When these two kinds 
of duties are spoken of together, the latter are evermore greatly 
preferred-. As in Isa. i. 12 — 18. and Amos v. 21. &c., and 
Mic. vi. 7, 8. and Isa. Iviii. 5, 6, 7. and Zech. vii. ten first 
verses, and Jer. ii. seven first verses, and Matt. xv. 3., <fec. 
Often, when the times were very corrufjt in Israel, the people 
abounded in the former kind of duties, but were at such 
times, always notoriously deficient in the latter;., as the pro- 
phets complain, Isa. Iviii. four first verses, Jer. vi. 13. com- 
pared with ver. 20. Hypocrites and self-righteous persons, 
do much more commonly abound in the former kind of 
duties, than the latter; as Christ remarks of the Pharisees, 
Matt. X'xiii. 14, 25, 34. When the scripture directs us to 
sJiow our faith by our 'works, it is principally the latter sort 


are intended ; as appears by James ii. from ver. 8. to the 
end, and 1 John ii. 3, 7, S, 9, 10, 11. And we are to be 
judged at the last day, especially by these latter sort of works ; 
as is evident by the account we have of the day of judgment, 
in Matt. xxv. External acts of worship, in words and ges- 
tures, and outward forms, are of httle use, but as signs of 
something else, or as they are a profession of inward wor- 
ship : they are not so properly showing our religion by our 
deeds ; for they are only a showing our religion by words, 
or an outward profession. But he that shows religion in the 
other sort of duties, shows it in something more than a pro- 
fession of words, he shows it in deeds.. And though deeds 
may be hypocritical, as well as words ; yet in themselves 
they are of greater importance, for they are much more pro- 
fitable to oui-selves and our neighbor. We cannot express 
our love to God, by doing any thing that is profitable to God ; 
God would therefore have us to do it in those things that are 
profitable to our neighbors, whom he has constituted his re- 
ceivers : our goodness extends not to God, but to our fellow- 
Christians. The latter sort of duties puts greater honor upon 
God, because there is greater self-denial in them. The exter- 
nal acts of worship, consisting in bodily gestures, words, and 
sounds, are the cheapest part of religion, and least contrary 
to our lusts. The difficulty of thorough, external religion, 
does not lie in them. Let wicked men enjoy their Covetous- 
ness and their pride, their malice, envy and revenge, and 
their sensuality and voluptuousness, in their behavior amongst 
men, and they will be willing to compound the matter with 
God, and submit to what forms of worship you please, and as 
many as yjou please ; as is manifest in the Jews of old, in 
the days of the prophets, and the Pharisees in Christ's time, 
and the Papists and IMahometans, at this day. 

At a time when there is an appearance of the approach of 
any glorious revival of God's church, God does especially 
call his professing peopb to the practice of moral duties. Isa. 
Ivi. 1. '• Thus saith the Lord, keep ye judgment, and do 


justice ; for my salvation is near to come, and my righteous- 
ness to be revealed." So when John preached, that " the 
kingdom of heaven was at hand/' and cried to the people, 
" Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight," 
as we have an account, Luke iii. 4., the people asked him, 
" What they should do?" he answers, '' He that hath two 
coats, let him impart to him that hath none, and he that 
hath meat, let him do likewise. The publicans said, " What 
shall we do ?" He answers, " Exact no more than that 
which is appointed you." And the soldiers asked him, " What 
shall we do ?" He replies, " Do violence to no man ; neither 
accuse any falsely ; and be content with your wages." ver. 
10, 11, 12, 13, 14. 

God's people, at such a time as this, ought especially to 
abound in deeds of charity or alms- giving. We generally, 
in these days, seem to fall far below the true spirit and prac- 
tice of Christianity, with regard to this duty, and seem to 
have but little notion of it, so far as I can understand the 
New Testament. At a time when God is so liberal of spi- 
ritual things, we ought not to be straight-handed towards him, 
and sparing of our temporal things. So far as I can judge 
by the scripture, there is no external duty whatsoever, by 
which persons will be so much in the way, not only of receiv- 
ing temporal benefits, but also spiritual blessings, the influ- 
ences of God's Holy Spirit in the heart, in divine discoveries, 
and spiritual consolations. I think it would be unreasona- 
ble to understand those promises made to this duty, in Isa. 
Iviii. in a sense exclusive of spiritual discoveries and comforts. 
Isa. Iviii. 7, &-c. " Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, 
and that thou bring the poor that are cast out, to thy house ? 
When thou seest the naked that thou cover him, and that 
thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh ? Then shall 
thy light break forth as the morning, and thy health shall 
spring forth speedily, and thy righteousness shall go before 
thee, and the glory of the Lord shall be thy rere-ward : then 
shalt thou call, and the Lord shall answer, thou shalt cry, 


and he slialt say, Here I am. If thou take away from the 
midst of thee the yoke, the putting fortli of the finger, and 
speaking vanity ; and if thou draw out thy soul to the hun- 
gry, and satisfy the afflicted soul ; then shall thy light rise 
in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noonday : and the 
Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in 
drouglit, and make fat thy bones ; and thou shalt be like a 
watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail 
not." So that giving to the poor is the way to receive spi- 
ritual blessings, is manifest by Psalm cxii. 4, (fee. " Unto the 
upright, there ariseth light in the darkness : he is gracious, 
and full of compassion and righteous : a good man show- 
eth favor and lendeth, he will guide his affairs with discre- 
tion : surely he shall not be moved forever ; the righteous 
shall be in everlasting remembrance ; he shall not be afraid 
of evil tidings, his heart is fixed, trusting in the Lord ; his 
heart is established, he shall not be afraid, until he see his 
desire upon his enemies : he hath dispersed, he hath given to 
the poor ; his horn shall be exalted with honor." That this 
is one likely means to obtain assurance, is evident by 1 John 
iii. 18, 19. " My little children, let us not love in word, 
neither in tongue, but in deed, and in truth ; and hereby we 
know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts 
before him." 

