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Full text of "The whole works of John Flavel, late minister of the gospel at Dartmouth, Devon"





1820 V 




, 1630? 




e works of 




THE WHOLE ^ '^- 










VOL. m. 






2 Pet. i. 13, U. 't^, "^o/ ■ -, 
JVfl, / tldnk it meet, as long as I am in this tahefii^di^f^tom'^^u' 

up, by putting you in remembrance. ^w ■</'"''.'- "* ^ 

KnomDig that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle^ tven SsT^ur 

Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me. 

AjT the tenth verse of this chapter, the apostle sums up his 
foregoing precepts and exhortations in one great and most im- 
portant duty, the " making sure of their calhng and election.'" 
This exhortation he enforceth on them by a most solemn and 
weighty motive, ver. 11. " Even an abundant entrance into the 
<' everlasting kingdom." No work of greater necessity or difficulty, 
than to make sure our salvation, no argument more forcible and 
prevalent, than an easy and free entrance into glory at death, an 
rJ^avccdia, a sweet and comfortable dissolution, to enter the port of 
glory before the wind, with our full lading of comfort, peace, and 
joy in believing, our sails full, and our streamers flying : Oh ! how 
much better is this, than to lie wind-bound, I mean heart-bound, 
at the harbour''s mouth ! tossed up and down with fears, doubts, 
and manifold temptations, making many a board to fetch the har- 
bour ; for so much is signified in his figurative and allusive expres- 
sion, ver. 11. 

And for their encouragement in this great and difficult work, 
he engageth himself by promise to give them all the assistance he 
can, whilst God should continue his life ; and knowing that would 
be but a little while, he resolves to use his utmost endeavour to 
secure these things in their memories after his death, that they 
might not die with him. This is the general scope and order of 
the words. 

Wherein more particularly we have, 

1. His exemplary industry and diligence in his ministerial work. 

S. The consideration stimulating and provoking him thereunto. 

1. His exemplary industry and diligence in his ministerial work. 
In which two things are remarkable, viz. (1.) The quality of his 
work, which was * to stir them up, by putting them in remembrance, 
to keep the heavenly flame of love and zeal lively upon the altar of 
their hearts. He well knew what a sleepy disease the best Chris- 
tians are troubled with, and therefore he had need to be stirring 
them up, and awaking them to their duty. (2.) The constancy of 
his work : as long as I am in this tabernacle ; i. e. as long as I live 
in this world. The body is called a tabernacle, in respect of its 

* Aizyu^uv, signifies to raise up, or awake, i. e. your minds, which are, as it were, 
sleepy or slumbering', and dull, &c. PooVs s^nojjsis. 

Vol. III. A 


moveableness and frailty, and in opposition to that house made 
without hands, eteimal in the heavens. And it is observable how- 
he limits and bounds his serviceableness to them, by his commora/- 
tion in his tabernacle or body, as well knowing after death he could 
]3e no longer useful to them or any others in this world. Death 
puts an end to all ministerial usefulness : but till that time he 
judged it meet, and becoming him, to be aiding and assisting their 
faith: our life and labour must end together. 

2. We have here the motive, or consideration, stimulating and 
provoking him to this diligence ; " knowing that I must shortly 
" put off this tabernacle, even as the Lord Jesus Christ hath 
*• shewed me.*" In which words he gives an account of, (1.) The 
speediness ; (2.) necessity ; (3.) voluntariness of his death, and the 
way and means by which he knew it. All these must be consider- 
ed singly and apart, and then valued all together, as they amount 
to a weighty argument or motive to excite him to diligence in his 

(1.) He reflects upon the speediness or near approach of liis 
death. " I must [ * shortly] put off this my tabernacle ;" which is 
a form of speech of the same importance with that of Paul, S Tim. 
iv. 6. " The time of my departure is at hand,'"* my time in the 
body is almost at an end. 

(2.) The necessity of his death : It is not I may, but I must put 
off this my tabernacle ; yea, I must put it off shortly ; for so the 
Lord hath shewed him ; Christ had signified it expressly to him, 
John xxi. 18, 19. And beside this, most expositors think this 
clause refers to some special vision or revelation which Peter had 
of the time and manner of his own death ; so that besides the 
natural necessity, or the inevitableness of his death by the law of 
nature, he was certified of it by special revelation. We have here 

(3.) The voluntariness of his death; for voluntariness is consist- 
ent enough vnih the necessity of the event. I must put off, or lay 
down my tabernacle ; he saith not, I must be torn, or rent by 
violence from it ; but I must depose, or lay it down, -f* Camero will 
have the word here used for death, properly to signify the laying 
down of one's garments : he made no more of putting off his body 
than his garment. 

Upon the consideration of the whole matter, the speediness of 

* Ta^/v'/5 breinjuturum. Every Christian knows not the time of his death, as Peter 

ilid, by special revelation. But though we know it not by a word spoken to us in 

particular, we know it by a word written for all in common, Eccl. ix. 5. " The living 
" know that they must die." 

t He calls it a putting off or laying down, thereby signifying his willingness to die 
for Christ. Pool. 


Ills death which he knew to be at hand ; the necessity of it, that 
when it came he must be gone from, and could be no more useful 
to them ; and his own inclination to be with Clirist in a better 
state, being as willing to be gone, as a weary traveller to be at 
home; he judged it meet, or becoming him, as he was called of 
Christ to feed his sheep, as he was gifted extraordinarily for the 
church's service, full of spiritual excellencies, all which in a short 
time would be taken away from them by death : I say, upon all 
these accounts, he could not but judge it meet to be stirring them 
up, and every way striving to be as useful as he could. Hence the 
note will be, 

Doct. How strong soever the affections and mcllnations of souls 
are to thejleshly tabernacles they now live in, yet they must 
put them offy and that speedily. 

The point lies very plain before us in the scriptures. That is a 
remarkable expression we have in Job xvi. 22. " When a few years 
*' are come, I shall go the way whence I shall not return."" In the 
Hebrew it is, * " When the years of number, or my numbered 
" years are come ; years so numbered, that they are circumscribed 
'' m a very short period of time."" When those few years are past, 
then I must go to my long home, my everlasting abode, never 
more to return to this world : " The way whence I shall not re- 
'' turn;" elsewhere called " the way of all flesh,'"* Josh, xxiii. 15. 
and " the way of all the earth," 1 Kings ii. 2. 

" There is no man that hath power over the spirit to retain the 
" spirit ; neither hath he power in the day of death, and there is 
" no discharge in that war," Eccl. viii. 8. By spirit understand 
the natural spirit, or breath of life, which, as I shewed before, 
connects or ties the soul and body together. This spirit no man 
can retain in the day of death. We can (as one speaks) as xcell stop 
the chariot of the sun xvhen posting to night, and chase away the 
shadows of the evening, as escape this hour qfdarlcness that is coming 
upon us\. A man may escape the wars by pleading privilege of 
years, or weakness of body, or the king's protection, or by sending 
another in his room ; but in this war the press is so strict, that it 
admits no dispensation ; young or old, weak or strong, willing or 
unwilling, all is one, into the field we must go, and look that last 
and most dreadful enemy in the face. It is in vain to think of sending 

• Anrd nunieri, (i. e.) qui numerati sunt adeo ut brevissima periodo circumscripti, 
f No diligence avoids, no happiness tames, and no power overcomes death, says 



another in our room, for no man dieth by proxy ? or to think of 
compounding with death, as those self-deluded fools did, Isa. 
xxviii. 15. who thought they had been discharged of the debt by 
seeino- the serjeant : No, there is no discharge in that war. Nihil 
prodest ora coiichidere, et vitamfagienUm reti7iere, saith Hierom 
on that text; Let us shut our mouths never so close, struggle 
ao-ainst death never so hard, there is no more retaining the spirit, 
than a woman can retain the fruit of her w^omb, when the full time 
of her deliverance is come. Suppose a man were sitting upon a 
throne of majesty surrounded with armed guards, or in the midst 
of a college of expert and learned physicians, death will pass all these 
guards to deliver thee the fatal message : Neither can arts help 
thee, when nature itself gives thee up. 

The lav/ of mortality binds all, good and bad, young and old, 
the most useful and desirable saints, whom the world can worst 
spare, as well as useless and undesirable sinners, Rom. viii. 10. 
" And if Christ (or though Christ) be in you, the body is dead 
" because of sin."" Peter himself must put off his tabernacle, for 
they are but tabernacles, frail and moveable frames, not built for 
continuance ; these will drop off from our souls, as the shells fall 
off from the bird in the nest ; be our earthly tabernacles never so 
strong or pleasant, we must depose them, and that shortly ; our 
lease in them will quickly expire, we have but a short term. 
James iv. 14. like a thin mist in the morning, which the sun pre- 
sently dissipates ; this is a metaphor chosen from the air : You have 
one from the land, where the swift post runs. Job ix. 25. So 
doth our life from stage to stage, till its journey be finished ; and a 
third from the v/aters, there sail the swift ships. Job ix. 26. which 
weighing anchor, and putting into the sea, continually lessen the 
land, till at last they have quite lost sight of it : from the fire, 
Psal. Iviii. 4. The lives of men are as soon extinct as a blaze made 
with dry thorns, which is almost as soon out as in. Thus you see 
how the Spirit of God hath borrowed metaphors from all the ele- 
ments of nature, to shadow forth the brevity and frailty of that 
life we now live in these tabernacles ; so that we may say as one did 
before us, Nesc'io an dicenda sit vita mortalis, an vitalis mors ; I 
know not which to call it, a mortal life, or a living death. 

The continuance of these our tabernacles or bodies is short, 
whether we consider them ahsoliitehj, or comparatively. 

1. Absolutely. If they should stand seventy or eighty years, 
which is the longest duration, Psal. xc. 10. how soon will that 
time run out ? What are years that are past but as a dream that 
is vanished, or as the waters that are past away ? it i^ in Jluxu con- 
tinuo : there is no stopping its swift course, or calling back a mo- 
ment that is past. Death set out in its journey towards us the 


same hour we were born, and how near is it come this day to many 
of us ? It hath us in chase, and will quickly fetch us up, and over- 
take us ; but few stand so long as the utmost date. 

2. Comparatively > Let us compare our time in these taberna- 
cles, (1.) either with eternity, or with him who inhabits it, and it 
shrinks up into nothing; Psal. xxxix. 5. " Mine age is nothing 
*' unto thee." So vast is the disproportion, that it seems not only 
little, but nothing at all. Or (2.) with the duration of the bodies of 
men in the first ages of the world, when they lived many hundred 
years in these fleshly tabernacles. The length of their lives was 
the benefit of the world, because religion was then acra7^o'raga5oroi/, 
a thing handed down from father to son ; but certainly it would be 
no benefit to us that are in Christ, to be so long suspended the 
fruition of God in the everlasting rest. 

The grounds and reasons of this necessity that lies upon all, to 
put off their earthly tabernacle so soon, are 

1. The law of God, or his appointment. 

2. The providence of God ordering it suitably to this appoint- 

1. The law or appointment of God which came in force imme- 
diately upon the fall; Gen. ii. 17. " In the day that thou eatest 
" thereof, thou shalt surely die." And accordingly it took place 
vipon all mankind immediately upon the first transgression, Rom. 
V. 12. Death entered by sin. The threatening was not his imme- 
diate, actual, personal death in the day that he should eat, but a 
state of mortality to commence from that time to him and his pos- 
terity ; hence it is said, Heb. ix. 27. " It is appointed to all men 
" once to die." 

2. The providence of God ordering and framing the body of 
man suitably to this his appointment ; * a frail, weak creature, 
having the seeds of death in his constitution : Thousands of dis- 
eases and infirmities are bred in his nature, and the smallest pore in 
his body is a door large enough to let in death. Hence his body 
is compared to a piece of cloth which moths have fretted, Psal. 
xxxix. 11. it is become a sorry rotten thing which cannot long 
hang together. And indeed it is a wonder it continues so long as 
it doth. 

And both these, viz. the divine appointment and pro\4dence, are 
in pursuance of a double design, or for the payment of a two-fold 
debt, which God owes to the first and to the second Adam. 

(1.) By cutting off the life, or dissolving the tabernacles of wick- 

* We die daily, for some part of life is taken away daily, and then also when we in- 
crease, life decreases, for first we lose infancy, then youth, even to yesterday. What- 
«ver part of time passes is lost. 



ed men, God pays that debt of justice owing to the first Adam's 
sinful posterity, whose sins cry daily to his justice to cut them off. 
Rom. vi. 23. " The wages of sin is death.'' And indeed it is ad- 
mirable that his patience suffers ungodly men to live so long as 
thev do, for he endures with much long-suffering, Rom. ix. 22. 
He sees all their sins, he is grieved at the heart with them ; his for- 
bearance doth but encourage them the more to sin against him ; 
Eccl. viii. 11. "Because sentence," Sfc. yet forbears: "Forty years 
" long was I grieved with this generation," Psal. xcv. 10. And it 
is wonderful that he hath so much patience under such a load. Ha- 
bakkuk admired it, Hab. i. IS. " Thou art of purer eyes," Sfc. 
Yet he suffers them to spend lavishly upon his patience from year 
to year, but justice must do his office at last. 

(2.) By cutting off the Hves of good men, God pays to Christ the 
reward of his sufferings, the end of his death which was to bring 
many sons to glory, Heb. ii. 10. Alas ! it answers not Christ's 
end and intention in dying, to have his people so remote from him ; 
John xvii. 24. " He would have them where he is, that they 
" might behold his glory." Two vehement desires are satisfied by 
this appointment of God, and its execution, viz. 

1. Christ's. 

2. The saints. 

1. Christ's desires are satisfied; for this is the thing he all along 
kept his eye upon in the whole work of his mediation ; it was to 
bring us to God, 1 Pet. iii. 18. Though he be in glory, yet his 
mystical body is not full till all the elect be gathered in by conver- 
sion, and gathered home by glorification, Eph. i. 23. The church 
is his fulness. He is not fully satisfied till he see his seed, the souls 
he died for, safe in heaven ; and then the debt due to him for all 
his sufferings is fully paid him, Isa. liii. 11. He sees the travail of 
his soul ; as it is the greatest satisfaction and pleasure a man is ca- 
pable of in this world, to see a great design which hath been long 
projecting and managing, at last, by an orderly conduct, brought 
to its perfection. 

2. The desires of the saints are hereby satisfied, and their weary 
souls brought to rest. Oh ! what do gracious souls more pant 
after than the full enjoyment of God, and the visions of his face ! 
the state of freedom from sin, and complete conformity to Jesus 
Christ ! From the day of their espousals to Christ, these desires 
have been working in their souls. Love and patience have each 
acted its part in them, 2 Thess. iii. 5. Love hath put them into 
an holy ardour and longing to be with Christ : patience hath qua- 
hfied and allayed those desires, and supported the soul under the 
delay. Love cries, come. Lord, come ; patience commands us to 
wait the appointed time. This appointed time on which so great 


hopes and expectations depend, is the time of dissolving these ta- 
bernacles ; for till then the soul's rest is suspended ; and if it were 
perfectly freed from all other loads and burdens, both of sin and 
affliction, yet its very absence from Christ would alone make it rest- 
less, for it is with the soul in the body, as it is with any other 
creature that is off its centre, it doth and must gravitate and pro- 
pend, it is still moving and incHning farther, and feels not itself 
easy and at rest where it is, be its condition in other respects never 
so easy. 2 Cor. v. 6. " Whilst we are at home in the body, we 
*' are absent from the Lord." You have a little shadow, or em- 
blem of this in other creatures : You see the rivers, though they 
glide never so sweetly betwixt the fragrant banks of the most plea- 
sant meadows in their course and passage, yet on they go towards 
the sea ; and if they meet with never so many rocks or hills to resist 
their course, they will either strive to get a passage through them, 
or if that may not be, they will fetch a compass, and creep about 
them, and nothing can stop them till by a central force they have 
finished their weary course, and poured themselves into the bosom 
of the ocean. Or as it is with yourselves, when abroad from your 
habitations and relations : this may be pleasing a little while ; but 
if every day might be a festival, it would not long please you, be- 
cause you are not at home. 

The main motives that persuade gracious souls to abide here, 
are to finish the work of their own salvation, and further other 
men's ; but as their evidences for heaven grow clearer to them- 
selves, and their capacity of service less to others, so must their de- 
sires to be with Christ be more and more enflamed. 

Now the case so standing, that Christ's condition in heaven, 
being a condition of desire and longing for the enjoyment of his 
people there, and all the glory of heaven would not content him 
without that ; and the condition of his people on earth being also 
a state of longing, groaning, and panting to be with him, and all 
the pleasures and delights and comforts they have on earth, will 
not content them without it : How wise and gracious an appoint- 
ment of heaven is it, that these our tabernacles shall and must be 
put off, and that shortly ! For hereby a full and mutual satisfaction 
is given to the restless desires both of Christ's heart and of theirs : 
See the reflected flames of love betwixt them, in Rev. xxii. 
" The spirit and the bride say. Come. And let him that is athirst 
" come ; Behold, I come quickly. Even so. Lord Jesus ; Come 
" quickly." Delays make the heart sad, Prov. xiii. 12. should our 
commoration on earth be long, our patience had need be much 
greater than it is ; but under all our burdens here, this is our relief, 
it is but a little while, and all will be well, as well as our souls can 
desire to have it. 

A 4 


Inf. 1. ]\Iust we put off these tabernacles ? Is death necessary and 
Inevitable ? Then it is our icischm to sweeten to ourselves that cup 
•which we must driiik ; and make that as pleasant to us as we can 
which we know cannot be avoided. Die we must, whether we be fit 
or unfit, willing or unwilUng : It is to no purpose to shrug at the 
name, or shrink back from the thing. In ail ages of the world, 
death hath swept the stage clean of one generation, to make room 
for another, and so it will from age to age, till the stage be taken 
down, in the general dissolution. 

But though death be inevitable by all, it is not alike evil, bitter, 
and dreadful to all. Some tremble, others triumph at the appear- 
ances of it. Some meet it half-way, receive it as a friend, and can 
bid it welcome, and die by consent ; making that the matter of 
their election, which, in itself, is necessary and unavoidable ; so did 
Paul, Phil. i. 23. But others are drawn, or rent by plain violence 
from the body. Job xxxvii. 1. when God draws out their souls. 

That man is happy indeed, whose heart falls in with the appoint- 
ment of God, so voluntarily and freely, as that he dare not only 
look death in the face with confidence, but go along with it by 
consent of will. Remarkable to this purpose, is that which the 
apostle asserts of the frame of his own heart, 2 Cor. v. 8. " We 
*• are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the 
" body, and present with the Lord." Here is both confidence and 
complacence, with respect to death, Qa^^aijAM, The word signifies 
courage, fortitude ; or, if you will, an undaunted boldness and pre- 
sence of mind, when we look the king of terrors in the face. We 
dare venture upon death, we dare take it by the cold hand, and bid 
it welcome. We dare defy its enmity, and deride its noxious power, 
1 Cor. XV, 55. " O death ! where is thy sting !" And that is not 
all, we have complacence in it, as well as confidence to encounter it. 
Eu66xj?/x£v, we are icilling ; the translation is too flat. We are well 
pleased ; it is a desirable, a grateful thing to us to die ; but yet 
not in an absolute, but comparative consideration, svdo'/.^fMsv fMaXXov, 
we are willing rather^ i. e. rather than not see, and enjoy our Lord 
Jesus Christ; rather than to be here always sinning and groaning. 
There is no complacency in death ; in itself it is not desirable. But 
if we must go through that strait gate, or not see God, we are 
willing rather to be absent from the body. So that you see death 
was not the matter of his submission only, he did not yield to what 
he could not avoid, but he balances the evils of death, with the pri- 
vileges it admits the soul into, and then pronounces, sjSox^f/xsi/, we 
are content, yea, pleased to die. 

We cannot live always if we would, and our hearts should be 
wrought to that frame, as to say, we would not live always if we 
could, Job vii. 16. "I would not Hve always f or long, saith he. 


But why should Job deprecate that which was not attainable ? " I 
" would not live always; he needed not to trouble himself about 
that, it being impossible that he should : both statute and natural 
Jaw forbid it. Ay, but this is his sense : supposing no such neces- 
sity as there is, if it were pure matter of election ; upon a due ba- 
lancing of accounts, and comparing the good and evil of death, I 
would not be confined always, or for any long time to the body. It 
would be a bondage unsupportable to be here always. 

Indeed those that have their portion, their all, in this life, have 
no desire to be gone hence. They that were never changed by 
grace, desire no change by death ; if such a concession were made 
to them, as was once to an English parliament, That they should 
never be dissolved, but by their own consent, when would they say 
as Paul, " I desire to be dissolved ?" But it is far otherwise with 
them, whose porticm and affections are in another world; they 
would not live always if they might; knowing, that never to die, i# 
never to be happy. 

Quest. If you say. This is an excellent and most desirable temper 
of soul ; hut how did these holy men attain it f or what is the course 
we may take to get the like frame of willingness^ 

Sol. They attained it, and you may attain it in such methods as 

1. They lived in the believing views of the invisible world, and 
so must you, if ever death be desirable in your eyes, 2 Cor. iv. 18. 
" It is said of all that died comfortably, that they died in faith,'' 
Heb. xi. IB You will never be willing to go along with death, 
except you know where it will carry you. 

2. They had assurance of heaven, as well as faith to discern it. 
Assurance is a lump of sugar, indeed, in the bitter cup of death ; 
nothing sweetens Uke it. So 2 Cor. v. 1. so Job xix. 26, 27. This 
puts roses into the pale cheeks of death, and makes it amiable, 
1 Cor. XV. 55, 56. and Rom. viii. 38, S9. 

3. Their hearts were weaned from this world, and an inordinate 
affection to a terrene life, Phil. iii. 8. all was dung and dross for 
Christ ; they trampled under foot what we hug in our bosoms. So 
it is said, Heb. x. 34. " Ye took joyfully the spoiling of your 
" goods, knowing in yourselves," Sfc. And so it must be with us, 
if ever we obtain a complacency in death. 

4. They ordered their conversations with much integrity, and so 
kept their consciences pure, and void of offence; Acts xxiv. 16. 
" Herein do I exercise myself,'' SfC. and this was their comfort at 
last, 2 Cor. i. 12. " This is our rejoicing," iSfc. So Job 'xxvii. 5. 
" My integrity will I not let go till I die :" Oh ! this unstings 
death of all its terrors. 

5. They kept their love to Christ at the height : that flame was 


vehement in their souls, and made them despise the terror, and de» 
sire the friendly assistance of death, to bring them to the sight of 
Jesus Christ, Phil. i. 23. So Ignatius, O how I long, &c. Thus 
it must be with you, if ever you make death ehgible and lovely to 
you, which is terrible in itself There is a loveliness in the death, 
as well as in the life of a Christian : " Let me die the death of the 
" righteous,'' said Balaam. 

Inference 2. Must we put oif these tabernacles of flesh ? How 
necessary is it, that every soul look in season, and make provision 
for another habitation ? * If you must be turned out of one house, 
you must provide another, or lie in the streets. This the apostle 
comforted himself mth, that " if unclothed, he should not be found 
" naked," 2 Cor. v. 1. a building of God, an house not made with 
hands. You must turn out, and that shortly, from these earthly 
habitations. Oh ! what provision have you made for your souls 
against that day ? The soul of Adrian was at a sad loss, when he 
saw he must be turned out of this world ; O animula vagula, hlan- 
dula, heu quo vadis ! But it was Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob's 
privilege, that God had prepared for them a city, Heb. xi. 16. 

I know it is a common presumption of most men, that they shall 
be in heaven, when they can be no longer on earth, Presumendo 
sperant, et spera?ido pereunt. But a few moments will convince 
them of their fatal mistake ; their poor souls will meet with a con- 
founding repulse, like that, Matth. vii. 9,% There is indeed a city 
full of heavenly mansions prepared for some ; but who are they 
that are entitled to it, and may confidently expect to be received 
mto it ? To be sure, not the presumptuous, who make a bridge of 
their own shadows, and so fall and perish in the waters. Brethren, 
it is one of the most solemn enquiries you were ever put upon : and 
therefore I beseech you, see whether your characters set you among 
those men, or no. 

1. Those that are new-born, shall be clothed with their new 
house from heaven, when death unclothes them of these tabernacles: 
the New Jerusalem hath none but new-born inhabitants, 1 Pet. i. 
3, 4. and Christ tells us, John iii. 3. all others are excluded. Glory 
is the privilege of grace. Let nature be adorned, and cultivated 
how It will, if not renewed by grace, there is no hope of glory. 
You must be born again, or turned back again from the gates of 
heaven disappointed. You must be regenerated, or damned. This 
alters the temper of thy heart, and suits it to the life of God, 
which is indispensably necessary to them that shall hve with him. 

* Many cry out on a death-bed, O send for ministers and Christians to pray ! Alas ! 
what can they do then ? Is that a time for 50 great a work to be shuffled up in a hurry, 
amidst distractions, and agonies. 


Else heaven would be no heaven to us, Rom. vlii. 7. and therefore 
we must be brought this way to it, 2 Cor. v. 5. No privilege of 
nature, no duties of religion avail without this, Gal. vi. 15. If 
morahty, without regeneration, could bring men to heaven, why 
are not the Heathens there ? If strictness in duty, without regene- 
ration, why are not the Pharisees there ? Believe it, neither names, 
nor duties, no, nor the blood of Christ, ever did, or shall bring one 
soul to glory without it. O then, thou that boastest of a house in 
heaven, lay thine hand on thy heart, and ask it ; Am I a new 
creature, i. e. Am I renewed, (1.) In my state and condition? 
1 John iii. 14. past from death to life. (2.) In my frame and 
temper ? Eph. v. 8. " Once darkness, now light in the Lord.'" (3.) 
In my practice and conversation.? Eph. ii. 12, 13. 1 Cor. vi. 11. 
if not, my soul is destitute of an habitation in the city of God ; 
and when I die, my body must lie in the lonely house of the grave, 
that dark vault and prison, and my soul be shut out from God into 
outer darkness. 

2. Those that live as strangers, and pilgrims on earth, seeking a 
better place, and state, than this world affords them ; for them God 
hath made preparations in glory, Heb. xi. 13, 16. If you be 
strangers on earth, you are the inhabitants of heaven. Now there 
be six things included in this character. 1. They look not on this 
world as their own home, nor on the people of it, as their own peo- 
ple, 2 Cor. V. 8. ixdrifjbrigai, to be unpeopled. These are none of my 
fellow-citizens, we must go two ways at death. 2. They set not 
their affections on things present, as their portion, 2 Cor. iv. 18. 
Psal. xvii. 13, 14. Their bodies are here, their hearts in heaven. 
3. Their carriage, and manner of life, not like the men of this 
world, 1 Pet. iv. 4. ^ivtZovrai. So the rule guides them, Rom. xii. 
2. and so their course is steered ; at least intended, Phil. iii. 20. 
our ro nta'kiriMihd^ OUT trade is in heaven. (4.) Their dialect and 
language differ from the natives of this world. Their language is 
earthly, 1 John iv. 5, 6. but these have a pu7'e lip, Zech. iii. 9. 
(5.) Their society, and chosen companions are not of this world, 
Psal. xvi. 3. They are a company of themselves. Acts iv. 21. 
(6.) Their spirit, and temper of heart are not after the world, 
1 Cor. ii. 12. They have another spirit, Numb. xiv. 24. These 
things discover us to be strangers on earth, and consequently, the 
men for whom God hath prepared heavenly habitations when we 

3. Those that live and die by faith, shall not fail to be received 
into a better habitation by death. This is another character of them 
that shall be received into glory, laid down in the same place, Heb. 
xi. 13. They lived by faith, and when they died, they died em- 


bracing the promises, which is characteristical of those tliat shall 
dwell in that heavenly city; and implies, (1.) Intimate acquaint- 
ance with the promises, they are things well known, and familiarized 
to them. The word accaca/xsvo/, Salutantes, saluting them, is a 
metaphor, from the manner of parting betwixt two dear and inti- 
mate friends. The faith of a Christian embraces the promises in 
its arms, as dear friends use to do at parting, and saith, Farewell, 
sweet promises, from which I have sucked out so much rehef and 
refreshment in all the troubles of my life ; I must now live no more 
by faith on you, but by sight : O you have often cheered my soul, 
and been my song in the house of my pilgrimage. (2.) It implies 
the firm credit that a believer gives to things unseen, upon the 
grounds of the promises, as if he did sensibly take and grasp them 
in his very arms and bosom. They take Christ, and all the invi- 
sible things in the promises, into their sensible embraces, 1 Pet. i. 
8. Faith is to them instead of eyes. (3.) It implies the sincerity 
of a believer's profession, who dares trust to that at the last gasp, 
w^hich he professed to believe in the midst of life, and the comforts 
of this world. As he professed to believe in health, so you shall 
find his actings, when his eye and heart-strings are cracking, Rom. 
xiv. 9. Christ, in the promises, was his professed joy and hfe, and 
this is what he grasps at death, and lays his last hold on. (4.) It 
shews you whence all a believer"'s com.forts come, in life and death. 
O, it is from the promises, Christ in the promises is the spring of 
their consolation. This they fetch their comfort from, when the 
world cannot administer one drop of refreshment to them. There 
be two great works faith performs for the saints, one in life, the 
other in death : in life, it is the principle of mortification to their 
sins ; in death, it is the spring of consolation to their hearts ; it 
makes them die whilst they live, and live when they die. 

4. Those that love the person and appearance of Christ, have a 
mark that sets them among the inhabitants of heaven, and glory, 
2 Tim. iv. 8. but then this love must be, (1.) Sincere, and without 
hypocrisy. (2.) Supreme, and above all other beloveds. (3.) Con- 
forming the soul to Christ ; if sincere and supreme, it will be trans- 
formative. (4.) Longing to be wdth him. Such love is a mark of 
souls for whom heaven is prepared. 

Inf. 3. Must we put off our tabernacles, and that shortly? What 
a spiir is this to a diligent redemption^ and improvement of time f 
This is the use Peter made of it here, and every one of us should 
make. It was said of Bishop Hooper, he was spare in his diet, 
spare in his words, but most of all spare of his time. You have 
but a little time in these tabernacles ; what pity is it to waste much 
out of a little ? 


(1.) Great is the worth and excellency of time, all the treasures 
of the world cannot protract, stop, or call back one minute of time. 
O what is man that the heavenly bodies should be wheeled about 
by Almighty Power in constant revolutions, to beget time for him t 
Psal. viii. 3. 

(2.) More precious are the seasons and opportunities that arc 
in time for our souls ; those are the golden spots of time, like the 
pearl in the oyster-shell, of much more value than the shell that 
contains it. There is much time in a short opportunity. Tliere 
is a day on which our eternal happiness depends, Luke xix. 41, 42. 
Heb. IV, 7. 

(3.) Invaluable are the things which God doth for men's souls in 
time. There are works wrought upon men's hearts in a seasonable 
hour in this life, which have an influence into the soul's happiness 
throughout eternity. There is a time of mercy, a time of love, 
viz. of illumination, and conversion ; and on that point of time, 
eternal life hangs in the whole weight of it. 

(4.) Lost opportunity is never to be recovered by the soul any 
more, Ezek. xxiv. 13. Rev. xxii. 11. To ccmie before the oppor- 
tunity, is to come before the bird is hatched ; and to come after 
it, is to come when the bird is flown. There is no calling back 
time, when it is once past. See this in the examples you find, 
Luke xiii. 26. Eccl. ix. 10. 

(5.) It is wholly uncertain to every soul, whether the present 
day may not determine his lease in this tabernacle, and a writ of 
ejection be served by death upon his soul to-morrow, James iv. 13. 
Luke xii. 20. 

(6.) As soon as ever time shall end, eternity takes place. The 
stream of time delivers souls daily into the boundless ocean of vast 
eternity. Ab hoc momento peiulet ceternitas. We are now mea- 
sured by time, hereafter by eternity. 

(7.) In eternity all things are fixed and unalterable. We have 
no more to do, all means and works are at an end, John ix. 4. and 
Eccl. xi. 3. " As the tree falls, so it lies." Oh that these weighty 
considerations might lie upon your hearts, as long as you are in 
these tabernacles ! If they did, (1.) The unregenerate would not so 
desperately hazard their eternal happiness, by trifling away their 
precious seasons under the gospel. Oh how many aged sinners, 
gray-headed sinners, hear me this day, who in fifty or sixty years 
never redeemed one solenm hour, to take their poor souls aside out 
of the clutter and distracting noise of the world to ask and debate 
this question with them, Oh my soul, how stands the case with 
thee in reference to the zcorld to come ! They liave found no time 
to bethink themselves in what world their souls shall be landed, 
when time shall deliver them up into eternity. Their whole life 


hath been but a continual diversion from one trifle to another: 
thev have been serious in trifles, and trifled in things most serious ; 
tliis will afford horrid reflections in the world to come. (2.) The 
regenerate would not cast away the comfort of their lives, in the 
evidences of eternal life, at so cheap a rate as they do. May I not 
say to you as the apostle doth, Heb. v. 12. for the time you have 
had under the gospel you might have attained a rich treasure, both 
of grace and comfort ; Turpe est esse senex elementarius. Is it not 
shameful and inexcusable, to be where you were twenty years past? 
Oh ! let these things sink deep into every soul. 

Inf. 4. Must we shortly put off" these our tabernacles ? Then slack 
your pacCy and cool yourselves ; he not too eager iii the prosecution 
of earthly designs. O what bustling is here for the world, and for 
provision for futurity, whereas far less would serve the turn ! We 
need not victual a ship to cross the channel to France, as if she 
were bound to the Indies. Most men's provisions, at least their 
cares and thoughts, are far beyond the preparations of their abode 
in this world. The folly of this, Christ discovers in that parable, 
Luke xii. 19- and on this very account gives him the title of a fool, 
who provided for years, many years ; when poor soul, he had not 
one night to enjoy these provisions. 

Oh the multitude of thoughts and cares this world needlessly de- 
vours ! We keep ourselves in such a continual hurry and crowd 
of cares, thoughts, and employments about the concerns of the 
body, that we can find little time to be alone, communing with our 
own hearts about our gi*eat concernments in eternity. It is with 
many of us, in respect of our souls, and their great interests, as it 
is with a man that is deep in thoughts about some subject that 
wholly swallows him up, he seeth not what he seeth, nor heareth 
what he heareth of any other matter : his eyes seem to look upon 
this or that, but it is all one as if he did not. So it was with 
Archimedes, who was so intent upon drawing his mathematical 
schemes, that though all the city was in an alarm, the enemy liad 
taken it by storm, the streets filled with dreadful cries, and dead 
bodies, the soldiers came into his particular house, nay, entered 
his very study, and plucked him by the sleeve, before he took any 
notice of it : even so many men's hearts are so profoundly immersed, 
and drowned in earthly cares, thoughts, projects, or pleasures, 
that death must come to their very houses, yea, and pull them by 
the sleeve, and tell them its errand, before they will begin to 
awake, and come to a serious consideration of things more impor- 

Inf. 5. If we must shortly put off these tabernacles, then the 
groaning and mournwg time of all believers is but short ; how heavy 


soever their burden be^ yet they shall carry it but a little xvay. It is 
said, 2 Cor. v. 4. " We that are in this tabernacle do groan, being 
" burdened." Good souls, in this state, are every where groaning 
under heavy pressures. Their burdens are of two sorts, sympa- 
thetical, whereby they grieve with, and on the account of others, 
and so every true member of the church of God ought to sympathize, 
both with God, Psal. cxxxix. 21. "Am not I grieved with them 
" that rise up against thee ?'''' Psal. xlii. 10. " It is as with a sword 
"in their bones;'' and with the people of God, Zeph. iii. 18. 
sorrowful for the solemn assembly ; so 2 Cor. xi. 29. " Who is 
" offended, and I burn not.^" And indeed, it is an argument of 
rich, as well as true grace, that we can, and do heartily mourn 
with, and for the interest and people of God, though our own lot 
in the world, as Nehemiah's, be never so comfortable. Or else 
our burdens arc idiopathetical, i. e. such as we bear upon our own 
proper account and score. And where is the Christian that hath 
not his own burden, yea, many burdens on him at once ? Some 
groan under the burden of sin, Rom. viii. 24. Scarce one day are 
the tears off from some eye-lids on this account. And who groans 
not under the burden of affliction, either inward upon the soul, 
Prov. xviii. 14. Job vi. 1, 2, 3. or outw^ard upon the body, state, 
lelations, &c. These things make the people of God a burden to 
themselves. Job vii. 20, 21. Yea, under these burdens they would 
sink, did not the Lord sustain tliem, Psal. Iv. 22. 

But God will put a speedy and final end to all these things. 
When you put off this tabernacle, you put off with it all those bur- 
dens, inward and outward. The soul presently feels a great load 
off his shoulders ; it shall never groan more, God shall thenceforth 
wipe away all tears from their eyes ; for why are those burdens 
now permitted and imposed by the Lord upon you, but (1.) To 
prevent sin, Hos. ii. 6. They are your clogs to keep you from 
straying. (2.) To purge out sin, Isa. xxvii. 9- (3.) To make you 
Jong more for heaven, and the rest to come. But all these ends 
are accomplished in that day you put off your tabernacles, for then 
sin is gone, and the rest is come. 

Inf. 6. Must you shortly put off those tabernacles.? Then spare 
them, not whilst you have them, but employ themjbr God with all di^ 
lig-ence. Shortly they shall be useless to you, yea, meat for worms ; 
now they may be serviceable, and their service is their honour : 
you received them not for such low ends as you employ them for. 
See 1 Cor. vi. 20. " Glorify God in your souls and bodies, w^hich 
" are his :"" You expect to have them glorious bodies one day ; 
O then let them be serviceable bodies now ! Be not fond of them 
to that degree many are, who chuse rather to have them eaten vp 


zcith rust, than zoo?'7i out with service *. It is your present honour 
to be active, and will be your singular comfort another day. What 
greater comfort, when you come to put them off at death, than 
this, that you have employed them faithfully for God 

I/if. 7. Look beyond this embodied state, and learn to live now 
as you hope to live shortly ; begin to be what you expect to be. 
You know the time is at hand, that you shall live above all bodily 
concernments and employments, the soul shall be a drudge to the 
body no more. You shall be as the angels. Matt. xxii. 30. not 
maiTying, nor giving in marriage, which is, by a synechdoche, put 
for all carnal employments and enjoyments ; eat no more, drink 
no more, sleep no more, buy and sell no more. Now suit your- 
selves as much as your state and the duties of religion will suffer 
you to that state Ijefore hand. The sum of what I aim at is in 
1 Cor. vii. 29, 30. Be in all your relations as if you had none. 
Look on those things as if already they were not, which shortly 
must be none of yours; and both acquaint and accustom your 
thoughts to the life of separation from the body, which you must 
shortly leave. AVhich brings me home to the next point, viz. 
The condition of human souls in the state of separation. 

— :.<:;:>HSeie^<::;>«=— 

Heb. xii. 23. 

Ka/ z^vz-oimai 5/xa/wi/ nrsXnu/Mvuv. And to the spirits of Just 

men made perfect. 

X HE particular scope of this context falls in with the general 
design of the whole gospel, which is to persuade men to a life of 
holiness. The matter of the exhortation is most weighty, and the 
arguments enforcing it most powerful : He doth not talk, but dis- 
pute ; he doth not say, but prove, that greater and more powerful 
engagements unto holiness he upon those who live under the gospel, 
than upon the people who lived under the law. And thus the ar- 
gument lies in this context. 

If God, at the delivering of the law upon mount Sinai, strictly 
enjoined, and required so great purity and holiness in that people, 
signified by the ceremonies of two days preparation, the washing 
of their clothes, abstinence from conjugal society, &c. Exod. xix. 
iO. much more doth he require, and expect it in us, who are come 
imder a much more excellent and heavenly dispensation than theirs 

• Ambrose said of Valentinian, — No man was ever such a servant to liis master, 
Valentinian's body was to his soul. 


To make good the sequel^ he compares the le^al and evangelical 
dispensations in many particulars, ver. 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 2l. giv- 
ing the gospel the preference throughout the whole comparison. 

Hence the privileges of the New-Testament believers are stated, 
both negativehj and loositivdy^ 

1. Negatively^ By shewing what we are exempted from. 

2. Positively^ Shewing what we are to come unto. 

1. Negatively^ What we are exempted, or freed from ; ver. 18, 
19, 20, 21. " We are not come unto the mount that might be 
*' touched," &c. 

The sum of all is this, that the promulgation of the law was ac- 
companied with amazing dread and terror. For, after Moses, by 
command from God, had sanctified the mounts and set rails about 
it, that neither priest nor people, man nor beast, might touch the 
very borders of it, lest they die ; the Lord descended in fire upon 
the top of the moimtaln the third day, in the morning, with most 
terrible tokens of divine majesty, to wit, with thunderings, light- 
nings, dark clouds, and the noise of a trumpet, exceeding loud ; the 
mount was covered with smoke, as the smoke of a furnace, and 
* flames mounting up into the midst of heaven, the whole mountain 
shaking and trembling exceedingly : Out of this horrid tempest the 
awful voice of God was heard, all the people in the camp trembling, 
3-ea, and Moses himself quaking for fear. 

This was the manner of the law's promulgation : But to such a 
terrible dispensation as this we are not come, which is the negative 
part of our privilege. 

2. He opens the positive privileges to which we are come. 

(1.) " Ye are come, saith he, to mount Sion,] not the earthly, 
but the spiritual Sion. Mount Sion was the place celebrated above 
all the world for the worship of God, Psal. Ixxxvi. 7. " All my 
" springs, saith God, are in thee."" There was the temple, the ark; 
of the covenant, the glory of the Lord dwelling between the chertc^ 
hims. The pi'iests that attended the service of God had their resi- 
dence there, as the angels have in heaven. Thither the tribes 
went up from all quarters of Judea, Psal. Ixxxiv. as the children of 
God now do to heaven, from all quarters of the world. Judea 
was the best kingdom in the world ; Jerusalem the best city in that 
kingdom; and Sion the most glorious place in that city. Here 
Christ taught his heavenly doctrine ; near to it he finished his g]o» 
rious work of redemption. Hence the everlasting gospel went 
forth into all the world : And, on these considerations, it is put to 
signify the gospel-church, or state in this place, and is tlierefore 
called the heavenly Jerusalem, in the following words. We do not 

* CrebrU micnt i'^nibus ccther ; i. e. The sky shines with freguejit Hghtnings, 

Vol. III. B 


come to the literal Sion, nor to the earthly Jerusalem ; but to the 
gospel-church, or state, which may be called a heaven upon earth, 
compared with that literal Jerusalem. 

(2.) Ye are come " to an innumerable company of angels.""] To 
* myriads of angels^ sl myriad is ten thousand, but myriads in the 
plural number, and set down indefinitely too, may note many mil- 
lions of angels : And therefore we fitly render it, " to an innumer- 
able company of angels." 

They had the ministry of angels as well as we, thousands of 
them ministered to the Lord in the dispensation of the law at Si- 
nai, Psal. Ixviii. 17. But this notwithstanding, we are come to a 
much clearer knowledge, both of their present ministry for us on 
earth, Heb. i. 14. and of our fellowship and equaUty with them in 
heaven, Luke xx. 36. 

(3.) " Ye are come to the general assembly, and church of the 
/' first-born, whose names are written (or enrolled) in heaven."'] 
This also greatly commends and amplifies the privileges of the New- 
Testament believers. The church of God in former ages was cir- 
cumscribed and shut up within the narrow hmits of one small 
kingdom, which was a garden inclosed out of a waste wilderness : 
But now, by the calling in of the Gentiles, the church is extended 
far and wide, Eph. iii. 5^ ij. It is become a great assembly, com- 
prising the believers of all nations under heaven ; and so speaking 
of them collectively, it is the general convention or assembly, which 
is also dignified, and ennobled by two illustrious characters, viz. 
(1.) That it is the chitrch of the Jirst-boi'n, i. e. consisting of mem- 
bers dignified and privileged above others, as the first-born among 
the Israelites did excel their younger brethren. (2.) That their 
names are xcritten in heaven, i. e. registered or enrolled in God's 
book, as children and heirs of the heavenly inheritance, as the 
first-born in -|- Israel were registered in order to the priesthood. 
Numb. iii. 40, 41. 

(4.) Ye are come " to God, the Judge of all.""] But why to 
God the Judge ? This seems to spoil the harmony, and jar with 
the other parts of the discourse. No, they are come to God 
as a righteous Judge, who, as such, will pardon them, 1 John i. 
9. Crown them, 2 Tim. iv. 8. and avenge them on all their op- 
pressing and persecuting enemies, 1 Thes. i. 5, 6, 7. 

(5.) "And to the spirits of just men made perfect."] A most 
glorious privilege indeed ; in which we are distinctly to consider, 

* Mi/|/a(?/i/ ayyi^Mv^ i. e. Myriads of angels. The Hellenists use the word 
jj/o^tadaCf i. e. Myriads, without any addition to signify an innumerable multitude. 

f The first-born of the Israelites were registered in an earthly register, but these iu 
an heavenly register. 



1. The quality of those with whom we are associated or taken 
into fellowship. 

2. The way and manner of our association with them. 

1. The quality of those with whom we are associated, or to 
whom we are said to be come ; and they are described by three 
characters, viz. 

(1.) Spirits of men. 

(2.) Spirits of just men. 

(3.) Spirits of just men perfected, or consummated. 

(1.) They are called spirits, that is, immaterial substances, strict- 
ly opposed to bodies, which are no way the objects of our exterior 
senses, neither visible to the eye, or sensible to the touch, which 
were called properly souls whilst they animated bodies in this lower 
world ; but now being loosed and separated from them by death, 
and existing alone in the world above, they are properly and strictly 
stiled spirits. 

(2.) They are the spirits of just men.] Man may be term.ed 
just two ways, (1.) By a full discharge and acquittance from the 
guilt of all his sins, and so believers are just men, even whilst they 
live on earth, groaning under other imperfections, Acts xiii. 39. 

Or, (2.) By a total freedom from the pollution of any sin. And 
though in this sense there is not " a just man upon earth that doth 
good, and sinneth not,"" Eccl. vii. 22. yet even in this sense Adam 
was just before the fall, Eccl. vii. 29. according to his original con- 
stitution ; and all believers are so in their glorified condition ; all 
sin being perfectly purged out of them, and its existence utterly 
destroyed in them. On which account, 

(3.) They are called the spirits of just men made jyCi; feet,] or con- 
summate. The word perfect is not here to be understood abso- 
lutely, but by way of synecdoche ; they are not perfect in every re- 
spect, for one part of these just men lies rotting in the grave : but 
they are perfected, for so much as concerns their spirit ; though 
the flesh perish and lie in dishonour, yet their spirits being once 
loosed from the body, and freed radically and perfectly from sin, 
are presently admitted to the facial vision and fruition of God, 
Avhich is the culminating point (as I may call it) higher than which 
the spirit of man aspires not ; and attaining to this^ it is, for so much 
as concerns itself, made perfect. Even as a body at last lodged in 
its centre, gravitates no more, but is at perfect rest ; so it is with tlie 
spirit of man come home to God in glory, it is now consummate, no 
more need to be done to make it as perfectly happy as it is capable 
to be made ; which is the first thing to be considered, viz. the qua- 
lity of those with whom we are associated. 

2. The second follows, namely, the way and manner of our as^ 

B 2 


sociation with these blessed spirits of just men, noted in this expres- 
sion, [we are come.'\ He saith not, zee shall come hereafter, when 
the resurrection had restored our bodies, or after the general judg- 
ment; but, we are come to these spirits of just men. The mean- 
ing whereof we may take in these three particulars. 

(1.) We that live under the gospel-light, are come to a clearer 
apprehension, sight, and knowledge of the blessed and happy estate 
of the souls of the righteous after death, than ever they had, or or- 
dinarily could have, who lived under the types and shadows of the 
law, Eph. iii. 4, 5. And so we are come to them in respect of 
clearer apprehension. 

(2.) We are come to those blessed spirits in our representative, 
Christ, who hath carried our nature into the very midst of them, 
and whom they all behold with highest admiration and delight. By 
Christ, who is entered into that holy place where these spirits of 
just men live, we are come into a near relation with them : for he 
being the common head, both to them in heaven, and to us on 
earth, we and they consequentially make but one body or society, 
Eph. ii. 10. Whereupon (notwithstanding the different and re- 
mote countries they and we live in) we are said " to sit down with 
them in heavenly places," Eph. iii. ]5. and ii. 6. 

(8.) We are come.^ That is, we are as good 'as come, or we are 
upon the matter come ; there remains nothing betwixt them and 
us but a puff of breath, a little space of time, which shortens every 
moment: We are come to the very borders of their country, and 
there is nothing to speak of betwixt them and us : And by this ex- 
pression, ive are come^ he teacheth us to account and reckon those 
things as present which so shortly will be present to us, and to look 
upon them as if they already were, which is the highest and most 
comfortable life of faith we can live on earth. Hence the 

Doct. That righteous and holt/ souls, once separated Jrom their 
bodies hy death, are immediately perfected in themselves ; and 
associated with others alike pei'Ject in the kingdom of God. 

That the spirits of just men at the time of their separation from 
their bodies do not utterly fail in their beings, nor that they are 
so prejudiced and wounded by death, that they cannot exert their 
own proper acts in the absence of the body, hath been already 
cleared in the foregoing parts of this treatise, and will be more fully 
cleared from this text. 

But the true level and aim of this discourse is at a higher mark, 
viz. the far more excellent, free, and noble life the souls of the just 
begin to live immediately after their bodies are dropt off from 


them by death, at which time they begin to hve Uke themselves, 
a pleasant, free, and divine life. So much at least is included in 
the apostle's epithet in my text, spirits of just men made perfect ; 
and suitable thereto are "his words in 1 Cor. xiii. 10, 12. " When 
" that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be 
" done away. For now we see through a glass darkly, but then 
" face to face ; now I know in part, but then I shall know, even 
" as also I am known." 

These two adverbs, now and then, distinguish the twofold state 
of gracious souls, and shew what it is whilst they arc confined in 
the body, and what it shall be from the time of their emancipation 
and freedom from that clog of mortality. Now we arc imperfect, 
but then that which is perfect takes place, and that which is imper- 
fect is done away, as the imperfect twilight is done away by the 
opening of the perfect day. 

And it deserves a serious animadversion, that this perfect state 
doth not succeed the imperfect one after a long interval, (as long 
as betwixt the dissolution and resurrection of the body) but the 
imperfect state of the soul is immediately done away by the coming 
of the perfect one. The glass is laid by as useless, wlien we come 
to see face to face, and eye to eye. 

The waters will prove very deep here, too deep for any line of 
mine to fathom ; there is a cloud always overshadowing the world 
to come, a gloom and haziness upon that state : Fain we would, 
with our weak and feeble beam of imperfect knowledge, penetrate 
this cloud, and dispel this gloom and haziness, but cannot. We 
think seriously and closely of this great and awful subject, but our 
thoughts cannot pierce through it : we reinforce those thoughts by 
a sally, or thick succession of fresh thoughts, and yet all will not 
do, our thoughts return to us either in confusion, or without the 
expected success. For alas ! how little is it that we know, or can 
know of our own souls now whilst they are embodied ! much less 
of their unembodied state. The apostle tells us, 1 Cor. ii. 9. 
" That eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into 
" the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them 
" that love him." And another apostle adds, " It doth not yet 
" appear what we shall be," 1 John iii. 2. 

Yet all this is no discouragement to the search and regular en- 
quiry into the future state ; for though reason cannot penetrate 
these mysteries, yet God hath revealed them to us, (though not per- 
fectly) hi^ his Spirit. And though we know not particularly, and 
circumstantially what we shall be, yet this we know, that " we 
" shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is." And it is our 
privilege and happiness, that we are come to the spirits of just men 
made perfect, i. e. to a clearer knowledge of that state than was 
ordinarily attainable by believers, under former dispensations, 



These things premised, I will proceed to open my apprehensions 
of the separate state of the spirits of just men made perfect, in 
Uvelve propositions : whereby, as by so many steps, we may orderly 
advance as far as safely and warrantably we may, into the know- 
ledge of this great mystery, clearing what afterwards shall remain 
obscure, in the solution of several questions relating to this subject, 
and then apply the whole, in several uses of this great point : And 
the first proposition is this : 

Proposition 1. There is a twofold separation of the soul from the 
body : viz. one mental, the other real : Or, 

1. Intellectual, by the mind only. 

2. Physical, by the stroke of death. 

1. Of intellectual, or mental separation *, I am first to speak in 
this proposition ; and it is nothing else but an act of the under- 
standing, or mind, conceiving, or considering the soul and body, 
as separate and parted from each other, whilst yet they are united 
in a personal oneness by the breath of life. This mental separa^ 
tion may, and ought to be frequently and seriously made, before 
death make the real and actual separation ; and the more fre- 
quently and seriously we do it, the less of horror and distraction 
will attend that real and fatal stroke, w^henever it shall be given. 
For hereby we learn to bear it gradually, and, by gentle essays, to 
acquaint our shoulders with the burden of it. Separation is a word 
that hath much of horror in the very sound, and useth to have 
much more in the sense and feelino- of it, else it would not deserve 
that title. Job viii. 14. " The kind of terrors," or the most terrible 
of all terribles : But acquaintance and familiarity abates that hor- 
ror, and that two w^ays especially. 

(1.) As it is preventive of much guilt. 

(2.) As it gains a more inward knowledge of its nature. 

(1.) The serious and fixed thoughts of the parting hour, is pre- 
ventive of much guilt; and the greatest part of the horror of death 
rises out of the guilt of sin ; " The sting of death is sin,'' 1 Cor. 
XV. 56. ■[- Augustine saith, " Nothing more recals a man from 
" sin, than the frequent meditation of death.'' I dare not say it 
is the strongest of all curbs to keep us back from sin, but I am sure 
it is a very strong one. 

Let X a soul but seriously meditate what a change death will 

• Mental separation, is a conceiving of two things separately, which really are united. 
Ccnimbr. on the soul, p. 595. 

f Nihil sic r:vocat a peccitn, qiuimj'requens ?nortis nieditatio. Aug. 

t He who considers, what he will be in death, will always act with a fear of cau- 
tion, and live as in the sight of his Creator, he desires nothing that is transitory, 
and considers himself as almost dead, because he knows he must soon die. Gregi 
M^r, 12. 


Vnake shortly upon his person and condition ; and the natural 
effects of such a meditation, througli the blessing ol" God upon it, 
will be a flatting and quenching of its keen and raging appetite 
after the ensnaring vanities of this world (which draw men into so 
much guilt) a conscious fear of sin, and an awakened care of duty. 
It was once demanded of a very holy man (who spent much more 
than the ordinary allowance of time in prayer, and searching his 
own heart) why he so macerated his own body by such frequent 
and long-continued duties ! His answer was, O ! I must die^ I must 
die ! Nothing could separate him from duty, who had already se- 
parated his soul from his body, and all this world, by fixed and 
deep thoughts of death. 

(2.) Hereby we gain a more inward knowledge and acquaintance 
with it, the less it terrifies us. A lion is much more dreadful to 
him that never saw him, than he is to his keeper who feedeth him 
every day. A pitched battle is more frightful and scaring to a new- 
listed soldier, that never took his place in the field before, nor saw 
the dreadful countenance of an army ready to engage, nor heard 
the thundering noise of cannon, and vollies of shot, the shouts of 
armies, and groans of dying men on every side, than it is to an 
old soldier who hath been used to such things. The like we may 
observe in seamen, who it may be trembled at first, and now can 
sing in a storm. 

Scarce any thing is more necessary for weak and timorous be- 
lievers to meditate on, than the time of their separation. Our 
hearts will be apt to start and boggle at the first view of death ; 
but it is good to do by them as men use to do by young colts ; ride 
them up to that which they fright at, and make them smell to it, 
which is the way to cure them. " Look, as bread, saith one *, is 
" more necessary than other food, so the meditation of death is 
" more necessary than many other meditations." Every time we 
change our habitations, we should realize therein our great change : 
our souls must shortly leave this, and be lodged for a longer season 
in another mansion. When we put off our clothes at night, we 
have a fit occasion to consider, that we must strip nearer one of 
these days, and put off, not our clothes only, but the body that 
wears them too. 

Holy Job had, by frequent thoughts, famiharized death and 
the grave to himself, and could speak of them as men use to speak 
of their houses and dearest relations. Job xvii. 14. "I have said to 
" corruption. Thou art my father, to the worm. Thou art my 
*' mother and sister." But it needs much grace to bring, and to 

* Sicut panis necessarius est prfe creteris alimentis^ ita intenta mortie meditatio necessarin 
est jtrcc cccteris donis et exerciiiii. Dionys. 



hold the heart to this work ; and therefore Moses begs it of God, 
Psal. xc. 12. " So teach us to number our days ; and David, Psal. 
xxxix. 4. " Lord, make me to know my end/' Yea, the advan- 
tages of it have been acknowledged by men, whose light was less, 
and diversions more than ours. The Jews, for this use and end, 
had their sepulchres built before-hand, and that in their gardens 
of pleasure too, that they might season the delights of life with the 
frequent thoughts of death, John xix. 41. 

Philip of Macedon would be awakened by his page every morn- 
ing with this sentence, memento te esse mortalem : Remember, O 
king, that thou art a mortal man. A great emperor of Constanti- 
nople, not only at his inauguration, but at his great feasts, order- 
ed a mason to bring two stones before him, and say, " * Chuse, 
" O emperor, which of the two stones thou wilt for thy tomb- 
*' stone ?'' Reader, thou wilt find mental separation much easier 
than real separation : it is easier to think of death, than it is to 
feel it; and the more we think of it, the less we are like to 
feel it. 

Prop. % Actual separation may he considered either in fieri, in 
the previous pangs., and foregoing agonies of it ; or in facto esse, 
in the last separating stroke.^ ivhich actually parts the soul and body 
asunder^ lays the body prostrate and dead at the feet of death, and 
thrusts the soul quite out of its ancient and beloved habitation. 

Let it be considered in the previous pangs and forerunning 
agonies, which commonly make way for this actual dissolution : and 
to the people of God, this is the worst and bitterest part of death 
(except those conflicts with Satan, which they sometimes grapple 
with on a death-bed) which they encounter at that time. There 
is (saith one) no poinard in death itself, like those in the way or 
prologue to it. I like not to die, said another) but I care not if I 
were dead ; the end is better than the way. The conflicts and 
struggles of nature with death are bitter and sharp pains, un- 
known to men before, whatever pains they have endured : nor can 
it be expected to be otherwise, seeing the ties and engagements be- 
twixt the soul and body are so strong, as we shewed before. 

The soul will not easily part with the body, but disputes the pos- 
sages with Death, from member to member, like resolute soldiers 
in a stormed garrison, till at last it is forced to yield up the fort- 
royal into the hands of victorious Death, and leave the dearly be- 
loved body a captive to it. 

This is the dark side of death to all good men ; and though it 
be not worth naming, in comparison with the dreadful consequents 
of death to all others, yet in itself it is terrible. 

* Lli^e ab his saxis ex quo, invictissime Ccesar^ tibi tumulum viejabricare velis. 


* Separation is not natural to the soul which was created with an 
inclination to the body ; it is natural indeed to clasp and embrace, 
to love and cherish its own body ; but to be divided from it, is 
grievous and preternatural. 

The agonies of death are expressed in scripture, by a -f* word 
which signifies " the travailing pains of a woman,"*' yea, by the 
sharpest and most acute pains they at that time feel, Acts ii. 24. 

And yet all are not handled alike roughly by the hands of 
death ; some are favoured with a desirable gu^avacr/a, gentle and 
easy death. 

It is the privilege of some Christians to have their souls fetched out 
of their bodies, as it were by a kiss from the mouth of God, as the 
Jewish Rabbins use to express the manner of Moses' death. Mr. 
Bolton felt no pain at his death, but the cold hand of his friend, 
who asked him what pain he felt. Yea, holy Bayneham in the 
midst of the flames, professed it was to him as a bed of roses. 

Every believer is equally freed from the sting and curse of death ; 
but every one is not equally favoured in the agonies and pains of 

2. Separation from the body is to be considered hi facto esse, 
i. e. in the result and issue of all those bitter pangs and agonies, 
which end in the actual dissolution of soul and body. " X Death, 
*' or actual separation, is nothing else but the dissolving of the tie 
" or loosing of the bond of union betwixt the soul and body." 
" § Some call it the privation of the second act of the soul, that is, 
" its act of informing or enlivening the body.'' Others, accord- 
ing to the scripture-phrase, the departing of the soul from the body. 
So Peter stiles it, 2 Pet. i. 15. /xg7a rriv ziMr^v s^odov, after my departure, 
i. e. after my death. Augustine || calls it the laying down of a 
heavy burden, provided there be not another burden for the soul to 
bear aftewards, which will sink it into hell. 

In respect of the body, which the soul now forsakes, it is called 
" the putting off this tabernacle," 2 Pet. i. 14. and, " the dissolve 
" ing the earthly house or tabernacle," 2 Cor. v. 1. 

In respect of the termijius a quo, the place from which the soul 
removes at death, it is called our departure hence, Phil. i. 23. or 

* Seeing the separation made by death is not natural, nor even violent, it follows, 
from the ajtproved opinion of philosophers, that it may be called preternatural. 

f Tag ojhivag ra '^avara, mortis dolorcm. 

% Qa'jarog ?$•/ "^vyryjg xat COJ/Marog dia7jjgic, vel animc; a corjtore discessus. Vives. 

§ Privatio actus secundi ejusdem animce^ id est, ivformationis seu unionis erga corpus 

II Rtiiclio corporis deposifio sarcince gravis, modo alia sarcina non patietur, qua homo 
prcpcipiteiur in ge/icnnam. August. 


our weighing anchor, and loosing from this coast or shore, to sail 
to another. 

In respect of the terminus ad quem^ the place to which the spirits 
of the just go at death, it is called our going to, or being with the 
Lord, Phil. i. 23. To conclude, in respect of that which doth 
most lively resemble and shadow it forth, it is called our falling 
asleep, Acts vii. 60. our sleeping in Jesus, 1 Thes. iv. 14. This 
metaphor of sleep must be stretched no farther than the Spirit of 
God designed in the choice of it, which was not to favour and coun- 
tenance the fancy of a sleeping soul after death, but to represent its 
state of placid rest in Jesus' bosom, if it refer at all to the soul ; for 
I think it most properly respects the body ; and thence the sepul- 
chres, where the bodies of the saints were laid, got the name of 
Koi/xrprjcia, dormitories, or sleeping places *. 

This is its last farewell to this world, never more to return to a 
low animal life more. Job vii. 9, 10. " For as the cloud is con- 
" sumed and vanished away, so he that goeth down to the grave 
'' shall come up no more : he shall return no more to his house, 
" neither shall his place know him any more."" The soul is no 
more bound to a body, nor a retainer to the sun, moon, o^ stars, 
to meat, drink, and sleep, but is become a free, single, abstracted 
being, a separate and pure spirit, which the Latins call lemures, 
ma^ies, ghosts or souls of the dead, and my text, Spirits inade per- 
Ject ; a being much like unto the angels, who are, ■bwaixiig aSMfj^alag, 
bodiless beings. An angel, as one speaks, is a perfect soul, a soul is 
an imperfect angel : I do not say, that upon their separation, they 
become angels, for tliey will still remain a distinct species of spirits. 
Angels have no inclination to bodies, nor were ever fettered with 
clogs of flesh, as souls were -j*. And by this you see what a vast 
difference there is betwixt these two considerations of death : how 
ghastly and affrighting is it in its previous pangs ! how lovely and 
desirable in the issue and result of them ! which is but the change 
of earth for heaven, men for God, sin and misery, for perfection 
and glory. 

Prop. 3. The separation of the soul and body, makes a great and 
wonderful change upon both, but especially upon the soul. 

There is a twofold change made upon man by death, one upon 
his body, another upon his soul. The change upon the body is 
great and visible to every eye. A living body is changed into a 
dead carcase . a beautiful and comely body into a loathsome spec- 
tacle: that which was lately the object - of delight and love, is 

* Locus sepulturce consecreius, '/^oi/JLTjTYitiov, hoc est, dormitorium appellatur. 
f Semper a corporis compedibus et nexibuslibcri^ i. e. Always free from the clogs acd fet- 
ters of the body. 


hereby make an abhorrence to all flesh ; " Bury my dead out of my 
" sight," Gen. xxiii. 4. 

What the sun is to the greater, that the soul is to the lesser 
world. When the sun shines comfortably, how vegete and cheer- 
ful do all things look ! how well do they thrive and prosper ! the 
birds sing merrily, the beasts play wantonly, the whole creation 
enjoyeth a day of light and joy : but when it departs, what a night 
of horror followeth ! how are all things wrapt up in the sable 
mantle of darkness ! or if it but abate its heat, as in winter, the 
creatures are, as it were, buried in the winding-sheet of winter's frost 
and snow : just so is it with the body, when the soul shineth plea- 
santly upon it, or departs from it. 

That body which was fed so assiduously, cared for so anxiously, 
loved so passionately^, is now tumbled into a pit, and left to the 
mercy of crawling worms. The change which judgment made upon 
that great and flourishing city Nineveh, is a fit emblem to sha- 
dow forth that change which death makes upon human bodies : 
that great and renowned city was once full of people, which throng- 
ed the streets thereof; there you might have seen children play- 
ing upon the thresholds, beauties shewing themselves through the 
windows, melody sounding in its palaces : but what an alteration 
was made upon it, the prophet Zephaniah describes, chap. ii. 14. 
" Flocks shall lie down in the midst of her, all the beasts of the 
" nations ; both the cormorant and the bittern shall lodge in the 
'' upper lintels of it : their voice shall sing in the windows; deso- 
" lation shall be in the thresholds, for he shall uncover the cedar- 
" work." 

Thus it is with the body when death hath dislodged the soul : 
worms nestle in the holes where the beautiful eyes were once 
placed ; corruption and desolation is upon all parts of that stately 
structure. But this being a vulgar theme, I shall leave the body 
to the dust from whence it came, and follow the soul, which is my 
proper subject, pointing at the changes which are made on it. 

The essence of the soul is not destroyed or changed by the 
body's ruin ; it is substantially the self-same soul it was when in the 
body. The supposition of an essential change would disorder the 
whole frame and model of God's eternal design for the redemption 
and glorification of it, Rom. viii. 29, 30. But yet, though it un- 
dergo no substantial change at death, yet divers great and remark- 
able alterations are made upon it, by sundering it from the body. 

1. It is not where it was : it was in a body, immersed in matter, 
married unto flesh and blood ; but now it is out of the body, un- 
clothed and stript naked out of its garments of flesh, like pure gold 
melted out of the ore with which it was commixed ; or as a bird let 


out of her cage into the open fields and woods. This makes 3t 
great and wonderful change upon it. 

2. Being free from the body, it is consequently discharged and 
freed from all those cares, studies, fears and sorrows to which it 
was here enthralled and subjected upon the body's account : it puts 
off all those passions and burdens with it : never spends one thought 
more about food and raiment, health and sickness, wives and chil- 
dren, riches or poverty, but lives henceforth after the manner of 
angels. Mat. xxii. 30. It is now unrelated to, and therefore uncon- 
cerned about all these things. 

3. In the unbodied state it is perfectly freed from sin, both in 
the acts and habits ; a mercy it never enjoyed since the first mo- 
ment it dwelt in the body. The cure of this disease was indeed 
begun in the work of sanctification ; but it is not perfected till the 
day of the souFs glorification. It is now, and not till now, a spirit 
made perfect ; that is, a soul enjoying its perfect health and recti- 
tude : No more groans, tears, or lamentations, upon the account of 
indwelling sin. 

4. The way and manner of its converse with, and enjoyment of 
God is changed. There are two mediums by which souls converse 
with God in the body, viz. 

(1.) One internal, to 7vit, faith. 

(2.) The other external, to 7vit, ordinances. 

(1.) If a man walk with God on earth, it must be in the use and 
exercise of faith, 2 Cor. v. 7. Nor can there be any communion 
carried on betwixt God and the soul without it, Heb. xi. 6. 

(2.) The external mediums are the ordinances of God, or duties 
of religion, both public and private, Psal. Ixiii. 2. Betwixt these 
two mediums of communion with God, this remarkable difference 
is found : The soul may see and enjoy God by faith, in the want or 
absence of ordinances ; but there is no seeing or conversing with 
God, in the greatest plenty and purity of ordinances, without faith. 
Heb. iv. 2. 

But in the same moment the soul is cut off from union with the 
body, it is also cut off from both these ways of enjoying God, 1 Cor. 
xiii. 12. Isa. xxxviii. 11. But yet the soul is no loser; nay, it 
is the greatest gainer by this change. The child is no loser by 
ceasing to derive its nourishment by the navel, when it comes to 
receive it by the mouth, a more noble way, whereby it gets a new 
pleasure in tasting the variety of all delectable food. Hezekiah be- 
moaned the loss of ordinances upon his supposed death-bed, saying, 
" I shall not see the Lord, even the Lord in the land of the living :''' 
q. d. Now farewell temple and ordinances ; I shall never go any 
more into his temple, where my soul hath been so often cheered 
and refreshed with the displays of his grace and goodness ; I shall 


never more join with the assembly of his people on earth. And 
suppose he had not, sure he would have lost nothing, had he then 
exchanged the temple at Jerusalem, for the temple in heaven ; and 
communion with sinful imperfect saints on earth, for fellowship 
with angels, and " the spirits of just men made perfect.*" By this 
change we lose no more than he loseth, who whilst he stands de- 
lightfully contemplating the image of his dearest friend in a glass, 
hath the glass snatched away by his friend, whom he now seeth 
face to face. 

Upon this change of the mediums of communion, it will follow, 
that the communion betwixt God and the separate soul, excels all 
the communion it ever had with him on earth, in 
(1.) The clearness. 
(%) The sweetness. 
(S.) The constancy of it. 

(1.) Its visions of God, in the state of separation, are more clear, 
distinct, and direct than they were on earth ; clouds and shadows 
are now fled away : The soul now seeth as it is seen, and knoweth 
as it is known ; its apprehensions of God there, differ from those it 
had here, as the crude and confused apprehensions of a child do, 
from those we have in the manly state. 

(2.) They are also more sweet and ravishing : As our visions are, 
so are our pleasures; perfect visions produce perfect pleasures: 
The faculties of the soul now, and never till now, lie level to that 
rule, Matth. xxii. 37. The visions of God command, and call 
forth all the heart and soul, mind, and strength, into acts of love 
and delight. It was not so here ; if the spirit was wiUing, the 
flesh was weak ; but there the clog is off from the foot of the 

(3.) More constant, fixed, and steady. It is one of the greatest 
difficulties in religion to fix the thoughts and cure the wildness and 
rovings of the fancy : the heart is not steady with God ; and hence 
are its ups and downs, heatings and coolings ; which are things un- 
known in the perfect state. By all which it appears, the change 
by dissolution is great and marvellous, both upon the body and 
soul, but upon the soul more especially. 

Proposition 4. The souls of' the righteous, at the instant of their 
separation, are received hy the blessed angels, and by them trans- 
Jerrcd unto the place of blessedness. 

Though angels are by nature a superior order of spirits, differing 
from men in dignity, as the nobles and barons in the kingdoms of 
this world, differ from inferior subjects ; yet are they made minister- 
ing spirits, i. e. serviceable creatures in the kingdom of providence, 
to the meanest of the saints, Heb. i. 14. And herein the Lord put-» 
a singular honour upon his people, in making such excellent croa- 


tures as angels serviceable to them : Luther assigns to them a double 
office, to wit, to sing the praises of God on high, and to watch over 
his saints here below. Their ministry is distinguished into threo 
branches : Nif^sr/xov, for admonition or warning ; <pu/.axrr/.ov, for pro- 
tection and defence; Bor^irrAov, for succour, help, and comfort. 
This last office they perform more especially at the souFs departure : 
Like tender nurses, they keep us whilst we live, and bring us home 
in their arms to our Father's house when we die. 

They are about our death-beds, waiting to receive their precious 
charge into their arms and bosoms. When Lazarus breathed out 
his soul, the text saith it was " carried by angels into Abraham's 
" bosom," Luke xvi. 23. And upon this account, Tertullian calls 
them evocatores animarum, the callers forth of souls. At the trans- 
lation of Elijah, they appeared in the form of horses and chariots 
of fire, 2 Kings ii. 11. Horses and chariots are not only designed 
for conveyance, but for conveyance in state, and truly, it is no 
small honour to have such a noble convoy and guard to attend our 
souls to heaven. 

Object. If it be demanded. What need is there of their help or 
company ? Cannot God by his immediate hand and power gather 
home the souls of his people to himself at death? He inspired them 
into our bodies without their help, and can receive them again when 
we expire them, without their aid. 

Sol True, he can do so ; but it hath pleased him to appoint this 
method of our translation, not out of mere necessity, but bounty. 
Souls ascend not to God in the virtue of the angels wings, or arms, 
but of Christ's ascension. Had he not ascended as our head and 
representative, all the angels in heaven could not have brought our 
souls thither : He ascended by his own power, and we ascend by 
virtue of his ascension. It is therefore rather for state and decorum^ 
than any absolute necessity, that they attend us in our ascension. 

God will not only have his people brought home to him safely, 
but honourably : They shall come to their Father's house in a be- 
coming equipage, as the children of a king. This puts honour 
upon our ascension-day ; that day is adorned by the attendance of 
such illustrious creatures upon us. It is no small honour which 
God herein designs for us, that creatures of gi'eater dignity than 
ourselves, shall be sent from heaven to attend and wait upon us 

Yea, that our ascension-day, should, in this, resemble Christ's 
ascension, is an honour indeed. When he ascended, there were 
multitudes of these heavenly creatures to wait upon him, Psal. 
Ixviii. 17, 18. " The chariots of God are twenty thousand, even 
*' thousands of angels ; the Lord is among them as in Sinai, in the 


^' the holy place. Thou hast ascended on high,'' &c. A cloud 
^vas prepared as a royal chariot, to carry up the king of glory to 
his princely pavilion ; and then a royal guard of mighty angels to 
wait upon his chariot ; if not for support, yet for the greater state 
and solemnity of their Lord's ascension. And O what jubilations 
of blessed angels were heard that day in heaven ! How was the 
whole city of God moved at his coming ! The triumph is not ended 
to this day, no, nor ever shall. 

Now, herein God greatly honours his people, that there shall be 
some resemblance and conformity betwixt their ascension and 
Christ's : * Angels rejoice to attend those to heaven, who must be 
their fellow-citizens for ever in heaven ! It is convenient also, that 
those who had the charge of us all our life, should attend us to our 
Father's house at our death : In the one they finish their ministry ; 
in the other they begin their more intimate society. 

Moreover, the angels are they whom God will employ, to gather 
together his elect from the four winds of heaven, at the great day, 
Matth. xxiv. 31. And who more lit to attend their spirits to hea- 
ven singly, than those who must collect them into one body at last, 
and wait upon that collective body, when they shall be brought to 
Christ.? Psal. Ixv. 14. 

Object. But the sight and presence of angels is exceeding anyful 
and overwhelming to human nature : It will rather astonish and 
terrify^ titan refresh and cheer us, to find ourselves, all on a sudden^ 
surrounded, and heset zvith such majestic creatures. We see what 
effects the appearance of an angel hath had upon good men in this 
world: " We shall die, (saith Manoah) for we have seen God," 
Judges xiii. 22. So Eliphaz, " a spirit passed before my face ; 
" the hair of my flesh stood up," Job iv. 15. 

Sol. True, whilst our souls inhabit these mortal and sinful bo- 
dies, the appearance of angels is terrible to them, and cannot be 
otherwise, partly upon a natural, and partly upon a moral account. 
The dread of angels naturally falls upon our animal spirits : They 
shrink and tremble at the approach of spirits ; not only the spirits 
of men, but of beasts, quail at it. A dog, or an ass is terrified at 
it, as well as a man, Numb. xxii. 25. The dread of spirits strikes 
the animal, or natural spirits prhnarily ; and the mind, or rational 
soul by consent. There is also another cause of fear in man, upon 
the sight or presence of angels, viz. a consciousness of guilt. 
Wherever there is guilt, there will be fear, especially upon any 
extraordinary appearance of God to us, though it be but mediately 
by an angel. 

■* As they, (i. e. angels) served the head, in like manner do they serve the members. 
Tliey rejoice to serve them on earth, whom they shall have afterwards fur companions 
ia heaven. Gerhard, 


But when the soul is freed, both from flesh and sin, and shall 
enjoy itself in a nature, hke to these pure and holy spirits, the 
dread of angels is then vanished, and the soul will take great con- 
tent and satisfaction in their company and communion : The soul 
then finds itself a fit companion for them ; looks upon them as its 
fellow-servants, for so they are, Rev. xix. 10. And the angels look 
upon the !!pints of just men, not as inferiors, or underlings, but 
with great respect, as spirits, in some sense, nearer to Christ than 
themselves: So that henceforth no dread falls upon us from the 
presence of til ese excellent creatures; but each enjoyeth singular 
delight in each others society. And thus we see in what honour- 
able and pleasing company the souls of the just go hence to their 
Father's house, and bosom. 

Prop. 5. The soul is not so maimed and prejudiced hy its sepor- 
ration from the body, but that it both can, and doth live, and act 
without it ; and performs the acts of cogitation and volition, with- 
out tlw aid and ministry of the body. 

I know it is objected by them that assert the soul's sleeping till 
the resurrection, that though its essence be not destroyed by death, 
yet its operations are obstructed by the want and absence of the 
body, its tool and instrument. And thus they form their objec- 

Object. All that the soul understands, it understands hy species* ; 
that is, the images of things ichich arc Jlrst formed in the phantasy : 
As "ichcn li-e would conceive the nature of a house, a ship, a man, or 
a beast: we first form the image, or species thereof in our fancy, 
and then exercise our thoughts about it : But this depending upon 
bodily organs, and instruments, the separated soul can form no such 
images : It hath no such innate species of its own, but comes into 
the world an abrasta tabula, white paper ; and being deprived by 
separation of the help of senses and phantasms, it consequently un- 
derstands nothing. 

Thus the soul, in its state of separation, is represented to us as 
wounded in its powers and operations, to that degree, which seems 
to extinguish the very nature of it. But, 

Sol. 1. We denv that the soul knows nothing now but by phan- 
tasmsf, and images ; for it knows itself, its own nature and powers, 
of w4iich it cannot possibly feign, or form any image, or represent 

* There are three conditions requisite for the acts of the understanding. 1. The ob- 
ject, a being that is real and intelligible, 2. The phantasm, or sensible image lurking in 
the phantasy, o. The intelligible image, which is a spiritual accident, representing to 
the understanding, iu an ideal way, the material object that exists without the under- 

f The understanding contemplates objects incorporeal and immaterial, such as God 
and intelligent beings. But these by no moans affect the phantasy, for they are beyond 
the reach of corporeal powers. Cordmb. on the soul. 1. o. c. 8. q. 8, 

A TREAl'lSE 6V THE SOUL Ot=* MAlJ. 35 

tation. What form^ shape, or figure, can the fancy of a man cast 
his own soul into, to help him to understand its nature ? 

And what shall wc say of its understanding during an ecstasy, or 
rapture ? Doth the soul know nothing at such a time ? Doth a dull 
torpor seize and benumb its intellectual powers ? No ; the under- 
standing is never more bright, clear, apprehensive, and perfect, than 
when the body, in an ecstasy is laid aside, as to any use or assistance 
of the mind : The soul for that space uses not the body's assistance^ 
as the very words ecstasy and rapture convince us. 

2. * To understand by sjyecies^ doth not agree to the soul 
naturally and necessarily, but by accident, as it is now in union 
with the body : Were it but once loosed from the body, it would 
understand better without them, than ever it did in the body by 
them. A man that is on horseback, must move according to the 
motion of the horse he rides ; but if he were on foot, he then uses 
his own proper motion as he pleaseth ; so here. But though we 
grant the soul doth in many cases now make use of phantasms, 
and that the agitation of the spirits, which are in the brain and 
heart, are conjunct with its acts of cogitation and intellection: 
Yet, as a searching -f scholar well observes, the spirits are rather 
subjects than instruments of those actions ; and the whole essence 
of those acts is antecedent to the motion of the spirits : As when 
we use a pen in writing, or a knife in cutting, there is an operation 
of the soul upon them, before there can be any operation by them : 
They act as they are first acted, and so do these bodily spirits. So 
that to speak properly, the body is bettered by the use the soul 
makes of it in these its noble actions ; but the soul is not advantaged 
by being tied to such a body ; it can do its own work without it ; 
its operations follow its essence^ not the body to which it is for a 
time united. 

Upon the whole ; it is much more absonous and difficult to con- 
ceive a stupified, benumbed, and unactive soul, whose very nature 
is to be active, lively, and always in motion, than it is to conceive 
a soul freed from the shackles and clogs of the body, acting freely 
according to its own nature. I wish the favourers of this opinion 
may take heed, lest it carry them farther than they intend, even 
to a denial of its existence and immortality, and turn them into 
downright Somatists or Atheists. 

Proposition 6. That the separated souls of the just having finished 
all their work of obedience on earthy afidthe Spirit having finished 

* For if this belongs not to the nature of the soul, but bj- accident agrees to itj 
namely from this, that it is tied to the body, a« the Platonists affirm, then tha 
question is easily solved. For the soul being loosed from the body, \riil return *o ita 
own nature. Jqidn. p. 1. Q. 8. Art> 1. 

f Howe's Ulcssedacss, 2^' 1"4. IT 5, 

Vol. IIL C 


all his work of sanctification upon them, they ascend to God, with 
all the habits of grace inherent in them ; and all the coiiifortable im^ 
provements of their graces accompanying and following them. 

This proposition is to be opened and confirmed in these four 

(1.) When a gracious soul is separated from the body, all its 
work of obedience in this world is finished. Therefore death is 
called the " finishing of our course," Acts xx. 24. " The night 
" when man works no more,""* John ix. 4. " There is no working 
" in the grave,"' Eccl. ix. 10. for death dissolves the compositum, 
and removes the soul immediately to another world, where it can 
act for itself only, but not for others, as it was wont to do on 
earth. " I shall see man no more (saith Hezekiah) with the 
mhabitants of the world," Isa. xxxviii. 11. That which was said 
of David's death, is as true of every Christian, that " having 
" served his generation according to the will of God, he fell 
" asleep," Acts xiii. 36. 

I do not say this lower world receives no benefit at all by them 
after their death ; for though they can speak no more, write no 
more, pray for, and instruct the inhabitants of this world no more, 
nor exhibit to them the beauty of religion in any new acts or exam- 
ples of theirs (which is what I mean by saying they have finished 
all their icork of obedience on earth) ; yet the benefit of what they 
did whilst in the body, still remains after they are gone : As the 
apostle spccfks of Abel, Heb. xi. 4. " Who being dead, yet 
" speaketh." This way indeed abundance of service will be done 
for the souls of men upon earth, long after they are gone to 
heaven. And this should greatly quicken us to leave as much as 
we can behind us, for the good of posterity, that «/|!^r our decease (as 
the apostle speaks, 2 Pet. i. 15.) they may have our words and ex- 
amples in remembrance. But for any service to be done de novo, 
after death, it is not to be expected : We have accomplished, as a 
hireling, our day, and have not a stroke more to do. 

(2.) As all our work of obedience is then finished by us, so at 
death all the work of God is finished by his Spirit upon us. The 
last hand is then put to all the preparatory work for glory, not a 
stroke more to be done upon it afterwards ; which appears as well 
by the immediate succession of the life of glory, (whereof I shall 
speak in another proposition) as by the cessation of all sanctifying 
means and instruments, which are totally laid aside as things of no 
more use after this stroke is given ; Adeptofine, cessant media, means 
are useless when the end is attained. There is no work (saitli 
Solomon) in the grave. How short soever the soul's stay and abode 
in the body were, though it were regenerated one day, and 
separated the next, yet all is wrought upon it, which God ever in- 


tended should be wrouglit in this world, and there is no prepara- 
tion-work in the other world. 

(S.) But though the soul leave all the means of grace behind it, 
yet it carries away with it to heaven all those habits of grace which 
were planted and improved in it in this world, by the blessing of 
the Spirit upon those means : Though it leave the ordinances, it 
loseth not the effects and fruits of them ; though they cease, their 
effects still live. " The truth dwelleth in us, and shall be in us 
" for ever," 1 John ii. 17. " The seed of God remaineth in 
" us," 1 John iii. 9. 

Common gifts fail at death ; but saving grace sticks fast in the 
soul, and ascends with it into glory. Gracious habits are insepar- 
able; glory doth not destroy, but perfect them: They are the 
soul's meetness for heaven. Col. i. 12. and therefore it shall not 
come into his presence, leaving its meetness behind it. In vain is 
all the work of the Spirit upon us in this world, if we carry it not 
along with us into that world, seeing all his works upon us in this 
life have a respect and relation to the life to come. 

Look, therefore, as the same natural faculties and powers which 
the soul had (though it could not use them) in its imperfect body 
in the womb, came with it into this world, where they freely 
exerted themselves in the most noble actions of natural life ; so the 
habits of grace, which, by regeneration, are here implanted in a 
weak and imperfect soul, go with it to glorj^ where they exert 
themselves in a more high and perfect way of acting than ever they 
did here below. The languishing spark of love is there a vehement 
flame ; the faint, remiss and infrequent delight in God is there at 
a constant, ravishing and transporting height. 

(4.) To conclude. As all implanted habits of grace ascend with 
the sanctified soul to heaven ; (for the soul ascends not thither as a 
natural, but as a new creature) so all the effects, results, and sweet 
improvements of those graces which we gathered as the pleasant 
fruits of them on earth, these accompany and follow the soul into 
the other world also.; " Their works follow them," Rev. xiv. 13. 
They go not before in the notion of merits, to make way for them, 
but they follow or accompany them as evidences and comfortable 
experiences. I doubt not, but the very remembrance of what pas- 
sed betwixt God and the soul here, betwixt the day of its espousals 
to Christ, and its divorce from the body, will be one sweet ingre- 
dient in their blessedness and joy, when they shall be singing in the 
upper region the song of Moses and of the Lamb. They were 
never given to be lost, or left behind us. And thus you see with 
what a rich cargo the soul sails to the other world, though if it had 
no other, it would never drop anchor there. 



Prop. 7. The souls of the just when separated Jrom their bodies^ 
do not icander up and down in this zcorld^ nor hover about the se~ 
pulclires where their bodies lie ; nor are they detained in any pur- 
gatory, in 07'derto their more perfect pur ijication ; nor do they Jail 
asleep in a benumbed stupid state : but do Jvrthwith pass into glory, 
and are immediately with the Lord. 

When once the mind of man leaves the scripture guidance and 
direction, which is it to what the compass or pole-star is to a ship 
in the wide ocean, whither will it not wander ? In what uncertain- 
ties will it not fluctuate ? and upon what rocks and quick-sands 
must it inevitably be cast? Many have been the foolish and ground- 
less conceits and fancies of men about the receptacles of departed 

1. Some have assigned them a restless, wandering life, now here, 
now there, without any certain dwelling-place any where. The 
only grounds for this fancy, is the frequent apparitions of the ghost 
or spirits of the dead, w- hereof many instances are given ; and who 
is there that is a stranger to such stories .^ Now, if departed souls 
were fixed any where, this world would be quiet and free from 
such disturbances. 

I make no doubt, but very many of these stories, have been the 
industrius fictions and devices of wicked and superstitious votaries, 
to gain reputation to their way, speaking lies in hypocrisy, to draw 
disciples after them. And many others have been the tricks and 
impostures of Satan himself, to shake the credit of the saints' rest 
in heaven, and the imprisonment of ungodly souls in hell, as will 
more fully appear when I come to speak to that question more par- 

2. Others think, when they are loosed from the body at death, 
they hover about the graves and solitary places where their bodies 
lie, as willing, seeing they can dwell no longer in them, to abide as 
near them as they can ; just as the surviving turtle keeps near the 
place Vrhere his mate died, and may be heard mourning for a long 
time about that part of the wood. This opinion seeks countenance 
and protection from that law, Deut. xviii. 10, 11. which prohibits 
men to consult with the dead ; of which restraint there had been 
no need or use, if it had not been practised ; and such practices 
had never been continued, if departed souls had not frequented 
those places, and given answers to theii' questions. But what I 
said before of Satan's impostures, is enough for the present to re- 
turn to this also. 

3. The Papists send them immediately to purgatory, in order to 
their more thorough purification. This purgatory * Bellarmine 

♦ Bellarmin. lib, 2. de Purg. cap. 6, 


thus describes : " It is a certain place wherein, as in a prison, souls 
** are purged after this life, that were not fully purged here, to the 
" intent they may enter pure into heaven; and though the church 
" (saith he) hath not defined the place, yet the schoolmen say, it 
'* is in the bowels of the earth, and upon the borders of hell." 
And, to countenance this profitable fable, divers scriptures are by 
them abused and misapplied, as 1 Cor. iii. 15. Matth. v. 25, 26. 
1 Pet. iii. 19. AH which have been fully rescued out of their 
hands, and abundantly vindicated by our divines, who have proved, 
God never kindled that fire to purify souls ; but the Pope to warm 
his own kitchen. 

4. Another sort there are, who affirm, they neither wander 
about this world, nor go into purgatory, but are cast by death into 
a swoon or sleep ; remaining in a kind of benumbed condition, till 
the resurrection of the body. This was the error of Beryllus ; and 
Irenseus seems to border too near upon it, when he saith, * " The 
*' souls of disciples shall go to an invisible place appointed for them 
" of God, and shall there tarry till the resurrection, waiting for 
" that time : and then receiving their bodies, and perfectly, i. e. 
" corporeally, rising again, as Christ did, they shall come to the 
" sight of God." 

All these mistakes will fall together by one stroke ; for if it evi- 
dently appear (as I hope it will) that the spirits of the just are im- 
mediately taken to God, and do converse with, and enjoy him in 
heaven ; then all these fancies vanish, without any more labour 
about them particularly. Now there are four considerations which 
to me put the immediate glorification of the departed souls of be- 
lievers beyond all rational doubt. 

1. Heaven is as ready and fit to receive them as ever it shall be. 

2. They are as ready and fit for heaven as ever they will be. 

3. The scripture is plainly for it. And, 

4. There is nothing in reason against it. 

1. Heaven is as fit and ready to receive them when they die, 
as ever it shall be. Heaven is prepared for believers, (1.) By the 
purpose and decree of God, and so far it was prepared from the 
foundation of the world, Matth. xxv. 34. (2.) By the death of 
Christ, whose blood made the purchase of it for believers, and so 
meritoriously opened the gates thereof, which our sins had barred 
up against us, Heb. x. 19, 20. (3.) By the ascension of Christ into 
that holy place, as our representative and fore-runner, John xiv. 

* Discipulorum aninue abibunt in invisibilem locuvi, definituni eis a Deo ; et ibi usgjit 
ad resurrectionem commornbuntur, sustinentes resurrectionem ; postj recipientes corpora, et 
perf'ecte resurgentes, i. e. corpuraliitr, quemadmodum et Hominw resurrerit, sic vement ad 
conspecluvi Dd, Iren. lib. 5. 



2. This is all that is necessary to be done for the preparation of 
heaven ; and all this is done, as much as ever God designed should 
be done to it, in order to its preparation for our souls ; so that no 
delay can be upon that account. 

2. The departed souls of believers are as ready for heaven as 
ever they will be : for there is no preparation- work to be done by 
them, or upon them after death, John ix. 3. Eccl. ix. 10. Their 
justification was complete before death, and now their sanctification 
is so too ; sin which came in by the union, going out at the separa.- 
tion of their souls and bodies. They are spirits made perfect. 

3. The scripture is plain and full for their immediate glorifica- 
tion ; Luke xxiii. 43. " To-day shalt thou be with me in paradise." 
Luke xvi. 22. " The beggar died, and was carried by the angels 
" into Abraham's bosom." Phil. i. 2L "I desire to be dissolved 
" and to be with Christ, which is far better." The scripture 
speaks but of two ways by which souls see and enjoy God, viz. 
faith and sight ; the one imperfect, suited to this life ; the other 
perfect, fitted for the life to come ; and this immediately succeed- 
ing that, for the imperfect is done away, by the coming of that 
which is perfect, as the twilight is done away, by the advancing of 
the perfect day. 

4. To conclude ; there is nothing in reason lying in bar to it. It 
hath been proved before, that the soul in its unembodied state is ca- 
pable to enjoy blessedness, and can perform its acts of intellection, 
volition, &c. not only as well, but much better than it did, when 
embodied. I conclude therefore, that seeing heaven is already as 
much prepared for believers as it need be, or can be; and they as 
much prepared from the time of their dissolution, as ever they shall 
be ; the scriptures also being so plain for it, and no bar in reason 
against it ; all the forementioned opinions are but the dreams and 
fancies of men, who have forsaken their scripture-guide ; and this 
remains an unshaken truth, that the spirits of the just go immedi- 
ately to glory from the time of their separation. 

Prop. 8. At the time of a gracious souTs separation from, the hody^ 
it is rnstantly and perfectly freed from sin, which, till that time, 
dwelt in it from its beginning ; hut thenceforth shall do so no more. 

Immediately upon their separation from the body, they are spi- 
rits made perfect, as ray text stiles them ; and that epithet '^perfect 
could never suit them, if there were any rem^aining root or habit of 
corruption in them. 

The time, yea, the set time is now come, to put an end to all the 

* Therefore he calls them consecrated or perfect, because they are no more subject to 
the rafirmiiies of the fleih, the flesh itself being laid aside. Marlorate on the place. 


dolorous groans of gracious souls, upon the account of indwelling 
sin. What the angel said to Joshua, Zech. iii. 3, 4. the same doth 
God say of every upright soul, at the time of its separation. " Take 
" away the filthy garments from him, and clothe him with change 
" of raiment, and set a fair mitre upon his head." Thus the 
garments spotted with the flesh, are taken away with the body of 
flesh, and the pure unchangeable robes of perfect holiness, clothed 
upon the soul, in which it appears without fault before the throne 
of God, Rev. xiv. 5. 

There is a threefold burdensome evil in sin under which all re- 
generated souls groan in this life; viz. (1.) The guilt ; (2.) The 
filth ; (3.) The inherence of it in their nature. And there is a 
threefold remedy or cure of these evils : the guilt of sin is remedied 
by justification ; the filth of sin is inchoatively healed by sanctifica- 
tion : the inherence of sin is totally eradicated by glorification ; 
For as it entered into our persons by the union of our souls and 
bodies, so it is perfectly cast out by their disunion or separation at 
death : the last stroke is then given to the work of sanctification, 
and the last is evermore the perfecting stroke: sin languished 
imder imperfect sanctification in the time of life, but it gives up 
the ghost under perfected sanctification, from and after death : 
sanctification gave it its deadly wound, but glorification its final 
abolition. For it is with our sins, after regeneration, as it was 
with that beast mentioned, Dan. vii. 12. which, though it was 
** wounded with a deadly wound, yet its life was prolonged for a 
" season." And this is the appointed season for its expiration. 
For if at their dissolution they are immediately received into glory 
(as it hath been proved they are, in our seventh proposition) they 
must necessarily be freed from sin, immediately upon their dissolu- 
tion ; because, nothing that is unclean can enter into that pure and 
holy place ; they must be, as the text truly represents them, " the 
" spirits of just men made perfect.'" 

For, if so great holiness and purity be required in all that draw 
nigh to God upon earth, as you read, Psal. xciii. 5. certainly those 
who are admitted immediately to his throne, must be without 
fault, according to Rev. vii, 14, 15, 16, 17. 

When a compounded being comes to be dissolved, each part 
returns to its own principle ; so it is here : the spirit of man, and 
all the grace that is in it, came from God ; and to him they return 
at death, and are perfected in him and by him : the flesh returns 
to earth, whence it came, and all that body of sin is detroyed 
with it ; neither the one or the other shall be a snare or clog to the 
soul any more. A Christian in this world, is but gold in tlie ore ; 
at death, the pure gold is melted out and separated, and the drosa 
cast away and consumed. 



Hence three consectaries oifer themselves to us. 

Consedaritj 1. That a beHever's life and warfare end together. 
We lay not down our weapons of war, till we lie down in the dust, 
2 Tim. iv. 7. " I have fought a good fight, I have finished my 
*' course." The course and conflict you see are finished together : 
though they commence from different terms, yet they always 
terminate together. Grace and sin have each acted its part upon 
the stage of time, and the victory hovered doubtfully, sometimes 
over sin, and sometimes over grace ; but now the war is ended, 
and the quarrel decided, grace keeps its ground, and sin is finally 
vanquished. Now, and never before, the gracious soul stands tri- 
umphing like that noble Argive, 

In voctio solus sessQ?', plausorque theatra. 
Uot an enemy left to renew the combat ; the war is ended, and 
with it all the fears and sorrows of the saints. 

Consectary 2. Separated souls become impeccable, or free from 
all the hazard of sin, from the time of their separation : for, there 
being no root of sin now inherent in them, consequently no temp- 
tation to sin can fasten upon them; all temptations have their 
handles in the corruptions of our natures: did not Satan find 
matter prepared within us, dry tinder fitted to his hand, he might 
strike in temptations long enough, before one of his hellish sparks 
could catch or fasten upon us. Temptations are grievous exercises 
to behevers ; they are darts, Eph. vi. 16. they are thorns, 2 Cor, 
xii. 7. But the separate soul is out of gunshot ,• it were as good 
discharge an arrow at the body of the sun, as a temptation at a 
translated soul. 

