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Full text of "The works of President Edwards .."

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ACCOUNT of Northampton, _-----.---- lo 

Religious concern begins, ------,------ 18 

Increasing concern, ■«-------_---- 15 

Attention and solemnity universal, .__,,..___- 17 

Extends to other places, -.._._------- 19 

Number of hopeful conversions, -------,--- 23 

Manner of operation, ----„-.-----.- 27 

Remarkable instance, _.-_,----»---- 49 

Another, _-----_----------- 6t 

Another, a young child, __.----,----- 70 

Decline, ___-------.-----.-- 77 


Error in judging of the v/ork, --__-.----- 89 

Another error, --------.------- 92 

Obligations all are under to rejoice in this work, ------147 

Subject of the work injuriously blamed, -------- 188 

What ought to be corrected in this work, - -.----- 217 

Spiritual pride, ---------------- 223 

Wrong principles, --------------- 243 

Careless inattention to the Devil's devices, -------- 273 

Defects in experiences, ------ --...--- 278 

Degenerating of experiences, ------------ 282 

Common people not to become authoritative teachers, ----- 301 

Aereenent in extraordinary prayer, ---------- 345 


The Text opened, and an account given of the affair proposed in the 

Memorial from Scotland, ------------ yg^ 

Observations relative to the Memorial, .-_-----. 365 

Memorial, -----_.-.--..---. 370 

Motives to a compliance with what is contained in the Memorial, - 373 

The future advancement of the Kingdom of Chriit a glorious event, - 383 



Christ an example of prayer, ..---------. 387 

Whole creation waiting for Church's glory, --,_-__ 391 

Word of God full of encouragement to prayer, -._--- 395 

Motives from aspect of present events, --.-«---. 406 

Union of Christians in prayer beautiful, --..--.-- ^1^ 

Objections answered, _-.----.------ 41 8 

Jirtt Objection, -.-_---.-------- ibid 

Second Objection, -----.--------- 4C1 

Third Objection, .---.-.-.---- -- 428 

Fourth Objection, ------- -------- 430 

Fifth Objection, ------- -_------ 4^9 

Sixth Objection, .-.------ 488 

Conclusion, -»-------------•- 489 

Life of David Brainerd, ------------- 495 

Reflections, ------.---------- ja* 




Vol.. Ill, 





Reverend and Honored Sir, 

JTIAVING seen your letter to my honored un- 
cle Williams, 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 congrega- 
tion to which the last of these preached on a monthly day of 
solemn prayer ; as also of your desire to be more perfectly 
acquainted with it, by some of us on the spot : And having 
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. 

The people of the county in general, I suppose are as so- 
ber, and orderly, and good sort ofpeople, as in any part of 
Newengland ; and I believe they have been preserved the 
freest by far, of any part of the country from error, and variety 
of sects and opinions. Our being so far within the land, at a 
distance from seaports, and in a corner of the country, has 
doubtless been one reason why we have not been so much cor- 
rupted with vice, as most other parts. But without question 
the religion, and good order of the country, and their purity in 
doctrine, has, under God, been very much owing to the great 
abilities, and eminent piety, of my venerable and honored 

Vol. III. B 


grandfather Stoddard. I suppose we have been the freest of 

any part of the la:^d frchi unhappy divisions, and quarrels in 

oiu' ecclesiastical and religious affairs, till the late lamentable 

Spring-field 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 eccl«- 
fciaslical affairs within ourselves ; it is the way in which tlie 
country, from its infancy, has gone on by the practical agree- 
ment of all, and the way in which our peace and good order 
lias hitherto been maintained. 

'J'he town of Northampton is of about eighty two years stand- 
ing, and has now about two hundred families ; which mostly 
dwell more compactl /together than anytownof such a bigness 
in these parts of the country ; which probably has been an oc- 
casion 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 tir as I can judge, they are as rational and understand- 
ing a people as piost I liave been acquainted Avith : Many ot" 
them have been noted for religion, and particularly, have been 
remarkable for their distinct knowledge in things that relate 
to heart religion, and Christian experience, and their great re- 
gards thereto. 

I am the third minister that has been settled in the town : 
The Reverend Mr. Eleazar Mather, who was the first, was or- 
dained in July 1669. He was one whose heart was much in his 
work, abundant in labors for the good of precious souls ; he 
had the high esteem and great love of his people, and was 
blessed 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 1 1, 1672, and died 
February 11, 1728-9. So that he continued in the work of 
the ministry here from his first coming to town, near sixty 

* The Springfield contention relates to the settlement of a Minister there, 
which occasioned too war.Ti debates between some, both pastors and peo- 
ple that were for it, and others that were against it, on account of their dif- 
ferent apprehensions about his principles, and about some steps that wtrc 
taken to procure his ordinatinn. 


years. And as he was eminent and renowned for his gifts 
and grace ; so he was blessed, 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 fiftyseven years ago ; the second about fiftythree 
years : the third about forty ; the fourth about twentyfour ; 
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 were 
about fiftythree, and forty, and twentyfour y^ars ago, were 
much greater than either the first or the last : But in each of 
them, I have heard my grandfather say, the greater part of 
the young people in the town, seemed to be mainly concern- 
ed for their eternal salvation. 

After the last of these, came a far more degenerate time, 
(at least among young people) I suppose, than ever before. 
Mr. Stoddard, indeed, had the comfort before he died, of see- 
ing a time when there was no small appearance of a divine 
work amongst some, and a considerable ingathering of souls, 
even after I was settled with him in the ministry, which was 
abovit two years before his death ; and I have reason to bless 
God for the great advantage I had by it. In these two years 
there were near twenty that Mr. Stoddard hoped to be saving- 
ly converted ; but there was nothing of any general awaken- 
ing. The greater part seemed to be at that time very insensi- 
ble of the things of religion, and engaged in other cares and 
pursuits. Just after my grandfather's death, it seemed to be a 
time of extraordinary dullness in religion : Licentiousness for 
some years greatly prevailed among the youth of the tOAvn; they 
were many of them very much addicted to night walking, 
and frequenting the tavern, and lewd practices, wherein some 
by their example exceedingly corrupted others. It was their 
manner very frequently to get together in conventions of both 
sexes, for mirth and jollity, which they called frolics ; and they 
would often spend the greater part of the night in them, without 
any regard to order in the families they l^elonged to : And in- 
deed family government did too much fail in the town. It was 
become very customary with many of our young people to b^ 


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 parties, into which they had for 
many years been divided, by which was maintained a jealousy- 
one of the other, and they Avere prepared to oppose one anoth- 
er 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 shewed more of a disposition to hearken to counsel^ 
and by degrees left off their frolicing, and grew observably 
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 &. very 
unusual flexibleness, and yielding to advice, in our young peo- 
ple. It had been too long their manner to make the evening af- 
ter 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 shew the 
evil tendency of the practice, and to persuade them to reform 
it ; and it was urged on heads of families, that it should be a 
thing agreed upon among them, to govern their families, and 
keep their children at home, at these times ;....and withal 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 accordingly done, and the motion 
complied with throughout the town. But parents found lit- 
tle or no occasion for the exercise of government in the case ; 
the young people declared themselves convinced by what 
they had heard from the pulpit, and were willing of them- 
selves to comply with the counsel that had been given : And 
it was immediately, and, I suppose, almost universally compli- 

* It must be noted, that it has never bfen our manner to observe the 
evening that follows the sabbath, but that which precedes it, as part of holy 


cd with ; and there was a thorough reformation of these dis- 
orders thencefonvard, which has continued ever since. 

Presently after this, there began to appear a remarkable re- 
ligious 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 
wrought upon. In the April following, Anno 1734, there hap- 
pened 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 (together with what was preached publicly on that occa- 
sion)much affected many young people. Thiswas followed with 
another death of a young married woman, who had been con- 
siderably exercised in mind, about the salvation of her soul, 
before she was ill, and was in great distress, in 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 counselling others. This seemed much to con- 
tribute to the solemnizing of the spirits of many young per- 
sons ; and there began evidently to appear more of a religious 
concern on people's minds. 

In the fall of the year, I pi'oposed it to the young' people, 
that they should agree among themselves to spend the even- 
ings after lectures, in social religion, and to that end to divide 
themselves into several companies 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 per- 
son, which was attended with many unusual circumstances, 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 promoting of religion. Many who looked on themselves 


as in a Christlcss 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 they had hitherto been taught, 
seemed to have a kind of a trembling fear with their doubts, 
lest they should be led into bypaths, 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 publicly on that occasion, concerning justi- 
fication by faith alone. 

Although great fault was found witli meddling with the con- 
troversy in the pulpit, by such a person, at that time, and 
though it was ridiculed by many elsewhere ; yet it proved a 
word spoken in season here ; and was most evidently attend- 
ed with a very remarkable blessing of heaven to the souls of 
the people in this town. They received thence a general sat- 
isfaction with respect to the maiu thing in question, which 
they had in trembling doubts 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 been 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 extraordinarily to set in, and 
wonderfully to work amongst us ; and there were, very sud- 
denly, 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, Avho 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 Avise serious, but by the conversa- 
tion I then had with her, it appeared to me, that what she 
gave an account of, was a glorious work of God's infinite pow- 
er 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 ahout 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 fi'om it to open their mouths, in reproaches of I'elig- 
ion. But the event was the reverse, to a wonderful degree ; 
God made it, I suppose, the greatest occasion of awakening to 
cjthers, 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 
to be almost like a flash of lightning, upon the hearts of young 
people, all over the town, and upon many others. Those per- 
sons amongst us, who used to be farthest from seriousness, 
and that I most feared would make an ill improvement of it, 
seemed greatly to be awakened with it ; many went to talk 
with her, concerning what she had met with ; and what ap- 
peared in her seemed to be to the satisfaction of all that 
did sd. 

Presently upon this, a great and earnest concern about the 
great things of religion, and the eternal world, became \miver- 
sal in all parts of the town, and among persons of all degi'ees, 
a"nd all ages ; the noise amongst the dry bones waxed louder 
and louder : 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 carrying on their ordinary 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 amongst 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 that hand, to neglect worldly 
affairs too much, and to spend too much time in the immediate 
exercise of religion : Which thing was exceedingly misrepre- 
sented 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 cntkely to reading and pray- 
ing, and such like religious exercises. 

But though the people did not ordinarily neglect their 
•worldly business, yet there then was the reverse of what com- 
monly is : Religion was with all sorts the great concern, and 
the world was a thing only by the bye. The only thing in 
their view was to get the kingdom of heaven, and every one 
appeared pressing into it : The engagedness of their hearts in 
tliis great concern could not be hid ; it appeared in their very 
countenances. It then was a dreadful thing amongst us to lie 
out of Christ, in danger every day of dropping into hell ; and 
■what persons, minds Avere intent upon was to escape for their 
lives, and tojiyfrom 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 religious purpo- 
ses : 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 Avas left unconcerned about the great things of 
the eternal world. Those that Avere wont to be the vainest, 
and loosest, and those that had been most disposed to think 
and speak slightly of vital and experimental religion, Avere now 
generally subject to great awakenings. And the Avork of con- 
version Avas carried on in a most astonishing manner, and in- 
creased more and more ; souls did, us it were, come by flocks 
to Jesus Christ. From day to day, for many months togeth- 
er, might be seen evident instances of sinners brought out of 
darkness into marvellous light, and delivered out of art horrible 
flit, and from the miry clay, and set ufion a rock with a neiv song 
of praise to God in their mouths. 

This work of God, as it Avas carried on, and the number of 
true saints multiplied, soon made a glorious alteration in the 
town ; so that in the spring and summer following, Anno 1735, 
the town seemed to be full oi the presence of God : It never was 
so full of love, nor so full of joy ; and yet so full of distress as 
it Avas then. There Avere remarkable tokens of God's pres- 
ence in almost every house. It was a time of joy in families 

Surprising conversions. if 

on the account of salvation's being brought unto them ; par- 
ents rejoicing over their children as new born, and husbands 
bver their wives, and wives overtheir husbands. The goings 
of God were then seen in his sanctuary^ God *s day was a delight^ 
and his tabernacles were mniable. Our public assemblies were 
then beautiful ; 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 concern 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 divine worship, wherein good men amongst us have 
had grace so drawn forth, and their hearts so lifted up in the 
ways of God, as in singing his praisea : Our congregation 
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 themselves : But 
now they were evidently wont to sing with unusual elevation 
of heart and voice, which made the duty pleasant indeed. 

In all companies, on other days, on whatever occasions per' 
sons 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^ 
^he Avonderful, free, and sovereign grace of God, his gloriou* 
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. Sec. And even at weddings, which formerly Avere 
merely occasions of mirth and jollity, there was now no dis- 
course of any thing but the things of religion, and no appear-^ 
ance of any but spiritual mirth. 

Those amongst us that had been formerly converted, were 
greatly enlivened and renewed with fresh and extraordinary- 
incomes of the spirit of God ; though some jiauch more than 
Vol. III. C 


others, according to the measure of the gift of Christ : !Many 
that before had labored under diflicullics about their o%vn 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 extraor- 
dinarily carried on amongst us in the winter, others round 
about us, seemed not to know what to make of it ; and there 
were 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 
amongst us from abroad, with disregardful hearts, that what 
they saw here cured them of such a temper of mind : Strang- 
ci's 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 by the people 
that came to town on occasion of the court, that sat here in 
the beginning of March, was very observable. And those 
that came from the neighborhood to our pubhc lectures, were 
for the most part remarkably affected. Many that came to 
town, on one occasion or other, had their consciences smitten, 
and awakened, and went home with wounded hearts, and with 
those impressions that never w ore 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 appearance, they Avere savingly wrought upon, and partook 
of that shower of divine blessing that God rahied doMn here> 
and went home rejoicing ; till at length the same work be- 
gan evidently to appear and prevail in several other towns in 
the county. 

In the month of March, the people in South Hadley began 
to be seized with deep concei'n about the things of religion j 
which very soon became 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 bigness of the 
place. About the same time it began to break forth in the 


Wtst part of Suffield, (where it has also b^en very great) and 
it soon spread into all parts of the; town . It next appeared at 
Sunderland, and soon overspread the town ; and I believe 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 there : 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 things of 
relip:ion ; and the work of God has been great there. There 
has been also a very general awakening at West Springfield, 
and Long Meadow ; and in Enfield, there was, for a time, a 
pretty general concern amongst some that before had been 
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 alteration there, and that more ha,d 
been done in one week there than in seven years before..... 
Something of this work likewise appeared in the first precinct 
in Spi'ingfield, principally in the north and south extremes of 
the parish. And in Hadley old town, there gradually appear- 
ed so much of a work of God on souls, as at another time 
■would have 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 ap- 
peared, 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 county, 
Who ar^ these thatjiy as a cloudy and as doves to their imndawa ? 
As what tri:her 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 amongst 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 themselves as still left 


behind, and made them the more earnest that they also might 
share in the great blessing 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, but 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 Reverend Mr. Marsh, 
was thus blest about the same time, as we in Northampton, 
while Ave had no knowledge of each other's circumstances : 
There has been a very great ingathering of souls to Christ in 
that place, and something considerable of the same work be- 
gan afterv/ards 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 England, 
excepting Northampton ; there having been four or five sea- 
tsons of the pouring out of the spirit to the general awakening 
cf the people there, since my father's settlement amongst 

There was also the last spring and summer a wonderful work 
of God carried on at Coventry, under the ministry of the Rever- 
end Mr. Meacham : I had opportunity to converse with some of 
the 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 
Reverend Mr. Wheelock, a young gentleman, is lately set- 
tled : And there has been much of the same at Durham, un- 
der the ministry of the Reverend Mr. Chauncey ; and to ap- 
pearance no small ingathering of souls there. And likewise 
amongst many of the young people in the first precinct in 
Stratford, under the ministry of the Reverend Mr. Gould ; 
where the work was much promoted by the remarkable con- 
version of a young woman that had been a great company 
keeper, as it was here. 

Something of this work appeared in several other towns in 
those parts, as I was informed when I was there the last fall. 
And we have since been acquainted with something very re- 
markable of this 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 aummer at 
New Haven old town, as I was once and again informed by the 
Rev. Mr. Noyes, the minister there, and by others : And by 
a letter which I very lately received from Mr Noyes, and al- 
so by information we have had otherwise. This flourishing 
of religion still continues, and has latel ■ much increased : Mr. 
Noyes writes, that many this summer have been added to ths 
church, and particularly mentions several young persons that 
belong to the principal families of that town. 

There has been a degree of the same work at a part of 
Guilford ; and very considerable at Mansfield, under the min- 
istry of the Rev. Mr. Eleazar Williams ; and an unusual 
i-eligious concern at Tolland ; and something of it at Hebron, 
and Bolton. There was also no small effusion of the spirit of 
God in the north parish in Preston in the eastern part of Con-' 
necticut, which I was informed of, and saw something of it 
when I was the last autumn at the house, and in the congre- 
gation 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 to see the work of God here ; and hav- 
ing heard various and contradictory accounts of it, were care- 
ful when they were here to inform and satisfy themselves ; 
and to that end particularly conversed with many of our peo- 
ple ; 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 in- 
formed his congregation of what he had seen, and that they 
were greatly affected with it, and that it proved the beginning 
of the same work amongst them, which prevailed till there 
was a general awakening, and many instances of persons, who 
seemed to be remarkably converted. I 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 informed when I was at New York, (in 
a long journey I took at that time of the yeur for my health) 
by some people of the Jerseys, whom I sav,- : Especially the 


Key. Mr., WilUam Tenncnt, a ininistcr, wlo seemed toliaye 
such things much at heart, told me of a very great awakening 
efinany in a plape called the Mountains, under the ministry 
of ©ne Mr. Cross ; and of a very considerable revival of relig- 
ion in another place under the ministry of his brother the 
Rev. Mr. Gilbert Tennent ; and also at another place, under 
the ministiy of a very pious young gentleman, a Dutch min- 
ister, whose name as I remember, was Freclinghousen . 

This seems to have been a very extraordinary dispensation 
o£ Providence : God has in many respects, gone out of, and 
much beyond his usual and ordinary v/ay. The work in this 
town, and some others about us, has been extraordinary on ac- 
count of the universality of it, affecting all sorts, sober and 
vicious, high and low, rich and poor, wise and unwise ; it 
leached the most considerable families and persons to all ap- 
pearance, as much as others. In former stirrings of this na- 
ture, 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 re- 
ligious societies, in different parts of the town : A loose care- 
less person could scarcely find a companion in the whole 
neighborhood ; and if there was any one that seemed to re- 
main senseless or unconcerned, it wovild be spoken of as a 
strange thing. 

This dispensation has also appeared extraordinary in the 
luambers of those, on whom we have reason to hope it has had 
a saving eflect : We have about si:: hundred and twenty com- 
municants which include almost all our adult persons. The 
church was very large before ; but persons never thronged 
into it, as they did in the late extraordinary time. Our sacra- 
ments were eight weeks asunder, and I received into our com- 
munion about an hundred before one sacrament, and four- 
score of them at one time, whose appearance, when they pre- 
sented themselves together to make an open explicit profes- 
ision of Christianity, was very affecting to the congregation : 
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, though it is not the custom here, as it 


Is in'inany other churches in this coumry, to make a credible 
relation of their inward experiences, the groimd of admissioii 
to the Lord's Supper. 

I am far from pretending to be able to determine how many- 
have lately been the subjects of such meccy ; but if I -may be 
allowed to declare any thing that appeal's 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 wh^fl: 
I have heai'd Mr. Stoddard say, was far from what has beeii 
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 considera- 
ble, are mostly, as I hope, truly pious, and leading persons in 
the way of religion. Those that were formerly looser young 
persons, are generally, to all appearance, become true lovers 
of God and Christ, and spiritual 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 knowl- 
edge of Jesus Christ ; and so by what I heard I suppose it is 
in some other places, particularly at Sunderland and South 

This has also appeared to be a very extraordinary dispensa- 
tion, in that the spirit of God has so much extended not only 
his awakening, but regenerating influences, both to elderly 
persons, and also those that are very young. It has been a 
thing heretofore rarely heard of, that any were converted past 
middle age ; but now we have the same ground to think, that 
many such have in this time been savingly changed, as that 
others have been so in more early years. I suppose there 
were upwards of fifty persons in this town above forty years 
of age ; and more than twenty of them above fifty, and about 
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 have seemed to be savingly wrought upon, and remarka- 
bly changed in their childhood ; but now, I suppose, near 


thirty were to appearance so wrought upon between ten 
and fourteen years of age, and two between nine and ten, and 
one of them about four years of age ; and because, I suppose, 
this last will be most difficultly believed, I shall hereafter give 
a particular account of il. The influences of God's spirit have 
also been very remarkable on children in some other places, 
particularly at Sunderland and South Hadlcy, and the west part 
of Sufficld. There are several families in this town that are 
all hopefully pious ; yea, there are several numerous fami- 
lies, in which, I think, wc have reason to hope that all the 
children are truly godly, and most of them lately become so t 
And there are very few houses in the Avhole town, into which 
salvation has not lately come, in one or more instances. There 
are several 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 also 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 operation, on the hearts of many : 'Tis wonder- 
ful that persons should be so suddenly, and yet so greatly 
changed : 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 a degree of saving light, 
and love, and joy, that many have experienced. It has also 
been very extraordinary in the extent of it, and its being so 
swiftly propagated from town to town. In former times of 
the pburing out of the spirit of God on this '.own, though in 
some of them it was very remarkable, yet it reached no fur- 
ther than this town, theneighboring towns all round continu- 
ed unmoved. 

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 amongst us in so wonderful a manner, that so 


far as I, by looking back, can jiidge from the particular ac- 
quaintance I have had with souls in this work, it appears to 
me probable, to have been at the rate, at least of four persons 
in a day, or near thirty in a week, take one with another, for 
five or six weeks together : When God in so remarkable a 
manner took th(? 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 magnifying and aggrandizing the matter ; and to 
think that, for want of judgment, I take every religious pan-g, 
and enthusiastic conceit, for saving conversion ; and I do not 
much wonder if they should be apt to think so : And for tKis 
reason, I have forborn 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 dis- 
tant persons may be under as great advantage as may be, to 
judge for themselves of this mratter, I would be a little more 
large, and particular. 

I therefore proceed to give an account of the manner of 
persons being wrought upon ; and here there is a vast vari- 
ety, 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 eter- 
nally, and that it is of great importance to them that they 
speedily escape, and get into a better state. Those that before 
were secure and senseless, are made sensible how much they 
were in the way to ruin in their former courses. Some are 
Vol. III. D 



more suddenly seized with convictions ; it may be, by the 
news of others conversion, or something they hear in public, 
or in private conference, their consciences are suddenly smit- 
ten, as if their hearts were pierced through with a dart : Oth- 
ers have awakenings that come upon them more gradually, 
they begin at first to be something more thoughtful and con- 
siderate, 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 acccordingly set them- 
selves seriously to meditate on those things that have the most 
awakening tendency, on purpose to obtain convictions ; and 
so their awakenings have increased, till a sense of their mis- 
cry, by God's spirit setting in therewith, has had fast hold of 
them. Others that, before this Avonderful time, had been 
something religious and concerned for their salvation, 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 persons, 
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 quarrels, backbitings, and 
intermeddling with other men's matters ; the tavern was soon 
left empty, and persons kept very much at home ; none went 
abroad unless on necessary business, or on some religious ac- 
count, and every day seemed in many respects like a sabbath- 
day. And the other effect was, that it put them on earnest 
application to the means of salvation, reading, prayer, medi- 
tation, the ordinances of God's house, and private conference ; 
their cry was, Jiliat shall we do to be saved ? The place of re- 
sort was now altered, it was no longer the tavern, but the min- 
ister's house ; that was thronged far more than ever the tav- 
ern had been wont to be. 


There 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 s.uch a sense of the 
displeasure of God, and the great danger they were in of dam- 
nation, that they could not sleep at nights; 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 persons minds, has 
had a painful influence on their bodies, and given disturbance 
to animal nature. 

The awful apprehensions persons have had of their misery, 
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 circumstances 
of their minds : Sometimes they think themselves wholly 
senseles, 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 that fear, and are in great earnest 
to obtain convictions again. 

Together with those fears, and that exercise of mind which 
is rational, and which they have just ground for, they have of- 
ten suffered many needless distresses of thought, in which Sa- 
tan probably has a great hand, to entangle them, and block up 
their way ; and sometimes the distemper pf melancholy has 
been evidently mixed ; of which, when it happens, the tempter 
seems to make great advantage, and puts an unhappy bar in 
the way of any good effect : One knows not how to deal with 
such persons ; they turn every thing that is said to them the 
wrong way; and most to their own disadvantage : And there 
is nothing that the devil seems to make so great a handle of, 
as a melancholy humor, unless it be the real corruption of th» 
heart. ?? 


But it has been very remarkable, that there has been far 
less of this mixture in this time of extraordinary blcssint^, 
than there was wont to l)e in persons under awakenings at other 
times ; for it is evident that many that before had been ex- 
ceedingly involved in such difficulties, seemed now strangely 
16 be set at liberty : Some persons that had before for a long 
time, been exceedingly entangled with peculiar temptations, 
of one sort or other, and unprofitable and hurtful distresses, 
were soon helped Qver former stumbling blocks, that hindered 
any progress towards saving good ; and convictions have 
wrought more kindly, and they have been successfully carried 
<m in the way to life. And thus Satan seemed to be restrain- 
ed, 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 sensible. 
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 expresed themselves 
much amazed at their own insensibility and sottishness, in 
slich 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 overborn, 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 ter- 
ror for fear that God will instantly do it ; but more common- 
ly 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 convietions have 
not seemed to work so much that way, but they seem to be 
led further down hito their own hearts, to a further sense of 
their own universal depravity, and deadness in sin. 

The corruption of the heart has discovered itself in various 
exercises in the time of legal convictions ; sometimes it ap- 
pears in a great struggle, like something roused by an enemy, 
and Satan the old inhabitant seems to exert himself, like a ser- 
pent 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 acquaintances and companions, when 
they are thought to be converted : Indeed 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 en- 
vious 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 hinderance of the good 
of their souls : But in some other instances, where persons 
have been much terrified at the sight of such wickedness in 
thtir 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 from all self confidence. 

The drift of the spirit of God in his legal strivings with per- 
sons, has seemed most evidently to be, to make way for, and 
to bring to, a conviction of their absolute dependence on his 
sovereign power and grace, and universal necessity of a me- 
diator, by lt!ading them more and more to a sense of their ex- 
ceeding wickedness, and guiltiness in his sight ; the pollution, 
and insufficiency of their own righteousness, that they can in 
r>o wise help themselves, and that God would be wholly just 
and righteous in rejecting them, and all that they do, aiid in 
casting them off for ever : Though there be a vast variety, as 


♦a the manner, and distinctness of persons' convictions of th«3c 

As they are gradually more and more convinced of the corrup- 
tion and wickedness of their hearts, they seem to themselves to 
grow worse and worse, harder and blinder, and more desper- 
ately wicked, instead of growing better : They arc ready to be 
discouraged 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 that none ever obtained mercy that were so wicked as 

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 na- 
tm'e, their enmity against God, the pride of their hearts, their 
unbelief, their rejection of Christ, the stubbornness and obsti- 
nacy of their wills ; and the like. In many, God malies 
much use of their own experience, in the course of their 
awakenings and endeavors after saving good, to convince them 
of their own vile emptiness and universal depravity. 

Very often under first awakenings, when they are brought 
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 strictly, and confess their sins, and perform many relig- 
ious duties, with a secret hope of appeasing God's anger, and 
making up for the sins they have committed : And oftentimes, 
at first setting out, their affections are moved, and they are full 
of tears, in their confessions and prayers, which they are 
ready to make very much of, as though they were some atone- 
ment, and had power to move correspondent affections in God 
too : And hence they are for a while big with expectation of 
what God will do for them ; and conceive that they grow bet- 
ter apace, and shall soon 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 do not find such a prospect of being sooti converted as 
they thought ; instead of being nearer, they seem to be far- 
ther 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 ; all fail, they see no token of hav- 
ing inclined God's heart to them, they do not see that he hears 
their prayer 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 with fears of perishing, and their former 
hopes of prevailing on God to be merciful to them in a great 
measure fail, sometimes their refigious affections have turned 
into heart risings against God, because that he would not pity 
them, and seems to have little regard to their distress and pit- 
eous cries, and to all the pains they take : They think of the 
mercy that God has shown to others, how soon, and how eaa- 
ly 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 spirit 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 manner about him ; 
and it may be have great fears that they have committed the 
unpardonable sin, or that God will surely never shew mercy 
to them that are such vipei's : And are often tempted to leave 
off in despair. 

But then perhaps, by something they read or hear of the in- 
finite mercy of God, and allsufficiency of Christ for the chief 
of sinners ; they have soine encouragement and hope renew- 
ed ; but think that as yet they are not fit to come to Christ, 
they are so wicked that Christ will never accept of them : 
And then it may be they set themselves upon a new course 
of fruitless endeavors in their own strength to make themselves 


better, and still meet with new disappointments : They arc 
earnest to inquire what they shall do ? They do not know but 
there is somethinij; 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 arc told 
that they trust too much to their own strength and righteous- 
ness, they cannot unlearn this practice all at once, and find 
not yet the appearance of any good, but all looks as dark 
as midnight to them. Thus they wander about from moun- 
tain to hill, seeking rest and finding none : When they are 
beat out of one refuge they fly to another, till they are, as 
it were, del^ilitated, broken, and subdued with legal humb- 
lings ; in which God gives them a conviction of their own ut- 
ter heiplessness and insufficiency, and discovers the true rem- 
edy in a clearer knowledge of Christ and his gospel. 

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 biinging 
themselves to see spiritual things aright, and towards putting 
forth gracious exercises in their own souls ; they are not sen- 
sible how remote they are from love to God, and other holy 
dispositions, and how dead they are to sin. When they see 
unexpected pollution in their own hearts, they go about to 
wash away their own defilements, and make themselves 
clean ; and they weary themselves in vain, till God shews 
them it is in vain, and that 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 tlieir own experience only, but the convinc- 
ing influence of God's spirit with their experience, that at- 
tains the eflcct : 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 them so sensible of 


fheir exceeding great vileness, and given them such a sense 
of his wrath against sin, as has quickly overcome all their 
vain self confidence, and borne them down into the dust be- 
fore a holy and righteous God. 

There have been some who have not had great terrors, but 
have had a very quick work. Some of those that have not 
had so deep a conviction of these things before their conver- 
sion, have, it may be, much more of it afterwards. God has 
appeared far from limiting himself to any certain method in 
his proceedings with sinners under legal convictions. In some 
instances it seems easy for our reasoning powers to discern 
the methods of divine wisdom, in his dealings with the soul 
imder 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, ap- 
pear no less eminent in gracious experiences afterwards. 

There is in nothing a greater difference, in different per- 
sons, than with respect t6 the time of their being under troub- 
le ; some but a few- days, and others for months or years. 
There were many in this town that had been before this ef- 
fusion 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 were concerned to 
such a degree as to be very uneasy, so as to live an un- 
comfortable, 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 estate, who 
now in this extraordinary time have received light ; but m.any 
df then! 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 pur- 
s'uit 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 grew 
up to a holy rejoicing in the infinite blessings God had be- 
stowed upon them. 

And whatever minister has a like occasion to deal with 
souls, in a flock under such circumstances, as this was in the 
Vol. III. F, 


last year, I cannot but think he will soon find himself under a 
necessity, greatly to insist upon it with them, that God is un- 
der no manner of obligation to shew any mercy to any natur- 
al man, whose heait is not turned to God : And that a man can 
challenge nothing, either in absolute justice, or by free prom- 
ise, from any thing he does before he has believed on Jesus 
Christ, or has true repentance begun in him. It appears to 
mc, that if I had taught those that came to me under trouble, 
any other doctrine, I should have taken a most direct course 
utterly to have undone them : I should have directly crossed 
what was plainly the drift of the spirit of God in his influences 
upon them ; for if they had believed what I said, it would ei- 
ther have promoted selfflattery and carelessness, and so put 
an end to their awakenings ; or cherished and established 
their contention and strife with God, concerning his dealings 
with tliem and othere, and blocked up their way to that hu- 
miliation before the sovereign disposer of life and death, 
whereby God is wont to prepare them for his consolations. 
And yet those that have been under awakenings, have often 
times plainly stood in need of being encouraged, by being told 
of the infinite and allsnfficient mercy of God in Christ ; and 
that it is God's manner to succeed diligence, and to bless his 
OAvn means, that so awakenings and encouragements, fear and 
hope, may be duly mixed, and proportioned to preserve their 
minds in a just medium between the two extremes of selfflat- 
tery and despondence, both which tend to slackness and negli- 
gence, and in the end to security. 

I think I -have found that no discourses have been more re- 
markably blessed, than those in which the doctrine ofj God's 
absolute sovereignty with regard to the salvation of sinners, 
and his just liberty, with regard to answering the prayers, or 
succeeding the pains of mere natural men, continuing such, 
have been insisted on. I uever found so much immediate sav- 
ing fruit, in any incasure, of any discourses I have offered to 
my congregation, as some from those words. Rom. iii. 19. 
" That every mouth may be stopped ;" endcavoiing to shew 
from 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 troub- 
les, is a conviction of the justice of God in their condemna- 
tion, in a sense of their own exceeding sinfulness, and the 
vileness of all their performances : In giving an account of 
this they expressed themselves very vaiiously ; some, that 
they saw 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 eter- 
nity ; some, that they see that God may justly have no rer 
gard 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 
any blessing at the hands of God ; some have declai'ed them- 
selves to be in the hands of Cod, that he can and may dispose 
of them just as he pleases ; some that God may glorify him- 
self in their damnation, and they wonder that God has suffer- 
ed them to live so long, and has not cast them into hell long 

Some are brought to this conviction, by a great sense of 
their sinfulhess, 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 memory, and beh>g 
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 fr<jm 
a view they have of the horridness of some particular exercis- 
es of corruption, which they have had in the time of their 
awakening, 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 rejecting^ 
him 9(nd his grace. 


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 
jlist and righteous in his threatenings, and that they are de- 
serving of nothing : And many times, though they had not 
fio particular a sight of it at the beginning, they have very 
cleai discoveries of it soon afterwards, with great humblings 
in the dust before God. 

Commonly persons' minds immediately before this discove- 
ry of God's justice are exceeding restless, and in a kind of 
struggle and tumult, and sometimes in mere anguish ; but 
generally, as soon as they have this conviction, it immediately 
brings their minds to a calm, and a before unexpected quiet- 
ness and composure ; and most frequently, though not al- 
ways, 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 whereby they 
^re 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 humiliation that 
they have often heard insisted on, and that others experience. 

In many persons, the first convictions of the justice of God 
in their condemnation, which they take particular 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 le- 
gal : Though it be after legal humbliags, and much of a sense 
of their own helplessness, and of the insufficiency of their own 
duties ; yet it does not appear to be forced by mere legal ter- 
rors and convictions ; but rather from an high exercise of 
grace, in saving repentance, and evangelical humiliation ; for 
there is in it a sort of coiTiplacency of soul, in the attribute of 
God's justice, as displayed in his threatenings of eternal damn- 
ation to sinners. Sometimes at the discovery of it, they can 


scarcely forbear crying out, 'Tis just ! 'Tis 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 part tvith 
God against themselves, and would glorify his justice therein. 
And when it is thus, they commonly have some evident sense 
of free and alisufficient grace, though they give n© distinct ac- 
count of it ; but it is mani fest, by that great degree of hope and 
encouragement that they then conceive, though they were 
never so sensible of their own vileness and illdeservings as 
they are at that time. 

Some, when in such circum.stances, have felt that sense of 
the excellency of God's justice, appearing in the vinolictive ex- 
ercises 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 called it 
a willingness to be damned ; though it must be owned they 
had not clear and distinct ideas of damnation, nor does any 
■\Tord in the Bible require such selfdenial as this. But the 
truth is, as some have more clearly expressed it, that salvation 
has appeared too good for them, that they were worthy of 
nothing but condemnation, and they could not tcU how to think 
of salvation's being bestowed upon them, fearing it was incon- 
sistent 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 ir.anifestation is made to the soul of the grace of 
God, as revealed in the gospel ; but very often some comfort- 
able and sweet view of a merciful God, of a sufficient Redeem- 
er, or of some great and joyful things of the gospel, imme- 
diaiely 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 allsufficient grace*' 
&i--i M near, that they seem to go as it were together. 


These gracious discoveries that are given, whence the firsi 
special comforts are cUrived, are in many respects very va- 
rious ; more frequently Christ is distinctly made the object of 
the mind, in his allsufficiency and w^illingness to save sinners r 
But some have their thoughts more especially fixed on God> 
in some of his sweet and glorious attributes manifested in the 
gosp>el, and shining forth in the face of Christ : Some vievethe 
allsufficiency of the mercy and grace of God ; some chiefly the 
infinite ix)\ver 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 certainty 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 invitations, 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 wonderfulness of the dy- 
ing love of Christ ; and some with the sufficiency and prec- 
iousness of his blood, as offered to make an atonement for sin; 
and others with the value and glory of his obedience and right- 
eousness. In some the excellency and loveliness of Christ 
chiefly engages their thoughts ; in some his divinity, tliat he 
is indeed the son of the living God ; and in others the excel- 
lency of the way of salvation by Christ, and the siutab.leness 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 sight or discov- 
ery ; others think 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 what is merely 
circumstantial or gradual. 

There is often, in the mind, some particular text of scrip- 
ture, holding forth some evangelical ground of consolation ; 
sometimes a multitude of texts, gracious invitations and prom- 
ises flowing in one after another, filling the soul more and 
more with comfort and satisfaction ; and comfort is first given 
to some while reading some portion of scripture ; but in soma 
it is attended with no particular scripture at all, either in read- 


T^■Q or meditation. In some? many divine things seem to be 
discovered to the soul as it were at once ; others have their 
tuinds 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 interruptions 
of much darkness. 

The way that grace seems sometimes first to appear after 
legal humiliation, is in earnest longings of soul after God and 
Oiiist, to know God, to love him, to be humbled before him, 
to have communion v/ith Christ in his benefits ; which long- 
ings, as they express th'em, seem evidently to be of such a na- 
ture as can arise from nothing but a sense of the superlative 
excellency of divine things, with a spiritual taste and relish of 
them, and an esteem of them as their highest happiness and 
best portion. Such longings as I speak of, are commonly at- 
tended with firm resolutions to pursue this good forever, to- 
gether with a hoping, waiting disposition. When persons 
have begun in such frames, commonly other experiences and 
discoveries have soon followed, which have yet more clearly 
manifested a change of heart. 

It must needs be confest that Christ is not always distinctly 
and explicitly thought of in the first sensible act of grace 
(though most commonly he is ;) but sometimes he is the ob- 
ject of the mind only implicitly. Thus sometimes when per- 
sons have seemed evidently to be stript of all their own right- 
eousness, and to have stood self condemned as guilty of death, 
they have been comforted with a joyful and satisfying viewj 
that the mercy and grace of God is sufficient for them ; that 
their sins, though never so great, shall be no hinderance to 
their being accepted ; that there is mercy 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 a little inter- 
rogated about it, it appears that the revelation of the mercy of 
God in the gospel, is the grovlnd 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 
m him, and not in any wise moved by any thing in them- 


So sometimes disconsolate souls amongst us, hare been t6' 
Tived and brought to rest in God, by a sweet sense given of 
his jrrace and faithfulness, in some special invitation or prowi- 
ise, in vhich is no particular mention of Christ, nor is it ac- 
compunicd with any distinct thought of him in their minds ; 
but yet it is not received as out of Christ, but as one of the in- 
Titations or promises made of God to poor sinners through his 
son Jesus, as it is indeed ; and such persons have afterwards 
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 amongst 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 
timeoftheii- being converted: To see that there is such an 
allsufficiency 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 delightful 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 Avhole lives to God and his son, 
and patiently to wait till God shall see fit to make all effectual ; 
and very often they entertain a strong persuasion, that he will 
in his own time do it for them. 

There is Avrought in them a holy repose of soul in God 
tlirough 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 sensible that the obe- 
dient 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 thev feel in the mercy and 
complete salvation of God, as it includes pardon and sanctili- 


eation, and is held forth to them only through Christ, is a 
tru« receiving of this mercy, or a plain evidence of their re- 
ceiving it. They expected I know not what kind of act 
of soul, and perhaps they had no distinct idea of it them- 

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 gmces of God's 
spirit, such as a spiritual sight of Christ, faith in Christ, pov- 
€rty of spirit, trust in God, resignedness to God, &c. were ex- 
pressions that did ^ot convey those special and distinct ideas 
to their minds which they were intended to signify : Perhaps 
10 some of them it was but little move than the nannes of col- 
ers are to convey 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 formed a notion in their 
own minds what these things were ; but when they come to 
be the subjects of them themselves, they find themselves 
much confounded in their notions, and overthrown in many of 
their former conceits. And it has been very observable, 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 con- 
verted, declare that all their former wisdom is brought to 
nought, and that 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 

It was very Avonderful to see after what manner person's af- 
fections were sometimes moved and wrought upon, when God 
Vol. III. F 


(lid, as it were, suddenly open their eyes, and let into therr 
minds, a sense of the greatness of his grace, and fulness of 
Christ, and his readiness to save, who before were broken 
ivilh apprehensions of divine wrath, and sunk into an abyss 
under a sense of guilt, which they were ready to 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 fortli into laughter, tears often at the same time issuing 
like a flood, and intermingling a loud weeping : And some- 
times they have not been able to forbear crying out with aloud 
voice, expressing their great admiration. In some even the 
view of the glory of God's sovereignty in the exercises of his 
grace, has surprised the soul with such sweetness, as to pro- 
duce the same effects. I remember an instance of one, who, 
reading something concerning God's sovereign way of saving 
sinners^ as being selfmoved, and having no regard to men's 
own righteousness as the motive of his grace, but as magnify- 
ing himself, and abasing man, or to that purpose, felt such a 
sudden rapture of joy and delight in the consideration of it ; 
and yet then suspected 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 help- 
ed by particular instruction. There are undoubted instances 
of some that have lived in this w?y for many years together ; 
and a continuing in these circumstances of being converted 
and not believing it, has had various consequences, with va- 
rious persons, and with the same persons, at various times ; 
some continue in great encouragement and hope, that they 
shall obtain mercy, in a stedfast resolution to persevere in 
seeking it, and in an 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 with- 
draw of the influences of the spirit of God, they return to 
greater distress than ever; for they have now a far greater 


sense of the misery of a natural condiUon 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 neg- 
lect. In such a case persons 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. 

I have been much blamed and censured by many, that I 
should make it my practice, when I have been satisfied con- 
cerning persons' good estate, 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 under- 
taken to judge of, has rather been qualifications, and declared 
experiences, than persons : Not but that I have thought it my 
duty, as a pastor, to assist and instruct persons in applying 
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 con- 
cerning 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 com^ 
fort of rejoicing with those of my flock, that have been in great 
distress, Avhose circumstances I have been acquainted Avith, 
■when there seems to be good evidence that those that were 
dead are alive, and those that were lost are found. I am sen- 
sible 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 foremen- 
tioned accounts ; and it has been found to be that which God 
has most remarkably owned and blessed amongst us, both t^ 
the persons themselves, and others. 

44 ^ KtCk ATIYT. 'OF 

Grace itt rtiatiy 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 hard clod of earth ; and 
many in such castas have labored to theilr utmost to divert their 
minds from the pleasing and joyful views they have had, and 
to suppress those consolations and gracious aft'ections that 
arose thereupon. And ■wheti it has once come into their 
minds to inquire whether or no this Was not tt'ue grace, they 
have been much afraid lest they should be deceived with com- 
mon illuminations and flashes of aftection, and eternally un- 
done with a false hope. But When they have been better in- 
structed, and so brought to allow of hope, this has awakened 
the gracious disposition of their hearts into life and vigor, as 
the warm beams of the sun in the spring, have quickened the 
seeds and productions of the eai'th : Grace being now at liber- 
ty, 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 
& means of prornoting his work amongst us, as the news c(f 
others conversion ; in the awakening sinners, and engaging 
them earnestly to seek the same blessim^-, and in the quicken- 
ing of saints. Though I have thought that a minister's de>- 
claring his judgment about particiilar pei-son's experiences, 
might from these things be justified, yet I am often signify- 
ing to my people how unable man is to \iti6w another*s heart, 
and how unsafe it is depending merely on the judgment of 
ministers, or others ; and have abundantly insisted on it with 
them, that a manifestation of sincerity in fruits brought forth, 
is better than any manifestation they can make of it in words 
alone can be ; and that without this, all pretences to spiritual 

experiences are vain ; as all my congregation can witness 

And the people in general, in this late extraordinary time, 
have manifested an extraordinary dread of being deceived, 
being exceeding fearful lest they should build wrong, and 
some of them backward to receive hope, even to a great ex- 
treme, which has occasioned me to dwell longer on this ipart 
of the narrative. 


Conversioii is a great and glorious •\\'OTk of God's power, 
at once changing the heart, and infusing life into the dead 
soul ; though that grace that is then inipianled does more 
gradually display itself in some than in others. But as to fix- 
ing on the precise time when they put forth the very first 
act of grace, there is a great deal of difference in different 
persons ; in aotne it seems to be very discernible -when 
the very time of this was ; but others are moi'e at a loss. 
In this respect there are very many that do not know the time 
(as has been already observed) when they have the first 
exercises of grace, do not know that it is the grace of conver- 
sion, 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 
experienced in the first exercises of grace, they are at a losS 
AVhether it was any more than a common illumination ; or 
whether some other, rnoa'e clear and remarkable experience, 
that they had afterwards, was not the first that v/as 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 
t)f God^s to its manifestation in the heart of a convert, as it is 
said Mark iv. 26, 27, 28. « So is the kingdom of God, as if a 
man should cast seed into the ground, and shovild sleep, and 
rise night and day, and the seed should spring, and grow up, 
he knoweth not how ; for the earth bringeth 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, sud- 
43enly shining in iipon a person, and uU around him : They 
are in a remarkable manner brought out of darkness into mar' 
■vellous light. In many others it has been like the dawning 
of the day, when at first but a little liuht appears, and it 
may be is presently hid with a cloud ; and then it appears 
again and shines a little brighter, and gradually Increases, 
with intervening darkness, till at length, perhaps, it breaks 
forth more clearly from behind the clouds. And many arc, 
doub less, ready to date their conversion wrong, throwing by 
those lesser degrees of light that appeared at first dawning, 
and calling some more remarkable experience, that they had 


afterwards, their conversion ; which often in great measure 
ai-ises from a wrong understanding of what they have always 
been taught, that conversion is a great cliangc, wherein old 
things are done anvay, and all things become new, or at least 
from a false arguin;:^ 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 invitations, promises, and 
doxologies flowing in one after another, bringing great light 
and comfort with them, filling the soul brim full, enlarging 
the heart, and opening the mouth in religion. And it seems 
to me necessary to suppose, that there is an immediate in- 
fmence of the spirit of God, oftentimes in bringing texts of 
scripture to the mind : Not that I suppose it is done in a >vay 
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 
p.nd such passages of scripture, and exciting them in the mem- 
pry. Indeed, in some, God seems to bring texts of scripture 
io their minds no otherwise than by leading them into such 
frames and meditations, as harmonize with those scriptures ; 
but in many persons there seems to be something more than 

Those that while under legal convictions, had the greatest 
terrors hav.e not always obtained the greatest light and comfort; 
jior 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 gradually comes in ; small glinip;jcs at first, after 
their midnight darkness, ajnd a word or two of comfort, as it 
■were, softly spoken to them ; they have a little taste of the 
sweetness of divine grace, and the love of a Saviour, when 
terror and distress of conscience begins lo be turned into an 
humble, meek sense of their own unwortliiness before God ; 
and there is felt inwardly, perhaps, some disposition to praise 


God ; and after a little while the light comes in more clearly 
and powerfully. But yet, I think more frequently, great ter- 
rors have been followed with more sudden and great light, 
and comfort ; when the sinner seems to be, as it were, sub- 
dued 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 very commonly 
bring an extraordinary conviction of the reality and certainty 
of the great things of religion ; (though in some this is muck 
greater, some time after conversion, than at first :) They 
have that sight and taste of the divinity, or divine excellency, 
that there is in the things of the gospel, that is more to con- 
vince them, than reading many volumes of arguments without 
it. It seems to me that in many instances amongst us, when 
the divine excellency and glory of the things of Christianity 
have been set before persons, and tliey 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 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 we would ask them why they be- 
lieved those things to be true, would not be able well to ex- 
press, or communicate a sufficient reason, to satisfy the in- 
quirer, and perhaps Avould make no other answer but that they 
see them to be true : But a person may soon be satisfied, by a 
particular conversation with them, that what they mean by 
such an answer, is, that they have intuitively beheld, and im- 
mediately felt, most illustrious works, and powerful evidence 
of divinity in them. 

Some are thus convinced of the truth of the gospel in gen- 
eral, 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 are in a special manner convinced of 
the divinity of the things they are reading of, in soine por- 
tion of scripture. Some have such convictions in a much 


more remarkable manner than others. And there are somo 
that never had such a special sense of the certainty of divino 
things impressed upon them with such inward evidence and 
strenp;th, have yet very clear exercises of grace ; i. e. of love 
to God, repentance, and holiness. And if they be more par- 
ticularly examined, they appear plainly to have an imvard, 
firm persuasion of the reality of divine things, such as they 
do not use to have before their conversion. And those that 
have the most clear discoveries of divine truth, in the manner 
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 conviction of their truth at command : 
In a dull frame they cannot recal the idea, and inward sense 
they had, i)crfectly 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 un- 
belief, and all possibility of doubting, as before : But then at 
particular times, by God's help, the same sense of things rC" 
vives again, like 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 o^vn meditations. 

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 ncAv ; 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 exceeding plain to thorn, 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 so rational to them, that they are 
often at first ready to think they can convince others, and are 


apt to engage in talk Avith every one they meet Avith, almost 
to this end ; and when they are disappointed, are ready to 
wonder that their reasonings seem to make no more impres- 

Many fall under such a mistake as to be ready to doubt of 
their good estate, because there was so much use made of 
their own reason in the conviction they have received ; they 
are afraid that they have no illumination above the natural 
force of their own faculties : And many make that an objec- 
tion against the spirituality of their convictions, that it is so 
easy to see things as they now see them. They have often 
heard that conversion is a work of mighty power, manifesting 
to the soul, what no man nor angel can give, svich a conviction 
of ; but it seems to them that the things that they see are ftp 
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 
veiy often these difficulties are soon removed by those of 
another nature ; for when God Avithdraws, they find them- 
selves 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 re- 
news 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 be- 
fore ; 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 wo- 
man of above seventy years that had spent most of her days 
under Mr. Stoddard's poAverful ministry ; who, reading in the 
Kew Testament, concerning Christ's sufferings for sinners, 
seemed to be surprized and astonished at what she i-ead, 
as at a thing that was real and very wonderful, but quite neW 
to her, insomuch that at first, before she had time to turn her 
thoughts, she wondered within herself that she had never 
heard of it before ; biii then immediately recollected herself, 
and thought that she had often heard of it, and read it, but 
Vol. III. G 


never until now saw it as a thing real ; and then cast in her 
mind, how wonderful this was, that the Son of God should un- 
dergo such things for sinners, and how she had spent her time 
in ungratefully sinning against so good a God, and such a 
Saviotir ; though she was a person, as to what was visi- 
ble, of a very blameless and inoffensive life. And she was so 
overcome by those considerations, that her nature Vi'as ready 
to fail inider them. Those that were about her, and kne\y 
not what was the matter, were surprized and thought she was 
a dying. 

Many have spoke much of their hearts being drawn out in 
love to God and Christ, and their minds being wrapt up in de- 
lightful contemplation of the glory and wonderful grace ofGod, 
and the excellency and dying love of Jesus Christ, 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 Avorld, to go to be w ith Christ. Some 
persons have had longing desires 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, wretched, and unworthy creatures, as 
to weaken the body. Several 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 probalnlity, if God had shewed them a little more of him- 
self, it would have dissolved their frame. I have seen some 
arid been in conversation with them in such frames, Avho have 
certainly been perfectly sober, and very remote from any 
thing like enthusiastic wildness ; and have talked, when able 
to speak of the glory of God's perfections, and the wonderful- 
ness 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 appear- 
ed to be great in proportion to their light and joy. 

Such persons amongst us as have been thus distinguished 
with the most extraordinary discoveries of God, h^ve com- 


utionly in no wise appeared with the assuming;, and selfcon- 
eeited, and selfsufficient airs of enthusiasts ; but exceedingly 
the contrary ; and are eminent for a spirit of meekness, mod- 
esty, selfdiffidence, and a 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 ; nor so ready to 
think others better than themselves. Those that have been 
thought to be converted amongst us, have generally manifest- 
ed 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 excellen? 
cy of the way of salvation, by free and sovereign grace, 
through the righteousness of Christ alone ; and how it is with 
delight that they renounce their own righteousness, and re- 
joice in halving no account made of it. Many have expressed 
themselves to this purpose, that it would lessen the satisfac- 
tion they hope for in heaven, to have it by their own right- 
eousness, or in any other way than as bestowed by free grace, 
and for Christ's sake alone. They speak much of the inex- 
pressibleness of what they experience, how their words fail, so 
that they can in no wise declare it : And particularly speak 
•with exceeding admiration of the superlative excellency of 
that pleasure and delight of soul which they sometimes 
enjoy ; how a little of it is sufficient to pay them for all the 
pains and trouble they have gone through in seeking salva- 
tion ; and how far it exceeds all earthly pleasvu'es : And some 
express inuch of the sense which these spiritual views give 
them of the vanity of earthly enjoyments ; how mean and 
worthless all these things appear to them. 

Many, while their minds have been filled with spiritual de- 
lights, have, as it were, forgot their food ; their bodily appe- 
tite has failed, while their minds have been entertained with 
meat to eat that others knew not of. The light and comfort 
which some of them enjoy, gives a new relish to their com- 
mon 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 heavr 
ens and earth, appear as it were with a cast of divine glory apd 


sweetness upon them. The sweetest joy that these good 
people amongst us express, thou(!;li it include in it a delight- 
ful sense of the safety of their own state, and that now they 
arc out of danger of hoU ; yet frequently in times of their 
highest spiritual entertainment, this seems not to be the chief 
object of their fixed thought and meditation. The supreme 
attention of their minds is to the glorious excellencies of God 
and Christ, which they have in view ; not but that there is 
very often a ravishing sense of God's love accompanying a 
sense of his excellency, and they rejoice in a sense of tlie 
faithfulness of God's promises, as they respect the future eter- 
nal enjoyment of God. 

The joy that many of them speak of is, tliat to which none 
is to be parallelled ; is that which they find when they are 
lowest in the dust, emptied most of themselves, and as it were 
annihilating themselves before God, when they are nothing, 
and God is all, are seeing their own unworthiness, depending 
not at all on themiselves, but alone on Christ, and ascribing all 
glory to God : Then their souls are most in the enjoyment of 
sali'^ying rest ; excepting, that at such times, they appre- 
hend themselves to be not sufficiently selfabased ; for then 
above all times do they long to be lower. Some speak much 
of the exquisite sweetness, and rest of soul that is to be found 
in the exercises 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 they can- 
not praise him as they would do, and they want to have oth- 
ers 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 longing desire to live to God's glory 
and to do something to his 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 ut- 
terly insufficient to glorify their Creator and Redeemer. 

While God was so remarkably present amongst us by 
his spirit, there was no book so delighted in as the Bible ; 
espociall/ the book of Psalms, the prophecy of Isaiah, and 
the New Testament. Some by reason of their esteem and 


love to God's word, have at some times been greatly and 
wonderfully delighted and affected at the sight of a Bible ; and 
then also, there was no time so prized as the Lord's day, and 
no place in this world so desired as God's house. Our con- 
verts then remarkably appeared united in dear affection to 
one another, and many have expressed much of that spirit of 
love which they felt to all mankind ; and particularly to those 
that had been least friendly to them. Never, I bciieve, was 
so much done in confessing injuries, and making up differ- 
ences as the last year. Persons after their own conversion, 
have commonly expressed an exceeding desire for the conver- 
sion of others : Some have thought that they should be will- 
ing 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 had 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 Avith 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 worthy to be remarked, that some persons by their 
conversion seem to be greatly helped as to their doctrinal no- 
tions 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 return- 
ed 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 re- 

There is a vast difference, as has been observed, in the de- 
gree, and also in the particular manner of persons experiences, 
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 condemna- 
tion ; 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 long- 
ing desires after God, to have communion with him ; others 
more of their abhorrence of themselves for their past sins, 
and earnest longings to live to God's glory for the time to 
come ; some have their minds fixed more on Ciod, others on 
Christ, as I have observed before, and am afraid of too much 
repetition ; but it seems evidently to be the same work, the 
same thing done, the same habitual change wrought 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 circuinstances in which persons are wrought on, and 
an opportunity of seeing so much of such a Mork of God, will 
shev/ 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 occasioned some 
good people amongst us, that were before too ready to make 
their own experiences a rule to others, to be less censorious 
and more extended in their charity, and this is an excellent 
advantage indeed. The work of God has been glorious in its 
variety, it has the more displayed the manifoldness and un- 
scarchableness of the wisdom of God, and wrought more 
charity among his people. 

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 ha\c a high degree of satis- 
faction in this matter, almost constantly : And yet it is rare 
that any do enjoy so full an assurance of their interest in 
Christ, that selfexamination should seem needless to them ; 
unless it be at particular seasons, m hile in the actual enjoyment 
of some great discovery, that God gives of his glory, and rich 
jrace in Christ, to the drawing forth of extraordinary acts of 


^vace. But the greater part, as they sometimes fall into dead 
fraYnes of spirit, are frequently exercised with scruples and 
fears concernin^^ their condition. 

They generally have an awful apprehension of the dreadful- 
ness and undoing nature of a false hope ; and there 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 have related their expe- 
riences, have been greatly afflicted with fears, lest they have 
played the hypocrite, and used stronger terms than their case 
■would fairly allov/ of; and yet could not find how they could 
correct themselves. 

I think that the main ground of the doubts and fears that 
persons, after their conversion, have been exercised with about 
their own state, has been that they have found so much cor- 
ruption remaining in their hearts. At first their souls seem to 
be all alive, their hearts are fixed, and their affections flow- 
ing ; they seem to live quite above the world, and meet with 
but little difficulty in religious exercises ; and they are ready- 
to think it will always be so :... .Though they are truly abased 
imder 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 Meandering thoughts in the time of pubUc and 
private worship, and to be utterly unable to keep themselves 
from them ; also, when they find themselves unaffected at 
seasons in which^ they think, there is the greatest occasion to 
be affiscted ; and when they feel worldly dispositions working 
in them, and it may be pride, and en\7, and stirrings of re- 
venge, or some ill spirit towards some person that has injured 
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 this they have met with is 
nothing, and that they are mere hypocrites. 

They are ready to argue, that if God liad indeed done such 
great things for them, as they hoped, such ingratitude would 
be inconsistent with it : They cry out of the hardness and 

56 Narrative of 

vickedness of their hearts ; and say there is so much corrup- 
tion, that it seems to them impossible that there should hi anv 
goodness there : And many of them seem to be much more 
sensible how corrupt their hearts are, tlian ever they were 
before they were converted ; and some have been too ready to 
be impressed with fear, that instead of becoming better, they 
are grown much worse, and make it an argument cigainst 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 eye upon their licarts tliat they do not use to 
have : They take more notice what sin is there, and sin is 
now more burdensome 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 
generally had entertained of godly persons ; for though grace 
be indeed of a far more excellent nature than they imagined, 
yet those that are godly have much less of it, and much more 
remaining corruption, than they thought. They never real- 
ized it, that persons were wont to meet with such difiiculties, 
after they were once converted. When they are thus exer- 
cised with doubts about their state through the deadness of 
their frames of spirit, as long as these frames last, they are 
commonly unable to satisfy themselves of the truth of their 
grace by all their selfexamination. When they hear of the signs 
of grace, laid down for them to try themselves by, they are 
often so cloudedj that they do not know how to apply them : 
They hardly know whether they have such and such things in 
them or no, and whether they have experienced them or not: 
That which was sweetest and best, and most distinguishing in 
their experiences, they cannot recover a sense or idea of.... 
But on a return of the influences of the spirit of God, to re- 
vive 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 talking of divine 
things, or ever they are aware, their souls are carried away 
into holy exercises with abundant pleasure. And oftentimes. 


Vrhile they are relating their past experiences to their Christ- 
ian brethren; they have a fresh sense of them revived, and the 
same 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 mindSj to answer their scruples 
and unravel their difficulties, exceeding apposite and proper to 
their circumstances ; by which means their darkness is scat- 
tered ; and often before the bestowment of any new remarka- 
ble 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 
fcomforts were bestowed. 

Many in the country have entertained a mean thought of 
this great work that there has been amongst us, from what 
they have heard of impressions that have been made on persons 
imaginations. But there have been exceedmg great misrep- 
resentations, and innumerable false reports, concerning that 
matter. It is not, 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 eye : I know the conti'ary to 
be a received and established principle amongst us. I cannot 
say that there have been no instances of persons that have 
been ready to give too much heed to vain and useless imagi- 
nation, 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 distinguishing wheat 
from chaff. But such impressions on the imagination as have 
been more usual, seem to me to be no other than what is to 
be expected in human nature in such circumstances, and what 
is the natural result of the strong 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 with- 
in them ideas strongly impressed, and as it Avere, lively pic* 
tures in their minds : As for instance, some when in great 
terrors, through fear of hell, have had lively ideas of a dread- 
ful furnace. Some when their hearts have been strongly im- 
VoL. III. H 


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 risen in the mind an idea of 
one of glorious majesty, and of a sweet and gracious aspect : 
So some, when tlicy have been greatly aifected with Christ's 
death, have at the same time a lively idea of Christ hanging 
upon the cross, and of his blood running from his wounds ; 
"whicli things will not be wondered at by them that have ob- 
served how strong aflections about temporal matters will ex- 
cite lively ideas and pictures of difl"crent things in the mind. 

But yet the vigorous exercise of the mind does doubtless 
more strongly impress it with imaginary ideas in some than 
others, which probably may arise from the difierence of con- 
stitution, and seems evidently in some, partly to arise from 
their peculiar circumstances : When persons have been ex- 
ercised with extreme terrors, and there is a sudden change to 
light and joy, the inaagination seems more susceptive of 
strong ideas, and the inferior powers, and even the frame of 
the body, is much more aflected 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 forementioned Rev. Messrs. Lord and Owen, who, I be- 
lieve, are esteemed persons of learning and discretion where 
they are best known, declared that they found these impres- 
sions 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 purpose. 

There have indeed been some few instances, of impressions 
on persons' imaginations, that have been something myste- 
rious to me, and I have been at a loss about them ; for though 
it has been exceeding evident to me, by many things that ap- 
peared in them, both then (when they related them) and af- 
terwards, that they indeed had a great sense of the spiritual 
excellency of divine, things accompanying them ; yet I have 
not been able v/ell to satisfy myself, whether their imaginary , 
ideas have been more than could naturally arise from their 


spiritual sense of things. However, I have used the utmost 
caution in such cases ; great care has been taken both in pub- 
lic and in private, to teach persons the difference between 
what is spiritual, and what is merely imaginary, I have often 
warned persons not to lay the stress of their hope on any ideas* 
of any outward glory, or any external thing whatsoever, and 
have met with no opposition in sucli instructions. But it h 
not strange if some weaker persons, in giving an account of 
their experiences, have not so prudently distinguished be- 
tween the spiritual and imaginary part ; which some, that 
have not been well affected to religion, might take advantage 

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

The work that has now been wrought on souls, is evidently 
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 convers- 
ed with a considerable number that my grandfather thought 
to be savingly converted in that time : and having been par- 
ticularly acquainted with the experiences of many that were 
converted under his ministry before. And I know no one of 
tliem that in the least doubts of its being the same spirit, and 
the same work. Persons have nov/ nc otherwise been sub- 


jcct to impressions on their imagination than formerly : Thq 
•\vork is of the same nature, and has not been attended with 
any extraordinary- circumstances, excepting such as are anal- 
ogous 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 renew- 
ing, strengthening, edifying influences of the Spirit of God, 
that others have m his converting influences ; and the work 
here has also been plainly the same with that which has been 
■vn-ought in those of other places that have been mentioned, as 
partaking of the same blessing. I have particularly convers- 
ed with persons about their experiences, that belong to all 
parts of the country, and in various parts of Connecticut, 
where a religious concern has lately appeared ; and have been 
informed of the experiences of many others by their own 

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 of their spiritual experiences, which is a 
thing that many have been disgusted at. But hov.ever our 
people may have, in some respects, gone to extremes in it, 
yet it is doubtless a practice that the circumstances of this 
town, and neighboring towns, have naturally led them into. 
Whatsoever people arc in such circumstances, where all have 
their minds engaged to such a degree, 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 effects, and what God has greatly blessed amongst us : 
But it must be confessed, there may have been some ill con- 
sequences of it, which yet are i^'ather to be laid to the indis- 
creet management of it, than to the practice itself ; and none 
can wonder, if, among such a multitude, some fail of exercis- 
ing so much prudence in choosing the time, manner and occa- 
sion of such discourse, as is desirable. 


But to give a clearer idea of the nature and manner of that 
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 pitch upon her 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 disadvantages 
on other accounts, to give a full and clear narrative of her ex-* 
periences, 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 ex- 
press 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 ob- 
served at all to incline her to be notional or fanciful, or to 
occasion any thing of religious melancholy. She was un- 
der awakenings scarcely a v/eek, before there seemed to be 
plain evidence of her being savingly converted. 

She was first awakened in the winter season, on Monday, 
by something she heard her brother say 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 much upon her, and 
stirred up a spirit of envy in her towards this young woman, 
whom she thought very unworthy of being distinguished froni 
others by such a mercy, but withal it engaged 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 princi- 
ples of religion to render her capable of conversion ; where- 
upon she resolved thoroughly to search the scriptures, and 


accordingly immediately bej^an at. the beginning of the Bibic; 
intending to read it through. She continued thus till Thurs- 
day, and then there was a sudden alteration, by a great in- 
crease of her concern, in an extraordinary sense of her own 
sinfulness, particularly the sinfulness of her nature, and wick- 
edness of her heart, which came upon her (as she expressed 
it) as a flash of lightnint;:, and struck her into an exceeding 
terror. Upon Avhich 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 relief 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 be- 
fore her, and her very fiesh trembled for fear of God's wrath ; 
she wondered and Avas astonished at herself, that she had been 
so concerned for her body, and had applied so often to physi- 
cians 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 afflictions she had 
been under, and in want of duty to parents, though others had 
looked upon her to excel in dutifulness. On Saturday she 
was so earnestly engaged in leading the Bible, and other 
books, that she continued in it, searching for something to 
relieve her, till her eyes were so dim, that she could not 
know the letters. Whilst she was thus engaged in reading, 
prayer, and other religious exercises, she thought of those 
words of Christ, wherein he warns us not to be as the hea- 
then, that think they shall be heard for their much speaking ; 
■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 herself, 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 broth- 
er, with a coimtcHance 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 aiTrighted 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, because 
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- 
bathday 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 calmness she 
felt in her mind,which was of that kind which she never felt be- 
fore ; as she thought of this, such words as these Avere in her 
mind ; the words of the'Lord are pure 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 lively 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....w^hich words then seemed to her 
to be very applicable to Jesus Christ. By these things her 
m.ind Avas led into such contemplations and views of Christ, 
as filled her exceeding full of joy. She told her brother in 
the morning that she had seen (i. e. 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, 
said she, God can make it quite easy ! On Monday she felt 
all day a constant sweetness in her soul. She had a repeti- 
tion of the same discoveries of Christ three mornings togeth- 
er, that she had on Monday morning, and much in the same 

64 Narrative of 

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 fulness, her 
soul was filled with distress for Christless persons, to consider 
what a miserable condition they were in ; and she felt in her- 
self a strong inclination immediately to go forth to warn sin- 
ners, and proposed it the next day to her brother to assist her 
in going frorn house to house, but her brother restrained her, 
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 af- 
ter another into the door, so affected her, and so drew forth 
her love to them, that it overcame her, and she almost faint- 
ed : 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 with a flow of affection to them that she thought 
godly, in conversation with them, and sometimes 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 truth, her soul was filled with a sense of the 
glory of each of these divine attributes, but especially the 
last. ...Truth, she said, 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, and 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 conceniing 
what she had experienced ; and she bea;au to give them an 
account, but as she was relating it, it revived such a sense of* 
the same things, that her strength failed, and they were oblig- 
ed to take her and lay her upon the bed. Afterwards she was 
greatly affected, and rejoiced with these woi'ds, worthy is the 
Iamb that nvas slain. 

She had several days together a sweet sense of the excel- 
lency and loveliness of Christ in his meekness, which disposed 
her continually to be repeating over these words, which Avere 
sweet to her, meek and lowly in heart, meek and lowly 
IN HEART. 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 him that she had such a sense of it, that the mere men- 
tioning it was ready to overcome her. 

Once, when she came to me, she told how that at such and 
such a time she thought she saw as much of God, and had as 
much joy and pleasure as was possible in this life, 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 excellent and de- 
lightful manner, and was filled with a more exceeding sweet- 
ness. 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 slie 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 appeai'ed 
most remote from any high thought of herself, and of her 
own sufficiency, but was like a little child, and expressed a 
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 duty. 

She often expressed a sense of the glory of God appearin?^ 
in the trees and growth of the fields, and other works of God'is 
Vol. III. I 


hands. She told her sister that lived near the heart of thft 
town, that she once thought it a pleasant thing to live in the 
middle of the town, but now, says she, I think it much more 
pltasant to sit and see the Avind blowing the trees, and to be- 
hold in the country what God has made. She had sometimes 
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 countenance, and 
once when her sister took notice of it and asked why she 
smiled, she replied, I am brimful of a sweet feeling within ! 
She often used to express how good and sweet it was to lie 
low before God, and the lower, says she, the better ! And that 
it was pleasant to think of lying in the dust all the days of hef 
life, mourning for sin. She was wont to manifest a great 
sense of her own meanness and dependance. She often ex- 
pressed an exceeding compassion, and pitiful love, which she 
found in her heart towards persons in a Chi'istless condition, 
whicli 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 Baid, 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 

She had great longings to die, that she might be with 
Christ, which increased till 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 
M'ell regulated. 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 conld not tell, till at last she found 
herself disposed to say these words....! am quite willing to 
live, and quite willing to die. ...quite willing to be sick, and 
quite willing to be well ; and quite willing for any thing that 
God \\ill 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 long- 
ings for death, as it argued want of such a resignation to God 
as ought to be. She seemed henceforward to coniinr.e 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 awaked out of a little sleep with these words in her 
heart and mouth....! am wiUing to suffer for Christ's sake.. ..I 
am willing to spend and be spent for Christ's sake. ...I am 
willing to spend my life, even my very life for Christ's sake ! 
And though she had an extraordinary resignation, with res- 
pect to life or death, yet the thoughts of dying were exceedmg 
sweet to her. At a time when her brother was reading in 
Job, concerning worms feeding on the dead body, she ap- 
peared with a pleasant smile, and being inquired of about it, 
she said, it was sweet to her to think of her being in such cir- 
cumstances. At another time, when her brother mentioned to 
her the danger there seemed to be that the illness she then 
labored under, might be an occasion of her death, it filled her 
with joy that almost overcome her. At another time, when 
she met a company following a coipse 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 liquid, and but 
vei'y little of that, and with great and long strugglings and 
stranglings, that which she took in, flying out at her nostrils, 
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 she threw to 
her swine would be sweet to her ; but yet when she sav/ tliat 
she could not swallow it, she seemed to be as perfectly con- 
tented without it as if she had no appetite to it. Others were 
greatly moved to see what she underwent, and were filled with 
admiration at her unexampled patience. At a time, Avhen she 
was striving in vain to get down a little food, something liquid, 
^nd was very much spent with it, she looked upon her sister 


•with a smile, saying, O sister, this is for my good ! At anoth- 
er time, M'hcn htr sister was speaking of what she under- 
went, she told her, that she lived an heaven upon earth for 
all that. She used sometimes to say to her sister, under her 
extreme sufferings. ...It is good to be so 1 Her sister once ask- 
ed her, why she said so ? Why, says she, because God would 
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 over- 
come by the sight of things abroad, as shewing 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 ! 
Ai".d once looking upon her sister, with a smile, said, O sister ! 
How good it is ! How swtet and comfortable 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 convert- 
ed, 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 c?me to see her, she would I^e greatly moved 
with compassionate affection. One, in particular, that seem- 
ed 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 compassions, that it overcome 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 replied, 
that she was quite willing either to live or die. ...She was will- 
ing to be in pain. ...She was v, illing to be so always as she was 
then, if that was the will of God. She willed what God will- 
ed. Tiiey asked her whether she was willing 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 clieerful and pleasant countenance, lliat it filled them with 


She was very weak a considerable time before she died, 
having pined away with famine 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 sicius. She 
said she had matter enough to fill up all her time wi'Ji talk, if 
she had but strength. A few days before her deatli, some 
asked her Avhether she held her integrity still ? Whether she 
v/as 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 answered, if I should say 
otherwise, I should speak contrary to 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 \ 
cannot be afraid ! She said, not long before she died, that she 
used to be afraid how she should grapple with death ; but, 
says she. Cod has shewed me that he can inake 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 ask- 
ed her, for she seemed to be dying for three days together ; 
but seemed to continue in an admirable sweet composure of 
soul, without any interruption, to the last, and died as a per- 
son, that went to sleep, without any struggling, about noon, on 
Friday, June 27, 1735. 

She had long been infirm, and often had been exercised 
with great pain ; but she died chiefly of famuie. It was, 
doubtless, partly owing to her bodily weakness, that her na- 
ture was so often overcome, and ready to sink witli gracious 
affection ; 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 v/hcre strong- 
grace might have more liberty, and be without the clog of a 
weak body ; there she longed to be, and there she doubtless 
now is. She was looked upon amongst us as a very eminent 
instance of Christian experience; but this isbut a very broken 
and imperfect account I have given of her : Her eminency 
would much more appear, if her experiences were fully re- 
lated, as she was wont to express and manifest them while 
living. I once read this account to some of her pious neigh- 


box's) who were acquainted ^vith her, who said to this pui-poscy 
that the picture fell much short of the life, and particularly 
that it much failed of duly representing her humility, and 
that admirable lowliness of heart, that at all times appeared in 
her. But there lU'e, (blessed be God !) many living instances 
of much the like nature, and in some things no less extraor- 

But I now proceed to the other instance that I would give 
an account of, which is of the little child forementioned. Her 
name is Phebe 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 beginning of May, 1735, she was greatly af- 
fected by the talk of her brother, who had been hopefully con- 
verted a little before, at aboui; 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 children, 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 observed very constantly to retire, 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 otherwise engaging her inclinations, but nev- 
er could observe her to fail. She mentioned some very re- 
markable instances. 

She once, of her own accord, spake 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 tlie day, 
the child being in the closet, where it used to retircj its moth- 


cr heard it speaking aloud, which was unusual, and never had 
been observed before ; and her voice seemed to be as of one 
exceeding importunate and engaged, but her mother could 
distinctly hear only these words, (spoken in her childish man- 
tier, but seemed to be spoken with extraordinary earnestness, 
land out of distress of soul) Pray bessed lord give me sal- 
vation ! I FRAY, BEG pardon all my sins ! When the child 
had done prayer, she came out of the closet, and came and sat 
doWn by her mother, and cried out aloud. Her mother very 
earnestly asked her several times, what the matter was, before 
she vi^ould make any answer, but she continued exceedingly 
crying, and wreathing her body to and fro, like one in anguish 
of spirit. Her mother then asked her whether she was afraid 
that God would not give her salvation. She then answered 
yes, I am afraid I shall go to hell ! Her mother then endeav- 
ored 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 thus earnestly crying and taking on for 
some time, till at length she suddenly ceased crying and be- 
gan to smile, and presently said with a smiling countenance 
....Mother, the kingdom of heaven is come to me ! Her 
mother Avas surprised at the sudden alteration, and at the 
jspeech, and knew not what to make of it, but at fiist said noth- 
ing to her. The child presently spake again, and said, there 
is another come to me, and there is another. ...there is three J 
and being asked what she meant, she ansv/ered..,.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 its 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 
come out of the closet, meets her mother with this cheerful 
speech... .1 can find God now ! Referring to what she had be- 
fore 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 whether she loved God better than her little sister Rachel, 
^he answered yes, better than any thing ! Then her eldest 
sister, 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 ? No, said the child. 
By this it scorns 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 whether she was 
afraid of going to hell, and that had made her cry. She an- 
swered, yes, I was ; but now I shall not. 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 that afternoon exceeding cheerful 
and joyful. One of the neighbors asked her how she felt her- 
self ? She answered, I feel better than I did. The neighbor 
asked lier what made her feel better ; she answered, God 
lYiakcs me. That evening as she lay a bed, she called one of 
her little cousins to her, that was present in the room, as hav- 
ing something to say to him ; and when he came, she told him 
that heaven was better than earth. The next day being Fri- 
day, her mother asking her her catechism, asked her what 
God made her for ; she answered, to serve him ; and added, 
every body should serve God, and get an interest in Christ. 