We have a remarkable instance in Abraham, of God's re- 
warding deeds of charity with sweet discoveries of himself, 
when he had been remarkably charitable to his brother Lot, 
and the people that he had redeemed out of captivity with 
him, by exposing his life to rescue them, and had retaken not 
only the persons, but all the goods, the spoil that had been 
taken by Chedorlaomer, and the kings that were with him, 
and the king of Sodom ollered him, that if he would give him 
the persons, he might take the goods to himself, Abraham 
refused to take any thing, even so much as a thread or shoe- 
latchet, but rr^turned all. He might have greatly enriched 
himself, if he had taken the spoils to himself, for it was the 


spoils qf five wealthy kings, and their kingdoms, yet he co- 
veted it not ; the king and people of Sodom were now be- 
come objects of charity, having been stripped of all by ilieir 
enemies, therefore Abraham generously bestowed all upon 
them ; as we have an account in Gen. xiv. and four last 
verses. And he was soon rewarded for it, by a blessed dis- 
covery that God made of himself to him; as we have an ac- 
count ill the next words : " After these things, the word of 
the Lord came unto Abram, in a vision, saying, Fear not, 
Abram, I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward." 
" I am thy shield, to defend thee in battle, as I have now 
done ; and though thou hast charitably refused to take any 
reward, for exposing thy life, to rescue this people, yet fear 
not, thou shalt not lose, thou shalt have a reward, I am thy 
exceeding great reward." 

When Christ was upon earth, he was poor, and an object 
of charity ; and during the time of his public ministry, he 
was supported by the charity of some of his followers, and par- 
ticularly certain women, of whom we read Luke viii. 2, 3. 
And these women were rewarded, by being peculiarly favor- 
ed with gracious manifestations, which Christ made of him- 
self to them. He discovered himself first to them after his 
resurrection, before the twelve disciples : they first saw a vi- 
sion of glorious angels, who spake comfortably to them ; and 
then Christ appeared to them, and spake peace to them, 
" saying, All hail, be not afraid ;" and they were admitted to 
come, and hold him by the feel, and worship him. Matt, 
xxviii. And though we cannot now be charitable in this 
way, to Christ in person, who, in his exalted state, is infi- 
nitely above the need of our charity ; yet we may be chari- 
table to Christ now, as well as they then ; for though Christ 
is not here, yet he has left others in his room, to be his re- 
ceivers ; and they are the poor. Christ is yet poor in his 
members, and he that gives to them lends to the Lord : and 
Christ tells us that he shall look on what is done to them, as 
done to him. 


Rebekah, in her marriage with Isaac, was undoubtedly a 
remarkable type of the church, in her espousals to the liOrd 
Jesus. But she found lier husband, in doing deeds of cha- 
rity, agreeable to the prayer of Abraham's servant, who prayed 
that this might be the thing that might distinguish and mark 
out the virgin, that w^as to be Isaac's wife. So CorneHus was 
brought to the knowledge of Christ in this way. *' He was a 
devout man, and one that feared God, with all his house ; 
which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God al- 
way. And an angel appeared to him, and said to him, thy 
prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before 
God ; and now send men to Joppa, and call for one Simon, 
whose surname is Peter," &c. Acts x. at the beginning. And 
w^e have an account in the following parts of the chapter, 
how God, by Peter's preaching, revealed Christ to Cornelius 
and his family, and of the Holy Ghost descending upon them, 
and filling their hearts with joy, and their mouths with 

Some may possibly object, that for persons to do deeds of 
charity, in hope of obtaining spiritual blessings and comforts 
in this wa}^, would seem to show a self-righteous spirit, as 
though they would offer something to God, to purchase these 
favors. But if this be a good objection, it may be made against 
every duty whatsoever. All external duties of the first table 
will be excluded by it, as well as those of the second. First 
table duties have as direct a tendency to raise self-righteous 
persons' expectations of receiving something from God, on 
account of them, as second table duties ; and on some ac- 
counts more, for those duties are more immediately offered 
to God, and therefore persons are more ready to expect some- 
thing /ro?7i God for them. But no duty is to be neglected, 
for fear of making a righteousness of it. And I have always 
observed, that those professors that are most partial in their 
duty, exact and abundant in external duties of the first table, 
and slack as to those of the second, are the most self-righteous. 


If God's people in this land, were once brought to abound 
in such deeds of love, as much as in praying, hearing, sing- 
ing, and religious meetings and conference, it would be a 
most blessed omen : there is nothing would liave a greater 
tendency to bring the God of love down from heaven to the 
earth : so amiable would be the sight, in the eyes of our 
loving and exalted Redeemer, that it would soon as it were 
fetch him down from his throne in heaven, to set up his 
tabernacle with men on the earth, and dwell with them. I 
do not remember ever to have read of any remarkable out- 
pouring of the spirit, that continued any long time, but what 
was attended with an abounding in this dut}^ So we know 
it was with that great effusion of the Spirit that began at Je- 
rusalem in the apostles' days : and so in the late remarkable 
revival of religion in Saxony, which began by the labors of 
the famous professor Franck, and has now been carried on 
for above thirty years, and has spread its happy influence into 
inany parts of the world ; it was begun, and has been car- 
ried on, by a wonderfid practice of this duty. And the re- 
markable blessing that God has given Mr. Whitefield, and 
the great success with which he has crowned him, may well 
be thought to be very much owing to his laying out himself 
so abundantly in charitable designs. And it is foretold, that 
God's people shall abound in this duty, in the time of the 
great outpouring of the spirit that shall be in the latter days, 
Tsa. xxxii. 5, 8. " The vile person shall no more be called 
liberal, nor the churl said to be b^mtiful. But the liberal 
deviseth liberal things, and by liberal things shall he stand." 
To promote a reformation, with respect to all sorts of duties j 
among a professing })eople, one proper means, and that which 
is recommended by frequent scripture examples, is their so- 
lemn, public renewing their covenant with God. And doubt- 
less it would greatly tend to promote this work in the land, 
if the congregations of God's people could generally be brought 
to this. If a draft of a covenant should be made by their 
ministers, wherein there should be an express mention of 



those particular duties, that the people of tlie respective con- 
gregations have been observed to be most prone to neglect, 
and those particular sins that they have heretofore especially 
fallen into, or that it may be apprehended they are especially 
in danger of, whereby they may prevent or resist the motions 
of God's Spirit, and the matter should be fully proposed and 
explained to the people, and they have sufficient opportunity 
given them for consideration, and then they should be led, 
all that are capable of understanding, particularly to subscribe 
the covenant, and also should all appear together, on a day 
of prayer and fasting, publicly to own it before God in his 
house, as their vow to the Lord ; hereby congregations of 
Christians would do that which would be beautiful, and would 
put honor upon God, and be very profitable to themselves. 

Such a thing as this was attended with a veiy wonderful 
blessing in Scotland, and followed with a great increase of 
the blessed tokens of the presence of God, and remarkable 
outpourings of his Spirit, as the author of the fulfdling of 
the scripture informs, p. 186, fifth edition. 