Consectary 3. Separated souls are more lovely companions, and 
their converses more sweet and delightful than ever they were in 
this world. It was their corruption which spoiled their communion 
on earth ; and it is their spotless holiness which makes it incom- 
parably pleasant in heaven. The best and loveliest saints have 
something in them which is distasteful ; even sweet briars and holy 
thistles have their offensive prickles : but when that which was so 
lovely on earth is made perfect in heaven, and nothing of that re- 
mains in lieaven, which was so offensive in them on earth ; O what 
blessed, delightful companions will they be ! O blessed society I O 
most desirable companions ! let my soul for ever be united to their 
assembly. I love them under their corruptions; but how shall 
my soul be knit to them, when it seeth them shining in their 
perfections ^ 

Proposition 9. The pleasure and delights of the separate spirits 
of the just^ are incomparahly greater and sweeter than those they 
^id, or at any time could eocpei^ience in their bodily state. 

With what a pleasant face would death smile upon behevers ! 


what roses would it raise in its pale cheeks, if this proposition were 
but well settled in our hearts by faith ! And if we will not be 
wanting to ourselves, it may be firmly settled there, by these four 
considerations, which demonstrate it. 

Consideration 1. Whatsoever pleasure any man receives in this 
loorld^ he receives it by means of' his soul. Even all corporeal and 
sensitive delights have no other rehsh and sweetness, but what the 
soul gives them, which is demonstrable by this ; that if a man be 
placed amidst all the pleasing objects and circumstances in the world, 
if he were in that centre, where he might have the confluence 
of all the delights of this world ; yet if the spirit be wounded, there 
is no more relish or savour in them, than in the white of an egg. 
What pleasure had Spira in his liberty, estate, wife and children ; 
these things were indeed proposed and urged, again and again, to 
relieve him ? but instead of pleasure they became his horror : let 
but the mind be wounded, and all the mirth is marred : one touch 
from God upon the spirit, destroys all the joy of this world. Nay, 

Let but the intention of the mind be strongly carried another 
way, and for that time, (though there be no guilt or wound upon 
the soul) the most pleasant enjoyments lose their pleasure. What 
deliglit, think you, would bags of gold, sumptuous feasts, or ex- 
quisite melody have afforded to Archimedes, when he was wholly 
intent upon his mathematical lines ? By this then it is evident, that 
the rise of all pleasure is in the mind, and the most agreeable and 
pleasing objects and enjoyments signify nothing without it : the 
mind must be found in itself, and at leisure to attend them, or we 
can have no pleasure from them. 

Consid. J^. Of all natural pleasures in the wo?-ld, intellectual plea- 
sures arejhund to be most agreeable, and connatural to the soul of 

The more refined and remote from sense any pleasure is, the 
more grateful is it to the soul ; those are certainly the sweetest de- 
lights that spring out of the mind. A drop of intellectual pleasure 
is valued by a generous and well-tempered soul, above the whole 
ocean of impure joys, which qome to it sophisticated and tinged 
through the muddy channels of sense. 

No sensuahsts in the world can extract such pleasure out of gold, 
silver, meat and drink ; as a searching and contemplating mind 
finds in the discovery of truth. * Heinsius, that learned library- 
keeper of Leyden, professed, " That when he had shut up him- 
" self among so many illustrious souls, he seemed to sit down there» 
" as in the very lap of eternity, and heartily pitied the rich and 
" covetous worldlings, that were strangers to his delights.** 

* In qua simulac pedem posui,foribus jiessulum obdo, et in ipso cclertiitatis gremio, inter 
tot Ulustres animas sedeni mihi suviOy cum ingcnti quidem animo : ut subiiide magnaium 
misereor, qui hancjalicitatem ignorant, Epist. prin. 


And when * Cardan tells us, " That to know the secrets of na- 
" ture, and the order of the universe, hath greater pleasure and 
" sweetness in it, than the thought of man can fathom, or any 
" mortal hope for.'' " Yea, such beauties, saith f Plutarch, there 
" are in the study of the mathematics, that it were unworthy to 
*" compare such baubles and bubbles, as riches with it."*' " Yea, 
" saith another, it were a sweet thing to be extinguished in those 
" studies +.'' 

Julius Scaliger was so delighted with poetry, that he protested 
he had rather be the author of twelve verses in Lucan, than em- 
peror of Germany. And to say truth, " there is a kind of enchant- 
" ing sweetness in those intellectual pleasures and feasts of the 
" mind ; such a delight as hardly suffers the mind to be pulled 
" away from them §." These pleasures have a finer edge, a higher 
gust, a more agreeable savour to the mind than sensitive ones ; as 
approaching much nearer to the nature of the soul, which is spi- 

Consid. 3. And as intellectual pleasures do as far exceed all sen- 
sitive pleasures, as those which are proper to a man, do those which 
we have in conmnon with beasts : So divine pleasures do again much 
more surm^ount intellectual ones. For what compare is there betwixt 
those joys which surprize a scholar in the discovery of the secrets 
of nature, and those that overwhelm and swallow up the Christian 
in the discovery of the glorious mysteries of redemption by Christ, 
and his own personal interest therein. 

To solve ^e phcenomena of nature is pleasant, but to solve all 
the difficulties about our title to Christ and his covenant, that is ra^ 
vishing. Archimedes' ej^r/xa, " I have found it," was but the frisk, 
or skip of a boy, to that rapturous voice of the spouse, " My be- 
" loved is mine, and I am his." These are entertainments for 
angels, 1 Pet. i. 11. a short salvation for the season it is felt and 
tasted, 1 Pet. i. 8. after these delights, all others are insipid and 
dry. And yet one step higher. 

Consid. 4. All that divine pleasiire, which ever the holiest and de- 
voutest soul enjoyed in the body, is hut a sip or preUbation, coin- 
pared ccith those full draughts it hath in the uncmbodied state. 

Whilst it is embodied, it rejoiceth in the earnests and pledges of 
joy ; but when it is unembodied, it receives the full sum ; Psal. xvi. 

* Jrcanrt cccli^ nahirce secreta, ordinem universi scire ; Tnajoru Jcelicitatis et dulcedinis 
est, gu-avi cogitnlione gtiis assequi potest^ aut mortalis sperare. 

f Talis est mnthematum pulchritudo, vt his indignum sit divitiarum phaleras istas et 
bullas et puerilici sj^ectacula compnrari. 

f Dulce est extingui mathcniaticarum artium studio. Leon. Digg. 

§ Talis siiavitasy ut cum quis ea drgustatxrit, quasi Circeis jjoculis captus, non potest un- 
quam ab illis diidli. Cardan. 


11, " In thy presence is fulness of joy/"* This fulness of joy is 
not to be expected, because not to be supported in this world. 
The joy of heaven would quickly make the hoops of nature fly. 
When a good man had but a little more than ordinary joy of the 
Lord poured into his soul, he was heard to cry, Hold, Lord, hold ! 
thy poor creature is but a clay vessel, and can hold no more ! These 
pleasures the soul hath in the body, are of the same kind indeed 
with those in heaven, but are exceeding short of them in divers 
other respects. 

1. The spiritual pleasures the soul hath in the body, are b\it by 
reflection ; but those it enjoys out of the body, are by immediate 
intuition, 1 Cor. xiii. 12. now in a glass, then face to face. 

The pleasures it now hath, though they be of a divine nature, 
yet they are relished by the vitiated appetite of a sick and distem- 
pered soul ; the embodied soul is diseased and sickly, it hath many 
distempers hanging about it. Now we know the most pleasant 
things lose much of their pleasure to a sick man ; the separate soul 
is made perfect, thoroughly cured of all diseases, restored to its 
perfect health ; and consequently, divine pleasures must needs have 
a higher gust and relish in heaven, than ever they had on earth. 

'3. The pleasures of a gracious soul on earth are but rare and 
seldom, meeting with many and long interruptions. And many of 
them occasioned by the body, which often calls down the soul to 
attend its necessities, and converse with things of a far diff*erent 
nature ; but from these, and all other ungrateful and prcjudical 
avocations, the separated soul is discharged, and set free ; so that 
its whole eternity is spent in the highest delights. 

4. The highest pleasures of a gracious soul in the body, are but 
the pleasures of an uncentered soul, which is still gravitating and 
striving forward, and consequently can be but low and very imper- 
fect, in comparison with those it enjoys, when it is centered and 
fixed in its everlasting rest. They differ as the shadow of the la^ 
bourer, for an hour in the day, from his rest in his bed, when his 
work is ended. 

To conclude ; the pleasures it hath here, are but the pleasures 
of hope and expectation, which cannot bear any proportion to those 
of sight and full fruition. O see the advantages of an unbodied 
state ! 

Prop. 10. That gracious souls, separate from the hodij^ do attain 
to the perjection qfknowledge, zoith more ease than they attained any 
small degree of knowledge •whilst they dicelt in the body. 

Great are the inconveniences, and prejudices, under which souls 
labour, in their pursuits after knowledge in this life, Veritatis in 
puteo, Truth lies deep. And it is hard, even with much labour. 


pains, and study? to pump up one clear notion ; for the soul can- 
not now act as it would, but is fain to act as it can, according to 
the limitations and permissions of the body, to which it is confined. 
By heedful observations, and painful researches it is forced to de- 
duce one thing from another, and is too often deceived and im- 
posed upon by such tedious and manifold connections. 

Beside, truth is now forced, in compliance with our weakness, 
and distance from the fountain, to descend from heaven under 
vails *, shadows, and umbrages, thereby to contract some kind of 
affinity with our fancies and exterior senses first, that so it may 
with more advantage transmit itself to our understanding. It must 
come under some vail or other to us, whilst we are vailed with 
mortality, because the soul cannot behold it with its native lustre, 
nor converse otherwise with it. 

And hence it was that Augustine made his rational conjecture. 
Why men used to be so much delighted with metaphors, because 
they are so much proportioned to our senses, with which our rea- 
son in this embodied state, hath contracted such an intimacy and 
familiarity : But when the soul lays aside its vail of flesh, truth also 
puts off her vail, and shews the soul her naked, beautiful, and ra- 
vishing face ; it henceforth beholds all truth in God, the fountain 
of truth. There are five ways by which men attain the knowledge 
of God, say the schools, four of which the soul makes use of in 
this world ; but the fifth, which is the most perfect, is reserved 
for the separate state. Men discern God here, 

(1.) In vestlgio, By his footsteps in the works of creation. God 
hath imprest the marks of his wisdom and power upon tlie crea- 
tures, by which impressions we discern that God hath been there. 
Thus the very Heathens arrive to some knowledge of a God, Rom. 
i. 20. Acts xvii. 24, 27. 

(2.) I?i ufnhra. By his shadow : If you see the shadow of a man 
you guess at his stature and dimensions thereby. Thus Christ made 
some discovery of himself to the world, in the Mosaical ceremonies, 
and ancient types and umbrages, Heb. x. 1. 

(3.) In speculo, In a glass : This gives us a much clearer repre- 
sentation of a person, than either his footsteps or shadow could : 
this is an imperfect or darker vision of his face, by way of reflec- 
tion. And thus God is seen in his word and ordinances, wherein, 
^' as in a glass, we behold the glory of the Lord," 2 Cor. iii. 18. 

(4.) In Fil'iOy in his own Son, who is the living image and ex- 
press character of his Father. Thus we sometimes see a child so 

* The light from above never descends without a vail : for it is impossible that di- 
vine light could othenvise shine to us, unless it be covered with a variety of sacred 
shadow ings. Dionys. Arcop, de cctlest. Hicr. c 1. 


lively representing his father in speech, gate, gesture, and every \u 
neainent of his face, that we may say, 

— Sic oculos^ sic ille manus, sic oraferehat ;— • 
« Just so his father spake, so he went, and just such a one he was." 

Thus we know God in the face of Jesus Christ, 2 Cor, iv. 6. 
who is the express image of his Father, Heb. i. 3. and John xiv. 9. 
This is the highest -way of attaining the knowledge of God in this 
hfe. But then, in the unbodied state, we see him, 

(5.) Face toface^ with a direct vision. This is to see Mm as he 
is. The believer is a candidate for this degree now, but cannot be 
invested with it, till he be divested from this body of flesh. Yet 
the soul, when unbodied, and made perfect, attaineth not to a com- 
prehensive knowledge of God, for it will still remain a finite being, 
and so cannot comprehend that which is infinite. That question. 
Job xi. 7. " Canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection .''" 
may be put to the highest graduate in heaven. And yet, 

1. To see God face to face, and know him as he is, will be a 
knowledge of the divine essence itself. '' To see the divine essence, 
is to see God as he is ; i. e. to see him so perfectly and fully, that 
the understanding can proceed no farther in point of knowledge, 
concerning that great question. What is God ? Thus no man hath 
seen or can see God in this world. Even Moses himself could not 
see God, Exod. xxxiii. 18, 19, 20. But the spirits of the just made 
perfect, have satisfying apprehensions, though not perfect compre- 
hensions of the Divine essence. 

2. In this light they clearly discern those deep mysteries which 
they here racked their thoughts upon, but could not penetrate in 
this life. There they will know what is to be known of the union 
of the two natures in the wonderful person of our Emmanuel ; and 
the manner of the subsistence of each person, in the most glorious 
and undivided Godhead, John xiv. 20. The several attributes of 
God will then be unfolded to our understandings ; for his essence 
and attributes are not two things. Rev. iv. 8, 9, 10, 11. Oh ! what 
a ravishintj sio;ht will this be ! 

The mysteries of the scriptures and providences of God will be 
no mysteries then : Curiosity itself will be there satisfied. 

3. This immediate knowledc^e and sight of God face to face, will 
be uifinitely more sweet, and ravishingly pleasant than any, or all 
the views we had of him here by faith ever were, or possibly could 
be. There is a joy unspeakable in the visions of faith, 1 Pet. i. 8. 
but it comes far short of the facial vision. Who can tell the full 
importance of that one text. Rev. xxii. 4. " The throne of the 
" Lamb shall be in it, and they shall see his face .?" Oh ! for such 
a heaven (said one) as to get one glimpse of that lovely face ! Eaith 
cannot bear such sights. This light overwhelms, and confounds 


the inadequate faculties of imperfect and embodied souls. But 
there is Iuj7ien comfortans^ a cheering, strengthening, pleasant light, 
as the light of the morn'mg star, Rev. ii. 28. 

4. This sight of God will be appropriative and applicative. We 
there see him as our own God and portion. Without a clear inte- 
rest in him, the sight of him could never be beatifical and satisfy- 
ing. Sight without interest is like the light of a glow-worm, light 
without heat. All doubts and objections are solved and answered 
in the first sight of this blessed face. 

5. To conclude : This perfect, and most comfortable knowledge, 
is attained without labour by the separate soul. Here every degree 
of knowledge was with the price of much pains. How many weary 
hours and aching heads did the acquisition of a little knowledge 
stand us in ! But then it flows in upon the soul easily. It was the 
saying of a great usurer, / wice took much pains to get a little^ 
(ineaning the first stock) but now I get much zoithout any pains at 
all. Oh lovely state of separation ! That body which interposed, 
clogged, and clouded the willing and capable spirit, being drawn 
aside (as a curtain) by death, the light of glory now shines upon 
it, and round about it, without any interception, or let. 

Prop. 11. The separated souls of the just do live in a more high 
and excellent way of communion with God, in his temple-worship in 
heaven, than ever they did in the sweetest gospel-ordinances, and 
most spiritual duties, in which they conversed with him here on earth. 

That saints on earth have real communion vAih. God, and that 
this communion is the joy of their hearts, the life of their life, and 
their relief under all pressures and troubles in this hfe, is a truth so 
firmly sealed upon their hearts by experience, as well as clearly re- 
vealed in the word, that there can remain no doubt about it, among 
those that have any saving acquaintance with the life and power of 

This communion with God is of that precious value with be- 
lievers, that it unspeakably endears all those duties and ordinances 
to them, which, as means and instruments are useful to maintain 

At death, the people of God part with all those precious ordi- 
nances and duties, they being only designed for, and fitted to the 
present state of imperfection, Epli. iv. 12, 13. but not at all to 
their loss, no more than it is to his that loses the light of his candle 
by the rising of the sun. A candle, a star is comfortable in the 
night ; but useless when the sun is up, and in its meridian glory. 
Christian, pray much, hear much, and be as much as thou canst 
among the ordinances of God, and duties of religion : For, the time 
is at hand that you shall serve, and wait on God no more this 


But yet think not your souls shall be discharged from all wor- 
ship and service of God when you die : No, you will find heaven 
to be a temple built for worship, and the worship there to be much 
transcendent to all that in which you were here employed. The 
sanctuary was a pattern of heaven in this very respect, Heb. ix. 23. 
And, on this very account, it is palled Slon in my text, and the 
heavenly Jerusalem ; as denoting a church state, and the spiritual 
worship there performed by the spirits of just men made perfect. 

Some help we may have to understand the nature thereof, by 
comparing it with that worship and service which we perform to 
God here in this state of imperfection, and by considering the agree- 
ments and disagreements betwixt them. In this they agree, that 
the worship above and below are both addressed and directed to 
one and the same object, Father, Son, and Spirit ; all centers and 
terminates in God. They also agree in the general quality and 
common nature; they are both spiritual worship. But there are 
divers remarkable differences betwixt the one and the other, as will 
be manifest in the following collation. 

1. All our worship on earth is performed and transacted by faith, 
as the instrument and means thereof, Heb. xi. 6. " He that cometh 
" to God must believe,*' Sec. In heaven, faith ceaseth, and sight 
takes place of it, 1 Cor. v. 7. There we see what here we only be- 
lieve. There are now before us ordinances, scriptures, ministers, 
and the assemblies of saints in the places of worship : But if we 
have any communion with God, by, or among these, we must set 
ourselves to believe those things we see not. By realizing and ap- 
plying invisible things, we here get sometimes, and with no small 
pains, a taste of heaven, and a transient glance of that glory. In 
this service our faith is put hard to it, it must work and fight at 
once ; resolutely act whilst sense and reason stand by, contradicting 
and quarrelling with it. And if, with much ado, we get but one 
sensible touch of heaven upon our spirits, if we get a little spiritual 
warmth and melting of our affections toward^ God, we call that day 
a good day, and it is so indeed. 

But in heaven all things are carried at a high rate, the joy of the 
Lord overflows us without any labour, or pain of ours to procure it. 

We may say of it there, as the prophet speaks of the dew and 
showers upon the-grass, " which tarrietli not for man, nor waltetli 
" for the sons of men," Micah v. 7. 

2. No grace is, or can be acted here, without the clog of a con- 
trary corruption, Rom. vii. 21. " When I would do good, evil is 
" present with me." Every beam of faith is presently darkened by 
a cloud of unbelief, Mark ix. 24. " Lord, I believe, help thou my 
" unbelief' " We often read in the book of experience (saiih 


" * one) what an inconsistent fickle thing the heart is in duties i 
" Now it is -vnth us, by and by it is fled away and gone ; we know 
" not where to find it : It is constant only in its inconstancy and 
" lubricity/' There is iniquity in our most holy things, which needs 
pardon, Exod. xxviii. 38. Our best duties have enough in them 
to damn us, as well as our worst sins : But in that perfect state 
above, grace flows purely out of the soul, as beams do ft'om the 
sun, or crystal streams from the purest fountain. No impure or 
imperfect acts proceed from spirits made perfect. 

3. Here the graces of the saints are never, or very rarely acted in 
their highest and most intense degree. When they love God most 
fervently, there is some coldness in their love. AVho comes up to 
the height of that rule, IVIat. xxii. 37. " Thou shalt love the Lord 
" thy God, with all thy heart, and all thy mind, and all thy 
" strength .?" AVhen we meditate on God, it is not in the depth of 
our thoughts, without some wanderings and extravagancies ; it is 
very hard, if not impossible, for the soul to stand long in its full 
bent to God. 

But in heaven it doth so, and will do so for ever, without any re- 
laxation or remission of its fervour. Christ, among the saints and 
angels in heaven, is as a mighty load-stone cast in among many 
needles, which leap to him, and fix themselves inseparably upon 
him. They all act in glory as the fire doth here, to the utmost of 
their power and ability. There is no note lower than " Glory to 
God in the highest." 

(4.) The most spiritual souls on earth, who live most with God, 
have, and must have their daily and frequent intermissions. The 
necessities of the body, as well as the defectiveness of their graces, 
require, and necessitate it to be so. Our hands with Moses will 
hang down and grow v.eary. Our affections will cool and fall, do 
what we can. 

But as the spirits of just men made perfect know no remissions 
in the degree, so neither any intermissions in the acting of their 
grace : " They shall serve him day and night in his temple,'' Rev. 
vii. 15. You that would purchase the continuance of your spiri- 
tual comforts but for a day, with all that you have in this world, 
will there enjoy them at full, without any intermitting, through 

5. If the best hearts on earth be at any tune more than ordi- 
narily enlarged in spiritual comforts, they need presently some 
humbhng providence to hide pride from their eyes. Even Paul 

• Sape in libro experienticE legimus quomodo a corde nostra relinquimur : Nunc est no- 
biscum, nunc alibi; mmc evolat^ nunc recwrit : in sola lubricitate manet. Bern. 


himself must have a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to 
buffet him. Bernard could never perform any duty with com- 
fortable enlargement, but he seemed to hear his own heart whis- 
per thus, Bene fecisti^ Bernarde^ O well done, Bernard. 

But, in heaven the highest comforts are enjoyed in the deepest 
humility ; and the entire glory is ascribed to God, without any 
unworthy defalcations. Rev. iv. 10. They put not the crown 
upon their own heads, but Chrisf s : Tliey cast down their own 
crowns, and fall down at the feet of him that sitteth upon the 

6. All assemblies for worship in this world are mixed ; they 
consist of regenerate and unregenerate, living and dead souls : 
This spoils the harmony, and allays the comfort of mutual com- 
munion. In a congregation consisting of a thousand persons, Ah! 
how few comparatively are there that are heartily concerned in the 
duty ? But it is not so above. There are ten thousand times ten 
thousand, even thousands of thousands before the throne, loving, 
adoring, praising, and triumphing together, and not a jarring 
string in all their harps. 

7. Here the worship of God is impure, mixed, and adulterated 
by the sinful additions and inventions of men. This gracious 
souls groan under as a heavy burden, sighing and praying for re- 
formation ; as knowing they can expect no more of God's presence, 
than there is of his order and institution in worship. But, above, 
all the worship is pure, the least pin in the heavenly tabernacle is 
according to the perfect pattern of the divine will. 

8. We have here duties of divers kinds and natures to per- 
form. All our time is not to be spent in loving, praising, and de- 
lighting in God ; but we must turn ourselves also to searching, 
watching, and soul-humbling work. Sometimes we are called to 
get up our hearts to the highest praise, and then to humble them 
to the dust for sin and judgments ; one while to sing his praises, 
and another while to sigh even to the breaking of our loins ; But 
the spirits of just men made perfect, have but one kind of em- 
ployment, viz. praising, loving, and delighting in God. There 
IS no groaning, sighing, searching, or watching-work, in that 

9. The most illuminated believers on earth have but dark and 
crude apprehensions of Christ's intercession-work in heaven, or of 
the way and manner in which it is. there performed by him. We 
know indeed that our High-priest is for us entered within the vail, 
Heb. vi. 20. That he appears in that most holy place for us, Heb. 
ix. 24. That he there represents his sufferings for us to God, 
standing before him as a lamb that had been slain, Rev. v. 6. That 
he offers up our prayers with his incense to God, Rev. viii. 3. 

Vol. Ill, D 


But the immediate intuition of the whole performance, by the 
person of Christ in heaven, the beholding of him in his work there, 
with the smiles and honours, the deHght and satisfaction of the 
Father in his person and work. Certainly, this must be a far dif- 
ferent thing, and what must make more deep and suitable impres- 
sions upon our hearts than ever the most affecting view of fliem 
by faith at this distance, could do. 

10. In such ravishing sights and joyful ascriptions of gloi-y to 
him that sitteth upon the thi^one., and to the Lamb for evermore^ all 
the separated spirits of the just are employed and wholly taken up 
in heaven^ as they come in their several tijnes thither ; and will be 
so employed in that temple-service unto the end of the worlds when 
Christ shall deliver up the kingdom to his Father, and thenceforth 
God shall be all in all. 

The illustration and confirmation of this assertion we have in 
these two or three particulars. 

(1.) That all the spirits of just men, from the beginning of the 
world, until Christ's ascension into heaven, did enter into heaven, 
as a place of rest, as a city prepared for them of God, Heb. xi. 16. 
and did enjoy blessedness and glory there. But yet there seems to 
be an alteration even in heaven itself, since the ascension of Christ 
into it, and such an alteration as advanceth the glory thereof both 
to angels and saints. " Heaven itself (saith one * who is now there) 
' was not what it is, before the entrance of Christ into the sanc- 
' tuary for the administration of his office. Neither the saints de- 
' parted, nor the angels themselves, were participant of that glory 
« which now they aie. Neither yet doth this argue any defect in 
' heaven, or the state thereof in its primitive constitution ; For 

* the perfection of any state hath respect unto that order of things 
' which it is originally suited unto. Take all things in the order 

* of the first creation, and in respect thereunto, heaven was per- 
' feet in glory from the beginning, &c. 

' Whatever was their rest, refreshment, and blessedness ; what- 
^ ever were their enjovments of the presence of God, yet was there 
' no throne of grace erected in heaven, no high-priest appearing 
' before it, no lamb as it had been slain, no joint ascription of 
« glory unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and to the Lamb 
< for ever;' -f- God having ordained some better thing for us, that 
they without us should not be made perfect, Heb. xi. 40. 

Now both the angels and saints in heaven, do behold Christ in 
his priestly office withhi that sanctuary ; a sight never seen in hea- 
ven before. 

* Dr. Oven's Cliristologia, p. 158 — Z55. 

I PriusQiiam ad nostra tempora preventum est. Camero. 


(2.) This frame of heavenly worship will continue as it is unto 
the end of the world, and then another alteration will be made in 
the manner of his dispensatory kingdom ; " For then he must de- 
" liver up the kingdom to God, even the Father ; and then shall 
" the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things 
<* under him, that God may be all in all,'' as the apostle speaks, 
1 Cor. XV. 24, 28. So that as the present state of heaven is not, in 
all respects, what it was before Christ's ascension thither ; so after 
the consummation of the mediatorial kingdom^ and the gather- 
ing of all the elect into glory, it will not in all respects be what 
now it is. 

Christ will never cease to be the immediate head of the whole 
glorified creation. God having gathered all the elect, both angels 
and men, unto a head in him, and he being the knot and centre 
of that collective body, the whole frame of the glorified church 
would be dissolved, should he lose his relation of a head to it. 
Yea, I doubt not but he will for ever continue to be the medium 
of communion betwixt God and his glorified church : God will 
still communicate himself to us through Christ, and our adherence, 
love, and delight, will still be through Christ ; In a word, what- 
ever change shall be made, the person of Christ shall still con- 
tinue to be the eternal object of divine glory, praise^ and worship, 
Rev. xxii. 4. 

But when he shall have gathered home all his elect to glory, he 
will resign his present dispensatory * kingdom, and become subject 
(as man, and as head of that body which he 'purchased) to his Fa- 
ther himself, " that God may be all in all," as it is 1 Cor. xv. 28. 

(1.) All in all^ that is, all the saints shall be filled, and abun- 
dantly satisfied, in and from God alone ; there shall be no empti- 
ness, no want, no complaint : For, as there is water enough in 
one sea to fill all rivers, light enough in one sun to illuminate all 
the world ; so all souls shdl be eternally filled, satisfied and blessed 
in one God. Surely, there is enough in God for millions of souls. 
For if there be enough in God for all the angels. Mat. xviii. 10. 
yea, 'enough in God for Jesus Christ, Col. i. 19. there must be 
enough for all our souls. The capacity of angels is larger than 
ours ; the capacity of Christ is larger than that of angels : He that 
fills them, can, and will therefore fill us, or be all in all to us. 

(2.) All in all, that is, complete satisfaction to all the saints, in 
the absence of all other things, out of which they were wont to 

• For if this dispensatory kingdom (of Christ) had never been delivered up, 
then he (viz. God) would never receive the full use of bis natural kingdoni. 



suck some comfort and delight in this world. He will now be in- 
stead of all ; eminently all without them. We shall suck no more 
sweetness out of food, sleep, relations, ordinances, &c. there will 
be no more need or use of them, than there is of candles in the 
sun-shine, Rev. xxii. 5. 

(3.) All in all, that is, God only shall be loved, praised, and 
admired by all the saints ; they shall love no creature out of God, 
but all in God, or rather God in them all. This is that blessed 
state to which all things tend, for which the angels and glorified 
souls in heaven long. Hence it is that ther^ is joy in heaven upon 
the conversion of any poor sinner on earth ; because thereby the 
body of Christ mystically advanceth towards its fulness and com- 
pleteness, Luke XV. 10. No sooner is a poor soul struck by the 
word to the heart, and sent home crying, O sick ! sick ! sick of 
sin, and sick for Christ ! but the news of it is quickly in heaven, 
and is matter of great joy there, because they wait as well as Christ 
for the time of consummation. To conclude, those that went first 
to heaven before Christ's ascension, were fully at rest in God, and 
blessed in his enjoyment, and yet upon Christ's ascension thither, 
their happiness was advanced : It is a new heaven, as it were, to 
feed their eyes upon the man Christ Jesus there. Those that now 
stand before the throne, ravished with the face of Christ, and 
ascribing glory to him for ever, are also in a most blessed state, and 
are filled with the joy of the Lord. And yet, two things still re- 
main to be farther done, before they arrive at their consummation, 
viz. the restitution of their bodies, which yet he in the dust, and 
the delivering up of the dispensatory kingdom, upon the coming 
in of the fullness of all their fellow saints ; and after that no more 
alteration for ever, but they shall be both in soul and body for ever 
with the Lord. What tongue of man or angel can give us the 
complete emphasis of that word, ever ivith the Lord ? or that, of 
God's being all in all ? what hath God prepared for them that 
love him ! 

Prop. 19,. It pleaseth God at some times, even in this life, to give 
some men the foresight and foretaste of that blessedness, which holy 
separated souls do now enjoy, and themselves shall shortly enjoy with 
God in glory. 

Specimens and earnests of heaven are no unknown things upon 
earth. As the grapes of Eshcol, so the joy of heaven may be 
tasted before we come thither, and these foresights and preliba- 
tions of heaven are either, 

1. Extraordinary, or 

2. Ordinary. 

1. Extraordinary, for the way and manner ; when the soul is? 
either, (1.) Caught from the body for a short time in an ecstasy, 


when in a visional way heavenly things are presented to it; or, 
(2.) When the bodily eye is elevated and strengthened above its 
natural vigour and ability, to behold the astonishing objects of the 
other world. 

(1.) Of the first sort and rank was that famous rapture of Paul, 
mentioned 2 Cor. xii. 2, 3. " I knew a man in Christ fourteen 
" years ago, (whether in the body I cannot tell, or whether out of 
" the body I cannot tell, God knoweth) such an one caught up to 
*' the third heaven," &c. * It is questionable indeed, whether the 
soul of the apostle was really separated from his body, whilst he 
suffered that ecstasy, or whether his senses were only laid, as it were, 
asleep for that time ; he himself could not determine the question, 
much less can any other. But whether so or no, this seems evident, 
that his senses were for that time utterly useless to him. If his 
body was not dead, it was all one as if it had been so, for any use 
his soul then made of it. 

" f In ecstasies, all the senses and powers are idle, except the 
'' understanding." His soul, for that time, seemed to be disjoint- 
ed from the body, much as a flame of fire, which you shall some- 
times see to play and hover at a distance from the wood, and then 
catching the fuel again. Probably, this was that trance he fell 
into, in the temple, when he was praying, mentioned in Acts xxi. 

In this rapture his soul ascended above this world, it was caught 
up into paradise, into the third heaven, the place in which Christ's 
soul was after his death ; and there he heard those a^onra ^?;/xara, 
unspeakable words which it is not lawful for a man to utter; For, 
alas ! poor mortals cannot pronounce the Shibboleth of heaven. 
The heavenly inhabitants talk in no other dialect; but the lan- 
guage of heaven is not properly spoken by any but the inhabitants 
of heaven. Now Paul was not admitted into their society at that 
time, as he was at his death, but was only a spectator, a stander- 
by, as the angels are in the assemblies of the saints here on earth. 
But, O what a day was that day to his soul ! It was as one of the 
days of heaven ; no words could signify to another man what he 
felt, what he tasted in that hour. Such favours will not be in- 
dulged to many : he was a chosen vessel, and appointed to extra- 
ordinary sufferings for Christ, and it was necessary his supports and 
encouragements should be answerable. 

* It does not appear with certainty, whether the soul of Paul was then separated 
firora the body ; seeing he himself owns his ignorance as to that matter : Hence we 
cannot determine what befei him as to abstraction from the senses, namely, whether the 
senses were extinct, his body being dead, through the separation of the soul : Or only 
sopited, the body not being dead. Colleg. Conimbr, lib, 3. Art 5. p. 512. 

f In extasiejkriuri omnes potentias prater intellectum. Abulen, 



It was no less an extraordinary and wonderful vision, which 
Isaiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, and John had * ; such representations of 
God as overwhelmed them, and made nature faint under them ; 
and no wonder, for if the eyes of creatures are so weak that they 
cannot directly behold such a glorious creature as the sun, how 
much less can they bear the glorious excellency and majesty of 
God ? 

(2.) And sometimes, without an ecstasy, representations of Christ, 
and the glory of heaven, have been made, and the very bodily eye 
fortified and elevated above its natural vigour and ability to behold 
him. Thus it was with Stephen at his martyrdom. Acts vii. 55^ 
56. " Who being full of the Holy Ghost, looked stedfastly into 
" heaven, and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing on the 
'' right-hand of God." This was not a sight of faith, but an ex- 
traordinary sight by the bodily eye, is evident, from its effect upon 
his outward man; it made his face to shine as the face of an 

2. There are also, beside this, ordinary, and more common fore- 
tastes of heaven, and the glory to come, with which many believers 
are favoured in this world ; and such are those which come into the 
heart, upon the steady and more fixed vieAvs of the world to come, 
by faith, and the more raised spiritual actings of grace in duty. 
" Believing, we rejoice with joy unspeakable, and full of glory," 
1 Pet. i. 8. %aga dido^aff/ji^svyi, with a glorified joy, or a joy of the 
same kind and nature with the joy of glorified spirits, though in an 
inferior and allayed degree. 

And yet, with the allowance of its allay and rebatement, it is 
like new wine put into old and crazy bottles, which is ready to 
make them fly, and would do so, should they be of any long con^ 
tinuance, " Stay me (saith the spouse) with flaggons, comfort me 
" with apples, I am sick of love,'' Cant. ii. 5. The sickness was 
not the sickness of desire or of grief ; of that she had complained 
before ; but the sickness of love, i. e. she was ready to faint under 
the unsupportable weight of Christ's manifested and sealed love, 
not able to bear what she felt, pained with the love of Christ ; and 
the desired cure speaks this to be her case, " Stay me with flag- 
" gons, comfort me with apples." As if she had said. Lord, sup- 
port, and under-prop my soul, for it reels, staggers, and fails under 
the pressure and weight of thy love. Much like the case of a holy 
man, who cried out under the overwhelming sense of the love of 
Christ, shed abroad into his heart in prayer. Hold, Lord, hold, 
thy poor creature is a clay vessel, and can hold no more. Though 
these joys bring not the soul into a perfect ecstasy^ they certainly 

* Isa. vi. 1, 2. Ezek. i. 1. Dan. x. 8, 9. Rev. i. 17. 


bring it as near as may be to it. Mr. * Fox tells us of one Giles 
of Bruxels, a godly martyr, who in prison spent most of his time 
apart from the rest, in secret prayer; in which his soul was so 
ai'dent and intent, that he often forgot himself, and the time ; and 
when he was called to meat, he neither saw nor heard those that 
stood by him, till he was lifted up by the arms : and then he would 
gladly speak to them, as one newly awaked out of a sweet sleep. 
These foretastes of heaven may, from the manner of their convey- 
ance, be distinguished into, 

1. Mediate. And 

2. Immediate. 

1. Mediate, in, and by the previous use and exercise of faith, 
heart-examination, &c. The Spirit of God concurring with, and 
blessing such duties as these, helps the soul by them to a sight of 
its interest in Christ, and the glory to come ; which being gain- 
ed, joy is no more under the soufs command. I have, \vith good 
assurance, this account of a minister, ' Who being alone in a jour- 
' ney, and willing to make the best improvement he could of that 
' day's solitude, set himself to a close examination of the state of 

* his soul, and then of the life to come, and the manner of its being, 
' and living in heaven, in the views of all those things which are 

< now pure objects of faith and hope. After a while, he perceived 
' his thoughts begin to fix, and come closer to these great and as- 

< lonishing things than was usual ; and as his mind settled upon 

* them, his affections began to rise with answerable liveliness and 

* vigour. 

' He therefore (whilst he was yet master of his own thoughts) 
' lifted up his heart to God in a short ejaculation that God would 

* so order it in his providence, that he might meet with no interrupt 
' tion from company, or any other accident in that journey ; which 
' was granted him : For, in all that day's journey, he neither metj 
' overtook, or was overtaken by any. Thus going on his way, his 
' thoughts began to swell, and rise higher and higher, like the 
' waters in EzekiePs vision, till at last they became an overflowing 
' flood. Such was the intention of his mind, such the ravishing 
' tastes of heavenly joys, and such the full assurance of his interest 
' therein, that he utterly lost a sight and sense of this world, and 
' all the concerns thereof; and, for some hours, knew no more 
' where he was, than if he had been in a deep sleep upon his bed. 

* At last he began to perceive himself very faint, and almost choak- 
' ed with blood, which running in abundance froni his nose, had 

* coloured his clothes and his horse from the shoulder to the hoof. 
' He found himself almost spent, and nature to faint under the pres* 

• Acts and Mon. p. 811, 



' sure of joy unspeakable and insupportable; and at last, perceiv- 
' hig a spring of water in his way, he, with some difficulty, alight- 
^ ed to cleanse and cool his face and hands, which were drenched 
' in blood, tears, and sweat. 

' By that spring he sat down and washed, earnestly desiring, if 
< it were the pleasure of God, that it might be his parting place 
' from this world : He said, death had the most amiable face in his 
' eye, that ever he behold, except the face of Jesus Christ, which 
' made it so ; and that he could not remember (though he belicA^ed 

* he should die there) that he had one thought of his dear wife, or 
' children, or any other earthly concernment. 

' But having drank of that spring, his spirits revived, the blood 
' stanched, and he mounted his horse again ; and on he went in the 
' same frame of spirit, till he had finished a journey of near thirty 

* miles, and came at night to his inn, where, being come, he greatly 
' admired how he came thither, that his horse, without his direc- 

* tion had brought him thither, and that he fell not all that day, 
' which passed not without several trances, of considerable conti- 
' nuance. 

' Being alighted, the innkeeper came to him, with some astonish- 
' ment, (being acquainted with him formerly) O Sir, said he, what 
' is the matter with you ? You look like a dead man. Friend, re- 

* plied he, I was never better in my life. Shew me my chamber, 
' cause my cloak to be cleansed, bum me a little wine, and that is 
' all I desire of you for the present. Accordingly it was done, and 
' a supper sent up, which he could not touch ; but requested of the 
' people that they would not trouble or disturb him for thatiiight. 
' All this night passed without one wink of sleep, though he never 
' had a sweeter night's rest in all his life. Still, still the joy of the 
' Lord overflowed him, and he seemed to be an inhabitant of the 
' other world. The next morning being come, he was early on 
' horseback again, fearing the divertisemcnt in the inn might be- 
' reave him of his joy ; for he said it was now with him, as with a 

* man that caiTies a rich treasure about him, who suspects every 

* passenger to be a thief: But within a few hours he was sensible 

* of the ebbing of the tide, and before night, though there was a 
' heavenly serenity and sweet peace upon his spirit, which continued 

* long with him, vet the transports of joy were over, and the fine 
' edge of his delight blunted. He many years after called that day 

* one of the days of heaven, and professed he understood more of 
' the light of heaven by it, than by all the books he ever read, or 

* discourses he ever had entertained about it."* This was indeed, 
an extraordinary fore-taste of heaven for degree, but it came in the 
ordinary way and method of faith and meditation. 


There are also immediate illapses of heavenly joy in the liearts of 
believers at some times ; of which we may say as the prophet doth 
of the dew and rain, " that it tarrieth not for man, nor waiteth 
for the sons of men ;'' a surprising light and joy, like that, Cant. vi. 
12. " Or ever I was aware, my soul made me Uke the chariots of 
« Aminadab." 

There is a witness of the Spirit, distinct from that of water and 
blood, 1 John v. 8. that is, a witness, or sealing, w^hich comes 
not in an argumentative way, by reasoning from either justi- 
fication or sanctification, but seems to come immediately from the 
Spirit. I know both sorts of testimonies, how clear and sweet so- 
ever they are for the present, are liable afterwards to be called into 
question ; but certainly, during the abode of them upon the soul, 
they are no less than a short salvation, sl real participation of the joy 
of the Lord. And that which makes them so ravishing and trans- 
porting is, 

(1.) The infinite weight with which the concerns of eternity lie 
upon the hearts and thoughts of the people of God ; nothing lies 
so near to their spirits in all the world, as the matters of salvation 
do, and have still done ever since God thoroughly awakened them 
in their first effectual conviction. It is said of Luther, " * There 
" was such a strong impression of God upon his spirit, in his first 
•' conviction, that there was neither heat, nor blood, nor sense, 
" nor speech discernible in him." Though it rise to that height 
but in a few, yet it settles into a deep, serious, and most solemn 
sense and solicitude in all. This heightens the joy. 

(2.) The restlessness of the soul, whilst matters of salvation hang 
in a dubious suspense, must needs proportionably overflow it >vith 
joy, when God shall clear it. It was the saying of one, and is the 
sense of many more, " I have borne (said she) seven children, and 
they have all cost me dear ; yet could I be well content to bear 
them all over again, for one glimpse of the love of God to my soul.'' 
This heightens the joy above expression. 

And now, having explained the substance of the doctrine in 
these twelve p?'opositions, it remains, that, as a mantissa, or cast 
upon the whole, I farther clear what belongs to this subject, in the 
solution of several queries about the soul, in its unbodied and 
separated state ; and though the nature of some of these queries 
may seem too curious, yet I shall labour to speak according to the 
rules of sobriety, and contain myself within the line of modesty, in 
what I shall speak about them. And the first is this ; 

Query 1. Whether any notion or conception can he formed of a 

• Nee calor, nee sanguis^ nee sensusy nee vox svprressct. Ep. ad. Melanct. 


separate soul; And if so, how we may he assisted duly to form U, 
and conceive of it f 

Sol. 1. It must be acknowledged not only very difficult, but an 
impossible task, for a soul immersed in matter, and so unacquainted 
with its o\^Ti nature and powers, as it is in its embodied state, to gain 
a perfect, clear, and adequate conception of what it shall be in the 
world to come. Expect not then a perfect image, much less any 
magnificent draught of this excellent creature ; this would be the 
same thing, as to go about to paint the sun in its glory, motions, and 
influences with a pencil. I shall think I have done enough, if I 
can but give you any umbrage, or faint representation of this sub- 
lime and spiritual being, and the manner of its subsisting and act- 
ing out of the body. For, seeing it is by nature invisible, and in 
most of its actions (whilst it is in the state of composition) it makes 
the same use of the body and natural spirits, that a scribe doth of 
his pen and ink, without wliich he cannot decypher the characters 
which are formed in his fancy ; it must needs be difficult to con- 
ceive how it subsists and acts in a separate state. 

Sol. 9,. But though we acknowledge it to be a great difficulty to 
trace it beyond the limits of this world, though we perceive nothing 
to depart from the body at the instant of its expiration, but a puft* 
of breath which vanishes like smoke into the air : and though athe- 
istical * wits daringly pronounce an immaterial substance to be a 
mere jargon, a contradiction in terminis ; which, being joined to- 
gether, destroy one another : yet all this doth not make the notion 
of a separate soul impossible, much less undermine its existence in 
its unbodied and lonely state ; the scriptures having so abundantly 
obviated all these atheistical suggestions by so many plain discoveries 
of the happiness of some, and misery of others after this life ; yea, 
my text answers us, that death is so far from destroying or annihi- 
lating, that it perfects the spirits of the just. 

Sol. 3. There can be no more difficulty in conceiving of a sepa- 
rate soul, than there is in conceiving of an angel. For it is 
certain, that a separated soul, and an angel, are the liveliest and 
clearest representations of each other in the whole number of 
created beings -(•. Some make the difference betwixt them little 
more than of a sword in the scabbard, from one that is naked. A 
soul is but a genius in the body, and di genius (or angel) is a soul 
out of the body. An angel (saith another, is a complete and perfect 
soul, a soul an imperfect and incomplete angel. 

The separate soul doth not become an angel by putting off the 

* Hobb's Leviathan, chap. xxwi. 

f Dr. More's immortality of the soul, 1. 2. c. 1 7. § 4, et 8. Bell, de Ascen. mentis. 


body ; they are, and still will be divers species . but in this they 
agree, that in their common nature they are both spirits, that is, 
immaterial substances, endued with understanding, will, and active 
powers. And I know not why the one should not be as intelligible 
as the other ; or if there be any advantage, the soul certainly must 
have it, seeing our acquaintance with souls is much more intimate 
than with angels. Angels indeed have larger capacities, and have 
no natural inclination to be embodied as souls have; but their com- 
mon nature, as they are spirits are the same : and if we can conceive 
of one we may also of the other. 

Sol. 4. But the difficulty seems to lie in this, how the soul can 
subsist alone without a body ; and how the habits of grace, which 
were infused into it in this life by sanctification, do inhere in it, or 
can be reduced into act by it, when it hath no bodily organs to 
work by. 

As to the first, there is no difficulty at all, if we once rightly 
apprehend what is meant, when we call it a spiritual substance ; that 
is, a being by itself, independent upon any other creature as to its 
existence, as was opened before : the soul depends not for its life 
upon the body, but the body upon the soul. It is the same sword 
when it is drawn, as it was when sheathed in its scabbard ; the 
soul is as much itself, when separated from the body, as it was when 
united with it ; its being is independent on it, it can live and act in 
a body, and it can do so without it ; for it is a distinct being from 
its body ; a substantial being itself And, 

Sol. 5. As for the habits of grace which accompany it to heaven, 
it would much facilitate our apprehensions of it, if we but compare 
acquired and infused habits with each other. It is true, they are 
of difierent natures and originals, but the soul is the subject of them 
both, and their inhesion and improvement is much after the same 

Take we then an acquired habit into consideration, which is 
nothing else but a permanent quality rendering the subject of it 
prompt and ready to perform a work with ease : suppose that of 
music or writing, and we shall find these habits to be safely lodged 
in the soul, as well when the body is laid into the deepest sleep, 
■which is the image of death, as when it is awake and most active ; 
for they are both artists when asleep, and need learn no new rules 
to play or write when you awake them ; which shews the habits 
to be permanently rooted in their minds. 

Infused habits of grace are as deeply rooted in the soul, yea, 
deeper than any acquired habits can be : for when knowledge and 
tongues shall be done away, love abideth, 1 Cor. xiii. 8. viz. after 
death, when the body is asleep in the grave. 


Sol. 6. Add hereto, that these habits of grace are inseparably 
rooted or lodged in a subject, which is by nature a spirit, that is 
to say, an intelligent, active being, able to use its faculties of un- 
derstanding *, will, and affections, and consequently, in their use, 
to reduce these habits of grace inherent in them, into act, without 
the help of the body : for to suppose otherwise, were to despirit 
it, and destroy the very nature of it. 

Moreover, let the spirit, thus furnished with gracious habits, 
be now considered in separation from the body, in which state it 
enjoyeth and rejoiceth in a double privilege it never had before, 
viz. perfection both of itself, and of its graces, and the nearest ac- 
cess to God it is capable of, 2 Cor. v. 6. " Absent from the body, 
" and present with the Lord."*' It hath now no body to clog or 
cloud it, nor can it complain of distance from God as it did in this 
world. Oh ! at what rate must we conceive the love and delight 
of a soul under these great advantages, to cast out their very spirits, 
as I may say, in their glorious activities and exercises ! Well then, 
here you find ' a spirit naturally endued with understanding, will, 

* and affections : in these faculties and affections, the habits of 
' grace are permanently rooted, which therefore accompany it in its 
' ascension to glory : an ability to use and exercise these faculties 
' and graces, and that in a more excellent degree and manner, 
' than it did or could in this world, the subject and habits in- 
' herent being now both made perfect : the clog of flesh knocked 
' off, and all distance from God removed, by its coming home to 
' him, even as near as the capacity of the soul can admit. Con- 

* ceive such a spirit so quahfied, now ranked in its proper order 
' among innumerable other holy and blessed spirits, which sur- 
' round the throne of God, beholding his face with infinite delec- 
' tation, and acting all its powers and grace to the highest, in 
' worshipping, praising, loving, and admiring him that sitteth 
' on the throne, and the Lamb for evermore." And then you 
have a true, though imperfect idea or notion of the spirit of stjust 
man made perfect. 

I will not here make use of the other glass to represent a damned 
soul, separate for a time from its body, and for ever from the 
Lord : that will be shewn you in its proper place. 

Query 2. Whether there he any difference in the sejjaraiion of 
gracious souls Jrom their bodies ? And if so, in what particulars 
doth the difference appear ? 

Sol. For the clear stating and satisfying this question, I will lay 

♦ The understanding and •will are the primary faculties of the soul, and there- 
fore are called inorganical, because not fixed to any member of the body, as the 
sensitive appetite and loco-motive powers are to their proper organs. The soul 
therefore hath the free use and exercise of them in its separate state. 


down some things negatively, and some things positively about it. 
On the negative part, I desire two things may be noted.' 

1. That there is no difference betwixt the separation of one gra- 
cious soul and another, in point of safety. Every regenerate soul 
is fully secured, in and by Jesus Christ, from the danger of perish- 
ing, and is out of hazard of the wrath to come. 

This must needs be so, because all that are in Christ are equally 
justified by the imputation of Christ's righteousness, without differ- 
ence, to them all ; Rom. iii. 22. " Even the righteousness of God, 
** which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all, and upon all them 
" that believe, for there is no difference :" by virtue whereof, they 
are all equally secured from wrath to come, one as well as another. 
As all that sailed with Paul, so all that die in Christ come safe to 
the shore of glory, and not one of them is lost. The sting of 
death smites none that are in Christ. 

2. There is no difference betwixt the departing souls of just 
men, in respect of the supporting presence of God with them in 
that their hour of distress ; that promise belongs to them all, Psal. 
xci. 15. "I will be with him in trouble," and so doth that, Heb. 
xiii. 5. " I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee." Their God 
is certainly with them all, to order the circumstances of their 
death, and all the occurrences of that day, to his glory, and their 
good. Supports I have, (said a good man in such an hour) though 
suavities I want ; and so they have also who meet with the hardest 
conflict at death. 

But notwithstanding their equality in these privileges, there is a 
great difference betwixt the departing souls of just men. And this 
difference is manifest both in the 

Q t\ ] c circumstances of their death. 

1. In the external circumstances of their death, all have not one 
and the same passage to heaven in all respects ; for, 

(1.) Some go thither by the ordinary road of a natural death 
from their beds, and the arms of lamenting friends, to the arms 
and bosom of Jesus Christ, but others swim through the Red-sea 
to Canaan : from a scaffold to the throne ; from a gibbet or stake 
to their Father's house ; from insulting enemies to their triumph- 
ant brethren, the palm-bearing multitude. This is a rough, but 
honourable way to glory. 

(2.) Some lie long under the hand of death, before it dispatch 
them ; it approaches them by slow and lingering paces, they feel 
every step of death distinctly as it comes on towards them ; but 
others are favoured with a quick dispatch, a short passage from 
hence to glory. Hezekiah feared a pining sickness, Isa. xxviii. 10, 
12. what he feared, many feel. O how nmny days, yea, weeks 


and months, have many gracious souls dwelt upon the brink of the 
pit, crying. How long, Lord, how long? 

The pains and agonies of death are more acute and sharp to 
some of God's people than to others : death is bitter in the most 
mild and gentle form of it. Two such dear and intimate friends 
as the soul and body are, cannot part without some tears, 
groans, or sighs; and those more deep and emphatical than the 
groans and sighs of the living use to be : but yet, comparatively 
speaking, the death of one, may be stiled sweet and easy to 
another's. Latimer and Ridley found it so, though burnt in the 
same flame. 

In this respect all things come alike to all, and the same differ- 
ence is found in the worst, as well as in the best men ; some like 
sheep are laid in the grave, Psal. xhx. 14. others die in the bitter- 
ness of their soul, Job xxi. 25. and by this no man knows either 
love or hatred. 

2. There are besides these, some remarkable internal differences 
in the dissolution of good men : the sum whereof is this. 

1st That some gracious souls have a very hard, strait, difficult 
entrance into heaven: just as it is with ships that sail by a very 
bare wind ; all their art, care, and pains, will but just weather 
some head-land or cape : they steer fast by some dangerous rock 
or sand, and with a thousand fears and dangers, win their port 
at last. Saved they are, but yet to use the apostle's phrase, scarcely 
saved, or saved as by fire. And this difficulty ariseth to them 
from one, or all these causes. 

(1.) It ordinarily ariseth from the weakness of their faith, which 
is in many souls, without either the light of evidence, or strength 
of reliance ; neither able to dissolve their doubts nor steadily re- 
pose their hearts : and thus they die, much at the rate they lived, 
poor doubting, and cloudy, though gracious souls. They can nei- 
ther speak much of the comfort of past experiences, nor of the pre- 
sent foretastes of heaven. 

(2.) The violent assaults and batteries of temptations make the 
passage exceeding difficult to some. O the sharp conflicts and 
dreadful combats many poor souls endure upon a death-bed ! O 
the charges of hypocrisy, fortified by neglects of duty, formality 
and by-ends in duty, falls into sin after conviction and humiliation, 
&c. all which the soul is apt to yield to, and admit the dreadful 

These are the last, and therefore oft-times the most violent con- 
flicts. The malice of Satan will send them halting to heaven, if he 
cannot bar them out of it. 

(3.) To conclude : The hiding of God's face, puts terror into 
the face of death, and makes a dying day, a dark and gloomy day. 


All darkness disposes to fear, but none like inward darkness. They 
must like a ship in distress, venture into the harbour in the darC, 
though they see not their land-marks. 

2^/z/, But others have the privilege of an gy^avatf/a, easy death, a 
comfortable and sweet passage into glory, through the broad gate 
of assurance, 2 Pet. i. 11. even an abundant entrance into the ever- 
lasting kingdom. What a difference doth God make, not only be- 
twixt those that have grace, and those that have none, but betwixt 
gracious souls themselves in this matter : the things which usually 
make an easy passage to heaven are, 

1. A pardon cleared, Isa. xxxiii. 24. The sense of pardon swal- 
lows up the sense of pain. 

2. A heart weaned from this world, Heb. xi. 9, 13, 16. A 
heart loosed from the world, is a foot out of the snare. Mortified 
limbs are cut off" from the body with little pain. 

3. Fervent love to Christ, and longings to be with him, Phil, 
i. 23. He that loves Christ fervently, must needs loathe absence 
from Christ proportionably. 

4. Purity and peace of conscience make a death-bed soft and 
easy. The strains and wounds of conscience, in the time of life, 
are so many thorns in our bed, or pillow, in the time of death, 
1 John iii. 21. But integrity gives boldness. 

5. The work of obedience faithfully finished, or a steady course 
of holiness throughout our life, is that which usually yields much 
peace and joy in death, Acts xx. 24. 

6. But above all, the preference of the Comforter with us in that 
cloudy and dark day, turns it into one of the days of heaven, 1 Pet. 
iv. 14. And thus ye see, though all dying Christians be equally ' 
safe, and all supported, and carried through by the power of God ; 
yet their farewells to the body are not alike cheerful. There are 
many external and internal circumstantial differences in the death 
of good men, as Avell as a substantial and essential difference be- 
twixt all their deaths, and the death of a wicked man. 

Query 3. Whether any souls have notices and Jhrewarnlngs given 
them hy signs or predictions, in an extraordinary way of their ap- 
proaching separation ? 

The terms of this question need a little explanation. Let us 
therefore briefly consider what is meant by signs, what by predic- 
tions, and what by extraordinary signs and predictions. 

" A sign * is that which represents something else to us than 
" that whicli is seen or heard." And a sign of death is that which 
gives notice to our minds that our departure is at hand. 

• Signum est quod aliud rejtr^sentat quam qxioi cernitur. 


" A prediction * is a forewarning of a person more plainly and 
*' expressly of any thing which is afterwards to fall out or come to 
" pass ;"" and a prediction of death is an express notice or message, 
informing us of our own, or of another's death, to the end the 
mind may be actually disposed to an expectation thereof. 

Of signs, some are ordinary and natural, some extraordinary 
and supernatural, or at least preternatural. 

There are natural symptoms and prognostics of death which are 
common to most dying persons, and by which physicians inform 
themselves and others of the state of the sick. These are out of 
this question, we have nothing to do with them here ; but I am 
enquiring after extraordinary signs and predictions by words c«r 
things forewarning us immediately, or by others, of our approach- 
ing death. The question is. Whether such intimations of death 
be at any time truly given unto men ? or, Whether we are to take 
them for fabulous reports, and superstitious fancies ? 

For the negative, tlie foUoicing grounds are laid. 

Reason 1. The sufficient ordinary provision God hath made in 
this case, renders all such extraordinary notices and intimations of 
our death needless : and be sure the most wise God doth nothing 
in vain. We have three standing, ordinary, and sufficient means 
tA premonish us of our departure hence, viz. the scriptures, rea- 
son, and daily examples of mortality before our eyes. The scrip- 
tures teJl us, our life is but " a vapour, which appeareth for a lit- 
'« tie while, and then vanisheth away, James iv. 14. That our 
" days are but as an hand-breadth," and that " every man in his 
" best estate is vanity,'' Psal. xxxix. 5. 

Reason tells us, so feeble a tie as our breath is can never secure 
our lives long. " The living know that they must die,'' Eccl. ix. 5. 
The radical moisture, which is daily consuming by the flame of 
life, must needs be spent ere long. 

And all the graves we see opened so frequently, are sufficient 
warnings, that we ourselves must shortly follow. Therefore, as 
there was no need of manna, when bread might be had in an or- 
dinary way, so neither is there need of extraordinary signs, when 
God hath abundantly furnished us with standing and ordinary 
means for this purpose. 

Reason 2. And as the scriptures render such signs needless, so 
they seem to be directly against them. Christ commands us to 
« watch, because we know not in what hour the Lord cometh." 
Yea, even Isaac himself, an extraordinary person, and endowed 
with a spirit of prophecy, whereby he foretold the condition of his 

f Prcedicere est aliqusm de re alirjua eventura pramotiere. 

A TttEATISF QF TitE SOrL OF ^tA-^f. Ci7 

tans after Tilmr yet it is said, Gen. xxvii. 2. " That he knew not th«5 
•' day of his cJeatli." And it is not reasonable to think tliat coin- 
nion persons should know that> whicli extraordinary and prophetic 
persons knew not. 

Reason S. All mankind belong ekhor to God or tlio devil. Ta 
sucli as belong to God, ssuch extraordinary warniiin^s are needless, 
for they have a watchful principle within them which continually 
prompts them to mind their change ; and besides death cannot en- 
danger those that are in Christ, how suddenly or unexpectedly 
soever it should befal them. 

iVnd for wicked men, it cannat be thought God should favour 
and privilege them in this matter above his own children : and as 
for Satan he knows not the time of their death himself: and if he 
did, it would thwai't his design and interest to discover it to them,, 
Luke xi. 21. So that upon the whole, it should seem such signs 
and predictions are of no use, and the relations and reports of them 

But though these reasons make the common and daily use of such 
signs and predictions needless, yet they destroy not the credibility 
of them in some cases and at some times. For, 

1. There are recorded instances in scripture of premonitions and 
predictions of the death of persons. Thus the death of Abijah 
was foretold to his mother by the pmphet, and the precise hour 
thereof which fell out answerably, 1 Kings xiv. 6, 12. And thus 
the death of the king of xYssyria was foretold exactly both as to kind 
and place, Isa. xxxvii. 7, — 37, 38. 

S. These predictions serve to other ends and uses sometimes^ 
than the preparation of the persons warned, even to display the 
fore-knowledge, power, and justice of God, in marking out his 
enemies for ruin. xVnd, thus, " the Lord is known by the judg* 
" nients that he exccuteth,'' Psalm ix. 16. 

Thus Mr. Knox predicted the very place and manner of the death 
of the laird of Grange *. " You have som.etimes seen the courage 
and constancy of the laird of Grange in the cause of God, and 
now that unhappy man is casting himself away. I pray you, go 
ro him from me, (said Mr. Knox) and tell him, that unless he for- 
sake that wicked course he is in, the rock wherein he confideth 
shall not defend him, nor the carnal wisdom of that man, (mean- 
ing the young Leshington) whom he counteth half a God, shall 
help him : but he shall be shamefully pulled out of that nest, and 
his carcase hung before the sun." And even so it fell out in the fol- 
lowing year, when the castle was taken, and lii^ body hanged out 

* (Mark's Lives, p. 2?7. 

Vol. III. E 


before the sun. Thus God exactly fulfilled the prediction of his 

The same Mr. Knox, in the year 1566, being in the pulpit at 
Edinburgh, upon the Lord's day, a paper was given up to him, 
among many others, wherein these words were scoffingly written 
concerning the earl of INIurray, who was slain the day before, — 
*' Take up the man whom ye accounted another God." At the 
end of the sermon, Mr. Knox bewailed the loss that the church 
and state had by the death of that virtuous man ; and then added, 
" There is one in this company that makes this horrible murder the 
" subject of his mirth, for which all good men should be sorry ; 
" but I tell him, he shall die where there shall be none to lament 
" him."' The man that wrote this paper was one Thomas Metel- 
lan, a young gentleman, who shortly after, in his travels, died in 
Italy, having none to assist or lament him. 

3. And others have had premonitions and signs of their own 
deaths, which accordingly fell out. And these premonitions have 
been given them, sometimes by strong irresistible impressions upon 
their minds, sometimes in dreams, and sometimes by unusual eleva- 
tions of their spirits in duties of comjiiunion with God. 

(1.) Some have had strong and irresistible impressions of their 
approaching change, made upon their minds. So had Sir An- 
thony Wingfield, who was slain at Brest, anno 1594*. At his 
undertaking of that expedition, he was strongly persuaded it would 
be his death ; and therefore so settled and disposed of his estate, 
as one that never reckoned to return again. And the day before 
he died, he took order for the payment of his debts, as one that 
stronglv presaged the time was now at hand; which accordingly 
fell out the next day. 

Much of the same nature was that of the late earl of Marlbo- 
rough, who fell in the Holland war. He not only presaged his 
own fall in that encounter, (which was exactly answered in the 
event) but left behind him that memorable and excellent letter, 
which evidenced to all the" world what deep and fixed apprehen- 
sions of eternity it had left upon his spirits. Many examples of this 
nature might be produced, of such as have in their perfect health, 
foretold their own death ; and others who have diopt such pas- 
sages as were afterwards better understood by their sorrowful 
friends, than when they first dropt from their lips. 

(2.) Others have been premonished of their death by dreams, 
sometimes their own, and sometimes others. The learned and ju- 
dicious Amyraldus-j- gives us this well attested relation of Lewis of 

* Sir John Norris's expedition, p. 4G. 

j- Amyraldus, of divine dreams, p. 122, 123. 


Bourbon, That a little before his journey from Dreux, he dreamed 
that he had fought three successful battles, wherein his three great 
enemies were slain, but that at last he himself was mortally wound- 
ed ; and that after tliev were laid one upon another, he also was 
laid upon the dead bodies. The event was remarkable ; for the 
Mareschal of St. Andree was killed at Dreux, the duke of Guise at 
Orleans, the constable of Montmorency at St. Denis : and this was 
the triumvirate, which had sworn the ruin of those of the reformed 
religion, and the destruction of that prince. At last he himself 
was slain at Balsac, as if there had been a continuation of deaths 
and funerals. 

Suetonius in the life of Julius Caesar, tells us, that the night be- 
fore he was slain, he had divers premonitions thereof, for that night 
all the doors and windows of his chamber flew open ; his wife also 
dreamed that Caesar was slain, and that she had him in her arms. 
The next day he was slain in Pompey's court, having received 23 
wounds in his body. 

Pamelius * in the life of Cyprian, tells us for a most certain and 
well attested truth, that upon his first entrance into Garubis (the 
place of his banishment) it was revealed to him in a dream, or vision, 
that upon that very day twelve-month he should be consummate : 
which accordingly fell out ; for a little before the time prefixed, 
there came suddenly two apparitors to bring him before the new 
proconsul Galeius, by whom he was condemned, as having been a 
standard-bearer of his sect, and an enemy of the gods. Whereupon 
he was condemned to be beheaded, a multitude of Christians fol- 
lowing him, crying, Let us die together with him. 

And as remarkable is that recorded by the learned and ingenious 
Dr, Sterne -f- of Mr. Usher of Ireland, a man, saith he, of great in- 
tegrity, dear to others by his merits, and my kinsman in blood, 
who upon the 8th day of July, 1657, went from this to a better 
world. About four of the clock the day before he died, a matron 
who died a little before, and whilst living was dear to Mr. Usher, 
appeared to liim in his sleep, and invited him to sup with her the 
next night : he at first denied her, but she more vehemently pres- 
sing her request on him, at last he consented, and that very night he 

I have also the fullest assurance that can be of the truth of this fol- 
lowing narrative. A person yet living was greatly concerned about 
the welfare of his dear father and mother, Avho were both shut up 
in London, in the time of the great contagion in 1665. Many let- 

* Pamelius tn vita Cyjirianu 

+ Dr. Sterne*^ dissertatio de morte, p. \63. 

E 2 


ters he sent to them, and mahy heartv prayers to heaven for Iheili. 
But about a fortnight before they were infected, he fell about break 
of day into this dream, That he was in a great inn which was full 
of company, and being very desirous to find a private room, where 
he might seek God for his parents life, he went from room to 
room, but found company in them all ; at last, casting his eye into 
a little chamber which was empty, he went into it, locked the door, 
kneeled down by the out-side of the bed, fixing his eyes upon the 
plastered wall, within side the bed : and \\ hilst he was vehemently 
begging of God the life of his friends, there appeared upon the 
plaster of the wall before him, th^ sun and moon s'hining in their 
full strength. The sight at first amazed and discomposed him so' 
far, that he could not continue his prayer, but kept his eye fixed' 
upon the body of the sun ; at last a small line or ring of black, no 
bigger than that of a text pen, circled the sun, which increasing 
sensibly, eclipsed in a little time the whole body of it, and turned 
it into a blackish colour; which done, the figure of the sun ^Vas 
immediately changed into a perfect death's head, and after a little 
•while vanished quite away. The moon still continued shining as 
before ; but while he intently beheld it, it also darkened in like 
manner, and turned also into another death's head, and vanished. 
This made so great an impression upon the beholder's mind, that 
he immediately awaked in confusion and perplexity of thoughts 
about his dream ; and awaking his wife, related the particulars to 
her with much emotion and concernment ; but how to apply it, he 
could not presently tell, only he was satisfied that the dream was of 
an extraordinary nature : at last Joseph's dream came to his thoughts 
with the like emblems, and their interpretation ; which fully satis- 
fied him that God had warned and prepared him thereby for a sud- 
den parting with his dear relations ; Avhicli answerably fell out in 
the same order, his father dying tliat day fortnight following, and 
his mother just a month afterwards. 

I know there is much vanity in dream.s ; and yet I am fully sa- 
tisned, some a!re wejglity, sigaiilicant and deciaTative of the purposes 
of God. 

(3.) Lastly, An Unusual aind extraordinary elevation of the soul 
to God, and enlargement in communion with him,- hath been a 
signifying forerunner of the deritlf of some good men ;■ for as 
the body hath its levamett anterferale^ lightning before death, 
and more vcgete and brisk a little before its dissolution, so it is 
sometimes with the soul also. I have known some persons to ar^ 
rive on a sudden to such heights of love to God, and Vehement 
longings to be dissolved^ that they might be with Christ, that I could 
not but look upon it, as Christ did upon the box of ointment, a» 

A TUEATISi: 01' l-mZ SOUL OF MAX. 71 

clone against their death : iind so indeed it hath proved in the 

Thus it was with tliat renowned saint, Mr. Brcwen of Stapleford ; 
as he excelled others in the holiness of his life, so much he excelled 
.himself towards his death, his motions towards heaven being then 
.most vigorous and quick. The day before his last sicknL-ss, he had 
such extraordinary enlargements of heart in his closet-duty, that he 
seemed to forget all the concernments of his body, and this lower 
world ; and when his wife told him, Sir, I fear you ha^'e done 
yourself hurt with rising so early; he answered, " If you had seen 
" such glorious things as I saw this morning in private prayer with 
" God, you would not have said so.; f()r they were so wonderful 
" and unspeakable, that whether I was in the body, or out of the 
•" body, with Paul, I cannot tell." 

And so it was with the learned and holy Mr. Rivet, who seemed 
as a man in heaven, just before he went thither; and so it hfith 
been with thousands besides these. I confess it is not the Ipt of 
every gracious soul (as was shewed you in the last question) nor 
doth it make any difference as to the safety of the soul, whatever it 
makes as to comfort. Let all therefore labour to make sure their 
union with Christ, and live in the daily exercises of grace, in the 
duties of religion : and then, though God should give them no such 
.extraordinary warning one way or other, they shall never be sur- 
prised by death to their loss, let it come never so unexpectedly upon 

Quest. Jt may be also queried, whether Satan, by his instru- 
ments, may not foretel the death of some men ? How else did the 
witch of Endor foretel the death of Saul ? and the soothsayers the 
death of Caesar u}X)n the Ides, i. e. the fifteenth day of March, 
which was the fatal day to him .'^ 

Sol. Foreknowledge of things to come, which appear not in their 
next causes, is certainly the I^ord's prerogative, Isa. xli. 23. What- 
ever, therefore, Satan doth in this matter, must be done either by 
conjecture or commission. As to the case of Saul, it is not to be 
questioned but that he, knowing the kingdom was made to David 
by promise, and that the Lord was departed from Saul, and seeing 
how near the armies were to a battle, might strongly conjectvtre and 
conclude, and accordingly tell him, '* To-morrow thoii shalt be 
" with me," 1 Sam. xxviii. 19. 

And so for the death of Csesar, the devil knew the Gonspiraey was 
strong against him, and the plot laid for that day ; and so it was 
both easy for him to reveal it to the soothsayers, and his interest to 
do it, thereby to bring that cursed art into reputation. 

As for other signs and fovewarnings of death, by the unusual 
resort of doleful creatui-c;, as 07cls and lavens, vulgai'ly accounted 

E 3 


ominous ; Wall-zaatche,<i, upon this account called death-watches ; 
and the eating of wearing apparel by rats ; I look upon them ge- 
nerally as superstitious fancies, not worthy to be regarded among 
Christians. God may, but I know not what ground we have to 
believe, that he doth commission such creatures to bring us the 
message of death from him. To conclude, therefore. 

Let no man expect or depend upon such extraordinary premo- 
nitions and warnings of his change, and neglect his daily work and 
duty of preparation for it. We have warnings in the word, in the 
examples of mortality frequently before us, in all the diseases and 
decays we often feel in our own bodies ; and by the signs of the 
times, which threatens death and desolation. Be ye therefore al- 
ways ready, for ye know not in what watch of the night your Lord 

Query 4. Whether separated souls have any Jcnozvledge of, or 
commerce or intercourse zvith men in this life ; and if not, what is 
to be thought of the apparitions of the dead 9 

1. By separated souls, understand the departed souls, both of 
godly and ungodly, indifferently and not as it is restrained to one 
sort only in the text ; for of both it is pretended there are frequent 
apparitions after death. 

2. By the knowledge such souls are supposed to have after death 
both of persons and things in this lower world, we understand not a 
general knowledge, which one sort of them have of the state and 
condition of the church militant on earth ; for this, we think, cannot 
be denied to the spirits of the just made perfect, seeing they are 
still fellow-members with us of the same mystical body of Christ ; 
do behold our High-priest appearing before God, offering up our 
prayers for us; and long for the consummation of the body of 
Christ, as well as cry for vengeance against the persecutors thereof. 
Rev. vi. 10. Nor do I think these words, Isa. Ixiii. 16. repugnant 
hereunto : " Abraham is ignorant of us, and Israel acknowledgeth 
" us not :'' for I look upon the import of those words only as an 
humble acknowledgment of their defection, which rendered them un- 
worthy that their forefathers should own, or acknowledge them any 
more for their children ; and not as implying their utter ignorance, 
or total oblivion of the church's state on earth. 

But I here understand such a particular knowledge of our per- 
sonal states and conditions, as they once had when they dwelt among 
us in the body ; and this seems to be denied them by those scrip- 
tures alleged against it in the margin below *. 

3. By commerce and intercourse; understand not their inter- 
cession with God for us, which the l*apists sffirm ; but their con- 

* Job xiv. 21. Eccles. ix. 5, 6. John xix. 25. 


ccrnmcnts about our natural, or civil interest in this world, so as to 
be useful to our persons, by warning us of death, or dangers ; or to 
our estates, by disquieting such as wrong us, in not fulfilling the 
wills and testaments they once made ; or by giving us notice, by 
words or signs, of the death of our friends, who died at a distance 
from us, or come to some violent and untimely end. 

The sense of the terms being thus determined, and the question 
so stated, I will, for the resolution of it, give you, 

I. The strength of what I find offered for the affirmative. 

II. The general concessions, or what may be granted. 

III. My own judgment about it, v/ith the grounds thereof. 

I. Some there are, even among the learned and judicious, who 
are for the affirmative part of the question, and do Mith much 
confidence assert, that departed souls both know our particular 
concerns in this world, and intermeddle with them : confirming 
their assertion both by reasons to convince us that it may be so, 
and a variety of instances that it is so. I will produce both the one 
and the other, and give them a due consideration and censure. 

The substance of what is pleaded for the affirmative, I find thus 
collected and improved by * Dr. Sterne, a learned physician in 
Ireland, in his book entitled, A Dlssertatmi concerniug Death y 
where he offi^rs us these four arguments, to convince that it is 
possible for departed souls thus to appear, and perform such offices 
for their friends on earth. 

" Arg\ 1. -(- Angels by command from God, are useful and 
" helpful to men ; they are the saints' guardians, and it is pro- 
" bable that each Christian hath his peculiar angel : whence it 
" will follow, that separated souls do mingle themselves with humart 
" affairs, and that because they are angels, at least equal unto 
" angels, Luke xx. 36. Besides, they being spirits that were 
" once embodied, must needs be more fit for this employment, 
" than those who never had any tie at all to a body ;'" unless we 
can imagine them to have lost the remembrance of all that ever 
they did, and suffered in the body ; as also that they put off*, and 
buried all their affections to us with their bodies, which is hard to 
think. Even as Christ our High-priest is qualified for that office, 
above all others in heaven, because he once dwelt, and suffered 
in a body, like ours, here upon earth ; so separated souls are 

* Dissertntio de morte, a p. 208. ad p. 214. 

f (I.) AngeliJHssti Dei hominibus opitulanlnr, haxulquaquam ambigitiir ; wide animas 
a corpore solutas sese rebus humanis miscere comprobari videtur. SequeUe Jundanientum 
duplex est, prius, quod nnimcB separatee angeli sunt, saltern angelis tvquales : posterius, quod 
magis idonei sunt quibus ojfficiuvi generi humano succurrendi demandctur, quam spirituu 
inttr qiios et corpn.s nullun uivjuani intercessit 7iexus, &c. 


14 A "raEAT'rSE 'OF TfiE S^^L'L OF MaK. 

qualified aboVe all other spirits, Tvho are unrelated to ijodies oT 

*' Jr^. 2. * The church triumphant arid nnlitaat al*e ^t one 
■" body ; and how much better the triumphant are than the 
" militant, by so much the more propefise they are to succour and 
" help the other that stand in need of it."" This being the casck, 
^ve cannot but imagine but they are inclined to perform all good 
offices for us> for else they should do less for us now, being in a 
state of the highest perfection in heaven^ than they did^ or were 
billing to do, in their imperfect state on earth. 

" Ai'g: 3. f A M'ill, or testament (as Ulpian defines it) is the 
'^'just sentence, or declaration of our minds, concerning that 
^' which we would have done after our decease. These testaments 
" have always, and among ail nations, been religiously observed, 
^' as the a|X)stle witnessetb. Gal. iii. 15. The reasons oi^ this so 
" religious observance are a presumption, that those who made 
" them when alive, continue in the same mind and will after 
'• death ^ that they take care for the fulfilling of them ; and re- 
" venge the non-perfoi'mance upon the unjust executors." For 
otherwise there can be no reason whv so o^reat a stress should be 
laid upon the will of the dead, if thev care not Avhether their 
wills be performed or no. Why should we be solicitous and stu- 
dious about it, and pay so great a* reverence to it, but upon this 
account ? 

"" A7'g\ 4. J The scriptures forbid consultations with the dead, 
" Deut. xviii. 10, 11. This prohibition supposcth some did con- 
•' suit them, and received answers from them ; which must needs 
" imply some commerce betwixt the living, and the souls that are 
''"' departed :" And, considering he had belbre forbidden their con- 
sultation with the devil, it appears tliat here we must needs un- 
derstand the very souls of the dead, and not the devil personating 
'them only. 

These are the arguments of this learned author for the fiffirma- 
'tirve, which he closes with two necessary cautions : First, That this 

^ (2.) Ecdesia est corpus unum, cujus membra quo melwra, eo vwgis ad aliis ejusdem 
corporis membris opitulandiim sunt jiropensa : hvhts civtem corjjoris pars altera est Iti' 
umphans in ccelis^ altera viililinis in terris: Ilia melior, luec opis magis iiidigcty &c. 

"f (5.) Tditametitum f Ul piano dcfinientej est voluntatis noslrte juslu sententia de eo quail 
'post jv.or tern nonrain.fxn voliimus. Testamentam autcm tauquam res sacra ab omnibui& 
■ gentibus religiose ubservatur, Gal. iii. 15. Jtatio atitcm tarn religiosee tnmque universalis 
obsendnti'd; est, quoniam uninias eorum qui Testainenta condidcraiit, etiam siiavi post viorteniy 
in eadem voluntate persevcrare, ejus comjdenieuta curare, ac devtique .ejus vel executrices, 
Del Hon prfcslita: vindices e'^se prtrsumitur. 

•j [A.,) In sacris sc'ripiwis en nsuterc mo f tuns passim prohibetur, lit J)ex\i. xviii. 10, 11. 
''5f<i si Iwjnines a-morluis noii suscitentur, legibus hand opus est ; et si mortui rogati non ali- 
iq^ianio refjmidffe*it^ ts& 'ho^iinibus haudqufi/jvxira • conmleTeniu>% Stern, de Morte> uUi 

A TrtEATlSI-: OF TTIT. SOLn. Ol' MA1«T. 75 

3aysno foundcatlon for religious worship, or invocation of departed 
souls : those that are helpful to us, are not therefore to be wor- 
shipped. SecQ7tdl)j^ That we must acknowledge ourselves to be 
under much darkness, as to the way and manner of the converse of 
spirits with us. 

The most acute and learned * Dr. More, I find of the same 
opinion. He affirms, that departed souls are cajm])le of a vital 
union with an airy ^eliicle (or body) in which they can easily move 
:from place to place, and appear to the living; and act in their 
affairs, as in detecting murders, rebuking injurious executors, 
visiting and counselling their wives and children, forewarning them 
of such and such courses, &;c. To which we may add, the pro- 
'fession of the spirit thus apjiearing, of being the soul of such a one ; 
as also, the similitude of the person : And all this a-do is in things 
very just and serious, unfit for a devil, with that care and kind- 
ness to promote; and as unfit for a good genius; it being below 
so noble a creature to tell a lie. All these things put together and 
rightly weighed, the violence of prejudice not pulling down the 
balance, I dare appeal (saith he) to any, whether it will not be 
certainly carried ior the present cause ? And whether any indiffer- 
ent judge ought not to conclude, if these stories, which are so 
frequent every where, and in all ages, concerning the ghosts of 
'men appearing, be but true, that it .is true also, that they are their 
ghosts, &c. 

Tliesc are the strongest arguments I meet with, for the affir- 
mative, that the matter is possible, it may be so ; and then adding 
the credible instances that it is so, the matter seems to be deter- 

To this purpose Br. Sterne alleges several instances out of scrip- 
ture:; as that appearance of Samuel unto Saul, and the conference 
betwixt them*, as also, the letters that were sent to Jehoram 
by Elijah, and that Elijah was translated to heaven ; as appears 
by comparing 2 Chron. xxi. 12. with ^ Kings iii. 11. in which it 
appears, that in Jehoshaphaf s time, who preceded this Jehoram, 
Elijah was dead ; and yet, in Jehoranfs time, who succeeded hin\, 
he is said to receive letters from Elijah. Tlie appearance and con- 
ference also betwixt Christ, and Moses, and Elias, upon the mount, 
.in tlie presence of some of the disciples, confirm it. Mat. xvii. 3. 

These are the principal scripture-instances ; others are almost in- 
numerable. From among that vast heap, I will select some fe>^» 
that are most material, and of clearest credit. 

" It is a thing (saith *my author) both known and frequent, 

* Dr. -More's Immortality of the Soul, b. 2. c. IG. 

\JasuUirumSioUcanvn I'ncoiw ad o'gros, cum pro drploraiis habentur, accedunt, et 



<^ that tlie inabitants of the Scottish isles, when their friends arc 
" dying, come to them, and request them, that, upon such or 
*' such a day, after their death, and in such a place, they would 
" meet them ; which the dead accordingly do, at the time and 
" place agreed upon, and have sometimes discourse with them." 

Infinite examples of murders (saith Dr. More) have been dis- 
covered by dreams, the souls of the persons murdered seeming to 
appear to some or other asleep, and to make their complaints to 
them; giving us a notable example out of Baronius, of Marcihus 
Ficinius, who having made a solemn vow with Michael Mercatus, 
(after they had been pretty warmly disputing of the immortaUty of 
the soul, out of the principles of their master Plato) that whether 
of them, two died first, lie should appear to his friend, and give 
him certain information of that truth. It was Ficinius' fate to 
die first, and that not long after this mutual resolution : He was 
mindful of his promise, when he had left the body ; for Mercatus 
being very intent at his studies, betimes in a morning, heard a 
horse riding by Avith all speed, and observed that he stopt at his 
wmdow, and therewith heard the voice of his friend Ficinius, 
crying out, aloud, O Michael^ Michael, vera, vera, sunt ilia ; 
that is, O Michael, Michael, those things are true, they are true. 
Whereupon he suddenly opened his window, and espying Marcilius 
upon a white steed, called after him, but he vanished out of his 
sight. He sent therefore presently to Florence, to know how 
Marcilius did, and understood that he died about that hour he 
called at his window. 

Much to the same purpose is that so famous and well attested 
story of the apparition of major George Svdenham, to captain 
William Dyke, both of Somersetshire, attested by the worthy and 
learned Dr. Thomas Dyke, a near kinsman of the captain's ; and 
by ^Ir. Douch, to whom the major and captain were intimately 
known *. The sum is this : The major and captain had many 
disputes about the being of a God, and the immortality of the 
soul, in which points they could never be resolved, though they 
much sought for, and desired it : and therefore it was at last fully 
agreed betwixt them, that he that died first, should, the third 
night after his funeral, come betwixt the hours of twelve and one, 
to the little house in the garden adjoining to major Sydenham's 
house, at Dulverton, in Somersetshire. The major died first, and 
the captain happened to lie that very night which was appointed, 
in the same chamber and bed with Dr. Dyke; he acquainted 

rogant ut certo a mnrto die, Incoque certo ipsos cnnveniant ; quod et mortui tempore et pr^&li~ 
iu'it prtTstant. Sterne, ibid. 
* Sad, Trium.part 2. p. 183. 


the doctor with the appointment, and his resolution to attend the 
place, and hour that night, for which purpose he had got the key 
of that garden. The doctor could by no means divert his purpose, 
but, when the hour came, he was upon the place, where he 
waited two hours and a half, neither seeing nor hearing any thing 
more than usual. About six weeks after, the captain and doctor 
went to Eaton, and lay both in the same inn, but not both in the 
same chamber, as they had done before at Dulverton. 

The morning before they went thence, the captain stayed longer 
than was usual in his chamber, and at length came into the doctor's 
chamber, but in visage and form much different from himself, 
with his hair and eyes staring, and his whole body shaking and 
trembling : Whereat the doctor wondering, demanded. What is 
the matter, cousin captain ? the captain replied, I have seen my 
major. At which the doctor seeming to smile, the captain saia, 
If ever I saw him in my life, I saw him but now ; adding as follows : 
This morning (said he) after it was light, some one came to my 
bed-side, and suddenly drawing back the curtains, calls Cap. cap. 
(which was the term of famiUarity that the major used to call the 
captain by) to whom I replied. What, my major ? To which he 
returns, I could not come at the time appointed, but I am now 
come to tell you. That there is a God, and a very just and terrible 
one ; and if you do not turn over a new leaf, you ivill find it so. 
This stuck so close to him, little meat would go down with him at 
dinner, though a handsome treat was provided. These words were 
sounding in his ears frequently, during the remainder of his life ; 
he was never shy or scrupulous to relate it to any that asked him 
concerning it, or ever mentioned it, but with horror and trepida- 
tion. They were both men of a brisk humour and jolly conversa- 
tion, of very quick and keen parts, having been both University 
and Inns-of-court gentlemen. 

The apparition of the ghost of Sir George Villiers, father of the 
duke of Buckingham, giving three solemn warnings, by three se- 
veral apparitions to his servant, Mr. Parker, is a known and credible 
story. But I will wade no farther into particulars, they are almost 
innumerable : let this suffice for a taste. 

II. In the next place, therefore, I will lay down some conces- 
sions about this matter : and the 

First concession is this : That the separate soids, or spirits of 
men, arc capable of performing and executing any ministry or ser- 
vice of God, (if he should please to commission them so to do) as 
well as angels are, whom we hnozo he frequently employs abend the 
persons and affairs of his people on earth. 

Though souls become not angels by their separation, as Maxi- 

78 A tiueatist: of tht. ^sain tre ma^. 

mus T}Tius trails them, but remain spirits specifically (listiat?t from 
them ; yet are they spiritual substances, as the angels are : This 
their nature capacitates them either to hve, and act out of the 
body, or to assume (as angels do) an (E?-ial hodij^ for the time of 
•their ministry : Nor do I know any thing in scripture or philosophy 
repugnant hereunto. 

Conces. 2. It cannot he doubted, but upon special and extraor^ 
dinary reasons and occasions, some departed souls have returned 
to, and appeared in this ivarld, by order and commission J'rom God, 

This is too manifest to be doubted by any that understand and 
believe the instances recorded in scripture. Moses and Ehas, long 
after their departure, appeared to, and talked with Christ upon the 
holy mount in the presence of some of his apostles, Mat. xvii. S. nor 
is there any reason to question the reality of their apparition, or to 
think it to be no more than a phantasm, or imaginary resemblance 
of these persons, but very Moses and Elias themselves : For they 
came to be vvitnesses to Chrisf s prophetical office, " And it was not 
*•' * fit so great a point should be attested by imaginary witnesses,"' 
or that they should be called j\Ioses and Elias, if they were not the 
very same persons. 

" It is therefore most likely they both appeared in their own 
" bodies f;" for Moses' body, we know, was hidden by the Lord, 
and Elias' body was immediately translated, with his soul to hea- 
ven : When therefore the Lord would send them upon thks solemn 
errand, the soul of Moses probably reassumed that body, which 
was never found by man, and Elias M'as already embodied, and fit 
immediately for this expedition. 

In hke manner we read, Mat. xxvii. 52, 53. that, at the resurrec- 
tion of our Lord, '' many bodies of the saints arose, and appeared 
" unto many :" These were no phantasms, but the very souls of 
the departed saints returned (having reassumed their own bodies) 
unto this world, not only to confirm the truth of Christ's resurrec- 
tion, and adorn that great day, but as a specimen, or handsel of 
the resurrection of all the saints, in the virtue of his resurrection set 
•the great day. 

Nor will I deny, but, upon some lesser (though never without 
weighty and solemn) occasions and reasons, God may sometimes 
-send the souls of the dead back again into this world, as in cases be- 
fore recited, to evidence against the atheism of men, &c. + Augus- 
tine relates a memorable example, which fell out at Milan, where 
a certain citizen being dead, there came a creditor, to whom he 

* Kon eium conveniebat ut Veritas mendacio, vel imaginariis testibus jfrobaretur. Mai. 
don. Carpellus in loc. 

f Credibilius est vere corjyoribua suis nppnruissc, I'areiis in loc. 
t Aug. in lib. de cura jn-o movtuis anemia. 


had been indebted, and unjustly demanded the money of his son: 
The son knew tlie debt was satisfied by his father, but having no 
acquittance to sliew, his father a}:)peared to iiim in his sleep, and 
shewed him where the acquittance lay. Whether it were the very 
soul of his Jcither, or rather, an a7igel, as Augustine thinks, is not 
certain, though the one, as well as the other, is possible. But 
though rarely, and upon some weighty and solemn occasions, some 
souls have returned and appeared ; yet I judge this is not frequent- 
ly done upon slight and ordinary errands ; and therefore to give 
you my own thoughts, I judge, 

Conces. 3. That those apparitions which seem to be, and are ge- 
nerally rejnited and tahen fbi' the souls of' the dead, are not indeed 
so, hut other spirits, putting on the shapes, and resemblances of the 
dead, and (for the most part) trichs of the devil, to delude or dis- 
quiet men. 

In this I think the learned * Dr. Brown delivered his judgment 
more solidly and orthodoxly, than in some other points ; where he 
saith, " I believe that the whole frame of a beast doth perish and 
" is left in tli-j same state after death, as before it was materialled 
" into life ; that the souls of men know neither contrary nor cor- 
*' ruption ,• that they subsist beyond the body, and continue, by 
" the privilege of their prober nature, and without a miracle ; that 
*' the souls of the faithful, as they leave earth, take possession of 
•' heaven ; that those apparitions and ghosts of departed persons, 
" are not the wandering souls of men, but the unquiet walks of 
" devils, promoting and suggesting us into mischief, bloody and 
" villani/y And with this opinion I concur, as to tlie ordinary 
and common apparitions of the dead. And my reasons are, 

(1.) Because the scriptures every where describe the state of de- 
parted souls as a fixed state, either in heaven or in hell ; and assign 
the good or evil done in this world by spirits, not to the departed 
spirits of men, but to angels or devils : And it is our duty to regu- 
late our conceits by scripture, and not according to the vain philo- 
sojphy of the heathens, or the superstitious traditions and opinions 
joi men. 

As for the souls of the godly, they are at rest with Christ, Rev. 
%'iv. 13v Isa. Ivii: 2. and fixed as pillars hi the house of God, Rev. 
iii. 12. 

As for the wicked, their spirits are confined, and secured in helL 
as in a prison, 1 Pet. iii. 19. there is a fixed gulph betwixt them 
and the living, Luke xvi. 27, to 32. 

"What good offices are to be done by suirits for us, the angels are 
God's commission-officers to do them, Heb. i. 14. " They are all 
•' ministeting spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be 

* Etligio Med. Sect, 37. p- 32, 


" heirs of salvation :'' These are the spirits sent forth to walk to 
and fro through the earth, Zech. i. 10. Their ministry was emble- 
matically represented in Jacob's vision, where they were seen as- 
cending and descending as upon a ladder, betwixt heaven and earth, 
Gen. XXV iii. 12. Yea, their very name angel, is a name of office, 
signifying a messenger, or one sent. 

And for the mischief done by spirits in this world, the scriptures 
ascribe that to the devils ; those unquiet spirits have their walks in 
this world, they compass the whole earth, and walk up and down 
in it, Job i. 7. and 1 Pet. v. 8. they can assume any shape ; yea, 
I doubt not but he can act their bodies when dead, as well as he 
did their souls and bodies when alive : How great his power is this 
way, appears in what is so often done by him in the bodies of 
witches. They are not ordinarily, therefore, the spirits of men, but 
other spirits that appear to us. 

(2.) If God should ordinarily permit the spirits of men inhabit- 
ing the other world, a liberty so frequently to visit this, what a gap 
would it open for Satan to beguile and deceive the living ! What 
might he not by this means impose upon weak and credulous mor- 
tals ? * There hath been a great deal of superstition and idolatry 
already introduced under this pretence : he hath often personatecl 
saints departed, and pretended himself to be the ghost of some ve- 
nerable person, whose love to the souls of the people, and care for 
their salvation, drew him from heaven to reveal some special secret 
to them. Swarms of errors and superstitious and idolatrous opini- 
ons and practices, are this way conveyed by the tricks and artifices 
of Satan, among the Papists, which I will not blot my paper withal ; 
only I desire it may be considered, that if this were a thing so fre- 
quently permitted by God, as is pretended, upon what dangerous 
terms had he left his church in this world, seeing he hath left no 
certain marks by which we may distinguish one spirit from another, 
or a true messenger from heaven, from a counterfeit and pretended 

But God hath tied us to the sure and standing rule of his word ; 
forbidding us to give heed to any other voice or spirit leading us 
another way, Isa. viii. 19-2 Thess. ii. 1, 2. Gal. i. 8. It was 
therefore a discreet reply which one of the antients made when in a 
prayer, a vision of Christ appeared to him, and told him, thy pray- 
ers are heard, for thou art worthy: the good man immediately 
clapt his hands upon his eyes, and said, Nolo hie videre Christum^ 
&c. i. e. / will not sec Christ here, it is enough for me that I shall 
behold him in heaven. 

* For what hath more propagated idolatry among Heathens and Christians r Hence 
did flow many peregrinations, monasteries, temples, festival days, and such like. Dav. 
t>n Job. 


To conclude. — My opinion upon tlie whole is this, that altliough 
it cannot be denied, but in some grand, extraordinary cases, as at 
the transfiguration and resurrection of Christ, God did, and perhaps 
sometimes, though rarely, may order or permit departed souls to 
return into this world; yet, for the most part, I judge those appa- 
ritions are not the souls of the dead, but other spirits, and, for the 
most part, evil ones. 

Of this judgment was * St. Augustine, who when he had at full 
related the story above of the father's ghost directing his son to the 
acquittance ; yet will not allow it to be the very soul of his father, 
but an angel : where he farther adds, If (saith he) the souls of the 
dead may be present in our affairs, they would not forsake us in this 
sort ; especially my mother Monica, who, in her life, could never be 
without me, surely she would not thus leave me being dead. 

Obj. 1. But it loas pleaded before^ that ice allozv the apparition 
of angels ; and departed soids, if they he not angels^ at least are 
equcd unto angels^ and in respect of their late relation to tiSj are more 
propense to help us, thaii spirits of another sort can be supposed to be. 

Sol, It seems too bold and imposing upon sovereign Wisdom to 
tell him what messengers are fittest for him to send and employ in 
his service ; Avho hath taught him, or been his counsellor ? 

Obj. 2. But these offices seem to pertain properly to them, as they 
are not only fello-w-members, hut the most excellent members of the 
mystical body, to whom it belongs to assist the meaner and weaker. 

Sol. If there be any force of reason in this plea, it carries rather 
for the angels than for departed souls: for angels are gathered 
under the same common head with saints ; the text tells us, we are 
come to an innumerable company of angels : they and the saints 
are fellow-citizens, and we know they are a more noble order of 
spirits ; and as for their love to the elect, it is exceeding great, as 
great to be sure as the departed souls of our dearest relatives can 
be. For after death they sustain no more civil relation to us: all 
that they do sustain is as fellow-members of the same body, or fel- 
low-citizens, which the angels also are as well as they. 

Obj. 3. But, saith the doctor, the reason why all nations pay so 
great honour and religious care to the will of the dead, is a suppo- 
sition tlmt they still continue in the same mind after death, and will 
avenge the falsifications of trusts upon injurious executors, else no 
reason can be given zvhy so great a stress should he laid upon the 
will of the dead. 

Sol. This is gratis dictum, to say no worse, a cheap and unwary 
expression : Can no reason be given for the religious observance of 
the testaments of the dead, but this supposition ? I deny it : for 
though they that made them be dead, yet God, who is witness to 

Libt de cura vwrtxm. 

82 A TUEATlSli OF THE bOCL OF 51 A }^. 

all such acts and trusts, liveth : and tliougli tliey camiot avenge 
frauds, and injustice of men, he both can and will do it, 1 Thess. 
iv. 6. which, I think, is a weightier ground and reason to enforce 
duty upon men than the fear of ghosts. Besides, this is a case 
wherein all the living are concerned, all that die must commit a 
trust to them that survive ; and if frauds should be committed 
with impunity, who could safely repose confidence in another;. 
Qiiod tanget omnes^ fangi debet ah omnibus: that which is of 
general concernment, and becomes every man's interest, infers a 
general obligation upon all. 

As for the letters of Elijah, it is a vanity to tliink they came post 
from heaven ; no, no, they were doubtless left behind him, out of 
due care to the government, and produced on that fit occasion. 