The same day the elder children, when they came home 
from school, seemed much afTected 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 
Avhicli Pliebc burst out in tears, and cried out, poor Xabby ! 
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 conthuied earnestly ci'ving for some time ; and 
T\ hen she had in a measure ceased, her sister Eunice being 
Vw her, she hurst out again, and cried, poor Eunice ! and cried 
cxceedinglv ; and when she had almost done, she went into 
another room, and there looked upon 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 neighbors coming in a little after, 
asked her what she had cried for. She seemed, at first back- 
ward 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, Avas at the house, and talked considerably with her of the 
things of religion ; and after he was gone, she sat leaning on 
tiie table, with tears running out of her eyes ; and being ask-> 
ed what made her cry, she said it was thinking about God. 
The next day being Saturday, she seemed great part of the 
day to be in a very affectionate frame, had four turns of cry- 
ing, and seemed to endeavor to curb herself, and hide her 
tears, and was very backward to talk of the occasion of it. On 
the sabbath day she was asked whether she believed in God ; 
she answered yes : And being told that Christ was the Son of 
God, she made ready answer, and said, I know it. 

P'rom this time there has appeared a very remarkable 
abiding change in the child : She 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 particularly- 
counted over that are between, before she will be contented. 
And she seems to love God's house. ...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 the 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 all opportunities, to go to private 
religious meetings, and is very still and attentive at home, in 
prayer time, and has appeared affected in time of family 
prayer. She seems to delight much in hearing religious con- 
versation. When I once was there with some others that M 
were strangers, and talked to her something of religion, she 
Vol. III. K 


Kecmcd more ihan ordinarily attentive ; and ulirn we were 
gone, siie looked out very wistly after us, and said....! wish 
they 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 instance. 
Some time in August, the last year, she went with some big- 
ger children, to get some plumbs, in a neighbor's lot, know- 
ing nothing of any harm in what she did ; but when she 
brought some of the plumbs into the house, her mother mild- 
ly reproved her, and told her, that she must not get plumbs 
w^ilhout leave, because it v as sin : God had commanded lier 
not to steal. The child seemed greatly surprised, a nd burst 
cut into tears, and cried out. ...I will not have these plumbs ! 
And turning to her sister Eunice, very earnestly said to her 
....why did you ask me to go to that plumb tree ? I should 
not have gone if you had not asked lue. The other children 
did not seem to be much affected or concerned ; 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 end ; and when she re- 
turned, her mother told her that the owner had given leave, 
I10W she might cat them, and it would not be stealing. This 
stilled her a little while, but presently she broke out again in- 
to an exceeding fit of crying : Her mother asked her what 
made her cry again ? Why she cried now, since they had ask- 
ed leave ? What it was that troubled her now ? And asked 
her several times very earnestly, before she made any answer ; 
but at last, said it was because... .because it was sin. She 
continued a considerable time crying ; and said she would 
not go again if I'unicc asked her an hundred times ; and she 
retained her avc^rsion to that fruit for a considerable time, un- 
der the remembrance of her former sin. 

She, at some times, appears greatly affected and delighted 

with texts of scripture that come to her mind. Particularly, 

%iibout the beginning of November, the last year, that text 

came to her juind, Rev. iii. 20. Behold I stand at the door and 


'knock : If any mail hear my voice, and open the door^ I ivill 
■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 limes over, with an air of 
exceeding joy and ad miration.... 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 mother perceived that 
she was awake, and heard her as though she Avas 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 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 considera- 
ble time. The next morning she asked her whether she did 
not cry the last night : The child answered yes, I did cry a 
little, for I was thinking 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 

She has often manifested a great concern for the good of 
other souls ; and has been wont, many times, afiectionately 
to counsel the other children. Once about the latter end of 
September, the last year, when she and some others of the 
children were in a room by themselves a 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 ordi- 
nary serious and pensive countenance, but at last she broke 
silence, and said I have been talking to Nabby and Eunice. 
Her mother asked her what she had said to them. Why, suLd 
she, I told them they must pray, and prepare to die, that they 
had but a little while to live in this 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 
4,ook her opportunities to talK to the other children about idie 


great concern of their souls ; sometimes so as mvich to affect 
them, and set them into tears. She was once exceeding im- 
portunate wilh 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 persist- 
ed 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 lives in the woods, had lately lost a cow that the family 
inuch 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 compassions ; and after she had 
attentively heard him a while, she went away to her father, 
who was in the shop, and intreated 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 intreated 
him to give him one of theirs. Her father told her that they 
could not spare one. Then she intreated him to let him and 
his family come and hve at his house ; and had much talk 
of the same nature, whereby she manifested bowels of com- 
passion to the poor. 

She has manifested great love to her minister ; particularly 
when I returned from my long 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. Edwards 
is come home ! Mr. Edwards is come home ! She still con- 
tinues very constant in secret prayer, so far as can be observ- 
ed, (for she seems to have no desire that others should ob- 
serve 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 a bed, thought of it 
and cried out in tears.. ..I have not said my catecliism ! And 
^ould not be quieted till her mother asked her the catechism 
•as she hiy in bed. She sometimes appears to be in doubt 


^bout the condition of her soul, and when asked whether she 
thinks that she is prepared for death, speaks something doubt- 
fully about it : At other times seems to have no doubt, but 
when asked, replies yes, without hesitation. 

In the former part of this great work of God amongst us, 
till it got to its height, we seemed to be wonderfully smiled 
upon and blessed in all 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 set 
at liberty, and not only so, but it was the most remarkable 
time of health that ever I knew since I have been in the town. 
We ordinai'ily have several bills put up, every sabbath, for 
persons that are sick, but now we have not so much as one 
lor many sabbaths together. But after this it seemed to be 
otherwise, when this work of God appeared to be at its great- 
est 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 considerable time ex- 
ceedingly 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 expressed a great 
sense of his sin in so far yielding to temptation, and there are 
in him all hopeful evidences of his having been made a sub- 
ject 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 af- 
ter this time Satan seemed to be more let loose, and raged in 
a dreadful manner. The first instance wherein it appeared, 
was a person's putting an end to his own life, by cutting his 
throat. He was a gentleman of more than common under- 
standing, of strict morals, religious in his bthavio r and an 
useful, honorable person in the town. ...But was of a family 
that are exceeding prone to the disease of melancholy, and his 
mother was killed with it. He had, from the beginning of 
^his extraordinary time, been exceedingly concerned about the 


state of his soul, tind ll)crc were some things in his expe- 
rience, that appeared very liopcrully, but he durst entertain no 
liope concerning- his own good estate. Towards tiie latter 
part of liis time, he grew much discouraged, and melancholy 
grew amain upon him, till he was wholly overpowered by it, 
and was in great measure, past a cajuicity 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 a nights, meditating terror, so that he had scarce 
any sleep at all, for a long time together. And it was observ- 
ed at last, that he was scarcely well capable of managing his 
ordinary business, and was judged delirious by the coioner's 
inquest. The news of this, extraordinarily afTccted the minds 
of 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 had 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 their state, nor were un- 
der any special trouble or concern of mind about any thing 
spiritual or temporal, yet had it urged upon them, as if some- 
body had spoken to them, Cat your o%v?i throaty no-v is a good 
o/i/iortuniiy. Now 1 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 SufBeld, and another at South Hadley : That which has 
made the greatest noise in the country was of the man at 
South Hadley, whose delusion Avas, that he thought himself 
divinely instructed to direct a poor man in melancholy and 
dcf.paiiing circumstances, to say certain words in prayer to 
Cod, as recorded in Psal. cxvi. 4, for his own relief. The 
jnan is esteemed a pious man : I have, since this error of his, 
had a particular acquaintance with him, and, I believe, none 
would question his piety, that had had such an acquaintance. 
He c:ave me u particular account of the manner how he was 
deluded, wh.icb is too long to be here inserted. IJut, in short, 


lie was exceedingly rejoiced and elevated with this extraordl- 
'/laiy work, so carried on in this part of the coiintry, and was 
possessed 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 ba 
many in these times that should be endued Math extraordinary- 
gifts of the Holy Ghost, and had embraced the notion ; though 
he had at first no apprehensions that any besides ministers 
would have such gifts. But he since exceedingly laments 
tiie dishonor he has done to God, and the wound he has given 
religion in it, and has hiin low before God and man for it. 

After these things the instances of conversion Avcre rare 
here in comparison of what they had before been, (tliougli 
that remarkable instance of the little child was after this ;) 
and the spirit of God after that time appeared very sensibly 
withdrawing from all parts of the country, (though we have 
heard of its going on in some places of Connecticut, and that 
it continues to be carried on even to this day.) But religion 
rerilained here, and, I believe in some other places, the main 
subject of convereation for several months after this. And 
there were some turas, wherein God's work seemed some- 
thing to revive, and we were ready to hope that all was going 
to be renewed again ; yet in the main there was a gradual de- 
cline.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 other affairs, as particularly his Excellency the Gov- 
ernor's coming up, and the Committee of the General Court, 
on the treaty with the Indians ; and afterwards the Springfield 
controvei^sy, and since that, our people in this town have been 
engaged in the building of a new meetinghouse ; and some 
other occurrences might be mentioned, that have seemed to 
have this efTcct. 

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 wrought on them : I have 
had particular acquaintance with many of them since, and 
they generally appear to be persons that have a new s^nse of 


thinc^s, new apprehensions and views of God, of the divine at- 
tributes, and Jesus Christ, and the great things of the gospel : 
They have a new sense of the truth of them, and they affect 
them in a new manner ; though it is very far from bein"- al- 
ways alike with them, neither can they revive a sense of 
things when they please. Their hearts arc 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 
arc new appetites, 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 holiness. 

Some that before were very rough in their temper and 
manners seem to be remarkably seftened 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 general 
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, amongst young 
and old ; a religious disposition appears to be still maintained 
amongst our people, by their upholding frequent private re- 
ligious meetings, and all sorts are generally worshipping 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 themselvesw I know of no one 
young person in the town that has returned to former ways of 
looseness and extravagancy in any respect, but we still re- 
main a reformed people, and God has evidently made us a 
new people. 

I cannot say there has been no instance of any one person 
that has carried himself so, that others should justly be stum- 
bled concerning his profession ; nor am I so vain as to imag- 
ine that we have not been mistaken concerning any that we 
bave entertained a good opinion of, or that there are none that 


Jiass amongst us for sheep, that are indeed wolves in sheep'sr 
cloathing, who probably may, some time or other, discover 
themselves by their fruits. 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 marvellous work of conversion and sanclification 
among the people here, and they have paid all due respects to 
those who have been blest of God to be the instruments of it. 
Both old and young have shewn 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 fa- 
vorable thoughts of this affair, and to this day many retain 
a jealousy concerning it, and prejudice against it ; I have rea- 
son to think that the meanness and w^eakness of the instru- 
ment, 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 the circumstance of this great work of 
God is analagous to other circumstances of it ; God has so 
ordered the manner of the work in many respects, as very sig- 
nally and remarkably to shew it to be his own peculiar 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 un- 
worthy, yet so hath it pleased God to work ! And w«e are evi- 
dently a people blessed of the Lord 1 And here in this corner 
of the world, God dwells, and manifests his glory. 

Thus, Reverend Sir, I have given a lar,3;e and particular ac- 
count of this remarkable affair, and yet considering how man- 
ifold God's works have been amongst us, that are worthy to 
be written, it is but a very brief one. I should have sent it 
Hiuch 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 than you would have chos- 
en. I thought that the extraordinariness of the thing, and 
the innumerablemisrepresentations which have gone abroad of 
it, many of which have, doubtless, reached your cars, made U 

Vol. III. K 

82 NARRATIVE OF, ?cc. 

necessary that I should be particular. But I would leave \i 
entirely with 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 de- 
sire, that since he, and the congregation to which he preach- 
ed, 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 ena- 
ble us to bring forth fruit answerable to our profession, and 
our mercies, and that our light may so s/ihic before jnen, that 
others^ seeing our good ivorks, may glorify our father which is in 

When first I heard of the notice the Reverend 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 ; ji city that is set ufion a hill cannot be hid. And hav- 
ing since seen a particular account of the notice of the Rever* 
end 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 
congregation were very sensibly moved and affected at both 

I humbly request of you, Reverend Sir, your prayers for 
this country, in its present melancholy circumstances, into 
which it is brought by the Springfield quarrel, which, doubt- 
less, above all things that have happened, has tended to put a 
stop to the glorious Avork here, and to prejudice 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 resfiect., 

Your obedient son and .servant, 

Northampton, Aov. 6, 1736. 








THE occasion of the following treatise, will 
be seen, in part, in the preceding Narrative. The 
gracious influences of the Holy Spirit, with which 
Northampton was so abundantly enriched, and 
which spread through many towns in its vicinity, 
were soon followed with a very extensive revival 
over the land. An extraordinary zeal was excited 
in many gospel ministers. Itinerants travelled the 
country and preached daily. They addressed their 
crowded audiences, not in the dull monotony of a 
mere moral lecture, but in the demonstration of the 
Spirit, and with power. Their indefatigable labors 
were crowned with the most desirable success. 
Zion put on her robes of salvation. Converts to Je- 
sus were multiplied as the drops of the morning 
dew. Religion became almost the only subject of 
concern. Many indulged the hope that the milleni- 
al glory was commencing. This glorious work 
had its opposers. Advantage was taken of the er- 
rors of some of its most zealous promoters to cry it 
down, and render it altogether suspicious. Mr. 
Edwards's design was to vindicate it, as undoubted- 
ly a work of God, and among the most admirable 
of his triumphs over the hearts of his enemies ; to 
correct errors which attended it, and to excite aug- 
mented efforts for its increase. 

The scene which he describes is past. Let it live 
however in our memories. Let it excite our fervent 


gratitude, and call forth the devout aspirations of 
our souls for the spread of the victories of our glori- 
ous King ill these days. Let the pertinent and in- 
structive sentiments wrought into the treatise, the 
most of which are adapted to every condition in 
which the church and the individual believer can' 
be placed, take deep hold of our hearts and be car- 
ried out in their proper effects in our lives. 

This work had a second edition in Scotland, soon 
after it was first published in this country. 


IJV the ensuing treatise^ I condemn ministers assurning^ of 
taking too much upon them^ and appeanng as though they sup- 
posed that they ivere th? persons^ to v^hom it especially belonged 
to dictate^ direct^ and determine ; but perhaps shall be thought 
to be very guilty of it myself: A7id some., when they read this 
treatise., may be ready to say that I condemn this in others., that I 
may have the monopoly of it. I confess that I liave taken a. 
great deal of liberty freely to express my thoughts^ concerning 
almost every thing appertaining to the Tjonderful ivork of God 
that has of late been carried on in the landy and to declare nvhat 
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 superiors and fathers., ministers of the gospel., and civil rulers. 
But yet I hope the liberty I have taken is not greater than can 
be justifed. In this nation.^ such liberty of the press is alloxv- 
erf, that every author takes leave, nvithout offence., 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 ad- 
ministration., though vastly his superiors. As now at this day., 
private subjects offer their sentimejits to the public, from the 
press, concerning the vianagemcnit of the war with Spain ; freely 
declaring what they think to be the duty of the Parliament, and 
the principal ministers of state, l3'c. We in JVewengland are at 
this day engaged in a more important war : And I am sure, if 
V}e consider the sad jajigling and confusion that has attended it., 
we shall confess that it is highly requisite that some body should 
speak his mind, concerJiing the way in which it ought to be rnan- 
aged : And that not only a few of the mamj particulars, that are 
the matter of strife in the land, should be debated, on the one 
side and the other, i?i pamphlets ; (as has of late been done with 
heat andferceness enough) which does not tend to bring the con' 
■tention in general to an end^ but rather to infame it, and increase 


the uproar. But that something should be published, to bring 
the affair i?i general, and the many tliinga that attend it, that are 
the subjects of debate, under a particular consideration. And 
certainly it is liigh time that this was done. Jf private persons 
may speak their minds -without arrogance ; much more may a 
viinister of the kingdom of Christ speak freely about things of 
this nature, ivhich do so nearly concern the interest of the king- 
dojn of Ms lord and master, at so important a Juncture. If some 
elder imnister had midcrtaken this, I acknoivledge it would have 
been more proper i but I have heard of no such thing a doing, 
or like to be done. I hope therefore J s/uill be excused for un- 
dertaking such apiece of work. J think nothing that I have 
said can justly be interpreted, as though I would impose my 
thoughts tip07i any, or did not suppose that others have equal 
right to think for themselves, with myself We are not account- 
able one to another for our thoughts ; but we miist all give an 
account to him who searches our hearts, and has doubtless his eye 
especially upon us at such an extraordinary season as this. If 
I have well confrmed my opinion concerning 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 slioidd thankfully receive it. I think I have been made in 
some meamire sensible, and much more of late tfian formerly, oj 
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 fol- 
lowing discourse, and have spoken in a manner that savors of a 
spirit of pride, no wonder that others can better discern it tlum I 
myself. If it be so I ask pardon, and beg the prayers of every 
Christian reader, that I may have 7nore light, hu7nility and zeal ; 
and that I may be favored with such measures of the divine Spir- 
it, as a minister of the gospel stands in need cf, at cwh an ex- 
traordinai'v season 





S/iewifjg that the extraordinary Work that has of 
late been going on in this Land, is a glorious Work 
.of God. 

X HE error of those who have had iil thoughts 
of the great religious operations on the minds of men, that 
have been carried on of late in Ne^vengland (so far as the 
ground of such an error has been in the understanding, and 
not in the disposition) seems fundamentally to lie in three 
things J 

First. In judging of this work a priori. 

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

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

I. 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/^n'o?-?, but a posteriori : We ai'e to ob- 
irerve the effect wrought ; and if, upon examination of it, it 

Vol. hi. M 


be found to be agreeable lo the word of God, we are bound, 
V ithout more ado, to rest in it as God's work ; and shall be 
like to be rebuked for our arrogance, if wc refuse so to do till 
God shall explain to us how he has brought this effect to pass, 
or why he has made use of such and such means in doing of 
il. Those texts are enough to cause us with trembling to for- 
bear such a way of proceeding in judging of a work of God's 
Spirit, Isa. xl. 13, l-k " Who hath directed the Spirit of the 
Lord, or being his counsellor hath taught him ? With whom 
took he counsel r And who instructed him, and who taught 
l)im in the path of judgment, and taught him knowledge, and 
shewed to him the way of understanding ?" John iii. 8. 
" The wind bloweth where it listeth ; and thou hearest the 
sound thereof ; but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whith- 
er it gocth." We hear the sound, Ave perceive the efiect, 
and from thence we judge that the Avind does indeed blow ; 
■without waiting, before we pass this judgment, first to be sat- 
isfied 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 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 or 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 Avill ac- 
knowledge his Avork, and give him the glory of it. This is 
too much for the clay to take upon it Avith respect to the Pot- 
ter. God (fives ?iot account of his matters : His Judgments are 
a great deep : He hath his ivay in the sea^ and his path in t he 
great waters, and his footsteps are vot knoxmi ; and who shall 
teach God know/edge, or enjoin him his way, or say tinto him, 
ivhat doest thou ? We know not what is the way of the Spirit, 
vor 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 
vonder, therefore, if those that go this forbidden Avay to Avork, 
in judging of the present Avondcrful operation, are perplexed 
and confounded. We ought to take heed that Ave do not ex- 
pose ourselves to the calamity of those who pried into the ark 


of God, when God mercifully returned it to Israel, after it had 
■departe d from theni . 

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 sovereignty, power, and 
allsufficiency, 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 other corruptions of men ; in a ful- 
filment 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 ot'dering 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 Jerusa- 
lem, 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 inhabi- 
tants of Jerusalem were their citizens, their men of weahh 
and figure : And Jerusalem also was the chief place of the 
habitation or resort of their priests, and Levites, and their of- 
ficers 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 ev- 
ident by the context that this prophecy has respect to some- 
thing further than the saving the people out of the Babylonisli 


God in this work has begun at the lower end, and he ha« 
made use of the weak and foolish things of the world to carry 
on his work. The ministers that have been chiefly improved, 
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 suflercd 
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 par- 
ticularly 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 ambassadors of Christ, and have the care of im- 
mortal 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 preaehcrs. A supine carelessness, and a vain, carnal, 
worldly spirit, in a minister of the gospel, is the worst mad- 
ness and distraction in the sight of God. God may also make 
■use at this day, of the unchristian ccnsoriousness of some 
preachers, the more to humble and purify some of his own 
children and true servants, that have been wrongfully censur- 
ed, to fit them for more eminent service, and future honor 
that he designs them for. 

II. Another foundation error of those that do not acknowl- 
edge the divinity of this work, is not taking the Holy Scrip- 
tures as an ivholc^ 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 
tiling they would judge of agree to, no wonder that ijistead of 


justly and clearly determining, they do but perplex and dark- 
en themselves 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 particularly, 

I. Some make philosophy, instead of the Holy Scriptures, 
their rule of judging of this work ; particularly the philosoph- 
ical notions they entertain of the nature of the soul, its facul- 
ties and affections. Some are ready to say, " There is but 
little sober, solid religion 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 phi- 
losophy, 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 man, as par- 
taking of animal nature, and what he has in common with the 
brute creation, rather than any thing whereby he is conform- 
ed to angels and pure spirits. And though they acknowledge 
that a good use may be made of the affections in religion, yet 
they suppose that the substantial part of religion 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 affections or passions. There 
is a great deal of difference in high and raised affections, Avhich 
must be distinguished by the skill of the observer. Some are 
much more solid 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 
jftf the body ; and that which sometimes more especially ob- 


tains the name of passion, is nothing solid or substantial. But 
it is false philosophy to suppose this to be the case with all ex- 
ercises of affection in the soul, or with all great and high af- 
fections ; and false divinity to suppose that religious affections 
do not appertain to the substance and essence 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 
m some sense acts of the will, and all acts of the will are acts 
♦jfthe affections. All exercises of the will are in some de- 
^Y€c or other, exercises of the soul's appetition or aversion ; 
vx which is the same thing, of its love or hatred. The soul 
Tiills one thing rather than another, or chooses one thing 
rather 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 truly acts 
©f the affections ; though the exercises of the will do not 
obtain the name of passions, unless the will, either in its 
aversion or opposition, be exercised in a high degree, or 
in a vigorous and lively manner. 

All will allow that true virtue or holiness has its seat chiefljr 
in the heart, rather than in the head : It therefore follows, 
from what has been said already, that it consists chiefly in ho- 
ly affections. Tlic things of religion take place in men's 
hearts, no further than they are affected with them. The in- 
forming of the understanding is all vain, any farther than it 
effects the heart ; or which is the same thing, has influence 
on the affections. 

Those gentlemen that make light of these raised affections 
in religion, will 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 capa- 
ble of being raised to an hundred times as great a degree of 
strength as it is in the most eminent saint on earth, or to be 
exerted in an hundred times- so strong and vigorous exercises 


of the heart ; and yet be true religion or holiness still, but oMiy 
in an 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 they not high aifections ? What 
can thev consist in, but in high acts of love ; strong and vigor- 
ous exercises of benevolence and complacence ; high, exalt- 
ing and admiring thoughts of God and his perfections ; strong 
desires after God, Sec. ? And now what are we come to bixt 
high and raised affecfions ? Yea, those very santie high and 
raised affections that before they objected against, or made 
light of, as worthy of little regard ? 

I suppose furthermore that all will allow that there is noth- 
ing but solid religion in heaven : But that there, religion 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, 8cc. ? Therefore 
these things in the saints and angels in heaven, are not to be 
despised and cashiered by the name of great heats and trans- 
ports of the passions. 

And it will doubtless be yet fiu'ther allowed, that the mortf 
■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 observed) 
the more they have of high or raised affections in religion. 

Though there are false affections in religion, and affections 
that in some respects are raised high, that are flashy, yet un- 
doubtedly there are also true, holy and solid afi^ections ; and 
the higher these are raised, the better : And if they are rais- 
ed 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. Chari- 
ty or divine love, is in scripture represented as the sum of all 
the religion of the heart ; but this is nothing but an holy afftc^' 
Hon : And therefore in proportion as this is firmly fixed in 
the soul, aiid raised to agreat height, the more eminent a per- 


sun is in holiness. Divine love or charity is represented aV 
the sum of all the relii^ion 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 prophesy- 
ings shall cease ; and therefore the higher this holy afl'cction 
is raised in the church of (iod, or in a gracious soul, the more 
excellent and perfect is the state of the church, or a particular 

If we take the scripures for our rule then, the greater and 
liigher 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 itiankind, brokenness of heart, abhor- 
rence 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 
«if 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 religious 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 doabt whether it can be the Spirit of God, or whether this 
vehemence be not rather a sign of the operation of an evil 
spirit. But why should such a doubt arise from no oth- 
er 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 X\\q poiver of god- 
liness^ 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 Avith the exceeding greatness of divine power, and 
according to the working of God's mighty power, Eph.i. 19. 
So we read of the eflectual working of his power, Eph. iii. 7. 
And of llie power that workelh in Christians v. 20. And of 
the glorious power of God in the operations of tlie spirit, Col. 
i. 11. And of ihe work of faith, its being wrought with pow- 
er, 2 Tlu-s. i. 1 1, and in 2 Tim. i. 7. The Spirit of God is 
called the spirit of pov.cr, and love, and of a sound mind. Srt 


the spirit is represented by a mighty Avind, 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 to 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 ef- 
fects that religious exercises and affections of mind have up- 
on the body. Scripture rules respect the state of the mind, 
and persons' moral conduct, and voluntary behavior, and not 
the physical state of the body. The design of the Scripture 
is to teach us divinity, and not physic and anatomy. Minis- 
ters are made the Avatchmen of men's souls, and not of their 
bodies ; and therefore the great rule which God has commit- 
ted into their hands, is to make them divines, and not physi- 
cians. Christ knew Avhat 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 doubtless would 
have given ministers rules to judge of bodily 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 everbe faint or cry out ; 
or whether the body should everbe 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 overseers of the state and frami© 
of men's souls, and of their voluntary conduct, according to 
the rules he had given, his church would be well provided for, 
US to its safety in these matters. And therefore those minis- 
ters of Christ and overseers of souls, that busy themselves, 
■and are full of concern about the involuntary motious of the 
fluids and solids of men's bodies, and from thence full of 
doubts and suspicions of the cause, when nothing appears but 
that the state and frame of their minds, and their voluntary 

Voi. in. N 


behavior is good, and agreeable to God's word ; I 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 under- 
take to tell V ho arc 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 likely 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 persons' minds, and their moral 
conduct, seeing to it that they be maintained in an agreeable- 
ness to the rules that Christ has given us. If things are but 
kept right in these respects, our fears and suspicions arising 
from cxtraordinai y bodily effects seem wholly groundless. 

The most specious thhig that is alleged against these ex- 
traordinary effects on the body, is, that the body is impaired, 
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 multiplied 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 determine that God shall never 
bring an outward calamity, in bestowing a vastly greater spir- 
itual and eternal good. 

Jacob, in doing his duty in wrestling with God for the bles- 
sing, and while God was striving Avith him, at the same time 
that he received the blessing from God, suffered a great out- 
ward calamity 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 i:-: not mentioned as if it 
were any diminution of the great mercy of God to him, when 
God blessed him and he received his name Israel, because 
as a Prince he had power with God, and had prevailed. 

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 thing generally supposed and allowed in the 
church of God, till now, that there is such a thing as being; 


«ick of love to Christ, or having the bodily strength weakened 
by strong and vigorous exercises of love to him. And how- 
ever kind to human nature the influences of the Spirit of God 
are, yet nobody doubts but that divine and eternal things, 
tis they may be discovered, would overpower the nature of 
man in its present weak state ; and that therefore 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 heav- 
en, 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 do not use to be denied or doubted of. Let us rationally 
consider what we profess to believe of the infinite gi'eatness of 
the things of God, the divine Avrath, the divine glory, and the 
tlivine infinite love and grace in Jesus Christ, and the vast- 
ness and infinite impoi-tance of the things of eternity ; and 
how reasonable is it to suppose, that if it pleases God a little to 
withdraw the veil and let in light into the soul, and give somc^ 
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 I 
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 majes- 
ty of Christ, which will be manifested in the souls of the saints 
in another world, 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 
representation 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 
Avhich that was but the shadow, should have as powerful an 
effect ? The prophet Habakkuk, speaking of the awful mani- 
festaiions 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 im- 
pression God caused it to have upon him, to the end that he 
anight be saved from that wrath, and rest in the day of 
trouble ; says, Hab. iii. 16. " When I heai'd, 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, 
imd save them from that wrath. The psalmist also speaks of 
very much such an effect as I have often seen on persons un- 
der religious affections of late, Psal. cxix. 131. " I opened my 
mouth and panted, for I longed for thy commandments." 

God is pleased sometimes in dealing forth spiritual bless- 
ings to his people, in some respect to exceed the capacity of 
the vessel, in its present scantiness, so that he does not only 
fill it full, but he makes their cufi to run ova- ; 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 riches more than they 
can carry away ; as he did to Jehoshaphat, and his people in 
a time of great favor, by the word of his prophet Jehaziel in 
answer to earnest prayer, Avhen the people blessed 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 dark 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 tak^:^ 


a compassionate notice of their wants, and says to them> 
Children^ have ye any meat ? And gives some of them such 
abundance of food, that they are not able to draw their net j 
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 person 
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's 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 be- 
fore, it is too much for us to determine, that God will not 
bring an outward calamity in bestowing spiritual and eternal 
blessings : So it is too much for us to determine, how great 
an outward calamity he will bring. If God gives a great in- 
crease of discoveries of himself, and of love to hira, 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 be taken to heaven, but should lie 
some years in a deep sleep, and then be taken to heaven : Or, 
which is much the same thing, if it be deprived of the use o^ 
its faculties, and be unactive and unserviceable, an 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, ©r some more dreadful thing, if it had not been. It is a 
great fault in us to Hmit a sovereign, allwise God, whose judg- 
ments are a great deep, and his ways past finding out, where 
he has not limited liimself, and in things, concerning wliich, 


he has not told ^us what his way shall be. It is remarkable, 
considering in what multitudes of instances, and to how great 
a degcee, the frame of the body has been overpowered of late, 
that persons' lives have nolwiUistanding been preserved, and 
that the instances of those that have been deprived of reason 
Iiave been so very few, and those, perhaps, all of them, per- 
sons under the peculiar disadvantage of a weak, vapory habit 
of body. A merciful and careful divjne hand is very manifest 
in it, that in so many instances Avhere 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, a* though this Avork that has been carried on in the 
country, was like to be of baneful influence ; unless we are 
disposed to gather up all that we can to darken it, and set it 
forth in frightful colors. 

There is one partictdar kind of exercise and concern of 
mind, that many have been overpowered by, that has been es- 
pecially 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 this. It seems like 
meer trifling in so plain a case, to enter into a formal and par- 
ticular debate, in order to determine whether there be any 
thing in the greatness and importance ox the case that will 
answer, and bear a proportion to the greatness of the concern 
that some have manifested. Men may be allowed, from no 
higher a principle than common ingenuity and humanity, to 
be very deeply concerned, and greatly exercised in mind, at 
the seeing others in great danger, of no greater a calamity 
than drowning, or being burnt up in an house on fire. And 
if so, then doubtless it will be allowed to be equally reasonable, 
if they saw them in danger of a calamity 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 
arc e::trcmely concerned at seeing others in very great dan- 


ger of sufFering the fierceness ?nd wrath of Almighty God, 
Jo 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 supposed to have vastly more of 
love and compassion to their fellow creatures, than those that 
are influenced only by common humanity. Why should it be 
thought strange that those that are full of the spirit of Christ, 
should be proportionably, 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 extreme 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, travailing in birth, and pained to 
be delivered," The Spirit of those that have been in distress 
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 
viras ready to wish himself accursed from Christ for others. 
And that of the Psalmist, Psal. cxix. 53, " Horror hath taken 
hold upon me, because of the v.icked that forsake thy Law." 
And V. 136. " Rivers of waters run down mine eyes, because 
they keep not thy Lav/." And that of the prophet 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 1" 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 
temporal destruction, Esth. iv. I. " 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 
vhen should persons be thought to be distracted, when they 


cannot forbear crying out, at the consideration of the misery 
of those that are goinp; to eternal destruction ? 

3. Another thing that some make their rule to judge of 
this work by, instead of the Holy Scriptures, is history, or 
former observation. Herein they err two ways ; Firfitf If 
there be any thing new and extraordinary in the circumstan- 
ces 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 given 
them for their rule ; and limit God, where he has not Hmited 
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 redemption, 
•from the first promise of the seed of the woman to this time, 
may easily observe that it has all along been God's manner to 
open new scenes, and to bring forth to view things new and 
■wonderful, such as eye had not seen, nor ear heard, nor en- 
tered into the heart of man or angels, to the astonishment of 
heaven and earth, not only in the revelations he makes of his 
inind 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 i-mmensely the greatest and most glorious 
■work, is carried on in a gradual progress, from the fall of man, 
to the consummation of all things, at the end of the world. 
And as in the progress of the old creation, there were still 
new things accomplished ; new wonders appeared every day 
in the sight of the angels, the spectators of that work ; while 
those morning stars sang together, new scenes were opened 
or things that they had not seen before, till the whole was 
finished ; so it is in the progress of the new creation. So 
that that promise, Isa. Ixiv. A. " For since the beginning of the 
Avorld, men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither 
hath the eye seen, O God, besides thee, what he hath prepar- 
ed for him that waiteth for him." Though it had a glorious 
fulfilment in the days of Christ and the apostles, as the words 
arc applied, 1 Cor. ii. 9. Yet it always remains to be fulfilled, 


in things that are yet behind, until the new creation is finish- 
ed, at Christ's delivering up the kingdom to the Father. And 
we live in those latter days, vpherein we may be especially 
warranted to expect that things will be accomplished, con- 
cerning which it will be said, Who hath heard such a thmg ? 
Who hath seen such things ? 

And besides, those things in this work that have been chief- 
Jy complained of as new, are not so new as has been generally 
imagined : Though they have been much more frequent late- 
ly, in proportion to the uncommon degree, extent and swift- 
ness, 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. Bolton, that noted 
minister of the church of England, who, being awakened by 
the preaching of the famous Mr. Perkins, minister of Christ in 
the University of Cambridge, was subject to such terrors as 
threw him to the ground, and caused him to i-oar 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 
\n ihe fulfilling of the Scrif%ture<, the 5th edition, p. 103, 104.... 
We have an account in the same page of another, whose com- 
forts imder the sunshine of God's presence were so great, 
that he could not forbear crying out in a transport, and ex- 
pressing in exclamations, the great sense he had of forgiving 
mercy and his assurance of God's love. And we have a re- 
markable instance in the life of Mr. George Trosse, written 
by himself (who, of a notoriously vicious, profligate liver, be- 
came an eminent saint and minister 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 impres- 
sions have not only been to be found in here and there a sin- 
gle person, but there have also before now been times where- 
in many have been thus affected, in some particular parts of 
the church of God ; and such effects have appeared in con- 
gregations, in many at once. So it M'as in the year 1625, in 

Vol. III. O 


the Avest 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 
clown, and were carried out of the church, who afterwards 
proved most solid and lively Christians ; as the author of the 
Fulfilling of the Scrifiture informs us, p. 185. The same au- 
thor in the preceding page, informs of many in France that 
were so wonderfully affected with the preaching 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 wei'e so filled with divine 
comforts, and a sense of God, that they made but little 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. Catherine Brettergh of Lan- 
cashire in England, (p. 391, 392) as have been complained of, 
here amongst us, as wild and distracted : How that after great 
distress, which very much affected her body, the sweat some- 
times bursting out upon her, God did so break in upon her 
mind with light and discoveries of himself, 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 I now am is sweet and pleasant ! How com- 
fortable is the sweetness I feel, that delights my soul ! The 
taste is precious ; do you not feel it ? Oh so sweet as it is !" 
And at other times, " O my sweet Saviour, 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 ? O how wonderful is thy love ! And oh 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 I am assured of thy love ! And so cer- 
tain am I thereof, as thou art that God of truth : Even so cer- 
tainly do I know myself to be thine, O Lord my God ; and 
this my soul knoweth right well !" Which last words she 
9gain doubled. To a grave minister, one Mr. Harrison, then 


with her, she said, " My soul hath been compassed with the 
terrors of death, the sorrows of hell were upon me, and a wil- 
derness of woe was in me ; but blessed, blessed, blessed be 
the Lord my God ! He hath brought nie 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 delights and joy that I feel ! O how 
wonderful 1" 

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 Allyn, a Scots 
gentleman of good credit, that dwelt formei ly in this town, 
shewed me a letter that came from Scotland, that gave an ac- 
count of a sermon preached in the city of Edinburgh, (as I re- 
member) in the time of the sitting of the general assembly of 
divines in that kingdoiT), that so affected the people, that there 
was a great and loud cry made throughout the assembly. I 
have also been credibly informed, and how often 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 


Windsor, May 5, 1742. 

Mr. Flavel gives a remarkable instance of a man that he 
knew, that was so 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, 

That " As the person was travelling alone, with his 
theughts closely fixed on the great and astonishing things of 
another world, his thoughts began to swell higher and higher. 


like the water in Ezekicl's vision, until at last they became an 
oveiHlowing flood : Such was the intensencss of his mind, such 
the ravishing tastes of heavenly joys, and such his full assur- 
ance 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 what 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 Avas thirty miles ; and all this while was 
scarce sensible : And says he had several trances of consider- 
able 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 de- 
clares he never had a sweeter night's rest in all his life. Still, 
adds the sterij, the joy of the Lord overflowed 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 heav- 
en ; and professed that he understood 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 Newengland. We have an 
instance in Capt. Clap's memoirs, published by the Rev. Mr. 
Prince, not of a silly woman or child, but a man of solid under- 
standing, 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 co7)ie .'" 

There has, before now, been both crying out and falling 
down, in this town under awakenings of conscience, and in the 
pangs of the new birth, and also in some of the neighboring 
towns. In one of them, more than seven years ago, was a 
f^reat number together that cried out and fell down, under ecu- 


victions ; in most of which, by good information, was a hope- 
ful and abiding good issue. And the Rev. Mr. Williams of" 
i)eerfield gave me an account of an aged man in that town, 
many years before that, that being awakened by his preach- 
ing, cried out aloud in the congregation. There have been 
many instances in this and some neighboring 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 sevei-al instances here, of persons' flesh 
waxing cold and benumbed, and their hands clinched, 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, instead of 
the holy scripture, is in comparing some external, accidental 
circumstances of this work, with what has appeared some- 
times in enthusiasts ; and as they find an agreement in some 
such tilings, so they reject the whole work, or at least the sub- 
stance 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 differ- 
ent in its nature this work is, and the principles it is built up- 
on, 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 assurance and 

4. I would propose it to be considered, whether or no,some, 
instead of making the scriptures their only rule to judge of 
this work, do not make their ov.n experience the rule, and re- 
ject such and such things as are now professed and experienc- 
ed, 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 
yf Christ ; and such vehement affections, such high transports 


of love and joy, such pity and distress for tlie souls of others, 
and exercises of mind thai have such great effects on persons 
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 themselves. It is to be feared many 
good men have been guilty of this error ; which yet does not 
make it the less unreasonable. And perhaps there are some 
that upon this ground do not only reject these extraordinary 
things, but all such conviction of sin, and such discoveries of 
the glory of God, and excellency of Christ, and inward convic- 
tion of the truth of the gospel, by the immediate influence of 
the Spirit of God, that are now supposed to be necessary to 

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 castuig 
a great reflection upon the understanding of the most High. 

III. 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 re- 
jecting 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 corruption 
remain in the best. When any profess to have received light, 
and influence, and comforts from heaven, and to hare had sen- 
sible communion with God, many are ready to expect that 
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 
prevailing as it sometimes does, is indeed a mysterious thing, 
and always was 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 corruption. They that 
are true saints are most inexcusable in making a great diffi- 
culty 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 laid 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 I 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 distinguish- 
ing, but either approving or condemning all in the lump 

They that highly approve of the affair in general, cannot beat 
to have any thing at all found fault with ; and on the other 
hand, those that fasten their eyes upon some things in the af- 
fair that are amiss, and appear very disagreeable 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 aff"air 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 per- 
son, a minister or private professor, will at once brand him as 
an hypocrite. And if there be two or three of a people or so- 
ciety that behave themselves very irregularly, the whole must 
bear the blame of it. And if there be a few, though it may be 
not above one in an hundred, that professed, and had a shew of 
being the happy partakers of what are called the saving bene- 
fits of this work, that prove naught, and give the world just 
grounds to suspect them, the whole work must be rejected on 
their accovmt ; and those in general, that make the like pro- 
fession 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 corruption, and 


commission of sin. Thus far is true, that the influence of the 
Spirit of God in his savini^ 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 yet there is nothing 
unreasonable in supposing, that at the same time that it weak- 
ens corruption in general, it may be an occasion of the turning 
what is left into a new channel, and so of there being more of 
some certain kinds of the exercise 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 influen- 
ces of the spirit, for instance, maybe an occasion of new ways 
of the exercise of Pride, as has been acknowledged by ortho- 
dox divines in general. That spiritual discoveries and com- 
forts may, through the corruption of the heart, be an occasion 
of the exercises of spiritual pride, did not use to be doubted of, 
until 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 gracious influen- 
ces of the Spirit of God, yea and an high degree of love to 
God, is consistent with these two things, viz. A considerable 
degree of remaining corruption, and also many errors in judg- 
ment 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 v^ry 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, incline him to that, which is indeed 
very contrary to the will of God. 

They that are studied in logic have learned that the nature 
of the cause is not to be judged of by the nature of the effect, 
uor the nature of the eficct from the nature of the cause, when 


khb 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 cause. 

True disciples of Christ tnay have a great deal of false zeal, 
such as the disciples had of old, when they would have fire 
tailed for from heaven to come down on the Samaritans, be- 
cause they did not receive them. And even so eminently ho- 
ly, and great, and divine a saint as Moses, who conversed with 
God from time to time, as a man speaks with his friend, and 
concerning whom God gives his testimony, that he was very 
meek, above a7iy tnan upon the face of the earth, yet may be rash 
and sinful in his zeal, when his spirit is stirred by the haj-d- 
heartedness and opposition of others, so as to speak very un- 
advisedly with his lips, 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, Psal. 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 
22d 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 tw© tribes 
and half, about their building the altar Ed, without first in- 
quiring into the matter, or so much as sending a messenger 
to be informed. So the Christians that were of the circum- 
cision, with warmth and contention condemned Peter for re- 
ceiving 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, censured and condemned one another : This was a bad 
effect, and yet the apostle bears them v/itness, or at least ex- 
presses his charity towards them, that both sides acted from a 

Vol. III. P 


good principle, and true vcspcct to the Lord, Rom. xiv, 6..., 
The zeal of the Corinthians Avith respect to the incestuous 
man, though the apostle highly commends it, yet 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 
meekness and forgiveness, 2 Cor. ii. 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, and 
chap. vii. 1 1, to the end, Luther that great reformer had a 
gi^at deal of bitterness vith his zeal. 

It surely cannot be wondered at by considerate persons, that 
at a time when multitudes all over the land have their affec- 
tions greatly moved, that great numbers should run into many- 
errors and mistakes with respect to their duty, and conse- 
cjuently into many acts and practices that are imprudent and 
irregular. I question whether there be a man in Newcngland, 
of the strongest reason and greatest learning, but what would* 
be put to it to keep master of himself, thoroughly to weigh 
his words, and consider ail the consequences of his behavior, 
so as to behave himself in all respects prudently, if he were so-- 
strongly impressed with a sense of divine and eternal things, 
and his affections so exceedingly moved, as has been frequent 
of late among the common people. How little do they con- 
sider human nature, who look upon it so insuperable a stum- 
bling block, when such multitud.es of all kinds of capacities, 
natural tempers, educations, customs and manners of life, are 
so greatly and variously affected, that imprudences and irregu- 
larities of conduct should abound ; especially in a state of 
things so uncommon, and when the degree, extent, swiftiiess' 
and power of the operation is so very extraordinary, and so 
new, that there has not been time and experience enough to 
trive birth to rules for people's conduct, and so unusual in 
times past, that the writings of divines do not afford rules to- 
direct us in such a state of things ? 

A great deal of noise and tumult, confusion and uproar, and 
darkness mixed with light, and evil Avith good, is always to be 
expected in the beginning of something very extraordinary, 
and very glorious in the state of things in human 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 m 


^the spring, there is, together "vvith the increase of the light and 
Jieat of the sun, very dirty and tempestuous weather, before 
all is settled calm, and serene, and ail 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 waters, 
which was an occasion of great uproar and tumult, and things 
trere gradually brought to a settled state, until at length all 
stood forth in that beautiful, peaceful order, when the heavens 
and the earth were finished, 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, 
mature is in a ferment and struggle, and the world as it were 
in travail. As when God was about to introduce the Messiah 
into the world, and that new and glorious dispensation that he 
set up. He shook the heavens and the earth, and shook all nations. 
There is nothing that the church of God is in scripture more 
frequently represented by than vegetables; as atree,avine,corn, 
jkc. which gradually bring forth their fruit, and are first green 
before they are ripe. A great revival of religion is expressly 
■compared to this gradual production of vegetables, Isa. Ixi. 1 1. 
*< As the earth bringeth forth her biid, and as the garden 
causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth ; so the 
Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth 
before all the nations. The church is in a special manner 
compared to a palmtree, Cant. vii. 7, 8, Exod. xv. 27. 1 
Kings, vi. 29. Psal. xcii. 12. Of which tree this peculiar 
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 religion, by a disposition to rim to 
extremes and get into confusion ; and especially in these three 
things, enthusiasm, superstition, and intemperate zeal. So it 
appeared in the time of tlie reformation, very remarkably ; 
and also in the days of the apostles ; many were then exceed- 
ingly 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 Tira. ii. 16, and v. 23, 


and Tit. i. 14, and iii. 9, Many, as ecclesiastical history in^ 
forms us, fell off into the most wild enthusiasm, and extrava- 
gant notions of spirituality, and extraordinary illumination 
from heaven beyond others ; and many were prone to suj^er- 
stitiou, will worship and a voluntary humility, giving hecJ to 
the commandments of men, beinc; fond of an unprofitable bodi- 
ly exercire, as appears by many passages in the apoatles 
writings : And what a proneness then appeared among p;>o- 
fessors to swerve from the path of duty, and the spirit of the 
gospel, in the exercises of a rash indiscreet leal, censuring 
and condemning ministers and people ; one saying, 1 anj of 
Paul, another I of Apollos, another I of Cephas ; judging one 
another for difTerences of opinion about smaller matters, un- 
clean meats, holy days and holy places, and their different 
opinions and pracuces respecting civil intercourse and cora- 
munication with their heathen neighbors ? And how much 
did vain jangling and disputing and confusion prevail through 
undue heat of spirit, undsr the name of a religious zeal? 2 
Tim. vi. 4, 5. 2 Tim. ii. 16, and Tit. iii. 9. And what a task 
liad the apostles to keep them within bounds, and maintain 
good order in the churches ? 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 spir- 
it that was then, and the strong impressions that God's people 
vere then under, was under the care of infallible guides, that 
watched over them day and night ; but yet so prone were 
they, through the weakness and corruption of human nature, 
to get out of the way, that irregularity and confusion rose in 
some churches, where there was an extraordinary outpouring 
of the spirit, to a very great height, even in the apostles' life 
time, and imder their ey«. And though some of the aposties 
lived long to settle the state of things, yet presently after they 
•were dead, the Christian church ran into many superstitions 
and childish notions and practices, and in some respects intq 
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 
JDcyond thq calmness of conside ratio n^ impartially consider t^ 


'what lengths, -we may reasonably suppose, many of the primi- 
tive Christians, in their heat of zeal, and under their extraor* 
dinary impressions, would soon have gone, if they had had no 
inspired guides ; and whether or no, it is not probable that the 
church of Corinth in particular, by an increase of their irregu- 
larities 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 remarkable oiiipouring of the spirit 
in that city. But, as for us, we have no infallible apostle to 
guide and direct us, to rectify disorders, and reclaim us Avhen 
we are wandering ; but every one does what is right in his 
own eyes ; and they that err in judgment, and are got into a 
wrong path continue to wander, till experience of the mis- 
chievous issue convinces 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 ac- 
count for the errors that have been gone into, supposing the 
work in general to be from a very great outpoiu'ing 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 
have. It is known, that some that have been improved as 
great instruments to promote this work, have been rery 
young ; and how natural is it for such as are themselves new- 
ly awaked out of sleep, and brought out of that state of dark- 
ness, insensibility and spiritual death, which they had been 
in ever since they were born ; and have h new and wonderful 
scene opened to them ; and have in view the reality, the vast- 
ness, and infinite importance, and nearness of spiritual and 
eternal things ; and at the same time are surprised 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 experienced Christians and 
divines ; I say, how natural it is for such to full into many er- 
rors with respect to the state of mankind, with which they are 
so surprised, and Avith respect to the means and methods of 
their relief? Is it any wonder that they have not at once learn- 
^ how to make all the idlowances that are to be made, and 


tliat they do not at once find out that method of dealing wUl^ 
the world, that is udaplcd to the mysterious state and nature of 
mankind ? Is it any wonder that they cannot at once forese<j 
ivhat the consequences of things will be, what evils are to be 
guarded against, and what difficulties are like to arise, that are 
to be provided for ? 

We have long been iji a strange stuix)r ; the influences of 
the Spirit of God upon the heart have been but little felt, and 
the nature of them but little taught ; so that they are in many 
respects new to great numbers of those that have lately fallen 
under them. And is it any wonder that ihey that never before 
had experience of the supernatural influence of the divine 
spirit upon their souls, and never were instructed in the na- 
ture of these influences, do not so well know how to distin- 
guish one extraordinary new impression from another, and so 
(to themselves insensibly) run into enthusiasm, taking every 
strong impulse or impression to be divine ? How natural is it 
to suppose, that among the multitudes of illiterate people 
(most of which are in their youth) that find themselves so 
wonderfully changed, and brought into such new, and before 
(to them) almost unheard of circumstances, that many should 
pass wrong, and very strange judgments of both persons and 
things that are about them ; and that nov they behold them 
in such a new light, they in their surprise should go furthar 
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 scarce 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 them- 
selves 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 Ijcen the means of delivering them 
from such a state of death and misery as they Avere in before, 
or have a name for being the happy instruments of promoting 
the same work among others ? Is it unaccountable that per- 
sons in these circumstances 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 those that are thus misled ? 

When these persons are extraordinarily affected with a new 
sense, and recent discovery they have received, of the great- 
ness and excellency of the divine being, the certainty and in- 
finite importance of eternal things, the preciousness of souls, 
and the dreadful danger and madness of mankind, together 
with a great sense of God's distinguishing kindness and love 
to them ; no wonder that now they think they iftust exert 
themselves, and do something extraordinary for the honor of 
God and the good of the souls of their fellow creatures, and 
know not how to sit still, and forbear speaking and acting with 
uncommon earnestness and vigor. And in these circumstan- 
ces, if they be not persons of more than common steadiness 
and discretion, or have not some person of wisdom to direct 
them, it is a wonder if they do not proceed without due cau* 
tion, and do things that are irregular, and that will, in the is- 
sue, do much more hurt than good. 

Censuring others is the worst disease with which this affaii^ 
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 uncommon 
degrees of light, 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 influ- 
ences 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 wonder 
tliat it appears an insuperable difficulty to them to i-econcil© 
such a state, of which they have this idea, with what they gb- 
servc in professors that are about them. It is indeed in itself 
a very great mystery, that grace should be consistent with so 
much and such kind of corruption as sometimes prevails in 


the truly godly ; and no wonder that it especially appears sn 
to uninstructed new converts, that have been converted in an 
exlraordinafy manner. 

Though censoriousncss be a thing that is very sinful, and is 
most commonly found in hypocrites and persons of a pharisaical 
spirit, yet it is not so inconsistent with true Godliness 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 censuring the best 
man on earth, very positively determining that he was an un- 
converted man ; but Job himself, that was not only a man of 
true piety, but excelled all men in piety, and particularly ex- 
celled in a humble, meek and patient spirit, was guilty of bit- 
terly 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 sharp- 
eneth his eyes upon me : They have gaped upon me with 
their mouth. God hath delivered me to t'le ungodly and 
turned me over into the hands of the wicked." So he is very 
positive in it that they are hypocrites, and shall be miserably 
destroyed as such, in the next chapter, ver. 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 lie that will strike hands with me ? Fortliou hast 
hid their heart from understanding : Therefore shalt thou not 
exalt them." And again, ver. 6, 9, 10. " Upright men shalf 
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 

Thus I think the errors and irj'egularities that attend this 
■^ork, may be accounted for, from the consideration of the in- 
firmity and weakness and common corruption of mankind, to- 
gether with the circumstances of the work, though we should 
Buppose it to be the work of God. And it would not be a just 


t>bjection in any to say, if these powerful impressions 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, through 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 spiritually knowing, 
wise to salvation, which is the most excellent wisdom ; and 
he has also appointed means for our gaining such degrees of 
other knowledge as we need, to conduct ourselves regularly, 
which means should be carefully used : But the end of the in- 
fluence of the Spirit of God is not to increase men's natural 
capacities, nor has God obliged himself immediately to in- 
crease civil prudence in proportion to the degrees of spiritual 

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 suppo- 
sition 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 an happy state of his church on earth, it 
may be an instance of the divine wisdom, in the beginning of 
it, to suffer so many irregularities and errors in conduct, to 
which he knew men, in their present weak state, wei'e 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 progress of the 
work afterwards : Their experience in the first setting out, 
of the mischievous consequences of these errors, and smart- 
ing for them in the beginning, may be an happy defence to 
them afterwards, for many generations, from these errors, 
which otherwise they inight continually be exposed to. As 
when David and all Israel went about to bring back the 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 ; 
Vol. IIL Q 


but this put them upon studying the law, and more thorough- 
ly acquainting themselves with the mihd and will of God, and 
seeking and serving him with greater circumspection ; and 
the consequence was glorious, viz. their seeking God in such 
a manner as was accepted of him ; and the ark of God's as- 
cending into the heights of Zion, with those great and extra-- 
ordinary rejoicings of the king and all the people, without any 
frown or rcbidce 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 error, 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 
t4iey be, to humble them, and fit them for that glorious pros- 
perity he is about to advance them to, and the more to secure 
to himself the honor of such a glorious woi'k : For by man'* 
exceeding weakness appearing in the beginning of it, it is evi- 
dent 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 ha» 
been in Newengland, so no wonder that the devil is more 
alarmed and enraged, and exerts himself more vigorously 
against it, and does more powerfully endeavor to tempt and 
mislead those that are the subjects of it, or are its promoters. 
' Whatever imprudences there have been, and whatever sin- 
ful irregularities ; whatever vehemence of the passions, and 
heats of the imagination, transports and ecstacies ; and what- 
ever eiTor in judgment, and indiscreet zeal ; and whatever 
outcries, and faintings, and agitations of body ; yet it is mani- 
fest and notorious, that there has been of late a very uncom- 
mon influence upon the minds of a very great part of the in- 
habitants of Newengland, from one end of tha land to the 


fflllier) that has been attended with the followmg eifects, viz. 
& great increase of a spirit of seriousness, and sober consider- 
ation of the things of the eternal world ; a disposition to 
iiearken to any tlung that is said of tWngs of this nature, with 
attention and affection ; a disposition to treat matters of re- 
ligion with solemnity, and as matters of great importance ; a 
disposition to make these tilings 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 worsioip of God, and all external duties of religion in a 
5inore solemn and decent naanner ; so that there is a remarka- 
ble and general alteration in the face of Newejigland in these 
respects i Multitudes in all pai'ts of the land, of vain, thought- 
less, regardless persons are quite changed, and become seri- 
jous and considerate : There is a vast increase of concern for 
Jlie salvation of the precious soul, and of that inquiry, W/tai 
)shalt I do to be saved ? The hearts of multitudes have been 
greatly taken off from the things of the v.orld, its profits, 
pleasures and honors ; and there has been a great increase of 
sensibleness and tenderness 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 lie under guilt and the 
-displeasure of God, and to live without peace and reconcilia-- 
-tion with him : They have also been awakened to a sense of 
-t4ie &hortnes6 and uncertainty of life, and the reality of another 
worid and future judgment, and of the necessity of an interest 
in Christ ; They are more afraid of sin, more careful and in- 
quisitive that they may know what is cdijtrary to the mind 
and will of God, that they may avoid it, and what he requires 
of them tliat 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 persoi-.s of a vain 
mi«d, have been greatly awakenetl. There is a strange alter- 
ation almost all oyer Newengland amongst young people z 


By a powerful, invisible influence on their minds, they hay« 
been brought to forhakc 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 happiness of 
their lives in, and that nothing before couid induce them to 
forsake ; as their frolicking, vain company keeping, night 
walking, their mirth and jollity, their impure language, an*l 
lewd songs : in vain did ministers preach against those things 
befere, and in vain were luws made to restrain tiiem, and in 
vain was all the vigilance of magistrates and civil officers ; but 
now they have almost every where dropped them as it were 
of themselves. And there is a great alteration amongst old 
and young as to drii'.king, tavern haunting, profane speaking, 
and extravar^ance in appavcl, Many notoriously vicious per- 
sons have been refonv.ed, and become externally quite new 
creatures: Some that are wealthy, and of a fasliionable, gay 
education ; some great beaus and fine ladies, that seemed to 
have their minds swallowed up with nothing but the vain 
shews and pleasures of the world, have been wonderfully al- 
tered, and have relinquished these vanities, and are become 
serious, 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 hoard amongst them from any thing that savored 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 appear- 
ed in them, that they had been some other species from the 
serious and religious, which had no concern with another 
v/orld, and whose natures were not made capable of those 
things that appcrtuin to Christian experience, and pious con- 
M?ersation ; especially was it thus among young persons : And 
■how they are transformed into another sort pf people ; their 
former vain, worldly and vicious conversation and dispositions 
' feteem to be forsaken, and they are as it were, gone over to a 
nfew world : Their thoughts, and tlicir talk, and their concern, 
affections, and inquiries, are now about the favor of God, an 
Imprest in Christ, a renewed sanctified heart, and a spirituj^l 


blessedness, and acceptance and happiness in a future world. 
And through the greater part of Newengland, 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 godliness, have 
been abvmdantly more in use : The Lord's day is more relig- 
iously and strictly observed : And abundance has been lately 
done at making up differences, and confessing faults one to 
another, and making restitution ; pi'obably 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 those that seemed to be in a 
confirmed irreconcileable alienation, to embrace each other in 
a sincere and entire amity. 

.Great numbers under this influence have been brought to a 
<ieep sense of their own sinfulness and vileness; the sinfulness 
of their lives, the heinousness of their disregard of the author- 
ity of the great God, and the heniousness of their living in 
contempt of a Saviour : They have lamented their former 
negligence of their souls, and neglecting and losing precious 
time. Their sins of life 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*vhich 
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 re- 
garded 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 
j^onvinced that they were utterly unworthy of any mercy at 
the hands of God, however miserable they were, and though 
iiiey stood in extreme necessity of mercy ; and that they dc- 


acrvcd nothinglnit eternal burnings ; And have been 5ensiblc 
that God would be altogether jusc and righteous in inflicting 
endless damaiation upoii them, at the san>e time that they have 
had an exceeding aftecting sense of tlve dreadfulness of such 
■endless torments, and have apprehended themselves lo be 
greatly in danger of them. And many have been deeply af- 
fected uilh 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 lo l^e cred- 
ited 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 believed by their neighbors, wl>en 
they speak of things that fall luider their observation and ex- 
^evience) multitudes in M'tvcngland have lately been brought 
to a new and great conviction of the truth and certainty of the 
things of the gospel ; to a firm pet^uasion that Christ Jesus is 
the son of God, and the great and only Saviour of the world ; 
and that tlie great doctrines of the gospel touching reconcili- 
ation by his blood, and acceptance in Jiis righteousness, and 
«ternal life and salvation through him, are matters of undoubt- 
«d truth ; together with a most affecting sense of the excel- 
lency and sufficiency of this Saviour, 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 gosj^el, and a consequent affiance and 
sw^cet rest of soul in Christ, as a glorious Saviour, a strong rock 
and high tower, accompanied with an admiring and exalting 
apprehension of the glory of the divine perfections, God's maj- 
esty, holiness, sovereign grace, 8cc. with a sensible, strong and 
sweet love to God, and delight in him, far surpassing all tem- 
poral delights, or earthly pleasures ; and a rest of soul in him 
tis a portion and the fountain of all good, attended with an ab- 
horrence of hin, and selHoathing for it, and earnest longings of 
«oul after more holiness and conformity to God, with a sense 
of the great need of God's help in order to holiness of life ; 
together with a most dear love to all that arc supjwsed to be 
the children of God, and a love to mankind in general, and % 
jnost sensible and tender compassion for the souls of simiei's, 


*ad earnest desires^^ of the advancement of Christ's kingdom 
in the world. And tliese things have. appeared to be in many 
t)f them abiding, now for many months, yea, more than a year 
and half ; with an abiding concern to live an 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 
efTccts appear 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 quicken- 
ed, and their hearts renewed with greater degrees of light, re- 
newed repentance and humiliation, and more lively exercisea- 
of faith, love and joy in the Lord, Many, as I am well know- 
ing, 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 wordly 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 themselves to it in 
a solemn covenant with God. And now instead of meetings 
at taverns and drinking houses, and meetings 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 little 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 
tunis on religion, and things of a spiritual nature. Instead of 
vain mirth amongst young people, there is now either mourn- 
ing under a sense of the guilt of sin, or holy rejoicing m 
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 an half, without any appearance of a disposition to re- 
turn to former vice and vanity. And under the influences of 
this work, there have been many of the remains of those wretch- 
ed people and dregs of mankind, the poor Indians, that seemed 
to'benext to a male of brutality, and with whom, till now, it seem- 
ed to be tQ little more purpose to use endeavors for their instruc- 


lion and awakening, than -witli the beasts ; whose minds hiv<i 
now been strangely opened to receive instruction, and have 
been deeply affected with theconcernsof their precious souls, 
and have reformed their lives, and forsaken their former stu-^ 
pid, barbarous and brutish way of living ; and particularly that 
sin to which they have been so exceedingly addicted, their 
drunkenness ; and are become devout and serious persons ; 
and many of them to appearance 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 negroes also have been in like manner 
wrought upon and changed. And the souls of very many lit- 
tle 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 time to time, for many months, 
greatly and delightfully affected with the glory of divin© 
things, and the excellency and love of the Redeemer, with 
their hearts greatly filled with love to and joy in him, and have 
continued to be serious and pious in their behavior. 

The divine power of this work has marvellously appeared in 
some instances I have been acquainted with, in supporting 
and fortifying the heart under great trials, such as the death 
of children, and extrenie pain of body ; wonderfully maintain- 
ing the serenity, calmness and joy of the soul, in an immove- 
able 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 infiuences 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 

Christian, orthodox country, and such a land of light as this is, 
there should be many at a loss whose work this is, whether 
the work of God or the work of the devil ? Is it not a shame 
to Newengland that such a work should be much doubted of 
here ? Need we look over the histories of all ptist times, to sec 
if there be not some circumstances and external appearances 


\hat attend this Avork, that have been fonneily found amongst 
enthusiasts ? Whether the Montanists had not great trans- 
ports of joy, and whether the French Prophets had not agita- 
tions of body ? Blessed be Gcd ! He does not put us to the 
toil of soch 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 beycJnd the seas, nor into 
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 him- 
self has put into our hands, with 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 substance of it, if we reject such a work as has now 
been described, as not being the work of God. The whole 
tenor of the gospel proves it ; all the notion of religion that 
the Scripture 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, un- 
cleanness, worldliness and other sins ; and we have kept from 
year to year days of public fasting and prayer to God, to ac- 
knowledge 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 wonderfully accomplished, in those very things that we 
have sought to God for, sJiall 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 Ave would contrive 
to say as little of it as ever we could, and were glad to pass 
from it ? And that because, (although, indeed there be such 
a work attended with all these glorious efi'ects, yet) the work 
is attended with a mixture of error, imprudences, darkness 
and sin ; because some persons are carried away with im- 
pressions, and are indiscreet, and too censorious with their 
zeal ; and because there are high transports of religious affec* 

Vol. III. R 


IJon ; and because of some tfTccts on persons bodies that wc 
do not understand llie reason of? 

I liave been purlicularly acquainted with many persons that 
have been the subjects of the high and extraordinary trans- 
ports of the present day ; and in the highest transports of any 
of the instances that I have been acquainted with, and where 
the afieciions 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 informed of, the fol- 
lowing 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 excellencies, that 
the soul in the mean time has been as it were perfectly over- 
whelmed, and swallowed up with light and love, and a sweet 
solace, rest and joy of soiil, that was altogether unspeakable ; 
and more than once continuing for five or six hours together, 
"without any interruption, in that clear and lively view or sense 
of the infinite beauty and amiableness of Christ's person, and 
the heavenly sweeUiess of ids excellent and transcendent love ; 
so that (to use tlie person's own expressions) the soul remain- 
ed in a kind of heavenly elysium, and did as it were swim in 
the rays of Christ's love, like 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 con- 
stant flowing and reflowing from heart to heart : The soul 
dwelt on high, and was lost in God, and seemed almost to 
leave the body ; dwelling in a pure delight that fed and satis- 
fied the soul ; enjoying pleasure without the least sting, or 
any interruption ; a sweetness that the soul was lost in ; so 
that (so fixr as the judgment, and word of a person of discre- 
tion may be taken, speaking upon the most deliberate consid- 
eration) what was enjoyed hi 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 j and this without being in any trance, or being 


M all deprived of the exercise of the bodily senses : And tlie 
like heavenly delight and unspeakable joy of soul, enjoyed 
from time to time, for years together ; though not frequently 
so long together, to such an 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 haftds clinched, and the flesh cold, but 
senses still remaining ; animal nature often in a great emo- 
tion and agitation, and the soul very often, of late, so overcom.e 
\vith great admiration, and a kind of omnipotent joy, as to 
cause the person (wholly unavoidably) to leap with all th-e 
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 seerced 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 reason, that 
they should be owing to the influence of the example of tiie 
times, but about seven years ago ; and began in a much high- 
er 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 Mr. Ten- 
nent, 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 renuncia- 
tion of the world, and resignation 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 an 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 oft- 
en fainting, with the love of Christ ; and began in a much 
higher degree still, the last winter, upon another resignation 
?ind acceptance of God, as the only portion and happiness ©f 


the soul, wherein the whole world, with the dearest enjoy* 
mcnts in it, were renounced as dirt and dung, and I'll that is 
pleasant and glorious, and all that is terrible in this world, 
seemed perfectly to vanish into nothing, and nothing to be 
left but God, in whom the soul was perfectly swalloweil up, 
as in an inhnite 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 with- 
out interruption, in a kind of paftdise ; and very often, in 
high transports, disposed to spcrik of those great and glorious 
things of God and Christ, and the eternal world, that arc 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 rer 
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 countenance, 
©r 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 humility 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 unex- 
perienced Christian, but in one that was converted above 
twentyseven years ago ; and neither converted, nor educated 
in that enthusiastical town of Northampton, (as some may be 
ready to call it) but in a town and family that none that I 
know of suspected of enthusiasiti ; and in a Christian that has 
been long, in an uncommon manner, growing in grace, and 
rising, by very sensible degrees, to higher love to God, and 
weanedness from the world, and mastery over sin and temp- 
taticn, through great trials and conflicts, and long continued 


otruggling and fighting Avith sin, and earnest and constant 
prayer ajid labor in religion, and cngagedness of mind in the 
yse of all means, attended with a great exactness of life : 
Which growth has been attended, not only with a great in- 
crease of religious affections, but Avith a wonderful alteration 
of outward behavior, in many things, visible to those who are 
most intimately acquainted, so as lately to have become as it 
were a new person ; and particularly in living so nuich more 
above the world, and in a greater degree of stedfaslness and 
strength in the way of duty and self d^^nial, maintaining the 
Christian conflict against temptations, and conquering from 
time to time under great trials ; pcrsistnig in an unmoved, 
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 overborn with it, it having been so 
even from early youth: But strength of grace, and divine light 
has of a long time, wholly conquered these disiidvantages, 
and carried the mind in a constant manner, quite above ail 
such effects of vapors. Since that resignation spoken of be- 
fore, made near three years ago, every thing of that nature 
seems to be overcome and crushed by the power of faith and 
trust in God, and resignation to him ; the person has remain- 
ed in a constant uninterrupted rest, and humble joy in God, 
and assurance of his favor, m ithout one hours melanclioly or 
darkness, from that day to this ; vapors have liad great effects 
on the body, such as they used to have before, but the soul 
has been always out of their reach. And this stedfaf.tncss 
and constancy has remained through great outward changes 
and trials ; such as times of tlie most txtren;e pain, and ap- 
parent hazard of immediate death. What has been felt in 
late great transports is known to be nothing new in kind, but 
lobe of the same nature with what was feit formejly, when a 
little child of about five or six yccf.h of age ; but only in a vast- 
ly higher degree. These transporting views and rapturous 
affections are not attended with anv enthusiastic disDosiiion, lo 


follow impulpes, or any supposed prophetical revelations ; nor 
liavc ihcy l)ecn observed to be attended with any appearapcc 
of spiritual pride, but very much ol' a contrary disposition, an 
increase of a spirit of humility and meekness, and a disposition 
in honor to prefer others : And it is v/orthy to be remarked, 
that at a time remarkably disiinii;uished from all otliers, 
Tvherein discoveries and holy affections were evidently at the 
greatest height that ever happened, the greatness and clear- 
ness of divine light being overwhelming, and the strength and 
sweetness of divine love altogether overpowering, which be- 
gan 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 
Tneckness, and universal 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 a 
judging of others that were professing Christians of good 
standing in the visible church, that they were not converted, 
or with respect to their degrees of grace ; or at all intermed- 
dling with that matter, so much as to determine against and 
condemn others in the thought of the heart ; it appearing 
hateful, as not agreeing with that lamblike humility, meek- 
ness, gentleness and charity, which the soul then, above other 
times, saw the beauty of, and felt a disposition to. The dis- 
position that was then felt was, on the contrary to prefer oth- 
ers to self, and to hope that they saw more of God and loved 
liim better ; though before, under smaller discoveries, and 
feebler exercises of divine affection, thei'e had been felt a dis- 
position to censure and condemn others. And another thing 
that was felt at that time, was a very great sense of the im- 
portance of moral social duties, and how great a part of relig- 
ion 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 the soul : But in gen- 
eral, 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 oftentimes to take away 
the bodily strength ; a sense of the holiness of God, as of a 
flame infinitely pure and bright, so as sometimes to overwhelm 
soul and body ; a sense of the piercing allseeing eye of God, 
so as soip.etimes to take away the bodily strength ; and an ex- 
traordinary view of the infinite terribleness of the wrath of 
God, which has very frequently been strongly impressed on 
the mind, together with a sense of the ineffable misery of 
sinners that are exposed to this wrath, that has been overbear- 
ing : Sometimes the exceeding pollution of the person's owa 
heart, as a sink of all manner of abomination, and a nest of 
vipers, and the dreadfulness of an eternal hell of God's wrath, 
opened to view both together ; with a clear viev/ 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 pol- 
lution and irreverence, and want of humility 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 com- 
mitted against so holy and good a God, sometimes with an 
affecting sense of actual sin, sometimes especially indwelling 
sin, sometimes the consideration of the sin of the heart as ap- 
pearing in a particular thing, as for instance, in that there was 
no greater forwardness and readiness to selfdenial 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 been so af- 
fecting 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 of the divine attributes appearing therein, 
as that wherein mercy and truth are met together, and right- 
eousness and peace have kissed each other ; a sight of the 
fulness and glorious sufficiency of Christ, that has been so af- 
fecting as to overcome the body : A constant immoveable 
trust in God through Christ, with a great sense of his strength 
and faitlifulness, the sureness of his covcnantj and the immu' 


tability of his promises, so that the everlasting mountains anct 
perpetual hills have appeared as mere shadows to these 
ihinsjs : Sometimes the sullkiency and faithfulness of God as 
tlie 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 pro\idence, 
so as to swallow up the soul, and overcome the strength of the 
body : A sv.eet rejoicing of soul at the thoughts of God's be- 
ing infiiiitcly and unchangeably happy, and an exulting glad- 
ness of heart that God is sclfsufficient, and infinitely above all 
dependence, and reigns over all, and does his will with abso- 
lute and uncontrolable power and sovereignty ; a sense of the 
glory of the lloiy Spirit, as the great comforter, so as to over- 
whelm both soul and body ; only mentioning the word the 
Comforter, has immediately taken away all strength ; that 
Avord, 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 con- 
stant preference of it, not only to the person's own temporal in- 
terest, but spiritual comfort in this world; and a wilihigness to 
suffer the hidings of God's face, and to live and die in darkness 
and horror if God's honor should require 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 degree of love to God, so as to deprive of 
bodilv strength ; and very often vehement longings and faint- 
ings 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 Ids throne, have often overcome the body, 
and set it into a gi cat agitation. A great delight in singing 
praises to Ciod and Jesus Christ, and longing that this present 
life may be, as it wcic, one continued song of praise to God ; 


^5nging, as the person expressed it, to set and sing this life 
away ; and an overcoming pleasure in the thoughts of spend- 
ing an eternity in that exercise ; a living by faith to a great de- 
gree ; a constant and extraordinary distrustof our pvyrn strength 
and wisdom ; a great dependence on God for his help, in or- 
der to the performance of any thing to God's acceptance, and 
being restrained from the most horrid sins, and running upon 
Godj'even on his neck, and oh the thick bosses of his bucklers : 
Such a sense of the black ingratitude of true saints coldness 
and deadness in religion, 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 relig- 
ion, fervent in theii' love, and active in the service of God i 
and when there have been appearances of it ifi others, rejoic- 
ing so in beholding the pleasing sight, that the joy of sotil 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 life \vith 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 them- 
selves 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 when 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 
6n Others, or disputing with any appearance of heat of spirit ; 
a deep concern for the good of others' souls ; a melting com- 
passion to those that looked on themselves as in a state of na- 
ture, and to saints under darkness, so as to cause the body to 
faint : An 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 j 
fainting with pity to the world that lies in ignorance and wick- 
Vol. UI. S 


edness ; sometimes a disposition felt to a life given up to 
Tnoiiming alone in & wilderness over a lost and miserable 
world ; compussion 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 disputes, &c a ve- 
hement and constant desire for the setting up of Christ's king- 
dom through the earth, as a kingdom of holiness, purity, love, 
peace and happiness to mankind : The soul often entertained 
with unspeakable delight, and bodily strength overborn, 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 attended with that endearment and one- 
ness 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 serve God better, and have more of his comfortable pres- 
ence, than the person that was the subject of these longings, 
desiring to follow tSfe whole world to heaven, or that every 
one should go before, and be higher in grace and Happiness, 
Bot 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 feeling manner, and very 
frequently 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 Christ- 
ians 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 wrestlings 
with God for them, so as to take away the bodily strength : 
The greatest, fullest, longest continued, and most constant 


;assurance of the favor of God, and of a title to future glory, 
that ever I saw any appearance of in any person, enjoying, es- 
pecially of late, (to use the person's own expression) The 
riches, of full assurance : Formerly longing to die with some- 
thing of impatience, but lately, since that resignation fore- 
mentioned about thre€ years ago, an uninterrupted entire re- 
signation to God with respect to fife or death, sickness w 
health, ease or pain, Avhich has remained unchanged and un- 
shaken, when actually under extreme and violent pains, and 
in times of threateuings of immediate death ; but though 
there be this patience and submission, yet the thoughts of 
death and the day of judgment are always .exceeding sweet to 
the soul : This resignation Is also attended with a constant 
resignation of the lives of dearest earthly friends, and some- 
times when some of their lives have been imminently threat- 
ened ; often expressing the sweetness of the liberty of hav- 
ing wholly left the world, and renounced all for God, and 
having nothing but God, in whom is an infinite fulness. 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 ap- 
pearing with a sAveet smile upon them ; a wonderful access 
to God by prayer, as it were seeing him, and sensibly imme- 
diately conversing with him, as much oftentimes, (to use the 
person's own expressions) as if Christ were hereon earth, 
sitting on a visible throne, to be approached to and conversed 
with ; frequent, plain, sensible and immediate answers of 
prayer ; all tears wiped away ; all former troubles and sor- 
rows of life forgotten, and all sorrow and sighing fled away, 
excepting grief for past sins, and for remaining corruption, 
and that Christ is loved iw more, and that God is no more 
honored in the world, and a compassionate grief towards fel- 
low creatures ; a daily sensible doing and suffering every- 
thing for God, for a long time past, eating for God, and work- 
ing for God, and sleeping for God, and bearing pain and 
trouble for God, and doing all as the service of love, and so 
4oing it with a continual uninterrupted cheerfulness, peace 


and joy. Oh how jj;ood, said the person once, is it to work 
for God in the day time, and at niu;ht to lie down under his 
smiles ! High experiences and religious affections in thi$ 
person have not been attended with any disposition at all t^ 
neglect the necessary business of a secular calling, to spend 
the time in reading and prayer, and other exercises of devo- 
tion ; but worldly business has been attended with great alac- 
rity, as part of the service of God : The person declaring that 
it being done thus, it is found to be as good as prayer. Thesft 
things have been accompanied wiih an ex'cc ling concern and 
zeal for moral duties, and that all professors may with them 
adcrn the doctrine of (iod their Saviour ; and an uncommon 
care to perform relative and social duties, and a noted emi- 
nence in them ; a great inoffensiveness of life and conversa- 
tion in the sight of others ; a great meekness, gentleness, 
and benevolence of spirit and behavior ; and a great aKcration 
in those thing?, that formerly used to be the person's failings ; 
seem.ing to be much overcome and swallowed up by the late 
great increase of grace, to the observation of those that are 
Tiiost 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 theWesleys and their followers, 
and some other high pretenders to spirituality in these days) 
but exceedirjgly the contrary : At such times especially, see- 
ing 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 light of God's glory ; not slighting in- 
struction 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 dis- 
like of placing religion much in dress, and spendmg much 
zeal about those things that in themselves are matters of in- 
difference, or an affecting to shew humility and devotion by 
a mean habit, or a demure and melancholy countenance, qr 
any thing singular and superstitious. 