A people must be taken when they are in a good mood, 
when considerable religious impressions are prevailing among 
them ; otherwise they will hardly be induced to this ; but 
innumerable will be their objections and cavils against it. 

One thing more I would mentioji, v/hich if God should 
still carry on this work, would tend much to promote it, and 
that is, that a history should be published once a month, or 
once a fortnight, of the progress of it, by one of the ministers 
of Boston, who are near the press, and are most conveniently 
situated, to receive accounts from all parts. It has been found 
by experience, that the tidings of remarkable elTects of the 
power and grace of God, in any place, tend greatly to awaken 
and engage the minds of persons, in other places. It is great 
pity therefore, but that some means should be used, for the 
most speedy, most extensive and certain giving information 
of such things, and that the country be not left only to the 


slow, partial, and doubtful information, and false repre^ 
sentations of common report. 

Thus I have (I hope, by the help of God) finished what I 
proposed. I have taken the more pains in it, because it ap- 
pears to me, that now God is giving us the most happy sea- 
son to attempt a universal reformation, that ever was given 
in New England. And it is a thousand pities that we should 
fail of that which would be so glorious, for want of l^eing sen- 
sible of our opportunity, or being aware of those things that 
tend to hmder it, or our taking improper courses to obtain it, 
or not being sensible in what way God expects we should 
seek It. If It should please God to bless any means, for the 
convincing the country of his hand in this work, and bring- 
ing them fully and freely to acknowledge his glorious power 
and grace in it, and engage with one heart and soul, and by 
due methods, to endeavor to promote it, it would be a dispen- 
sation of Divine Providence that would have a most glorious 
aspect, happily signifying the approach of great and glorious 
things to the church of God, and justly causing us to hope 
that Christ would speedUy come, to set up his kingdom of 
tight, holiness, peace and joy on earth, as is foretold in his 
word. Amen. Even so come Lord Jesus ! 

I N D E X. 


Abuse no argument against what is 

good, 241 
Admonition should be listened to, 268 
Advantages of the devil, 324 
Affectation a proof of spiritual pride, 

Affections not diverse from the will, 


-, distinction in them, 122 


— essential to reU^ion, 123 
— , high, prevail m heaven, 

— , hiofh, tote desired and che- 

rished, 125 

should be addressed, 231 

depend on the understand- 

ing, 232 

should be regulated, 342 
Aged persons converted, 46 

-, their peculiar danger. 


soon left in a revival- 


Agreement m prayer, benefits of, 400 
• — , arrangement for, 

America, millenium to begiiaiuoro, isq 
Animal feeling from defects in expe- 
rience, 332 
Apostles practiced frequent preach- 
ing, 246 
,fi priori judgment of the work, 1 17 

wrong to judge of the works 

of God, 118 
Arminians 'exhorted to change their 

principles, 379 
Arminianism, progress of, 36 

successfully opposed, 36 

Assuming airs of ministers, 287 
Assurance enjoyed, 171 

Authority not to be assumed, 323 

, how assumed, 356 

of ministers, 367 

Awakenings, manner of, 49 

, effects of, 49 

, degree of, 50 

increased before deliver- 

ance, 50 

, duration of, 57 


Bartlet, Phebe, her case, 97 

, her secret prayer, 97 

, finding God, 98 

,happiness in religion,99 

— , concern for her friends. 


, manifest change of 

character, 100 

, dread of sin, 101 

, love for the scriptures, 

102 ^ t- ♦ 

, concern for sinners,102 

, spirit of charity, 102 

— , love to her minister, 104 

Bible remarkably valued in the revi- 
val, 78 
has been a means of fjrcat evils, 

not blai^Dlc for being abused, 

Bitterness should not be shown to op- 
posers, 374 
Blessedness of joining in the work, 209 
Blessings promised to charity, 406 
Bodily effects of reliorious exercises, 126 
Body affected by divine love, 75 
Boldness the effect of pride, 284 
Boston ministers, their preface, xxvi 
Business should sometimes give way 
to religion, 344 



Business not injured by revivals, 345 
Busybodies, false concern of, 1 26 


Candidates for the ministry, 388 


thoroughly tried, 388 

Censoriousness, means of good to 
others, 121 

— , sinfulness of, 151 

, not inconsistent with 

true godliness, 151 

must be rooted out be- 
fore revivals, 351 

Censuring, great temptations to, in 
revivals, 150 

ministers destroys the good 

Compassion due to yonnrt- converts, 

Complaints about spending time in 

rehgion, 245 

cannot be from good motives, 

Concern, for the soul, prevailing, 38 

for others, reasonable, 132 

Concert of action, by ministers, 385 
of prayer for revivals, 399 

Confession of faults, duty of, 372 

necessary to the revival, 372 

of their preaching, 348 , 

by other ministers, 345 

not a means of good to the 

unconverted, 346 

for coldness, 348 

■ • in public prayer, 351 

Character of the people in Northamp- 
ton, 30 
Charity, a duty in revivals, 405 
— , pleasing to God, 405 

■ does nnt }cac\ tr»«f>lf rigV,f(3Qyg_ 

ness, 408 
Children, many converted, 46 

need regeneration, 242 

should be aw^akened, 242 

Children's meetings objected against, 


not to be found 

Confession by opposers of the vs^ork, 

of disorderly or unkind pro- 
cedures, 373 

honorable to rehgion, 373 

should be public, 373 

Confusion not the necessary effect of 

will stop the work, 360 

Connecticut, revivals in, 42 

, places visited, 43 

fault with, 261 

may be acceptable 
to God, 260 
Christ, the theme of conversation, 40 

not always thought of in the 

first act of grace, 63 

glorified in revivals, 186 

should judge the heart, 345 

■ assisted in his members;, -107 

Christians hMvp mnnj faults, 143 
Chnrrh order necessary, 320 

offices preserved, 321 

Coldness in ministers, the worst mad- 
ness, 120 

, censuring for, 348 

Colleges shoiild be nurseries of piety, 
388 ^ •^' 

Colman, Dr., letter to, 31 
Comfort, not to be too hastily admi- 
nistered, 237 
Communion, frequent in revivals, 401 
Companies fornw^d for social praver, 35 

Consequences not to be disregarded, 


— -, not a rule of duty, 307 

Controversy about Arminianism, its 

good effects. He 
Controversies hinder the work, 107 
Uoiivciaion, first in the revival, 37 

, various manner of, 48 

, imperfect ideas of, 65 

, often not thought of at 

the time, 67 

, suddenness of, 66 

, time of, not always 

known, 69 

, compared to light, 70 

by texts of scripture, 70 

Conversions daily, 39 
Conversation, religious, its utility, 82, 

Converts, their number, 45 

, ".^cQ persons, 46 

, children, 46 

often need encouragement. 