Obj. 4. But xvhat need of a law to prohibit necromancy or consul- 
tation with the dead, if it loere not practicable ? 

Sol I do not think the wicked art there prohibited enabled them 
to recal departed souls ; but it was a conversing with the devil who 
personated the dead, and therein a kind of homage was paid him 
to the dishonour of God ; or he might possibly raise the bodies of 
wicked men, and appear in them : bi*t I think the spirits of the 
dead return not, except as was before limited. 

Obj. 5. But the matters they discover are found to be true, and 
the causes in ivhich they concern themselves are just ; real murders 
are detected by them, and real frauds and injuries corrected and 
recti/ied: but the devil being himself a liar, and deceiver, would 
never do it ; it is not his interest to discover or discourage such 

Sol. Though it be not his interest merely to discover it, yet it is 
certainly his interest to precipitate wicked men, and hasten their 
ruin by the hand of Justice ; and he will speak the truth, and seem 
to own a righteous cause, to bring about his great design of ruining 
the souls and bodies of men. I will shut up with three cautions. 

Caution 1. Strain not conscience to enrich posterity: be true to 
the trusts committed to you by the dead, or by the livings remem- 
bering, that though they be dead, and cannot avenge the wrongs 
yet the Lord lives, and will surely do it in a severer manner than 
they could, should thev appear in the most terrible and frightful 
forms to you : Besides, your own consciences will haunt you worse 
than a ghost. Be just and true therefore in all your promises and 
trusts, for God is the avenger. 

Caution 9,. Finish your work for eternity before you die ; for as 
" the cloud iH consumed, and vanished away, so he that goeth 
*' down to the grave shall come up no more ; he shall return no 
" more to his house, neither shall his place know him any 
" more,'"' Job vii. 9, 10. Your souls will be fixed iu etenutji 


soon after they are loosed from your bodies : when death comes, 
away you must go, willing or unwilling, ready or unready ; but no 
returning hither, how willmg soever. 

Caution 3. Keep yourselves from that heathenish and accursed 
practice of consulting the devil about your absent or dead rela- 
tions ; a practice too common in sea-port towns, and of deep and 
heinous guilt before God : Isa. viii. 19. " And when they shall 
" say unto you, seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and 
" unto wizards that peep and mutter ; should not a people seek 
" unto their God ? for the living to the dead ? 

You need not call the devil twice ; that subtle and officious 
spirit draws the living into his net by such a bait as this : You 
meet your mortal enemy under the disguise of your dead friend. 

Query 5. Whether the separated souls of the just in heaven have 
any converse or communication with each other ? and hozv that can 
be, seeing all the organs and instruments of speech and hearing 
are laid aside loith their bodies ; 

It seems impossible that separated or unbodied spirits should 
converse together, seeing the instruments by which the thoughts 
are communicated from one to another, are perished in the grave. 
Suppose the tongue of a man to be cut out, his eyes and hands 
perished or made useless, whilst the soul remains in the body ; it 
may enjoy its own thoughts within itself, but it is impossible to sig- 
nify them to another by words or signs. 

Or suppose a man in a deep sleep (wherein the senses are only 
bound for a little time) he may indeed exercise his own fancy in a 
pleasant dream, but another cannot understand how it is enter- 
tained ; but in death the senses are not bound, but extinguished. 

Beside, wo must not think the felicity of the departed holy souls 
to consist in mutual converses one with another, but in the ineffable 
visions of God, and communion with him. To him who is omni-i 
scient, and understands their most inward thoughts, they can freely 
communicate them, and receive his, as well as pour forth their own 
love ; but to do it to their fellow-creatures, who see not as God 
doth, seems impossible. 

Indeed it was never doubted, but after the resurrection they 
shall both know and talk with one another in a more excellent 
and perfect manner than now they do ; but till that time, the rea- 
sons above seem to persuade us, that all the converses above, are 
only betwixt God and them, which indeed is enough to make 
them happy ; and indeed, if this ability be allowed to separated 
souls, it seems to render the resurrection of their bodies needless ; 
for they are well enough without them. But certainly the spirits 
of just men are not mutes ; such an angust assembly of holy and 
excellent spirits, do not live together in their Father's house with* 

Vol. III. F 


out mutual converse and fellowship with each other, as well as 
with God. 

That acute and judicious divine, Mr. Joseph Symonds, in his 
epistle to his book, intituled, Sig'ht and Faith, expresseth himself 
about this matter thus : ' I often think (saith he) of the commu- 
' nion of the spirits of men, which is certainly more than many 
' are acquainted with ; though we act one upon another in our 
' present state, by the help of sense ; yet we are ^vrought and de- 
' signed to a more excellent .way. Angels, and the spirits of men 
' made perfect, converse and trade in a mutual communication, 
^ not without sense, but without such sense as ours. This, as 
' eternal life, begins here, and is found in some degrees in this 
' mortal state, though not in so visible appearances as to lie open 
' to much observation. 

' Angels, good and bad, do act upon our spirits, and our spirits 
' hold converse with them, and with the Father of spirits, whieh 
' may be discerned in secret parlies and discourses betwixt them 

* and us ; much of this appears in David's psalms ; and there pas- 

* seth not only an inward speech, but there are invisible approaches, 
' entertainments, and touches, which Paul found when bound in the 
' Spirit, and under the working of God, which wrought in him 
^ mightily. Col. i. 29- It is also most certain, that our souls are 

* not muie, and shut out from all mutual traffic with each other, ex- 

* cept what they have by the mediation of senses. 

' Instances are found, that (as they say of two needles touched 
' with the loadstone) the spirit of one at a distance, hath found 
' itself affected with the motion and state of another. And this 
' we are all sensible of, that there is a strong desire in us to com- 
' munion of spirits ; and that, because the way most ready and 
^ convenient to our bodily state is by sense, we are carj'ied Avith 

* much inclination to maintain intercourse of our minds and spi- 
' rits by sense ; but, as being made to a better way, our souls are 
« not satisfied with this present way, as being both painful and 
' short. We cannot give an exact copy of our apprehensions, de- 
' sires, designs, delights, and other affections, by these two great 
' mediators of communion, the eye and the ear : but, because we 
' are in so great a measure confined to this course, our souls, as it 
' were, stand in these two gates, to send and receive mutual em- 
' bassies from each other. Which way, as it is short in itself, so 
' it is much shortened by distances, disaffection s, impotencies, and 
^ disparities.' 

I cannot imagine, that men, in a state of imperfection, should 
have so many ways to communicate their minds, as by speaking, 
writing, &c. yea, that the very birds and beasts, are, by nature, en- 
abled to signify to each other their inclinations ; and that the spi- 


YLlfi of just men (which are the best of all human spirits, and that 
when made perfect too, which is the best and highest state attain- 
able by them) should have none, but live at a greater disadvantage 
in this respect than they did, or the very birds and beasts in this 
world do. The sum of my thoughts about this matter, I will lay 
down in the following sections. 

Section 1. The state of heaven, (as was at large opened in our 
eleventh proposition) being an association of angels and blessed 
souls, for the glorifying and praising of God in his temple there, 
and this worship being carried on by joint consent, as appears by 
their joint ascriptions of glory to God, Rev. vii. 9, 10, 11, 12. 
they must of necessity, for the orderly carrying on of this heavenly 
worship understand each other's mnids, and communicate their 
thoughts : for without this it is not imaginable how a joint or com- 
mon service, in which thousands of thousands are employed, can be 
decorously and orderly managed, except we conceive of them as so 
many machines^ or wind-instruments that are managed by an intel- 
ligent agent, though themselves be senseless and merely passive : 
certainly their consent is a different thing from that of the keys of 
a harpsichord, or strings of a lute, they are intelligent beings, who 
understand their own and each other's mind : and besides, without 
this ability, that society in heaven would be less comfortable, as to 
mutual refreshing fellowship, than the society of saints is here. So 
that it is not to be doubted, but these noble and excellent spirits 
can, and do communicate their thoughts to each other, and that ia 
a most excellent way. 

Sect. 2. But yet we cannot imagine these communications be^ 
twixt them to be by words, formed by such instruments and organs 
of speech as we now use, for they are bodiless beings ; words, and 
articulate sounds, are fitted to the use and service of embodied spi^ 
rits. It is therefore probable, that they convey and communicate 
their minds to one another, as the blessed angels d.o, not with 
tongues of flesh, (though we read of the tonguea of angels, 1 Cor, 
xiii. 1.) but in a way somewhat analogous to this, though much 
more noble and excellent *. For look, as the scripture stiles the 
most excellent food, angels food; so the most excellent speech, or 
most eloquent tongues, angels tongues. The purest rhetoric that 
ever flowed from the lips of the most charming orator, is but bab. 
blinfT, to the language of angels, or of spirits made perfect. 

When Paul was wrapt into the third heaven, where he was ad- 
mitted to the sight and hearing of this blessed assembly, it is sai4 

* It is certain, angels have not tongues, but something analogous tljereuntp, by which 
thejy communicate their thoughts to one another, Lv^kifoot 

F 2 


he heard ao^'/,ra e>}/xara, words unspeakable, spiritual language, such 
as his tongue neither could, or ought to utter ; such as none but 
heavenly inhabitants can speak. And, Dan. viii. 13. " I heard, 
" (said Daniel) one saint speaking, and another saint said unto 
" that certain saint that spake," &c. He heard the enquiries of 
the angels, desiring to know the mystery from the mouth of Christ 
A language they have, l^ut not like ours. 

Sect. 3. The communications of angels, and souls in heaven, is 
therefore conceived to be an abihty in those blessed spirits, silently 
and without sound, to instil and insinuate their minds and thoughts 
to each other, by a mere act of their wills; just as we now speak 
to God, or ourselves *, in our hearts, when our lips do not move, 
nor the least outward sign appears. 

There are two ways by which the souls of men speak, one out- 
wardly, by the instruments of speech, or sensible signs; the other 
inwardly, without sound, or sign. This inward, silent speech, is 
nothing else but an act of the will, calhng forth such things into 
our actual thoughts and meditations, which before lay hid and 
quiet in the memory, or habit of knowledge. These thoughts, or 
actual revolvings of things in the mind, are in scripture called 
"IH^ tDr "im a word or speech in the heart, Deut. xv. 9. Take heed 
to thyself, that there be not a wicked word in thy heart ; we trans- 
late it, a zcicked thought : thoughts are tlie words, and voice of the 
soul. And so. Mat. ix. 3. they spake within themselves, i. e. their 
souls spake, though their lips moved not. " All meditation is an 
" inward speech of the soul, and therefore rii^ indifferently sig- 
" nifies both to speak, and to meditate f." The objects which we 
revolve in our thoughts, are so many companions with whom we 
converse ; and thus a man, (like Heinsius) may be in the midst 
of abundance of excellent company, when he is all alone. And 
this is silent talk to ourselves, without any sound or noise. 

Object. But you will say, Though the spirit of a man can thus 
talk to., or with itself ; yet this can signify nothing to others : For 
what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of a man that 
is in him ? 1 Cor. ii. 11. It is not therefore enough to open this 
internal door of the will ; for except we open also tlie external \ door 
of the lips, no man can Icnoiv our minds, or be admitted into the se^ 

* We are said to speak to ourselves in our hearts, when we actually think upon, or 
revolve any thing in our minds j but we think actually, at the command of the will, 
i. e. when we will. Zanch. 

f E/crov iv auTOig, T1^'W, Cum puncts sinistra, loeutus est ore, aut corde cogitavit, 7ne- 
iUtatits est. 

\ There are two doors with respect to others, and unless thou open both of 
these, it is not possible that another man can know what passes in thy mind, or be 
adaaitted into the secrets of thy heart. On the part of the soul, the will is the one 


crets of your soul ; should we never so earnestly desire that another 
should know our mirid, except we please^ to discover ithya word, or 
sign, he cannot know it ; and therefore an act of the will is notsuf- 
Jicient, without some external signification superadded. And these 
souls being bodiless, can give no outward signification. 

Sol. There is, indeed, a necessity among men in this world, to 
unlock another door, beside that of the will, to communicate 
the secrets of their hearts to others ; " but * angels, and the spirits 
" of men, having no bodies, consequently have but one door, to 
" wit, that of the will, to open ; and the opening thereof, (which 
" is done by one act or desire, in a moment) is enough to discover 
" so much of their minds, as they would have discovered to ano- 
" ther spirit. If they keep the door of their will sliut, no angel, or 
*' spirit, can know what is in their thoughts, without a revelation 
" from God ;" and if they but will, or desire others should know, 
no words can so fully manifest one man's mind to another, as such 
an act of the will doth manifest theirs. And this, saith learned 
Zanchy, is the tongue of angels ; and the same way the spirits of 
men have to make known their mind in the unembodied state. It 
is but the turning the key of the will, and their thoughts, or de- 
sires are presently seen and known, by others, to whom they will 
discover them, as a man's face is seen in a glass, when he pleaseth 
to turn his face to it. Would one spirit make known his mind to 
another, it is but to will he should know it, and it is immediately 

Sect. 4. This internal way of speaking and communication among 
spirits is much more noble, perfect, and excellent, than that which 
is in use among us, by words and signs ; and that in two respects, 

1. Of cleai-ness, 

2. Of dispatch and speed. 

1. Spiritual language is more clearly expressive of the mind and 
thoughts, than words, writings, or any other external signs can 
be. The greatest masters of language do often cloud their mean- 
ing, for want of words fit and full enough to express it : truth suf- 
fers by the poverty and ambiguity of words ; many controversies 
are but mere strifes about words, and scufflings in the dark, by 

door, for unless thou incline to reveal to others these things which lie hid in thy hearty 
who can know them ? the other door is the hody of flesh itself, and therefore, although 
having, as it were, opened the first and inward door, thou incline to make known unto 
another what is in the mind, yet he can in no way know this, unless thou also open the 
other door which is external. Zanchius^ on the works oj" God, book 3. chap. 29. 

* Quomnm igilni' angcli iis carent crassis corporibus, idcirco nihil imj)edit, quo miuus 
quee unus angelus in stia versat mente, ea alter videat, voluntas : si enim ea nolit ab altero 
resciriy nurnqnam, nisi Deo revelante, rescientur, Zanch. ubi supra, 

F 3 


the mistake of each other's sense and meaning ; few have the ability 
of putting their own meanings into apt, proper, and full expres- 
sion ; and, if they can, yet others to whom they speak, want an 
answerable ability of understanding and clearness of apprehension 
to receive it. If we could discern the true and natural sense of 
things, just as it is in the mind of the speaker, or writer, how 
many controversies would be thereby quickly ended ? 

But spirits unbodied so convey their sense and mind to one 
another, that there can be no mistakes, no darkenings of counsel, 
by words without knowledge ; but one receives it just as it lies in 
the other's mind. 

2. Spiritual language is more easy, and of quicker dispatch ; 
some men have voluble tongues, and are more ready and presen- 
tial than others ; their tongues are as the pen of a ready scribe : and 
others, no less ready with their hands, which keep pace with, yea, 
out-run the tongue of the speaker, as Martial notes. 
Currant verba licet, manus est velocior illis : 
Ncmdum lingua suum dextra, peregit opus *. 

Yet all this is but bungling work, to the ready dispatch of spi- 
rits ; one act of the will opens the window to discern the mind of 
another clearly ; so that the converse of spirits must needs be more 
excellent, in both respects, than any we are accustomed to, or 
acquainted with in this world. I will shut up this question with 

Corollary, Long to be associated with the spirits of just men 
made perfect. You that are going to join that blessed assembly, 
w'll even in this respect, gain an invaluable advantage. It is true, 
th;^re is much of comfort in the present converses of embodied 
and imperfect saints ; it is sweet to fast and pray, to sigh and 
groan together ; it is sweeter to rejoice and praise our God to- 
gether ; it is sweet to talk of heaven with our faces thitherward ; 
but alas ! what is this to the converses that are among the spirits 
of just men made perfect ! With what melting hearts have we 
sometimes sat, under the doctrine of the gospel ! How have our 
ears been chained with delight to the preacher's lips, whilst he hath 
been discoursing of those ravishing subjects, Christ, and heaven t 
But alas ! how dry and dull a thing is the best of this, to the lan- 
guage of heaven ! Three things debase and spoil the communica- 
tions of the saints on earth, viz. the darkness, dulness, and fro- 
thiness thereof. 

1. The darkness and ignorance of our understandings. How 
crude, weak, and indigested are our highest and purest notions of 
spiritual things ! we speak of them but as children, 1 Cor. xiii. 11. 

* Martial, Ejngr. lib. 14. ep. 176. 


ior alas ! the vail is yet upon our faces. The body of sin, and the 
body of flesh cast a very dark shadow upon the world to come ; but 
the apprehensions of separated souls are most bright and clear. 
This darkness begets mistakes ; mistakes beget so many quarrels 
and janglings, that our fellowship on earth losetli, at once, both 
its profit and pleasure. 

2. There is much dulness and deadness accompanying the com- 
munion of saints on earth, abundance of precious time is wasted 
among us in unprofitable silence, and when we engage in discour- 
ses of heaven, that discourse is often little better than silence ; our 
words freeze betwixt our lips, and we speak not with that con- 
cernedness and warmth of spirit, which suits with such subjects. 

It is not so among our brethren above ; their affections are at 
the highest pitch, giving glory to God in the highest. 

3. To conclude ; In the discourses of the best of men on earth, 
there is too much froth and vanity ; many words, like water, run 
away at the waste spout, but there God is the centre, in which all 
terminates. O therefore let us long to be among the unbodied 
people ! this world will never suit us with companions in all things 
agreeable to the desires of our hearts. The best company are got 
together in the upper-room ; an hour there is better than an age 
below. Whatever fellowship saints leave on earth, they shall be 
sure to find better in heaven. 

Query 6. Whether the separated souls of the just in heaven^ do 
incline to a re-union with their own bodies P And how that re-union 
is at last effected ? 

That these blessed souls have no such incHnation or desire, these 
reasons seem to persuade. 

1. That their bodies, whilst they lived in them, were no better, 
than so many prisons; many were the prejudices, damages, and 
miseries they have sustained and suffered in them. It kept them at 
an uncomfortable distance from the Lord, 2 Cor. v. 6. their be- 
moaning cries spake their uneasy state : how often hath every gra- 
cious soul thus lamented itself, " Wo is me that I dwell in Me- 
" sheck." It inclosed their souls within its mud walls, which inter- 
cepted the light and joy of God's face. Death therefore did a most 
friendly office, when it set it at liberty, and brought it forth into its 
own pure and pleasant light and liberty *. These blessed spirits 
now rejoice as prisoners do in their recovered liberty ; and can it 

* The body obstructs and obscures the mind in its conceptions, and pollutes it by its 
union with the flesh ; hence the light of the mind is more defective, as it passes, in a 
manner, throu^^h a glass of flesh : doubtless, when, by the power of death, the soul is 
as it were, squeezed out of the body, to which it was so closely united, and in this man- 
ner purified, than it breaks from its confinement in the body, to a pure and unmixed 
light suitable to its nature. TertulUan on the soul. 

F 4 


be siip))osed, after all these sufferings, groans, and sighs to be dis- 
solved, ihey can be willing to be embodied again ? Surely there is 
as little reason for souls at liberty to desire to be again embodied, 
as there is for a bird got out of the snare or cage, to fly back again 
to its place of confinement and restraint. Yea, when we consider 
how loath some holy souls, when under the excruciating pains of 
sickness, and as yet in the sight of this alluiing world, have been 
to hear of a return to it by the recovery of their health ; we can- 
not think, but being quite out of the sight of this, and in the frui- 
tion of the other world, the thoughts of the body must needs be 
more loathsome to them than ever. 

AVe read, that when a good man in the time of his sickness was 
told by his friends, that some hopeful signs of his recovery began 
now to appear, he answered, And must I then return to this body "^ 
I was as a sheep driven out of the storm almost to the fold, 
and then driven back into the storm again : or as a weary travel- 
ler near his home, who must go back again to fetch something he 
had neglected : or as an apprentice whose time was almost out, 
and then must begin a new term. Of some others it hath been 
also noted, that the greatest infirmities they discovered upon their 
death-bed, have been their two passionate desires to be dissolved, 
and their unsubmissiveness to God's will in their longer stay in the 
body. Now, the bodies of the saints being so cheerfully forsaken, 
and that only upon a fore-taste of heaven by faith ; how can it be 
thought they should find any inclination to a re-union, when they 
are so abundantly satisfied with the joys of his face in heaven ? 
Certainly the body hath been no such pleasant habitation to the 
soul, that it should cast an eye or thought that way when it is once 
delivered out of it : if it were burdensome here, a thought of it 
would be loathsome there. 

2. We have shewed before, that the separate soul w^ants not the 
helps of the body, but lives and acts at a more free and comfortable 
rate than ever before. It is true, it is not now dehghted with meat 
and drink, with smells and sounds, as it was wont to be ; but then 
it must be considered, that it is happiness and perfection not to need 
them. It is now become equal to the angels in the way and man- 
ner of its living ; and what it enjoyed by the ministry of the body, 
it eminently and more perfectly enjoys without it. What per- 
fections can the soul receive from matter * ? What can a lump of 
flesh add to a spirit : And if it can add nothing to it, there is no 
reason why it should hanker after it, and incline to a re-union 

* The rational soul receives no perfection from matter, which it could not receive 
•without it ; therefore, when it shall be separated from it, it is not said to have a pro- 
pensity to it. Commb. 


with it. It added nothing of happiness to it, but much trouble, 
and therefore becomes justly undesirable to it. 

3. The supposition of such a propension and inclination, seems 
no way to suit with that state of perfect rest which the souls of the 
just enjoy in heaven. The scripture tells us, that at death they 
enter into rest, Isa. Ivii. 2. Heb. iv. 9. That they rest from their 
labours, Rev. xiv. 13. But that which inclines and desires 
(especially when the desired enjoyment, as in this case, is suspended 
so long) must be as far from rest, as it is from satisfaction in the 
enjoyment of the thing desired. We know what Solomon hath ob- 
served of such a life, (and his observation is experimentally true,) 
that "hope deferred makes the heart sick,*" Prov. xiii. 12. Who 
finds not his own desires a very rack to him in such cases ! If we 
be kept but a few days in earnest expectation and desire of an 
absent friend, and he comes not, what an uneasy life do we live ! 
But here we must suppose some have such an unsatisfied life for 
hundreds, and others for thousands of years already ; and how 
much longer they may remain so, who can tell ? We use to say. 
Lovers hours are full of eternity. These reasons seem to carry it 
for the negative. 

But if the matter be weighed once more, with the following 
reasons in the counter-scale, and prejudice do not pull down the 
balance ; we shall find the contrary conclusion much more strong 
and rational. For, 

Arg. 1. The soul and body are the two constitutive parts of 
man ; either of these being wanting, the man is not complete and 
perfect. The good of the whole is the good of the parts them- 
selves ; and every thing hath a natural desire and appetite to its 
own good and perfection *. It is confessed, the soul, for as much 
as concerns itself singly, is made perfect, and enjoys blessedness in 
the absence of the body ; but this is only the perfection and 
blessedness of one part of man ; the other part, viz. the body, lies 
in obscurity and corruption : and till both be blessed, and blessed 
together, in a state of composition and re-union, the whole man is 
not made perfect. For this therefore the soul must wait. 

Arg. 2. Though death hath dissolved the union, yet it bath not 
destroyed the relation betwixt the soul and the body ; that dust is 
more to it than all the dust of the whole earth. Hence it is that 

* A separate soul has a propensity to union with the body, for it desires the actual 
constitution of the whole compound being, seeing it is for this, as its end, that it exists, 
and is Jbund within the compass of real beings. And this is that perfection which the 
soul obtains by that propensity : for the good of the whole compound being is the good 
of the parts themselves. It must therefore be affirmed, that the separate soul naturally 
desires the resurrection. Alsted. natur, theoLpart I. p. 214, 215. 


the whole person of a behever is sometimes denominated from that 
part of him, namely, his body, which remains captivated by death 
in the grave. Hence, 2 Thess. iv. 15. dead believers are called 
those that sleep, which must needs properly respect the body, for 
the soul sleeps not, and shews what a firm and dear relation still 
remains betwixt these absent friends. Now we all know the mighty 
power of a relation, if it be at least among entities. Surely it is one 
of the greatest things in the world in efficacy. 

It is difficult to bear the absence of our dear relatives, especially 
if we be in prosperity, and they in adversity : As the case here is 
betwixt the spirit in heaven, and its body in the grave ; this 
associated with angels, that preyed upon by worms. Joseph's case 
is the liveliest emblem that occurs to my present thoughts to 
illustrate the point in hand. He was advanced to be lord over all 
^gypt, living in the greatest pomp and splendor there ; but his 
father, and brethren, were, at the same time, ready to perish, in 
the land of Canaan, Gen. xliii. 29, 30, 31. He had been many 
years separated from them, but neither the length of time, nor 
honours of the court, could alienate his affections from them. O 
see the mighty power of relation ! no sooner doth he see his 
brethren, and understand their case, and the pming condition of 
Jacob, his father, but his bowels yearned, and his compassions 
rolled together for them ; yea, he could not forbear, nor stifle 
his own affections, though he knew how injurious his brethren 
had been to him, and betrayed him, as the body hath the soul : 
Yet notwithstanding all this, he breaks forth into tears, and out- 
cries, over them, which made the house ring again with the news 
that Josejih's brethren were come. Nor could he be at rest in the 
lap of honour, and plenty, until he had got home his dear, and 
ancient relations to him. Thus stands the case betwixt soul and 

Arg. 3. The regret, reluctancy, and sorrows expressed by the 
soul at parting, do strongly argue its inclination to a re-union with 
it, when it is actually separated from it : For why should we 
surmise, that the soul, which mourned, and groaned so deeply 
at parting, which clasped, and embraced it so dearly, and affec- 
tionately, which fought, struggled, and disputed the passage with 
death, every foot, and inch of ground it got, and would not part with 
the body, till by plain force it was rent out of its arms ; should 
not, when absent, desire to see, and^ ^"j^y its old and endeared 
friend again ? Hath it lost its affection, though it continue its re- 
lation ? That is very improbable : Or doth its advancement in 
heaven make it regardless of its body, which lies in contempt and 
misery ? That is an effect which Christ's personal glory never pro- 
duced in him towards us, nor a good man's preferment would 


produce in him to his poor and miserable friends in this world, as 
we see in the case of Joseph, just now instanced in. It is therefore 
harsh, and incongruous, to suppose the soul's love to the body was 
extinguished in the parting hour, and that now, out of sight out of 

Object. But was it not urged before, in opposition to this assertion, 
tliat the souls of the righteous looked upon their bodies as their 
prisons, and sighed for deliverance by death, and greatly rejoiced 
in the hope, and foresight of that liberty death would restore them 
to ? How doth this consist with such reluctancies at parting, and 
inclinations to re-union ? 

Sol. The objection doth not suppose any man to be totally free 
from all reluctancies, and unwillingness to die ; the holiest souls 
that ever lived in bodies of flesh, will give an unwilling shrug, when 
it comes to the parting point, 2 Cor. v. 2. but this their willingness 
to be gone, arises from two other grounds, which make it consistent 
enough with its reluctancies at parting, and inclination to a second 

(1.) This willingness to die, doth not suppose the soul's love to 
the body to be utterly extinguished, but mastered, and overpowered 
by another, and stronger love. There is in every Christian a 
double love, one natural to the body, and the things below, the other 
supernatural, to Christ, and the things above ; the latter doth not 
extinguish, though it conquer and subdue the other. Love to the 
body pulls backward, love to Christ pushes forward, and finally 
prevails. This is so consistent with it, that it supposes natural re- 
luctation, and unwillingness to part. 

(2.) The willingness of God's people to be dissolved, must not be 
understood absolutely, but comparatively ; in that sense the apostle 
will be understood, 2 Cor. v. 8. " We are confident, I say, and 
" willing rather to be absent from the body, and present with the 
" Lord," i. e. rather than to live always a life of sin, sorrow, and 
absence from God : death is not desirable in, and for itself, but only 
as it is the soul's outlet from sin, and its inlet to God. 

So that the very best desire is but comparative, and it is but 
few who find the love of this animal life sub-acted and over-powered 
by high-raised acts of faith and love. The generality, even of 
good souls, feel strong renitencies, and suffer sharp conflicts at their 
dissolution ; all which discovers with what lothness and unwilling- 
ness the soul unclasps its arms to let go its body. Now, as divines 
argue the frame of Christ's heart in heaven towards his people on 
earth, from all those endearing passages and demonstrations of love 
he gave them at parting; so we here argue the continued love and 
inclination of the soul to its body after it is in heaven, from the 


manifold demonstrations it gave of its affection to it in this world, 
especially in the parting hour. No considerations in all the world, 
less than the more full fruition of God, and freedom from sin, could 
possibly have prevailed with it to quit the body, though but for a 
time, and leave it in the dust. Which is our third argument. 

Arg. 4. And as the dolorous parting hour evidenceth it, so doth 
the joy with which it receives it again at the resurrection. If it 
part from it so heavily, and meet it again with joy unspeakable ; 
sure, then, it still retaineth much love for it, and desires to be re- 
espoused to it in the interval. Now, that its meeting in the resur- 
rection is a day of joy to the soul, is evident, because it is called the 
time of refreshment^ Acts iii. 19. and they awake with singing out 
of the dust, Isa. xxvi. 19. If the direct and immediate scope of the 
prophet jx>ints not (as some think it doth) at the resurrection, yet 
it is allowed by all to be a very lively allusion to it, which is suf- 
ficient for my purpose : And, indeed, none that understand and 
believe the design, and business of that day, can possibly doubt 
but there was reason enough to call .it a time of refreshment, a 
singing morning ; for the souls of the lighteous come from heaven 
with Christ, and the whole host of shouting angels, not to be 
spectators only, but the subjects of that day's triumph : They come 
to re-assume, and be re-espoused to their own bodies, this being 
the appointed time for God to vindicate and rescue them from the 
tyrannical power of the grave, to endow them with spiritual 
qualities, at the second marriage to their souls, that in both parts 
they may be completely happy. O the joyful claspings, and dear 
€mi3races, betwixt them ! who but themselves, can understand ! 
And, by the way, this removes the objection before-mentioned, 
of the miseries and prejudices the soul suffered in this world, in, 
and from the body ; for now it receives it a spiritual body, (i. e.) 
so subdued to, and fitted for the use of the spirit, as never to impede, 
clog, or obstruct its motions and inclinations any more, 1 Cor. xv. 
44. In this hope it parted from it, and with this consolation it now 
receives it again. 

Arg. 5. There are many scriptures which very much favour, if 
they do not positively conclude for the sours inclination to, 
and desire to be re-united with its own body, even whilst it is 
in the state of its single glorification in heaven : Certainly our souls 
leave not their bodies at death, as the ostrich doth her egg in the 
sand, without any further regard to it, or concernment for it ; but 
they are represented as crying to God to remember, avenge, and 
vindicate them. Rev. vi. 10, 11. " How long. Lord, how long 
'• wilt thou not avenge our blood ?'''' Our blood, speaks both the 
continued relation, and the suitable affection they have to their 
absent bodies. 


And to the same sense * a judicious and learned pen expounds 
that place, Job xiv. 14. (whicli is commonly, but I know not how 
fitly accommodated to another purpose) " All the days of my ap- 
" pointed time will I wait till my change come."*' Which words, 
by a diligent comparing of the context, appears to have this for 
their proper scope and sense. 

* Job in the former verse had expressed his confidence by way of 
< petition, that at a set and appointed time God would remember 

* him so as to recal him out of the grave ; and now, minded to 

* speak out more fully, puts the question to himself. If a man die, 

* shall he live again?" and thus answers it, ' All the days of my 

* appointed time, (that is, of the appointed time which he mention- 

* ed before, when God should revive him out of the dust) ' will I 
' wait till my change come ;' that is, that glorious change, when the 
' corruption of a loathsome grave should be exchanged for immor- 

* tal glory : AVhich he amplifies, and utters more expressly, ver. 15. 
' Thou shalt call, and I will answer ; thou shalt have a desire to 
' the work of thy hands :' Thou wilt not always forget to restore 

* and perfect thine own creature. And surely this waiting is not 

* the act of his inanimate sleeping dust, but of that part which 

* should be capable of such an action : q. d. I, in that part which 

* shall be still alive, shall patiently wait the appointed time of re- 

* viving me in that part also, which death and the grave shall insult 

* over in a temporary triumph in the mean time."* 

Upon these grounds I think the inclination of the separated spi- 
rits of the just to their own bodies to be a justifiable opinion. As 
for the damned, we have no reason to think such a re-union to be 
desirable to them ; for alas, it will be but the increase and aggra- 
vation of their torments ; which consideration is sufficient to over- 
power and stifle the inclination of nature, and make the very 
thouglits of it horrid and dreadful. To what end (as the prophet 
speaks in another case) is it for them to desire that day .? It will be 
a day of darkness and gloominess to them ; re-union being designed 
to complete the happiness of the one, and the misery of the other. 

But before I take off my hand, and dismiss this question, I must 
remember that I am a debtor to two objections. 

Object. 1. The soul can both live and act separate from the body, 
it needs it not ; and if it do not want^ why should it desire it ? 

Sol. The life and actings of the glorified are considerable two 
ways, (1.) Singly and abstractedly for the life and action of one 
part : And so we confess the soul lives happily, and acts forth its 
own powers freely in the state of separation. (2.) Personally, or 

* Mr. Howe's blessedness of the righteous, p. 170, 1"1. 


consecrately, as it is the life and action of the whole man, and so it 
doth both need and desire the conjunction or re-union of the body ; 
for the body is not only a part or Christ's purchase, as well as the 
soul, and to have its own glory, as well as it, but it is also a con- 
stitutive part of a complete glorified person ; and so considered, the 
saints are not perfectly happy till this re-union be effected, which 
is the true ground and reason of this its desire. 

Object. 2. But this hypothesis seems to thwart the account given 
hi scripture of the rest^ and placid state of separate souls : for look^ 
as bodies which gravitate and propend do not rest^ so neither do 
soids which incline and d.esire. 

Sol. There is a vast difference betwixt the tendencies, and pro- 
pensions of souls in the way to glory, and in glory : We that are 
absent from the Lord, can find no rest in the way ; but those that 
are with the Lord can rest in Jesus, and yet wait without anxiety, 
of self-torturing impatience for the accomplishment of the promises 
to their absent bodies, Rev. vi. 10, 11. 

Corollary. Let this provoke all to get sanctified souls, to rule 
and use these their bodies now for God. This will abundantly 
sweeten their parting at death, and their meeting again at the re- 
surrection of the just ; else their parting will be doleful, and their 
next meeting dreadful. And so much for the doctrine of separation. 
The Uses of the Point. 

Our way is now open to the improvement and use of this excel- 
lent subject and doctrine of separation ; and certainly it affords as 
rich an entertainment for our affections, as for our minds, in the 
following uses ; of which the first will be for our information in six 
practical inferences. 

Irf. 1. If this be the life and state of gracious souls after their 
separation from the body. Then holy persons ought not to entertain 
dismal and terrifying thoughts of their oivn dissolution. 

The apprehensions and thoughts of death should have a peculiar 
pleasantness in the minds of believers. You have heard into what 
a blessed presence and communion death introduceth your souls; 
how it leads you out of a body of sin, a world of sorrows, the 
society of imperfect saints, to an innumerable company of angels, 
and to the spirits of just men made perfect, to that lovely mount 
Sion, to the heavenly sanctuary, to the blessed visions of the face 
of God. Oh ! methinks tliere hath been enough said, to make all 
the souls, in whom the well-grounded hopes of the life of glory are 
found, to cry out with the apostle, " We are confident, I say, yea, 
" and willing rather to be absent from the bodv, and present with 
*' the Lord, 2 Cor. v. 8. 

When good Musculus drew near his end, how sweet and plea- 
sant was this meditation to his soul ! Here his swan-like song ; 


* Nil sujyerest, vitccfrigiis praecordia capiat ; 

Sed, tu Chi'iste, mihi vita pcrennis ades : 
Quid trepidas anima, ad sedes abitura quietis ? 

En tihi ductor adest angclus ille tuus. 
Linque domum hanc miseram, nunc in sua fata rucnfcm 

Quam t'lM fida Dei dextera restituet. 
Peccast'i ? Scio, sed Christus credentibus in se 

Peccata expurgat sanguine cuncta suo. 
Horribilis mors est ? Fateor^ sed proxima vita est, 

Ad quam te Christi gratia certa vocat. 
Praesto est de Satana, peccata et morte trluviplians 

Christus ; ad hunc igitur laeta alacrisque migra. 

Which may be thus translated. 
Cold death my heart invade, my life doth fly : 
O, Christ, my everlasting life draw nigh. ; 

AVhy quiverest thou, my soul, within my breast ? 
Thine angel's come, to lead thee to thy rest. 
Quit cheerfully this drooping house of clay ; 
God will restore it in the appointed day. 
Hast sinnM "? I know it, let not that be urg'd ; 
For Christ,' thy sins, with his own blood hath purg'd. 
Is death affrighting ? True, but yet withal, 
Consider, Christ through death to life doth call. 
He triumphs over Satan, sin, and death ; 
Therefore with joy resign thy dying breath. 

IVIuch in the same cheerful frame was the heart of dying Bul- 
linger*, when his mournful friends expressed their sense of the loss 
they should sustain by his removal. " Why, said he, if God will 
" make any farther use of my labours in the ministry, he will re- 
" new my strength, and I will gladly serve him: But if he please 
" (as I desire he would) to call me hence, I am ready to obey his 
'' will ; and nothing more pleasant can befal me, than to leave this 
" sinful and miserable world to go to my Saviour Christ." O that 
all, who are out of the danger of death, were thus got out of the 
dread of death too. 

Let them only tremble and be convulsed at the thoughts and 
sight of death, whose souls must fall into the hands of a sin-reveng- 
ing God by the stroke of death ; who are to breathe out their last 
hope, with their last breath. Death is yours, saith the apostle, 

* Mdchior Adams, in vita Masculi, p. 535. 

f Si Deo visum Juerii, mea opera ultcrius in ccclesia minislerio lUi; ipse vires svjftciet, 
et libens i/fi pcirebc ; sinme vohierit f quod optoj ex hac vita evocnre, paratus svni illins- 
tohmtati obsequi ; ac nihil est quod viiiii jucundius possit contincere, quam ex hac misero et 
cojnqnissiino scculo ad Chriiium sen'utorem meum mi^randum sit. Idem. p. 5()o, 


1 Cor, iii. 22. your friend, your privilege, your passage to heaven ; 
it is your ignorance of it, which breeds your fears about it. 

Inf. 2. Gather from hence, the absolute, indispensihle necessity 
of your union wHh Christ, before your dissolution by death. 

Woe to that soul which shall be separated from its body before 
it be united with Christ. None but the spirits of just men are made 
perfect at death. Righteous souls are the only qualified subjects of 

It is true, every soul hath a natural capacity of happiness, but 
gracious souls only have an actual meetness for glory. The scrip- 
tures tell us in the plainest words, that " without holiness no man 
" shall see the Lord, Heb. xii. 14. that " except we be regenerate, 
" and born again, we cannot see the kingdom of God,"" John iii. 3. 
You make the greatest adventure that ever was made by man ; 
indeed, an adventure infinitely too great for any man to make, 
when you shoot the gulph of vast eternity upon terms of hazard and 

What thinkest thou, reader? Darest thou adventure thy soul 
and eternal happiness upon it, that the work of regeneration and 
sanctification, that very same work of grace, on which the Spirit of 
God has placed all thy hopes of heaven in these scriptures, is truly 
wrought by him in thy soul .^ Consider it well, pause upon it again 
and again before thou go forth. Should a mistake be committed 
here, (and nothing is more easy or common, all the world over, 
than such mistakes) thou art irrecoverably gone. This venture 
can be made but once, and the miscarriage is never to be retrieved 
afterwards ; thou hast not another soul to adventure, nor a second 
adventure to make of this. Well might the apostle Peter call for 
all diligence to make our calling and our election sure : That can 
never be made too sure, which is so invaluable in its worth, and to 
be but once adventured. 

I}f. 3. How prejudicial is it to dying men to be then incumbered, 
diverted, and distracted about earthly concernments, when the time 
of their departure is at hand. 

The business and employment of dying persons is of so vast im- 
portance and weiglit, that every moment of their time needs to be 
carefully saved and applied to this their present and most important 
concern. How well soever you have improved the time of life, be- 
Heve it, you will find work enough upon your hand at death . 
dying hours will be found to be busy and laborious hours, even to 
the most painful, serious, and industrious souls, whose life hath 
been mostly spent in preparations for death. Leave not the proper 
business of other days to that day ; for that day will have business 
enough of its own. Sufficient for that day are the labours thereof. 


Let a few considerations be pondered, to clear and confirm this in- 

Cmsid. 1. The business and emplojnnent of dying person^, is of 
the most serious, awful, and solemn nature and importance ; it is 
their last preparatory work on earth, to their immediate appear- 
ance before God their judge, Heb. ix. 27. it is their shooting the 
gulph into eternity, and leaving this world, and all their acquaint- 
ance and interests therein for ever, Isa. xxviii. 11. It is therefore 
a work by itself to die, a work requiring the most intense, deep, 
and undisturbed exercises of all the abilities and graces of the inner 
man ; and all little enough. 

Cansid. 2. Time is exceeding precious with dying men ; the last 
sand is ready to fall, and therefore not to be wasted, as it was wont 
to be. When we had a fair prospect of many years before us, 
we made little account of an hour or a day; but now one of those, 
hours, which we so carelessly lavished away, is of more value than 
all this world to us, especially if the whole weight of eternity 
should hang upon it, (as oftentimes it doth) then the loss of that 
portion of time, is the loss of soul, body, and hope for evermore. 

Consid. 3. Much of that little precious time of departing souls 
will be unavoidably taken up, and employed about the inexcusable, 
pressing calls and necessities of distressed nature ; all that you can 
do for your souls must then be done only by fits and snatches, in 
the midst of many disturbances, and frequent interruptions : So 
that it is rarely found, that a dying man can pursue a serious me- 
ditation with calm and fixed thoughts : for besides the pains and 
faintings of the body, the abilities of the mind usually fail. Here 
also they fall into a sad dilemma ; if they do not with the utmost 
intention of mind fix their hearts and thoughts on Christ, they lose 
their comfort, if godly, and their souls, if ungodly ; and if they 
do^Jriends and physicians assure them they will destroy their bodies. 
These are the straits of men bordering close upon eternity ; they 
must hastily catch a few moments in the intervals of pain, and 
then are put by all again. 

Consid. 4. There is no man living but hath something to dofor 
his own soul in a dying hour, and something for others also. 

Suppose the best that can be supposed, that the soul be in real 
union with Christ, and that union be also clear: yet it is seldom 
found but there are some assaults of Satan : Or if not, yet how 
many relations and friends need our experiences and counsels at 
such a time ? How many things shall We have to do after our great 
and main work is done "i And others have a great deal more to do, 
though as safe as the former. O the knots and objections that are 
then to be dissolved and ansAvered ! Th6 u?ual onsets and assaults 

Vol. III. G 


of Satan that are then to be resisted ! And yet most dying persons 
have much more upon their hands than either of the former. 
The whole work of repentance and faith is to do, when time is 
even done. 

Consid. 5. Few, yea, very few, are found furnished with wis- 
dom, experience, and faithfulness, to give dying persons any con- 
siderable assistance in soul-affairs. It may be there may be found 
among the visitants of the sick, now and then, a person who hath 
a word of wisdom in his heart ; but then either he wants opportu- 
nity or courage and faithfulness to do the part of a true spiritual 
friend. Elihu describes the person so qualified as he ought for this 
work. Job XXX. 23, 24. and calls him. One among a tlwusand^ 
Some are too close and reserved, others too trifling and imperti- 
nent ; some are willing, but want ability ; others are able, but 
want faithfulness ; some cut too deep by uncharitable censorious- 
iiess; others skin over the wound too slightly, speaking peace 
where God and conscience speak none : So that little help is to be 

Consid. 6. How much therefore doth it deserve to be lamented, 
that where there is so much to do, so little time to do it, and so 
few to help in the best improvement of it, all should be lost as to 
their souls by earthly incumbrances and worldly affairs, which 
might have been done sooner and better in a more proper season ! 
O, therefore, let me persuade all men to take heed of bringing the 
proper business of healthful days to their sick-bed. 

Iiif. 4. What an excellent creature is the soul of man^ which is 
capable , not only of such preparations Jbr God, whilst it is in the 
body, but of such sights and enjoyments of God^ when it lives with- 
out a body. 

Here the Spirit of God works upon it, in the way of grace and 
sanctification, Eph. ii. 10. The scope and design of this his work- 
manship, is to qualify and make us meet for the life of heaven, 2 
Cor. vi. 5. For this self-same thing, or purpose, our souls are 
WTought, or moulded by grace, into quite another frame and tem- 
per, than that which nature gave them ; and when he hath 
wTought out and finished all that he intends to be wrought in the 
way of sanctification, then shall it be called up to the highest en- 
joj^nents and employments for ever, that a qreature is susceptible 

Herein the dignity of the soul appears, that no other creature In 
this world, beside it, hath a natural capacity, either to be sancti- 
fied inherently in this world, or glorified everlastingly in the world 
to come ; to be transformed into the image, and filled with the joy 
of the Lord. There are myriads of other souls in this world, be- 
side ours, but to none of them is the Spirit of sanctification sent, 


but only to ours : The souls of animals serve only to move the dull 
and sluggish matter, and take in for a few days the sensitive plea- 
sures of the creation, and so expire, having no natural capacity of, 
or designation for any higher employment or enjoyment. 

And it deserves a most serious animadversion, that this vast ca- 
pacity of the soul for eternal blessedness, must of necessity make it 
capable of so much the more misery and self-torment, if at last it 
fail of that blessedness : For it is apparent they do not perish be- 
cause they are uncapable^ but because they are unwilling ; not be- 
cause their souls wanted any natural faculty that others have, but 
because they would not open those they have, to receive Christ in 
the way of faith and obedience, as others did. 

Think upon this you that live only to eat, and drink, and sleep, 
and play, as the birds and beasts in the field do ; What need was 
there of a reasonable soul for such sensual employments ? Do not 
your noble faculties speak your designation for higher uses ? And 
will not you wish to exchange souls with the most vile and despicable 
animal in this world, if it were possible to be done ? Certainly it were 
better for you to have no capacity of eternal blessedness (as they 
have not) if you do not enjoy it ; and no capacity of torment beyond 
this life) as they have not) if you must certainly endure it. 

Inf. 5. If our souls and bodies must be separate shortly^ how pa^ 
tiently should zee bear all lesser separations^ that may and will be 
made, betwixt us and any other enjoyments in this world ? 

No union is so intimate, strict and dear, as that betwixt our 
souls and bodies. All your relations and enjoyments in this world, 
hang looser from your souls than your bodies do: and if it be your 
duty, patiently and submissively, to suffer a painful parting pull 
from your bodies ; it is doubtless your duty to suffer meekly and 
patiently a separation from other things, which are but a prelude 
to it, and a mere shadow of it. It Is good to put such cases to our- 
selves in the midst of our pleasant enjoyments. 

1 have now many comfortable relatives in the world ; wife, chil- 
dren, kindred, and friends ; God hath made them pleasant to me, 
but he may bereave me of all these. Doth not providence ring 
such changes all the world over ? Are not all kingdoms, cities, and 
towns, full of the sighs and lamentations of widows, orphans, and 
friends bereaved of their pleasant and useful relations.? But if God 
will have it so, it is our duty to bound our sorrows, remembering 
the time is short, 1 Cor. vii. 29. In a iew days we must be stript 
much nearer, even out of our own bodies by death. 

God may also separate betwixt me and my health by sickness, so 
that the pleasure of this world shall be cut off from me ; but sick- 
ness is not death, though it be a prelude and step towards it ; I 



may well bear this with patience, wlio must submissively bear 
sharper pains than these ere long. Yea, and well may I bear this 
submissively, considering that by such imbittering and weaning 
providences, God is preparing me for a much easier dissolution, 
than if 1 should live at ease in the body all my days till death 
comes to make so gi'eat and sudden a change upon me. 

God may also separate betwixt me and my liberty by restraint. 
It hath been the lot of the best men that ever were in the world ; 
and if it should be ours also, we should not be much startled at 
it, considering these bodies of ours must be shortly pent up in a 
straiter, darker, and more loathsome place of confinement, than any 
prison in this world can be. The grave is a darker, place. Job xvii. 
13. and your abode there will be longer, Eccl. xi. 8. 

These, and all our other outward enjoyments, are separable 
things, and it is good thus to alleviate our loss of them. 

Inf. 6. How lieavenhj should the tempers and frames of those souls 
he icJio are candidates for heaven^ and must be so shortly numbered 
ivith the Sjririts of just men made perfect. 

It is reasonable that we all begin to be that which we expect to 
be for ever ; to learn that way of living and conversing, which we 
believe must be our everlasting life and business in the world to 
come. Let them that hope to live with angels in heaven, learn 
to live like angels on earth, in holiness, activity, and ready obe- 

There is the greatest reason that our minds be there, where our 
Souls are to be for ever. A spiritual mind will be found possible, 
congruous, sw^eet, and evidential of an interest in that glory, to all 
those holy souls, who are preparing and designed for it. 

1. It is possible, notwithstanding the clogs and entanglements 
of the body to be heavenly-minded. Others have attained it, 
Phil. iii. 20. Two things make a heavenly conversation possible 
to men, viz. 

(1.) The natural abilities of the mind. 

(2.) The gracious principles of the mind. 

(1.) The natural abilities of the mind, which can, in a minute'^s 
time, dispatch a nimble messenger to heaven, and mount its 
thoughts from this to that world in a moment. The power of co- 
gitation is a rich endowment of the soul, such as no other creature 
on earth is participant of. Though spiritual thoughts be not the 
natural growth of the soul, yet thoughts capable of being spiritua- 
lized are. And without this ability of projecting thoughts, all in- 
tercourse must have been cut ofl*. 

(2.) The gracious principles implanted in the soul, do actually 
incline the mind, and mount its thoughts heaven-ward. Yea, this 
will prove more than a possibility of a conversation in heaven ; 


>vhiist saints tabernacle on earth, in bodies of flesh, it will almost 
prove an impossibility that it should be otherwise, for these spiri- 
tual principles setting the bent and tendency of the heart heaven- 
ward, we must act against the very law of our new nature, when 
we place our affections elsewhere. 

2. A mind in heaven is most congruous, decorous, and comely 
for those that are the enrolled inhabitants of that heavenly city. 
Where should a Christian's love be, but where his Lord is ! Our 
hearts and our homes do not use to be long asunder. It becomes 
you so to think, and so to speak now, as those who make account 
to be shortly singing hallelujahs before the throne. 

3. It is most sweet and delightful : no pleasure in this world is 
comparable to this pleasure ; Rom. viii. 6. " To be spiritually 
" minded is life and peace."" It is a young heaven born in the soul 
in its way thither. 

4. To conclude : It is evidential of your interest in it : an agree- 
able frame is the surest title. Col. iii. 1, 2. Mat. vi. 21. If heaven 
attract your minds now, it will centre them for ever. 

Use 2. This doctrine of the separation of the spirits of the just 
from their bodies, as it lies before you in this discourse affords a 
singular help to all the people of God, to entertain lovely and plea- 
sant thoughts of that day ; to make death not only an unregretted, 
but a most pleasant and desirable thing to their souls. 

I know there is a pure, simple, natural fear of death, from which 
you must not expect to be perfectly freed, by all the arguments in 
the world. And there is a reverential, awful fear of death, which 
it would be 3^our prejudice and loss to have destroyed. You will 
have a natural, and ought to have a reverential fear of death : 
the one flows from your sensitive, the other liom your sanctified 

But it is a third sort of fear which doth you all the mischief: a 
fear springing in gracious souls out of the weakness of the graces, 
and the strength of their unmortified affections : a fear arising 
partly out of the darkness of our minds, and pai-tly out of the sen- 
suality and earthhness of our heafrts ; this fear is that which so con- 
vulseth our souls when death is near, and imbittereth our lives, even 
whilst it is at a distance. He that hath been over-heated in his 
affections to this world, and over-cooled by diversions and temp- 
tations, neglects and intermissions, to that world, cannot chuse but 
give an unwilling shrug, if not a frightful screech at the appearance 
of death. 

And this being the sad case of too many, good and upriglit souls 
for the main ; and there being so few, even among aerious Chris- 
tians, that have attained to that courage and complacence in the 
thoughts of death, which the apostle speaks of, 2 Cor. v. 8. to be 



both confident and willing rather to be absent from the body, ancJ 
to be present with the Lord ; I will, from this discourse, furnish 
them with some special assistance therein. But withal, I must tell 
you upon what great disadvantages I am here to dispute with your 
fears ; so strong is the current of natural and vicious fear, that ex- 
cept a special hand of God enforce, and set home the arguments 
that shall be urged, they wiJl be as easily swept away before it, as 
so many straws by a rapid torrent ; nor will it be to any more pur- 
pose to oppose my breath to them, than to the tides and waves of 
the sea. 

Moreover, I am fully convinced, by long and often experience, 
how unsteady and inconstant the frames and tempers of the best 
hearts are ; and that if it be not altogether, yet it is next to an im- 
possibility to fix them in such a temper as this I aim at is. Where 
is that man to be found, who after the revolutions of many years, 
and in those years various dispensations of providence without him, 
altering his condition, and greater variety of temptations within, can 
yet say, notwithstanding all these various aspects and positions, his 
heart hath still held one steady and invariable tenour and course ? 

Alas, there be very few (if any) of such a sound and settled 
temper of mind, w^hose pulse beats with an even stroke, through all 
inequahties of condition, alike free and willing at one time as another, 
to be unclothed of the body, and to be with Christ. This height 
of faith, and depth of mortification ; this strength of love to 
Christ, and ardour of holy desire, are degrees of grace to which 
very few attain. 

The case standing thus, it is no more than needs, to urge all sorts 
of arguments upon our timorous and unsteady hearts ; and it is 
like to prove a hard and difficult task to bring the heart but to a 
quiet and unregretting submission to the appointment of God here- 
in, though submission be one of the lowest steps of duty in this 

If it be hard to fix our thoughts but an hour, on such an un- 
pleasant subject as death, how hard must it be to bring over the 
consent of the will ? If we cannot endure it at a distance, in our 
thoughts, how shall we embrace and hug it in our bosoms ? if our 
thoughts fly back with distaste and impatience, no wonder if our 
will be obstinate and refractory : we must first prevail with our 
thoughts to fix themselves, and think close to such a subject, be- 
fore it can be expected we cheerfully resign ourselves into the hands 
of death. We cannot be willing to go along with death, till we 
have some acquaintance with it ; and acquainted with it we can- 
not be till we accustom ourselves to think assiduously and calmly 
gf it. They that have dwelt many years at death^s door, both in 


respect of the condition of their bodies, and tlie disposition of their 
minds, yet find reluctancy enough when it comes to the point. 

Object. But if separation from the body he (as it is) an enemy 
to nature.^ and there he no posslhility to extinguish natural aversa- 
tion ; to what purpose is it to argue and persuade where there is no 
expectation of' success ? 

Sol Death is to be considered two ways by the people of God : 

1. As an enemy to nature. 

2. As a medium to glory. 

If we consider it simply in itself as an enemy to nature, there is 
nothing in it for which we should desire it : but if we consider it as 
a medium^ or pasage into glory, yea, the only ordinary way through 
which all the saints must pass out of this into a better state ; so it 
will appear not only tolerable, but desirable to prepared souls. 
Were there not a shore of glory on the other side of these black 
waters of death, for my own part, I should rather chuse to live 
meanly than to die easily. If both parts were to perish at death, 
there were no reason to persuade one to be willing to deliver up the 
other ; it were a madness for the soul to desire to be dissolved, if 
it were so far from being better out of the body than in it, that it 
should have no being at all. But Christians, let me tell you, death 
is so far from being a bar, that it is a bridge in your way to glory, 
and you are never like to come thither, but by passing over it : ex- 
cept, therefore, you will look beyond it, you will never see any de- 
sirableness in it. " I desire to be dissolved (saith Paul) and to be 
" with Christ, which is far better." To be with death is sad, but 
to be with Christ is sweet ; to endure the pains of death is doleful, 
but to see the face of Christ is joyful ; to part with your pleasant 
habitations is irksome, but to be lodged in the heavely mansions is 
most delightful ; a parting hour with dear relations is cutting, but 
a meeting hour with Jesus Christ is transporting ; to be rid of your 
own bodies is not pleasing, but to be rid of sin, and that for ever, 
what can be more pleasing to a gracious soul ? 

You see, then, in what sense I present death as a desirable thing 
to the people of God : and therefore seeing nature teacheth us (as 
the apostle speaks) to put the more abundant comehness upon the 
uncomely parts ; suffer me to dress up death in its best ornaments, 
and present it to you in the following arguments, as a beautiful and 
comely object of your conditional and well-regulated desires. 

Arg. 1 . If upon a fair and just account^ there shall appear to be 
mo7'e gain to believers in death, than there is in Ife ; reason must 
needs vote death to be better to them that are hi Christ, than Vfe can 
he ; and consequently, it should be desirable in their eyes. 

It is a clear dictate of reason, in case of choice, to chuse that 



which is best for us. Who is there that freely exercises reason 
and choice together, that will not do so ? 

What merchant vail not part with an hundred pound's worth of 
glass beads and pendants for a tun of gold ? A few tinsel toys for 
as many rich diamonds ? Mercatura est amittere, ut luceris ; that 
is true merchandise, to part with things of lesser, for things of 
greater value. 

Nov>-, if you will be tried and determined by God's book of rates, 
then the case is determined quickly, and the advantage appears ex- 
ceedingly upon death's side. Phil. i. 21. " To me to live, is 
" Christ ; and to die, is gain."' 

Object. True^ it might he so to Paul, who was eminent in grace, 
mid ripe for glory ; hut it may be loss to others, who have not at^ 
iained the height of' his holhiess or assurance. 

Sol. The true and plain sense of the objection is this, whether 
heaven and Christ, be as m.uch gain to him that enjoys them, 
though behind others both in grace and obedience, as it is to 
them who are more eminent in grace, and have done and suflPered 
more for their sake .'' And let it be determined by yourselves. But 
if your meaning be, that Paul was ready for death, and so are 
hot you ; his work and course was almost comfortably finished, 
and so is not yours ; his death, therefore, must needs be gain to 
him, but it may be loss to you, even the loss of all that you are 
worth for ever. 

To this I say, the wisdom of God orders the time of his people's 
death, as well as all other circumstances about i.t : And in this, 
your hearts may be at perfect rest, that being in Christ you can 
never die to your loss, die when you will. I know you will reply. 
That if your union with Christ were clear, the controversy were 
ended ; but then you must also consider, they are as safe who die 
by an act of recumbency upon Christ, as those that die in the fullest 
assurance of their interest in him. 

And beside, your reluctancies and aversatipns to death, are none 
of your way to assurance ; that such a strong aversation to sin, and 
such a vehement desire after, and love to Christ, as can make you 
willing to quit all that is dear and desirable to you in this world for 
his sake, is the very next door or step to assurance ; and if the 
Lord bring your hearts to this frame, and fix them there, it is not 
likely you will be long without it. 

But to return : Paul had here valued life, with a full allowance 
of all the benefits and advantages of it ; " To me to live, is Christ ;'* 
that is, if I live, I shall live in communion with Christ, and ser- 
vice for Christ, and in the midst of all those comforts which usually 
result from both. Here is life, with the most weighty and desir- 
able benefits of it, laid in one scale, and he lays death, and proba- 


bly, a violent death too, (for of that he speaks to them afterwards 
chap. ii. 17.) in the other scale. Thus he fills the scale, and the 
balance breaks on death's side ; yea, it comes down with a 
•cjoXXw fxaXyov xc-ciffeov, a far, far better. 

But here falls in (as an excellent person * observes) a rub in the 
way : there are in this casQ two judges, the flesh and the spirit, and 
they cannot agree upon the values, but contradict each other. Na- 
ture saith. It is far better to live than to die, and will not be beaten 
oiF from it. What then ? I hope you will not put blind and 
partial nature in competition with God also, as you do life with 
death. But seeing nature can plead so powerfully, as well as grace, 
let us hear what those strong reajions are that are urged by the 
flesh on life'^s side, and what the soul hath to reply and plead on 
death's side, (for the soul can plead, and that charmingly too, 
though not by words and sounds) and then determine the matter, 
as we shall see cause : but be sure prejudice pull not down the 

And here the doleful voice <of nature laments, pleads, and be- 
moans itself to the willing soul. 

' O my soul, what dost thou mean by these desires to be dissolved? 
' Art thou in earnest, when thou sayest thou art willing to leave 
' thine own body, and be gone ? Consider, and think again, ere 
' thou bid me farewell, what thou art to me, and what I have been, 

* and am to thee ; thou art my soul, that is, my prop, my beauty, 
' my honour, my life, and indeed all that is comfortable to me. If 
' thou depart, what am I but a spectacle of pity, an abhorred car- 

* case in a few moments ? 9l prey to the worms, a captive to death ? 
' If thou depart, my candle is put out, and I am left in the horrors 
' of darkness. 

' I am thy hovise, thy delightful habitation, the house in which 
« thou hast dwelt from the first moment of thy creation, and never 
' lodgest one night in any other : every room in me hath one 
' way or other, been a banqueting-room for thy entertainment, a 
' room of pleasure ; all my senses have peen purveyors for thy de- 
' hght, my members have all of them been thine instruments and 
' servants to execute thy commands and pleasure. If thou and I 
' part, it must be in a shower : thou shalt feel such pains, such 
' travailing throes, such deep, emphatical groans, such sweets, such 
' agonies as thou n^ver felt before : for death hath somewhat of 
' anguish peculiar to itself, and which is unknown, though guessed 
' at by the living. Besides, whenever thou leavest me, thou leavest 

* all that is, and hath been comfortable to thee in this world : thy 
' house shall know thee no more. Job vii. 10. thy lands, thy money, 

* Mr. IJow, in Mrs. Margaret Baxter's funeral sermon. 


* thy trade, which have cost thee so many careful thoughts, and 

* yielded thee so many refreshments, shall be thine no longer ; death 
< will strip thee of all these, and leave thee naked. 

' Thou hast also, since thou becamest mine, contracted manifold 

* relations in the world, which I know are dear unto thee : I 

* know it by costly experience : How hast thou made me to wear 
*• and waste myself, in labours, cares, and watchings for them ? 

* But if thou wilt be gone, all these must be left exposed, God 

* knows to what wants, abuses, and miseries i for I can do nothing 

* for them, or myself, if once thou leave me.' Thus it charms 
and pleads ; thus it layeth, as it were, violent hands upon the 
sou], and saith, ' my soul, thou shalt not depart."* It hangs 
about it much, as the wife and children of good Galeacius 
Caracciolus did about him, when he was leaving Italy, to go to 
Geneva, (a lively emblem of the case before us). It saith to the 
soul, as Joab did to David, "Thou hast shamed thy face this day, 
" in that thou lovest thine enemy, death, and hatest me thy 
*' friend." ' O my soul ! my life ! my darling ! my dear and 
' only one ! let nothing but unavoidable necessity part thee and 

* me."* All this the flesh can plead, and a great deal more than 
this, and that a thousand times more powerfully and feelingly, than 
any words can plead the case. And all its arguments are backed 
by sense ; sight and feehng attest what nature speaks. 

Let us, in the next place, weigh the pleas and reasons, which 
notwithstanding all this, do over-power, and prevail with the be- 
lieving soul to be gone, and quit its own body, and return no more 
to the elementary world. 

And thus the power of faith and love enables it to reply : 
' My dear body, the companion and partner of my comforts 
^ and troubles, in the days of my pilgrimage on earth, great is my 
' love, and strong are the boiids of my affections to thee. Thou 

* hast been tenderly, yea, excessively beloved by me ; my cares 
' and fears for thee have been inexpressible, and nothing but the 
' love of Jesus Christ is strong enough to gain my consent to part 

* with thee ; thy interest in my affection is great, but as great as 
' it is, and as much as I prize thee, I can shake thee off, and thrust 
' thee aside, to go to Christ. 

' Nor may this seem absurd, or unreasonable, considering tliat 
' God never designed thee for a mansion, but only a temporary" 
' tabernacle to me : it is true, I have had some comfort during my 
' abode in thee ; but I enjoyed these comforts only in thee, not from 
' thee ; and many more I might have enjoyed, hadst thou not been 

* a snare and a clog to me. 

- ' It is thou that hast eaten up my time, and distracted my thoughts, 
^ ensnared my affections, and drawn me under much sin and sor- 


* row : however, though we may weep over each other, as accessories 
« to the sins and miseries we have drawn upon ourselves ; yet in this 

< is our joint rehef, that the blood of Christ hath cleansed us both 
« from all sin. 

' And therefore I can part the more easily and comfortably 
« from thee, because I part in hope to receive and enjoy thee in a 

< far better condition than I leave thee. It is for both our interests 
« to part for a time ; for mine, because I shall thereby be freed 
« and delivered from sin and sorrow, and immediately obtain rest 

< with God, and the satisfaction of all my desires in his presence 
' and enjoyment, which there is no other way to obtain, but by 
' separation from thee : and why should I live a groaning, burdened, 
' restless life always, to gratify thy fond and irrational desires ? 

* If thou lovest me, thou wouldst rejoice, not repine at my hap- 
' piness. Parents willingly part with their children at the greatest 
' distance, for their preferment, how dearly soever they love 
' them ; and dost thou envy, or repine at mine ? I have lived 
' many months a suffocating, obscure life, with thee in the womb, 

* and neither you nor I had ever tasted or experienced the comforts 

* of this world, and the various delights of sense, if we had not 
' struggled hard for an entrance into this world. And now we 
' are here alas ! though thou art contented to abide ; I live in 
' thee, but as we both lived in the womb, an obscure, uneasy, and 

* unsuitable life ; thou canst feed upon material bread, and delight 
' thyself amidst the variety of sensitive objects thou findest here ; 

* but what are all these things to me ? 1 cannot subsist by them ; 
' that which is food to thee, is but chaff, wind, vanity to me : if I 
' stay with thee, I^shall be still sinning, and still groaning; when 
' I leave thee, I shall be immediately freed from both, and arrive 

* at the sum and perfection of all the hopes, desires, and whatsoever 
' I have aimed at, and laboured for, in all the duties of my life. 

* Let us therefore be content to part. 

' Shrink not at the horrpr o[ a grave ; it is indeed a dark and 
' solitary house, and the days of darkness may be many ; but to 
' thee, my dear companion, it shall be a bed of rest, yea, a perfumed 

* bed, where thy Lord Jesus lay before thee : and let the time of 

* thy abode there be never so long, thou shalt not measure it, nor 

* find the least tediousness in it ; a thousand years there shall seem 

* no more in the morning of the resurrection, than the sweetest nap 

* of an hour. seemed to be when I was wont to lay thee upon the 

* bed to rest. 

' The worms in the grave shall be nothing to thee, nor give 

* thee the thousandth part of that trouble that a flea was wont to 

* do ; and though I leave thee, Jesus Christ shall watch, in the 


* mean time over my dust, and not suffer a grain of it to be lost :: 
^ and I will return assuredly to thee again, at the time appointed ; 
' I take not an everlasting farewell of thee, but depart for a time, 
' that I may receive thee for ever. To conclude, there is an una* 
' voidable necessity of our parting ; whether willing or unwilling, 
' we must be separated : but the consent of my will to part with 
' thee, for the enjoyment of Jesus Christ will be highly accepta- 

* ble to God, and greatly sweeten the bitter cup of death to us 
' both; 

This, and much more the gracious soul hath to say for its sepa^ 
ration from the body ; by which it is easy to discern w^here the gain 
and advantage of death lies to all believers, and consequently, ho.w 
much must it be every way their interest to be unbodied. 

J?'g. 2. To be weary of the body upon the pure account and 
reason of our hatred to sin, and longing desires after Jesus Christ, 
argues strongly grace in truth, and grace in strength ; it is both 
the test of our sincerity, and measure of our attainment and matu- 
rity of grace, and upon both accounts highly desirable by all the 
people of God. 

It is so great an evidence of the truth of gi'ace, that the scri|> 
lures have made it the descriptive periphrasis of a Christian : so we 
find it in 2 Tim. iv. 8. the crown of life is there promised to all 
them that love the appearance of Christ, i, e. those that love to drink 
of it, that delight to steep their thoughts in subjects belonging to 
the other world, and cast many a yearning look that way : and 
S Pet. iii. 12. they are described to be such as are " looking for, 
'^ and hastening to the coming of the day of God." Their earnest 
expectations and longings do not only put them upon making all 
the haste they can to be with Christ, but it makes the interposing 
time seem so tedious and slow, that with their most vehement 
wishes and desires, they do what they can to accelerate and hasten 
it As Rev. xxii. " Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly."*' Lovers 
hours, saith the proverb, are full of eternity. ' O, said Mr. Ru- 
' therford, that Christ would make long strides ! O that he would 
^ fold up the heavens as a cloak, and shovel time and days out of the 
' way !' Such desires as these can spring from none but gracious 
and renewed souls ; for nature is wholly disaffected to a removal 
hence, upon such motives and considerations as these : if others 
wish at any time for death, it is but in a pet, a present passion, pro- 
voked by some intolerable anguish, or great distress of nature : but 
to look and long, and hasten to the other world, out of a weari- 
ness of sin, and a hearty willingness to be with Christ, supposes 
necessarily a deep-rooted hatred of sin, abhorring it more than 
death itself, the greatest of natural evils, and a real sight of things 

A •treatise of the soul of man. Ill 

invisible by the eye of faith, without which it is impossible any 
man's heart should be thus framed and tempered. 

And as it evidenceth the truth, so also the strength and maturity 
of grace; for alas, how many thousands of gracious souls that 
love the Lord Jesus in sincerity, are to be found quite below this 
temper of mind ! O it is but here and there one among the Lord's 
own people, that have reached this height and eminence of faith 
and love. It is with the fruits of the Spirit, just as it is with the 
fruits of the earth ; some are green and raw, others are ripe and 
mellow : the first stick fast on the branches, you may shake and 
shake again, and not one will drop ; or as those fruits that grow 
in hedges, with their coats and integuments enwrapping them, as 
nuts, &c. you may try your strength upon them, and sooner break 
your nails, than disclose and separate them : so fast and close do 
their husks stick to them : but when time and the influences of 
heaven hath ripened and brought them to perfection, the apples 
drop into your hands without the least touch, and the nut falls out 
of its case of its own accord. So much more doth the soul part 
from its body, when maturated, and come to its strength and vi- 

Arg. 3. It may greatly prevail u]X)n the will and resolution of a 
believer, to adventure boldly and cheerfully upon death, that our 
bodies, of which we are bereaved and deprived by death, shall be 
most certainly and advantageously restored to us by the resurrec- 
tion. The resurrection of the dead is the encouragement and con- 
solation of the dying ; the more our faitli is established in the doc- 
trine of the resurrection, the more we shall surmount the fears of 
dissolution. If Paul urged it as an argument to reconcile Phile- 
mon to his servant Onesimus, ver. 15. " That he therefore de- 
" parted for a season, that Philemon might receive him for ever ;" 
the same argument may reconcile every believer to death, and take 
off the prejudice of the soul against it. You shall surely receive 
your bodies again, and enjoy them for ever. 

Now the doctrine of the resurrection is as sure in itself as it is 
comfortable to us ; the depth and strength of its foundation fully 
answers to the height and sweetness of its consolation. Be pleased 
to try the two pillars thereof, and see which of them may be doubted 
or shaken. Mat. xxii. 29- " You err (saith Christ to the Saddu- 
" cees, who denied this doctrine) not knowing the scriptures, and 
" the power of God.'' This is the ground and root of their error, 
not knowing the scriptures, and the power of God : q. d. did you 
know and believe the scriptures of God, and the power of God, 
you would never question this doctrine of the resurrection, Avhich 
is built upon them both. The power of God convinceth all men 
that know and believe it, that it may he so^ and the scriptures oF 


God con\'ince all that know and believe them, that it must be so^ 
As for his power, who can doubt it ? At the command and fiat of 
God, the earth brought forth every living creature after his kind, 
Gen. i. 24, 25. at his command Lazarus came forth, John xi. 43. 
And was there not as much difficulty in either of these, as in our 
resurrection? By this power our souls were quickened, and raised 
from the death of sin and guilt to the spiritual life of Christ, Eph. 
i. 19. And is it not as easy to raise a dead body as a dead soul ? 
But what stand I arguing in so plain a case, when we are assured 
this mighty power is able to subdue all things to itself, Phil, 
iii. 21. 

And then, for his promise that it shall be so, what can be plainer ? 
See 1 Thess. iv. 15, 16. " This we say unto you by the word of 
'' the Lord,"" &c. i. e. in the name or authority of the Lord, and by 
commission and warrant from him. He first opens his commission, 
shews his credentials, and then publishes the comfortable doctrine 
of his resurrection, and the saints pre-eminence to all others 

Weil then, what remains in death to fright and scar a believer? 
Is it our parting with these bodies? Why, is it not for ever 
that we part with them ; as sure as the power and promises of God 
are true, firm, and sufficient to accomplish it, we shall see and 
enjoy them again. This comforted Job, chap. xix. 25, 26. over 
all his diseases, when of all his enjoyments that once he had, he 
could not say, my friends, my children, my estate; yet then he could 
say, my Redeemer. When he looked upon a poor wasted, withered, 
loathsome body of his own, and saw nothing but a skeleton, an 
image of death, yet then could he see it a glorious body, by view- 
ing it belie\-ingly in this glass of the resurrection. So then all the 
damage we can receive by death, is but the absence of our bodies 
for a time ; during which time, the covenant-relation betwixt God 
and them, holds good and firm. Mat. xxii. 32. He therefore 
will take care of them, and in due time restore them with marvel- 
lous improvements and endowments, to us again, divested of all 
their infirmities, and clothed with heavenly quahties and perfec- 
tions, 1 Cor. XV. 43, 44. And in the mean time, the soul attains 
its rest, and happiness, and satisfaction in the blessed God. 

Arg. 4. The consideration of what we part from, and what we 
go to, should make the medium, by which we pass from so much 
evil to so great good, lovely and desirable in our eyes, how unplea- 
sing or bitter soever it be in itself. 

No man desires physic for itself There is no pleasure in bitter 
pills and loathsome potions, except whiit rises from the end, viz. the 
disburdening of nature, and recovery of health ; and this gives it a 


value with the sick and pained. Under a like consideration is death 
desired by sick and pained souls, who find it better to die once, 
than groan under burdens continually. 

Death certainly is the best physician, next, and under Jesus 
Christ, that ever was employed about them ; for it cures radically 
and perfectly, so that the soul never relapses more into any distem- 
per. Other medicines are but anodynes, or at best they relieve us 
but in part, and for a time ; but this goes through the work, and 
perfects the cure at once. Methinks that call of Christ which he 
gives his spouse in Cant. iv. 8. " (Come with me from Lebanon, 
" (my spouse) with me from Lebanon : and look from the top of 
" Amana, from the top of Shenir and Hermon, from the lions 
** dens, from the mountains of the leopards)"" scarce suits any time 
so well as the time of death. Then it is that we depart from the 
lions dens, and the mountains of leopards, places uncomfortable 
and unsafe. More particularly at death the saints depart. 

1. From defiling corruptions 

2. From heart-sinking sorrows 

3. From entangling temptations 

4. From distressing persecutions 

5. From pinching wants 

6. From distracting fears 

7. From deluding shadows 

1. Perfect purity. 

2. Fulness of joy. 

3. Everlasting freedom. 

4. Full rest. 

5. Universal supplies. 

6. Highest security. 

7. Substantial good. 

1. From defiling corruptions into perfect purity. No sin hangs 
about the separated, though it do about the sanctified soul. They 
come out of the body suitable to that character aad encomium. 
Cant. iv. 7. " Thou art all fair, my love, there is no spot in 
*' thee."" It doth that for the saints, which all their graces and 
duties, all their mercies and afflictions, could never do. Faith is 
a great purifier, communion with God a great cleanser, sanctified 
afflictions a refiner's fire and fuller's soap ; these have all done 
their parts, and been useful in their places : But none of them, 
nor all together, perfect this cure till death come, and then the 
work is done, and the cure perfected. 

All weeping, all praying, all believing, all hearing, all sacra- 
ments, all the means and instruments in the world, cannot do 
what death will do for thee. One dying hour will do what ten 
thousand praying hours never did, nor could do. In this hour the 
design of all those hours is accomplished ; as he that is dead by 
mortification, is at present freed from sin, in respect of imputation 
and dominion, Rom. vi. 7. so he that is justified and mortified, 
when dead naturally, is immediately freed from the very indwelling 
and existence of sin in him. We read of the wasliing of the robes 
of the saints, in Rev. vii. 14. The blood of the Lamb cleanscth 


them from every spot ; but it doth it gradually. The last spot of 
guilt indeed was fetched out by one act of justification; but the 
last spot of filth is not fetched out till the time of their dissolution; 
when they are come out of the agonies of death (which the scripture 
calls great tribulation) then, and not till then, are they perfectly 
cleansed. Sin brought in death, and death carries out sin. 

Oh ! what a pure, lovely, shining creature, is the separated 
spirit of a just man? how cL^ar is its judgment, how ordinate its 
"will, how holv, and altogether heavenly are all its affections now ! 
and never till now it feels itself perfectly well, and as it would 

S. From heart sinking soriiows, into fulness of joy. The life 
we now live is a groaning lif(», 2 Cor. v. 2. where is the Christian, 
that if his inside could be seen, and his heart laid naked, would 
not be found wounded from many hands ? from the hand of God, 
of enemies, of friends, of Satan ; but especially by the hands of 
its own corruptions ? Christ our head was sfiled a man of sorrows^ 
from the multitude of his sorrows ; and it is the lot of all his to be 
in a state of sorrow in the body. " In the world (saith he) you 
'^ shall have trouble.'" When I consider how oft the candle of 
sorrow is held to the thread of life, I justly wonder how it is pro- 
tracted to such a length. What friend, what enjoyment had we 
ever in this world, from which no sorrow, nay, many sorrows 
have not sprung up to us ? And if the best comforts bring forth 
sorrows, what do the worst things we meet with here bring forth ? 
I suppose there are many thousands of God's people this day in the 
world, that have as much reason to assume the same new name 
that Naomi did, and say, Call me Mar ah. Look, as day and 
night divide all time betmxt them ; so do our comforts and our 
sorrows, only with this difference, that our nights of sorrow, like 
winter nights, are long, cold and dark ; and our days of comfort 
short, and frequently overcast. 

But when we put off these bodies, we put off our mourning 
garments with them, and shall never son-ow any more : Thence- 
forth God wij>es away all tears from his people's eyes, Rev. xxi. 4. 
And that is not all,' but they enter into their Master's joy, even 
fulness of joy, and pleasures for evermore. Groans are turned into 
triumphs, and sighs and tears into joyful acclamations and songs 
of praise. Oh that we were once made thoroughly sensible of the 
advantages that come by this exchange ! 

3. From entangling temptations into everlasting freedom. It is 
this body, and the interests and concerns of it, upon which Satan 
raises most of his batteries against our souls : It is our flesh that 
causeth our souls to sin; and whilst the soul dwells in the body, 
it is vA\\\m Satan's reach to tempt, and defile, and trouble it. Oh 


\rhat grievous things do the best souls endure, and suffer on this 
account ! 

Temptations are of two sorts ; ordinary and mediate, by Satan's 
exciting and managing our corruptions, by presenting objects to 
them ; or extraordinary and immediate, like fiery darts shot im- 
mediately out of hell into the soul, which puts it all into a flame 
and combustion : Of the former you read in James i. 14. the latter, 
Eph. vi. 16. and upon the account of the one and the other, the 
people of God are weary of their lives. Think what a grief it must 
be to a soul that loves God, to feel in itself such things as militate 
against, and wound the name and honour of God, which is, and 
ought to be dearer to it than its life. 

But by the door of death every gracious soul makes its escape 
from the tempting power of Satan : He can no more touch or affect 
the soul with any temptation, than we can better the body of the 
sun with snow-balls : For as Satan can have no access to that place 
of blessedness, where the souls of the saints are ; so if he could, he 
can find nothing in them to fasten a temptation upon. The 
schoolmen give this as the reason why the saints in heaven are 
impeccable, because all their thoughts and affections are everlast- 
ingly fixed in, and employed about the blessed God, whose face 
they continually behold in glory. 

4. From distressing persecutions, into full and perfect rest. As 
death sets us free from the power of Satan, so from the reach of 
all persecutors. " There the wicked cease from troubling, and 
" there the weary are at rest,"' as it is in Job iii. 17. The price 
of one Ahab, who had sold himself to work wickedness, was a 
stock sufficient to purchase many years trouble to all Israel, 1 Kings 
xviii. 17. " Wicked men are as the unquiet, troubled sea which 
*' cannot rest,'' Isa. Ivii. 20. They cannot rest from troubling 
the saints, till they cease to be wicked or to live : When God puts 
out the candle of their lives, they are silent in darkness, 1 Sam. ii. 9. 
And when God puts out the candle of our life, we are at rest, 
though they rage never so much in this world. Death is the saints 
quietus est, their full and final discharge from persecuting enemies* 
When we are dying, we may say, as Psal. ix. 6. " O thou enemy, 
*' destructions are come to a perpetual end."*' 

God may put an end to those persecutions before death ; and 
such a time, according to promise, is to be expected, " when our 
" officers shall be peace, and our exactors righteousness, Isa. Ix- 17. 
but if the accomplishment of the promise be reserved for ages to 
come, and we must spend our days under the oppression of the 
wicked ; yet this is our comfort, we know when we shall be far 
enough out of their reach. 

5. From pinching wants, to universal supplies- This is the day 
Vol. IIL H 


in which the Lord abundantly satisfies the desires, and suppUes the 
needs of all his people. There are two sorts of wants upon the 
people of God: spiritual and temj)oral. 

Spiritual wants are the just complaints of all gracious souls. You 
read, 1 Thess. iii, 10. of that which is lacking in the faith of the 
saints: There are none but find many things lacking to the perfec- 
tion of every grace : our knowledge of God wants clearness and 
efficacy ; our love to God fervour and constancy ; our faith wants 
strength and stability : Darkness mixes itself with our knowledge, 
deadness with our love, unbelief with the purest acts of faith. Go 
where you will, you shall find God's people every where complain- 
ing of their spiritual wants : one of a dark head, another of a dead 
heart, another of a treacherous memory. Thus they are loading 
one another with their complaints. 

Temporal outward wants pinch hard also upon many of God's 
people : The greatest number of them consist of the poor of this 
world, James ii. 5. Those whose souls are, discharged and acquit- 
ted by God, whose debts are paid by Jesus Christ, may yet be en- 
tangled in a brake of cares and troubles in the world, and not 
know which way to turn themselves in their straits and difficulties. 
But by death the saints pass from all their wants, inward and out- 
ward, to a state of complete satisfaction, where nothing is lacking. 
From that day all their spiritual wants are supplied ; for they are 
now arrived " to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ, 
" to a perfect man,"' Eph. iv. 13. Now " that which is perfect is 
*' come, and all that was in part is done away," 1 Cor. xiii. 10. 

And for outward wants, they shall feel them no more : For put- 
ting off the body, we must needs put off all cares and concerns about 
it. " Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats, God shall de- 
" stroy both it Dud them,^" 1 Cor. vi. 13. 

6. From distracting fears, into the highest security and rest of 
thoughts for evermore. The fears of God's people are either about 
their souls, or about their bodies ; the fears they have about their 
souls are inexpressible. Two things especially exercise their fears 
about their soul. (1.) Whether they be really united to Christ. 
(2.) Whether they shall be able to continue and persevere in the 
ways of Christ to the end ? they are afraid of their sincerity and of 
their stability : And these fears accompany many of God's people 
from their regeneration to their dissolution. O, what would they not 
give, what would they not do, yea, what would they not endure 
to get a full satisfaction in those things ! Every working of corrup- 
tion, every discovery made by temptation, puts them into a fright, 
and makes them question all that ever was wrought in them. 

And, as their fears are great about the inward man, so also 
about the outward man ; especially when such bloody preparations 


scorn to be making by the enemies that have acted such, and so 
many bloody tragedies already in the world. 

But at death they enter into a perfect peace and security, Isa. 
Ivii. 2. No wind of fear shall ever ruffle or disturb their souls, and 
put them into a storm any more. 

7. From deluding shadows, into substantial good. This world 
is the world of shadows and delusive appearances. Here we are 
imposed upon, and baffled by empty and deceitful vanities : All we 
have here is little else but a dream ; at death the soul awakes out 
of its dream, and finds itself in the world of realities, where it 
feeds upon substantial good to satisfaction, Psal. xvii. 15. 

Now the advantages accruing to tlie soul by death, being so great 
and many, though the medium be harsh and ungrateful in itself, 
yet there is all the reason in the world we should covet it, for the 
benefits that come by it. 

Arg. 5. The foretastes we have had of heaven already in the 
body, should make all the saints long to be unembodied for the full 
and perfect fruition of that joy, seeing it cannot be fully and per- 
fectly enjoyed by the soul, till it hath put off the body by death. 

That there are prelibations, first-fruits, and earnests of future 
glory given at certain seasons to believers in this life, is put beyond 
all doubting, not only by scripture testimonies, but frequent ex- 
periences of God's people. I speak not only with the scriptures, 
but with the clearest experience of many saints, when I say, here 
are to be felt and tasted, even here in the body, the earnests of 
our inheritance, Eph. i. 14. " The first-fruits of the Spirit," Rom. 
viii. 23. The sealing of the Spirit, Eph. i. IS. " The very joy of 
" the Lord," 1 Pet. i. 8. of the same kind, though in a less degree, 
with that of the glorified. 

That the fulness of this joy cannot be in us whilst we tabernacle 
in bodies of flesh, is as plain. When Moses desired a sight of that 
face which the spirits of just men made perfect do continually be- 
hold and adore, the answer was, " No man can see my face and 
" live," Exod. xxxiii. 18, 19, 20, q. d. Moses, thou askest a great 
thing, and understandest not how unable thou art to support that 
which thou desirest : should I shew thee my glory in this com- 
pounded state thou now art in, it would confound thee and swal- 
low thee up. Nature, as now constituted, cannot support such a 
weight of glory : A ray, a glimpse of this light overpowers man, 
and breaks such a clay vessel to pieces ; which is the reason why 
the resurrection must intervene betwixt this state and that of the 
body's glorification. 

And it is not to be doubted, but one main end and reason why 
these foretastes of heaven are given us in the body, is to embolden 



the soul to venture through death itself for the full enjoyment of 
those delights and pleasures. They are like the grapes of Eshcol 
to the faint-hearted Israelites, or tne sweet wines of Italy to the 
Gauls, which, once tasted, made them restless tiU they had con- 
quered that good country where thev grew, Rom. viii. 23. " We 
" which have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves do 
*• groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, viz. the redemp- 
" tion of oui* bodies."" 

Well then, reflect seriously upon these sweet tastes that you have 
had of God and his love, in your sincere and secret addresses to 
him, and converses ^rith him. What a holy forgetfulness of all 
things in this world hath it wTought i How insipid and tasteless 
hath it rendered tlie sweetest creature enjoyments ! W^hat willing- 
ness to be dissolved for a more full fruition of it ! God this way 
brings heaven nigh to your souls, out of design to overcome your 
reluctancies at death, through whicli we must pass to the enjoy- 
ment of it. And after all those sights and tastes, both of the 
truth and goodness of that state, shall we still reluctate and hang 
back, as if we had never tasted how good the Lord is ! O, you 
may justly question, whether you ever had a real taste of Jesus 
Christ, if that taste do not kindle coals of fire in your bosoms; I 
mean, ardent longings to be with him, and to be satiated with his 

If you have been privileged v. ith a taste of that hidden manna, 
with the sight of things invisible, with joys unspeakable, and full 
of glory, and yet are loth to be gone to the fountain Avhence all 
this flows : certainly you herein both cross the design of the Spirit 
in giving them, and cast a vile disgrace and reproach upon the bles- 
sed God, as thinking there is more bitterness in death, than there 
is sweetness in his presence. Yea, it argues the strength of that 
unbehef which still remains in your hearts, that after so many tastes 
and trials as you have had, you still remain doubtful and hesitating 
about the certainty and reality of things invisible. 

O, what ado hath God with his froward and peevish children ! 
If he had only revealed the future state to us in his word, as the 
pure object of faith, and required us to die upon the mere credit 
of his promise, without such pawns, pledges, and earnests as these 
are ; were there not reason enough for it ? But after such, and so 
many wonderful and amazing condescensions, wherein he doth, as 
it were, say. Soul, if yet thou doubtest, I will bring heaven to thee, 
thou shalt have it in thy hand, thy eyes shall see it, th)^ hands 
shall handle it, thy mouth shall taste it : How inexcusable is our 
reluctancy .'' 

Jrg: 6. If slwuld greatly for t'lfi/ the people of God against the 
fears of dissolution, to consider that death can neither destroy the 


he lug' of their sends by annihilation, nor the hopes and expectations 
ihey have of blessedness, by disapptointment and frustration, Prov, 
xiv. 32. " The righteous hath hope in his death."' 

Though all earthly things fail at death (upon which account 
dying is expressed by failing, Luke xvi. 19) yet neither the soul, 
nor its well-grounded hopes can fail. The anchor of a believer's 
hope is firm and sure, Heb. vi. 18. It will not come home in the 
greatest storm that can beat upon the soul. For (1.) God hath 
foreknown and chosen them to salvation before the world was, 1. 
Pet. i. 2. " And this foundation of God standeth sure, having this 
" seal, The Lord knoweth who are his," 2 Tim. ii. 19. His de- 
crees are as firm as mountains of brass, Zech. vi. 1. (2.) God hath 
justified their persons, and therein destroyed the power of death 
over them, 1 Cor. xv. 55, 5Q, 57. " O death where is thy sting ? 
" O grave where is thy victory ? The sting of death is sin, the 
" strength of sin is the law." If all the hurtful power of death 
lies in sin, and all the destructive power of sin rises from the law ; 
then neither death nor sin, hath any power to destroy the believer, 
in whom the righteousness of the law is fulfilled, Rom. viii. 4. 
namely, by the imputation of the righteousness of Christ to them, 
in respect of which they are as righteous, as if in their own persons 
they had perfectly obeyed all its commands, or suffered ail its 
penalties. Thus death loseth its sting, its curse and killing power 
over the souls of all that are in Christ. (3.) God hath sanctified 
their natures, which sanctification is not only a sure evidence c^ 
their election and justification, 2 Thess. i. 5, 6. Rom. viii. 1. but a 
sure pledge of their glorification also, 2 Cor. v. 4, 5. Yea, (4.) 
He hath made a sure, and an everlasting covenant with believers ; 
and among other gracious privileges thereby conferred upon them, 
death is found in the inventory, 1 Cor. xiii. 21. Death is yours ; 
to die is gain to them : It destroys their enemies, and the distance 
that is betwixt Christ and them. (5.) He hath sealed them to his 
glory by the Holy Spirit, Eph. iv. 30. So that their hopes are too 
firmly built to be destroyed by death ; and if it cannot destroy their 
souls, nor overthrow their hopes, they need not fear all that it can 
do besides. 

Arg. 7. It may greatly encourage and embolden the people of God 
to die, considering that though at death they take the last sight and 
view of all that is dear to them on earth ; yet then they are admitted 
to the first immediate sight and blessed vision of God, which will be 
their happiness to all eternity. 

When Hezekiah was upon his supposed death-bed, he com- 
plained, Isa. xxxviii. 11. "I shall see man no more, with the inha- 
" bitants of the world.*" We shall see thenceforth these corporeal 
people no more. We shall see our habitations and dwelling-places 



no more, Job vii. 9, 10, 11. We shall see our children and dear 
relations no more, Job xiv. 21. His sons come " to honour, and he 
" knoweth it not." These things make death terrible to men ; 
but that which cures all this trouble is, that we shall neither need, 
nor desire them, being thenceforth admitted to the beatifical vision 
of the blessed God himself 

It is the expectation and hope of this which comforteth the 
souls of the righteous here, Psal. xvii. 15. "AVhen I awake, I 
" shall behold thy face in righteousness." Those weak and dim 
representations made by faith, at a distance, are the very joy and 
rejoicing of a believer's soul now, 1 Pet. i. 7, 8. but how sweet and 
transporting soever these visions of faith be, they are not worthy to 
be named in comparison with the immediate and beatifical vision, 
1 Cor. xiii. 12. This is the very sum of a believer's blessedness : 
And what it is we cannot comprehend in this imperfect state ; only 
in general we mav gather these conclusions about it, from the ac- 
count given of it in the scriptures. 

1. That it will not be such a sight of God as we now have by 
the mediation of faith, but a direct, immediate, and intuitive vi- 
sion of God ; ( * 1 John iii. 2. " We shall see him as he is.*" 
1 Cor. xiii. 12. " Then face to face,") which far transcends the 
vision of faith in clearness and in comfort. This seems to import 
no less than the very sight of the Divine essence, that which 
Moses desired on earth to see, but could not, Exod. xxxiii. 20. nor 
can be seen by any man dwelling in a body, 1 Tim. vi. 16. nor by 
unbodied souls comprehensively ; so God only sees himself. Our 
eyes see the sun which they cannot comprehend, yet truly appre- 
hend. God will then be known in his essence, and in the glory of 
all his attributes. The sight of the attributes of God gives the 
occasion and matter of those ascriptions of praise and glory to him, 
which is the proper employment of glorified souls, Rev. iv. 11, 
12, 13. which is the proper employment of angels, Isa. vi. 3. Oh 
how difi'erent is this from what we now have through faith, duties, 
and ordinances ! See the difference betwixt knowledge by report 
and immediate sight, in that example of the queen of the south, 1 
Kings X. 10. the former only excited her desires, the latter trans- 
ported and overcame her very soul. 

Some may think such a vision of God to exceed the abilities of 
nature, and capacities of any creature. But as a learned -f man 
rightly observes, if the Divine Nature be capable of union with a 

* Tlie light of glory is an actual illumination, i. e. a supernatural influx of God, 
elevating the understanding to a sight of the Divine Essence. Smissing Tract. 2. Bis. 
6. N. 53. 

I Norton's Orthodox Evang. p. 327. 


oreatLirc, as it is evident in the person of CliFist, it is also capable of 
being the object of vision to the creature. Beside, we must know 
the light of glory hath the same respect to tliis blessed vision, that 
assisting grace hath to the acts of faith and obedience performed 
here on earth. It is a comforting, soul-strengdiening Hght, not 
to dazzle and over-power, but to comfort, strengthen, and clear the 
eye of the creature's understanding. Rev. ii. 28. " I will give him 
" the morning-star,"" lumen comjhrfans ; and Isa. xxxvi. 9. " In tliy 
" light we shall see light." 

2. It will be a satisfying sight, Psal. xvii. 15. so perfectly quiet- 
ing, and giving rest to the soul in all its powers, that they neither 
can proceed, nor desire to proceed any farther. The understand- 
ing can know no more, the will can will no more ; the affections 
of joy, delight, and love are at full rest and quiet in their proper 
centre. For all good is in the chiefest good eminently ; as all the 
light of the candles in the world is in the sun, and all the rivers in 
the world in the sea. That which makes the understanding, will, 
and affections move farther, as being restless and unsatisfied in all 
discoveries and enjoyments here, is the limited and imperfect na- 
ture of things we now converse with ; as if you bring a great ship 
that draws much water into a narrow, and shallow river, she can 
neither sail nor swim, but is presently aground. But let that ship 
have sea-room enough, then she can turn and sail before the wind, 
because there is a depth of water, and room enough. So it is here ; 
all that delighted, but could never satisfy you in the creature, is 
eminently in God; and what was imperfectly in them, is perfectly 
to be enjoyed hi him, 1 Cor. xv. 28. " God shall be all in all ;"' 
the comforts you had here were but drop by drop, inflaming, not 
satisfying the appetite of the soul : But then " the Lamb, which is 
"• in the midst of the throne, shall feed them, and lead them unto 
" fountains of living water," Rev. vii. 17. The object fills the 

3. It will be an appropriating vision of God ; you shall see him 
as your own God, and proper portion ; else it could never be a 
satisfying vision, Job xix. 27. " Whom I shall see for myself !" 
Not look on him as another'^s God, but as my God and portion 
for ever. Balaam saw Christ by a spirit of prophecy ; but he had 
no comfort, because no interest in him, Numb. xxiv. 17. The 
wicked sliall see him, but without joy, yea, with weeping eyes and 
gnashing of death, because they cannot see him as their Lord, 
Luke xiii. 28. It is but a poor comfort to starving beggars to stand 
quivering and famishing in the streets in a cold dark night, and 
see the liglits in the bridegroom's house, the noble dishes served in, 
and to hear the music and mirth of the guests that feast within. 
Here it will be as clear that he is our God, as that he is GocL 



Assurance is that which many souls have desired, prayed, and 
panted for, but cannot attain. There may be many rubs and 
stumbling-blocks in the way to that sweet enjoyment ; but here 
we find what we have been so long seeking : There be no doubt, 
scruples, objections, puzzling cases to exercise your own or others 
thoughts : but as these did arise from one of these grounds, viz. 
the working of corruption, the efficacy of temptations, or Divine 
withdrawments, and the hidings of God's face ; so all these being 
removed perfectly and for ever in that state, the heavens must 
needs be clear, and not a cloud of doubt or fear to be seen for 

4. It will be a deeply affecting sight : your eyes will now so af- 
fect your hearts as they were never affected before. The first 
view of God will snatch away your hearts to him, as a greater flame 
doth the less. Love will not now distil from the heart, as waters 
from a cold still, but gush out as from a sluice or floodgate pulled 
up. The soul will not move after God so deadly and slowly as it 
doth now, but be as the chariots of Ammi-nadib, Cant. vi. 12. We 
may say of the frames of our hearts there, compared with what 
they are here, as it is said, Deut. xii. 8, 9- " You shall not love, or 
delight in God, as you do this day."" If the perfection of that state 
would admit shame or sorrow, how should we blush and mourn in 
heaven, to think how cold our love, and how low our delights in 
God were on earth ! 1 John iv. 16. " God is love; and he that 
dwelleth in love, dwelleth in God.'' Look, as iron put into the 
fire becomes all fiery, so the soul dwelling in the God of love, be- 
comes all love, all 'delight, all joy. O what transports must that 
soul feel, that abides under the line of love ! feels the perpendicular 
beams of electing, creating, redeeming, preserving love, beating 
powerfully upon it, and melting it into love ! See some of their 
transports, Rev. v. 13, 14. 