Now if such things are enthusiasm, and the fruits of a dis- 
tempered brain, let my brain be CA^ermore 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 agitations of 
body were found in the French prophets, and ten thousand 
prophets more, it is little to their purpose who bring it as an 
objection against such a work as this, imless their purpose be 
to disprove the whole of the Christian i-eligion. The great 
affections and high transports that others have lately been un- 
der, 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 else- 
where ; and though there arc some instances of great affec- 
tions in which there has been a great mixture of nature Avith 
grace, and in some, a sad degenerating of religious affections ; 
yet there is that uniformity 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 no- 
tions have they of religion, that reject what has been describ- 
ed as not true religion ? What shall we find to answer those 
expressions in scripture, The peace of God that passes all un- 
derstanding : Rejoicing loith joy unspeakable and full of glory., 
in believijig in and loving an unseen Saviour : All joy and peace 
in believing : God 'a shining into our hearts^ to give the light of 
the knoivledge of the glory of God in the fhce of Jesus Christ ; 
nvith openface^ beholding as in a glass, the glory of the Lordy 
and being changed ints the same image, from glory to glory, eve7i 
as by the Spirit of the Lord : Having the love of God shed 
abroad in our hearts, by the Holy Ghost give?: to us : Having 
the Spirit of God, and of glory, rest ufion us : J Being called ortt 
efdar^kess into marvellous light ; and having the day star arise 
in our hearts : I say, if those things that have been mention- 
ed, does not answer these expressions, vvhat else can we find 
out that does answer them ? Those that do not think such 
tilings as these to be the fruits of the true spirit, would do 
:w^ll to consider what kind of spirit they are waiting and prayn 


inp; for, n,T\d what sort of fruits they expect he should produce 
"Xvhon he cnmcs. I suppose it will generally bo aliuwed that 
there is such a thing as a glorious outpouring of the Spirit oi 
God to be expected, to introduce very joyful and glorious 
times upon religious sccounts ; times wherein holy love and 
joy -will be raised to a great hcij^ht 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, joyfid religion of these times : 
"What is that any have a notion of, that is very sweet, excel- 
lent and joyful, of a religious nature, that is entirely of a differ- 
ent 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 wonderful religious influence that is 
en 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 measiu-e 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 bright- 
ness of conversation, that is to be expected of lively Christ' 

ians, or those that are in the vigorous exercises of grace 

There are many that will not be satisfied with any exactness 
or laboriousness in religion now, while persons have their 
minds much moved, and their affections are high ; for they 
lay it to their (lash of affection, and heat of zeal, as they call 
k ; they are wailing to see whether they will carry them- 
selves as Avell when these aifeclions are over : That is, they 
are waiting to have persons sicken and lose their strength, 
that they may see whether they will then behave themselves 
like healthy strong men. I would desire that they would al- 
so consider whether they be not waiting for more than is rea- 
sonably to be expected, supposing this to be really a great 
work of God, and much more than has been found in former 
i;reat outpourings of the Spirit of God, that have been univer- 
sally acknowledged in the Christian church ? Do not they ex- 
pect fewer instances of apostacy, and evidences of hypocrisy 


in professofR, and those that for the present seem to be under 
the influences of the spirit, than were after that great outpour- 
ing' of the spirit in the apostles days, or that which was in the 
time cf the reformation ? And do not they-^ stand prepared to 
make a mig-hty ar^;ument of it against this work, if there 
should be/;c^-^so inany ? And 2. They would do ^vell to con- 
sider 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 fiiiit 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 Newengland, by this work, has been 
before observed : And has it not continued long enough al- 
ready, to give reasonable satisfaction ? If God cannot work on 
the hearts of a people after such a manner, as to shew his 
hand so plainly, as reasonably to expect it should be acknow- 
ledged in a year and an 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 won- 
derful event, a strange revolution, an unexpected, surprising 
overtuniing of things, suddenly brought to pass ; such as nev- 
er has been seen in Newengland, and scarce ever has been 
heard of in any land. Who that saw the state of things in 
Newengland 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. Foi' 
though undoubtedly, God and the devil may work together at 
the same time, and in the same land ; and M'hen God is at 
work, especially if he be very remarkably at work, Satan will 
to his utmost endeavor intrude, and by intermingling his 
work, darken and hinder God's work ; yet God and the devil 
^o not work together in producing the same event, and in cf- 


fecting the same change in the hearts and lives of men : Bi:t 
it is apparent tliat there are some things wherein the main 
Substance of this work consists, a certain effect that is produc- 
ed, and alteration that is made in the apprehensions, affec- 
tions, dis])ositions and behavior of men, in which there is a 
likeness and agreement every where : Now this I say, is either 
a wondei'ful work of God, or a mighty work of the devil ; and' 
so is either a most happy event, greatly to be admired and re- 
joiced in, or a most awfnl calamity. Therefore if Avhat has 
been said before, be sufficient to determine it to be as to the 
main, the work of God, then it must be acknoAvledged to be a 
very wotiderful and glorious work of God. 

Such a work is in its nature and kind, the most glorious of 
any A^^ork 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 ofncAV creation, that is infinitely more glorious than the 
old. I am bold to say, that the work of God in the conver- 
sion of 6ne soul, considered together with the source, founda- 
tion and puj'chase of it, and also the benefit, end and eternil 
issue of it, is a more glorious work of God than the creation 
of the whole material imiverse : 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 shews the ex- 
ceeding greatness of God '.v Jwiver^ and the glory and riches of 
divine grace^ and wherein Christ has the most glorioHs tri- 
umph over his enemies, and wherein God is mightily exalt- 
ed : 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 show- 
er, 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 world. 

And as this work is very glorious in its nature, so it is in 
its degree and circumstances. It will appear very glorious if 
Ave consider the unworthiness of the people that are the suli- 
jecte of it ; what obligations Cod has laid us under by tb-e 


special privileges wc'have enjoyed for our souls' gooil, 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 we have abused his goodness ; how long we have been 
revolting more atid more, (as all confess) and how very cor- 
rupt we were become at last ; in how great a degree we had 
cast off God, and forsaken the fountain of living waters : 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 hypocritical pretences of humiUation, as in our an- 
nual days of public fasting, and other things, Avhile instead of 
I'eformingj we only grew worse and worse ; how dead a time 
it was every where 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 in- 
stance of the glorious triumph of free and sovereign grace. 

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 Neweng-and. There has 
formerly sometimes been a remarkable awakening and suc- 
cess of the means of grace, in some pavticular congregation ; 
and this used to be much taken notice of, and acknowledged 
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 nature, that 
has extended from one end of the land to the other, besides 
•what has been wroug'it in other British colonies in America. 

The work is very glorious in the great numbers tliat 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 rewai-rj of their labors, have some emi- 
nent 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 07ie 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 

Vgl. in. T 


of souls thus converted and saved, shall it be esteemed worth 
but little notice, and be mentioned with coldness and indiffer- 
ence 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 innu- 
merable instances, in which, 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 be- 
come visibly new creatures ? God has also made his hand 
"very visible, 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 formerly would have been looked upon so re- 
markable, as to be worthy to be recorded, and published 
through the land. The work is very glorious in its influen- 
ces 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 with 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 do- 
minions. 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 Avork of God, arising from our weakness, 
darkness and corruption, does not hinder this work of God's 
power and grace from being very glorious. Our follies and 
sins that we mix, do 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 weak- 
ness of the earthen vessel. It is God's pleasure that there 
should be something remarkably to manifest the weakness 
and unworthiness of the subject, at the same time that he dis- 
plays the excellency of his power and riches of his grace 

And I doubt not but some of those things that inake 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 allsufficiency, 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 
Jiim, have done a great deal of mischief. 


Shewing the Obligations that all are under to acknowr 
ledge, rejoice in, and promote this Work, and the 
great Danger of the contrary. 

THERE are many things in the word of God, that shew 
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 ac- 
knowledge and honor God in the work, and to lie still and not 
to put to an helping hand. Christ's people are in scripture 
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 captain of his people's salva- 
tion ; 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 forth against his enemies. God 
expects that every living soul should have his attention roused 
on such an occasion, and should most cheerfully yield to the 
call, and heed fully and diligently obey it ; Isa. xviii. 3. " All 
ye inhabitants of the world, and dwellers on the earth, see ye 
■when he lifteth up an ensign on the mountains ; and when he 
bloweth the trumpet, hear ye." Especially should all Israel 
be gathered after their captain, as wc read they were after 
Ehud, when he blew the trumpet in mount Ephraim, when 
he had slain Eglon king of Moab, Judg. iii. 27, 28. How se- 
vere is the martial law in such a case, when any of an army 
refuses to obey the sound of the trumpet, and follow his gen- 
eral to the battle ? Gcd at such a time appears in peculiar 
Tnanifestations of his glory, and therefore not to be affected 
and animated, and to lie still, and refuse to follow God, will 
be resented as an 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, Avhen all the 
multitude were testifying their loyalty and joy, with loud ac- 
clamations ; how greatly would he expose himself to be treat- 
ed 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 
{"•loriously 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 spectator ; all must 
appear as loyal subjects, and express their joy on that occa- 
sion, or be accounted enemies : So it always is Avhen God, 
in any great dispensation of his providence, dees remarkably 
set his king on his holy hill of Zion, and Christ in an extraor- 
dinary manner comes down from heaven to the earth, and 


mppears in his visible church in a great work of salvation fqr 
his people : So it Avas when Christ came doAvn from heaven 
in his incarnation, and appeared on earth in his human pres- 
ence ; there was no such thing as being neuters, neither on 
his side nor against him : Those that sat still and said notli- 
ing, and did not declare for him, and come and join with him, 
after he, by his Avord and works, had given sufficient evidence 
•who he was, were justly looked upon as his enemies ; as 
Christ says, Matth. xii. 30. « He that is not with me is against 
me ; and he that gathereth not with me, scattereth abroad. 
So it is in a time when Christ is remarkably spiritually pres- 
ent, as well as when he is bodily present ; and when he comes 
to carry on the work of redemption in the application of it, as 
■well as in the revelation and purchase. If a king should 
come into cne of his provinces, that had been oppressed by 
its foes, where some of his subjects had fallen off to the ene- 
my, and joined with them against their lawful sovereign and 
his loyal subjects ; I say, if the lawful sovereign himself 
should com.e into the province, and should ride forth there 
against his enemies, and should call upon all that were on his 
side to come and gather themselves to him ; there would be 
no such thing, in such a case, as standing neuter : They that 
laid still and staid at a distance would undoubtedly be looked 
upon and treated as rebels. So in the day of battle, when two 
armies join, there is no such thing for any present as being of 
neither party, all must be on one side or the other ; and they 
that are not found with the conqueror in such a case, must 
expect to have his weapons turned against them, and to fall 
•with the rest of his enemies. 

When God manifests himself with such glorious power in 
a work of this nature, he appears especially determined to 
put honor upon his son, and to fulfil his oath that he has 
sworn to him, that he would make every knee to bow, and 
every tongue to confess to him. God hath had it much on 
his heart, from all eternity, to glorify his dear and only begot- 
ten Son ; and there are some special sej ons that he appoints 
to that end, wherein he comes forth v/ith omnipotent power 
Jto fulfil his promise and oath to him : And these times are 


times of remarkable pouring out of his Spirit, to advance hia 
kingdom ; such a day is a day of his power, wherein his peo- 
ple shall be made willing, and he shall rule in the midst of 
his enemies ; these especially are the limes wherein God de- 
clares his firm decree that his Son shall reign on his holy hill 
of Zion ; and therefore those that at such a time do not kiss 
the Son, as he then manifests himself, and appears in the glo- 
ry of his majesty and grace, expose themselves to perish /ram 
the ivay, and to be dusked in pieces lidth a rod ofirwi. 

As such a time is a time wherein God eminently sets Ids 
kiiiff on his holxj hill of Zion., so it is a time wherein he remark- 
ably fulfils that in Isa. xxviii. 16. " Therefore thus saith the) 
Lord God, behold I lay in Zion for a foundation, a stone, a 
tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation.** 
Which the two Apostles Peter and Paul, ( 1 Pet. ii. 6, 7, 8. 
and Rom. ix. S3) join with that prophecy, Isa. \iii. 14, 15. 
"And he shall be for a sanctuary ; but for a stone of stumbling, 
and for a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel, for a 
gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem : And many 
among them shall stumble and fall, and be broken, and be 
snared and taken." As signifying that both are fulfilled to- 
gether. Yea, both arc joined together by the prophet Isaiah 
himself ; as you may see in the context of that foremention- 
ed, Isa. xxviii. 16. In ver. 13, preceding, it is said, " But 
the word of the Lord was unto them precept upon precept, 
precept upon precept ; line upon line, line upon line ; here 
a little, and there a little, that they might go, and fall back- 
ward, and be broken, and snared and taken." And according- 
ly it always is so, that when Christ is in a peculiar and emi- 
nent manner manifested and magnified, by a glorious work 
of God in his church, as a foundation and a sanctuary for some, 
he is remarkably a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, 
a gin and a snare to others. They that continue long to 
stumble, and be offended and ensnared in their minds, at such 
a great and glorious work of Christ, in God's account, stum- 
ble at Christ, and aje offended in him ; for the work is that 
by which he makes Christ manifest, and shows his glory, and 
by which he makes the stojie that the builders refusedy to be^ 


come the head of the corner. This shows how dangerous it is 
to continue always stumbling at such a work, forever doubting 
of it, and forbearing fully to acknovvrledge it, and give God the 
glory of it: Such persons are in danger ?o j^o, and fall back" 
ward, and be broken, and snared and taken, and to have Christ 
a stone of stumbling to them, that shall be an occasion of their 
ruin ; while he is to others <x sanctuary, and a sure foundation^ 

The prophet Isaiah, Isa. xxix. 14, speaks of God's proceed' 
ing to do a marvellous v/ork and a wonder, which should 
stumble and confound the wisdom of the wise and prudent ; 
which the apostle in Acts xiii. 41, applies to the glsrious 
work of salvation wrought in those days by the redemption of 
Christ, and that glorious outpouring of the S pirit to apply it 
that followed ; the prophet in the context of that place in Isa. 
xxix. speaking of the same thing, and of the prophets and 
rulers and seers, those wise and prudent, whose eyes God had 
closed, says to them, verse 9, " Stay yourselves and wonder.** 
In the original it is. Be ye slow and wonder. I leave it to 
others to consider whether it is not natural to interpret it thus, 
" Wonder at this marvellous work ; let it be a strange thing, 
a great mystery that you know not what to make of, and that 
you are very slow and backward to acknowledge, long dela}-- 
ing to come to a determination concerning it." And what 
persons are in danger of that wonder, and are thus slow to ac- 
knowledge God in such a work, we learn by that of the apos- 
tle in that forementioned Acts xiii. 41. " Behold ye despisers, 
and wonder and perish ; for I work a work in your days, a 
•work which you shall in no wise believe, though a man de- 
clare it unto you." 

The church of Christ is called upon greatly to rejoice, when 
at any time Christ remarkably appears, coming to his church, 
to carry on the work of salvation, to enlarge his own kingdom, 
and to deliver poor souls out of the pit, wherein there is no 
water, in Zech. ix. 9, 10, 11. " Rejoice greatly O daughter of 
Zion, shout O daughter of Jerusalem ; behold thy king com- 

eth unto thee ; he is just and having salvation His domin* 

ion shall be from sea to sea.. ..As for thee also, by the blood of 
Ihy covenant, I have sent forth thy prisoners out of tlie pit 


•wherein is no water." Christ was pleased to give a notable 
typical ov symbolical representation of such a great event as 
is spoken oi'in that prophecy, in his solemn entry into the lit- 
eral Jerusalem, which was a type of the church or daughter 
of Zion, there spoken of ; proliably intending it as a figure 
and prelude of that great actual fulfilment of this prophecy, 
that was to be after bis ascension, by the pouring out of the 
Spirit in the days of the apo'Jtles, and that more full accom- 
plishment that should be in the latter ages of the Christian 
church. \Vc have an account, that v/hen Christ made this 
bis solemn entry into Jerusalem, and the whole multitude of 
the disciples were rejoicing and praising God with loud voic- 
es, for all the mighty works that they had seen, the pharisees 
from among the multitude said to Christ, Master., rebuke thy 
disci/iles ; but we are told, Luke xix. 39, 40, Christ " an- 
swered and said unto them, I tell you, that if these should 
hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out :" 
Signifying, that if Christ's professing disciples should be un- 
affected on such an occasion, and should not appear openly to 
Acknowledge and rejoice in the glory of God therein appearing, 
it v/ould manliest such fearful hardness of heart, so exceeding 
that of the stones, that the very stones would condemn them. 
Should not this make those consider, who have held their 
peace so long since Christ has come to our Zion having sal- 
vation, and so wonderfully manifested his glory in this mighty 
work of his spirit, and so many of his disciples have been re- 
joiciTig and praising God with loud voices ? 

It must be acknowledged that so great and wonderful a 
work of God's Spirit, is a work wherein God's hand is re-' 
rnarkably lifted iiji^ and wherein he displays his majesty, and 
shows great favor and mercy to sinners, in the glorious oppor- 
tunity he gives them ; and by which he makes our land to be- 
come much more a land of uprightness : Therefore that place, 
Isa. xxvi. 10, 1 1, siiows the great danger of not seeing God's 
hand, and acknowledging his glory and majesty in such ai 
work : " Let favor be showed to the wicked, yet will he not I 
learn righteousness ; in the land of uprightness he will deal 
unjustly? and will not behold the majesty of the Lord. Lord 


\Vhen thy hand is lifted up, they will not see ; but they shall 
See, and be ashamed for their envy at the people ; yea the 
fire of thine enemies shall devour them. 

It is not unlikely that this work of God's Spirit, that is so 
fextraordinary and wonderful, is the dawning, or at least, a 
prelude of that glorious work of God, so often foretold in 
scripture, which in the progress and issue of it shall renew the 
v/orki of mankind. If we consider how long since, the 
things foretold, as what should precede this great event have 
been accomplished ; and how long this event has been ex- 
pected by the church of God, and thought to be nigh by the 
most eminent men of God in the church ; and Avithal consid- 
er what the state of things now is, and has for a considerable 
time been, in the church of God, and Avorld of mankind, we 
cannot reasonably think otherwise , than that the beginning 
of this great work of God must..be near. And there aro many 
things that make it probable that this work will begin in A- 
raerica. It is signified that it shall begin in some very re- 
mote part of the world, that the rest of the world have no 
communication with but by navigation, in Isa. Ix. 9, " Surely 
the Isles will wait for me, and the ships of Tarshish first, to 
bring my sons from far." It is exceeding manifest that this 
chapter is a prophecy of the prosperity of the church, in its 
most glorious state on earth, in the latter days ; and I cannot 
think that any thing else can be here intended but America, 
by the isles that are far off, from whence the first born sons 
of that glorious day shall be brought. Indeed by the isles^ in 
prophecies of gospel times, is very often meant Eurofic : It is 
so in prophecies of that great spreading of the gospel that 
should be soon after Christ's time, because it was far sepa- 
rated from that part of the world where the church of God 
had, until then been, by the sea. But this prophecy cannot 
have respect to the conversion of Europe, in the time of that 
great work of God, in the primitive ages of the Christian 
church ; for it w«s not fulfilled then : The isles and ships of 
Tarshish, thus understood, did not wait for God first; that 
glorious work did not begin in Europe, but in Jerusalem, and, 
had for a considerable time, been very wonderfully carried on 
Vol. Ill, U 


in Asia, before it reached Europe, And as it is not tliae 
work of God that is chiefly intended in this chapter, but that 
more glorious work that should be in the latter ages of the 
Christian church, therefore some other part of the world 
is here intended by the Isles, that should be as Europe then 
was, far separated from that part of the world where the 
church had before been, by the sea, and with which it can 
have no communication but by the ships of Tarshish. And 
what is chiefly intended is not the British Isles, nor any Isles 
near the other continent ; for they are spoken of as at a 
j^reat distance from that part of the world where the church 
had till then been. This prophecy therefore seems plainly 
to point out America, as the first fruits of that glorious dav. 

God has made, as it were two worlds here below, the old 
and the new, (according to the names they are now called by) 
two great habitable continents, far separated one from the 
other ; the latter is but newly discovered, it was formerly 
wholly unknown, from age to age, and is as it were now but 
newly created : It has been, until of late, wholly the posses- 
sion of Satan, the church of God having never been in it, as 
it has been in the other continent, from the beginning of the 
world. This new world is probably now discovered, that the 
new and most glorious state of God's church on earth might 
commence tbere ; that God might in it begin a new world 
in a spiritual respect, when he creates the new Heavens and 
nenv earth. 

God has already put that honor upon the other continent, 
that Christ AVas born there literally, and there made the /lur- 
chase of redemfiiion : So, as Providence observes a kind of 
equal distribution of things, it is not unlikely that the great 
spiritital birth of Christ, and the most glorious apjilication of 
redemption is to begin in this : As the elder sister brought 
forth Judah, of whom came Christ, and so she was the moth- 
er of Christ; but the younger sister, after long barrenness, 
brought forth Joseph and Benjamin, the beloved children. 
Joseph, that had the most glorious apparel, the coat of many 
colors, who was separated from his brethren, and was exalt- 
ed to such glory out of a dark dungeon, and fed and saved th© 


world, when ready to perish with famine, and was as a fruit- 
ful bough by a well, whose branches ran over the wall, and 
was blessed with all manner of blessings and precious things, 
of heaven and earth, through the good will of him that dwelt 
in the bush ; and was, as by the horns of an unicorn, to puslj 
the people togethei', to the ends of the earth, i. e. conquer 
the world. See Gen, xlix. 22, Sec. and Deut. xxxiii. 13, &c. 
And Benjamin, whose mess was five times so great as that of 
any of his brethren, and to whom Joseph, that type of Christ, 
gave wealth and raiment far beyond all the rest. Gen. 
xlv. 22, 

The other continent hath slain Christ, and has from age to 
age shed the blood of the saints and martyrs of Jesus, and has 
often been as it were deluged with the churches blood : God 
has therefore probably reserved the honor of building the 
glorious temple to the daughter, that has not shed so much 
blopd, when those times of the peace, and prosperity, and 
glory pf the church shall commence, that were typified by the 
reign of Solomon, 

The Gentiles first received the true religion from the Jews : 
God*s church of ancient times had been among them, and 
Christ was of them : But that there might be a kind of 
equality in the dispensations of providence, God has so order- 
ed it, that when the Jews come to be admitted to the benefits 
of the evangelical dispensation, and to receive their highest 
privileges of all, they should receive the gospel from the Gen- 
tiles : Though Christ was of them, yet they have been guilty 
of crucifying him ; it is therefore the will of God, that that 
people should not have the honor of communicating the bless- 
ings of the kingdom of God in its most glorious state, to the 
Gentiles, but on the contrary, they shall receive the gospel in 
the beginning of that glorious day, from the Gentiles. In 
some analogy to this, I apprehend God's dealings will be with 
the two continents. America has received 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 communicating religion in 
its most glorious state to us, but we to them. 

The old continent has been the source and original of man- 
kind, 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 origin- 
ate from the new continent, and the church of God in that re- 
spect be from hence. And so it is probable that that "vvill 
come to pass in spirituals, that has in temporals, with respect 
to America ; that whereas till of late, the world was supplied 
>vith its silver and gold and earthly treasures from the old 
continent, now it is supplied chiefly from the new, go the 
course of things in spiritual respects will be in like manner 

And it is worthy to be noted that America was discovered 
about the time of the reformation, or but little before : Which 
reformation was the first thing that God did towards the glo- 
rious renovation of the world, after it had sunk into the depths 
of darkness and ruin, under the great antichristian apostasy. 
So that as goon as this new world is (as it were) created, and 
stands forth in view, God presently goes about doing some 
gi'eat thing to make way for the introduction of the churches 
latter day glory, that is to have its first seat in, and is to take 
its rise from that new world. 

It is agreeable to God's manner of working, when he ac- 
complishes 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 niight appear to be entire- 
ly God's, and be more manifestly a creation out of nothing ; 
agreeably to Hos. i. 10. " And it shall come to pass that in the 
place where it was said unto them, yc arc not my people, 
there it shall be said unto 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 noth- 
ing is to he seen but dry sand and barren rocks ; that the 
light may shine out of darkness, and the world be replenished 
from emptinpss, and the earth \yatered by springs from a 
dronghty desert j agreeably to many prophecies of scripture, 
as Isa. xxxii. 15. " Until the spirit be poured from on high, 
and the wilderness become a fruitful field." And chap. xli. 
18. "I will open rivers in high places, and fountains in the 
midst of the valleys ; I will malce the wilderness a jxjol of 
water, and the dry land springs of water : I will plant in the 
wilderness the 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 together ;" and chap, xliii. 20. « I give wa- 
ters in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert, to give drink 
to my people, my chosen." And many other parallel scrip- 
tures might be mentioned. 

I observed before, that when God is about to do some greaf 
woi'k 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, meanest, youngest 
and weakest part of it, where the church of God has been plant- 
ed last of all ; and so the first shall be last, and the last first ; 
and that will be fulfilled in an eminent manner in Isa. xxiv. 
i 6. » From the uttermost part of the earth have we heard 
songs, even glory to the righteous." 

There are several things that seem to rae to argue, that 
when the Sun of Righteousness, the sun of the new heavens 
and new earth, comes to rise, and comes forth as the bride' 
^room 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 from 
the light and heat of it,* that the sun shall rise in the west, 

* It is evident that the Holy Spirit, in those expressions in Psal. xix, 4, 5, 
and 6 verses, has respect to something else besides the natural sun ; and that 
an eye is had to tlie Sun of Righteousness, that by his light converts the soul, 
makes wise the simple, enlightens the eyes, and rejoices the heart ; and by his 
preached gospel enlightens and w^arms the world of mankind. By the 
Psalmist's own application in verse 7, and the apostle's application of verse 4, 
in Rom. X. 18. 


contrary to the course of this world, or the course of 
things in the old heavens and earth. The course of God'r. 
providence 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 deliverance of the church from her enemies in the 
latter days : The resurrection of Hezekiah, the king and cap- 
tain of the church, (as he is called 2 Kings xx. 5) as it were 
from the dead, is given as an earnest of the churches resur- 
rection and salvation, Isa. xxxviii. 6, and is a type of the res- 
urrection of Christ, At the same time there is a resurrection 
of the sun, or coming back and rising again from the west, 
■vrhether 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 meridian. The sun of right- 
eousness 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, until it shines through the world, 
like the sun in its meridian 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 
chwrch that shall tlien be. 

And if we may suppose that th^s glorious work of God 
>hall begin in any part of America, I think if we consider the 
circumstances of the settlement of Newengland, 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 more abundant rea- 
son to hope that what is now seen in America, and especially 
in Newengland, may prove the dawn of that glorious day ; 
And the very uncommon and wonderful circunistances and 
events of this work, seem to me strongly to argue that God 
intends it as the beginning or forerunner of some thing vastly 

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

It is very dangerous for God's professing people to lie still, 
and not to come to tl>e 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 season 
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 tliis 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 

There was indeed a glorious season of the application of re- 
demption, in the first ages of the Clu'istian 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, 15, 16, and will probably as much exceed what was in 
the first ages of the Christian church, though that filled the Ro- 
man 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 acknowlege, 
rejoice in, and promote that great work of God, in bringing in 


that glorious harvest, is represented in Zcch. xi v. 1 6, 1 7, 1 8, 1 9 , 
" And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left, of all 
the nations, which come 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 
M'hoso -will not come up, of all the families of the earth, unto 
Jerusalem, to worship the king, the Lord of hosts, even up>on 
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 
therewith the Lord will 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 ages 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. 5, and the 
great spiritual rejoicings of God's people 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 fiasss- 
every was represented the purchase of redemption by Jesus 
Christ, the paschal Lamb, that was slain at the time of that 
feast. The other two that followed it, were to represent the 
two great seasons of the application of the purchased redemp- 
tion : In the former of them, viz. the feast of the first fintitsy 
which was called the feast of pentecost, was represented that 
time of the outpouring of the Spirit, that was in the first ages 
of the Christian church, for the bringing in the first fruits of 
Christ's redemption, which began at Jerusalem, on the day of 
pentecost : The other, which was the feast nf ingatherings at 
the end of the year, w hich the children of Israel were appoint- 
ed to keep on occasion of their gathering in their corn and 
their w ine, and all the fruit of their land, and was called the 
feast of (abernudes, 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 
Jiis sickle, and gather the harvest of the earth ; and the clus- 
ters 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 fcE^st, than any 
other : The people then dwelt in booths of green boughs, 
and v/ere commanded to take boughs of goodly trees, branch- 
es of palm trees, and the boughs of thick trees, and willows 
of the brook, and to rejoice before the Lord their God : 
Wltich represents the flourishing, beautiful, pleasant stale the 
church shall be in, rejoicing in God's grace and love, tri- 
umphing 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, 
S. '^ And I heard a great voice out of Heaven, saying. The 
tabernacle 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 tab- 
ernacles wa> appointed ; so in that glorious time, God will 
<ireate a new heaven and a new earth. The temple of Solo- 
mon was dedicated at the time of the feast of tabernacles, 
■when God descended in a pillar of cloud, and dwelt in the 
temple ; so at this happy time the temple of God shall be 
gloriously built up in the world, and God shall in a wonderful 
manner come down from heaven to dwell with his church. 
Christ is supposed to have been born at the feast of taberna- 
cles ; so at the commencement of that glorious day, Christ 
shall be born ; then above all other times shall the Woman 
clothed ivith the sun^ nvith the mooji under her feet^ that is in 
travail^ and pained to be delivered^ bring forth her son to rule all 
nations, Rev. xii. at the beginning. The feast of tabernacles 
■vyas the last feast that Israel had in the vsholc year, before 
Vol. III. W 


the face of the earth was destroyed by the Vvinter ; present!/ 
after the rejoicings of that feast were past, a icmpcstuous Sea* 
son began. Acts xxvii. 9. '* Sailing was now dangerous Ijccause 
the feast Avas now alicady past." So this great feast of ihd 
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, Avhich signifies the great wcancdncss 
of God's people from the world, as pilgrin^.s 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 extraordinary preaching of the gospel, and deep 
repentance and humiliation for past sins, and the great and 
long continued deadness and carnality of the visible church. 
Christ at the great feast of tabernacles, stood in Jesusalem, 
and C7ied, .faying, If cnnj man thirst let him come unto me and. 
drink : He that believeth on me, as the scrijiture hath said, out 
of his belly shall j^ow rivers of living waters : Signifying the 
extraordinary freedom and riches of divine grace towards sin- 
ners, 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 14th chapter of Zc *!i. 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 dis- 
tance, as unbelieving and disaffected ; v/tcn 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 show- 
er of divine blessing that shall then descend on the earth, that 
spiritual rain spoken of, Isu. Ixiv. 3. But God would give 
them over to hardnesss of heart and bliiulncss of mind. 

The curse is yet in a more awful manner denounced against 
such as shall appear as opposerS at that time, ver. 12. « And 
this shall be the plague, wherewith the Lord shall smite all 
the pccplcj that have fought against Jcpjjsalcm, 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 proba- 
bility it is a spiritual judgment, or a plague and curse from 
God upon the soul, rather than upon the body, that is intend- 
ed ; that such persons, who at that time shall oppose God's 
people in his work, shall in an extraordinary manner be giv- 
en over to a state of spiritual death and ruin, that they shall 
remarkably appear dead while alive, and shall be as walking 
rotten corpses, while they go about 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 pei'ish ; yea, those 
nations shall be utterly wasted. 

Most of the great temporal deliverances that were wrought 
for Israel of old, as divines and expositors observe, were typ- 
ical of the great spiritual works of God for the salvation of 
ipen's souls, and the deliverance and prosperity of his church, 
in the days of the gospel ; and especially did th^y 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 ap- 
pointed time, and proper season of actual redemption 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 wrought that great work of bringin^^ the 
children of Israel out of Egypt, (which was a type of God's 
delivering his church out of the spiritual Egypt, at the time 
of the fall of Antichrist, as is 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 
ihem for it ? Exod. xvii. 14, 15, 16. " And the Lord said unto 
Moses, Write this for a memorial in a book, and rehearse it 


in tlic cars of Joshua ; for I will utterly put out the Temem- 
brance 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 Avar with Amalek, from genera- 
tion to generation." And accordingly v/e find that God re- 
Tnembcred it a long time after, 1 Sam. xv. 3. And hovr 
Wghly did God res^ent it in the Moabites and An^monites, that 
they did not lend an helping hand, and encourage and pro- 
'mote the affair ? Deut. xxiii. 3, 4. « An Ammonite or Moab- 
ite shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord ; even to 
their tenth generation, shall they not enter into the congrega- 
tion of the Lord forever ; because they met you not with 
bread and with water, in the way when yc 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, 2 1, 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, be- 
fore the Lord, until he hath diiven out his enemies from be- 
fore him, and the land be subdued before the Lord, then af- 
terward ye shall return and be 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 Israel, 
-when he delivered them from the Canaanites, by the hand of 
Deborah and ^arak : Almost every thing about it shewed a 
Temarka1)le hand < T God. It was a prophetess, one imm(> 
diately inspired by God, tha.t 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 mat- 
ter, when they willingly offered themselves, and gathered to- 
gether to the battle ; they jeoparded their lives in the high 
places of the Jicld, without being pressed or hired ; when one 
would hav€ thought they should have but little courage for 
such an undei'taking ; for what could a number of poor, weak, 
defenceless slaves do, without a shield or sjicar to be seen 


among forty thousand of them^ to go against a great prince, 
•with his mighty host, and nine hundred chariots of iron. And 
the success did wonderfully shew the hand of God ; which 
makes Deborah exultingly to say, Judg. v. 21. " O my soul, 
thou hast trodden down strength !" Christ with his heavenly 
host was engaged in that battle ; and therefore it is said, ver. 
20. " They fought fi'om 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 deliverance 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 churches latter day glory ; as appears by 
Rev. xvi. 16. (speaking of that great battle) " And he gather- 
ed them together into a place, called in the Hebrew tongue, 
Armageddon," i. e. the mountain of Megiddo ; alluding, as is 
supposed by expositors, to the place where the battle was 
fought with the host of Sisera, Judg. v. 19. " The kings cam« 
and fought, the 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 the^r ene- 
mies, is the antitype of the battle that was fought there. But 
what a dreadful curse from Christ, did some of God's profess- 
ing people Israel bring upon themselves, by lying still at that 
time, and not putting to an helping hand ? Judg. v. 23. 
*' Curse ye Meroz, said the angel of the Lord, curse ye bitter- 
ly the inhabitants thereof, because they came not to the help 
of the Lord, to the help of the Lord against the mighty." 
The angel of the Lord v/as the captain of the host ; he that 
had led Israel, and fought for them in that battle, who is very 
often called the angel of the Lord, in scripture ; the same that 
appeai'ed to Joshua with a sword drawn in his hand, and told 
him that he was come as the captain of the host of the Lord ; 
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, Sec. It seems the inhabitants of Meroz 
were unbelieving concerning this great work, nor would they 
hearken to Deborah's pretences, nor did it enter into them 


that such a poor defenceless company, should ever prcva;/ 
against those that Averc so mighty ; they did not acknowledge 
the hand of God, and therefore stood at a distance, and did 
nothinp; to promote the work : Ikit what a .bitter curse from 
God, did they brin;j^ upon themselves by it I 

It is very pVobablc that one great reason Avhy the inhabit- 
ants of Mero", were so unbelieving conceiiiin(; this v.ork, was 
tirat ihcy argoied a firiori ; they did not like the betjinning of 
it, it being a woman that first led the Avay, 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 great a thing ; and pride and unbelief 
V rought together, in not being willing to follow Deborah to 
the battle. 

It was anotiier glorious woik of God that he wrought for 
Israel, in the victory that was obtained by Gideon over the 
Midianites and Amalekites, and the children of the cast, when 
they came up against Israel like grasshoppers, a multitude 
that could not be numl)ercd. This also was a remarkable 
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 immediate- 
ly directed to of God ; which was not by human sword or 
bow, but only by blowing of trumpets, and by lights in earth- 
en vessels. We read that on thi,s occasion, Gideon called the 
people together to help in this great afiair ; and that accord- 
ingly, great numbers resorted to him, and came to the help of 
ihc Lord, Judg. vii. 23, 24. But there were gome also at that 
lime, that were unbelieving, and would not acknowledge the 
hand of God in that work, though it was so great and wonder- 
ful, nor would they join to promote it ; and tljcy were tlie in- 
haliitants of Succ(»th and Penuel : Gideon desired their help, 
when he was pursuii;;-; after Zebah and Zalmunna j but they 
despised his pretences, and his conlidenpe of the Lord's being 
on his side, to df livc»r those two great princes into the hands 
of such a despicable company, as he and his three hundred 
r.Tcn, and would not own the work of God, nor afford Gideon 
any assistance : God proceeded in this w,ork in a Avay that 


%;a5 exceeding cross to their pride. And they also refused' 
to own the v/ork, because they argued a priori ; they could 
not believe that God would do such great things by such :v 
despicable aistrument ; 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 f..int : But we see 
hov/ they suffered for their folly, in not acknowledging^ and 
appearing to promote this work of God. Gideon when he re- 
turned from the victdry, took them^ and taught them ninth the' 
briers and thorns of the nvildenicss, and beat doivn the tower of 
PcnueU (he brought down their pride, and their false confi- 
dence) and slew the men of the city, Judg. chap. 8. This, in 
all probability Gideon did, as moved and directed by the an- 
gel of the Lord, that is Christ, that first called hinT, and sent 
him forth in this battle, and instructed and directed lilm, in; 
the whole afiVJr. 

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 
kind of tlie Philistines, and then in Kirjathjearim, in the ut- 
most borders of the land, did livelily represent the return of 
God to a professing people, in the spiritual tokens of his pres- 
ence, after long absence from them ; as well as the ark's 
ascending up into a tnOUntain, typified Christ's ascension into 
heaven. It is evident by the Psalms that were penned on that 
occasion, especially the f>3th Psalm, that the exceeding rejoic- 
ings of Israel on that occasion, represented 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 iiis people 
back, ,as it were frcm Busliun, and from the depth cf the sea, 
scattering their spiritual enemies, and causing that though 
they hadluin among the Jiot:^, yet they dionld b<- as the nvlngs of a 
dozu; covered -with siiver, and her feathers with yellow gold ; 
and giving the blessed tokens of his presence in his house, 
that his people may see the goings of God the king in hi^ sanc' 
tuary ; and that the gifts wliich David, witii such rovid boun- 
ty, distributed amongst the people on that occasion (2 Sam. 
■vi. 18, 19, and ! Chron. :;vi. !2, ,"} represti'.l spiritual b!css= 


injjs, that Christ Hbcrally sends clown on his church," by th« 
outpourings of his Spiiit. See Psal. Ixviii. 1,3, 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 
Hcmath, gathered togethei', and appeared to join and assist in 
that great affair ; and that all Israel bvAi^ht ufi the ark of the 
covKTtaiil of t lie Lordy with shouting, and with sound of the cor- 
net, and with trumfiets, and with cymbals, making a noise with 
fisalt cries and harjis, 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 rejoice 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 
tis take heed, in this day of the bringing up of the ark of God, 
that while we are in visibility and profession the spouse of the 
spiritual David, we do not shew ourselves to be indeed the 
children of false hearted and rbbellious 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 re- 
joicings that were made for Isaac when he was weaned ; lest 
we should be cast out of the family of y\braham, as he was. 
Gen. xxi. 8, 9. That affair contained spiritual mysteries, and 
was typical of things that come to jjass in these days of the 
gospel ; as is evider.t by the apostles' testimony. Gal. iv. 22, 
to the end. And particularly it seems to have been typical of 
two things. 1. The weaning of the church from its milk o*" 


carnal ordinances, ceremonies, shadows, and beggarly ele- 
ments, upon the coming ofChrist, and the pouring out of the 
Spirit in the days of the apostles. The church ofChrist, in 
the times of the Old Testament, was in its minority, and 
"vvas a babe ; and the apostle tells us that babes must be fed 
with milk, and not with strong meat ; but wlien God weaned 
his church from these carnal ordinances, on the ceasing of the 
legal dispensation, n glorious gospel feast was provided for 
&ouls, and God fed his people with spiritual dainties, and fdled 
tliem witli the Spirit, and gave them joy in the Holy Ghost. 
Ishmael, in mocking at the time of Isaac's feast, by the apos- 
tle's testimony, represented the carnal Jews, the chiiilren of 
the literal Jerusalem, who, vfhen they beheld the rejoicings of 
Chrlstiins, 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 Sciems also to represent the conversion of sinners, -^vhich 
is several tiaies represented in scripture by the weaning of Sk' 
child ; as in Psal. cxxxi, and Isa. xxviii. 9. Because in con- 
version, the soul is weaned from the enjoyments of the world, 
which are as it were the breast of our mother earth ; and i« 
also weaned from the covenant of our first parents, which we 
as naturally l.ang upon, as a child on its mother's breasts: 
And the great feast that Abraham made on that occasion, 
i-epresents the spiritual feast, the heavenly privileges, and ho- 
ly joys asg[ comforts, which God gives souls at their conver- 
sion. Now is a time when God is in a remarkable manner 
bestowing the blessings of such a feast. Let every one take 
heed that he does not now shew himself to be the son of the 
bond woman, and born after the ilesh, by standing and derid- 
ing, with mocking Ishmael ; lest they be cast out as he was, 
and it be sard concerning them, these sons of the bond wo- 
man, shall not be heirs with the sons of the free Wbman. 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 we contend 
Vol. III. ' X 


xvitli horses ? There is doubtless a time coniinr;: when Gcd 
vill accomplish things vastly greater antl more extraordinary 
than these. 

And that we may be waincd not to continue doubting and 
unbelieving, concerning this work, because of the extraordina- 
ry degree of it, and the suddenness and swiftness of the ac- 
complishment of the great things that pertain to it, let us 
consider the example of the unbelieving lord in Samaria ; 
who could not believe so extraordinary a v/ci'k of God to be 
accomplished so suddenly as was declared to him : The 
i-iophet Elisha foretold that the great famine in Samaria 
should very suddenly, even in one day, be turned into an ex- 
traordinary plenty ; but the work was too great, and too sud- 
den for him to believe ; says he, If the Lord should make ivin- 
doTJs in heaven, might this thing be ? And the curse that he 
brought upon himself by it, was that he saw it with his eyee, 
and did not eat thereof, but miserably perished, and was trod- 
den down as the mire of the streets, when others were feast- 
ing and rejoicing. 2 Kings, chap. 7. 

When God redeemed his people fr«Ta tiieir Babylonish 
captivity, and they rebuilt Jerusalem, it wa=, as is universally 
owned, a remarkable type of the spiritual redemption of God's 
chiarch ; and particularly, was an emiilLnl 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 not(^ in scrip- 
tnre, that the children of Israel, on that occasion, kept the 
greatest ^/e'as? of tabernacles, that ever had been kept in Israeli 
since the days of Joshua, when the people Avcre first settled 
in Canaan ; (Neb. 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 set- 
tled them in the good land. But we read of some that op- 
posed the Jews in that affair, and weakened their hands, and 


ridiculed God*s people, and the instruments that were im" 
proved in that work, and despised their hope, aUd made as 
though their confidence was little more than a shadow, and 
•would utterly fail them : T47iat do these fieble Jews ? (say 
they) tVill they fortify themselves ? 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 burned ? Even that nvMch 
they build, if a fox go ziji, 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. 2Q. « We his ser- 
vants will arise and build ; but you have no portion, nor right, 
nor memorial in Jerusalem." And least we bring Nehe- 
miah's imprecation upon us, chap. iv. 5, " Cover not their 
iniquity, and let not their sin be blotted out from before thee ; 
for they have provoked thee to angei", before the builders. 

As persons will greatly expose themselves to the curse of 
God, by opposing, or standing at a distance, and keeping si- 
lence 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 docs God put upon those 
in Israel, that willingly 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 pronounced on Jael, the wife of Keber, the 
Kenite, for her appearing on the Lord's side, and for what 
she did to promote this work? ver. 24. Which was no less 
than the curse pronounced 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 wQmen^ 
in the tent. And what a blessing is pronounced on those 
which shall have any hand in the destruction of Babylon 
which was the head city . of the kingdom of Satan, and o'f the 
enemies of the church of God? Psal. cxxxvii. 9, "Happy 
shall he be, that taketh, and dasheth thy little ones against the 
stones." What a particular and honorable notice is taken, in 


tbe records of God's word, of those that arose, and appeared 
as David's helpers, to introduce him into the kingdom of Is- 
rael, in the xiith chap, of 1 Chiton. 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 com- 
pared to the host of God, ver. 22. " At that time, day by day, 
there came to David, to help him, until it was a great host, 
like the liost of God." And doubtless 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 king- 
dom 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 coworkers with God, 
ver. 18. " Then the Spirit came upon Amasai, who was chief 
of the captains, and he said, thine a;'e we David, and on thy 
^ide, thou son of Jesse ; peacie, peace be unto thee, and peace 
be to thine helpers, for thy God helpeth thee. So we may 
conclude that God will much vnore 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 re- 
ceived bv 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, ver. 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 Loi'd, that " They were men that had understand- 
inp- of the times, to know what Israel ought to do.*' ver. 23 
and 32. Herein they differed from the Pharisees and other 
Jews, that did not come to the help of the Lord, at the time 
1,V\at the great son of David appeared to set up his kingdom in 
ti).e wnrld, whom Christ condemns, that they had not under-, 
standing of those timcs^ Luke xii. 56. " Ye hypocrites, ye can 
discern the face of the sky, and of the earth ; but how is it, 
t !vat yc do not discern these times ? So it ahvays will be, when 
Christ remarkably appears on rarth, on a design of setting up 
Ills kin<;dom here, there will be many that will not understand 


,;the times, nor ivhat Israel ought lo do, and so -will not come 
.to turn about the khip^dom to David. 

The favorable notice that God -will take of sucli 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 Babyloniifh capuvity. 
Nehem. chap. iii. 

At such a time as this, when God is setting his king on his 
holy hill of Zion, or establishing his dominion, or shewing 
forth his regal glory from thence, he expects that his visible 
people, without exception, should openly appear to acknowl- 
edge him in such a v>^ork, and bow before him, and johi with 
him. But especially does he expect this of civil rulers : God's 
eye is especially upon them, to see how they behave them- 
selves on such an occasion. If a new king comes to the 
throne, when he comes from abroad, and enters into his king- 
dom, and makes his solemn entry into the royal city, it is ex- 
pected that all sorts should acknowledge him ; but above all 
others is it expected that tlie great men, and public officers 
of the nation should then make their appearance, and attend 
on their sovereign, with suitable congratulalions, and manifest- 
ations of respect and royalty : If such as these stand at a dis- 
tance, 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 the 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 were 
from far, and in the spiritual tokens 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 the 2d Psalm 
ver. 6, 7, 10,1 1, 12. " Yet have I set my king upon my holy 
hill of Zion. I will declare the decree ; the Lord hath said 
ii,nto me, thou art my son, this day have I begotten thee. Be 


vise now therefore, O ye hincjs, be instructed yc judges of 
the caith ; serve the I^otd with fear, and rejoice with tremb- 
ling ; kiss the son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the 
^vay, ivhen liis \vra.th is kindicd but a little." There seems 
to be in the ^vords, an allusion to a Jicw king's coming to the 
throne, and makisig his solemn entry into the royal city ; (as 
Zion %vas the royal city in Israel) when it is expected that 
all, especially men in public office and authority, shoukt 
manifest their loyaJty, by some open and visible token of res- 
pect, by the ivayj as he passes along ; and those that refuse or 
neglect it are in danger of being immediately struck down, 
and perishingyro.vj l/ie ivay, by which the king goes in solemn 

The day wherein Ciod does in an eminent manner send 
forth the rod of Christ's strength out of Zion, that he may^ 
rule in the midst of his enemies, the day of his power, where- 
in his people shall be made willing, is also eminently a day of 
liis wrath, especially to such rulers as oppose Iiim, or will not 
bow to him ; a day A/hcrein he " shall strike throuj^h kings, 
and lill the places with the dead bodies, and wound the heads 
over many countries." Psal. 1 10. And thus it is^ that when 
the son of God g-irds Ms stvord ufion his thit^h., tvith his glory 
and his majesty. ar,d in his majesty rides pros/iei'oiisly, because 
of truth, meekness and righfeotcstiess, his rig-ht hand teaches hini 
terrible things. It v/as the princes of Succoth especiaHy, that' 
suffered punishment, when the inhabitants of that city refused 
to come to the help of the Lord, when Gideon was pursuing 
after Zebah and Zalmunna ; we read that Gideon toolc fhfr 
cklers of the city, and thorns of the wilderness, and briarsy 
and with them he taught the men of Succoth. It is especial- 
ly taken notice of that the rulers and chief men of Israel, were 
called upon to assist in the affair of biinging up the ark of 
(iod ; they were chiefly consulted, and were principal irv 
the management of the affair. I Chron. :dii. 1. " And David' 
consulted with the captains of thousands and hundreds, and 
with every leader." And chap. xv. 25. " So David anti the 
ciders of Israel, and the captains over thousands, went to 
brin!:>- up the ark of the covenant of the Lord, out of the house 


ofObed Edom, with joy." So 2 Sam. vi. 1. And so it was 
when the ark was brought into the temple, I Kings, viii. 13, 
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 
hy fully acknowledging God in such a work, and by cheerful- 
ly and vigorously exerting themselves to promote it, they will 
especially be in the way of receiving peculiar honors and re- 
wards at God's hands. It is noted of the Princes of Israel, 
that thcv especially appeared to honor God with their princely- 
offering, on occasion of the setting up the taiiernacls of God, 
in the congregation of Israel : (which I have observed already 
was done at the time of the feast of tabernacles, and was a 
-type of the tabernacle of God's being with men, and his 
dwelling with men in the latter days) And with what abund- 
ant particularity, is it noted of each prince, hovv' much he of- 
fered to God on that occasion, for their everlasting honor, in 
the 7th chapter cf Numbers ? And so Avith 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 v.illingly among the people.'' 
And ver. 14. " Out of Mat;hir came down governors. Ver.; 
15. " And the princes of Issrchar were with Deborah." And 
in the account that we have ox the rebuilding the wail of Je- 
rusalem, in the third chapter of Neheraiah. It is particular- 
ly noted, what an 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 lialf part of Jeiusalem, and 
such a part by the ruler of the other half yiart of Jerusalem, 
and such a part by the ruler of part of Ecthhaccerem, and 
such a part by the ruler of part of Mizpah, and such a 
part by the ruler of the half part of Bethzur ; a.nd such a part 
by the ruler of Mizpah, ver. ix. 12, 14, 15, 16, 19. And there 
it is particularly noted of the rulers of one of the cities, that 
they put not their necks to the work of the Lord, though the 
common people did ; and they are stigmatized for it, in the 
sacred records, to their everlasting reproach, ver. 5. " And 


next vnito tlicni, the Tekoitcs repaired ; Ijut ihoir nobles puC 
not their necks to the Avork of the Lord." So the Spiiit of 
God with speciitl honor, takes notice of princes and rulers of 
scvonil tribes, that assisted in bringing up the ark, Psal. 
ixviii. 27. 

And I humbly desire that it tnay be considered, whether 
we have not reason to fear that God is provoked Avith this 
land, that no more notice has been taken of this glorious work 
of the luord, that has been lately carried on, by the civil au- 
thority ; that there has no more been done by them, as a pub- 
lic acknowledgment of God* in this work, and no more im- 
provement of their authority to promote it, either by appoint- 
ing a day of public thanksgiving to God, for so unspeakable 
a mercy, or a day of fasting and prayer, to humble oiu'selves 
before God, for our past dcadness and unprofitableness 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, what should be done to advance the 
present revival of religion, and great rcformaiion that is be- 
gun in (he land. Is there not danger that such a behavior, at 
such a lime, will be interpreted by God, as a denial of Christ ? 
If but anew governor comes into a province, how much is 
there done, c-peciallv by those that are in authority, to piiL 
honor iipon liini, to arise and appear publicly, and go forth to 
meet him, to address and congratulate him, and with great ex- 
pense to attend upon him and aid him ? If the aiilhority of 
the province, en such an occasiori, should uU sit still and say 
and do nothing, and take no notice of the arrival of their ne\V 
governor, would there not be danger of its being interpreted 
by him, and his prince that sent him, as u denial of his au- 
thority, 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 v.chdciful a manner', 
into the land, and shall all stand at a distance, and be silent 
and inactive on such an occasion ? I would humbly rccom- 
mcr.d it to cur rulers, to consider whether God docs not noMr 
say to them, Be wise now ye ruler.t, be mstructed ye judges cf 
.VcKvengland ; ku-s the s37}, lest he be ar.^nj and ye perish from 
the way. ^ 


It is prophesied Zech. xii. 8, That in the glorious day of 
the christian church, the house of David, or the rulers in 
God's Israel, fihall be as God, an the angel of the Lord, before 
his jieo]ile. But how can such rulers expect to have any 
share in this glorious promise, that do not so much as openly 
acknowledge God in the work of that Spirit, by which the 
glory of that day is to be accomplished ? The days are com- 
ing so often spoken of when the saints shall reign on earth, 
and all dominioh and authority shall be given into their hands : 
But if our rulers would partake of this honor, they ought at 
such a day as this, to bring their glory and honor into the 
spiritual Jerusalem, agreeably 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 coworkers 
with Christ, and as his ambassadors and instruments, to awak- 
en and convert sinners, 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 especial* 
ly, are the officers of Christ's kingdom, that above all other 
men upon earth, do represent his person, into 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 houshold, 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 acquaint thomselves with things 
pertaining to the kingdom of God, and to teach and enlighten 
others in things of this nature. We tlR\t are employed in the 
sacred work of the gospel ministry, are the watchmen ovei' 

Vol. III. Y 


the city, to whom God has commiued the keys of the gale/ 
6f Zion ; and if when the rightful king of Zion comes, to de- 
liver his people from the enemy that oppresses them, we re- 
fuse 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 ban- 
ner is displayed, and his trumpet blown; how much more 
will he resent 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 ap- 
pointed for carrying on his work on the souls of men ; and 
it is his revealed will, that whenever that glorious revival of 
religion, and reformation of the world, so oftdn spoken of in 
his word, is accomplished, it should be principally by the la- 
bors 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 unbelieving, 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 23d chapter of Matthew ; with 
■whal; gentleness ditl Christ treat publicans and harlots, in 
comparison of them ? 

When the tabernacle was erected in the cajnp of Israel, 
and God came down from heaven to dwell in it, the priests 
were above all others concerned, and busily employed in the 
solemn transactions of that occasion, Levit. chap. viii. and ix. 
And so it was at the time of the dedication of the temple of 
Solomon, 1 Kings, chap. viii. and 2 Chron. chap. v. 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 business 
properly belonged to them, and the ark was carried upon their 
shoulders, I Chron. xv. 2. " Then David said, none ought to 


A:avry the ark of God but the Levites ; for them hath the Lord 
chosen to carry the ark of God, and to minister unto him for.- 
ever." And v. 11, 12. " And David called for Zadok and A- 
hiathar the priests, and for the Levites, for Uriel, Asaiah, 
and Joel, Shemaiah, and Eliel, 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 account that the priests led 
the way in rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem, after the Baby- 
lonish Captivity, Neh. iii. at the beginning. 

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 shew to their people, that they are not well affected 
to this wiork, but are very doubtful and s.uspicious of it, they 
will be very likely to do their people a great deal more hurt 
than good : For the very fame of such a great and extraordi- 
nary work of God, if their people were suffered to believe it 
to be his work, and the example of other towns, together with 
what preaching they might hear occasionally, would be likely 
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 minister's opin- 
ion will not only beget in them a suspicion' of the work they 
hear of abroad, whereby the niighty 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 nature, that 
shall appear among themselves, as being something of the 
same distemper that has becorrve fo 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 discourag- 
ing it, wherever it appears, and knocking it in the head, as 
fast as it rises. And we that are ministers, by looking on 
this work, from year to year, with a displeased countenance, 
shall effectually keep the sheep from their pasture, instead of 
doing the part of shepherds to them, by feeding them ; and 
our people had a great deal better be without any settled min^ 
istcr at all, at such a day as this. 


We that are in this sacred office have need to take heed 
•what we do, and how avc 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 public prayers and preachini;, or seem carefully to 
avoid speaking of it in our conversation, it will and justly may 
be interpreted by our people, that we who arc their guides, to 
whom they are to have their eye for spiritual instruction, are 
suspicious of it ; and this will tend to raise the same suspi- 
cions in them ; and so the foremenlioned consequences 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 glorious benefits of it ? 
And by keeping others from the benefit of it, we shall keep 
them out of heaven ; therefore those awful words of Christ 
to the Jewish teachers, should be considered by us, Matth. 
xxiii, 13. " Wo unto you, for you shut up the kingdom of 
heaven ; for ye neither go in yourselves, neitlicr sufTer yc 
them that are entering, to go in." If we keep the sheep 
from their pasture, how shall we answer it to the great shep- 
herd, that has bought the flock with his precious blood, and 
has committed the care of them to us ? I would humbly de- 
sire of every nninister that has thus loiig remained disaffected 
to this work, and has had contemptible thoughts of it, to con- 
sider whether he has not hitherto been like Michal, without 
any child, or at least in a great measure barren and unsuc- 
cessful in his work : I 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 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 from them, as 
Jer. xxiii. throughout, and Ezek. xxxiv. throughout, and 
Zech. X. 3, and Isa. Ivi. 7, 8, 9, Sec. 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 wor- 
thy to be noted, to our present purpose, that Christ at that 
time, cast out all them that sold and bought in the templo, 
and overthrew the tables of 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, instead of being faithful ministers, of- 
ficiated there only for worldly gain : Not that I detei'mine 
that all ministers that are suspicious of this work, do so ; but 
I mention these things to shew that it is to be expected, that 
a time of a glorious outpouring of the Spirit of God to revive 
religion, 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 gi^eat joy and 
gladness, loaded 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 pun- 
ishment of God, for his not giving credit to that greai and 
wonderful work of God, when sufficiently manifested to him 
to require his belief. 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 gale of 

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 spirit, 
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 them- 
selves to the curse of Shemaiuh, the Nehelamite, Mho envied 
the prophet Jercuiiah, aiid in this maimer reviled him, in his 
letter to Zephaniah the priest, Jer. xxix. 26, 27. " The Lord 
hath made thee priest, in tlve stead of Jehoiada the pricsi, 
that ye should be officers in the house of the Lord, for every 
man that is mad, and maketh himself a prophet, that thou 
shouldest 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 denounced 
in the 32d verse. " Therefore, thus saitli 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 
be 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 bear 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, offend- 
ed 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 in- 
vectives against the young prodigal. 

It is our wisest and best way, fully, and without reluctance, 
to bow to the great God in this work, and to be entirely re- 
signed to lijmj with respect to the manner in which he carries 
it on, and the instruments he is pleased to make use of, and 
not to shew ourselves out of humor, and sullenly to refuse 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 re- 
fuse to give all that honor, that belongs to others, as instru- 
ments, because they are young, or are upon other accounts, 
much inferior to ourselves, and many others, and may apf>€ar 
to us very unworthy, that God should put so much honor up- 
on 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 fsa. 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 lifted 
up, and upon eveiy high tower, and upon every fenced wall." 
Not only magistrates and ministers, but every living soul, 
is now obliged to 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 contribut- 
ed, and all sorts were employed in that affair, in labors 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 ii an offering to the Lord : The rulers ' 
brought onyx stones, and spice, and oil ; and some brought 
goats hair ; and some rams skins, and others badgei§ skins.... 
See Exod. xxxv. 20, &c. And we are told verse 29. " The 
children of Israel brought a willing offering unto the Lord, 
every man and woman, whose heart made them willing." 
And thus it ought to be in this day of building the tabernacle 
of God ; with such a willing and cheerful heart, ought every 
man, woman, and child, to do something to promote this 


work : Those that have not onyx stones, or are not able l« 
bring gold or silver, yet may bring goats hair. 

As all sorts of persons were employed in building the taber- 
nacle 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 Kirjathjearim ; and again, they 
were all assembled to bring it up, out of the house of Obed 
Jidom into mount Zion ; so again, all Israel met together 
to assist in the great affair of the dedication of the tem- 
ple, and bringing the ark into it : So we have an account, 
how that all sorts assisted in the rebuilding the wall of 
Jerusalem, 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, 2fi, 
31, 32. And we have an account of one and another, that he 
repaired over against his house, ver. 10, and 23, 28, and of 
one that repaired over against his chamber, ver. 30. So now, 
at this time of the rebuilding the Avails 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 repair over 
against their houses : And even those that have not the gov- 
ernment of families, and have but part of an house belonging 
to them, should repair, each one over against his chamber : 
And every one should be engaged to do the utmost that lies 
in his power, laboring with the utmost watchfulness, care and 
diligence, with united hearts, and united strength, and tl.e 
greatest readiness, to assist one another in this work : As 
God's people rebuilt the wall of Jerusalem ; who were so dil- 
igent 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 de- 
fend them ; and were so well united in it, that they took 


tare, that one should stand ready, with a trumpet in his hand< 
that if any were assauhed in one part, those in the other p&vis 
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. 
%Ve read that when God fought against Sisera, for the deliv- 
erance of his oppressed church, (hey ihat handle 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 words 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 tlie deliverance of God's 
Church, in the latter days, of which this deliverance 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 indi- 
rectly to bring it under suspicion, and to discourage or hinder 
it, would do well thoroughly to cofisider Avhether this be not 
indeed the Avork of God ; and whether if it be, it is not likely 
that God will go forth as fire, to consume all that stands ia 
his way, and so burn up those pamplilets ; and whether there 
be not danger that the fire that is kindled in them^ will scorch 
the authors. 

When a people oppose Chiist 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 of 
it is to cross their pride, and deprive them of the objects of 
their lusts. W"e should take heed that at this day we be not 
like the Gadarenes, who, when Christ came into their country, 
in the exercise of his glorious power and grace, triumphing 
over a legion of devils, and delivering a miserable creature, 
that had \g\ko; been their captive, Avere 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 uithy sv/ine, better than Jesus Christ ; and 

Vol. III. Z 


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 Avholc of it : Persons may say that they believe 
there is a good work carried on in the cotjntry ; pnd may some- 
times bless God, in their public prayers, in general terms, for 
any awakenings or revivals of religion, there have lately been 
in any parts of the land ; and may pray thiU Gcd would carry 
on his own work, 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 acknowledging and rejoicing in the infinite 
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 inore sorrowful 
than it was ten years ago ; and Avhose conversation, to those 
that are Avell acquainted with them, evidently shews, that thej 
are more out of humor Avith the state of things, and enjoy 

themselves less, than they did before ever this Avork began 

If it be manifestly thus with us, and our talk and behavior 
with respect to this Avork, be such as has, (though but) an in- 
direct tendency, to beget ill thoughts and suspicions in others 
concerning it, Ave are opposers of the Avork of God. 

Instead of coming to the help of the Lord, Ave shall actually 
fight against him, if we are abundant in insisting on, and set- 
ting forth the blemishes of the Avork, so as to manifest that 
we rather choose, and are more forward to take notice of Avhat 
is amiss, than what is good and glorious in the Avork. 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 ap- 
pearance of heat of spirit, or with ridicule, or an air of con- 
tempt, than grief for them, has no tendency to correct the er- 
rors ; but has a tendency to darken the glory of God's power 
and grace, appearing in the substance of the AVork, and to be.- 
get jealousies and ill thoughts in the minds of others, con- 


cernxng the whole of it. Whatever errors 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 clay indeed ; it is so in 
heaven, and ought to be so, among God's people on eartli, 
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 Avas lost, 
lays it on his shoulders rejoicing, and calls together his friends 
and neighbors, saying, rejoice with me : If we therefore are 
•Christ's friends, now it should be a day of great rejoicing 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 imprudences 
and irregularities that have been ; our hearts Avould be swal- 
lowed up with the glory of this event, and we should have no 
great disposition to attend to any thing else. The impru- 
dences and errors of poor feeble worms, do not hinder or pre- 
vent great rejoicing, in the presence of the angels 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 

Who loves, in a day of great joy and gladness, to be much 
insisting on those things that ai'e uncomfortable ? Would it 
not be very improper, on a kings. coronation day, to be muoh 
in taking notice of the blemishes of the royal family ? Or 
would it be agreeable to the bridegroom on the day of his es- 
pousals, the day of the gladness of his hcart,to be much insist- 
ing on the blemishes of his bride ? We have an account, how 
that at the time of that joyful dispensation of providence, the 
restoration of the church of Israel, after the Babylonish cap- 
tivity, and at the time of the feast of tabernacles, many Avept 
at the faults that were found amongst the people, but were re- 
proved for taking so much notice of the blemishes of that af- 
fair, as to overlook the cause of rejoicing. Neh. viii. 9, 10, 
11, 12. " And Nehemiah, which is the Tirshatha, and Ezra 
the priest, the scribe, and the Levites, that tiuight 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, 
[^o your way, eat ihe fut, and drink the sweet, and send por- 
tions 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 Levites stilled all the peo- 
ple, 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 
Newengland, 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 ac- 
knowledge his glory in it, and greatly to rejoice in it, every 
one doing his utmost, in the place that God hv\s set them in, 
to promote it. And God, according to his wonderful par 
tience, seems to be still waiting, to give us opportunity, thus 
to acknowledge and honor him. But if we finally refuse, 
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 outpourings of 
Jjis Spirit and grace. 


Shewing, in many Instances, wherein the Subjects, 
or zealous Promoters of this Work, have been 
injuriously blamed. 

THIS work, that has lately been carried on in the land, is 
the work of God, and not the work of man. Its beginning 
has 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 
promote it, and that the hearts of all should be greatly engag- 


<cd 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 Ave should im- 
prove our utmost care, wisdom and prudence, though human 
wisdom, of itself be as vain as human strength. Tliough 
God is wont to carry on such a work, in such a manner, as 
many ways, to shew the weakness and vanity of means and 
human endeavors, in themselves ; yet at the same lime, he 
carries it on in such a manner, as to encourage diligence 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, Ave ought to use the utmost caution, 
vigilance and skill, in the measures we take in order to it. A 
great affair should be managed with great prudence : This is 
the most important affair that ever Newengland was called to 
be concerned in. When a people are engaged in war with a 
powerful and crafty nation, it concerns them to manage an 
affair of such consequence with the utmost discretion. Of 
what vast importance then must it be, that we should be vigi- 
lant and prudent, in the management of this great war that 
Newengland now has, with so great a host of such subtle and 
cruel enemies, wherein Ave must either conquer or be con- 
quered, 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 kingdom of heaven, and 
reigning in it in eternal glory ? We had need always to stand 
on our watch, and to be Avell versed in the art of war, and not 
to be ignorant of the devices of our enemies, and to take heed 
lest by any means we be beguiled through their subtilty. 

Though the devil be strong, yet in such a Avar 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 
overthroAV revivals of religion in the church of God, has been 
by his subtle, deceitful management, to beguile and mislead 
those that haA'e 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 {?;loi'ious. The work that is now begun in Ncwengfand, 
is, as I have shown, emiivcntly glorious, and if it sliould go 6n 
and prevail, would make Newengland a kind of heaven upon 
earth : Is it not ihercrorc a thousand pities, that il should be 
overthrown, tiu'bni^h wrom; and improper munagcmcnt, that 
-we are led into by our subtLe adversary, in our endeavors to 
promote it ? 

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

1. 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, (as I appre- 
hend) beyond just cause. 

2. I would shew what things ought to be corrected or 

3. I would shew positively, Avlial ought to be done to pro- 
mote this glorious work of God. 

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

One thing that has been complained of, is ministers address- 
ing themselves, rather to the affections of their hearers, than 
to their understandings, and striving to raise their passions 
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 arc moved, without a pi'oportionable enlightening of 
the r.nderstanding. 

To vt'hich I Vvould say I am far from thinking that it is not 
very profitable, for ministers in their preaching, to endeavor 
clearly and distinctly to explain the doctrines of religion, and 
unravel the difficulties that attend them, and to confirm them 
■^vith strength of reason and argumentation, and also to observe 
fsome easy and clear method and order, in their discourses, 
for the help of the understanding and memory ; and it is very 
probable that these things have been of late, too much neg- 
Jcctcd, by many ministers ; yet, I believe that the objection 


that is made, of affections raised without enlightening the un- 
deptandinc^, is in a great measure built on a mistake, and 
confused notions that some liave about the nature and cause 
of the affections, and the manner in which they depend on 
the understanding. AH affections arc raised either by light 
in the understanding, or by some error and del'jsion in the lai' 
drrstanding ; for all affections do certainly arise from some ap- 
prehension in the understanding ; and that apprehension must 
either be agreeable to truth, or else be some mistake or de- 
lusion ; if it be an apprehension or notion that is agreeable to 
truth, then it is light in the understanding. Therefore the 
thing to be inojuired into is, whether the apprehensions or 
notions of divine and eternal thinfjs, that aie raised in people's 
minds, by these affectionate preachers, whence their affec- 
tions are excited, be apprehensions that are agreeable to truth, 
or whether they are mistakes. If the former, then the affec- 
tions ars raised the way they should be, viz. By informing 
the mind, or conveying light to the understanding. They go 
aAvay with a wrong notion, that think that those preachers 
cannot affect their hearers, by enlightening their understand- 
ings, that do not do it by such a distinct, and learned handling 
of the doctrinal points of religion, as depends on human dis- 
cipline, 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 
hearts, as are answerable to the real nature of things : And, 
not only the words that are spoken, but the manner of speak- 
ing, is one thing that has a great tendency to this. I think 
an exceeding affectionate way of preaching about the gre at 
things of religion, has in itself no tendency to beget false ap- 
prehensions of them ; but on the contrary a much greater 
tendency to beget true apprehensions of them, than a moder- 
ate, dull, indifferent way of speaking of them. An appear- 
ance of affection and earnestness, in the manner of delivery, 
if it be very great indeed, yet if it bq agreeable to the nature 


of the subject, and be not beyond a proportion to its import-' 
ance, and Morthiness of affection, and there be no appearance 
of its being feigned or forced, has so much the greater ten- 
dency to beget true ideas or apprehensions in the minds of 
the hearers, of the subject spoken of, and so to enlighten the 
understanding : And that for this reason, that such a way or 
manner of speaking of these things, does in fact, more truly 
represent them, than a more cold and indifferent way of speak- 
ing of them. If the subject be in its own nature, worthy of 
\cTy great uffcction, then a speaking of it with very great af- 
fection, 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 min- 
isters are to be blamed, for raising the affections of their hear- 
ers too high, if that which they are affected with, be only that 
which is w orthy of affection, and their affections are not rais- 
ed beyond a proportion to their importance, or worthiness of 
affection. I should think myself in the way of my duty, to 
raise the affections of my hearers as high as possibly I can, 
provided that they are affected v/ith nothing but truth, and 
with affections that arc 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 Avay of preaching ; 
And tliey, 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 hum- 
bly conceive it has been for want of understanding, or duly 
considering human nature, that such preaching has been 
thought to have the greatest tendency to answer the ends of 
preaching ; and the experience of the present and past age* 
abundantly confirms the same. Though, as 1 said before, 
clearness of distinction and illustration, and strength of reason, 
and a good method, in the doctrinal handling of the truths of 
religion, is many ways needful and profitable, and not to be 
neglected, yet an increase in speculative knowledge in divini- 
ty, is not what is so much needed by our people, as some- 
thing else. Men may abound in this sort of light and have 


no heat : How much has there been of this sort of knowledgCj 
in the Christian world, in this age ? Was there ever an age^ 
•wherein strength and penetration of reason, extent of learning, 
exactness 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 lit- 
tle love to God, heavenly mindcdness, and holiness of life, 
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 iu the greatest need of that 
sort of preaching, that has the greatest tendency to do tliis. 

Those texts, Isa. Iviii. 1. " Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy 
voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their trausgrGssion, 
and the house of Jacob their sins." And Ezek. vl. 1 1 . " Thus 
saith the Lord God, smite with thine hand, and stamp with 
thy foot, and say, alas, for all the evil abomination of the 
house of Israel!" I say these texts, (however the use that 
some have made of them has been laughed at) will fully jus- 
tify, 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 unnatur^l^ 
amongst us, not making due alloAvance for difl'erence of man- 
ners and customs, in different ages and nations ; but let us 
interpret them how we will, they at least imply, that a most 
aflfectionate and earnest manner of delivery, 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 and 
earnest speaking ; as in Isa. xl. 2. " Speak ye comfortably to 
Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her iniquity is pardoned.'* 
And ver. 3. " The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, 
prepare ye the way of the Lord." Ver. 6. « The voice said 
cry : And he said, what shall I cry ? All flesh is grass, and all 
the goodllness thereof, as the flower of the field." Jer. ii. 2. 
«' Go and cry in the ears of Jerusalem, saying, thus saith the 
Lord, Sec." 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 

Vol. III. 2 A 


preach good tidings to the meek, to proclaim liberty to th« 
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. 11. "Behold, the Lord 
hath proclaimed unto the end of the world, say ye to the 
daughter of Zion, behold thy salvation cometh, See." Rom. 
X. 18. « Their sound went into all the earth, and their words 
to the end of the world." Jer. xi. 6. « Proclaim all these 
words in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem, 
saying, hear ye 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 r" Ver. 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 with- 
out, 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 the gospel should be especially 
preached in a loud and earnest manner, at the introduction of 
the prospei'ous 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, lift 
up thy voice with strength ! Lift up, and be not afraid ! Say 
unto the cities of Judah, behold your God 1" Isa. lii. 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, like a travailing woman, 
when Christ mystical is going to be brought forth ; as Rev. 
xii, at the beginning. It will be by ministers, that are her 
mouth : And it will be this way, that Christ will then cry like 
a travailing woman, as in Isa. xlii. 14. " I have long time 
Ijolden my peace : I have been still, and refrained myself; 


now "Will I cry, like a travailing woman." Christ cries by his 
ministers, and the church cries by her officers. And it is wor- 
thy to be noted, that the word commonly used in the New 
Testament, that we translate preach, properly signifies to firo- 
elaim aloud like a crier. 

Another thing that some ministers have been greatly blam- 
ed for, and I think unjustly, is speaking terror to them, that 
are already under great terrors, instead of comforting them.... 
Indeed, if ministers in such a case, go about to terrify per- 
sons with that which is not true, or to affright them by repre- 
senting their case worse than it is, or in any respect other- 
wise than it is, they are to be condemned ; but if they 
terrify them only 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 sinners 
consciences 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 measure, 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 already. To say any thing to those who have 
never believed 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 noth- 
ing but truth, but this is to delude them. Why should we 
be afraid to let persons, that are in an infinitely miserable con- 
dition, know the truth or bring them into the light, 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 natural 
men enjoy, have their foundation in darkness and blindness ; 
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 WQ inay uphold their comfort. The truth is, that as long 
as men reject Christ, and do not savingly believe in him, how- 
ever they may be awakened, and however strict and conscien- 
cious, and laborious tlicy may be in religion, 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 un- 
certain whether they shall ever obtain mercy : God is under 
no obligaiion to shew 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 terrors, Uiat they 
stand it out against Christ, and will not accept of an offered 
Saviour, though they see so much need of him : And seeing 
this is the truth, they should be told so, that they may be sen- 
sible what their case indeed is. 