-, characteristics of, 73 

remain steadfast, 107 

Convictions, legal, described, 52 
Corruption of the heart discovered, 52 
remaining after conver- 

sion, 81 

allowance to be made for. 

Covenant renewed, 409 
should be full and 




Crying out, not a novelty, 134, 138 

Custom, its influence, 340 

, should restrain feeling, 360 


Daily meetings proper, 243 
Danger of doubting the work, 187 
of not acknowledging the re- 
vival, 197 

• of opposing it, 200 

of not joining in it, 200 

of despising the instruments. 



of ridiculing the work, 206 
of continued unbelief, 208 
of error, when near to God, 

Doubting of the work, its absurdity, 

danger of, 187 

Duration of awakenings, 57 


Earnest speaking, natural effect of 
deep feeling, 252 

not an objection to revivals, 253 

of misimproving the season of 

revivals, 379 
Days of fasting and prayer, 398 
Defects of the revival, 107 

in experiences, 329 

cause of error, 332 

Degenerating of experiences 334 

caused by spiritual pride, 335 

not readily perceived, 336 

■ caused by their mixture, 336 

• by their defectiveness, 337 

by extravagance, 338 

Despair, before deliverance, 52 
Devil promotes defective experiences, 

wishes to drive to extremes, 367 

, his advantages, 324 

Difficulties in coiiversion, less than 

usual, 51 
Disaffection of ministers to the work, 

Discoveries of God enjoyed, 62 
Discretion should be exercised, 308 
Disgust at revivals, shows unbelief 

and pride, 255 
Disorder to be expected in extraordi- 
nary times, 145 

in the primitive churches, 


easily accounted for, 148 

Disproportion in rehgious exercises, 

Distress of sinners not a reason for 

comforting them, 239 
Distinction in affections, 122 
Divisions not to be aimed at, 311 

cannot be wholly avoided, 312 

Doddridge's school, 390 
Doubts and fears, causes of, 80 
Doubters, what are they waitins' for, 

175 J ^ ' 

Earnestness of contention consistent 

with meekness, 284 
Education of ministers, 321 
Effects of conversion, 62 

of the revival, 158 

prove its genuineness, 161 

Encouragement often necessary to 

converts, 68 

to labor in revivals, 209 

Enlightening of the Spirit, 296 
Enthusiasm, how resisted, 384 
Enthusiastic delusions, cause of, 106 
Envy in ministers, hatefulness of, 221 
Errors of those who think ill of the 

work, 117 

, God's permission of them, 152 

, Satan's agency in them, 153 

, not to be too much dwelt up- 
on, 226 
, in revivals, should be corrected 

or avoided, 263 
should be freely pointed out, 

have been too much insisted 

on, 264 
give advantaee to the enemies, 



furnish weapons for opposers, 

causes of, 270 
■ produced by spiritual pride, 270 
-, the effect of wrong principles, 



, caused by defects in 

ences, 332 

Example, happy effect of, 250 

Excitement necessary to the power of 
the work, 249 

not a ground of objection 

or alarm, 249 

Exhorting and preaching distinguish- 
ed, 354 

Experience of Mr. Flavel, 137 

, past, not a lioie for judg- 
ing, 130 

of Mrs. Edwards, 162 
Experiences, varieties of, 79 
, remarkable cases, 134 



Experiences, liigli, may produce spi- 
ritual pride, 273 

, mixture in, 324 

, defects in, 329 

, proportion in, 330 

, how to be judged, 333 

, will grow better, 334 

, degenerating of, 334 

, intluence of custom on, 


-, external effects of, 340 
External fruits of the revival, 1 54 

order should be regarded, 319 

religion of little worth, 404 

Extraordinary nature of revivals, 149 
Extravagant pretensions expose to de- 
generacy, 337 
Extremes, tendency to, in revivals, 146 

, the work of the devil, 367 

, danger and evils of, 367 


Faith in prayer, 301 

, reasonableness of, 302 

, to be shown by works, 403 

Falsehood may excite gracious feel- 
ings to action, 318 
Family worsliip shonlrl not be cus- 
tomarily neglected, 321 
Fasting and prayer, for a revival, 394 

, private, recommended, 401 

Faults occasioned by the novelty of 

the work, 144 
Fear of God, how exhibited, 286 
Fears of self-deception, 68 
Fitness to come to Christ, 55 
Flavel, his experience, 137 
Fleming's Fulfilling of the Scripture, 

quoted, 135 
Forbearance, a means of revival, 374 

, calls for, in a revival, 375 

Forgiveness of sins, sense of, 64 
Frequency of communion proper in 

revivals, 401 
Frequent meetings, Mppriety of, in 

revivals, £13 
, not an objection, 243 

Gospel should be fully prcaclied, 238 
Grace manifested in submission, 61 
Great men ought to promote the revi- 
val, 391 
Guilt of passing a revival, 380 


Hampshire ministers, their attesta- 
tion, XXX 

towns where there were 

revivals, 41 
Hardness of heart, sense of it under 

awakenings, 51 
Harshness and severity the fruit of 

pride, 275 

, a device of the devil, 276 

, its odioiisness, 277 

tends to harden sinners, 281 

Harvest, revival compared to, 380 

Haste, danger of, 314 

Health may be impaired by religious 

exercises, 127 
Heaven, order in, 320 
Hindrances to be removed, 371 
History not a rule for revivals, 133 

of revivals useful, 410 

good effects of, 410 

Holy Spirit, how he enlightens, 296 

, Kie lonrfing', 298 

, his promptings, 305 

, his teacliino^s needed, 381 

Human nature easily overcome bv the 

things of God, 128 
Humility after conversion, 76 

produces Ihe highest jovs, 77 

to be learned from errors in 

revivals, 153 

leads to self-distrust, 274 

becomino^ in Christians, 277 

, beauty of it, 280 

needful in revivals, 2S0 

wives force to divine truth. 