5. It will be an everlasting vision of God, 1 Thess. v. 17. " So 
<' shall we be ever with the Lord," [ever with the Lord.] Who 
can find words to open the due sense of these few words ! Vaca- 
himus et vidibinms, videhimus et amabimus, amaUmus et laudabi- 
mus in fine sinefine^ saith blessed Austin. This is the everlasting 
sabbath, which hath no night, Rev. xxii. 4, 5. The eternal hap- 
piness purchased for the saints by the invaluable blood of Christ. If 
one hour's enjoyment of God, in the way of faith, be so sweet, and 
no price can be put upon it, nothing on earth taken in exchange for 
it ; what must a whole eternity, in the immediate and full visions 
of that blessed face in heaven be ! 

Well then, if such sights as these immediately succeed the sight 
you have on earth, either by sense of things natural, or by reason of 
things intellectual, or by faith of things spiritual, who that believes 


the truth, and expects the fulfilling of such promises as these, 
would not be willing to have his eyes closed by death as soon as 
God shall please ? I have read of a holy man that had sweet com- 
munion with God in prayer, who in the close of his duty cried out 
claudimmi, oculi met, clandimini^ ^-c. Be shttt, O mine eyes^ he 
shut ; you shall never see any thing on earth like that I have now 
seen. Ah ! little do the friends of dead believers think what visions 
of God, what ravishing sights of Christ the souls of their friends 
have, when they are closing their eyes with tears. 

Arg. 8. The consideration of' the evil days that are to come should 
make the people of God willing to accept c)f an hiding place in the 
grave y as a special favour from God. 

It is accounted an act of favour by God, Isa. Ivii. 1, 2. to be 
taken away from the evil to come. There are two kinds of evils to 
come, the evil of sin^ and the evil of sufferings. Sins to come are 
terrible to gracious hearts, when temptations shall be at their 
height and strength. Oh what warping and shrinking, what dis- 
sembling, yea, down-right denying the known truths and ways of 
God, may you see every where ! Many consciences will then be 
wounded and wasted : Many scandals and rocks of offence will be 
rolled into the way of godliness : Christ will be exposed and put to 
open shame. Should we only be spectators of such tragedies as 
these, it were enough to overwhelm a gracious and tender heart. 
But what upright heart is there without fears and jealousies of 
being brought under the guilt of these evils in itself, as well as the 
shame and grief for them in others ? Oh ! it were a thousand times 
better for you to die in the purity and integrity of your consciences, 
than to protract a miserable hfe without them. Oh ! think what 
a world it is you are like to leave behind you, in respect of that to 
come ! 

And as there are many evils of sin to come, so there are many 
evils of sufferings coming on : " The days of visitation are coming 
" on, the days of recompence are come, and Israel shall know it,"* 
Hos. ix. 7. All the sufferings you have yet met with, have been in 
books and histories : You never saw the martyrdom of the saints, but 
in the pictures and stories; but you will find it quite another thing 
to be the subjects of these cruelties, than to be the mere readers or 
relaters of them. It is one thing to see the painted lion on a sign- 
post, and another to meet the living lion roaring upon you. Ah ! 
little do we imagine how the hearts of men are convulsed, what 
fears, what faintings invade their spirits, when they are to meet the 
King of terrors, in the frightful formalities of a violent death. 

The consideration of these things will discover to you the rea- 
son of that strange wish of Job, chap. xiv. 18. " Oh that thou 
" wouldst liide me m the grave ; that thou wouldst keep me in 

124 A theatise of the soul of man. 

" secret till thy wrath be past ! And it deserves a serious thought, 
that when the Holy Ghost had, in Rev. xiv. 9, 10, 11, 12. des- 
cribed the miserable plight of those poor souls, who being overcome 
by their own fears and the love of this world, should plunge them- 
selves first into deep guilt, by compliance with Antichrist, and 
receiving his mark ; then into hell ujwn earth, the remorse and 
horror of their own consciences, which gives them no rest, day nor 
nio-ht ; he immediately subjoins, ver. 13. " Blessed are the dead 
" that die in the Lord ; yea, from henceforth, saith the Spirit,'' 
kc. Oh ! it is a special blessing and favour to be hid out of the 
way of those temptations and torments, in a seasonable and quiet 

Ars;. 9. Your fixed aversation and umcUUngjuss to die, will jn-o- 
voke God to imhitter your lives icith much more afflictions than you 
have yet felt, or would feel, if your hearts were more mortified and 
weaned in this point. 

You cannot think of your own deaths with pleasure, no, nor yet 
with patience. Well, take heed, lest this draw down such trouble 
upon you, as shall make you at last to say with Job, chap. x. 1, 
" My' soul is weary of my life ;" an expression much like that, 
2 Sam. i. 9. " Anguish is come upon me, because my life is whole 
in me." IMy soul is hardened, or become cruel against my life, as 
the Chaldee renders it. 

There is a twofold weariness of life ; one from an excellency of 
spii-it, a noble principle, the ardent love of Jesus Christ, Phil. i. 23. 
" I desire to be dissolved, and to be with Christ." Another from 
the mere pressures of affliction and anguish of spirit, under heavy 
and successive strokes from the hand of God and men. Is it not 
more excellent and desirable to groan for death under a pressure of 
love to Christ, than of affliction from Christ ? 

I am convinced that \eYy many of our afflictions come upon this 
score and account, to make us willing to die. 

Is it not sad that God is forced to bring death upon all our com- 
fortable and desirable things in this world, before he can gain our 
consent to be gone ? Why will you put God upon such work as 
this ? Why cannot he have your hearts at a cheaper rate ? If you 
could die, many of your comforts, for ought I know, might live. 
Had Joab come to Absalom when he sent for him the first or second 
time, Absalom had never set his field of barley on fire, 2 Sam. xiv. 
30. And were you more obedient to the will of God in this man- 
ner, it is likely he would not consume your health, and estates, and 
relations with such heavy strokes as he hath done, and ^vill yet 
farther do, except your wills be more compliant. 

Alas ! to cut off your comforts one after another, and make 
you live a groaning life, the Lord hatli no pleasure in it ; but 


he had rather you should lose these things, than that he should 
lose your hearts on earth, or company in heaven : Impatiens oegro- 
tus crudelem Jacit med'icurn. 

Arg. 10. The decree of death cannot he reversed^ nor is there any 
other ordinary passage Jbr the soul into glory ^ hut through the gates 
of death. Heb. ix. 27. " It is appointed for all men once to die, 
" but after that the judgment." 

There is but one way to pass out of the obscure, suffocating life 
in the womb, into the more free and nobler life in the world, 
viz. through the agonies of birth : and there is ordinarily but one 
way to pass from this sinning, groaning life we live in this 
world, to the enjo3^ment of God and the glory above, viz. 
through the agonies of death. You must cast off this mean, 
this vile body, before you can be happy. Heaven cannot come 
down to you, you cannot see God and live, Exod. xxxiii. 20. It 
would certainly confound and break you to pieces, like an earthen 
pitcher, should God but ray forth his glory upon you in the state 
you now arc in ; and it is sure you cannot expect the extraordinary 
favour of such a translation as Enoch had, Heb. xi. 4. nor as those 
believers shall have that shall be found alive at Christ's coming, 
1 Thess. iv. 17. You must go the common road that all the 
saints go ; but though you cannot avoid, you must sweeten it. 
God will not reverse his decree, but you may, and ought to arm 
yourselves against the fears of it. Ahasuerus would not recal the 
proclamation he had emitted against the Jews, but he gave them 
full liberty to take up arms to defend themselves against their ene- 
mies. It is much so here, the sentence cannot be revoked ; but 
yet God gives you leave, yea, he commands you to arm yourselves 
against death, and defy it, and trample it under the feet of 

Arg. 11. When you find yonr hearts reluctate at the thoughts of 
leaving the hody, and the comforts of this world, then consider ho'uj 
willingly and cheerfully Jesus Christ left heaven, and the hosom of 
his Father, to come down to this world for your sokes, Prov. viii. 
30, 31. Psal. xl. 7. Lo, I come, &c. 

O compare the frames of your hearts with his, in this point, 
and shame yourselves out of so unbecoming a temper of spirit. 

(1.) He left heaven and all the delights and glory of it, to come 
down to this world to be abased and humbled to the lowest ; you 
leave this world of sin and misery to ascend to heaven, to be exalt- 
ed to the highest. He came hither to be impoverished, you go 
thither to be enriched, 2 Cor. viii. 9. yet he came willingly, and 
we go grudgingly. 

(2.) He came from heaven to earth, to be made sin for us, 2 Cor. 


V. 21. v-e go from earth to heaven, to be fully and everlastingly 
delivered from sin ; yet he came more willingly to bear our sins, 
than we go to be delivered from them. 

(3.) He came to take a body of flesh, to suffer and die in it, Heb. 
ii. 24?. you leave your bodies that you may never suffer in, or by 
them any more. 

(4.) As his incarnation was a deep abasement, so his death was 
the most bitter death that ever was tasted by any from the beginning, 
or ever shall be to the end of the world ; and yet how obediently 
doth he submit to both at the Father's call, Luke xii. 50. " I have 
'' a baptism to be baptized with, and how am I straitened till it be 
" accomplished !" Ah Christian, your death cannot have the ten 
thousandth part of that bitterness in it that Christ's had. I remem- 
ber one of the martyrs being asked, why his heart was so light at 
death ? returned this answer, because Christ's heart was so heavy at 
his death. O there is a vast difference betwixt the one and the 
other ; the wrath of God, and the curse of the law were in his death, 
Gal. iii. 13. but there is neither wrath nor curse in their death 
who die in the Lord, Rom. viii. 1. 

God forsook him when he hanged upon the tree in the agonies 
of death. Mat. xxviii. 46. "My God, my God, why hasst thou 
forsaken me .?'' But you shall not be forsaken ; He will make 
all your bed in sickness, Phil. xh. 3. He will never leave you, 
nor forsake you, Heb. xiii. 5. 

Yet he regretted not, but went as a sheep or lamb, Isa. liii. 7. 
O reason yourselves out of this reluctancy at death, by this great 
example and pattern of obedience. 

Jrg. 12. Lastly, Let no Christian be qffi'ighted at deaths consider- 
ing that the death of Christ is the death of' death, and hath utterly 
disarmed it of all its destructive power. 

If you tremble when you look upon death, yet you cannot but 
triumph when you look believingly upon Christ. 

For, (1.) Christ died (O believer) for thy sins, Rom. iv. 25. his 
death was an expiatory sacrifice for all thy guilt, Gal. iii. 13. so 
that thou shall not die in thy sins : The pangs of death may, and 
must be on thy outward man, but the guilt of sin and the con- 
demnation of God shall not be upon thy inner man. 

(2.) The death of Christ, in thy room_, hath utterly destroyed 
the power of death, which once was in the hand of Satan, Heb. 
ii. 24. Col. ii. 14, 15. his power was not authoritative, but execu- 
tive ; not as the power of a king ; but of a sheriff ; which is none 
at all when a pardon is produced. 

(3.) Christ hath assured us, that his victory over death shall be 
complete in our persons. It is already a complete personal victory 
in respect of himself, Rom. vi. 9. he dieth no more, death hath 


no more dominion over him. It is an incomplete victory already 
as to our persons. It can dissolve the union of our souls and bodies, 
but the union betwixt Christ and our souls it can never dissolve, 
Rom. viii. ^)S, 39. and as for the power it still retains over our 
dust, that also shall be destroyed at the resurrection, 1 Cor. xv. 25, 
26. compared with ver. 54, 55, 56, 57. so that there is no cause 
for any soul in Christ to tremble at the thought of a separation 
from the body, but rather to embrace it as a privilege : Death is 

O that these arguments might prevail ! O that they might at last 
win the consent of our hearts to go along with death ; which is the 
messenger sent by God to bring us home to our Father's house. 

But I doubt, when all is said, we are where we were : all this 
suffices not to overcome the regrets and reluctancies of nature ; 
still the matter sticks in our minds, and we cannot conquer our 
disinclined wills in this matter. What is the matter ? Where lies 
the rubs and hinderances .^ O that God would remove them 
at last ! 

Objection 1. This is a common plea with many, I am not ready 
and fit to die ; icere I ready, I should be willing' to be gone. 

Solution (1.) How long soever you live in the body, there will 
be somewhat still out of order, som.ething still to do ; for you must 
be in a state of imperfection while you remain here,, and according 
to this plea, you will never be williYig to die. (2.) Your willing- 
ness to be dissolved and to be with Christ, is one special part of 
your fitness for death : and till you attain it in some good measure, 
you are not so fit to die as you should be. (3.) If you be in Christ, 
you have a fundamental fitness for death, though you may want 
some circumstantial preparatives. And as to all that is wanting in 
your sanctification or obedience now, it will be completed in a mo- 
ment upon your dissolution. 

Object. 2. Others plead that the desire they liave to live, is in order 
to God's Jarther service by them in this world. O, say they, it was 
David's happiness to die, when he had served his generation accord^ 
ing to the will of God : Acts xiii. 36. If we had done so too, ive should 
say with Simeon, " Now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace.'* 

Sol. (1.) God needs not your hands to cany on his service in 
the world ; he can do it by other hands when you are gone. INIany 
of greater gifts and graces than you, are daily laid in the grave, to 
teach you, God needs no man's help to carry on his work. 

(2.) If the service of God be so dear to you, there is higher and 
more excellent service for you in heaven, than any you ever Avere, 
or can be employed iii here on earth. Oh ! why do not you long 
to be amidst the company of angels and spirits made- perfect in tlie 
temple-service in heaven ? 


Obiect. 3. 0, hit my relations in the zcorld lie near my hearty 
icliat will become of them when I am gone ? 

Sol (1.) It is pity they should lie nearer your heart than Jesus 
Christ : If they do, you have little reason to desire death indeed. 

(2.) Who took care of you, when death snatched your dear re- 
lations from you, who possibly felt the same workings of heart that 
you now^ do ? Did you not experience the truth of that word, 
Psal. xxvii. 10. "When father and mother forsake me, then the 
" Lord taketh me up.'' And if you be in the covenant, God hath 
prevented this plea with his promise, Jer. xlix. 11. " Leave thy 
" fatherless children to me, I will keep them ahve ; and let their 
" widows trust in me." 

Object. 4. But I desire to live to see the felicity of Z'lon before I 
go hence, and the aiiswer of the many pi^ayers I have sown for it ; 
I am loth to leave the people of God in so sad a condition. 

Sol. The publicness of thy spirit, and love to Zion, is doubtless 
pleasing to God ; but it is better for you to be in heaven one day, 
than to live over again all the days you have lived on earth in the 
best time that ever the church of God enjoyed in this world ; the 
promises shall be accomplished, though you may not live to see 
their accompUshment ; die vou in the faith of it, as Joseph did, 
Gen. 1. 24. 

But, alas ! the matter doth not stick here : this is not the main 
hinderance. I will tell you where I think it lies: (1.) In the hesi- 
tancy and staggering of our faith about the certainty and reality of 
things invisible. (2.) In some special guilt upon the conscience, 
which discourages us. (3.) In a negligent and careless course of 
life, which is not ordinarily blessed ^nth much evidence or com- 
fort. (4.) In the deep engagements of our hearts to earthly things : 
they could not be so cold to Christ, if they were not over-heated 
with other things. Till these distempers be cured, no arguments 
can prosper that are spent to this end. The Lord dissolve all those 
ties Ijetwixt us and this world, which hinder our consent and wil- 
lingness to be dissolved, and to be with Christ, which is far better. 

And now we have had a glance and glimmering light, a faint 
umbrage of the state of the separated souls of the just in heaven : 
it remains that I shew you somewhat of the state and case of the 
damned souls in hell. A dreadful representation it is ; but it is ne- 
cessary we hear of hell, that we may not feel it. 


1 Pet. iii. 19. 
By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison. 

In the former discourse we have had a just view of heaven, and 
the spirits of just men made perfect, the inhabitants of that blessed 
region of hght and glory. 

In this scripture we have the contrary glass, representing the un- 
speakable misery of those souls or spirits which are separated hy 
death from their bodies for a time, and by sin from God for ever ; 
arrested by the law, and secured in the prison of hell, unto the 
judgment of the great day. 

A sermon of hell may keep some souls out of hell, and a sermon 
of heaven may be the means to help others to heaven : the desire 
of my heart is, that the conversations of all those who shall read 
these discourses of heaven and hell, might look more like a diligent 
flight from the one, and pursuit of the other. 

The scope of the context is a persuasive to patience, upon a pros- 
pect of manifold tribulations coming upon the Christian churches, 
strongly enforced by Chrisfs example, who both in his own person, 
ver. 38. and by his spirit in his servants, ver. 19- exercised wonder- 
ful patience and long-suffering as a pattern to his people. 

This 19th verse gives us an account of his long-sufiering towards 
that disobedient and immorigerous generation of sinners, on whom 
he waited an hundred and twenty years in the ministry of Noah. 

There are difficulties in the text. * Estius reckons no less than 
ten expositions of it, and saith, " It is a very difficult scripture in 
" the judgment of almost all interpreters;" but yet I must say, 
those difficulties are rather brought to it, than found in it. It is a 
text which hath been racked and tortured by popish expositors, to 
make it speak Christ's local descent into hell, and to confess their 
doctrine o^ purgatory ; things which it knew not. 

But if we will take its genuine sense, it only relates the sin and 
misery of those contumacious persons, on whom the Spirit of God 
waited so long in the ministry of Noah ; giving an account of, 

1. Their sin on earth. 

2. Their punishment in hell. 

1. Their sin on earth, which is both specified and aggravated. 
(1.) Specified ; namely their disobedience. They were sometimes 
disobedient and unpersuadable ; neither precepts nor examples 
could bring them to repentance. (2.) This their disobedience is 

Locus hie omnium pccne interpretumjudicio difficiUimus. Estius. 


aggravated by the expence of God's patience upon them for the 
space of an hundred and twenty years, not only forbearing them 
so long, but striving with them, as Moses expresseth it ; or wait- 
ing on them, as the apostle here ; but all to no purpose ; they 
were obstinate, stubborn, and impersuadable to the very last. 

2. Behold, therefore, in the next place, the dreadful, but most 
just and equal punishment of these sinners in hell ; they are called 
sjnr'its in prison, i. e. the souls now in hell * 

At that time when Peter wrote of them, they were not entire 
men, but spirits, in the proper sense, i. e. separated souls, bodiless, 
and lonely souls : whilst in the body, it is properly a soul ; but 
when separated, a spirit, according to scripture-language, and the 
strict notion of such a being. 

These spirits, or souls in the state of separation, are said to be in 
a prison, that is, in hell, as the word elsewhere notes. Rev. xx. 7. 
and Jude, ver. 6. Heaven and hell are the only receptacles of de- 
parted, or separated souls. 

Thus you have, in a few words, the natural and genuine sense 
of the place, and it is but a wasting time to repeat and refel the 
many false and forced interpretations of this text, which corrupt 
minds, and mercenary pens have perplexed and darkened it withal : 
That which I level at, is comprised in this plain proposition. 

Doct. That the souls or spirits of all men who die in a state of 
unbelief and disobedience, are immediately committed to the pri- 
son of hell, there to suffer the wrath of God due to their sins. 

Hell is shadowed forth to us in scripture by divers metaphors ; 
" for we cannot conceive spiritual things, unless they are so cloth- 
" ed and shadowed out unto us *." Augustine gives this reason 
for the frequent use of metaphors and allegories in scripture, be- 
cause they are so much proportioned to our senses, with which our 
senses have contracted an intimacy and familiarity ; and therefore 
God, to accommodate his truth to our capacities, doth as it 
were, this way embody it in earthly expressions, according to that 
celebrated observation of the Cabbalists, — Lumen supremum nun^ 
quam descendit si7ie indumento ; — the pure and supreme light never 
descends to us without a garment or covering. In the Old Testa- 
ment, the place and state of damned souls are set forth by metaphors 
taken from the most remarkable places and exemplary acts of ven- 
geance upon sinners in this world ; as the overthrow of the giants 
by the flood, those prodigious sinners that fought against heaven, and 

* Psal. xxxi. 6. Eccl. xii. 7. Acts vii. 50. 

t Spirilualia capere non possuvius, nisi adumhraia. 


were swept by the flood into the place of torment. To tliis Solo- 
mon is conceived to allude, in Prov. xxxi. 16. " The man that wan- 
" ders out of the way of understanding shall remain in the congre- 
" gation of the dead ;" in the Hebrew it is, he shall remain with 
the Rephaims, or giants. These giants were the men that more es- 
pecially provoked God to bring the flood upon the world ; they are 
also noted as the first inhabitants of hell, therefore from them the 
place of torment takes its name, and the damned are said to remain 
in the place of giants. 

Sometimes hell is called Tophet, Isa. xxx. S3. This Tophet 
was in the valley of Hinnom, and was famous for divers things* 
There the children of Israel caused their children to pass through 
the fire to Moloch, or sacrificed to the devil, drowning their horri- 
ble shrieks and ejaculations with the noise of drums. 

In this valley also was the memorable slaughter of eighteen hun- 
dred thousand of the Assyrian camp, by an angel, in one night. 

There, also, the Babylonians murdered the people of Jerusalem 
at the taking of the city, Jer. vii. 31, S2. So that Tophet was a 
mere shambles, the public chopping-block, on which the limbs oli 
both young and old were quartered out, by thousands. It was fil- 
led with dead bodies, till there was no place for burial. By all 
which it appears, that no spot of ground in the world was so fa- 
mous for the fires kindled in it to destroy men, for the doleful criea 
that echoed from it, or the innumerable multitudes that perished 
in it ; for which reason it is made the emblem of hell. Sometimes 
it is called a " lake of fire burning with brimstone,'' Rev. xix. 20. 
denoting the most exquisite torment, by an intense and durable 

And in the text, it is called a jsri.soT?, where the spirits of ungodly 
men are both detained and punished. This notion of a prison gives 
us a lively representation of the miserable state of damned souls, 
and that especially in the following particulars. 

First, Prisoners are arrested and seized by authority of law ; it 
is the law which sends them thither, and keeps them there ; the 
mittimus of a justice is but the instrument of the law, whereby they 
are deprived of liberty, and taken into custody. The law of God 
which sinners have both violated and despised, at death takes hold 
of them, and arrests them. It is the law which claps up their spi- 
rits in prison, and in the name and authority of the great and ter- 
rible God, commits them to hell. All that' are out of Christ, are 
under the curse and damning sentence of the law, which now come? 
to be executed on them. Gal. iii. 10. 

Secondly, Prisoners are cai*ried, or haled to prison by force and 
constraint ; natural force backs legal authority : the law is execu- 
ted by rough and resolute bailiffs, who compel them to go, though 

Vol. III. I 


never so nnich against their will ; this also is the case of the wicked 
at death : Satan is God's bailiiF, to hurry away the law-condemned 
souls to the infernal prison. The devil hath the power of death, 
Heb. ii. 14. as the executioner hath of the body of a condemned 

Thirdly^ Prisoners are chained and bolted in prison, to prevent 
their escape ; so are damned spirits secured by the power of God, 
and chained by their own guilty and trembling consciences in hell, 
unto the time of judgment, and the fulness of misery ; not that 
they have no torment in the mean time : alas ! were there no more 
but that fearful expectation of wrath and fiery indignation, spoken 
of by the apostle, Heb. x. 27. it were an inexpressible torment ; 
but there is a farther degree of torment to be awarded them at the 
judgment of the great day, to which they are therefore kept as in 
chains and prisons. 

Fourthly^ Prisons are dark and noisome places, not built for plea- 
sure, as other houses are, but for punishments ; so is hell, Jude, ver. 
6. " Reserved in everlasting chains under darkness," as he there 
describes the place of torments, yea, outer darkness^ Matth. viii. 12. 
extreme or perfect darkness. Philosophers tell us of the darkness 
of this world, Non danticr puree tenebrcc, that there is no pure or 
perfect darkness here, without some mixture of light ; but there is 
not a glade of light, not a spark of hope or comfort shining into 
that prison. 

Fifthly, Mournful sighs and groans are heard in prisons, PsaL 
xcvii. 11. Let the " sighing of the prisoners come before thee,'" 
saith the psalmist. But deeper sighs and more emphatical groans are 
heard in hell, " There shall be weeping and wailing, and gnashing 
" of teeth," Matth. viii. 12. Those that would not groan under 
the sense of sin on earth, shall howl under anguish and desperation 
in hell. 

Sixtldy, There is a time when prisoners are brought out of the 
prison to be judged, and then return in a worse condition than be- 
fore, to the place from whence they came. God also hath appointed 
a day for the solemn condemnation of those spirits in prison. The 
scriptures call it " the judgment of the great day," Jude, ver. 6. 
from the great business that is to be done therein, and the great 
and solemn assembly that shall then appear before God. 

But I will insist no longer upon the display of the metaphor ; my 
business is to give you a representation of the state and condition 
of damned souls in hell, and to assist your conceptions of them, 
and of their state. 

It is a dreadful sight I am to give you this day ; but how much 
better is it to see, than to feel that wrath ? The treasures thereof 


shall shortly be broken up, and poured forth upon the spirits of 

You had in the former discourse, a faint umbrage of the spirits 
of just men in glory ; in this you will have an imperfect represen* 
tation of the spirits of wicked men in hell : and look, as the former 
cannot be adequate and perfect, because that happiness surpasseth 
our knowledge ; so neither can this be so, because the misery of 
the damned passeth our fear. 

l^he case and state of a damned spirit will be best opened in these 
following propositions. 

Proposition 1. That the guilt of all sin gathers to, and settles in 
the conscience of every christless sinner, and makes up a vast treor- 
sure of guilt in the course of his life in this xoorld. 

The high and awful power of conscience belonging to the un- 
derstanding faculty in the soul of man, was spoken to before, as to 
its general nature, and that conscience certainly accompanies it, 
and is inseparable from it, was there shewed ; I am here to con- 
sider it as the seat or centre of guilt, in all unregenerate and lost 
souls. For, look, as the tides wash up, and leave the slime and 
filth upon the shore, even so all the corruption and sin that is in 
the other faculties of the soul settle upon the conscience ; " Their 
" mind and conscience (saith the apostle) is defiled,*'"' Tit. i. 15. it 
is as it were, the sink of a sinner's soul, into which all filth runs and 
guilt settles. 

The conscience of every believer is purged from its filthiness by 
the blood of Christ, Heb. ix. 14. his blood and his spirit purify it, 
and pacify it, whereby it becomes the region of light and peace : 
but all the guilt v/hich hath been long contracting, through the life 
of an unbeliever, fixes itself deep and fast in his conscience ; " It is 
" written upon the tables of their hearts, as with a pen of iron," 
Jer. xvii. 1. i. e. guilt is as a mark or character fashioned or en- 
graven in the very substance of the soul, as letters are cut into glass 
with a diamond. 

Conscience is not only the principal engagee, obliged unto God 
as a judp;e, but the principal director and guide of the soul, in its 
courses and actions, and consequently, the guilt of sin falls upon it, 
and rests in it. The soul is both the spring and fountain of all ac- 
tions that go outward from man, and the term or receptacle of all 
actions inward ; but in both sorts of actions, going outward, and 
coming inward, conscience is the chief counsellor, guide, and di- 
rector in all, and so the guilt which is contracted either way, must 
be upon its head. It is the bridle of the soul to restrain it from sin ; 
the eye of the soul to direct its course ; and therefore is principally 
chargeable with all the evils of life. Bodily members are but in- 
struments, and the will itself, as high and noble a faculty or power 



as it is, movetb not until the judgment cometh to a conclusion, and 
the debate be ended in the mind. 

Now, in the whole course and compass of a sinner'^s life in this 
world, what treasures of guilt must needs be lodged in his consci- 
ence ? What a magazine of sin and filth must be laid up there ? It 
is said of a wicked man, Job xx. 11. " His bones are full of the 
'*• sins of his ^^outh ;" meaning his spirit, mind, or conscience, is as 
full of sin, as bones are of marrow: 3^ea, the very sins of his youth 
are enough to fill them : and Kom. ii. 5. they are said " to trea- 
" sure up wrath against the day of wrath," which is only done by 
treasuring up guilt ; for wrath and guilt are treasured up together 
in proportion to each other. Every day of his life vast sums have 
been cast into this treasury, and the patience of God waiteth till it 
be full, before he calls the sinner to an account and reckoning, 
Gen. XV. 16. 

Prop. 2. All the sin and guilt, coJitracted upon the soids and co7i- 
sciences of ivipeiiltent men in this world, accompany and Jbllon) their 
depai'ted souls to judgment, and there bring them under the dreadful 
condemnation of the great and terrible God, whlclt cuts off all their 
hopes and comforts Jbr ever. 

" If you believe not that I am he, you shall die in your sins.'" 
John viii. 24. And Job xx. 11. " His bones are full of the sins 
"of his youth, which shall lie down with him in the dust." No 
proposition lies clearer in scripture, or should lie with greater 
Aveight on the hearts of sinners : nothing but pardon can remove 
guilt ; but without faith and repentance there never was, nor shall 
be a pardon, Acts x. 43. Rom. iii. 24, 25. Luke xxiv. 46, 47. 
Look, as the graces of believers, so the sins of unbelievers follow 
the soul whithersoever it goes. All their sins who die out of 
Christ, cry to them when they go hence. We are thy works, and we 
•will follow thee. The acts of sin are transient, but the guilt and 
effects of it are permanent ; and it is evident by this, that in the 
great day, tlieir consciences, which are the books of records, where- 
in all their sins are registered, will be opened, and they shall be 
judged by them., and out of them. Rev. xx. 12. 

Now, before th.at general judgment, every soul comes to its 
particular judgment, and that immediately after death: of this I 
apprehend the apostle to speak in Heb. ix. 27. " It is appointed for 
" all men once to die, but after that the judgment." The soul 
is presently stated by this judgment in its everlasting and fixed 
condition. The soul of a wicked man appearing before God, in 
all its sin and guilt, and by him sentenced, immediately gives 
up all its iiope, Prov. xi. 7. " When a wicked man dieth, his 
" expectation shall perish ; and the hope of the unjust man 


*' pcrishctli." His strong hope * perishetli, as some read it, i. e. 
his strong delusion : for, alas, he took his own shadow for a bridge 
over the great waters, and is unexpectedly plunged into the gulph 
of eternal misery, as Mat. vii. 22. 

This perishing, or cutting off of hope, is that which is called 
in scripture the death of the soul, for so long the soul will live, as 
it hath any hope. The deferring of hope makes it sick, but the 
final cutting off of hope strikes it quite dead, i. e. dead as to all 
joy, comfort, or expectation of any for ever, which is that death 
which an immortal soul is capable to suffer : The righteous hath 
hope in his death; but every unregenerate man in the world breathes 
out his last hope in a few moments after his last breath, which 
strikes terror into the very centre of the soul, and is a death-wound 
to it. 

Prop. 3. The souls of the damned are exceedingly large aiid ca- 
jmcious subjects of' wrath and torment ; and in their separate state 
their capacity is greatly enlarged, both by laying asleep all those 
affections whose exercise is relieving, and thoroughly awakening all 
those passions xdiich are tormenting. 

The soul of man being by nature a spirit, an intelligent spirit, 
and, in its substantial faculties, assimilated to God, whose image 
it bears ; it must, for that reason, be exquisitely sensible of all the 
impressions and touches of the wrath of God upon it. The spirit 
of man is a most tender, sensible, and apprehensive creature : the 
eye of the body is not so sensible of a touch, a nerve of the body 
is not so sensible when pricked, as the spirit of man is of the least 
touch of God's indignation upon it. " A wounded spirit who can 
" bear .^" Pi'ov. xviii. J 4. Other external wounds upon the body 
inflicted either by man or God, are tolerable ; but that which im- 
mediately touches the spirit of man, is insufferable : who can bear 
or endure it ? 

And as the spirit of man hath the most delicate and exquisite 
sense of misery ; so it hath a vast capacity to receive, and let in 
the fulness of anguish and misery into it: it is a large vessel, called, 
Rom. ix. 22. "A vessel of wrath fitted to destruction," The large 
capacity of the soul is seen in this, that it is not in the power of all 
the creatures in the world to satisfy and fill it : it can drink up, as 
one speaks, all the rivers of created good, and its thirst not 
quenched by such a draught ; but after all, it cries. Give, give. 
Nothing but an infinite God can quiet and satisfy its appetite and 
raging thirst. 

And as it is capable and receptive of more good than is found in 
all the creatures, so it is capable of more misery and anguish than 

* Etiam spes valcrUissima, i. e. Even the strongest hope. 



all the creatures can inflict upon it. Let all the elements, ail men 
on earth, yea, all the devils and damned in hell, conspire and 
unite in a design to torment man ; yet when they have done all, 
his spirit is capable of a farther degree of torment ; a torment as 
much beyond it, as a rack is beyond a hard bed, or the sword in 
his bowels is beyond the scratch of a pin. The devils indeed are 
the executioners and tormentors of the damned ; but if that were 
all they were capable to suffer, the torment of the damned would 
be, comparatively, mild and gentle to what they are. Oh, the 
largeness of the understanding of man, what will it not take into its 
vast capacity ! 

But add to this, that the damned souls have all those affections 
laid in a deep and everlasting sleep, the exercises whereof would be 
relieving, by emptying their souls of any part of their misery ; and 
all those passions thoroughly and everlastingly awakened, which in- 
crease their torments. 

The affections of joy, delight, and hope, are benumbed in them, 
and laid fast asleep, never to be awakened into act any more. 
Their hope, in scripture, is said to perish^ i. e. it so perisheth, that, 
after death, it shall never exert another act to all eternity. The 
activity of any of those aifections would be like a cooling gale, or 
refreshing spring, amidst their torments ; but as Adrian lamented 
himself, Numquam jocos dabis^ Thou shalt never be merry more. 

And as these affections are laid asleep, so their passions are rouz- 
ed, and thoroughly awakened to torment them ; so awakened, as 
never to sleep any more. The souls of men are sometimes jogged 
and startled in this world, by the works or rods of God, but pre- 
sently they sleep again, and forget all : but hereafter the eyes of 
their souls will be continually held waking to behold and consider 
their misery ; their understandings will be clear and most appre- 
hensive ; their thoughts fixed and determined ; their consciences 
active and efficacious ; and, by all this, their capacity to take in 
the fullest of their misery, enlarged to the uttermost. 

Prop. 4. The wrath^ indignation^ and revenge of God poured out 
as the just rcivai^d of sin ^ upon the so capacious souls of the damned, 
are the principal part of their misery in hell. 

In the third proposition I shewed you, that the souls of the 
damned can hold more misery than all the creatures can inflict upon 
them. When the soul suffers from the hand of man, its suffer- 
ings are but either by way of sympathy with the body ; or if im- 
mediately, yet it is but a light stroke the hand of a creature can 
give : But when it hath to do with a sin-revenging God, and that 
immediately, this stroke cuts off the spirit of man, as it is expres- 
sed, Psal. Ixxxviii. 16. The body is the clothing of the soul. 
Most of the arrows shot at the soul in this world, do but stick iu 


tije clothes, i. e. reach the outward i.ian : Ikit hi hell, the spirit of 
mail is the white at which God himself shoots. All his envenomed 
arrows strike the soul, which is, after death, laid bare and naked 
to be wounded by his hand. At death, the soul of every wicked 
man immediately falls into the hands of the living God ; and " it 
" is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God," as 
the apostle speaks, Heb. x. 31. Their punishment is ""from 
" the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power,'' 2 
Thes. i. 9. They are not put over to their fellow-creatures to be 
punished, but God will do it himself, and glorify his power, as well 
as his justice in their punishment. The wrath of God lies imme- 
diately upon their spirits, and this is the " fiery indignation which 
" devoureth their adversaries," Heb. x. 27. A fire that licks up 
the very spirit of man. Who knoweth the power of his anger ! 
Psal. xc. 11. How insupportable it is, you may a little guess by 
that expression of the prophet Nahum, chap. i. 5, 6. " The 
" mountains quake at him, and the hills melt, and the earth is 
" burnt at his presence ; yea, the world, and all that dwell therein. 
" Who can stand before his indignation.^ And who can abide in the 
" fierceness of his anger ? His fury is poured out like fire, and the 
'' rocks are thrown down by him." 

And, as if anger and wrath were not words of a sufficient edge 
and sharpness, it is called fiery indignation and vengeance, words 
denoting the most intense degree of divine wrath. For indeed his 
power is to be glorified in the destruction of his enemies, and there- 
fore now he will do it to purpose. He takes them now into his 
own hands. No creature can come at the soul immediately, that 
is God's prerogative, and now he hath to do with it himself in 
fury, and revenge is poured out. " Can thy hands be strong, or 
" thy heart endure when I shall deal with thee .^" Ezek. xxii. 
14. Alas ! the spirit quails and dies under it. This is the hell of 

What doleful cries and lamentings have we heard from God's 
dearest children, when but some few drops of his anger have been, 
sprinkled upon their souls, here in this world ! But alas ! there is 
no comparison betwixt the anger or fatherly discipline of God over 
the spirits of his children, and the indignation poured out from the 
beginning of revenges upon his enemies. 

l*rop. 5. The separate rip'irit of' a damned 7nan becomes a tormentor 
to itself by the various and efficacious actings of' its own conscience, 
zchich are a special part of' its torment in the other zvorJd. 

Conscience, which should have been the sinner's curb on earth, 
becomes the whip that must lash his soul in hell. Neither is there 
any faculty or power belonging to the soul of man, so fit and able 
to do it as his own conscience. That which was the seat and centre 

I 4 


of ail guilt, now becomes the seat and centre of all tcnnents. The 
suspension of its tormenting power in this world is a mystery and 
wonder to all that duly consider it. For certainly should the Lord 
let a sinner's conscience fly upon him with rage, in the midst of his 
sins and pleasures, it would put him into a hell upon earth, as we 
see in the doleful instances of Judas, Spira, &c. But he keeps a hand 
of restraint upon them, generally, in this life, and suffers them to 
sleep quietly by a grumbling or seared conscience, which couches 
by them as a sleepy lion, and lets them alone. 

' But no sooner is the Christless soul turned out of the body, and 
cast for eternity at the bar of God, but conscience is rouzed, and put 
into a rao-e never to be appeased any more. It now racks and tortures 
the miserable soul with its utmost efficacy and activity. The mere 
presages and forebodings of wrath by the consciences of sinners in 
this world have made them lie with a ghastly paleness in their faces, 
universal trembling in all their members, a cold sweating horror 
upon their panting bosoms like men already in hell : But this, all 
this, is but as the sweating of the stones before the great rain falls. 
The activities of conscience (especially in hell) are various, vigorous, 
and dreadful to consider, such are its recognitions, accusations, con- ^ 
demnaiions, npbraidings, shamings, Siwdjearful eocpectations. 

1. The consciences of the damned will recognize, and bring 
back the sins committed in this world fresh to their mind : For 
what is conscience, but a register, or book of records, wherein every 
sin is ranked in its proper place and order ! This act of conscience 
is fundamental to all its other acts : for it cannot accuse, condemn, 
upbraid, or shame us for that it hath lost out of its memory, and 
hath no sense of. Son, remember^ said Abraham to Dives, in the 
midst of his torments. This remembrance of sins past, mercies past, 
opportunities past, but especially of hope past and gone with them, 
never to be recovered any more, is like that fire not blown, (of 
which Zophar speaks) which consumes him, or the glittering sword 
coming out of his gall, Job xx. 24, &c. 

2. It chargeth and accuseth the damned soul; and its charges are 
home, positive, and self-evident charges : A thousand legal and 
unexceptionable witnesses cannot confirm any point more than one 
witness in a man's bosom can do, Rom_. ii. 15. It convicts, and stops 
their mouths, leaving them without any excuse or apology. Just 
and righteous are the judgments of God upon thee, saith con- 
science: In all this ocean of misery, there is not one drop of injury 
or wrong. The judgment of God is according to truth. 

3. It condemns as well as chargeth and witnesseth, and that with 
a dreadful sentence; backing and approving the sentence and judg- 
ment of God, 1 John iii. 21. every self-destroyer will be a self- 
condemner : This is a prime part of their misery. 


•Prima est haec ultio, quod se 

Judice, nemo nocefis absolvitury improba quamvis 
Gratio Jhllacis prcetoris vicerit urnam, 

Juv. Sat. 13- 

4. The upbraidings of conscience in hell are terrible and insuffer- 
able things : To be continually hit in the teeth and twitted with 
our madness, wilfulness, and obstinacy, as the cause of all that eter- 
nal misery which we have pulled down upon our own heads, what 
is it but the rubbing of the wound with salt and vinegar ? Of this 
torment holy Job was afraid, and therefore resolved what in him 
lay to prevent it, when he saith, Job xxvii. 6. " My heart (i. e. 
" conscience) shall not reproach me so long as I live." O the 
twits and taunts of conscience are cruel cuts and lashes to the 
soul ! 

5. The shamings of conscience are insufferable torments. 
Shame ariseth from the turpitude of discovered actions. If some 
men's secret filthinesses were but published in this world, it would 
confound them : what then will it be, when all shall lie open, as it 
will, after this life, and their own consciences shall cast the 
shame of all upon them ? They shall not only be derided by God, 
Prov. i. 26. but by their own consciences. 

Lastly, the fearful expectations of conscience, still looking for- 
ward into more and more wrath to come, this is the very sum and 
complement of their misery. What makes a prison so dreadful to 
a malefactor but the trembling expectation he there lives under of 
the approaching assizes .^^ Much after the same rate, or rather after 
the rate of condemned persons preparing for execution, do these 
spirits in prison live in the other world. But alas ! no instance or 
similitude can reach home to their case. 

Prop. 6. That icMch makes the torments and terrors of the damned 
spirits so extreme and terrible, is, that they are unrelievable miseries, 
and torments Jbr ever. 

They are not capable either of, 

1. A partial relief, by any mitigation, or 

2. A complete relief by a final cessation. 

1. Not of a partial relief by any mitigation ; could they but di- 
vert their thoughts from their misery, as they were wont to do in 
this w^orld, drink and forget their sorrows ; or had they but any 
hope of the abatement of their miserv, it would be a relief to 
them : But both these are impossible. " Their thoughts are fixed 
and determined : to remove them (though but for a moment) 
from their misery, is as impossible as to remove a mountain : Their 
sin and misery is ever before them. As the blessed in heaven are 


hono conjinnati, so fixed and settled in blessedness, that they are 
not diverted one moment from beliolding the blessed face of God, 
for they are ever with the Lord : So the damned in hell are malo 
objirmaf'^ so settled and fixed in the midst of all evil, that their 
thoughts and miseries are inseparable for ever. 

2. Much less can their undone state admit the least hope of re- 
lief by a final cessation of their misery. All hope perisheth from 
them, and the perishing of their hope is the plainest proof that can 
be given of the eternity of their misery. For were there but the 
remotest possibility of deliverance at last, hope would hang upon 
that possibility : And whilst hope lives, the soul is not quite dead ; 
the death of hope is the death of a man's spirit : The cutting off 
of the soul from God, and the last act of hope to see or enjoy him 
for ever, is that death which an immortal soul is capable of suffer- 
ing. " Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire," is that 
sentence which strikes hope and soul dead for ever. In these six 
propositions you have the true and terrible representation of the 
spirits in prison, or the state of damned souls. I have not mention- 
ed their association with devils, or the dismal place of their con- 
finement, which, though they complete their misery, yet are not 
tile principal parts of it, but rather accessories to it, or rivers run- 
ning into the ocean of their misery. The sum of their misery lies 
in what was opened before, and the im2:>rovement of it is in that 
which followeth. 

Infer. 1. Is this the state of ungodly souls after death ? Then it 
follows, that neitlier deatli noi' annihilation are the worst of evils in- 
cident to man. Aristotle calls death the most terrible of all terribles, 
and the schoolmen affirm annihilation to be a greater evil than the 
most miserable being : But it is neither so, nor so ; the wrath of 
God, the worm of conscience, are much more bitter than death. 
The pains of death are natural and bodily pains : The "vvTath of 
God and anguish of conscience are spiritual and inward : Those are 
but the pains of a few hours or days, these are the unrelieved tor- 
ments of eternity. 

And as for annihilation, what a favour would the damned ac- 
count it ! Indeed, if we respect the glory of God's justice, which is 
exemplified and illustrated in the ruin of these miserable souls, it is 
better they should abide as the eternal monuments thereof, than 
not to be at all : but with respect to themselves we may say as Christ 
doth of the son of perdition. Mat. xxvi. 24. "Good had it been 
'• for them if they had never beei» born." For a man's soul to be 
of no other use than a vessel of wrath, to receive the indignation, 
and be filled with the fin-y of God ; surely an untimely birth, that 
never was animated with a reasonable soul, is better than they : 
For alas ! thev seek for death, but it flies from them. The im- 


mortality of tlieir souls, which was their dignity and privilege above 
other creatures, is now their misery, and that which continually 
feeds and perpetuates their flame. Here is a being without the 
comfort of it, a being only to howl and tremble under Divine 
wrath, a being therefore which they would gladly exchange with 
the contemptiblest fly, or most loathsome toad, but it cannot be 
exchanged or annihilated. 

Inf. k. Hence it follows, that the pleasures of sin are dear bought, 
and costly pleasures. There is a greater disproportion betwixt that 
pleasure and this wrath, than betwixt a drop of honey and a sea of 
gall. Could a man distil all the imaginary pleasure of sin, and 
drink nothing else but the highest and most refined delights of it 
all his life, though his life should be protracted to the term of 
Methuselah's ; yet one day or night under the wrath of God would 
make it a dear bargain. But, 

1. It is certain sin hath no such pleasures to give you : They 
are embittered either by adverse strokes of providence from with- 
out, or ])ainful and dreadful gripes and twinges of conscience 
within ; Job xx. 14. " His meat in his bowels is turned, it is the 
" gall of asps within him." 

2. It is certain the time of a sinner is near its period when he 
is at the height of his pleasure in sin : For look, as high delights 
in God speak the maturity of a soul for heaven, and it ^vill not be 
long before such be in heaven ; so the heights of delight in sin, an- 
swerably speak the maturity of such a soul for hell, and it will not 
be long ere it be there. Sin is now a big embryo, and speedily the 
soul travails with death. 

3. According to the measure of delights men have had in sin, 
will be the degrees and measures of their torments in hell. Rev. 
xviii. 7. so much torment and sorrow, as there was delight and 
pleasure in sin. 

4. To conclude, " the pleasures of sin are but for a season, as 
you read, Heb. xi. 25. but the wrath of God in hell is for ever 
and ever. There is a time when the pleasures of sin cannot be 
called pleasures to come, but the wrath of God that will still be 
wrath to come. Oh ! consider for what a trifle you sell your souls. 
When Lysimachus parted with his kingdom for a draught of water^ 
he said when he had drank it. For how short a pleasure have I sold 
a Idngdom I And Jonathan lamented, 1 Sam. xiv. 43. " I tasted 
" but a little honey, and I must die.'" Satan would not charm so 
powerfully as he doth with the pleasures of sin, if this point were 
well believed, and heartily applied. 

Iiif. 3. What a matchless madness is it to cast the said into Cadi's 
prison, to save the body out of mart s prison I 

Men have their prisons, and God hath his : But because the one 


is an object of sense, and the other an object of faith, that only is 
feared, and this shghted all over this unbelieving world, except by 
a very small number of men, who tremble at the word of God. 
Now this I say is the height of madness, and will appear to be so 
in a just collation of both in a few particulars. (1.) Man's prison 
restrains the body only, God's prison soul and body, Mat. x. 28. 
The spirits of men (as my text speaks) are the prisoners there. 
Oh ! what a vast odds doth this single difference make ! A thou- 
sand times more than the captivating and binding of the greatest 
king or emperor differs from the imprisonment of a poor mechanic 
or vagrant beggar. (2.) In man's prison there are many comforts 
and unspeakable refreshments from heaven, but in God's prison 
none, but the direct contrary. You read of the apostles. Acts 
xvi. 25. how they sang in the prison: The Spirit of God made 
them a banquet of heavenly joys, and they could not but sing at it : 
Though their feet were in the stocks, their spirits were never more 
at liberty. Algerius dated his letteYsJrom the delectable orchard of' 
the Leonine prison ; zvhere, saith he,flozcs the sweetest nectar. Ano- 
ther tells us, Christ was always kind to him : but since lie became 
a prisoner for him, he even overcame himself in kindness. / verilT/ 
think (saith he) the chains of my Lord are all overlaid with piwe 
gold^ and his cross perfumed. But the worst terrors of the prisoners 
in hell come from the presence of the Lord, 2 Thes. i. 9. " God is a 
terror to them. (3.) The cause for which a man is cast into prison 
by men, may be his duty, and so his conscience must be at last 
quiet, if not joyful in such sufferings. So was it with Paul, Acts 
xxviii. 20. " For the hope of Israel am I bound with this chain :" 
This diffuses joy and peace through the conscience into the whole 
man. But the cause for which men are cast into God's prison, is 
their sin and guilt, which arm their own consciences against them, 
and make them, as you heard before, self- tormentors, terrors to 
themselves. What odds is here ! (4.) In man's prison the most 
excellent company and sweet society may be found. Paul and 
Silas were fellow-prisoners. In queen Mary's days the most excel- 
lent company to be found in England was in the prisons : Prisons 
■were turned into churches. But in God's prison no better society 
is to be found than that of devils and damned reprobates, Mat. 
XXV. 41. (5.) In man's prison there is hope of a comfortable de- 
liverance, but in God's prison none : Mat. v. 26. " Thou shalt 
" not come out thence till thou hast paid the last mite." It is 
an everlasting prison. 

Compare these few obvious particulars, and judge then what is 
to be thought of that man, who stands readier to cast himself into 
any guilt, than into the least suffering. What is it but as if a man 
should offer his neck to the sword, to save his hand ? The Lord 


convince us what trifles our estates, liberties, and lives are to our 
souls, or to the peace and purity of our consciences. 

Inf. 4. What an invaluable mercy is the pai'don of sin^ which sets 
(he soul out of all danger of going into this prison ! When the debt 
is satisfied, a man may walk as boldly before the prison door as he 
doth before his own : They that owe nothing fear no bailiffs. It 
is the law (as I said before) that commits men to prison, a mittimus 
is but an instrument of law ; but the righteousness of the law is ful- 
iilled in them that believe, Rom. viii. 4. Yea, they are made the 
righteousness of God in him, 2 Cor. v. 21. There can be no pro- 
cess of law against them. For who shall condemn when it is God 
that justifieth? Rom. viii. 33, 34. And that Divine Justice might 
be no bar to our faith and comfort, he adds. It is Christ that died ; 
and yet farther, to assure us that his death had made plenary satis- 
faction to God for all our sins and debts, it is added, i/ea, rather, 
that is risen again : q. d. If the debts of believers to God were not 
fully paid and satisfied for by the blood of Christ, how comes it to 
pass that our Surety is discharged, as by his resurrection he ap- 
pears to be ! Oh believer ! thy bonds are cancelled, the hand- 
writing that was against thee is nailed to the cross, the blood of 
Christ hath done that for thee that all the gold and silver in the 
world could not do, 1 Pet. i. 18, 19. " It is a * countei-price fully 
" answering to thy (^ebts," Mat. xx. 28. And hence, to the eter- 
nal joy of thy heart, result three properties of thy pardon, which 
are able to make thine eyes gush out with tears of joy whilst thou 
art reading of it. 

1. It is a free pardon to thy soul ; thougli it cost Christ dear, it 
costs thee nothing. We have redemption, even •' the remission of 
" sias, according to the riches of his grace," Eph. i. 7. The pro- 
ject of it was God's, not thine ; the price for it was Christ's blood, 
not thine ; the glory and riches of free grace are illustriously dis- 
played in thy forgiveness. 

2. It is as full as it is free ; a complete and perfect cause pro- 
duceth a complete and perfect effect. Acts xiii. 39. " Justified 
" from all things." Whatever thy sins be for nature, number, or 
circumstances of aggravations, they cannot exceed the value of the 
meritorious cause of remission. The blood of Christ cleanseth us 
from all sin. 

3. It must be as firm as it is free and full, even an irrevocable 
pardon for evermore. Christ did not shed his blood at a hazard ; 
the way of justification by faith, makes the promise sure, Rom. 
iv. 16. The justified shall never come again under condemnation. 

AvnAvlfiov est i-retiuin ex adverso rcspondens. 


Oh the unspeakable joy that flows from this spring ! Oh the 
triumphs of faith upon this foundation! 

Is it not ravishing, melting, overwhelming, and amazing, to 
tliink thus with thyself! Here sit I with a joyful plenary free pardon 
of sin in my hand, whilst many, who never sinned to that height 
and degree I have, lie groaning, howling, sweating, and trembling 
under the indignation of God, poured out like fire upon their souls 
in hell. A greater sinner saved, and lesser damned. Oh how un- 
speakably sweet is that rest into which my terrified and disquieted 
soul is come by faith ! Rom. v. 1. Heb. iv. 3. " We which have 
*' believed, do enter into rest.'' Oh blessed calm after a dreadful 
tempest ! This poor breast of mine was lately panting, sweating, 
trembling under the horrors of wrath to come, terrified with the 
visions of hell. No other sound was in mine ears, but that of fiery 
indignation to devour the adversaries. Oh what price can be put 
upon my quietus est ! What value upon a pardon, delivered as it 
were at the ladder's foot ! Oh precious hand of faith that receives 
it ! But oh the most precious blood of Christ which purchased it ! 
If Satan now come with his accusations, the lav/ with its commina- 
tions, death with its dreadful summons, I have in a readiness to 
answer them all. 

Here is the law, the wrath of God, and everlasting burnings, the 
just demerit of sin upon one side, and a poor sinful creature on the 
other : But the covenant of grace hath solved all. An act of obli- 
vion is past in heaven, " I will forgive their iniquities, and their 
" sins and transgressions will I remember no more." In this act 
of grace my soul is included ; I am in Christ, and there is no con- 
demnation. Die I must, but damned I shall not be; My debts 
are paid, my bonds are cancelled, my conscience is quieted : let 
death do its worst, it shall do me no harm ; that blood which satis- 
fied God, may well satisfy me. 

Infer. 5. Hozo aviazingly sad and deplorable is the security and 
stillness of the consciences of sinners, under all their ozvn guilt, and 
the immediate dangler ofGod^s everlasting' zcTath! 

Philosophers observe that before an earth-quake the wind lies, 
and the weather is exceeding calm and still, not a breath of wind 
going. So it is in the consciences of many, just before the tempest 
and storm of God's wrath pours dovvn upon them. What a golden 
morning opened upon Sodom, and began that fatal day! Little 
did they imagine showers of fire had been ready to fall from so 
pleasant and serene a sky as they saw over their heads. How 
secure, still, and unconcerned are those to-day, who it may be 
shall rage, roar, and tremble in hell to-morrow ! Cassar hearing 
of a citizen of Rome who was deep in debt, and yet slept soundly, 


"would needs have his pillow, as supposing there was !»ome strange, 
cliarming virtue in it. 

It is wonderful to consider what shifts men make to keep their 
consciences in that stillness and quiet they do, under sucli loads of 
guilt, and threatenings of wrath, ready to be executed u})on them. 
It must be strong opium that so stupifies and benumbs their con- 
sciences ; and upon inquiry into the matter we shall find it to be 
the effect of, 

1. A strong delusion of Satan. 

2. A spiritual judicial stroke of God. 

1. This stillness of conscience, upon the brink of damnation, pro- 
ceeds from the strong delusions of Satan, blinding their eyes, and 
feeding their false hopes : lie removes the evil day at many years 
imaginary distance from them, and interposeth many a fair day 
betwixt them and it, and in that interposed season, time enough to 
prepare for it ; without such an artifice as this, his house would be 
in an uproar, but this keeps all in peace, Luke xi. 21. " By pre- 
" suming he feeds their hopes, and by their hopes destroys their 
" souls *.'''' Some he diverts from all serious thoughts of this day, 
by the pleasures, and others by the cares of this life ; and so that 
day Cometh upon them unawares, Luke xxi. 34 

2. This stillness of conscience, in so miserable and dangerous a 
state, is the effect of a spiritual, judicial stroke of God upon the 
cliildren of wrath. That is a dreadful word, Isa. vi. 10. " Make 
" the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut 
" their eyes :" The eye and ear are the two principal doors or in- 
lets to the heart ; when these are shut, the heart must needs be in- 
sensible, as the -f fat of the body is. Tiiere is a spirit of a deep 
sleep poured out judicially upon some men, Isa. xxix. 10. such as 
that upon Adam when God took a rib from his side, and he felt it 
not : But this is upon the soul, and is the same as to give up a mail 
to a reprobate sense. 

Infer. 6. The case of distressed consciences upon earth is excecch 
hig sad, and calls upon all for th,e tenderest pity, and utmost help 
from men. 

You see the labourings of conscience, under the sense of guilt 
and wrath, is a special part of the torments of hell, of which there 
is not a livelier emblem or picture, than the distresses of conscience 
in this world. 

It must be thankfully confessed there arc two great differences 
betwixt the terrors of conscience here, and there: One, in the 

* Prfrsumcyido spcrani, et sperandn pcrcunt. 

t Naturalists agree that fat not only makes animals unruly, but also, is void of sen 
salion. Glass, 


degrees of anguish, the other, in the reliefs of that anguish. The 
ordinary distresses of conscience here, compared with those of the 
damned, are as the flame of a candle to a fiery oven, a mild and 
gentle fire ; or as the sparks that fly out of the top of a chimney, 
to the dreadful eruption of Vesuvius, or mount Etna. Besides, 
these are capable of relief, but those are unrelievable : Their hearts 
die, because their hope is perished from the Lord. 

But vet of all the miseries and distresses incident to men in this 
world, none Hke those of distressed consciences ; the terrors of God 
set themselves in array, or are drawn up in battalia against the 
soul. Job vi. 4. " Whilst I sufi'er thy terrors (saith Henian) I am 
" distracted,"" Psal. Ixxxviii. 15. Yea, they not only distract, but 
cut off the spirit, as he adds, ver. 16. They lick up the very spi- 
rit of a man, and none can bear them, Prov. xviii. 14. for now a 
man hath to do immediately with God ; yea, with the wrath of the 
great and dreadful God : And this wrath, which is the most acute 
and sharp of all torments, falls upon the most tender and sensible 
part, the spirit and mind which now lies open and naked before 
him to be wounded by it. No creature can administer the least 
relief, by the application of any temporal comfort or refreshment 
to it. Gold and silver, wife and children, meat and melody, sig- 
nify no more than the drawing on of a silk stocking to cure the 
paroxysms of the gout. 

All that can be done for their relief, is by seasonable, judicious, 
and tender applications of spiritual remedies : And what can be 
done, ought to be done for them. What heart can hear a voice 
hke that of Job, '' Have pity upon me, have pity upon me, O ye 
*' my friends ; for the hand of God hath touched me f and not 
melt into compassion over them .? Is there a word of v^dsdom in thy 
heart, let thy tongue apply it to the rehef of thy distressed brother. 
Whilst his heart meditates terror^ let thine meditate his succour. 
It is not impossible but thou, who lendest a friendly hand to ano- 
ther, mayest, ere long, need one thyself; and he that hath ever felt 
the ten-ors of the Almighty upon his soul, hath motive enough to 
draw forth the bowels of his pity to another in the like case. 

Alas for poor distressed souls, who have either none about them 
that understand, and are able and wilhng to speak a word in sea- 
son to their weary souls, or too many about them to exaspemte 
their sorrows, iind persecute them whom God hath smitten. You 
that have both ability and opportunity for it, are under the strong- 
est engagements in the world to endeavour their relief with all 
faithfulness, seriousness, compassion, and constancy. Did Christ 
shed his blood for the saving of souls, and wilt not thou spend thy 
breath for them ? Shall any man that has found mercy from God, 
shew none to his brother ? God forbid. A soul in hell is out of 


your reach ; but these that are in the suburbs of hell are not : 
The candle of intense sorrow is put to the thread of their miserable 
life; and should they be suffered to drop into hell, whilst you 
stand by as unconcerned spectators of such a tragedy, you will 
have little peace. Your unmercifulness to their souls will be a 
wound to your own. 

Inf. 7. Be hence informed of the evil thut is in sin; be convinced 
of the evil that is in it, hy the eternal misery that followeth it. 

If hell be out of measure dreadful, then sin must be out of mea- 
sure sinful : the torments of hell do not exceed the demerit of 
sin, though they exceed the understandings of men to conceive 
them. God will lay upon no man more than is right. Sin is the 
founder of hell ; all the miseries and torments there, are but the 
treasures of wrath which sinners, in all ages, have been treasuriug 
up; and how dreadful soever it be, it is but the 'o-^mia, the 
recompense which is meet, Rom. vi. 23.^" The wages of sin is 
" death." 

We have slight thoughts of sin ; Fools make a mock of sin : But 
if the Lord by the convictions of men's consciences did but lead 
them through the chambers of death, and give them a sight of the 
wi'atli to come ; could we but see the piles that are made in hell 
(as the prophet calls them, Isa. xxx. 53.)i to maintain the flames 
of vengeance to eternity ; could we but understand in what dialect 
the damned speak of sin, who see the treasures of wrath broken up 
to avenge it, surely it would alter our apprehensions of sin, and 
strike cold to the very hearts of sinners. 

Cannot the extremity and eternity of hell-torments exceed the evil 
that is in sin ? What words then can express the evil of it ? Hell- 
flames have the nature of a punishment, but not of an atonement. 

O think on this, you that look upon sin as the veriest trifle, 
that will sin for the value of a penny, that look upon all the humi- 
liations, broken-hearted confessions, and bitter moans of the saints 
under sin, as frenzy, or melancholy, slighting them as a company 
of half-witted hypochondriac persons ! Thou that never hadst one 
sick night, or sad day in all thy life upon the account of sin, let 
me tell thee that breast of thine must be the seat of sorrow ; that 
frothy, airy spirit of thine must be acquainted with emphatical sobs 
and groans. God grant it may be on this side hell, by effectual 
repentance ; else it must be there, in the extremity and eternity of 

I/f. 8. JVfiat enemies are thejj to the souls of men, who arc Satan''^ 
inst7'uments, to draw them into si7i, or who suffer sin to lie upon 
them ! 

When there were but two persons in the world, one drew the 
other into sin ; and among the millions of men and women now ijj 

Vol. Ill, K 


the world, where are there two to be found that have in no case 
been snares to draw some into sin ? Some tempt designedly, taking 
the devil's work out of his hands ; others virtuaHy and consequen- 
tially, by examples, which have a compelling power to draw others 
w ith them into sin. The first sort are among the worst of sinners, 
Prov. i. 10. the latter are among the best of saints ; see Gal. ii. 14. 
whose conversation is so much in heaven, that nothing falls out in 
the course thereof, which may not further some or other in their 
way to hell. 

Among wicked men, there are five sorts eminently accessory to 
the guilt and ruin of other men's souls. (1.) Loose professors, 
whose lives give their lips the lie ; whose conversations make their 
professions blush. (2.) Scandalous apostates, whose fall is more 
prejudicial than their profession was ever beneficial to others. (B.) 
Cruel persecutors, who make the lives, liberties, and estates of 
men the occasion of the ruin of their consciences. (4.) Ignorant 
and unfaithful ministers, who strengthen the hands of the wicked, 
that they should not return from their wickednsss. (5.) Wicked 
relations, who quench and damp every hopeful beginning of con- 
viction and affection in their friends. Of all which I shall dis- 
tinctly speak in the next discourse, to which, therefore, I remit it 
at present. 

And many there are who suffer sin to lie upon others, without a 
wise and seasonable reproof to recover them. 

O what cruelty to souls is here ! The day is coming when they 
will curse the time that ever they knew you : It is possible you may 
repent, but then, it may be, those, whose souls you have helped to 
ruin, are gone, and quite out of your reach. The Lord make you 
sensible what you have done in season, lest your repentance come 
too late for yourselves and them also. 

hif. 2. How poor a comfort is it to him that carries all his sins 
out of this "world •with him, to leave much earthly treasure (especi- 
ally if gotten hy sin) behind him? 

It is a poor consolation to be praised where thou art not, and tor- 
mented where thou art * ; to purchase a life of pleasure to others 
on earth, at the price of thy own everlasting misery in hell. All 
the consolation, sensual, voluptuous, and oppressing worldlings 
have, is but this, that they were coached to hell in pomp and state, 
and have left the same chariot to bring their graceless children after 
them, in the same equipage, to the place of torments. There be 
five considerations provoking pity to them that are thus cast into a 
miserable eternity, and caution to all that are following after, in the 
same path 

* Q.xdd prodest essCj quod esse non prodest. TertuL 


Firsts That fatal mistake in the practical understanding and judg- 
ment of men deserves a compassionate lamentation, as the cause 
and reason of their eternal miscarriage and ruin. They looked 
upon trifles as things of greatest necessity, and the most necessary 
things as mere trifles ; putting the greatest weight and value upon 
that which little concerned them, and none at all upon their great- 
est concernment in the whole world, Luke xii. 21. 

Secondly, The perpetual diversions that the trifles of this world 
gave them from the main use and end of their time. O what a 
hurry and thick succession of earthly business and encumbrances 
filled up their days ! So that they could find no time to go alone, 
and think of the awful and weighty concernments of the world to 
come, James v. 5. 

Thirdly, The total waste and expence of the only season of sal- 
vation, about these vanishing, impertinent trifles, which is never 
more to be recovered, Eccles. ix. 10. 

Fourthly, That these deluding shadows, the pleasures of a mo- 
ment are all they had in exchange for their souls, a goodly price it 
was valued at. Mat. xvi. 26. 

Fifthly, That by such a life they have not only ruined their own 
souls, but put their posterity, by their education of them in the 
same course of life, into the same path of destruction, in which they 
went to hell before them. Psal. xlix. 13. " Their posterity approve 
their saying.'"* 

Inf. 10. How rational and commendable is the courage and reso- 
lution of those Christians wlio chuse to bear all the sufferings in this 
world from the hands of men, rather than to defile and wound their 
consciences with sin, and thereby expose their souls to the wrath of 
God for ever ! 

That which men now call pride, humour, fancy, and stubborn- 
ness, will, one day, appear to be their great wisdom, and the excel- 
lency of their spirits. It is the tenderness of their consciences, not 
the pride and stoutness of their stomachs, which makes them in- 
flexible to sin ; they know the terrors of a wounded conscience, 
and had rather endure any other trouble from the hands of men, 
than fall by known sin into the hands of an angry God. Try 
them in other matters wherein the glory of God, and the peace or 
purity of their consciences are not concenied, and see if you can 
charge them with stubbornness and singularity, it was the excel- 
lency of the spirits of the primitive Christians, that they durst tell 
the emperor to his face, when he threatened them with torments ; 
** Pardon us, O emperor, thou threatenest-us with a prison, but 



" God with hell *.'' Do we call that ingenuity and good nature 
which makes the mind soft and tractable to temptations, and will 
rather venture upon guilt than be esteemed singular ? 

-|- Salvian tells us of some in his time, who were compelled to 
" be evil, lest they should be accounted vile."" And was that their 
excellency ? May I not fitly apply the words of Salvian here : " O 
in what honour and repute is Christ among Christians, when reli- 
gion shall make them base and ignoble !" He that vmderstands what 
the punishment of sin will be in hell, should endure all things ra- 
ther than yield to sin on earth. Indeed, if you that threaten and 
tempt others to violate their consciences, could bear the wrath of 
God for them in hell, it were somewhat ; but we know there is no 
suffering by a proxy there ; they tremble at the word of God, and 
have felt the burden of guilt, and dare not yield to sin, though 
they yield their estates and bodies to prevent it. 

Inf. 11. How patiently should we endure the afft'ictions of this 
life, by which sin is prevented and purged P 

The discipline of our spirits belongs to God the Father of spirits ; 
he corrects us here that we may not be punished hereafter, 1 Cor. 
xi. 32. " We are chastened of the Lord, that we may not be con- 
" demned with the world.""* It is better for us to groan under af- 
flictions on earth, than to roar under revenging WTath in hell. Pa- 
rents who are wise, as well as tender, had rather hear their chil- 
dren sob and cry under the rod, than stand with halters upon 
their necks on the ladder, bewailing the destructive indulgence of 
their parents. 

Your chastisements, when sanctified, are preventive of all the 
misery opened before. It is therefore as unreasonable to murmur 
against God, because you smart under his rod, as it would be to 
accuse your dearest friend of cruelty, because he strained your arm 
to snatch you from the fall of a house or wall, which he saw ready 
to crush and overwhelm you in its ruins. 

If we had less affliction, we should have more guilt. We see 
how apt we are to break over the hedge, and to go astray from 
God, with all the clogs of affliction designed for our restraint ; 
what should we do if we had no clog at all ? It is better for you to 
be whipped to heaven with all the rods of affliction, than coached 
to hell with all the pleasures of the world. 

Christian, thy God sees, if thou do not, that all these troubles 
are few enough to save thee from sin and hell. Thy corruptions 
require all these, and all little enough. " If need be, ye are in 
" heaviness,"' 1 Pet. i. 6. If there be need for it, thy dearest 

* Ignosce imperator, tu carcerem miriaris, Deus gehennam, 
•f Mali esse coguntur, ne viles habeantw. 


comforts on earth shall die, that thy soul may live ; but if thy 
mortification to them render thy removal needless, thou and they 
shall live together. It is better to be preserved in brine, than to 
rot in honey. Sanctified afflictions working under the efficacy of 
tlie blood of Christ, are the safest way to our souls. 

Inf. \% How doleful a change doth the death of wlched men 
make upon them ! from jjalaces on earth to the prison of hell. 

No sooner has the soul of a wicked man stepped out of his own 
door at death, but the Serjeants of hell are immediately upon it, 
serving the dreadful summons on the law-condemned wretch. 
This arrest terrifies it more than the hand-writing upon the plas- 
ter of the wall did him, Dan. v. 5. How are all a man's apprehen- 
sions changed in a moment ! Out of what a deep sleep are most, 
and out of what a pleasant dream of heaven are some awaked and 
startled at death, by the dreadful arrest and summons of God to 

How quickly would all a sinner's mirth be damped, and turned 
into bowlings in this world, if conscience were but thoroughly 
awakened ! It is but for God to change our apprehensions now, 
and it would be done in a moment : but the eyes of most men's 
souls are not opened till death hath shut their bodily eyes ; and 
then how sudden, and how sad a change is made in one day ! 

O think what it is to pass from all the pleasures and delights of 
this world into the torments and miseries of that world ; from a 
pleasant habitation into an infernal prison; from the depth of 
security to the extremity of desperation ; from the arms and 
bosoms of dearest friends and relations, to the society of damned 
spirits ! Lord, what a change is here ; had a gracious change been 
made upon their hearts by grace, no such doleful change could 
have been made upon their state by death : little do their surviving 
friends think what •they feel, or what is their estate in the other 
world whilst they are honouring their bodies with splendid and 
pompous funerals. None on earth have so much reason to fear 
death, to make much of hfe, and use all means to continue it, as 
those who will, and must be so great losers by the exchange. 

Inf. 13. See here the certainty^ and inevitahleness of the judgment 
of the great day. 

This prison which is continually filling with the spirits of wick- 
ed men is an undeniable evidence of it : for why is hell called a 
prison, and why are the spirits of men confined and chained there 
but with respect to the judgment of the great day ? As there is a 
necessary connexion betwixt sin and punishment, so betwixt 
punishing and trying the offender ; there are milhons of souls in 
custody, a world of spirits in prison ; these must be brought forth 
to their trial, for God will lay upon no man more than is right ; 



the legality of their mittimus to hell will be evidenced in their so- 
lemn day of trial. God hath therefore " appointed a day in 
** which he will judge the world in righteousness, by that man 
♦* whom he hath ordained," Acts xvii. 31. 

Here sinners run in arrears, and contract vast debts ; in hell 
they are seized and committed, at judgment tried and cast for the 
same. This will be a dreadful day, those that have spent so prodi- 
gally upon the patience of God, must now come to a severe account 
for all ; they have past their particular judgment immediately after 
death, Eccl. xii. 7. Heb. ix. 27. By this they know how they shall 
speed in the general judgment, and how it shall be with them for 
ever, but though this private judgment secures their damnation 
sufficiently, yet it clears not the justice of God before angels and 
men sufficiently, and therefore they must appear once more before 
his bar, 2 Cor. v. 10. In the fearful expectation of this day, 
those trembling spirits now lie in prison, and that fearful expecta- 
tion is a principal part of their present misery and torment. You 
that refuse to come to the throne of grace, see if you can refuse to 
make your appearance at the bar of justice; you that braved and 
brow-beat your ministers that warned you of it, see if you can out- 
brave your Judge too as you did them. Nothing more sure or 
awful than such a day as this. 

Lif. 14. Hozv much are ministers^ parents, and all to whom the 
charge of souls is committed, hound to do all that in them lies to pre^ 
vent their everlasting misery in the world to come f 

The great apostle of the Gentiles found the consideration of the 
terror of the Lord as a spur urging and enforcing him to a minis- 
terial faithfulness and diligence; 2 Cor. v. 11. "Knowing there- 
" fore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men." And the 
same he presseth upon Timothy, 2 Tim. iv. 1, 2. " I charge thee 
" therefore, before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall 
" judge the quick and the dead at his appearing, and liis kingdom ; 
" preach the word ; be instant in season and out of season ; re- 
" prove, rebuke, exhort, with all long-suffering and doctrine.'' 
O that those to whom so great a trust as the souls of men is com- 
mitted, would labour to acquit themselves with all faithfulness 
therein, as Paul did, warning every one night and day with tears, 
that if we cannot prevent their ruin, which is most desirable ; yet 
at least we may be able to take God to witness, as he did, that we 
are pure from the blood of all men. 

Oh ! consider, my brethren, if your faithful plainness and un- 
wearied diligence to save men's souls produce no other fruit but 
the hatred of you liow ; yet it is much easier for you to bear 
that, than that they and you too should bear the wrath of God 
for ever. 


We have all of us personal guilt enough upon us, let us not add 
other men's guilt to our account : to be guilty of the blood of the 
meanest man upon earth, is a sin which will cry in your consciences ; 
but to be guilty of the blood of souls, Lord, who can bear it ! 
Christ thought them worthy his heart-blood, and are they not 
worth the expence of our breath ? Did he sweat blood to save 
them, and will not we move our lips to save them ? It is certainly 
a sore judgment to the souls of men, when such ministers are set 
over them as never understood the value of their people's souls, 
or were never heartily concerned about the salvation of their 
own souls. 

Matth. xvi. S6. 

For what is a man pr'qfited, if he shall gain the whole world, and 
lose his own soul ? or what shall a man give in exchange Jbr his 
soul ? 

JLrlFFICULT duties need to be enforced with powerful argu- 
ments. In the 24th verse of this chapter, our Lord presseth 
upon his disciples the deepest and hardest duties of self-denial, 
acquaints them upon what terms they must be admitted into his 
service : " If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and 
" take up his cross and follow me." 

This hard and difficult duty he enforceth upon them by a dou- 
ble argument, viz. From, 

1. The vanity of all sinful shifts from it, ver. 25. 

2. The value of their souls, which is imported in it, ver. 26. 
They may shift off their duty to the loss of their souls, or save 

their souls by the loss of such trifles. If they esteem their souls 
above the world, and can be content to put all other things to the 
hazard for their salvation, making account to save nothing but 
them by Christianity ; then they come up to Christ's terms, and 
may warrantably and boldly call him their Lord and Master; and 
to sweeten this choice to them, he doth, in my text, balance the 
sold and all the world, weighing them one against the other, and 
shews them the infinite odds and disproportion betwixt them : 
" What is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and 
" lose his own soul ? or what shall a man give in exchange for 
" his soul r 

What is a man profited ?] There is a plain meiosis in the phrase ; 
and the meaning is, how inestimably and irreparably is a man 
damnified ! what a soul-ruining bargain would a man make ! 

If he should gain the wlwlc world.'] There is a plain hyperbola 



in this phrase ; for it never was, nor ever uill be the lot of any 
man to be the sole owner and possessor of the whole world *. But 
suppose all the power, pleasure, wealth, and honour of the whole 
world were bid and offered in exchange for a man's soul ; what a 
dear purchase would it be at such a rate ! " What were this, says 
*' one -f, but to win Venice, and then be hanged at the gate of 
" it ?" As that man acts like a mad man, that goes about to 
purchase a treasure of gold with the loss of his life ; for life being 
lost, what is all the gold in the world to him ? he can have no 
enjoyment of it, or comfort in it : so here, what is all the world, 
or as many worlds as there are creatures in it, when the soul is 
lost, if he gain this ? 

And lose his own soul] The comparison lies here betwixt one 
single soul and the whole world. The whole world is no price for 
the poorest, meanest, and most despised soul that lives in it. 

By losing the soul, we are not to understand the destruction of 
its being, but of its happiness and comfort, the cutting it off from 
God, and all the hopes of his favour and enjoyment for ever. 
This is the loss here intended, a loss never to be repaired. The 
whole world can be no recompence for the loss to the soul, if it be 
but the loss of its purity or peace for a time ; much less can it re- 
compence the loss of the soul, in the loss of all its happiness for 
ever. When a man's chief hapjDiness is finally lost, then is his 
soul lost : for what benefit can it be, nay, how great a misery 
must it be, to have a being perpetuated in torments for ever ? 
I This is the Jine or mulct which is set upon sin, as some render 
the word. What shall a man gain by such pleasures, for which 
God will mulct, or Jine him at the rate or price of his own soul ? 
That is, of all the happiness, joy and comfort of it to all eternity. 

Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul ^ |{ The ques- 
tion aggravates the sense, and amplifies the loss and damage of the 
man that sells his soul for the whole world. There is no recom- 
pence in all the world for the hazard or danger of the soul one 
hour ; nor would a man that understands what a soul and eternity 
are, put them into danger for ten thousand worlds, much less for 
one penny, yea, for nothing, as many do : but to barter or exchange 
it for the world, to take any thing in lieu of it ; this is the height 
of madness. " The way of buying in former times was not by 

* By this hypothetical hyperbole is denoted the great atrociousness of losing eter- 
nal salvation. Glnssius. 

f Non magis juvabitur , quam qui acqvirat Venetias, ipse vero suspendatur adportam. 
Parseus in loc. 

\ Anima vero tua mvdctetur^ i. e. If one *is punished with the loss of his own soul. 
Bez. Maldon. 

(I Interrogaiio exaggerans. 


*' money, but by the exchange of one commodity for another;" 
and to this custom * Brugensis thinks this phrase is allusive. Now, 
what commodity is found in all the world ; or who, that is not 
blinded by the god of this world, can think that the whole world 
itself, if all the rocks in it were rocks of diamonds, and the seas and 
rivers were liquid gold, is a commodity of equivalent worth to his 
own soul? Hence two notes arise naturally. 

Doct. 1. That one soul is of more value than the whole world. 

Doct. 2. How precious and invaluable soever the soul of man is^ 
it may be lost and cast awayjbr ever. 

I begin with the first. 

Doct. 1. That one soul is of more value than the whole world. 

I need not spend much time in the proof of it, when you have 
considered, that he who bought them, hath here weighed and 
valued them ; and that the point before us is the result and con- 
clusion of one that hath the best reason to know the true worth of 
them. That which I have to do is to gather out of the scriptures 
the particulars ; which, put together, make up the full demonstra- 
tion of the point. And, 

1. The invaluable worth of souls appears from the manner of 
their creation. They were created immediately by God, as hath 
been proved, and that not without the deliberation of the whole 
Trinity ; Gen. i. 26. " Let us make man."" For the production of 
other creatures, it was enough to give out the word of his com- 
mand. " Let there be light, let the earth and the waters bring 
" forth ;"" but when he comes to man, then you have no fiat^ 
let there be, but he puts his own hand immediately to it, as to the 
master-piece of the whole creation : yea, a council is called about 
it; Let US', implying the just consultation and deliberation of all 
the persons in the Godhead about it, that our hearts might be raised 
to the expectation of some extraordinary work to follow; great 
counsels and wise debates being both the forerunners and founda- 
tions of great actions and events to ensue thereupon. Thus Elihu 
in Job xxxv. 10. " None saith. Where is God my Makers .?" And 
David, in Psal. cxlix. 2. " Let Israel rejoice in his Makers :"" in 
both places the word is plural. The consultation here is only 
amongst the divine Persons, no angels are called to this council- 
table, the whole matter was to be conducted by the wisdom, and 

AvruXXay/Ma vocat id quo dato, redimitur aliqtdd t juxla j>riscorum commerciat 
^uce non moneta, sed rerum permutations constabant, Brugens. 


effected by the power of God ; and therefore there was no need 
to consult* with any but himself, the wisdom of angels being from 
him : but this great council shews what an excellent creature was 
now to be produced, and the excellency of that creature man was 
principally in his soul; for the bodies of other creatures, which were 
made bv the word of his command, are as beautiful, elegant, and 
neat as the body of man; yea, and in some respects more excellent. 
The soul then was that rare piece which God in so condescending 
an expression tells us was created with the deliberation of the God- 
head ; those o-reat and excellent Persons laid their heads, as it were^ 
together to project its being. 

And by the way, this may smartly check the pride and arrogance 
of souls, who dare take it upon them to teach God, as murmurs at 
his disposals of us. Shall that soul which is tlie product of his 
wisdom and counsel, dare to instruct or counsel its maker ? But 
that by the by. You see there is a transcendent dignity and worth 
in the soul of man above all other beings in the world, by the 
peculiar way of its production into the number of created beings: 
no wise man deliberates long, or calls a council about ordinary mat- 
ters, much less the AU-^vise God. 

2. The soul hath in itself an intrinsic worth and excellency, 
worthy of that divine Original v/hence it sprang: view it in its 
noble faculties, and admirable powers, and it will appear to be a 
creature upon which God hath laid out the riches of his wisdom 
and power. 

There vou shall find a mind susceptive of all light, both natural 
and spiritual, shining as the candle of God in the inner man, 
closiuo" with truth, as the iron doth with the attractive loadstone ; a 
shop in which all arts and sciences are laboured and formed ; what 
are all the famous libraries and monuments of learning, but so many 
systems of thoughts, laboured and perfected in the active inqui- 
sitive minds of men ? Truth is its natural and delectable object; it 
pursues eagerly after it, and even spends itself and the body too 
in the chase and prosecution of truth ; when it lies deep, as a sub- 
terranean treasure *, the mind sends out innumerable thoughts, re- 
inforcing each other in thick successions, to dig for, and compass 
that invaluable treasure ; if it be disguised by misrepresentations and 
vulgar prejudice, and trampled in the dirt under that disguise, 
there is an ability in the mind to discern it by some lines and fea- 
tures, which are all well known to it, and both own, honour, and 
vindicate it under all that dirt and obloquy, with more respect than 
a man will take up a piece of gold, or a sparkling diamond out of 
the mire : it searches after it by many painful deductions of reason. 

• Veritas in jmteo. i. e. Truth must be drawn from first principles. 


and * triumphs more in the discovery of it, than in all earthly trea^ 
sures ; no gratification of sense like that of the mind, when it grasps 
its prey for which it hunted. 

The mind passes through all the works of creation, it views the 
several creatures on earth, considers the fabric, use, and beauty of 
animals, the signatures of plants, penetrating thereby into their 
nature and virtues : it views the vast ocean, and the large train of 
causes laid together in all these things for the good of man, by 
God, whose name it reads in the most diminutive creature it be- 
holds on earth. 

It can, in a moment, mount itself from earth to heaven, view 
the face thereof, describe the motions of the sun in the ecliptic, 
calculate tables for the motions of the planets and fixed stars, in- 
vent convenient cycles for the computation of time, foretel, at a 
great distance, the dismal eclipses of the sun and moon to the very 
digit, and the portentous conjunctions of the planets, to the very 
minute of their ingress. These are the pleasant employments of the 

But there is a higher game at which this eagle plays ; it reckons 
itself all this while employed as much beneath its capacity, as 
Domitian in catching flies ; though these be lawful and pleasant 
exercises, when it hath leisure for them, yet it is fitted for a much 
nobler exercise, even to penetrate the glorious mysteries of redemp- 
tion, to trace redeeming love through all the astonishing methods, 
and manifold discoveries of it ; and yet higher than all this, it is 
capable of an immediate sight, or facial vision of the blessed God 7 
short of which it receives no pleasure that is fully agreeable to its 
noble power and infinite appetite. 

View its will, and you shall find it like a queen upon the throne 
of the soul, swaying the sceptre of liberty in her hand, (as f one 
expresses it) with all the affections waiting and attending upon her. 
No tyrant can force it, no torment can wrest the golden sceptre of 
liberty out of its hand ; the keys of all the chambers of the soul 
hang at its girdle, these it delivers to Christ in the day of his power; 
victorious grace sweetly determines it by gaining its consent, but 
commits no violence upon it. God accepts its offering, though full , 
of imperfections ; but no service is accepted without it, how excel- 
lent soever be the matter of it. 

View the conscience and thoughts with their self-reflective abili- 
ties, wherein the soul retires into itself, and sits concealed from all 

* Archimedes, when he made a valuable discovery of a new truth, leapt out of tlie 
bath for joy. crj ing, I have found it, I have found it. 

f Culverweli. 


eyes but his that made it, judging its own actions, and censuring 
its estate ; viewing its face in its own glass, and correcting the in- 
decencies it discovers there : things of greatest moment and impor- 
tance are silently transacted in its council-chamber betwixt the soul 
and God ; so remote from the knowledge of all creatures, that 
neither angels, devils, nor men, can know what is* doing there, but 
by uncertain guess, or revelation from God * : here it impleads, 
condemns f , and acquits itself as at a privy session, with respect to 
the judgment of the great day : here it meets with the best of com- 
forts, and with the worst of terrors. 

Take a survey of its passions and affections, and you will find 
them admirable : see how they are placed by divine Wisdom in the 
soul, some for defence and safety, others for delight and pleasure. 
Anger actuates the spirits, and rouseth its courage, enabhng it to 
break through difficulties : Fear keeps centinel, watching upon all 
dangers that approach us : Hope forestalls the good, and antici- 
pates the joys of the next life, and thereby supports and strength- 
ens tl:ie soul under all the discouragements and pressures of the 
present life : Love unites us to the chiefest good : " He that dwel- 
" leth in love, dwelleth in God, and God in him :" Zeal is the 
dagger which love draws in God's cause and quarrel, to secure 
itself from sin, and testify its resentments of God's dishonour. 

O w4iat a divine spark is the soul of man ! well might Christ pre- 
fer it in dignity to the whole world. 

3. The worth of a soul may be gathered and discerned from its 
subjective capacity and hability both of grace and glory. It is capa- 
ble 'of all the graces of the Spirit, of being filled with the fulness 
of God, Eph. iii. 19- to hve to God here, and with God for ever. 
What excellent graces do adorn some souls ? How are all the 
rooms richly hanged with divine and costly hangings, that God 
may dwell in them ! This makes it like the carved works of the 
temple, overlaid with pure gold ; here is glory upon glory, a new^ 
creation upon the old ; in the innermost parts of some souls is a 
spiritual altar erected with this inscription. Holiness to the Lord : 
here the soul offers up itself to God in the sacred flames of love ; 
and here it sacrifices its vile affections, devoting them to destruc- 
tion, to the glory of its God : here God walks with dehght, even 
a delight beyond what he takes in all the stately structures and mag- 
nificently adorned temples in the whole world, Isa. Ixvi. 1, 2. 

No other soul besides man's is marriageable to Christ, or capable 
of espousals to the King of glory : they were not designed, and there- 
fore not endued vvith a capacity for such an honour as this : but 

* 1 Cor. ii. 11. 

f Rom. ii. 15. 2 Cor. i. 12. 


!5uch a capacity hath every soul, even the meanest on earth, and 
such honour have all his saints : others may be, but they are be- 
trothed to Christ in this world, 2 Cor. xi. 2. ar.d shall be presented 
without spot before him in the world to come, Eph. v. 27. 

It is now a lovely and excellent creature in its naked, natural 
state ; much more beautiful and excellent in its sanctified and gra- 
cious state : but what shall we say, or how shall we conceive of it, 
when all spots of sin are perfectly washed off its beautiful face in 
heaven, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon it ! when its filthy 
garments are taken away, and the pure robes of perfect holiness, as 
well as righteousness, superinduced upon this excellent creature ! 
If the imperfect beauty of it, begun in sanctification, enamoured its 
Saviour, and made him say, " Thou hast ravished my heart with 
" one of thine eyes, with one of the chains of thy neck ;'*' what will 
its beauty, and his delight in it be in the state of perfect glorifica- 
tion ! As we imagine the circles in the heavens to be vastly greater 
than those we view upon the globe, so must we imagine in the case 
before us. 

4. The preparations God makes for souls in heaven, speak their 
great worth and value. When you lift up your eyes to heaven, 
and behold that spangled azure canopy beset and inlaid with so 
many golden studs and sparkling gems, you see but the floor or 
pavement of that place which God hath prepared for some souls. 
He furnished this world for us before he put us into it ; but, as de- 
lightful and beautiful as it is, it is no more to be compared with the 
Father's house in heaven, than the smallest ruined chapel your eyes 
ever beheld, is to be compared Avith Solomon's temple, when it stood 
in all its shining glory. 

When you see a stately and magnificent structure built, richest 
hangings and furniture prepared to adorn it, you conclude some 
great persons are to come thither: such preparations speak the 
quality of the guests. 

Now heaven, yea, the heaven of heavens, the palace of the great 
King, the presence-chamber of the Godhead, is prepared, not only 
by God's decree and Christ's death ; but by his ascension thither 
in our names, and as our forerunner, for all renewed and redeemed 
souls. John xiv. 2. " In my Father's house are many mansions ; 
" if it were not so I would have told you : I go to prepare a place 
" for you." 

And, where is the place prepared for them, but in his Father's 
house ? The same place, the very same house where the Father, 
Son, and Spirit themselves do dwell : such is the love of Christ to 
souls, that he will not dwell in one house, and they in another ; 
but, as he speaks, John xii. 26. " Where I am, there shall my 
" servant also be." There is room enough in the Father's house 


for Christ and all the souls he redeemed to live and dwell together 
for evermore. His ascension thither was in the capacity of a com- 
mon or public person, to take livery and seisin of those many man- 
sions for them, which are to be filled with their inhabitants, as they 
come thither in their respective times and orders. 

5. The great pric^ with which they were redeemed and pur* 
chased, speaks their dignity and value. No wise man will purchase 
a trifle at a great price, much less the most wise God. Now the 
redemption of every soul stood in no less than the most precious 
blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, 1 Pet. i. 18, 19. " You know 
" (saith the apostle there) that we were not redeemed with corrup- 

" tible things as silver and gold, ^but with the precious blood 

" of Christ, as a lamb without blemish or spot.'' All the gold and 
silver in the world was no ransom for one soul ; nay, all the blood 
of the creatures, had it been shed as a sacrifice to the glory of jus- 
tice, or even the blood which is most dear to us, as being derived 
from our own; I mean, the blood of our dear children, even of our 
first-born, the beginning of our strength, which usually has the 
strength of affection : I say, none of these could purchase a pardon 
for the smallest sin that ever any soul committed, much less was it 
able to purchase the soul itself, Mic. vi. 6, 7. *' Thousands of 
" rams, and ten thousand rivers of oil," or our first-horn^ are no 
ransom to God yor the sin of the soul. It is only the precious 
blood of Christ that is a just ransom or counter-price, as it is 
called, Matth. xx. 28. 

Now, who can compute the value of that blood .? Such was the 
worth of the blood of Christ, which, by the communication of pro- 
perties, is truly stiled the blood of God, that one drop of it is above 
the estimations of men and angels ; and yet, before the soul of the 
meanest man or woman in the world could be redeemed, every drop 
of his blood must be shed ; for no less than his death could be a 
price for our souls. Hence then we evidently discern an invaluable 
worth in souls : A whole kingdom is taxed, when a king is to be 
ransomed ; the delight and darling of God's soul must die, when 
our souls are to be redeemed. O the worth of souls ! 

6. This evidences the transcendent dignity and worth of souls, 
that eternity is stampt upon their actions, and theirs only, of all the 
beings in this world. The acts of souls are immortal as their na- 
ture is ; whereas the actions of other animals, having neither moral 
goodness nor moral evil in them, pass away as their beings do. 

The apostle therefore, in Gal. vi. 7. compares the actions of men 
in this world to seed Sown, and tells us of everlasting fruits we shall 
reap from them in the next life ; they have the same respect to a 
future accoimt that seed hath to the harvest ; " He that soweth 


*' iniquity shall reap vanity," i. e. everlasting disappointment and 
misery, Prov. xxii. 8. and " they that now sow in tears, shall then 
"' reap in joy,'' Prov. xxvi. 5. Every gracious action is the seed of 
joy, and every sinful action the seed of sorrow ; and this makes the 
great difference betwixt the actions of a rational soul, and those 
done by beasts : and if it were not so, man would then be wholly 
swayed by sense and j)resent things, as the beasts are, and all reli- 
gion would vanish with this distinction of actions. 

Our actions are considerable two ways, physically and morally ; 
in the first sense they are transient, in the last permanent ; a v/ord 
is past as soon as spoken, but yet it must and will be recalled and 
brought into the judgment of the great day, Mat. xii. 36. What- 
ever therefore a man shall speak, think, or do, once spoken, 
thought, or done, it becomes eternal, and abides for ever. Now, 
what is it that puts so great a difference betwixt human and brutal 
actions, but the excellent nature of the reasonable soul ? It is this 
which stamps immortality upon human actions, and is at once a 
clear proof both of the immortality and dignity of the soul of man 
above all other creatures in this world. 

7. The contentions of both worlds, the strife of heaven and hell 
about the soul of man, speaks it a most precious and invaluable 

The soul of man is the prize about which heaven and hell con- 
tend : the great design of heaven is to save it, and all the plots of 
hell to ruin it. Man is a borderer betwixt both kingdoms, he lives 
here upon the confines of the spiritual and material world; and 
therefore Scaliger fitly calls him Ut7'iusque mundi nexus, one in 
whom both worlds meet : his body is of the earth, earthly ; his 
soul the offspring of the Deity, heavenly. It is then no wonder to 
find such tugging and pulling this way and that way, upward and 
downward, such sallies from heaven to rescue and save it, such ex- 
cursions from hell to captivate and ruin it. 

The infinite wisdom of God hath laid the plot and design for its 
salvation by Christ in so great depth of counsel, that the angels of 
heaven are astonished at it, and desire to pry into it. Christ in 
pursuance of this eternal project, came from heaven professedly to 
seek and to save lost souls, Luke xix. 10. He compares himself to 
a good shepherd, who leaveth the ninety and nine to seek one lost 
sheep, and having found it, brings it home upon his shoulders, 
rejoicing that he hath found it, Luke xv. 7. 

Hell employs all its skill and policy, sets a-work all wiles and 
stratagems to destroy and ruin it ; 1 Pet. v. 8. " Your adversary 
" the devil goeth about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may de- 
" vour."' The strong man armed g«ts the first possession of the 
soul, and with all his forces and policies labours to secure it as his 


property, Luke xi. 21. Christ raises all the spiritual militia, th« 
very posse cceli, the powers of heaven, to rescue it, 2 Cor. x. 4, 5. 
And do heaven and earth thus contend, think you, de lana caprina, 
for a thing of nought ? No, no, if there were not some singular and 
peculiar excellency and worth in man's soul, both worlds would 
never tug and pull at this rate which should win that prize. It was 
a great argument of the worth and excellency of Homer, that in- 
comparable poet, that seven cities contended for the honour of his 

2/vjpm, PoBog, Ko\o<puv, lakajMiv, Xiog, A^yo^j A^jjva/. 

Smyrna, Rhodes, Colophon, Salamis, Chius, Argos, and Athens, 
were all at strife about one poor man, who should crown themselves 
ynih the honour of his birth : but when heaven and hell shall con- 
tend about a soul, certainly it much more speaks the dignity of it, 
than the contention of several cities for one Homer. 

What are all the wooings, expostulations, and passionate be- 
seechings of Christ's ministers? What are all the convictions of 
conscience, and the strong impressions made upon the affections ? 
What are all the strokes from heaven upon men in the way of sin ? 
I say, what are all tliese but the efforts of heaven to draw souls out 
of the snares of hell ? 