To blame a minister, for thus declaring the truth 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 stay his hand, but goes 
on, to thrust it in further, until he comes to the core of the 
Avound. 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 Sa- 
viour provided, th.'U 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 lime that they are told 
how miserable their case is, should be earnestly invited to 
come and accept of a Saviour, and yield their hearts unto him, 


with all the -wmning, encouraging arguments, for them so to 
do, that the gospel affords : But this is to induce them to es- 
cape from the misery of the condition that they are now in : 
But not to make them think their present condition less mis- 
erable 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 i"y 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 Christ, on condition of their fiyingyro??i their present 
miserable state, to him : But comfort is not to be administered 
to them, in their present state, as any thing that they have now 
any title to, while out of Christ. No comfort is to be adminis- 
tered to them, from any thing in them, any of their qualifica- 
tions, prayers orotherperformances, past, present or future ; but 
ministers shcald, in such cases, strive to their utmost to take 
all such comforts from them, though it greatly increases their 
terror. A person that sees himself ready to sink into hell, is 
ready to strive, some way or other, to lay God under some ob- 
ligation to him ; but he is to be beat off from every thing of 
that nature, though it greatly increases his terror, to see him- 
self 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 terror, 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 insuffi- 
cient 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 certaiii 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 incrcaiied ; for those that 


ere most awakened, have great remaining stupidity, they have 
a sense of but little of that which is ; and it is from remain- 
ing blindness and darkness, that they see no more ; and that 
remaining blindness is a disease, that we ought to endeavor 
to remove. I am not afraid to tell sinners, that are most sen- 
sible of their misery, that their case is indeed as miserable 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 seem» 
not to be seasonable then : But it seems to me, such truth is 
never more seasonable than at such a time, when Christ is be- 
ginning to open the eyes of conscience. Ministers ought to 
act as coworkers with him ; to take that opportunity, and to 
the utmost to improve that advantage, and strike while the 
iron is hot, and when the light has begun to shine, then to rc- 
Tnove all obstacles, and use all proper means, that it may- 
come in more fully, and the work be done thoroughly then. 
And experience abundantly shews, that to take this course, is 
not of an 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 dis- 
tress has been only from thence. 

I know of but one case, wherein the truth ought to be with- 
held 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 because if 
we speak the truth to them, sometimes they will be deceived 
and led into error by it, through that strange disposition 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 withheld from public 
congregations, because it may happen that some such me- 
lancholic persons may be in it ; any more than the Bible is to 
be witheld from the Christian world, because it is manifest 


that there are a great many melancholic persons in Christen" 
dom, 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 Newengland, viz. that there have been some in- 
stances 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 are hundreds, and proba- 
bly thousands of instances, might be produced, of persons 
that have murdered themselves, under religious melarfcholy : 
These murders, probably never would have 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 oc- 
casion of these sad effects, but of thousands, and I suppose 
millions, of other cruel murders, 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, 
■which 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 acknoAvledged by all divines, as a thing 
common in all ages, and all Christian countries, that a very" 
great part of those that set under the gospel, do so abuse 
it, that it only proves an occasion of their far more ag- 
gravated damnation, and so of men's eternally murdering 
their souls ; which is an effect infinitely more terrible than 
the murder of their bodies. It is as unjust to lay the blame of 
these self murders 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 
more dreadful eternal damnation, 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. Matth. xiii. 14. Though a very few havft 


abused the awakening preaching that has lately been, to so 
sad an eiTect as to be the cause of their own temporal death ; 
yet it may be to one such instance, there have been hundreds, 
yea thousands, that have been saved, by this means, from 
Gteraal death. 

What has more especially given offence to many, and raised 
a loud cry against some preachers, as though their conduct 
were intolerable, is their frighting 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 chil- 
dren oT wrath, and heirs of hell ; and that every one that has 
hot been born again, whether he be young or old, is exposed, 
every moment, to eternal destruction, under the wrath of Al- 
mighty God ; I say, if they really believe this, then such a 
complaint and cry as this, bewrays 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 infinitely more hateful than vi- 
pers, and are in a most miserable condition, as well as grown 
persons ; and they are naturally very senseless and stupid, 
being boim as the mild nsses colt, and need much to atvaken 
them. Why should we conceal the truth from them ? Will 
those children that have been dealt tenderly with, in this res- 
pect, and lived and died insensible of their misery, until 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 tovi^ards their children was not 
blind, it would affect them much more to see their children 
every day exposed to eternal burnings, and yet senseless, 
than to see them suffer the distress of that awakening, that is 
necessary in order to their escape from th.em, and that tends 
to their being eternally happy, as the children of God. A . 
child that has a dangerous wound, may need the painful lance, 
as well as grown persons ; and that Avould 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 plain- 
ly, and thoroughly with children, in the concerns of theiy 


sotils, without sparing them at all, in many instances ; and 
never knew any ill consequences of it in any one instance. 

Another thing, that a great deal has been said against, is 
having so frequent religious meetings, and spending so much 
time in religion. And indeed, there are none of the exter- 
nals of religion, but what are capable of excess : And I be- 
lieve 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 h?.ve abounded in 
religious meetings, and in praying, reading, hearing, singing, 
and religious conference ; and there has uot been a propor- 
tionable increase of zeal for deeds of charity, aud 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 religion, 
has been in the general groundless. Though worldly busi- 
ness must be done, and persons ought not to neglect the bu- 
siness of their particular callings, yet it is to the honor of God, 
that a people should be so much in outward acts of religion, 
as to carry in it, a visible, public appearance, of a great en- 
gagedness of mind in it, as the main business of life : And es- 
pecially 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 tlicy 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 church in Jerusalem, on 
occasion of that extraordinary pouring out of the Spirit, soon 
after Christ's ascension. Acts ii. 46. " And they continued 
daily with one accord, in the temple, and breaking bread, 
from house to house." And so it was at Ephesus, at a time 
of great outpouring of the Spirit there ; the Christians there 
attended public religious exercises, every day, for two years 
together, 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 v/ay, before the multitude, he departed from 

Vol. hi. 2 B 


them, and separated the diKciples, 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 
Avord of the Lord, both Jews and Greeks." And as to the 
grand objection, of wx day.^ shalt thou labor^ all that can be 
understood by it, and all that the very objectors themselves 
imderstand by it, is that we may follow our secular labors 
in those six days, that are not the sabbath, and ought to be 
dSigent in them : Not but that sometimes, we may turn from 
Ihem, even within those six days, to keep a day of fasting, or 
thanksgiving, or to attend a lecture ; and that more frequent- 
ly or rarely, as God's providence and the state of things shall 
call us, according to the best judgment of our discretion. 

Though secular business, as I said before, ought not to be 
neglected, yet I cannot see how it can be maintained, that re- 
ligion ought not to be attended, so as in the least to injure our 
temporal afTairs, on any other principles than those of infidel- 
ity. None objects against injuring one temporal affair for the 
sake of another temporal affair of much greater importance ; 
and therefore, if eternal things are as real as temporal things, 
and are indeed of infinitely greater importance ; then why 
may we not voluntarily suffer, in some measure, in our tem- 
poral concerns, while we are seeking eternal riches, and im- 
mortal glory ? It is looked upon no way improper for a whole 
nation, to spend considerable tiiiie, and much of their out- 
ward substance, on some extraordinary temporal occasions, 
for the sake only of the ceremonies of a public rejoicing ; and 
it would be thought dishonorable to be very exact, about what 
we spend, or careful lest Ave injure our estates, on such an oc- 
casion : And why should we be exact only with Almighty 
God, so that it should be a crime to be otherwise than scru- 
pulously careful, lest we injure ourselves in our temporal in- 
terest, or put honor upon him, and seek our own eternal hap- 
piness ? 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 honor 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 ivas 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, &tc. And 
John xii. 4, 5, &c. 

And besides, if the matter be justly considered and exam- 
ined, I believe it will be found, that the country has lost no 
time from their temporal affairs, by the late revival of religion, 
but have rather gained time ; and that more time has been 
saved from frolicing and tavern haunting, idleness, unprofita-« 
ble visits, vain talk, fruitless pastimes, and needless diversions, 
that has lately been spent in extraordinary religion ; and 
probably five times as much has been saved in persons' estates, 
at the tavern, and in their apparel, as has been spent by re- 
ligious 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 earnest 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 par- 
ticular manner been objected against as unprofitable and pre- 
judicial. Jt is objected that when sermons are heard so very 
often, one sermon tends to thrust out another ; so that per- 
sons 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 are not from an 
enmity against religion, are for want of duly considering the 
way that sermons usually profit an auditory. The main bene- 
fit 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. And 
though an after remembrance of 'w^hat was heard in a sermon 
is oftentimes very profitable ; yet, for the most part, that re- 


Tnenibiancc is froin an ini]5rcssion the words made on the 
heart hi the time of it ; and the memory profits, as it renews 
and increases that impression ; and a frequent inculcating 
the more important thinc!;s of rchgion in preaching, has no 
tendency to rase 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 per- 
sons, upon the sabbath, after they have heard two sermons 
that day, should go home and spend the remaining part of 
the sabbath in reading the scriptures, and printed sermons ; 
■which, in proportion as it has a tendency to affect tlie 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, tliough sometimes ti:ey con- 
tinued 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 before ; 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 are some things in scripture that seem to signify as 
much, as that there should be preaching in an extraordinary 
frequency, at the time when God should be about to introduce 
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 burneth : And the Gentiles 
shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory." And 
ver. 5, 6. " For as a young man marrieth a virgin, so shall 
thy sons marry thee ; and as the bridegroom rejoiceth over 
the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee. I have set 
watchmen upon thy walls, O Jerusalem, which shall never 
hold their peace, day nor night.''- The destruction of the city 
of Jericho, is evidently in all its circumstances, intended by 
God, as a great type of the overthrow of Satan's kingdom ; 
the priests blowing with trumpets at that time, represents 


jnlnisters preaching the gospel ; the people compassed 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 blowing 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 until at length it 
come to one long and perpetual blast, and then the walls of 
the city fell down flat. The extraordinary preaching that 
shall be at the beginning of that glorious jubilee of the church, 
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 least of tabernacles. And the crow- 
ing of the cock, at break of day, which brought Peter to re- 
pentance, seems to me to be intended to signify, the awaken- 
ing of God's church out of their lethargy, wherein they had 
denied their Lord, by the extraordinary preaching of the gos- 
pel, that shall be at the dawning of the day of the c!uu-ches 
light and glory. And there seems at this day to be an un- 
common hand of divine providence, in animating, enabling, 
and upholding some ministers in such abundant labors. 

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 effects ; speaking of them 
as tokens of the presence of God, and arguments of the suc- 
cess of preaching ; seeming to strive to tlieir utmost to bring 
a congregation to that pass, and seeming to rejoice in it, yea, 
even blessing God for it, when they see these effects. 

Concerning this I would observe, in the ./rs^ place, that 
there are many things, with respect to cryuigs out, falling 
down, Sec. 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 
ihe hearts of their hearers, or that they esteem these bodily 
effects themselves to be the work of God, as lliough tlie Spirit 
jof God took hold of, and agitated the bodies of men ; and 
some are charged with making these things essential, and 


supposing that pei'Hons cannot be converted uiihout them ; 
•whereas I never yet could see the person that held either oi' 
these things. 

liut for speaking of such effects as probable tokens of God's 
presence, and arguments of the success of preaching, it seems 
to me they are not to be blamed ; because I think they are so 
indeed : And therefore when I see them excited by preaching 
the important truths of God's word, urged and enforced by 
proper arguments and motives, or are consequent on 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 
consequence r.nsl fruits, I have found that there are all eviden- 
ces th?t the persons in whom these effects appear, are under 
the influences of God's Spirit, in such cases. Cryings 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 mean- 
ing of language, viz. by use and experience. I confess that 
when I see a great crying out in a congregation, in the man- 
ner that I have seen it, when those things are held forth to 
them that are worthy of their being greatly affected by, I re- 
joice in it, much more than merely in an appearance of sol- 
emn attention, and a shew of affection by weeping ; and that 
because when there have been those outcries, I have found 
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 degree of the influence of the Spirit of 
God, on fiarlicuhir /lersons, is by no means to be judged of by 
the degree of external appearances, because of the different 
constitution, tempers, and circumstances of men ; yet if there 
be a very powerful influence of the Spirit of God on a mixed 
multitude, it will cause some way or other, a great visible 


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 an height, as very often appears in these 
effects ; and if it be so, that those affections are commonly 
good, and it be found by experience that such a degree of 
them commonly has a good effect, I think they are to be jus- 
tified in so doing. 

Again, some ministers have been blamed for keeping per- 
sons together, that have been under great affections, which 
have appeared in such extraordinary outward manifestations. 
Many think this promotes confusion, that persons in such cir- 
cumstances do but discompose each others minds, and disturb 
the minds of others ; and that therefore it is best they should 
be dispersed, and that when any in a congregation are strong- 
ly seized, so that they cannot forbear outward manifestations 
of it, tl>ey should be removed that others minds may not be 

But I cannot but think that those that thus object go upon 
quite wrong notions of things : For though persons ought to 
take heed 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 
religious affections tend to an happy influence on the minds of 
bystanders, 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 
work of God ; and to prevent their being in the way of ob- 
servation, 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 car- 
ry on his work, in the time of the prosperity of religion in the 
latter days : I have mentioned some texts already to this pur- 
pose, in what I published before, of the marks of a vjork of the 
true Spirit ; but would here n>ention some others. In Zech. 


ix. 15, 16. Those that In the latter clays should be fiMed, in 
an extraordinary manner with the 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 a prize or ensign, by their exam- 
ple and the excellency of their attairjmcnts, 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 : ^nd they shall di'irifr, and inake a noises as through 
•(vine ; and they shall he filled like boivls, and as the corners of 
(he altar : And the Lord their God shall save them^ in that day^ 
as the ftock of his }ieojde ; 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 suffering 
this prize or ensign to be in public view, are for having it re- 
moved, 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 ujion 
the AtWj but m the hand of the Lord....i. e. held forth, in thy 
beauty and excellency, as a prize, to be bestowed upon others 
th«t shall behold thee, and be animated by the brightness and 
lustre which God shall endow thee with. The great influ- 
cnce of the example of God's people, in their bright and ex- 
cellent attainments, to propagate religion, in those days, is 
further signified, in Isa. Ix. 3. " And the Gentiles shall come 
to thy light, 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. 8, 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 Jcr. xxxi. 27. 

Another thing that gives great-disgust to many, in the dis- 
position that persons shew, under great affections, to speak so 
much, and with such earnestness and vehemence, to be set- 
ting forth the greatness and wondevfulncss and importance 


of divine and eternal things; and to be so passionately warn- 
ing, inviting and entreating others. 

Concerning which I would say, that I am far from thinking 
that such a disposition should be wholly without any limits 
or regulation, (as I shall more particularly shew afterwards ;) 
and I believe some have erred, in setting no bounds, and in- 
dulging 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 unreasonable, 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 would 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, especial- 
ly to those to whom he is united, in the bonds of dear affec- 
tion, 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 im- 
portance, 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 shew forth his infinite glory, and talk 
of all his glorious perfections and works ? 

That a very great sense, of the right kind, of the import- 
ance of the things of religion, and the dangers sinners are in, 
should sometimes cause an almost insuperable disposition to 
speak and warn others, is agreeable toJer.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 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 child- 
ren abroad, and upon the assembly of the young men togeth- 
er ; for even the husband with the wife shall be taken, the 
aged with him that is full of days." And that true Christians,, 

Vol. in. 2 C 


\vhcn they come to be as it were waked out of sleep, and to 
be filled Avith a sweet and joyful sense of the excellent thhigs 
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 uhat 
Christ says to his church. Cant. vii. 9. « And the roof of thy 
mouthWs like the best wine, for my beloved, that goeth down 
sweetly, causing the lips of those that arc asleep to speak." 
The roof of the churches mouth, is the ofliccrs in the church, 
that preach the gospel ; their word is to Christ's beloved, like 
the best wine, that goes down sweetly ; extraordinarily re- 
freshing and enlivening 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 Mork, when thcr 
get together, 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 and subdue with sling stones ; and they shall 
drink, and make a noise, as through wine, and they shall be 
iilled 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 goodness I 
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 an universal kingdom upon earth, (ver. 20) the 
children of Zion shall drink, until tlicy are filled like the ves- 
sels of the sanctuary : And if we would know what they shall 
be thus filled with, the prophecy docs, in effect, explain itself : 
They shall be filled, as the vessels of the sanctuary that con- 
tained the drink ofiering, which was wine ; and yet the words 
imply, that it shfill not literally be v.ine that they shall drink, 
and be filled with, because it is said, they shall drink, and 


make a noise, as through wine, as if they had drank wine : 
Which implies that they had not literally done it ; and there- 
fore we must understand the words, that they shall dvink into 
that, and be filled with that, which the wine of the drink of- 
fering- represented, or was a type of, which is the Holy Spirit, 
as well as the blood of Christ, that new wine that is drunk in 
our heavenly father's kingdom : They shall be filled with the 
Spirit, which the apostle sets in opposition to a being drunk 
Avith wine, Eph. v. 18. This is the new wine spoken of, ver. 
17. It is the 5ame with that best idne, spoken of in Canticlrsi 
that goes doivn a^vcetly, causing the lips of those that are aslecji 
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, lifted up as an ensign upon 
God's land, being made joyful, in the extraordinary manifesta- 
tions of the beauty and love of Christ : As it follows, Hoiv 
great is his goodness ! And hcrj great is his beauty ! Arid it is 
further rem.arkable that it is here foretold, that it should be 
thus especially amongst young people : Corn shall make the 
young men cheerful^ and nenv wine the maids. It would be ri- 
diculous to understand this of literal bread and wine : With- 
out doubt, the same spiritual blessings are signified 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 make 
the young men to speak ; which is agreeable to that in Canti- 
cles, of the best wine's causing the lips oj" those that are asleep to 

We ought not to be, in any measure, like 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 tf David, 
have mercy on me I 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. 38, 39. They 
looked upon it to be a very indecent noise that he made ; a 


thing very ill becoming him to cause his voice to be heard, gq 
much, and so loud, among the multitude. And when Christ 
mado his solemn and triumphant entry into Jerusalem, 
(which, I have before observed, w^as a type of the glory and 
triumph of the latter days) the whole multitude of the disci- 
ples, 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 cometh in 
the name of the Lord 1 Peace in heaven.^ and glory in the high- 
est I The Pharisees said to Christ, master^ rebuke thydi^cijilea. 
They did not understand 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 otit 
together, as though they were out of their wits ; they won- 
dered that Christ would tolerate it. But what says Christ ? 
I tell you, that if these should hold their peace^ the stones would 
immediately 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 stones, to cry out and 
make a noise ; which is something like that other expression, 
of causing the lifis of those that are aslecji to sjieak. 

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, pi'ovided 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 en- 
gagedness of heart, in the love and praises of God. And I 
had rather see it, than to see one speaking alone, and all at- 
tending to what he says j it has more of the appearance of 
conversation. When a multitude meet on any occasion of 
temporal rejoicing, freely and cheerfully to converse together, 
they are not wont to observe the ceremony of but one speak- 
ing at a time, while all the rest, in a formal manner, set them- 
selves to attend to Avhat he says ; that would spoil all conver- 
sation, and turn it into the formality of set speeches, and the 
solemnity of preachiiig. It is better for lay persons, when they 


speak one to another of the things of God, when they meet to- 
gether, to speak after the manner of Christian conversation, 
than to observe the formality of but one speaking atatiinej 
Ihe whole multitude silently and solemnly attending to what 
he says ; which would carry in it too much of the air, of the 
authority and sojemnity 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 
prophecy, one by one, that all may learn, and all may be com- 
forted," I say, this does not reach this case ; because what 
the apostle is speaking of, is the solemnity of their religious 
exercises, in public worship, and persons speaking in the 
church, by immediate inspiration, and in the use of the gift 
of prophecy, or some gift of inspiration, in the exercise of 
which they acted as extraordinary ministers of Christ. 

Another thing that some have found fault with, is abound- 
ing so much in singing, in religious meetings. Objecting 
against such a thing as this, see:jns to arise from a "suspicion 
already established of this work : They doubt of the pretend- 
ed extraordinary loye and joys that attend this work, and so 
find fault with the manifestations of them. If they thought 
persons v/ere truly the subjects of an extraordinary degree of 
divine love, and heavenly rejoicing in God, I suppose they 
would not wonder at their having a disposition 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 do.ubtless will allow 
that the more the saints on earth are like them in their dis- 
positions, 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 thankful- 
ness, and are no more in praising God, whom they have such 
infinite cause to praise. And why therefore should Chi'ist- 
ians 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 dis- 


ciplcs began to rejoice, and, -with loud voices to praise Cod, 
and cry Hosanna, when Christ uas cntcrinr; into Jerusalem. 

There arc mriny thini'is in scripture that seem to intimate, 
that praising God, both in speeches and songs, will be what 
the church of God will very much abound in, in the approach- 
ing glorious day. So on the seventh day of compassing the 
%valls of Jericho, when the priests blew with the trimipots, in 
an extraordinary manner, the people shouted Avith a great 
shout, and the wall of ihc city fell down fiat, bo the ark was 
brought back from its banishment, with extraordinary shout- 
ing and singing oi" the whole congregation of Israel. And 
the places in the prophecies of scripture, that signify that the 
church of God, in that glorious jubilee thai is foretold, shall 
greatly abound in singing and shouting forth the praises of 
God, arc too many to be mentioned. And there will be cause 
enough for it : I believe it will be a time wherein both heav- 
en, 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 singing that is now practised, 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 public 
worship, but that i'c should always be used in the Christian 
church, to the end of the world : But I know of no obligation 
we arc under to confine ourselves to it, I can find no com- 
mand or rule of God's word, that docs 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 to such particular forms of 
words, that we find in the Bible, in speaking to 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 that we should have some other songs besides 
the psalms of David : It is unreasonable to suppose that the 
Christian chi.rch, should forever, and even in times of her 
greatest light in her praises of Gotl and the Lamb, be confin- 
ed only to the words of the old Testament, wherein all the 
greatest and most glorious things of the gospel, that arc in- 
finitely the greatest subjects of her praise, arc spoken of ufr- 


der a vail, and not so much as the name of our glorious Re- 
deemer, ever mentioned, but in some dark figure, or as hid 
under the name of some type. And as to our making use of 
ihcwords of others, and not those that are conceived by our- 
selves, it is no more than we do in all our public prayers ; the 
whole worshipping assembly, exceptirig one only, makes use 
of the words that are conceived by hiai that speaks for the 

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 requi- 
site, in order to a decent and profitable management of relig- 
ious exercise.". But it appears to me the objection is not suf- 
ficient : Children, as they have the nature of men, are inclin- 
ed to society ; and those of them that are capable of society 
one with another, are capable of the influences of the Spirit of 
God, in its active fruits ; and if they are inclined by a relig- 
ious disposition, that they have from the Spirit of God, to im- 
prove their society one with another, in a religious manner, 
and to religious purposes, who should forbid them ? If they 
have not discretion to observe method in their religious per- 
formances, or to speak sense in all that they say in prayer, they 
may notwithstanding have a good meaning, and God under- 
stands them and it does not spoil or interrupt th^ir devotion 
one for another. We that are grown persons, have defects 
in our prayers, that are a thousand times Avorse in the sight of 
God, and are a greater confusion, and more absurd nonsense 
in his eyes, than their childish indiscretions. There is not so 
much difference before God, between cliildren and grown 
persons, as we are ready to imagine*; Ave are all poor, igno- 
rant, foolish babes, in his sight : Our adult age does not bring 
us so much nearer to God, as we are apt to think. God iii 
this work has shejvn a remarkable regard to little children ; 
never Avas there such a glorious Avork amongst persons in 
their childhood, as has been of late, in Newengland : He has 
been pleased in a Avonderful manner to perfect praise cut of 
the mouths of babes and sucklines j and many of them have 


more 6f that knowledge and wisdom, that pleases him, ah(y 
renders their religious worship acceptable, than many of the 
great and learned men of the world : It is they, in the sight 
of God, are the ignorant and foolish children : These are 
grown men, and an hundred years old, in comparison with 
them ;' and it is to be hoped that the days are coming, pro- 
phesied of Isa. Ixv. 20, when " the child shall die an hundred 
years old." 

I have seen many happy eflfects of children's religious 
meetings ; and God has seemed often remarkably to own 
them in their meetings, and really descended from heaven tO" 
he amongst them : I have known several probable instances 
of children's being converted at such meetings. I should 
therefore think, that if children appear to be reaHy 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 pas- 
tors, to instruct and direct them, and to correct imprudent 
conduct and irregularities, if they are perceived ; or any thing 
by which the devil may pei"vert and destroy the design of 
their meetings. All should take heed that they do not find 
fault with, and despise the religion of children, from an evil 
principle, lest they should be like the chief priests and scribes, 
who were sors displeased at the religious worship and przdses 
of little children, and the honor they gave Christ in the tem- 
ple. We have an account of it, and what Christ said upon it, 
in Matth. 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 unlo them, yea ; have yc 
never read, Out of the mouths of ba'iKs and sucklings, thou 
hast pei'fected praise ?" 



Shewing what things are to be corrected or awided 
in promoting this Work, or in our behamor un- 
der it. 

HAVING thus observed, in some instances, wherein the 
conduct of those that have appeared to be the subjects of this 
^vork, or have been zealous to promote it, has been objected 
against, or complained of, without or beyond just cause, I pro- 
teed now in the 

II. Place, to shew what things ought to be corrected or 

Many that are zealous for this glorious v/ork 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 be- 
ing prudent and regular^ which is so much insisted on, is no 
other than being asleep, or cold and dead in religion, and that 
the great imprudence that is so much cried out of, is only a 
being alive, and engaged in the things of God : And they arc 
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 the work than others ; for 
they have watched for the halting of the zealous, and eagerly 
catched at any tl.ing that has been wrong, and have greatly 
insisted on it, made the most of it and magnified it ; especial- 
ly liave they watched for errors in zealous preachers, that are 
much in reproving and condemning the wickedness of the 
times : They would therefore do well to consider that scrip- 
lure, Isa. sxix. 20, 21. " The scorner is consumed, and all 
that watch for iniquity, are cut off, that make a man an of- 
fender for a word, and lay a snare for him that reproveth in 

Vol. hi. 2 D 


the gate, and turn aside the just for a thing of nought." They 
have not only too much insisted 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 injurious and from an ill spirit ; and has 
confirmed them in it, that there is no such thing as any pre- 
vailing imprudences ; 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 advantage ; 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 en- 
gaged, 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 affair, 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 de- 
vice of the devil, to overset a revival of religion, when he 
finds he can keep men quiet and secure no longer, then to 
drive them 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 them upon their 
heads. And it has been by these means chiefly, that he has 
been successful, in several instances, to overthrow most hope- 
ful and promising beginnings : Vca, the principal means by 
which the devil was successful, by degrees, to overset that 
grand religious revival of the world, that was in the primitive 
ages of Christianity, and in a manner, to overthrow the Christ- 
ian church through the earth, and to make way for, and 
bring on the great antichristian apostacy, that masterpiece of 


the devil's work, was to improve the indiscreet zeal of Christ- 
ians, to drive them into those three extremes, of enihiisiasnit 
avfierslition, and severity towards opposers ; v/hich 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 ihem. 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 an hundred great, and stiong, 
and open opposers. 

In the lime of a great work of Christ, his hands, with 
which he ivorks, are often Avounded 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 
wounded in the house of my friends." 

The errors of the friends of the work of God, and especial- 
ly of the great promoters of it, give vast advantage to the en- 
emies of such a M'ork. Indeed there are many things that are 
no errors, but are only duties faithfully and thoroughly done, 
thai 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 gaul 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 bow- 
els, and durst not show themselves, will on such an occasion 
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 asham- 
ed of, (agreeable to Tit. ii. 8.) when they have such a weapon 
put into their hands will fight with all violence. And indeed 


the enemies of religion would not know what to do for wea* 
pons to 6ght with, were it not for the errors of the friends of 
it ; and so must soon fall before th^'m. And besides in real 
errors, things that are truly disagreeable to the rules of God's 
■word, we cannot expect the divine protection, and that God 
■will appear on our side, as if our errors were only supposed 

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 here- 
tofore, certainly such persons ought to be exceeding circum- 
spect and vigilant, diffident and jealous of themselves, and 
humbly dependent on the guidance of the good Shepherd. 
1 Pet. iv. 7, " Be sober and watch unto prayer." And chap. 
V. 8. " Be sober, be vigilant ; because your adversary the 
devil, as a roaring lion walketh about. "....For persons to go on 
resolutely in a kind of heat and vehemence, despising admo- 
nition and correction, being confident that they must be in tlie 
right, because they are full of the spirit, is directly contrary to 
the import of these words, be sobeVf be vigilcmt. 

It is a mistake I have observed in some, by which they 
have been greatly exposed, to their wounding, that they think 
they arc. in no danger of going astray, or being misled by the 
devil, because they are near to God ; and so have no jealous 
eye upon themselves, and neglect vigilance and circumspec- 
tion, as needless in their case. They say they do not think 
that Cod will leave them to dishonor him, and wound religion 
as long as they keep ncai- to him : An^ I believe so too, as 
long as ihey keep near to God in that respect, that ihey main- 
tain aq universal and diligent watch, and care to do their duty, 
an^,ayQid ^in, and snares, with difFidencr in themselves, and 
humble dependence and prayerfulness : But not merely be- 
cause they arc near to God, in that respect, that they nov/ are 
receiving blessed communications from God, in refreshing 
views of him ; if at the same time they let down their watch, 
and are not jctJous over their own heajt^j by reason of its re« 


^naming blindness and corruption, and a subtle adversary. Jt 
is a grand error, for persons to think they are out of danger 
of the devil, and a corrupt deceitful heart, even in their high- 
est flights, and most raised frames of spiritual joy. For per- 
sons 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 wofully ensnared. However high- 
ly 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 disci- 
ples, is never out of date in this world, Luke xxi. 36, " watch 
and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape 
all these things, and to stand before the son of man." 

It was not out of date v/ith the disciples, to whom it was 
given, after they came to be filkd so full with the Holy 
Ghost, and out of their bellies flowed rivers of living water, by 
that great effiision of the Spirit upon them, that began on the 
day of pentecost. And though God stands ready to protect 
his people, especially those that are near to him, yet he ex- 
pects great care and labor of all ; and that we should put on 
the v.'hole armor of God, that we may stand in the evil day ; 
And whatever spiritual privileges we are raised to, we have 
BO warrant to expect protection in amy other way ; for Cod 
has appointed this whole life, as a state of labor, to be all, as a 
race or a battle ; the state of rest wherein we shall I)e so out 
of danger, as to have no need of watching and fighting, is re- 
served for another world. I have laiown it in abundance of 
instances, that the devil is come in very remarkably, even in 
the midst of the most exalted, and upon some accounts excel- 
lent frames : It may seem a great mystery that it should b6 
so; but it is no greater mystery, than that Christ should be 
taken captive by the devil, and carried into the wilderness, im- 
mediately after the heavens had been opened to him, and the 
Holy Ghost descended like a dove upon hiui, and he heard 
that comfortable, joyful voice from the Father, saying, ThU ut 
my beloved Son. in whom I am well /ileascd. In like manner 
Christ in the lieart of a Christian, is oftentimes as it wece 
taken by the devil, and carried gaptivc into a wilderness, presv 


ently after heaven has been, as it were opened lo the soul, and 
the Holy Ghost has descended upon it like a dove, and God 
has been sweetly owning the believer, and testifying his favor 
to him as his beloved child. 

It is therefore a great error, and sin in some persons, at this 
day, that tiicy arc fixed in their way, in some things that oth- 
ers account errors, and will not hearken lo admonition and 
counsel, but are confident that they arc in the right of it, in 
those practices that they find themselves disposed to, because 
God is much Avith them, and they have great degrees of the 
Spirit of God. There were some such in the apostles* days : 
The apostle Paul, "writing to the Corinthians, was sensible that 
some of them would not be easily convinced that they had 
been in any error, because they looked upon themselves nfiirit- 
iial, or full of the Spirit of God. 1 Cor. xiv. 37, 38. " If any 
man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him ac- 
knov/lege that the things that I write unto you, are the com- 
•mandment 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 intreat 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, (although an inferior worm) in giving his humble 
opinion, concerning the errors that have been committed, or 
that we may be exposed lo, in methods or practices that have 
been, or may be fallen into, by the zealous friends or promo- 
ters 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 Eon»e errors, that some have lately gone 
into, that have been owing to the influence of several of those 
ftauses conjunctly. 


As to the first of these, the errors that attend a great reviv 
al of religion, usually arise from these three things : .> .• 

1. Unsliscerned spiritual pride. 

2. Wrong principles. 

3. Ignorance of Satan's advantages and devices. 

The first, and the vi^orst cause of errors, that prevail in such 
a state of things, is spiritual firide. This is the main door, by 
which the devil comes into the hearts of those that are zeal- 
ous for the advancement of religion. It is the chief inlet of 
smoke from the bottomless pit, to darken the mind, and mis- 
lead 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 least the 
main support of pU the rest. Until 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 guards 
itself against light, by which it might be corrected and re- 
claimed. The spiritually proud man is full of light already, 
he does not need instruction, and is ready to despise the ofier 
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, sensible how 
liable he is to go astray ; and therefore if it be suggested to 
him that he does so, he is ready most narrowly and impar- 
tially 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, M'ithout darkness, and so clears the tye to look 
on things, as they truly are. Psal. 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 recti- 
fy 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 inju- 
riously laid to the pride of those that are zealous in the cause 
of God. When any person appears, in any respect, remark- 
ably distinguished in religion from others, if he professes 


those sphltual comforts and joys that are greater than ordina« 
ry, or if he appears distJnc^uishingly zealous in rehgion, if he 
exerts himself more than others do, in llie cause of religion, 
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 af- 
fects to have it thought that nobody is so good as he ; and all 
liis talk is heard, and all his behavior beheld, with this preju' 
dice. Those that are themselves cold and dead, and especial- 
ly 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 and fervent piety. 

But then those that are zealous Christians should take heed 
that this injuriousryess of those that arc cold in religion does 
not prove a snare to them, and the devil does not take advan- 
tage from it, to blind their eyes from beholding what there is 
indeed of this nature in their hearts, and make them think, be- 
cause 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 1 

The corruption of nature may all be resolved into two 
things, /zWrfe and worldly mindedness., the f/(?iv7 and the i>castj or 
«<?//' and the tvorld. These are the tuo 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 chiefly consists in it ; it is the last thing in a sinner 
that is overborn by conviction, in order to conversion ; and 
here is the saint's hardest conflict ; it is the last thing that he 
obtains a good degree of conquest over, ^nd liberty li cm ; it is 
that which most directly militates ai;ainst God, and is most 
contrary to the Spirit of the Lamb of God ; and it is most like 
the devil its father, in a serpentine deccilfulness and secrecy j 


It lies deepest, and is most active, is most ready secretly to 
mix itself with every thing. 

And of all kinds of pride, spiritual pride is upon many ac- 
counts the most hateful ; it is most like the devil ; it is most 
like the sin that he committed in an heaven of light and glory, 
where he was exalted high in divine knowledge, honor, beau- 
ty and happiness. Pride is much more diflkultly discerned 
than any other corruption, for this reason, that thefiature 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, sph 'tual 
pride is the most hidden, and difficullly discovei'ed ; and that 
for this reason, because those that are spiritually proud, their 
pride consists, much in an high conceit of those two things, 
viz. their light., and their humility ; both Avhich arc a strong 
prejudice against a discovery of their pride. Being proud of 
their light.^ that makes them not jealous of themselves ; hC 
that thinks a clear light 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 them- 
selves in that particular, viz. as being under the prevalence of 
pride. There are many sins of the heart that are very secret 
in their nature, and difficultly discerned. The Psalmist says, 
Psal. xix. 12. " Who can understand his errors ? Cleanse thou 
me from secret faults." But spiritual pride is the most se- 
cret of all sins. The heart is so deceitful and \uisearchable 
Sn nothing in the world, as it is in this matter, and there is no 
^:in in the werld, that men are so confident in, and so difficultly 
convinced of: The very nature of it is to work selfconfidence, 
and drive away selfdiffidence, and jealousy of any evil of that 
kind. There is no sin so much like the devil, as this, for se- 
crecy and subtlety, and appearing in a great many shapes, un- 
discerned and unsuspected, and appearing as an angel of light : 
It takes occasion to arise from every thing ; it perverts and 

Vol. III. 2 K 


abuses every thing, and even the exercises of real gracej 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 mcitify and suppress 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 another, 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 temp- 
tations 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 tend greatly 
to mortify pride and all corruption ; but yet, though in the ex- 
perience of such favors there be much to restrain pride one 
Avay, there is much to tempt and provoke it another ; and 
v/e shall be in great danger thereby without great watchful- 
ness and prayerfulness. There was much in the circumstan- 
ces that the angels that fell, were in, in heaven, in their great 
honors and high privileges, in beholding the face of God, and 
view of his infinite glory, to cause in them exercises of hu- 
mility, and to keep them from pride ; yet through want of 
Avatchfulness 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 emine nt, and 
however near to God, think himself out of danger of this; 
He that thinks himself most out of danger, is indeed most iq 
danger. The apostle Paul, who doubtless was as eminent a 
saint as any are now, was not out of danger, even just after he 
vras admitted to see God in the third heavens, by the infor- 
mation he himself gives us, 2 Cor.xii. chap. And yet doubtless, 


what he saw in heaven of the ineifable glory of the divine Be- 
ing, had a direct tendency to make him appear exceeding- lit- 
tle and vile in his own eyes. 

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

Spiritual pride disposes to speak of other persons sins, their 
enmity against God and his people, the miserable delusion of 
hypocrites and their enmity against vital piety, and the dead- 
ness of some saints, with bitterness, or with laughter and lev- 
ity, and an air of contempt ; whereas pure Christian humility 
rather disposes, either to be silent about them, or to speak of 
Ihemwith grief and pity. 

Spiritual pride is very apt to suspect others : Whereas an 
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 
ihey are lb"W^ iri 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 deficiences : 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 no body but what 
has more love arid 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 tliat are about 
them, and sharply reproving them for their being so cold and 
lifeless. And thei'e are some others that behave themselves 
very differently from these, who in their raptures are over- 
%vhelmed with a sense of their own vileness ; and when they 


have c::traordinary (liscovcricy of God's jjlovy, arc all taken tij) 
about their own r.infulncbs ; and though they also arc dispos- 
ed to speak much and very earnestly, yet it is very much in 
crying out of themselves, and exhorting fellow Christians, but 
in a charital)!^* and humble manner. Pure ('hristian 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 di- 
minish their failings ; but to haA-^e 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 al- 
most 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 cold- 
ness, their silence, their caution, their moderation, and their 
prudence, and many other things that appear in them, that 
they are from the devil, or from bell ; that such a thing is 
devilish, or hellish, or cursed, and that such persons are serv- 
ing the devil, or the devil is in them, that they arc soul mur- 
derers, and the like ; so that the words devil and hell are al- 
most continually in their mouths. And such kind of language 
they will commonly use, not only towards wicked men, but 
tOAvards them that they themselves allow to be the true child- 
ren of God, and also towards ministers of tlic gospel and oth- 
ers that arc very much their superiors. And they look upon . 
it a virtue and high attainment, thus to behave themselves ... 
O/i, say they, kvc must be plain hearted and bold for Christy we 
must declare mar against sin tvherever lue sec it, ive must not 
mince the matter in the cause of God, and lobcn 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 
Chrisvian meekness and gentleness, and even all shew and ap- 
pearance of it, and to defile the mouths of the children 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 remarkable instance of the 
•weakness of the human mind, and how much too cunning the 
devil is for us ! 

The grand defence of this way of talking is, that they say 
no more than what is true ; they only speak the truth vvithout 
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 concerning them 
and their sins ; it is only (say they) hypocrites, or cold and 
dead Christians, that are provoked and feel their enmity rise 
Gn such an occasion. 

But it is a grand mistake to think that Ave may commonly 
use concerning one another all such language as represents 
the worst of each other, according to strict truth. It is real- 
ly true that every kind of sin, and every degree of it, is devilr 
ish and from hell, and is cursed, hellish, and condemned or 
damned : And if persons had a full sight of their hearts they 
would think 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 v»'hat they see in 
themselves, the worst terms they could think ef would seem 
as it were faint to represent what they see in themselves. 
But shall a child therefore, from time to time, use such lan- 
guage 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 hellish, damned acts, and that they are cursed 
dogs, hell hounds, and devils ? And shall the meanest of the 
people be justified, in commonly using such language con- 
cerning 'the most excellent magistrates, or their most emi- 
nent ministers ? I hope nobody has gone to this height : 
But the same pretences of boldness, plain heartedness, 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 u 
f^ce will be introduced upon the church of Christ, the iittje 


beloved flock of that j^cntle shepherd the Lamb of God • 
What a sound shall \vc brint; into the house of God, into the 
family of his dear little children ? How far oft' shall we soon 
banish that lovely appearance of humility, sweetness, gejitle- 
ness, mutual honor, benevolence, complacence, and an esteem 
of others above themselves, which oup;ht to clothe the child- 
ren of Ciod all over ? Not but that Christians shoiild watch 
over one another, 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 re- 
buking 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 him and 
so regardless of him, at the time when his soul was exceeding 
sorrowful even unto death, and he m a dismal agony was cry- 
ing and sweating blood for them, and they would not A-.atch 
■with him, and 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 devilish, hellish, cursed and 
damned slothfulness and deadness. But after what manner 
does Christ repiovc them ? Behold his astonishing gentle- 
ness ! Says he, What., could yc not watch nvith me one hour ? 
The spirit indeed is Kvillirig; but the jlesli is nveak. And how 
did he treat Peter when -he was asliamed 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 

And though we read that Christ once turned and said unto 
Peter, on a certain occasion, get thee behind me Satan ; and 
this may seem like an instance of harshness and severity in re« 
proving Peter ; yet I humbly conceive thut this is by many 
taken v/rong, and that this is indeed no instance of Christ's se- 
verity in his treatment of Peter, but on the contrary, of his 
wonderful gentleness and grace, distinguishing between Petev 


ar.d the devil in himj not laying the blame of what Peter had 
then said, or imputing it to him, but to the devil that influenc- 
ed him. Christ saw the devil then present, secretly influenc- 
ing Peter to do the part of a tempter to his mastei' ; and there- 
fore Christ turned him about to Peter, in whom the devil then 
^\'as, and spake to the devil and rebuked him. Thus the grace 
of Christ does not behold 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. 

Spiritual pvide often disposes persons to singularity in ex- 
ternal appearance, to affect a singular way of speaking, to 
use a different sort of dialect from others,- or to be singular 
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 np himself to be viewed and observed as one 
distinguished, as desiring to be accounted better than others, 
or despising their company, or an union and conformity to 
them ; but on the contrary is disposed to become all things to 
all men, and to yield to others, and conform to thein and 
please them, in every thing but sin. Spiritual pride common- 
ly occasions a certain stiffness and inflexibility in persons, in 
their own judgment and their own v/ays ; whereas the em- 
inently humble person, though he be inflexible in his duty, 
and in those things wherein God's honor is concerned ; and 
with regard to temptation 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 pliable 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 Tpersons to affect separation, to 
stand at a distance from others, as better than they, and loves 
the shew and appearance of the distinction : But on the con- 


trary, the crriinently Inimlile Christian is ready lo look iipoA 
himself as not worlliy that others should be united to him, 
to think himself more brutish than any man, and worthy to be 
east out of human society, and especially unworthy of the so- 
ciety of God's children : and though he will not be a com- 
panion 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 docs 
not at all delight to spend away much time in the company 
of those that seem to relish :\o conversation but about worldly 
things ; yet he does not love the appearance of an open sepa- 
ration from visible Christians, as being a kind of distinct com- 
pany from them, that are one visible company with him by 
Christ's appointment, and will as muc has possible shun all ap- 
pearances of a s\iperiority, or distinguishing himself as belter 
than others : His universal benevolence delights in the ap- 
pearance of union with his fellow creatures, and will main- 
tain it as much as he possibly can, without giving open coun- 
tenance 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 Phari- 
sees, but freely eat wiiii 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 be- 
havior, 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, kindness, huni- 
bleness of mind, meekness, long suffering. 

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

"With such a spirit as this ouglit especially zealous minis- 
ters of the go5pcl to be clothed, and those that God is pleas- 


fcj to improve as instruments in his hands of promoting his 
work : They ought indeed to be thorough in preaching the 
word of Cod, without mincing the matter at all ; in handling 
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 gen- 
tle 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 asunder 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 a])plication :) But all their 
conversation should savor of nothing but lowliness 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 like a light shining about them, their faces should, as it 
were shine with it ; they should be like lions to guilty con- 
sciences, but like lambs to men's persons. This would have 
no tendency to prevent the awakening of men'a consciences, 
but on the contrary would have a very great tendency to 
awaken them ; it would make way for the sharp sword to en- 
ter ; it would remove the obstacles, 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 terrible preaching ; both would cooperate one 
with another, to subdue the hard, and bring down the proud 
heart. If there had been, constantly and Universally observa- 
ble such a behavior as this in itinerant preachers, it would 
have terrified the consciences of sinners, ten tim^s as much 
as all the invectives, and the censorious talk there has been 
concerning particular persons, for their opposition, hypocrisy, 
delusion, pharisaism, &c. These things in general have rath- 
er stupined sinners' consciences ; they take them 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 enemies of the present work have been glad 
of these things with all their hearts. Many of the most bittey 
V01..-IIL F 


of them are probably such as in the beginning of this work hart 
their consciences something gauled and terrified with it ; but 
these errors of awakening preachers are the things they chief- 
ly make use of as plaisters to heal the sore that was made in 
their consciences. 

Spiritual pride takes great notice of opposition and injuries 
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 : Whereas pure 
unmixed Christian humility, disposes a person rather to be 
like his blessed Lord, when reviled, dumb, not opening his 
mouth, but committing himself in silence to him that judgcth 
righteously. The eminently humble Christian, the more clam- 
orous 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, re- 
proaching, buffetting, and spitting on him, with loud and vir- 
ulent outcries, and horrid cruelties. 

There has been a great deal too much talk of late, among 
many of the true and zealous friends of religion, about oppo- 
sition and persecution. It becomes the followers of the Lamb 
of God, when the world is in an uproar about them, and full 
of clamor against them, not to raise another noise to answer 
it, but to be still and quiet : It is not beautiful, at such a time 
lo have pulpits and conversation ring with the sound, /zerse- 
cution, persecution, or with abundant talk about Pharisees, car- 
nal persecutors, and the seed of the serpent. 

Meekness and quietness among God's people, when oppos- 
ed and reviled, would be the surest way to have God remark- 
ably to appear for their defence. It is particularly observed of 
Moses, on the occasion of Aaron and Miriam their envying 
him, and rising up in opposition against him, that he was 
very vieek, above all men vjton the face of the earth, Num. xii. 
3. Doubtless because he remarkably showed his meekness 
on that occasion, being wholly silent irnder the abuse. And 
how remarkable is the account that follows of God's being as 
it were suddenly roused to appear for his vindication ? And 


^vhat high honor did he put upon Moses ? And how severe 
were his rebukes of his opposers ? The story is very re- 
markable, and worth every one's observing. Nothing is so 
effectual to bring God down from heaven in the defence of 
his people, as their patience and meekness under sufferings. 
When Christ girds his sword upon Ids 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 righteousness. Psal. xlv. 3, 4. God will cause judgment 
to be heard from Heaven ; the earth shall fear and be still, and 
God will arise to judgment, to save all the meek of the earth. 
Psal. Ixxvi. 8, 9. He will lift up the meek, and cast the wick' 
ed down to the ground. Psal. cxlvii. 6. He will reprove with 
equity, for the fneek of fhe earth, and will smite the earth with 
the rod of his mouth, and nvith the breath of his lips will he slay 
the wicked. Isa. xi. 4. The great commendation that Christ 
gives the church of Philadelphia, is that. Thou hast kept the 
word of my patience^ Rev. iii. 10. And we may see what re- 
ward he promises her in the preceeding verse, " Behold I will 
make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are 
Jews and are not, but do lie ; behold, I will make them to 
come and worship at thy feet, and to knov/ 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 
behave ourselves with a lamb like 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 defence, and God Avill leave it with 
us to vindicate our cause as well as we can : Yea, if we go on 
in a way of bitterness, and high censuring, it will be the way 
to have him rebuke us, and put us to shame before our enc' 

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 earn- 
estly for the faith ? They defended the truth with arguments, 


and a holy conversation ; but yet gave their reasons with 
meekness and fear : Tliey contended earnestly for the faith 
by fightinj!; violently against their own \inbelief, and the cor- 
ruptions 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 j and while Peter wounds, Christ 
heals. They contend the most violenMy, and are the greatest 
conquerors in a time of persecution, who bear it with the 
greatest meekness and patience. 

Great humility improves even the* reflections and reproach- 
es of enemies, to put upon serious selfexamination, whether 
or no there be not some just cause, uhciher they have not in 
some respect given occasion to the enemy to speak reproach- 
fully : Whereas spiritual pride improves such reflections to 
Tnake them the more bold and confident, and to go the greater 
lengths in that for which they are found fault 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 reviled 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 bavse in mine 
own sight. The import of his words is that he would hum- 
ble himself yet more before God, being sensible that he was 
far from being sufficiently abased ; and he signifies this to 
Michal, and that he longed to be yet low^er, and had designed 
already to abase himself more in his behavior ; not that he 
would go the greater length, to shew his regardlessness of lier 
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 
sclfconfident boldness before God and men. Thus some in 
their great rejoicings before God, have not paid a sufficient 
regard to that rule, in Psal. ii. 11. They have not rejoiced 
■.vith 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 arid defended, by a misappli- 
cation of that scripture, Prov. xxix. 25. " The fear of man 
bringeth a snare." As though it became all persons, high 
and low, men, women and children, in all religious conversa- 
tion, wholly to divest themselves of all manner of shamefaced- 
ncss, modesty or reverence towards man ; which is a great 
error, and quite contrary to scripture. There is a fear of rev- 
erence 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 superiors, 
that is amiable, and required by Christian rules. 1 Pet. iii. 2. 
" While they behold your chaste conversation, coupled with 
fear." And 1 Tim. ii. 9. " In like manner also, that women 
adorn themselves, in modest apparel, with shamefacedness 
and sobriety." And the apostle means that this virtue shall 
have place, not only in civil communication, but also in spirit- 
ual communicatioii, and in our religious concerns and beha- 
vior, 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 tp usurp authority oyer the man, but 
to be in silence." Not that I would hence infer that women's 
mouths should be shut up from Christian conversation ; but 
all that I mean from it at this time is, that modesty, or shame- 
facedness, and reverence towards men, ought to have some 
plate, even in our retigious communication, one with another. 
The same is also evident by 1 Pet. iii. 15. " Be ready always 
to give an answer, to every maJi that asketh you a reason of 
the hope that is in you, v/ith meekness and fear-*' It is well 
if tliat very fear and shamefacedness, which the apostle recom- 
mends, has not sometimes been condemned, under the name 
of a cursed fear of man. 

It is beautiful for persons when they are at prayer as the 
snouth of others, to make God only their fear and their dread, 
jand 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 of all fear 
of men. And it is beautiful in private Christians, though they 
are women and children, to be bold in professing the faith of 
Christ, and in the prjctice of all religion, 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 Christians, women and others, 
to instruct, rebuke and exhort, with a like sprt 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 gioiied in their boldness in practising them, 
though condemned 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 many that 
of themselves, were not inclined to such practices, have by 
this means been driven on, being ashamed to be behind, and 
accounted poor soldiers for Christ. 

Another effect of spiiilual pride is asstnnifig : It oftentimes 
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 shew a disposition to sub- 
mit 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 have an ill opinion of others that do not pay him 
that which he looks ni)on as his prerogative: He is apt to 
think that it belongs to him to speakj^and to clothe himself 
with a judicial and dogmatical air in conversation, and to take 
it upon him as what belongs to him, to give forth his sentence, 
and to determine and decide: Whereas pure Christian hu- 
mility vaimtelh not itself, doth not behave itself unseemlu, and 


is apt to prefer others in honor. One under the influence of 
spiritual pride is more apt to instruct others, than to inquire 
for himself, and naturally 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 instruc- 
tion from any body, agreeable to Jam. i. 19. " Wherefore, my 
beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to 
speak." The eminently humble Christian thinks he wants 
help from every body, whereas he that is spiritually proud 
thinks that every body wants his help. Christian humility, 
xmder a sense of others' misery, intreats and beseeches ; spir- 
itual 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 promoters of 
it, but above all in itinerant preachers : The most eminent 
gifts, and highest tokens of God's favor and blessing, 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 regarded, and that he 
should go forth, and act amcng his fellow creatures, as if he 
were wise and strong and good ! 

Ministers that have been the principal instruments of carry- 
ing on this glorious revival of religion, and that God has made 
use of, as it were to bring up his people out of Egypt, es he 
did of Moses, should take heed that they do not provoke 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's unbelief, which provoked God 
to shut him out of Canaan, 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 intolera- 


ble stiff neckediiess of the people, that they did not acknowi • 
edge the work of God, aiul •were not convinced by all hiz 
AYondiis that they had seen : But human passion was mingled 
with his zeal. Psal. cvi. 32, 33. " They angered him also at 
the waters of strife ; so that it went ill with Moses, for their 
sakcs : Because they provoked his spirit, so that he spake un- 
advisedly with his lips. Hear now ye rebels," says he, with 
bitterness of language. 

Si'coridhj, He behaved himself, and spake with an assuming 
air: He assumed too much to himself: Niar 7io%v ije rebclny 
■must WE fetch water out oft 'us rock ? Spiritual pride wrought 
in Moses at that time : His temptations to it were very great, 
for he had great discoveries of God, and had been privileged 
with intimate and sweet communion with him, and God had 
inade him the instrument of great good to his church ; and 
though he was so humble a person, and, by God's own testi- 
mony, 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 liigh- 
ly 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 1 The temptation a t 
this day is exceeding 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 
THUch stiffneckedness manifested in multitudes of this genera- 
tion, notwithstanding 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 also great temptation to an assuming behavior in 
some pereons : When a minister is greatly succeeded, from 
time to lime, 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 aiis- 


6f a muster, or some extraordinary person ; a man had need 
to have a great stock of humility, and much divine assistance, 
to resist the temptation. But the greater our dangers are, the 
more ought to be our watchfuhiess and prayerfulness, and dif- 
fidence 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 do not at 
length begin to burn incense to their net. And we should 
lake warning by Gideon, who, after God had highly favored 
and exalted him, and made him the instrument of working u 
wonderful deliverance for his people, at length made a god 
of the spoils of his enemies, which became a snare to him and 
to his house, so as to prove the ruin of his family. 

All young ministers in this day of the bringing up the ark 
of God, should take warning by the example of a young Le- 
vile 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 niiule liim an instrument to bring the ark 
out of its long continued obscurity in Kirjathjearim, and he 
was succeeded to bring it a considerable way towards mount 
Zion ; but for his .vant of humility, reverence and circum- 
spection, and assuming to himself, or taking too much upwi 
him, God broke forth upon him, and smote him for his error, 
so that he never lived 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 yovuiger 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 joyful day of bringing up the ark ; 
and they are afraid what vnll become of the ark under the 
conduct of its ministers, (that are sometimes in scripture com- 
pared to oxen) they see the ark shakes, and they are afraid 
these blundering oxen will throw it ; and some oi" them it is 
to be feared, have been over officious on this occasion, and 
have assumed too much to themselves, and have been bold to 
Vol. III. 3 G 


put forth their hand to take hold of the ark, as though they 
were the only fit and worthy persons to defend it. 

If ycunt^ ministers had great humility, without a mixture* 
it would dispose them especially to treat aged ministers with 
respect and reverence, as their fathers, notwithstanding that a 
sovereign God may have given them greater assistance and 
success, than they have had. 1 Pet. v. 5. " Likewise ye 
younger, submit yourselves Unto the elder ; yea, all of you, be 
subject one to another ; and be clothed with humility; for 
God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace 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 

As spiritual pride disposes persons to assume much to 
themselves, so it also disposes them to treat others with neg- 
lect : On the contrary, pure Christian humility 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 spiriuial 
pride, in their treatment of those that they looked upon to be 
carnal men ; and particularly in refusing to enter into any dis- 
course 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 dis- 
pute 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 qi.ite unseasonable, as par- 
ticularly in meetings for religious conference, or exercises of 
worship. But yet we ought to be very careful that we do not 
I'efuse to discourse with men, with any appearance of a super- 
cilious neglect^ as though we counted them not worthy to be 
regarded ; on the contrary we should condescend to carnal 
men,asChrist has condescended to us, to bear with ourunteach- 
ableness and stupidity, and still to follow us with instructions, 
line upon line, and precept upon precept, saying, come let us 
reason together ; setting light before us, and using all manner 


©f 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 we 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 primi- 
tive Christians to be ready to give a reason of the Christian 
faith and hope to the enemies of Christianity, 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." And wc 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 fturly to submit to have the cause betwixt us 
tried by strict reasoning. 

One qualification that the scripture speaks of once and 
again, as requisite in a minister is, that he should be 5»^«xtw©' 
apt to teach, 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 
expresses one thing he intends by it, viz. that a minister 
should be ready, meekly to condescend to, and instruct oppos- 
ers. yind the scTvant of the Lord wust not stri-ue, but be gentle 
nnto all inen^ apt to teach.^ patient^ in meekness instructing those 
that oppose themselves, if God peradventure will give them re- 
pentance, to the acknonvledgiyig of the truth. 

Secondhj, Another thing from whence errors in conduct, 
that attend such a revival of religion, do arise, is wrong priU' 

And one erroneous principle, than which scai'ce 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 no- 


lion the tlevil lias a great floor opened for him ; and if once 
this opinion should come to l)e fully yielded to, and establish- 
ed ill the cliurch of God, Satan would have opportunity there- 
by to set up himself as the guide and oracle of God's people, 
and to have his word regarded as their infallible rule, and so 
to lead them where he would, and to introduce what he pleas- 
ed, and soon to bring the Bible into neglect and contempt. 
Late experience in s>ome instances, has shown that the ten- 
dency of this notion is to cause persons to esteem the Bible 
as a book that is in a great measure useless. 

Thia error will defend and support all errors. As long as 
a person has a notion that he is guided by immediate direc- 
tion from Heaven, it makes him incorrigible and impregnable 
in i\ll 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 counsels and commands of the great Jehovah ? 

This great Mork of God has been exceedingly hindered by 
this error ; and until we have quite taken this haiulle out of 
the devil's hands, the work of God will never go on without 
great clogs and hindrances. 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 him ex- 
ceeding loth 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 failing of such supposed revelations, in 
the event, does not open every one's eyes. - I have seen so 
many instances of the failing of such impressions, that would 
almost furnish an histary : I have been acquainted with theni 
■when made under all kinds of circumstances, and have seen 
them fail in the event, when made w ith such circumstances 
as have been fairest and brightest, and most promising ; as 
when they have been made upon the minds of such, as there 
was all reason to think were true saints, yea eminent saints, 
Skud at the very time when they have had great divine discov- 


€Ties, and have been in the high exercise of true communion 
with God, and made with great strength, and with great 
sweetness accompanying, and I have had reason t-o think, with 
an excellent heavenly frame of spirit, yet continued, and 
"made with texts of sci'iplure, that seemed to be exceeding 
apposite, yea many texts following one another, extraordina- 
rily and wonderfully brought to the mind, and with great pow- 
er 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 persons them- 
selves. And God has in so many instances of late in his 
providence, covered such things with dai'kness, that one would 
think it should be enough quite to blank the expectations of 
such as have been ready to think highly of such things ; it 
seems to be a testimony of God, that he has no design of re- 
viving revelations in his church, and a rebuke from him to 
the groundless expectations of it. 

It seems to me that scripture. Zee. xiii. 5, is a prophecy 
concerning ministers of the gospel, in the latter, and glorious 
day of the Christian church, which is evidently spoken of in 
this and the foregoing chapters : The words are, / am 7io 
prophet ; I am an husbandman : For man taught me to keep 
cattle from, my youth. The words, I apprehend, are to be iVl- 
terpi'eted in a spiritual sense ; / am an husbandman : The 
work of ministers is very often in the New Testament, cbm- 
pared to the business of the husbandmen, that take care of 
God's husbandry, to whom he lets out his vineyard, 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, Man taught me 
to keep cattle from my youth. So the work of a minister is 
Very often in scripture represented by the business of a shep- 
herd or pastor. And whereas it is said, I am no prophet ; biit 
man taught me from my youth. It is as much as to say, I do not 
pretend to have received my skill, whereby I am fitted for the 
business of a pastor or shepherd in the church of God, by im- 
amediate inspiration, but by education, by being trained up to 


the business by human Icaining, and instructions I have re- 
ceived from my youth or cliiUlhood, by ordinary means. 

And why cannot v/c be contented with tl)e divhic oracles, 
that holy pure word of God, that wc have in such abundance, 
and such clearness, now since the canon of scripture is com- 
pleted ? Why should we desire to have ftny thing atkled to 
them by impulses from above ? Why should not we rest in 
that standinc; rule that GckI has given to his church, v/hich the 
apostle leaches us is surer than a voice from heaven i And 
why should we desire to make the scripture 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 Ho- 
ly Spirit given in his sanctifying influences, infusing and ex- 
citing grace and holiness, love and joy, which is the highest 
kind of inlcrcourse 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 no olher than follow the guidance of God's 
word, and make the scripture their rule, because the impres- 
sion 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, im- 
plies no such thing, and they themselves do not suppose that 
any such revelation was contained in it before. As for in- 
stance, suppose that text should come into a person's mind 
with strong impression, Acts ix. 6. " Arise and go into the 
city ; and it sh^Il 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 these are revealed by the impression 
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 
•ase : 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 there was no revelation of any- 
where to be found in heaven or earth. These propositions, 
That it is God's mind and will tliat 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 different from the proposi- 
tions contained in that text of scriptui'e, no more contained, or 
consequentially 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 sciipture, 
as they are from the propositions contiuned in that text, 
Gen. V. 6. '^ And Seth lived an hundred and five years, and 
begat Enos." 

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

Those texts of scripture that speak of the children of God 
as led by 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 them- 
selves confute them that bring them ; for it is evident that 
the leading of the Spirit that the apostle speaks of is a gra- 
cious leading, or what is peculiar to the children of God, and 
that natural men cannot have j for he speaks of it as a sure 
evidence of their being the sons of God, and not under the law : 
But a leading or directing a person, by immediately revealing 
to him where he should go, or what shall hereafter come to 
pass, or what shall be the future consequence of his doing 


tl)us 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 nothing 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 imme- 
diately reveals what will be, or should be hereafter ; but this 
is but a common gift, as the apostle expressly shews, 1 Cor. 
xiii.2, 8. If a person has any thing revefaled 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 the Spirit, and is but 
dross and dung, in comparison of the excellency of that gra- 
cious 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 considera- 
ble lime. There is a more excellent way that the Spirit of 
God leads the sons of God, that natural men cannot have, and 
that is, by inclining them to do the will of God, and go in the 
shining path of truth and Christian holiness, from an holy,heaA'- 
cnly disposition, which the Spirit of God gives them, and en- 
livens in them, which inclines them, and leads them to those 
things that are excellent, and agreeable to God's mind, Avhere- 
by they are tra?is/'or?ncJ, by the renewing of their jninds, and 
prove ivJiat is that good, and acceptable, and perfect nvill of God, 
as in Rom. xii. 2. And so the Spirit of God does in a gracious 
manner teach the saints their duty ; and teaches them in an 
higher 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 Iheir eye smglc and pure, whereby the whole body is 
full of light. The sanciifyinj^ influences of the Spirit of God 


rectifies the taste of the soul, whereby it savors those things 
that are of God, ancl naturally relishes and delights in those 
things that are holy and agreeable to God's mind, and like 
one of a distinguishing taste, chooses those things that are good 
and wholesome, and rejects those things that are evil ; for the 
sancliued ear tries words, and the sanctified heart tries actions, 
as the mouth tastes meat. And thus the Spirit of God leads 
and guides the meek, in his way, agreeably to his promises ; 
he enables them to understand the commands and counsels of 
ii is word, and rightly to apply them. Christ blames the Phar- 
isees that they had not this holy distinguishing taste, to dis- 
cern and distinguish what was right and wrong. Luke xii. 
■HT. " Yea, and why, even of your own selves, judge ye not 
wiiat 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 
1 19th Psalm ; and not in giving of them new statutes and neio 
precepts : He graciously gives them eyes to see, and ears to 
hear, and hearts to understand ; he causes them to under- 
stand the fear of the Lord, and so brings the blind by a way 
th(;y knew not, and leads them in paths that they had not 
known, and makes darkness light before them, and crooked 
things straight. 

So the assistance of the Spirit in praying and preaching 
seems by some to have been greatly misunderstood, and they 
have sought after a miraculous assistance of inspiration, by 
immediate suggesting of words to thera, by such gifts and in- 
fluences of the Spirit, in praying and teaching, as the apostle 
speaks of, I Cor. xiv, 14, 26, (which many natural men had in 
those days) instead of a gracious holy assistance oi the Spirit 
of God, which is the far more excellent way ; (as 1 Cor. xii. 
31, and xiii. 1.) The gracious, andJmost excellent kind of as- 
sistance 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 tl-vatare 

Vol. in. 2 H 


to be spoken of, and wiili lioly affections, that that sense and 
those affections may sii^t^cst words. Thus indeed the Spirit 
of God may be said, indirectly and mediately to suggest words 
to us, to indite our petitions for us, and to teach the preach- 
er 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 eloquent upon that subject ; and 
much more have spiritual affections this tendency, for many 
reasons that might be given. When a person is in an holy 
and lively frame in secret prayer, it will wonderfully supply 
him with matter, and with expressions as every true Christ- 
ian knows ; and so it Avill fill his mouth in Christian con- 
versation, and it has the like tendency to enable a person in 
public prayer and preaching. And if he has these holy in- 
fiuences of the Spirit on his heart in an 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 
Avords from the Spirit of God to be expected or desired, they 
who neglect and despise study and premeditation, in order to 
a preparation for the pulpit, in such an expectation, are guilty 
of presumption ; though doubtless it maybe laAvful for some 
pei'sons, in some cases, (and they may be called to it) to 
preach with very little study ; and the Spirit of God, by the 
heavenly frame of heart that he gives them, may enable them 
to do it to excellent purpose. 

Besides this most excellent way of the Spirit of God his 
assisting ministers in public performances, which (considered 
as the preacher's privilege) far excels inspiration, there is 
a common assistance Avhich natural men may have in these 
days, and which the godly may have intermingled with a 
gracious assistance, which is also very different from inspira- 
tion, and that is his assisting natural principles ; as his assist- 
ing the natural apprehension, reason, memory, conscienccj 
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, unde- 
termined 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 will ; and then instead of ex- 
pecting 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 Avaiting for some secret imme- 
diate influence on their minds, unaccountably swaying their 
minds, and turning their thoughts or inclinalions that way that 
God would have them go, and are observing their own minds, 
to see what arises there, whether some texts of scripture do 
not come into the mind, or Avhether some ideas or inward mo- 
tions and dispositions do not arise in something of an unac- 
countable m.anner, that they may call a divine direction. Here- 
by 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 .y They are greatly exposed to be deceived 
by their own imaginations ; for such an expectation awakens 
and quickens the im:'gination ; and that oftentimes is called 
an vmcommon impression, that is no such thing ; and they 
ascribe that to the agency of some invisible being, that is oav- 
ing only to themselves. 

Again, another way, that many have been deceived, is, by 
draAving 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 when tlie premises are tr\ie, they have in- 
deed been greatly assisted in prayer for such a particular mer- 
cy, and have had the true spirit of prayer in exercise 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 t^ivc a gracious answer, accord- 
ing to his own wisdom, and that the particular thinij that was 
asked shall be given, or that which is ecpjivalent ; tiiis is a 
just consequence from it ; hut it is not inferred by any new 
revelation now made, but by the revelation that is made in 
God's word, the prondses made to the prayer of fuilh, in the 
holy scriptures : But tiiat God will answer tiicm in that indi- 
vidual tl.'iui^ that they ask, if it be not a thi.ig pron.isejl in 
God's word, or they do not certainly know that it is that which 
vill be most for the good of God's church, and the advance- 
ment 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 while he is 
praying for a particular mercy of great importance, for him- 
self, or some other person, or any society of men, and does by 
the influences of his SpiFi||grcatly humble him, and empty 
him of himself in his prayer, and manifests himself remarka- 
bly in his excellency, sovereignty and his allsuiBcient power 
and grace in Jesus Christ, and does in a reu>arkab!e manner 
enable the person to come to him for that mercy, poor in 
spirit, and with iiumble resignation to God, and with a great 
degree of faith in the divine sufficiency, and the sufficiency of 
Christ's mediation, that person has indeed a great deal the 
more reason to hope that God will grant thr.t m.ercy, than oth- 
erwise he would have ; the greater probability is justly infer- 
red from that, agreeably to the promises of the holy scripture, 
that the prayer is accepted and heard ; and it is much more 
probable that a prayer that is heard will be returned with 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 some 
times especialiy enable to ihe exercises ol 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 fulness, and a spirit of humble dependence on him, at such 
times as when they are thinking of, and praying for that mer- 
cy, more than for other mercies ; he gives them a particular 
sense of his ability to do that thing, and of the sufficiency of 


ills power to overcome such and such obstacles, and the suf- 
ficiency of his mercy, and of the blood of Christ for the re- 
moval of the guilt that is in the v/ay of the bestoAvment of such 
a mercy, in particular. When this is the case, it makes the 
probability still much greater, that God intends to bestov/ the 
particular mercy sought, in his own time, and his own way.... 
But here is nothing of the nature of a revelation in the case, 
but oniy a drawing rational conclusions from the particular 
manner and circumstances of the ordinary 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 word in order to it, and helps the 
actings of faith with respect to such a mercy, by texts of scrip- 
ture that do especially exhibit the sufficiency of God's pov/er 
or mercy, in such a like case, or speak of such a manner of 
the exercise of God's strength and grace. The strengthen- 
ing of their faith in God's sufficiency in this case, is therefore 
a just improvement of such scriptures; it is no more than 
■what those scriptures, as they stand in the Bible, do hold forth 
just cause for. But to take them as new whispers or revela- 
tions from heaven, is not making a just improvement of them. 
If persons have thus a spirit of prayer remarkably given them, 
concerning a particular mercy, from time to time, so as evi- 
dently to be assisted to act faith in God, in that particular, in 
a very distinguishing 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 re- 
spect to that thine. 

But here a great deal of caution 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 ar:y 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 selfrightcous confi- 
dence, and no true faith : They have a high conceit of them- 
selves as eminent saints, and special favorites of God, and 
liavc also a high conceit of the prayers they have made, be- 
cause they were much enlarged and affected in them ; and 
hence they are positive in it that the thing ^vill come to pass. 
And sometimes when once they have conceived such a no- 
tion, 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 dwell- 
ing in their minds on their own excellency, and high expe- 
riences, and great assistances, whereby they look brighter and 
brighter in their own eyes. Hence it is sound observation and 
experience, that nothing in the world exposes so much to en- 
thusiasm as spiritual pride and selfrighteousness. 

In order to drawing a just inference from the supposed 
assistance we have had in prayer for a particular mercy, 
and judging of the probability of the bestowment of that indi- 
vidual mercy, many things must be considered. We must 
consider the importance of the mercy sought, and the princi- 
ple 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 degree 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 humility, poverty of spirit, self- 
emptiness and resignation to the holy will of God, which 
God gives us the exercise of in our seeking that mercy : Pray- 
ing for a particular mercy with much of these things, I have 
often seen blessed with a remarkable bestowment of the par- 
ticular thing asked for. 

From what has been said, we may see which way God may, 
©nly by the ordinary gracious influences of his Spirit, some- 
times gives his saints special reason to hope for the bestow- 
ment of a particular mercy they desire and have prayed for, 

In newengland. 255 

and which we may suppose he oftenunies gives eminent 
saints, that have great degrees of humility, and much commu- 
nion with God. And here, I humbly conceive, some eminent 
servants of Jesus Christ that have appeared in the church of 
God, that we read of in ecclesiastical story, have been led in- 
to 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 Avhatsoever the Spirit of God 
(though but indirectly) inclines them to. Indeed the Spirit 
of God in itself is infinitely perfect, and all his immediate act- 
ings, simply considered, are perfect, and there can be nothing 
wrong in them ; and therefore all that the Spirit of God in- 
clines us to directly and immediately, without the interven- 
tion of any other cause that shall pervert and misimprove 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 disposi- 
tion 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 determination of 
that disposition, as to particular actions, objects and circum- 
stances, may be ill, and not from the Spirit of God, bvtt may 
be from the intervention or interposition of some infirmity, 
blindness, inadvertence, deceit X)r 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, and de- 
light in his comfort, ease and pleasure : This disposition in 
general is good, and ought to be followed ; but yet through 
the intervention of indiscretion, or some other bad cause, it 
may be ill directed, and have a bad determination, as to par- 


licular acts ; and the person indirectly, through that real love 
that he has to his neighbor, may kill him with kindness ; he 
may do that ont of sincere good will to him, that may tend to 
ruin him. A good disposition may, through some inadvert- 
ence or delusion, strongly incline a person to that, which if he 
saw all things as they arc, would be most contrary to that dis- 
position. The true loyalty of a general, e>nd his zeal for the 
honor of his prince, may excee'dingly animate him in war; 
but yet this that is a good disposition, through indiscretion 
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 master's in- 
terest. 1 

The apostle docs 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 prophecy, one by one, that all may learn, and all 
may be comforted. And the spirits of the prophets are sub- 
ject to the prophets ; for God is not the author of confusion, 
but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints." Here by 
the spirits of the jirop.hets^ according to the known phraseology 
of the apostle, is meant the Spirit of God acting in the proph- 
ets, according to those special gifts, with which each one was 
cndoAved. And here it is plainly implied that the Spirit of 
God, thus operating in them, mciy be an occasionof their hav- 
ing, sometimes an inclination to do that, in the exercise of 
.lho"sc gifts, Avhich it was not proper, decent or profitable that 
they should ; and that therefore the inclination, though indi- 
rectly from the Spirit of God, should be restrained, and that 
it ought to be subject to the discretion of the prophets, as to 
the particular time and circumstance of its exercise. 

I can make no doubt but that it is possible for a minister to 
have given him bv the Spirit of God, such a sense of the im- 
portance of eternal things, and of the misery of mankind, that 
arc so many of them exposed to eternal destruction, toi^ether 

IN mewenglAnd; Ssf 

•w^itli such a love to souls, that he might find in himself a dis- 
position to spend all his time, day and night, in warning, ex- 
horting and calling upon men, and so that he must be obliged 
as it v/ere to do violence to himself ever to refrain, so as to 
give himself any opportunity to eat, drink or sleep. And so 
1 believe there may be a disposition in like matiner, indirectly 
Excited in lay persons, through the intervention of their in- 
firmity, to do what belongs to ministers only. Yea, to do 
those things that would not become either ministers or peo- 
ple : Through the influence of the Spirit of God, together 
with want of discretion, and some remaining corruption, wo- 
then and children might feel themselves inclined to break 
forth and scream aloud, to great congregations, warning and 
exhorting the whole multitude, and to go forth and hallow and 
Scream in the streets, or to leave the families 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 Avould not 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 practised, without 
looking forward to future consequences. Some persons seem, 
to think that it sufficiently justifies any thing that they say or 
do, that it is found to be for their present edification, and the 
edification of tho^e that are with them ; it assists and pro- 
motes their present afPectioti, and therefore they think they 
^ould not concern themselves about future consequences, but 
leave them with God. Indeed in things that are in them- 
selves our duty, being required by moral rules, or absolute 
positive commands of God, they must be done, and future 
consequences must be left with God ; our election and dis- 
cretion takes no place here : But in other things we are 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 ministers especially 
io exercise this discretion : In things wherein they are not de- 
termined by an absolute rule, and that are not enjoined tft^m 
Vol.. III. 3 I 


by a wisdom superior to their own, Christ has left them t« 
tlieir 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 consequences of things they 
can get, will lend most to the advancement of his kingdom. 
This.is implied m 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 bvisincss of a stew- 
ard, that is a business that in an eminent manner requires fore- 
cast, and a wise laying in of provision, for the supply of the 
needs of the family, according to its future necessities ; and a 
good minister is called a wise steward : So it is compared to 
the business of an husbandman, that almost Avholly consists in 
those things that are done with a view to the future fruits and 
consequences of his labor : The husbandman's discretion and 
forecast is eloquently set forth in Isa. xxviii. 24, 25, 26. 
*' Doth the plowman plow 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 
the cummin, and cast in the principal wheat, and the appoint- 
ed barley, and the rye, in their place ? For his God doth in- 
struct him to discretion, and doth teach him." So the work 
of the ministry is compared to that of a wise builder or archi- 
tect, Avho has a long reach, and comprehensive view ; and for 
whom it is necessary, that when he begins a building, he 
should have at once a view of th& whole frame, and all the fu- 
ture parts of the structure, even to the pinnacle, that all may 
fitly be framed together. So also it is compared to the busi- 
ness of a trader or merchant, who is to gain by trailing with 
the money that he begins Avith : 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 rep- 
resented by the business of a fisherman, which depends on 
craft and subtilty : It is also compared to the business of a 
*9UUer that goes to war, which is a business that perhaps, 


sibove any other secular business, requires great foresight, and 
a wise provision for future events and consequences. 