Galleries, fall of at Northampton, xxii 
Gentleness, a Christian duty, 277 

• exemplified by Ciirist, 278 

Genuineness of the revival proved by 

its pffects, 161 
Glorj'ing in irregularities, 286 
God to be submitted to in the work, 



makes good use of opposi- 
tion, 284 

, needful for young ministers, 


Hutchinson, Abiifail, case of, 87 

, character of, 87 

, awakened, 87 

-, sense of sin against God, 


ry, 91 

jccls, 92 

- obtains peace of mind, 89 
-, compassioTi fot sinners, 90 
-, discoveries of God's glo- 

-, enjoyment of natural ob- 



Hutcliinson, Abii)ail, Ionian £>■ to die; 93 

^- — , distrossinfi^ sickness, 94 

anxiety I'or tlie uncon- 

verted, 95 

-, peaceful death, 9G 

Idleness should be driven from col- 
leges, 389 
Imagination, impressions on, 83 
Impatience and haste, cVils of, 376 
Impenitent, not to be needlessly of- 
fended, 309 
Imperfection, allowance for, 140 
Impressions of the imagination, what 
they are, 83. 

produced by a strong 

sense of divine things, 83 • 

greatly misrepresented, 84 

somewhat mysterious, 85 

— of scripture texts, 295 

, danger of trusting to, 300 

, mixed with experiences 


Impmdenccs should be freely confess- 
ed, 373 
Impulses, not a guide, 295 
Inclinations, good, not a guide, 305 
Indiscreet zeal leads to haste, 314 
Inferiority of ministers and corivcrts 

made use of, 120 
Information of revivals should be 

spread, 410 
Ingratitude, cause of doubts, 81 
Innovations, moderation in, 313 

, Christ's manner in, 313 

, how to h6 introduced, 363 

should be by common 

consent, 366 
with approbation of pas- 
tors, 367 
Injuries confessed and repaired, 78 
Inquirers should receive hxstruction, 

Instruction, eagerness to receive, 76 
Instruments of revival chosen by God, 
119 ^ 

, their imperfection, 120 

Insufficiency of human ellbrts, 55 
Irregularity, too much clamor about 
it, 264 


Jealousy of ourselves recommended, 

Judgments to be expected by minis- 
ters who oppose, 219 


Judging the whole by a part, 142 

others, forbidden, 349 

ought to be avoided, 350 

will bring down judgments if 

persisted in, 350 
Justice of God, convictions of, 58 
, submission to, 60 


Kindness to sinners, 32T 
Knowledge, speculative, rfbt what is 
most needed, 233 

not to be itndervalued,- 23S 


Late meetings not to be common, 321 
Laymen, exliorting by, 354 

' , not unlawful, 354 

, may speak in public, 356 

, allowance for strong feel- 
ings, 357 

not set up for public teachers. 


— not to assume authority, 358 
not to follow teacliin" as a 

' business, 359 

■ should govern their strong' 

feelings, 360 

Leadings of the Spirit, what they arc, 

Legal terrors, not always followed by 
the greatest comfort, 71 

Life may be destroyed by religious 
discoveries, 130 

Light, not so much needed as heat, 234 

, terrible to the impenitent, 237 

Lightness in religion, sign of defect- 
iveness, 332 

Longings of the soul after God, 63 

Love to God and Christ, in great de- 
grees, 75 


Marks of spiritual pride, 271 
Means should be used .to the utmost, 

, skill required in, 229 

for promoting the work, 371 

Measures not wholly judged by their 

success, 315 
Meekness, the severest reftukc of op- 
posers, 283 

gives force to arguments, 284 

especially called for in revi- 

vals, 373 



Melancholy, cliiHcult to deal vvitli, 51 

, effects of, 105 

caution to be used in, 240 

— , perverseness of, 240 

Meroz, the curse of, 203 

, argued a priori, 203' 

Millenium, to commence in America, 

Ministers, their responsibility, 216 

, officers in Christ's king- 
dom, 216 

-^, peculiar guilt of neglect. 


tion, 218 

should not show disaffec- 

disaffected are worse than 
none, 219 

— may expect judgments, 219 

, danger of unbelief, 220 

should guard against envy, 


should endeavor to excite 

the affections, 231 

should preach terror to the 

impenitent, 237 

should instruct inquirers, 


should be faithful to chil- 
dren, 242 

. should aim at crrcat ^.-iToote, 


need great humility in revi- 

vals, 280 


their dangers from success, 

-, young, their dangers,, 289 
- should be trained for thei 

work, 294 

, education of, 321 

, not to be denounced on 

shirht grounds, 344 

-, cold and fonnal, to be treat- 

ed gently, 348 

■ , opposing the work, a great 

scandal, 349 

-, their office and authority. 


should partake much of the 
revival, 383 

unconverted, hypocrisy of, 


-, wretched condition, 383 

, guilt in God's sight, 383 

>-, their great need of spiritu- 
ality, 384 

, need of divine aid, 384 

should pray together, 384 

Ministers should be zealous, 385 

ihould strengthen each 

other's hands, 385 

should be resolute, 386 

should be prayed for, 39S 

Misimprovement of revival, 379 
Misrepresentations of the revival, 109 
Mixtures, in experiences, 324 

occasioned by corruption. 


— ■ of natural feelings, 325 

of impressions on the ima- 
gination, 327 

— of self-righteousness, 327 

give advantage to Satan, 


Modesty, an ornament to religion, 285 
Morals, wonderful reformation of, 154 
Moral duties promote revivals, 402 
, better evidence than religious 

observances, 403 
Mrs. Edwards, her experience, 162 



Natural objects, enjoyment of, 76 
Natural feehngs mixed with experi* 

ences, 325 
Natural affections not to be sup- 
pressed, 338 
Nearness to God docs not preclude 

error, 267 
Neuters, not tolerated in revivals, 184 
New Jersey, revival there, 44 
New measures not to be introduced 
suddenly, 363 

' , should not provoke prejudice 

rasWy, 363 
New things always accompany great 

events,! 93 
News of conversion promotes the re- 
vival, 67 
Noise inseparable from powerful ex- 
citement, 251 
Northampton, character of, 30 

, population, 32 

, ministers in, 32 

^, revivals in, 32 

— '■ , degeneracy, 33 

Novelty in revivals not an objection, 

, not so common as is sup- 
posed, 134 
Novelties, falsely so called, 135 

■, should be used with cau- 

. tion, 312 

Numbers converted in the revival, 45 




Objections examined, 229 

Obligations of all to promote the 
work, 211 , 

Occasion of sin, from good influences, 

Offense not to be given needlessly, 309 

Office of ministers, 355, 359 

Opportunities to be improved for re- 
vivals, 411 

Opposers aided by errors in the work, 

should look' to their own 

state, 379 

should not be treated with 

bitterness, 374 

— and Arminians invited to 

join the work, 379 
Opposition, ways of manifesting, 225 
by appearing discontented, 


Power of revival desirable, 249 
Prayer of faith described, 301 

— ', wrong inferences from, 


different from imaei- *' 

nations, 303 
— '—, censuring in, 351 

, conditional imprecations in, 


by insisting much on the 

blemishes, 226 

, unrighteousness of, 227 

too much thought of, 2S2 

not to be met with noise. 