And what are the hellish temptations that men feel in their 
hearts, the alluring objects presented to their eyes, the ensnaring 
examples that are set round about them, but the attempts of Satan, 
if possible, to draw the souls of men into the same condemnation 
and misery with himself? 

Would heaven and hell be up in arms, as it were, and strive at 
this rate for nothing? Thy soul, O man, how vilely soever thou 
depreciatest and slightest it, is of high esteem, a rich purchase, a 
creature of nobler rank than thou art aware of. The wise mer- 
chant knows the value of gold and diamonds, though ignorant In- 
dians would part with them for glass beads and tinsel toys. And 
this leads us to 

8. The eighth evidence of the invaluable worth of souls, which 
is the joy in heaven, and the rage in hell, for the gain and loss of 
the soul of man. 

Christ, who came from heaven, and well knew the frame and dis- 
position of the inhabitants of that city, tells us, that " there is joy 
" in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that re- 
" penteth," Luke xv. 7, 10. * No sooner is the heart of a sin- 

* As often as we do good, so often the angels are glad, and the derils are sad ? 


ner darted with conviction, broken with sorrow for sin, and begins 
to cry, " men and brethren, what shall I do ?" but tlie news is 
quickly in heaven, and sets all the city of God a rejoicing at it, as 
is in the chief city of a kingdom when a young prince is born. 

We never read that Christ laughed in all his time on earth ; but 
we read that he once rejoiced in spirit, Luke x. 21. And what 
was the occasion of that his joy, but the success of the gospel in the 
salvation of the souls of men ? Now, certainly it must be some great 
good that so affects Christ, and all his angels in heaven at the 
sight of it ; the degree of a wise man's joy is according to the 
value of the object thereof: No man that is wise will rejoice and 
feel his heart leap within him for gladness at a small or common 

And as there is joy in heaven for the saving, so certainly there 
is grief and rage in hell for the loss of a soul. No sooner had God, 
by PauPs ministry, converted one poor Lydia, at Philippi, whither 
he was called by an immediate express from heaven for that ser- 
vice, but the devil put all the city into an uproar, as if an enemy 
had landed on their coast ; and raised a violent persecution, which 
quickly drave him thence. Acts xvi. 9, 14, 22. 

And indeed what are all the fierce and cruel persecutions of 
God's faithful ministers, but so many efforts of the rage and malice 
of hell against them, for plucking souls as so many captives and 
preys out of his paws .'' for this he owes them a spight, and will be 
sure to pay them, if ever he get them at an advantage. But all 
this joy and grief demonstrates the high and great value of the prize 
which is won by heaven and lost by hell. 

9. The institution of gospel-ordinances, and the appointment of 
so many gospel-officers purposely for the saving of souls^ is no small 
evidence of their value and esteem. 

No man would light and maintain a lamp fed with golden oil, 
and keep it burning from age to age, if the work to be done by the 
light of it were not of a very precious and important nature : what 
else are the dispensations of the gospel, but lamps burning with 
golden oil to light souls to heaven ? Zech. iv. 2, 3, 4, and 12. 
compared : A magnificent vision is there represented to the prophet, 
viz. a candlestick of gold with a bowl or cistern upon the top of it, 
and seven shafts with seven lamps at the ends thereof, all lighted : 
And that these lamps might have a constant supply of oil, without 
any accessary human help, there are represented (as growing by the 
candlestick) two fresh and green olive trees on each side thereof, 
ver. S, which do empty out of themselves golden oil, ver. 12. na- 

and as often as we depart from good, so often the devils rejoice, and the aogeis are dc 
frauded of their jov. Aug. 

Vol. III. ' L 


turally dro])ping and distilling it into that bowl, and the two pipes 
thereof to feed the lamps continually. Under this stately emblem 
vou have a lively representation of the spiritual gifts and graces dis- 
tilled by the Spirit into the ministers of the gospel for the use and 
benefit of the church, as you find not only by the angePs exposition 
of it here, but by the Spirit's allusion to it, and accommodation of 
it in Rev. xi. 3, 4. See herein what price God puts upon the sal- 
vation of souls : Gospel-lamps are maintained for their sakes, not 
with the sweat of ministers brows, or the expence and waste of 
their spirits, but by the precious gifts and graces of God's Spirit 
continually dropping into them for the use and sei-vice of souls. 
These ministerial gifts and graces are Christ's ascension-gifts, Eph. 
iv. 8. " When he ascended up on high, he gave gifts unto men ;'* 
and what are the royal gifts of that triumphant day ? Why, he 
*' gave some apostles, and some prophets^ and some evangelists, 
*' and some pastors and teachers, for the perfecting of the saints, 
*' for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of 
*' Christ." It is an allusion to the Roman triumphs, wherein the 
conqueror did spargere missilia, scatter abroad his treasures among 
the people. It is reported of the palm-tree, saith one, that when 
it was first planted in Italy, they watered its roots with v/ine, to 
make it take the better with the soil : But God waters our souls 
Avith what is infinitely more costly than wine, he waters them with 
the heart-blood of Christ, and the precious gifts and graces of the 
Spirit ; which certainly he would never do if they were not of great 
worth in his eyes. O how many excellent ministers, who were, 
as it is said of John, burning and shining lights in their places and 
generations, have spent themselves, and how many are there who 
are wilHng to spend, and be spent, as Paul was for the salvation of 
souis ! God is at great expence for them, and therefore puts a very 
high value upon them. 

Now all this respects the soul of man ; that is the object of all 
ministerial labours. The soul is the terminus actionum ad ijitra, the 
subject on which God works, and upon which he spends all those 
invaluable treasures. It is the soul which he aims at, and prin- 
cipally designs and levels all to, and reckons it not too dear a rate 
to save it at. 

No man will dig for common stones with golden mattocks, the 
instruments that would be worn out being of far greater value than 
the thing. This may convince us of what worth our souls are, and 
at what rates they are set in God's book, that such instruments are 
sent abroad into the world, and such precious gifts and graces, like 
golden oil, spent continually for their salvation ; " Whether Paul, 
"• or Apollos, or Cephas, all are yours," 1 Cor. iii. 22. i. e. all set 
apart for the service and salvation of your souls. 


10. The great encouragements and rewards God propounds and 
promiseth to them that win souls, speak their worth, and God's 
great esteem of tliem. 

There cannot be a more acceptable service done to God, than 
for a man to set himself heartily and diligently to the conversion of 
souls ; so many souls as a man instrumentally saves, so many dia- 
dems will God crown him withal in the great day. St. Paul calls 
his converted Philippians his joy and his croivn^ Phil. iv. 1. and tells 
the converted Thessalonians, they were his " crown of rejoicing in 
" the presence of Jesus Christ at his coming," 1 Thess. ii. 19. 
There is a full reward assured by promise to those that labour in 
this great service, Dan. xii. 3. " And they that be wise shall shine 
" as the brightness of the firmament ; and they that turn many 
*' to righteousness, as the stars for ever and ever.' The wisdom 
here spoken of, I conceive not to be only that whereby a man is 
made wise to the salvation of his own soul, but whereby he is also 
furnished with skill for the saving of other men's souls according 
to that, Prov. xi. 30. " He that winneth souls is wise :'' And so the 
latter phrase is exegetical of it, meaning one and the same thing with 
being wise and turning many unto righteousness : And, to put men 
upon the study of this wisdom, he puts a very honourable title upon 
them, calling them tD^i^im '•pn2f73 the justifiers of many^ as in 1 
Tim. iv. 16. they are said to save others. Here is singular honour 
put upon the very instruments employed in this honourable service, 
and that is not all, but their reward is great hereafter, as well as 
their honour great at present, they " shall shine as the brightness 
" of the firmament, and the stars for ever and ever." The fir- 
mament shines like a sapphire in itself, and the stars and planets 
more gloriously again ; but those that faithfully labour in this work 
of saving souls shall shine in glory for ever and ever, when the fir- 
mament shall be parched up as a scroll. O what rewards and 
honours are here to provoke men to the study of saving souls ! God 
will richly recompense all our pains in this work : If we did but 
only sow the seed in our days, and another enter into our labours, 
and water what we sowed ; so that neither the first hath the comfort 
of finishing the work, nor the last the honour of beginning it ; but 
one did somewhat towards it in the work of conviction, and the 
other carried it on to greater maturity and perfection ; and so nei- 
ther the one nor the other began and finished the work singly, yet 
both shall rejoice in heaven together, John iv. 36. 

You see what honour God puts upon the very instruments em- 
ployed in this work, even the honour to be saviours, under God, 
of men's souls, James v. 20. and what a full reward of glory, joy, 
and comfort, they shall have in heaven ; all which speaks the great 



value of the soul with God. Such encouragements, and such re- 
wards would never have been propounded and promised if God had 
not a singular estimation of them. 

And the more to quicken his instruments to all diligence, in this 
great work, he works upon their fears as well as hopes ; threatens 
them with hell, as well as encourages them with the liopes of hea- 
ven ; tells them he will require the blood of all those souls that 
perish by their negligence : " Their blood (saith he) will I require 
at the watchman's hands," Ezek. xxxiii. 6. which are rather thun- 
derbolts than words, saith Clnysostome. By all which, you see, 
what a weight God lays upon the saving or losing of souls : Such 
severe charges, great encouragements, and terrible threats had 
never been proposed in scripture, if the souls of men had not been 
invaluably precious. 

11. It is no small evidence of the previous and invaluable worth 
of souls, that God manifests so great and tender care over them, 
and is so much concerned about the evil that befals them. 

Among many others there are two things in which the tender 
care of God, for the good of souls, is manifested. 

(1.) In his tenderness over them in times of distress and danger; 
as a tender father will not leave his sick child in other hands, but 
sits up and watches by himself, and administers the cordials with 
his own hands ; even so the great God expresseth his care and ten- 
derness. Isa. Ivii. 15. " I dwell in the high and holy place, with 
" him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the 
" spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones." 
Behold the condescending tenderness of the highest majesty ! Is a 
soul ready to faint and fail, O how soon is God with it, with a re- 
viving cordial in his hand ! lest " the spirit should fail before him, 
'' and the soul which he hath made ?" as it is, ver. 16. Yea, he 
put it into Christ's commission, " to preach good tidings to the 
'' meek, and to bind up the broken-hearted," Isa. Ixi. 1. and not 
only inserts it in Christ's commission, but gives the same in solemn 
charge to all his inferior messengers, whom he employs about them. 
Isa. XXXV. 3. '' Strengtlien ye the weak hands, and confirm the 
'' feeble knees ; say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, 
'' fear not." 

(2.) His special regard to souls is evidenced in his severe prohibi- 
tions to all others to do anything that maybe an occasion of ruin to 
them. He charges it upon all, " That no man put a stumbling- 
" block, or an occasion to fall in his brother's way," Rom. xiv. 13. 
that by the abuse of our own liberty, " we destroy not him for 
'' whom Christ died," Rom. xiv. 15. And what doth all this 
signify but the precious and invaluable worth of souls ? 

12. Lastly^ It is not the least evidence of the dignity of men's 


souls, that God liath appointed the whole host of angels to be their 
guardians and attendants. 

" Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for 
" them who shall be heirs of salvation ?'' Hcb. i. 14. 

Are the?/ 7iot ?] It is not a doubtful question, but the strongest 
way of affirmation ; nothing is surer than that they are. 

Ml] Not one of that heavenly company excepted. The liighest 
angel thinks it no disparagement to serve a soul for whom Christ 
died ; well may they all stoop to serve them when they see Christ 
their Lord hath stooped, even to death, to save them. They are 
all of them. 

Ministering' sjjirlts.] Asir^^yrAo, 'Trvsv/xala^ public officers, to whom 
their tutelage is conmiitted : To them it belongs to attend, serve, 
protect and relieve them. The greatest barons and peers in the 
kingdom think it not below them to wait upon the heir apparent to 
the crown, in his minority ; and no less dignity is here stampt by 
God upon the souls of men whom he calls. 

Heirs of salvation.'] And in some respect nearer to Christ than 
themselves are ; on this account it is, that the angels delight to 
serve them. Christ's little ones upon earth have their angels, which 
always behold the face of God in heaven, Mat. xviii. 10. and there- 
fore saith our Lord there, " Take heed you despise not one of 
those little ones ;" they are greater persons than you are aware of. 
Nor is it enough that one angel is appointed to wait upon all, or 
many of them, but many angels, even a whole host of them, are 
sometimes sent to attend upon one of them. As Jacob was going 
on his way, the angels of God met him ; and when he saw them 
he said, " This is God's host," Gen. xxxii. 1, % 

The same two offices which belong to a nurse, to whom the fa- 
ther commits his child, belong also to the angels in heaven, with 
respect to the children of God, viz. to keep them tenderly whilst 
they are abroad, and bring them home to their Father's house at 
last. And how clearly doth all this evince and demonstrate the 
great dignity and value of souls ? Was it an argument of the gran- 
deur and magnificence of king Solomon, that he had two hundred 
men with targets, and three hundred men with shields of beaten 
gold for his ordinary guard «very day ? And is it not a mark of 
far greater dignity than ever Solomon had in all his glory, to have 
hosts of angels attending us t! In comparison with one of this guard, 
Solomon himself was but a worm in all his magnificence. 

And now lay all these arguments together, and see what they 
will amount to. You have before you no ordinary creature : For 
(1.) It was not produced, as other creatures were by a mere word 
of command ; but by the deliberation of the gi'eat council of heaven. 
And (2.) Such are the high and noble faculties and powers found 



in it as render it agreeable to, and becoming such a Divine originaL 
Yea, (3.) By reason of these its admirable powers, it becomes a 
capable subject both of grace here and glorv hereafter. (4.) Nor 
is this its capacity in vain ; for God hath made glorious prepara- 
tions for some of them in heaven. (5.) And purchased them for 
heaven, and heaven for them, at an invaluable price, even the pre- 
cious blood of Christ. (6.) And stampt immortality upon their 
actions, as well as natures. (7.) Both worlds contend and strive 
for the soul, as a prize of greatest value. (8.) Their conversion to 
Christ is the triumph of heaven, and rage of hell. (9.) The 
lamps of gospel-ordinances are maintained over all the reformed 
Christian world, to light them in their passage to heaven. (10.) 
Great rewards are propounded to all that shall heartily endeavour 
the salvation of them. (11.) The care of heaven is exceeding 
great and tender over them. And (12.) The heavenly hosts of 
angels have the charge of them, and reckon it their honour to serve 
them. These things, duly weighed, bring home the conclu- 
sion vAth demonstrative clearness, to every man's understanding, 
That one soul is of more value than the whole world ; which was 
the thing to be proved. What remains, is the improvement of 
this excellent subject, in these following inferences. 

Iivf'. 1. The soul of man, appearing to be a creature of such trans- 
cendent dignity and excellency, this truth appears of equal clear- 
ness with it ; That it was not made ^ for the body, hut the body for 
it; and therefore it is a vile abuse of the noble and high-born soul, 
to subject it to the lusts, and enslave it to the drudgery of the in- 
ferior and more ignoble part. 

The very law of nature assigns the most honourable places and 
employments, to the most noble and excellent creatures, and the 
baser and inferior, to things of the lowest rank and quality. The 
sun, moon and stars are placed by this law in the heavens ; but 
the ignis fatu us, and the glow-worm in the fens and ditches. 
Princes are set upon thrones of glory, the beggars lodged in barns 
and stables : and if at any time this order of nature is inverted, 
and the baser suppress and perk over the noble and honourable 
beings, it is looked upon as a kind of prodigy, in the civil world. 
And so Solomon represents it, Eccl. x. 7. " I have seen servants 
" upon horses^ and princes walking as servants upon the earth ;"" 
i. e. I have seen men that are worthy of no better employments 
than to rub horses heels, in the saddle with their trappings ; and 
men who deserves to bear rule, and to govern kingdoms; men, 
who for their great ability and integrity, deserved to sit at the 
helm, and moderate the affairs of kingdoms; these have I seen 
walking as servants upon the earth ; and this he calls an evil 


under the sun, that is, an ataxy ^ confusion, or disorder in the course 
of nature. 

Now there can never be that difference and vast odds betwixt 
one man and another, as there is betwixt the soul and body of 
every man. A king upon the throne is not so much above a beg- 
gar that cries at our door for a crust, as the soul is above the 
body ; for the soul of a beggar is of the same species, original, and 
capacity of happiness, with the soul of the most illustrious prince ; 
and sometimes greater excellencies of mind are found in the low- 
est rank and order of men. " Better is a poor and wise child, than 
" an old, and foolish king," Eccl. iv. 13. but the soul of the 
meanest person in the world is better than all the bodies in it ; 
and therefore, to make the noble, and the high-born soul a slave, 
a mere drudge to the vile body, as the apostle calls it, Phil. iii. 
21. " The body of this vilencss;'' what is it but to set the beggar 
on horseback, and make the king lacquey after him on foot ! 

It was a generous resentment that a * Heathen had of the dignity 
of his own soul, and a very just abhorrence of so vile an abuse of 
it, when he said, / am greater^ and horn to greater things^ than 
that I should be a slave to my body. 

I know there is a debt of duty the soul owes to its own body, 
and few souls are to be found too careless, or dilatory in the dis- 
charge thereof; where one soul needs the spur in this case, thou- 
sands need the curb. Most souls are over-heated with zeal for 
the concerns of the flesh, worn out and spent in its constant 
drudgery ; their whole life is hut sl serving of divers lusts andplea- 
sures, as the apostle speaks. Tit. iii. S. Imperious lusts are cruel 
task-masters, they give the soul no rest ; the more provision the 
soul brings in to satisfy them, the more they rage, like Are, by the 
addition of more fuel. What a sad sight is it to see a noble, im- 
mortal soul enslaved, as the apostle's word is f. Tit. i. 7. to wine ? 
to filthy lucre, to a thousand sorts of vassalage ; like a tapster in a 
common inn, now running up stairs, and then down, at every one's 
knock and call. 

O what a perpetual hurry and noise do thousands of souls livo- 
in ! so that they have no time to retire into themselves, and think 
for what end and use they were created and sent into this world. 
All their thoughts, all their cares, all their studies and labours, are 
taken up about the perishing, clogging, ensnaring body, which 
must so shortly fall a prey to the worms. How many millions of 
poor creatures are there that labour and toil all their life long, for 
a poor, bare maintenance of their bodies, and never thhik they 
have any other business to do in this world ! 

• Major sum, et ad majora nalus, quam ul cof])oris meijim mancipiinn. Sen. 
t M?3 oivu o-oXXw didaXu/Mvug. 



And how many, of an higher rank, are charmed by a thick 
succession of fleshly delights and pleasures, into a deep obUvion 
of their eternal concerns ! So that their whole life is but one entire 
diversion from the great business and proper end of it. James v. 
5. " Ye have lived in pleasures on earth,'' living in them, as the 
fish doth in the water, its proper element, or the eel in the mud. 
Sometimes it falls out, at the very close of a vain voluptuous hfe, 
when you see all their delights shrinking away at the approaches 
and appearance of death, that they begin to be a little startled at 
the change, which is about to be made upon them ; and to cry, 
O what shall we do now ! Ah poor souls ! is that a time to think 
T^hat you shall do, w4ien you are just stepping into the awful state 
of eternity ? O that this had been thought on in season ! but you 
could find no leisure for one such thought. Now you begin to wish 
time had been rescued out of the hands of the cares and pleasures 
of this life, for better purposes ; but it is gone, and never more to 
be recalled. 

Inf. 2. Is the soul so invaluably precious f Then the salvation of the 
soul is to be the great care^ and business of every man in this life. 

Where one thought is spent about this question, What shall I 
eat, drinlc, and put on ? a thousand should be spent about that 
question, *' What shall I do to be saved !" If a treasure of ten, 
or twenty thousand pounds w^ere committed to your trust and 
charge, and for which (in case of loss) you must be responsible : 
would not your thoughts, cares, and fears, be working night and 
day about it, till you are satisfied it is safe and out of danger ? 
And then your mind would be at rest, but not before. Thy soul, 
O man, is more worth than the crowns and treasures of all the 
princes in the world ! If all their exchequers w^ere drained, and 
all their crown-jewels sold to their full value, they could never 
make up a half ransom for the soul of the poorest and meanest 
man. This invaluable treasure is committed to your charge ; if 
it be lost, you are lost for ever. That which St. Matthew calls 
the losing of the soul in my text, St. Luke calls losing himself; if 
the soul be lost, the man is lost. The body is but as a boat fas- 
tened to the stern of a stately ship, if the ship sink, the boat fol- 
lows it. 

O, therefore, what thoughts, what fears, what cares should ex- 
ercise the minds of men, day and night, till their precious souls 
are out of all danger : Methinks the sound of this text should ring 
a perpetual alarm in the ears of careless sinners, and make them 
hasten to the insurance-office, as merchants do, who have great 
adventures in danger at sea. It was counsel given once to a king, 
and worthy to be pressed upon all, from the king to the beggar, 
to ruminate these words of Christ one quarter of an hour every 


day ; " What is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, 
" and lose his own soul ? Or what shall a man give in exchange for 
" his soul ?" Certainly it would make men slacken their pace and 
cool themselves in their hot and earnest pursuit of the trifles of this 
world, and convince them, that they have somewhat else to do of 
far greater importance. 

It was not without great and weighty reason, therefore, that the 
apostle Peter exhorts to all diligence to make our calling and elec- 
tion sure, 2 Pet. i. 10. There are two words in this text of extra- 
ordinary weight, s-Ti'Satfarg, Give all diligence ; the word is studij ; 
the utmost intention of the mind, pondering and comparing things 
in the thoughts, valuing reasons for, and objections against the 
point before us, this is study ; and such as calls for all diligence 
where the subject-matter is (as to be sure here it is) of the greatest 
importance : And what is the subject-matter of all this study and 
dihgence ? Why, it is the most solemn of all works that ever came 
under the hand of man, to make our calling and election sure^ firm, 
stable, or fixed, as a building raised upon a square and strong foun- 
dation ; or as a conclusion is sure, when regularly drawn from cer- 
tain and indubitable premises: There can never be too much care, 
too much study or pains about that which can never be too well 

Many souls never spent one solemn hour in a close and serious 
debate about this matter ; others have taken a great deal of pains 
about it ; they have broken many nights sleep, poured out many 
prayers, made many a deep search into their own hearts, walked 
with much conscientious watchfulness and tenderness, proposed 
many a serious case of conscience to the most judicious and skilful 
ministers and Christians ; and after all, the security is not such as 
fully satisfies : And probably one reason of it may be the great 
weight wherewith the matters of their salvation lie upon their spirits. 
O that these soul-concerns did bear u|X)n all, as they do upon some ! 
It requires more time, more thoughts, more prayers to make these 
things sure, than most are aware of. 

Inf. 3. If the soul he so precious^ then certainly it is the special 
care of heaven, that which God looks mo7'e particularly after, than 
any other creature on earth. 

There is an active, vigilant providence that superintends every 
creature upon earth ; there is not the most despicable, diminutive 
creature that lives in the world, left without the line of providence : 
God is therefore said to give them all their meat in due season, and 
for that end they all wait upon him, Psal. civ. 27. who, as a gi'eat 
and provident house-keeper orders daily, convenient provisions for 
all his family, even to the least and lowest among them : The small- 
est insects and gnats which swarm so thick in the air, and of the 
usefulness of whose being it is hard to give an account ; yet as the 


incomparably learned * Dr. More well observes, these all find notr^ 
rishment in the world, which would be lost if they did not, and are 
again convenient nourishment themselves to others that prey upon 

But man is the peculiar, special care of God ; and the soul of 
man much more than the body. Hence Christ fortifies the faith of 
Christians against all distrusts of Divine Providence, even from 
their excellency above other creatures. 

Mat. X. 31. " Ye are of more value than many sparrows ;'' and 
Mat. vi. 26. your heavenly Father feeds the fowls of the air, and 
** are ye not much better than they ?''' and ver. 30. he clothes the 
grass of the field, " and shall he not much more clothe you ?^^ and 
so the apostle, 1 Cor. ix. 9. " Doth God take care for oxen ? or 
•* saith he it altogether for our sakes ? For our sakes, no doubt, 
" this is written." In all which places vre have the dignity of man 
above all animals and vegetables in respect of the natural excellency 
of his reasonable soul, but especially the gracious endowments of 
it, which endear it far more to its Maker ; this is the very hinge of 
the argument, and a firm ground for the believer's faith of God's 
tender care over both parts, but especially the soul. The body of 
a believer is God's creature, as well as his soul ; but that being of 
less value, hath not such a degree of care and tenderness expressed 
towards it, as the soul hath: the father's care is not so much for 
the child's clothes, as it is for the child liimself Besides, the im- 
mediate wants and troubles of the soul, which are idiopatheticaly 
are far more sharp and pinching than those it suffers upon the 
body's account, which are but sympathetlcal ; and therefore, when- 
ever such an excellent creature as a sanctified soul which is in 
Christ, or a soul designed to be sanctified, which is moving towards 
Christ, falls under those heavy pressures and distresses, (as it often 
does) and is ready to fail ; let it be assured, its merciful Creator 
will not fail to relieve, support, revive, and deliver it, as often as it 
shall fall into those deep distresses. 

Hear how his compassionate tenderness is expressed towards 
distressed souls. Isa. xlix. 15. " Can a woman forget her sucking 
" child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her 
" womb ? Yea, they may forget, yet I will not forget thee." 

Sooner shall a wovian, the more tender sex, forget, (not the 
nurse-child, that only sucks her breast, but) the child, yea, the son 
of her womb, and that not when grown and placed abroad, but 
whilst it hangs upon her breast, and draws love from her heart, 
as well as milk from her breast, than God will forget a soul that 
fears him. Let gracious souls fortify their faith, therefore, in the 

• Antidote, ^c, p. 82. 


Divine eare, by considering with what a peculiar eye of estimation 
and care God looks upon them above all other crearures in the 
world : only beware you so eye not the natural or spiritual excel- 
lencies of your souls, as to expect mercy for the sake thereof, as if 
your souls were worthy for whose sake God should do this : no, sin 
nonsuited that plea ; all is of free grace, not of debt : but he minds 
us to what reputation the new creation brings the soul with its 

Inf. 4. If the soul of man he so precious, 7iow precious and dear 
to all believers should the Redeemer and Saviour of their precimis 
souls be ? 

" Unto you therefore that believe, he is precious,"' saith the 
apostle, 1 Pet. ii. 7. Though he be yet out of our sight, he should 
never be one whole hour together out of our hearts and thoughts. 
1 Pet. i. 8. " Whom having not seen ye love ; whom though now 
" ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable, 
" and full of glory." " The very name of Christ," saith * Bernard, 
" is honey in the mouth, melody in the ear, and a very jubilee in 
" the heart."" The blessed martyr, Mr. Lambert, made this his 
motto. None but Christ, none but Christ. Molinus was seldom 
observed to mention his name without dropping eyes. Julius 
Palmer, in the midst of the flames, moved his scorched lips, and was 
heard to say. Sweet Jesus, and fell asleep. Paul fastens upon his 
name as a bee upon a sweet flower, and mentions it no less than ten 
times in the compass of ten verses, 1 Cor. i. as if he knew not how 
to leave it. 

There is a twofold preciousness of Christ, one in respect of his 
essential excellency and glory ; in this respect he is glorious, as the 
only begotten Son of God, the brightness of his Father's glory, and 
the express image or character of his person, Heb. i. the other in 
respect of his relative usefulness and suitableness to all the needs 
and wants of poor sinners, as he is the Lord our righteoutsness^ made 
unto us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption. None 
discern this preciousness of Christ but those that have been con- 
vinced of sin, and have apprehended the wrath to come, the just 
demerit of sin, and fled for refuge to the hope set before them ; 
and to them he is precious indeed. Consider him as a Saviour 
from wrath to come, and he will appear the most lovely and de- 
sirable in all the world to your souls : he that understands the va- 
lue of his own soul, the dreadful nature of the wrath of God, the 
near approaches of this wrath to his own soul, and the astonishing 

• Mtl in orey melos in aure,jubilum in corde. Bern. 


love of Christ in delivering him from it by bearing that wrath in 
his place and room, in his own person ; cannot choose but estimate 
Christ above ten thousand worlds. 

Inf. 5. How great a tritst and charge lieth upon them to zvhom 
the care of souls is committed, and from whom an account for other 
merCs, as well as their own souls shall certainly he required ? 

Ministers are appointed of God to watch for the souls of their 
people, and that as men that must give an account, Heb. xiii. 17. 
The word here translated watch"^, signifies such watchfulness as 
that of shepherds who keep their flocks by night in places infested 
by wolves, and M^atch whole nights together for their safety. If a 
man were a keeper only of sheep and swine, it were no great mat- 
ter if the wolf now and then carried away one whilst he slept; but 
ministers have charge of souls, one of which, as Christ assures us in 
the text, is more xvorth than the whole world. Hear what one 
speaks upon this point. 

' -f God purchased the church with his own blood : O what an 
' argument is here to quicken the neghgent ! and what an argu- 

* ment to condemn those that will not be quickened up to their 
« duty by it ! O, -saith one of the ancient doctors, if Christ had but 

* committed to my keeping one spoonful of his blood in a frigil 

* glass, how curiously should I preserve it, and how tender should 

* I be of that glass ! If then he have committed to me the purchase 

* of that blood, should I not carefully look to my charge ? 

' What, sirs, shall vv^e despise . the blood of Christ ? shall we 

* think it was shed for them that are not worthy our care ? O then 

* let us hear those arguments of Christ, whenever we feel ourselves 

* grow dull and careless. Did I die for them, and wilt thou not 

* look after them ? were they worth my blood, and are they not 

* worth thy labour ? Did I come down from heaven to earth, to 
' seek and to save that which is lost, and wilt not thou go to the 
' next door, or street, or village, to seek them ? How small is thy 

* labour or condescension to mine ? I debased myself to this, but it 
' is thy honour to be so employed.' 

Let not that man think to be saved by the blood of Christ him- 
self that makes hght of precious souls, who are the purchase of that 

And no less charge Ueth upon parents, to whom God hath com- 
mitted the care of their children's souls ; and masters that have the 
guardianship of the souls as well as the bodies of their families ; the 
command is laid express upon you, that they sanctify God's sab- 
baths, Exod. XX. 10. to command your household in the way of the 
Lord, Gen. xviii. 19. 

* Ay^L/crvg/y est nodes insomnes agere, quod solent viri ^iiKr,(poooi, pernox solicitude. 
t GildaS Salvian, p. 260. 


O parents, consider with yourselves what strong engagements lie 
upon you to do all you are capable of doing for the salvation of the 
precious souls of your dear children. Remember, their souls are 
of infinitely more value than their bodies ; that they came into the 
world under sin and condemnation ; that you were the instruments 
of propagating that sin to them, and bringing them into that 
misery ; that you know their dispositions, and how to suit them 
better than others can ; that the bonds of nature give you singular 
advantages to prevail and be successful in your exhortations, beyond 
what any others have ; that you are always with them, and can 
chuse opportunities which others cannot; that you and they must 
shortly part, and never meet again till you meet at the judgment- 
seat of Christ ; that it will be an inconceivably dreadful day to see 
them stand at Christ's left hand among the cursed and condemned, 
there cursing the day that ever they were born of such ignorant 
and negligent, such careless and cruel parents, as took no care to 
instruct, reprove, or exhort them. O who can think without hor- 
ror of the cries and curses of his own child in hell, cast away by 
the very instrument of his being ! 

Is this the love you bear them, to betray them to eternal misery ? 
Was there no other provision to be made i3ut for their bodies ? Did 
you think you had fully acquitted your duty when you had got an 
estate for them ? O that God would effectually touch your hearts 
with a becoming sense of the value and danger of their souls and 
your own too in the neglect of that great and solemn trust commit- 
ted to you with respect to them! And you, masters, consider, 
though God hath set you above, and your servants below, yet are 
their souls equally precious with your own : they have another 
Master that expects service from them as well as you. Do not only 
allow them time, but give them your exhortations and commands 
not to neglect their own souls, whilst they attend your business : 
think not your business will prosper the less because it is in the 
hand of a praying servant : their souls are of greater concernment 
than any business of yours can be. 

Inf. 6. Are souls so precious ? Then certainly the means and in- 
struments of their salvation micst he exceeding precious too, and the 
removal of them a sore judgment. 

The dignity of the subject gives value to the instruments employed 
about it. It is no ordinary mercy for souls to come into such a part 
of the world, and in such a time as furnisheth them with the best 
helps for salvation. Ordinances and ministers receive their value 
not from their Author, but from their Object : they have a digni- 
ty stamped upon them by their usefulness to the souls of men, Acts 
XX. 32. the word is the seed of life, 1 Pet. i. 23. the regenerating 
instrument. It is the hr£ad of life, and Job xxiii. 1% more thau 


our necessary food. The word is a light, shining in the dark world 
to direct your souls through all the snares laid for them unto glory. 
It is the soul's cordial in all fainting fits, Psal. cxix. 50. What 
shall I say of the word and ordinances of God ? The sun that shines 
in heaven to give us light, the fountains, springs, and rivers that 
stream for our refreshment, the corn and cattle on the earth, yea, 
the very air we breatJie in is not so useful, so necessary, so precious 
to our bodies, as the word is to our souls. 

It cannot therefore but be a sore judgment, and a dreadful token 
of God's indignation and wrath, to have a restraint or scarcity of 
the means of salvation among us ; but should there be (which God 
in mercy prevent) a removal and total loss of those things, wrath 
would then come upon us to the uttermost. What will the condi- 
tion of precious souls be when the means of salvation are cut off 
from them .'' when that famine, worse than of bread and water, is 
come upon them ? Amos viii. 11. When the ark of God (the 
symbol of his presence) was taken, it is said, 1 Sam. iv. 13. " That 
" all the city cried out."" When Paul took his leave of Antioch, 
and told them they should see his face no more, how did the poor 
Christians lament and mourn, as cut at the heart by that kilhng 
word ? Acts XX. 37, 38. It made Christ's bowels to yern, and move 
within him when he saw the multitude scattered as sheep having 
no shepherd, Matth. ix. 36. 

Matthew Paris tells us, in the year 1072, when preaching was 
suppressed at Rome, letters were framed as coming from hell, 
wherein the devil gave them thanks for the multitude of souls sent 
to him that year. But we need no letters from hell, we have a 
sad account from heaven, in what a sad state those souls are left, 
from whom the means of salvation are cut off: " Where no vision 
*' is, the people perish," Prov. xxix. 18. and Hos. iv. 6. " My 
' people are destroyed for lack of knowledge." 

It is sad when those stars that guide souls to Christ, (as that 
which the wise men saw did) are set, and wandering stars shall shine 
in their places. O if God remove the golden candlestick out of its 
place, what but the desolation and ruin of milhons of souls must 

We account it insufferable cruelty for a man to undertake the 
piloting of a ship full of passengers who never learnt his compass ; 
or an ignorant Empiric to get his living by killing men's bodies ; 
but much more lamentable will the state of souls be if ever they 
fall, (which God in mercy prevent) into the hands of Popish guides, 
or bli7id leaders of the blind. 

hif. 7. If the soul be of so pi-ecious a nature, it can never live 
upon such base and vilejbod as earthly things are. 

The apostle, Phil. iiL 8, 9. calls the things of this world 


'^ dogs meat; and judge if that be proper food for such noble 
and high-born creatures as our souls are. An immaterial being can 
never live upon material things ; they are no bread for souls, as the 
prophet speaks, Isa. Iv. 2. " Why do ye spend money, (i. e. Time 
" aiid pains, thought and cares) " for that which is not bread ?" 
Your souls can no more live upon carnal, than your bodies on spi- 
ritual things. Earthly things have a double defect in them, by 
reason whereof they are called things of nought, Amos vi. 13. of no 
worth or value; they are neither suitable nor durable, and there- 
fore, in the souPs eye, not valuable. 

1. They are not suitable. What are corn and wine, gold and 
silver, pleasures and honours, to the soul ? The body, and bodily 
senses, can find somewhat of refreshment in them ; but not the 
spirit : That which is bread to the body, affords no more nourish- 
ment to the soul than wind or ashes, Isa. xliv. ^0. " He feedeth 
" of ashes." " -f* Ashes are that light and dry matter, into which 
*' fuel is reduced by the fire ;" the fuel, before it was burnt, had 
nothing in it fit for nourishment ; or if the sap or juice that was 
in it, might in any respect be useful that way, yet all that is de- 
voured and licked up by the fire, and not the least nutriment left 
in the ashes : And such are all earthly things to the soul of man. 
" I am the bread of life," saith Christ, a soul can feed and feast 
itself upon Christ and the promises ; these are things full of mar- 
row and fatness, substantial, and proper soul-nutriment 

2. As earthly things are no way suitable to the soul, so neither 
are they durable. The apostle reduceth all earthly things to three 
heads, " the lust of the eye, the lust of the flesh, and the pride 
'* of life," 2 John ii. 16. he calls them all by the name of that 
which gives the lustre and beauty to them, and pronounceth them 
all fading, transitory vanities, they all pass away ; as time, so these 
things that are measured by time, are mjliixu continuo, always go- 
ing, and at last will be all gone. Now the soul being of an immor- 
tal nature, and these things of a perishing nature ; it must necessa- 
rily and unavoidably follow, that the soul must overlive them all ; 
and if it will do so, what a dismal case are those souls in, for whom 
no other provision is made, but that on which it cannot subsist, whilst 
it hath them, no more than the body can upon ashes or wind ? 
and if it could, yet they will shortly fail it, and pass away for ever. 
So then it is beyond debate, that there lies a plain necessitv upon 
every man to make provision in time, of things more suitable and 

• The Greek word SxyCaXov, for YL-JdiZaXov, signifies that which being rejected bT 
us is thrown to dogs. 

f Cinis est crassior ilia materia m quam combustum redigitur. 


durable than earthly treasures are, or the soul must perish, as to 
its comfort, to all eternity. 

Hence is that weighty counsel of him that came to save them, 
Luke xii. 23. " Provide yourselves bags that wax not old, a trea- 
" sure in heaven that faileth not,'' i. e. a happiness which will last 
as long as your souls last. Certainly, the moth-eaten things of this 
world are no provision for immortal spirits, and yet multitudes 
think of no other provision for them, but live as if they had nothing 
to do in this world but to get an estate. 

Alas ! what are all these things to the soul ? They signify some- 
what, indeed, to the body, and that but for a little time : for after 
the resurrection, the bodies of the saints become spiritual in quali- 
ties, and no more need these material things than the angels do : It 
is madness therefore, to be so intent upon cares for the body, as to 
neglect the soul ; but to ruin the soul, and drown it in perdition, 
for the sake of these provisions for the flesh, is the height of mad- 

Inf, 8. If the soul be so invaluably precious^ then it is a rational 
and xcell advised resolution and practice, to expose all other things 
to hazard, yea, to certain loss,Jbr the preservation of the more pre- 
cious soul. 

It is better our bodies and all their comforts should perish, than 
that our souls should perish for their sakes. Nature teaches us to 
offer a hand or arm to the stroke of a sword, to save a blow from 
the head, or put by a thrust at the heart. It is recorded, to the 
praise of those three worthies, Dan. iii. 28. " That they yielded 
" their bodies, that they might not serve, nor worship any God, 
" except their own God.'' By this rule, all the martyrs of Christ 
governed themselves, still slighting and exposing to destruction, 
their bodies and estates, to preserve their souls, reckoning to save 
nothing, by religion, but their souls, and that they had lost nothing, 
if they could save them ; '• They loved not their lives unto the 
" death," Rev. xii. 11. 

Then do we live like Christians, when the care of our bodies is 
swallowed up, and subdued by that of our souls, and all creature- 
loves by the love of Christ. Those blessed souls hated their own 
bodies, and counted them their enemies, when they would draw 
them from Christ and his truths, and plunge their souls into guilt 
and danger. This was the result of all their debates with the flesh 
in the hour of temptation ; cannot we live but to the dishonour of 
Christ, and the ruin of our own souls, by sinful comphance against 
our consciences? then welcome the worst of deaths, rather than 
such a life ! 

Look into the stones of the martyrs, and you shall find this was 
the rule they still governed themselves by ; a dungeon, a stake, a 


gibbet, any thing, mther than guilt upon the inner-man : death 
was welcome, even in its most dreadful form, to escape ruin to 
their precious and immortal souls. One kissed the apparitor, that 
brought him the tidings of death. Another being advised, when 
he came to the critical point, on which his life depended, to have 
a care of himself : So I will, said he, I will be as careful as I can of 
my best self, my soul. These men understood the value and pre- 
cious worth of their own souls ; certainly, we shall never prove 
courageous and constant in sufferings, till we understand the worth 
of our souls as they did. Consider and compare these sufferings in 
a few obvious particulars, and then determine the matter in thine 
own breast. 

(1.) How much easier it is to endure the torments of men in our 
bodies, than to feel the terrors of God in our consciences. Can the 
creature strike with an arm like God ? Oh ! think what it is for the 
wrath of God to come into a man's bowels like water, and like oil 
into his bones, as the expression is, Psal. cix. 18. Sure there is no 
comparison betwixt the strokes of God and men. 

(2.) The sufferings of the body are but for a moment. When 
the proconsul told Polycarp that he would tame him with fire, he 
replied, Your fire shall burn but for the space of an hour, and 
then it shall be extinguished ; but the fire that shall devour the 
wicked will never be quenched. The sufferings of a moment are 
nothing to eternal suffering's. 

(3.) Sufferings for Christ are usually sweetened and made easy 
by the consolations of the Spirit ; but hell-torments have no relief, 
they admit of no ease. 

(4.) The life that you shall live in that body, for whose sake you 
have damned your souls, will not be worth the having ; it will be a 
life without comfort, light, or joy ; and what is there in life, separate 
from the joy and comfort of life ? 

(5.) In a word, if you sacrifice your bodies for God and your 
sovds, freely offer them up in love to Christ and his truth, your 
souls will joyfully receive and meet them again at the resurrection 
of the just ; but if your poor souls be now ensnared and destroyed 
by your fond indulgence to your bodies, you will leave them at 
death despairing, and meet them at the resurrection howling. 

Inf. ^. To conclude. If the soul be so mvaluablij precious^ Jiow 
great and irreparable a loss must the loss of a soul to all eferniff/ be ! 

There is a double loss of the soul of man, the one in Adam, 
which loss is recoverable by Christ ; the other by fmal impenitence 
and unbelief, cutting it off from Christ ; and this is irreparable 
and irrecoverable. Souls lost by Adam's sin, are within the reach 
of the arms of Christ ; but in the shipwreck of personal infidelity, 
there is no plank to save the soul so cast away ; of all losses, this is 

Vol. III. M 


the most lamentable, yet what more common : O what a shriek 
doth the unregenerate soul make, when it sees whither it must go, 
and that there is no remedy ! Three cries are dreadful to hear on 
earth, yet all three are drowned, by a more terrible cry in the 
other world ; the cry of a condemned prisoner at the bar, the cry 
of drowned seamen and passengers in a ship-wreck, the cries of 
soldiers conquered in the field ; all these are fearful cries, yet no- 
thing to that of a soul cast away to all eternity, and lost in the 
depth of hell. 

If a man, as Chrysostom well observes, lose an eye, an arm, a 
hand, or leg, it is a great loss ; but yet if one be lost, there is 
another to help him : for omnia Deus dedit diiplicia, God hath 
given us all those members double ; An'imam vero unam^ but we 
have but one soul, and if that be damned, there is not another to 
be saved. 

And it is no small aggravation to this loss, that it was a wilful 
loss ; we had the offers, and means of salvation plentifully afforded 
us ; we were warned of this danger, over and over ; we were 
intreated, and bcseeched, npon the knee of importunity, not to 
throw away our souls, by an obstinate rejection of Christ, and 
grace ; we saw the diligence and care of others for the salvation 
of their souls, some rejoicing in the comfortable assurance of it, 
and others giving all diligence to make their calling and election 
sure : we knew that our souls were as capable of blessedness, as any 
of those that are enjoying God in heaven, or panting after that 
enjoyment on earth ; yea, some souls that are now irrecoverably 
gone, and many others who are going after them, once were, 
and now are not far from the kingdoni of God ; they had con-' 
victions of sin, a sense of their loss, and miserable state ; they 
began to treat with Christ in prayer, to converse with his ministers 
and people, about their condition, and after all this, even when 
they seemed to have clean escaped the snares of Satan, to be again 
entangled, and overcome ; when even come to the harbour s mouth, 
to be driven back again, and cast away upon the rocks. O what a 
loss will this be ! 

O thou that createdst souls with a capacity to know, love, and 
enjoy thee for ever; who out of thine unsearchable grace sentest 
thine own Son out of thy bosom to seek and save that which was 
lost, pity those poor souls that cannot pity themselves : let mercy 
yet interpose itself betwixt them and eternal ruin ; awaken them 
out of their pleasant slumber, though it be at the brink of damna- 
tion, lest they perish, and there be none to deliver them. 

Doct. 2. How precious and tnvaluahle soever the soul of man iSf 
it may he lost, and cast awayjbr ever. 


This proposition is supposed, and implied in our Saviour'*s words 
in the text, and plainly expressed in Mat. vii. 13. " Wide is the 
*' gate and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many 
•* there be which go in thereat.'" The way to hell is thronged 
with passengers ; it is a beaten road ; one draws another along with 
him, and scoffs at those that are afraid to follow, 1 Pet. iv. 4. 
Fac'dis descensus averni ; it is pleasant sailing with wind and tide. 
Some derive the word hell from a verb which signifies to carry, or 
thrust in; miUions go in, but none return thence: millions are 
gone down already, and miUions more are coming after, as fast as 
Satan and their own lusts can hurry them onward. You read not 
only of single persons, but whole nations drowned in this gulph. 
Psal. ix. 17. " The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all nations 
" that forget God." How rare is the conversion of a soul in the 
dark places of the earth, where the sound of the gospel is not heard .^ 
The devil drives them in droves to destruction, scarce a man re- 
luctating or drawing back *. 

And though some nations enjoy the inestimable privilege of the 
gospel of salvation, yet multitudes of precious souls perish, not- 
withstanding, sinking into hell daily, as it were, betwixt the 
merciful arms of a Saviour stretched out to save them. The light 
of salvation is risen upon us, but Satan draws the thick curtains of 
ignorance, and prejudice about the multitude, that not a beam of 
saving light can shine into their hearts. 2 Cor. iv. 3, 4. " But if 
" our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost : in whom the 
*' god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe 
" not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the 
" image of God, should shine unto them." 

If our gospel.] Ours, not by way of institution, as the authors, 
but by way of dispensation, as the ministers and preachers of it ; 
and certainly, it was never preached with that clearness, authority, 
and efficacy by any mere man, as it was by Paul and the rest of the 
apostles ; and yi-t the gospel so powerfully preached, is by him here 
supposed to 

Be hid.] If not as to the general hght and superficial knowledge 
of it, yet as to its saving influence and converting efficacy upon 
their hearts: this iiover reacheth home to the souls and spirits 
of multitudes that hear it, but it is never finally so hidden, 

To them that are lose.] So that all those to whom the converting 
and saving power of the gospel never comes, whatever names, an4 

• I'he Latin word, Infernus, i, e. Hell, is derived from a verb bignifying to thrust in, 
because the wicked are so hurried and oast headlong into it, that they can never aeceiid 
cut of it. 


reputations they may have among men, yet this text looks upon 
them all as a lost generation : They may have as many amiable, 
homiletical virtues, as sweet and lovely natures, as clear and 
piercing eyes, in all other things, as any others ; but they are such, 

Whose eyes the god of this world hath blmded.] Satan is here 
called the god of this world, not properly, but by a mimesis ; be- 
cause he challenges to himself the honour of a god, and hath a 
world of subjects that obey him ; and, to secure their obedience, he 
blinds them, that they may never see a better w^ay or state, than 
that he hath drawn them into. Therefore he is called the ruler of 
the darkness of this world, who rules in the hearts of the children 
of disobedience. The eye of the soul is the mind, that thinking, 
considering, and reasoning power of the soul ; this is, as the 
philosophers truly call it, the to rr/s/Mouzov, the leading faculty to all 
the rest, the guide to all the other faculties, which, in the order 
of nature, follow this their leader : If this be blinded, the will, 
which is ccjeca potentia, a blind power in itself, and all affections 
bhndly following the blind, all must needs fall into the ditch. 
And this is the case of the far greater part of even the professing 
world. Let us suppose a number of blind men upon an island, 
where there are many smooth paths, all leading to the top of a 
perpendicular cliff, and these blind men going on continually, 
some in one path, and some in another, but all in some one of 
those many paths which lead to the brink of their ruin, which they 
see not ; it must needs follow, if they all move forward, the w^hole 
number will in a short time be cast away, the island cleared, and 
its inhabitants dead, and lost in the bottom of the sea. This is 
the case of the unregenerate world ; they are now upon this 
habitable spot of earth, environed with the vast ocean of eternity ; 
there are multitudes of paths leading to eternal misery ; one man 
takes this way, and another that, as it is Isa. liii. 6. " We have 
" turned every one to his own way ;"" one to the way of pride, 
another to the way of covetousness, a third to the way of persecu- 
tion, a fourth to the way of civility and mortality ; and so on they 
go, not once making a stand, or questioning to what end it will 
bring them, till at last over they go, at death, and we hear no 
more of them in this world : And thus one generation of sinners 
follows another, and they that come after approve, and applaud 
those miserable wretches that went before them, Psal. xlix. 13. 
and so hell fills, and the world empties its inhabitants daily into 
it. Now I will make it my work, out of a dear regard to the 
precious souls of men, and in hope to prevent (v/hich the Lord in 
mercy grant) the loss, and ruin of some, under whose eyes this 
discourse shall fall, to note some of the principal ways in which 


precious souls are lost, and to put such bars into tlienj, as I am 
capable to put ; and, among many more, I will set a mark upon 
these following twelve paths, wherein millions of souls have been 
lost, and millions more are confidently, and securely following 
after, among which, it is likely, some are witliin one step, one day, 
or hour, to their eternal downfal and destruction. There is but 
one way in all the world, to save, and preserve the precious souls 
of men, but there are many ways to lose and destroy them : It is 
here, as it is in our natural birth, and death, but one way into 
the world, but a multitude out of it. And first. 

The first way to hell discovered. 

1. And to begin where, indeed, the ruin of very many doth 
begin, it will be found, that ill education is the high-way to destruc- 
tion ; vice need not be planted ; if the gardener neglect to dress, 
sow, and manure his garden, he need not give the weeds a greater 
advantage ; but if he also scatter the seeds of hemlock, docks, 
and nettles into it, he spoils it, and makes it fit for nothing. Many 
parents, and those godly too, are guilty of too many neglects, 
through carelessness, worldly incumbrances, or fond indulgence ; 
and whilst they neglect the season of sowing better seed, the devil 
takes hold of it ; if they will not improve it, he will : If they 
teach him not to pray, he will teach them to curse, swear, and lye ; 
if they put not the bible, or catechism in their hands, he will put 
obscene ballads into them : and thus the offspring of many godly 
parents turn into degenerate plants, and prove a generation that 
know not the God of their fathers. This debauched age can fur- 
nish us with too many sad instances hereof. Thus they are spoiled 
in the bud ; simple ignorance in youth, becomes affected and wilful 
ignorance in age ; blushing sins in children become impudent in 
age; and all this for want of a timely, and prudent preventing care. 
Others there are of the rude and ignorant multitude, who are bred 
themselves much like the beasts they daily converse withal ; and so 
they are fitly described, Job xxx. 6, 7. Go into their houses, 
and you may sooner find in the window, or upon the shelf, a pack 
of cards, than a bible or a catechism ; their beds and tables differ 
little, or not at all, from the stalls and cribs where beasts lie down 
and feed, in respect of any worship of God among them ; or if, 
for fashion-sake, a fev,^ words be huddled over in the evening, 
when their bodies are tired, the man saith something, he scarce 
knows what, the wife is aleep in one corner, the children in ano- 
ther, and the servants in a third. This is the education multitudes 
of parents give their children all the week, and when the sabbath 
comes, the most they learn to know at church, is, where their own 



seat staDcIs, and that it is necessary to speak with such a neighbour' 
after prayers about such or such a bargain, or business for the next 

And othere there are, who breed their children as profanely, as 
these do sottishly ; teaching them, by their examples, the newest 
oaths that were last minted in hell, and to revile and scoff all se- 
rious godliness, and the sincere professors of it, smiling to hear 
with what an emphasis they can talk in the dialect of devils, and 
how wittily thcv can droll upon godly ministers and Christians. 

Such families are nurseries for hell ; and though God, by an ex- 
traordinary hand of providence, now and then snatches a soul by 
conversion from among them, as a brand out of the fire ; yet ge- 
nerally, they die as they live, going " to the generation of their fa- 
" thers, where they shall never see light,'' Psal. xlix. 19. I know 
education and regeneration are two things ; but I also know one is 
frequently made the " instrument of working the other, and that 
" the * favour of what first seasons our youth (generally) abides 
" to old age,""* Prov. xxii. 6. We may observe, all the world 
over, how tenacious men are of that which is < aroot^-acadorov, deli- 
vered to them by their parents. O what a cut must it be to the 
heart of that father whose son's life shall tell his conscience what a 
profane son's lips once told his father to his face ! " If I have done 
evil, I have learnt it of you -f*." Had they felt more of your pru- 
dent correction, it might have prevented their destruction. Prov. 
xxiii. 14. " Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver 
'' his soul from hell." That this is a common beaten path to' hell, 
is beyond all question ; but how to bar it up, and stop the multi- 
tudes that are engaged in it to their own ruin, this is the labour, 
this is the work. I cannot be large, but I will offer a few weighty 

The first way to hell barred. 

1. Let all parents consider, what a fearful thing it is to be the 
instruments of ruining for ever, those that received their beings 
instrumentally from them, and to seek whose good they stand 
obliged, by all the laws of God and nature. 

In vain are all your cares and studies for their bodies, whilst 
their souls perish for want of knowledge. You rejoiced at their 
birth, but they will have cause to curse the day they were born of 
you, and say, " Let the day perish wherein I was born, and the 
" night in which I was conceived." You were solicitous for their 

* duo semel est imhuta reeens^ ^-c. 
f m male J'eciy a te didici. 


bodies, but careless of their souls ; earnest to see them rich, but 
indifferent whether they were gracious; you neglected to teach 
ihem the way of salvation, but the devil did not neglect to teach 
them the way of sin. You will one day wish you had never been 
parents, when the doleful cries of your damned children shall ring 
such notes as these in your ears : ' O cursed father ! O cruel, 

* merciless mother ! whose examples have drawn me after you, 
« into all this misery. You had time enough, and motives 
' enough to have warned me of this place and misery whilst my 
< heart was tender, and my affections pliable : Had it not been as 

* easy to have put a Bible as a play-book before me ? To have chas- 
' tised me when I provoked God by sin, as when T provoked you 

* about a trifle ? One word spoken in season might have saved my 
' soul ; one reproof wisely given and set on by your example, might 

* have preserved me. Had it not been the same pains to have ask- 
' ed me, child, what wilt thou do to be saved ? As, what wilt 
' thou do to live in this world ? Or, had I but observed any serious 
' religion in you, had I but found or heard my father or mother 
' upon their knees in prayer, it might have awakened me to a con- 
' sideration of my condition. In my youth I was sliame-faced, 
' fearful, credulous, and apt to imitate ; had you but had wisdom 

* as other parents have, to have taken hold of any of these handles 
' in time, you had rescued my soul from hell. Nay, so cruel have 

* you been to your own child, that you allowed me no time (if I 

* had had a disposition) for any exercise of religion ; yea, you have 
' quenched and stifled the sparks of convictions and better incli- 
' nations that sometimes v/ere in my heart. O happy had it been 
' if I had never been born of you, or seen your faces.' This must 
be the result and issue of your negligence, except God, by some 
other hand (which is no thanks to you) rescue them from their im- 
pending ruin. 

2. Let all children, v/hose unhappy lot it is to be born of, and 
educated by, carnal and irreligious parents, consider, God hath 
endued them with reason, and a conscience of their own, to enable 
them to make a better choice than their parents did, and that 
there is no taking sanctuary from the wrath of God in their 
parents' examples. We read, in 1 Kings xiv. 13. of a good 
Abijah, " in whom was found some good tiling towards the Lord 
" God of Israel, in the house of Jeroboam." Here was a child 
that would not follow his wicked father to hell, though he had 
both the authority of a father, and of a king over him. " You must 
" honour your parents, but still you must prefer your God before 
" them J." God will never lay it to your account as your sin, 

\ Amundus genitor, sed pr<Bponendus Creator, 



but place it to the account of jour duty, and comfort, that you 
refused to follow them in the paths of sin and destruction. No 
law of God, no tie of nature binds you to obey their commands, 
or tread in their steps, farther than they command in God's autho- 
rity and name, and walk in his ways. Your temptations, indeed, 
are strong, and disadvantages great; but the greater will the 
mercy of your deliverance be : It will be no plea for you, at the 
judgment-seat, to say, Lord, ray father or mother did so and 
so, before me, and I thought I might safely follow them ; or thus, 
and thus, they commanded me, and I thought I was bound, by 
thy command, to obey them. Therefore look to your own souls, 
if thev are so desperate as to cast away their own. If some chil- 
dren had not minded their own salvation more than their parents 
minded it, they had never been saved. 

3. Let this consideration work upon the hearts, and bowels of 
all serious Christians, to pity, and help those that are like to perish 
under this temptation ; and if their parents be so ignorant, that 
they cannot, or so negligent, that they do not instruct and warn 
their own children ; you that at any time have an opportunity to 
help them, have compassion on them, and do it. It is true, they 
are none of your children by nature ; but would it not be a singular 
honour, and comfort to you, if God should make them so by 
grace ? Thousands of children (and, it may be some of you) are 
more indebted to mere strangers, upon this account, than to their 
nearest relations ; you know not how much good an occasional 
word may do them : All have not ability to be so publicly useful 
this way, as a late worthy minister of our own nation hath been, 
who, in compassion to the dark and barbarous corners in Wales, 
where ignorance and poverty shut up the way of salvation to them, 
at a vast expence procured the translation, and printing of the 
bible in their ovvn tongue, and freely sent it among them. O you 
that have the bowels of Christians in you, pity, and help them ! 
What is it, for the saving of a precious soul, to drop a serious ex- 
hortation, as you have opportunity, unto them, to bestow a bible, 
or suitable book upon them ? Believe it, these little suras of 
shillings, and pence, so bestowed, will stand for more, in the 
audit-day^ than all the hundreds, and thousands, other ways ex- 

The second loay to hell discovered. 

II. A second way to hell, in which multitudes are found hasten- 
ing to their own damnation, is the way of affected ignorance. 
The generality of people, even in a land enlightened with the gos- 
pel, are found grossly ignorant of Christ, the true and only way to 


heaven, and of repentance and faith, the only way to Christ ; and 
thus the people perish for want of knowledge, Hos- iv. 6. If the 
tree of knowledge had been hedged in from the common people, as 
it is in Popish countries ; and it had been criminal to find a bible 
in our houses, there might have been some cloak and pretence for 
our ignorance: But to be stupidly ignorant of the most obvious, 
plain and necessary truths, and yet bred up among bibles and mi- 
nisters ! O how ominous a darkness is this, foreboding the black- 
ness of darkness for ever ! For if the hiding of the gospel from the 
hearts of men be a token to them that they are lost souls, how 
much notional light soever they may have ; much more must they 
be lost to all intents, from whose hearts and heads too it is judici- 
ally hidden. They that know not God are in the catalogue of the 
damned, 2 Thess. i. 8. and if this be life eternal to know the only 
true God, and Jesus Christ, whom he hath sent ; then this must 
be death eternal to be grossly and affectedly ignorant both of God, 
the end, and Christ the way, by the rule of true opposition, John 
xvii. 3. 

Look over the several countries in the professing world ; go into 
the families of country farmers, day labourers, and poor people, and 
except here and there a family, or person, into whose heart God 
hath graciously shined; what barbarous, brutish ignorance over- 
spreads them : They converse from morning to night with beasts, 
though they have souls which are fit companions for angels, and 
capable of sweet converse with God. The earth hath opened her 
mouth, and swallowed up all their time, strength, thoughts, and 
souls, as it did the bodies of Corah and his company. They know 
the value of a horse or cow, but know not the worth of Christ, 
pardon, or their own souls : They mind daily what work they have 
to do with their hands, but forget all they have to do upon their 
knees ; their whole care is to pay their fine or rent to their landlord, 
but not a thought who shall pay their debts to God. They are so 
far from putting unnecessary business aside to make way for the 
service of God, that God's service is put aside as an unnecessary 
business, to make way for the world : The world holds them fast 
till they are asleep, and will be sure to visit them as soon as their 
eyes are open, that tliere may be no vacancy or door of opportunity 
left open for a thought of their souls, or another life, to slip in : 
Or, if at any time they think, or speak of these matters, then the 
world, like Pharaoh, when Israel spake of sacrificing, is sure to 
speak of more work. 

And thus they live and die without knowledge; there is no key 
of knowledge (as it is fitly called, Luke xi. 52.) to open the door of 
the soul to Christ; he and his ministers, therefore, must stand 
without ; pity they may, but help they cannot, till knowledge open 


the door: Satan is ruler of the darkness of this world, Eph. vi, l2l 
that is, of all blind and ignorant souls. Ignorance is the chain with 
which he binds them fast to himself, and till that chain be knocked 
off by Divine illumination, they cannot be emancipated, and made 
free of Christ's kingdom ; Acts xxvi. 18. " To turn them from 
" darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God.'' Igno- 
rance, indeed, incapacitates a man to commit the unpardonable sin ; 
but what is he the nearer whilst it disposes him to all otlier sins 
which damn as well as that ? By ignorance it is, that all the essays 
of the gospel for men's salvation are frustrated ; that naked assent 
is put in the place of saving faith, morality mistaken for regenera- 
tion, a few dead duties laid in the room of Christ and his righte- 
ousness. Indeed it would fill a greater book than this is, to shew 
the mischievous effects of ignorance, and how many ways it destroys 
the precious souls of men : but seeing I can speak but little in this 
place to it, let me bar up this way to hell, if it be possible, by a 
few serious considerations. 

The second way to hell shut up. 

1. Let the ignorant consider, God hath created their souls with 
a capacity of knowing him and enjoying him as well as others that 
are famed in the world for knowledije and wisdom. There is a 
spirit in ma7i, and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them un- 
derstanding. The faculty is in man, but the wisdom and know- 
ledge that enlightens it from God ; as the dial shews the hour of 
the day when the sun-beams fall upon it. If, therefore, God be 
sought unto in the use of such helps and means as you have, even 
the weakest and dullest soul hath a capacity of being made wise 
unto salvation. Psal. xix. 7= " The testimony of the Lord is sure, 
" making wise the simple." 

Augustine tells us of a man so weak and simple, that he was 
commonly reputed a fool in all the neighbourhood ; and yet saith, 
I believe the grace and fear of God was in him ; for when he heard 
any gwear, or take the name of God in vain, he would throw stones 
at them, and shew his indignation against sin by all the signs he 
could make. 

2. You that are so grossly ignorant in the matter of your salva- 
tion, are many of you very knowing, prudent, and subtle persons in 
the affairs of the world. Luke xvi. 8. " The children of this 
" world are wiser in their generation than the children of light." 
Had those parts which you have, been improved and heightened by 
study and observation about spirituals, as they have been about 
earthly things, you had never been so ignorant or dead -hear ted as 
you are : You might have been as well versed in your bibles, as you 


are in the almanacks you yearly buy and study. You might have 
understood the proper seasons of salvation as well as of husbandry. 
The great and necessary points on which your salvation depends, 
are not so many or so abstruse and intricate, but your plain and in- 
artificial heads might have understood them, and that with less 
pains than you have been at for your bodies : What though you 
cannot comprehend the subtilties of schoolmen, you may apprehend 
the essentials of Christianity. If you cannot strictly and scholasti- 
cally define faith, what hinders, if your hearts were set upon Christ 
and salvation, but you may feel it ? Which is more than many 
learned men do that can define and dispute about it. You cannot 
put an argument in mood and figure; no matter, if you can by 
comparing your bibles and hearts together, draw savingly and ex- 
perimentally this conclusion ; I am in Christ, and my sins are par- 
doned. You cannot determine whether faith goes before repent- 
ance, or repentance before faith ; but for all that you might feel 
both the one and the other upon your own souls, which is infinitely 
better. It is not, therefore, your incapacity, but negligence and 
worldliness that is your ruin. 

3. How many are there of your own rank, order, and education, 
all whose external advantages and helps you have, and all your in- 
cumbrances and discouragements they had, who yet have attained 
to an excellent degree of saving knowledge and heavenly wisdom ? 
How often have I heard such spiritual, savoury, experimental 
truths, in conference and prayer from plain rustics, such spiritual 
reasonings about the great concerns of salvation, such judicious and 
satisfying resolutions of cases depending upon the sensible and ex- 
perimental part of religion, as have humbled, convinced, and 
shamed me, and made me say surgunt indocti, &c. these are the 
men that will take heaven from the proud and scornful iJigeniosi 
of the world ; not many wise, not many learned and acute. Many 
knowing and learned heads are in hell, and many illiterate and weak 
ones gone to heaven ; and others in the way thither who never had 
better education, stronger parts, or more leisure than yourselves : 
So that you are without excuse. 

To conclude. Would you heartily seek it of God, and would the 
Spirit (which he hath promised to give them that ask him) become 
your teacher, how soon would the light of the saving knowledge of 
God in the face of Christ shine into your hearts ! No matter how 
ignorant, dull, and weak the scholar be, if God once become the 
teacher. You are not able to purchase, or want time to read many 
books ; but if once you were sanctified persons, the anointing you 
would receive from the Father would teach you all things, 1 John 
ii. S7. your own hearts would serve you for a commentary upon a 


great part of the bible ; it would make you of a quick understand- 
ing in the fear of the Lord : One drop of your knowledge would 
be more worth than all learned arts and sciences in the world to 
you. And is God so far from you, and his illuminating Spirit at 
such a distance, that there is no hope for you to find him ? Is there 
never a private corner about your houses or barns, or in the fields, 
where you can turn aside, if it be but a quarter of an hour at a 
time, to pour out your souls to God, and beg the Spirit of him ? 
Miserable wretch ! Is thy whole life such a cumber and clutter of 
cares and puzzles about the world, that thou hast no leisure to mind 
God, soul, or eternity ? O doleful state ! the Lord in much mercy 
pity and awaken thee. Wilt thou not once strive and struggle to 
save thy soul ? What, perish, as it were, by consent ! How great 
then is that bhndness ! 

The third way to hell discovered. 

III. A vast multitude of precious souls are lost for ever by fol- 
lowing the examples, and being carried away with the course of 
this world : It is indeed a poor excuse, a silly argument. That the 
multitude do as we do ; yet, as * Junius rightly observes, men's 
consciences take sanctuary here, and they think themselves safe in 
it : For thus they reason, If I do as the generality do, I shall speed 
no worse tha/n they speed : and certahdy God is more merciful than 
to suffer the greatest part of manJcind to perish. They resolve to 
follow the beaten road f, let it lead whither it will. 

Thus the Ephesians, in their unregenerate state, " walked ac- 
" cording to the course of this world," Eph. ii. 2. and the " Co- 
*' rinthians were carried away unto dumb idols, even as they were 
*' led," 1 Cor. xii. 2. just as a drop of water is carried and moved 
according to the course and current of the tide : For look as every 
drop of water in the sea is of one and the same common nature, so 
are all carnal and unsanctifled persons ; and as these waters being 
collected into one vast body in the ocean, unite their strength, and 
make a strong current, this way or that ; so doth the whole collec- 
tive body of the unregenerate world, all the particular drops move 
as the tide moveth. Hence they are said " to have received the 
'' spirit of this world," 1 Cor. ii. 12. one common spirit or principle 
acts and rules them all ; and therefore they must needs be carried 
away in the same course. And there are two special considera- 
tions that seem to determine them by a kind of necessity to do 

* What a poor mean defence have they who think themselves safe from the example 
©f their superiors. Jud. Parol, b. 2. 

f The example of the multitude is a very poor argument. 


as the multitude do; the one is, that they find it the easiest and 
most commodious way to the flesh ; here they meet with quietness 
and safety : hereby they are exempt from reproaches, losses, perse- 
cutions and distresses for conscience sake : Rest is sweet, and here 
only they think to find it. The other is, the prejudice of singula- 
rity, and manifold tribulations they see that little handful that 
walk counter to the course of the world involved in ; this startles 
them from their company, and fixes them where they are. Against 
such sensible arguments, it is to no more purpose to oppose spiri- 
tual considerations, motives drawn from the safety of the soul, or 
importance of eternity, than it is for a man to turn the tide or course 
of a river with his weak breath. 

Add to this. That as one sinner confirms and fixes another, 
wedging in each other, as men in a crowd *, who must move as it 
moves ; so they make it their business to render all that differ from 
them odious and ridiculous : So the apostle notes their practice and 
Satan's policy in it, 1 Pet. iv. 4. wherein they think it strange that 
ye run not with them into the same excess of riot, speaking evil of 
you, gsi^/^ovra/ ; they gaze strangely at them. And that is not all ; 
they not only gaze at them as a strange generation, making them 
signs and wonders in Israel, as the prophet speaks, but they de- 
fame, revile, and speak evil of them, representing them as a pack 
of hypocrites, as turbulent, factious, seditious persons, the very 
pests of the times and places they live in ; and all this, not for do- 
ing any evil against them, but only for not doing evil with them, 
because tliey run not with them into the sa7ne excess of riot. Thus 
the world smiles upon its ovv^n, and derides those that are afraid to 
follow them to hell, by which it sweeps away the multitude with it 
in the same course. 

The third way to hell shut up. 

But O ! if the Spirit of God would please to set on, and follow 
home the following considerations to your hearts, you would cer- 
tainly resolve to take a persecuted patii to heaven, though few ac- 
company you therein, rather than swim like dead* fishes with the 
stream into the dead sea of eternal misery. 

1. Though you go vvith the consent and current of the world, 
yet you go against the express law and prohibition of God : He 
hath laid his command upon you, " not to be conformed to the 
" world,'' Rom. xii. 2. " That you live not the rest of your time 
"to the lusts of men, but to "the will of God," 1 Pet. iv. 2. 

* Na man errs to his own hurt only, but spreads madness among his neighboars. 


" That you follow not a multitude to do evil," Exod. xxiii. 2. 
" That you go not in the way of evil men."" Prov. iv. 14. " That 
*^ you have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness."" 
All these, and many more, are commands flowing from the highest 
sovereign authorit\^, obliging your consciences to obedience under 
the greatest penalties ; by them your state must be cast to all eter- 
nity in the day of judgment: you may make a jest of the precept, 
but see if you can do so of the penalty. 

2. Other men, in all ages of the world, that were as much con- 
cerned in the world as you, and valued their lives, libertiss, and es- 
tates as well as you, have yet got out of the croud, disengaged 
themselves from the way of the multitude, and taken a more soli- 
tary and suffering path out of a due regard to the safety of their 
souls : And why should not you love them as well, and care for 
them as much as ever any that went before you did ? Noah walked 
with God all alone, when all flesh had corrupted their ways; 
Elijah was zealous for the Lord, when he knew of none to stand by 
him, but thought he had been left alone ; Job was upright with 
God in the land of Uz ; Lot stood by himself, a godly non-confor- 
mist, in a vile, debauched Sodom ; David was a wonder to many ; 
so was Jeremiah, and those few with him, for signs and wonders 
in Israel ; I demand of your consciences what discouragements have 
you that these men had not ? Or what encouragements had they 
that you have not .'' Why should not the salvation of your souls be 
as precious in your eyes as theirs was in theirs ? Shall you be im- 
poverished and persecuted if you embrace the way of holiness ? So 
were they. Shall you be reproached, scorned, and reviled : So 
were they. All your discouragements were theirs, and all their 
motives and encouragements are yours. 

3. Is not the way which you have chosen marked out by Christ 
as the way to destruction ? And that v,hich you dare not chuse and 
embrace as the way to life ? See the marks he has given you of 
both in that one text, Mat.vii. 13, 14. " Enter ye in at the strait 
" gate ; for wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leadeth to 
" destruction, and many there be which go in thereat ; because 
" strait is the ^ate, and narrow is the way which leadeth unto 
" life, and few there be that find it."*' And where now is your 
encouragement and hope that God will be more merciful than to 
damn so great a part of the world ? If you will do as the many do, 
dream not of speeding as well as that little flock, separated by sanc- 
tification from the multitude, shall speed. You have your choice, 
to be damned with many, or saved with few ; to take the broad, 
smooth-beaten road to hell, or the diflicult, suffering, self-denying 
path to heaven. O then make a seasonable, necessary stand, and 
pause a while : con«>ider your ways, and turn your feet to God"'s 


testimonies : It is a great and special part of your salvation to save 
yourselves from this untoward generation. 

The fourth way of losing the soul opened. 

IV. Multitudes of souls are daily lost by rooted habits, and long- 
continued custom in sin. When men have been long settled in an 
evil way, they are difficultly reclaimed : Physicians find it hard to 
cure a cachexy, or ill habit of body ; but it is far more difficult to 
cure an ill custom and habit in sin. Jer. xiii. 23. *•' Can the leopard 
" change his spots, or the Ethiopian his skin ? Then may ye also do 
" good that are accustomed to do evil. The spots of a leopard, and 
the hue of an Ethiopian, are not by way of external, accidental ad- 
hesion ; if so, washing would fetch them off: But they are innate 
and contempered, belonging to the constitution, and not to be altered; 
so are sinful habits and customs in the minds of sinners : By this 
means it becomes a second nature as it were, and strongly deter- 
mines the mind to sin. J tencris assuescere midtum est. It is a 
great matter to be accustomed to this way, or that, said Seneca ; 
yea. Caput rei est, hoc vel illo modo, hominem assuejieri, — It is the 
very head or root of the matter to be so or so accustomed, saith 
Aristotle. Very much of the strength of sin rises from customary 
sinning. A brand that hath been once in the iire easily catches the 
second time. Every repeated act of sin lesseneth fear and strength- 
eneth inclination. A horse that took an ill stroke at first breaking, 
and hath continued many years in it, is very difficultly, if ever, to 
be brought to a better way. What men have been accustomed to 
from their childhood, they are tenacious of in their old age. Hence 
it is that so few are converted to Christ in their old age. It was 
recorded for a wonder, in the primitive times, that Marcus Caius 
Victorius became a Christian in his old age. Time and usage fix 
the roots of sin deep in the soul. Old trees will not bow as tender 
plants do. Hence all essays and attempts to draw men from the 
course in which they have walked from their youth, are frustrane- 
ous and unsuccessful. The drunkard, the adulterer, yea, the self- 
righteous moralist, are by long continued usage so fixed in their 
course, and all this while conscience so stupified by often repeated 
acts of sin, that it is naturally as impossible to remove a mountain, 
as a sinners will thus confirmed in his wickedness. However, let 
the trial be made, and the success left to him to whom no length of 
time nor difficulty must be objected or opposed. 

The fourth way to hell shut up by tivo considerations. 

1. Let it be considered, the longer any man hatJi been engaged 


in, and accustomed to the way of sin, the more reason and need thafe 
man hath speedily and without delay to repent and reform his 
course ; there is yet a possibility of mercy, a season of salvation left ; 
How far soever a soul is gone on towards hell, none can say it is yet 
too late. When Mr. Bilney the martyr heard a minister preaching 
thus, O thou old sinner thou hast gone on in a course of sin these 
fifty or sixty years ; dost thou think that Christ will accept thee 
now^ or take the deviFs leavings f Good God ! said he, what preach- 
ing of Christ is here ! Had such doctrine been preached to me in my 
troubles, it had been enough utterly to have discouraged me from 
repentance and faith. No, no, sinner, it is not yet too late, if at last 
thy heart be touched with a real sense of thy sin and danger. The 
word is plain, Isa. Iv. 7. " Let the wicked forsake his way, and the 
" unrighteous man his thoughts : and let him return to the Lord, 
'^ and he will have mercy upon him, and to our God, for he will 
'' abundantly pardon." 

An abundant pardon thou needest; thy sins, by long-continued 
custom and frequent repetitions, have been abundantly aggravated ; 
and an abundant pardon is with God for poor sinners : he will 
abundantly pardon, but then thou must come up to his terms: 
thou must not expect pardon or mercy when thy sins have forsaken 
thee, but upon thy forsaking them ; yea, such a forsaking as in- 
cludes a resolution or decree in thy will to return to them no more, 
Hos. iv. 8. There must be a change of thy way, and that not 
from profaneness to civility only, which is but to change one false 
way to heaven for another, or the dirty road to hell for a cleanlier 
path on the other side of the hedge ; but a total and final forsaking 
of every way of sin, as to the love and habitual practice of it ; yea, 
and thy thoughts too, as well as thy ways. There must be an 
internal, as well as an external change upon thee ; yea, a positive, 
as well as a negative change ; a turning to the Lord, as well as a 
turning from sin ; and then hoAV long soever thou hast walked in 
the road towards hell, there will be time enough, and mercy enough 
to secure thy returning soul safe to heaven. 

2. Canst thou not forbear thy customary sin, upon lesser motives 
than the salvation of thy soul ? And if thou canst, wilt thou not 
much more do it for the saving of thy precious, immortal soul ? 
Suppose there were but a pecuniary mulct, of an hundred pounds, 
to be certainly levied upon thy estate, for every oath thou swearest, 
or every time thou art drunk, wouldst thou not rather choose re- 
formation than beggary ? And is not the loss of thy soul a penalty 
infinitely heavier than a little money ? But, as the wise Heathen * 

* These things seem cheap to us, which cost very dear, and which we could not }>ur- 
chase, though we ?;hould give our house for thera. Sen. Ep. 42. 


observed, Ea sola emi putamuSy pro qidbus peainiam solvinus ; ea 
gratu'ita vocamus pro quibus nos ipao.^ impendimus : We reckon 
those things only to be bought, which we part with money for; and 
that we have those things gratis, for which v/e pay ourselves. Is 
nothing cheap in our eyes but ourselves, our souls ! do we call that 
gratis, that will cost us so dear? Darius threw away his massy 
crown when he fled before Alexander, that it might not hinder 
him in his flight. Sure your souls are more worth than your 
money, and all the enjoyments you have in this world. It had 
been an ancient custom among the citizens of Antioch, to wash 
themselves in the baths ; but the king forbidding it, they all pre- 
sently forbore, for fear of his displeasure : whereupon Chrysostom 
convinced them of the vanity of that plea for customary sinning. 
" You see, (saith he), how soon fear can break off* an old custom ; 
" and shall not the fear of God be as powerful to over-master it 
" in us, as the fear of man * ?"" O friends, believe it, it " is better 
" for you to cut off* a right hand, or pluck out a right eye, than 
" having two hands, or eyes to be cast into hell, where the worm 
" dieth not, and the fire is not quenched." 

The fifth way of losing the soul opened. 

V. The fifth way, by which an innumerable multitude of souls 
are eternally lost, is by the baits of sensual, sinful pleasures. 

Some customary sins have little, or no pleasure in them ; as 
swearing, malice, S^c. but others allure, and entice the soul by 
the sensual delight that is in them : this is the bait with which 
multitudes are enticed, ensnared, and ruined to all eternity. It is 
a true and grave observation of the philosopher -(•, " That we are 
" impelled, as it w^ere, to that which is evil, by the alluring 
" blandishments of pleasure." This was the first bait by which 
Satan caught the souls of our first parents in innoeency, Gen. iii. 
6. " The tree was pleasant to the eye." Pleasure quickens the 
principles of sin in us, and enflames the deires of the heart after 
it. Every pleasant sin hath a world of customers, and, cost what 
it will, they resolve to have it. I have read of a certain fruit, 
which the Spaniards found in the Indies, which was exceeding 
pleasant to the taste ; but nature had so fenced it, and double- 
guarded it with sharp and dangerous thorns, that it was very 
difficult to come at it : they tore their clothes, yea, their flesh, to 
get it ; and therefore called the fruit, Comfits in hell. Such are all 

* Oga; 071 iv^a (po^og suy.o},Cfjg Xvsrai tfuv^j^s/a, &C. Horn. 14. 
f Voluptntum blanditiis delinki^ ad ea gerenda omnia quce prava sunt impeUimut. Arist, 
lib. 2. Elli. c. 3. 

Vol. III. N 


the pleasures of sin, consists in hell; damnation is the price of 
them, and yet the sensitive appetite is so outrageous and mad after 
them, that at the price of their souls, they will have them. Thus 
the wicked are described, Job xxi. 13. " They spend their days in 
" wealth, and in a moment go down to the grave :'' That is, their 
whole stock of time is spent in cares and labours to get wealth, and 
wlien they have gotten it, the rest of their life is spent in those 
sensual pleasures that wealth brings in, or in making provision for 
the flesh, to fulfil the lusts of it. The rich man, in the parable, 
fared deliciously every day, Luke xvi. where his voluptuous life 
is described, and in that description, the occasion of his damnation 
is insinuated. In a pampered and indulged body, is usually found 
a neglected and starved soul. But how shall the ruin of souls this 
way be prevented ? 

The fifth way to hell shut up, hi/ three considerations, 

1. Consider how the morality of Heathens had bridled their sen- 
sual lusts and appetites, and caused them with a generous disdain to 
repel those brutish pleasures, as things below a man. " What more 
" foolish, what more base,'' saith Seneca *, " than to patch up the 
" good of a reasonable soul out of things unreasonable ?" " That is 
" the pleasure worthy of a man, not to glut his body, nor to irri- 
*' tate those lusts in whose quietness is our safety f." This is the 
constant doctrine of all the Stoicks. 

O what a shame is it to hear Heathenism out-brave Christianity ! 
and principles of mere morality enable men to live more soberly, 
temperately and abstemiously, than those who enjoy the greatest 
pattern and highest motives in the Christian religion are found to 
do ? ' Thou embracest pleasure, saith the Heathen, but I bridle it ; 
' thou enjoy est it, I only use it ; thou thinkest it thy chief good ; 
* I esteem it not so much as good ; thou dost all for pleasure's sake, 
' but I nothinjr at all on that account.' These therefore shall be 
your judges. 

9,. Always rememember sensual pleasures are but the baits with 
which Satan angles for the precious soul : there is a fatal hook 
under them. O if men were but aware of this, they would never 
purchase pleasure at so dear a rate. " Stolen waters are sweet, and 
" bread eaten in secret is pleasant ; but he knoweth not that the 
" dead are there ; and that her guests are in the depth of hell," 

* Q,uid stuUius turjnusve quam bonum rationalis animi, ex irrationalibus nectere F Sen, 
Ep. 92. . 

f Ilia est voluptax, et homine et viro digna, von implere corpus, et sagiuaref nee cuplditm 
irritare, (pim-um tutissima est quies. De Benef. lib. 7. c. 11. 


Prov. ix. 17, 18. Pliny tells us that the mermaids have most en- 
chanting, charming voices, and frequent pleasant, green meadows, 
but heaps of dead men's bones are always found where they haunt. 
That which tickles the fancy stabs the soul. If the pain, (as Ana- 
creon well observes) were before the pleasure, no man would be 
tempted by it ; but the pleasure being first, and sensible, and the 
torment coming after, and, as yet invisible, this allures so many 
to destruction. " At last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like 
" an adder," Prov. xxiii. 32. If sin did sting and bite at first, none 
would touch it; but it tickles at first, and wounds afterward, O 
what man that is in his wits would purchase eternal torments for 
the sensual, brutish pleasures of a moment ! * The pleasures of sin 
bewitch the affections, blind the judgment, stupify the heart, so 
that sober and impartial judgment finds no place. The heart is 
enticed, the lusts are enraged ; cost what it will, sinners will gratify 
their lusts. 

3. Tf you are for pleasure, certainly you are out of the way to it, 
who seek it in the fulfilling of your lusts. If your hearts were 
once sanctified and brought under the government of the Spirit, 
you would quickly find a far more excellent pleasure in the cruci- 
fying of your lusts, than now you seek in the gratification and ful- 
filling of them. Rom. viii. 13. " If ye, through the Spirit mor- 
" tify the deeds of the body, ye shall live ;" i. e. ye shall live the 
most joyful, peaceful, and comfortable life of all persons in the 
world, a life of highest delight and true pleasure ; for so far as 
your lusts are mortified, the vigorous, healthful frame, and due 
temper of your soul is restored, and your evidences for heaven 
cleared ; both which are the springs of all spiritual delight and 
pleasure. Can any creature-enjoyment, or any beastly lust afford 
a pleasure like this ? Do not you find the life you live in sinful 
pleasures quite beneath the dignity of a man ? and are they not fol- 
lowed with bitter after-reckonings, gripes and flashes of conscience: 
Even in the midst of laughter the heart is sad, and the end of that 
mirth is heaviness : O ponder seriously what a trifle it is you sell 
your precious souls for ! Is i't not a goodly price you value them 
at ? the fugitive, empty, beastly pleasures of a moment, for the tor- 
ments of eternity. 

The sixth way of losing the soul opened. 

VI. There are also innumerable souls lost for ever by the dis- 

* Breve est quod delectat, atcrnwn quod cruciat ; i. The pleasure is short-lived, but 
die torment Is perpetual. 



trading cares of this world which eat up' all their time, thoughts, 
and studies ; so that there is no room for Christ, or one serious 
hour about salvation. It is too true an observation which Sir 
Walter Raleigh makes upon the common mechanics and poor Isu- 
bourers, their bodies are the anvils of pain, and their souls the hives 
of unnumbered cares and sorrows, whilst the voluptuous and rich 
spend their time and studies in purveying for new pleasures, and 
filling their heads with projects of that nature. The poorer sort 
have their heads and hearts filled day and night with anxious 
thoughts and cares how to get bread, pay their rents or debts, and 
struggle through the miserable necessities that pinch them on every 
side ; many children, it may be, to provide for, and little or nothing 
out of which to make it : here is brick that must be made, and no 
straw to make it of; he borrows here to pay there: debts increase, 
and abilities decrease ; he toils his body all the day, and when his 
tired carcase calls for rest to enable him for new v/ork to-morrow ; 
the cares of the world invade him on his bed, and keep him sighing 
or musing there, when, poor man ! he had load enough before for 

And now, what room is there left for salvation work ? or how 
can any spiritual seed that is cast into such a brake of thorns pros- 
per ? " The cares of this life, (saith Christ) spring up, and clioak 
"it,'' Mark iv. 19. Tell not them of heaven and Christ, they 
must have bread ; talk not to them of the necessity or comfort of 
a pardon, they must pay their debts to men. O the confused buz 
and clutter that these thoughts and cares make in their heads ! So 
that no other voice can be heard. And thus multitudes spend 
their whole lives in a miserable servitude in this world, and by that 
are cast upon a more miserable and restless state for ever in the 
Avorld to come ; one hell here, and another hereafter. And what 
shall be done for them ? Is there no way for their deliverance ? O 
that God would direct, and bless the following considerations to 
them, if it may be expected they may at any time get through the 
brake in which they are involved, and find them at leisure to be- 
think tliemselves ! 

The siocth way to hell shut up, hyjive considerations. 

1. Bethink thyself, poor soul ! as much as thou art involved 
and plunged in the necessities and distracting cares of this life ; 
others, many others, as poor and necessitous, and every way as 
inucli embroiled in the cares of the world as you are, have minded 
their souls, and taken all care and pains for their salvation, not- 
withstanding : yea, though millions of your rank and order are des- 
troyed by the snares of rhe devil, yet God hath a very great num- 
ber, indeed the greatest of any rank of men among those that are 


low, poor, and necessitous in the world. The church is called the 
" congregation of the poor,"" Psal. Ixxiv. 20. because it consisteth 
mostly of men and women of the lowest and most despicable con- 
dition in this world; they are all poor in spirit, and most of them 
poor in purse. " Hearken, my beloved brethren, (saith James) 
hath not God chosen the poor of this world, rich in faith, and heirs 
of the kingdom .?" James ii. 5. 

Now, if others, many others, as much entangled in the neces- 
sities, cares, and troubles of the world as you, have yet struggled 
through all those difficulties and discouragements to lieavcn ; 
why should you not strive for Christ and salvation as well as they ? 
your souls arc as valuable as theirs, and their discouragements and 
liindcrances as great and as many as yours. 

2. Consider your poor and necessitous condition in the world, 
hath something in it of motive and advantage to excite and quicken 
you to a greater diligence for salvation than is found in a more 
full, easy, and prosperous state ; for God hath hereby imbittered 
this world to you, and made you drink deeper of the troubles of it 
than other men : they have the honey, and you the gall ; they have 
the flower, and you the bran ; but then, as you have not the 
pleasures, so you have not the snares of a prosperous condition ; 
and your daily troubles, cares, and labours in it do even prompt 
you to seek rest in heaven, which you cannot find on earth. Can 
you think you were made for a worse condition than the beasts ? 
What, to have two hells, one here, and another hereafter ? 
Surely, as low, miserable, and despicable as you are, you are ca- 
pable of as much happiness as any of the nobles of the world ; and, 
in your low and afflicted condition, stand nearer to the door of 
hope than they do. Ah ! methinks these thoughts do even put 
themselves upon you, when your spirits are overloaded with the 
cares, and your bodies tired with the labours of this life. Is this 
the life of troubles I must expect on earth ? Hath God denied me 
the pleasures of this world ? O then let it be my care, my study, 
my business to make sure of Christ, to win heaven, that I may not 
be miserable in both worlds. How can you avoid such thoughts, 
or put by such meditations which your very station and condition 
even forceth upon you ? 

3. Consider how all the troubles in this world would be sweet- 
ened, and all your burdens lightened, if once your souls were in 
Christ, and in covenant with God. O what heart's ease would 
faith give you ! what sweet relief would you find in prayer ! These 
things, like the opening of a vein, or tumour when ripe, would 
suddenly cool, relieve, and ease your spirits ; could you but go 
to God as a Father, and pour out your hearts before him, and cast 
all your cares and burdens, wants and sorrows upon him ; you 



would find a speedy out-let to your troubles, and an inlet to all 
peace, ail comforts, and all refreshments ; such as all the riches, 
honours, and fulness of this world cannot give : you would then 
find Providence engage itself for your supply, and issue all your 
troubles to your advantage ; you Avould suck the breasts of those 
promises in the margin *, and say, all the dainties in the world can- 
not make you such another feast ; you would then see your bread, 
your clothes, and all provisions for you and yours, in God's promi- 
ses, when you are brought to an exigence, and would certainly 
find performances as well as promises, all along the course of your 

4. Say not you have no time to mind another world : God hath 
not put any of you under such an unhappy necessity; you have 
one whole day every week, allowed you by God and man, for 
your souls; you have some spare time every day, which you know 
you spend worse than in heavenly thoughts and exercises ; yea, 
most callings are such as will admit of spiritual exercises of thoughts, 
even when your hands are exercised in the affairs of this life : be- 
sides, there are none of you but have, and must have daily some 
relaxations and rest from business ; and if your hearts were spiri- 
tual, and set upon heaven, you would find more time than you 
think on, without prejudice to your callings, yea, to the great fur- 
therance of them, to spend with God. I can tell you when and 
where I have found poor servants hard at work for salvation, la- 
bouring for Christ, some in the fields, others in barns and stables, 
where they could find any pnvacv to pour out their souls to God 
in prayer. As lovers will make hard shifts to converse together, 
so will the soul that is devoted to God, and in earnest for heaven ; 
and though your opportunities be not so large, they may be as 
sweet, as successful, and to be sure sincere, as those whose condi- 
tion affords them more time, and greater external conveniencies 
than you enjoy : more business is sometimes dispatched in a quar- 
ter of an hour in prayer, yea, let me say in a few hearty ejacula- 
tions of soul to God, in a few minutes, than in many long and 
elaborate duties. If thou cast in thy two mites of time into the 
treasury of prayer, having no more, thou mayest, as Christ said of 
the poor widow, g-irje viore than those that cast in of their gi-eat 
abundance of time and talents. 

5. Lastly, Consider, Jesus Christ is no respecter of persons, the 
poorest and vilest on earth, are as welcome to him as the greatest. 
He chose a poor and mean condition in this world himself, con- 
versed mostly among the poor, never refused any because of his 
poverty : " God accepteth not the persons of princes, nor regard- 

• Heb. xiii. 5. Isa. xli. 17. Psal. xxxiv. 9, 10. Psal. xci. 15. Rom.viii. 28. 


" eth the rich more than the poor : for tlicy are all the work of 
" his hands,'' Job xxxiv. 19. and that both in respect of their na- 
tural constitution, as men, and their civil conditions, as rich or 
poor men. Riches and poverty make a great difference in the re- 
spects of men, but none at all with God. If thou be one of God's 
poor, he will accept, love, and honour thee above the greatest (if 
graceless) person in the world. Poverty is no bar to Christ or hea- 
ven, though it be to the respects of men, and tlie pleasures of this 
life. Away, then, with all vain pretences against a life of godli- 
ness, from the meanness of your outward condition ; heaven was 
not made for the rich, and hell only for the poor : No ; how hard 
soever you find the way thither, I am sure Christ saith. It is hard 
Jhr a rich man to entei' into that kingdom. 

The seventh way of losing the soul discovered. 

VII. The seventh beaten path to destruction, is by groundless 
presumption ; proesuniendo sperant, et sperando pereunt^ by pre- 
sumption they have hope, and by that hope they perish. 

There are divers objects of presumption, amongst which, these 
three are most usual and most fatal, viz. that they have, 

1. That grace which they have not. 

2. That mercy in God they will not find. 

3. That time before them which will fail tliem, 

1. Many presume they have that grace in them, which God 
knoweth they have not : So did Laodicea, Rev. iii. 17. " Thou 
" sayest, I am rich, and have need of nothing, and knowest not 
" that thou art wretched, and miserable, poor, blind, and naked." 
Here is a dangerous conspiracy betwixt a cunning devil, and an ig- 
norant, proud heart, to ruin the soul for ever ; they stamp their 
common grace for special ; they put the old creature, by a general 
profession, into the new creature's habit, and lay a confident claim 
to all the privileges of the children of God. 

2. They presume upon such mercy in God, as they will never 
find ; they expect pardoning and saving mercy, out of Christ, in 
an unregenerate state, when there is not one drop of mercy dis- 
pensed in any other way. The whole oeconomy of grace is ma- 
naged by the Mediator, Jude, ver. 21. all saving mercies come 
through him, upon all that are in him, and upon no others. God 
is, indeed, a merciful God, and yet presumptuous sinners will 
find judgment without mercy, because they are not found in the 
proper way and method of mercy. Thousands,, and ten tliou- 
sands carve out and dispose of the mercy of God at their own plea- 
sure, write their own pardons, in what terms they think fit, and 



if they had God's seal to confirm and ratify them, it were all well ; 
but, alas ! it is but a night-vision, a dream of their own brain. 

3. But especially, men presume upon time enough for repent- 
ance hereafter : they question not but there are as fit, and as fair 
opportunities of salvation to come, as are already past; and in this 
snare of the devil, thousands are taken in the very prime and vi- 
gour of their vouth : that age is voluptuous, and loves not to be 
interrupted with severe and serious thoughts and courses; and 
here is a salvo fitted exactly to suit their inclination, and quiet 
them in their way, that they may pursue their lusts without inter- 

I cannot follow the sin of presumption at present, in all these its 
courses and ways ; and therefore will apply myself to the case last 
mentioned, which is so common to the world. 

The seventh way to destruction shut up hyjive weighty considera- 

1. I would beg all those young, voluptuous sinners, whose feet 
are fast held in the snare of this temptation, seriously to bethink 
themselves, whether they are not old enough to be damned, whilst 
they judge themselves too young to be seriously godly. There are 
multitudes in hell of your age and size ; you may find graves in 
the church-vard, of your own length, and skulls of your own size : 
men will not spare a nest of young snakes because they are little. 
If vou die christless and unregenerate, it is the same thing, whether 
you be old or young; there is abundance of young spray, as well 
as old logs, burning in the flames of hell. 

2. If you knew the weight and difficulty of salvation work, you 
would never think you could begin too soon. Religion is a busi- 
ness which will take up all your time ; many have repented they 
beoan so late, none that they began so soon *. Say not, the penU 
tent thzef found mercy at the last hour, for his conversion was extra- 
ordinarv, and we must not hope for miracles : besides, he could never 
encourage himself in sin, with the hope and expectation of such a 
miraculous conversion ; he was the only example of a sinner that 
was ever so recovered, in scripture, and this was recorded, not to 
nourish presumption, but to prevent despair. If ten thousand per- 
sons died of the plague, and one only of the whole number infect- 
ed with it escaped, it is no great encouragement that you shall 
make the second. O think, and think again, how many thou- 
sands now on earth, have been labouring and striving, forty or fifty 
years together, to make their calling and election sure : and yet, to 
this day, it is not so sure as they would have it : they are afraid, 

• I repent, O Lord, that I loved thee too late. ^ug. 


after all, time will fail them for finishing, and you think it is too 
early for beginning so great a work. 

S. Others have begun sooner than you, and finished the great 
and main work, before you have done any thing. Abijah was very 
young, scarce out of his childhood, " when the grace of God was 
" found in him,'' 1 Kings xiv. 13. The fear of God was in Oba- 
diah, when but a youth, 1 Kings xviii. 12. Timothy was not only 
" a Christian, but a preacher of the gospel, " in the morning of 
" his life," 2 Tim. iii. 15. What have you to plead for yourselves, 
which they had not ? Or what arguments and motives to godliness 
had they which you have not? You shall he judged per pares, by 
those of your own age and size ; their seriousness shall condemn 
your vanity. 