And particularly ministers ought not to be cai-eless hovr 
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, Avho, though he would not depart 
from his enjoined duty to please carnal men, yet wherein he 
might with a good conscience, did exceedingly lay out him^ 
self to please them, and if possible to avoid raising in the mul- 
titude, 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 of- 
fence, 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 maybe saved." Yea, 
he declares that he laid himself out so much for this, that he 
made himself 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 Avere 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 agreeably hereto, are the direc- 
tions he gives to others, both ministers and people : So he 
directs the Christian Romans^ not to filcase themselves, but every 
one jilease his neighbor, for his good, to edification, Rom. xv. 1, 
2. And to follow after the things that make for fieace, chap, 
xiv. 19. And he presses it in terms exceeding strong, Rom. 
xii. 18. « If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peace- 
ably 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 Christ- 
ians to ivalk in wisdom, towards the?n that are without, Eph. iv, 
5. And to avoid giving offence to others, if we can, t/iat our 


^oocl may not be evil spokeri of^ Rom. xiv. 16. So that it is evi-> 
cicnt that the great and most zealous arvd t»ost successful 
propagator of vital religion that ever Avas, looked upon it to be 
pf great consequence to endeavor, as much as possible, by all 
the methods of lawful meekness and gentleness, to avoid rais- 
inj^- the prejudice and opposition of the world against religion. 
"When we have done our utmost there will be opposition 
enough against vital religion, against which the carnal min4 
of man has such an enmity ; we should not therefore, need- 
lesbly increase and raise that enmity) as in the apostles* days^ 
though he took so nmch pains to please men, yet because he 
was faithful and thorough in his work, persecution almost 
.every where Avas raised against him- 

A fisherman is careful not needlessly to ruSe and disturb 
the water, least he should drive the fish away from his net ; 
but he will ra;her endeavor if possible to draw them into it. 
Such a fisherman was the apostle. 2 Cor. xli. 15, 15. " AntJ 
I will very gladly spend and be spent for you ; though the 
tnore abundantly I love you, the less I be loved. But be it so, 
1 did not burden you, nevertheless, being crafty, I caught you 
with guile." 

The necessity of suffering persecution, in order to being a 
a true Christian, has undoubtedly by some been carried to an 
extreme, and the doctrine has been abused. It has been look- 
ed upon necessary to uphold a man's credit amongst others as 
a Christian, that he should be persecuted. I have heard it 
iiiade 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 Avrong, so as has had too much of ap ap- 
pearance 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 customary, 
has a direct tendency to cause those that would be accounted 
true ChristiaDSj to behave themselves so towards those tliai 


are not well affected to religion, as to provoke their hatred, of 
at least to be but little careful to avoid it, and not very stu- 
diously and earnestly to strive, (after the apostle's example and 
precepts) to please them to their edification, and by meek- 
ness and gentleness to win them, and by all possible means to 
live peaceably with them. 

I believe that saying of our Saviour, I came not to send peace 
on earthy but division^ has been abused ; as though v»'hen w© 
see great strife and division arise about religion, and violent 
heats of spirit against the truly pious, and aloud clamor and 
uproar against the work of God, it was to be rejoiced in, be- 
cause 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 naturally 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 h^s 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 assuage 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 glo- 
rious restoration of some, is set for the fall of others, and to 
be a stone of stumbling and rock of offence to them, and an 
occasion of their vastly more aggravated and terrible damna- 
tion ; and this is always the consequence of a great outpour- 
ing of the Spirit and I'evival of vital religion, it is the means of 
the salvation of some, and the more aggravated damnation of 
others. But certainly this is no just argument that men's ex- 
posedness to damnation is not 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 religion ; and I believe there would have been a 

great deal of opposition against this glorious Mork of God in 

Newengland if the subjects and promoters of it had behaved 

themselves never so agreeably to Christian ruks ; and I be- 


Jieve if this work goes on and spreads much in the world, sv 
as to begin to shake kingdoms and nations, it will dreadfully 
stir up the rage of eartJi and hell, and will put the world into 
the greatest uproar that ever it was in since it stood ; I be^ 
lieve Satan's dying struggles will be the most violent : But 
yet I believe a great deal might be done to restrain this oppo- 
sition, by a good conformity to that of the Apostle James, 
Jam. iii. 13. " Who is a wise man, and endued with knowl- 
edge ? Let him shew out of a good conversation, his Avorks, 
with meekness of wisdom." And I also believe that if the 
rules of Christian charity, meekness, gentleness, and pru- 
dence had been duly observed by the generality of the zeal- 
ous promoters of this work, it would have m&de 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 nov- 
elty to shock and surprize people. Nothing can be more 
evident from the New Testament, than that such things ought 
to be done with great cautipn and moderation, to avoid the 
offence that may be thereby given, and the prejudices that 
might be raised, to clog and hinder the progress of religion : 
Yea, that it ought to be thus in things that are in themselves 
good and excellent, and of great weight, provided they arc 
not things that are of the nature of absolute duty, which, 
though they may appear to be innovations, yet cannot be 
neglected without immorality or disobedience to the com- 
mands of God. What great caution and moderation did the 
apostles use in introducing things that were new, and abolish- 
ing things that were old in their day ? How gradually were 
the ceremonial performances of the law of Moses removed 
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 to the 
rite of circumcision, (Acts xvi. 3) that he speaks so much in 
his epistles of the worthlessness of that he might not preju- 
dice the Jews against Christianity ? So it seems to have beep 


very gradually that the Jev/ish sabbath was abolished) and th« 
Christian sabbath introduced, for the sanae reason. And the 
apostles avoided teaching the Christians in those early days^ 
Jit least for a great while, some high and excellent divin« 
truths, because they could not bear them yet. 1 Cor. iii. 1 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 tho 
bottlesj and lose the wine. 

And how did Christ himself, while on eai'th, forbear so 
plainly to teach his disciples the great doctrines of Christ- 
ianity, concerning his satisfaction, and the nature and manner 
of a sinner's justification and reconciliation with God, and the 
particular benefits 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 there- 
fore the more clear and full revelation of these things was re- 
served for the time when their minds shoidd be further en- 
lightened and strengthened by the outpouring of the Spirit af- 
ter 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 vuicommon, 
though in themselves they may be very excellent, least 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- 
eelves 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 proportion ably to en-" 
large the bottom ; -wlicrcby the whole is in danger of coming 
to the ground ; or they arc for putting on the cupola and pin- 
nacle before they are come to it, or before the lower parts of 
the building are done ; Avhich tends at once to put a stop to 
the building, cvnd hinder its ever being a complete structure. 
Many that are thus imprudent and hasty with their zeal, havA 
t real eager appetite for that which is good ; but arc like 
children, that are impatient to wait for the fruit until the 
|)roper season of it, and therefore snatch it before it is ripe : 
Oftentimes in their haste they overshoot their mark, and frus- 
trate their own end ; they put that which they vvould obtain 
further out of reach than it was before, and establish and con-* 
firm that which they would remove. Things must have time 
to ripen : The prudent husbandman waits until he has receiv- 
ed the former and the latter rain, and till the harvest is ripe, 
before he reaps. "We are now just as it v/ere beginning to 
tecover out of a dreadful disease that we have been long un- 
der ; and to feed a man recovering from a fever with strong 
meat at once, is the ready v/ay to kill him. The reformation 
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 History of the Reformation, page 52, &c. and 
book V, throughout. It is a vain prejudice that some have 
lately imbibed against such rules of prudence and moderation : 
They will be forced to come to them at la?t ; they will find 
themselves that they are not able to maintain their cause 
without them ; and if they will not hearken before, experi- 
ence will convince them at last, wheri it will be too late for 
them to rectify their mistake. 

Another error, that is of the nattire of an erroneous princi- 
ple, that some have gone upon, is a wrong notion that they 
have of an attestation of divine providence 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 persons and all the courses they take; It is i mean ar-* 


S^urnerjt that has been made use of to defend the conduct 
of some of those ministers, that have been blamed as impru- 
dent and irregular, that God has smiled upon them and bles- 
sed 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 Avho can be against 
them ? And probably some of those ministers themselves, 
by this very means, have had their ears stopped against all 
that has been said to convince them of their misconduct. But 
there arc innumerable ways that persons may be misled, in 
forming 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 argument that he approves of every thing in him. Who 
can tell how far the divine grace may go in greatly reward- 
ing some small good that he sees in a person, a goqd mean- 
ing, something 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 ? 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 
determine. 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 was 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 infinite- 
ly more than the fatness of the earth, and the dew of heaven, 
that was given to Esau, in his blessing, yea worth more than 
all that the world can afford. God was for a while with Ju- 
das, so that he by God's power accompanying him, wrought 
miracles and cast out devils ; but this could not justly be in- 
terpreted 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 rea- 
sons, are too little understood by us, to be improved by us as 
our rule, instead of God's word ; God has his ivay in the sea^ 

Vol. III. 2 K 


and his imlh in the ^nighty waters^ and his footsteps are no: 
knoivn^ and he gives us no account of any of his nmttcrs ; and 
therefore we cannot safely take the events of his providence as 
a revelation of his mind concerning a peison's conduct and 
behavior, we have no warrant so to do, God has never appoint- 
ed 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 lule, we are 
guilty of that which is strictly forbidden, Deut. iv. 2. Prov. 
XXX. 6, and Rev. xxii. 18. They who make what they im- 
agine is pointed forth to them in Providence, their rule of be- 
havior, do err, as well as those that follow impulses and im- 
pressions : We should put nothing in the room of the word 
of God. It is to be feared that some have been greatly con- 
firmed and emboldened by 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 bafSe all that found fault 
■with them. 

Indeed there is a voice, of God in bis Providence, that may 
be interpreted and well understood by the rule of his word j 
and Providence may to our dark minds and weak faith, con- 
firm the word of God, as it fulfils 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 cur own observation and experience, 
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 only rule. 

Nor do I think that they go upon sure ground, that con- 
clude that they have not been in an error in their conduct, be- 


cause that at the tintie of their doing a thing, for which they 
have been blamed and reproached by others, they Avere favor- 
ed with special comforts of God's Spirit. God's bestowing 
special spiritual mercies on a person at such a time, is no 
sign that he approves of every 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 particular- 
ly at the dedication of the temple, while he greatly multiplied 
wives to himself, and horses, and silver and gold ; all contra- 
ry 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 further than he interprets for 
himself. God sometimes gave some .of the primitive Christ- 
ians, the extraordinary influence of his spirit, when they were 
out of the way of their duty ; and continued it, y/hile they were 
abusing it ; as is plainly implied, 1 Cor. xiv. 31, 32, 33, 

Yea, if a person has done a thing for which he is reproach- 
ed, 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 
received 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 to God should hear credible tidings, 
concerning 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 jexcited, though indeed af- 
terwards it should prove a false report that he heard. So if 
one that loves God, is much maligned and reproached for do- 
ing that which he thinks God required and approves, no won- 
der that it is sweet to such an one to think that God is his 


friend, though men arc his enemies ; no wonder at all, that 
this is an I occasion of liis, as it were, leaving the world, and 
sweetly betaking himself to God, as his sure friend, :ind find- 
ing sweet complacence in God ; though he be indeed in a 
mistake, concerning that which he thought was agreeable to 
God's will. 

As I Jiavc before shewn that the exercise of a truly good 
affection, may be the occasion of error, and may indirectly in- 
cline a person to do that which is wrong ; so on the other 
hand, error, or a doing that which is wrong, may be an occa- 
sion of the exiercise of a truly good affection. The reason of 
it is this, that hoAvevcr 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, natural 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 firincilile, but as a sovereign agent, 
and so its exercises are not tied to vieans^ by an immutable law 
of nature, as in mere natural principles ; yet God has so con- 
stituted that grace should dwell so in the hearts of the saints, 
that its exercises should have some degree of connexion with 
means, after the manner of a principle of nature. 

Another erroneous principle that there has been something 
of, and that has been an occasion of some mischief and confu- 
sion, 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, &c. 
And is probably the more despised by some because their op- 
posers insist so much upon it, and because they are so contin- 

nally hearing from them the cry o'i disorder and confusiion 

It is objected against the importance of external order that 
God does not look at the outward foi'm, he looks at the heart : 
But that is a weak ars^ciment against its importance, that true 
Godliness does not consist in it ; for it may be equally made 
use of against all tho outward means of grace whatsoever.... 
True Godliness does not consist in ink and paper, but yet 
that would be a foolish objection against tlic importance of ink 


«nd 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 extemfd affair that 
is public, or wherein a multitude is concerned without order, 
is in every thing found impossible. Without order there can 
be no general direction of a multitude to any particular de- 
signed end, their purposes v/ill cross one another, and they will 
not help but hinder one another. A multitude cannot act in 
union one with another without order ; confusion separates 
and divides them, so that there can be no concert or agree- 
ment. If a multitude would help one another in any affair, 
they must unite themselves one to another in a regular subor- 
dination 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 strength : 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 without order will do but little, 
or at least it will be effectual but a little while. Let a com- 
pany 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 some- 
thing at first onset, by surprising the enemy, yet how soon do 
they come to nothing, and fall an easy, helpless prey to their 
adversaries ? Order is one of the most necessary of all exter- 
nal means of the spiritual good of God's church ; and there- 
fore it is requisite, even in heaven itself, where there is the 
least need of any external means of grace ; order is maintain- 
ed 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 carry on the designs 
of their kingdom. And it is very observable, 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 
5th^t God has put into them, observe and maintain a most reg- 


vlar and exact order among themselves ; such as bees and 
sorne oihers. And order in the visible church is not only- 
necessary to the carrying on the designs of Christ's glory and 
the church's prosperity, but it is absolutely necessary to its de- 
fence ; Avithout 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 defence. The people of Holland 
vould be very foolish to despise the dikes that keep out the 
sea from overwhelming them, under the names of dead stones 
and vile earth, because the matter of which they arc built is 
Dot good to eat. 

It seems to be partly on the foundation of this notion of the 
worthlessness of external order, that sorne 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 kirge, for any body that pleases to take it upon 
them, or that think themselves fit for it : But more of tliis 

On this foundation also, an orderly attending on the stated 
•worship of God in femilies, has been made too light of; and 
it has been in some places too much of a common and cus- 
tomary thing to be absent from family worship, and to be 
abroad late in the night at religious meetings, or to attend re- 
ligious conversation. Not but that this may be, on certain ex- 
traordinary 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 hom.e until very late in the night : But we should take 
heed that this does not become a custom or common prac- 
tice, 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 
sorne, that there is no need that such and such religious ser- 
vices and performances should be limited to any certain office 


!r. the church ; (of which more afterwards.) And also that 
those offices themselves, as particularly that of the gospel 
ministry, need not be limited as it used to be, to persons of a 
liberal education ; but some of late have been for having oth- 
ers that they have supposed to be persons of eminent expe- 
lience, publicly licensed to preach, yea, and ordiiined to the 
work of the ministry ; and some ministers have seemed to fa- 
vor such a thing : But how 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 appear 
as candidates for the work of the ministry ? I doubt not but 
that I have been acquainted with scores that would have de- 
sired 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 wc 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 neces- 
sity that there should be some certain, visible, limits fixed, to 
avoid bringing odium upon ourselves, and breeding uneasi» 
ness 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 ap- 
pointed to be pastors or shepherds in God's church, that hcwe 
been taught to keefi cattle from their ijouth^ or that have had an 
education for that purpose. Those ministers that have a dis- 
position to break over these limits, if they should do so, and 
make a practice of it, would break down that fence, which 
they themselves after a while, after they had 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 col- 
lege, that arc 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 consequences 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 
^vork of the ministry, though they should be persons of extra- 
ordinary 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 ex- 
tremes ; instead of defending them from them, for which a 
people especially need a shepherd, at such an extraordinary 

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 ambassadors, 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 the xxiiid of Mat- 
thew, Ye serfierits, ye generation of vi/iers, &c. and other 
places ; and that not only when they are speaking to the peo- 
ple, but also to their brethren in the ministry. Which prin- 
ciple 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 something of his autliority, yet certainly ihere is a vast 
difference in the degree of authority with which God has in- 
vested 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 minister arc 
both messengers of God, that therefore an ordinary minister 
in his office, is vested with an equal degree cf authority, that 
Christ was, In his. As there is a great difference in their au- 
thority, and as Christ came as Gcd's messenger, in a vastly 


higher manner, so another style became him, naore 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 he has made so great a difference in the degree in 
■which he has invested different messengers with his authori- 
ty, should make no difference as to the outward appearance 
and shew 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 ambassadors, yet 
he neve? intended that they should haA'C the same outward ap- 
pearance 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 so ? 

Thus I have considered the two first of those three causes 
of error in conduct that were mentioned : I come now to the 
Third and last cause of the errors of those that have appear- 
ed to be the subjects or zealous promoters of this work, viz. a 
being ignorant or unobservant of some particular things, by 
which the devil has special advantage. 

And here I would particularly take notice : 

1. Of some things with respect to the inward experiences 
«f Christians themselves. And, 

2. Something with regard to the extei'nal effects of expe- 

There are three things I would take notice of with regard 
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 tru- 
ly 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 
Aatural, 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- 

VeL. III. 3 L 


Dcss and infancy of the new nature, and the great remains of 
corruption, together with llie circumstances wc are in, in this 
world, where we are encompassed all round with what lends 
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 
rellccted thence, it is mixed : 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 
mixture, than persons for the most part seem to have any 
imagination of; I have o^ten 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, arc these three, himian^ or natural affection and pas- 
sion ; imfiressions on the ijnagination ; and a degree of self- 
righteousness or spiritual pride. There is very often with that 
which 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 degrees of divine 
communications from heaven, shall have vastly different ef- 
fects, in what outwardly appears, in persons of different natur- 
al 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 families, or per- 
sons of such a blood, in a distinguishing manner of the operat- 
ing of the passions and affections, and the manner of the out- 
ward expressions of them. I know some remarkable instances 
of this. The same is also evident by the different effects of 
divine comiiiunications on .le same person at different times, 
and in different circumstances : The novelty of things, or the 


ludden transition from an opposite extreme, and many other 
things that might be mentioned, greatly contribute to the rais- 
ing of the passions. And sometimes there is not only a mix- 
ture of that which is common and natural with gracious expe- 
rience, but even that which is animal, that which is in a great 
measure from the body, and is properly the result of the ani- 
mal frame. In what true Christians feel of afTections towards 
God, all is not always purely holy and divine ; every thing 
that is felt in the affections does not arise from spiritual prin- 
ciples, but common and natural principles have a very great 
hand ; an improper selflove unay have a great share in the ef- 
fect : 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 selflove 
has a great hand : The children of God are 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 another, 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 principles 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 noth- 
ing 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 J But as it is exercised in 
those who are so little sanctified, and so little humbled, as we 
are in the present state, it is very apt to be mixed with human 
passion, yea, with corrupt hateful affections, pride and unchar- 
itable 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, is, impressions on the imagin- 


ation ; whereby godly persons, together with a spiritual un- 
derstanding of divine things, and conviction of their reality and 
certainty, and a strong and drep sense of their excellency or 
great importance upon their hearts, have strongly impressed 
on their minds external ideas or images of things. A degree 
of imagination ir. such a case, as I have observed elsewhere, 
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 fiom the consti- 
tution of the body. It commonly greatly contributes to the 
other kind of mixture mentioned before, viz. of natural affec- 
tions 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 selfrighteousness or spiritual pride. This is often mixed 
with the joys of Christians ; the joy that they have is not pure- 
ly the joy of faith, or a rejoicing in Christ Jesus, but is part- 
ly 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 experiences and great discoveries, Avhich 
makes them in their own apprehensions so to excel ; and this 
heighiens all their passions, and especially those effects that 
are more external. 

There is a much greater mixture of these things in the ex- 
periences of some Christians than others ; in some the mix- 
ture is so great, as very much to obscure and hide the beauty 
of grace in them, like a tluck smoke that hinders all the shin- 
ing of the fire. 

These things we ought to be well aware of, that we may 
not take all for gold that glistens, and that v/e may know what 
to countenance and encourage, and what to discourage ; oth- 
erwise Satan will have a vast advantage against us, for he 
works in the corrupt mixture. Sometimes for want of per- 
sons' distinguishing the ore from the pure metal, those expe- 
riences are most admired by the persons tJiemselves that are 


the subjects of them, and by others that are not the most ex- 
cellent. The great external effects, and vehemence of the 
passions, and violent agitations of the animal spirits, is some- 
times much owing to the corrupt mixture ; (as is very appar- 
ent in some instances) though it be not always so. 

I have observed a great difference among those that are un- 
der high affections, and seem disposed to be earnestly talking 
to those that are about them ; some insist much more, in 
their talk, on w^hat they behold in •God and Christ, the glory 
of the divine perfections, Christ's beauty and excellency and 
"wonderful condescension and grace, and their own unworthi- 
ness, and the great and infinite obligations that they them- 
selves and others are under to love and serve God : some in- 
sist almost wholly on their own high privileges, their assur- 
ance, and of Qod's love and favor, and the weakness and wick- 
edness of opposers, and how much they are above their reach. 
The latter may have much of the presence of God, but their 
experiences 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 
Gome indeed from the fullness of their hearts, and from the 
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 mix- 
ture of human passion, and an undue and intemperate agita- 
tion of the spirits, which appears by their earnestness and ve- 
hemence not being 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 un- 
accountable kind of bodily pressure, without any extraordina- 
ry view of any thing in their minds, or sense of any thing up- 


on their hearts, wherein probably there was the immediate 
hand of the devil. 

II. Another thinp; by which the devil has great advan- 
tage, is, the unheeded defects there sometimes arc in the ex- 
periences of true Christians, and those high affections where- 
in 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 dis- 
position 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 is 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 experiences ; 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 little of 
some other things that should bear a proportion, that the de- 
fect 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 ?nuc/i, something mixed, that is not be- 
longing to the Christian as such ; what I speak of now is 
something that deforms the Christian the other way, viz. By 
their 720^ being enoitcf/i^ something wanting, that does belong 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 propor- 
tion. 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 beginning 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 arc hid, so that without a iiiicroscope it appears very 


When this deficiency and disproportion is great, as some- 
times it is in real saints, it is not only a great deformity in it- 
self, 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, we may observe 
that God in the revelation that he has made of himself to the 
world by Jesus Christ, has taken care to give a proportionable 
manifestation of two kinds of excellencies or perfections of 
his nature, viz. Those that especially tend to possess us with 
awe and reverence, and to search and humble 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 lov- 
ing friend : By the one he is a pure, searching and burning 
flame ; by the other, a sweet refreshing light. 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, maj- 
esty and gentleness, authority and condescension. God hath 
thus ordered that his diverse excellencies, as he reveals him- 
self 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 majesty, and his holy and searching pu- 
rity, would tend to spiritual pride, carnal confidence and pre- 
sumption ; and a defect on the other hand, viz. Having much 
of a discovery of his holy majesty, without a proportionable dis- 
covery of his grace, tends to unbelief, a sinful fearfulness and 
spirit of bondage : And therefore herein chiefly consists that 
deficiency of experiences that I am now speaking of. The 
revelation God has made of himself in his word, and the pro- 
vision made for our spiritual welfare in the gospel is perfect, 
but yet the actual light and communications we have, are net 


perfect, but many ways exceeding imperfect and maimed. 
And experience plainly shews that Christians may have high 
experiences in some respects, and yet their circumstances 
may be unhappy in this regard, that their experiences and 
discoveries are no more general. There is a great difference 
among Christians in this respect, some have much more gen- 
eral 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 tru- 
ly 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 discoveries, 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 bring- 
ing such darkness, and suffering such av/ful consequences and 
horrid temptations, as are enough to make one's hair stand on 
end to hear them. Christians therefore should diligently ob- 
serve their own hearts as to this matter, and should pray to 
God that he would give us experiences in which 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' 

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 havC 
risen from a good cause ; as particularly talking of divine and 
heavenly things, and expressing divine joys with laughter or 
a light behavior. I believe, in many instances, such thingv 
have arisen from a good cause, as their causa sine qua norti 
that high discoveries and gracious joyful affections have been 
the occasion of them ; but the proper cause has been sin» 
even that odious defect in their experience, whereby there 
bus been wanting a sense of the awful and holy majesty oV 


God as present -svith 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 person's unsuitable boldness, their disposition 
to speak with authority, intemperate zeal, and many other 
things that sometimes appear in true Christians, under great 
religious affections. 

And sometimes the vehemence of the motion of the ani- 
mal spirits, under great affections, is owing in considerable 
ineasure, to experiences being thus pai-tial. I have known it 
in several instances, that persons have been greatly affected 
with the dying love of Christ, and the consideration of the 
happiness of the enjoyment of him in Heaven, and other 
things of that nature, and their animal spirits at the same 
time 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 
nature, 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 were 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 experi- 
ences, and to estimate their goodness. Those are not always 
the best experiences, that 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 al- 
ways the best, that do most dispose persons to abound in talk 
to others, and to speak in the most vehement manner ; 
(though these things often arise from the greatness of spirit- 
vial experiences) but those are the most excellent experiences 
that are qualified as follows : 

1. That have the least mixture, or are the most purely 

2. That are the least deficient and partial, in which the di- 
terse things that appertain to Christian experience are pro- 
portionable one to another. And 

Vol. Ill, 2 M 


3. That arc raised to the highest degree : It is no matter 
how high they arc raised if they are qualified as before men- 
tioned, the liijyher the better. Experiences thus quaiified, 
■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 soulr 

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 sliall be much more generally 
thus qualified. We must expect green fruits before we have 
ripe ones. It is probable that hereafter the discoveries which 
the saints shall have of divine things, will be in a much high- 
er degree than yet have been ; but yet shall be so ordered of 
an infinitely wise and allsufficient 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 outward manifesta- 
tions 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 stcdfasihj on him, saw his face, as it had been the face of 
an angel. Their inward fullness of the Spirit of God, in his 
divine, amiable and sweet influences, shall as it were shine 
forth in an heavenly aspect, and manner of speech and behav- 
ior. But 

HI. There is another thing concerning experiences of 
Christians, of which it is of yet greater importance that we 
should be aware, than either of the preceding, and that is the 
degenerating of cxfxeriences. Wiiat I mean is sometiiing 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 experience 
abundantly evidences : I have seen it in very many instances ; 


and great are the miscliiefs that have arisen through want of 
being more aware of it. 

There is commonly, as I observed before, in high experi- 
ences, besides that which is spiritual, a mixture of three 
things, viz. natural, or common afFections and workings of the 
imagination, and a degree of selfrighteousness or spiritual 
pride. Now it often comes to pass, that throvigh persons not 
distinguishing the v»'heat from the chaff, and for 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 cherishes it to his utmost ; until at 
length the experiences of some persons, who began well, 
come to but little else, but violent motions of carnal affections, 
with great heats of the imagination, and a great degree of en- 
thusiasm, and swelling of spiritual pride ; very much like 
some fruits which bud, blossom and kernel well, but after- 
wards 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 
?inother, with wild enthusiastical notions and practices, began 
at first by this means, that it was such a degenerating of ex- 
periences 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 vmheeded spiritual 
pride and selfconfidence, and persons being conceited of their 
own stock, without an humble, daily and continued depend- 
ence on God. And this very 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 conse- 
quence was, that their manna bred worms and stank, Exod. 


xvi. 20. Pride, above all ll»iruj;s promotes this degeneracy 
of experiences, because it grieves and quenches the Spirit of 
the Lamb of God, and so kills the spiritual part ; and it cher- 
ishes the natural part, it inflames the carnal affections, 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 
own calamity ; but because he finds himself still violently 
moved, and greater heats of zeal, and more vehement mo- 
tions 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 aff'ection with love toGod 
the love of true Christians is liable to degenerate, and to be 
more and more built on the foundation of a supposition of be- 
ing his high and peculiar favorites, and less and less on an ap- 
prehension of the excellency of God's nature, as he is in him- 
self. So the joy of Christians, by reason of the mixture 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 fa- 
vor of God. So zeal, that at first might be in great part spiritual, 
yet through the mixture there is, in a long continuance of op- 
position and controversy, may degenerate more and more in- 
to human and proud passion, and may come to bitterness, and 
even a degree of hatred. And so love to the brethren may by 
degrees come to but little else but fondness, and zeal for a 
party ; yea, through a mixture of a natural love to the oppo- 
site sex, may degenerate more and more, until it issues in 
that which is criminal and gross. And I leave it with those 
■vvho a re better acquainted with ecclesiastical history, to in- 
quire whether such a degeneracy of afi'ections 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. However that 
,is, yet certainly the mutual embraces and kisses of persons of 
djftercnt 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 into 
unclean and brutish lust, Avhich will not be the better, but ten 
times the worse, for being christened by the name of Christ- 
ian 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 impres- 
sions, and a deep sense of divine things, there may appear no 
ill consequence ; yet we must look to the further end of 
things, and guard against future dangers and advantages 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 iimprovement of these 
meetings may gradually prevail ; if not in any unsuitable be- 
havior while together in the meeting, yet when they break up 
to go home, they may naturally consort together in couples, 
for other than religious purposes ; and it may at last come to 
that, that young persons may go to such meetings, chiefly for 
the sake of such an opportunity for company keeping. 

The defect there sometimes is in the experiences of Christ- 
ians 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 up- 
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 experien- 
ces operate together. 

We had need to be jealous over ourselves with a godly jeal- 
iousy, as the apostle was over the Christian Corinthians, lest 
by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtil- 
ty, so our minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that 
is in Christ. God indeed will never suHer his true saints to- 
tally and finally to fall away, but yet may punish their pride 
^and selfconfidence, by suffering them to be long led into a 


dreadful wilderness, by the subtle serpent, to the great Afound- 
ing of their own souls, and the interest of religion. 

And before I dismiss this head of the degenerating of expe- 
riences, I would mcfilion one thing more that tends to it ; and 
that IS, pci-sons* aiming in their experience to go beyond the 
rule of God's word, i. e. aiming at that, -whic/i is indeed, in some 
respect, beyond the rule. Thus some persons have endeav- 
ored utterly to root out and abolish all natural affection, or any- 
special affection or respect to their near relations, under a no- 
tion 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 his daily food, under a notion that it is 
a carnal appetite, and that no other appetite should be tolerat- 
ed but spiritual appetites. Why should the saints strive after 
that, as an 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 wickedness, viz. J bei?ig ivithout 
r.atural affection ? 

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 salvation of 
their children ; and they have supposed that to pray most for 
their own, would shew a selfish disposition. So they have 
been afraid to tolerate a conipassionate grief and concern for 
their nearest friends, for fear it would be an argument 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 earth- 
ly friends ought to be under the government of the love of 
God, and ^should be attended with a spirit of submission and 
resignation to his will, and every thing should be subordinated 
to his glory : But that is no argument that these affections 


should be entirely abolished, which the Creator of the world 
has 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 tlie present state, and are 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 natur- 
al abhorrence that there is in the human nature of pain, and 
natural inclination to ease that was in the man Christ Jesus 

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 live 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 we 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 tlie glo- 
ry of God. Compassion ought to be especially exercised to- 
wards friends. Job, vi. 14. Christ did not frown upon a special 
affection and compassion for near friends, bui coimtenanced 
and encouraged it, from time to time, in those that in the ex- 
ercise of such an aflfection and compassion, applied to him for 
relief for their friends ; as in the instance of the woman of Ca- 
naan, Jairus, Mary and Martha, the centurion, the widow of 
Nain, and many others. The Apostle Paul, though a man as 
much resigned and devoted to God, and under the power of 
his love, perhaps as any mere man that ever lived, yet had a 
peculiar concern for his countrymen the Jews, the rather on 
that account that they were his brethren and kinmncn according 
io thejlesh ; 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 them. 

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, m these and other instances, 
to affect to go be3'ond 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 religious 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 

2d. 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 infiuence that custom has upon persons, with respect 
to the. external effects and manifestations of the inward affec- 
tions 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 approba- 
tion of others amongst whom he dwells, by their general 
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 uncommon effects and 
outward manifestations of inward experiences to custom and 
fashion, as some do ; I know it to be otherwise, if it be possi- 
ble for me to know any thing of this nature by the most 
critical observation, vmder all manner of opportunities of ob- 
serving. 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 degrees of external effects and 
manifestations of great affections and high discoveries, in dif- 
ferent towns, according to what persons are gradually led into, 
and insensibly habituated to, by example and custom ; and also 
in the same place, at different times, according to the conduct 


ihat they have : If some person is among them to conduct 
them, that much countenances and encourages such kind of 
outward manifestations of great affections, they naturally and 
insensibly prevail, and grow by degrees unavoidable ; but 
when afterwards they come under another kind of conduct, th6 
manner of external 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 af- 
fected by them, but the influence of example and Custom is 
secret and insensible to the persons themselves. These things 
have a vast influence in the manner of persons manifesting 
their joys, whether Avith 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, un- 
der high affections, to abound in talk ; and also as to the man- 
ner 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 rhanner, to custom.) It 
is manifest that example and custom has some way or other, 
a secret and imsearchable 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. 

Th&i'efore, though it would be very \mreasonable, and pre- 
judicial to the interest of religion, to frown upon all these ex- 
traordinary external effects and manifestaiions of great relig- 
ious affections, (for a measure of them is natural, necessary 
and beautiful, and the effect in no wise disproportioned to the 
ipii'itual 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 encouraged 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 ex- 
ti'aordinary circumstances, and they should be moderately ad- 

Vol. Ill, 2 N ' 


vised at proper seasons, not to make more ado than there is 
need of, but rather to hold a restraint upon thtir inclinations ; 
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 af- 
fection of soul, until at length almost any s]ii?-ht emotion will 
set them going, and they will be more and more violent and 
boisterous, andAvill grow louder and louder, until their actions 
and behavior becomes indeed very absurd. These things ex- 
perience proves. 

Thus I have taken notice of the more general causes 
whence the errors that have attended this great revival of re- 
ligion have risen, and under each head have observed some 
particular errors tliat 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. And 
here the 

1*^ Thing I would take notice of, is, censuring others that 
are professing Christians, in good standing in the visible 
church, as unconverted. I need not repeat Avhat I have elsei- 
where said to shew tliis to be against the plain, and frequent, 
and strict prohibitions of the word of God : It is the worst dis- 
ease that has attended this work, most contrary to the spirit 
and rules of Christianity, and of worse consequences. There 
is a most unhappy tincture that the minds of many, both min- 
isters 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 shcAv or make any pre- 
tences to religion, to discern him, or to fix a judgment of 
him, from his manner of talking of things of religion, whether 
he be converted, or experimentally acquainted with vital piety 
or not, and then to treat him accordingly, and freely to ex- 
press 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 de- 
clare 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 discerning him, whether he be a converted man or 
no ; whether 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 nev/ 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 hu- 
mor, they will quickly grow very discerning in their own ap- 
prehension, 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 
hare censured, that seems to them to shew plainly that he is 
an unconverted man. And then, if the person censured be a 
minister, every thing in his public perfonnances seems dead 
and sapless, and to do them no good at all, but on the contrary 
to be of deadening influence, and poisonous to the soul ; yea, 
it seems worse and worse to them, his preaching grows more 
and more intolerable : Which is owing to a secret, strong 
prejudice, that steals in more and more upon the mind, as ex- 
perience plainly and certainly shows. When the Spirit of 
God was wonderfully poured out in this place, more than sev- 
en years ago, and near thirty souls in a week, take one with 
another, for five or six weeks together, were to appearanca 
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 ; Avhen 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, th« business of every 


one was to listen and attend to what he said, and apply it t» 
his own heart, and make the utmost improvement of it. And 
it is remarkable, that never did there appear such a disposi- 
tion 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 occasion of the 
preaching of strangers here, viz. That theij rejoiced that there 
fivere so manij such emi7icnt ministers in the country ,• and they 
nvondcred they never heard the fame of them before : They were 
thankful that other totons had so good meaiis ; and the like..- 
And scarcely ever did any minister preach here, but hie 
•preaching did some remarkable service ; as I had good oppor- 
tunity to know, because at that time, I had particular acquaint- 
ance with most of the persons in the town, in their soul con- 
cerns. That it has been so much otherwise of late in many 
places in the land, is another instance of the secret and power- 
ful influence of custom and example. 

There has been an unhappy disposition in some ministers 
towards their brethren in the ministry in this respect, which 
has encoui'aged i^.nd greatly promoted such a spirit among 
some of their people. A Avrong improvement has been made 
of Christ's scourging the buyers and sellers out of the tennple ; 
it has been expected by some, that (."-hrist 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 coworkers 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 divine judg- 
ments ; but then we should leave that work to Christ, who 
is the searcher of hearts, and to whom vengeance 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 becH 
looked upon as wolves in sheep's clothing ; which has tended 
to promote and encourage a spirit of bitterness towards theraj 


and to make it natural to treat them too much as if fliey 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 ex- 
cited that disposition to call fpr 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 wick- 
ed ministers, yet I feel no disposition to treat any minister as 
if I supposed 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 appointed for the magnifying the riches and sover- 
eignty 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 comm.on people, 
yet in the progress of the work, after awhile, a great company 
sfjiriests in Jerunalem ivere obedient to the faith^ Acts vi. 7. 
And Saul, one of the most violent of all the persecuting Phar- 
isees, became afterwards the greatest promoter of the work 
of God that ever was. I hope we shall yet see in many in- 
stances a fulfilment of that in Isa. xxix. 24. " They also that 
erred in spirit shall come to understanding, and they that mur^ 
tnured 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 come to that, that the uneasiness would be 
so general, and so great, that unconverted ministers in gene- 
ral would be cast off, and that then things would go on happi- 
ly : But there is no likelihood of it. The devil indeed has ob- 


tained his cml ; this practice has bred a great deal ofunhap' 
piness among ministers and people, has spoiled Christians' en- 
joyment of sabbaths, and made them their most uneasy, un- 
comfortable and improfitable days, and has stirred up great 
contention, and set all in a flame ; and in one place and anoth- 
er where there was a glorious work of God's Spirit begun, 
it lias in a great measure knocked all in the head, and their 
Tninistei-s 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 !iad so great a tendency to prevent the awakening 
of disaffected ministers in general : And no one tiling has 
actually had such influence to lock up the minds of ministers" 
against any good crfect 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 mare 
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 un bloody, 
hell peopling charity, as some seem to suppose, when it is 
known that wc do nat 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 woi'thy 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 him to act 


as the judge and searcher of hearts, hm 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 na- 
ture proper, and of never so good tendency. I say nothing 
against dealing thoroughly Avith conscience, by the niiost con- 
vincing and searching dispensation of the word of God : I do 
not desire that that sword should be sheathed, or gently hand- 
led 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 Avith, without any compli- 
ments ; 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 
until 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 ought we know, God may here- 
after raise up ministers of so much more excellent and heav- 
enly 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 m.ay we suppose, the most lively of us, 
and those that are most admired by the people, do make in 
the eyes of one of the saints of heaven, any otherwise than as 
their deadness, defornsity and rottenness is hid by the vail of 
Christ's righteousness ? 

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 land. And there can be no doubt with me but that oppd- 
sition against tliis work may be such, as to render cither min- 
isters or people, truly "candalous, and expose them to public 
ecclesiastical censure ; and that ministers hereby may utterly 
defeat the design of ther ministry, as I observed before ; and so 
give their people just cause of uneasiness ; I should not thinl: 
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 r-^proachfuUy of it 
frequently in his public performances, after all Christian 
methods had been used for a remedy, and to no purpose. 

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 
Tnixed with this work, or through some peculiar disadvantage* 
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 difHcult affair to me ; I can joyfully leave it 
wholly in his hands, who is infinitely fit for it, without med- 
dling at all with it myself. We may represent it as exceed- 
ing dangerous to oppose this work, for this we have good war- 
rant in the word of God ; but I know of no necessity we are 
under to determine whether it be possil)Ie 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 mak- 
ing us too much 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 


Iiearts, on which depends their liableness to eternal damna- 
tion ; as is evident by such interrogations as these, (to hear 
which from God's mouth, is enough to make us shrink into 
nothing with shame and confusion, and a 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 Jam. 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 grac- 
iously 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 1 I know that in order to be fit for this business 
I must not only be vastly more knowing, but more humble 
than I am. 

Though I believe some of Gcd'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 infinite mercy 
be prevented, by the deep and open humiliation of those that 
have openly practised 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 ecclesiiastical dis- 
tinction. In those places where it is the manner to receive 
such, and such only to the communion of the visible churchy 
as recommend themselves by giving a satisfying account of 
their inward experiences, there Christians may openly distin- 
guish such persons, in their speech and ordinary behavior, 
with a visible separation, without being inconsistent with 
themselves : And I do not now nretend to meddle with that 
controversy, whether such an' account of experience be 
requisite to church fellowship : But cerlainly, to admit per- 
sons to communion with us as brethren in the visible church, 

Vol. hi. 2 O 


and then visibly lo reject them, and to make an open distinc- 
tion between tliem and others, by dilVercnt names or appella- 
tions, is to be inconsistent with ourselves ; it is to make a 
visible church within a visible church, and visibly lo divide 
between shcci) and g<jats, setting one on the right hand, and 
the other on the left. 

This bitter root of censoriousness must be totally rooted out, 
as vve would prepare the way of the Lord. It has nourished 
and upheld many other things contrary to the humility, 
meekness, and love of the gospel. The minds of many have 
received an unhappy turn, in some respects, with their relig- 
ion : There is a certain point or sharpness, a disposition to a 
kind of warmth, that does not savor of that meek, lamblike, 
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 ovU of it ; the point and sharp- 
ness must be blunted, and we must learn another way of man- 
ifesting our zeal for God- 
There is a way of reflecting on others, and censuring thena 
in open prayer, that some have ; which though it has a fair 
shew of love, yet is indeed the boldest way of reproaching oth- 
ers imaginable, because there is iinplied in it an appeal to the 
most high God, concerning the truth of their censures and 

And here I would also observe by the way, that some have 
a Avay 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 practised in the church of God muil now, unless it be 
Avith respect to some of the most visibly and notoriously aban- 
doned enemies of the church of God. This is a sort of curs- 
ing men in our prayers, adding a curse with our blessing ; 
whereas the rule is bless arid curse not. To pray that God 
would kill another, is to curse him wilh the like curse where- 
with Elisha cursed the children that came out of Bethel. And 
the case must be very great and extraordinary indeed to war- 
rant it, unless wc 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 coh- 
veriing others, it 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 children that met Elisha, 
seeing God had no design of converting them, should die im- 
mediately as they did ; but yet Elisha's imprecating that sud- 
den death upon them, v/as cursing them ; and therefore, 
would not have been lawful for one that did not speak in the 
naine of the Lord as a prophet. 

And then if we give Avay to such things as these, where 
shall wc stop ? A child that suspects he has an unconverted 
father and mother, may pray openly that his father and mother 
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 might 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 brethren 
and sisters concerning one another, and husbands concerning 
their Avives, and wives concerning husbands ; and so for per- 
sons to pray concerning all their unconverted friends and 
neighbors ; and not only so, but we may also pray concerning 
all those saints that are not lively Christians, that they may 
either be 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 I 
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 fellow 

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 j^uilt is greater ? In this 
way we should lead persons in the next place to selfmursler: 
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 pray- 
ing, 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 woi'ds ; but not by putting ex- 
pressions into the mouth, and urging to utter them ; but by- 
filling the heart with a sense of divine things, and holy affec- 
tions ; and those affections and that sense inclines 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 devil. 

2. 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 dis- 
puting, jangling, 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 improper, 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 exhoi'ting and teaching or other, that belongs only to the 
office of teachers. All will allow, that God has appointed such 
an office as that o{ teachers in the Christian church, and there- 
fore, doubtless will allow that something or other is proper 


and peculiar to that office, or some business of teaching that 
belongs to it, that does not belong as much to others iis to them. 
If there be any way of teaching, that is peculiar to that of- 
fice, 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 matter of 
so much difficulty, that ^I do not wonder if many in their 
zeal have transgressed. The two ways of teaching and ex- 
horting, the one of which ought ordinarily to be left to min- 
isters, and the other of which may and ought to be practised 
by the people, may be expressed by those two names of 
preachings and exhorting in a way of Christian conversation,... 
But then a great deal of difficulty and controversy arises to 
determine what is preachings and what is Chrisiian conversa- 
tion. However, I will humbly offer my thoughts concerning 
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 wluch is 
proper for ministers. There is a certain authority that min- 
isters have, and should exercise in teaching, as well as gov- 
erning 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 pneach, except they be sent ?" Ministers 
in this work of teaching and exhorting are clothed with author- 
ity, as Christ's messengers, (Mai. ii. 7.) and as representing 
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 messenger, and speak- 
ing 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 authority in speaking, or 
may teach others in an authoritative manner. Tit. ii. 15. 
" These things speak and exhort, and rebuke with all authori- 


ity : Let no niDii 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 diffei'ence be- 
tween teaching as a father amongst a company of children, 
and counscllin;; in a brotherly Avay, 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 experience than another. 
Laymen ought not to exhort as though they were the ambas- 
sadors 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, Avhen applied to teach- 
ing : Indeed in one sense, a Christian ought to do every thing 
he does in religion in the name of Christ, i. e. he ought to act 
in a dependence on him as his head and mediator, and do all 
for his glory : But the expression as it is usually understood 
■when applied lo teaching or exhorting, is speaking in Christ's 
stead, and as having a message from him. 

Persons may clothe themselves with authority in speaking, 
cither by tlie autlioritative 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 proper 
for him : The same Avords spoken in a different maimer, 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 an high look 
in an aboniiriatioji to the Lord, Prov. xxi. 4. Again, a man 
may clothe himself with authority, in the circumstances un- 
der which he speaks; as for instance, if he sets himself up 
as a public teacher. Here I would have it observed, that I 
do not suppose that a person is guilty of this, merely because 
he speaks in the hearing of many : Persons may speak, and 
speak only in a wuy of conversation, and yet speak in the hear- 
ing of a great number, as they often do in their common con- 


v-ersation about teri?poral thitr^s, at feasts and entertainments, 
where women as well as others, do converse Heely together 
about worldly things, in the hearing of a considerable number ; 
and it may happen to be in the hearing of a great number, 
and yet without offence : And if their conversation on such 
occasions should turn on spiritual things, and they should 
speak as freely and openly, I do not see why it would not be 
as harmless. Nor do I think that if besides a great number's 
being present, persons speak v/ith a very earnest and loud 
voice, this is for them to set up themselves as public teachers, 
if they do it from no contrivance or premeditated design, or 
as purposely directing themselves to a congregation or mul- 
titude, and not speaking to any that are composed to the so- 
lemnity of any public service ; but speaking in the time of 
conversation, or a time M'hen all do freely converse one with 
another, they express what they then feel, directing them- 
selves to none but those that are near them, and fall in their 
way, sneaking 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 hap- 
pen to hear them, yet it does not appear to me to be a setting 
themselves up as public teachers : Yea, if this be added to 
these other circumstances, that all this happens 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 pub- 
lic service and divine ordinances be over, and the solemn as- 
sembly broke up, and some stay in the house for mutual re- 
ligious conversation ; provided also that they speak in no au- 
thoritative way, but in an humble manner, becoming their de- 
gree and station, though they speak very earnestly and pa- 

Indeed modesty might, in ordinary cases, restrain some 
persons, as women, and those that are young, from so much 
as speaking, when 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 j^ 
as if a person be struck with lightning; in the midst of il 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 arc 
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. 

1)111 then may a man be said to set up himself as a public 
teacher, when he in a set speech, of design, directs himself to 
a multitude, cither in the meeting house or elsewhere, as look- 
ing that they should compose themselves to attend to what 
he has to say ; and much more when this is a contrived and 
premeditated thing, without any thing like a constraint, by 
any estracrdinay 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 com- 
pose themselves, and attend as hearers ; when private Christ- 
ians take it upon them in private meetings, to act as the mas- 
ters or presidents ofthe 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 breth- 
ren, exhort and admonish one another, it ought to be in an 
humble manner, rather by way of entreaty than with authori- 
ty ; and the more according as the station of persons is lower. 
Thus it becomes women, and those that are young, ordinarily 
lo 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, H, 12. 

That lay persons ought not to exhort one another as clothed 
with authority, is a general rule ; but it cannot justly be sup- 
posed 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 ex- 
tend to schoolmasters among their scholars ; and some other 


eases 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 authoritative man- 

2. No man but only a minister that is duly appointed to 
that sacied calling, ought to follow teaching and exhorting a& 
a calling, or so as to neglect that which is h'ls/irofier calling.... 
An having the office of a teacher in the church of God im- 
plies two things : 

1. A being invested with the authority of a teacher ; and, 

2. A being called to the business oi 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. Concern- 
ing assuming the authority of a minister I have spoken al- 
ready. 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 lime in going about 
from house to house, to counsel and exhort, he goes beyond 
his line, and violates Christian rules. Those that have the of- 
fice 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, f , 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 pfbijor- 
tion 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 exhortelh, 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 calling 
wherein be 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." 

Vol. III. 2 P 


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 \\t shall be in danger of having a stop put 
to the work of God, and the ark's, turning aside from us, be- 
fore 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 j 
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, thercfoic, the 
Lord made a breach upon them, and covered their day of re- 
joicing with a cloud in his anger. 

Before I dismiss this head of lay exhorting, I 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 duly of social worship : 
This should not be allowed. I know it will be said, that in 
some cases, when persons are exceedingly affected, they can- 
not help it ; and I believe so too : But then I also believe, and 
know by experience, that there are several things that con- 
tribute 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 influ- 
ence, that they actually help to make it impossible for per- 
sons under strong affections to avoid speaking. If it was dis- 
allowed, 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 tlieir strong and vehement disposition ; and so far 
as that disposition is from a good principle, it would be weak- 
ened by the coniing in of this tliought to their minds, viz. 
" What I am going to do, will be for the dishonor of Christ 


and religion : And so that inward vehemence, that pushed 
them forward to speak, would fall, and they would be enabled 
to avoid it. This experience confirms. 

2. There ought to be a moderate restraint on the loudness 
of persons talking under 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 ; until 
it becomes natural to them, at last, to scream and hallow 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 givd 
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 affection ; 
until 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. 

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 occa- 
sionally meet together at each other's houses. But the mis- 
management I have respect to, is the getting into a way of 
performing it, without almost any appearance of that rever- 
ence and solemnity with Avhich all visible, open acts of divine 
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 diver- 
sion. There is danger, if such things arc continued, of its 
coming to that by degrees, that a mere nothing be made of 
Ihis duty, to the great violation of the third commandment.... 
Let Christians abound as much as they will in this holy, heav- 
enly exercise, in God's house and in their own houses ; but 
when it is performed, let it be performed as an holy act, 
wherein they have immediately and visibly to do with God.... 
When any social open act of devotion, or solemn worship of 
God is performed, God should be reverenced as visibly pres- 
ent, by those that are present. As we Avould 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 

With respect to companies singing in the streets, going to, 
or coming from, the place of public worship, I would humbly 
oficr my thoughts in the following particulars. 

1. The rule of Christ concerning /jw^//»^ neiv ivuic itito old 
dottles, does undoubtedly take place in things of this nature, 
supposing it to be a thing that in itself is good, but not essen- 
tial, and not particularly enjoined or forbidden. For things, 
so very new and uncommon, and of so open and public a na- 
ture, to be suddenly introduced and set up and practised, in 
inany parts of the country, without the matter's being so much 
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 that might be offered to support it, is 
putting new wine into old bottles with a witness ; 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 up- 
roar and confusion, and great offence, and unhappy mischiev- 
ous disputes, even among the children of God themselves : 
Not that that which is good in itself, and is new, ought to be 
forborn, until there is nobody that will dislike it ; but it ought 
^o be forborn until the visible church of God is so prepared for 
it, at le^st, that there is a probability that it will not do more 


hurt than gooci, or hinder the work of God more than promote 
it ; as is most evident from Christ's rule, and the apostlea* 
practice. If it be brought in, when the country is so unpre- 
pared, that the shock and surprise on persons' minds, and tlie 
contention and prejudice against religion, that it is like to be 
an occasion of, will do more to hinder religion, than the prac- 
tice of it is like to do to promote it, then the fruit is picked 
before it is ripe. And indeed, such an hasty endeavor to in- 
troduce such an innovation, supposing it to be good in itself, 
is the likeliest way to retard the effectual introduction of it j 
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 impartiality I am capable of, I cannot 
find any valid objection against it. As to the common objec- 
tion from Mat. 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 sing- 
ing in the streets, or in the meetinghouse, by himself, as of- 
fering tb God personal, worship but as it is brought against 
a considerable company, their thus publicly worshipping 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 
meetinghouse, for the streets and the synagogues are both 
put together in these words of our Saviour, as parellel 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 meetinghouse is 
when full of people. Some worship is in its nature private, 
as that which is proper to particular persons, or families, or 


private societies, and has respect to their particular concerns : 
EiU tl)al whicli 1 now v,peak of, is performed imdcr no other 
notion than a part of God's public woishJp without uny relation 
to any private, separate society, or any chosen or picked num- 
ber, and in which every visible Christian iiaS equal liberty to 
join, if it be convenient for him, and he has a disposition, as in 
the Avorship that is performed in the meetinghouse. 

When i;ersons are going to the house of public worship, 
to serve God there with the assembly of his people, they are 
\ipon no other design than that of putting public honor upon 
God, that is the business hey go from home u}x>n, 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 
company with public praise, it is not a being public when 
they ought to be private. It is one part of the beauty of pub- 
lic worship, that it be venj public ; the more public it is, the 
more open honor it puts upon God ; and especially is it beau- 
tiful in that part of public worship, viz. /mblic firaise : For 
the very notion of public praising of God, is to declare 
abroad his glory, to publish his praise, to make it known, and 
proclaim it aloud, as is evident by innumerable expressions 
ef scripture. It is fit that God's honor should not be conceal- 
ed but made known in the great congregation, and proclaim- 
ed before the sun, and upon the housetops, before kings, and 
all nations, and that his praises should be heard to ihe utmost 
ends of the earth. ^ 

I suppose rone will condemn singing God's praises, merely 
because it is perfornied 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 prais- 
ed Christ, when they entered Avith him into Jerusalem, a lit- 
tle 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 
the year, when they often used to manifest the engagedness 
of their minds, by travelling all night, and manifested their 


'cy and gladness, by singing praises, with great decency and 
beai:ty, as they went towards God's holy mountain ; as is evi- 
dent by Isa. XXX. 29. " Ye shall have a song, as in the night 
when a holy soleninity is kept, and gladness of heart ; as 
when one goeth Avith a pipe, to come into the mountain of the 
Lord, to the mighty one of Israel." And Psal. xlii. 4. 
<' When I remember these things, I pour out my soul in me ; 
for I had gone v/ith the multitude, I went with them to the 
house of God, with the voice of joy and praise, with a multir 
tude that kept holy day," Psal. c. 4. « Enter into his gates 
with thanksgiving, and int© 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 peculiarly 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 congregation to go together to the places of public 
worship, and there was in other respects a proportionable ap- 
pearance of fervency of devotion, it appears to me that it 
would be ravishingly beautiful, if such things were practised 
all over the land, and would have a great tendency to enliven, 
animate 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 worshipping societies, 
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 wor- 
shipping societies belong : The peace and union of such so- 
cieties seem to require it ; seeing they have voluntarily 
united themselves to these worshipping societies, to that end, 
that they might be one in the affairs of God's public worship, 
and oblige themselves in covenant to act as brethren and mu- 
tual 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 wor- 
ship that must be performed fram time to time in the view of 
the whole, being performed at a time when they are meeting 
together for mutual assistance in worship, and therefore that 
v'hich all must unavoidably be in some measure concenied in, 
so at least as to shew 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 of 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 worshipping 
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, conformed, in things wherein he was not par- 
ticularly forbidden, to the 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 beyond proper 
limits, who, coming from abroad, do immediately of therr 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 Toice 
taken, as long as he is owned for their minister. Ministers 
are pastors of worshipping societies, and their heads and 
guides in the afiairs of public worship. They are called in 
scripture those that rule over them, and their people are com- 
manded to obey thcviy because they ivatchfur their souls as those 
that must give account. If it belongs to these shepherds 
and rulers to direct and guide the Hock in any thing at all, it 
belongs to them so to do in the circumstantials of their puoiic 

Thus I have taken particular notice of many of those things 
that have appeared to mc to be amiss, in the management of 
cur religious concerns, relating to the present revival of relig- 


fon, and have taken liberty freely to express my thoughts up- 
on them. Upon the whole it appears manifest to me, that 
things have as yet, never been set a going in their right chan- 
nel ; if they had, and means had been blessed in proportion as 
they have been now, this work would have so prevailed, as 
before this time to have carried all before it, and have tri- 
umphed over Newengland 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 advan- 
tage to tempt them entirely to reject the whole work, as being 
all nothing but 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 vmbelief 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 them abeut their own experiences, and the experi- 
ences of others ; and to make them to doubt of many things 
th^t they ought not to doubt of, and even to tempt them with 
atheistical thoughts. I believe 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 relig- 
ion : 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 re- 
ligion. But yet it would do God's saints great good in their 
latter end ; it would fit them f6r more spiritual and excellent 
experiences, more humble and heavenly love, and unmixed 
joys, and would greatly tend to a more powerful, extensive 
and durable prevalence cf vital piety. 

Vol. III. 2 Q 


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 ex- 
tremes. The devil lias driven the pendulum far beyond its 
proper point of rest ; and when he has carried it to the ut- 
most 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 
possible prevent our settling in a proper medium. What a 
poor, blind, weak and miserable creature is man, at his best 
estate ! 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 arc wc drawn 
aside, into innumerable snares, while we in the mean timo 
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. Oh ! how unfit 
are we to be left to ourselves I And how much do we stand in 
«eed of the wisdom, the power, the condescension, patienct 
forgiveness and gentleness of our good shepherd I 


Sheiuhig positively^ luhat ought to be done to promote 
this Work. 

IN considering of means and methods for promoting this 
glorious work of God, I have already observed, in some instanc- 
es wherein there has been needless objecting and complain- 
ing, and have also taken notice of many things amiss, that 
ought to be amended : I now proceed in the 

Third and last place, to shew 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 neglecting it, Avere observed before. I hope that 
some, upon reading what was said under that head, will b© 
ready to say, What shall we do ? To such readers I would 
now offer my thoughts, in answer to such an inquiry. 

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 Idngdom in 
the world, this is proclaimed, Prefiare ye the imy of the Lordj 
make strait in the desert an high way 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 
fthe high way ; gather out the stones." 

And in order to this, there must be a great deal done at con- 
-fessing 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 man- 
ner, 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 repentance. I am per- 
suaded 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 cpnfessing their fault there- 
in ; especially if they be ministers. If they have any way, 
either directly or indirectly, opposed the work, or have so be- 
haved, 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 themselves, and pretend that they al- 
ways thought so, and that it was only such and such impru- 
iiences 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 spokea 
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 publicly to confess it. 

And on the other side, if those that have been zealous to 
promote the work, have in any of the forementioned instances, 
openly gone much out of the \iray, 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 hum- 
ble themselves, as they would gather out the stones, and pre- 
pare the way of God's people. They who have laid great 
stumbling blocks in others way, by their ofien irattsgresaiottf 
are bound to remove them, by their open rcfientance. 

Some probably will be ready to object against this, that the 
opposcrs will take advantage by this to behave themselves in^ 
solently, and to insult both them and religion. And indeed, 
to the shame of some, they have taken advantage by such 
things; as of the good spirit that Mr. Whitefield shewed in 
his retractations, and some others. Buli f there are some im- 
bittered enemies of religion, 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 manifestation 
of humility and repentance, after a fault openly committed. 
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 be- 
sides, 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 advantage. For Christians 
to act like Christians, in openly humbling themselves, when 
they have openly oflended, in the end brings the greatest hon- 
or to Christ and religion ; and in this way are persons most 
likely lo have God appear for them. 

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 
onr behavior towards all men ; as is evident, Phil. iv. 5. '< Let 
your moderation be known unto 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, 
171 Ms glortj and Ms majesty^ it is because of truths meekness and 
righteousness, Psal. xlv. 3, 4. And when God remarkably 
arises, to execute judgment, it is to save all the meek of tjic 
earth, Psal. Ixxvi. 9. And it is the meek, that shall increase 
their joij 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, Psal. xxxvii. 11, and 
Mat. V. 9. " But with the froward, God will shew himself un- 

Those therefore, that have been zealous for this work, and 
have greatly erred and been injurious with their zeal, ought 
not to be treated with bitterness. There is abundant reason 
to think, .that most of them are the dear children of Go£l, for 
whom Christ died ; and therefore, that they will see their er- 
ror. As to those things, wherein wc see them to be in an er- 
ror, we have i'eason 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 influence 
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 bee* 
judged, and injuriously dtalt with, will do the part of Chrisi'a 
<lisciples, not to judge and revile again, but to receive such in- 
juries with meekness and foibearance, and making a good im- 
provement of them, more strictly -examimng their hearts and 
ways, and committing themselves to God. This will be the 
■v/ay to have God vindicate them in his providence, if they be- 
long 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. Eccles. 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 Newengiand : 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, one 
ioivards another ; so there is peculiarly requisite in God's 
people, the exercise of great patience, in waiting on God, un- 
der any special difficulties and disadvantages they may be un^ 
der, as to the means of grace. The beginning of a revival of 
religion 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 disadvantages, by rea- 
ron 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 vio- 
lent, in such a case, being resolved io have every thing recti- 
fied at once, or else forcibly to deliver themselves, by breaches 
and separations, is the way to hinder things coming to rights, 
as they o'herwise would, and to keep them back, and the way 
to break all in pieces. Not but that the case may be such, the 


^Hficulty may be so intolerable, 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 other- 
wise, though the difficulty 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 shepherd of the sheep, that has the care of 
all the affiiirs of his church ; and when they have done, they 
should wait patiently upon him : If they do so, they may ex- 
pect 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 bewray their want of faiih, 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 themselves, as well as they can : When otherwise, 
if they had waited on Christ patiently, continuing still ins'ant 
in prayer, they might have had him appearing for them, much 
more effectually to deliver them. He that belicveth 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 evi- 
dent by Isa. XXX. 18, and chap. xl. at the latter end, and xlix. 
23, and Psal. xxxvii. 9, and many other places. 

I have somewhere, not long since, met with an exposition 
©f those words of the spouse, that we have several times re- 
peated in the book of Canticles, / charge xjou^ O daughters of 
Jerusalem^ that ye stir not ufi^ noraivake my love, until he pleasC) 
■which 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 her, as though he 
were asleep, God's people, or the daughters of Jerusalem, in 
such a case, should not show an hasty spirit ; and not having 
patience to wait for Christ to awake for their hejp, until his 
time comes, take indirect courses for their own deliverance, 
and use violent means for their escape, before Christ appears 
to open the door for them ; and so as it were, stir tip, and 


aivake Christy before his time. When the church is in dis- 
tress, and God seems not to appear for her in his providence, 
he is very often represented .in scriptufe, 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 
appearinjj afterwards for his people's help, is represented as hia 
awaking out of sleep. Psal. vii. 6, and xxxv. 23, and xliv. 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 
Tipon 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. i, and 
viii. 4. In the 2d chapter and six first verses, is represented 
the supports Christ gives his church, while she is in a suffer- 
ing state, as the lily among thorns : In the 7th verse is repre- 
sented her patience in waiting for Christ, to appear for her 
deliverance, when she charges the daughters of Jemsalem, 
not to stir up, nor awake her love until he please, by the roesf 
and the hinds of the ^eld ,' vrhich are creatures of a gentle, 
harmless nature, are not beasts of prey, do not devour on« 
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, 'm this way of waiting un- 
der sufferings, with meekness and patience ; Clu-ist soon- 
awakes, speedily appears, and swiftly comes : The voice of my 
beloved I Behold^ he cometh, leafiing ufion the inomitains', akifi'- 
ping ufvjn the hills ! 

Vv'hat has been mentioned hitherto, has relation to the be- 
havior v.'e are obliged to, as we would prevent the hindrances 
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 he be a partaker of the benefits of the work him- 
self, 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 religion in the world, 
tliat we have tliat gracious, earnest and moving invitation pro- 

m newEngland; ss^i 

^6Taim6cf, in the 55th of Isaiah. Ho,every one that'thirsteth! &c. 
as is evident by what precedes in the foregoing chapter, and 
■what follows in the close of this. Here, in the 6th verse, it is 
«aid, " Seek ye the Lord, while he may be found ; call upon 
him, while he is near. And it is with special reference ta 
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 
6f life freely." And chap. xxii. If. « And the Spirit and the 
bride say, come ; and let him that heareth say, come ; and let 
him that is athh-st come ; and v^hosoeter will, let him take the 
^ater of life freely." And it seems to be with reference to 
8uch a time, which is typified by X\\t feast of tabernacles^ that 
Jesus, at that feast, stood and cried, as we have an account, 
John vii. S7, 38. " In the last day, that great day of the feast, 
Jesus stood and cried, saying, if any man thirst, let him come 
^nto me and drink. He that believeth on me, out of his belly 
shall flow rivers of living water." And it is with special ref- 
erence to God's freeness and readiness to besto\V grace at 
such a time, th^t it is said in Isa. Ix. H, of the spiritual Jeru- 
salem, thy gates shall be open continually, they shall not be shut 
day nor 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 en- 
treat 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 woi'k 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 be- 
seech those that have hitherto been something inclining to 
A''minian principles, seriously to weigh the matter with re- 
spect to this Avork, 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 suhstance of 
it, the work of God, and the flourishing of that religion, that is 
♦aught by Christ and his apostles ; and whether any good me- 

VoL. ill. 2 R 


dium can be found, where a man can rest, with any stability, 
between owning this work, and being a Deist ; and also to con- 
sider whether or no, if it be indeed so, that this be the work 
of God, it does not entirely overthrow their scheme of relig- 
ion ; and therefoie, whether it does not infinitely concern 
them, as they would be partakers of eternal salvation, to re- 
linquish 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 I had the authority of Moses, I would 
t5ay to them as he did to Hobab, Numb. x. 29. « We are jour- 
neying 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 misimproving 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 of 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 salvation ; and 
Christ says of ihe 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 
iaid at the root of the trees, that those that did not bear fruity 
anight be hewn down, and cast into the fire, Mat. iii. 9, 10, 11, 
Then was glorified, both the goodness and severity of God, in 
a remarkable manner. Rom. xi. 32. The harvest and the 
\intage go together : At the same time that the earth is reap- 
ed, and God's elect are gathered into the garner of God, the 
«ngel that has power over fire, thrusts in his sickle, and gather* 
the dustier 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 th« 


•Christian church, at the same time that the hand of the Lord 
is knoivn toivards 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 
tlect, with healing in his wings, the day shall burn as an oven t» 
(he wicked, Mai. iv. 1, 2, 3. There is no time like such a 
time, for the increase of guilt, and treasuring up wrath, and 
desperate hardening of the heart, if men stand it out ; which 
is the most awful judgment, and fruit of divine wrath, that can 
be inflicted on any mortal. So that a time of great grace, and 
pouring out of the Spirit, and the 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 as- 
pect upon those that are advanced in years. The work has 
been chiefly amongst those that are young ; and comparative- 
■iy, but few others have been made partakers of k. And in- 
deed, 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 genera- 
tion. There was a remarkable outpouring of the Spirit of 
God, on the children of Israel in the wilderness, on the young- 
er generation, their little ones, that they said, should be a prey, 
the generation that entered into Canaan, with Joshua ; which 
is evident ^by many things in scripture. That generation 
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 shewn, if it would not be too long. In that gen- 
eration, that were under twenty years, when they went out of 
Egypt, was that kindness of youth, and love of es/iousals, s'poken 
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 wonderous works 
that they beheld. God by his awful judgments that he exe- 
-cuted in the wilderness, and the affliction that the people suf- 
fered there, convinced and humbled the younger generation, 


and fitted them for great mercy ; as is evident by Deut. ii. l^ 
but he destroyed the old generation ; he swore in his tarathj 
that they should not enter into his rest, and their carcases Jell in 
(he ivildsmess : When it was a time of great mercy, and pour- 
ing out of God's Spirit on their children, it was remarkubly x 
day of vengeance unto them ; as appears by the 90th Psalm- 
Let the old generation in this land, take warning from henco^ 
^nd take heed that they do not refuse to be convinced, by all 
God's wonders that he works before their eyes, and that thejr 
;^o not continue forever objecting, murmuriiig and cavilling, 
ajainst tiie work of God, least, while God is bringing their 
,<;hildren into a land flowing with milk and honey, be should 
3wear in his wrath concerning them; that their carcases shaU 
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 returning 
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 : 
But it was not upon the old generation, that were carried cap- 
tive. The captivity continued just long enough, for that per- 
verse generation to waste away and die in their captivity ; at 
Jeast those of them that were adult persons, when carried cap- 
tive. The old generation, and heads of families were exceed- 
ing obstinatCj ai\d would not hearken to the earnest, repeated 
warnings of the prophet Jeremiah; but he had greater suc- 
cess among the young people ; as appears by Jer. vi. 10, H. 
« To whom shall I speak and give warning, that they may 
hear ? Behold their ear is uncircumcised, and they cannot 
hearken : Behold the worxl 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 
nvife (i. e. the heads of families, and parents of these cJiildren) 
5haU be taken, the aged with him that is full of days."... 
Blessed be God ! There are some of the elder people, thjit 


liave 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 lake heed 
to themselves, that tliey may be partakers of it ; for how 
dreadful will it be to go to hell, after having spent so manf 
years in doing nothing, but treasure «p wrath. 

But above all others whatsoever, does it concern 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 sorrowful 
and melancholy is the case, when it is otherwise ! For one 
to stand at the head of a congregation of God's people, as rep- 
resenting 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 binder great awakenings, and many are 
converted, and many of God^s saints are filled with divine 
light, love and joy, and to undertake to insti-uct and lead them 
all, under all these various circumstances, and to be p<\t 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 
tbeir circumstances, to try to talk with those that come to 
Jiim, as if he knew what they said ; to try to talk with per- 
aons of exfjerience, as if he knew how to converse with them, 
,«nd had experience as well as they ; to make others believe 
that he rejoices when others are converted, and to force ai 
pleased and joyful countenance and manner of speech, wheii 
there is nothing in the heart, what sorrowful work is here ! 
Oh! How miserably must such a person feel ! What a wretched 
bondage and slavery is this ! What pains and how much art 
must such a minister use to conceal himself ! And how weak 
•re 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 enertiy to him in his heart, in such cir- 
jcumstances. I think there is a great deal of reason, from the 
•cripture, to conclude that no sort of men in the world, will be 
«p low in hell, as ungodly ministers : Every thing tbat is 


«poken of in scripture, as that which aggravates guilt, and 
heightens divine wrath, meets in them ; however some par- 
ticular persons, of other sorts, may be more guilty than some 

And what great disadvantages are unconverted ministers 
imder, to oppose any irregularities, or imprudences, or intem- 
perate zeal, that they may see in tlvose that are the children. 
of God, when they are conscious to themselves, that they 
have no seal at all ? If enthusiasm and wildness comes in like 
« flood, what poorj 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 with them ? 
: We that are ministers not only have need of some true ex- 
perience 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 in 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 until we have obtained it. And in or- 
der 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 oLe with another. It seems to me it 
would be becoaiing 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 supplies of divine 
grace from heaven, that we need at this day : And also, if on 
their occasional visits one to another, instead of spending away 
their time in sitting and smoaking, and in diverting, or world- 
ly, unprofitable conversation, telling news, and making their 
remarks on this and the other trifling subject, they wouid 
spend their time in praying together, and singing praises, and 
religious conference. How much do many of the common 
people shame many of us that are in the work of the minis- 
try, in these respects ? Surely we do not behave ourselves so 
Tnuch like Christian ministers, and the disciples and ambass^- 


iors of Christ, as we ought to do. And while we condemuk' 
zealous persons for their doing so much at censuring ministers 
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 temptation 
before others, to the sin of judging: And if we can prove that 
those that are guilty of it, do transgress the scripture rule, 
yet our indignation should be chiefly against ourselves. 

Ministers, at this day in a special manner, should act as fel- 
low 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 earn- 
estly enforcing each other's warnings and counsels. Only 
such an appearance of united zeal in ministers, would have a 
great tendency to awaken attention, and much to impress 
and animate the hearers ; 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 xmion with them broken. Gn the contrary, if minis- 
ters have not forfeited their acceptance in that character, in 
the visible church, by their doctrine or behavior, their breth- 
ren in the ministry ought studiously to endeavor to heighten 
the esteem and affection of their people towards them, that 
they may have no temptation to repent their admitting other 
ministers to come and preach in their pulpits. .!oi'i!i:jt 

Two things that are exceeding needful in ministers, a3 tfiey 
would do any great matters, to advance the kingdom of 
Christ, are zeal and resolution. The influence and power of 


these things, to brinij: to pass great effects, is greater than cart 
trell be imagined : A man of but an ordinary capacity, will do 
ttiore with them, than one often times the parts and leaniing 
ivithont them : More may bc done with them, in a few day3,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 affairs. Most of the great things that 
have been done in the world of mankind, the great revolution* 
that have been accomplished in the kingdoms and empires of 
the earth, have been chiefly owing to these things. The verj^ 
sight or appearance of a thoroughly engaged spirit, together 
•with fearless courage and unyielding resolution, in any per- 
son, that has undertaken the managing any affair amongst 
mankind, goes a great way towards accomplishing the effect 
aimed at. It h evident that the appearance of these thing* 
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 Crom\Vel did, owing to these 
things ? And the great things t>»at Mr. Whitefield has done, 
every where, as he has run through the British dominions, (so 
far' as they are 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 per- 
son, and to a great degree, it awes them, and has a command- 
ing influence upon their minds ; it seems to them that they 
tnust yield; they naturally fall before them, without standing to 
contest or dispute the matter ; they are conquered as it were 
by surprize. But Avhile we are cold and heartless, and onl^ 
go on in a dull manner, in an old forriial round, we shall never 
do any great matters. Our attempts, the appearance of such- 
coldness and irresolution, 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 minds, the appearance 
of such indifference and cowardice, does as it Avcre call for, 
and provoke opposition. Our misery is want of zeal and 
courage ; for not only through want of them, does all fail 
that we seem to attempt, but it prevents our attemptinr^ any 
thing very remarkable, for the kingdom of Christ. lience,- 


oftentimes it has been, that when any thing very considerable, 
that is new, is proposed to be done, for the advancement of 
religion, or the public good, many difficulties arc 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 pro- 
posals have oftentimes failed, and have sunk as soon as prp- 
posed. 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 or- 
dinary capacity ; but especially would they do great things, 
if joined with great abilities. If some great men, that hav^ 
appeared in our nation, had been as eminent in divinity, as 
they were in philosophy, and had engaged in the Christiaii 
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 many 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 re- 
quired of them, by their Lord and master, and how much they 
might do for Christ, and v/hat great honor, and how gloriou? 
a reward they might receive, if they had in their hearts an 
heavenly warmth, i;nd divine heat, proportionable to their 

With respect to candidates for the ministry, I will not UU' 
dertake particularly to determine, what kind of examination 
or trial they should pass und^r, in OKler to their admission tq 
that sacred v.ork : But I think this is evident from the scrip- 
tce, that another sort of trial, with regard to their vii'tue and 
piety, is requisite, than is required in order to persoas being 
admitted into the visible church. The apostle directs, that 
hands be laid suddenly on no man ; but that they shouIdj?7\<t/ be 
fried, before they are admitted to the work of 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 aM 

Vol. III. 5 S ' 


strictness in their probation. And it spems to me, those would 
act very unadvisedly, that should enter on that great and sac- 
red Avork, before they had comfortable satisfaction concerning 
themselves, that they have had a saving work of God on their 

And though it may be thought, that I go out of my proper 
sphere, to intermeddle in the affairs of the colleges, yet I will 
take the liberty of an Englishman (that speaks his mind freely 
concerning public affairs) and the liberty of a minister of 
Christ(\vho doubtlessjmay 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 societies ; 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 piety. Otherwise, they 
are fundamentally ruined and undone, as to their main design, 
and most essential end. They ought to be so constituted, that 
■vice and idleness should have no living there : They are in- 
tolerable in societies, whose main design is, to train up youth 
in Christian knowledge and eminent piety, to fit them to be 
pastors of the flock of the blessed Jesus. I have heretofore 
had some acquaintance with the affairs of a college, and expe- 
rience of what belonged to its tuition and government ; and I 
cannot but think that it is practicable enough, so to constitute 
such societies, that there should be no being there, without be- 
ing virtuous, serious and diligent. It seems to me to be a 
reproach to the land, that ever it should be so with our col- 
leges, that instead of being places of the greatest advantsiges 
for true piety, one cannot send a child thither, without grqat 
danger of his being infected,as to his morals ; as it has certain- 
ly sometimes been with these Societies : It is perfectly in- 
tolerable ; and any thing should be done, rather than it 
should be so. If we pretend to have any colleges at all, un- 
der 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 persons up to 


be ambassadors 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 are 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 
religion, 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 tak- 
en, to teach the scholars human learning ; there ought to be 
as much, and more care, thormighly to educate them in re- 
ligion, 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 the 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 pub- 
lic prayers, to call these societies, the schools of the firojihets ; 
and if they are schools, to train up young men to be prophets, 
<;ertainly there ought to be extraordinary care there taken, 
.to train them up to be Christians. 

And I cannot see, why it is not on all accounts fit and con- 
venient, for the governors and instructors of the colleges, par- 
ticularly, 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. Wads- 
worth ; which is as follows : 

" Through the divine goodness, I have every year the 
pleasure to see some plants taken out of my nursery, and set 
in neighboring congregations ; where they generally settle 
with an unanimous consent, and that to a very remarkable de- 
.gree, in some very large, and once divided congregations. 