, that God would convert or re- 
move, 352 

, teachings of the Spirit in, 353 

, a remedy for impatience, 376 

, efficiency of, 394 

, importunate, 395 

, God waits for it, 396 

, the weakest may aid, 397 

, better than disputings, 397 

, for ministers, 398 

, method in, 39S 

, concert in, 399 

-, general arrangement for, 400 

Preaching should be instructive, 231 
impressive, 232 


best put down by meek- 
ness, 283 

should be publicly retract- 

ed, 372 
Order, its importance, 319 

, means to an end, 320 

prevails in heaven, 320 

in families, 321 

Outcries and faintings considered, 248 

, not the work of God's 

Spirit, 248 

, may show the power of the 

work, 249 
Outward reformation under awaken- 
ings, 54 


Parents should feel most for their 

children, 339 
Passions mixed with religion, 320 
Pastors, their authority, 367 
People may all help in revivals, 222 
Persecution should be met with meek- 
ness, 283 

, how to be expected, 310 

, how misimproved, 310 

Personal preparation for a revival, 378 
Perversion of Spirit's influences, 142 
Philosophy, no standard of revivals, 121 
of opposers, false, 122 

, scripture account of, 234 

should be correct, 235 

, terror to the awakened, 236 

, instructive to inquirers, 238 

— — , frequent, justified, 245 

Preface by Drs. AVatts and Guyse, xviii 

by the Boston ministers, xxvi 

to the " Thoughts," &c., 115 


Prejudices against the work, 109 
Preservation, remarkable, xxii 
Press should promote revivals, 223 
Pride, spiritual, its effects, 270 

-■ , a great source of sin, 271 

remains in Christians, 271 

Principles, M^rong, efl^ects of, 292 
Private fasting recommended, 401 
Property should be emploved 

Christ, 392 
Prophecy of the millenium, 190 

inferior to grace, 297 

Proportion in experiences, 330 
Providence, not an attestation, 315 

, not understood by us, 316 

, how interpreted, 317 

Provoking of opposition, 312 
Prudence, -excessive, rebuked, 187 

required in revivals, 308 

Public speaking, how lawful, 357 


GLuakers, had no success among the 

converts, 85 
Quickness of the work, glorious, 179 




Rashness and censorionsness made 

useful, 120 
Reality of relij^ion greatly fell, 71 • 
Reason sometimes made use of in con- 
version, 73 
Reformation by the revival, 154 

must take time, 314 

Rejoicing in revivals, duty of, 187 
Religion consists in affections, 124 

— , worthy of strong affections, 


, its social nature, 259 

, a warfare, 268 

Renewing covenant, importance of, 

Resolution, effects of, upon others, 386 

, needful in revivals, 387 

Responsibility, connected with revi- 
vals, 212 
Rest of the soul in God, 65 
Restraint, needful for strong emotions, 

Revelations not now enjoyed, 292 

, supposed, a support for 

all errors, 293 

perpetually fail, 293 

, scripture does not coun- 
tenance, 293 

, not iin evidence of grace, 

Reverence in approaching God, 285 
Reviling to be received meekly, 375 
Revival in 1735, narrative of, xvii 

. , signs of its approach, 34 

, , commencement of, 37 

^ , rapid progress of, 38, 47 

. , joyful effects of, 39 

, influence upon singing, 39 

, influence upon conversation, 


extending to other towns, 41 

reaches Connecticut, 42 

, unusual character of, 45 

-, extraordinary for numbers, 45 

promoted by the circulation of 

intelligence, 69 

, misrepresentations of, 83 

-, similar to other revivals, 85 

-, illustrated by instances, 87 

, defects and decline, 104 

hindered by controversies, 107 

, good effects permanent, 107 

, jealousies and misrepresenta- 

Revivals under Mr. Stoddard, 33 
, to be judged by their fruits, 

— , instruments employed by 

God, 119 

, subjects selected by liim, 120 

to be judged by the rule of 

lions of it, 109 
Revival, time for personal piety, 378 
Revival spirit, beauties of it, 409 

scripture, 121 

, not to be judged by philoso- 
phy, 121 

not to be judged by bodily 

effects, 126 

not to be judged by their no- 

velty, 133 

, effects of,in former times, 135 

effects of, in Scotland and 

France, 135 

-, effects of, in America, 133 

not to be compared with en- 
thusiasts, 139 

not to be judged by experi- 

ence, 139 

not to be judged by parts, 140 

, faults in, explained, 143 

tendency to extremes, 146 

, extraordinariness of, 149 ^ 

, Satan alarmed by, 153 

, their general nature, 154 

, visible effects, 154 

--, spiritual conversation, 156 

, durability of thu chanore, 160 

show the work of God, 160 

have always been prayed for, 



— illustrated by an instance, 

— , a glorious work of God; 174 
— , fruits shoidd be recoirnized. 


, a work of God, or of the de- 
vil, 177 

,most glorious of God's works. 



-, all bound to acknowledge, 183 
-, no neutrals in, 184 
-, Christ glorified in, 186 
-, beginning of inillenium, 189 
-, danger in neglecting, 197 
-, danger m opposing, 200 
-, danger in deriding", 206 
-, blessedness in joining, 209 
-, obligations of all to promote, 

-,' rulers should promote, 213 
should be acknowledged pub- 

licly, 214 

,dutv of ministers in, 216 

, all may help in, 222 



Revivals, the prcf?s should be employ- 
ed, 223 

, how opposed, 225 

are the work of God, not of 

man, 229 

require the most earnest use 

of means, 229 

should be managed withskill, 


, objections answered, 231 

, frequent meetings in, 243 

not injurious to temporal af- 
fairs, 245 

, much preaching, in, 246 

^-, bodily effects in, 248 

, excitement desirable in, 249 

^ , earnest speaking in, 252 

, disgust at them, 255 

, singing useful in, 257 

■ , children's meetings in, 259 

, errors should be corrected. 