4. The morning of your life is the flower of your time, the 
freshest and fittest of all your life for your great work ; now your 
hearts are tender and impressive, your affections flowing and tract- 
able, your heads clear of distracting cares and humes of business, 
which come on afterwards in thick successions : " Remember now 
" thy Creator in the days of thy youth, whilst the evil days come 
" not,"' Eccl. xii. 1, 2. If a man has an important business to do, 
he will take the morning for it, knowing if that be slipped, a croud 
and hurry of business will come on afterwards, to distract and hin- 
der him. I presume, if all the converts in the world were examined 
in this point, it would be found, that at least ten to one were 
wrought upon in their youth ; that is the moulding age. 

5. And if this proper, hopeful season be elapsed, it is very un- 
likely that ever you be wrought upon afterwards : how thin and 
rare, in the world, are the instances and examples of conversion in 
old age ! Long-continued customs in sin harden the heart, fix the 
will, and root the habits of vice so deep in the soul, that there is 
no altering of them ; your ears then are so accustomed to the 
sounds of the world, that Chi'ist and sin, heaven and hell, soul and 
eternity, have lost their awful sound and efficacy Avith you. But it 
is a question only to be decided by the event, Whether ever you 
shall attain to the years of your fathers .? It is not the sprightly 
vigour of your youth that can secure you from death. What a 
madness, then, is it, to put your souls and eternal happiness, upon 
such a blind adventure ? What if your presumption, of so many 
fair and proper opportunities hereafter, fail you, as it hath failed 
millions, who had as rational and hopeful a prospect of them as vou 
can have : where are you then ? And if you should have more time 
and means, than you do presume upon, are you sure your hearts 
will be as flexible and impressive as they now are ? O beware of 
this sin of vain presumption, to which the generality oi the damned 
owe their everlasting ruin ! 


The eighth way of losing the soul opened. 

VIII. The eighth way of ruining the precious soul, is, by drink- 
ing in the principles of Atheism, and living without God in the 

Atheism stabs the soul to death at one stroke, and puts it quite 
out of the way of salvation ; other sinners are worse than beasts, 
but Atheists are worse than devils, for they believe, and tremble ; 
these banish God out of their thoughts, and, what they can, out 
of the world, living as without God in the world, Eph. ii. 12. It is 
a sin that quencheth all religion in the soul. He that knows not 
his landlord cannot pay his rent ; he that assents not to the being of 
a God, destroys the foundation of all religious worship ; he cannot 
fear, love, or obey him, whose being he believes not : this sin strikes 
at the life of God, and destroys the life of the soul. 

Some are Atheists in opinion, but multitudes are so in practice ; 
" The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God," Psal. xiv. 1. 
though he hath engraven his name upon every creature, and 
written it upon the table of their o\vn hearts ; yet they will not 
read it : or if they have a slight, fluctuating notion, or a secret 
suspicion of a Deitv, yet they neither acknowledge his presence, nor 
his providence. Fingunt Deum totem qui nee videt, nee punit, i. e. 
They make such a God, who neither sees nor punishes. They 
say, "How doth God know? Can he judge through the dark 
" clouds ? Thick clouds are a covering to him, that he seeth not,'' 
Job xxii. 14. 

Others profess to believe his being, but their lives daily give 
their lips the lie ; for they give no evidence in practice, of their 
fear, love or dependence on him : If they believe his being, they 
plainly shew they value not his favour, delight not in his presence, 
love not his ways, or people ; but lie down and rise, eat and 
drink, live and die without the worship, or acknowledgment of 
him, except so much as the law of the country, or custom of the 
place extorts from them. These dregs of time produce abundance 
of Atheists, of both sorts ; many ridicule and hiss religion out of 
all companies into which they come, and others live down all sense 
of religion ; they customarily attend, indeed, on the external duties 
of it, hear the word ; but when the greatest, and most important 
duties are urged upon them, their inward thought is. This is the 
preacher's calling, and the man must say something to fill up his 
hour, and get his living. If they dare not put their thoughts into 
words, and call the gospel Fahida Christi, the fable of Christ, as a 
wicked Pope once did ; or say of hell, and the dreadful sufferings 
of the damned, as Galderinus the Jesuit did, Tu7ic ci'edam cum 
illuc venero ; I will believe it when I see it : yet their hearts and 


lives, arc of the same complexion with tliese men's words : they do 
not heartily assent to the truth of the gospel which they hear, and 
though bare assent would not save them, yet their assent, or non- 
assent, will certainly damn them, except the Lord heal their under- 
standings and hearts, by the light and life of religion. To this last 
sort I shall offer a few things. 

The eighth way to hell shut up by six weighty considerations. 

1. You that attend upon the ordinances, but believe them no 
more than so many devised fables, nor heartily assent to the truth 
of what you hear ; know assuredly, that the word shall never do 
your souls good, it can never come to your hearts and affections 
in its regenerating and sanctifying efficacy, whilst it is stopt and 
obstructed in your understandings in the acts of assent. And 
thus you may sit down under the best ordinances all your lives, and 
be no more the better for them, than the rocks are for the showers 
of rain that fall upon them ; Heb. iv. 2. " The word preached 
" did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that 
*' heard it." This is Satan's chief strength and fatness, wherein 
he trusteth ; he fears no argument, whilst he can maintain his 
post : the devil hath no surer prisoner than the Atheist ; there is 
no escaping out of his possession and power, whilst this bolt of un- 
belief is shut home in the mind or understanding. An unbelieved 
truth never converted or saved one soul from the beginning of the 
world, nor never shall to the end of it. Those bodies that have 
the Boulema, or dog-appetite, whatever they eat, it affords them 
no nourishment or satisfaction, they thrive not with the best fare : 
just so it is with your souls, no duties, no ordinances can possibly do 
them good ; as in argumentation, no conclusion, be it never so 
regularly drawn, and strongly inferred, is of any force to him that 
denies principles. 

2. If you assent not to the truth of the gospel, you not only 
make God speak to your souls in vain, which is fatal to them : but 
you also make God a liar, which is the greatest affront a creature 
can put upon his Maker ; 1 John v. 10. " He that believeth not 
" God, hath made him a liar." Vile dust, darest thou rise up 
against the God that made thee, and give him the lie ? An affront 
which thy fellow creature cannot put up, or bear at thy hands. 
Darest thou at once stab his honour, and thy own soul ? Are not 
the things that thou lookest on as romances and golden dreams, 
mere artifice, neatly contrived to cheat and awe the world ? Are they 
not all built upon the veracity of God, which is the firmest founda- 
tion and greatest security in the world ? Hath he not intermingled. 


for our satisfaction, not only frequent assertions, but his asseveration* 
and oath to put all beyond doubt ? and yet dare any of you lift up 
your ignorant, blind understandings against all this, and give him 
the lie ? Surely the wrath of God shall smoke against every soul of 
man that doth so, and his own bitter, lamentable, doleful experience 
shall be his conviction shortly, except he repent. 

3. Dare any of you give the thoughts of your hearts as certain 
conclusions under your hands, and stand by them to the last, and 
venture all upon them. 

Wretched Atheist ! bethink thyself, pause a while, examine 
thine own breast ; whatever thy vile atheistical thoughts sometimes 
are, is there not at other times a fear of the contrary ? A jealousy 
that all these things which thou deridest and sportedst thy wicked 
fancy with, may, and will prove true at last ? When thou readest 
or hearest that text, John iii. 18. V He that believeth not is con- 
demned already ;" his mittimus is already made for hell : doth not 
thy conscience give thee a secret gird, like a stitch in thy side ? 
Dare you venture all upon this issue, that if those things you find 
in the word be true, you will stand to the hazard of them ? If that 
be a truth, Mark xvi.'l6. "He that believeth not shall be damned," 
you will be content to be damned.? Or if, Rom. viii. 13. be 
a truth. That "they who live after the flesh shall die," you 
Tvill run the hazard,"^ and bear the penalty of eternal death ? If 
Heb. xii. 14. prove true. That " without hoKness no man shall 
" see God," you will be content to be banished from his presence 
for evermore ? Speak your hearts in this matter, and tell us, do not 
you live betwixt atheistical surmises, that all these are but cunning 
artifices, and fears, that at last they will prove the greatest verities. 

4. Hath not God given you all the satisfaction you can reasonably 
desire of the undoubted truth and certainty of his word? 
What would you have which you have not already ? Would you 
have a voice from heaven ? the scriptures you read or hear are a 
more sure word than such a voice would be, 1 Pet. i. 19. Or 
would you have a messenger from hell ? He that believeth not the 
written word, neither would believe " if one should rise from the 
*' dead," Luke xvi. 31. View the innate characters of the scripture, 
is it not altogether pure and holy, full of Divine wisdom and awful 
majesty, and in every respect such as evidence th its author to be 
the wise, holy, and just God, who searcheth the hearts and reins ? 
Look upon the seals and confirmations of it : hath not God con- 
firmed it by divers miracles from heaven, a seal which neither 
men nor devils could counterfeit? And do not you see the blessing 
and power of God accompanying it in the conversion and wonder- 
ful change of men's hearts and hves, which can be done by no 


other hand than God's ? Say not, the miracles, whicli confirm the 
(Tospcl, are but uncertam traditions, and except you yourselves see 
them wrought, you cannot beheve them. There are a thousand 
things which you do beheve, though you never saw them; and 
what you require for your satisfaction, every man may require the 
same for his; and so Christ must hve again in all parts of this 
world, and repeat his miracles over and over in all ages to satisfy 
the unreasonable incredulity of those that question their trut'n, after 
the fullest confirmation and seal hath been given, that is capable to 
be given, or the heart of man can desire should be given ; and if 
all this should be done, you might be as far from believing as now 
you are ; for many of those that saw and heard the things wrought 
by Christ contradicted and blasphemed, and so might you. 

5. Satan, who undermines your assent to these things, is forced 
to give his own : he that tempts you to look on them as fables, 
liimself knows and is convinced that they are realities ; " The de- 
" vils also believe and tremble," James ii. 19. they know and feel 
the truth of these things, though it be their great design and in- 
terest to shake your assent to them . they know Christ is the Son 
of God, and that there will be a day in which he will judge the 
world in righteousness, and that there are torments prepared for 
themselves, and all whom they seduce from God, Matth. viii. 29. 
If you ungod God, you must unman yourselves: yea, not only 
make yourselves less than men, but worse than devils. 

6. In a word, let thy own heart, O Atheist, be judge, whether 
these be real doubts still sticking in your minds, after you have done 
all that becomes men to do for satisfaction in such important cases. 
Or whether they be not such principles as you willingly foment and 
nourish in your hearts as a protection to your sensual lusts, Avhose 
pleasures yo\i would fain have without interruptions and over- 
awings by^the fears of a judgment to come, and a righteous retri- 
bution from a just and terrible God ! Examine your hearts in that 
point, and you will soon find the cheat to be in that I here point 
you to : you have not studied the word impartially, nor brought 
your doubts and scruples with an humble, unbiassed, teachable 
spirit to those that are wise and able to resolve them, much less 
prayed for the Spirit of illumination; but willingly entertained 
whatever atheistical wits invent, or the devil suggests, as a defensa- 
tive against the checks of conscience and fears of hell in the way of 
sin. You are loth those things should be true which the scrip- 
tures speak, and are glad of any colourable argument or pretence 
to still your own consciences. Is not this the case ? The Lord stop 
your desperate course ; your paths lead to hell 


The ninth icay of losing the precious soul ojjened. 

IX. Precious souls are daily plunged into the gulf of perdition 
hy profaneness and debauchery. How many every where lie wal- 
lo\\ing in the puddle ? glorying in their shame, and running into 
all excess of riot ? The hypocrite steals to hell in a private, close 
way of concealed sin ; but the profane gallop along the public road 
at noon day ; " They declare their sin as Sodom, and hide it not ;"* 
Isa. iii. 9. " The shew of their countenance testifieth against them." 
The hypocrite hath devotion in his countenance, and heaven in his 
mouth ; you know not by his words and countenance whither he is 
going ; but the profane hide it not, they are past shame, and above 
blushing at the most horrid impieties. Look, as God hath some 
servants more eminent, forward, and courageous in the ways of 
godhness than others, men that will not hide their principles, or be 
ashamed of the ways of godliness in the face of danger ; so the 
devil hath some servants as eminent for wickedness who scorn to 
sneak to hell by concealment of their wickedness, but avow and 
owii it, without fear or shame, in the open sight of heaven and 
earth. Wherever they come, they defile the air they breathe in 
wdth horrid blasphemies and obscene discourses not to be named, 
and leave a strong scent of hell behind them. 

This age hath brought forth multitudes of these monsters, the 
reproach and shame of the nation that bred them. I have little 
hope to stop any of them in their career and full speed to hell. 
They have lost the sense of sin, the restraints of slunne and ^ear ; 
and then what is left to check them in their course ? I cannot hope 
that such a discourse as this shall ever come into their hands, ex- 
cept it be to sacrifice it to the flames ; yet not knowing the ways of 
providence, which are unsearchable, and what use God may make 
upon one occasion or another of these following considerations, I 
will adventure to drop a few words upon these forlorn sinners, as 
far as they seem to be gone beyond recovery ; beseeching the Lord 
to make way for these things to their hands and hearts, and make 
them the instruments of pulling some of them as brands out of the 

The ninth way to hell, hy prqfaneness^ stopt. 

1. And first, let it be laid to heart, that though the case and 
state of many thousand souls be doubtful and uncertain, so that 
neither themselves nor any other know what they are, or to whom 
they belong ! yet thy condition, O profane sinner, is without con- 
troversy, miserable and forlorn ; all men know whose you are, and 


whither you are going. The apostle appeals, in this case, to the 
bar of every man's reason and conscience, as a thing allowed and 
yielded by all, Eph. v. 5. " For this ye know, (saith he) that no 
" whoremonger, or unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an 
" idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of 
" God." This is a clear case, there is no controversy about it. 
Many there be in a doubtful case, but no doubt of these, they are 
fast and sure in the power of Satan : and as sure as God is a God 
of truth, they that die in this condition shall never see his face. 
And to the same purpose again, 1 Cor. vi. 9. " Know ye not that 
" the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God ? be not 
" deceived, neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor 
*' effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, 
" nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall 
" inherit the kingdom of God." Knozv ye not ? saith he, q. d. 
" Sure you cannot be so ignorant and blind to think that there is 
" any room in heaven for such wretches as these. If the righteous 
" be scarcely saved, where shall the sinner and ungodly appear ? 
" If all strictness, holiness, self-denial, diligence, be all little enough 
'' to win heaven, what hope can there be of those that not only cast 
" off all duties of religion, but also cast themselves into all the 
" opposite ways and courses which directly lead to damnation ?^ 
He that rcfuseth his food endangers his life; but he that drinks 
poison, certainly and speedily destroys it. 

2. As far as you are gone in a course of profaneness, you are not 
yet gone beyond the reach of mercy and all hopes of salvation, if 
now at last, after all your debaucheries and profaneness, the Lord 
touch your hearts mth the sense of your sinful and miserable state, 
and turn your feet to his testimonies. When the apostle, in 1 Cor. 
vi. 9, 10. had told us the doom of such men, upon the supposition 
of their perseverance in that course, yet presently adds, as a motive 
to their repentance, an example of mercy upon such wretches as 
these, " And such were some of you, but ye are washed," ver. 11. 
The golden sceptre of free grace hath been held forth to many, as 
profane and notorious sinners as you, to blaspheming Saul, to a 
Mary Magdalen, to a Manasseh. It is not the greatness of the 
sin, but the impenitence and infidelity of the sinner that ruins him. 
Well, then, there is a certainty of damnation if you go on, and yet 
a possibility of forgiveness and mercy before you; a mercy in- 

3. Nay, this is not all ; but in some respect there is more pro- 
bability and hope of your return and repentance, than there is of 
many others who have led a more sober, smooth, and civil life 
tlian you have done. Your profaneness hath more dishonoured 


God, but the morality and civility of some men secure them faster 
in the snare of the devil : They have many things in themselves to 
build up their presumptuous hopes upon, but you have nothing. Itir 
is hard for conviction to reach that man's conscience that hath righ- 
teousness of his own to trust in ; but methinks it should have an 
easier access to yours, whose notorious courses lay your consciences 
naked and bare before the word to be wounded by it. Christ's 
ministry had little success among the Pharisees, who were righteous 
in their own eyes, but it wrought effectually upon Publicans and 
Sinners. Hence Christ told them, Matth. xxi. 31. that " Publi- 
" cans and Harlots go into the kingdom of God before them." 
Publicans were esteemed the worst of men, and Harlots the worst 
of women ; yet the one, and the other, as vile as they were, stood 
fairer for conviction, and consequently for salvation, than those 
that thought they needed no repentance. All this is matter of hope, 
and runs into a powerful motive and loud call to repentance. " He 
" that hath an ear to hear, let him hear. 

TJie tenth way leading to destruction marked. 

X. Deep and fixed prejudices against godliness, and the sincere 
professors thereof, precipitate thousands of souls into their own ruin 
and damnation. 

It was not without a weighty reason, that Christ denounced that 
wo upon the world, Matth. xviii. 7. " Wo unto the world, because 
*' of offences.'' The poor world will be ruined by scandals and 
prejudices ; they will take such offences at the ways of godliness, 
that they will never have good thoughts of them any more. " This 
" sect is every where spoken against," Acts xxviii. 22. and so 
Christians are condemned, bta r-ziv (pri/j.riv, because of the common 
reproach, as Justin Martyr complained. All the scandals which 
fall out in the church, are so many swords and daggers put into 
the hands of the wicked world to murder their own souls withal. 
Some have sucked in such opinions of the ways of godliness as make 
them irreconcileable enemies to them, and fierce opposers of them. 
And from hence are most of the persecutions that befal the people 
of God. When you see showers of slanders and reproaches going 
before, expect storms of persecutions coming after. Slanders beget 
prejudices, and these prepare for persecutions. O how keen and 
fierce are the minds of many against the upright and innocent ser- 
vants of God, whom they have first represented to themselves in 
such an odious dress and character, as the devil hath drawn them 
in, upon their fancies and imaginations ! So the primitive Chris- 
tians were represented to the Heathens as monsters, and their 
conventions in the night, occasioned by the fury of persecutors, 


"^vere reported to be for lascivious and barbarous ends, to deflower 
virgins, and murder innocent children : And by this artifice the 
Heathens were secured against conversion to Christ. This hath 
been the policy of hell from the beginning, and it hath prospered 
so much in the world, that Satan hath no reason to change his hand. 
But how may this plot of hell be defeated, and the ruin of souls 
prevented ? 

The tenth way of destroying souls shut up by two counsels. 

1. It will be impossible to prevent the ruin of a great part of the 
world by prejudices against the ways of godliness, except those who 
profess them, walk more holily and conformably to the rule and 
pattern of Christ, whose name is called upon by them. I shall 
therefore first address my discourse to the professors of religion, 
beseeching them, in the bowels of Christ, to take pity upon the 
multitude of souls which are daily ruined and destroyed by their 
scandals and miscarriages. Did you live according to the rules you 
profess, " your well-doing would put to silence the ignorance of 
*• foolish men,'' 1 Pet. ii. 15. and consequently the ruin of many 
might be prevented. I remember * Bernard, speaking of the 
lewd and loose life of the priests of his time, sighs out this just and 
bitter complaint to God about it ; Misera eorum conversatio plehis 
turn miscrabilis suhversio est : O Lord ! said he, their miserable 
conversation is the miserable subversion of thy people. O ! of how 
many, who glory in the title of the sons of the church, may Christ 
say as Jacob did of his two lewd sons, Simon and Levi, " You 
" have troubled me, to make me to stink among the inhabitants of 
" the land," Gen. xxxiv. 30. 

And how many professors, who pretend to more than ordinary 
reformation and holiness, do shed soul-blood by their scandalous 
conversations. -I* Salvian brings in the wicked of his age upbraid- 
ing the looseness of Christiass, in this manner ; " Behold, those 
*' men who boast themselves redeemed from the tyranny of Satan, 
" and profess themselves dead to the world, yet are conquered by 
" the lusts of it." And J Cyprian, long before his day, brings in 
the Heathens thus insulting over looser Christians : " Where is 
*' that catholic law which they believe ? Where are the examples 
*' of piety and chastity, which they should learn ? They read the 
*' gospel, yet are immodest ; they hear the apostles, yet are 

* Bern, in Convers. Pavli, Ser. 1. 

f Ecce quijactant se redemptos a tyrannide Satancs. qui pnpdicant se mortuos mundo^ 
nihilominus a cupiditatibus suit vincuntur. Salvian. 

I Ubi est. cr.tkoUcn lex qiiam creduvt? Ubi pietatis et castitatis exeinpla quce discwH ? 
Evangelia legunty et impudici sunt} Apostalos audiunU et ■(nebriantvr. Cyp» 

Vol. IIL O 


" drunk." O professors ! where are your bowels to the poor souk 
of sinners ? If your neighbour's ox or ass fall into the pit, you are 
bound to deliver him, if you can ; and will you not do as much for 
a precious soul, as you would do for a beast ? Nay, you dig pits, 
by your scandalous lives, to destroy them. If you sin, there are 
instruments enough to spread it, and multitudes of souls ready pre- 
pared to take the infection. Say not, if they do, the fault is theirs ; 
for though they are principals in the murder of their own souls, by 
taking the scandal, yet you are accessories in giving it : He is a mad 
man that will kill himself with a sword, and he no better that will 
put it into his hand. 

O, therefore, if you have any regard to the precious souls of 
men, live up to the rules of your profession ! O, be blameless and 
harmless, the sons of God without rebuke, in the midst of a per- 
verse and froward generation ! let the heavenliness of your conver- 
sation stop those mouths that accuse you as men of a worldly spirit; 
let them see, by your moderation in seeking it, your patience in 
losing it, your readiness in distributing it, that it is a groundless ca- 
lumny under which your names suffer. Let them see, by your ap- 
parel, company, and discourses, you are not such proud, lofty spirits, 
as you are represented to be. Convince them, by your flexibleness 
to all things that are lawful and expedient, by manifesting, as much 
as in you lieth, that it is the pure bond and tie of conscience, 
which keeps you from compliance in all other things, and by your 
meekness in suffering, for such non-compliance, that you are not 
such turbulent, factious incendiaries, as the wicked world slander- 
ously reports you to be. Convince the world by your exact righ- 
teousness in all your civil dealings, and by the lip of truth in all 
your promises and engagements, that you have the fear of God in 
your hearts, as well as the livery of Christianity upon your backs. 
In a word, so live, that none may have just ground to belijeve the 
impudent slanders the devil raises in the world against you. Let 
your light so shine before men, that you may glorify your Father 
which is in heaven. Without your care and circumspection, the 
shedding of a world of precious soul-blood can never be prevented. 

2. Let me advise and beseech all men to be so just to others, 
and merciful to their own souls, as not to cast them away for ever, 
by receiving prejudices against godliness, from the miscarriages of 
some, who make more than a common profession of it. To prevent 
this fatal effect of scandal and prejudice at religion, I desire a few 
particulars may be impartially weighed. 

Firsts Very many of those scandals, bandied up and down the 
world against the professors of godliness, are devised and forged in 
hell, as so many traps and snares to catch and destroy men's souls, 
to beget ^n irreconciieable aversion and enmity in men to the ways 


of God. " They devise deceitful matters (saith the Psahnist) a- 
" against them that are quiet iu the land," Psal. xxxv. 20. So Jer. 
xviii. 18. " Come, say they, let us devise devices against Jeremiah, 
" and smite him with the tongue." And there is as little equity 
in the credulous receiver, as there is honesty in the wicked forger 
of these slanders : with one arrow of censure you wound no less 
than three, viz. the honour of God, your innocent brother, and 
your own souls: As to the two former wounds, they will in due 
time be healed ; God will vindicate his own name fully, and the 
reputation of his innocent servants shall be cleared, and repaired 
abundantly ; but, in the mean time, your souls may perish by the 
wounds prejudices have given, so that you may never be recon- 
ciled to godliness and its professors whilst you live, but turn scoffers 
and persecutors of them. 

Secondly^ Examine whether the matters that are charged upon 
them as their crimes, be not their duties. Sometimes it falls out 
to be so ; and if so, you fight more immediately and directly against 
God, than men. This was David's case, Psal. Ixix. 10. " When 
" I wept, and chastened my soul, that was to my reproach ;" my 
piety was turned to reproach. They called his tears crocodile's 
tears, and his fastings, hypocritical shadows of devotion and humi- 
lity. Thus the very matter of his duty was turned into scorn and 
reproach. And so it was with the primitive Christians, their very 
owning of themselves to be Christians was crime enough to con- 
demn them. 

Thirdly^ If professors of religion do in some things act unbe- 
coming their holy profession, yet every slip and failing in their lives, 
is no sufficient warrant for you to censure their persons as hypo- 
crites ; much less to fall upon religion itself, and cqndemn it for 
the faults of them that profess it. There is many an upright heart 
overtaken by temptation. You see their miscarriages, but you see 
not their humiliations and self-condemnations before God for 
them. * Foul, and fearful (saith a grave divine *) was the scandal 
' of David ; and what was the issue ? Presently the enemies of 
' God and godliness began to lift their heads, and fall upon Da- 

* vid's religion, 2 Sam. xxii. they blasphemed the name of God. 

* O, this is he that was so grand a zealot, that the zeal of God's 
' house did eat him up. This is the man, that, out of his trans- 

* cendent zeal, danced before the ark ; this is he that prayed thrice 

* a day, at morning, noon, and night : This is he that was so 
precise and strict in his family, that a wicked person should not 

Jer. Dyke, of scandal, p. 5Z. 



* dwell in his house. This your great, precise zealot, hath defiled 
^ the wife, and murdered the husband. Now you see what his re- 
' ligion is, now you see what comes of this profession of so much 
' holiness and godliness.** 

O that men would seriously consider their evil in such censures 
as these ! what is all this to religion ^ Doth religion any way 
countenance, or patronize such practices ? Nay, doth it not im- 
partially and severely condemn them ? It is the glory of the Chris- 
tian religion, that it is pure and undefiled, James i. 27. These 
practices flow from no principle of religion, nor are chargeable upon 
it, for it teacheth men the very contrary. Tit. ii. 11, 12. If I see 
a Papist sin boldly, or an Arminian slight grace, I justly condemn 
their principles, in, and with their practices, because Popery sets 
pardons to sale, and Arminianism exalts nature into the place of 
grace: But doth the doctrine of the gospel lead to any immora- 
hties ? Charge it, if you can. 

FourtJdij, And as senseless a thing it is to condemn all, for the 
miscarriages and faults of some ; which, yet, is the common prac- 
tice of the world. Are all that profess godliness loose and care- 
less ? No ; many are an ornament to their holy profession, and the 
glory of Christianity, and why must the innocent be condemned 
for the guilty ? What is your reason and ground for that ? Why 
might not the enem.ies of Christianity have condemned the eleven 
apostles upon the fall of Judas ? Had they not as good a warrant 
for it, as you have for this ? 

To conclude. You little know Avhat a snare of the devil is laid 
for your souls, in all those prejudices and offences, you take at the 
ways and professors of godliness ; and what a wo you bring upon 
your own souls by them. You speak evil of persons and things 
you know not, and prejudice is like still to keep you in ignorance of 
them. " Wo to the world (saith Christ) because of offences ; and 
" blessed is he that is not offended at me." 

The eleventh way of ruining the precious soul opened. 

XI. The eleventh way, wherein abundance of precious souls 
perish in the christianized and professing world, is the way of 
formal hypocrisy in religion, and zeal about the externals of wor- 
ship. Such a generation of men have, in all ages, mingled them- 
selves with the sincere worshippers of God ; and the inducement 
to it is obvious ; the form of godliness is an honour, but the power 
of it a burden. By the former, earthly interests are accommodated ; 
by the latter, they are frequently exposed and hazarded. 

We find in the Jewish church, abundance of , such chaff inter- 
mixed with the wheat, which the doctrine of Christ discovered, and 


purged out of the floor, Mat. iii. 9, 12. such were the Pharisees, 
who were exceeding zealous for traditions, and the external rites 
and ceremonies of the law, but inwardly ftdl of all filthiness, Mat. 
XV. 7, 8, 9. Men that honoured the dead, and persecuted the 
living saints ; that reverenced the material temple, and destroyed 
the living temples ; that strained at gnats of ceremonies, and swal- 
lowed down the grossest immoralities. 

And well had it been, if this generation had ended with the 
state and time of the church ; but we find a prophecy of the in- 
crease of these men in the latter days, 2 Tim. iii. 5. which is every 
where sadly verified. Religion runs into stalk, and blade, into 
leaves, and suckers, which should be concocted into pith and fruit : 
Yea, it is of sad consideration, that amongst many high pretenders 
to reformation, their zeal, which should nourish the vitals of re- 
ligion, and maintain their daily work of mortification and com- 
munion with God, spends itself in some by-opinion, whilst practical 
godliness visibly languisheth in their conversations. How many 
are there that hate doctrinal errors, who yet perish by practical ones ? 
who hate a false doctrine, but, in the' mean time, perish by a false 
heart ? It is very difficult to reclaim this sort of men from the error 
of their wa}^ ; and thereby save their souls from hell. However, 
let the means be used, and the success left with God. 

The eleventh way to hell, hy formality, hatred up. 

1 . No sin entangles the souls of men faster, or damns them with 
more certainty and aggravation, than the sin of formal hypocrisy ; 
it holds the soul fastest on earth, and sinks it deepest into hell. 
There was no sort of men upon whom the doctrine of Christ and 
the apostles, had so little success and effect, as the Scribes and 
Pharisees ; they derided him, when publicans and sinners trembled, 
and beheved, Luke xvi. 14, 15. The form of godliness wards 
off all convictions ; their zeal for the externals of religion secures 
them against the fears of damnation, whilst in the mean time, 
their hypocrisy plunges them deeper into hell than others that 
never made such shews of sanctity and devotion : " He shall ap- 
" point him his portion with hypocrites ;" Mat. xxiv. 51. that is, 
he shall be punished in hell, as hypocrites are punished, viz. with 
the greatest, and sorest punishment. Hypocrisy is a double ini- 
quity, and will be punished with double destruction : their un- 
grounded hopes of heaven serve but to puUy up their wretched 
souls to a greater height of vain confidence, which gives them the 
more dreadful jerk in their lamentable, and eternal disappointment. 

2. Blind, superstitious zeal, v/hich spends itself only about the 
externals of religion, usually prepares, and engageth men in o, 



more violent persecution of those that are really godly, and con- 
scientious. The Lord opened a great door of opportunity at 
Antioch to Paul ; the whole city came together to attend the 
discoveries of Christ in the first publication of the gospel, and the 
poor Gentiles began to taste the sweetness of the gospel ; but the 
devil, perceiving his kingdom begin to totter, immediately stirred 
up his instruments to persecute the apostles, and drive them out 
of the country : and who more fit for that work, than the devout, 
and honourable women ? Acts xiii. 15. These stirred up their 
husbands, and all they had influence upon, under a fair pretence 
of zeal for the law, to obstruct the progress of the gospel. No bird 
(saith one) like the living' bird, to draw others into the net. Men of 
greatest names, and pretentions to religion, if graceless, are the 
most dangerous instruments the * devil can employ to the ruin 
and extirpation of true godliness. Such a zealot was Paul, in his 
unregenerate state. 

3. Nothing is more common, than to find men hot and zealous 
against false worship, whilst their hearts are as cold as a stone in 
the vitals, and essentials of true religion. Many can dispute warmly 
against adoration of images, praying to angels and saints departed^ 
who all the while are like those dead images which others worship. 
Jehu was a zealot against idolatry ; and yet the vital power of true 
godliness was a stranger to his soul, 2 Kings x. 15, 16. The 
Pharisees spared no pains to make a proselyte, and yet all the while 
were the children of the devil themselves. Mat. xxiii. 15. 

This was a sad case, yet what more common ? The Lord open 
the eyes of these men, and convince them, in season, that their 
zeal runs in the wrong channel, and spends itself upon things which 
shall never profit them. O if they were but as much concerned to 
promote the love of God, and life of godliness in themselves and 
others, as they are about some external accidents and appendages 
of religion, what blessings would they be to the world, and what 
evidence would they have of their own sincerity ? 

The twelfth way to hell, opened, 

XII. The twelfth way to hell, in which many souls are carried 
on smoothly, and securely, to their own destruction, is, the way 
of mere civility and moral honesty, wherein men rest as in a safe 
state, never doubting but a civil life will produce an issue into an 
happy death. Moral honesty \?, a lovely thing, and greatly tends to 
the peace and order of the world ; but it is not saving grace, nor 
gives any man a good title to Christ and salvation. Indeed there 

* Satan ascend* by the rib, as by a ladder to the heart. Oregon 


can be no grace in tliat soul in which civiUty and moral honesty are 
not found : but these may be found in thousands that have no grace. 

That which ruins souls, is not the exercise of moral virtues, but 
their reliance upon them : they use their morality as a shield to 
secure their consciences from the convictions of the word, which 
would shew them their sinful and miserable state by nature. Thus 
the Pharisee, Luke xviii. 11, 12. " God I thank thee, that I am 
" not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as 
" this publican ;" he blesseth himself in the conceits of his own 
safety and happiness. Let debauched and profane persons look to 
it, I am well enough ; though, alas ! poor man, his being less evil, 
at best, could but procure him a cooler hell, or a milder flame. 
This was the case of the young man, Matth. xix. 28. and like a 
young man, indeed, he reasons. He sums up all the stock of his 
civil life, and thinks it strange if that be not enough to make a 
purchase of eternal life. What lack I yet? Alas ! poor soul, every 
thing necessary to salvation : the very first stone was not laid, when 
he thought the building was finished : And this is the case of mul- 
titudes, both young and old ; and that which greatly confirms, and 
settles them in this their dangerous security, is the general, indis- 
tinct doctrine of some, who pretend to be guides to the souls of 
others, the scope of whose ministry aims at no higher mark than to 
civihze the people, and press moral duties upon them, as if this 
were all that were necessary to salvation : Nay, it is well if some do 
not industriously pull down the pale of distinction betwixt morality 
and regeneration, and tell the world, in plain English, That there 
is no reason to put a difference betimxt such as arc baptized^ and 
live morally honesty and those that have saving grace ; and they 
that do so, are only a Jew, who are highly conceited of themselves, 
and censorious of' all others, whom they please to vote formal, and 

This, indeed, is the way to fix them where they are ; if Christ 
had not taken another method with Nicodemus, and his ministers 
had not pressed the necessity of regeneration, and the insufficiency 
of moral Jionesty to salvation, how thin had the number of true con- 
verts been, though, at most they are but a handful in comparison 
of the unregenerate ! 

O that God would bless what follows, to undeceive and save 
some poor soul out of this dangerous snare of the devil ! 

The twelfth way to damnation barred, by three considerations. 

1. Blind not yourselves with the lustre of your own moral vir- 
tues, a life smoothly drawn with civility througii the world : for 
though it must be acknowledged there is a loveliness, and attract- 
ing sweetness in morality and civility, yet these things ratiier res- 



pect earth than heaven, and are designed for the conservation of 
the order and peace of this world, not for your salvation and title 
to the world to come. Without justice and truth, kingdoms and 
commonwealths would become mountains of prey, and dens of robbery. 
Where there is no trust there can be no traffic ; and where there 
is no truth, there can be no trust. Civility is the very basis of hu- 
man society ; a world of good accrues to men by it, and abundance 
of miscliief is prevented by it ; but it never gave any man an inte- 
rest in Christ, or a title to salvation. The Romans and Lacedemo- 
nians, who perished in the darkness of Heathenism, excelled in 
morality ; there is nothing of Christ or regeneration in these 
things, how much of excellency soever be ascribed to them. Paul, 
the Pharisee, was a blameless person, touching the law, and yet, 
at the same time, not only utterly ignorant of Christ, but a bitter 
enemy to him, and all that were his. Till you can find another 
way to heaven than by regeneration, repentance, and faith, never 
lean upon such a deceitful and rotten prop, as mere civility is. 

2. Civilized nature is unsanctified nature still ; and without sancti- 
Jicatwn there is no salvation, Heb. xii. 1 4. Civility adorneth nature, 

but doth not change it. Moral virtues are so many sweet flowers 
strewed over a dead corpse, which hide the loathsomeness of it, but 
inspire not life into it. " * Morality hides and covers, but never 
" mortifies, nor cures the corruptions of nature ;" and mortified 
they must be, or you cannot be saved : take the best nature in the 
world, and let it be adorned with all the ornaments of morality 
(which they call homiletical virtues) and add to these all the com- 
mon gifts of the Spirit, which are for assistance and ministry; yet 
all this cannot secure that soul from hell, or be the ground- work 
for a just claim to any promise of salvation : all this is but nature 
improved, not regenerated. Morality is neither produced as saving 
grace is, nor works such effects as grace worketh ; there are no 
pangs of repentance introducing it, it may cost many an aking 
head, but no aking heart for sin ; no such distressed outcries as 
that. Acts ii. 37. " Men and brethren, what shall we do ?" Nor 
doth it produce such humility, self-abasement, heavenly tempers, 
and tendencies of soul, as grace doth. Cheat not yourselves, there- 
fore, in so important a concern as salvation is, with an empty sha- 

3. Civility is not only found in multitudes that are out of Christ, 
but may be the cause and reason why they are christless : mistake 
not, I am not pleading the cause of profaneness, nor disputing ci- 
vility out of the world ; I heartily wish there were more of it to be 
found in every place ; it would exceedingly promote the peace, 

♦ Abscondit. non abscindit vitia, Lactans. 


order and tranquillity of the world : but yet it is certain, that the 
eyes of thousands are so dazzled with the lustre of their own mora- 
lity, that they see no need of Christ, nor feel any want of his righ- 
teousness, and this is the ruin of their souls. Thus Christ brings 
in the Pharisee with his proud boast, that he is " no extortioner, 
" adulterer, nor unjust, or such an one as that publican,'' Luke 
xviii. 11. O what a saint doth he vote himself, when he compared 
his life with the others ! Well, then, beware you be not deceived 
by thinking you are safe, because you are got out of the dirty road 
to hell, when, all the while you have only stepped over the hedge 
into a cleaner path to damnation. Vou have had a short account of 
some few of those many ways in which the precious souls of men 
are eternally lost: Let us briefly apply it in the Jbllowing in~ 

Infer. 1. If there be so many ways of losing the soul, and such 
multitudes of souls lost in every one of them, then the number of 
saved souls must needs be exceeding small. 

The number of the saved may be considered, either absolutely or 
comparatively : In the first consideration they appear great, and 
many, even a great multitude, which no man can number. Rev. 
vii. 9. but if compared with those that are lost, they make but a 
small remnant, Isa. i. 9. a little flock, Matth. xii. 32. For when 
we consider how vastly the kingdom of Satan is extended, who is 
called the god of this world, from the world of people who are in 
subjection to him, how small a part of this earthly globe is en- 
lightened with the beams of gospel-light, and that Satan is the ac- 
knowledged ruler of all the rest, Eph. vi. 12. But when it slAll 
be farther considered, that out of this spot, on which the light of 
the gospel is risen, the far greatest part are lost, also : O what a 
poor handful remains to Jesus Christ, as the purchase of his 
blood ! 

It is of trembling consideration, how many thousands of families, 
amongst us, are mere nurseries for hell, parents bringing forth 
and breeding up children for the devil; not one word of God 
(except it be in the way of blasphemy, or profaneness) to be heard 
among them. How naturally their ignorant and wicked education 
puts them in the course and tide of the world, which carries them 
away irresistibly to hell; how one sinner confirms and animates 
another, in the same sinful course, till they are all past hope, or 
remedy : how the rich are taken with the baits of sensual pleasures, 
and the poor lost in the brake of distracting, worldly cares, except 
here and there a soul plucked out of the snare of the devil, by the 
wonderful power, and arm of God. On the one side, you may see 
multitudes drowned in open profaneness and debauchery ; and, on 
the other side, many tliousands securely sleeping in the state of 


civility and morality : some key-cold, and without the least sense 
of religion ; others hell-hot with blind zeal, and superstitious mad- 
ness against true godhness, and the sincere practisers of it. Some 
living all their days under the ordinances of God, and never touch- 
ed with any conviction of their sin and misery ; others convinced, 
and making some faint offers at religion; but their convictions 
(like blossoms nipt with a frosty morning) fall off, and no fruit 
follows. And as rubies, sapphires, and diamcmds are very few, in 
comparison of the pcbhles and common stones of the earth ; so are 
true Christians in comparison of multitudes that perish in the 
snares of Satan. 

Inf. Horv Utile reason have the unregenerate to ghry, and boast 
themselves in their earthly acquisitions and successes, whilst hi the 
wean time, their souls are lost I they have gotten other things, but 
lost their souls. It is strange to see how some men, by rolling a 
small fortune up and down the world (as boys do a snow-ball) have 
increased the heap, and raised a great estate ; they have attained 
their design and aim in the world, and hug themselves in the pleased 
thoughts of their happiness ; but, alas, among all the thoughts of 
theij- gains, there is not one thought of what they have lost. O if 
such a thought as this could find room in their hearts, ' I have in- 
' deed gotten an estate, but I have lost my soul; I have much of 
* the world, but nothing of Christ ; gold and silver I have, but 
^ grace, peace, and pardon I have not ; my body is well provided 
' for, but my soul is naked, empty, and destitute.' Such a thought, 
like the sentence written on the wall, would make their hearts fail 
within them. What a raptui;e and transport of joy did the sight 
of a full barn cast that worldhng into! Luke xii. 19, 20. " Soul, 
" take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry ;"" little dreaming that 
death was just then at the door, to take away the cloth, guest, and 
all together ; that the next hour his friends would be scrambling 
for his estate, the worms for his body, and the devils for his 

O how many have not only lost their souls, whilst they have been 
drudging for the world, but have sold their souls to purchase a lit- 
tle of the world ! parted, by consent, with their best treasure for a 
very trifle, and yet think they have a great bargain of it ! Surely, 
if poor sinners did but apprehend what they have lost, as well as 
what they have gained, their gains would yield them as little com- 
fort as Judas' money did, for which he sold both his soul and Sa- 
viour. Instead of those pleasing frolicks of wanton worldlings, 
what a cold shiver would run through all their bones and bowels, 
did they but understand what it is to lose a gracious God, and a 
precious soul, and both eternally, and irrecoverably ! 

The just God remains still to avenge and punish the sinner; 


but the favour of God, that friendly look is gone ; the peace of 
God, that heaven upon earth, is gone ; the essence of the soul re- 
mains still, but its purity, peace, joy, hope, and happiness, these are 
gone ; and these being gone, what can remain, but a tormenting, 
piercing sight of those things, for which you have sold them ? 

Infer. 3. Hence let us estimate the evil of' sin, and see what a 
dreadful thing that is, which men commonly sport themselves with, 
and make so light of: it is not only a wrong and injury to the 
soul, but the loss and utter ruin of the soul for ever. 

It is said, Prov. viii. 36. " He that sinneth against me, wrong- 
" eth his own soul." And if this were all the mischief sin did us, 
it were bad enough ; a wrong to the soul is a greater evil than the 
ruin of the body or estate, and all the outward enjoyments of this 
life can be ; but to lose the precious soul, and destroy it to all eter- 
nity, O what can estimate such a loss ! Now the result and last 
effect of sin is death, the death of the precious soul. Rom. vi. 21. 
" The end of those things is death." So Ezek. xviii. 4. " The 
" soul that sinneth shall die." 

Sin doth not destroy the being of the soul by annihilation, but 
it doth that which the damned shall find, and acknowledge to be 
much worse ; it cuts off the soul from God, and deprives it of all 
its felicity, joy, and pleasure, which consists in the enjoyment of 
him. Such is the dolefulness and fearfulness of this result and issue 
of sin, that w^hen God himself speaks of it, he puts on a passion, 
and speaks of it with the most feeling concernment. Ezek. xxxiii. 
11. " As I live, saith the Lord, I have no pleasure in the death of 
" the wicked : Turn ye, turn ye, for why will ye die, O house of 
" Israel ? q. d. Why will you wilfully cast away your own souls ? 
Why will you choose the pleasures of sin for a season, at the price 
of my wrath and fury poured out for ever ? O think of this, you 
that make so light a matter of committing sin ! We pity those, 
who, in the depth of melancholy or desperation, lay violent hands 
upon themselves, and in a desperate mood, cut their own throats ; 
but certainly for a man to murder his own soul, is an act of wick- 
edness as much beyond it, as the value of the soul is above that of 
the body. 

Inf. 4. What an invaluable mercy is Jesus Christ to the world, 
who came on purpose to seek and to save such as were lost 9 

In Adam all were shipwrecked and cast away: Christ is the 
plank of mercy, let down from heaven to save some. The loss of 
souls by the fall, had been as irrecoverable as the loss of the fallen 
angels, had not God, in a way above all human thoughts and 
counsels, contrived the method of their redemption. It is astonish- 


ing to consider the admirable harmony and glorious triumph of ail 
the divine attributes, in this great project of heaven, for the reco- 
very of lost souls. It is the " wonder of angels," 1 Pet. i. 12. the 
" great mystery of godliness," 1 Tim. iii. 16. the matter and sub- 
ject of the 'triumphant song of redeemed saints, Rev. i. 5. and well 
it may, when we consider a more noble species of creatures finally 
lost, and no Mediator of reconciliation appointed betwixt God and 
them : this is to save an earthen pitcher, whilst the vessel of gold 
is let fall, and no hand is stretched out to save it. 

But what is most astonishing, is, that so great a person as the 
Son of God, should come himself from the Father s bosom, to save 
us, by putting himself into our room and stead, being made a curse 
for us. Gal. iii. 13. He leaves the bosom of his Father, and all the 
ineffable delights of heaven, disrobes himself of his glory, and is 
found in fashion as a man, yea, becomes a worm, and no man ; 
submits to the lowest step and degree of abasement, to save lost 
sinners. Vv^hat a low stoop doth Christ make in his humiliation to 
catch the souls of poor sinners out of hell ! Herein was love, that 
God sent his own Son, " to be the propitiation of our sins," 1 John 
iv. 10. and " God so loved the world," John iii. 16. at this rate he 
was content to save lost sinners. 

How seasonable was this work of mercy, both in its general ex- 
hibition to the world, in the incarnation of Christ, and in his par- 
ticular application of it to the soul of every lost sinner, by the Spi- 
rit ! When he was first exhibited to the world, he found them all 
lost sheep gone astray, every one turning to his own way, Isa. liii. 
e. he speaks of our lost estate by nature, both collectively, or in 
general : " we all went astray :" and distributively, or in particular, 
" Every one turned to his own way f ' and in the fulness of time a 
Saviour appeared. 

And how seasonable was it, in its particular apphcation ? How 
securely were we wandering onwards in the paths of destruction, 
fearing no danger, when he graciously opened our eyes by convic- 
tion, and pulled us back by heart-turning grace ! No mercy like 
this: it is an astonishing act of grace. It stands alone ! 

In/: 5. If there be so many ways to hell, and so few that escape 
it, how are all concerned to strive, to the utmost, in order to their 
own salvation f 

In Luke xiii. 23. a certain person proposed a curious question to 
Christ ; " Lord, are there few that be saved .?" He saw a multitude 
flocking to Christ, and thronging with great zeal to hear him ; and 
he could not conceive but heaven must fill proportionably to the 
numbers he saw in the way thither. But Christ's answer, ver. 24. 
at once rebukes the curiosity of the questionist, fully resolves the 
question propounded, and sets home his own duty and greater 


concernment upon him. It rebukes his curiosity, and is, as if he 
should say, — Be the number of the saved more or less, what is that 
to thee ? Strive thou to be one of them. It fully solves the ques- 
tion propounded, by distinguishing those that attend upon the 
means of salvation, mto Seekers and Strivers. In the first respect 
there are many, who by a cheap and easy profession, seek heaven ; 
but take them under the notion of strivers, i. e. persons heartily 
engaged in religion, and who make it their business, then they 
will shrink up into a small number ; and he presseth home his great 
business, and concern upon him, Strive to enter in at the strait 

'Ry gate understand whatsoever is introductive to blessedness and 
salvation ; by the epithet strait^ understand the difficulties and se- 
verities attending religion ; all that suffering and self-denial, which 
those that are bound for heaven should reckon upon, and expect : 
and by strivings understand the diligent and constant use of all those 
means and duties, how hard, irksome, and costly soever they are. 
The word aywp/^gcrSs hath a deep sense and emphasis, and imports 
striving, even to an agony; and this duty is enforced two ways upon 
him, and every man else : First, by the indisputable sovereignty 
of Christ, from whom the command comes ; and also from the 
deep interest and concern every soul hath in the commanded 
duty. It is not only a simple compliance with the will of God, but 
what also involves our own salvation and eternal happiness in it : 
our great duty, and our greatest interest are twisted together in 
this command ; your eternal happiness depends upon the success of 
it. A man is not crowned except he strive lawfully, i. e. success- 
fully and prevalently. O therefore, so run, so strive, that ye may 
obtain ! if you have any value for your souls, if you would not be 
miserable to eternity, strive, strive ! Beheve it, you would find that 
the assurance of salvation drops not down from heaven in a night- 
dream, as the Turks fable their Alcoran to have done in that laiU 
ato hazill, night of demission, as they call it ; no, no ; the righteous 
-themselves are scarcely saved ; many seek, but few find. Strive, 
therefore, as men and women that are heartily concerned for their 
own salvation ; sit not, with folded arms, like so many heaps of 
stupidity and sloth, whilst the door of hope is yet open, and such 
a sweet voice from heaven calls to you, saying. Strive, souls, strive, 
if ever you expect to be partakers of the blessedness that is here to 
be enjoyed ; strive to the utmost of your abilities and opportunities. 
Such an heaven is worth striving to obtain, such an hell is worth 
striving to escape, such an invaluable soul is worth striving to 

I confess, heaven is not the purchase or reward of your striving : 
no soul shall boastingly say there, Is not this the glory whicli my 


duties and diligence purchased for me ? and yet, on the other side, 
it is as true, that without striving you shall never set foot there. 
Say not, it depends upon the pleasure of God, and not upon your 
dihgence ; for it is his declared will and pleasure, to bring men to 
glory in the way, though not for the sake of their own striving. 
As in the works of your civil calling, you know all the care, toil, 
and sweat of the husbandman, avails nothing of itself, except the 
sun and rain quicken and ripen the fruits of the earth ; and yet no 
wise man will neglect ploughing and harrowing, sowing and weed- 
ing, because these labours avail not, without the influences of 
heaven, but waits for them in the way of his duty and diligence. 
Rational hope sets all the world to work. Do they plough in hope, 
and sow in hope, and will you not pray in hope, and hear in hope ? 
You that know your souls to be hitherto strangers to Christ and 
the regenerating work of the Spirit ; how is it that you take them 
not aside sometimes out of the distracting noise and hurries of the 
world, and thus bemoan them ? 

' O my poor graceless, christless, miserable soul, how sad a case 
' art thou in ! Others have, but thou never feltest the burden of 

* sin ; thousands in the world are striving and labouring, searching 

* and praying, to make their calling and election sure ; whilst thou 

* sittest still with folded hands, in a supine regardlessness of the 
' misery that is hastening upon thee. Canst thou endure the de- 
' vouring wrath of God ? Canst thou dwell with everlasting burn- 
' ings ? Hast thou fancied a tolerable hell ? Or, is it easy to perish ? 
*■ Why dost thou not cast thyself at the feet of Christ, and cry, as 

* long as breath will last. Lord, pity a sinful, miserable, undone, and 
' self-condemning soul ? Lord, smite this rocky heart, subdue this 
' stubborn will, heal and save an undone soul ready to perish : The 
' characters of death are upon it, it must be changed or condemned, 
' and that in a little time. Bowels of pity, hear the cry of a soul 
' distressed, and ready to perish. 

And you that do not understand the case and state your souls 
are in, have you never a bible near you ? O turn to those places, 
1 Cor. vi. 9, 10. where you will presently find the more obvious 
marks and characters God hath set upon the children of perdition ; 
and if you find not yourself in that catalogue, among the unrighte- 
ous, fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, effeminate, thieves, covetous, 
drunkards, revilers, extortioners, &c. then turn to John iii. 3. and 
solemnly ask thy own soul this question, Am I born again ? Am I 
a new creature, or still in the same condition I was born in ? What 
solid evidence of the new birth have I to rely upon, if I were now 
within a few grasps of death ? Am not I the man or woman who 
lives in the very same sins which the word of God makes the symp- 
toms and characters of damnation ? And doth not my conscience 


witness against me, that I am utterly void and destitute of all tliat 
saving grace, and a mere stranger to the regenerating work of the 
Spirit, without which there can be no well bottomed hope of sal- 
vation ? And if so, are not the tokens of death upon me ? Am not 
I a person marked out for misery ? And shall I sit still in a state of 
so much danger, and not once strive to make an escape from the 
wrath to come ? Is this vile body worth so much toil and labour to 
support and preserve it ? And is not my soul worth as much care and 
diligence to secure it from the everlasting wrath of the great, just, 
and terrible God ? O that the consideration of the wrath to come, 
the multitudes all the world over preparing as fuel for it, and the 
door of opportunity yet held open to souls by the hand of grace to 
escape that wrath, might prevail with thy heart, reader, to strive, 
and that to the uttermost, to secure thy precious soul from the 
impending ruin. 


Eph. v. 16. 

— Redeeming the time (or opportunity) because the days are 


jL IME is deservedly reckoned among the most precious mer- 
cies of this life ; and that which makes it so valuable are the com- 
modious seasons and opportunities for salvation which are vouchsafed 
to us therein : opportunity is the golden spot of time, the sweet 
and beautiful flower, growing upon the stalk of time *. If time 
be a ring of gold, opportunity is the rich diamond that gives it 
both its value and glory. The apostle well knew the value of time ; 
and seeing how prodigally it was wasted by the most, doth there- 
fore in this place, earnestly press all men to redeem, save, and im- 
prove it with the utmost diligence. In this, and the former versc^ 
we have, 

1^^, The duty enjoined. Walk circumspectly. 

^dly. The i?ijunctio?i explained ; 

1. More generally, Not asfools^ hut as wise. 

S. More particularly. Redeeming the time. 

3. The exhortation strongly inforced with a powerful motive. 
Because the days are evil. 

Among these particulars, my discourse is principally concerned 
about the redemption of time, or opportunities, which in this life 
are graciously vouchsafed us, in order to that which is to come : 
And here it will be needful to enquire, 

Ka/|os a.vki Zf^^*« 


1. What the apostle means by time. 
% What by the redemption of' time. 

1. Time is taken more largely and strictly according to the double 
acceptation of the Hebrew word ny which signifies sometimes ^iw^, 
and sometimes occasion^ season^ or opportunity^ and accordingly is 
expressed by y^^ovog and xa/^o?, tempiis and tempestivitas : the latter 
is the word here used, and denotes the commodiousness and fitness 
of some parts of time above others, for the successful and prosperous 
management and accomphshment of our main and great business 
here, "which is to secure our interest in Christ, and glorify God in a 
course of fruitful obedience. For these great and weighty purposes 
our time is graciously lengthened out, and many fit opportunities 
presented us in the revolutions thereof. 

2. By the redemptio7i of time *, we must understand the study, 
care, and diligence of Christians, at the rate of all possible pains, 
at the expence of all earthly pleasures, ease, and gratifications of 
the flesh, to rescue their precious seasons, both of salvation and 
service, out of the hands of temptations, which so commonly rob 
unwary souls of them. Satan trucks with us for our time, as we 
did at first with the silly Indians for their gold and diamonds, who 
were content to exchange them for glass-beads, and tinsel-toys. 
Many fair seasons are forced, or cheated out of our hands, by the 
importunity of earthly cares, or deceitfulness of sensual pleasures : 
at the expence and loss of these, we must redeem and rescue our 
time for higher and better uses and purposes. We must spend 
these hours in prayer, meditation, searching our hearts, mortifying 
our lusts, which others do, and our flesh fain would spend, in sen- 
sual pleasures and gratifications of the fleshly appetite. If ever we 
expect to win the port of glory, we must be as diligent and careful 
as seamen are, to lake every gale that blows, directly or obliquely, 
to set them forward in their voyage. The note from hence is 

Doct. That the wisdom of a Christian is eminently discovered in 
saving and improving all opportunities in this world, Jbr that 
world which is to come. 

God hangs the great things of eternity upon the small wires of 
times and seasons in this world : that may be done, or neglected 
in a day, which may be the ground- work of joy or sorrow to all 
et-ernity. There is a nick of opportunity which gives both success 
and facilitv to the great and weighty affairs of the soul as well as 
body : to come before it, is to seek the bird before it be hatched ; 

* E|a70ga^o/x£vo/ rev y.ai^ov. 


and to come after it, is to seek it when it is fled. There is a two- 
fold season, or opportunity of salvation. 

1. One was Clirist's season for the purchase of it. 

2. The other is ours for the apphcation of it. 

1. Christ had a season assigned him for the impetration and pur- 
chase of our salvation; so you hear his Father bespeaking him, 
Isa. xlix. 8. " Thus saith tlie Lord, in an acceptable time have I 
<' heard thee, and in the day of salvation have I helped thee," 
P"i nn, in tempore opportuno voluntatis^ vel placito. It was the 
wisdom of the Lord Jesus Christ to set in with the Father's time, 
to comply with his season : and it became a day of salvation, be- 
cause it was the acceptable time which Christ took for it. 

2. Men have their seasons and opportunities for the application 
of Christ and his benefits, to their own souls: 2 Cor. vi. 1, 9.. 
" We then as workers together with God, beseech you also, that 
*' you receive not the grace of God in vain ; for he saith, T have 
" heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have 
" I succoured thee. Behold, now is the accepted time, now is the 
*' day of salvation." He exhorts the Corinthians not to dally or 
trifle any longer in the great concerns of their salvation ; for now, 
saith he, is your day. Christ had his day to purchase it, and he 
procured a day also for you to apply it, and this is that day ; you 
enjoy it, you live under it : that golden day is now running : O ! 
see that you frustrate not the design thereof, by receiving the gos- 
pel-grace in vain. 

Now two things concur to make a fit season of salvation to the 
souls of men. 

1. The exteraal means and instruments. 

2. The agency of the Spirit internally by, or with those external 

1. Men have a season of salvation, when God sends the means 
and instruments of salvation among them. When the gospel is 
powerfully preached among a people, there is a door opened to 
them : 2 Cor. ii. 12. " When I came to Troas to preach the gos- 
*' pel, a door was opened to me of the Lord." God, as it were, 
unlocks the door of heaven by the preaching of the gospel : Souls 
liave then an opportunity to step in and be saved. 

S. But yet it is not a wide and effectual door (as the apostle phrases 
it, 1 Cor. xvL 9.) till the Spirit of God joins with, and works upon 
the heart by those external means and instruments ; as the waters 
of the pool of Bethesda had no inherent senative virtue in them- 
selves, until the angel of the Lord descended and troubled them : 
but both together make a blessed season for the souls of men. 
Then he stands at the door, and knocks, by convictions and per- 
suasions, Rev. iii- 20. strives with men as he did with the old 

Vol. III. P 


world by the ministry of Noah, Gen. vi. 3. Now the door of op- 
portunity is indeed opened : but this will not always last ; there is 
a time when the Spirit ceases to strive^ and when the door is shut, 
Luke xiii. 25. 

There is a season, when by the fresh impression of some ordi- 
nance or providence of God, men's hearts are awakened, and their 
affections stirred. It is now with the souls of men as it is with fruit 
trees in the spring, when they put forth blossoms ; if they knit and 
set, fruit follows, if they be nipt and blasted, no fruit can be ex- 
pected. For all convictions and motions of the affections are to 
grace, much the same thing as blossoms are to fruit, which are but 
the rudiments thereof, fiuctiis imperfectus et o?'dmabilis, somewhat 
in order to it ; and look, as that is a critical and hazardous season 
to trees, so is this to souls. I do not say it is in the power of any 
soul to make the work of the Spirit effectual and abiding, by adding 
his endeavours to the Spirit's motions ; for then conversion would 
not be the free and arbitrary act of tlie Spirit, as in John iii. 8. 
neither would souls be born of God, but of the will of man, con- 
trary to John i. 13. And yet it is not to be thought or said, that 
men's endeavours and strivings are altogether vain, needless, and 
insignificant; because, though they cannot make God's grace effec- 
tual, his grace can make them effectual ; they are our duty, and 
God can bless tliem to our great advantage. Now there are, 
among others, five remarkable essays, efforts, or strivings of a soul 
under the impression and hand of the Spirit, that greatly tend to 
the fixing, settling, and securing of that great work on the soul ; 
and it is seldom known any soul miscarries in whom these things 
are found. 

1. Deep, serious, and fixed consideration, which lets conviction 
deep into the soul, and settles it, and roots it fast in the heart, 
Psal. cxix. 59. " I thought on my ways, and turned my feet unto 
'' thy testimonies." There are close and anxious debates in those 
souls in whom convictions prosper to full conversion : they sit alone, 
and think close to their great and eternal concerns: they carry 
their thoughts back to the evils of their life past, then smite on the 
thigh, and cry, What have I done? They run their thoughts for- 
ward into eternity, and that to a great depth, and then cry, 
" What shall I do to be saved .^" They deliberate and weigh, in 
their most advised thoughts, what is to be done, and that speedily, 
for esca})ing wrath to come: thus they fix those tender, weak, and 
hazardous motions, which die away in multitudes of souls; and, 
in the loss of them, the seasons of salvation are also lost. 

% The first stinings and motions of the Spirit upon men's 
hearts, do then become a season of salvation to them, when they 
are accompanied with spiritual, fervent, and frequent prayer : so 


it was with Paul, Acts ix. 11. " Behold lie prayeth." It is a good 
sign when souls get alone, and effect privacy and retirement, to 
pour out their fears, sorrows, and requests unto God. It is in the 
espousals of a soul to Christ, as it is in other marriages ; a third 
person may make the motion, and bring the parties together, but 
they only betwixt themselves must conclude and agree the matter. 
Prayer is the first breath which the new creature draws in, and the 
last (ordinarily) it breathes out in this world. This nourishes and 
maturates those weak, tender, and first motions after God, and 
brings them to some consistence and fixedness in the soul. 

3. Then do those motions of the Spirit on men's hearts make a 
season of salvation to them, when they remain and settle in the 
heart, and are in them per modum quietus, by way of rest and abode, 
following the man from place to place, from day to day ; so that 
whatever unpleasing diversions the necessities and incumbrances of 
this world at any time give, yet still they return again upon the 
heart, and will not vanish or suffer any longer suspension : but in 
others, who lose their blessed advantage and season, it is quite con- 
trary ; James i. 23, 24. " They are as one that seeth his natural 
'' face in a glass, and goeth away and forgetteth what manner of 
*' man he was :"' He sees some spot on his face, or disorder in his 
band, which he purposeth to correct ; but by one occurrence or 
another, he forgets what he saw in the glass, and so goes all the 
day with his spot upon him. This was an evanid light purpose, 
which came to nothing for want of a present execution ; just so it 
is with many in reference to their great concerns : but if the im- 
pression abide in its strength, if it return, and follow the soul, and 
will not let it be quiet, it is like then to prosper, and prove the 
time of mercy indeed to such a soul. 

4. An anxious solicitude and inquisitiveness about the means and 
ways of salvation, speaks an effectual door of salvation to be set 
open to the souls of men. Acts ii. 37. and xvi. 30. " Sirs, what 
*' must I do to be saved ? Men and brethren, what shall we do ?'''' 
q. d. we are in a miserable condition : Oh, you the ministers of 
Christ, instruct, counsel, and shew us what course to take ! Is 
there no balm in Gilead ? no door of hope in this valley of Achor ? 
Alas ! we are not able to dwell with our own fears, teri'ors, and 
presages of wrath to come. Oh for a messenger, one among a 
thousand, to teach us the way of salvation. Thus the Lord rivets 
and fixes those motions in some souls, that vanish like a morning 
mist or dew in others. 

5. Lastly, That which secures and completes this work, is tlie 
execution of tiiose purposes and convictions, by failing, without 
delay, to the work of faith and repentance in good earnest, dally- 



ing no more with so great a concern, standing no longer at shall 
If shall I? when mean while time flies away, and opportunities 
may be lost : but bring their thoughts and debates to a peremptory 
resolution, as the Lepers at Samaria did ; and seeing themselves 
shut up to one only door of hope, there they resolve to take their 
station, lying at the feet of Jesus Christ, and casting their poor 
burdened souls upon liim, whatever be the issue. When the Spi- 
rit of God ripens tlie first motions to this, and carries them through 
that critical season thus far, there is an effectual door of opportu- 
nity opened indeed : this is an acceptable time, a day of salvation : 
but oh ! how many thousands miscarry in this season, and like 
trees removed from one soil to another, die in the removal ! 

But certainly, it is the most solemn and important concern of 
every soul to watch upon all these seasons of salvation, when God 
comes nigh to them by convictions and motions of his Spirit ; and 
to put the same value upon these things that they do upon their 
souls, and the salvation of them. This is the door of hope set 
open, a fresh gale to carry you home to your port of glory. Salva- 
tion is now come nigh to your souls ; there is but a little betwixt 
you and blessedness. Wise and happy is that soul which knows 
and improves its season. To persuade and press men to discern 
and improve such seasons as these, is the principal work of the 
preachers of the gospel, and that special work to which I now ad- 
dress myself, in the following motives and arguments. 

Ai'g. 1. And first, who, that haih the fi-ee exercise of reason, and 
the sense of a future eternal estate, would carelessly neglect any 
season of salvation, whilst he seeth all the rational world so care- 
fully attending, and watching all opportunities to promote and se- 
cure their lower concerns and designs for the present life ? 

Is not the saving a man''s soul as weighty a concern as the getting 
of an estate ? You cannot but observe how careful merchants are, 
to nick the opportunity which promiseth them a good turn ; how 
do poor seamen look out for a wind to waft them to their port, and 
industriously shift their sails, to improve every flaw that may set 
them on their voyage ; how many miles tradesmen will travel to 
be in season at a fair, to put off, or purchase goods to their advan- 
tage : No entertainments, recreations, or importunities of friends 
can prevail with any of these, to lose a day on which their busi- 
ness depends ; all things must give way to their business ; they all 
understand their seasons, and will not be diverted. But, alas ! 
what childish toys are all these, compared with their salvation ! 
what is the loss of a little money to the loss of a man's soul ? If a 
man's life depended upon his being at such a place, by such a pre- 
cise hour, sure he would not oversleep his time that morning; and 


had he but the least fear of coming too late, every stroke of the 
clock would strike to his heart ; and yet remissness and carelessness, 
in such a case as this, is infinitely more excusable than in the mat- 
ter of salvation. Certainly the solicitude and care of all the world 
for the interests thereof, yea, your own diligence and circumspec- 
tion in temporal things, will be an uncontroulable and confounding 
self-conviction to you in the day of your account, and leave you 
without plea or apology for your supine neglects of the seasons of 

Arg. % The consideration of the uncertainty and slippery nature 
of these spiritual seasons, must awaken in us all care and diligence 
to secure and improve them : This nick of opportunity is teinpus 
labile, a slippery season ; it is but short in itself, and very uncertain : 
'' To-day, whilst it is said to-day (saith the apostle) if ye will hear 
" his voice," Heb. iii. 15. q. d. You have now a short, uncertain, 
but most precious and valuable season for your souls, lay hold on 
it whilst it is called to-day ; for if this season be let slip, the time to 
come is called by another name, that is not to-day, but to-morroxv. 
Your time is the preserit time ; take heed of procrastinating and 
putting it off, till that which is called to-day, (which is your ojily 
season) be past and gone. The precious inch of time, though it be 
more worth than all the other greater parts and portions of your 
time, yet it is as much injluxu, m hasty motion, and spending as 
other parts of time are ; and being once lost, is never more to be 
recalled or recovered. Few men know, or understand it whilst it 
is current : other seasons for natural, or civil actions are known and 
stated, but the time of grace is not so easily discerned, and there- 
fore commonly mistaken, and lost : And this comes to pass partly 

1. Presumptuous hopes. 

2. Discouraging fears. 

1. Presumptuous hopes, which put it too far forth, and persuade 
us this season is yet to come ; that we have time before us, and 
that to-morrow shall be as to-day. " Thus through presumption *, 
" men hope, and by their presumptuous hopes they perish." This 
is the ruin of most souls that perish. 

S. Discouraging fears put it too far back, and represent it as long 
since past and gone, whilst it is yet in being, and in our hands. 
By such pangs of desperation, Satan cuts the nerves of industry 
and diligence, and causes souls to yield themselves as by consent 
for lost, and hopeless, even whilst the gospel is opening their eyes, 
to see their sin and misery, w hich is a part of the work in order to 
their recovery. Thus the eyes of thousands are dazzled that they 

Prccsumendo speraTd, et sperando pereunt, 



cannot discern the season of mercy, and so it slides from them as if 
it had never been. 

God came near to them in the means of their conversion, yea, 
and nearer in the motions of his Spirit upon their consciences and 
affections ; but they knew not the time of their visitation, and now 
the things of their peace are hid from their eyes. Had those con- 
victions been obeyed, and those purposes that were begotten in their 
hearts, been followed by answerable executions of them, happy had 
they been to all eternity : But their careless neglects have quench- 
ed them, and the door is shut; and who knows whether it may 
be opened any more ? O dally not with the Spirit of God, resist 
not his calls ! his motions on the soul ai'e tender things ; they may- 
soon be quenched, and never recovered. 

A?'^. S. Neglect not the seasons of mercy, the day of grace, be- 
cause opportunity facilitates the great work of your salvation ; it is 
much easier to be done in such a season than it can be afterwards : 
An impression is easily made on wax, when melted, but stay till it 
be hardened, and if you lay the greatest weight on the seal, it leaves 
no impression upon it. Much so it is with the heart, there is a sea- 
son when God makes it soft and yielding, when the affections are 
thawed, and melted under the word ; conscience is full of sense and 
activity, the will pliable : Now is the time to set in with the mo- 
tions of the Spirit ; there is now a gale from heaven, if you will take 
it, and if not, it tarries not for man, nor waits for the sons of men: 
Neglect of the season is the loss of the soul. The heart, like melt- 
ed wax, will naturally harden again, and then to how little pur- 
pose are your own feeble essays? Heb. iii. 15. It is both easy and 
successful striving when the Spirit of God strives in you, and with 
you ; you are now workers together with God, and such work goes 
on smoothly and sweetly ; that which is in motion is easily mov- 
ed; but if once the heart is set, you may labour to little pur- 

Jrg. 4. The infinite importance and weight of salvation, is alone, 
instead of all motives and arguments, to make men prize and im- 
prove every proper season for it. It is no ordinary concern, it is 
your life, yea, it is your eternal life ; the solemnity and awfulness 
of such a business as this is enough to swallow up the spirit of man. 
O what an awful sound have such words as these. Ever with the 
Lord ? Suppose you saw the glory of heaven, the full reward of all 
the labours and sufferings of the saints, the blessed harvest of all 
their prayers, tears, diligence, and self-denial in this world ; or sup- 
pose you had a true representation of the torments of hell, and 
could but hear the waihngs of the damned, for the neglect of the 
season of mercy, and their passionate, but vain wishes for one of 
those days which they have lost : Would you think any care, any 


pains, any self-denial too much, to save and redeem one of these 
opportunities ? Surely you would have a far higher estimation of 
them than ever you had in your lives. 

A trial for a man's whole estate is accounted a solemn business 
among men ; the cast of a dye for a man's life is a weighty action, 
and seldom done without anxiety of the mind, and trembling of 
the hand : Yet both these are but children's play compared with 

Three things put an unspeakable solemnity upon this matter; it 
is the precious soul, which is above all valuation, that lies at stake, 
and is to be saved, or lost. The saving or losing of it is not for a 
time, but for ever ; and this is the only season in which it will be 
eternally saved or cast away : All hangs upon a little inch of time, 
which, being over-slipt and lost, is never more to be recalled or re- 
covered. Lord ! zo'ith what serious spirits, deep and iceighty con^ 
siderations^Jears, and tremblings of heart, should men and women 
attend the seasons of their salvatioii ! 

Believe it, reader, since thy soul projected its first thoughts, there 
never was a more weighty and concerning subject than this present- 
ed to thy thoughts. O ! therefore, let not thy thoughts trifle 
about it, and slide from it as they use to do in other things of com- 
mon concernment. 

Arg. 5. If we set any value on the true pleasure of life, or solid 
comfort of our souls at death, let us by no means neglect the spe- 
cial seasons and opportunities of salvation we now enjoy. 

These two things, the pleasure of life, and comforts in death, 
should be prized by every man more than his two eyes ; certainly 
no being at all is more desirable than a being without these : Take 
away the true, spiritual pleasure of life, and you level the life of man 
with the beast that perisheth ; and take away the hope and com- 
fort of the soul in death, and you sink him infinitely below the 
beasts, and make him a being only capable of misery for ever. 

Now there can be no true, spiritual pleasure found in that soul 
that has neglected and lost his only season of salvation : All the so- 
lid delight and comfort of life results from the settlement and se- 
curity of a man's great concern in the proper season thereof. The 
true mirth of the converted Prodigal bears date from the time of his 
return, and reconciliation to his father, Luke xv. 24. Two things 
are absolutely pre-requisite to the comfort of life, mz. a change of 
the state by justification, and a change of the frame and temper of 
the heart hy sanctification. To be in a pardoned state, is a matter 
of all joy, Mat. ix. 2. and " to be spiritually minded is life and peace," 
Rom. viii. 6. No good news comes to any man before this ; and 
no bad news can sink a man's heart after this. 

And for hope and comfort in death, let none be fond to expect 



it, till he has first complied with, and obeyed God's call itt the 
time tliereof : A careless life never did, nor never will produce a 
comfortable death. What is more common among all that die, 
not stupid and senseless, as well as unregenerate and christless, 
than the bitter, dolorous complaints of their mis-spent time, and los- 
ing their seasons of mercy ? Reader, if thou wouldest not feel that 
anguish thou hast seen and heard others to he in on this account, 
know the time of thy visitation, and finish thy great xcoih whilst it 
is day. 

Arg. 6. Neglect no season of salvation which is graciously af- 
forded you, because your time is short; death and eternity are at 
the door. " You know that you must shortly put off these taber- 
" nacles/' 2 Pet. i. 13, 14. that when a few years are come, you 
" shall go the way whence you shall not return," Job xvi. 22. 
All tlie living are listed soldiers, and must conflict, hand to hand, 
with that dreadful enemy death, and there is no discharge in that 
war, Eccles. viii. 8. It will be in vain to eay. You are not willing 
to die ; for willing, or unwilling, away you must go, when death 
calls vou. It will be as vain to say. You are not ready ; for ready 
or unready you must be gone when death comes. Your readiness 
to die would indeed be a cordial to your hearts in death ; but then 
you must improve and ply the time of life, and husband your op- 
portunities diligently ; carelessness of life, and readiness for death 
are inconsistent, and exclusive of each other. The bed is sweeter 
to none than the hard labourer, and the grave comfortable to none 
but the laborious Christian. You know nothing can be done by 
you after death ; the compositum is then dissolved ; you cease to be 
■what you were, to enjoy the means you had, and to work as you 
did. O therefore slip not the only season you have, both of attain- 
ing the end of life, and escaping the danger and hour of death. 

The USE. 

I shall close all with a word of exhortation, persuading (if possi- 
ble) the careless and unthinking neglecters of their precious time 
and souls, to awake out of that deep and dangerous security in 
which they lie fast asleep on the very brink of eternity, and 
" to-day, whilst it is yet called to-day," to hear God's voice call- 
ing them to repentance and faith, and thereby to Christ and ever- 
lasting blessedness. " Behold, he yet stands at the door, and 
" knocks,"" Rev. iii. 20. The door of hope is not yet finally 
shut, there are yet some stirrings at certain times in men's consci- 
ences: God comes near them in his word, and in some rousing 
acts of providence, the death of a near relation, the seizure of a 
dangerous disease, the blasting and disappointment of a man's great 
design and project for this world, a fall into some notorious sin ; 
these, and many such like methods of providence, as well as the 


convincing voice of the word, have the efficacy of an awakening 
voice to men's drowsy consciences ; and if careless sinners would but 
attend to them, and follow home those motions they make upon 
their hearts, who knows to what these weak beginnings might 
rise and prosper ? The souls of men are, as it were, embarked in 
the calls of God, your life is bound up in them ; if these are lost, 
your souls are lost ; if these abide upon you, and grow up to 
sound conversion, you are saved by them. More particularly 

1. What a mercy it is, to have your lot providentially cast under 
the gospel ; to be born under, and bred up with the means and 
instruments of conversion and salvation. We have lived from our 
youth up, under the calls of God, and within the joyful sound of 
the gospel ; " God hath not dealt so with other nations," Psal. 
cxlvii. 20. Though others should seek the means of life, they 
cannot find them ; and though you seek them not, you can hardly 
miss them. 

2. How great a mercy it is, to have your hves lengthened out 
hitherto by God's patience under the gospel ! that neither that 
golden lamp, nor the lamp of your hfe, (both which are liable to 
be extinguished every moment) are yet put out. Thousands and 
ten thousands, your contemporaries, are gone out of the hearing of 
the voice of the gospel, they shall never hear another call ; the 
treaty of God is ended with them ; the master of the house is risen 
up, and the doors are shut. Your neglects and provocations have 
not been inferior to theirs : but the patience and goodness of 
God has exceeded and abounded to you beyond whatever it did to 

3. Bethink yourselves what an aggravation of your misery it 
will be, to sink into hell with the calls of God sounding in your 
ears ! to sink into eternal miserj*^, betwixt the tender, out-stretched 
arms of mercy ! this is the hell of hell, the emphasis of damnation, 
the racking engine on which the consciences of the damned are 
tortured. " And thou Capernaum, which art exalted to heaven, 
" shall be brought down to hell, Matth. xi. 23. Such a fall, after 
so high an exaltation, is the very strappado which will torment 
your consciences. Hell will prove a cooler and milder place to the 
Heathens that never enjoyed your light, means, and mercies in this 
world, than it will to you. None sink so deep into misery in the 
world to come, as they that fall from the fairest opportunities of 
salvation in this world. 

4. Let no man expect that God will hear his cries and intreaties 
in time of misery, who neglects and slights the calls of God in time 
of mercy. God calls, but men will not hear : the day is coming, 
" when they shall cry, but God will not hear," Prov. i. 24, 25. 



«' Will God hear his cry, when trouble cometh upon him ? Job 
xxvii. 9. No; he will not: and this is but a just retribution from 
tlie righteous God, whose calls and counsels men have set at 
nought. But whatever men now think of it, it is certainly the 
greatest misery incident to men in all the world : for as no words 
can make another fully sensible what a privilege it is to have the 
ear, favour, pity, and help of God in a day of straits; so it is im- 
possible for any words to express the doleful state and case of 
that soul whom God casts off in trouble, and whose cries he shuts 

5. Beware of neglecting any call of God, because that call you 
are now tempted to neglect, may be the last call that God ever 
intends to give your souls. Sure I am, there is a call which will be 
the last call of God to rebellious sinners, and after that no more 
calls, but an eternal deep silence : his Spirit shall not always strive 
with men ; and the more motions and calls you have already slight- 
ed, the more probable it is that this may be the last voice of God 
in a way of mercy to thy soul : and what if, after this, God should 
seal up thy heart, and judicially harden it.? make thy will utterly 
inflexible, and thine ears deaf, as he threatens, Isa. vi. 10. What 
an undone, miserable man or woman art thou then ! Oh ! beware 
of provoking the sorest of all judgments, by persisting any longer 
in a course of rebellion against light and mercy. 

6. Whilst your hearts put off and neglect the calls of God, you 
can by no means arrive to the evidence and assurance of your elec- 
tion ; for your election is only secured to you by your effectual 
calling, 2 Pet. i. 10. There is no way for men to discern their names 
written in the book of life, but by reading the work of sanctification 
in their own hearts, Rom. x. 8. I desire no miraculous voice from 
heaven, no extraordinary signs, or unscriptural notices and infor- 
mations in this matter : Lord, let me but find my heart complying 
with thy calls, my will obediently submitting to thy commands; sin 
my burden, and Christ my desire : I never crave a fairer or surer 
evidence of thy electing love to my soul : and if I had an oracle 
from heaven, an extraordinary messenger from the other world, to 
tell me thou lovest me, I have no reason to credit such a voice, 
whilst I find my heart wholly sensual, averse to God, and indisposed 
to all that is spiritual. 

7. What reason have you why you should not presently embrace 
the call of God, and thankfully lay hold only on the first oppor- 
tunity and season of salvation ? Have you any greater matters in 
hand than the salvation of your precious souls ? Is there any thing 
in this world that more concerns you 'f If the affairs of this life be 
so indispensably necessary, and those of the world to come so indif- 
ferent; if you think that meat ^nd drink, trade and business, wife. 


and children are such great thing?, and Christ, the soul, and eter- 
nity, such httle things ; or if you think salvation to be a work of 
the greatest necessity, and yet may safely enough be put ofF to an 
uncertain time, I may assure you, you will not be long of this mind. 
HoAv soon are all the mistakes of men in these matters rectified 
in a few moments after death ! Rectified, I say, but not remedied ; 
your opinion will ba changed, but not your condition. 

8. Do you not every day easily and readily obey the calls of Satan 
and your own lusts, whilst God and conscience are suffered to call 
and strive with you in vain ? If Satan or your lusts call you to the 
tavern, to the world, and sinful pleasures, you speedily comply with 
their call, and yield a ready obedience ; if pride or covetousness 
call, or passion and revenge call, they need not call twice ; and 
shall God and conscience call only in vain ? Lord, what a creature 
is man become ! If a vain companion call, you have no power to 
deny him ; if God call, you have no ear to hear him. 

9. You cannot but observe the obedience and diligence of many 
others, how seriously, painfully, and assiduously they ply, and 
follow on the work of their own salvation, and yet are no more 
concerned in the events and consequences of these things than you 
are. Doth it not trouble you when you compare vourselves with 
them ? Do not such thoughts as these sometimes arise in your hearts 
upon such observations ? ' Lord, what a difference is there like to 

* be betwixt their end and mine, when there is so apparent a differ- 
' ence in our course and conversation ? Doth not God distinguish 
' persons in this world by the frames of their hearts, and tenor of 

* their lives, in order to the great distinction he will make betwixt 

* one and another in the day of judgment ? Have not I as precious 
' a soul to save or lose as any of them ? What is the matter that I 
' sit with folded arms, whilst they are working out their salvation 
' with fear and trembling ? Why should any man or woman in the 
' world be more careful for their souls than I for mine ? Surely its 
capacity and excellency is equal with theirs, though my care and 
diligence be so unequal." 

10. To conclude, God will shortly give you an irresistible call to 
the grave, and after that his voice shall call to you in your graves. 
Arise, ye dead, and come to judgment : But wo be to you, wo and 
alas that ever you were born, if you should hear the call of God to 
die, before you have heard and obeyed his call to Christ ! Will 
your death-bed be easy to you ? Can you with any hope or com- 
fort shoot the gulph of eternity before you have done one act for 
the security of your own souls from the wrath to come ? It is a 
dreadful thing lor a poor christless soul to sit quivering upon the 


lips of a dying sinner, not able to stay, nor yet endure a parting 
pull from the body, in such a case as it is. 

In a word ; If that God had made, and will shortly judge you ; 
if the Redeemer that shed his invaluable blood, and now offers you 
the purchases and benefits of it ; if you have any love to, or care of 
your own souls, which are more worth than the whole world ; if 
you have any value for heaven, or dread of hell, then, for God's 
sake, for Christ's sake, for your precious souPs sake, trifle with 
heaven and hell no longer, but be in earnest to work out your own 
salvation with fear and trembling. Could I think of any other 
means or motives to secure your souls from danger, I would surely 
use them : could I reach your hearts effectually, I would deeply 
impress this great concern upon them : But I can neither do God's 
part of the work, nor yours ; it is some ease to me, I have in sin- 
cerity, (though with much imperfection and feebleness) done part 
of my own : The Lord prosper it by the blessing of his Spirit in the 
hearts of them that read it. Amen. 




wherein tlie various khuls, ttses, causes, effects and remedies thereof* 
are distinctly opened and prescribed, for the relief and encourage- 
ment of all those that fear God in these doubtful and distracting^ 

To the Right Worslitpfal Sir John Hartop, Knight and 


Sir, ^ 

j^MONG all the creatures God hath made (devils only excepted) 
man is the most apt and able to be his own tormentor ; and of all 
the scourges with which he lasheth and afflicteth both his mind 
and body, none is found so cruel and intolerable as his oivn fears. 
The worse the times are like to be, the more need the mind hath of 
succour and encouragement, to confirm and fortify it for hard en- 
counters ; but from the worst prospect,^ar inflicts the deepest and 
most dangerous wounds upon the mind of man, cutting the very 
nerves of its passive fortitude and bearing ability. 

The grief we suffer from evil felt would be light and easy, were 
it not incensed hyjear ; reason would do much, and religion more, 
to dcmulse and lenify our sorrows, did not^^ar betray the succours 
of both. And it is from things to come that this prospecting crea- 
ture raiseth up to himself vast hopes and fears : if he have a fair and 
encouraging prospect of serene and prosperous days, from the scheme 
and position of second causes, hope immediately fills his heart with 
cheerfulness, and displays the signals of it in his very face, answer- 
able to that fair, benign aspect of things : but if the face of things 
to come be threatening and inauspicious, Jear gains the ascendent 
over the mind ; and unmanly and unchristian faintness pervades it, 
and, among the many other mischiefs it inflicts, this is not the 
least, that it brings the evil of to-morrow upon to-day, and so makes 
the duties of to-day wholly unserviceable to the evils of to-morrow *, 


which is as much as if man having an intricate and difficult busi- 
ness cut out for the next day, which requires the utmost intention, 
both of his mind and body, and (haply) might be prosperously 
managed, if both were duly prepared, should lie all the night rest- 
less and disquieted about the event, torturing and spending him- 
self with his own presaging fears, so tliat when the day is come, and 
the business calls for him, his strength is no way equal to the bur- 
den of it, but he faints and fails under it- 
There is indeed an excellent use that God makes of our fears, 
to stimulate our slothful hearts to greater vigilance and preparation 
for evils ; and there is a mischievous use Satan makes of our fears 
to cast us under despondency and unbecoming pusillanimity : and 
I reckon it one of the greatest difficulties of religion, to cut, by a 
thread here, and so to manage ourselves under threatening or 
doubtful providences, as to be touched with so much sense of those 
approaching evils as may prepare us to bear them ; and yet to en- 
joy that constancy and firnuiess of mind, in the worst times, that 
may answer the excellent principles we are professedly governed by. 
These last times are certainly the most perilous times; great 
things are yet to be acted upon the stage of this world, before it 
be taken down ; and the scena afitipenultima^ latter-end, I say, not 
the last, will be a tragedy. There is an ultima clades adhuc metu- 
enda, a dismal slaughter of the witnesses of Christ yet to be ex- 
pected : the last bite of the cruel beast will be deadly, and if we 
flatter not ourselves, all things seem to be disposing themselves in 
the course of providence towards it. 

But, Sir, if our union with Christ be sure in itself, and sure to 
us also ; if faith give us the daily visions and prelibations of the 
world to come, what well-composed spectators shall we be of these 
tragedies ! Let things be tossed susque^ deque^ and the mountains 
cast into the midst of the sea, yet then the assured Christian may 
sing his song upon Alamoth *, A song composed for God's hidden 
ones. This so poiseth and steadies the mind, that we may enjoy 
the comfort and tranquilht}^ of a resigned will, when others are at 
their wit's end. 

With design to promote this blessed frame, in my own and others 
hearts in these frightful times, I meditated, and now publish this 
small tract, to which a dear friend (from whom I have often had 
the fair idea and character of your excellent spirit) hath occasioned 
the prefixing of your worthy name ; I beg pardon for such an un- 
usual presumption, as also your charity in censuring the faults that 
will appear in it, when it shall come under so exact and judicious an 
eye ; it may be useful though it be not elegant ; its seasonableness 

* Psal. xlvi. 


IS its best commendation, and its aim better than its performance. 
As for you, Sir, I hope faith hath really placed your soul in that 
serene and happy station where Seneca fancied moral virtue to have 
placed a good man, Fatendum est, camnnine Olympi constitutus, 
supra ventos et jwocellas, et omnes res humanas : Above the storms 
and tempests of this unquiet and distracting world. But there are 
many gracious persons at this day labouring under their own fears, 
and whose hearts are ready to fail with looking for those thino-s 
that are coming to try them that dwell upon the earth ; and possi- 
bly somewhat of relief may be administered to many such, by tliis 
discourse ; some bivious and staggering souls may be established ; 
some discouraged and fainting spirits may be revived ; some doubts 
may be dissolved that have long perplexed gracious hearts. What- 
ever use it may be to any, I humbly call in the aid of your 
prayers to my own, for a special blessing upon it, and remain. 

Yours to honour, love, and serve you, 



Isa. viii. 12, 13. and part ofwer. 14. 

Ver. 12. Say ye not, A confederacy to all them to whom this people 
shall say a confederacy ; 7ieither fear ye [their fiar^ nor he 
cifrakl. 13. Sanctrfy the Lord of Hosts himself, and let him he 
your fear, and let him he your dread; 14. And he shall he for a 
sanctuary. — 


Wherein ihe text and context are opened, the doctrines propounded ^ 
and the general method stated. 

i HERE is not more diversity found in the outward features, 
than in the inward tempers and dispositions of men ; some are as 
timorous as hares, and start at every sound or yelp of a dog ; 
others as bold as lions, and can face dangers without trembling ; 
some fear more than they ought, and some before they ought, and 
others when they ought not at all. The carnal person fears man, 
not God ; the strong Christian fears God, not man ; the weak 
Christian fears man too much, and God too little. 

There is a fear which is the effect of sin springing from guilt. 


and hurrying the soul into more guilt ; and there is a fear which 
is the effect of grace, spiinging from our love to God, and his in- 
terest, and driving the soul to God in the way of duty. The less 
fear any man hath, the more happiness, except it be of that fear 
which is our happiness and our excellency. 

It cannot be said of any man, as it is said of Leviathan, Job xli. 
33. that he is made without fear ; those that have most fortitude 
are not without some fears ; and when the church is in the storms 
of persecution, and almost covered with the waves, the stoutest 
passengers in it may suffer as much from this boisterous passion 
within, as from the storm without ; and all for want of thoroughly 
believing, or not seasonably remembering that the Lord high Ad- 
miral of all the ocean, and Commander of all the winds, is on board 
the ship, to steer and preserve it in the storm. 

A pregnant instance hereof is furnished to our hands in this con- 
text, where you find the best men trembling in expectation of the 
worst events both on the church in general, and themselves in par- 
ticular. " Their hearts were moved like the trees of the wood 
" shaken with the wind,*' chap. vii. 2. 

And, indeed, if their dangers were to be measured by sense 
only, their fears were not above the value of the cause, yea, their 
danger seemed to exceed their fears ; for it was the invasion of a 
foreign and cruel enemy, even the Assyrian, who were to break in 
upon them, like a breach of the sea, and ovei-flow the land of Im- 
manuel. Ver. 7. " The Lord bringeth up upon them the waters of 
*' the river, strong and many ; even the king of Assyria, and all 
^' his glory, and he shall come up over all his channels, and go over 
'^ all his banks."' And as the 7th verse resembles the enemy to 
waters, which quickly drown the country into which they break, 
so the 8th verse tells you how far they should prevail, and how near 
it should come to a general and total ruin. " He shall pass through 
-' Judah, he sliali overflow and go over ; he shall reach even to the 
" neck, and the stretching out of his wings shall fill the breadth of 
^* thy land, O Immanuel." All the body shall be under water, 
except the capital city, which remained above water. 

Having thus described the power and success of the invading 
€nemy, in the 9th and 10th verses, he derides their plots and com- 
binations, assuring them, that although God, for just and holy ends, 
would permit them, for a time, to afflict his people ; yet the issue of 
all these counsels and cruelties should recoil upon themselves, and 
end in their own ruin and confusion. 

And thereupon Isaiah is commanded to encourage the feeble 
and trembling hearts of such as feared Gt)d in those distracting and 
frightful times. Ver. 11, 12, 13. " The Lord spake unto me 
" with a strong hand, and instructed me that I should not walk in 


^' the way of this ])eople, saying, Say ye not a confederacy," 

God speaking to the prophet by a strong hand, imports the 
strong and mighty impression that was made upon his heart, by the 
spirit of prophecy ; wlierein the Lord did, as it were, lay his hand 
upon him, as a man doth upon one to whom he is about to impart 
some special secret in a familiar way, q. d. Come hither, Isaiah, 
(drawing liim to him at the same instant, with a friendly hand) 
take deep notice of what I am now to give thee in charge, both 
with respect to thyself, and my elect people that follow thee ; 
** Say not ye, A confederacy to all them to whom this people 
" shall say a confederacy,'"* i. e. let not these frightful tidings work 
upon you as they do upon Ahaz, and the common multitude with 
him, who are so terrified and scared with the approaching dangers, 
that all their counsels, thoughts, and studies, are taken up in pre- 
venting it, by making a confederacy or league with the Assyrian : 
Hos. V. 13. or if that cannot be, then with some foreign power 
that may secure them against the Assyrian : but their eyes are not 
at all to me for protection and deliverance ; they expect more from 
Egypt than from heaven ; from a broken reed, than from the rock 
of ages. Fear not you their fear; their fear drives them from 
God to the creature ; it first distracts them, and then ensnares 

But, on the contrary, see that thou and all the faithful in the 
land with thee, do sanctify me in your hearts, and make me your 
fear and your dread, i. e. rely upon me by faith in this day of trou- 
ble, and see that you give me the glory of my wisdom, povver, and 
faithfulness, by relying entirely upon those my attributes engaged 
for you in so many tried promises ; and do not betake yourselves to 
such sinful and vain shifts as those do that have no interest in me, 
nor experience of me. Tliis is the general scope and design of the 
text, wherein more particularly, you have, 

1. An evil practice prohibited. 

2. An effectual remedy prescribed, 

3. A singular encouragement to apply that remedy. 

1. An evil practice prohibited, " Fear not their fear, neither be 
*' afraid.'"* This is that sinful principle, which was but too apt to 
incline them to do as others did, to wit, to say, A confederacy. 
Sinful fears are apt to drive the best men into sinful compliances 
and indirect shifts to help themselves. 

Their fear may be understood two ways ; 

1. Subjectively. 

2. Effectively. 

1. Siibjectivehj^ for the self-same fear wherewith the carnal and 
unbelieving Jews feared ; a fear that enslaved them in bondage of 
Vol. hi. Q 


spirit; a fear that is the fruit of sin, a sin in its own nature, the 
cause of much sin to them, and a just punishment of God upon 
them for their other sins. 

2. EffectivcJij, Let not your fear produce in you such mischie- 
vous effects as their fear doth ; to make you forget God, magnify 
the creature, prefer your o\m wits and policies to the Almighty 
Power and never-failing Faithfulness of God : if you say, but how 
shall we help it ? 

^. Why, in the next place, you have an effectual remedy prescri- 
bed; hut sanctify the Lord of' hosts himself andlet him he your fear 
and your dread. The fear of God will swallow up the fear of man, 
a reverential awe and dread of God will extinguish the slavish fear 
of the creature, as the sun-shine puts out fire, or as one fire fetches 
out another ; so will this fear fetch out that. 

By sanct'ifyhig the Lord of hosts hhnsclfi^ meant a due ascription 
of the glorv of his sovereign power, wisdom, and faithfulness, not 
only in verbal and professed aclaio\v'ledgments thereof, but especi- 
ally in those internal acts of affiance, resignation, and entire depen- 
dence on him, which, as they are the choicest respects of the crea- 
ture towards its God, and give him the greatest glory, so they are 
certainly the most beneficial and comfortable acts we can perform 
for our own peace and safety in times of danger. 

If a man do really look to God in a day of trouble and fear as to 
the Lord of hosts, i. e. one that governs all the creatures, and all 
their actions ; at whose beck and command all the armies of hea- 
ven and earth are, and then can rely upon the care and love of this 
God, as a child in danger of trouble reposes on, and commits him- 
self with greater confidence to the care and protection of his fa- 
ther : O what peace, what rest, must necessarily follow upon this ! 
Who would be afraid to pass through the midst of armed troops 
and regiments, whilst lie knows that the general of the army is his 
o\vn father ? The more power this filial fear of God obtains in our 
hearts, the less will you dread the power of the creature. When 
the Dictator ruled at Rome, then all other officers ceased ; and so, 
in a great measure, will all other fears, where the fear of God is 
dictator in the heart. This is the remedy. 

3. And to enable us to apply this remedy in the worst and most 
difficult times, we have a singular encouragement proposed : if we 
will thus sanctify the Lord of hosts himself, by such an acknowledg- 
ment of, and cliild-like dependence on hira in times of danger, then 
he will be to us for a sanctuary, Asyli loco, i. e. he will surely pro- 
tect, defend, and provide for us in the worst times and cases * ; then 

* Preestabit vos inaccessos, et inviolabUes ah his repibus. He will render you inac- 
cessible, and preserre you from being violated by tlietse kings. 


will the Lord " 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, and there shall be a tabernacle for a shadow in the 
*' day-time, from the heat, and for a place of refuge, and for a 
" covert from the storm and from rain/"* Let the winds roar, 
tlie rain beat, the lightnings flash, you are in safety, and have a 
good roof over your heads. Hence these two points of doctrine 
offer themselves : 

Doct. 1 . That the best men are too apt to he overcome with slavish 
fears^ in times of imminent distress and danger. 