A circumstance, in which, I own and adwfe the hand of a wi*e 
and gracious God ; and cannot but look upon it as a token for 
good. I have at present, a greater proportion df pious and 
ingenious youth under my care, than I ever before had. So 
that I liope the church may reasonably expect sdtrte consid- 
erable relittf from hence, if God spare their lives afevr yfears, 
and coniii)ue to tlicm those gracious assistances, which he 
has hitherto mercifully imparted. I will not. Sir, trouble you 
at present, with a large account of my method of academic&J 
education : Only would observe, that I think it of vast im- 
portance, to instruct them carefully in the scriptures ; and 
not only endeavor to establish 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 gieat deal of time j but 
I bless God, it is amply repaired, in the pleasure I havC) in 
seeing my labor is not in vain in the Lord." 

There are some that are not ministers^ nor are concerned 
immediately in those things that appertain to their office, or 
in the education of persons for it, that are under great advan- 
tages to promote such a glorious work as this. Some laymen 
though it be not their business publicly to exhort and teach, 
yet are in some respects, under greater advantage to encour- 
age and forward this work, than ministers. As particularly- 
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 inclined ? There is commonly a certain unhappy 
shyness, in great men, with respect to religion, as though 
they werfe ashamed of it, or at least ashamed to do vel'y miich 
at it ; v/hereby they dishonor, and doubtless greatly provoke 
the King of Kings, and very much wound religion among 
the common people. They are caieful of their honor and 
seem to be afraid of appearing openly forv/ard and zeal- 
ous 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 David, that 


gi'eat king of Israel, who made fdmself vile before the ark j 
and as he was the highest in honor and dignity, among God's 
people, So thought it becatne him to appear foremost, in tbfc 
zeal and activity he manifested on that occasion ; thereby ani- 
mating 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 scoffing Michal, yet 
it did not at all abate the honor and esteem of the congrega- 
tion of Israel, but advanced it ; as appears by 2 Sam. vi. 22. 

Rich men have a talent in their Hands, in the disposal aiid 
improvement of which, they might very much promote such 
a work as this, if they were so disposed. They are far be- 
ybhd others under advantage to do good, and lay up for th^Ai- 
selves treasures in heaven. What a thousand pities is it, that 
for Want of a heart, they commonly have no share at all there, 
but heaven is peopled mostly with the poor of this world ? 
One would think that our rich nven, that call themselves 
Christians, might devise some notable things, to do with theit* 
money, 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, mbst of us have but very narrow, penurious notions of 
Christianity, as it respects our use and disposal of our tem- 
iJdral goods. 

The primitive Christians had not such notions : They Avere 
trained up by the apostles in another way. God has greatly 
distinguished some of the inhabitants of Newengland, from 
others, in the abundance that he has given them of the good 
thingJi of this life. If they could now be persuaded to lay out 
some considerable part of that Avhich God has given them for 
the honor of God, and lay it up in heaven, instead of spending 
it for their own honor, or laying it up for their pbsterity, they 
Wduld not repent of it afterwards. How liberally did the 
heads of the tribes contribute of their wealth, at the setting up 
the tabernacle, though it was in a barren wildcrtlesS ? Th'ese 
sarfe the days of the eretting the tabernacle Of God amongst us. 
"We have a particular account how the goldsmiths and the 
Merchants helped to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, Neh. iii. 


•2. The days are coming spoken of in scripture, and i be- 
lieve not very far off, when the sons of Zion shall come from 
Jiii'i bringing their silver and their gold with 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 thetr merchandize and lure shall be holiness 
to the Lord, and shall not be treasured, or laid u/i/br Jioaterityf 
but shall be for them that dwell before the Lord, to eat suj/icient' 
ly, and for durable clothing ; and when the shi/is of Tars/iish 
shall bring the wealth of the distant parts of tiic earth, to the 
place of God's sanctuary, and to make the place of his feet glori- 
ous ; and the abundance of the sea, shall be converted to the use 
of God's church, and she shall suck the milk of the Gentiles, and 
atick the breasts of kings. The days are coming, when the 
great and rich men of the world, shall bring their honor and 
glory into the church, and shall, as it were, strip themselves, to 
spread their garments under Christ's feet, as he enters tri- 
umphantly 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 inherit the earth, and they shall reign on earth, and those 
that honor God he will honor, and those that despise him 
shall be lightly esteemed. 

If some of our rich men would 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 rick 
men will act by and by, that shall be partakers of the spiritual 
wealth and glories of that kingdovn. 

Great things might be done for the advancement of the 
kingdom of Christ, at this day, by those that have ability, 
by establishing 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 abilities, 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 min- 
istry ; and in distribtiting books, that are remarkably fitted tft 


proYiiote vital religion, and have a great tendency to advance 
this work ; or if they would only bear the trouble, expence 
and loss of sending such books into various parts of ihe 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 vil- 
lages ; which might be done on such a foundation, as not only 
to bring up children in common learning, but also, might very 
much tend to their conviction and conversion, and being train- 
ed up in vital piety ; and doubtless something might be done 
this way, in old towns, and more populous places, that might 
have a great tendency to the flourishing of religion, in the 
rising generation. 

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 nie, that the circumstances of the pres- 
ent work do loudly call God's people to abound in this ; 
whether 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 'o pray for the con- 
tinuance 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 opposition 
that Satan makes against this work, and the many difficulties 
with which it is clogged, and the distressing circumstances 
that some parts of God's church in this land are under at this 
day, on one account and another. 

So is God's will, through his wonderful grace, that the pray- 
ers of his saints should be one great and principal means of 


carrying on the designs of Christ's kingdom in the ^70l'ld... . 
When God has something very great to accomplish for his 
church, it is his will, that there should precede it, the extra- 
ordinary prayers of his people ; as is manifest by Ezek. xxxvi. 
37. " I will yet, for this, be inquired of, by the hotise of Is- 
rael, 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 per- 
son, that is under a bodily possession, without extraordinary- 
prayer, or prayer and fasting • how much less, should we 
expect to have him cast out of the land, and the world with- 
out 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 prin- 
cipally, for the pouring out of the Spirit on those towns or 
places where they belong ; but that God would appear 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 fulfil the 
things that he has spoken of in his word, that his church has 
been so long wishing and hoping and waiting for. They that 
make ?nention of the Lord, at this day, ought not to kee}x silence^ 
and should give God no rest, until he establish, and until he 
make Jerusalej?i a firaise 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 
•wonderfully appear, for the deliverance of his church from all 
her enemies, and when he will avmge his civn elect : And 
Christ reveals that this will be in answer to their incessant 
prayers, or crying day and night, Luke xviii. 7. In Israel, the 
rfay of atontment, which was their great day of fasting and 


prayer, preceded and made way for the glorious and joyful 
feast of tabcnuicles. When Christ is mystically born into the 
world, to rule over all nations, it is represented in the ISth 
chapter of Revelations, as being in consequence of the 
churches crying^ and travailing in birth^ and being plained to be 
delivered. One thint^ here intended, doubtless is, her crying 
and agnnixing in prayer. 

God seems now, at this very time, to be waiting for this 
from us. When God is about to bestow some great blessing 
on his church, it is often his manner, in the first place, so to 
order things in his providence, as to shew 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 gloriovis work of his grace has been begun and 
carried on ; and God has, of late, suffered innumerable diffi- 
culties to arise, that do in a great measure clog and hinder it, 
and bring many of God's dear children into great distress j 
and yet does not wholly forsake the v/ork of his 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 
•ivork ; but only was v>'aiting for something 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 im- 
portunate prayers to him. And by the many errors that have 
been run into, and the wounds we have thereby given our- 
selves and the cause that we would promote, and the mischief 
and confusion we have thereby made, God has hitherto been 
remarkably shewing us our great and universal dependence 
on him, and exceeding need of his help and grace : Which 
should engage our cries to him for it. 

There is no way that Christians in a private capacity ca» 
do so much to promote the work of God, and advance the 
kingdom of Christ, as by prayer. By tins even women, child- 
ren and servants may have a public influence. I^et person^i 
Vql. III. 2 T 


be never so weak, and never so mean, and under never s* 
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 government of the whole 
world X And so a poor man in his eottags 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 firinccs^ they have 
power with God, and firevail i Though they may be private 
persons, their prayeis are put in the name of a Mediator, that 
is a public person, being the head of the whole church, and 
the Lord of the universe : And if they have a great sense of 
the importance of eternal things, and concern for the precious 
souls of men, yet they need not regref it, that they are not 
•preachers ; they may go in their earnesthess and agonies of 
soul, and pour out their souls before O^re 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 
hearing father, without any restraint. 

- If the people of God, at this day, instead of spending time 
in fruitless disputing, and talking about opposers, and judging 
©f them, and animadverting upon the unreasonableness of 
their talk and behavior, and its inconsistence with true expe- 
rience, would be more silent in this way, and open their 
mouths Buich more before God, and spend more time in fast- 
ing and prayer, they would be more in the way of a blessing. 
And if some Christians in the land, that have been complain- 
ing of their mu)isters, and struggling in vain to deliver them- 
selves, from the difficulties they have complained of, under 
their ministry, liad said and acted less before men, and had 
applied themselves with all tlicir 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, apjiearing in the present state of 
things, does especially call on his people in Newengland 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 de- 
termine, 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 degrees of the pres- 
ence of God with the ministry in Newengland, 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 meetinghouse, 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 inhabitants of many 
of our towns are now divided into particular praying societies, 
jnost 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 thisf 
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 congregation have gather-ed in their particular 
religious societies ; companies of men by themselves, and 
companies of women by themselves ; young men by tliem- 
selves, 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 them^- 
selves, 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 praying together there, except- 
ing so much as was requisite for the duties of the family and 

S40 REVIVAL or re;ugion 

closet, in their own houses. And it has been found to be oi' 
great benefit, to assist and engage the minds of the people io 
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 agreenient of 
all God's people in America, that are well affected to this 
Avork, to keep a day of fasting and prayer to God ; wherein we 
should all unite on ihe same day, in humbling ourselves be- 
fore God for our past long continued lukewarmncss and un- 
profitableness ; not omitting humiliation for the errors that so 
many of God's people that have been zealously affected to- 
Avards this work, through their infirmity and remaining blind- 
ness and corruption, have run into ; and together with thanks- 
givings to (iod, for so glorious and wonderful a display of his 
power and grace, in the late outpourings of his Spirit ; to ad- 
dress the Father of mercies, with prayers and supplications, 
and earnest cries, that he would guide and direct his own peo* 
pic, and that he Avould continue, and still carry on this work, 
and more abundantly and extensively pour out his Spirit ; and 
particularly that he would pour out his vSpirit upon ministers ; 
and that he would bow the heavens and come down, and erect 
his glorious kingdom through the earth. SoiT>e perhaps may 
think that its being all on the tiumc day, is a circumstance of 
jio great consequence ; but I cannot be of that mind : Such a 
circumstance makes the union and agreement of God's people 
in his worship llie more visible, and puts the greater honor 
upon God, and would have a great tendency to assist and en- 
liven the devotions of Chrislianis: It seems to me it would 
inighlily encourage and animate God's saints, in humbly and 
earnestly seeking to God, for such blessings which concern 
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 agreemerit in asking, as what contributes to the prevalence 
of the prayers of his people. Mat. xviii. 19. " Again I say 
unto you, that if any two of you, shall ag^ee on eartb> as touch- 


ing any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of 
my Father which is in heaven. If the agreement 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 people, as appears by his prayer in 
the 17th of John : And especially is the appearance of their 
union in worship, lovely and attractive unto him. 

I doubt not but such a thing as I have now mentioned is 
practicable, without a great deal of trouble. Some considera- 
ble 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 particularly 
mentioned ; and these proposals should be published, and 
sent abroad, into all parts, with a desire that as many minis- 
ters as are disposed to fall in Avith them, would propose the 
matter to their congregations, and having taken their consent, 
would subscribe their names, together with the places of 
which they are ministers, and send back the proposals thus 
subscribed, to the printer ; (the 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 Avho are united with them in the affair : One of the min- 
isters of Boston might be desired to have the oversight of the 
printing and dispersing the proposals. In such a way, per- 
haps, might be fulfilled in some measure, such a general 
mourning and supplication of God's people, as is spol;en of, 
Zcch. xii. at the latter end, with which the church's glorious 
day is to be introduced. And such a day might be something 
like the day of qtonement in Israel, before the joyful feast of 

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 preaching ; so little is said 
about secret fastinpf. It is a duty recommended by our Sav-» 
iour to his followers, just in like manner as secret prayer is ; 
ivs may be seen by comparing the 5th and Gth verses of the 
<ith chapter of Matthew with verses IG, 17, 18. Though I 
do not suppose that secret fasting is to be practised in a stated 
manner, and steady course as secret prayer, yet it seems to 
ine it is a duty that all professing Christians should practice, 
and frequently practice. There are many occasions, of both 
a spiritual and temporal nature, that do properly require it ; 
and there-arc many particular mercies, that we desire for our- 
selves 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 exter- 
nal 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 
external duties of religion are attended, much more fre- 
quently than they used to be ; yet I cannot understand that 
there is any increase of the administration of the Lord's sup- 
per, or that God's people do any more frequently commem- 
orate the dying love of their Redeemer, in this sacred me- 
morial of it, than they used to do : Though I 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 abun- 
dantly manifesting 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 tp 
celebrate this memorial of tlie sufferings of their dear Re- 
deemer every Lord's day : And so I believe it will be again 
in the church of Christ, in days that are approaching. And 
■whether we attend 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. 


But another thing I would mention, which it is of ranch 
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 while they abound in external duties of devotion, 
such as praying, hearing, singing, and attending religious 
meetings, there be a proportionable care to abound in moral 
duties, such as acts of righteousness, truth, mepkness, for- 
giveness 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 Saviour was particularly careful 
that men should be well aware of. Matt. ix. 13. " But go ye, 
^ and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sac- 
rifice." And chap. y.ii. 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 iu 
God, and resignation to God, &c. are the most essential and 
important of all duties of religion whatsoever ; for therein 
consists the essence of all religion. But of this inward religion, 
there are two sorts of external. manifestations or expressions. 
The one sort, are outward acts of worship, such as meeting in 
religious assemblies, attending sacraments, and other out- 
ward institutions, and honoi'ing God with gestures, such as 
bowing, or kneeling befoie him, or with wovds, in speaking 
honorably of him, in prayer, praise or religious conference^ 
And the other sort, are the expressions of our love to God, 
by obeying his moral commands, of self deni d, righteousness^ 
meekness, and Christian love, in our behavior among men. 
And the latter are of vastly the greatest importarice in the 
Christian life. God makes little account of the former, in com- 
parison 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 dudes are spoken of 
together, the latter are ever more greatly preferred. As iu 
Isa. i. 12, to 18, and Amos v. 2 1, &cc. and Mich. vi. 7, S, and 
Isa. Iviii. 5, 6, 7, and Zech. vii. ten first verses, and Jer. ii. 
seven first verses, and Matth. xv. 3, Sec. Often, when the 


times were very corrupt in Israel, the people abounded in th't 
former kind of duties, but were at such times, always notori' 
ously deficient in the latter ; as the prophets complain, Isa. 
Iviii. four first verses, Jer. vi, 13, compared with verse 20. 
Hypocrites and self righteous persons, do much more com- 
monly abound in the former kind of duties, than the latter ; 
as Christ remarks of the Pharisees, Matth. xxiii. 14, 25, and 
34. When the scripture directs U3 to shew our faith by our 
niforksy it is principally the latter sort are intended ; as ap- 
pears by James ii. from 8lh verse to the end, and 1 John ii. 
3, 7, 8, 9, 10, 1 1. 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 the 2oth of Mat- 
thew. External acts of worship in words and gestures, and 
outvi'ard forms, are of little use, but as signs of something 
else, or as they are a profession of inward worship : They 
are not so properly shewing our religion by our deeds ; for 
they are only a shewing our religion by words, or an out- 
^vard profession. But he that shows religion in the other sort 
of duties, shews it in something more than a profession of 
words, he shews it in deeds. And though deeds may be hyp- 
ocritical, as well as words ; yet in themselves they arc of 
greater importance, for they are much more profitable to our- 
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 do it in tiiose things that are profita- 
ble to our neighbors, whom he has constituted his receivers : 
Our goodness extends not to God, but to our fellow Christ- 
ians. The latter sort of duties, put greater honor upon God, 
because there is greater self denial in them. The external 
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 covetou-.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 


gs you please ; as is manifest in the Jews of old, in the days of 
the prophets, and the Pharisees in Christ's time, and the Pa- 
pists and Mahometans 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 people to the practice of moral duties. Isa. 
Ivi. 1. " Thus saith the Lord ; keep ye judgment and do jus- 
tice ; for my salvation is near to come, and my righteousness 
to be revealed." So when John preached that the kingdom of 
heaven was at hand, and cried to the people, Fre/iare ye the 
tvay of the Lord.) make his paths strait, as we have an account> 
Luke iii. 4, the people asked him. What they should do ? He 
answers. He that hath ttvo coats, let him impart to him that hath 
none, and he that hath vuat, let him do likewise. The publicans 
said. What shall we do ? He answers, Exact no more than that 
which is appointed you. ^ind the soldiers asked him^ What 
shall we do ? He replies. Do violence to no man ; neither accuse 
<iny falsely ; and be content with xjour wages. Verses 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 tall far below the true spirit and prac- 
tice of Christianity, with regard to this duty, and seem to 
liave but little notion of it, so far as I can understand the New 
Testam.ent. At a time when God is so liberal of spiritual 
things, we ought not to be strait handed towards him, and spar- 
ing of our temporal things. So far as I can judge by the 
scripture, there is no externa: duty whatsoever, by which 
persons wLU be so much in the way, not only Of receiving tem- 
poral bene^, but also spiritual blessings, the influences of 
God's holy Spirit in the heart, in divine discoveries, and spir- 
itual consolations. I thhik it would be unreasonable to under- 
stand those promises, made to this duty, in the 58th chapter 
of Isaiah, in a sense exclusive of spiritual discoveries and 
comforts. Isa. Iviii. 7, Sec. " 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 trom thine o\vn flesh I Then- 

Vol. III. 2 U 


shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thy health 
shall spring forth speedily, and thy righteousness shail go 
before thee, and the glory of the Lord shall be thy rereward ; 
then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall answer, thou shalt cry, 
and he shall say, Here I am. If thou take away from die 
midst of thee, the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and 
speaking vanity ; and if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, 
and satisfy the afflicted soul ; then shall thy light rise in ob- 
scurity, and thy darkness be as the noon day ; and the Lord 
shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, 
and make fat thy bones ; and thou shalt be like a watered 
garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not." 
So, that giving to the poor is the way to receive spiritual bless- 
ings, is manifest by Psal. cxii. 4, 8cc. " Unto the upright, 
there ariseth light in the darkness ; he is gracious, and full 
of compassion and righteous : A good man sheweth favor, 
and lendeth, he will guide his affairs with discretion ; surely 
he shall not be moved forever ; the righteous shall be in ev- 
erlasting remembrance ; he shall not be afraid of evil tidings, 
his heart is fixed, trusting in the Lord ; his heart is establish- 
ed, he shall not be afraid, until he see his desire upon his en- 
emies : 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- 
wardmg 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 tak- 
en by Chedorlaomer, and the kings that were wiih him, and 
the king of Sodom offered him, that if he would give him the 
persons, he might take the goods to himself, Abraham refus- 
ed to take any thing, even so much as a thread or shoe latch- 
€t, but returned all. He might have greatly enriched him- 


self, if he had taken the spoils to himself, for it was the spoils 
of five wealthy kings, and their kingdoms, yet he coveted it 
not ; the king and people of Sodom were now become objects 
of charity, having been stripped of all by their enemies, therer 
fore 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 discovery that God 
made of himself to him ; as we have an account in the next 
words, " After these things the word of the Lord came unto 
Abraham, in a vision, saying. Fear not Abraham, 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 re- 

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 particu- 
larly certain women, of whom we read Luke viii. 2, 3. And 
these women were rewarded, by being peculiarly favored with 
gracious manifestations, which Christ made of himself to 
them. He discovered himself first to them after his resur- 
tection, before the twelve disciples : They first saw a vision 
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 ivere admitted to come, and 
hold Mm by the feet, and ivor shift him, Matth. xxviii. And 
though we cannot now be charitable in this way, lo Christ in 
person, who in his exalted state, is infinitely above the need of 
our chaiity ; yet we may be charitable 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 receivers, 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 
temarkable type of the church) in her espousals to the Lord 


Jesus. But she found her husband, in doing deeds of chanty, 
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 was to be Isaac's wife. So Cornelius was 
brought to the knowledge of Christ, in this way. He ivas a 
devout ma?!., a7id ojie that feared God^ with ail his house ; which 
gave much alma to the fieofilc^ and prayed to Godalivay. 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 ^'.imon, whose surname is Peter^ 
&c. Acts'x. at the beginning. And we 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's descending upon them, and filling their hearts with 
joy and their mouths with praises. 

Some may possibly object that for persons to do deeds of 
charity, in hope of obtaining spiritual blessings and comforts 
in this way, would seem to shew a selfrighteous 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 selfrighteous 
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 iinmediately offered 
to God, and therefore persons are more ready to expect some- 
thing//-07n 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 selfrighteous. 

If God's people in this land, were once brought to abound 
in such deeds of love, as much as in praying, hearing, singing, 
and religious meetings and conference, it would be a most 
blessed omen : There is nothing would have a greater ten- 
dency to bring the God of love down from heaven to the 
earth : So amiable would be the sight, in the eyes of our lov- 


ing and exalted Redeemer, +hat 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 re- 
tnember ever to have read of any remarkable outpouring of 
the Spirit, that continued any long time, but what was attend- 
ed with an abounding in this dnty. So we know it was with 
•that great effusion of the Spirit that began at Jerusalem in the 
apostles' days : And so in the late remarkable revival of relig- 
ion in Saxony, which began by the labors of the famous Pro- 
fessor Franck, and has now been carrietl on for above thirty 
years, and has spread its happy influences into many parts of 
the world ; it was begun, and has been carried on, by a won- 
derful practice of this duty. And the remarkable blessing 
that God has given Mr. Whitefield, and the great success 
with which he has crowned him, may well be thought to bo 
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. Isa. xxxii. 5 and 8. 
" The vile person shall no more be called liberal, nor the 
chui-1 said to be bountiful. But the liberal deviseth liberal 
things, and by liberal things shall he stand." 

To promote a reformation, with respect to all sorts of du- 
ties, among a professing people, one proper means, and that 
•which is recommended by frequent scripture examples, is 
their solemn, public renewing their covenant with God. And 
doubtless 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 draught of a covenant should be made 
by their ministers, wherein there should be an express men- 
tion of those particular duties, that the people of the respect- 
ive congregations have been observed to be most prone to 
neglect, and those particular sins that they have heretofore es- 
pecially 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 suflicient 
opportunity given thera for consideration, and then they 


should be led, all that arc capable of understanding, particu' 
larly to subscribe the covenant, and also should all appear to- 
gether, on a day of prayer and fasting, publicly to own it be- 
fore God in his house, as their vqav to the Lord ; hereby 
congregations of Christians would do that which would be 
beautiful, and would put honor upon God, and be very profita- 
ble to themselves. 

Such a thing as this, was attended with a rery wonderful 
blessing in Scotland, and followed with a great increase of the 
blessed tokens of the presence of God, and remarkable out- 
pourings of his Spirit; as the author of the fulfilling of the 
Scrijiture informs, p. 186, 5th edition. 

A people must be taken, when they are in a good moodt 
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 mention, which if God should still 
carry on this work, would tend much to promote it, and that 
is, that an history should be published once a month, or once a 
fortnight, of the progress of it, by one ©f the ministers of Bos- 
ton, who are near the press, and are most conveniently situat- 
ed, to receive accounts from all parts. It has been found by 
experience, that the tidings of remarkable eifects of the power 
and grace of God in any place, tend greatly to awaken and en- 
gage the minds of persons, in other places. It is a 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, par- 
tial and doubtful information, and false representations of com- 
Tnon 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 an universal reformation, that ever Avas given 
in Newengland. And it is a thousand pities, that we should 
fail of that which would be so glorious, for want of being sen- 
sible of our opportunity, or being aware of those things that 
tend to hinder it, or our taking improper courses to obtain itj 


©r 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 bringing 
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 dispensation 
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 speedily come, to set up his kingdom of light, 
holiness, peace and joy on earth, as is foretold in his word...« 
Amen : Even so come Lord Jesvs ! 














Vol. III. 2 W 



The Text opened^ and an Account ghen of the Affair 
proposed in the Memorial /r^^wz Scotland. 

ZECH. viii. 20, 21,22. 


J.N this chapter we have a prophecy of a future 
glorious advancement of the church of God ; wherein it is 
evident, something further is intended than ever was fulfilled 
to the nation of the Jews under the Old Testament. For 
here are plain prophecies of such things as never were ful- 
filled before the coming of the Messiah : Particularly what is 
said in the two last verses in the chapter, of many peojilc and 
^strong nations worshipping a?id seeking the true God,, and of so 
great an accession of Gentile nations to the church of God, 
that by far the greater part of the visible worshippers of God 
should consist of this new accession, so that they should be to 
the other as ten to one ; a certain number for an uncertain. 
There never happened any thing, from the time of the Proph- 
et Zechariah to the coming of Christ, to answer this prophe- 
cy : And it can have no fulfilment but either in the calling of 


the Gentiles, in and after the days of the apostles, or in the 
future glorious enlargement of the church of God in the latter 
ttf^cs of the -world, so often foretold by the prophets of the Old 
Testament, and by the Prophet Zechariuh in particular, in 
the latter part of this prophecy. It is most probable, that what 
the Spirit of God has chief respect to, is that last and greatest 
enlargement and most glorious advancement of the church 
of God on earth ; in the benefits of which especially, the Jew- 
ish nation were to have a share, and a very eminent and dis- 
tinguishing share. There is a great agreement between 
%vhat is here said, and other prophecies, that must manifestly 
have respect to the church's latter day glory : As that in Isa. 
Ix. 2, S, 4. " The Lord shall arise upon tliee, and his glory 
shall be seen upon thee : And the Gentiles shall come to thy 
light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising. Lift up thine 
eyes round about, and see ; all they gather themselves to- 
gether, they come to thee." That whole chapter, beyond all 
dispute, has respect to the most glorious state of the church 
of God on earth. So chap. Ixvi. 8. " Shall the earth be made 
to bring forth in one day ? Shall a nation be born at once ?" 
Ver. 10. " Pv.ejoice ye with Jerusalem, and be glad with her, 
all yc that love her." Ver. 12. "• I \Aill extend peace to her 
like a river, and the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing 
stream," Micah. iv. at the beginning, " But in the last days 
it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the 
Lord shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it 
shall be exalted above the hills, and people shall flow unto it ; 
and many nations shall come and say, come, and let us go up 
unto the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God 
of Jacob. And he shall judge among many people, and re- 
buke strong nations afar off ; and they shall beat their sword« 
into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning hooks ; na- 
tion shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they 

learn war any more." See also, Isa. ii. at the beginning 

There has been nothing yet brought to pass, in any measure 
to answer these prophecies. And as the prophecy in my 
text and the following verse does agree with them, so there 
js reason to think it has a respect to the same times. And 


indeed there is a remarkable agreement in the description giv- 
en throup;hout the chapter, with the representations made of 
those times elsewhere in the prophets ; as may be seen by- 
comparing ver. 3, with Isa. Ix. 14. Ver. 4, with Isa. ixv. 20, 
22, and xxxiii. 24. V'er. 6, 7, 8, with Ezek. xxxvii. 2, 11, 12, 
21. Ver. 7, with Isa. xliii. 5,6, and xlix. 12, and lix. 19. 
Ver. 12, 13, with Hos. ii. 2!, 22, and Ezek. xxxiv. 22. ,..29. 
Ver. 8, 12, 13, with Ezek. xxxvi. 28,. ...30. Ver. 13, with 
Zeph. iii. 20, and Isa. xix. 24. Ver. 19, with Isa. Ixi. 3, and 
Jer. xxxi. 12, 13, 14. 

So that however the prophet, in some things that are said 
in this chapter, may have respect to future smiles of Heaven 
on the nation of the Jews, lately returned from the Babylonish 
captivity, and resettled in the land of Canaan, in a great in- 
crease of their numbers and wealth, ,and the return of more 
captives from Chaldea and other countries, Sec. yet the Spirit 
of God has doubtless respect to things far greater than these, 
-and of which ihese were but faint resemblances. We find it 
common in the prophecies of the Old Testament, that when 
the prophets are speaking of the favors and blessings of God 
on the Jews, attending or following their return from tha 
Babylonish captivity, the Spirit of God takes occasion from 
thence to speak of the incomparably greater blessings on the 
church, that shall attend and follow her deliverance from the 
spiritual or mystical Babylon, of which those were a type ; 
and is, as it were, led away to speak almost wholly of these 
latter, and vastly greater things, so as to stem to forget the 

And whereas the prophet in this chapter, speaks of God's 
bringing his fieoplc again from the east and ivest to Jerimalevi 
(ver. 7, 8.) And multitudes of all nations taking hold of the skirts 
of the Jews ; so far as we may suppose that this means literally 
that nation of the posterity of Jacob, it cannot have chief res- 
pect to any return of the Jews from Babylon and other coun- 
tries, in those ancient times before Christ ; for no such things 
as are here spoken of, attended any such return : But it must 
have respect to the great calling and gathering of the Jews 
ijup the fold of Christ, and their being received to the bless- 


ings of his kingdom, after the fall of Antichrist, or the des- 
truction of mystical Babylon. 

In the text we have an account how this future glovious ad- 
vancement of the church of God should be brought on, or in- 
troduced ; viz. By great multitudes in different towns and 
countries taking up a. joint resolution^ and comuig into an ex- 
press and visible agreement.^ that they will, by united and ex- 
traordinary firaycr^ seek to God that he would come and man- 
ifest himself, and grant the tokens and fruits of his graciout 

Particularly we may observe, 

1. The dutij, w'lih. the attendance on which the glorious 
event foretold shall be brought on ; viz. The duty of prayer. 
Prayer, some suppose, is here to be taken synechdochicullijj 
for the whole of the worship of God ; prayer being a princi- 
pal part of the worship of the church of God, in the days of 
the gospel, v,'hen sacrifices are abolished : And so that this is 
to be understood only as a prophecy of a great revival of re- 
ligion, and of the true worship of God among his visible peo- 
ple, the accession of others to the church, and turning of nnul- 
titudes from idolatry to the worship of the true God. But it 
appears to me reasonable to sirppose, that something more 
special is intended, with regard to the duty of prayer ; con- 
sidering that prayer is here expressly and repeatedly men- 
tioned ; and also considering how parallel this place is with 
many other prophecies, that speak of an extraordinary spirit 
of prayer, as preceding and introducing that glorious day of 
revival of religion, and advancement of the church's peace and 
prosperity, so often foretold (which I shall have occasion to 
iTtention hereafter) and particularly the agreeablencss of what 
is here said, with what is said afterwards by the same prophet, 
of the pouring out of a spirit of grace and su/i/ilications, as that 
with which this great revival of religion shall begin, ch. xii.lO. 

2. The good, that shall be sought by prayer ; which is 
God himself. It is said once and again, T/m/ shall go to pray 
ieffjre the Lord, and to seek the Lord of Hosts. This is the 
jjood they ask for and seek by prayer, the Lord of hosts him- 
ecir. To seek God, as the expression may perhaps be some- 


times used in scripture, may signify no more than seeking 
the favor or mercy of God. And if it be taken so here, pray- 
ing before }he Lord, and seekmg the Lord of Hoits, must be 
looked upon as synonymous expressions. And it must be con* 
fessed to be a common thing in scripture, to signify the same 
thing repeatedly, by various expressions of the same import, 
for the greater emphasis. But certainly that expression of 
seeking the Lord, is very commonly used to signify something 
Kiore than merely in general, to seek some mercy of God : 
It implies, that God himself is the great good desired and 
sought after ; that the blessings pursued are God's gracious 
presence, the blessed manifestations of him, union and inter- 
course with him ; or, in short, God's manifestations and com- 
munications of himself by his holy Spirit. Thus the Psalm- 
ist desired God, thirsted after him, and sought him. Psal. Ixiii. 
I, 2, 8. « O God thou art my Lod ; early will I seek thee. 
My flesh longeth for thee, in a dry and thirsty land, where no 
water is, to see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee 
in the sanctuary. My soul followeth hard after thee." Psal. 
Ixxiii. 25. " Whom have I in heaven but thee ? And there is 
none upon earth that I desire besides thee." The Psalmist 
earnestly pursued after G od, his soul thirsted after him, he 
stretched forth his hands unto him, Sec. Psal. cxliii. 6. And 
therefore it is in scripture the peculiar character of the saints, 
that they are those that seek God. Psal, xxiv. G. " This is 
the generation of them that seek Him." Psal. Ixix. 32. 
" Your heart shall live that seek God ;" and in many other 
places. If the expression in the text be understood agreeably 
to this sense, then by seeking thcLord of Hosts, we must under- 
stand a seeking, that God who had withdrawn, as it were hid 
himself, for a long time, would return to his church, and grant 
the tokens and fruits of his gracious presence, and those 
blessed communications of his Spirit to his people, and to 
mankind on the earth, which he had often promised, and 
'which his church had long waited for. 

And it seems reasonable, to understand the phrase, seeking 
the Lord of Hosts, in this sense here ; and not as merely sig- 
nifying the same thing with praying to God : Not only be- 


cause the expression is repeatedly added \o praying before th^ 
Z,ord, in the text as sijjnifyinii; something more ; but also be- 
cause the phrase, taken in this sense, is exactly agreeable to 
other parallel prophetic representations. Thus God's peo- 
ple's seeking by earnest prayer, the promised restoration of 
the church of God, after the Babylonish captivity, and the 
g;reat apostasy that occasioned it, is called thcii' seekmg Gody 
find ftearching for him ; and God's granting this promised re- 
vival and restoration is called his being found of them. Je r. 

xxix. 10 14, " For thus saith the Lord, that after seventy 

years be accomplished at Babylon, I will visit you and perforin 
my g-ood word towards you, in causing you to return to this 
place. For I know the thoughts that I think towards you,- 
saith the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you 
an expected end. Then shall ye go and call upon me, and ye 
shall go and pray unto rde, and I will hearken unto you ; and' 
ye sball seek rne and find me, when ye shall search for m« 
with ail your heart ; and I will be found of you, saith the' 
Lord, and I will turn away your captivity." And the prophet*' 
from time to time, represent God, in a low and afTiictcd stater 
of his church, as being withdrawn and hiding himself. Isa. 
xlv. 15. " Veriiy thou art a God that hidest thyself, O God of 
Israel, the Saviour." Chap. Ivii. \7 . " I hid me, and was 
wroth." And they represent God's people, while his church 
is in such a state, before God delivers and restores the same, 
as scvk'mg Him-, looking for Him^ searching and waifmg for Hiniy 
and calling after Him. Hos, v. 15. " I will go and return unto 
my place, until they acknowledge their offence, and seek my 
face: In their afHiction they will seek me early." Isa. viii. 
17." I will wait upon the Lord that hideth his face from the 
house of Jacob, and I will look for Him." And when God, 
in answer to their prayers and succeeding their endeavors, de- 
livers, restores and advances his church, according to his 
promise, then he is said to answer, and come, and say. Here 
am I, and to shew Himself; and they arc said to find Him? 
and see Him plainly. Isa. Iviii. 9. " Then shalt thoti call, 
and the Lord shall answer ; and thou shalt cry, and he shall 
say, hare I am. ' Isa. xlv. 17. " But Israel shall be saved i^ 


the Lord, with an everlasting salvation." And ver. 19. « I said 
not unto the seed of Jacob, Seek ye me in vain." Chap. xxv. 
8, 9. " The Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces, 
and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off the 
earth. And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God, 
we have waited for him, and he will save us : This is the 
Lord, we have waited for him ; we will be glad, and rejoice 
in his salvation." Together with the next chapter, ver. 8, 9. 
« Yea, in the way of thy judgments, O Lord, we have waited 
for thee : The desire of our soul is to thy name, and to the 
remembrance of thee. With my soul have I desired thee in 
the night ; yea with my spirit within me will I seek thee 
early. For when thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabi- 
tants of the world will learn righteousness." Isa. lii. 6, 7, 8. 
" Therefore my people shall know mr name : Therefore 
they shall know in that day, that I ar^ He that doth speak : 
Behold, it is I. How beautiful upon the mountains are the 
feet of Him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace, 
that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation, 
that saith unto Zion, thy God reigneth ! Thy watchmen shall 
lift up the voice ; with the voice together shall they sing ; for 
they shall see eye to eye, when the Lord shall bring again 

3 . We may observe who they are, that shall be united in 
thus seeking the Lord of Hosts : The inhabitants of mamj 
cities^ and of many countries, yea, many people, and strong na^ 
trans ; great multitudes in different parts of the world shall 
conspire in this business. From the representation made in 
the prophecy, it appears rational to suppose, that it will be 
fulfilled something after this manner ; first, that there shall 
be given much of a spirit of prayer to God's people in many 
places, disposing them to come into an express agreement, 
unitedly to pray to God in an extraordinary manner, that he 
would appear for the help of his church, and in mercy to 
mankind, and pour out his Spirit, revive his work, and ad- 
vance his spiritual kingdom in the world as he has promised ; 
and that this disposition to such prayer, and union in it, will 
gradually spread more and more, and increase to greater dc 

Vol.. in. 3X 


grecs ; with which at length will gradually be introduced iC 
revival of religion, and a disposition to greater engagedness in 
the worship and service of God, amongst his professing peo- 
ple ; that this being observed, will be the means of awakening 
others, niaking them sensible of the wants of their souls, and 
exciting in them a great concern for their spiritual and ever- 
lasting good, and putting them upon earnestly crying to God 
for spiritual mercies, and disposing them to join with God's 
people in that extraordinary seeking and serving of God> 
which they shall see them engaged in j and that in this man- 
ner religion shall be propagated, until the awakening reaches 
those that are in the highest station^f and until vjhole nations be 
awakened, and there be at length an accession of many of tlie 
chief nations of the world to the church of Gcd. Thus after 
the inhabitants of many cities of Israel, or of God's profes- 
sing people, have taken up, and pursued a joint resolution, to 
go and pray before the Lord, and seek the Lord of Hosts, 
others shall be drawn lOAVorship and serve Him with them ; 
until at length many pcop.le and strong nations shall join them- 
selves t© them ; and there shall, in process of time, be a vast 
accession to the church, so that it shall be ten times as large 
as it was before ; yea, at length, all nations shall be converted 
unto God. Thus tc7i men shall take holcl^ out of all languages 
of the nations, cf the skirt of him that is a Jew (in the sense of 
the apostle, Rom. ii. 28, 29) saying, We will go with you f 
for we have heard that God is with you, And thus that shall 
be fulfilled, Psal. Ixv. 2. « O thou that hearest prayer, unto 
thee shall all flesh ccme. 

4. We may observe the mode of their union in this duty. 
It is a visible union, an union by explicit agreement, a joint res-' 
olution declared by one to another, come into by being first 
proposed by some, and readily and cjfpressly fallen in with by 
others. The inhabitants of one city shall apply themselves to 
the inhabitants of another, snym^, Let us go. See. Those to 
whom the motion is made, shall comply with it ; the proposal 
shall take with many, it shall be a prevailing, spreading thing ; 
one shall follow another's cxaniplc, one and another shall say, 
I will go also. Some suppose that those words, ImUs^ also, 


lire to be taken as the words of him that makes the proposal ; 
as much as to say, I do not propose that to you, which I am 
not willing to do myself, I desire tjou to go, and I am ready to 
go with tjou. But this is to suppose no more to be expressed 
in these latter words, than was expressed before in the pro- 
posal itself; for these words, let its go, signify as much, as 
that I am willing to go, and desire you to go with me. It 
seems to me much more natural, to understand these latter 
words as importing the consent of those to whom the proposal 
is made, or the reply of one and another that falls in with it. 
this is much more agreeable to the plain design of the text, 
which is to represent the concurrence of great numbers in 
this affair ; and more agreeable to the repvesentation made in 
the next verse, of one following another, many taking hrAd of 
the skirt of him that is a Jew. And though, if the words are 
thus understood, we must suppose an ellipsis in the text, 
something understood that is not expressed, as if it had been 
said. Those of other cities shall say I will go also ; yet this is 
not difficult to be supposed ; such ellipses are very common 
in scripture. We have one exactly parallel with it in Jcr. lii. 
22. « Return, ye backsliding children, and I will heal your 
backslidings : Behold we come unto thee ; for thou art the 
Lord our God," i. e. the backsliding children shall say, " Be» 
hold, we come unto thee," &c. And in Cant. iv. last, and v, 
1. " Let my beloved come into his garden, and eat his pleas- 
ant fruits. I am come into my garden, my sister, my spouse," 
1, e. her beloved shall say, " I am come into my garden." 
We have the like throughout that Song. So Psal 1. 6, f. 
" The heaven shall declare his righteousness ; for God is 
Judge himself. Hear, O my people, and I will speak,*' i. e. 
the judge shall say, " Hear, O my people," he. So Psal. 
Ixxxii. 1,2. The Psalms and prophets abound with such 
figures of speech, 

5. We may observe the manner of prayer agreed on, or the 
manner in which they agree to engage in and perform the 
duty. Let us go speedily to pray ; or as it is in the margin, 
Let us go continually. The words literally translated are, Let 
%t9 g9 in going. Such an ingemination or doubling of words 


is very common in the Hebrew language, when it is intend- 
ed that a thing shall be very strongly expressed ; it generally 
implies th<? superlative degree of a tiling ; as tlic Holy of Hq- 
licfi signihes the most holy : But it commonly denotes, not 
only the utmost degree of a thing but also the utmost certain- 
ty ; as when God said to Abraham, In luuldplyiritf, I tvill mul' 
tifilij thy seed, Gen. xxii. 17, it implies both that God would 
certainly multiply his seed, and also multiply it exceedingly. 
So when God said to Adam, In the day that thoueatest thereof^ 
in dying thou shalt die (as the words are in the original) it im- 
plies hot!) tb.at he should surely die, and also that he should 
die most terribly^ should utterly perish, and be destroyed to 
the utmost degree. Yea, sometimes it seems to imply some- 
thing else still : And in short, as this ingcmination of words 
in the Hebrew, in general denotes the stre igth of expression, 
so it is used to signify almost all those things that are wont 
to be ivignified by the various forms of strong speech in other 
languages: Sometimes it signifies the utmost degree of a 
thing ; sometimes certainty ; sometimes the peremptori- 
ncss and terribleness of a threatening, or the greatness and 
positiveness of a promise, the strictness of a command, and 
the earnestness of a request. When God says to Adam, Dy' 
ivg thou shalt die, it is equivalent to such strong expressions 
in English as, thou shalt die indeed, or, thou shalt die lath a 
nvitJicss. So when it is said in the text, let us go in going, and 
jiray before the Lord, the strength of the expression represents 
the earnestness of those that make the proposal, their great 
engagedness in the affair ; and with respect to the duty pro- 
posed, it may be understood to signify, that they should be 
speedy, fervent, and constant in it j or, in one word, that it 
should be thoroughly performed. 

6. We may learn from the tenor of this prophecy, togeth- 
er with the context, that this union in such prayer is foretold 
as a becoming and hafihy thing, and that which would be ac- 
ceptable to God, and attended with glorious success. 

From the whole we may infer, that it is a very suitable 
thing, and ivell pleasing to God, for many people, in dififerent 
parts of the world, by express agrcement^Xo come into a visible 


stnttMii in extraordinary, speedy, fervent and constant prayer^ 
for those great effusions of the Holy S/iirit, which shall bring 
on that advancement of Christ's church and kingdom, that God 
has so often promised shall be in the lat(er ages of the world. 

And so from hence I would infer the duty of God's people, 
with regard to the memorial lately sent over into America, 
from Scotland, by a number of ministers there, proposing a 
method for such an union as has been spoken of, in extraordi- 
nary prayer for this great mercy. 

And it being the special design of this discourse, to per- 
suade such as are friends to the interests of Christ's kingdom, 
to a compliance with the proposal and request made in that me- 
morial, I shall first give a short historical account of the affair it 
relates to, from letters, papers and pamphlets, that have come 
over from Scotland ; to which I shall annex the memorial it- 
self: And then I shall offer some argmnents and motives, tend- 
ing to induce the friends of religion to fall in Avith what is 
proposed : And lastly, make answer to some objections that 
may possibly be made against it. 

As to theirs; of these things, viz. an historical account of 
the concert, which the memorial relates to, the following ob- 
servations may give a sufficient view of that affair. 

In October, a. d. 1744, a number of ministers in Scotland, 
taking into consideration the state of God's church, and of the 
■world of mankind, judged that the providence of God, at such 
a day, did loudly call such as were concerned for the welfare 
of Zion, to united, extraordinary applications to the God of all 
grace, suitably acknowledging Him as the fountain of all the 
spiritual benefits and blessings of his church, and earnestly 
praying to Him, that he would app.ear in his glory, and favor 
Zion, and manifest his compassion to the world of mankind, 
by an abundant effusion of his Holy Spirit on all the chtjrches, 
and the whole habitable earth, to revive true religion in all 
parts of Christendom, and to deliver o/,^ nations from their great 
and manifold spiritual calamities and miseries, and bless them 
with the unspeakable oenefits of the kingdom of our glorious 
Redeemer, and^// the ivhole earth with His glo7-y. And con- 


aultins; one another on the subject, they looked on themnelv^Sy 
for their own part, obliged to engaj^e in this duty ; and, as far 
as in them lay, to persuade others to the same : And to en- 
deavor to find out and fix on some method^ that should most 
effectually tend to promote and uphold such extraordinary 
application to heaven among God's people. And after seek- 
ing to God by prayer for direction, they determined on the 
following method, as what they would conform to in their own 
practice, and propose to be practised by others, for the two 
year.f next following, viz. to set apart some time on Saturday 
evening and Sabbath morning, every week, for the purpose 
aforesaid, as other duties would allow to every one respective- 
ly ; and more solemnly, the first Tuesday of each quarter 
(beginning with the first Tuesday of November then next en- 
suing) either the whole day, or part of the day, as persons find 
themselves disposed, or think their circumstances will allow : 
The time to be spent either in private praying societies, or in 
fubHc meetings, or alone in secret, as shall be found most prac- 
ticable, or judged most convenient, by such as are willing, in 
some way or other, to join in this affair : But not that any 
should make any promises, or be looked upon as under strict 
bonds in any re&pect, constantly and without fail to observe 
every one of these days, whatever their circumstances should 
be, or however other duties and necessary affairs might inter- 
fere ; or that persons should look upon themselves bound with 
regard to these days in any wise as though the time were ho- 
ly, or the setting them apart for religious purposes were es- 
tablished by sacred authority : But yet, as a proper guard 
•gainst negligence and unsteadiness, and a prudent preserva- 
tive from yielding to a disposition, that persons might be lia- 
ble to, through the prevalence of indolence and listlessness, to 
excuse themselves on trivial occasions, it was proposed, that 
those that unite in this affair, should resolve with themselves, 
that if, by urgent business, or otherwise, they were hindered 
from joining with others, on the very day agreed on, yet they 
vrould not wholly neglect bearing their part in the duty pro- 
posed, but would take the first convenient day following, fop 
that purpose. 


The reason why Saturday evening and Lord'sday morning- 
Avere judged most convenient for the weekly seasons, was, that- 
these times being so near the time of dispensing gospel ordU 
nances through the Christian world, which are the great 
means, in the use of which God is wont to grant his Spirit to 
mankind, and the principal means that the Spirit of God 
makes use of to carry on his nvork of grace, it may well be 
supposed that the minds of Christians in general will at thess 
seasons be especially disengaged from secular aifairs, and dis' 
posed to pious meditations and the duties of devotion, and 
more naturally led to seek the communications of the Holy 
Spirit, and success of the means of grace. And as to the 
guartcTly times, it was thought helpful to memory, that they 
should be on one or other of the Jirst days of each quarter: 
Tuesday was preferred to Monday, because in some places 
people might have public prayers and sermon on the stated 
day, which might not be so convenient on Monday, as on some 
day at a greater distance from the Sabbath. 

It was reckoned a chief use of such an agreement and meth- 
od as this, that it wotiid be a good expedient for the maintain- 
ing and keeping up, amongst the people of God, that great 
Christian duty oi firayerfulness for the co?mng of Christ's king' 
dom, in general, which Christ has directed his followers to be 
so much in, that it may not be out of mind, and in a great 
measure sunk. Things, that we are too little inclined to, 
through sloth, carnality, or a fulness of our own worldly and 
private concerns, and that are to be attended at some seasons 
or other, and have no special seasons stated for them, are apt 
to he forgotten, ov put o^from time to time, and as it were '^d' 
louvncCi. without day s and so, if not wholly neglected, yet too 
little attended. But when we fix certain seasons, that we re- 
solve, unless extraordinarily hindered, to devote to the duty, it 
tends to prevent forgetfulness, and a settled negligence of it. 
The certain returns of the season will naturally refresh the 
memory ; will tend to put us in mind of the precept of Christ, 
und the obligations that lie on all his followers, to abound in 
such a duty, and renewedly engage us to the consideration of 
lt)e importance and necessity and unspeakable value ef tho 


inrrcy sought ; and so, by iVccpicnt renovation, to keep alive 
the consideration and sense of these things at all times. Thus 
the first promoters of this agreement judged, that it -would be 
subservient to more abundant prayerfolness for effusions of 
the Holy Spirit, at all times through the year, both in secret 
and social worship ; particularly as to this last, in congrega- 
tions, families, and other praying societies. And then they 
also judged, that such an agreed union would tend to animate 
and encourage God's people in the duty proposed ; and that 
particular persons and societies, knowing that great multitudes 
of their fellow Christians, in so many distant places, were at 
the same time (as a token of the union of their hearts with 
them in this affair) by agreement engaged in the same holy 
exercise, would naturally be enlivened in the duty by such a 

It was not thought best, to propose at first a longer time for 
the continuance of this precise method, than two years : It be- 
ing considered, that it is not possible, before any trial, so well 
to judge of the expedience of a particular method and certain 
circumstances of the managing and ordering such an affair, as 
after some time of experience. And it Avas not known, but 
that after longer consideration, and some trial, it might be 
thought best to alter some circumstances ; or whether others^ 
that had not yet been consulted, might not propose a better 
method. The time first agreed on, though but short, was 
thought sufficient to give opportunity for judgment and expe- 
rience, and for such as were disposed to union in an affair of 
such a nature, in distant places, mutually to communicate their 
sentiments on the subject. 

The way, in which those that fi^rst projected and came into 
this agreement, thought best for (he giving notice of it and 
proposing it to others, was not by any thing published from 
the press ; but by personal conversation with such as they 
could conveniently have immediate access to, and by private 
correspondence with others at a distance. At first it was in- 
tended, that some formal paper, proposing the matter, should 
be sent about for ])roper amendments and improvements, and 
then concurrence : But on more mature deliberation, it was 


cbiisidered how this might give a handle to objections (which 
they thought it best, to the utmost, to avoid in the infancy of 
the affair) and how practicable it was, without any such foi-m- 
ality, to spread the substance of the proposal by private let- 
ters, together with a request to their correspondents, mutually 
to communicate their thoughts. Therefore this was fixed on, 
as the method that v/as preferable at the beginning. Accord- 
ingly, tliey proposed and endeavored to promote the affair in 
this way ; and with such success, that great numbers in Scot- 
land and England fell in with the proposal, and some in North 
America. As to Scotland, it was complied with by numbers 
in the four chief towns, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and 
Dundee, and many country towns and congreigations in va- 
rious parts of the land : One of the ministers, that was prima- 
rily concerned in this affair, in a letter to one of his corres- 
pondents, speaks of an explicit declaration of the concurrence 
of the praying societies in Edinburgh, which they had made 
in a letter. The number of the praying societies in that 
city is very considerable : Mr, Robe of Kilsyth, (in a letter to 
Mr. Prince of Boston, dated Novembers, 1743) says, there 
■were then above thirty societies of young people there newly 
erected, some of whom consisted of upwards of thirty mem- 
bers. As to Glasgow, this union was unanimously agreed to 
by about fortyfive praying societies there ; as an eminent min- 
ister in that city informs, in a letter. 

The two years, first agrt;ed on, ended last November. A 
little before this time er^pired, a number of ministers in Scot- 
land agreed on a memorial to be printed, and sent abroad to 
their brethren in various parts, proposing to them and re- 
questing of them to join with them in the conthmance of this 
method of united prayer, and in endeavors to promote it.... 
Copies of which memorial have lately been sent ove^ into 
Newengland, to the number of near five hundred, directed to 
be distributed in almost every county in this province of 
the Massachusetts Bay, and also in several parts of Con- 
necticut, Newhampshire, Rhodeisland, Newyork, Newjersey, 
Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, Carolina, and Georgia.;.. 
The most (I suppose) of these were sent to one of the congrc- 
VoL. III. 2 Y 


gational ministers in Boston, with a letter subscribed by 
twelve ministers in Scotland, about the affair : Many of them 
to another of the said ministers of Boston ; and some to a mia- 
islei" in Connecticut. It being short, I shall here insert wi 
copy of it at length. It is as follows : 


From se-oernl Ministers in Scotland, to Iheir Brethren in different 
places.) for continuing a Concert for Prayer, first entered int» 
in the year 1744. 

WHEREAS it was the chief scope of tliis Concert, to pro- 
mote more abundant application to a duty that is perpetually 
binding, /27-cz/fr that our Lord's kingdom may comf, joined with 
praises: And it contained some circumstantial expedients, ap- 
prehended to be very subservient to that design, relating to 
stated times for such exercises, so far as this would not inter- 
fere with other duties ; particularly a part of Saturday even- 
ing, and Sabbath morning, every week ; and more solemnly 
of some one of the first days of each of the four great divis- 
ions of the year, that is, of each quarter ; as the first Tuesday,' 
or first convenient day after : And the concert, as to this cir- 
cumstance, was extended only to two years ; it being intend- 
ed, that before these expired, persons engaged in the concert 
should reciprocally communicate their sentiments and incli- 
nations, as to the prolonging of the time, with or without alter- 
ation, as to the ciixumstance mentioned : And it was intended 
by the first promoters, that others at a distance should projjose 
such circumstantial amendments or improvements, as they 
should find proper : It is hereby earnestly intreated, that such 
vould communicate their sentiments accordingly, now that 
the time first proposed is near expiring. 

II. To induce those already engaged to adhere, and others 
to accede to this concert ; it seems of importance to observe, 
that declarf\tions of concurrence, the communicating and 
spreading of which are so evidently useful, are to be under- 
stood in such a latitude, as to keep at the greatest distance 


from entangUn(5 men's ininds : Not as binding -men to set 
apart any stated days from secular affairs, or even to fix on 
any part of such and such precise days, whether it be conve- 
nient or not ; nor as absolute promises in any respect : But 
as friendly, harmonious resolutions, with liberty to alter cir- 
cumstances as shall be found expedient. On account ©f all 
which latitude, and that the circumstantial part extends only 
to a few years, it is apprehended, the concert cannot be liable 
to the objections against periodical religious times of human 

III. It is also humbly offered to the consideration of minis- 
ters, and others furnished with gifts for the most public in- 
structions, whether it might not be of great use, by the bless- 
ing of God, if short and nervous scriptural persuasives and 
directions to the duty in vieitf^ were comjwsed and fniblished 
(either by particular authors, or several joining together ; 
which last way might some times have peculiar advantages) 
and tlmtfrom titiie to timey without too great intervals ; the bet- 
ter to keep alive on men's minds a ju»t sense of the obliga- 
tions to a duty so important in itself, and in v/hich many may- 
be in danger to faint and turn remiss, without s«ch repeated 
incitements : And nvhether ii ivouid not also be 0/ great use^ if 
ministers would be fileased to fireach frequently on the itnfiortance 
and necessity of ftrayer for the coming of our Lord 's kingdom ; 
particularly near the quartei'ly days, or on these days them- 
selves, where there is public worship at that time. 

IV. They who have found it incumbent on them to publish 
this Kiemorial at this timfii having peculiar advantages foe 
spreading it, do intreat that the desire of concurrence and as- 
sistance contained in it, may by no means be understood as re- 
stricted to any particular denomination or party, or to those 
\vho are of such or such opinions about any former instances 
of remarkable religious .concern ; but to be extended to all, 
■who shall vouchsafe any attention to this paper, and have at 
heart the interest of vital Christianity, and the power of God- 
Jiness ; and who, however differing about other things, are 
convinced of the importance of fervent prayer, to promote that 
common interest, and scripture persuasives to of promote 
Auch prayer. 


V. As the first printed account of this concert v/as not a jjro- 
posal of it, as a thin.^ then to l^egin, but a navraliori of il, as a 
design already set on foot, which had been brought about with 
much harmony, by means of private letters ; so the farther 
continuance, and, it is hoped, the farther spreading of it seems 
in a promising way of being promoted by the eume means ; as 
importunate desires of the renewing the concert have been 
transmitted already from a very distant corner abroad, where 
the regard to it has of late increased : But notwithstanding of 
what may be done by private letters, it is humbly expected, 
that a memorial spread in this manner, may, by God's bless- 
ing, farther promote the good ends in view ; as it may be use- 
fully referred to in letters, and may reach where they will not. 

VI. Whereas in a valuable letter, from the corner just now 
mentioned as a place where regard to the concert has lately- 
increased, it is proposed, that it should l)e continued for seven 
years, or at least for a much longer time than what was speci- 
fied in the first agreement ; those concerned in this memorial, 
who would wish rather to receive and spread directions and 
proposals on this head, than to be the first authors of any, ap- 
prehend no inconvenience, for their part, in agreeing to the 
seven years, with the latitude above described, which reserves 
liberty to make such circumstantial alterations, as may be 
Jiereafter found expedient : On the contrary it seems of im- 
■portance, that the labor of spreading a concert, which has al- 
ready extended to so distant parts, and may, it is hopefl, extend 
farther, tnay not need to be renewed sooner, at least much 
sooner ; as it is uncertain but that may endanger the dropping 
of it ; and it seems probable, there will be less zeal in spread- 
ing of it, if the time proposed for its continuance be too in- 
considerable. Mean time, declarations of concurrence for a 
less number of years may greatly promote the good ends in 
, view : Though it seems very expedient, that it should ex- 
.'ceed what was first agreed on ; "Seeing it is found on trial, that 
■that time, instead of being too long, was much too short. 
VII. If persons who formerly agreed to this concert, should 

now discontinue it ; would it not look too like that fainting in 
prayer, against which we are so expressly warned in scrip- 


ture ? And would not this be the more unsuitable at this time, 
in any within the British dominions, when they have the unit- 
ed calls of such public chastisements and deliverances, to 
more concern than ever about public reformation, and conse- 
quently about that which is the source of all thorough reform- 
ation, the regenerating and sanctifying influence of the Al- 
mighty Spirit of God ? August 26, 1746." 

The minister in Boston forementioned (to whom most of 
the copies of this memorial were sent) who, I suppose, has 
had later and more full intelligence than I have had, says, con- 
cerning the proposal, in a letter ; the motion seems to come 
from above, and to be wonderfully spreading in Scotland, 
England, Wales, Ireland, and North America. 


Mothes to a Compliance with ivhat is proposed in 
the Memorial. 

I NOW proceed to the second thing intended in this dis- 
course, viz. to offer to consideration some things, which may 
tend to induce the people of God to comply with the proposal 
and request, made to them in the memorial. 

And I desire that the following things m.ay be considered. 

1. It ,is evident from the scripture, that there is yet remain- 
ing a great advancement of the interest of religion and the 
kingdom of Christ in this world, by an abundant outpouring 
of the Spirit of God, far greater and more extensive than ever 
yet has been. It is certain, that many things, which arc 
spoken coacerning a glorious time of the church's enlarge- 
ment and prosperity in the latter days, have never yet been 
fulfilled. There has never yet been any propagation and 
prevailing of religion, in any wise, of that extent and univer- 
sality, which the prophecies represent. It is often foretold 
and signified, in a great variety of strong expressions, that 
there should a time come, when all nations through the whole 


l»abita!)le world, should embrace the true religion, and b« 
tiroucjht into the church of God. It was often promised to 
the Patriarchs, that in their seed all the nations, or (as it i« 
sometimes expressed) all the families of the earth should b« 

blessed. (See Gen. xii. xviii. 18 xxii. 18 xxvi. 4, 

andxxviii. 14.) Agreeably to this, it is said of the Messiah 
Psal. Ixxii. 1 1 . That " all nations shall serve him ; and io 
Ver. 17, men shall be blessed in him, and all nations shall 
call him blessed." And in Isa. ii. 2, it is said, that " all na- 
tions shall How unto the mountain of the house of the Lord.** 
And Jer. iii. 17. That " all nations shall I)c gathered uniothc 
tiame of the Lord to Jerusalem, and shall walk no more after 
the imagination of their evil heart." So it is said, That ail 
jfirsh shall come andtaorshifi before the Lord, Isa. Ixvi, 23. And 
that alljfesh should see the glory of God together, Isa. xl. 5. AncJ 
that all flesh should come to him that hears prayer, Psal. Ixv. 2. 
Christ compares the kingdom of Heaven in t/tis world to leaven, 
ivhich a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, until the 
tuhole was leavened, Mat. xiii. 33. It is natural and reasonable 
to suppose, that the whole world should finally be given to 
Christ, as one whose right it is to reign, as the proper heir of 
him, who is originally the king of all nations, and the posses- 
sor of heaven and earth : And the scripture teaches us, that 
God the father hath constituted his son, as Godman, and in 
his kingdom of grace, or mediatorial kingdom, to be the heir 
of the world, that he might in this kingdom have the heathen 
for his inheritance, and the utmost ends of the earth for his 
possession ; Heb. i. 2, and ii- 8. Psal. ii. 6, 7, 8. Thus A- 
braham is said to be the heir of the world, not in himself, but 
in his seed, which is Christ; Rom. iv. 13. And how was 
tliis to be fulfilled to Abraham, but by God's fulfilling that 
threat promise, that in his seed all the nations of the earth should 
be blessed ? For that promise is what the apostle is speaking 
©f ; which shews, that God has appointed Christ to be the heir 
of the world in his kingdom of grace, and to possess and reign 
over all nations, through the propagation of his gospel, and 
the power of his spirit communicating the blessings of it. 
God hatli appointed liimto this universal dominion by a most' 


Solemn oaih ; Isa. xlv. 23. « I have sworn by myself, th« 
word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not 
return, that unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall 
Swear." Compared with Phil. ii. 10, 11. Though this solemn 
oath of God the father is to be undersood in so comprehen- 
eive a sense, as to extend to what shall be accomplished at th© 
day of judgment, yet it is evident by the foregoing and follow- 
ing verses, that the thing most directly intended, is what shall 
be fulfilled by the spreading of the gospel of his salvation, and 
power of the spirit of grace, bringing " all the ends of the 
earth to look to him that they may be saved, and come ta 
him for righteousness and strength, that in him they might be 
justified, and might glory." God has suffered many earthly 
princes to extend their conquests over a great part of the face 
of the earth, and to possess a dominion of vast extent, and one 
monarchy to conquer and succeed another, the latter bein'g 
still the greater : It is reasonable to suppose that a much 
greater glory in this respect should be reserved for Christ, 
God's own son and rightful heir, who has purchased the do- 
minion by so great and hard a service : It is reasonable to sup- 
pose, that his dominion should be far the largest, and his con- 
<5[uests vastly the greatest and most extensive. And thus the 
scriptures represent the matter, in Nebuchadnezzar's vision, 
and the prophet's interpretation, Dan. ii. " Thci-ethe four great 
monarchies of the earth, one succeeding another, are I'^pre- 
sented by the great image of gold, silver, brass, iron and clay ; 
but at last a stone cut of the mountain without hands, smites 
the image upon his ieet, which breaks the iron, clay, brass, 
ailver and gold in pieces, that all becomes as the chaff of the 
summer threshing floors, and the wind carries them away, 
that no place is found for them ; but the stone waxes great, 
becoms a i^reat mountain, and fills the whole earth ; signify- 
ing the kingdom which the Lord God of heaven should set tip 
in the world, last of all, which should break in pieces and con- 
sume all other kingdoms." Surely this representation leads 
us to suppose, that this last kingdom shall be of vastly greater 
extent than any of the preceding. The like representationf 
is made in the 7tb chap, of Daniel ; there the four inonarch- 


ies are represented by four great beasts that ai'ose successivelf , 
one conquering and subduing another ; tlie fourth and last of 
these is said to be dreadful, and tcrrible,and strong exceedingly, 
and to have great iron teeth, and to devour and break in pieces, 
and stamp the residue with his feet ; yea it is said, ver. 23, 
that the kingdom represented by this beast shall devour the 
■whole earth ; but last of all one like the Son of Man appears, 
coming to the ancient of days, and being brought near before 
him, and receiving of him a dominion, and gloi-y, and a kingdom 
that all peojde, nations, and languages should seT^e him. This, 
last circumstance, of the vast extent and universality of his 
dominion, is manifestly spoken of as one thing greatly dis- 
tinguishing his holy kingdom from all the preceding mon- 
archies : Although of one of the former it was said, that it 
should devour the whole earth, yet we are naturally led, both 
by the much greater emphasis and strength of the expres- 
sions, as well as by the whole connexion and tenor of th e 
prophecy, to understand the universality here expressed in a 
inuch more extensive and absolute sense : And the terms 
used in the interpretation of this vision are such, that scarcely 
any can be devised more strong, to signify an absolute uni- 
versality of dominion over the inhabitants of the face of the 
earth ; ver. 27. " And the kingdom and dominion, and the 
greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall he 
given to the people of the most high God, Agreeably to this 
the gospel is represented ^% preached unto them that dnvell on 
the earth, ajid to every nation, and tongue, and kindred, and /leO' 
file, Rev. xiv. 6. The universality of the prevalence of true 
religion in the latter days, is sometimes expressed by its 
reaching to " the utmost ends of the earth," Psal. ii. 8, " To 

all the ends of the earth, and of the world," Psal. xxii. 27 

Ixvii. 7....xcviii. 3. Isa. xlv. 22. " All the ends of the earth, 
•with those that are far off upon the sea," Psal. Ixv. 5. " From 
the rising of the sun to the going down of the same," Psal. 
cxiii. 3. Mai. i. 11. " The outgoings of the morning and 
of the evening," Psal. Ixv. 8. It seems that all the most strong 
expressions, that were in use among the Jews to signify the 
.habita!)le Avorld in its utmost extent, are made use of to sig;- 


\hQ esteftt of the church of God in the latter days : And in 
jrnany places, a variety of these expressions is used, and there 
is an accumulation of them, expressed with great force. 

It would be unreasonable to say, these are only bold figuresj 
used after the manner of the eastern nations, to express the 
p;reat extent of the Christian church, at and after the days of 
Censtantine : To say so would be in effect to say, that it 
would have been impossible for God, if he had desired it, 
plainly to have foretold any thing that should absolutely have 
extended to all nations of the earth. I question whether it be 
possible to find out a more strong expression, to signify an ab- 
solute universality of the knowledge of the true religion 
through the habitable world, than that in Isa. xi. 9, « The earth 
shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cov- 
er the seas." Which is as much as to say, As there is no 
place in the vast ocean where there is not water, so there 
shall be no part of the world of mankind where there is not 
the knowledge of the Lord ; as there is no part of the mde 
bed or cavity possessed by the sea, but what is covered with 
water, so there shall be no part «f the habitable world that 
bhall not be covered with the light of the gospel, and possess- 
ed by the true religion. Waters are often in prophecy put 
for nations and multitudes of people : So the waters of the 
main ocean seem sometimes to be put for the inhabitants of 
the earth in general ; as in Ezekiel's vision of waters of the 
sanctuary (Ezek. xlvii.) which flowed from the sanctuary, and 
ran east, until they came to the ocean, and were at first a 
small stream, but continually increased until they became a 
great river ; and when they came to the sea, the water even 
of the vast ocean v/as healed (ver. 8.) representing the con- 
version of the world to the true religion in the latter days. 
It seems evident, that the time will come, when there will not 
be one nation remaining in the world, which shall not embrace 
the true religion, in that God has expressly revealed, that no 
one such nation shall be left standing on the earth ; Isai. Ix. 
12. " The nation and kingdom that will not serve thee shall 
perish ; yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted." God has 
declared that heathen idolatry and all the worship of false 
Vol. HI. aZ 


gcds shall be wholly abolished, in the most universal manner, 
so that it shall be continued in no place under the heavens, or 
upon the face of the earth ; Jer. x. 11." The gods that have 
Dot made the heavens and the eavih, even they shall perish 
from the earth, and from under these hoavens." Vcr. 15. 
" They are vanity, and the work of errors, in the time of their 
visitation lliey shall perish." This must be understood as 
what shall be brought to pass while this earth and tl:ese heav- 
ens remain, i. e. before the end of the world. Agreeable to 
this is that, Isa. liv. 1, 2. " Sing, O barren, and thou that didst 
not bear ; for more are the children of the desolate than the 
children of the married wife, saith the Lord ; enlarge the 
place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of 
thy habitation ; spare not ; lengthen thy cords, strengthen 
thy stakes." Ver. 5. " For thy Maker is thy husband ; the 
Lord of Hosts is his name ; and thy Redeemer the Holy One 
of Israel ; the God of the whole earth shall he be called." 

The prophecies of the New Testament do no less evidently 
shew, that a time will come when the gospel shall universally 
prevail, and the kingdom of Christ be extended over the whole 
habitable earth, in the most proper sense. Christ says, John 
xii. 32. " I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men 
luito me." It is lit, that when the son of God becomes man, 
he should have dominion over all liiankind : It is fit that since 
he became an inhabitant of the earth, and shed his blood on 
the earth, he should possess the whole earth : It is fit, 
seeing here he became a servaut, and was subject to men, 
and was arraigned before them, and judged, condemned 
and executed by them, and suffered ignominy and death 
in a most public manner, before Jews and Gentiles, being 
lifted up to view on the cross upon an hill, near that pop- 
■ulous city Jerusalem, at a most public time, when there were 
many hundred thousand spectators, from all parts, that he 
should be rewarded with an universal dominion over mankind; 
and it is here declared he shall be. The apostle, in the 1 ItU 
of Romans, teaches us to look to that great outpouring of the 
Spirit, and ingathering of souls into Christ's kingdom, that was 
in those days, first of the Jev.s, and then of the Gentiles, to be 


"but as the first fruits of the intended harvest,both with regard to 
Jews and Gentiles, and to look on the ingathering of those 
first fruits as a sign that all the remainder both of Jews and 
Gentiles should in due time be gathered in ; \er. 16. « For 
if the first fruit be holy, the lump is also holy ; and if th« 
root be holy, so ave the branches.'' And in that context, the- 
apostle speaks of the fullness of both Jews and Gentiles, as 
what shall hereafter be brought in, as distinct from that in- 
gathering from among both, that was in those primitive ages 
of Christianity : In ver. 12, we read of the fulness of the Jews, 
and in the 25th of the fulness of the Gentiles : And there ia 
ver. 39, 31, 32, the apostle teaches us to look upon that infi- 
.flelity and darkness, that first prevailed ever all Gentile nations, 
before Chi'ist came, and then over the Jews afterChrist came, 
as what w-as wisely permitted of God, as a preparation for the 
manifestation of the glory of God's mercy, in due time, on the 
whole world, constituted ofJews and Gentiles. God hath condud' 
ed them all in unbeliefs that he might have mercy upon all. These 
things plainly shew, that the time is coming when the »vhole 
world of mankind shall be brought into the church of Christ ; 
and not only a part of the Jev/s, and a part of the Gentile world, 
as the first fruits, as it was in the first ages of the Christian 
church ; but the fullness of both, the whole lump, all the na- 
tion of ihe Jews, and all the world of Gentiles. 

In the last great conflict between the church of Christ and 
her enemies, before the commencement of the glorious time 
of the church's peace and rest. The kings of the earthy and the 
nvitole ^ivorldj are rejiresenicd as gathered together. Rev. xvi. 14, 
and then the " seventh angel pours out his vial into the air,'* 
which limits that kingdom that Satan has, as god of this world, 
in its utmost extent ; and that kingdom is represented as ut- 
terly overthrown, ver. 17, ccc. And in another description of 
that great battle, chap. xlx. Christ is represented as riding 
forth, having on his head many crowns, and on his vesture and 
on his thigh a name written, King ofKings, arid Lord of Lords, 
Which we may well suppose signifies, that he is now going 
to that conquest, whereby he shall set up a kingdom, in which 
lie shall be King- of Kings, in a far more extensive manner 


than either the Babylonish, Persian, Grecian, or Roman mon- 
archs were. And in vcr. 17, and following, " an angel ap- 
pears standing in the sun, that overlooks the v/hole world, cal- 
ling on all the fowls that fly in the midst of hciiven, to come 
and eat the flesh of kings," 8cc. And in consequence of the 
great victory Christ gains at that time, an angel co?nes down- 
from heaven, havint^ the key of the bottomless pit^ and a great 
chain m his handy and laiis hold on the devil^ and binds him, and 
casts hi?n 172 to the bottomless pit, and shuts him up, and sets a seal 
upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more. Satan, 
being dispossessed of that highest monarchy on earth, the 
Roman empire, and cast out in the time of Constantine, is 
represented chap. xii. by his being cast down from heaven to 
the earth : But now there is something far beyond that ; he 
is cast out of the earth, and is shut up in hell, and confined to 
that alone, so that he has no place left him in this world uf 
mankind, high nor low. 

Now will any be so unreasonable as to say, that all these 
things do not signify more than that one third part of the 
world should be brought into the church of Christ ; beyond 
which it cannot be pretended that the Christian religion has 
ever yet reached, in its greatest extent ? Those countries, 
which belonged to the Roman empire, that were brought to 
the profession of Christianity, after the reign of Constantine, 
are but a small part of what the habitable world now is ; as to 
extent of ground, they all together bear, I suppose, no greater 
proportion to it, than the land of Canaan did to the Roman 
empire. And our Redeemer in his kingdom of grace has 
hitherto possessed but a little part of the world, in its most 
flourishing state, since arts are risen to their greatest height ; 
and a very great part of the world is but lately discovered, and 
much remains undiscovered to this day. 

These things make it very evident, that the main fulfilment 
of those prophecies, that speak of the glorious advancement 
of Christ's kingdom on earth, is still to come. 

And as there has been nothing as yet, with regard to the 
flourishing of religion, and the advancement of Christ's king* 
dom, of such extent as to answer the prophecies, so neither 


Sias there been any thin.;^ of that duration, tliat is foretold.... 
The piophecit'S speak of Jerusalem's being made the joy of 
efthe ivliole earthy and also the^ot/ of many generations (Psal. 
xlviil. 2. Isa. Ix. 15.) That God^s peojile shoitld long ev joy the: 
tvork of their hands, (Isa. Ixv. 22.) That tliey should reign 
nvith Christ a thousand years (Rev. xx.) by which we must at 
least understand a very long time. But it would be endless 
to mention all the places, which signify that the time of the 
church's great peace and prosperity should be of long; contin- 
uance : Almost all the prophecies that speak of her latter day 
glory, imply it ; and it is implied in very many of them, that 
when once this day of the church's advancement and peace is 
begim, it shall never end, till the world ends ; or, at least, that 
there shall be no more a return of her troubles and adversity 
for any considerable continuance ; that then the days of her 
-mourning shall be ended ; that her tribulations should then be as 
the waters of N^oah unto God, that a.s /le has sworn that the wa- 
ters of JVoah should no more pass over the earth, so he will swear 
that he will no more he wroth with his jieofile, or rebuke them ; 
that God 's fieople should no more walk after the imagination of 
their evil heart ; that God would hide himself no more from the 
house of Israel, because he has floured out his Spirit upon them ; 
that their sun should no more go down, nor the moon withdrai-j 
itself ; that the light should not be clear and dark (i. e. there 
should be no more an interchange of light and darkness, as 
\ised to be) but that it should be all one continued day ; not day 
and Jiight (for so the words are in the original in Zech. xiv. 
7) alternately, but it shall come to pass, that at evening time (i. 
e. at the time that night and darkness used to be) it shall be 
light ; and that the nations should beat their swords into plough- 
shares, and their sfiears into pruning hooks, and that nation shall 
not lift up sword against nation, nor learn war any more ; but 
that there should be abundance of peace so long as the moon en- 
dureth. And innumerabJe things of this nature are declared. 
But the church of Christ has never yet enjoyed a state of 
peace and prosperity for any long time ; on the contrary, the 
times of her rest, and of the flourishing state of religion, have 
ever been very short- Hitherto the church may say as in Isa. 


Ixiii. 17, 18. "Return, for thy servants sake, the tribes of 
thine inheritance ; the people of thy holiness have possessed 
it but a little ■while." Tlie quietness that the cluu'ch of God 
enjoyed after the bce;i;inin;^ of Constantinc's reign, was very 
short ; the peace the empire enjoyed, in freetloin from war, 
was not more than twenty years j no longer nor greater than 
it hnil enjoyed under some cf the heathen ernperors. After 
this the empire was rent in pieces by intestine wars, and wast- 
ed almost every where by the invasions and incursions of bar- 
barous nations, and the Christian world was soon all in con- 
tention and confusion, by heresies and divisions in matters of 
religion. And the church of Christ has never as yet been for 
any long time, free from persecution ; especially v/hen truth 
has prevailed, and true religion flourished. It is manifest, that 
hitherto the people of God have b-een kept under, and Zion 
has been in a low afflicted state, aid her ene^iiies have had the 
chief sway. 