— , watchfulness needed in, 267 
— , causes of error in, 270 
— , spiritual pride in, 270 
— , humility needed in, 280 
— , opposition how met, 282 
— , young ministers employed 

, wrong principles in, 292 

, consequences regarded, 307 

— , external order in, 319 

advantages of the devil in, 

, experiences in, 334 

, custom in, 341 

, particular errors in, 343 

, judging in, 343 

, laymen useful in, 354 

, extremes injurious to, 367 

, confessing of faults in, 372 

, mutual forbearance, means 

of, 373 

, time to renounce errors, 379 

, danger of neglecting, 380 

, duties of ministers in, 383 

, zeal needful in, 386 

, colleges should promote, 388 

, fasting and prayer for, 394 

-, charity a means of, 402 

Rich men mav do much to promote 

the work, 391 
Righteous, over much, 340 
Rulers bound to promote revivals, 213 
Rules, scripture, sufficient, 126 


Satan alarmed at revivals, 153 

relies more on skill than 

strength, 230 

pushes things to extremes, 264 

delights in excesses, 265 

, his advantages in regard to 

revivals, 324 
Schools a means of revival, 393 
Scotland, revivals in, 135 
Scripture the only standard, 121 
not superseded by revela- 
tions, 294 
Self-confidence in prayer, 284 
Self-examination, duty of, 374 
Self-ignorance, imder awakenings, 56 
Self-nghteousness ineffectual, 54 

mixed with expe- 

rience, 327 
Separation springs from spiritual 

pride, 279 
Sermons, frequent, useful, 246 
Singing enjoyed in the revival, 39 

much used in revivals, 257 

abounds in heaven, 257 

will increase in the milleni- 

um, 258 

; errors connected with, 361 

should be with reverence and 

solemnity, 362 

should abound in revivals, 


in the streets, 362 

, not to be in- 
troduced suddenly, 363 
, not wholly ob- 
jectionable, 364 

— , honorable to God, 364 

Singularity the fruit of pride, 278 
Sinners, aged, their danger, 381 
Sins of the hfe, conviction of, 59 
Skill and prudence in the use of means, 

Smoking by ministers, 384 
Social nature of religion, 259 
Solemnity of a revival, 212 
Sovereignty of God inculcated in the 
revival, 57 

, in the instruments he uses, 1 18 

, in the snbjocts he selects, 120 

, not to be limited, 131 

, in permitting errors and dis- 
orders, 152 
Special comforts not a defense from 

blame, 317 
Spirit's influences niny injure tiio 
health, 127 ' " 



Spiritual blessings easily exceed our 
capacity, 129 

Spiritual pride, a source of error in re- 
vivals, 270 

lays the mind open to tempta- 
tion, 271 

, often falsely charged, 271 

-, zealous Christians liable to. 


-, hatefulness of^ 272 

, difficult to detect, 272 

should be watched agaiiist, 273 

may grow out of high religious 

experiences, 273 

, its effects, 274 

produces suspicion of others, 


produces harsh language, 275 

disposes to singularity, 277 

takes great notice of opposi- 
tion, 282 

produces unsuitable boldness, 


shows an assuming temper, 


, successful ministers exposed 

to, 288 

Stoddard, Mr., his harvests, 33 

Stranofers, how affected by the re\a- 

Stumbling blocks, removal of, 371 

Submission to God's justice in con- 
version, 60 

. to the will of God in the 

work, 221 

Success in revivals, temptations of, 288 

, not a criterion of propriety, 


, no evidence of God's appro- 
val, 315 

Sudden death, influence of, 36 

Suicide, cases of, 105 

Suspicion, how created, 218 

, caused by spiritual pride, 



Teachbg, the business of ministers, 

of the Holy Spirit, needful 

for ministers, 384 
Tenderness of the Savior. 278 
Tennents, Messrs. W. & G., their 

ministry, 45 
Terror, the necessarj' effect of light, 


, not an objection to revivals, 239 

Testimony of Hampshire ministers, 


Texts impressed on the mind, 295 
ThouiJ^lits on the revival, &c. 113 
Time of conversion not alwaysknown, 

reasonably spent in rehgion,243 

needful in reformation, 376 

Travail for souls not unreasonable,131 
Truth, of the scriptures, sense of, 72 
should not be kept back, 237 


Unbelief, conviction of, 59 

in revivals, the fruit of pride. 


danger of, in ministers, 220 

Unconverted ministers, 343 
Union among ministers, 385 

Varieties in experience, 79 
Vaunting, an effect of pride, 287 
Violent affections not always the best, 


Wairing for a decline to judge the 

work, 175 
Waiting on God, duty of, 375 

, how intended, 375 

, happy effects of, 377 

Watchfulness needed in revivals, 267 
against spiritual pride. 

273, 237 

Watts and Guyse, their preface, xviii 
Weakness, human, under vicM's of 

eternity, 128 

of Christians, 368 

Whitefield's frankness in confession. 


-, his resolution, 386 

Wildness, how controlled, 384 
Willinofness to be damned, not re- 
quired in the Bible, 61 
Wisdom of submittin or to God, 221 
Women, their speaking, 357 


Young people, their lightness, 31 

, tenderness among, 35 

Young ministors employed in revival, 

, their dangers, 289 


Zeal and resolution, duty of ministers, 

necessary to great results, 386 

Zealous persons do hurt by excess, 265 




V. 6. page 


xxi. 8. 9. 


xxxii. 24. 


xlv. 22. 


xlix. 22. 



xvi. 20. 


xvii. 14—16. 


XXXV. 20, 29. 



xix. 32. 





x. 29. 


xiii. 3. 



ii. 16. 


iv. 2. 


xvii. 16, 17. 


xxiii. 3, 4. 


xxxiii. 13. 


xxxiii. 20-23 



xviii. 1. 





— 14. 


-19. ' 


- 20, 21. 


- 23. 203 

, 209 

vii. 23, 24. 


viii. 17. 


1 Samuel. 

XV. 3. 


2 Samuel. 

vi. 6. 


vL 18, 19. 205 




1 Kings. 

vi. 29. 


viii. 1-3. 


— 3—8. 


2 Kings. 

vi. 20. 


XX. 5. 


1 Chronicles. 

xiii. 12, 5. 


xiv. 19—32. 


xiv. 28. 


XV. 2. 


— 2. 


— 35. 


2 Chronicles. 

V. 2-4. 


XX. 25, 26. 



ii. 20. 


iii. 214, 218 

, 223 

— 32. 


vi. 5. 


viii. 9—12. 