Doct. 2. That the fear of God is the most effectual means to ex- 
tingxiish the mrfulfear of men, and to sccitre us from danger. 

These two points take in the substance and scope of the text ; 
but because I design to treat, in the following chapters, of the 
kinds, nature, uses, causes, effects, and remedies of fear, I shall not 
distinctly prosecute them, but proceed in this order, in the following 


Wherein the hinds and nature of fear are opened, and particularly 
the distracting, slavish fears of creatures. 

Sect. I. X HERE is a threefold fear found in man, viz. 
1. Natural. 2. Sinful. 3. Religious fear. 

1. Natural fear, of which all are partakers that partake of the 
common nature, not one excepted. 

Naticralfear is the ti'ouble or perturbation of mind, from the ap- 
prehension of approaching evil, or impending danger. 

The word ^gCog comes from a verb * that signifies flight ; this is 
not always sinful, but it is always the fruit and consequent of sin. 
Since sin entered into our nature, there is no shaking off* fear. 
No sooner had Adam transgressed but he feared and fled, hiding 
himself among the trees of the garden, Gen. iii. 8. When he had 
transgressed the covenant, he presently feared the execution of the 
curse : first he eats, then he hides ; and this afflictive passion is from 
him transmitted, and derived to all his children. 

* (piZoiiaifunio^ perfect, med. 'rs^oQa, inde fo.Sog timor,fuga. 



To this natural fear it pleased our Lord Jesus Christ to subject 
himself in the days of his flesh ; he was afraid, yea, he was sore 
amazed, Mark xiv. 33. for though his human nature was absolutely 
free from sin, yet he came in the " likeness of sinful flesh," Rom. 
viii. 3. 

This fear creates great trouble and perturbation in the mind, 
1 John iv. 18. Fear hath torment; in proportion to the danger, 
is the fear ; and in proportion to the fear, the trouble and distrac- 
tion of the mind : if the fear be exceeding great, reason is displaced^ 
and can conduct us no farther, as the Psalmist speaks of mariners 
in a storm, " they are at their wits end,'' Psal. cvii. 27. or as it is 
varied in the * margin, all wisdom is swallowed up. And this is 
the meaning of Deut. xxviii. 25. that they should go out against 
their enemies one way, and " flee before them seven ways,"" i. e. 
so great shall be the fright and distraction, that they shall attempt 
now one way, then another, striving every way, but liking none ; 
for fear so far betrays the succours of reason, that their -f- counsels 
are always in uncertainty, and at a loss, and the usual voice of a man 
in this condition is, / know not what to do, I know not which way 
to turn. 

Evil is the object of fear, and the greater the evil is, the stronger 
the fear must needs be, and therefore the terrors of an awaken- 
ed and terrified conscience must be allov/ed to be the greatest of 
terrors, because in that case a man hath to do with a great and ter- 
rible God, and is scared with apprehensions of his infinite and eter- 
nal wrath, than which, no evil is or can be greater. You see at 
what height Christ's conflict wrought with it when it made him 
sweat as it were, great clots of blood. Of all temporal evils death 
is the greatest, and therefore Job calls it the King of terrors, Job 
xviii. 14. or the most terrible of terribles. Thuanus \ relates two 
strange instances of the fear of death : '* One of a certain captain 
" who was so terrified with the fear of death, that he poured out 
" a kind of bloody sweat from all parts of his body. Another is of 
" a young man condemned for a small matter by [j Sixtus Quin- 
'' tus, v*ho was so vehemently terrified with the fears of deatli, 
«' that he shed a kind of bloody tears." These are strange and 
terrible efl^ects of fear, but vastly short of what Christ felt and suf- 
fered, who grappled with a far greater evil than the terrors of 
death, even the wrath of an incensed God poured out, to the full, 
and that immediately upon him. 

* Rector in incerto est, nee qvjdj'ugiatve petatw, inveiiit. — Ovid. 

I Pavidi semper consilia in incerto. 

\ Dun qiddam indigwj mortis metu, adeo concussus ,fuit, ut sanguineum sudorem tota 
coi-jjorejudit, Hist. lib. 11. 

II Juvenis ob levcm c.ausam a Sirlo Y-damvatus, jtrce doloris vehemejitiajertur lacrymas 
curentasj'udisie. Lib, So. 


But yet evil, as evil, is rather the object of hatred than of fear, 
it must be an imminent or near approaching evil, wliich we see not 
how to escape or put by, that provokes fear, and rouses this lion. 
And therefore the saints in glory are perfectly freed from fear, 
because they are out of the reach of all danger : nor do we, that 
are here in the midst of evils, fear them till we see them approach- 
ing us, and we see not how to avoid them. To hear of fire, plague, 
or the sword in the Indies, doth not affright us, because the evil is 
so remote from us ; it is far enough off, we are in no danger of it ; 
but when it is in the town, much more when within our own dwell- 
ings, we tremble. Evil hurts us not by a simple apprehension of 
its nature, but of its union ; and all propinquity is a degree of 
union, as a * learned divine speaks. And it is worth observation, 
that all carnal security is maintained by putting evils at a great 
distance from us, as it is noted of those secure sensualists, Amos 
vi. 3. " They put far from them the evil day.'' The meaning is 
not that they did, or could put the evil one minute farther from 
them in reality, but only by imagination and fancy : they shut their 
own eyes, and would not see it, lest it should give an unpleasing 
interruption to their mirth ; and this is the reason why death puts 
the living into no more fear, because it is apprehended as remote, 
and at an undetermined distance, whereas if the precise time of 
death were known, especially if that time were near, it would greatly 
scar and terrify. 

This is the nature of natural fear, the infelicity of nature, which 
we all groan under the effects of: it is in all the creatures in some 
degree ; but among them all, none suffer more by it than man, for 
hereby he becomes his own tormentor ; nor is any torment greater 
than this when it prevails in a high degree upon us. Indeed all 
constitutions and tempers admit not the same degrees of fear ; some 
are naturally courageous and stout, like the lion for magnanimity 
and fortitude; others exceeding timorous and faint-hearted, like 
the hare or hart, one Kttle dog will make a hundred of them flee 
before him. Luther was a man of great courage and presence of 
mind in dangers, f Melancthon very timorous and subject to des- 
pondency. Thus the difference betwixt them is expressed in one 
of Luther's letters to him : " I am well nigh a secure spectator of 
" things, and esteem not any thing these fierce and threatening 
" Papists say. I much dislike those anxious cares, winch, as thou 
" writest, do almost consume thee." There might be as great a 
stock of grace in one as in the other, but INIelancthon's grace had 
not the advantage of so stout and courageous a temper of body and 
mind as Luther's had. Thus briefly of natural fear. 

* Dr. Reynolds. 

f Epist. ad, Melanct, Ann. 1549. 



Sect. II. There is a fear which is formally and intrinsically sin- 
ful, not only our infelicity, but our fault ; not our simple affliction 
and burden, but our great evil and provocation ; and such is the 
fear here dissuaded, called their fear, i. e. the fear wherewith carnal 
and unbelieving men do fear when dangers threaten them ; and the 
sinfulness of it lies in five things. 

1. In the spring and cause of it which is unbelief, and an unwor- 
thy distrust of God, when we dare not rely upon the security of a 
Divine promise, nor trust to God's protection in the way of our 
duty. This was the very case of that people, Isa. xxx. 15. " Thus 
'' saith the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, in returning and 
" rest shall ye be saved, in quietness and in confidence shall be 
'' your strength ; and ye would not. But ye said, no, for we will 
" flee upon horses ; therefore ye shall flee : and we will ride upon 
"the swift; therefore shall they that pursue you be swift. One 
" thousand shall flee at the rebuke of one,"" &c. 

Thus stood the case : Sennacherib v/ith a mighty host was ready 
to invade them ; this puts them into a fright ; in this distress God 
assures them, by the mouth of his prophet, that in " returning and 
" rest they should be saved, in quietness and confidence should be 
" their strength.'"* The meaning is, never perplex yourselves with 
various counsels and projects to secure yourselves under the wings? 
of Egypt or any other Protector, but with a composed, quiet and 
calm temper of mind, rest upon my power by faith, take my pro- 
mises for your security, this shall be your salvation and your 
strength, more effectual to your preservation than armies, garrisons, 
or any creature-defence in the world ; one act of faith shall do you 
better service than Pharaoh and all 'his forces can do. 

But ye said no, q. d. we dare not trust to that, a good horse will 
do us more service at such a time than a good promise ; Egypt is 
a better security in their eye than Heaven. This is the fruit of 
gross infidelity. And as wicked men do thus forsake God, and 
cleave to the creature in the time of trouble, so there is fovmd a 
spice of this distrustfulness of God, producing fear and trouble, in 
the best of men. It was in the disciples themselves, Matth. viii. 
26. " Why are ye fearful, O ye of httle faith r A storm had 
befallen them at sea, and danger began to threaten them, and pre- 
sently you find a storm within, their fears were more boisterous 
than the winds, and had more need of calming than the sea ; and 
it was all from their unbelief, as Christ tells them ; the less their 
faith, the greater their fear. If a man can but rely upon God in 
a promise, so far as he is enabled to beheve, so far he will reckon 
himself well secured. * lUvricus, in his cataWue of the Witnes- 

• lUyrici Cat. Test. Lib. 19. 


stes, relates this remarkable passage of one Andreas Proles, a godly 
aged divine, who lived somewhat before Luther, and taught many 
points soundly, according to liis light then. lie was called to a 
Synod at Milan, and afterwards in the Lateran, where, opposing a 
proposition of the Pope about burdening the church with a new 
holiday, he was brought into much danger, and escaping very nar- 
rowly from Rome, he bought him a bow and weapons : but as he 
was riding, he began to bethink himself, that the cause was not his 
but God's, and not to be maintained with sword and bow ; and if 
it were, yet what could such a decrepit old man do with wea])ons ? 
upon which he threw away his weapons, conmiitted himself, his- 
cause, and his journey to God, relied upon his promises more than 
sword or bow, and came home safe, and afterwards died quietly in 
his bed. 

2. The sinfulness of fear lies in the excess and immoderacy of 
it, when we fear more than we ought ; for it may be truly said of 
our fears, as the Philosopher speaks of waters, difficile suh termims 
cont'mentur, it is hard to keep them within bounds ; every bush is 
a bear, every petty trouble puts us into a fright ; our fear exceeds 
the value and merit of the cause. It is a great sin to love or fear 
any creature above the rate of a creature, as if they were masters 
of all our temporal and eternal comforts. Thus when the men of 
Israel heard of the confederacy and conjunction of their enemies a- 
gainst them, the text saith, " their hearts were moved, as the trees 
" of the wood are moved with the wind," Isa. vii. 1 . or as we use 
to say proverbially, like an aspine leaf': It is a sad sight to behold 
men shaking and quivering as the trees do on a windy day ; yet 
thus did the house of David, partly through the remembrance of 
past calamities, but especially through incredulity in God's protect- 
ing care in their present and future dangers ; yea, this is too often 
the fault of good men in creature-fear as well as in creature-love, 
to transgress the due bounds of moderation. It is noted of Jacob, 
though a man of much faith, and one that had the sweetest encou- 
ragement to strengthen it, both from former experiences, and God's 
gracious promises to be with him, yet when Esau was come nigh, 
he was " greatly afraid and distressed," Gen. xxxii. 7. It was but 
a little before, that God had graciously appeared to him, and sent 
a royal guard of angels to attend him, even two hosts or armies of 
angels, ver. 1, 2. and yet as soon as Esau approached him, he was 
afraid, yea greatly afraid, afraid and distressed, notwithstanding 
such an encouraging vision as this was. 

3. The sinfulness of our fears lies in the inordinacy of them ; to 
fear it more than we ought is bad enough, but to magnify its 
power above the power of a creature ; to exalt the power of any 
creature by our fears, and give it such an ascendant over us, as 

Q 4 


it had an arbitrary and absolute dominion over us, or over our Gom-. 
forts, to do with them what it pleased ; this is to put the creature 
out of its own class and rank, into the place of God, and is there- 
fore a very sinful and evil fear. 

To trust in any creature, as if it had the power of a God to help 
us, or to fear any creature, as if it had the power of a God to hurt 
us, is exceeding sinful, and highly provoking to God : This inor- 
dinate trust is taxed and condemned, in Isaiah xxxi. 3. They 
would needs go down to Egypt for help, and trust in their horses 
and horsemen, because they were strong; i. e. in their opinion, 
thev were able to secure them against all those dangers the prophet 
from the Lord's own mouth had threatened tliem with : but, to 
take them off from this sinful and inordinate dependence on the 
creature, he tells them, ver. 3. " Now the Egyptians are men, and 
" not God ; and their horses flesh, and not spirit : when the Lord 
'^ shiiU stretch forth his hand, both he that helpeth shall fall, and 
'• he that is holpen shall fall down, and they shall fall together." 
g. d. It is a sinful and dangerous mistake for one creature to give 
that trust and dependence to another creature, which is due only 
to God ; to look upon men as if they were gods, and horses as if 
they were spirits : all creatures, even the strongest, are but as the 
hop, the vine, or the ivy ; if they clasp about the pole, the wall or 
the oak, they may be supported, as you may also by leaning ujwn 
God ; but if they depend and entangle themselves one upon 
another, as you and the Egyptians do, you shall fail, and fall all 

And, as one creature is apt inordinately and sinfully thus to trust 
and lean upon another, so there is as gi'eat a profaneness in the 
creatures inordinately to fear and dread each other, as if the crea- 
ture feared were rather a god than a man, rather a spirit than flesh ; 
and thus our fear magnifies and exalts the creature, and puts it, as 
it were, into the room and place of God. This was the sin which 
God rebuked in his own people, Isa. h. 12, 13. " I, even I, am he 
'' that comforteth thee : Who art thou, that thou shouldst be afraid 
" of a man that shall die, and of the son of man who shall be made 
" as grass ? and forgettest the Lord thy maker," &c. See how 
fear exalts man, and depresseth God ; it thinks upon the noxious 
power of men so much, that it forgots the saving power of God, as 
if that stood for nothing : thus a mortal worm, that shall perish as 
the grass, eclipses the glory of the great God, that stretched forth 
the heavens, and laid the foundations of the earth. 

And this was the evil against which Christ cautioned his own 
disciples, in Matth. x. 28. " Fear not them which kill the body, 
*' but are not able to kill the soul ; but rather fear him which is 
*' able to destroy both soul and body in hell ;" q. d. Have a care 


you never fear any man, be he armed with never so much power 
and rage : as if the jK)wer of making or marring you for ever were 
in his hands, as if you lay at the feet of his will and pleasure to 
he saved or ruined for ever : fear not him that can only touch your 
bodies, as if he could damn your souls ; invest not any creature 
with the sovereign and incommunicable power of God. 

4. The sinfulness of fear consists in the distracting influence it 
hath upon the hearts of men, whereby it discomposeth and unfits 
them for the discharge of their duties. 

Fear sometimes puts men into such a hurry, and their thoughts 
into such disorder, that for the present they have scarce any succour 
or relief from their graces, or from their reason ; for under an 
extraordinary fear both grace and reason, like the wheels of a watch, 
wound above its due height, stand still, and have no motion at all. 
It is rare to find a man of that largeness and constancy of heart and 
mind, in a day of fear, that was found in Jehoshaphat, 2 Chron. 
XX. 2, S. " Then there came some that told Jehoshaphat, saying, 
" There cometh a great multitude against thee from beyond the 
" sea, on this side Syria, and behold they be in Hazazon-Taraar, 
" which is Engedi ; and Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to 
" seek the Lord."" He set himself, i. e. he composed and fixed 
his heart for prayer in the time of so great a fright and terrible 
alarm : but it is rare to find such constancy and evenness of mind 
as this ; in like cases it is with most in great frights, as the prophet 
describes the condition of the Jews, Isa. xxii. 2, 3. vv^hen the city of 
Jerusalem was besieged, and the enemy came under the walls of it ; 
that which a little before Was the joyous city, or as some read, the 
revelling city, is now in such a panic fear, that it is full of stirs and 
tumults, some run up to the tops of the houses, either to hide or 
bewail themselves, or take a view of the dreadful enemy without ; 
others prevent the sword of the enemy, and die by fear before-hand, 
their own apprehensions of misery killed them before the sword of 
any other enemy once touched them ; but you read of none that 
ran into their closets to seek the Lord ; the city was full of stirs, 
but not of prayers, alas, fear made^hem cry to the mountains, ra- 
ther than to Gk>d, ver. 5. The best men find it hard to keep their 
thoughts from wandering, and their minds from distraction, in the 
greatest calm of peace, but a thousand times harder in the hun*ies 
and tumults of fear. 

5. The sinfulness of fear consists in the power it hath to dispose 
and incline men to the use of sinful means to put by their danger, 
and to cast them into the hands and power of temptation. " The 
" fear of man bringeth a snare," Prov. xxix. 25. or puts and lays 
a snare before him : Satan spreads the net, and fear, like the stalk- 
ing-horse, drives men right into it It was fear which drew Abra- 


ham, that great behever, into the snare of dissimulation, to the 
great disparagement of rehgion ; for it was somewhat an odd sight 
to see Abimelech, an Heathen, so schoohng an Abraham for it, as 
he did, Gen. xx. 9- And for the same evil you find God chiding 
his people, in Isa. Ivii. 11. "And of whom hast thou been afraid, or 
*' feared, that thou hast hed, and hast not remembered me ?" There 
is a double lie occasioned by fear, one in words, and another in 
deeds ; hypocrisy is a lie done, a practical lie, and our church his- 
tory abounds with sad examples of dissimulation through fear : it is 
Satan's great engine to make his temptations victorious and success- 
ful with men. 

Sect, III. There is an holy and laudable fear, a fear which is our 
treasure, not our torment ; the chief ornament of the soul, its 
beauty and perfection, not its infelicity or sin, viz. the awful filial 
fear of God ; natural fear is a pure and simple passion of the soul ; 
sinful fear is the disordered and corrupt passion of the soul ; but 
this is the natural passion sanctified, and thereby changed and bap- 
tized into the name and nature of a spiritual grace. This fear is 
also mentioned in my text, and prescribed as an antidote against 
sinful fears ; it devours carnal fears, as Moses' serpent did those of 
the enchanters. It is one of the sorest judgments to be in the fear 
of man day and night, Deut. xxviii. Qo, QQ, 67. and one of the 
sweetest mercies to be in the fear of God all the day long, Prov. 
xxiii. 17. The fear of man shortens our days, Isa. xxii. 34. but 
the fear of the Lord prolongeth our days, Prov. x. 27. The 
fear of the Lord is a fountain of hfe, Prov. xiv. 27. But the fear 
of man a fountain of mischiefs and miseries : By the fear of the 
Lord men depart from evil, Prov. xvi. 6. but, by the Jear of man 
men run themselves into evil, Prov. xxix. 25. 

This fear is o. gi-aciaiis habit or pi^inciple planted by God in the 
soul, whereby the soul is kept under an holy azce of the eye of God, 
and from thence is inclined to perform and do what pleaseth him^ 
mnd to shun and avoid whatsoever he forbids a?id hates. 

1. It is planted in the soul as a permanent and fixed habit ; it is 
not of the natural growth and production of man's heart, but gf 
supernatural infusion and implantation, Jer. xxxii. 40. " I will put 
" my fear into their inward parts." To fear man is natural, but 
to fear God is wholly supernatural. 

2. This gracious fear puts the soul under the awe of God's eye, 
Psal. cxix. 161. '' My heart standeth in awe of thy word." It is 
the reproach of the servants of men to be eye-servants, but it is the 
praise and honour of God's servants to be so. 

3. This respect to the eye of God inclines them to perform and do 
whatsoever pleaseth him, and is commanded by him : Hence, fear- 
ing God, and workijig righteousness, are connected and linked 


together, Acts x. 35. If we truly fear God, we dare not but do 
tlie thino's he commands ; and if his fear be exalted in our hearts 
to an high degree, it will enable us to obey him in duties accom- 
panied with deepest self-denial, Gen. xxii. 12. "Now I know thou 
" fearest God, seeing thou hast not with-held thy son, thine only 
" son from me." 

4. This fear engageth, and in some degree enableth the soul, in 
which it is, to shun and avoid whatsoever is displeasing to God, 
and forbidden by him ; in this Job discovered himself a true fearer 
of God, he would not touch what God had forbidden, and therefore 
was honoured with this excellent character, " He was one that feared 
" God, and eschewed evil,'' Job i. 3. 

And thus of the several kinds of fear. 

— -<-<«i»»«^ — 


Shewing the various uses of Fear, both natural, sinful, and reli- 
gious, in the government of the world hy Providence. 

JUaVING taken a brief view of the several kinds and sorts of 
fear that are found among men, our next work will be to open the 
uses of them in the government of this world : for one way or other 
they all subserve the most wise and holy purposes of God therein. 
And we will first enquire into. 

I. Tlw use of natural fear. 

Which if we well consider, it >vill be found exceeding necessary 
and useful to make man a governable creature by law ; and conse- 
quently the order, comfort, and tranquillity of the world necessarily 
depend upon it. How immorigerous and intractable would the 
corruptions of man's nature make him, uncapable of any moral re- 
straint from the most flagitious and barbarous crimes, had not God 
planted such a passion as this in his nature, which, like a * bridle, 
curbs in the corrupt propensions thereof. If fear did not clap its 
manacles and fetters upon the wild and boisterous lusts of men, 
they would certainly bear down all milder motives, and break 
loose from all ingenious bands of restraint ; the world would inevi- 
tably be filled with disorders, tumults, rapines, thefts, murders, and 
all manner of uncleanness and unrighteousness, nee hospes ab hospite 

* Fear is like a bridle by which the horse is governed : if this passion of fear is re- 
moved, all other restraints will be broken down. Lavat. on Prov. xxix. 25. 


futus^ i. e. the lodger is not safe from the person enterUiinin^ 
him ; * men would become like the fishes of the sea, as the pro- 
phet complains, Habak. i. 14. where the greater swallow up a 
multitude of the smaller fry alive at one gulp ; propriety could 
not be maintained in the ^vorld, no man's person could be safe or 
inviolate; power and opportunity to do mischief would measure 
out to men their lot and inheritance, and consequently all societies 
must disband and break up. We say, and the observation is sure, 
He that fears not his ozv?i, may easily he master of anotlier mans 
life. It is the law and fear of punishment that keeps the world in 
order : men are afraid to do e\dl, because they are afraid to suffer 
it ; they see the law hath inseparably linked j3enal and moral evils 
together ; if they will presume upon the one, they must necessarily 
pull the other upon them too ; and this keeps them in some order 
and decorum : there would be no order or security without law ; 
but if laws had not annexed penalties to enforce them, and give 
them their sanction, as good there were no laws ; they would have 
no more power to restrain the corruptions of men's hearts, than the 
new cords or green withs had to bind Samson. And yet, if the 
severest penalties in the world were annexed to, or appointed by 
the law, they could signify nothing to the ends of government 
without fear. This is that tender, sensible power or passion on 
which threatenings work, and so brings men under moral govern- 
ment and restraint, Rom. xiii. 3, 4. " Magistrates are a terror to 
" evil works ; wilt thou not then be afraid of the power ? But if 
" thou do that which is evil, be afraid, for he beareth not the 
" sword in vain."" And by this means a world of evils is restrained 
and prevented in the world. 

It was the custom and policy of the Persians, (I cannot say laud- 
able) at the death of their kings, to give every man liberty for the 
space of five days to do what he would ; and such mischiefs were 
done every-where by the unbridled lusts of men in those days, that 
it made the people long and pray for the instalment of their next 
king : it exceedingly endeared government to them. Blessed be 
God for law and government, for curbing by this means the imaging 
lusts of the hearts of men, and procuring rest and comfort for us 
in the world this way. 

2. The use of sinful Jear. 

This is formally evil and sinful in its own nature, as well as the 

* An intelligent creature, as a creature, has a Superior, to whose jM-ovidence and 
disposal it is subjected ; and as it is intelligent, it is capable of moral government, by 
•which it may be directed to good, and restrained from evil ; and such a law is abso- 
lutely necessary to it, that it may live suitably to its nature. Suarez of laws, book 1. c. 3. 


fruit of sin, and offspring of sinful nature ; yet the Lord knows how 
to over-rule in his providential government of the world to his 
own wise and holy purposes. And he doth so, 

1. By making it his scourge to punish his enemies. If men 
will not fear God, they shall fear men ; yea, they shall be made a 
terror to themselves. And indeed it is a dreadful punishment for 
God to deliver a man up into the hands of his own fears. I think 
there is scarce a greater torment to be found in the world than for 
a man to be his own tormentor, and his mind made a rack and en- 
gine of torture to his body. We read in 2 Kings xvii. 25. that 
God sent lions among the people ; but certainly that is not so bad as 
for God to let loose our own fears upon us. No lion is so cruel as 
this passion, and therefore David esteemed it so great a deliverance 
to be delivered from all his fears, Psal. xxxiv. 4. It is a dreadful 
threatening which is recorded in Deut. xxviii. 65, 66, 67. against 
the disobedient and rebellious, " Thou shalt find no ease, neither 
" shall the sole of thy foot have rest, but the I^ord shall give thee 
" there a trembling heart, and failing of eyes, and sorrow of mind, 
" and thy life shall hang in doubt before thee, and thou shalt fear 
" day and night, and shalt have no assurance of thy life. In the 
" morning thou slialt say. Would God it were even ; and at even 
" thou shalt say. Would God it were morning, for the fear of thine 
" heart wherewith thou shalt fear, and for the sight of thine eyes 
*' which thou shalt see.'' When fear hath once seized the heart, 
you may see death's colours displayed in the face. What a dismal 
life do they live, who have neither any peace by day, nor rest by 
night, but wearisome days and nights are appointed them ! The 
days of such men are tiresome days ; they wish for the night, hoping 
it may give them a little rest ; but their fears go to bed with them, 
their hearts pant and meditate terror ; and then, Oh that it were 
day again ! ^ 

2. By fear God punisheth his enemies in hell : it is that JlagcUum 
Dei, terrible scourge of God, by which a great part of the tor- 
ment of the damned is inflicted on them. Divines use to make 
this tripartite distinction of hell-torments, and tell us, God punishes 
the wicked there partly by remembrance of what is past, viz. the 
mercies and means they once had, but are there irrecoverably lost ; 
partly by the sense of things present, even the wrath of God over- 
laying soul and body ; and partly by the fear of what is to come ; 
and sure this is not the least part of the misery of these wretched 
cast-aways. Oh that fearful * expectation of fiery indignation ! 
more and more of God's wrath still cominjr on, as the waves of the 

• The mind, anxious about futurity, is in a calamitous state, and miserable 
before miseries come. Sen. 


sea, thrusting forward one on another; yea, this is that which 
makes the devils tremble, James ii. 19. (poicanai, the word signifies 
such a noise as the roar of the sea, or the roaring of the waves 
when they break themselves against the rocks, and this is occasion- 
ed b}^ the fears which are continually held as a whip over them. 

3. Providence makes use of the slavish fears and terrors of wick- 
ed men, to dissipate and scatter them, when they are combined, and 
confederated against the people of God ; by these have they been 
routed, and put to flight, M-hen there hath been no other visible 
power to do it : it is said Psalm Ixxviii. 55. God cast out the 
heathen before his people Israel ; and by what means were those 
mighty nations subdued? Not by the strength of multitudes of the 
Israelites, but by their own fears; for it is said, Josh. xxiv. 11, 
12. " The Lord sent the hornet before them, which drave them 
'' out -f-.'" These hornets were the fears and terrors of their own 
guilty and presaging minds, which buzzed and swarmed in their 
own breasts, and stung them to the heart, worse than the swords 
of the Israelites could do. " :|: Theodoret relates a memorable story 
" of Sapores king of Persia, who had besieged many Christians in 
"the city Nisibis, aud put them to great straits, so that little hopes 
" of safety were left them ; but in the depth of their distress, God 
" sent an army of hornets, and gnats, among their enemies, which 
" got into the trunks of their elephants, and ears, and nostrils of 
" their horses; which so enraged them, that they brake their 
" harness, cast their riders, and put them all to the rout, by which 
" providence the Christians escaped." These hornets were terrible 
to them, but fears, which are hornets in a figure, are ten thousand 
times more terrible ; tliey will quell, and sink the very hearts of 
the stoutest men ; yea, they will quickly make those that in their 
pride and haughtiness, took themselves rather to be gods, and 
almighty powers, to know themselves to be but men, as it is, Psal. 
ix. 20. " Put them in fear, O Lord, that they may know them- 
" selves to be but men.'' One fright will scare them out of a 
thousand fond conceits and idle dreams. 

3. The use of' religious fear . 

If God can make such fruit to grow upon such a bramble as the 
siiiful, slavish fear of man is, what may we expect from religious 

f Hornets, by a metaphor, signify sudden fear which was raised in their guilty 
minds by God. Lnvat. on the place. 

i Sapores rex Percarum cum urbem Nisibin^ in qua crant Christianiy obsedisset ; ecmigue 
offligeret, ntagna vis crabonum et culicum repente venit, et in promxiscides cavas Elephant- 
orum consedit, complevitque aures equorum^ ita ut sessores cxcusserirU, et turbatos ordines in 
jugam converter int. Hist. lib. 2. cap. 30. 


fear, a clioice root of his own Spirit's planting? The uses and 
benefits hereof are innumerable, and inestimable ; but I must con- 
tract, and will only instance in three special uses of it. 

1. By this fear the people of God are excited to, and confirmed 
in the way of their duty. Eccles. xii. 13. ** Fear God, and keep 
** his commandments."" It is, custos utrmsque tabulce, the keeper 
of both tables, because the duties of both tables are influenced by 
it. It is this fear of God that makes us have a due respect to all 
his commands, and it is as powerful to confirm us in, as it is to 
excite us to our duties. Jer. xxxii. 40. " I will put my fear into 
" their inwards, and they shall not depart from me." Look, as 
be that soweth doth not regard the winds, but goes on in his labour, 
whatever weather the face of heaven threatens ; so he that fears 
God, will be found in the way of his duty, let the aspect of the 
times be never so lowring and discouraging : and, truly, this is 
no small advantage, in times of frights and distractions. Slavish 
fear sets a man upon the devifs ground, religious fear upon God's 
ground : And, how vast an odds is there in the choice of our 
ground, when we are to endiwe agreatjight of affliction I 

2. Another excellent use of this fear is, to preserve the purity 
and peace of our consciences, by preventing grief and guilt therein, 
Prov. xvi. 6. " The fear of the Lord is to depart from evil." See 
how it kept Joseph, Gen. xxxix. 9. and Nehemiah, chap. v. 15. 
And this benefit is invaluable, especially in a day of outward ca- 
lamity and distress. Look, in what degree the fear of God prevails 
in our hearts, answerable thereunto will the serenity, peace, and 
quietness of our consciences be ; and proportionable unto that will 
our strength and comfort be in the evil day, and our courage and 
confidence to look dangers in the face. 

3. To conclude, a principal use of this fear of God is, to awaken 
us to make timely provisions for future distresses, that whensoever 
they come, they may not come by way of sui-prize upon us. Thus 
" Noah, being moved with fear, prepared an ark," Heb. xi. 7. 
It was the instrument of his and his family's salvation. Some men 
owe their death to their fears, but good men, in a sense, owe their 
lives to their fears ; sinful fears have slain some, and godly fears 
have saved others. " A wise man feareth and departeth from evil, 
'^ (saith Solomon) but a fool rageth and is confident. His fears 
give him a timely alarm before the enemy fall into his quarters, 
and beat them up; by this means he hath time to get into his 
chambers of security and rest before the storm fall : But the fool 
" rageth, and is confident," he never fears till he begin to feel ; 
yea, most time be is past all hope before be begin to have any 


These are some of the uses God makes of the several kinds of 

JV7ierein the spi^'ing and causes qfsbifuljear ai'c searched outy and 
the evils of such fears thence discovered. 

Sect. l.iXAVING shewn before, the kmds and uses of fear; 
it remains, that next we search out the springs from which these 
waters of Marah are derived and fed. And, 

Cause 1. Firsts We shall find the sinful fears of most good men 
to spring out of their ignorance, and the darkness of their own 
minds; all darkness disposes to fear, but none like intellectual 
darkness. You read. Cant. iii. 8. how Solomon's life-guard had 
every man his sword upon his thigh, because of fear in the night. 
The night is the frightful season, in the dark every bush is a bear; 
we sometimes smile by day, to see what silly things those were that 
scared us in the nighL So it is here; were our judgments but 
duly informed, how soon would our hearts be quieted .'' 

Now there is a live-fold ignorance, out of which our fears are 
generated : 

1. Ignorance of God : Either we know not, or at least do not 
duly consider his Almighty Power, vigilant care, unspotted faith- 
fulness, and how they are all engaged, by covenant, for his peo- 
ple. This ignorance, and inconsiderateness, lay at the root of 
their fears, Isa. xl. 27, 28. " My way (saith Zion) is hid from the 
'' Lord, and my judgment passed over from my God:" Words 
importing a suspicion that God hath left her out of the account of 
his providence, and the catalogue of those whom we would look 
after, and take care for. 

But were it once thoroughly understood and believed, what 
power there is in God's hand to defend us, what tenderness in 
his bowels to commiserate us, what faithfulness in all the promises, 
in which they are made over to us, O how quiet and calm would 
our hearts be ! Our courage would quickly be up, and our fears 

2. Our ignorance of men generate our fears of men ; we fear 
them, because we do not know them ; if we understood them bet- 
ter, we would fear them less'; we over-value them, and then fright 
at them. They say the lion is painted more fierce than he is; 
I am sure our fancy paints out man more dreadful than indeed he 
is ; if wicked men, especially if multitudes of wicked men be con- 


federated against iis, our hearts fail, and presently apprehend in- 
evitable ruin. " The floods of the ungodly made me afraid,'' saith 
David, i. e. the multitudes of them which he thought, hke a flood 
or mighty torrent of water, must needs sweep away such a straw, 
such a feather, as he was, before them ; but, in the mean time, we 
know or consider not that they have no power against us, but what 
is given them from above, and that it is usual with God to cramp 
their hands, and clap on the bands of restraint upon them, when 
their hearts are fully set in them to do mischief: did we see and 
consider them as they are in the hand of our God, we should not 
tremble at them as we do. 

3. Ignorance of ourselves, and the relation we have to God, 
creates slavish fears in our hearts, Isa. li. 12. for did believers but 
thoroughly understand how dear they are to God, what relations 
they sustain to him, of what account and value they are in his eyes, 
and how well they are secured by his faithful promises and gracious 
presence, they would not start and tremble at every noise and appear- 
ance of danger, as ihey do. God reckoned it enough, to cure all 
Abraham's sinful fears, when he told him hov/ his God stood en- 
gaged for his defence. Gen. xv. 1. " Fear not Abraham, I am thy 

And noble Nehemiah valued himself in times of danger and 
fear, by his interest in God, as his words import, Neh. vi. 11. 
The conspiracy against him was strong, tlie danger he and the 
faithful with him at that time were in, was extraordinary ; some, 
therefore advised to flee to the temple, and barricado themselves 
there, against the enemy : But Nehemiah understood himself better ; 
Should such a man as I flee ? And iclio^ helng as I am, should jieef 
saith he, q. d. A man so called of God to this service, at man under 
such promises, a man of such manifold and manifest experiences, 
should such a man flee ? 'Let others, who have no such encourage- 
ments, flee if they will ; for my part, I will not flee. I remember it 
was an argument used by * TertuUian, to quiet the fears, and stay the 
flight of Christians in those bloody times : Art thou afraid of a man, 
O Christian ! when devils are afraid of thee, as a prisoner of his 
judge, and whom the world ought to fear, as being one that shall 
judge the world. O that we could, without pride and vanity, but 
value ourselves duly, according to our Christian dignities and pri- 
vileges, which, if ever it be necessary to count over and value, it 
is in such times of danger and fear, when the heart is so prone to 
dejection and sinking fears. 

" Art thou afraid of a man, O Christian ! who should be feared by angels, sinre 
thou art to judge angels; who shouldst be feared by devils, since thou hast got power 
over devils ; who shouldsf be feared by all the world, since all the world is to be judged 
by thee. TertiU. on Fear. 

Vol. Ill, B 


4. Ignorance of our dangers and troubles, causes our frights 
and terrors, we mistake tliem, and therelbre are frighted at 
them : we are ignorant of two things in our troubles among others^ 

1. The comforts that are in them. 

2. The outlets and escapes from them. 

There is a vast odd? betwixt the outward appearance and face of 
trouble, and the inside of it ; it is a lion to the eye at a distance, 
but open it, and there is honey in its belly. Paul and Silas met 
that in a prison which made them to sing at mid-night, and so have 
many more since their day. 

And as we are not ignorant of the comforts that are sometimes 
found in our troubles, so of the outlets and doors of escape, God 
can, and often doth open out of trouble ; " To God the Lord, 
" belong the issues from death,'" Psal. Ixviii. 20. " He knoweth how 
" to deliver the godly out of temptation,"' 2 Pet. ii. 9. He can, 
with every temptation, make a way to escape, 1 Cor. x. 13. the 
poor captive exiles reckoned upon nothing, but dying in the pit, 
making their graves in the land of their captivity, Isa. li. 14. for 
they could think upon none, but the usual methods of deliverance, 
power, or price, and they had neither; little did they dream of 
such immediate influences of God upon the king's heart, to make 
him dismiss them, freely, contrary to all rules of state policy, Isa. 
xlv. 12, 

5. But especially the fears of good men arise out of their igno- 
rance and inconsiderateness of the covenant of gi'ace. If we were 
better acquainted with the nature, extent, and stability of the co- 
venant^ our hearts would be much freed thereby from these tor- 
menting passions ; this covenant would be a panacea, an universal 
remedy against all our fears, u}X)n spiritual, or temporal accounts, 
as will be made evident hereafter in this discourse. 

Cause 2. Another cause and fountain of sinful fear, is guilt upon 
the conscience. A servant of sin cannot but, first or last, be a 
slave of fear ; and they that have done evil, cannot chuse but ex- 
pect evil. No sooner had Adam defiled and wounded his consci- 
ence with guilt, but he presently trembles and hides himself: So 
it is with his children ; God calls to Adam, not in a threatening, 
but gentle dialect ; not in a tempest, but in the cool of the day ; 
yet it terrifies him, there being in himself, mens, con scia Jucti, a 
guilty and condemning conscience. Gen. iii. 8. " It is * Seneca's 
'* observation, that a guilty conscience is a terrible whip and tor- 
" ment to the sinner, perpetually lashing him with solicitous 

* Male facinoru?n conscientia Jlagellari, et plurijnum illi tormentorum esse, eo quo per^ 
petuo illam solicitudo urgety ac verberat ([uod sponsoribus seeuritatis suae non potest credere^ 
Senec. Epist 57. 


*• thoughts and fears, that he knows not where to be secure, nor 
*' dare he trust to any promises of protection, but distrusts all, 
" doubts, and is jealous of all." Of such it is said, Job Xv. 21. 
that a dreadful sound is in their ears ; noting not only the effects of 
real, but also of imaginary dangers : His own presaging mind, and 
troubled fancy, scares him, where no real danger is, suitable to 
that, Prov. xxviii. 1. TJic xoickedjleeth when none pursues^ but the 
righteous is hold as a lion. Just as they say of sheep, that they are 
affrighted by the clattering of their own feet, when once they are 
set a running ; so is the guilty sinner with the noise of his own 
conscience, which sounds nothing in his ears but misery, wrath, 
and hell. We may say of all wicked men in their frights as 
Tacitus * doth of tyrants, " That if it were possible to open their 
" inside, their mind and conscience, many terrible stripes and 
" wounds would be found there:" And it is said, Isa. xxxiii. 14*. 
the sinners in Zion are afraid, trembling taketh hold of the hypo- 
crite. Fear and trembling as naturally rise out of guilt, as the 
sparks do out of a fiery charcoal. Histories abundantly furnish us 
with sad examples of the truth of this observation. Cataline, that 
monster of wickedness, would start at any sudden noise, being 
haunted with the furies of his own evil conscience. Charles IX. 
after his bloody and barbarous massacre of the Protestants, could 
neither sleep nor wake without music to divert his thoughts. And 
our Richard I J I. after the murder of his two innocent nephews, 
savv divers images or shapes like devils in his sleep, pulling and 
hauling him. Mr. Ward tells us of a Jesuit in Lancashire, who 
being followed by one that had found his glove, out of no other de- 
sign but to restore it to him, but being pursued by his own guilty 
conscience also, he leaped over the next hedge, and was drownc(i 
And remarkable is that which Mr. Fox relates of cardinal Crcscen- 
tius, who fancied the devil v/as walking in his chamber, and some- 
times couching under his table, as he was writing letters to Rome 
against the Protestants, hnpius tantum metnit, quantum iiocuit : 
so much mischief as conscience tells them they have done, so much 
it bids them expect. Wolsius tells us of one John Hofmeister who 
fell sick with the very terrors of his own conscience in his inn, as 
he was travelling towards Aspurgc in Germany, and was frighted 
by his own conscience to that degree, that they were fain to bind 
him in his bed with chains ; and all that they could get from him 
was, / am cast away for ever, I have grievously wounded my oun 

To this wounded and trembling conscience is opposed the spirit 
of a sound mind, mentioned 2 Tim. i. 7. " God hath not given 
• ... 

* Sirecludanlur mcn'es d/rnnnorum, posse afinci linHatus et ictu^, Annal. 

R 't 


" US the spirit of fear, but of power, of love, and of a sound 
" mind :'' A sound mind is, in this place, the same thing with a 
pure and peaceable conscience, a mind or conscience not infirm or 
•wounded with guilt, as we say a sound or hale body, which hath 
no disease attending it, such a mind is opposed to the spirit of fear ; 
it will make a man bold as a lion ; 

Nil conscire sibi, nulla pallescere culpa^ 

Hie mw'us alieneus esto. — Hor. 1. 1. ep. 1. 

By this thy brazen bulwark of defence, 
Still to preserve thy conscious innocence, 

Nor e'er turn pale with guilt. 

An evil and guilty conscience foments fears and terrors three ways. 

1. By aggravating small matters, and blowing them up to the 
height of the most fatal and destructive evils ; so it was with Cain, 
Gen. iv. 14. "Every one that meets me will slay me/' Now every 
child was a giant in his eye, and any body he met his over-match. 
A guilty conscience gives a man no sight of his enemy, but through 
a magnifying or multiplying glass. 

2. It begets fears, by interpreting all doubtful cases in the worst 
sense that can be fastened upon them : Pessimus in duhiis augur 
fimor. If the swallovrs do but chatter in the chimney, Bessus in- 
terprets it to be a discovery of his crime, that they are telling tales 
of him, and saying, Bessus killed a man. Nay, 

3. If a guilty conscience hath nothing to aggravate and magnify, 
nor any doubtful matter to interpret in a frightful sense, it can, 
and often doth create fears and terrors out of nothing at all : the 
rules of fear are not like the rules in arithmetic, where many nothings 
make nothing, but fear can make something out of nothing, yea, 
many things, and great things out of nothing at all, Psal. liii. 5, 
there were tliey in great Jear where no fear was ; here was a great 
fear raised or created out of nothing at all ; had their fear been 
examined and hunted home to its original *, it w ould have been 
found a pure creature of fancy, a chimera having xiojunda.mentum 
in re, no other foundation but a troubled fancy, and a guilty con- 
science ; thus it was with Pashur, he w^as a very wicked man, and 
a bitter enemy to the prophet Jeremiah, and if there be none to 
fright and terrify him abroad, rather than he shall want it, he shall 
be a terror to himself, Jer. xx. 3, 4. he was his own bugbear, afraid 
of his own shadow ; and truly this is a great plague and misery ; 
he that is a terror to himself, can no more flee from terrors than 
he can flee from himself Oh, the efficacy of conscience ! how 
doth it arrest the stoutest sinners, and make them tremble, when 

• 111 time of fear and danger, objects of terror appear to those who are terrified, more 
numerous and greater than they are in reality ; as such things are then more credu- 
lously believed, and icore easily imagined. Cicero. 


there is no visible external cause of fear ! Nevio, se Judicc, nocens. 
absolvitur : i. e. No guilty man is absolved, even when himself acts 
the part of the judge. 

Objection 1. But may not a good man, whose sins are pardoned, 
be affrighted with his own fancies, and scared with his own imagi- 
nations ? 

Solution. No doubt he may, for there is a twofold fountain of 
fears, one in the body, another in the soul, one in the constitution, 
another in the conscience ; it is the affliction and infelicity of many 
pardoned and gracious souls, to be united and married to such dis- 
tempered and ill-habited bodies, as shall afflict them without any 
real cause from within, and wound them by their own diseases and 
distempers; and these wounds can no more be prevented or cured 
by their reason or religion, than any other bodily disease, suppose 
an ague or fever, can be so cured. Thus * physicians tell us, when 
adust choler or melancholy overflows and abounds in the body, as 
in the hypochondriacal distempers, ^c, what sad effects it hath upon 
the mind as well as upon the body, there is not only a sad and fear- 
ful aspect or countenance without, but sorrow, fear, and afflicting 
thoughts within ; this is a sore affliction to many good men, whose 
consciences are sprinkled with the blood of Christ from guilt, but 
yet God sees good to clog them with such affliction as this for their 
humiliation, and for the prevention of worse evils. 

Object. 2. But many bold and daring sinners are found, who. 
notwithstanding all the guilt with which their consciences are load- 
ed, can look danger in the face without trembling, yea, they can 
look death itself, the king of terrors, in the face, with less fear than 
better men, 

Sol. True, but the reason of that is from a spiritual judgment 
of God upcn their hearts and consciences, whereby they are harden- 
ed, and seared as with a hot iron, 2 Tim. iv. 2. and so conscience 
is disabled for the present to do its offi je ; it cannot put forth its 
efficacy and activity now, when it might be useful to their salvation, 
but it will do it to purpose hereafter, when their case shall be re- 

Cause 3. We see what a forge of fears a guilty conscience is ; and 
no less is the sin of unbelief the real and proper cau^? of most 
distracting and afflictive ff.ars ; so much as our souls are empty (»f 
faith, they are, in times of trouble, filled with fear : Wt read of 
some that have died by no other hand but their own fears ; but 
we never read of any that died by fear, who were once brought 

* Fernel. Pati^iol. lip. 2. cap. 16. Corporis habitus siccus et macilentus, aspeclus, incon- 
stans, horridus ac moestus, in morbis animi metus et moestiiia, taciiurnitas, sulicitudo, in- 
nanis rerum commeiUatio sovinus turbulentus, horrendus^ insomnis,Jiuctucins., et agitaius 
S2)2clris rerum nigrarum, Sec. 



to live by faith : if men would but dig to the root of their fears'^ 
they would certainly find unbelief there, Matth. viii. 26. Why are 
yefcarfid^ O ye of little faith ! The less faith, still the more fear: 
Fear is generated by unbelief, and unbelief strengthened by fear, 
as in nature there is an observable 7iUK?.o'yivriffig, circular generation, 
vapours beget showers, and showers new vapours; so it is in 
things moral, and therefore all the skill in the world can never 
cure us of the disease of fear, till God first cure us of our unbelief? 
Christ therefore took the right method to rid his disciples of their 
fear, by rebuking their unbelief The remains of this sin in God's 
own people are the cause and fountain of their fears, and more 
particularly to shew how fear is generated by unbelief, let a few 
particulars be heedfully adverted to. 

1. Unbelief weakens and stumbles the assenting act of faith, and 
thereby cuts off from the soul, in a great measure, its principal 
relief against danger and troubles. It is the use and office of faith 
to realize to the soul the invisible things of the world to come, and 
thereby encourage it against the fears and dangers of the present 
world : Thus Moses Jbrsook Eg^ypt, not fearing the wrath of the 
Icing-, for he endured, as seeing him that is invisible, Heb. xi. 27^ 
If tliis assenting act of faith be weakened or staggered in the soul, 
if once invisibles seem uncertainties, and visibles the only realities, 
no wonder we are so scared and frighted when these visible and sen- 
sible comforts are exposed and endangered, as they often are and 
will be in this mutable w^orld. That man must needs be afraid to 
stand his ground that is not thoroughly persuaded the ground he 
stands on is firm and good ; it is not to be wondered that men 
should tremble, who seem to feel the ground shake and reel under 

2. Unbelief shuts up the refuges of the soul in the divine 
promises, * and by leaving it without those refuges, must needs 
leave it in the hand of fears and terrors. That which fortifies and 
emboldens a Christian in evil times, is his dependence upon God 
for a protection, Psal. cxHii. 9- I fly unto thee to hide me. The 
cutting off this retreat (which nothing but unbelief can do) deprives 
the soul of all those succours and supports which the promises 
afford, and consequently fills the heart with anxiety and fear. 

3. Unbelief makes men negligent and careless in providing for 
troubles before they come, and so brings them by way of surprise 
upon them : and the more surprising any evil is, the more fright- 
ful it is always found to be : we cannot think that Noah was so 
affrighted at the flood, when it began to swell above all the hills 
and mountains, as all the rest of the world were ; nor was there 

* Mvltajidem promissa levant, i. e. Many promises support faith. 


any reason that he should, having foreseen it by faith, and made 
provision for it, Heb. xi. 7. Byjaith Noah, being warned of God, 
jjrejyared an ark. * Augustine relates a very pertinent and memor- 
able story of Paulinus, bisliop of Nola, who was a very rich man 
both in goods and grace : he had much of the world in his hands, 
but little of it in his heart; and it was well there was not, for the 
Goths, a barbarous people, breaking into that city, like so many 
devils, fell upon the prey ; those that trusted to the treasures 
which they had, were deceived and ruined by them, for the rich 
were put to tortures to confess where they had hid their monies : 
This good bishop fell into their hands, and lost all he had, but was 
scarce moved at the loss, as appears by his prayer, which my author 
relates thus : Lo7'd, let me not he trouhledfor my gold and silver : thou 
knowest it is not my treasure ; that I have laid up in heaven, accord- 
ingto thy command. I was warned qf this judgment hejbreit came, and 
provided Jbr it ; and where all my iiiierest lies, Lord, thou knowesf. 
Thus Mr. Bradford, when the keeper's wife came running into 
his chamber suddenly, with words able to have put the most men 
in the world into a trembling posture : Oh, Mr. Bradford ! I bring 
you heavy tidings; to-morrow you must be burned, and your 
chain is now buying : He put off his hat, and said, Lord, I thank 
thee ; I have looked Jbr this a great while, it is not terrible to me ; 
God make me worthy qf such a mercy. See the benefit of a prospect 
of, and preparation for sufferings ! 

4. Unbelief leaves our dearest interests and concerns in our own 
hands, it commits nothing to God, and consequently must needs 
fill the heart with distracting fears when imminent dangers threa- 
ten us. Reader, if this be thy case, thou wilt be a Magor Missa- 
bib, surrounded with terrors, whensoever thou shalt be surround- 
ed with dangers and troubles. Believers in this, as well as in many 
other things, have the advantage of thee, that they have commit- 
ted all that is precious and valuable to them into the hands of God 
by faith, to him they have committed the keeping of their souls, 
1 Pet. iv. 19. and all their eternal concernments, 2 Tim. i. 16. 
And these being put into safe hands, they are not distracted with 
fears about other matter of less value, but can trust them where 
they have entrusted the greater, and enjoy the quietness and peace 
of a resigned soul to God, Prov. xvi. 3. But as for thee, thy life, 
thy liberty, yea, which is infinitely more than all these things, thy 
soul will lie upon thy hands in the day of trouble, and thou wilt not 
know what to do with them, nor which way to. dispose of them. 
Oh ! these be the dreadful straits and frights that unbelief leaves 
men in ; it is a fountain of fears and distractions. And indeed it 

* Aug. de Civi'ta. Dei, lib. 1. cap, 10. 



cannot but distract and confound carnal men, in whom it reigns, 
and is in its full strength, when sad experience shev/s us what fears 
and tremblings the very remains and reliques of this sin beget in 
the best men, who are not fully freed from it. If the unpurged 
reliques of unbelief in them can thus darken and cloud their evi- 
dences, thus greaten and multiply their dangers ; if it can draw 
such sad and frightful conclusions in their hearts, notwithstand- 
ing all the contrary experience of their lives, as we see in that sad 
instance, 1 Sara, xxvii. 1. what panic fears and unrelieved terrors 
must it put those men under, where it is in its full strength and do- 
minion ? 

Cause 4. Moreover, we shall find many of our fears raised and 
provoked in us by the promiscuous administrations of providence in 
this world, when we read in scripture, " that there is one event to 
'' the righteous and to the wicked, and all things come alike to all/^ 
Eccl. ix. 2. that when the sword is drawn, God suffers it to cut off 
the righteous and the wicked, Ezek. xxi. 3. The sword makes no 
difference where God hath made so great a difference by grace ; it 
neither distinguishes faces nor breasts, but is as soon sheathed in the 
bowels of the best as the worst of men. When we read how the 
same fire of God's indignation devours the green tree and the dry 
tree, Ezek. xx. 47. how the baskets of good figs (the emblem of the 
best men of those times) were carried into Babylon as well as the 
bad, Jer. xxiv. 5. how the flesh of God's saints hath been given 
for meat to the fowls of heaven, and to the beasts of the field, Psal. 
xcvii. 12. and how the wicked have devoured the man that is more 
righteous than himself, as it is Hab. i. 13. I say, when we observe 
such things in scripture, and find our observations confirmed by the 
accounts and histories of former and later ages ; when we reflect 
upon the unspeakable miseries and butcheries of those plain heart- 
ed and precious servants of Christ, the Albigenses and Waldenses, 
how they fell as a prey to their cruel adversaries, notwithstanding 
the convincing simplicity and holiness of their lives, and all their 
fervent cries and appeals to God ; how the very flower of the re- 
formed Protestant interest in France was cut off with more than 
barbarous inhumanity, so that the streets were washed, and the ca- 
nals of Paris ran with their precious blood ; what horrid and 
unparalleled torture the servants of God felt in that cruel massacre 
in Ireland, a history too tragical for a tender-hearted reader to stay 
long upon ; and how, in our own land, the most eminent ministers 
and Christians were sent to heaven in a fiery chariot in those dread- 
ful Marian days : I say, when we read and consider such things as 
these, it rouses our fears, and puts us into frights, when we see 
ourselves threatened with the same enemies and danger ; when the 
feet of them that carried out the dear servants of God in bloody 


wlnding-slieets to their graves, stand at the door to carry us forth 
next, if providence loose their chain, and give them a permission so 
to do ; and our fears, on this account, are heightened, by consider- 
ing and involving these four things in our thoughts, which we are 
always more inclined to do, than the things that should fortify our 
faith, and heighten our Christian courage. As, 

1. We are apt to consider, that as the same race and kind of 
men that committed these outrages upon our brethren, are still in 
being, and that their rage and malice is not abated in the least de- 
gree, but is as fierce and cruel as ever it was. Gal. iv. 29. " As 
" then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was 
" born after the Spirit, even so it is now." So it was then, and just 
so it is still : the old enmity is entailed upon all wicked men, from 
generation to generation. Miilti adhuc qui clavum sanguine Ahelis 
riihentem adhuc circumferunt^ Cain's club is to this day canned up 
and down the world, stained with the blood of Abel, as Bucholtzer 
speaks. It is a rooted antipathy, and it runs in a blood, and will 
run as long as there are wicked men, from whom, and to whom it 
shall be propagated, and a devil in hell, by whom it will not fail to 
be exasperated and irritated. 

2. We know also that nothing hinders the execution of their 
wicked purposes against us but the restraints of Providence, Should 
God loose the chain, and give them leave to act forth the malice 
and rage that is in their hearts, no pity would be shewn by them, 
or could be rationally expected from them, Psal. cxxiv. 1, 2, 3, 4,, 
5, 6. We live among lions, and them that are set on fire of hell, 
Psal. Ivii. 4. The only reason of our safety is this, that he who is 
the keeper of the lions, is also the shepherd of the sheep. 

3. AVe find, that God hath many times let loose these lions upon 
his people, and given them leave to tear his lambs in pieces, and 
suck the blood of his saints : how well soever he loves them, yet 
hath he often delivered them into the hands of their enemies, and 
suffered them to perpetrate and act the greatest cruelties upon 
them ; the best men have suffered the worst things, and the histo- 
ries of all ages have delivered down unto us the most tragical rela- 
tions of their barbarous usage. 

4. We are conscious to ourselves how far short we come in holi- 
ness, innocency, and spiritual excellency of those excellent persons 
who have suffered these things ; and therefore have no ground to 
expect more favour from providence than they found : we know 
also there is no promise in the scriptures to which they had not as 
good a claim and title as ourselves. With us are found as great, 
yea, greater sins than in them ; and therefore have no reason to 
please ourselves with the fond imaginations of extraordinary ex- 
emptions. If we tliink these evils shall not come in our days, it is 


like many of them thouglit so too ; and yet they did, and we may 
find it quite otherwise. Lam. iv. 12. " Who would have thought 
** that the enemy should have entered in at the gates of Jerusalem .?*' 
The revolving of these, and such like considerations in our thoughts, 
and mixing our own unbelief with them, creates a world of fears, 
even in good men, till, by resignation of all to God, and acting 
faith upon the promises that assure us of the sanctification of all 
our troubles, as that Rom. viii. S8. God's presence with us in our 
troubles, as that Psal. xci. 15. his m.oderation of our troubles to 
that measure and degree, in which they are supportable, Isa. xxvii. 
8. and the safe and comfortable outlet and final deliverance from 
them all at last; according to that in Rev. vii. 17. we do, at last, 
recover our hearts out of the hands of our fears again, and compose 
them to a quiet and sweet satisfaction in the wise and holy pleasure 
of our God. 

Cause 5. Our immoderate love of life, and the comforts and con- 
veniences thereof, may be assigned as a proper, and real ground, 
and cause of our sinful fears, when the dangers of the times threaten 
the one or the other : did we love our lives less, we should fear and 
tremble less than we do. It is said of those renowned saints, Rev. 
xii. 11. " They overcame by the blood of the Lamb, and by the 
" word of their testimony, and they loved not their hves unto the 
" death.'' 

They overcame not only the fury of their enemies without them, 
but their sinful fears within them ; and this victory was atchieved 
by their mortification to the inordinate and immoderate love of life. 
Certainly their own fears had overcome them, if they had not first 
overcome the love of life : it was not, therefore, without very great 
reason, that our Lord enjoined it upon all his disciples and follow- 
ers, to hate their own lives, Luke xiv. 26. not absolutely, but in 
comparison and competition with him, i. e. to love it in so remiss a 
degree as to slight and undervalue it, as a poor low thing in such 
a comparison : he foresaw what sharp trials and sufferings were 
coming upon them, and he knew if the fond and immoderate love 
of life were not overcome and mortified in them, it would make 
them warp and bend under such temptations. 

This was it that freed Paul from slavish fears, and made him so 
magnanimous and undaunted ; indeed he had less fear upon his 
spirits, though he was to suffer those hard and sharp things in his 
own person, than his friends had, who only sympathized with him, 
and were not farther concerned, than by their own love and pity : 
he spake like a man who was rather a spectator than a sufferer. 
Acts XX. 24, 25. " None of these things move me," saith he. 
Great soul ! not moved with bonds and afflictions ! how did he at- 
tain so great courage and constancy of mind, in such deep and 


dreadful sufferings ! It was enough to have moved the stoutest man 
in the world, yea, and to have removed the resolutions of any that 
had not loved Christ better than his own life : but life was a trifle 
to him, in comparison with Jesus Christ, for so he tells us in the 
next words, " I count not my life dear unto me,'' q. d. It is a low- 
prized commodity in my eyes, not worth the saving, or regarding 
on such sinful terms. Oh ! how many have parted with Christ, 
peace, and eternal life, for fear of losing that which Paul regarded 
not. And if we bring our thoughts closer to the matter, we shall 
soon find that this is a fountain of fears in times of danger, and that 
from this excessive love of life we are racked and tortured with ten 
thousand terrors. For, 

1. Life is the greatest and nearest interest men naturally have in 
this world, and that which wraps up all other inferior interests in 
itself. Job ii. 4. " Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath, will he 
" give for his life." It is a real truth, though it came from the 
mouth of the father of lies ; afflictions never touch the quick, till 
they touch the life ; liberty, estates, and other accommodations in 
this world receive their value and estimation from hence ; if life be 
cut off, these accidents perish, and are of no account, Gen. xxv. 32. 
" Behold, I am at the point to die, (said Esau) and what profit 
" shall this birth-right do to me.?" 

2. Life being naturally the dearest interest of men in this world, 
the richest treasure, and most beloved thing on earth, to a natural 
man ; that which strikes at, and endangers life, must, in his eyes, 
be the greatest evil that can befal him ; on this account death be- 
comes terrible to men ; yea, as Job calls it, the king of' terrors^ 
Job xviii. 14. The black prince, or the prince of clouds and dark- 
ness, as some translate those words : Yea, so terrible is death upon 
this account, that the very fear of it hath sometimes precipitated 
men into the hands of it, as we sometimes observe in times of pes- 
tilence, the excessive fear of the plague hath induced it *. 

3. Though death be terrible in any shape, in the mildest form it 
can appear in ; yet a violent and bloody death, by the hands of 
cruel and merciless men, is the most terrible form that death can 
appear in ; it is now the king of terrors indeed, in the most ghastly 
representation and frightful form, in its scarlet robes, and ten-ifying 
formalities ; in a violent death, all the barbarous cruelty that the 

* Galen reports, that some have died suddenly through fear : It is not therefore a 
thing tQ be wondered at, in the opinion of Aristotle, and almost all others, that a man 
should die, through the fear of death. The fear of evil sometimes brings on men that 
which they dread ; as is evident from the example of those whose fear has prevented 
the death appointed them by the judge. Stern on death, p. 167. 


wit of our enemies can invent, or their malice inflict, is mingled 
together; in a violent death are many deaths converted into one, 
and it oftentimes approaches men by such slow and deliberate 
paces, that they feel every tread of its foot, as it advanceth towards 
them. Moriatur, ut sentiat se mori ; Let him so die, (said the 
tyrant) that he may feel himself to die ; yea, and how he dies by 
inch-meal, or slow, lingering degrees, and this is exceeding fright- 
ful, especially to those that are of most soft and tender nature and 
temper, who must needs be struck through with the terrors of 
death, except the Lord arm them against it with the assurance of 
a better life, and sweeten these bitter apprehensions by the fore- 
tastes of it. This is enough to put even sanctified nature into con- 
sternation, and make a very gracious heart to sink, unless it be so 
upheld by divine strength and comfort : And hence come many, 
very many of our fears and terrors, especially when the same ene- 
mies that have been accustomed to this bloody work, shall be found 
confederating and designing again to break in upon us, and act 
over again as much cruelty, as ever they have done upon our bre- 
thren in times past. 

Cause 6. To conclude : many of our sinful fears and consterna- 
tions flow from the influences of Satan upon our phantasies. They 
say winds and storms are oft-times raised by Satan, both by sea 
and land ; and 1 never doubted, but the prince of the power of the 
air, by God's permission, can, and often doth put the world into 
great frights and disturbances by such tempests, Job i. 19. He 
can raise the loftiest winds, pour down roaring showers, rattle in 
the air with fearful claps of thunder, and scare the lower world 
with terrible flashes of lightning. And I doubt not but he hath, 
by the same permission, a great deal of influence and power upon 
the fancies and passions of men ; and can raise more terrible storms 
and tempests within us, than ever we heard or felt without us : he 
can, by leave from God, approach our phantasies, disturb and 
trouble them exceedingly by forming frightful ideas there ; for Sa- 
tan not only works upon men mediately, by the ministry of their 
external senses, but by reason of his spiritual, angelical nature, he 
can have immediate access to the internal sense also, as appears by- 
diabolical dreams ; and by practising upon that power of the soul, 
he influences the passions of it, and puts it under very dreadful ap- 
prehensions and consternations. Now if Satan can provoke and 
exasperate the fury and rage of wicked men, as it is evident he can 
do, as well as he can go to the magazines and store-houses of 
thunder, lightnings, and storms : O, what inward storms of fear 
can he shake our hearts withal ! and if God give him but a per- 
mission, how ready will he be to do it, seeing it is so conducible 
to his design ; for by putting men into such frights, he at once 


weakens their hands in duty, as is plain from his attempt this way 
upon Nehemiah, chap. vi. 13. and if he prevail tliere, he drives 
them into the snares and traps of his temptations, as the fisherman 
and fowler do the birds and fishes in their nets, when once they 
have flushed and frighted them out of their coverts. And thus 
you have some account of the principal and true causes of our sinful 


Laying open the shifid and lamentable effects of slavish and inor* 
dinatejear^ both in carnal and regenerate persons. 

Sect. I. JtIAVING taken a view in the foniier chapters of the 
kind and causes of fear, and seen what lies at the root of slavish fear, 
and both breeds and feeds it, what fruit can we expect from such 
a cursed plant, but gall and wormwood, fruit as bitter as death 
itself.'' Let us then, in the next place, examine and well consider 
these following and deplorable effects of fear, to excite us to apply 
ourselves the more concernedly to those directions that follov; in 
the close of this treatise, for the cure of it. And, 

Effect 1. The first effect of this sinful and exorbitant passion is 
distraction of mind and thoughts in duty : Both Cicero and Quin- 
tilian will have the v/ord tumultiis, a tumult, to come from timor 
omdtus^ much fear, it is a compound of those two words ; much 
fear raises great uproars and tumults in the soul, and puts all into 
hurries and distractions, so that we cannot attend upon any service 
of God witli profit or comfort. It was therefore a very necessary 
mercy that was requested of God, Luke i. 74. " That we, being 
" delivered out of the hands of our enemies, might serve him 
" without fear.'"* For it is impossible to serve God without dis- 
tractions, till we can serve him without the slavish fear of enemies. 
The reverential fear of God is the greatest spur to duty, and 
choicest help in it, but the distracting fears of men will either wholly 
divert us from our duty, or destroy the comfort and benefit of our 
duties ; it is a deadly snare of the devil to hinder all comfortable 
intercourse with God. 

It is very remarkable, that when the apostle was giving his ad- 
vice to the Corinthians about marriage in those times of perse- 
cution and difficulty, he commends them to a single life as most 
eligible : where it may be without sinful inconveniencies, and that 
principally for this reason, " That they might attend upon the 
" Lord without distraction/"* 1 Cor. vii. 35. He foresaw what 


Straits, cares, and fears must unavoidably distract those in such 
times that were most clogged and incumbered with families and 
relations ; when a man should be thinking, O, what shall I do now 
to get my doubts and fears resolved about my interest in Christ ? 
How may I so behave mvself in my sufferings as to credit religion, 
and not become a scandal and stumbhng-block to others? His 
thoughts are taken up with other cares and fears : O, what will be- 
come of my wife and poor little ones ? What shall I do with them 
and for them, to secure them from danger. 

I doubt not but it is a great design of the devil to keep us in con- 
tinual alarms and frights, and to puzzle our heads and hearts with 
a thousand difficulties, which possibly may never befal us, or if 
they do, shall never prove so fatal to us as we fancy them, and all 
this is to unfit us for our present duties, and destroy our comfort 
therein ; for if by frights and terrors of mind he can but once dis- 
tract our thoughts, he gains three points upon us to our unspeak- 
able loss. 

1. Hereby he will cut off the freedom and sweetness of our com- 
munion with God in duties, and what an empty shell will the best 
duties be, when this kernel is wormed out by such a subtle artifice ? 
Prayer, as Damascen aptly expresses it, is ^AvafSacig m va the ascen- 
sion of the mind or soul to God; but distraction clips its wings; 
he can never offer up his soul and thoughts to God, that hath not 
possession of them himself: and he that is under distracting fears 
possesseth not himself The hfe of all communion with God in 
prayer, consists in the harmony that is betwixt our hearts and 
words, and both with the will of God ; this harmon^^ is spoiled 
by distraction, and so Satan gains that point. 

2. But this is not all he gains and we lose by distracting fears ; 
for as they cut off the freedom and sweetness of our intercourse 
with God in prayer, so they cut off the soul from the succours and 
reliefs it might otherwise draw from the promises. We find when 
the Israelites were in great bondage, wherein their minds were dis- 
tracted with fears and sorrows, they regarded not the supporting 
promises of deliverance sent them by Moses, Exod. vi. 3. David 
had an express and particular promise of the kingdom from the 
mouth of God which must needs include his deliverance out of the 
hand of Saul, and all his stratagems to destroy him ; but yet, when 
imminent hazards were before his eyes, he was afraid, and that fear 
betrayed the succours from the promise, so tlxat it drew a quite 
contrary conclusion, 1 Sam. xxvii. 1. " I shall one day perish by 
" the hand of Saul :^' And again he is at the same point, Psal. 
cxvi. 11. "All men are liars," not excepting Samuel himself, who 
had assured him of the kingdom. This is always the property and 
nature of fear (as T shewed before) to make men distrust the best 


security when they are in imminent peril : But oh ! what a mis- 
chief is this to make us suspicious of the promises, which are 
our chief reUef and support in times of trouble : Our fears will un- 
fit us for prayer, they will also shake the credit of the promises 
with us; and so great is the damage we receive both ways, that it 
were better for us to lose our two eyes, than two such advantages 
in trouble. But, 

3. This is not all ; by our present fears we lose the benefit and 
comfort of all our past experiences, and the singular relief we might 
have from all that faithfulness and goodness of God, which our 
eyes have seen in former straits and dangers, the present fear 
clouds them all, Isa* li. 12, 13. Men and dangers are so much 
minded, that God is forgotten, even the God that hath hitherto 
preserved us, though our former fears told us, the enemy was daily 
ready to devour us. All these sweet reliefs are cut off from us by 
our distracting fears, and that at a time when we have most need 
of them. 

Effect 2. Dissimulation and hypocrisy are the fruit of slnvish fear ; 
distraction you see is bad enough, but dissimulation is worse than 
distraction, and yet as bad as it is, fear hath driven good men into 
this snare ; it will make even an upright soul warp and bend from 
the rules of that integrity and candour, which should be inseparable 
at all times from a Christian : of whom (saith God to his Israel) 
hast thou been afraid, that thou hast lied, and hast not remembered 
me ? God finds falsehood, and charges it upon fear, q. d. I know it 
was against the resolutions of my people's hearts thus to dissemble, 
this certainly is the effect of a fright ; who is lie that hath scared 
you into this evil ? It was Abraham's fear that made him dissemble 
to the reproach of his religion, Gen. xx. 2, 11. And indeed it was 
but an odd sight to see an heathen so schooling and reproving great 
Abraham about it, as he there doth. 

It was nothing but fear that drew his son Isaac into the like 
snare. Gen. xxvi. 7. And it was fear that overcame Peter against 
liis promise, as well as principle, to say concerning his dear Saviour, 
/ hnoiv not the man^ Matth. xxxi. 69. Had Abraham at that time 
remembered, and acted his faith freely upon what the Lord said to 
him, Gen. xvii. 1. Fear not Abraham^ I am thy shield^ he had esca- 
ped both the sin and the shame into which he fell, but even that 
great believer was foiled by his own fears ; and certainly this is a 
great evil, a complicated mischief. For, 

1. By these falls and scandals, religion is made vile and con- 
temptible in the eyes of the world, it reflects with much reproach 
upon God and his promises, as if his word were not sufficient secu- 
rity for us to rely upon in times of trouble, as if it were safer trust- 
ing to our vvitj yea, to siu, than to tlie promises. 


2. It greatly weakens the hands of others, and proves a sore dis- 
couragement to them in their trials, to see their brethren faint for 
fear, and ashamed to own their principles ; sometimes it hath this 
mischievous effect, but it is always improved by Satan and wicked 
men to this purpose. And, 

3. It will be a terrible blow and wound to our own consciences, 
for such flaws in our integrity we may be kept waking and sighing 
many a night ; O see the mischiefs of a timorous and faint spi- 
rit ! 

Effect 3. Slavish fears of the creature exceedingly strengthen 
our temptations in times of danger, and make them very efficaci- 
ous and prevalent upon us, Prov. xxix. 25. The f ear of man brings 
a snare. Satan spreads the net, but we are not within its reach, 
till our own fears drive us unto it ; the recoiling of our spirits from 
some imminent dangers may cause the pulse of a true Christian to 
intermit and faulter, how regular soever it beats at other times : 
this will cause great trepidation and timidity in men that are sincere 
and upright, and that is it that brings the snare over their, souls. 
Aaron was a good man, and idolatry he knew to be a great sin, yet 
fear prevailed with that good man to give too much way to that 
great evil, Exod. xxxii. 22. Thou knowest the people that they are 
set upon mischiefs saith he, in his own excuse in the matter of the 
golden calf, q. d. Lord, I durst do no otherwise at that time, the 
people were violently and passionately set upon it ; had I resisted 
them, it might have cost me dear. 

It was fear that prevailed with Origen to yield so far as he did in 
offering incense to the idol^ the consideration of which fact brake his 
heart to pieces. It was nothing but fear that made David play the 
fool, and act so dishonourably as he did, 1 Sam. xxi. 12. Fear is 
a snare in which Satan hath caught as many souls as in any other 
of his stratagems and snares whatsoever. 

It were easy to give instances, so many and so sad, as would en- 
large this head even to tediousness, but I chuse rather to come to 
the particulars, wherein the danger of this snare of the devil con- 
sists. And 

1. Herein lies the ensnaring danger of sinful fear, that it 
drives men out of their proper station, out of their place and duty, 
beside which there is none to be found, but what is Satan's ground. 
The subtle enemy of our salvation is aware that we are out of gun- 
shot, beyond his reach, whilst we abide with God in the way of our 
duty, that the Lord is with us whilst we are with him, and there is 
no attempting our ruin under ^he wings of his protection. If ever, 
therefore, he meaneth to do any thing upon us, he must get us off 
that ground, and from under those wings ; and there is nothing 
like fear to do this : then we are as the birds that are wandering 


from their nests, Prov. xxvii. 8. or like Shimei out of his 


2. Fear is usually the first passion in the soul that beats a parley 
with the enemy, and treats with the tempter about terms of surren- 
der ; and, as the French proverb is, Tke castle that parleys is half 
•zcon. It is fear that consults with flesh and blood, whilst faith is 
engaged with God for the supply of strength to endure the siege. 
We have a sad and doleful instance of this in Spira ; he tells us 
how his own fers betrayed him by parleying with the tempter : 
for thus Mr. Bacon, in the history of his life, records the occasion 
of his fall. ' Whilst Spira was tossing upon the restless waves of 

* doubts, without guide to trust to, or haven to flee for succour, on 
< a sudden, God's Spirit assisting, he felt a calm, and began to dis- 

* course with himself in this manner C " Why wanderest thou thus 
^* in uncertainties ? Unhappy man I cast away fear, put on thy 
" shield of faith ; where is thy wonted courage, thy goodness, thy 
*' constancy ? Remember that Christ's glory lies at the stake, suffer 
*' then without fear, and he will defend thee, he will tell thee what 
" thou shalt answer ; he can beat down all danger, bring thee out of 
" prison, raise thee from the dead ; consider Peter in the dungeon, 
" the martyrs in the fire," &c. 

' Now was Spira in reasonable quiet, being resolved to yield to 

* those weighty reasons ; yet holding it wisdom to examine all 

* things, he consults also with flesh and blood : thus the battle re- 

* news, and the flesh begins in this manner \ " Be well advised, 
*' fond man, consider reasons on both sides, and then judge: how 
" canst thou thus overween thine own sufficiency, as thou neither 
*' regardest the examples of thy progenitors, nor the judgment of 
" the whole church ? Dost thou not consider what misery this day's 
" rashness will bring thee unto ? Thou shalt lose all thy substance 
" gotten with so much care and travail, thou shalt undergo the 
" most exquisite torments that malice itself can devise, thou shalt 
*' be counted an heretic of all, and to close up all, thou shalt die 
" shamefully. What thinkest thou of the loathsome, stinking dun- 
" geon, the bloody ax, the burning faggot? Are they delightful?" 
&c. Thus through fear he first parleyed with the tempter, con- 
sulted with flesh and blood, and at last fainted and yielded. 

3. It is fear that makes men impatient of waiting God's time and 
method of deliverance, and so precipitates the soul, and drives it 
into the snare of the next temptation, Isa. li. 14. " The captive exile 
*' hasteth to be delivered out of the pit," Any way or means of 
escape that comes next to hand, saith fear, is better than to lie here 
in the pit ; and when the soul is thus prepared by its ov/n fears, it 
becomes an easy prey to the next temptation ; by all which you see 
the mischief that comes by fear in times of danger. 

Vol. hi. S 


Effect 4. Fear naturally producetli pusillanimity and cowardliness 
in men, a poor, low spirit, that presently faints and yields upon 
every slight assault. It extinguisheth all Christian courage and 
magnanimity wherever it prevails : and therefore you find it joined 
frequently in the scriptures with discouragement, Deut. i. 91. 
*' Fear not, neither be discouraged ; with fainting and trembling." 
Deut. XX. 3. " Let not your hearts faint, fear not, and do not 
" tremble ;*" with dismay edness, Deut. xxxi. 6. and faint-hearted- 
ness, Isa. vii. 4. these are the effects and consequents of sinful fear. 
And how dangerous a thing it is to have our courage extinguished, 
and faintness of heart prevail upon us in a time when w^e have the 
greatest need and use of courage, and our perseverance, peace, 
and eternal happiness rely and depend so much upon it, let all 
serious Christians judge. It is sad to us, and dishonourable to re- 
ligion, to have the hearts of women, as it is said of Egypt, Isa. xix. 
16. when we should play the men, as the apostle exhorts us, 1 Cor. 
xvi. 13. We find, in all ages, those that have manifested most 
courage for Christ in time of trial, have been those whose faith hath 
surmounted fear, and whose hearts were above all discouragements 
from this world. 

Such a man was Basil, as appears by his answer to Valens the 
emperor : who tempting him with offers of preferment, received 
this answer, offer these things, said he, to cMldreii : and when he 
threatened liim with grievous sufferings, he replied ; Threaten these 
tilings to your jjur pie gallants, that give themselves to pleasure, and 
are afraid to die. 

And this was the spirit of courage and magnanimity with which 
the generality of the primitive Christians were animated; they feared 
not the faces of tyrants, they shrunk not from the most cruel tor- 
ments : and it redounded not a little to the credit of Christianity, 
when one of Julian's nobles, present at the tormenting of Marcus, 
bishop of Arethusa, told the apostate to his face. We are ashamed, 
O emperor, the Christians laugh at your cruelty, and grow more 
resolute by it. So Lactantius also testifies of them. Our ivomen and 
children, saith he, not to speak of men, overca7ne their torments, and 
the jire cannot J'etch so much as a sigh from thejn. If carnal fear 
once get the ascendant over us, all our courage and resolution will 
flag and melt away ; we may suffer out of unavoidable necessity, but 
shall never honour Christ and religion by our sufferinojs. 

Effect 5. Carnal fear is the very root of apostasy, it hath made 
thousands of professors to faint and fall away in the hour of temp- 
tation. It is not so much from the fury of our enemies without, 
as from our fears within, that temptations become victorious over 
us. From the beginning of fears, Christ dates the beginning of 
apostasy. Matt. xxiv. 9, 10. <• Then shall they deliver you up to 


** be afflicted, and shall kill you, and ye shall be hated of all 
" nations for my name's sake, and then shall many be offended." 
When troubles and dangers come to an height, then fears begin to 
work at an height too, and then is the critical hour ; fears are 
high, and faith is low; temptation strong, and resistance weak: 
Satan knocks at the door, and fear opens it, and yields up the soul 
to him, except special aid and assistance come in seasonably from 
heaven ; so long as we can profess religion without any great ha- 
zard of life, liberty, or estates, we may shew much zeal and for- 
wardness in the ways of godliness : but when it comes to the sharps, 
to resisting' unto blood, few will be found to own and assert it openly 
in the face of such dangers. The first retreat is usually made from 
a free and open, to a close and concealed practice of religion ; not 
opening our windows, as Daniel did, to shew we care not who 
knows we dare worship our God, and are not ashamed of our duties, 
but hiding our principles and practice with all the art and care 
imaginable, reckoning it well if we can escape danger by letting fall 
our profession which might expose us to it : but if the inquest go 
on, and we cannot be secured any longer under this refuge, we 
must comply with false worship, and give some open signal that we 
do so, or else be marked out for ruin ; then saith fear, Give a 
little more ground, and retreat to the next security, which is to 
comply seemingly with that which we do not allow, hoping God 
will be merciful to us and accept us, if we keep our hearts for him, 
though we are forced thus to dissemble and hide our principles. 
Eamus ad communem errorem, said Calderinus, when going to the 
mass. Let us go to the common error ; and, as Seneca adviseth about 
worshipping the Roman gods. In animo i-eVigionem 7ion haheat, sed 
in actibiis Jingat ; let us make a semblance and shew of worsliipping 
them, though our hearts give no religious respect to them. But if 
still the temptation hunts us farther, and we come to be more nar- 
rowly sifted and put to a severer test, by subscribing contrary articles, 
or renouncing our former avowed principles, and that upon penalty 
of death, and loss of all that is dear to us in this world ; now- nothing 
in all the world hazards our eternal salvation as our own fears will 
do ; this is like to be the rock on which we shall split all, and make 
an horrible shipwreck both of truth and peace. This was the case 
of Cranmer, whose fears caused him to subscribe against the dictates 
of his own conscience, and cowardly to betray the known truth ■; 
and indeed there is no temptation in the world that hath overthrown 
so many, as that which hath been backed and edged with fear : the 
love of preferments and honours hath slain its thousands, but fear 
of sufferinffs its ten thousands. 

Effect 6. Sinful fear puts men under great bondage of spirit, 

S S 


and makes death a thousand times more terrible and intolerable 
than it would otherwise be to us. You read of some, Heb. ii. 16. 
" who through the fear of death were all their life-time subject to 
" bondage,'' i. e. it kept them in a miserable anxiety and perplexity 
of mind, like slaves that tremble at the whip which is held over 
them: thus many thousands live under the lash; so terrible is the 
name of Death, especially a violent death, that they are not able 
■svith patience to hear it mentioned ; which gave the ground of that 
saying, Prcestat semel, quam semper mori ; it is better to die once 
than to be dying alv/ays. And surely there is not a more miserable 
life any poor creature can live than such a trembling life as this is. 

1. Such a bondage as this destroys all the comfort and pleasure 
of life ; no pleasure can grow or thrive under the shadow of this 
cursed plant. N'll ei beatiun cui semper aliquis terror impendeat, 
saith Cicero *, all the comforts we possess in this world are embit- 
tered by it. It is storied of Democles, a flatterer of Dionysius the 
t}T:ant, that he told him he was the happiest man in the world, 
having wealth, power, majesty, and abundance of all things : 
Dionysius sets the flatterer in all his own pomp at a table furnished 
vAxh. all dainties, and attended upon as a king, but with a heavy 
sharp sword hanging by a single horse hair right over his head ; 
this made him quake and tremble, so that he could neither eat nor 
drink, but desired to be freed from that estate. The design was 
to convince him how miserable a life they live, who live under the 
continual terrors of impending death and ruin. It was a sore 
judgment which God threatened against them in Jer. v. 6. "A lion 
'' out of the forest shall slay them, and a wolf of the evening shall 
" spoil them ; a leopard shall watch over their cities, every one 
" that goeth out thence shall be torn in pieces." What a miserable 
hfe must those people live who could not stir out of the city, but 
they presently were seized by hons, wolves, and leopards, that 
watched over them, and lurked in all the avenues to make them a 
prey ! and yet this is more tolerable than for a man's own fear to 
watch continually over him. 

2. And yet I could wish this were the worst of it, and that our 
fears destroyed no better comforts than the natural comforts of this 
life : but alas, they also destroy our spiritual comforts which we 
might have from God's promises, and our own and others' experi- 
ences which are incomparably the sweetest pleasures men have in 
this world : but as no creature-comfort is pleasant, so no promise 
relishes like itself to him that lives in this bondage of fear ; when 

» Cicer. Tusc. Q^ 15. 



the terrors of death are great, the consolations of the Almighty are 

In the written word are found all sorts of refreshing, strengthen- 
ing and heart-reviving promises prepared by the wisdom and care 
of God for our relief in the days of darkness and trouble ; promises 
of support under the heaviest burdens and pressures, Isa. xH. 10. 
" Fear not, for I am with thee ; be not dismayed, for I am thy 
" God ; I will strengthen thee, yea, I will help thee, yea, I will 
*' uphold thee with the right-hand of my righteousness." A pro- 
mise able to make the most timorous and trembling soul to shout 
with the joy of men in harvest, or as they that divide the spoil. 

There are found the encouraging promises of defence and pro- 
tection, Isa. xxvii. 2, 3. and Isa. xxxiii. S. promises that leacf us 
unto the Almighty power of God, and put us under the wings of 
his care in time of danger. 

Promises of moderation and mitigation in the day of sharp af- 
fliction, that we may be able to bear it, Isa. xxvii. 8. 1 Cor. x. 13. 
Promises of deliverance out of trouble, if the malice of man bring 
us into trouble, the mercy of God will assuredly bring us out, Ps. 
xci. 14, 15. and Psal. cxxv. 3. And, which are most comfortable 
of all the rest, promises to sanctify and bless our troubles to our 
good, so that they shall not only cease to be hurtful, but, by virtue 
of the promise, become exceeding beneficial to us, Isa. xxvii. 9. 
Rom. viii. 28. 

All these promises are provided by our tender Father for us 
against a day of straits and fears; and because he knew our weak- 
ness, and how apt our fears would be to make us suspect our secu- 
rity by them, he hath, for the performance of them, engaged his 
wisdom, power, care, faithfulness, and unchangeableness, 2 Pet. ii. 
9. Isa. xxvii. % 3. 2 Cor. xvi. 9. 1 Cor. x. 13. Isa. xliii. 1, 2. In 
the midst of such promises so sealed, how cheerful and magnani- 
mous should we be in the worst times ! and say as David, Psal. 
xlix. 5. " Why should I fear in the day of evil ?" Let those that 
have no God to flee to, no promise to rely upon, let them fear in 
the day of evil, I have no cause to do so. But even fiom these 
most comfortable refuges in the promises our own fears beat us ; 
we are so scared that we mind them not so as to draw encourage- 
ment, resolution, and courage from them. Thus the shields of the 
mighty are vilely cast away. 

So. for all the choice records of the saints experiences in all for- 
mer troubles and distresses, God hath, by a singular providence 
(aiming at our relief in future distresses) preserved them for us ; if 
danger threaten us, we may turn to the recorded experiences his 
people have left us of the strange and mighty influence of his pro- 



vidence upon the hearts of their enemies to shew them favour, Genu 
xxxi. 29. Psal. xvi. 46. Jer. xv. 11. 

There are also found the ancient rolls and records of the admira- 
ble methods of his people's deliverance, contrived by his infinite 
and unsearchable wisdom for them, when all their own thoughts 
have been at a loss, and their understandings posed and staggered, 
Exod. XV. 6. 2 Chron. xx. 12, 15. 2 Kings xix. 3, 7. 

There are the recorded experiences of God's unspotted faithful- 
ness, which never failed any soul that durst trust himself in its arms, 
Micah vi. 4, 5. Josh. vii. 9. 

There are also to be found the records of his tender and most 
fatherlv care for his children, who have been to him as a peculiar 
treasure in times of danger, Psal. xl. 17- Deut. xxxii. 10, 11, 12, 
Isa. xlix. 16. Job xlix. 16. and xxxvi. 7. 2 Chron. xvi. 9. 

All these and many more supports and cordials are made ready 
to our hand, and provided for a day of trouble ; but alas ! to what 
purpose, if our own fears so transport us, that we can neither apply 
them, nor so much as calmly ponder and consider them. 

S. To conclude ; by these fears we are deprived of those mani- 
fold advantages we might gain by the calm and composed medita- 
tions of our own death, and the change it will make upon us; 
could we sit down in peace, and meditate in a familiar way upon 
death : could we look with a composed and well-settled mind into 
our own graves, and not be scared and frightened with the thoughts 
of death, and startle whenever we take it (though but in our 
thoughts) by the cold hand : To what seriousness would those me- 
ditations frame us ? And what abundance of evils would they pre- 
vent in our conversations ? The sprinkling of dust upon new writing 
prevents many a blot and blur in our books or letters : And could 
we thus sprinkle the dust of the grave upon our minds, it would 
prevent many a sin and miscarriage in our words and actions. But 
there is no profit or advantage redounding to us either from pro- 
mises, experiences, or death itself, when the soul is discomposed 
and put into confusion by its own fears. And thus you see some 
of those many mischievous effects of your own fears. 


Prescribing the rules to cure our sinful Jears, and prevent these 
sad and zvqful effects of them. 

Sect. I. ▼ ▼ E are now come to the most difficult part of the 
work, viz. the cure of the sinful and slavish fear of creatures in 


times of danger, which if it miglit, through the blessing of God be 
effected, we might hve at heart's ease in the midst of all our ene- 
mies and troubles, and, like the sun in the heavens, keep on our 
steady course in the darkest and gloomiest day. But before I 
come to the particular rules, it will be necessary, for the prevention 
of mistakes, to lay down three useful cautions about this matter. 

1 Caution. Understand that none but those that are in Christ 
are capable to improve the following rules to their advantage. The 
security of our souls is the greatest argument used by Christ to ex- 
tinguish our fears of them that kill the bodij^ Matth. x. 28. But if 
the soul must unavoidably perish when tlie body doth_, if it must 
drop into hell before the body be laid in the grave, if he that kills 
the body doth, by the same stroke, cut off the soul from all the 
means and possibilities of mercy and liappiness for ever, what can 
be offered in such a case, to relieve a man against fear and 
trembling ? 

2 Caution. Expect not a perfect cure of your fears in this life ; 
whilst there are enemies and dangers, there will be some fears 
working in the best hearts : If our faith could be perfected, our 
fears would be perfectly cured; but whilst there is so much weak- 
ness in our faith, there will be too much strength in our fears. 
And for those who are naturally timorous, who have more of this 
passion in their constitution than other men have, and those in whom 
melancholy is a rooted and chronical disease, it will be hard for 
them totally to rid themselves of fears and dejections, though in the 
use of such helps and means as follow, they may be greatly reUeved 
against the tyranny of them, and enabled to possess their souls in 
much more tranquillity and comfort. 

3 Caution. Whosoever expects the benefit of the following pre- 
scriptions and rules, must not think the reading, or bare remember- 
ing of them will do the work, but he must work them into his 
heart by believing and fixed meditation, and live in the daily prac- 
tice of them. It is not our opening of our case to a physician, nor 
his prescriptions and written directions that will cure a man, but 
he must resolve to take the bitter and nauseous potion, how much 
soever he loath it ; to abstain from hurtful diet, how well soever 
he loves it, if ever he expect to be a sound and healthful man. So 
it is in this case also. These things premised, the 

1 Rule. The first rule to relieve us against our slavish fears, Is 
seriously to consider^ and more thoroughly to study the covenant of 
grace, within the blessed clasp and bwid -whereof' all believers are. 
I think the clear understanding of the nature, extent, and stability 
of the covenant, and of our interest therein, would go a great way 
in the cure of our sinful and slavish fears. 



A covenant is more than a naked promise ; in the corenant, God 
hath graciously consulted our weakness, fears, and doubts, and 
therefore proceeds with us in the highest way of solemnity, con- 
firming his promises by oath, Heb. vi. 13, 17. and by his seals, 
Rom. vi. 11. Putting himself under the most solemn ties and en- 
gagements that can be, to his people, that from so firm a ratifica- 
tion of the covenant with us, we might have strong consolation, 
Heb. vi. 18. He hath so ordered it, that it might aiFord strong 
supports, and the most reviving cordials to our faint and timorous 
spirits, in all the plunges of trouble both from within and from 
without. In the covenant, God makes over himself to his people, 
to be unto them a God, Jer. xxxi. S3. Heb. viii. 10. Wherein the 
Lord bestows himself in all his glorious essential properties upon 
us, to the end that whatsoever his almighty power, infinite wisdom, 
and incomprehensible mercy can afford for our protection, support, 
deliverance, direction, pardon, or refreshment ; we might be assured 
shall be faithfully performed to us in all the straits, fears, and exi- 
gencies of our lives. This God expects we should improve by 
faith, as the most sovereign antidote against all our fears in this 
world, Isa. xliii. 1, 2. " Thus saith the Lord that created thee, O 
" Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, fear not : for I have 
'' redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name, thou art mine; 
" when thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee,'' &c. 
Isa. xli. 10. " Fear not, for I am with thee, be not dismayed, for 
" I am thy God." 

And if thou, reader, be within the bonds of the covenant, thou 
mayest surely find enough there to quiet thy heart, whatever the 
matter or ground of thy fears be : If God be thy covenant-God, 
he will be with thee in all thy straits, wants, and troubles, he will 
never leave, nor forsake thee. From the covenant it was that 
David encouraged himself against all his troubles, 2 Sam. xxiii. 5. 
" Although my house be not so with God, yet hath he made with 
^' me an everlasting covenant, well ordered in all things and sure ; 
" this is all my salvation, and all my desire, though he make it not 
" to grow.'' He could fetch all reliefs, all comforts, and salvation 
out of it, and why cannot we ? He desired no more for the support 
of his heart ; this is all my desire ; and sure if we understood and 
believed it as he did, we could desire no more to quiet and comfort 
our hearts than what this covenant affords us. For, 

1. Are we afraid what our enemies will do? We know we are 
in the midst of potent, politic, and enraged enemies; we have 
heard what they have done, and see what they are preparing to do 
again. We tremble to think what bloody tragedies are like to be 
acted over again in the world by their cruel hands : But O what 
heroic and noble acts of faith shoidd the covenant of God enable 


thee to exert amidst all these fears ! If God be thy God, then thou 
hast an Almighty God on thy side, and tliat is enough to extinguish 
all these fears, Psal. cxviii. 6 " The Lord is on my side, I will not 
" fear what man can do unto me." Your fears come in the name 
of man, bat your help in the name of the Lord ; Let them plot, 
threaten, yea, and smite too ; God is a shield to all that fear him, 
and if God be for us, who can be against us ? 

2. Are we afraid what God will do ; fear it not, your God will 
do nothing against your good : think not that he may forget you, 
it cannot be ; sooner may a tender mother forget her sucking 
child, Isa. xlix. 15. no; " He withdraweth not his eye from the 
" righteous," Job xxxvi. 7. His eyes are continually upon all the 
dangers and wants of your souls and bodies, there is not a danger 
or an enemy stirring against you, but his eye is upon it, 2 Chron. 
xvi. 9. 

Are you afraid he will forsake and cast you off.'' It is true your 
sins have deserved he should do so, but he hath secured you fully 
against that fear in his covenant, Jer. xxxii. 40. " I will not turn 
" away from them, to do them good." All your fears of God's 
forgetting or forsaking you, spring out of your ignorance of the 

3. Are you afraid what you shall do ? It is usual for the people 
of God to propose difficult cases to themselves, and put startling 
questions to their own hearts ; and there may be an excellent use 
of them to rouse them out of security, put them upon the search 
and trial of their conditions and estates, and make preparation for 
the worst ; but Satan usually improves it to a quite contrary end, to 
deject, affright, and discourage them. O, if fiery trials should come, 
if my liberty and life come once to be touched in earnest, I fear I 
shall never have strength to go on a step farther in the way of re- 
ligion : I am afraid I shall faint in the first encounter, I shall deny 
the words of the Holy One, make shipwreck of faith and a good 
conscience in the first gust of temptation. I can hear, and pray, 
and profess ; but I doubt I cannot burn, or bleed, or lie in a dun- 
geon for Christ. If I can scarce run with footmen in the land of 
peace, how do I think to contend with horses in these swellings of 
Jordan ? 

But yet all these are but groundless fears, either forged in thy 
own misgiving heart, or secretly shuffled by Satan into it ; for God 
hath abundantly secured thee against fear in this very particular, by 
that most sweet, supporting, and blessed promise, annexed to the 
former in the same text, Jer. xxxii. 40. " I will put my fear into 
" their hearts, that they shall not depart from me." Here is ano- 
ther kind of fear than that which so startles thee, promised to be put 
into thy heart, not a fear to shake and undermine thy assurance, 


as this doth, but to guard and maintain it. And this is the fear 
that shall be enabled to vanquish and expel all thy other fears. 

4. Or are you afraid what the church shall do ? And what will 
become of the ark of God ? Do you see a storm gathering, winds 
begin to roar, the waves to swell ; and are you afraid what will 
become of that vessel the church, in which you have so great an 
interest ? 