And another thing, that makes it exceeding manifest that 
that day of the church's greatest advancement on earth, which 
is foretold in scripture, has never yet come, i?., that it is so 
plainly and expressly revealed that this day should succeed the 
last of the four monavchies, even the Reman, in its last state, 
wherein it is divided into ten kingd^jms, and after the destruc- 
tion of Antichrist, signified by the little horn, whose reign is 
contemporary with the reign of the ten kings. These things 
are very plain in the 2d and Tth chapters of Daniel, and also 
in the Revelation of St. Jolin. And it is also plain by the 1 1th 
chapter of Romans, that it i;hail be after the national conver- 
sion of the Je^VBy tjhlch shall he as lif^froAi the dead to the Gen.' 
tiles-) and \.\\t fulness of both Jeius arid Gentiles should be come 
zw, and all the nation of the Jews and all othe:* nations shall 
obtain mercy, and ihcre shall be that general ingathering of 
the harvest of the whole earth, of whi-h all thjkt had been con- 
verted before, either of Jews or Gentiles, were but the first 
fruits. And many other evidences of this point might be 
mentioned, which for brevity's sake I omit. 

And thus it is meet, that the last kingdom which shall take 
place on earth, should be the kingdom of God's own Son and 


lielr, whose right it is to rule and reign ; and that whatever 
revolutions and coni'usions there^rnay be in the world, for a 
long time, the cause of truth, the righteous cause, should 
finally prevail, and God's holy people should at last inherit 
the earth, and reign on earth ; and that the world should con- 
tinue in tumults and great revolutions, following one another^ 
from age to age, the world being as it were in travail, until 
truth and holiness are brought forth ; tliat all things should be 
shaken, until that comes which is true and right, and agreea- 
ble to the mind of God, which cannot be shaken ; and that this 
wisdom of the Ruler of the world should be manifestetl in the 
bringing all things ultimately to so good an issue. The world 
is made for the Son of God ; his kingdom is the end of all 
changes, that come to pass in the state of the world of man- 
kind ; all are only to prepare the way for this ; it is fit there- 
fore that the last kingdom on earth should be his. It is wisely 
and mercifully ordered of God that it should be so, on this ac- 
count, as well as many others, viz. that the cRurch of God, 
under all preceding changes, should have this consideration 
to encourage her, and maintain her hope, and animate her 
faith and prayers, from generation to generation, that God has 
promised, her cause should finally be maintained and prevail 
m this world. 

Let it nov/ be considered, 
2. The future promised advancement of the kingdom of 
Christ is an event unspeakably happy and glorious. The 
scriptures speak of that time, as a time wherein God and His 
Son Jesus Christ will be most eminently glorified on earth ; a 
time, wherein God, who until then had dwelt between the 
cherubims, and concealed himself in the holy of holies, in the 
secret of his tabernacle, behind the vai], in the thick darkness, 
should openly shine forth, and all flesh should see his glory, 
and God's people in general have as great a privilege as the 
high priest alone liad once a year, or as Moses had in the 
TOOvmt ; a time, wherein the te?)i/ile of God hi heaven should be 
opened-) and there should be sec:: the ark r.f His testament ; (Rev. 
xi. 19) a time, wherein both God will be greatly glorified, and 


his saints made unspeakably happy in the view of his gloiy ^ 
a time, wherein God's people should not only once see the 
light of God's glory, as Moses, or see it once a year with the 
hi|>-h priest, but shoirld dwell and walk continually in it, and it 
should be their constant daily light, instead of the light of the 
sun,(Iba. ii. 5. 1'sal.bcxxix. 15. Isa.lx. 19)which light should be 
so much more glorious than the light of the sun or moon, that 
the moon shall be confounded., and the sun asliamed., when the 
Lord of hosts should rei^n in mount 'Zion^ and In Jerusalem be' 
fore his ancients gloriously ; Isa. xxiv. 23. 

It is represented as a time of vast increase of knowledge 
and understanding, especially in divine things ; a time where- 
in God Avould " destroy the face of the covering cast over all 
people, and the vail spread over all nations," Isa. xxv. 7. 
•wherein " the light of the moon shall be as the light of the 
sun, and the light of the sun seven fold," Isa. xxx. 26. " And 
the eyes of them that sec shall not be dim, and the heart of 
the rash shall understand knowledge," Isa. xxxii. 3, 4. "And 
they shall no more teach every man his neighbor, and every 
Tnan his brother, sayint;', know the Lord, because they shall 
know him from the least to the greatest," Jer. xxxi. 24. And 
a time of general holiness, (Isa. Ix. 30. « Thy, people shall be 
»ll righteous.") And a time of a great prevailing of eminent 
holiness, when little children shcukl, in spiritual attainments, 
be as though they were " an hundred years old," Isa. Ixv. 20. 
And wherein " he that is feeble among God's people should 
be as David,"^ Zech. xii. 8. A time wherein holiness should 
be as it were inscribed on every thing, on all men's common 
business and employments, and the common utensils of life, 
all shall be dedicated to God, and improved to holy purposes ; 
(Isa.xxiii. 18. « And her merchandize and hire shall be holi- 
ness to the Lord." Zech. xiv. 20, 21. « lu that day shall thers 
be upon the bells of the horses. Holiness unto the Lord ; and 
the pots in the Lords house shall be like the bowls refore the 
altar ; yea every pot in Jerusalem and in Judah shall be ho- 
liness unto the Lord of Hosts.") A time wherein religion 
and true Christianity shall in every respect be uppermost in 
the world J wherein God will cause his church to u.rii.e ojii. 


shake herself from the dust., and put cm her beautiful garmentiy 
and sit down on a throne ; and the poor shall be raised from the 
dust, and the beggar from the dunghill, and shall be set among 
princes, and made to inherit the throne of God's glory : A time 
wherein vital piety shall take possession of thrones and pala- 
ces, and those that are in most exalted stations shall be emi- 
nent in holiness. Isa. xlix. 23. « And kings shall be thy 
nursing fathers, and their queens thy nursing mothers." 
Chap. Ix. 16. " Thou shalt suck the breasts of kings." Isa. 
xlv. 12. " The daughter of Tyre shall be there with a gift, the 
rich among the people shall entreat thy favor." A time of 
wonderful union, and the most universal peace, love and sweet 
harmony ; wherein the nations shall beat their sivords into 
ploughshares, Ssr.c. arid God will cause, wars to cease to the ends 
of the earth, a.nd break the bow, ayid cut the spear in cunder, and 
burn the chariot in the fire ; and the mountains shall bring forth 
peace to God's people, and the little hills by righteousness i 
wherein the wolf should dwell with the lamb. Sec. and wherein 
God's people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in sure 
divellings, and quiet resting places; (Isa. xxxii. 17, 18, and 
xxxiii. 20, 21) a time wherein all heresies and false doctrines 
shall be exploded, and the church of God shall not be rent 
with a variety of jarring opinions. Zech. xiv. 9. " The Lord 
shall be king over all the earth : In that day there shall be 
one Lord, and his name one." And all superstitious ways 
of worship shall be abolished, and all agree in worshipping- 
God in his own appointed way, and agreeable to the purity of 
his institutions ; Jer. xxxii. 39. « I will give them one heart 
and one way, that they may fear me forever, for the good of 
them and their children after them ;" a time wherein the 
whole earth shall be united as one holy city, one heavenly fam- 
ily, men of all nations shall as it were dwell together, and 
sweetly correspond one with another, as brethren and children 
of the same father ; as the prophecies often speak of all God's 
people at that time as the children of God, and brethren one 
to another, all appointing over them one head, gathered to one 
house of God, to worship the King, the Lord of hosts ; a time 
wherein this whole great society shall appear in glorioles 
Vol, III. 3 A 


beauty, in genuine amiable Christianity, and excellent order^ 
as a city compact toc^et/ier, the perfection of beauty,, an eternal 
excellency-, shining with a vefleciion of the glory ol' Jehovah 
■riHen upon it^ which sliall be attractive and ravishing to all 
kings and nations, and it shall appear aa a bride adorned for her 
husband ; a time of great temporal prosperity ; of great 
health, (Isa. xxxiii. 24. " The inhabitants shall not say, I am 
sick") of long life ; Isa. Ixv. 22. « As the days of a tree, arc 
the days of my people ;" a time wherein the earth shall be 
abundantly fruitful ; (Psal. Ixvii. 6, Isa. xxx. 23, 24, Amos 
ix. 16, and many other places.) A time wherein the world 
shall be delivered from that multitude of sore calamities that 
before had prevailed, (Ezek. xlvii. 20) and there shall be an 
universal blessing of God upon mankind, in soul and body, and 
in all their concerns, and all manner of tokens of God's pres- 
ence and favor, and God shall rejoice over the?n as (he bride- 
groom rejoiceth over his bride, and the mountains shall as it were 
drop donvn neiv ivinc, and the hills shall flow with milk p Joel iii. 
18. A time of great and universal joy through the earth, 
when from the titmcst ends of the earth shall be heard songs^ even 
glory to the righteotts, and God's people shfill with joy draw 
water out of the wells of salvation, and God shall prepare in his 
holy mountain, a feast of tat things, a feast of wines on the 
Lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the Lees well 
refined, which feast is represented. Rev. xix. as the marriage 
supper of the Lamb. Yea, the scriptures I'epresent it not only 
as a lime of universal joy on earth, but extraordinary joy in 
heaven, among the angels and saints, the holy apostles and 

prophets there ; Rev. xviii. 20, and xix. 1 9. Yea, the 

scriptures represent it as a time of extraordinary rejoicing 
with Christ himself, the glorious head, in whom all things in 
heaven and earth shall then be gathered together in one ; 
Zech. iii. 17. « The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is 
mighty ; he will save ; he Avill rejoice over thee with joy ; 
he will rest in his love ; he will joy over thee with singing." 
And the very fields, trees and mountains, shall then as it were 
rejoice, and break forth into singing ; Isa. Iv. 12. " Yc shall 
SO out with joy, and be led forth with peace ; the mountains 


smd the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all 
the trees of the field shall clap their hands." Isa. xliv. 23. 
« Sing, O heavens, for the Lord hath done it ; shout, ye lower 
parts of the earth ; break forth into singing, ye mountains ; 
G forest, and every tree therein ; for the Lord hath redeemed 
Jacob, and glorified himself in Israel. 

Such being the state of things in this future promised glo- 
rious day of the churches prosperity, surely it is woi'th pray- 
ing for. Nor is there any one thing whatsoever, if we view- 
ed things aright, which a regard to the glory of God, a con- 
cern for the kingdom and honor of our Redeemer, a. love to 
his people, pity to perishing sinners, love to our fellow crea- 
tures in general, compassion to mankind under its various 
and sore calamities and miseries, a desii'e of their temporal 
and spiritual prosperity, love to our country, our neighboi's 
and friends, yea, and to our own souls, would dispose us to be 
so much in prafyet for, as for the dawning of this happy dayj 
and the accomplishment of that glorious event. 

It may be worthy to be considered, 

3. How much Christ prayed and kbored and suffered, in 
order to the glory ami happiness of that day. 

The sum of the blessings Christ sought, by what he did' 
and suffered in the work of redemption, was the Holy Spirit, 
So is the affair of our redemption constituted ; the Father 
provides and gives the Redeemer, and the price of redemp- 
tion is offered to him, and be grants the benefit purchased ; 
the Son is the Redeemer that gives the price, and also is the 
price offered ; and the Holy Spirit is the grand blessing ob- 
tained by the price offered, and bestowed on the redeemed. 
The Holy Spirit, in his indwelling, his influences and fruits^ 
is the sum of all grace, holiness, comfort and joy ; or in one 
word, of all the spiritual food Christ purchased for men in this 
world : And is also the sum of all perfection, glory and eter- 
nal joy, that he purchased for them in another world. The 
Holy Spirit is that great benefit, that is the subject matter of 
the promises, both of the eternal covenant of redemption, and 
also of the covenant of grace ; the grand subject of the prom- 


iscs of the Old Testament, in the prophecies of the blessingij 
of the Messiah's kinc^dom ; and the chief subject of the prom- 
ises of the New Testament ; and particularly of the covenant 
of {.yrace delivered by Jesus Claist to his disciples, as his last 
•will and testament, in the xiv. xv. and xvi. chapters of John ; 
the p;rand legacy that he bequeathed to them in that his last 
and dving discourse with them. Therefore the Holy Spirit 
is so often called the spirit of promise, and emphatically the 
promise, the promise of the Father, Sec. Luke xxiv. 4G. Acts 
5. 4, and ii. 33, 39. Gal. iii. 14. Eph. i. 13, and iii. 6. Thi» 
being the great blessing Christ purchased by his labors and 
sufierings on earth, it Avas the blessing he received of the 
Father, when he ascended into heaven, and entered into the 
holy ot holies aa uh his own blood, to communicate to those 
that he iiad redeemed. John xvi. 7. " It is expedient for 
you, that I go away ; for if I go not away, the Comforter will 
not come ; but if I depart, I will send him unto you." Acts 
ii. 33. " Being by the right hand of God exalted, and having 
received of the leather the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath 
shed forth this which ye now see and hear." This is the sum of 
those gifts, which Christ received for men, even for the rebel- 
ous, at his ascension. This is the sum of the benefits Christ 
obtains for men by his intercession; John xiv. 16, 17. "I 
-will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, 
that he may abide with you forever ; even the Spirit of Truth." 
Herein consists Christ's communicative fullness, even in his 
being full of the Spirit, and so full of grace and truth, that we 
might of this fulness receive, and grace for grace. He is an- 
ointed with the Holy Ghost ; and this is the ointment that 
goes down from the head to the members. God gives the 
Spirit not by measure unto him, that every one that is his 
might receive according to the measure of tlie gift of Christ. 
This therefore was the great blessing he prayed for in that 
■wonderful prayer, that he uttered for his disciples and all his 
future church, the evening before he died, John xvii : The 
blessing he prayed for to the Father, in behalf of his disciples, 
was the same he had insisted on in his preceding discourse 
\yith them : And this doubtless was the blessing that ho pray- 


cd for, when, as our High Priest, he offered up strong crying 
and tears, with his blood, Heb. v. 6, 7. The same that he 
shed his blood for, he also shed tears for, and poured out 
prayers for. 

But the time that we have been speaking of, is the chief 
time of the bestowment of this blessing ; the main season of 
the success of all that Christ did and suffered in the work of 
our redemption. Before this the Spirit of God is given but 
very sparingly, and but few are saved ; but then it will be far 
otherwise ; wickedness shall be rare then, as virtue and piety- 
had been before : And undoubtedly, by far the greatest num- 
ber of them that ever receive the benefits of Christ's redemp- 
tion, from the beginning of the world to the end of it, will re- 
ceive it in that time. The number of the inhabitants of the 
earth will doubtless then be vastly multiplied ; and the num- 
ber of redeemed ones much more. 

If we should suppose that glorious day to last no more than 
(literally) a thousand years, and that at the beginning of that 
thousand years the world of mankind should be but just as nu- 
merous as it is now, and that the number should be doubled, 
during that time of great health and peace and the universal 
blessing of heaven, once only in an hundred years, the num- 
ber at the end of a thousand years would be more than a thou- 
sand times greater than jt is now ; and if it should be doubled 
once in fifty years (which probably the number of the inhabit- 
ants of Newengland has ordinarily been, in about half that time) 
then, at the end of the thousand years, there would be more 
than a million inhabitants on the face of the earth where there 
is one now. And there is reason to think that through the 
greater part of this period at least, the number of saints will, 
in their increase, bear a proportion to the increase of the 
number of inhabitants. And it must be considered, that if 
the number of mankind at the beginning of this period be no 
more than equal to the present number, yet we may doubtless 
conclude, that the number of true saints will be immensely 
greater ; when instead of the few true and thorough Christ- 
ians now in some few countries, every nation on the face of 
the whole earth shall be converted to Christianity, and every 


covnitry shall be full of true Christians ; so that the successive 
multiplication of true sprints through the thousand years, wll 
befjin with that va^it advantage, beyond the muUiplicaiion of- 
mankind ; where the latter is begun from units, the other 
doubtless will begin with hundreds, if not thousands. How 
much greater then will be the number of true converts^' that 
■will be brought to a participation of the benefits of Christ's re»- 
dempuon, during;; that period, than in all other times put to- 
gether ? I think the foregoing things considered, we shall be^ 
very moderate in our conjectures, if we say, it is probable that 
there will be an hundred thousand tirces more, that will actu- 
ally, be redeemed to God by Christ's blood, during that peri* 
od of'the church's prosperity that we have beexi speaking of^ 
than ever had been before, from the beginning of tire world toj 
that time. 

That time is represented in scripture, as-thepropei' appoint? 
ed season of Christ's salvation ; eminently the elect season, 
the acce/ited time y^mA daij of salvation (Isai. xlix. 8, and so on 
lo ver. 23, and chap. Ixi. 2, taken with the context, in that and 
the preceding and follo"vving chapters.) The year of Christ'ar 
redeanvd^ Isa. Ixiii. 4. This period is spoken of as the prop- 
er time of the dominion of the Redeemer, and reign of his 
redeetning love, in the 2d and 7th Chapters of Daniel, and 
many other places ; the proper time oi bis harvest, or ingath- 
ering of his fruits from this fallen world ; the appointed day of- 
his triumph over Satan, the great destroyer ; and the appoint- 
ed day of Ws marriage with his elect spouse ; Rev. xix. 7. 
The time given to the Sun of righteousness to rule, as the 
day is the time Cod has appointed for the natural Sun lo bear 
rule. Therefore the bringing on of this time is called Christ's 
coming in his kingdom ; wherein he itfi/l rent the heavens and' 
come doivn, arKl the Suti of righteousness, shall anse. Mai. ivt 2^. 
and Isa. Ix. 1. 

The comparatively, little saving good there is in the worlds 
asthe fruit of Christ's redemption, before that time, is, aS' it- 
were, granted by way of anticipation ; as we anticipate some- 
ihing of the sun's light by reflection before the daytime, tho 
proper time of the: sun's rule ; and as the first fruits are gath* 


"ftred before the harvest. Then more especially will be the 
fulfilment of those great promises, made by God the father to 
fhe son, for his pouring out his soul unto death, Isa. liii. 10^ 
11, 12 ; then " shall he see his seed, and the pleasure of the 
Lord shall prosper in his hand ; then shall he sec of the trav- 
ail of his soul, and be satisfied, and ihall justify many by his 
linovi'ledge ; then will God divide him a portion with the great, 
and he shall divide the spoil with the strong ;" then shall 
Christ in an eminent manner obtain his chosen spouse, that 
« he loved and died for, that he might sanctify and cleanse her, 
with the V/ashing of water, by the word, and present her to 
himself a glorious church," He will obtain " the joy that 
was set before him, for which he endured the cross, and des- 
pised the shame," chiefly in the events and consequences of 
that day : That day as was observed before, is often repre- 
sented as eminently the time of the rejoicing of the bride- 
groom. The foreknowledge and considei'ation of it was what 
supported him, and that which his soul exulted in, at a time 
when his soul had been ti'oubled at the view of his approach- 
ing sufferings ; as may be seen in John xii. 23, 24, 27, 31, 32. 

Now therefore, if it be so, that this is what Jesus Christ, 
our great Redeemer and the head of the church, did so much 
desire, and set his heart upon, from all eternity, and which he 
did and suffered so much for, offering up strong crying and 
tears, and his precious blood to obtain it ; surely his disci- 
ples and members should also earnestly seek it, and be much 
and earnest in prayer for it. 
Let it be considered, 

4. The whole creation is, as it were, earnestly waiting 
for that day, and constantly groaning aiid travailing in pain to 
bring forth the felicity and glory of it. For that day is above 
all other times, excepting the day of judgment, the day of the 
Tuanifestation of the Sons of God, and of their glorious lib' 
«rty : And therefore that elegant representation the apostle 
makes of the earnest expectation and travail of the creation, 

in Rom. viii. 19 .22, is applicable to the glorious events 

of this day : " The earnest expectation of the creature waiteth 
for the maniiestation of the Sous of God. For the creatuie 


■was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of 
him who hath subjected the same in hope. Because the 
creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of cor- 
ruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For 
■\ve know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in 
pain together until now." This visible world has now for 
many ages been subjected to sin, and made as it were a ser- 
vant to it, through the abusive improvement that man, who 
has the dominion over the creatures, puts the creatures to. 
Thus the sun is a sort of servant to all manner of wickedness, 
as its light and other beneficial influences are abused by men, 
and made subservient to their lusts and sinful purposes. So 
of the rain, and fruits of the earth, and the brute animals, and 
all other parts of the visible creation ; they all ser\'e men's 
corruption, and obey their sinful will ; and God doth in a 
sort subject them to it ; for he continues his influence and 
power to make them to be obedient, according to the same 
law of nature whereby they yield to men's command when 
used to good purposes. It is by the immediate influence of 
God upon things, acting upon them, according to those con- 
stant methods that we call the laws of nature, that they are 
ever obedient to man's will, or that we can use them at all. 
This influence of God continues, to make them obedient to 
men's will, though wicked. Which is a sure sign that the 
present state of things is not lasting : It is confusion ; and 
God would not suffer it to be, but that he designs in a little 
time to put an end to it, when it shall no more be so. Seeing 
it is to be but a little while, God chooses rather to subject the 
creature to man's wickedness, than to disturb and interrupt 
the course of nature according to its stated laws ; But it is, as 
it were, a force upon the creature ; for the creature is abused 
in it, perverted to far meaner purposes than those for which 
the author of its nature made it, and to which he adapted it. 
The creature therefore is as it were unwillingly subject ; and 
would not be subject, but that it is but for a short time ; and it, 
as it were, hopes for an alteration. It is a bondage the crea- 
ture is subject to, from which it was partly delivered when 
Christ came, and the gospel was promulgated in the world ', 


ind will be more fully delivered at the commencement of the 
j>lorious day we are speaking of ; and perfectly at the day 
6f judgment. This agrees with the context ; for the apostle 
AVas speaking of the present suifering state of the church. The 
reason why the chufch in this world is in a suffering state, 
is that the world is subjected to the sin and corruption of 
mankind. By vanity, in scripture, is very commonly meant sin 
and wickedness ; and also by corruption, as might be shewn 
in very many places, would my intended brevity allow. 

Though the creature is thus subject to vanity, yet it does 
not rest in this subjection, but is constantly acting and exert- 
ing itself, in order to that glorious liberty that God has ap- 
pointed at the time we are speaking of, and as it were reach- 
ing forth towards it. All the changes that are brought to 
pass in the world, from age to age, are ordered in infinite wis- 
dom in one respect or other to prepare the way for that glo- 
rious issue of things, that shall be when ti^uth and righteous- 
ness shall finally prevail, and he, whose right it is, shall take 
the kingdom. All the creatures, in all their operations and 
motions continually tend to this. As in a clock, all the 
motions of the whole system of wheels and movements, tend 
to the striking of the hammar at the appointed time. All the 
revolutions and I'Cstless motions of the sun and other heaven- 
ly bodies, from day to day, from year to year, and from age to 
age, are continually tending hither; as all the many turnings 
of the wheels of a chariot, in a journey, tend to the appointed 
journey's end. The mighty struggles and conflicts of nations, 
and shakings of kingdoms, and those vast successive changes 
that are brought to pass, in the kingdoms and empires of the 
world, from one age to another, are as it were travail pangs 
of the creation, in order to luring forth this glorious event. 
And the scriptures represent the last sti'Uggles and changes 
that shall immediately precede this event, as being the great- 
est of all ; as the last pangs of a woman in travail are the 
most violent. 

The creature thus earnestly expecting this glorious mani- 
festation and liberty of the children of God, and travailing in 
pain in order to it, therefore the scriptures, by a like figure^- 

Vol. III. 3 B • 


do very often represent, that when this shall be accomplished, 
the whole inanimate creation shall greatly rejoice : That the 
heavens shall sinff, the earth be glady the mountains break forth 
into singing; the hills bejvyfuttogethrr.^ the trees clafi their handsf 
the lower fiarts of the earth shout^ the sea roar and the fulncs* 
thereof^ and the floods clafi their hands, Isa. xliv. 23....xlix. 13. 
Psal. Ixix. 34, 35....xcvi. 1 1, 12, and xcviii. 7, 8. 

All the intelligent elect creation, all God's holy creatures 
in heaven and earth, are truly and properly -w'aiting for, and 
earnestly expecting that event. It is abundantly represented 
in scripture as the spirit and character of all true saints, that 
they set their hearts upon, love, long, wait and pray for the 
promised glory of that day ; they arc spoken of as those that 
prefer Jerusalem to their chief joy, Psal. cxxxvii. 6. ThaC 
take pleasure in the stones of Zion, and favor the dust thereof, 
Psal. cii. 13, 14. That wait for the consolation of Israel, Luke 
ii. 25, and v. 38. It is the language of the church of God, 
and the breathing of the soul of every true saint, that we have 
in Psal. XIV. 7. " O that the salvation of Israel were come out 
of Zion ! when the Lord bringeth back the captivity of his 
people, Jacob shall rejoice, and Israel shall be glad." And 
Cant. ii. 17. " Until the day break, and the shadows flee away, 
turn my beloved, and be thou like a roe, or a young heart up- 
on the mountains of Bether." An,d chap. viii. 14. " Make 
haste, my beloved, and be thou like to a roe, or to a young hart 
upon the mountains of spices." Agreeable to this, was the spirit 
of old Jacob, which he expressed when he was dying, in faith 
in the great promise made to him and Isaac and Abraham,that 
« in their seed all the families of the earth should be blessed, 
Gen. xlix. 18. "I have waited for thy salvation, O Lord.'* 
The same is represented as the spirit of his true children, 
or the family of Jacob, Isa. viii. 17. " I will wait upon the 
Lord, that hideth himself from the house of Jacob, ^nd I will 
look for him." They that love Christ's appearing, is a name 
that the apostle gives to true Christians, 2 Tim. iv. 8. 

The glorious inhabitants of the heavenly world, the saints 
and angels there, that rejoice when one sinner repents, are^ 
fsamestly waiting, in an assured and joyful dependence o» 


Ciocl's promises of that conversion of the world, and marriage 
,of the Lamb, which shall be when that glorious day comes; 
and therefore they are represented as all with one accord 
rejoicing and praising God with such mighty exultation and 
triumph, when it is accomplished, in Rev. xix. 

5. The word of God is full of precepts, encouragements, 
and examples, tending to excite and induce tlie people of Gocjl 
to be much in prayer for this mercy. 

The Spirit of God is the chief of the blessings, that are the 
subject matter of Christian prayer ; for it is the sum of all 
spiritual blessings ; which are those that we need infinitely 
more than all others, and are those wherein our true and eter- 
nal happiness consists. That which is the sum of the bless- 
ings that Christ purchased, is the sum of the blessings that 
Christians have to pray for ; but that as was observed before, i? 
the Holy Spirit : And therefore when the disciples came to 
^Christ, and desired him to teach them to pray, Luke xi. and 
he accordingly gave them particular directions for the per- 
formance of this duty, the conclusion of his whole discourse 
in the ISth verse plainly shews that the Holy Spirit is the sum 
of the blessings that are the subject matter of that prayer 
about which he had instructed them. " If ye then, being evil, 
know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much 
jnore shall your heavenly father give the Holy Spirit to them 
that ask liim ?" From which words of Christ, we may also 
.observe, that there is no blessing that we have so great en- 
couragement to pray for, as the Spirit of God ; the words im^ 
ply that our heavenly Father is especially ready to bestow his 
Holy Spirit on them that ask him. Of the more excellent na- 
ture any benefit is that we stand in need of, the more ready 
God is to bestow it in answer to prayer : The infinite good- 
ness of God's nature is the more gratified, and the grand de- 
sign and aim of the contrivance and work of our redemption is 
the more answered, and Jesus Christ, the Redeemer, has the 
greater success in his undertaking and labors ; and those de^ 
^ires that are expressed in prayer for the most excellent bless- 
ings are the most excellent desires, and consequently such a§ 
,God most approves, and is most ready to gratify. 


The scriptures do not only direct and cncouras^c usin gen- 
eral to pray for the Holy Spirit above all Ihing-s else, but it ii 
the expiessly revealed will of God, that his church should be 
very much in prayer for that glorious outpouring of the Spirit 
that is to be in tlie Kittcr days, and the things that shall be acr 
complished by i'- God, speaking of that blessed event, Ezek. 
xxxvi. undei' the figure of " cleansing the house of Israel from 
all their iniquities, planting and building their waste and ru- 
ined ])i:ices, and making them to become like the garden of 
Eden, and filling them with men like a flock, like the holy 
flock, the flock of Jerusalem in her solemii feasts," (wherein 
he doubtless has respect to the same glorious restoration and 
advancemerst of his church that js spoken of in the next chap- 
ter, and in all the following chapters to the end of the book) 
he says, ver. 37. " Thus saith the Lord, i will yet for this be 
inquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them." Which 
doubtless implies that it is the will of God that extraordinar^> 
prayerfulncss in his people for this mercy sliould precede the 
bestownient of it. 

I know of no place in the Bible, where so strong an expres- 
sion is made use of to signify importunity in prayer, as is iised 
in Isa. Ixii. 6, 7, v»'hcre the people of God are called upon to be 
importunate for this mercy : " Ye that make mentior. of the 
Lord, keep not silence, and give him no rest, vmtil he estab- 
lish, and until he make Jerusalem a praise in the earth. "How 
strong is tlie phrase 1 And how loud is this call to the church 
of God, to be fervent and incessant in their cries to him for 
tiiis great mercy ! How wonderful are the words to be used, 
concerning the manner in which such worms of the dust 
should address the high and lofty One that inhabits eternity ! 
And what encouragement is here, to approach the mercy seat 
with the greatest freedom, boldness, earnestness, constancy 
and full assurance of faith, to seek of God this greatest thing 
that can be sought h\ Christian prayer ! 

It is a just observation of a certain eminent minister of the 
church of Scotland, in a discouise of his, lately published on 
sociaj prayer, in which, speaking of pleading for the success of 


the gospel, as required by the Lord's prayer, he says, " That 
notwithstanding of its being so compendious, yet the one half 
of it, that is, three petitions in six, and these the first prescrib- 
ed, do all relate to this great case : So that to \xut up any one of 
these petitions apart, or all of them together, is upon the mat- 
ter, to pray that the dispensation, of the gospt;! may be bless- 
ed with divine power." That glorious day we are speaking 
of is the proper and appointed time, above all others, for the 
bringing to pass the things requested in each of these peti- 
tions ; As the prophecies every where represent that as the 
time, which God has especially appointed for the hallowing 
or glorifying his own great name in this world, causing his 
glory to be revealed, that all flesh may see it together, caus- 
ing it openly to be manifested in the sight of the heathen, 
filling the whole world with the light of his glory to such a 
degree that the Moon shall be confounded and Sun ashamed 
before that brighter glory : The appointed time for the glori- 
fying and magnifying the name of Jesus Christ, causing every 
Icnee to bow, and every tongue to confess to him. This is the 
proper time of God^s kingdom's coming, or of Christ's com- 
ing in his kingdom : That is the very time foretold in the 2d 
of Daniel, when the Lord God of heaven shall set up a king- 
dom, in the latter times of the last monarchy, when it is di- 
vided into ten kingdoms : And that is the very time foretold 
in the Tth of Daniel, when there should be given to one like 
to the son of man, dominion, glory and a kingdom, that all 
people, nations and languages should serve him ; and the 
kingdom and domini^jn, and the greatness of the kingdom un- 
der the whole heaven shall be given to the people of the 
Saints of the most high God, after the destruction of the little 
horn, that should continue for a time, times, and the dividing 
of time. And that is the time wherein God's will shall he 
done on earth, as it is done in heaven ; when heaven shall as 
it were be bowed, and come down to the earth, as God's peo- 
ple shall be all righteous, and holiness to the Lord shall be 
written on the bells of the horses, &c. So that the three first 
petitions of the Lord's prayer are in effect no other than re- 
<iuests for the bringing on this glorious day. And .as thp 


LorcVs prayer begins with asking for this, in the three first 
petitions, so it concludes with it, in these words, For thine. i> 
the kingdom^ and the fiotuer^ and the glory for euer. Amen, 
Which words imply a request that God wculd take to himself 
his ejreat power, and reign, and manifest his power and glorjr 
in the world. Thus Christ teaches us that it becomes his dis- 
ciples to seek this above all othjsr things, and make it the first 
and the last in their prayers, and that every petition should 
be put up in a subordination to £he advancement of God's 
kingdom and glory in the world. 

Besides what has been observed of the Lord's prayer, if we 
look through the whole Bible, and observe all tiie examples 
of prayer that we find there recorded, we shall find so many 
prayers for no other mercy, as for the deliverance, restoration 
and prosperity of the church, and the advancement of God'^ 
glory and kingdom of grace in the world. If we well consid- 
er the prayers that we find recorded in the book of Psalms, I 
believe we shall see reason to think, that a very great, if not 
the greater part of them, are prayers uttered, either in the 
Bame ef Christ, or in the name of the church, for such a mer- 
cy : And undoubtedly the greatest part of that* book of 
Psalms, is made up of prayers for this mercy, prophecies of 
it, and prophetical praises for it. 

The prophets, in their prophecies of the restoration and 
advancement of the church, very often speak of it as what 
shall be done in answer to the prayers of God's people. Isa. 

XXV. 9 xxvi. 9, 12, 13, 16, IT, to the end. Chap, xxxiii. 2. 

P sal. oil. 13 22. Jer. iii. 21. Isa. Ixv. 24 xli. 17. Hos. 

Y. 15, with vi. 1,2, 3, and xiv. 2, to the end. Zech. x. 6 

xii. 10, and xiii. 9. Isa. Iv. 6, with verse 12, IS. Jer. xxxiii. 
3. The prophecies of future glorious times of the church 
are often introduced with a prayer of the church for her de- 
liverance and advancement, prophetically uttered ; as in Isa. 
Ji. 9, 8cc. Chap. Ixiii. 11, to the end, and Ixiv. throughout. 

In order to Christ's being mystically born into the world, 
in the advancement and flourishing of true religion, and great 
increase of the number of true converts, who are spoken of as 
having Christ formed in them> the scriptures represent it aa 

UjN^^IOK in prayer. S9f 

requisite, that the church should first be in travail, crying, 
and pained to be delivered ; Rev. xii. 1, 2, 5. And on« 
thing that we have good reason to understand by it, is hef 
exercising strong desires, and wrestling and agonizing with 
God in prayer, for this event ; because we find such figures 
of speech used iti this sense elsewhere ; so, Gal. iv. 19, 
" My little children of whom I travail in birth again, until 
Christ be formed in you." Isa. xxvi. 16, 17. "Lord, in 
trouble have they visited thee ; they poured out a prayer when 
thy chastening was upon them. Like a woman with child, 
that draweth near the time of her delivery, is in pain, and 
crieth out in her pangs, so have we been in thy sight, O 
Lord." And certainly it is fit, that the church of God should 
1)6 in travail for that, which (as I before observed) the whole 
creation travails in pain for. 

The scriptures do not only abundantly manifest it to be the 
duty of God*s people to be much in prayer for this great mer- 
cy, but it al^o abounds with manifold considerations to encour" 
age them in it, and animate them with hopes of success. 
There is perhaps no one thing that so much of the Bible is 
takeii up in the promises of, in order to encourage the faith, 
hope arid prayers of the sainta, as this ; which at once affords 
to God's people the clearest evidences that it is their duty to' 
be much in prayer for this mercy (for undoubtedly that v/hick 
God does abundantly make the subject of his promises, God's 
people should abundantly make the subject of their prayers) 
and also affords them the strongest assurances that their 
prayers shall be successful. With what confidence may v.c 
go before God, and pray for that, of which we have so many 
(Exceeding precious and glorious promises to plead ! The 
very first promise of God to fallen man, even that in Gen. iii. 
15. It shall bruise thy head, is a promise that is to have its 
chief fulfilment at that day. And the whole Bible concludes 
with a promise of the glory of that day, and a prayer for its 
fulfilment. Rev. xxii. 20. « He that testifieth these things, 
saith, surely I come quickly ; Amen. Even so, come. Lord 


The scriptures give us great reason to think, that whcrr 
once there comes to appear much of a spirit of prayer in the 
church of God for this mercy, then it will soon be accomplish- 
ed. It is evidently with reference to this mercy, tiiat Gud 
makes that promise, Isa. xli. 17, 18, 19. " When the poor and 
needy seek water, and there is none, aiid their tongue faileth 
for thirst, I the Lord will hear them ; I, the God of Israel, will 
not forsake them ; I will open rivers in nigh jjlaces, and 
fountains in the midst of the valleys ; I will make the wilder- 
ness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water ; I will 
plant in th6 %vilderness the cedar, the shittah tree, and the 
■myrtle and the oil tree, I will set in the desert the fir tree, 
and the pine, and the box tree together." Spiritual w aters 
and rivers are explained by the Apostle John, to be the Holy 
Spirit, John vii. 37, 38, 39. It is now a time of scarcity of 
these spiritual waters ; there are as it v/ere none : If God's 
people, in this time of great drought, were but made duly 
sensible of this calamity, and their own emptiness and neces- 
sity, and brought earnestly to thirst and cry for needed sup- 
plies, God would doubtless soon fulfil this blessed promisel 
We have another promise much like this, in Psal. cii. 16, 17. 
" When the Lord shall build up Zion, he shall appear in hia 
glory ; he will regard the prayer of the destitute, and not des- 
pise their prayer." And remarkable are the words that fol- 
low in the next verse, " This shall be written for the gen- 
eration to come ; and the people which shall be created, shall 
praise ths Lord." Which seems to signify, that this promise 
should be left on record to encourage some future generation 
of God's people to pray and cry earnestly for this mercy, to 
whom he would fulfil the promise, and thereby give them, 
and great multitudes of others, that should be converted 
through their prayers, occasion to praise his name. Who 
knows but that the generation here spoken of may be this 
present generation ? One thing tnentioned in the character of 
that future generation, is certainly true concerning the pres- 
ent, viz . that it is destitue ; the church of God is in very 
low, sorrowful and needy circumstances : And if the next 
thing there supposed, were also verified in us, viz. that w« 


ivere made sensible of our great calamity, and brought to cry 
earnestly to God for help, I am persuaded the third would be 
tliso verified, viz. That our prayers would be turned into joy- 
ful praises, for God's gracious answers of our prayers. It is 
spoken of as a sign and evidence, that the time to favor Zion 
is corne, when God's servants are brought by their prayerful- 
ness for her restoration, in an eminent manner, to shew that 
they favor her stones and dust ; in the loth and i4th verses 
of this Psalm, " Thou slialt arise, and have mercy upon Zion j 
for the time to favor her, yea, the sst time is come ; for thy 
servants take pleasure in her stones, and favor the dust 

God has respect to the prayers of his saints in all his gov- 
ernmfent of the v/orld ; as we may observe by the representa- 
tion made, Rev. viii. at the beginning. There we read of sev- 
en r^ngels standing before the throne of God, and receiving 
of him seven trumpets, at the sounding of which, great and 
mighty changes were to be brought to pass in the world, 
through many successive ages. But when these angels had 
received their trumpets, they must stand still, and all must be 
in silence, not one of them must be allowed to sound, until 
the prayers of the saints aiHi attended to. The angel of the 
Covenant, as a glorious High Priest, comes and stands at the 
altar, with much incense, to offer v>'ith the prayers of all saints 
upon the golden altar, before the throne ; and the smoke of 
the incense, with the prayers of the saints, ascends up with 
acceptance before God, out of the angel's hand : And then the 
angels prepare themselves to sound.. And God, in the events 
of every trumpet, remembers tliose prayers : As appears at 
last, by the great and glorious things he accomplishes for his 
church, in the issue of all, in answer to these prayers, in the 
event of the last trumpet, which brings on the glory of the 
latter days, when these prayers shall be turned into joyful 
praises. Rev. xi. 15, 16, 17. " And the seventh angel sounded ; 
and there were great voices in heaven, saying, the kingdoms 
of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his 
Christ ; and he shall reign for ever and ever. And the four 
■And t\Venty Elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell 

VoT., III. 3 C 


upon Uicir faces, and worslupped God, saying, We give thcc 
thanks, O Lord God AInii.2;hty, which urt and -watit and ait 
to come, because ihou hast taken to thee thy great power, and 
hast reigned." Since it is thus, that it is the pleasure of GoJ 
so to honor his people, as to carry on all the designs of his 
kingdom in this uay, viz. by the prayers of his saints, 
this gives us great reason to think, that whenever the time 
comes that (iod gives an extraordinary spirit of prayer for the 
promised advancement of his kingdom on earth, (which is 
God's great aim in all preceding providences, and which is 
the main thing that the spirit of prayer in the saints aims at) 
then the fulfilling this event is nigh. 

God, in wonderful grace, is pleased to represent himself as 
it were at the command of his people, with regard to mer- 
cies of this nature, so as to be ready to bestow them whenev- 
er they shall earnestly pray for them ; Isa. xlv. II. "Thus 
saith the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker, ask of 
me concernir.g thin.4:s to come, concerning my sons, and con- 
cerning the work of my hands, command ye me." What 
God is speaking of in this context, is the I'estcration of his 
church ; not only a rcritoration from temporal calamity and 
im outward captivity, by Cyrus ; but also a spiritual restora- 
tion and advancement, by God's coinmanding the heavens to 
clrofi down from above^ mid the akies to pour doioii righteous- 
7icss^ and causing the earth to open aiid bring forth salvation^ 
and righteous?; CSS to spring up together^ Ver. 8. God would 
Lave his people ask of him, or inquire of him by earnest 
prayer, to do this for them ; and manifests himself as being 
nt the command of earnest prayers far such a mercy : And a 
reason why God is so ready to hear such prayers is couched 
in the words, viz. Because it is prayer for his own church, 
his chosen and beloved people, his sons and daughters, and 
the work of his hands ; and he cannot deny any thing that is 
asked for their comfort and prosperity. 

God speaks of himself as standing ready to be gracious to 
his church, and to appear for its restoration, and only waiting 
for such an opportunity to bestow this mercy, when he shall 
hear the cries of his people for it, that he may bestow it in 


answer to their prayers. Isa. xxx. 18, 19. "Therefore wiU 
the Lord wait, that he may he gracious to thee ; and there- 
iore will he be exalted, that he may have mercy upon you : 
For the Lord is a God of judgment : Blessed are all they that 
wait for hirn. For the people shall dwell in Zion at Jtrusa- 
lem. Thou shalt weep no more ; he will be very gracious 
unto thee, at the voice of thy cry : When he shall hear it, he 
will answer thee." Tlie M'ords imply as much as that when 
God once sees his people much engaged in praying for this 
mercy, it shall be no longer delayed. Christ desires to hear 
the voice of his spouse, that is in the clefts of the rock, in ihe 
secret places of the stairs ; in alow and obscure state, driven 
iiito secret corners : He only waits for this, in order to put an 
end to her state of affliction, and cause the day to break, and 
the shadows to flee away. If he once heard her voice in 
earnest prayer, he would come swiftly over the mountains of 
separation between him and her, as a roe, or young hart ; 
Sol. Song ii. 14, to the end. When his church is in a low 
state, and oppressed by her enemies, and cries to him, he 
will swiftly fly to her relief, as birds fly at the cry of their 
young ; Isa. xxxi. 5. Yea, v/hen that glorious day comes, 
that I am speaking of, before they call, he ivill ansvjer them^ 
and tahile they are yet sfieaking, he tvill hear ; and in answer to 
their prayers, he will make the 'ivolf and the lamb feed togeth' 
er, See. Isa. Ixv. 24, 25. When the spouse prays for the ef- 
fusion of the Holy Spirit, and the coming of Christ, by grant- 
ing the tokens of his spiritual presence in his church, saying, 
Cant. iv. 16. Awake, O north wind, and come, thou south, blow 
upon my garden, that the spices thereof may foil' cut ; let my 
beloTjed come into his garden, and eat his pleasant fruits ; there 
seems to be an imrhediate answer to her prayer, in the next 
words, in abundant communications of the Spirit, and bestow- 
ment of spiritual blessings ; I am co7ne into my garde?!, my sis' 
ter, my spouse ; I have gathered my myrrh nuith nnj sjice ; I 
have eaten my honeycomb with my honey ; I have drmik my 
wine with my milk. Eat, Q friends ; drink, yea, drink aiundf 
i^ntly, beloved. 


Scviplurc instances and examples of success in prayer give 
gTcat cncoTira!j;emcnt to pray for this mercy. Most of the 
remarkable deliverances and restorations of the clnirch of 
God, that we have account of in the scripture, were in answer 
to prayer. So was the redemption of the church of God from 
the Egyptian bondap;e ; Exod. ii. 23, andiiiv 7. Tlie '^re?t ves- 
tpration of 'he church in the latter day, is often spoken of a& 

resembled by this ; as in Isa. Ixiv. 1 4....xi. 11, 15, 16 

xliii. 2, 3, 16....19....1i. 10, 11, 15 Ixiii. 11, 12, 13. Zech. x. 

10, 11. Hos. ij. i4, 15. It was in answer to prayer, that the 
Sun stood still over Gibeon, and the Moon in the valley Aija- 
Ipn, and God's people obtained that grcftt victory over their 
enemies ; in which wonderful miracle, God seemed to have 
some respect to ^ future more glorious event to be accom- 
plished for the Christian church, in the day of her victory over 
her enemies, in the latter days ; even that event foretold, Isa. 
Ix. 20. " Thy Suo shall no more go down, neither shall thy 
Moon withdraw itself. It Avas in answer to prayer, that God 
delivered his church from the mighty host of the Assyrians, 
in Hezekiah's time ; Avhich dispensation is abundantly made 
use of, as a type of the great things God will do for the 
Christian church in the latter days, in the prophecies of Isaiah. 
The restoration of the church of God froni the Babylonish 
captivity, as aUindantly appears both by scripture prophecies 
and histories, was in answer to extraordinary prayer ; seoi 

Jer. xxix. lO 14, and I. 4, 5. Dan. ix. throughout. Ezra. 

viii. 21, Sec Nfch. i. 4, to the qnd iv. 4, 5, and Chap. 

ix. throughout. This restoration of the Jewish church, afteir 
the destruction of Babylon, is evidenily a type of the glorious 
restoration of the Christian church, after tjie destruction of 
the kingdom of Antichrist ; which (as all know) is abundant- 
ly spoken of in the Revelation of St. John, as the antitype of 
Baliylon. Sampso4i, out of weakness, received strength to 
pull dov.n Dagon's temple, through prayer. So the people of 
God, in the lat'er diiys, will out of weakness be made strong, 
and will become the instruments cf pulling down the kingdon> 
of Satan, by prayer. 


The Spirit of God was poured out upon Christ himself, in 
answer to prayer ; Luke iii. 21, 22. " Now when all the peo- 
ple were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being bap- 
tized, and praying, the heaven was opened, and the Holy Ghost 
descended in a bodily shape like a dove, upon him ; and a voice 
came from heaven which said. Thou art my beloved Son, in 
thee I am well pleased.'* The Spirit descends on the church of 
Christ, the same way in this respect, that it descended on the 
Head of the church. The greatest effusion of the Spirit that 
ever yet has been, even that which was in the primitive times 
of the Christian church, which began in Jerusalem on the day 
of pentecost,was in answer to extraordinary prayer. When the 
disciples were gathered together to their Lord, a little before 
his ascension, he commanded them, that they should not de- 
part from Jertinclem, but ivait fur the promise of the Father, 
ivhich (saith he) ye have heard of me" i. e. the promise of the 
Holy Ghost ; Acts i. 4. What they had their hearts upon 
was the restoriition of the kingdom to Israel : Xorc? (say they) 
nvilt thou^ at this tiincy restore a,^ain the kingdom to Israel ? ver. 
6. And according to Christ's direction after his ascension, 
they returned to Jerusalem, and continued in united fervent 
prayer and supplication. It seems they spent their time in it 
from day to day, without ceasing; until the Spiiit came 
down in a wonderful manner upon them, and that work was 
begun which never ceased, until the world was turned upside 
down, and all the chief nations of it v/ere converted to Christ- 
ianity. And that glorious deliverance and advancement of 
the Christian church, that was in the days of Constantine the 
great, followed the extraordinary cries of the church to God, 
as the matter is represented in Rev. vi. at the opening of the 
fifth seal. The church in her suffering state is represented 
crying with a loud voice, " How long, O Lord, holy and true, 
dost thou not judge, and avenge oiif blood on them that dwell 
on the earth V' And the opening of the next seal brings on that 
mighty revolution, in the days of Constantine, compared to 
those great changes that shall be at the end of the world. 

As there is so great and manifold reason from the Avord of 
.Godj to think that if a spirit of earnest prayer for that great ef- 


fusion of the Spiiit of God which I am speaking of prevailed, 
in the Christian church., the mercy would be soon ;!;ranted ; 
so those that arc cngaf»;ed in such prayer might expect the 
first benefit. God will come to those that are seeking him 
and waiting for him ; Isa. xxv. 9. and xxvi. 8. When Christ 
came in the flesh, he was first revealed to them who were 
"waiting for the consolation of Israel, and looking for re- 
demption in Jerusalem," Luke i. 25, 38. And in that gieat 
outpouring of the Spirit that was in the days of the apostles, 
attended witli such glorious elTccts among Jews and Gentiles, 
the Siiirit came down first on those that were engaged in 
imiied, earnest prayer for it. A special bles5ing is promised 
to them that love and pray for the prosperity of the church of 
God, Psai. cxxii. 6. "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem. They 
shall prosper that love thee." 

r. We are presented with many motives in the dispensa- 
tions of divine Providence, at this day, to excite us to be much 
in prayer for this mercy. 

There is much in providence to shew us our need of it, and 
put us on desiring it. The great outward calamities, in which 
the V'Orld is involved ; and particularly the bloody war that 
embroils and wastes the nations of Christendom, and in which 
cur nation has so great a share, may well make all that believe 
God's word, and love mankind, earnestly long and pray for 
that day, when the wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the na- 
tions shall Ijeat their swords into ploughshares, Sec. But es- 
pecially do the spiritual calamities and miseries of the present 
time, shew our great need of that blessed effusion of God's 
Spirit : There having been, for so long a time, so great a 
withholding of the Spirit, from the greater part of the Christ- 
ian world, and such dismal consequences of it, in the great 
decay of vital piety, and the exceedmg prevalence of infidel- 
ity, heresy and all manner of vice and wickedness ; and es- 
pecially in our land and nation ; of which a most affecting ac- 
count has hitely been published in a pamphlet printed in Lon* 
don, and reprhitcd in Scotland, entitled " Britain's Remem- 
brancer i'* by which it seems that luxury, and wickedness of 


almost every kind, is well nigh come to the ulmost exlrcmi- 
ly in the nation ; and if vice should continue to prevail and in- 
crease for one generation more, as it has the generation past, 
it looks as though the nation could hardly continue in being-, 
but must sink under the veight of its own corruption and 
■wickedness. And the state of things in the other parts of th.f^ 
British dominions, besides England, is very deplorable. The 
church of Scotland has very much lost her glory, greatly de- 
parting from her ancient purity, and excellent order ; and has 
of late been, bleeding Aviih great and manifold wounds, occa- 
sioned by their divisions and hot contentions. And there are fre- 
quent complaints from thence, by those that lament the corrup- 
tions of that land, of sin and wickedness, of innumeral)iC kinds, 
abounding and prevailing of late, among all ranks and sorts of 
men there. And how larrientabic is the moral and religious 
state of these American colonies ? Of Newengland in partic- 
ular ? How much ia that kind of religion that was professed 
and much experienced and practised, in the first, and appar- 
ently the best times of Newciigland, grovrn and growing out 
of credit ? What fierce and violent contentions have been of 
late among ministers and people, about things of a religious 
nature ? How much is the gospel ministry grown into con- 
tempt ? And the work of the ministrvj in many respects, laid 
under uncommon difficulties, and even in danger of sinking 
amongst us ? How many of our congregations and churches 
rending in pieces ? Church discipline weakened, and ordi- 
nances less and less regarded ? What wild and extravagant 
notions, gross delusions of the devil, and strange fjraclices 
have prevailed, and do still prevail, in many places, under tv 
pretext of extraordinary purity, spirituaUty, liberty and r.eal 
against ibrmality, usurpation, and conformity to the world ? 
How strong and deeply rooted and general arc the prejudices 
that prevail against vital religion and the power of godliness, 
and almost every thing that appertains to it, or tends to it ? 
How apparently are the hearts of people, every where, uncom- 
monly shut up against all means and endeavors to awaken sin- 
ners and revive religion ? Vice and immorality, of all kinds, 
Vi'ilhal increasing and unusually prevailing ? May not an at- 


tcntive view and consideration of such a state of tiling vvci' 
influence the people that favor the dust of Zion, to carnestncsr 
in their cries to tiod for a genei*al outpouring; of his Spirit, 
which only can be an effectual remedy for these evils ? 

Besides the tilings that have been mentioned, the fresh at- 
tempts made by the antichristian powers against the Protest- 
ant interest, in their late endeavors to restore a Popish gov- 
ernment in Greatbritain, the chref bulwark of the Protestant 
cause ; as also the persecution lately revived against the 
Protestants in France, may well give occasion to the people of 
God, to renewed and extaordinary earnestness in their prayers 
to him, for the fulfilment of the promised downfall of Anti- 
christ, and that liberty and glory of his church that shall fol- 

As there is much in the present state of things to shew us 
6ur great need of his mercy, and to cause us to desire it ; so 
there is very much to convince us that God alone can bestow 
it, and shew us our entire and absolute dependance on him for 
it. The insufficiency of human abilities to bring to pass any 
such happy change in the world as is foretold, or to afford any 
remedy to mankind, from such miseries as have been men- 
tioned, does now remarkably appear. Those obsei \-ations of 
the apostle, 1 Cor. i. " The world by wisdom knows not God, 
and God makes foolish the wisdom of this world," never were 
•verified to such a degree as they are now. Great discoveries 
have been made in the arts and sciences, and never was hu- 
man learning carried to such a height, as in the present age ; 
and yet never did the cause of religion and virtue run so low 
in nations professing the true religion. Never vvas an age 
wherein so many learned and elaborate treatises have been 
■written, in proof of the truth and divinity of the Christian re- 
ligion ; yet never were there so many infidels; among those 
tliat were brought up under the light of the gospel. It is an 
age, as is supposed, of great light, freedom of thought, and 
discovery of truth in matters of religion, and detection of the 
weakness and bigotry of our ancestors, and of the folly and 
absurdity of the notions of those tliat v\'ere accounted eminent 
divines in former generations j which notions, it is imagined^ 


did destroy the very foundations of virtue and religioti, and 
enervate all precepts of morality, and in effect annul all dif- 
ference between virtiae and vice ; and yet vice and wicked- 
ness did never so prevail, like an overflowing deluge. It is 
an age wherein those mean and stingy principles (as they are 
called) of our forefathers, which (as is supposed) deformed 
religion, and led to unworthy thoughts of God, are very much 
discarded, and grown out of credit, and supposed more free, 
noble and generous thoughts of the nature of religion, and of 
the Christian scheme, are entertained ; but yet never was an 
ftge, wherein religion in general was so much despised and 
trampled on, and Jesus Christ and God Almighty so blas- 
phemed and treated with open, daring contempt. 

The exceeding weakness of mankind, and their insufficiency 
in themselves for the bringing to pass any thing greut and 
good in the Avorld, with regard to its moral and spiritual state, 
remarkably appears in many things that have attended and 
followed the extraordinary religious commotion, that has late- 
ly been in many parts of Greatbritain and America. The 
infirmity of the human nature has been manifested, in a very 
affecting manner in the various passions that men have been 
the subjects of, and innumerable ways that they have been 
moved, as a reed shaken with the wind, on occasion of the 
changes and incidents, both public and private, of such a state 
of things. Hew many errors and extremes are we liixble to ? 
How quickly overtopped, blinded, misled, and confounded ? 
And how easily does Satan make fools of men, if confident in 
their own wisdom and strength, and left to themselves ? Ma- 
ny, in the late wonderful season, were ready to admire and 
trust in men, as if all depended on such and such instruments, 
at least did ascribe too much to their skill and zeal, because 
God was pleased to improve them a little v/hile to do extraor- 
dinary things : But what great things do the skill and zeal of 
instruments do now, when the Spirit of God is withdrawn ? 

As the present state of things may well excite earnest de- 
sires after the promised general revival and advancement of 
true religion, and serve to shew our dependence on God for 
it, so there are many things in Providence, of late, that tend 

Vol. III. . 3 D 


to encourage us in prayer for such a mercy. That infidelity, 
heresy and vice do so prevail, and that corruption and a\ icked- 
ness arc risen to such an extreme height, is that which is ex- 
ceeding deplorable ; but yet, I think, considering God's 
promises to his church, and the ordinary method of his dis- 
pensations, hope may justly be gathered from it, that the 
present state of things will not last long, but that a happy 
change is nigh. We know that God never will desert the 
cause of truth and holiness, nor suffer the gates of hell to pre- 
vail against his church ; and that it has usually been so from 
the beginning of the world, that the state of the church has 
appeared most dark, just before some remarkable deliverance 
and advancement : 3Iany a time ?>my Israel say, had not the 
.Lord been on our side, then our enemies would have swallowed 
lis uji quick.... The waters had overwhebned us. The church's 
extremity has often been God's opportunity for the magnify- 
ing his power, mercy and faithfulness towards her. The in- 
terest of vital piety has long been in general decaying, and 
error and wickedness prevailing j It looks as though the dis- 
ease werc now come to a crisis, and that things cannot re- 
main long in such a state, but that a change may be expected 
in one respect or other. And not only God's manner of deal- 
ing with his church in former ages, and many things in the 
promises and prophecies of his word, but also several things 
appertaining to present and late aspects of divine Providence, 
seem to give reason to hope that the change will be such, as 
to magnify God*s free grace and sovereign mercy, and not his 
revenging justice and wrath. There are certain times,- that 
are days of vengeance, appointed for the more special displays 
of God's justice and indignation ; and God has also his days 
of mtrcy? accepted times, chosen seasons, wherein it is his 
pleasure to shew mercy, and nothing shall hinder it ; they 
are times appointed for the magnifying of the Redeemer 
and his merits, and the triumphs of liis grace, wherein his 
grace shall triumph over men's unworthiness in -its greatest 
height. And if we consider God^s late dealings Avith our na- 
tion and this land, it appears to me that there is much to make 
us think that this day is such a day : Particularly God's pre- 


•serving ami delivering the nation, when in so great danger of 
■ruin by the late rebellion ; and his preserving Newengland, 
and the other British colonies in America, in so remarkable a 
manner, from the great armament from France, prepared and 
sent against us the last year ; and the almost miraculous suc- 
cess given to us against our enemies at Cape Breton the year 
before, disappointing their renewed preparations and fresh at- 
tempt against these colonies, this present year, 1747, by de- 
livering up the strength of their fleet into the hands of the 
English, as they were in their way hither. And also in protect- 
ing us from time to time from armies by land that have come 
against us from Canada, sipce the beginning of the present 
war with France. Besides many strange instances of protec- 
tion of particular forts and settlements, shewing a manifest in- 
terposition of the hand of heaven, to the observation of some 
of our enemies, and even of the savages. And added to these, 
the late unexpected restoring of the greater part of our many- 
captives in Canada, by those that held them prisoners there. 
It appeal's to me that God has gone much out of his usual 
way, in his exercises of mercy, patience and long suiTering in 
these instances. God's patience was very wonderful of old, 
towards the ten tribes, and the people of Judah and Jerusa- 
lem, and afterwards to the Jews in Christ's and the apostle's 
times ; but it seems to me, all things considered, not equal to 
his patience and mercy to us. God does not only forbear to 
destroy us, nptwithstanding all our provocations and their ag- 
gravations, which it would be endless to recount ; but he has 
in the forementioned instances, wrought great things for us, 
wherein his hand has been most visible, and his arm made 
bare ; especially those two instances in America, God's suc- 
ceeding us against Cape Breton, and confounding the arma- 
da from France the last year ; dispensations of Providence, 
which, if considered in all their circumstances, were so won- 
derful, and apparently manife^iting an extraordinary divine in- 
terposition, that they come perhaps, the nearest to a parallel 
with God's wonderful works of old, in Moses', Joshua's, and 
Hezekiah's time, of any that have been in these latter ages of 
4he world. And it is to my present purpose to observcj that 


God was pleased to ilo threat things for us iii botli these n. 
stances, in answer to cxliaordinaiy prayer. Such remarka- 
ble appearances of a spirit of p'ayer, on any particular public 
occasion, have not been in the land, at any time within my ol>- 
servation and memory, as on occasion of the affair of Cape 
Breton. And it is ivorihy to be noicd and remembered, that 
God Sent that great storm on the fleet of our enemies the last 
year, that fm-iUy dispersed, and utterly confounded them, and 
caused them wholly to give over their designs against us, the 
very night after our day of public fasting and prayer, for our 
proujciion and their confusion. 

Thus, ulth.ough it be a day of great apostacy and provoca- 
tion, yet it is apparently a day of the wonderful works of 
God ; v.ondcrs of power and mercy ; which may well lead 
lis to think on those two places of scripluic, Psal. cxix. 126. 
"It is time for thee, Lord, to work, for they have made void 
thy k;w." Aral Psal. Ixxv. 1. « That thy name is near, thy 
AV'oucif.'ous works declare." God appears as it were loth to 
• destroy us, ordeal with us according to our iniquities, as great 
and aggravated as they are ; and shews that mercy pleases 
him. As corrupt a time as it is, it is plain by experience, 
that it is a time wherein God may be found, and stands ready 
to shev.' mercy in answer to prayer. He that has done such 
great things, and has so wonderfully and speedily answered 
prayer for temporal mercies, will much more give the Holy 
Spirit if we ask him. He marvellously preserves us, and 
%vaits to be gracious to us, as though he chose to make us 
ii^onuments of his grace, and not his vengeance, and waits on- 
ly to have us open our mouths wide, that lie mi»y fill them. 

The late I'emai'kable religious awakenings, that have been 
in many parts of the christian world, are another thing that 
rnay justly encourage us in prayer for the promised glorious 
and universal outpouring of the Spirit of Cod. " In or about 
the year 1732 or 1733, God was pleased to pour out his 
Spirit on the people of Saitzburg in Germany, who were liv- 
ing under Popish darkness, in a mv)st uncommon manner ; so 
that above twenty thousand of them, merely by reading the 
iJible^ which they made a shift ;o get in their ewn language, 


wei'e determined to throw off Popery, and embrace the re- 
formed religion ; yea, and to become so very zealous for the 
truth and gospel of Jesus Christ, as to be vvilling to suffer the 
loss of all things in the world, and actually to forsake their 
houses, lands, goods and relalions, that they might enjoy the 
pure preaching of the gospel ; with great earnestness, and 
tears in their eyes, beseeching Protestant ministers to preach 
to them, in places where they (when banished from their own 
country) came, in different places." In the years 1734 and 
1735, there appeared a very great and general awakening, in 
the county of Hampshire, in the province of the Massachusetts 
Bay in Newengland, and also in many parts of Connecticut. 
Since this, there has been a far more extensive awakening of 
many thousands in England, Wales and Scotland, and almost 
all the British provinces in North America. There has also 
been something remarkable of the same kind, in some places 
in the United Netherlands : And about two years ago, a very 
great awakening and reformation of many of the Indians, in 
the Jerseys, and Pennsylvania, even among such cts never em- 
braced Christianity before : And within these two years, a 
great awakening in Virginia and Maryland. Notwithstand- 
ing the great diversity of opinions about the issue of some of 
these awakenings, yet I know of none that have denied that 
there have been great awakenings of late, in these times and 
places, and that multitudes have been brought to more than 
common concern for their salvation, and for a time were made 
more than ordinarily afraid of sin, and brought to reform their 
former vicious courses, and take much pt<ins for their salva- 
tion. If I should be of the opinion of those thai think^ these 
awakenings and strivings of God's Spirit liavc been generally 
not well improved, and so, as to most, have not issued well, 
but have ended in enthusiasm and delusion, yet, that the 
Spirit of God has been of late so wonderfully awakening and 
striving with such multitudes, in so many different parts of 
the world, and even to this day, in one place or other, contin- 
ues to awaken men, is what I should take great encourage- 
ment from, that God was about to do somethinp; more glori- 
pus, and would, before he finishes, bring things to a greater 


ripeness, and not finally suffer this work of his to be frustrat- 
ed and rendered abortive by Satan's crafty management ; and 
that these unusual commotions are the forerunners of some- 
tliin!>; exceeding glorious approaching ; as the wind, earth- 
cjuake and fire, at Mount Sinai, were forerunners of that voice, 
•wherein God was, in a n\ore eminent manner ; although they 
also were caused by a divine power, as it is represented that 
these things were caused by the Lord passing by, 1 Kings xix. 
11, 12. 

8. How condecent, how beautiful, and of good tendency 
^vould it be, for multitudes of Christians, in various parts of 
the world, by explicit agreement, to unite in such prayer as is 
proposed to us. 

Union is one of the most amiable things, that pertains to 
human society ; yea, it is one of the most beautiful and happy 
things on earth, which indeed makes earth most like heaven. 
God has made of one blood all nations of men, to dwell on aU 
the f?ce of the earth ; hereby teaching us this moral lesson, 
that it becomes mankind all to be united as one family. And 
this is agreeable to the nature that God has given men, dis- 
posing them to society ; and the circumstances God has 
placed them in, so many ways obliging and necessitating them 
to it. A civil union, or an harmonious agreement among 
men in the management of their secular concerns, is amia- 
ble ; but much more a pious union and sweet agreement in 
the great business for which man was created, and had pow- 
ers given him beyond the brutes ; even the business of relig- 
ion ; the life and soul of which is love. Union is spoken of 
in scripture as the peculiar beauty of the church of Christ, 
Cant. vi. 9. " My dove, my undefiled is but one, she is the 
only one of her mother, she is the choice one of her that bare 
her ; the daughters saw her and blessed her, yea, the queens 
and the concubines, and they praised her." Psal. cxxii. 3. 
" Jerusalem is builded as a city that is compact together." 

Eph. iv. 3 6. » Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit 

in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit ; 
even as ye are cdlcd in one hope of your calling ; one Lord, 


one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above 
all, and through all, and in you all." Ver, 16. "The whole 
body fitly framed together and compacted, by that which eve- 
ry joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the 
measure of every part, maketh increase of the body, unto the 
edifying itself in love." 

As it is the glory of the church of Christ, that she in all her 
members, however dispersed, is thus one holy society, one 
city, one family, one body ; so it is very desirable, that this U" 
nion should be manifested, and become visible ; and so, that 
her distant members should act as one, in those things that 
concern the common interest of the whole body, and in tliose 
duties and exercises wherein they have to do with their com- 
mon Lord and head, as seeking of him the common prosperi- 
ty. It becomes all the members of a particular family, who 
are so strictly united, and have in so many respects one com- 
mon interest, to unite in prayer to God for the things they 
Heed : It becomes a nation, in days of prayer, appointed 
by national authority, at certain seasons, visibly to unite in 
prayer for those public mercies that concern the interest of 
the whole nation : So it becomes the church of Christ, which 
is one holy nation, a peculiar people, one heavenly family, 
more strictly united, in many respects, and having infinitely 
greater interests that are common to the whole, than any oth- 
er society ; I say, it especially becomes this society, visibly^ 
to unite, and expressly to agree together in prayer to God for 
the common prosperity ; and above all, that common prosper- 
ity and advancement that is so unspeakably great and glori- 
ous, which God hath so abundantly promised to fulfil in the 
latter days. 

It is becoming of Christians, with whose character a narrow 
selfish spirit, above all others, disagrees, to be much in' 
prayer for that public mercy, wherein consists the welfare 
and happiness of the whole body of Christ, of which they are 
members, and the greatest good of mankind. And union or 
agreement in prayer is especially becoming, when Christians 
pray for that mercy, which above all other things concerns 


tliem unitedly, and tends to the relief, prosperity and glory o^ 
the whole body, as well as of each individual member. 

Such an union in prayer for the general outpouring of the 
Spirit of God, would not only be beautiful, but profitable too. 
It would tend very much to promote union and charity be- 
tween distant members of the church of Christ, and a public 
spirit, and love to the church of God, and concern for the in- 
terest of Zion ; as well as be an amiable exercise and mani- 
festation of such a spirit. Union in religious duties, espe- 
cially in the duty of prayer, in praying one wnh and for anoth- 
er, and jointly for their common welfare, above almost all oth- 
er things, tends to promote mutual affectton and endearment. 
And if ministers and people should by particular agreement 
and joint resolution, set themselves, in a solemn and extraor- 
dinary manner, from time to time, to pray for the revival of 
religion in the world, it would naturally tend more to awaken 
in them a concern about ihings of this nature, and more of a 
desire after such a mercy ; it would engage them to more 
attention to sucli an affair, make them more inquisitive about 
it, moie ready to use endeavors to promote that w hich they, 
with so many others, spend so much time in praying for, and 
more ready to rejoice and praise God when they sec or hear 
of any thing of that nature or tendency : And in a particular 
manner, would it naturally tend to engage ministers (the bu- 
siness of whose lives it is, to seek the welfare of the church 
of Christ, and the advancement of his kingdom) to greater 
diligence and earnestness in their work : And it would have 
a tendency to the spiritual profit and advantage of each par- 
ticular person. For persons to be thus engaged in extraordina- 
rily praying for the reviving and flourishing of religion in the 
world, will naturally lead each one to reflect on liimself, and 
consider how religion flourishes in his own heart, and hoAV 
far his example contributes to the thing that he is prayingj. 

9. There is great and particnlar encouragement given in 
the word of God, to express union and agreement in prayer. 
Daniel, when he had a great thing to request of God, viz. 


That God by his Holy Spirit would miraculously reveal to 
him a si;reat secret, which none of the wise men, astrologers, 
magicians or soothsayers of Babylon could fmd out, he goes 
to Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, his companions, and they 
agree together, that 'they will unitedly desire mercies of the 
God of heaven, concerning this secret ; and their joint re- 
quest was soon granted ; and God put great honor upon 
them, above all the wise men of Babylon, to the filling their 
mouths with praise, and to the adn^iralion and astonishment 
of Nebuchadnezzai' ; insomuch that that great and haughty 
monarch, as we are told, fell upon his face and worshipped 
Daniel, and owned that liu) God nvas of a truths a God cf Gods, 
and greatly promoted Daniel and his praying companions in 
the province of Babylon. Esther, w'hen shi had a yet more 
important request to make, for the saving of the church of 
God, and whole nation of the Jews," dispersed through the em- 
pire of Persia, when on llie brink of ruin, sends to all the Jews 
in the city Shushan to pray and fost with her and her maid- 
ens ; and their united prayers prevail ; so that the event was 
wonderful : Instead of the intended destrustion of the Jev.'S, 
the Jews enemies are destroyed every where, and they are 
defended, honored and promoted, and their sorrow and dis- 
tress is turned into great gladness, feasting, triumph and 
mutual joyful congratulations. 

The encouragement to explicit agreement in prayer is 
greiat from such instances as these ; but it is yet greater from 
those wonderful v/crds of our blessed Redeemer, Mat. xviii. 
19. "I say unto you, that if any two of you shall agree oh 
earth, touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done 
for them of my Father which is in heaven." Christ is pleas- 
ed to give this great encouraji;ement to the union of his fol- 
lowers in this excellent and holy exercise of seeking and 
serving God ; an holy union and communion of his people 
being that which he greatly desires and delights in, that 
which he came into the world to bring to pass, that which he 
especially prayed for with his dying breath, John xvii. that 
■which he died for, and which was one chief end of the whole 
affair of our redemption by him ; Eph. i. " In whom v/e 

Vol. hi. 3 E 


have redemption throuf2;h his blood, the forgiveness of sins,- 
according to the riches of his grace, wherein he hath abound- 
ed towards us in all wisdom and prudence ; having; made 
known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good 
pleasure, which he hath purposed in himself: That in the 
dispensation of the fulness of times, he might gather together 
in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and 
■which are on earth, even in him." 


Objections A?iswcrcd. 

1 COME now, as was proposed, in the third place, to ati- 
3wer objections, that some may be ready to make against the 
thing that has been proposed to us. 

Object. I. Some may be ready to say : That for Christ- 
ians, in such a manner to set apart certain seasons, every 
week, and every quarter, to be religiously observed and kept 
for the purposes proposed, from year to year, would be in ef- 
fect to establish certain periodical times of human invention 
and appointment, to be kept holy to God ; and so to do the 
very thing, that has ever been objected against, by a very 
great part of the most eminent Christians and Divines among 
Protestants, as Avhat men have no right to do ; it being for' 
them to add to God's institutions, and introduce their own in- 
ventions and establishments into the stated worship of God, and 
lay unAvarrantable bonds on men's consciences, and do what 
naturally tends to superstition. 

Answ ER. To this I would say : There can be no justice 
in such an objection against this proposal, as made to us in 
the forementioned memorial. And indeed that caution and 
prudence appears in the projection itself, and in the mannef 
in which it is proposed to us, that there is not so much as any 
color for the objection. The proposal is such, and so well 
guarded, that there seems to be no room for the weakest 


Christian that well observes it, so to mistake it, as to under- 
stand those things to be implied in it, that have indeed 
been objected against, by many eminent Christians and Di- 
vines among Protestants, as entangling men's consciences, 
and adding to divine institutions, &c. Here is no pretence of 
establishing any tiling by authority ; no appearance of any 
claim of power in the proposers, or right to any regard to be 
paid to their determinations or proposals, by virtue of any de- 
ference due to them,i;3 any respect, any more than to every 
individual person of those that they apply themselves to. So far 
from that, that they expressly mention that v/hich they have 
thought of, as what they Avould propose to the thoughts of 
others, for their amendments and improvements, declaring 
that they chose rather to receive and spread the directions 
and proposals of others, than to be the first authors of any. No 
times, not sanctified by God^s own institution, are proposed to 
be observed more than others, under any notion of such times 
being, in any respect, more holy, or more honorable, or worthy 
oi'" any preference, or distinguishing regard ; either as being 
sanctified, or made honorable, by authority, or by any great 
events of divine Providence, or any relation to any holy per- 
sons or things ; but only as circumstantially convenient, help- 
ful to memory, especially free from worldly business, near to 
the times of the administration of public ordinances, &c. 
None attempts to lay any bonds on others, with respect to 
this matter ; or to desire that they should lay any bonds on 
themselves ; cr look on themselves as under any obligations 
cither by power or promise ; or so much as come into any 
a!)soIute determination in their own minds, to set apart any 
stated days from secular affairs ; or even to fix on any part 
of such days, v/ithout liberty to other circumstances, as shall 
be found expedient ; and also liberty left to a future altera- 
tion of judgment, as to expediency, on further trial and con- 
sideration. All that is proposed is, that such as fall in 
with what is proposed in their judgments and inclinations, 
while they do so, should strengthen, assist and encourage 
their brethren that are of the same mind, by visibly consent- 
jn^ and joining v/ith them in the affair. Is here any thin^ 


like making laws in matters of conscience and vclip;ion, or 
addins^ men's institutions to God's ; or any shew of imposi- 
tion, or superstitious esteeming and preferring one day above 
another, or any possible ground of entanglement of any one's 
conscience ? 

For men to go about by law lo establish and limit circum- 
stances of worship, n^t established or limited by any law of 
God. such as precise time, place and order, may be in many 
respects of dangerous tendency. But surely it cannot be un- 
lawful or improper,for Christians to come into some agree- 
ment, with regard lo these circumstances : For it is impossi- 
ble to carry on any. social worship without it. There is no 
institution of scripture requiring any people to meet together 
to worship God in such a spot of ground, or at such an hour 
of the day ; but yet these must be determined by a^^reement ; 
or else there will be no social worship, in any place, or any 
hour. So wc are not determined by institution, what the pre- 
cise order of the different parts of worship shall be ; what 
shall precede^ and what shall follow ; whether praying or 
singing shall be first, and what shall be next, and what shall 
conclude : But yet some order must be agreed on, by the 
congregation that imite in worship ; otherwise they cannot 
jointly carry on divine worship, in any way or method at all. 
If a congregation of Christians do agree to begin their public 
"worship with prayer, and next to sing, and then to attend on 
the preaching of the word, and to conclude with prayer ; and 
cio by consent carry on their worship in this order from year 
to year ; though this order is not appointed in scripture ; 
non'e will call this superstition. And if a great number of 
congregations, through a whole land, or more lands than one, 
do by common consent, keep the same method of public wor- 
ship ; none will pretend to find fault with it. But yet for any 
to go about to bind all to such a method, would be usurpation 
and imposition. And if such a precise order should be re- 
garded as sacred, as though no other could be acceptable to 
God, this would be superstition. If a particular number of 
Christians shall agree, that besides the stated public worship 
of the s;\b.bath,lhev will, when their circumstances allow, 


meet together, to carry on some religious exercises, on a 
sabbath day night, for their mutual edification ; or if several 
societies agree to meet together in different places at that 
time ; this is no superstition ; though there be no institution 
for it. If people in diflerent congregations, voluntarily agree 
to take turns to meet together in the house of God, to wor- 
ship him and hear a public lecture, once a month, or once in 
six weeks ; it is not unlawful ; though there be no institu- 
tion for it : But yet to do this as a thing sacred, indispensable, 
and binding on men's consciences, would be superstition. If 
Christians of several neighboring congregations, instead of a 
lecture, agree on some special occasion to keep a circular fast, 
each congregation taking its turn in a certain time and order, 
fixed on by consent ; or if instead of keeping fast by turns, 
on different days, one on one week, and one on another, they 
should all agree to keep a fast on the same day, and to do 
this either once or frequently, according as they shall judge 
their own circumstances, or the dispensations of divine Provi- 
dence, or the importance of the mercy they seek, do require ; 
neither is there any more superstition in this than the other. 