— 16, 17. 



iv. 1. 133 


V. 2-4. 151 

vi. 14. 339 

xvi. 9-11. 151 


ii. 6—12. 212 

vii. 6. 337 

xii. 6. 89 

XXV. 9. 270 

xxxvii. 9. 376 

— 11. 374 
xiii. 4. 365 
xliv. 23. 377 
xlv. 3, 4. 283, 374 
lix. 4. 377 
Ixvi. 9. 374 
Ixviii. 1, 8, 13, 18, 24. 205 

— 27. 214 
Ixxiii. 20. 377 
Ixxvi. 8, 9. 283 
Ixxviii. 34, 36. xxvii 
xcii. 12. 146 
xcix. 9. 381 
cvi. 32, 33. 143, 288 
ex. 6. 213 
cxii. 4. 406 
cxvi. 4. 106 
cxix. 5. 129 

— 53. 133 
- 136. 133 
cxxxi. 2. 207 
cxxxvii. 9. 210 
cxlvii. 6. 283 


i. 20. 235 

V. 19. 377 

viii. 1-4. 235 

ix. 3. 235 

XXX. 6. 316 

XXX. 25. , 285 


vii. 8. 375 

Solomon's Song, 

ii. 7. • 377 

iii. 5. 377 

viii. 4. 377 


i. 12—18. 403 

ii. 12—15. 222 
ii. 17. 119, 222 

vi. 10. 241 

viii. 14, 15. 186 

xi. 4. 283 

xviii. 19. 193 

xxii. 4. 133 

xvi. 10, 11. 188 

xxvii. 13. 235 

xxviii. 9. 207 

— 24-26. 308 

— 13, 16. 186 
xxix. 20, 21. 261 

xxix 24. 
XXX. 18- 
XXX. 29. 
xxxi. 15. 
xxxviii. 6. 
xl. 2, 3, 7. 

— 19. 
13, 14. 

— 31. 
xUii. 14. 

— 20. 
xliv. 3. 
xlix. 23. 
Hi. 7. 
liii. 11. 
Iv. 1. 
Ivi. 1. 
Iviii. 1. 


Ix. 1—4. 403, 404 

— 5—7. 403 

— 8. 42 

— 9. 189 

— 11. 378 
— 12. 200 
Ixi. 1, 2. 235, 380 

— 11. 146 
ixii. 1. 247 

— 3, 22. 251 

— 6, 7. 395 

— 11. 235 
Ixiv. 4. 134 
Ixv. 17. 196 

— 20. 260 
Ixvi. 12. 196 

— 14. 380 

ii. 2. 235, 381 

— 1—7. 403 

iv. 19. 133 
vi. 10, 11. 253, 382 

— 13. 403 

vii. 2. 235 

ix. 1. 133 

xi. 6. 235 

xiii. 17. 133 

xiv. 17. 133 

xix. 2. 235 

xxix. 26, 27. 221 

xxxi. 27. 252 


vi. 11. . 234 

xxiv. 220 

xxxvi. 37. 395 
xlvii. 5. 137, 195 


x. 6, 7, 8. 28 


i. 10. 193 

ii. 23. 252 


v. 21. 403 




i xvi. 12, 13. 


iii. 16, 


xvii. 22, 23. 



xxi. 3, 6. 


vi. 7, 8. 




i. 13, 14. , 
ii. 13. 


vii. 1-10. 



ix. 9— IL 




- 15, 16 


— 46. 


— 15-17, 


vi. 7. 


X. 3. 


X. 4;. 




xi. 2.. 


xii. 7, 


xiii. 31. 




— 45. 


- 10. 395, 401 

xvi. 3. 


xiii. 5. 


xviii. 6. 




xix. 8—10. 244, 246 

xiv. 16-19. 


xxvii. 9. 


— 17. 




i. 31. 


ii. 7. 


iii. 9. 


iii. 10. 


viii. 14.. 


iv. 1-3. 


ix. 33. 



X. 15. 


iii. 9, 10. 


xii. 3—8. 


V. 19. 




V. 14. 




vi. 5, 6. 16-13. 


xiii. 7. 


ix. 13. 


xiv. 4. 


X. 16. 




xii. 7. 




xiii. 14. 




XV. 3. 


XV. 1, 2. 


xvi. 23, 


1 Corinthians. 

xviii. 19. 


i. 16, 17. 


xxi. 5. 




— 15, 16. 


— 9. 




iii. 1, 2. 


xxiii. 13. 


vii. 20. 


— 14, 25, 34, 


ix. 19-23. 


XXV. 31—46. 


X. 32, 33. 


xxvi. 38, 41. 


xii. 29. 


xxviii. 9. 







iv. 33. 


xiii. 8. 


X. 46-48. 


xiv. 14, 26. 


xiv. 3-5. 


— 31—33. 306, 318 


- 37, 38. 


i. 35. . 


2 Corinthians. 

iii. 4, 10-14. 


ii. 6—11. 


V. 5, 6, 7. 


V. 17. 


xii. 56. 


— 18-20. 




vi. 2. 


xviii. 18. 


vii. 11. 


• 38, 39. 


xii. 15, 16. 


xix. 39, 40. 



xxi. 22. 


iii. 3. 


xxi. 36. 


iv. 22. 



v. 18. 


iii. 8. 



Vii. 37. 


i. 19. 




iii. 7. 


ix. 39. 


iv. 4. 


xii. 4, 5. 




xvi. 7. 




V. 8. 254 

— 20. 125 


iii. 15. 374 


i. 11. 125 

iii. 12. 230 

1 Thessalonians. 
iv.ll. 359 

2 Thessalonians. 

i. 11. 125 

1 Timothy. 

1. 4. 146 

ii. 9, 11, 12. 285 

— 12. 355, 358 
iii. 2. 392 
iv. 7. 146 
V. 22. 388 

2 Timothy. 

i.7. 125 

ii. 16. 146 

— 24,25. 292,311 
V. 23. 146 
vi.4. 147 


i. 14. 146 

ii. 8. 266 

— 15. 355 

iii. 9. 146 


v.ll. 313 


i. 19. 287 

ii. 8— 2G. 404 

iii. 13. 312 

iv. 12. 350 

1 Peter, 

ii, 6—8, 186 

- 17. 290 

iii. 2, 15. 285 

— 15. 291 

iv. 7, 8. 266 

V. 5. 280, 290 

1 John, 

ii, 3, 7—11, 404 

iii. 18, 19. 406 


i. 17. 128 

iii. 10. 283 

— 20. ■ 102 
xi. 8. 201 
xii. 2. 132, 199, 236 
xiv. 14—10. 196 

— 20. 380 
XV. 3. 201 
xvi. 16, 202 
xix. 4. 210 

— 11. 203 
xxi. 1. 196 

— 3. 198 

— 6. 199, 378 
xxii. 17. 199, 378 

— 18. 3u; 

Zfl^l ^ ,> -^^ 


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