Object. II. Some may be ready to say, There seems to 
be something whimsical in its being insisted on that God's 
people in different places should put up their prayers for this 
mercy at the same time ; as though their prayers would be 
more forcible on that account ; and as if God v^^ould not be so 
likely to hear prayers offered up by many, though they hap- 
pened not to pray at the same time, as he would if he heard 
them all at the same moment. 

Ans. To this I would say, if such an objection be made, 
it must be through misunderstanding. It is not signified or 
implied in any thing said in the proposal, or in any arguments 
made use of to enforce it that I have seen, that the prayers of 
a great number in different places will be more forcible, mere- 
ly because of that circumstance of their being put up at the 
same time. It is indeed supposed, that it will be very expe- 
dient, that certahi times for united prayer should be agreed 
on : Which it may be, without supposing the thing supposed 
in the objection, on the following accounts. 


1. This seems to be a proper expedient for the promoting; 
and m:unlainiiig an union aniongCiiristians of distant places, in 
extraordinary firayer for such a mercj'. It appears, from what 
was before observed, that there ouglit to be extraordinary 
prayers mnon J- Christians frjr tiiis mercy ; and thut it is fit, 
that God's people should agree and unite in it. Though 
there be no reason to suppose that prayers will be more prev- 
alent, merely from that circumstance, that different persons 
pray e>;actly at the .vcme time ; yet there will be more reason 
vo hope that prayers for such mercy will be prevalent, when 
God's people are very much in prayer for it, and when many 
«jf then) are united in it. And therefore if agreeing on cer- 
tain times for united and extraordinary prayer, be a likely 
means to promote an union of many in extraordinary prayer, 
then there is more reason to hope, that there will be prevalent 
prayer for such a mercy, for certain times for extraordinary 
prayer being agreed on. But that agreeing on certain times 
for united, extraordinary prayer, is a likely and proper means 
to promote and maintain such prayer, I think will be easily 
evident to any one that considers the matter. If there should 
be only a loose agreement or consent to it as a duty, or a thing- 
fit and proper, that Christians should be much in prayer for 
the revival of religion, and much more in it than they used to 
be, V)ithout agreeing on particular times, hov." liable would 
such a las agreement be to be soon forgotten, and that extra- 
f>rdinary praycrfulness, which is fixed lo no certain limes, to 
be totally neglected ? To be sure, distant parts of the church 
of Christ could have no confidence in one another, that this 
would not be the case. If these ministers in Scotland, instead 
of the proposal they have made, or any other ministers or 
Christians in any part of the Christian world, had sent abroad 
only a general proposal, that God's people should, for time to 
<;ome, be much more in prayer for the advancement of 
Christ's kingdom, than had been common among Christians 
heretofore ; and they should hear their proposal Avas general- 
ly allowed to be good ; and that ministers and people, in one 
place and another, that had occasion to speak their minds up- 
c: it. owued that it was a very proper thing, that Christian* 


should pray more for this rnercy than they generally used to 
do ; could they from this only, have in any measure the like 
grounds of dependence, that God's people in various parts of 
the Christian world, would indeed henceforward act unitedly, 
in maintaining extraordinary prayer for this meicy, as if they 
should not only hear that the duty in general was approved of, 
but also that particular times were actually fixed on for the 
purpose, and an agreement and joint resolution was come in- 
to, that they would, imless extraordinarily hindered, set aparfe 
such particular seasons to be spent in this duty, from time to 
time, maintaining this practice for a certain number of years ? 
2. For God's people in distant places to agree on certain 
times for extraordinary prayer, wherein they will unitedly 
put up their requests to God, is a means fit and proper to be 
used, in order to the visibility of their union in such prayer. 
Union among God's people in prayer is truly beautiful, as has 
been before observed and shev/n ; it is beautiful in the eyes of 
Christ, and it is justly beautiful and amiable in the eyes of 
Christians. And if so, then it must needs be desirable to 
Christians that such union should be visible. If it would be 
a lovely sight in the eyes of the church of Christ, and .muck 
to their comfort, to behold various and different parts of the 
church united in extraordinary prayer for the general outpour- 
ing of the Spirit, then it must be desirable to them that sucli 
an union should be visible, that they may behold it ; for if 
it be not visible, it cannot be beheld; But agreement and union 
in a multitude in their worship becomes visible, by an agree- 
ment in some external visible circumstances. Worsiiip it- 
Self becomes visible worship, by something external and visi- 
ble belonging to the worship, and no other way : Therefore 
Union and agreement of many in worship becomes visible 
no other way, but by union and agreement in the exter-'' 
nal and visible acis and circumstances of the worship. Sucli 
union and agreement becomes visible, particularly by au 
agreement in those two visible circumstances, time anci 
place. When a number of Christians live near together, 
and their number and situation is convenient, and they have a 
«Icsire visibly to unite in any acts of worship, they are wont \» 


make their union and agreement visible by an union in botir 
these circumstances. But when a much greater number of 
Christians, dwelling in distant places, so that they cannot unite 
by worshipping in the same place, and yet desire a visible 
union in some extraordinary worship ; they are wont to make 
their union and agreement visible, by agreeing only in the 
former of those circumstances, viz. that of time : As is com- 
mon in the appointment of public* fasts and thanksgivings; 
the same day is appointed, for the performance of that extra- 
ordinary worship, by all those Christians, in different places, 
that it is intended should be united therein, as a visible note 
of their union. This the common light and sense of God's 
people leads Christians to, in all countries. And the wisdom 
of God seems to dictate the same thing, in appointing that his 
people, through the world, in all ages, in their stated and or- 
dinary public worship, every week, should manifest this union 
and communion one with another, in their worship, as one 
holy society, and great congregation of worshippers, and ser- 
vants of God ; by offering up their worship on the same day ; 
for the greater glory of their common Lord, and the greater 
edification and comfort of the whole body. 

If any yet find fault Avith the proposal of certain times to be 
agreed on by God's people in different places, in the manner 
set forth in the memorial, I would ask whether they object 
against any such thing, as a visible agreement of God's peo- 
ple, in different parts of the v/orld, in extraordinary prayer, 
for the coming of Christ's kingdom ? Whether such a tiling 
being visible would not be much for the public honor of God's 
name ? And whether it would not tend to Christians' assist- 
ance, quickening and encouragement in the duty united in, 
by mutual example, and also to their mutual comfort, by a 
manifestation of that union which is amiable to Christ and 
Christians, and to promote a Christian union among profess- 
ing Christians in general ? And whether we have not rea- 
son to think, from the word of God, that before that great re- 
vival of religion foretold, is accomplished, there will be a visi- 
ble union of the people of God, in various parts of the world, 
in extraordinary prayer, for this mercy ? If these things are 


allowed, I would then ask further, whether any method can 
be thought of or devised, whereby an express agreement, and 
visible union of God's people, in different parts of the worldj 
can be come into, and maintained, but this, or some other 
equivalent to it ? If there be any express agreement about 
any extraordinary prayer at all, it must first be proposed by 
some, and others must fall in, in the manner as is represented 
in my text. And if extraordinary prayer be agreed on and main-f 
tained by many in different places, visibly one with another, 
then it must be agreed in some respect, and with regard to some 
circumstances, what extraordinary prayer shall be kept up ; 
and it must be seen and heard of, from one to another, what 
extraordinary prayer is kept up. But how shall this be, 
when no times are agreed upon, and it is never known nor 
heard, by those in different parts, nor is in any respect visi- 
ble to them, when or how often, those in one town or country, 
and another, do attend this extraordinary prayer ? And the 
consequence must necessarily be, that it can never be known 
how far, or in what respect others join with them in extraor- 
dinary prayer, or whether they do it at all ; and not so much 
as one circumstance of extraordinary prayer will be visible ;. 
and indeed nothing will be visible about it. So that I think 
that any body that well considers the matter, will see that he 
that determines to oppose such a method as is proposed to us 
in the memorial, and all others equivalent to it, is in effect 
determined to oppose there ever being any such thing at all, 
as an agreed and visibly united, extraordinary prayer, in the 
church of God, for a general outpouring of the Spirit. 

3. Though it would not be reasonable to suppose, that 
merely such a circumstance of prayer, as many people's 
praying at the same time will directly have any influence or 
prevalence with God, to cause him to be the more ready to 
hear prayer ; yet such a circumstance may reasonably be 
supposed to have influence on the minds of men ; as the con- 
sideration of it may tend to encourage and assist those in 
praying, that are united in prayer. Will any deny, that it 
has any reasonable tendency to encourage, animate, or in any 
respect to help the mind of a Christian in serving God in ai\y 

Vol. III. 3F 


duty of religion, to join with a Christian congregation, and tc* 
see an assembly of his dear brethren around him, at the same 
time engaged with him in the same duty ? And supposing 
one in this assembly of saints is blind, and sees no one there i 
but has by other means ground of satisfaction that there is 
present at that time a multitude of God's people, that arc 
united with him in the same service ; will any deny, that his 
supposing this and being satisfied of it, can have any reasona- 
ble influence upon his mind, to excite and encourage him, 
or in any respect to assist him, in his worship ? The encour- 
agement or help that one that joins with an assembly in 
worshipping God, has in his worship, by others being united 
with him, is not merely by any thing that he immediately 
perceives by sight, or any other of the external senses (for 
union in worship is not a thing objected to the external sens- 
es) but by the notice or knowledge the mind has of that 
union, or the satisfaction the understanding has that others, at 
that time, have their minds engaged with him in the samd 
service: Which may be, when those unitedly engaged, are at 
a distance one from another, as well as when they are present. 
If one be present in a worshipping assembly, and is not blind, 
and sees others present, and sees their external behavior ; 
their union and engagedness with him in worship, is what he 
does not see : And what he sees encourages and assists him 
in his worship, only as he takes it as an evidence of that union 
and concurrence in his worship, that is out of his sight. And 
persons may have evidence of this, concerning persons that are 
absent, that may give him as much satisfaction of their union 
with him, as if they were present. And therefore the consid- 
eration of others being at the same time engaged with him in 
worship, that are absent, may as reasonably animate and en- 
courage him in his worship, as if they were present. 

There is no wisdom in finding fault with human nature, as 
God has made it. Things that exist now, at this present 
time, are in themselves no more weighty or important, than 
like things, and of equal reality, that existed in lime past, or 
are to exist in time to come : Yet it is evident that the con- 
sideration of things being present (at least in most cases) does 


43pecially affect human nature. As for instance, if a maa 
could be certainly informed, that his dear child at a distance, 
was now under some extreme suffering ; or that an absent 
most dear friend, was at this time thinking of him, and in th» 
exercise of great affection towards him, or in the performance 
of some great deed of friendship ; or if a pious parent should 
know that now his child was in the act of sonae enormous 
wickedness ; or that, on the contrary, he was now in $om« 
eminent exercise of grace, and in the performance of an ex- 
ti-aordinary deed of virtue and piety ; would not ihose things 
be more affecting lo the human nature, for being considered 
as things that are in existence, at the present time, than if 
considered as at some distance of time, either past or future ? 
Hundreds of other instances might be mentioned, wherein it 
is no less plain, that the consideration of the present existence 
of things, gives them advantage to affect the minds of men. 
Yea, it is undoubtedly so with things in general, that take any 
hold at all of our affections, and towards which we are not in- 
different. And if the mind of a particular child of God is 
disposed to be affected by the consideration of the religion of 
other saints, and with their union and concurrence with him 
in any particular di?ty, or act of religion, I can see no reason 
why the human mind should not be more moved by the ob- 
ject of its affection, when considered as present, as well in 
this case, as in any other case : Yea, I think we m^y on good 
grounds determine there is none. 

Nor may we look upon it as an instance of the peculiar 
weakness of the human nature, that men are more affected 
with things that are considered as present, than those that 
are distant : But it seems to be a thing common to finite 
minds, and so to all created intelligent beings. Thus, the an- 
gels in heaven have peculiar joy, on occasion of the conver- 
sion of a sinner, when recent, beyond what they have in that 
>yhich has been long past. If any, therefore, shall call it silly 
and whimsical in any, to value and regard such a circum- 
stance, in things of religion, as their existing at the present 
ijime, so as to be the more affected with them for that ; thef 


must call the host of angels in heaven a parcel of silly and 
■whimsical beings. 

I remenriber, the Spectatoi', (whom none "will call a whimr 
Gical author) somewhere speaking of different ways of dear 
friends niutually expressing their affection, and maintaining 
a kind of intercourse, in absence one from another, mentions 
such an instance as this, with much approbation, viz. That 
two friends, that were greatly endeared one to another, when 
about to part, and to be for a considerable time necessarily 
absent, that they might have the comfort of the enjoyment of 
daily mutual expressions of friendship, in their absence ; a- 
greed that they would, every day, precisely at such an hour, 
retire from all company and business, to pray one for another. 
Which agreement they so valued, and so strictly observed, 
that when the hour came, scarce any thing would hinder 
them. And rather than miss the opportunity, they would 
suddenly break off conversation, and abruptly leave company 
they were engaged with. If this be a desirable way ofinterr 
course of particular friends, is it not a desirable and amiable 
way of maintaining intercourse and fellowship between breth- 
ren in Christ Jesus, and the various members of the holy fam- 
ily of God, in different parts of the woi'ld, to come into an 
agreement, that they will set apart certain times, which they 
•will spend with one accord, in extraordinary prayer to their 
heavenly father, for the advancement of the kingdom and glo- 
ry of their common dear Lord and Saviour, and for each oth- 
er's prosperity and happiness, and the graatest good of all 
their fellow creatures through the world ? 

Objkct. III. Some pei'haps may object, that it looks too 
much like Pharisaism, when persons engage in any such ex- 
traordinary religious exercises, beyond what is appointed by 
express institution, for them thus designedly to make it man- 
ifest abroad in the world, and so openly to distinguish them- 
selves from others. 

Ans. 1. All open engaging in extraordinary exercises 
of religion, not expressly enjoined by institution, is not Phar- 
isaism, nor has ever been so reputed in the Christian church. 
As when a particular church or congregation of Christians 


agree together to keep a day of fasting and prayer, On some 
special occasion ; or wlien public days of fasting and thanks- 
giving are kept throughout a Christian province or country : 
And though it be ordinarily the manner of the civil magis- 
trate to lead in the setting apart such days ; yet that alters 
not the case : If it be Pharisaism in the society openly to 
agree in such extraordinary exercises of religion, it is not less 
Pharisaism, for the heads of the society leading in the aftair. 
And if that were now the case with the Christian church, that 
once was, for about tlu'ee hundred years together, that the 
civil magistrate was not of the society of Christians, nor coti- 
cerned himself in their aftairs ; yet this would not render it 
the less suitable for Christians, on proper occasions, jointly 
and visibly, one to another, to engage in such extraordinary 
exercises of religion, and to keep days of fasting and thanks- 
giving by agreement. 

Ans. 2. As to the latter part of the objection, there can be 
no room for it in this case. It cannot be objected against 
what is proposed in the memorial, that if persons should com- 
ply with it, it v/ould look like affecting singularity, and open 
distinction from others of God's professing people, in extra- 
ordinary religion, such as v/as in the Pharisees of old : Be- 
cause it is evident, the very design of the memorial, is not 
to promote singularity and distinction, but as much as possible 
to avoid and prevent it. The end of the memorial is not to 
confine and limit the thing proposed, that it may be practised 
only by a few, in distinction from the generality ; but on the 
contrary to extend it, and make it as general among professing 
Christians as possible. Some had complied with the extra- 
ordinary duty proposed, and therein had been distinguished 
•from others, for two years, before the m.emorial was publish- 
ed ; and they were more distinguished than they desired ; 
and therefore send abroad this memorial, that the practice 
might be more spread, and become more general, that they 
might be less distinguished. What they evidently seek, is 
to bring to pass as general a compliance as possible of Christ- 
ians of all denominations, intrcating that the desire of concur- 
rence mid assistance) contained in the memorial') may by no ineajit 


.he understood^ us restricting to any fiarticuhir denomination oir 
^larttj, or those who are of such or such ojiinions about any for r 
tner instances of remarkable religious concern ; but to be extend' 
ed to all^ who shall -vouchsafe any attention to the firofiosal., and 
have at heart the interest of vital Christianity, arid the fiower of 
godliness ; and who., however differing about other things, arc 
convinced of the importance of fervent prayer, to promote that 
common interest, and of scripture persuasives, to promote suck 

Object. IV. Another objection, that is very lijiely to arise 
in the minds of many against such extraordinary prayer as is 
proposed for the speedy coming of Christ's kingdom, is that 
•we have no reason to expect it, until there first come a time 
of most extreme calamity to the church of God, and preva- 
lence of her Antichristian enemies against her ; even thai 
which is represented, Rev. xi. by the slaying of the witnesses ; 
but have reason to determine the contrary. 

An3. It is an opinion that seems pretty much to have ob- 
tained, that before the fulfilment of the promises relating to 
the church's latter day glory, there must come a most terri- 
ble time, a time of extreme suffering, and dreadful persecu- 
tion of the church of Christ ; wherein Satan and Antichrist 
are to obtain their greatest victory over her, and she is to be 
brought lower than ever by her enemies. Which opinion 
has chiefly risen from the manner of interpreting and apply- 
ing the forementioncd prophecy of the slaying of the witness- 
es. This opinion, with such persons as retain it, must needs 
be a great restraint and hinderance,with' regard to such an af- 
fair as is proposed to us in the memorial. If persons expect 
no other, than that the more the glorious times of Christ's 
kingdom are hastened, the sooner will come this dreadful 
time, wherein the generality of God's people must suffer so 
extremely, and the church of Christ be almost extinguished, 
and blotted out from under heaven ; how can it be otherwise, 
than a great damp to their hope, courage and activity, in pray- 
ing for, and reaching after the speedy introduction of those 
glorious promised times ? As long as this opinion is retained, 
^t will undoubtedly ever have this unhappy influence on th<e 


iftinds of those that wish well to Zion, and favor her stones 
and dust. It will tend to damp, deaden and keep down, life, 
hope and joyful expectation in prayer ; and even in great 
measure, to prevent all earnest, animated and encouraged 
prayer, in God's people, for this mercy, at any time before it' 
is actually fulfilled. For they that proceed on this hypothesis 
in their prayers, must, at the same tim« that they pray for this 
glorious day, naturally conclude within themselves, thc\t they 
shall never live to see on the earth any dawning of it, but only 
to see the dismal time that shall precede it, in which the far 
greater part of God's people, that shall live until then, shall 
die under the extreme cruelties of their persecutors. And 
the more they expect that God will answer their prayers, by 
speedily bringing on the promised glorious day, the more 
must they withal expect themselves, to have a share in those 
dreadful things, that nature shrinks at the thoughts of, and 
also expect to see things that a renewed nature shrinks at and 
dreads ; even the prevailing of God's enemies, and the almost 
total extinguishing the true religion in the world. And on 
this hypothesis, these discouragements are like to attend the 
prayers of God's people, until that dismal time be actually 
come : And when that is come, those that had been prophe- 
sying and praying in sackcloth, shall generally be slain : And 
after that time is over, then the glorious day shall immediate- 
ly commence. So that this notion tends to discourage and 
hinder all earnest prayer in the church of God for that glo- 
rious coming of Christ's kingdom, until it be actually come ; 
and that is to hinder its ever being at all. 

It being so, this opinion being of such hurtful tendency, 
certainly it is a thousand pities it should prevail and be retain- 
ed, if truly there be no good ground for it. 

Therefore in answer to this objection, I would, with all 
humility and modesty, examine the foundation of that opinion, 
of such a dreadful time of victory of Antichrist over the 
church, yet to be expected : And particularly shall endeavor 
to shew that the slaying of the witnesses, foretold Rev. xi. 7... 
10, is not an event that remains yet to be fulfilled. To this 
end, I would propose the following things to consideration. 


1 . The time wherein the nvitneasea lie dead in the street.^ of 
the great cifiu doubtless signifies the time wherein the true 
church cf Christ is lo^vcst of al', most of all prevailed against 
by Antichrist, and nearest to an utter extinction ; the time 
wherein there is left the least visibility of the church of Christ 
yet subsisting in the world, least remains of any thing apper- 
taining to true religion, whence a revival of it can be expected, 
and wherein all means of it are most abolished, and the state 
of the church is in all respects furthest from any thing whence 
any hopes of its ever flourishing again might arise. For be- 
fore this, the witnesses prophecy in sackcloth ; but now they 
are dead : Before this, they were kept low indeed, yet there 
was Ufe, and power to bring plagues on their enemies, and so 
much of true religion left, as to be a continual eye sore and 
torment to them ; but now their enemies rejoice and feast, 
and have a general public triumph, as having obtained a full 
victory over them, and having entirely extirpated them, and 
being completely delivered from them, and all that might give 

them any fear of being ever troubled with them any more 

This time, v/herever it be fixed, doubtless is the time, not 
only, wherein fewest professors of true religion are left in the 
world ; but a time wherein the truth shall be farthest out of 
sight, and out of reach, and most forgotten ; wherein there are 
left fewest beams of li.s;ht or traces of truth, fev/est means of 
information, and opportunities of coming to the knowledge of 
the truth ; and so a time of the most barbarous ignorance, 
most destitute of all history, reliques, monuments and memo- 
ry of things appertaining to true religion, or things, the knowl- 
edge of which hath any tendency to bring truth again to light ; 
and most destitute of learning, study and inquiry. 

Now, if we consider the present state of mankind, is it credi«' 
ble, that a time will yet come in the world, that in these re- 
spects exceeds all times that were before the reformation ? 
And that such a time v. ill come before the fall of Antichrist, 
unless we set that at a much greater distance, than the fari» 
thest that any have yet supposed ? It is next to impossible, 
that such a change should be brought about in so short a 
lime : It cannot be without a miracle. In order to it, not on- 


ly iKust the Popish nations so prevail, as utterly to extirpate 
the Protestant religion through the earth ; but must do -many 
other things, far more impossible for them to effect, in order 
to cover the world with so gross and confirmed a darkness^ 
and to bury all light and truth in so deep an oblivion, and so 
far out of all means and hopes of a revival. And not only 
j-nust av ast change be made in the Protestant world, but the 
Popish nations must be strangely metamorphosed ; and they 
themselves must be terribly persecuted by some other power, 
in order to bring them to such a change : Nor would perse- 
cution without extirpation be sufficient for it. If there should 
be another universal deluge, it might be sufficient to bring 
things in the world to such a pass ; provided a few ignorant 
barbarous persons only were preserved in an ark : And it 
would require some catastrophe, not much short of this, to ef- 
fect it. 

2. In the reformation, that was in the days of Luther, Cal- 
vin and others, their contemporaries, the threatened destruc- 
tion of Antichrist, that dreadful enemy, that had long oppress- 
ed and worn out the saints, was begun ; nor was it a small 
beginning, but Antichrist hath fallen, at least, half v/ay to the 
ground, from that height of power and grandeur, that he wa3 
in before. Then began the vials of God's wrath to he poured 
out on the throne of the beast^ to the great shaking of its foun- 
dations, ahd diminution of its extent ; so that the Pope lost 
near half of his former dominions : And as to degree of au- 
thority and influence over what is left, he is not now possess- 
ed of what he had before. God now at length, in answer to 
the long continued cries of his people, awaked as one out of 
sleep, and began to deliver his church from her exceeding 
low state, that she had continued in for many ages, under the 
great oppression of this grand enemy, and to restore her from 
her exile and bondage in the spiritual Babylon and Egypt. ...^ 
And it is not agreeable to the analogy of God's dispensations, 
that after this, God should desert his people, and hide himself 
from them, even more than before, and leave them more than 
ever in the hands of their enemy, and all this advantage of the 
church against Antichrist should be entirely given up anc^ 
Vol. III. 3 G 


lost, and Ihc power and tyranny of Antichrist be more confirm- 
ed, and the church brought more under, and more entirely- 
subdued than ever before, and further from all help and means 
to recover. This is not God's way of dealing with his peo- 
ple, or with their enemies : His work of salvation is perfect : 
When he has begun such a work he will carry it on : When 
he once causes the day of deliverance to dawn to his people, 
after such a long night of dismal darkness, he will not extin- 
guish the light, and cause them to return again to midnight 
darkness : When he has begun to enkindle the blessed fire, 
he will not quench the smoking flax, until he hath brought 
forth judgment unto victory. When once the church, after 
her long labor and sore travail, has brought forth her man 
child, and wrought some deliverance, her enemies shall never 
be able to destroy this child, though an infant ; but it shall 
ascend up to heaven, and be set on high out of their reach. 

The destruction that God often foretold and threatened to- 
ancient Babylon (which is often referred to in the Revelation, 
as a great type of the Antichristian church) was gradually ac- 
complished, and fulfilled by various steps, at a great distance 
of time one from another : It was begun in the conquest of 
Cyrus, and was further accomplished by Darius, about eigh- 
teen years after, by a yet greater destruction, wherein it was 
brought much nearer to utter desolation ; but it was about two 
hundred and tv.'entythree years after this, before the ruin of 
it was perfected, and the prophecies against it fully accom- 
plished, in its being made an utter and perpetual desolation^ 
without any human inhabitant, becoming the dwelling place 
for owls, dragons and other doleful creatures. But yet when 
God had once begun to destroy her, he went on until he fin- 
ished, and never suffered her any more to recover and estab- 
lish her former empire. So the restitution of the Jewish 
church, after the Babylonish captivity, was gradual, by various 
steps ; there were several times of return of the Jews fi-om 
captivity, and several distinct decrees of the Persian emperors, 
for the restoring and rebuilding Jerusalem, and reestablishing 
the Jewish church and state ; and it was done in turbulent 
times i there weic great interruptions and checks, and violent 


cpposkions, and times wherein the enemy did much prevail : 
But yet, when God had once begun the work, he also made 
an end ; he never suffered the enemies of the Jews to bring 
Jerusalem to such a state of desolation as it had been in be- 
fore, until the promised restoration was complete. Again, 
the deliverance of God's church from the oppression of An- 
tiochus Epiphancs, (another known type of Antichrist) was 
gradual ; they were first iiolpen with a little help, by the 
Maccabees ; and afterwards the promised deliverance was 
completed, in the recovery of Jerusalem, the restoration of the 
temple, the miserable end of Antiochus, and the consequent 
]nore full deliverance of the whole land. But after God once 
began to appear for the help of his church in that instance, 
after it seemed dead and past all hope, he never suffered An- 
tiochus to prevail against his people, to that degree, again ; 
though the utmost strength of this great monarch was used, 
■from time to tim»e, in order to it, and his vast empire was en- 
gaged against an handful that opporied them : God never for- 
sook the work of his own hand ; when he had begun to deliver 
his people, he also made an end. And so Haman, that proud 
and inveterate enemy of the Jews, that thought to exlirpate 
the whole nation, who also was probably another type of An- 
tichrist, when he began to fall before Esther and Mordecai, 
never stayed, until his ruin, and the church's deliverance were 
complete. Haman's wife speaks of it, as an argument of his 
approaching inevitable full destruction, that he had begun to 
fall, Esth. vi. 15. 

3. If it should be so that Antichristian tyranny and 
darkness should hereafter so prevail against the Protestant 
church, and the true religion, and every thing appertaining to 
it, as to bring things to the pass forementioned, this would 
hardly so properly answer the prophecy of slaying the two 
witnesses ; for doubtless, one reason why they are called two 
witnesses, is that the number of the remaining witnessess for 
the truth, though sufficient, was yet very small. Which was 
remarkably the case, in the dark times of Popery : But since 
the reformation, the number of those appearing on the side of 
.true religion, has been far from being so small. The visiblp 


church of Christ has been vastly large, in comparison of what 
it was before : The number of Protestants has sometimes 
been thouy;ht nearly equal to that of the Papists ; and doubtless 
the number of true suhits has been far greater than before. 

4. It seems to be signified in prophecy, that after the refor- 
mation Antichrist should never prevail against the church of 
Christ any more, as he had done before. I cannot but think, 
jhat whoever roads and well considers what the learned Mr. 
Lownian has written on the five first vials, Rev. xvi. in his late 
exposition on the Revelation, must think it to be very mani- 
fest, that what is said ver. 10, of the pouring out of the fifth 
vial on the throne of the beast, (for so it is in the original) is a 
prophecy of the reformation. Then the vial of God's wrath 
was poured out on the throne of the beast, i. e. according to 
the language of scripture, on his authority and dominion, 
greatly to Aveaken and diminish it, both in extent and degree. 
But when this is represented in the prophecy, then it is added, 
end hrs kingdom was full of darkness-) and they gnawed their 
tongues for pain. If we consider what is commonly intended 
by such like phrases in the scripture, I think we shall be 
naturally, and as it were necessarily led to understand those 
words thus : Their policy, by which heretofore they have pre- 
vailed, shall now fail them ; their authority shall be weakened, 
and their dominion greatly diminished, and all their craft and 
subtilty shall not avail them to maintain and support the 
throne of the beast, or ever again to extend his authority so 
far as it had been before extended, and to recover what it lost ; 
but all their crafty devices to this end shall be attended with 
vexatious, tormenting disappointment ; they that have the 
management of the affairs of the beast's kingdom, shall hence- 
forward grope as in the dark, and stumble, and be confounded 
in their purposes, plots and cnterprizes ; formerly their poli- 
cy was greatly successful, was as a light to guide them to 
their ends, but now their kingdom shall be full of darkness, 
and their wisdom shall fail them in all their devices to subdue, 
and again to bring under the church of God. 

The scripture takes notice of the great policy and subtilty 
isf the powers that support this kingdom, Dan. vii. 8. « An4 


behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of a man." So 
it is said of Antiochus Epiphanes, that great type of Antichrist, 
Dan viii. 23. « A king of fierce countenance, and understand- 
ing dark sentences, shall stand up." Verse 25. " And 
through his policy also, shall he cause craft to prosper in his 
hand." This understanding and policy is the light of this 
'Migdom, as true wisdom is the light of the spiritual Jerusa- 
lem> 'j^nd therefore when this light fails, then may the king- 
dom ot j.is spiritual Egypt be said to be full of darkness. God 
henceiorwartu ^^,j}j defend his people from these mystical 
Egyptians, as he defended Israel of old from Pharaoh and 
hi^ host, when pursu..^ ^fter them, by placing a cloud and 
darkness in their way, anj s^ ^ot suffering them to come 
nigh. So he will protect Mi> church from the men of that 
city that is spiritually called c^^om, as Lot's house, wherein 
were the angels, was defended ~„oj^ ^l,^ ^^^ of Sodom, b/ 
their being smitten with darkness ^^ blindness, so that they 
■wearied themselves to find the dwv . ^nd as God defended 
the city in which was Elisha the prop^^t ^nd witness of the 
Lord, from the Syrians, when they comp«,5jgfj j^ ^bout Avith 
horses and chariots and a great host to ^hiehend him by- 
smiting them with blindness. The scripture^^j^j,[-jgg ^ .j^^^. 
God is wont in this v/ay to defend his church an people from 
their crafty and powerful enemies ; Job. v. 11, L » -j.^ 
up on high those that be low, that those which moi^ ^^^^ u 
exalted to safety : He disappointeth the devices oft^ craftv 
so that their hands cannot perform their enterprize : ig *^i.. 
eth the wise in their own craftiness, and the counsel c the 
frowardis carried headlong : They meet with darkness ii»he 
day time, and grope in the noon day as in the night ; but,g 
saveth the poor from the sword, from their mouth, and frox 
the hand of the mighty." Psal. xxxv. 4, 6. " Let them be 
confounded and put to shame, that seek after my soul ; Iet\ 
them be turned back, and brought to confcsion, that devise 
my hurt. ...Let their way be dark and slippery." 

Such defence of God's Protestant church, and disap- 
pointment and confusion of all the subtle devices, deep 
iaid schemes, and furious attempts of their Antichrist- 


ian enemies, to bring theVn under, and root them out, and their 
seeing them itill niaintaininp; their ground, and subsisting 
in an independency on them, in spite of all that they do, makes 
them as it were gnash their teeth, and bite their tongues for 
mere rage and vexation ; agreeable to Psal. cxii. 9, 10. " His 
righteousness endureth forever, his horn shall be exalted -with 
honor : The wicked shall see it and be grieved, and gnas'' 
with his teeth and melt a-.vay : The desire cf the w^^^-d 
shall pei'ish.'* 

Hitherto this prophecy has been veiy sign^-'^T fulfilled ; 
since the reformation, the kingdom of Ant'"'^'^^'- "^'^ hecn re- 
markably filled with darkness in this r-^P^ct. Innumerable 
have been the crafty devices, and p-^* attempts of the church 
of Rome, wherein they have ej^t*^'' t^^^"' utmost pohcy and 
power, to recover their lost dr-^inions, and again to subju- 
gate the Protestant nations, -''^^ subdue the northern heresy, 
ss they call it. They \yo'^ ^vcaried themselves in these en- 
deavors for more than '«'« hundred years past. But have 
liitherto been disapr-^n^ed ; and have often been strangely 
confounded. W*^" ^^^'^^ matters seemed to be brought to a 
ripeness, and thV triumphed as though their point was gain- 
ed their iov ^^ triumph was suddenly turned into vexation 
and tormer ^°^^ many have been their politic and power- 
ful atteW^" against the Protestant interest in our nation, in 
Tjarticul' ^ -^^^^ ^^°^ wonderfully has God disappointed them 
from *^^ *° ^^^^ ' -^^^ ^^ ^^^ ^^^^ hitherto so remarkably 
j- jgpd his word in defending his Protestant church from An- 
lifvist, so I think we have ground to trust in him, that he 
^d defend it to the end. 

5. The hypothesis of those that suppose the slaying of the 
witnesses is a thing that yet remains to be fulfilled, makes the 
prophecies of the Revelation to be inconsistent one with anoth- 
er. According to their hypothesis, that battle Rev. xi. 7, 
wiierein the beast makes v/ar with the witnesses, and over- 
comes them, and kills them, is the last and greatest conflict 
between Anticlirist and the church of Christ, that is to pre- 
cede the utter o/orthrow of the Antichristian kingdom. And 
they must suppose so ; for they suppose, that immediately 


after tlie sufferings the church shall endure in that war, she 
shall arise, and as it were ascend into heaven ; i. e. as they" 
interpret it, the church shall be directly advanced to her lat- 
ter day rest, prosperity and glory. And consequently, this 
conflict must be the same with that great battle between An- 
tichrist and the church, that is described chap. xvi. 13, to the 
end, and more largely chap. xix. 11, to the end. For that 
which is described in these places, is most evidently and in- 
disputably the gTeatest and last battle or conflict that shall be 
between the church and her Antichristian enemies ; en which 
the. vitter dov.'nfall of Antichrist, and the church's advauce- 
ment to her latter day glory, shall be immediately consequent. 
And so the earthquake that attends the resurrection of the 
witnesses chap. xi. 13, must be the same with that gi'cat 
earthquake tliit is described, chap. xvi. 18. And the falling 
of the tenth part of the city must be the same with that ter- 
rible and utter destruction of Antichrist's kingdom, chap, xvi, 
17, to the end. 

But these things cannot be. The battle chap. xi. 7, cannot 
be the same Avith that last and great battle between the church 
and Antichrist described, chap. xvi. and xix. For the things 
that are said of one and the other, and their issue, are in n» 
wise consistent. In that battle, chap. xi. the church of God 
conflicts with her enemies in sorrow,sackcloth and blood : ButJ 
rn the other the matter is represented exceedingly otherwise ]^ 
the church goes forth to fight with antichrist, not in sackcloth 
and blood, but clothed in white raiment, Christ himself be- 
fore them, as their captain, going forth in great pomp and mag- 
nificence, upon a white horse, and on his head many crotvns, alicC 
on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, King of KitgSy 
mid Lord of Lords ; and the saints that follow so glorious a 
Leader to this great battle, follow him on white horses, cloth- 
ed in fine liuen, white and clean, in garments of strength, joy, 
glory and triumph ; in the same kind of raiment, that the 
saints appear in, when they are represented as triumphing, 
with Christ, , with palms in their hands, chap. vii. 9. And the 
issue of the latter of these conflicts, is quite the reverse of the 
former. In that battle, chap, xi, 7. '* The beast makes wac 


vith the \vitncsses, and overcomes them and kills them. '^ 
The same is foretold, Dan. vii. 21. « I beheld, and the same 
horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them." 
And Rev. xii. 7. " And it was given unto him to make war 
with the saints, and to overcome them." But in the issue of 
That last and great battle, which the church shall have with 
her Antichristian enemies, the church shall overcome them, 
and kill them ; Rev. xvii. 14. " These shall make war 
with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them ; 
for he is Lord of Lords, and King of Kings ; and they that 
are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful," compared 
•with chap. xix. 16, and following verses, and chap. xvi. 16, 
17. IiT the conflict that the beast shall have with the witnesses, 
the " Beast kills them and their dead bodies lie unburied ;" 
as though they were to be meat for the beasts of the earth, 
and fowls of heaven : But in that last great battle, it is repre- 
sented that Christ and his church shall day their enemies^ and 
give t/ieir dead bodies to be meat for the fonvh of heaven " chap; 
xix. 17, to the end. There is no manner of appearance, in 
the descriptions that are given of that last great battle, of anj'' 
advantages gained in it, by the enemies of the church, before 
they themselves are overcome ; but all appearance of the 
contrary. Be sure the descriptions in the 16th' and 19th 
chapters of the Revelation will by no means allow of such an 
advantage, as the overcoming of God's people, and slaying 
them, and their lying dead for some time, and unburied, that 
iheiv dead bodies may be for their enemies to abuse, and tram- 
jlc on, and make sport with. In chap. xvi. we read of 
tl.eir being gathered together against the church, a mighty 
hoit, into the place called Armageddon ; and then the first 
thin^j; we hear of, is the pouring out of the seventh vial of 
God's M'rath, and a voice saying It is done. And so in the 
IQth chapter, wo have an account of "the beast, and the 
kings of the earth, and their armies, being gathered together 
to make war against him that sat on the hcrse, and against his 
army." And then the next thing we hear of, is, that " the 
Beast is taken, and Avith him the false prophet ; and that these 
are both cast alive into the lake of fire ; and that the remnan* 


mi the vast army are slain, and all the fowls filled with their 
flesh. The issue of the conflict of the beast with the witness- 
es is the triumph of the church's enemies over God's people, 
looking on them as entirely vanquished, and their interest ut- 
terly ruined, past all possibility of recovery : They thai dwell 
on the earth shall see the dead bodies qf the samts lying in the 
streets qf the great city, and shall rejoice over them, and make 
merry, and send gifts one to another. But the issue of that 
great and last battle is quite the reverse ; it is the church's tri- 
umph over her enemies as being utterly and forever de- 

Here if any one shall say, That the ascension of the witness- 
es into heaven in the sight of their enemies, may, as has 
more generally been supposed, signify the church's last vic- 
tory and triumph over her Antichristian enemies, and final 
deliverance from them, and yet the battle between Antichrist 
and the witnesses, spoken of Rev. xi. 7, wherein the witness- 
es are slain, may not be the same with that last and greatest 
battle between Antichrist and the church, chap. xvi. and xix. 
that immediately precedes and issues in the church's final 
victory and deliverance ; there may be two great battles, soon 
following one another, though both are not mentioned in the 
same place ; one, a conflict wherein Antichrist prevails against 
the witnesses, and overcomes them, and kills them, and anoth- 
er, that great battle described chap. xvi. and xix. after the 
witnesses' resurrection, before their ascension into heaven, 
wherein they shall prevail and overcome their enemies, and 
kill them : I say, if any one shall say thus, they will say that 
which the prophecies give no reason for, nor allow any room 
to suppose. That last battle between the church and Anti- 
christ, wherein Christ and his people obtain a complete victo- 
ry, is evidently one of the greatest and most remarkable 
events foretold in all the Apocalypse : And there is no one 
thing, unless it be the consummation of all things, in the two 
last chapters, that is described in so solemn and august a man- 
ner. And the description shews that it is an event which, 
with its circumstances, must take up much time. There is 
vast preparation made for it by the church's enemies : The 

Vol. III. 3 H 


devils, in order to stir men up, and gather ilicm together, 
to this batfie of that great day of God Ahnightij., go forth ^ivto 
the kings of the earth and of the tvhole world, to propagate va- 
rious kinds of delusions, far and wide, all over the world ; 
which undoubtedly must take up many years' time ; chap, 
xvi. 13, 14, And then great preparation is made in the church 

of God, to make opposition ; chap. xix. 11 17, Now can 

any reasonably suppose, that in what is represented, chap, 
xi, of a great conflict between Antichrist and God's people, 
wherein the latter are overcome and slain, and lie dead three 
days (or three years) and an half, and their enemies triumph- 
ing over them, but God's people rising again from the dead 
in the midst of this triumph of their enemies, and ascending 
into heaven, while their enemies stand astonished and amaz- 
ed spectators that the manner of the description leaves fair 

room for us to suppose, that after this resurrection of God's 
people, they continue long before they ascend, to encounter 
with Antichrist in a new conflict, wherein their enemies after 
long time to prepare, should engage with them with vastly 
greater preparation, strength, and violence than before, and 
should wage war with them with the mightiest army that 
ever was gathered against the church, and in the greatest 
battle that ever was fought ? 

And besides, the witnesses ascending into heaven in the 
sight of their enemies, spoken of chap, xi, cannot be the same 
with the church's gaining a glorious ascendant over her ene- 
mies, in her final victory over Antichrist, spoken of chap, 
xvi, and xix. because the descriptions of the events that attend 
the one and the other do by no means answer each other. 
For, observe, it is said that when the witnesses arose, and stood 
on their feet, and ascended into heaven, the same hour there was 
a great earthquake : But this does not seem to answer to 
what is described chap, xvi, 18. " And there were voices, and 
thunders, and lightnings, and there was a great earthquake, 
such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an 
earthquake, and so great." It is said that at the time of the 
first earthquake, chap, xi. 13. "The tenth part of the city 
fell :" But how far does this fall short of what is described, as 


attending the great earthquake ? Chap. xvi. 19, 20. « And the 
great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the 
nations fell ; and great'Babylon came into remembrance be- 
fore God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierce- 
ness of his wrath ; and every island fled away, and the mount- 
ains were not found." It is said of the earthquake, chap. xi. 
" And in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand : 
But how far is this from answering the slaughter described 
chap. xix. 17, &c. ? Which is represented as a general 
slaughter of the kings, captains, mighty men, horses, and ar- 
mies of the earth, and of the whole world ; so that all the 
fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, as far as the sun shines, 
are filled with the flesh of the dead carcases, it being the Jlesh 
of all men^ both free and bond, both small and great : (Compare 
chap. xvi. 14.) V/ho can think, that this great slaughter that 
is thus represented, should in chap. xi. be only called a slaying 
seve?i thousand men ? 

If we read this very eleventh chapter through, we shall see 
that the falling of the tenth part of the city, and the witnesses 
rising and ascending into heaven, are entirely distinct from 
the final destruction of Antichrist, and that advancement of 
the church to her latter day glory, that is consequent upon it. 
The judgments here spoken of, as executed on God's ene- 
mies, are under another ivoe ; and the benefits bestowed on 
the church, are vmder another triiinfiet. For immediately af- 
ter the account of the rising and ascending of the witnesses, 
and the tenth part of the city's falling, and the slaying of the 
seven thousand men, and the aff'righting of the rest, and their 
giving glory to the God of heaven, follow these words in the 
14th and 15th verses, " The second vfoe is past ; and behold 
the third woe cometh quickly. And the seventh angel sound- 
ed ; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, the king- 
doms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord and 
of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever." And in 
the following verses, we have an account of the praises sung 
to God on this occasion. And then in the last verse, we have 
a brief hint of that same earthquake, and that great hail, and 
those thunders and lightnings and voices, that we have an ac^ 


count of in the latter part of chap. xvi. So that the earth- 
quake mentioned in the last verse of chap. xi. is that great 
earthquake that attends the last great conflict of the church 
and her enemies ; and not that mentioned ver. 13. 

The three woes arc the woes of God on Antichrist and his 
subjects ; and the third and last of ihcm evidently signifies 
the terrible judgments of God on Antichrist, by which God's 
■wrath upon him shall be fulfilled in his utter destruction : But 
the calamities on Antichrist spoken of as attending the rising 
and ascending of the witnesses, such as the falling of the tenth 
part of the city, and slaying seven thousand men, do not be- 
long to this last woe, and therefore do not signify the final de- 
struction of Antichrist : For the words of ver. 14, will by no 
means allow of such a supposition ; for there, immediately 
after giving an account of these calamities, it is added, " The 
second woe is past ; and behold the third woe cometh quick- 
ly :" Making a most plain and express distinction between 
these calamities that had already been mentioned, and es- 
pecially these that were just then mentioned in the very last 
words, and the calamities that belong to the third woe, that 
yet remain to be mentioned : For by being passed, the pro- 
phet is to be understood no otherwise than passed in the de- 
claration and representation ; it was not past in any other 
respect : It is as much as to say, Thus an account has been 
given of the calamities upon Antichrist that belong to the 
second woe ; now I proceed to give an account of those dis- 
pensations of Providence that belong to the third and last woe, 
which shall prove Antichrist's final destruction, and end in 
the kingdoms of this world becoming the kingdoms of our 
Lord, and of his Christ. 

What was fulfilled in the reformation, well answers the 
representation made concerning the witnesses, Rev. xi. 11, 
12. Of " the Spirit of Life from God entering into them, and 
their standing on their feet, and ascending up to heaven, in 
the sight of their enemies. A little before the reformation, 
the state of the church of God, and of true religion was lowest 
of all, and nearest to utter extinction. Antichrist had, after 
great and long struggles, prevailed against the Waldcnsesj 


Albigenses and Bohemians. The war with the Albigenses 
seems especially to be intended by the war of the beast witb 
the witnesses spoken of, ver. 7. These were witnesses to the 
ti'Uth, that were the most numerous and considerable, and 
those that most tormented the church of Rome. And the 
war that was maintained against them, was by far the greatest 
that ever Antichrist had against any of the professors of the 
truth, before the reformation ; and was properly the war of 
the beast ; it was the Pope that proclaimed the war, and that 
raised the soldiers by his emissaries and priests, preaching 
the cross, gathering innumerable multitudes of pilgrims from 
all parts of Christendom, and raising one crusade after another, 
■which were conducted and managed by the Pope's legates ; 
and it was the Pope that paid the soldiers with pardons, indul- 
gences, promises of paradise, and such like trumpery. When 
Antichrist had gradvially prevailed against these v/itnesses, 
with much difficulty, and long continued violent struggling, 
and after innumerable vexatious disasters and disappoint- 
ments ; the church of God, in the time of Luther and other 
reformers, on si sudden, in a wonderful manner revives, when 
such an event was least expected, (to the surprise and amaze- 
ment of th^ir Antichristian enemies) and appears in such 
strength, t^.t the reformed are able to stand on their own legs, 
and to withstand all the power and rage of the church of 
Rome. Presently after this revival, the people of God are 
set on high, having the civil magistrate in many countries on 
their side, and henceforward have the power of many potent 
princes engaged for their protection : And this, in sight of 
their enemies, and greatly to their grief and vexation ; who, 
though they from time to time exert their utmost, never are 
able to prevail against them, to bring them under any more, 
as they had done in former wars. Oftentimes in scripture, 
God's church's dwelling in safety, out of the reach of their 
enemies, is represented by their dwelling on high, or being 
set on high ; as Psal. lix. 1, Ixix. 29, xci. 14, cvii. 41. Prov. 
xxix. 25. Isa. xxxiii. 16. The children of Israel, in their 
tlcliverance out of Egypt, from their cruel task masters, that 
would fain have brought them into bondage again, were said 


to be carried on eagle's wiags, that is lofty in its flight, flies 
away towards heaven ; so that the Egyptians could not 
conje at them : And they were protected by the cloud that 
■went with them ; as the witnesses are said to be caught \ip to 
heaven in a cloud. Compare this with Isa. iv. 5. " And the 
Lord v.'ill create upon every dwelling place of Mount Zion, 
and upon her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day, and the 
shining of a flaming fire by night ; for upon all the glory 
shall be a defence. 

I shall not pretend to explain the mystery of the three days 
and half of the witnesses lying dead, or to determine the pre- 
cise duration signified by that mystical representalion. Possi-» 
bly no particular measure of time may be intended by it ; and 
yet it not be without significancy.* As no particular number 
of persons is intended by the two witnesses ; but in general, 
k intends a small number, and yet a sufficient number ; and 
as small as might be, and yet be sufficient ; as, less than two 
tv'itnesses was not sufficient : So perhaps no particular dura- 
tion of thai low state that the church was in before the reform- 
ation, may be intended by three days and half; but in general 
it maybe hereby signified, that this time of the triumphing of 
the wicked, and extremity of God's church, should be but 
short. And possibly three days and half may be mentioned, 
because that is the utmost space of time that a dead body can 
be ordinarily supposed to lie without putrefaction ; signifying 
that at this time the church should be brought to the very 
brink of utter ruin, and yet should be preserved and revive 
again. And half a day may be mentioned to signify the par<- 
ticular care of Providence in exactly determining this time of 

• Mr. Lowman, in the preface to hts Paraphrase on the Revelation, page 8, 
observes as follows : " Prophetic numbers do not always express a determi- 
iiate duratioa or space of time, any more than they always express a certain 
number. Prophecy, I acknowledge, uses numbers sometimes as other ex- 
pressions, in a figurative meaning, as symbols and hieroglyphics. Thus the 
number seven, sometimes does not denote the precise number seven : But fig- 
aratively de'jotes perfcctio!!, or a full and complete number : And the num- 
ber ten, sometimes does not mean precisely ten in number, but many in gen- 
aal, or a considerable number." 


the church's extremity. And probably there may be sonie 
reference to the three times (or three years) and an half of 
the witnesses prophecying in sackcloth ; the more apparently 
to shew the disproportion between the time of the church's 
welfai'e, and the time of her enemies victory and triumph t 
The time of the church's affliction and conflict may be long ; 
and in the issue she may be overcome ; but the time of this 
victory shall be but short ; in comparison with the i^ther, but 
as a day to a year : She may as it were be killed, and lie dead, 
until she comes to the very brink of utter and hopeless ruin, 
but yet God will not suffer her to see corruption ; but at that 
very time, when her enemies expected that she should putri- 
fy, she shall rise ; and be set on high, out of their reach, 
greatly to their astonishment. 

The grand objection against all this, is, that it is said, that 
the roitnesses should prophesy twelve hundred and sixty days 
clothed in sackcloth ; and wJien they have finished their testinio* 
ny-, the beast should make nvar against them and kill thevi^ See. 
and that it seems manifest, that after this, they are no longer 
in sackcloth, for henceforward they are in an exalted state in 
heaven : And that therefore, seeing the time of their wearing 
sackcloth, is twelve hundred and sixty days, which is the time 
6f the continuance of Antichrist ; hence their being slain and 
rising again, must be at the conclusion of this period, and so 
at the end of Antichrist's reign. 

In answer to which I would say, that we can justly infer no 
ttiore from this prophecy than this, viz. that the twelve hun- 
dred and sixty days is the proper time of the churcli's trouble 
and bondage, or being clothed in sackcloth ; because it is the 
appointed time of the reign of Antichrist. But this does not 
hinder but that God, out of his great compassion to his chi rch, 
should, in some respect, shorten the days, and grant that sh& 
should, in some measure, anticipate the appointed great deliv- 
erance that should be at the end of those days. As he has in 
fact done in the reformation ; whereby the church has had a 
great degree of restoration granted, from the darkness and 
power of Antichrist, before her proper time of restoration, 
■which is at the end of the twelve hundred and sixty days 


Thus the church of Christ, tliroug-h the tender mercies of her 
Patlier and Redeemer, in some respects, anticipates her de- 
liverance from her sorrows and sackcloth : As many parts of 
the church are hereby brought from under the dominion of 
the Antichristian powers, into a state of power and liberty ; 
though in other respects, the church may be sard to continue 
in sackcloth, and in the wilderness, until the end of days; 
many parts of it still remaining under grievous persecution. 

What we render, nvhen they shall have finished their testimO' 
nij) Mr. Lowman, from Mr. Daubuz, renders, while they shall 
perfofm their testimony ; and observes, that the oi-iginal may 
niean the lime of their testimony, as well as the end of it. 

I might here observe that we have other instances of God's 
shortening the days of his church's captivity and bondage, 
either at the beginning or end, very parallel with what has 
been now supposed in the case of the witnesses. Thus the 
proper time of the bondage of the posterity of Abraham in 
Egypt, was four hundred years ; Gen. xv. 13. But yet God 
in mercy deferred the beginning of their bondage ; whereby 
the lime was much shortened at the beginning. So the time 
wherein it was foretold tliat the whole land of Israel should be a 
desolation and an astonishment.^ and the land should enjoy her 
tabbaths^ by the Babylonish cajitivity^ ivas seveyity years ; Jer. 
XXV. 11, 12, and these seventy years are dated in 2 Chron. 
xxxvi. 20, 21, from Zedekiah's captivity ; and yet, from that 
captivity to Cyrus's decree, was but fiftytwo years ; though 
it was indeed seventy years before the more full restoration of 
the Jewish church and state by Darius's decree, Ezra vi. So 
the proper time of the oppression and bondage of the Jewish 
church under Antiochus Epiphancs, wherein both the sanctua' 
ry and host should be trodden under fuot by him, was two thou-t 
tend three hundred days ; Dan. viii. 13, 14. The time from 
Antiochus's taking Jerusalem and polluting the sanctuary, to 
Anliochus's death, seems to have been about so long : But 
God shortened the days, by granting remarkable help to his 
people by means of the Macccibees, before that time : Yea 
the temple and sanctuary were restored, and the altar rcbuill 
and dedicated before that time. 


Upon ihe whole, I think there appears to be no reason tVom 
the prophecy concerning the two witnesses, Rev. xi. to expect 
any s^uch general and terrible destruction of the church of 
Christ, before the utter downfall of Antichrist, as some have . 
supposed ; but good reason to determine the contrary. It is 
true, there is abundant evidence in scripture, that there is yet 
remaining a mighty conflict between the church and her ene- 
mies, the most violent struggle of Satan and his' adherents, in 
opposition to true religion, and the most general commotion 
that ever was in the w orld, since the foundation of it to that 
time ; and many particular Christians, and some parts of the 
church of Christ, may suffer hard things in this conflict : But 
in the general, Satan and Antichrist shall not get the victory, 
Tior greatly prevail ; but on the contrary be entirely conquer- 
ed, and utterly overthrown, in this great battle. So that I 
hope this prophecy of the slaying of the witnesses, will not 
stand in the way of a compliance with the proposal made to 
us in the memorial, as a prevalent objection and discourage- 

Object. 5. A late very learned and ingenious expositor of 
the Revelation, viz. Mr. Lowman, sets tlie fall of Antichrist, 
and consequently the coming of Christ's kingdom at a great 
distance ; supposing that the twelve hundred and sixty years 
of Antichrist's reign did not begin until the year seven hun- 
dred and fifty six ; and consequently that it will not end until 
after the year two thousand, more than two hundred and fifty 
years hence ; and this opinion he con6rms by a great variety 
of arguments. 

Ans. 1. If this objection be allowed lo be valid, and that 
-which ought to determine persons in an affair of this nature, 
and those things, concerning God's people praying for thiii 
-glorious event, be also allowed to be true, which before were 
shewn to be the will of God abundantly Tevealed in his word, 
th^n the following things must be supposed ; viz. that it is the 
will of God that Iiis people be much in prayer for this event, 
and particularly thiit it is God's revealed will and purpose, 
that, a little before tlie accomplishment of it, his people be 
earnestly seeking and waiting, and imp'tjrtunately and inccs- 

Vol. III. 3 I 


santly crying to God for it ; But yet that it was God's design, 
that before this time comes of extraordinary prayer and im- 
portunity of his church, for the bringing on this glorious event, 
his church should have it given them to understand precisely 
Avhcn the appointed time should be ; and that accordingly he 
has now actually brought the fixed time to light, by means of 
Mr. Lowman. But is it reasonable to suppose, that this 
should be God's manner of dealing with his church, first to 
make know n to them ihe precise time which he has unaltera- 
bly fixed for the shewir>g this mercy to Zion, and then make 
it the duty of his church, in an extraordinary manner, to be hj 
prayer inquiring of him concerning it, and saying, How long. 
Lord J And waiting for it, day :\nd night crying to him with 
exceeding importunity that he would bring it on, that he 
would come quickly, that he would hide himself no longer, 
but would arise and have mercy upon Zion, and awake as one 
out of sleep, openly manifest himself, and make bare his holy- 
arm for the salvation of his people ? That t/iey that make men- 
tion of the Lord, should not keefi silence, nor give him any resty 
until he establish, and make Jerusalem a jiraise in the earth ? 
And that the church should then say to Christ, Make haste, 
my belo-ved,and be thou like a roe or a yotmg hart o?i the mount- 
ains of S/iices ? 

It may be many ways for the comfort and benefit of God's 
church in her afflicted state, to know that the reign of Anti- 
christ is to be no more than 1260 years : And some things in 
general may be argued concerning the approach of it, when 
it is near : As the Jews covild argue the approach of Christ's 
first coming, from Daniel's prophecy of the seventy weeks, 
though they knew not precisely when that seventy weeks 
would end. But it is not reasonable to expect that God should 
make known to us beforehand, the precise time of Christ's 
coming in his kingdom. The disciples desired to know this, 
and manifested their desire to their Lord ; but he told them 
plainly that it 'was not for them to knoiv the times and seasons, 
'd'hich the Father hath f:ut in his oivnpovjcr ; Acts i. 6,7, and there 
is no reason to think that it is any more for us than for them ; 
or for Christ's disciples in these days any more than for his 


apostles in those days. God makes it the duty of his church 
to be importunately praying for it, and praying that it may 
come speedily ; and not only to be praying for it, but to be 
seeking of it, in the use of proper means ; endeavoring that 
religion may now revive every where, and Satan's kingdom 
be overthrown ; and always to be waiting for it, being in a 
constant preparation for it, as servants that wait for the com- 
ing of their Lord, or virgins for the coming of the bride- 
groom, not knowing at what hour he will come. But God's 
making known beforehand the precise time of his coining, 
does not well consist with these things. 

It is the revealed will of God, that he should be inquired 
of by his people, by extraordinary prayer, concerning this 
great mercy, to do it for them, before it be fulfilled. And if 
any suppose, that it is now found out precisely when the lime 
is to be, and (the time being at a considerable distance) that 
now is not a proper season to begin this extraordinary prayer, 
I would, on this supposition, ask, when we shall begin ? How 
long before the fixed and known time of the bestowmcnt of 
this mercy comes, shall we begin to cry earnestly to God that 
this mercy may come, and that Christ would make haste and 
be like a roe, &c ? For us to delay, supposing that wc know 
the time to be far off, is not agreeable to the language of 
God's people in my text, Co7ne, let us go speedily, and J tray be- 
fore the Lord, and seek the Lord of hoists. 

Ans. 2. I acknowledge that Mr. Lowman's exposition of 
the Revelation is, on many accounts, excellently written, giv- 
ing great light into some parts of that prophecy, and an in- 
stance of the fulfilment of that prediction, Dan. xii. 4. " Many 
shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased :" And 
especially in his interpretation of the five first vials (which he 
supposeth already poured out) exceeding satisfying. But yet 
the opinion of Mr. Lowman, with regard to the particular 
time of the beginning and end of the time, times and an half 
of Antichrist's reign, and of all others that pretend to fix the 
time, is the less to be regai'ded, because it is clearly revealed, 
and expressly declared by God, that that matter should be 
sealed up and hid, and not known until ths time of the end of 


this time, times and an half. Duniel, in the last chapter of 
his prophecy, gives us an account, how the angel lokl him ol 
a future time of great trouble and affliction to the church oS 
God, and then said to him, vcr. 4. " But thou, O Daniel, shut 
up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end." 
And then the prophet proceeds to give an account of a vision 
that he. had of one earnestly inquiring of the angel of the 
Lord, how long it would be to the end of this remarkable and 
•wonderful time of the church's trouble, saying, How long shall 
k be to the end of these wonders ? Ver. 5, 6. The answer was, 
that it should be fur a tiine,^ times and an Jialf., and that when so 
long a time was past, then this wonderful afHictJon and scat- 
tering of the holy people should be finished, ver. 7. But then 
Daniel tells us, in the next verse, that he heard^ but he under-' 
stood 7wt., and said, O my Lord, nvhat shall be the end of these 
things ? He did not understand that general and mystical an- 
swer, that those things should have an end at the end of a 
time, times and an half; he did not know by it, v/hen this 
period would have an end : And therefore he inquires more 
particularly v/hat the time of the end was. But the angel re- 
plies, ver. 9. '' Go thy way, Daniel, the wards are closed and 
sealed up, until the time of the end." I do not know what 
could have been more express. The angel gently rebukes this 
over inquisitiveness of Daniel, very much as Christ did a like 
inquisitiveness of the disciples concerning the sanYC matter, 
when he said to them, It is not for you to knoiv the times and 
reasGiis, that the Father hath {ml in his oii'n fioioer. I think 
there can be no doubt but that this space, of a time, times and 
half of the church's great trouble, alx)ut the end of which 
D.vr.icl inquires, is the same witli that time, times and 
half, that ii; spoken of Chap. vii. 25, and Rev. xii. 14, as the 
time of Antichrist's rcigiv, and the church's being in the wil- 
derness ; and not merely the time of the church's troubles by 
Antiochus Epiphancs. But we see, when Daniel has a mind 
to know paniculariy when this time would come to an end, he 
is bid to go away, and rest contented in ignorance of this mat- 
ter : For, says the man clothed in linen, the ivords are closed 
K^, ami sealed^ until the time of the end. That is, very plainly> 


the matter that you inquire about, when the end of this time, 
and times and half shall come, shall not be known, but kept 
a great secret, until the time of the end actually comes, and 
all attempts to find it out before that shall be in vain. And 
therefore when a particular divine appears, that thinks be has 
found it out, and has unsealed this matter, and made it mani- 
fest with very manifold and abundant evidence, we may well 
think he is mistaken, and doubt whether those supposed evi- 
dences are truly solid ones, and such as are indeed sufficient 
to make that matter manifest, which God has declared should 
be kept hid, and not made manifest before it is accomplished. 
Mr. Lowman's own words in his preface, page 24, 25, are 
here worthy to be repeated : " It will (says he) ever be a point 
of wisdom, not to be gver busy, or over confident in any thin-g, 
especially in fixing periods of time, or determining seasons ; 
which it may be are net to be determined, it may be are 
not fit to be known. It is a maxim of greater wisdom 
than is usually thought. Seek not to know what should not 
be 7'evealedi Such are many future events. The precise 
time of our Saviour's coming to judgment, was not re- 
vealed, because net fit to be revealed. The uncertainty of 
his^ appearance was of greater service to preserve a care of 
religion, than the revelation of it would have been : For the 
uncertainty itself gives many useful exhortations ; Watch,for 
ye know not what hour the 3on of man comet h. Suppose then 
some of the events described in this prophecy should be of 
doubtful application, suppose the precise time of the downfall 
of the beast, the slaying and resurrection of the witnesses, 
and the beginning of a thousand years happy state of the 
church, should not be so determined, but it would admit of 
different calculations ; may it not be wise, and therefore fit 
it should be so ? The certainty of those events in a pi'oper 
time, though that time should not be precisely determined, 
will answer the greater ends of useful instruction. And if the 
revelation should go no further than this, it would yet be a 
revelation, of great benefit and advantage ; as the certainty 
of the day of judgment in its proper time surely is, though of 
Ahat day and hour knoweth no man." 


Ans. 3. Though it is not for us to know t'he precise time 
of the fall of Antichrist, yet I humbly conceive that we have 
no reason to suppose the event principally intended in the 
prophecies of Antichrist's destrudion to be at so great a dis- 
tance, as Mr. Lowman places it ; but have reason to think it 
to be much nearer. Not that I would set up myself as a per- 
son of equal judgment with Mr. Lowman in matters of this 
nature. As he differs from most others of the most approv- 
ed expositors of the Apocalypse, in this matter, so I hope it 
will not appear vanity and presumption in me, to differ from 
this particular expositor, and to agree with the greater num- 
ber. And since his opinion stands so much in the way of that 
great and important affair, to promote which is the very end 
of this whole discourse, I hope it will not look as though I 
affected to appear considerable among the interpreters of 
prophecy, and as a person of skill in these mysterious mat- 
ters, that I offer some reasons against Mr. Lowman's opin- 
ion. It is surely great pity, that it should be received as a 
thing clear and abundantly confirmed, that the glorious day of 
Antichrist's fall is at so great a distance (so directly tending 
to damp and discourage all earnest prayers for, or endeavors 
after its speedy accomplishment) unless there be good and 
plain ground for it. I would therefore offer some things to 
consideration, which I think may justly make us look upon 
the opinion of this learned interpreter, of this happy event's 
being at so great a distance, not so certain and indubitable, as 
to hinder our praying and hoping for its being fulfilled much 

The period of Antichrist's reign, as their author has fixed 
it, seems to be the main point insisted on in his exposition of 
the revelation ; which he supposes a great many things in the 
scheme of prophecies delivered in that book do concur to es- 
tablish. And indeed it is so with respect to the scheme of 
interpretation of these prophecies, which he goes into, and 
finds it requisite to maintain, in order to confirm this point 
But there are several things in that scheme, that appear to 
jnc justly liable to exception. 


Whereas it is represented, Rev. xvii. 10, 11, that there are 
seven different successive heads of the beast ; that five were 
past, and another was to come, and to continue a short space, 
that might on some accounts be reckoned a seventh ; and 
that Antichrist was to follow next after this, as the eighth ; 
but yet the foregoing not being properly one of the heads of 
the beast, he was properly the seventh ; Mr. Low man does 
not think with others, that by the seventh that was to con- 
tinue a short space which would not be properly one of the 
heads of the beast, is meant Constantine and the other Christ- 
ian emperors ; (for he thinks they are reckoned as properly 
belonging to the sixth head of the beast) but that hereby is 
intended the government that Rome was subject to under the 
Gothic princes, and the exarchate of Ravenna, after the im- 
perial form of government in Rome ceased in Augustulus, 
until the Pope was invested with his temporal dominion, call- 
ed St. Peter's patrimony, by Pipin, King of France, in the 
year 756. And he supposes, that that wounding of one of 
the heads of the beast with a sword unto death, that we read 
of chap. xiii. 3, and 14, was not fulfilled in the destruction of 
the Heathen empire, and the giving the imperial power unto 
Christians, but in the destruction of the imperial form of gov- 
ernment, by the sword of the Goths, in the time of Augustu- 
lus. But it seems to me to be very unlikely, that the spirit 
•of God should reckon Constantine and the Christian em- 
perors as proper members, and belonging to one of the 
heads, of that monstrous, wild and cruel beast, that is com- 
pared to a leopard and a bear, and a devouring lion, and that 
had a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and that 
rules by the power and authority of the dragon, or the devil ;t 
which beast is represented in this very 17th chapter, as full of 
names of blasphemy, and of a bloody color, denoting his ex- 
ceeding cruelty in persecuting the Christian Church. For 
Constantine, instead of this, was a member of the Christian 
church, and set by God in the most eminent station in his 

+ The word T/iericn signifies a wild favage beast, as Mr. Lowman Iilmst'.f 
observes, page 127, 


chirrch ; and was honored aVjovc all other princes that ever 
liad l>€cn in the world, as the great protector of liis churclr, 
and her deliverer from the persecuting power of that cruel 
Rtarlct colored beast. Mr. Lowman himself styles him a 
Christian piince,and protector of the Christian religion. Cod is 
very careful not to reckon his own people among the Gentiles, 
^■he visible subjects of Satan ; Num. xxiii. 9. "The people 
shall not be reckoned among the nations." God will not en- 
rol them Avith them ; if they happen to be among them, he 
•will be careful to set a mark upon them, as a note of distinc- 
tion ; Rev. vii. 3, fee. when God is reckoning up his own 
people, he leaves out those that have been noted for idolatry. 
As among the tribes that were sealed Rev. viii. those idola- 
trous tribes of Ephraim and Dan are left out, and in the gene- 
alogy of Christ, Matth. i. those princes that were chiefiy noted 
for idolatry, are left out. Much more would God be careful 
not to reckon his own people, especially such Christian princ- 
es as have been the most eminent instruments of overthrow- 
ing idolatry, amongst idolaters, and as members and heads of 
that kingdom that is noted in scripture as the most notorious 
and infamous of all, for abominable idolatry, and opposition 
and cruelty to the true worshippers of God. And especially 
not to reckon them as properly belonging to one of those 
seven heads of this monarchy, of which very heads it is par- 
ticularly noted that they had on them the names of blasphe- 
my ; (Rev. xiii. 1.) ivhich Mr. Lowman himself supposes tO' 
signify idolatry. It was therefore worthy of God, agreeable 
to his manner, and what might well be expected, that whe« 
"he was reckoning up the several successive heads of this 
beast, and Constantine and his successors came in the waT> 
and there was occasion to mention them, to set a mark, or 
note of distinction on them, signifying that they did not prop- 
eily belong to the beast, nor were to be reckoned as belong- 
ing to his heads ; and therefore are to be skiT>petl over in tl>e 
reckoning; and Antichrist, though the eighth head of tl-je 
Roman Empire, "is to be reckoned the scviuth head of the 
beast. 'I'his uppear.s to me abundantly lJ>c most just and nat- 
ural inteiprctation of Rev. wii. io, 1!. It is reasonable t<> 


suppose that God would take care to make such a note in this 
prophetical description of this dreadful beast, and not by any 
means to reckon Constantine as belonging properly to him. 
If we reckon Constantine as a member of this beast, having sev- 
en heads and ten horns, described chap. xvii. and as properly- 
one of his heads, then he was also properly a member of the 
great red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, that warred 
with the woman, chap. xii. For the seven heads and ten 
horns of tTiat dragon, are plainly the same with the seven 
heads and ten horns of this beast. So that this makes Con- 
stantine a visible member of the devil : For we are told ex- 
^wessly of that dragon, ver. 9, that he was " that old serpent, 
called the devil and Satan." And to suppose that Constantine 
is reckoned as belonging to one of the heads of that dragon, 
is to make these prophecies inconsistent with themselves. 
For here in this 12th chapter we have represented a war be- 
tween the dragon and the woman clothed with the sun ; which 
woman, as all agree, is the church ; but Constantine, as all do 
also agree, belonged to the woman, was a member of the 
Chrisiian church, and was on that side in the war against the 
dragon, yea, was the main instrument of that great victory 
that was obtained over the dragon, there spoken of, ver. 9.. ..12. 
What an inconsistency therefore is it, to suppose that he was 
at the same time a member and head of that very dragon 
which fought with the woman, and yet Avhich Constantine 
himself fought with, overcame, and gloriously triumphed 
over ! It is not therefore to be wondered at, that God was 
careful to distinguish Constantine from the proper heads of 
the beast :' It would have been a wonder if he had not. God 
seems to have been carefiil to distinguish him, not only in 
his word, but in his providence, by so ordering it that this 
Christian emperor should be removed from Rome, the city 
that God had given up to be the seat of the power of the beast 
and of its heads, and that he should have the seat of his em" 
pire elsewhere. 

Constantine was made the instrument of giving a mortal 
■wound to the heathen Roman empire ; and giving it a mortal 

Vol., III. 3 K 


wound in its head, viz. the heathen emperors that were thenb 
reigning, Maxentius and Licinius. But more eminently was 
this glorious change in the empire owing to the power of 
God's word, the prevalence of the glorious gospel, by which 
Constantine himself was converted, and so became the instru- 
ment of the overthrow of the heathen empire in the east and 
west. The "change that was then brought to pass, is repre- 
sented as the destruction of the heathen empire, or the old 
heathen world ; and therefore seems to be compared to that 
dissolution of heaven and earth that shall be at the day of 
judgment. Rev. vi. 12, to the end. And therefore well might 
the heathen empire under the head which was then reigning, 
be represented as wounded to death, chap. xiii. 3. It is much 
more likely that the wound the beast had by a sword, in his 
head, spoken of ver. 14, was the wound that the heathen em-^ 
pire had in its head, by that sword that we read of chap. i. 16, 
and xix. 15, that proceeds out of the mouth of Christ, than 
the wound that was given to the Christian empire and empe- 
ror by the sword of the heathen Goths. It is most likeljr 
that this deadly wound was by that sword with which Michael 
made war with him, and overcame him, and cast him to the 
earth, chap. xii. 9, and that the deadly wound that was given 
him, was given him at that very time. It is most likely, that 
the sword that gave him this deadly wound, after which he 
strangely revived, as though he rose from the dead, was the 
same sword with that which is spoken of, as what shall at last 
utterly destroy him, so that he shall never rise more, chap. 
xix. 15, 19, 20, 21. This wounding of the head of the beast 
by the destruction of the heathen empire, and conversion of 
the emperor to the Christian truth, was a glorious event in- 
deed of divine Providence, worthy to be so much spoken of 
in prophecy. It is natural to suppose, that the mortal wound- 
ing of the head of that savage, cruel beast, thai is represented 
as constantly at war with the Avoman, and persecuting the 
church of Christ, should be some relief to the Christian, 
church : But on the contrary that wounding to death that Mr. 
Lowman speaks of, was the victory of the enemies of the 


Christian church over her, and the wound she received from 

It is said of that head of the empire that shall be next after 
the sixth head, and next before Antichrist, and that is not 
reckoned as properly one of the number of the heads of the 
beast, that ivhen it co?nes, it shall continue a short sfiace, chap, 
xvii. 10. By which we may well understand, at least, that it 
shall be one of the shortest in its continuance, of the success- 
ive heads. But the government seated at Ravenna, in the 
hands of the Goths, or of the deputies of the Greek emperors, 
(which Mr. Lowman supposes to be meant by this head) con- 
tinued, as Mr. Lowman himself takes notice, very near 300 
years. And if so, its continuance was one of tive longest of 
the heads mentioned. 

And besides, if the government that Rome was under, from 
the time that Augustulus abdicated, to the time when the 
Pope was confirmed in his temporal dominion, was meant by 
that seventh head that was to be betAveen the imperial head 
and the papal, there would doubtless have been two different 
heads mentioned, instead of one, between the emperor ami 
the Pope ; viz. First, the Gothic princes, which reigned near 
an hundred years : Secondly, the Exarchs of Ravenna, which 
governed for about 185 years. The Gothic kingdom was 
much more properly a distinct government from the imperi- 
al, than the Exarchate of Ravenna. For during the Exar- 
chate, Rome was under the government of the emperor, aa 
much as it was in Constantine^s time. 

In Rev. xvii. 12, it is said, the " ten horns are ten kings, 
which are to receive power as kings one hour with the beast, 
or (as Mr. Lowman says it ought to have been translated) 
" the same hour or point of time with the beast." This will 
not allow the time when Antichrist first receives power as 
king, to be so late as Mr Lowman supposes. This division of 
the empire into many kingdoms, denoted by the number ten, 
was about the year 456, after Gensericus had taken the city 
of Rome : But Mr. Lowman places the beginning of ihp 
reign of Antichrist in the year 756, which is 300 years later. 
I know, such an expression as in one hour, or the same hour, 


may allow some latitude ; but surely not such a latitude a« 
this. This is a much lonj^er lime, than it was from the time 
of the vision to Constantine ; much longer than the space of 
all the first six seals ; longer than it was from Christs' ascen- 
sion to Constantine ; and near as long as the time of all the 
reigns of the heathen emperors put together, from Augustus 
Caesar to Constantine. An hour is every where, in the other 
places in this book of Revelation, used to signify a very short 
time; as may be seen in places cited in the margin.* And 
the expression, the same hour, every where else in the Bible, 
intends near the same point of time.f The phrase one hour 
is used several times in the next chapter, speaking of the 
downfall of Antichrist :| And each time, evidently signifies a 
very short space of time. And there is no reason why wc 
should not understand the same phrase in the same sense, 
when it is used here concerning the rise of Antichrist. 

Mr. Lcwman greatly insists upon it, that what is spoken as 
continuing 1260 days, is not so much any spiritual authority 
or ecclesiastical power of the Pope, over the nations of Christ- 
endom, as his temporal government and dominion in that in- 
dividual city of Rome ; and therefore to determine when these 
1260 days or years began, and when they will end, we must 
consider when the Pope first received this his temporal pow- 
er over this city of Rome, and the neighboring regions, called 
St. Peter's Patrimony. But I can see no good reason for this. 
Indeed it is strange, if it be so. God has been pleased in 
these revelations and prophecies, which he has given for the 
benefit of his church in general, to speak much concerning 
an Antichri