It is an argument of the pubhcness and excellency of thy spirit, 
to be thus touched with the feeling sense of the church*'s sufferings 
and dangers. Most men seek their own things, and not the things 
that are Christ's, Phil. ii. 21. But yet it is your sin so to fear, as 
to sink and faint under a spirit of despondency and discouragement, 
which yet many good men are but too apt to do. I remember an 
excellent passage in a letter of * Luther's to Melancthon upon this 
very account. ' In private troubles, saith he, I am weaker, and 
' thou art stronger ; thou despisest thy own life, but fearest the 
' public cause : but for the public I am at rest, being assured that 

* the cause is just and true, yea, that it is Christ's and God's cause. 
' I am well nigh a secure spectator of things, and esteem not 

* any thing these fierce and threatening Papists can do. I beseech 

* thee by Christ, neglect not so Divine promises and consolations, 
' where the scripture saith. Cast thy care upon the Lord, wait 
' upon the Lord, be strong, and he shall comfort thy heart.' -f And 
in another epistle ! ' I much dislike those anxious cares, which, 
' as thou writest, do almost consume thee. It is not the greatness 
^ of the danger, but the greatness of thy unbelief. John Huss and 
' others were under greater danger than we ; and if it be great, he 
' is great that orders it. Why do you afflict yourself.? if the 
' cause be bad, let us renounce it ; if it be good, why do we make 
' him a har who bids us be still H as if you were able to do any 
' good by such unprofitable cares. I beseech thee, thou that in 
' other things art valiant, fight against thyself, thine own greatest 
^ enemy, that puts weapons into Satan's hand.' 

You see how good men may be even overwhelmed with public 
fears ; but certainly if we did well consider the bond of the cove- 
vant that is betwixt God and his people, we should be more quiet 
and composed. For by reason thereof it is, 1. That God is in the 
midst of them, Psal. xlvi. 1, 2, 3, 4. When any great danger threa- 
tened the reformed church in its tender beginning, in Luther's time, 
he would say. Come let us sing- the xlvi. Psalm ; and indeed it is a 
lovely song for such times : it bears the title of A song upon Jlor- 
mothy or a song for the hidden ones ; God is with them to cover 

* Epist. ad Melanct. Jnno 1549. 
t -^nno 1530. 


them under his wings. 2. And it is plain matter of fact, evident 
to all the world, that no people under the heavens have been so 
long and so wonderfully preserved as the church hath been ; it 
hath over-lived many bloody massacres, terrible persecutions, subtle 
and cruel enemies ; still God hath preserved and delivered it, for 
his promises obliged him to do it, amongst which those two are sig- 
nal and eminent ones, Jer. xxx. 11. Isa. xxvii. 3. And it is ob- 
vious to all that will consider things, that there are the self-same 
motives in God, and the self-same grounds and reasons before 
him, to take care of his church and people, that ever were in him, 
or did ever lie before him from the beginning of the world. For 
(1.) The relation is still the same. What though Abraham, Isaac, 
and Jacob, those renowned believers, be in their graves, and those 
that succeed be far inferior to them in grace and spiritual excel- 
lency ; yet saith the church, doubtless thou art our Father. There 
is the same tie and bond betwixt the Father and the youngest weak- 
est child in the family, as the eldest and strongest. (2.) His pity 
and mercy is still the same, for that endures for ever : his bowels 
yearn as tenderly over his people in their present, as ever they did 
in any past afflictions or straits. (3.) The rage and malice of his 
and his people's enemies is still the same, they will reflect as blas- 
phemously and dishonourably upon God now, should he give up 
his people, as ever they did. Moses' argument is as good now as 
ever it was, What will the EgyiJtians say ? and so is Joshua's too, 
What wilt thou do unto thy great name ? Oh ! if these things were 
more thoroughly studied and believed, they would appease many 

2. Rule. WorJc upon yotir hearts the consideration of the many 
mischiefs and miseries men draw upon themselves and others, both 
in this world and that to come, by their own sinful fears. 

1. The miseries and calamities that sinful fear brings upon men 
in this world are unspeakable : this is it that hath plunged the 
consciences of so many poor wretches into such deep distresses : this 
it is that hath put them upon the rack, and made them roar like 
men in hell among the damned. Some have been recovered, and 
others have perished in these deeps of horror and despair. '■' * In 
" the year 1550 there was at Ferrara in Italy one Faninus, who 
" by reading good books was by the grace of God converted to the 
" knowledge of the truth, wherein he found such sweetness, that 
" by constant reading, meditation, and prayer, he grew so expert 
" in the scriptures, that he was able to instruct others ; and though 
" he durst not go out of the bounds of his caUing to preach open- 

* Clark's Exam. p. 47. 


" ly, yet by conference and private exhortations he did good to 
" many. This coming to the knowledge of the pope's clients, 
" they apprehended and committed him to prison, where he re- 
" nounced the truth, and was thereupon released : but it was not 
" long before the Lord met with him for it ; so as falling into hor- 
" rible torments of conscience, he was near unto utter despair ; 
" nor could he be freed from those terrors before he had fully re- 
*' solved to venture his life more faithfully in the service of 
" Christ.'' 

Dreadful was that voice which poor Spira seempd to hear in his 
own conscience, as soon as ever his sinful fears had prevailed upon 
him to renounce the truth. " Thou wicked wretch thou hast de- 
" nied me, thou hast renounced the covenant of thine obedience, 
'' thou hast broken thy vow ; hence, apostate, bear with thee the 
" sentence of thine eternal damnation." Presently he falls into a 
swoon, quaking and trembhng, and still affirmed to his death, 
^^ That from that time he never found any ease or peace in his 
" mind :" but professed, " that he was captivated under the re- 
" venging hand of the Almighty God : and that he continually 
"heard the sentence of Christ, the just Judge against him ; and 
" that he knew he was utterly undone, and could neither hope for 
«' grace, or that Christ should intercede for him to the Father.'' 

In our dreadful Marian days, Sir John Cheek, who had been 
tutor to King Edward VI. was cast into the tower, and kept close 
prisoner, and there put to this miserable choice, eithe?' to forego his 
life, or that zvhich was mm'e precious, his Uh er It/ of conscience ; nei- 
ther could his liberty be procured by his great friends at any lower 
rate than to recant his religion : This he was very unwilling to ac- 
cept of, till his hard imprisonment, joined with threats of much 
worse in case of his refusal, at last wrought so upon him, whilst he 
consulted mth flesh and blood, as drew from him an ahrenunciation 
of that truth which he had so long professed, and still believed : 
Upon this he was restored to his liberty, but never to his comfort ; 
for the sense of his own apostasy, and the daily sight of the cruel 
butcheries exercised upon others for their constant adherence to 
the truth, made such deep impressions upon his broken spirit, as 
brought him to a speedy end of his life, yet not without some com- 
fortable hopes at last. 

Our own histories abound with multitudes of such doleful ex- 

Some have been in such horror of conscience that they have cho- 
sen strangling rather than life ; they have felt that anguish of con- 
science that hath put them upon desperate resolutions and attempts 
against their own lives to rid themselves of it. This was the case 
of poor P^ter Moon, who being driven by his own fears to deny the 


truth, presently fell into such horror of conscience, that seeing a 
sword hanging in his parlour, would have sheathed it in his own 
bowels. So Francis Spira, before-mentioned, when he was near 
his end, saw a knife on the table, and running to it, would have 
michiefed himself, had not his friends prevented him ; thereupon 
he said, O ! that I zvere above God, for I know that he will have no 
mercy on me. He lay about eight weeks (saith the historian) in a 
continual burning, neither desiring or receiving any thing bid by 
force, and that without digestion, till he became as an anatomy ; 
vehemently raging for drink, yet fearing to live long ; dreadfid of 
hell, yet coveting death ; in a continual torment, yet his own tor- 
mentor ; and thus consuming himself with grief and horror, im- 
patience and despair, like a living man in hell, he represented an 
ext7'aordinary example of God'' s justice and power ^ and so ended his 
miserable life. 

Surely it were good to fright ourselves by such dreadful exam- 
ples out of our sinful fears ; is any misery we can fear from the 
hands of man like this .? O, reader ! believe it, " it is a fearful 
" thing to fall into the hands of an angry God."' Hadst thou ever 
felt the rage and efficacy of a wounded and distressed conscience, as 
these poor wretches felt it, no fears or threats of men should drive 
thee into such an hell upon earth as this is. 

2. And yet, though this be a doleful case, it is not the worst 
case your own sinful fears will cast you into, except the Lord over- 
come and extinguish them in you by the fear of his name, they 
will not only bring you into a kind of hell upon earth, but into 
hell itself for evermore ; for so the righteous God hath said in his 
word of truth. Rev. xxi. 8. " but the fearful and unbelieving, &c. 
" shall have their part in the lake which burnetii with fire and 
" brimstone, which is the second death." Behold here the mar- 
tial law of heaven executed upon cov/ards and renegadoes, v/hose 
fears make them revolt from Christ in the time of danger. Think 
upon this, you timorous and faint-hearted professors : you cannot 
bear the thoughts of lying in a nasty dungeon, how will you lie 
then in the lake of fire and brimstone ? You are afraid of the face 
and frowns of a man that shall die, but how will you live among 
devils ? Is the wrath of man like the fury of God poured out ? Is 
not the little finger of God heavier than the loins of all the ty- 
rants in the world ? Remember what Christ hath said. Mat. x. 33. 
" But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny 
" before my Fathei'' which is in heaven." Reader, the tinie is 
coming when he that spake these words shall break out of heaven 
with a shout, accompanied with myriads of angels, and X.'^w thou- 
sands of his saints, the heavens and the earth shall be in dreadful 
conflagrations round about him ; the last trump shall sound, the 
graves shall open, the earth and sea shall give up the dead that are 


in them. Thine eyes shall see him ascend the awful throne of judg- 
ment, his faithful ones that feared not to own and appear for him 
in the face of all enemies and dangers, sitting on the bench, as 
assessors with him ; and then to be disclaimed and renounced for 
ever by Jesus Christ, in the face of that great assembly, and pro- 
claimed a dehnquent, a traitor to him, that deniedst his name and 
truths, because of the frowns of a fellow-creature, long since 
withered as the grass. Oh how wilt thou be able to endure this ! 
Now put both these together, in thy serious consideration, think 
on the terrors of conscience here, and the desperate horror of it in 
hell ; this is a par-boiling, that as a roasting in the flames of God's 
insufferable wrath : these as some scalding drops sprinkled before- 
hand upon thy conscience, that tender and sensible part of man ; 
that as the lake burning for ever with fire and brimstone. Oh ! 
who would suffer himself to be driven into all this misery, by the 
fears of these sufferings which can but touch the flesh ; and for 
their duration, they are but for a moment ! 

Think, and thiiik again upon those words of Christ, Mark viii. 
35. " He that will save his life shall lose it." It may be a pro- 
longing of a miserable life, a life worse than death, even in thine own 
account ; a life without the comfort or joy of life ; a life ending in 
the second death ; and all this for fear of a trifle, compared with 
what thou shalt afterwards feel in thine own conscience, and less 
than a trifle, nothing, compared with what thou must suffer from 
God for ever. 

Rule 3. He that will overcome his fears of sufferings, must fore- 
see and provide before-hand for them. 

The fear of caution is a good cure to the fear of distraction ; and 
the more of that, the less of this ; this fear will cure that, as one 
fire draws forth another, Heb. xi. 7. " Noah being moved with 
" fear, prepared an ark." In which he provided as much for the 
rest and quiet of his mind, as he did for the safety of his person 
and family. That which makes evils so frightful as they are, is 
their coming by way of surprize upon us. Those troubles that find 
us secure, do leave us distracted and desperate. Presumption of 
continued tranquillity proves one of the greatest aggravations of 
misery. Trouble will lie heavy enough when it comes by way of 
expectation, but it is intolerable when it comes quite contrary to 
expectation. It will be the lot of Babylon to suffer the unexpected 
vials of God's wrath, and I wish none but she and her children may 
be so surprized. Rev. xviii. 7. Oh ! it were well for us, if, in the 
midst of our pleasant enjoyments, we would be putting the diffi- 
cultest cases to ourselves, and mingle a few such thoughts as these 
with all our earthly enjoyments and comforts. 

I am now at ease in the midst of my habitation, but the time 


Wiay be at hand when my habitation shall be in a prison. I see no 
faces at present but those of friends, full of smiles and honours ; I 
may see none shortly but the faces of enemies, full of frowns and 
terrors. I have now an estate to supply my wants, and provide for 
my family ; but this may shortly fall as a prey to the enemy, they 
may sweep away all that I have gathered, reap the fruits of all my 
labours. — Impius has segetes. 1 have yet my life given me for a 
prey ; but oh ! how soon may it fall into cruel and blood-thirsty 
hands ! I have no better security for these things than the martyrs 
had, who suffered the loss of all these things for Christ's sake. A 
double advantage would result to us from such meditations as these, 
viz. the advantage, 

1. Of acquittance with 1m 1 1 

a r\c ^- c r T- roubles. 

2. Oi preparation tor j 

1. Hereby our thoughts would be better acquainted ^^^th thesQ 
evils ; and the more they are acquainted with, the less they will 
start and friMit at them. We should not think it strano^e concern- 
ing the fiery trial, as it is, 1 Pet. iv. 12. It is with our thoughts 
as it is with young colts ; they start at every new thing they meet ; 
but we cure them of it, by bringing them home to that they start 
at, and making them smell to it ; better acquaintance cures this 
startling hinnour. The newness of evil *, saith a late grave and 
learned divine, is the cause of fear, when the mind itself hath had 
no preceding encounter with it, whereby to judge of its strength, 
nor example of another man's prosperous issue, to confirm its hopes 
in the like success ; For, as I noted before out of the Philosopher -f-, 
experience is instead of armour, and is a kind of fortitude, enabling 
both to judge, and to bear troubles ; for there are some things 
which are (Mo^jLohuzna v.cii 'Tr^od'^-inta, scare-crows and vizors, which 
children fear only out of ignorance ; as soon as they are known 
they cease to be terrible. 

I know our minds naturally reluctate and decline such harsli and 
impleasant subjects : It is hard to bring our thoughts to them in 
good earnest, and harder to dwell so long as is necessary to this 
end upon them. We had rather take a pleasant prospect of future 
felicity and prosperity in this world ; of midtlplymg our days as the 
sand, mid at last dying quietly 'in our nest, as Job speaks. Our 
thoughts run nimbly upon such pleasant fancies, like oiled \\heels, 
and have need of trigging; but when they come into the deep and 
dirty ways of suftbring, there they drive heavily, like Pharaoh's 
chariots dismounted from their wheels. But that which is most 
pleasant is not always most useful and necessary ; our Lord 

* Dr. Edward Reynold; 
f Epictetus. 


was well acquainted with griefs, though our thoughts be such great 
strangers to them ; he often thought and spake of his sufferings, 
and of the bloody baptism with which he was to be baptized, Luke 
xii. 50. and he not only minded his own sufferings before-hand, 
but when he perceived the fond imaginations and vain fancies of 
some that followed and professed him, deluding them with ex- 
pectations of earthly prosperity and rest, he gave their thoughts a 
turn to this less pleasing, but more needful subject, the things they 
were to suffer for his name ; instead of answering a foolish and 
groundless question, of sitting on his right and left hand, like 
earthly grandees, he rebukes the folly of the Questionist, and asks 
a less pleasing question, Mat. xx. 22. " But Jesus answered and 
" said, Ye know not what ye ask ; are ye able to drink of the cup 
" that I shall drink of, and to be baptized mth the baptism that 
« I shall be baptized with ? q. d. You do but abuse yourselves 
with such fond and idle dreams, there is other employment cut 
out for you in the purposes of God ; instead of sitting upon 
thrones and tribunals, it would become you to think of being 
brought before them as prisoners to receive your doom and sen- 
tence to die for my sake ; these thoughts would do you a great 
deal more service. 

2. As such meditations would acquaint us better, so they would 
prepare us better to encounter troubles and difficult things when 
they come. Readiness and preparation would subdue and banish 
our fears; we are never much scared with that for which our 
minds are prepared. There is the same difference in this case, as 
there is betwixt a soldier in complete armour, and ready at every 
point for his enemy ; and one that is alarmed in his bed, who hath 
laid his clothes in' one place, and his arms in another, when his 
enemy is breaking open his chamber door upon him. It was not 
therefore without the most weighty reason, that the apostle presses 
us so earnestly, Eph. vi. 13, 14. " Take unto you the whole ar- 
" mour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, 
*« and having done all to stand. Stand therefore, having your 
^« loins girt about with truth, and having on the breast-plate 
« of righteousness, and your feet shod with the preparation of the 
" gospel of peace.'' We see the benefit of such previsions and 
provisions for suffering, in that great example of courage and con- 
stancy. Acts xxi. 13. " I am ready, (saith Paul) not only to be 
« bound, but to die at Jerusalem." And the same courage and 
constancy remained in him, when he was entering the very lists, 
and going to lay his very neck upon the block, 2 Tim. iv. 6. *' I 
" am ready to be offered up, the time of my departure is at hand." 
The word (Tcsvoc/xa/, properly signifies a libation or drink-offering, 
wherein some conceive he alluded to the very kind of his own 


death, viz. by the sword ; his heart was brought to that frame, that 
he could with as much wilhngiiess pour out his blood for Christ, 
as the priests used to pour out drink-offerings to the Lord. It is 
true, all the meditations and preparations in the world, made by 
us, are not sufficient in themselves to carry us through such diffi- 
cult services; it is one thing to see death as our fancy limns it out 
at a distance, and another thing to look death itself in the face. 
We can behold the painted lion without fear, but the living lion 
makes us tremble : but yet, though our suffering-strength comes 
not from our own preparations or forethoughts of death, but from 
God's gracious assistance ; yet usually that assistance of his is com- 
municated to us in and by the conscientious and humble use of 
these means; let us therefore be found waiting upon God for 
strength, patience, and resolutions to suffer as it becomes Chris- 
tians, in the daily serious use of those means whereby he is pleased 
to communicate to his people. 

Rule 4. If ever you will subdue your own slavish fiars, commit 
yourselves, aiid all that is yours into the hands of God hy faith. 

This rule is fully confirmed by that scripture, Prov. xvi. 3, 
*' Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be es- 
" tablished.'"' The greatest part of our trouble and burden, in 
times of danger, arises from the unsettled ness and distraction of our 
own thoughts ; and the way to calm and quiet our thoughts is to 
commit all to God. This rule is to be applied for this end and 
purpose, when we are going to meet death itself, and that in all its 
terrible formalities, and most frightful appearances, 1 Pet. iv. 19. 
" Let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the 
" keeping of their souls to him in well-doing, as unto a faithful 
" Creator." And if this committing act of faith be so useful at 
such a time, when the thoughts must be supposed to be in the great- 
est hurry, and fears in their full strength ; much more will it esta- 
blish the heart, and calm its passions in lesser troubles. You know 
what ease and relief it would be to you, if you had a trial depend- 
ing in law for your estates, and your hearts were overloaded and 
distracted with cares and fears about the issue of it : if one whom 
you know to be very skilful and faithful, should say to you at such 
a time, trouble not yourself any farther about this business, never 
break an hour's sleep more for this matter ; be you an unconcerned 
spectator, commit it to me, and trust me with the management 
of it ; I will make it my own concernment, and save you harmless. 
O what a burden, what an heavy load would you feel yourselves 
eased of, as soon as you had thus transferred and committed it to 
such a hand ! then you would be able to eat with pleasure and sleep 
in quietness : much more ease and quietness doth your committing 
the matter of your fears to God give, even so much mpre as hia 



power, ^visdom, and faithfulness is greater than what is to be 
found in men. But to make this rule practicable and improveable 
to peace and quietness of heart in an evil day, it will be necessary 
that you well understand, 

1. What the committing act of faith is. 

2. What grounds and encouragements believers have for it. 

1. Study well the nature of this committing act of faith, and 
what it supposes or implies in it ; for all men cannot commit them- 
selves to God, it is his own people only that can do it : nor is it 
every thing they can commit to God ; they cannot commit ,them- 
selves to his care and protection in any way but only in his own 
ways. Know more particularly, 

1^^, That he who will commit himself to God, must commit 
himself to him in well doing, as the apostle limits it in 1 Pet. iv. 19. 
and in things agreeable to his will ; else we would make God a pa- 
tron and protector of our sins : Let them that .suffer according to the 
7vill of' God commit the Ji'eeplng of their souls to him in well-doing. 
We cannot commit our sins, but our duties to God's protection ; 
God is so great a friend to truth and righteousness, that in such a 
case he will not take your part, how dear soever you be to him, if 
truth be found on your enemies part, and the mistake on yours. 
Think not to e:5title God to your errors and failings, much less to 
any sinful designs ; you may commit a doubtful case to him to be 
decided, but not a sinful case to be protected. It is in vain to shel- 
ter any cause of your own under his wings, except you can write 
upon it, as David did, Psal. Ixxiv. 22. Thine own cause, O Lord, 
as well as mine. Lord, plead thine own cause. 

2<i(7, lie that commits his all to God supposes and firmly believes 
that all events and issues of things are in God's hands ; that he only 
can direct, over-rule, and order them all as he pleaseth. Upon this 
supposition the committing acts of faith in all our fears and distresses 
are built : / trusted in thee, O Lord, I said. Thou art my God, my 
times are in thy hand, deliver me from the hands of my enemies, and 
from them that persecute me. His firm assent to this great truth. 
That his times were in God's hands, w^as the reason why he commit- 
ted himself into that hand. If our times, or lives, or comforts were 
in our enemies' hands, it were to little purpose for us to commit 
ourselves into God's hands. And here the contrary senses and 
methods of faith and unbelief are as conspicuous as in any one thing 
whatsoever : unbelief persuades men that their lives and all that is 
dear to them is in the hands of their enemies, and therefore per- 
suades them the best way they can take to secure themselves, is by 
compliance with the will of their enemies, and pleasing them : but 
faith determines quite contrary, it tells us. We and all that is ours, 
is in God's hand, and no enemy can touch us, or ours, till he 


ffive them a permission ; and therefore it is our duty and interest 
to please him, and commit all to him. 

S. The committing ourselves to God implies the resignation of 
our wills to the will of God, to be disposed of as seems good in his 
eyes : So David commits to God the event of that sad and doubt- 
ful providence, which made him fly for his life, from a strong con- 
spiracy, 2 Sam. XV. 25. " And the king said unto Zadok, Carry 
" back the ark of God into the city : if I shall find favour in the 
" eyes of the Lord, he will bring me again, and shew me both it 
" and his habitation : but, if he thus say, I have no delight in 
*' thee, behold, here am I, let him do to me as seemeth good to 
*' him ;" q. d. Lord, the conspiracy against my life is strong, the 
danger great, the issue exceeding doubtful ; but I commit all into 
thy hand ; if David may be yet used in any farther service for his 
God, I shall see this city and thy lovely temple again; but if 
not, I lie at thy foot, to be disposed either for life or death, for the 
earthly or the heavenly Jerusalem, as seemeth best in thine eyes. 
This submission to Divine pleasure is included in the committing 
act of faith. Christian, what sayest thou to it ? Is thy will content 
to go back, that the will of God may come on, and take place of it? 
It may be thou canst refer a difficult case to God, provided he vnW 
determine and issue it according to thy desires ; but, in truth, that 
is no submission or resignation at all, but a sinful limiting of, and 
prescribing to God. It was an excellent reply that a choice Chris- 
tian once made to another, when a beloved and only child lay in a 
dangerous sickness at the point of death, a friend asked the mother, 
What would you now desire of God in reference to your child ? 
would you beg of him its life or its death, in this extremity that it 
is now in ? The mother answered, I refer that to the will of God. 
But, said her friend, if God would refer it to you, what would you 
chuse then ? Why truly, said she, if God would refer it to me, I 
would even refer it to God again. This is the true committing of 
ourselves and our troublesome concerns to the Lord. 

4. The committing act of faith implies our renouncing and dis- 
claiming all confidence and trust in the arm of flesh, and an ex- 
pectation of relief from God only. If we commit ourselves to 
God, we must cease from man, Isa. ii. 22. To trust God in part, 
and the creature in part, is to set one foot upon a rock, and the 
other upon a quicksand. Those acts of faith that give the entire 
glory to God, give real relief and comfort to us. 

2. Let us see what grounds and encouragements the people of 
God have to commit themselves and all the matters of their fears to 
God, and so to enjoy the peace and comfort of a resigned will ; and 
there are two sorts of encouragements before vou, let the case be 

T 2 


as difficult and frightful as it will, you may find sufficient en- 
couragement in God, and somewhat from yourselves, viz. your 
relation to him, and experiences of him. 

1. In God there is all that your hearts can desire to encourage 
you to trust him over all, and committ all into his hands. For, 

1. He is able to help and relieve you : let the case be never so 
bad, yet " let Israel hope in the Lord, for with the Lord is plen- 
** teous redemption,"" Psal. cxxx. 7, 8. Plenteous redemption, i. e. 
all the stores of power, choice of methods, plenty of means, abun- 
dance of ways to save his people, when they can see no way out of 
their troubles : therefore hope, Israel, in Jehovah. 

2. As his |X)wer is almighty, so his wisdom is infinite and un- 
searchable ; " He is a God of judgment, blessed are all they that 
" wait for him,"" Isa. xxx. 18. When the apostle Peter had related 
the wonderful presei*\'ation of Noah in the deluge, and of Lot in 
Sodom, one in a general destruction of the world by water, and the 
other in the overthrow of those cities by fire ; he concludes, and 
so should we, " The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out 
'' of temptation," 2 Pet. ii. 9. Some men have much power, but 
little wisdom to manage it, others are wise and prudent, but want 
ability ; in God there is an infinite fulness of both. 

S. His love to, and tenderness over his people, is transcendent 
and unparalleled : and this sets his ^visdom and power both at work 
for their good : hence it is, that his eyes of providence run con- 
tinually throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the 
behalf of them whose hearts are perfect, i. e. upright towards him, 
2 Chron. xvi. 9- Thus you see how he is every way fitted as a 
proper object of your trust. 

2. Consider \\dth yourselves, and you shall find encouragements 
to commit all to God. For, 

1. Vou are his children, and to whom should children commit 
themselves in dangers and feai's but to their own father ? Doubtless 
thou art our Father, saith the distressed church, Isa. Ixiii. 15, 16. 
yea, Christian, Thi/ Maker is thy husband, Isa. liv. 5. Is not that 
a sufficient ground to cast thyself upon him ? What ! a child not 
trust its own father ? a wife not commit herself to her own hus- 
band ? 

2. You have trusted him with a far greater concern already than 
your estates, liberties, or lives^; you have committed your souls to 
him, and your eternal interests, 2 Tim. i. 12. Shall we commit the 
jewel, and dispute the cabinet ; trust him for heaven, and doubt him 
for earth ? 

3. You have ever found him failhful in all that you trusted him 
with, all your experiences are so many good grounds of confidence, 


Psal. ix. 10. Well then, resolve to trust God over all, and quietly 
leave the disposal of every thing to him : he hath been with you in 
all former straits, wants, and fears, hitherto he hath helped you, 
and cannot he do so again, except you tell him how ? Oh ! trust in 
his wisdom, power, and love, and lean not to your own understand- 
ings. The fruit of resignation will be peace. 

Rule 5. If ever you will get rid of your fears and distractions^ 
get your affections mortified to the worlds and to the inordinate and 
immoderate love of every eiijoyment in the world. 

The more you are mortified, the less you will be terrified : it is 
not the dead, but the living world, that puts our hearts into such 
feai's and tremblings ; if our hearts were once crucified, they would 
soon be quieted. It is the strength of our affections that puts so 
much strength into our afflictions. It was not therefore without 
great reason that the apostle compares the life of a Christian to the 
life of a soldier, who, if he mean to follow the camp, and acquit 
himself bravely in fight, must not entangle himself with the affairs 
of this life, 2 Tim. ii. 4. Sure there is no following Christ's camp, 
but with a disentangled heart from the world ; ibr, proportionable 
to the heat of our love, will be the strength and height of our fears 
about these things ; more particularly, if ever you will rid j^our- 
selves of your uncomfortable and uncomely fears, use all God's 
means to mortify your affections to the exorbitant esteem and 
love of, 

1. Your estates. 2. Your liberty. 3. Your lives. 
1. Get mortified and cooled hearts to your possessions and estates 
in the world. The poorest age afforded the richest Christians and 
noblest martyrs. Ships deepest laden are not best for encounters. 
The believing Hebrews took joyfully the spoiling of their goodsj 
Tcnowing in themselves that they had in heaven a better and endm'- 
ing substance^ Heb. x. 34. They carried it rather like unconcern- 
ed spectators, than the true proprietors ; they rejoiced when rude 
soldiers carried out their goods, as if so many friends had been 
bringing them in. And whence was this but from an heart fixed 
upon heaven, and mortified to things upon earth .'* Doubtless, they 
esteemed and valued their estates, as the good providences of God 
for their more comfortable accommodation in this world; but it 
seems they did, and O that we could look upon them as mercies of 
the lowest and meanest rank and nature. The substance laid up 
in heaven was a better substance, and as long as that was safe, the 
loss of this did not afflict them. 

They could bless God for these things which for a little time did 
minister refreshment to them, but they knew them to be transitory 
enjoyments, things that would make to themselves wings and flee 
away, if their enemies had not touched them ; but the substance 

T 3 


laid up for them in heaven, that was an enduring substance. Sc» 
far as those earthly things might further them towards heavenly 
things, so far they prized and valued them, but if Satan would turn 
them into snares and temptations to deprive them of their better 
substance in heaven, they could easily slight them, and take the 
spoiling of them joyfully. In a stress of weather, when the ship is 
ready to sink and founder in a storm, all hands are readily employ- 
ed to throw the richest goods overboard ; no man saith it is pity to 
cast them away, but reason dictates to a man in that case. Better 
these perish, than I perish with and for them. These be the wares 
that some will not cast overboard, and therefore they are said to 
drown men in perdition, ] Tim. vi. 9. Demas would rather perish 
than jjart with these things^ 2 Tim. iv. 10. But, reader, consider 
seriously what comforts they can yield thee, when thou must look 
upon them as the price for which thou hast sold heaven, and all the 
hopes of glory ; even as much as the price of blood yielded Judas ; 
and so they will ensnare thee, if thy unmortified heart be over- 
heated with the love of them as his was. 

2. Be mortified to your liberty, and take heed of placing too 
great an esteem upon it, or necessity in it. Liberty is a desirable 
thing to the very birds in the air ; accommodate them the best you 
can in your cages, feed them with the richest fare, they had rather 
be cold and hungry with their liberty in the woods, than fat and 
warm in your houses. But yet, as sweet as it is, there may be 
more comfort and sweetness in parting with it, than in keeping it, 
as the case may stand. The doors of a prison may lock you in, 
but they cannot lock the Comforter out. Paul and Silas lost their 
liberty for Christ, but not their comfort with it ; they never were 
so truly at liberty, as when their feet were made fast in the stocks, 
they never fared so deliciously as when they fed upon prisoners 
fare. God spread a table for them in the prison, sent them in a rich 
feast, yea, and they had music at their feast too, and that at mid- 
night, Acts xvi. 25. 

Patmos was a barren island, and a place designed for banished 
persons ; it lay in the Egean sea, not far from the coast of the 
Lesser Asia* : it was inhabited by none, because of the exceeding 
barrenness of it, but such who were appointed to it for their 
punishment ; so that here John could meet with no more earthly 
refreshment than what the barren rocks, or wild and desperate 
persons condemned to live upon it, could afford. Ay, but there, 
there it was, that Christ appeared to him in inexpressible glory ; 
there it w^as that he had those ravishing visions, and saw the whole 
scheme of Providence in the government of this world ; there he 

* Rev. i. 9, la 


saw the New Jerusalem coming down from God out of heaven, as 
a bride prepared for her husband. This made a Patmos become 
a Paradise ; never did any place afford him such comfort as thi« 
did. So that Christians may not think there is so strict and neces- 
sary a connexion betwixt liberty and comfort, that he tiiat takes 
away the first, must needs deprive them of the other. 

Again, Suppose we should be so fond of our liberty as to ex- 
change truth and a good conscience for it ; cannot God so imbitter 
it to you, yea, hath he not so imbittered it to many, that they were 
quickly weary of it, and glad of an opportunity to change it for a 
prison. Our own Martyrology furnishes us with many sad exam- 
ples of it. Oh, what will you do with your bitter, dear-bought li- 
berty, when your peace is taken away from the inward man ? when 
God shall clap up your souls in prison, and put your consciences 
into his bonds and fetters, then will you say as the martyr did, " I 
" am in prison till I be in prison." 

3. Be mortified to the inordinate and fond love of life, as ever 
you expect relief against the fears of death. Reason thyself into a 
lower value of thy life. Methinks you have arguments enough to 
cure your fondness in this point. Have you found it such a plea- 
sant life to you, for so much of it as is past ? You know how the 
apostle represents it, 2 Cor. v. 4. " We that are in this tabernacle 
" do groan, being burthened." And is a burthened and a groan- 
ing life so desirable ? You know also, as he speaks in the next verse, 
that " whilst you are at home in the body, you are absent from 
" the Lord." And is a state of absence from Jesus Christ so de- 
sirable to a soul that loves him ? Can you find much pleasure so far 
from home "t You may fancy what you will, but, upon serious re- 
collection, you will never be out of the reach of Satan's tempta- 
tions, never freed from your own indwelhng corruptions, these 
conflicts cannot have an end till life be ended. You also stand 
convinced, that till you be dead, your souls cannot be satisfied, nor 
your desires be at rest, have what comforts soever from God in the 
way of faith and course of duties, your hearts are still off the centre, 
and will still gravitate and gasp heavenward. You also know that 
die you must, and the time of your departure is at hand ; and of all 
deaths, if you might have your choice, none is more honourable 
to God, or like to be so evidential and comfortable to you, as a 
violent death for Christ ; therein you come to him by consent and 
choice, not by necessity and constraint ; therein you give a public 
testimony for Christ, which is the highest use that ever our blood 
can be put to, or honoured by ; and for the pain and torment, 
as the martyr said. He that takes away Jrom my torment^ takes 
away from my reward. But even in that point God can make it 
easier to you than a natural death would be ; he >vill be with you 



in your extremity, and administer sucli reviving cordials as other 
men must not look to taste, at least not ordinarily, they being pre- 
pared and reserved for such, against such an hour. 

•Oh then, work out the inordinate love of life, by working in such 
mortifying considerations upon your own hearts ; and if once you 
gain but this point, you will quickly find all your pains and prayers 
richly answered in the ease and rest of your hearts, in the most 
scaring and frightful times. 

Rule 6. Eye the encouraging examples of those that have trod 
the path of sufferings before you^ and strive to imitate such worthy 

Behold the cloud of witnesses encompassing you round about : a 
cloud like that over the Israelites to direct you ; yea, a cloud for 
multitude of excellent persons to animate and encourage you, Heb. 
xii. 1. "Oh take them for an ensample in suffering affliction and 
*' patience,'' James v. 10. Examples of excellent persons that have 
broken the ice, and beaten the path before us, are of excellent use 
to suppress our fears, and rouse our courage in our own en- 

The first sufferers had the hai'dest task ; they that first entered 
the lists for Christ, wanted those helps to suppress fear which they 
have left unto us. Strange and untried torments are most terrible, 
for magnitudinem rerum. consuetudo subducit, trial and acquaint- 
ance abates the formidable greatness of evils ; they knew not the 
strength of that enemy they were to engage, but we fight with an 
enemy that hath been often beaten and triumphed over by our 
brethren that went before us. Certainly we that live in the last 
times have the best helps that ever any had to subdue their fears ; 
we have heard of the courage and constancy of our brethren, in as 
shai'p trials of their courage as ever we can be called to ; we have 
read with what Christian gallantry they have triumphed over all 
sorts of sufi'erings and torments, how they have been strengthened 
with all might in the inner man unto all patience and long-suffer- 
ing, with joyfulness, Col. i. 11. how they have gone away from the 
courts that censured and punished them, rejoicing that they were 
honoured to be dishonoured for Christ, as the strict reading of 
that text is. Acts v. 41*. counting the reproaches of Christ greater 
riches than the treasures of Egypt, Heb. xi. 26. which at that 
time was the magazine of the world for riches : You read what 
" trials they have had of cruel mockings, yea, moreover of bonds 
" and imprisonments ; how they were stoned, sawn asunder, 
" tempted, slain with the sword, wandered about in sheep's 
'' skins, and goat's skins, destitute, afflicted, tormented, Heb. xi. 


36, 37. In all which they obtained a good report ; they came out 
of the field with triumphant faith and patience ; and this was not 
the effect of an over-heated zeal at the first outset, but the same 
spirit of courage was found among Christians in after ages, who 
have put off their persecutors with a kind of pleasant scorn and 
contempt of torments. 

So did Basil, truly sirnamed the Great, when Valens the em- 
peror in a great rage threatened him with banishment and tor- 
tures ; as to the first said he, f I little regard it : for the eai'th is 
the Lord's, and the fulness thereof; and as for tortures, what 
can they do upon such a poor thin body as mine, nothing but skin 
and bone ? And at another time J, when Eusebius, governor of 
Pontus, told him in a great rage, he would tear his very liver out 
of his bowels : Truly, said Basil, you will do me a very good turn 
in it, to take out my naughty liver ; which inflames and diseaseth 
my whole body. Their enemies have professed the Christians 
put them to shame, by smihng at their cruelties and threatenings. 
Ignatius's love to Christ had so perfectly overcome all fears of 
sufferings, that when he was going to be thrown for a prey among 
the lions and leopards, he professed he longed to be among them, 
and, said he, if they will not dispatch me the sooner, J will pro- 
voke them, that I may be with my sweet Jesus. And if we come 
down to later ages, we shall find as stout champions for Christ. 
The courage and undauntedness of Luther is trumpeted abroad 
throughout the Christian world, it would swell this small tract too 
much, but to note the most eminent instances of his courage for 
Christ : the last he gave was by his sorrow in his last sickness, that 
he must carry his blood to the grave. The like heroic spirit ap- 
peared in divers persons of honour and eminence, who zealously 
espoused the same cause of reformation with him. Remarkable to- 
this purpose is that famous epistle written by Ulricus ab Hutten, 
a German knight, in defence of Luther's cause against the cardinals 
and bishops assembled at Worms. ' I will go through (said he) 
' ^vith what I have undertaken against you, and will stir up men 
' to seek their freedom : such as yield not to me at first, I will 

< overcome with importunity ; I neither care nor fear what may 

* befal me, being prepared for either event ; either to ruin you, 
' to the great benefit of my country, or myself to fall witli a good 

< conscience ; therefore that you may see with what confidence I 

* contemn your threats, I do profess myself to be your irreconcil- 
' able enemy, whilst ye persecute Luther and such as he is. No 
' power of yours, no injury of fortune shall alter this mind in me ; 

f Socrates, hist. 1. 4. c. 2C. 
J Theod. lib. 4. cap. 19. 


* thou£^h you take away my life, yet this well-deserving of mine to* 

* wards my country's liberty, shall not die. I know that my endea- 

* vour to remove such as you are, and to place worthy ministers in 

* your room, is acceptable to God ; and in the last judgment, I 
' trust it will be safer for me to have offended you, than to have 
' had your favour.' 

It was also a brave heroic spirit by which John duke of Saxony 
was acted to defend the reformation, who despising all the favours 
and offers of the court, and of Rome, and the terrors of death 
itself ; appeared, as my author speaks, in its behalf against all the 
devils, and the pope *, in three public imperial assemblies, saying 
openly to their faces, I must serve God, or the world ; and w^hich 
of these two do ye think is the better ? And as soon as Luther's 
sermons were forbidden, he hasted away, saying, I will not stay 
there, where I cannot have my liberty to serve God. 

And now reader, thou hast a little taste of the courage and zeal 
of those worthies who are gone before thee in defence of that cause 
for which thou fearest to suffer. Most men, saith Chrysostom, 
that read or hear such examples, are like the spectators of the 
Roman gladiators, who stood by and praised their courage, but 
durst not enter the lists to do what they did. If ever thou wilt 
get like courage for Christ, thus improve such famous examples. 

1. Make use of them to obviate the prejudice of shigularity ; you 
see you have store of good company, the same things you are like 
to suffer for Christ, have been accomplished in the rest of your 
brethren in the world, 1 Pet. v. 9. 

2. Improve them against the prejudice of all that shame that at- 
tends sufferings, here you may see the most excellent persons in 
the world reckoning it their glory to suffer the \ilest things for 
Jesus Christ, Acts v. 31. Heb. xi. 26. 

3. Improve them against the conceit of the insupportableness of 
sufferings. Lo here, poor weak creatures which have been carried 
honourably and comfortably through the crudest and difficultest 
sufferings for Christ. Our women and children, not to speak of 
men, (saith Tertullian) overcome their tormentors, and the fire 
cannot fetch so much as a sigh from them. 

4. Improve them against thine own unbelief and staggerings at 
the faithfulness of God in that promise, Isa. xhii. 2. " When thou 
" passest through the fire, I will be with thee," Sec. Lo here you 
have the recorded and faithful testimonies of such as have tried it, 
"with one voice witnessing for God, Th?/ zaord is truth, thy word is 

5. Improve them against the sensible weakness of your own 

* Spangenberg, ad an. 1531. 


graces ; are you afraid your faith, love, and patience are too weak 
to carry you through great trials? Why doubtless so were many of 
them too, they were men of like fears, troubled with a bad heart 
and a busy devil as well as you, they also had their clouds and 
damps as you have ; yet the almighty power of God supported 
them ; and out of weakness they were made strong : despond not 
therefore, but get a judgment satisfied, Psal. xliv. 22. a conscience 
sprinkled, 2 Tim. i. 7. and a call cleared, Dan. vi. 10. Exercise 
faith also with respect to Divine assistances and everlasting rewards 
as they did : and doubt not but the same God that enabled them 
to finish their course with joy, will be as good to you as he was to 
them. Consider, Christ hath done as much for you as he did for 
any of them, and deserves as much from you as from any of them ; 
and hath prepared the same gldlry for you that he prepared for 
them : O that such considerations might provoke you to shew as 
much courage and love to Christ as any of them ever did. 

Rule 7. If' ever you will get above the power of your own fears 
in a suffering day make haste to clear your interest in Chi^ist^ and 
your pardon in his blood before that evil day come. 

The clearer this is, the bolder you will be ; an assured Christian 
was never known to be a coward in sufferings ; it is impossible 
to be clear of fears till you are cleared of the doubts about interest 
in, and pardon by Christ. Nothing is found more strengthening to 
our fears than that which clouds our evidences ; and nothing more 
to quiet and cure our fears than that which clears our evidences. 
The shedding abroad of God's love in our hearts will quickly fill 
them with a spirit of glorying in tribulations, Rom. v. 5. When the 
believing Hebrews once came to know in themselves that they had 
an enduring substance in heaven, they quickly found in themselves 
an unconcerned heart for the loss of their comforts on earth, Heb. 
X. 34. and so' should we too. For, 

1. Assurance satisfies a man that his treasure and true happiness 
is secured to him, and laid out of the reach of all his enemies ; and 
so long as that is safe he hath all the reason in the world to be 
quiet and cheerful, " I know (saith Paul) whom I have believed, 
*' and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have 
" committed to him against that day,'' 2 Tim. i. 12. And he 
gives this as his reason why he was not ashamed of Christ's 

2. The assured Christian knows that if death itself come, (which 
is the worst men can inflict) he shall be no loser by the exchange ; 
nay he shall make the best bargain that ever he made since he first 
parted with all his afflictions, to follow Christ. There are two 
rich bargains a Christian makes ; one is, when he exchanges the 


vorld for Christ in his first choice at his conversion, in point of 
love and estimation : the other is, when he actually parts with the 
world for Christ at his dissolution : both these are rich bargains, 
and upon this ground it was the apostle said, " To me to live is 
" Clmst, and to die is gain," Phil. i. 21. The death of a believer 
in Christ, is gain unspeakable, but if a man would make the utmost 
gain by dying, he shall find it in dying for Christ, as well as in 
Christ : and to shew you wherein the gain of such a death lies, 
let a few particulars be weighed, wherein the gain will be cast up 
in both ; he that is assured he dies in Christ, knows, 

1. That his living time is his labouring time, but his dying time 
is his harvest time ; whilst we live we are plowing and sowing in 
all the duties of religion, but when we die, then we reap the fruit 
and comforts of all our labours and duties, Gal. vi. 8, 9. As much 
therefore as the reaping time is better than the sowing and plowing 
time, so much better is the death than the life of a believer. 

2. A believers living time is his fighting time, but his dying 
time is his conquering and triumphing time, 1 Cor. xv. 55, 56. 
The conflict is sharp, but the triumph is sweet; and as much as 
victory and triumph are better than fighting, so much is death bet- 
ter than life to him that dieth in Jesus. 

3. A believer's living time is his tiresome and weary time, but 
his dying time is his resting and sleeping time. Isa. Ivii. 2. Here 
we spend and faint, there we rest in our beds, and as much as re- 
freshing rest in sleep is better than tiring and fainting, so much is a 
believer s death better than his life. 

4. A believer's living time is his waiting and longing time, but 
his time of dying is the time of enjoying what he hath long wished 
and waited for, Phil. i. 23. here we groan and sigh for Christ, 
there we behold and enjoy Christ, and so much as vision and frui- 
tion are better and sweeter than hoping and waiting for it; so 
much is a believer's death better than his life. 

2. As the advantage a believer makes of death is great to him 
by dying only in Christ ; so it is much greater, and the richest 
improvement that can be made of death, to die^r Christ as well 
as in Christ : for compare them in a few particulars, and you shall 

1. That though a natural death hath less horror, yet a violent 
death for Christ hath more honour in it. To him that dies united 
with Christ, the grave is a bed of rest ; but to him that dies as a 
martyr for Christ, the grave is a bed of honour. " To you (saith 
*' the apostle) it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe 
" but also to suffer for his sake,'' Phil. i. 22. To you it is grant- 
ed as a great honour and favour to suffer for Christ ; all that live 
in Christ have not the honour to lay down their lives for Christ. 


It was the great trouble of Ludovicus Marsacus *, a knight of 
France, to be exempted because of his dignity from wearing his 
chain for Christ, as the other prisoners did : and he resented it as a 
great injury. " Give me (saith he to his keeper) my chain as well 
" as they, and create me a kniglit of that noble order." 

2. By a natural death we only submit ourselves to the unavoid- 
able consequence of sin, but in dying a violent death for Christ, 
we give our testimony against the evil of sin, and for the ])recious 
truths of Jesus Christ. The first is the payment of a debt of justice 
due by the fall of Adam ; the second is the payment of a debt of 
thankfulness and obedience due to Christ, who redeemed us with 
his own blood. Thus we become witnesses for God, as well as 
sufferers, upon the account of sin : in the first, sin witnesseth against 
us, in this we witness against it ; and indeed it is a great testimony 
against the evil of sin : we declare to all the world that there is not 
so much evil in a dungeon, in a bloody ax, or consuming flames, 
as there is in sin : that it is far better to lose our carnal friends, 
estates, liberties, and lives, than part with Christ's truths and a 
good conscience, as -|- Zuinglius said, " What sort of death should 
" not a Christian chuse, what punishment should he not rather 
" undergo ; yea, into what vault of hell should he not rather chuse 
" to be cast, than to witness against truth and conscience."" 

3. A natural death in Christ may be as safe to ourselves, but a 
violent death for Christ will be more beneficial to others ; by the 
former we shall come to heaven ourselves, but by the latter we 
may bring many souls thither. The blood of the martyrs is truly 
called the seed of the church. Many waxed confident by Paul's 
bonds, his sufferings fell out to the furtherance of the gospel, and 
so may ours : in this case a Christian like Samson, doth greater 
service against Satan and his cause, by his death, than by his life. 

If we only die a natural death in our beds, we die in possession 
of the truths of Christ ourselves : but if we die martyrs for Christ, 
we seciu-e that precious inheritance to the generations to come, and 
those that are yet unborn shall bless God, not only for his truths, 
but for our courage, zeal, and constancy, by which it was preserved 
for them, and transmitted to them. 

By all this you see that death to a believer is great gain, it is 
great gain if he only die in Chiist, it is all that, and a great deal 
more added, if he also die for Christ : and he that is assured of 
such advantages by death either way, must needs feel his fears of 
death shrink away before such assurances; yea, he >vill rather 
have hfe in patience, and death in desire ; he will not only submit 

* Cur me non quoque torque donas, et illustris iilins ordinis viilitem iion creas ? 
f Qnas lion oportet merles praceligere, quod non supplidum potius Jerre, imo in qnam 
ItroJ'andam inferni abr/ssitm non intrare^ qna/n contra conscientiam attestari ? 


quietly, but rejoice exceedingly to be used by God in such honour- 
able employment *. Assurance will call a bloody death a safe pas- 
sage to Canaan through the Red sea. It will call Satan that insti- 
gates these his instruments, and all that are employed in such bloody 
work by him, so many Balaams brought to curse, but they do in- 
deed bless the people of God, and not curse them. The assured 
Christian looks upon his death as his wedding-day, Rev. xix. 7. 
And therefore it doth not much differ whether the horse sent to 
fetch him to Christ be pale, or red, so he may be with Christ, his 
love, as Ignatius called him. 

He looks upon death as his day of enlargement out of prison, 2 
Cor. V. 8. and it is not much odds what hand opens the door, or 
whether a friend or enemy close his eyes, so he have his Hberty, 
and may be with Christ. 

O then, give the Lord no rest, till your hearts be at rest by the 
assurance of his love, and the pardon of your sins ; when you can 
"boldly say the Lord is your help, you mil quickly say what imme- 
diately follows, / will not fear what man can do unto me, Heb. xiii. 
6. And why, if thy heart be upright, mayest t^hou not attain it ? 
Full assurance is possible, else it had not been put into the com- 
mand, 2 Pet. i. 10. The sealing graces are in you, the sealing 
Spirit is ready to do it for you, the sealing promises belong to you ; 
but we give not all diligence, and therefore go without the comfort 
of it. Would we pray more, and strive more, would we keep our 
hearts with a stricter watch, mortify sin more thoroughly, and walk 
before God more accurately ; how soon may we attain this blessed 
assurance, and in it an excellent cure for our distracting and slavish 

Rule 8. Let him that designs to free himself of distracting fears, 
he careful io maintain the purity of his conscience, and integrity of 
his ways, in the whole cou,rse of his conversation in this world. 

Uprightness will give us boldness, and purity will yield us peace. 
Isa. xxxii. 17. " The work of righteousness shall be peace, and 
" the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance for ever."" 
Look as fear follows guilt and guile, so peace and quietness follow 
righteousness and sincerity, Prov. xxviii. 1. The wicked flee when 
no man pursueth, but the rigldeous are hold as a lion. His confi- 
dence is great, because his conscience is quiet, the peace of God 
guards his heart and mind. There are three remarkable steps by 
which Christians rise to the height of courage in tribulations, Rom. v. 
1, 2, 3, 4. First they are justified and acquitted from guilt by faith, 
ver. 1. Then they are brought into a state of favour and accep- 
tation with God, ver. 2. Thence they rise one step higher, even 

* Thej are rather delights to us than torments. Basil. 


Id a view of heaven and the glory to come, ver. 3. and from thence 
they take an easy step to glory in tribulations, ver. 4. 

I say, it is an easy step ; for let a man once obtain the pardon of 
sin, the favour of God, and a believing view and prospect of the 
glory to come ; and it is so easy to triumph in tribulation, in such 
a station as that is, that it will be found as hard to hinder it, as to 
hinder a man from laughing when he is tickled. 

Christians have always found it a spring of courage and comfort, 
2 Cor. i. 12. " For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our con- 
" sciences, that in simplicity, and godly sincerity, not with fleshly 
" wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversa^ 
" tion in the world." Their hearts did not reproach them with 
by-ends in religion: their consciences vritnessed that they made 
not religion a cloak to cover any fleshly design, but were sincere in 
what they professed : and this enabled them to rejoice in the midst 
of sufferings. An earthen vessel set empty on the fire will crack 
and fly in pieces, and so will an hypocritical, formal, and mere no- 
minal Christian : but he that hath such substantial and real princi- 
ples of courage as these within him, will endure the trial, and be 
never the worse for the fire. 

The very Heathens discovered the advantage of moral inte- 
grity, and the peace it yielded to their natural consciences in times 
of trouble. 

Nil conscire iibi, nulla pallescere culpa, 
Hie mui'us ahcueus esto. — * 

It was to them as a wall of brass. Much more will godly simpli- 
city, and the sprinkling of the blood of Christ upon our consciences 
secure and encourage our hearts. This atheistical age laughs con- 
science and purity to scorn ; but let them laugh, this is it which 
will make thee laugh when they shall cry. Paul exercised himself, 
or made it his business, " To have always a conscience void of of- 
" fence, both towards God and towards man," Acts xxiv. 16 f. 
And it was richly worth his labour, it re-paid him ten thousand 
fold in the peace, courage, and comfort it gave him in all the trou- 
bles of his life, which were great and many. 

Conscience must be the bearing shoulder on which the burden 
must lie, beware therefore it be not galled with guilt, or put out 

* Nil conscire tjc. Englished thus, 

Be this thy brazen bulwark of defence, 
Still to preserve thy conscious innocence. 
Nor e'er turn pale with guilt.—— 

T ACxoi meditor, oj?eram dp. 


of joint by any fall into sin, it is sad bearing on such a shoulder; 
instead of bearing your burdens, you will not be able to bear its 
pain and anguish. To prevent this carefully, observe these rules. 

1. Over-awe your hearts every day, and in every place with the 
eye of God. This walking as before God will keep you upright. 
Gen. xvii. 1. If you so speak and live as those that know God 
sees you, such will be your uprightness, that you will not care if 
all the world see you too. An artist came to Drusius, and of- 
fered to build him an house, so contrived, that he might do what 
he would "within doors, and no man see him : Nay, said Drusius, 
so build it that every one may see. 

2. Do no action, undertake no design, that you dare not pre- 
face with prayer ; this is the rule, Phil. iv. 6. Touch not that 
you dare not pray for a blessing upon ; if you dare not pray, dare 
not to engage ; if you cannot spend your prayers before, be confi- 
dent, shame and guilt will follow after. 

3. Be more afraid of grieving God, or wounding conscience, 
than of displeasing or losing all the friends you have in the world 
besides; look upon every adventure upon sin to escape danger to 
be the same thing as if you should sink the ship to avoid one that 
you take to be a pirate ; or as the fatal mistake of two vials, where- 
in there is poison and physic. 

4. What counsel you would give another, that give yourselves 
when the case shall be your own ; your judgment is most clear, 
when interest is least felt. David's judgment was very upright 
when he judged himself in a remote parable. 

5. Be willing to bear the faithful reproofs of your faults from 
men, as the reproving voice of God ; for they are no less when 
duly administered. This will be a good help to keep you upright, 
Psal. cxxxv. 23, 24. " Let the righteous smite me, &c. It is said 
of Sir Anthony Cope, that he shamed none so much as himself in 
his family-prayers, and desired the ministers of his acquaintance 
not to favour his faults ; but tell me, said he, and spare not. 

6. Be mmdful daily of your dpng-day, and your great audit-day, 
and do all with respect to them. Thus keep your integrity and 
peace, and that will keep out your fears and terrors. 

Rule 9. Carefully record the experiences of God'^s care over you, 
and faitl fulness to you in all your past dangers and distresses, and 
apply thejii to the cure of your present fears and despondencies. 

Recorded experiences are excellent remedies, Exod. xvii. 14. 
^' Write this for a memorial in a book, and rehearse it in the ears 
" of Joshua.'' There were two things in that record ; the victory 
obtained over Amalek, and the way of obtaining it by incessant 
prayer : and there are two things to be done to secure this mercy 
for their use and benefit in future fears, it must be recorded 


and rehearsed, preserved from oblivion, and seasonably produced 
for relief. 

There are two special assistances given us against fear by expe- 

1. It abates the terror of sufferings. 

2. It assists faith in the promises. 

1. Experience greatly abates the terror of sufferings, and makes 
them less formidable and scaring than otherwise they would be. 
Fear saith, they are great waters, and will drown us ; experience 
saith, they are much shallower than we think, and are safely ford- 
able ; others have, and we may pass through the Red sea, and not 
be over-whelmed. Fear saith, the pains of death are unconceivable, 
sharp, and bitter, the living little know what the dying feel ; and 
to lie in a stinking prison in continual expectation of a cruel death, 
is an unsupportable evil : Experience contradicts all these false re- 
ports which make our hearts faint, as the second spies did the 
daunting stories of the first ; and assures us prisons and death are 
not, when we come home to them for Christ, what they seem and 
appear to be at a distance. O what a good report have those faith- 
ful men given, who have searched and tried these things f who have 
gone down themselves into the valley of the shadow of death, and 
seen what there is in a prison, and in death itself, so long as they 
were in sight and hearing, able by words or signs to contradict our 
false notions of it. Oh what a sweet account did Pomponius Alge- 
rius give of his stinking prison at Lyons in France ! dating all his 
letters whilst he was there. From the delectable orchard of the Leon- 
ine prison ; and when carried to Venice, in a letter from the prison 
there, he writes thus to his Christian friend ; / shall utter that which 
scarce any will believe^ I have found a nest of honey in the entrails 
of a lio7i, a paradise of pleasure in a deep darlc dungeon^ iii a place 
of sorrow and death, tranquillity of hope and life. Oh ! here it is 
that the Spirit of God and of glory rests upon us. 

So blessed Mr. Philpot, our own martyr, in one of his sweet en- 
couraging letters : ' Oh how my heart leaps (saith he) that I am 
' so near to eternal bliss ! God forgive me my unthankfulness and 

* un worthiness of so great glory. I have so much joy of the re- 

* ward prepared for me, the most wretched sinner, that though I 

* be in the place of darkness and mourning, yet I cannot lament, 

* but am night and day so joyful, as though I were under no cross 

* at all ; in all the days of my life I was never so joyful, the name 

* of the I^ord be praised.' 

Others have given the signals agreed upon betwixt them and 
their friends in the midst of the flames, thereby, to the last, con- 
firming this truth, that God makes the inside* of sufferings quite 
another thing to what the appearance and outside of them is to 

Vol. IH. U 


sense. Thus the experience of others abates the terrors of suffer^ 
ings to you ; and all this is fully confirmed by the personal ex- 
perience you yourselves have had of the supports and comforts 
of God, wherein soever you have conscientiously suffered for hig 

2. And this cannot but be a singular assistance to your faith ; 
your own and others experiences, just like Aaron and Hur, stay 
up the hands of faith on the one side and the other, that they 
hang not down, whilst your fears, like those Amalekites, fall be- 
fore you. For what is experience, but the bringing down of the 
divine promises to the test of sense and feeling ? It is our duty to 
believe the promises without trial and experiments, but it is easier 
to do it after so many trials ; so that your own and others expe- 
riences, carefully recorded and seasonably applied, would be food 
to your faith, and a cure to many of your fears in a suffering 

Rule 10. You€an never free yourself from sinful fear s^ till yoio 
thorouglily believe and consider Chrisfs j^rovidential kingdom over 
all the creatures and affairs in this lower world. 

Poor timorous souls ! is there not a King, a supreme Lord, 
under whom devils and men are ? Hath not Christ the reins of go- 
vernment in his hands? Mat. xxviii. 18. Phil. ii. 9, 10, 11, 12. 
John xvii. 2. Were this dominion of Christ, and dependence of 
all creatures on him, well studied and believed, it would cut oft* 
both our trust in men, and our fear of men ; we should soon dis- 
cern they have no power either to help us or to hurt us, but what 
they receive from above. Our enemies are apt to over-rate their 
own power, in their pride, and we are as apt to over-rate it too 
in our fears. Knowest thou not (saith Pilate to Christ) that I have 
jjower to crucify thee^ and I have power to release thee ? q. d. Re- 
fusest thou to answer me ? dost thou not know who and what I am ? 
Yes, yes, saith Christ, I know thee well enough to be a poor im- 
potent creature, who hast no power at all but what is given thee 
from above ; I know thee, and therefore do not fear thee. But 
we are apt to take their own boasts for truth, and believe their 
power to be such as they vainly vogue it to be ; whereas in truth 
all our enemies are sustained by Christ, Col. i. 17. they are bound- 
ed and limited by Christ, Rev. ii. 10. Providence hath its in- 
fluences upon their hearts and wills immediately, Jer. xv. 11. 
Psal. cvi. 46. so that they cannot do whatever they would do, but 
their wills as well as their hands are ordered by Ood. Jacob was 
in Laban's and in Esau's hands ; both hated him, but neither could 
hurt him. David was in Saufs hand, who Ijunted for him as a 
prey, yet is forced to dismiss him quietly, blessing instead of slay- 
ing him. Melancthon and Pomeron both fell into the hands of 


Charles V. than whom Christendom had not a more prudent 
prince, nor the church of Christ a fiercer enemy ; yet he treats 
these great and active reformers gently, dismisseth them freely, not 
once forbidding them to preach or print the doctrine which he so 
much opposed and hated. 

Oh Christian ! if ever thou wilt get above thy fears, settle these 
things upon thy heart by faith. 

1. That the reins of government are in Christ's hands; ene- 
mies, like wild liorses, may prance and tramp up and down the 
world, as though they would tread down all that are in their way ; 
but the bridle of providence is in their mouths, and upon their 
proud necks, 2 Kings xix. 28. and that bridle hath a strong 

2. The care of the saints properly pertains to Christ; he is the 
head of the body, Eph. i. 22, 23. our consulting head ; and it 
were a reproach and dishonour to Christ, to fill our heads with dis^ 
tracting cares and fears, when we have so wise an head to consult 
and contrive for us. 

3. You have lived all your days upon the care of Christ hither- 
to; no truth is more manifest than this, that there hath been a 
wisdom beyond your own, that hath guided your ways, Jer. x. 23. 
a power above your own, that hath supported your burdens, Psal. 
Ixxiii. 26. a spring of relief out of yourselves that hath supplied 
all your wants, Luke xxiii. 35. He hath performed all things for 

4. Jesus Christ hath secured his people by many promises to take 
care of them, how dangerous soever the times shall be, Eccl. viii. 
12. Psal. Ixxvi. 10. Amos ix. 8, 9. Rom. viii. 28. Oh ! if these 
things were thoroughly believed and well improved, fears could no 
more distract or afflict our hearts, than storms or clouds could 
trouble the upper region : but we forget his providences and pro- 
mises, and so are justly left in the hands of our own fears to be af- 
flicted for it. 

Rule 11. Subject your ca7"nal reasonings tojaith^ and keep your 
thoughts more binder the government of faith ^ fever you expect a 
composed and quiet heart in distracting evil times. 

He tliat layeth aside the rules of faith, and measures all things 
by the rule of his own shallow reason, will be his own bugbear ; if 
reason may be permitted to judge all things, and to make its own 
inferences and conclusions from the aspects and appL^arances of 
second causes, your hearts shall have no rest day nor night : this 
alone will keep you in continual alarms. 

And yet liow apt are the best men to measure things by this 
rule, and to judge of all God's designs and mvstc ous providences 

U 2 


by it ! In other things it is the judge and arbiter, and therefore we 
would make it so here too ; and what it concludes and dictates we 
are prone to believe, because its dictates are backed and befriended 
by sense, whence it gathers its inteligence and information. O quam 
sapiens argumcntairia: sib'i videhir ratio humana f How wise and 
strong do its arguments and conclusions seem to us ! saith Luther. 
This carnal reason is the thing that puts us into such confusions of 
mind and thoughts. It is this that, 

1. Quarrels with the promises, shakes their credit, and our confi- 
dence in them, Exod. v. 22, 23. 

2. It is this that boldly limits the divine power, and assigns it 
boundaries of its own fixing, Psal. Ixxviii. 20, .41. 

4. It is carnal reason that draws desperate conclusions from pro- 
vidential appearances and aspects, 1 Sam. xxvii. 1. and prognosti- 
cates our ruin from them. 

4. It is this carnal reason that puts us upon sinful shifts and in- 
direct courses to deliver and save ourselves from danger, which do 
but the more perplex and entangle us, Isa. xxx. 15, 16. 

0. It is mostly from our arrogant reasonings that our thoughts 
are discomposed and divided ; from this fountain it is that they flow 
into our hearts in multitudes when dangers are near, Psal. xciv. 16. 
and xlii. 1. 

All these mischiefs owe themselves to the exorbitant actings and 
intrusions of our carnal reasons ; but these things ought not to be 
so, this is beside rule. For, 

1. Thouo>h there be nothing in the matters of faith or provi- 
dence contrary to right reason, yet there are many things in both, 
quite above the reach, and beyond the ken of reason, Isa. Iv. 8. 

2. The confident dictates of reason are frequently confuted by 
experience all the world over : it is every day made a har, and 
the frights it puts us into, proved to be vain and groundless, Isa. 
H. 13. 

Nothing can be better for us, than to resign up our reason to 
faith, to see all things through the promises, and trust God over 
all events. 

Rule 12. To conclude, exalt the fear of God in your hearts, and 
let it gain the ascendant over all your other fears. 

This is the prescription in ray text for the cure of all our slavish 
fears, and indeed all the fore-mentioned rules for the cure of sinful 
fears run into this, and are reducible to it. For, 

1. Doth the knowledge and application of the covenant of grace 
cure our fears ? The fear of God is both a part of that covenant, 
and an evidence of our interest in it, Jer. xxxii. 40. 

2. Doth sinful fear plunge men into such distresses of conscience ? 


AVhy, the fear of God will preserve your ways clean and pure, 
Psal. xix. 9. and so those mischiefs will be prevented. 

3. Doth foresight and provision for evil days prevent distracting 
fears when they come ? Nothing like the fear of God enables us to 
such a prevision and provision for them, Heb. xi. 7. 

4. Do we relieve ourselves against fear by committing all to 
God ? Surely it is the fear of God that drives us to him as our only 
asylum and sure refuge, Mai. iii. 16. They feared God, and thought 
ttpon Ms name, i. c. they meditated on his name, whicli was their 
refuge, his attributes their chambers of rest. 

5. Must our affections to the world be mortified before our 
fears can be subdued.^ This is the instrument of mortification, 
Neh. V. 15. 

6. Do the worthy examples of those that are gone before us, 
tend to the cure of our cowardice and fears ? Why, the fear of 
God will provoke in you an holy self-jealousy, lest you fail of the 
grace they manifested, and come short of those excellent patterns, 
Heb. xii. 15. 

7. Is the assurance of interest in God, and the pardon of sin 
such an excellent antidote against slavish fear.? Why, he that 
walks in the fear of God, shall walk in the comforts of the Holy 
Ghost also, Acts ix. 31. 

8. Is integrity of heart and way such a fountain of courage in 
evil times ? Know, reader, no grace promotes this integrity and 
uprightness more than the fear of God doth, Prov. xvi. 6. and 
xxiii. 17. 

9. Do the reviving of past experiences suppress sinful fears ? 
No doubt this was the subject which the fear of God put them 
upon, for mutual encouragement, Mai. iii. 16. 

10. Are the providences of God in this world such cordials 
against fear ? The fear of God is the very character and mark of 
those persons over whom his providence shall watch in the difRcult- 
est times, Eccles. viii. 12. 

11. Doth our trusting in our own reason, and making it our 
rule and measure, breed so many fears ? AVhy, the fear of God 
will take men off from such self-confidence, and bring them to trust 
the faithful God with all doubtful issues, and events, as the \cYy 
scope of my text fully manifests. Fear not their fear : their fear, 
moving by the direction of carnal reason, drove them not to God, 
but to the Assyrian for help. Follow not you their example in 
this. But how shall they help it ? Why, sanctify the Lord of 
Hosts, and make Mm your fear. 




Answering the most material pleas for slavish Jears, and dissolving 
the common objections against courage and constancy of mind in 
tivies of danger. 

_l HE pleas and excuses for our cowardly faintness in the day of 
trouble are endless, and so would his task be that should under- 
take particularly to answer them all. It is but the cutting off 
an Hydrops head, when one is gone, ten more start up ; what is 
most material I ^^^ll here take into consideration. When good 
men (for with such I am dealing in this chapter) see a formidable 
face and appearance of sharp and bloody times approaching them, 
they begin to tremble, their hearts faint, and their hands hang- 
down with unbecoming despondency, and pusillanimity ; their 
thoughts are so distracted, their reason and faith so clouded by 
their fears, that their temptations are thereby exceedingly strength- 
ened upon them, and their principles and professions brought under 
the derision and contempt of their enemies : and if their brethren, 
to whom God hath given more courage and constancy, and 
who discern the mischief like to ensue from their uncomely carri- 
age, admonish and advise them of it : they have abundance of pleas 
and defences for their fears, yea, when they reason the point of 
sufPering in their own thoughts, and the matter is debated (as in 
such times it is common) betwixt faith and fear, O what endless 
work do their fears put upon their faith, to solve all the huts and 
ifs which their fears will object or suppose. 

Some of the principal of them I think it worth while here io 
consider, and endeavour to satisfy, that, if possible, I may prevail 
with all gracious persons to be more magnanimous. And first of 

Pita 1. Sufferings for Christ are strange things to the Christians 
of this age, we have had the happy lot to fall into milder times 
than the primitive Christians did, or those that struggled in our 
own land in the beginning of reformation ; and therefore we may 
be excused for our fears, by reason of our own unacquaintedness 
with sufferings in our times. 

Answer 1. One fault is but a bad excuse for another, why are 
sufferings such strangers to you .? Why did you not cast upon 
them in the days of peace, and reckon that such days must come ? 
Did you not covenant with Christ to follow him whithersoever he 
should go, to take up your cross, and follow him .? And did not 
the word plainly tell you, that " All that will live godly in Christ 


" Jesus must suffer persecution,'' 2 Tim. iii. 12. " And that 
" we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of 
'' God," Acts xiv. 22. Did we fall asleep in quiet and prosper- 
ous days, and dream of halcyon days all our time on earth ? that 
the mountain of our prosperity stood strong, and we should never 
be moved .^ That we should die in our nest, and multiply our days 
as the sand; Babylon's children indeed dream so. Rev. xviii. 7. 
but the children of Sion should be better instructed. Alas ! how 
soon may the brightest day be overcast ? The weather is not so 
variable, as the state of the church in this world is ; now a calm. 
Acts ix. 31. and then a storm, Acts xii. 1, 2. You could not 
but know what contingent and variable things all things on earth 
are ; why then did you delude yourselves with such fond dreams ? 
But as a learned man * rightly observes, Mundus senescens patitur 
phantasias. The older the world grows, the more drowsy and dot- 
ting it still grows, and these are the days in which the wise as well 
as the foolish virgins slumber. Sure it is but a bad plea, after so 
many warnings from the w^ord, and from the rod to say, I did not 
think of such times, I dreamed not of them. 

2. Or if you say, though you have conversed with death and 
sufferings by speculation, yet you lived not in such times wherein 
you might see (as other sufferers did) the encouraging faith, patience 
and zeal of others set before your eyes in a lively pattern and ex^ 
ample. Sufferings were not only familiarized to them by frequency, 
but facilitated also by the daily examples of those that went before 

But think you indeed that nothing but encouragement and 
advantage to followers, arose from the trials of those that went be- 
fore.? Alas, there were sometimes the greatest damps and discourage- 
ments imaginable ; the zeal of those that followed have often been 
inflamed by the faintings of those that were tried before them. 
In the seventh persecution under Decius, anno 250, there were 
standing before the tribunal, certain of the warriors or knights, 
viz. Amnion, Zenon, Ptolomeus, Ingenuus, and a certain aged 
man called Theophilus, who all standing by as spectators when a 
certain Christian was examined, and there seeing him for fear, 
ready to decline, and fall away, did almost burst for sorrow within 
themselves: they made signs to him with their hands, and all 
gestures of the body to be constant ; this being noted by all the 
standers by, they were ready to lay hold upon them ; but they 
preventing the matter, pressed up of their own accord, before the 
bench of the judge, professing themselves to be Christians, insomuch 
that both the president and the benchers were all astonished, and 

• Gerson. 

U 4 

81 4j a practical treatise of fear. 

the Christians which were judged, the more encouraged. Such 
damping spectacles the Christians of former ages had frequently set 
before them. 

And it was no small trial to some of them, to hear the faintings 
and abnegation of those that went before them, pleaded against 
their constancy ; as in the time of Valens, it was urged by the per- 
secutors ; Those that came to their trial before you, have acknow- 
leged their errors, begged our pardon, and returned to us : and 
why will you stand it out so obstinately ? But the Christians answer- 
ed, Nos hac potissimum ratione viriUter stablnius, For this very 
reason ice "will stand to it the more manjidlij, to repair their scandal, 
by our greater courage for Christ. These were the helps and ad- 
vantages they often had in those days, therefore lay not so much 
stress upon that ; their courage undoubtedly flowed from an higher 
spring and better principle, than the company they suffered with. 

3. And if precedents and experiences of others to break the ice 
before you, be so great an advantage, surely we that live in these 
latter times have the most and best helps of that nature that ever 
any people in the world had. You have all their examples record- 
ed* for your encouragement, and therefore think it not strarige con- 
cerning the fiery trial, as though some strange thing had happened 
to you, as the apostle speaks, 1 Pet. iv. 12. This plea is vreighed, 
and no great weight found in it. 

Plea 2. But my nature is soft and tender, my constitution more 
weak and subject to the impressions of fear tiian others : some that 
have robust bodies, and hardy stout minds, may better grapple with 
such difficulties than I can, who by constitution and education, am 
altogether unfit to grapple with those torments, that I have not pa- 
tience enough to hear related ; my heart faints and dies within me, 
if I do but read, or hear of the barbarous usages of the martyrs, and 
therefore I may well be excused for my fears and faint-heartedness, 
when the case is like to be my own. 

Answer 1. It is a great mistake to think that the mere strength 
of natural constitution, can carry any one through such sufferings 
for Christ, or that natural tenderness and weakness divinely assist- 
ed, cannot bear the heaviest burden that ever G6d laid upon the 
shoulders of any sufferer for Christ. Our suffering and bearing 
abilities are not from nature, but from grace. We find men of 
strong bodies and resolute daring minds, have fainted in the time 
of trial. Dr. Pendleton, in our own story, was a man of a robust 
and massy body, and a resolute daring mind ; yet when he came 
to the trial, he utterly fainted and fell off. On the other side, 
what poor feeble bodies have sustained the greatest torments, and 
out of weakness have been made strong ! Heb. xi. 34. The virgin 
Eulalia, of Emerita in Portugal, was young and tender, but twelve 


years old, and with much indulgence and tenderness brought up in 
an honourable family, being a person of considerable quality ; yet 
how courageously did she sustain the most cruel torments for 
Christ! When the judge fawned upon her with this tempting lan- 
guage, " Why wilt thou kill thyself, so young a flower, and so 
" near those honourable marriages and great dowries thou mightest 
" enjoy ?" Instead of returning a retracting or double answer, 
Eulalia threw down the idol, and spurned abroad with her feet the 
heap of incense prepared for the censers ; and when the executioner 
came to her, she entertained him with this language : * " Go to, 
** thou hangman, burn, cut, mangle thou these earthly members ; 
" it is an easy matter to break a brittle substance, but the inward 
" mind thou shalt not hurt.'"* And when one joint was pulled from 
another, she said, " Behold what a pleasure it is for them, oh 
" Christ ! that remember thy triumphant victories, to attain unto 
" those high dignities."" So that our constitutional strength is not 
to be made the measure of our passive fortitude : God can make 
the feeblest and tenderest persons stand, when strong bodies, and 
blustering, resolute, and daring minds faint and fall. 

2. Are our bodies so weak, and hearts so tender, that we can 
bear no suffering for Christ ? Then we are no way fit to be his 
followers. Christianity is a warfare, and Christians must endure 
hardships, 2 Tim. ii. 3. Delicacy and tenderness is as odd a sight 
in a Christian, as it is in a soldier ; and we cannot be Chrisf s dis- 
ciples, except we deliberate the terms, and having considered well 
what it is like to cost us, do resolve, in the strength of God, to run 
the hazard of all with him and for him. It is in vain to talk of a 
religion that we think not worthy the suffering and enduring any 
great matter for. 

3. And if indeed, reader, thy constitution be so delicate and 
tender, that thou art not able to bear the thoughts of torments for 
Christ, how is it that thou art not more terrified Avith the torments 
of hell, which all they that deny Christ on earth must feel and bear 
eternally ? Oh, what is the wrath of man, in comparison with the 
wrath of God ? but as the bite of a flea to the rendings of a lion. 
This is the consideration propounded by Christ, in Matth. x. 28. 
" Fear not them who kill the body, but are not able to kill the 
" soul ; but rather fear him who is able to destroy both soul and 
" body in hell." The infinite and insupportable wrath of the great 
and terrible God, should make our souls shrink and shake at the 
thoughts of it, rather than the sufferings of the flesh, which ara but 
for a moment. 

4. Know that the wisdom and tenderness of thy Father will pro- 

Acts and Mon. V. I . p. 1 20. 


portion the burden thou must bear to thy back that must bear 
it ; he will debate in measure, and not overload thy feeble shoul- 
ders : thou shalt find those things easy in trial, that now seem in- 
supportable in the terrible prospect ; a way of escape or support 
will certainly be opened, that thou mayest be able to bear it. 

Pka 3. But others plead the sad experiences they have had of 
their o\mi feebleness and weakness in former trials and exercises of 
an inferior nature, in which their faith and patience hath failed 
them : and how can they imagine they shall ever be able to stand 
in the fiercest and most fiery trial ? If we have run with the foot- 
men, and they have wearied us in the land of peace, how shall 
we then contend with horses in the swellings of Jordan, Jer. 
xii. 5. 

Ansrcer 1. AVe are strong or weak in all our trials, be they great 
or small, according to the assisting grace we receive from above ; 
if he leave us in a common and light trial to our own strength, it 
will be our over-match, and if he assist us in great and extraordi- 
nary trials, we shall be more than conquerors. At one time Abra- 
ham could offer up his only son to God with his own hand ; at 
another time he is so afraid of his life, that he acts very unsuitably 
to the character of a believer, and was shamefully rebuked for it 
by Abimelech. At one time David could say. Though an host en- 
camp against mc, I will not fear ; at another time he feigns himself 
mad, and acted beneath himself, both as a man, and as a man en- 
riched with so much faith and experience. At one time Peter is 
afraid to be interrogated by a maid; at another time he could 
boldly confront the whole council, and omu Christ and his truths 
to their faces. In extraordinary trials we may warrantably expect 
extraordinary assistances, and bv them we shall be carried through 
the greatest, how often soever we have failed in smaller trials. 

2. The design and end of God's giving us experience of our own 
weakness in lesser troubles, is not to discourage and daunt us 
against we come to greater, (which is the use Satan here makes of 
it,) but to take us off from self-confidence and self-dependence ; to 
make us see our own weakness, that we may more heartily and 
humbly betake ourselves to him in the way of faith and fervent 

Flea 4. But some will object that they cannot help their fears 
and tremblings when anv danger appears ; because fear is the dis- 
ease, at least the sad effect and symptom of disease, with which 
God hath wounded them : a deep and fixed melancholy hath so 
far prevailed, that the least trouble overcomes them ; if any sad 
afflictive providence befal, or but threaten them, their fears pre- 
sently rise, and their hearts sink, sleep departs, thoughts tumul- 
tuate, the bbod boils, and the whole frame of nature is put into 


disorder. If therefore the Lord should permit such great and 
dreadful trials to befal them, they can think of nothing less than 
dying by the hand of their own fears, before the hand of any ene- 
my touch them ; or, which is a thousand times worse, be driven by 
their own fears into the net of temptation, even to deny the Lord 
that bought them. 

Ansxcer. This I know is the sad case of many gracious persons, 
and I have reason to pity those that are thus exercised : O it is a 
lieavy stroke, a dismal state, a deep wound indeed : but yet the 
wisdom of God hath ordered this affliction upon his people for 
gracious ends and uses; hereby they are made the more tender 
and watchful, circumspect and careful in their ways, that they may 
shun and escape as many occasions of trouble as they can, being so 
unable to grapple with them. I say not but there are higher and 
nobler motives that make them circumspect and tender, but yet the 
preservation of our own quietness is useful in its place, and it is a 
mercy if that or any thing else be sanctified to prevent sin, and pro- 
mote care of duty. This is your clog to keep you from straying. 

2. And when you shall be called forth to greater trials, that 
which you now call your snare, may be your advantage, and that 
in divers respects. 

1. These very distempers of body and mind serve to imbitter 
the comforts and pleasures of this world to you, and make life it- 
self less desirable to you than it is to others; they much wean 
your hearts from, and make life more burdensome to vou than it 
is to others, who enjoy more of the pleasure and sweetness of it 
than you can do. I have often thought this to be one design and 
end of providence, in permitting such distempers to seize so many 
gracious persons as labour under them ; and providence knows how 
to make use of this effect to singular purpose and advantage to you, 
when a call to suffering shall come ; this may have its place and 
use under higher and more spiritual considerations, to facilitate 
death, and make your separation from this world the more easy to 
you * ; for though it be a more noble and raised act of faith and 
self-denial to offer up to God our lives, when they are made most 
pleasant and desirable to us upon natural accounts, yet it is not so 
easy to part with them as it is when God hath first imbittered them 
to us. Your lives are of little value to you now, because of this bur- 
densome clog you must draw after you, but if you should increase 
your burden by so horrid an addition of guilt, as the denying 

• It was common with tlie martyrs to sweeten death to themselves, by reckoning 
what infirmities it would cure them of, one of his blindness, another of his lameness, 


Christ or his known truths would do, you would not know what 
to do with such a hfe ; it would certainly lie upon your hands as a 
burthen. God knows how to use these things in the way of his 
providence to your great advantage. 

2. Art thou a poor melancholy and timorous person ? Certainly 
if thou be gracious as well as timorous, this will drive thee nearer 
to God ; and the greater thy dangers are, the more frequent and 
fervent will thy addresses to him be : thou feelest the need of ever- 
lasting arms underneath thee to bear thee up under, and to carry 
thee through smaller troubles, that other persons make nothing of, 
much more in such deep trials, that put the strongest Christians to 
the utmost of their faith and patience. 

And 3dly, What if the Lord will make an advantage out of 
your weakness, to display more evidently his own power in your 
support.^ You know what the apostle saith, 1 Cor. xii. 9, 10. 
'' And he said unto me, my grace is sufficient for thee ; for my 
*^ strength is made perfect in weakness : most gladly therefore will 
" I glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon 
« me — for when I am weak then am I strong.'' If his infirmities 
might serve as a foil to set off the grace of God with a more bright 
and sparkling lustre, he would rejoice in his infirmities, and so 
should you : Well then, let not this discourage you, the infirmity 
of nature you complain of may make death the less terrible; it 
served to that purpose to blessed Basil, (as you heard before) when 
his enemy threatened to tear out his liver, he thought it a kindness 
to have that liver torn out, that had given him so much trouble. It 
may drive thee nearer to God, and minister a fit opportunity for 
the display of his grace in the time of need. 

Plea 5. But what if God should hide his face from my soul in 
the day of my straits and troubles, and not only so, but permit 
Satan to buffet me with his horrid temptations and injections, and 
so I should sail Uke the ship in which Paul sailed, betwixt these two 
boisterous seas ; what can I suspect less than a shipwreck of my soul, 
body, and all the comforts of both, in this world and in that to come ? 

Answer 1. So far as the fears of such a misery awaken you to 
pray for the prevention of it, it may be serviceable to your souls, 
but when it only works distraction and despondency of mind, it is 
your sin and Satan's snare. The prophet Jeremiah made a good 
use of such a supposed evil by way of deprecation, Jer. xvii. 17. 
" Be not a terror unto me, thou art my hope in the day of evil." 
q. d. in the evil day I have no place of retreat or refuge, but thy 
love and favour ; Lord, that is all I have to depend on, and re- 
lieve myself by : I comfort myself against trouble with this con- 
fidence, that if men be cruel, yet thou inlt be kind ; if they frown, 
thou wilt smile ; if the world cast me out, thou wilt take me in ; 


but if thou shouldest be a terror to me instead of a comforter, if 
they afflict my body, and thou aifriglit my soul with thy frowns 
too*; what a deplorable condition shall I be in then ! Improve it 
to such an end as he did, to secure the favour of God, and it will 
do you no harm. 

2. It is not casual for God to estrange himself from his people in 
trouble, nor to frown upon them when men do. The common 
evidence of believers stands ready to attest and seal this truth, that 
Christians never find more kindness from God than when tliey 
feel most cruelty from men for his sake ; consult the whole cloud 
of witnesses, and you will find they have still found the undoubted 
verity of that tried word, in 1 Pet. iv. 14. That " the Spirit of 
'^ glory and of God resteth upon sufferers." The expression seems 
to allude to the dove that Noah sent forth out of the ark, which 
flew over the watery world, but could not rest herself any where 
till she returned to the ark. So the Spirit of God is called here 
the Spirit of glory, from his effects and fruits, viz. his cheering, 
sealing, and reviving influences which make men glory and triumph 
in the most afflicted state. The Spirit of God seems, like that dove, 
to hover up and down, to flee hither and thither, over this person 
and that, but resteth not so long upon any, as those that suffer for 
righteousness sake; there he commonly takes up his abode and 

3. And what if it should fall out in some respect according to 
your fearsf that heaven and earth should be both clouded together ? 
Yet it will not be long before the pleasant hght will spring up to 
you again, Psal. cxii. 4. " Unto the upright there ariseth light in 
the darkness." You shall have his supporting presence till the 
Comforter do come. When Mr. Glover came within sight of the 
stake, he suddenly cries out, Oh Austin ! he is come ! lie is come. 

Plea 6. Oh ! but what if my trial should be long, and the siege 
of temptations tedious ? Then I am persuaded I am lost ; I am no 
way able to continue long in a prison, or in tortures for Christ, I 
have no strength to endure a long siege, my patience is too short to 
hold out from month to month, and from year to year as many 
have done. Oh ! I dread the thoughts of long continued trials, I 
tremble to think what must be the issue. 

Answer 1. Cannot you distrust your own strength and ability, 
but you must also limit God's ? WKat if you have but a small stock 
of patience.? Cannot the Lord strengthen you with all might in 
the inner-man, unto all patience and long-suffering with joyfulness, 
according to his glorious power. Col. i. 11. And is it not his pro- 
mise to confirm you to the end ? 1 Cor. i. 8. You neither know 
how 7mich, nor how long- you can bear and suffer. It is not inherent, 
but assisting grace, by which your suffeiing abilities are to be mea- 
sured. God can make that httle stock of patience you have to hold 


out «s the poor widow's cruse of oil did, till deliverance come; 
he can enable your patience unto its perfect work, i. e. to work as 
extensively to all the kinds and sorts of trials, as intensively to the 
highest degree of trial, and as protensively to the longest duration 
and continuance of your trials as he would have it : if this be a mar* 
vellous thing in your eyes, must it be so in God's eyes also ? 

2. The Lord knows the proper season to come in to the relief of 
your sliding and fainting patience, and will assuredly come in accor- 
dingly in that season ; for so run the promises, " The Lord shall 
^' judge his people, and repent himself for his servants when he 
" seeth that their power is gone, and that there is none shut up 
" or left," Deut, xxxii. 36. Cum duplicantur lateres venit Moses ; 
in the mount of difficulties and extremities it shall be seen. " The 
" rod of the wicked shall not rest upon the lot of the righteous, 
'* lest the righteous put forth their hands unto iniquity," Psal. cxxv. 
8. Ubi definit humanu7n, ibi mcipit divmum auocilium ; God's power 
watches the opportunity of your weakness. 

Plea 7. But what if I should be put to cruel and exquisite tor- 
tures, suppose to the rack, to the fire, or such most dreadful suffer- 
ings as other Christians have been ? What shall I do .? Do I think 
I am able to bear it ? Is my strength the strength of stone, or are 
my bones brass, that ever I should endure such barbarous cruelties ? 
Alas ! Death in the mildest form is terrible to me : how terrible 
then must such a death be ? 

Ansivei'. Who enabled those Christians you mentioiT to endui'e 
these things ? They loved their lives, and sensed their pains as 
well as you, they had the same thoughts and fears, many of them, 
that you now have ; yet God carried them through all, and so he can 
you. Did not he make the devouring flames a bed of roses to some 
of them ? Was he not within the fires ? Did he not abate the ex- 
tremity of the torment, and enable weak and tender persons to en- 
dure them patiently and cheerfully ? Some singing in the midst of 
flames, others clapping their hands triumphantly, and to the last 
sight that could be had of them in this world, nothing appeared but 
signs and demonstrations of joy unspeakable. Ah friends! we judge 
of sufferings by the out-side and appearance, which is terrible ; but 
w^e know not the inside of sufferings which is exceeding comfortable. 
Oh ! when shall we have done with our unbelieving if's and hits^ our 
questionings and doubtings of the power, wisdom, and tender care 
of our God over us, and learn to trust him over all. Now the just 
shall live by faith ; and he that lives by faith shall never die by fear. 
The more you trust God, the less you will torment yourselves. I 
have done ; the Lord strengthen, stablish, and settle the trembling 
and feeble hearts of his people, by what hath been so seasonably 
offered for their relief by a weak hand. Amen. 



Christian Reader, 

" XF * Heinsius, when he had shut up himself in the library at 
" Leyden, reckoned himself placed in the very lap of eternity, 
*' because he conversed there with so many Divine souls, and pro- 
" fessed he took his seat in it with so lofty a spirit and sweet con- 
" tent, that he heartily pitied all the great and rich men of the 
^' world, that were ignorant of the happiness he there daily en- 
" joyed ;''^ How much more may that soul rejoice in its own hap- 
piness, who hath shut himself up in the chambers of the Divine 
Attributes, and exerciseth pity for the exposed and miserable mul- 
titude that are left as a prey to the temptations and troubles of the 

That the days are evil, is a truth preached to us by the convincing 
voice of sense ; and that they are like to be worse, few can doubt 
that look into the moral causes of evil times, the impudent height 
of sin, or into the prophecies relating to these latter days ; for 
whom the sharpest sufferings are appointed to make way for the 
sweetest mercies. A faithful -f* watchman of our own hath given 
us fresh and late warning in these words of truth : Hath God said 
7iothing 9 doth faith see nothing of a flood coming upon us ? Is 
there such a deluge of sin among us, and doth not that prophesy to 
us a deluge of wrath ? Lift up your eyes. Christians, stand, and 
look through the land, eastward and westivard, northivard and south-- 
ward, and tell me what you see f Behold, ajlood cometh : ajlood of 
sin is already broken forth upon us, the fountains of the great deeps 
are broken up, and the zoindows of hell are ojjened, S;c. In such an 
evil day as this is, happy is the soul that hath made God its refuge, 
even the most high God its habitation. He shall sit Noah-like, 
Mediis tranquillus in undls, safe from the fear of evil. In con- 

• Plerumque in qua simulac pedem jyosid, Jorihus pessulum obdo, et in i^Ho trlernitatis 
gremio inti-r tot illustres animas seiiem miki sumo ; cum ingenii quidem animo, vt snbinde 
magnafum me misereat qui Jelicita fern, hanc isnorant, Epistola primar. 

t Mr. R. A. of Godly Fear, p. i9. 


slderation of the distress of many unprovided souls for the misery 
that is coming on them, and not knowing how short my time will be 
useful to any, (for I know it cannot be long) I have endeavoured 
once more the assistance of poor Christians in these two small trea- 
tises, one oi Jear, the other oi preparation for the worst of times ; 
which, it may be, is the last help I shall this way be able to afford 
them. It is therefore my earnest request to all that fear the Lord, 
and tremble at his word, to redeem their time with double diligence, 
because the days are evil; to clear up their interest in Christ and 
the promises, lest the darkness of their spiritual estate, meeeting with 
such a night of outward darkness, overwhelm them with terrors in- 
supportable. Some help is offered in this treatise to direct the 
gracious soul to its rest in God : May the blessings of his Spirit ac- 
company them, and bless them to the soul of him that readeth ; it 
will be a matter of joy beyond all earthly joys to the heart of. 

Thy friend and servant in Christ, 



Is A. XX vi. 20. 

Come my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors 
about thee : hide thyself' as it were for a little moment, untUthe in- 
dig7iatio7i be over-past. 



Wherein the literal and real importance of' the text is considered, tlie 
doctrine propounded, and the method of the following discourse 

Sect I.ivjLAN being a prudent and prospecting creature, can 
never be satisfied with present safety, except lie may also see himself 
well secured against future dangers. Upon all appearance of trouble, 
it is natural for him to seek a refuge, that he may be able to shun 
what he is loath to suffer, and survive those calamities which will 
ruin the defenceless and exposed multitude. Natural men seek 
refuge in natural things. " The rich man's " wealth is his strong 
city, and as an high wall in his own conceit,'' Prov. xviii. 11. 
Hypocrites make lies their refuge, ^nd under falsehood do they 
hide themselves, Isa. xxviii. 15. not doubting but they shall stand 
dry and safe, when the over-flowing flood lays all others under 
water. But, 

Godly men make God himself their hiding place, to him they 
have still betaken themselves in all ages, as often as calamities have 
befallen the world, Psal. xlvi. 1. " God is our refuge and strength, 
a very present help in trouble." As chickens run under the wings 
of the hen for safety when the kite hovers over them, so do they 
fly to their God for sanctuary, Psal. Ivi. 3. " At what time 
I am afraid I will trust in thee ;" q. d. Lord, if a storm of trouble 
at any time overtake me, I will make bold to come under thy roof 
for shelter; and indeed not so bold as welcome: it is no presump- 
tion in them after so gracious an invitation from their God, 
" Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers." 

My friends, a sound of trouble is in our ears, the clouds gather 
and blacken upon us more and more : Distress of nations with per- 
plexity seems to be near, our day hastens to an end, and the shadows 
oF the night are stretching forth upon us. What greater service 
therefore can I do for your souls, than by the light of this scripture 
(as with a candle in my hand) to lead you to your chambers, and 
sj^iew you your lodgings in the attributes and promises of God, before 
I take my leave of you, and bid you good night. 

Vol. III. X 


O \\ith \vhat satisfaction should I part with you, were I but sure 
to leave you under Christ's wings ! It Avas Christ's lamentation over 
Je) usalem that they should not be gathered under his wings, when 
the Roman eagle was ready to hover over that city ; and you 
know how dear they paid for their obstinacy and infidelity. Be 
warned by that dreadful example, and among the rest of your 
mercies bless God heartily for this, that so sweet a voice sounds 
from heaven in your ears this day, this day of frights and troubles; 
" Come, my people, enter thou into tliy chambers," &c. 

This chapter contains a lovely song fitted for the lips of God's 
Israel, notwithstanding their sad captivity ; for their God was with 
them in Babylon, and cheered their hearts there with many pro- 
mises of deliverance, and in the mystical sense it relates to the New 
Testament churches, of whose troubles, protections, and deliverances, 
the Jews in Babylon were a type. 

This chapter, though full of excellent and seasonable truths, will 
be too long to analize ; it shall suffice to search back only to the 
17th verse, where you find the poor captivated church under des- 
pondency of mind, comparing her condition to that of a woman in 
travail, who hatli many sharp pains and bitter throes, yet cannot be 
delivered, much like that in 2 Kings xix. 3. " The children are 
" come to the birth, and there is no strength to bring forth." 

Against this discouragement a double relief is applied in the fol- 
lowing verses ; the one is a promise of full deliverance at last, the 
other an invitation into a sure sanctuary and place of defence for the 
present, until the time of their full deliverance came. The pro- 
mise we have in verse 19. " Thy dead men shall live, together with 
" my dead body shall they arise: awake and sing ye that dwell in 
" the dust," &c. Their captivity was a civil death, and Babylon as 
a grave to them. So it is elsewhere described, Ezek. xxxvii. 1, 2, 
S, 14. " I will open your graves, and cause you to come out of your 
" graves, and bring you into the land of Israel." And therefore 
their deliverance is carried under the notion of a resurrection in 
that promise. 

Object. Yea, (might they reply) the hopes of deliverance at last 
is some comfort, but alas, that may be far off: How shall we subsist 
till then .? 

Solut. Well enough, for as you have in that promise a sure 
ground of deliverance at last, so in the interim here is a gracious 
invitation into a place of security for the present. Come, my people, 
enter thou into thy chambers. In which invitation four things call 
for our close attention. 

1. The form of the invitation, including in it the qualified sub- 
ject. Come, my -people. God's own pecidiar people, who liave chosen 
God for their protection, and resigned up themselves sincerely to 



him in the covenant, are the persons here invited, the same which 
he before called the righteous nation that kept the truth, ver. 2. 
he means those that remained faithful to God, as many of them did 
in Babylon, witness their sorrow for Sion, Psal. cxxxvii. pei' totum ; 
and their solemn appeal to God, that their hearts were not turned 
back, nor had their steps declined though they were sore broken in 
the place of dragons, and covered with the shadow of death, Psal. 
xliv. 18, 19, 20. These are the people invited to the chambers of 
security. And the form of invitation is full of tender compassion ; 
Come, my people ; like a tender father who sees a storm coming 
upon his children in the fields, and takes them by the hand saying. 
Come away, my dear children, hasten home with me, lest the storm 
over-take you ; or as the Lord said to Noah before the deluge. Come 
thou and all thy house into the ark, and God shut him in, Gen. vii. 
1, 16. This is the form of invitation, Come, my people. 

2. The privilege invited to ; Enter t/iou into thy chambers. There 
is some variety, and indeed variety rather than contrariety in the 
exposition of these words. 

In this all are agreed, that by their chambers is not meant the 
chambers of their own houses, Ezek. xxi. 14. for alas, their houses 
were left unto them desolate ; and if not, yet they could be no se- 
curity to them now, when neither their own houses nor their for- 
tified city was able to defend them bc'^jre. 

■Grotius* expounds it of the grave, and makes these chambers the 
same with the chambers of death. Ite in cubicula, i. e. sepulchra 
vestra. The grave indeed is a place of security, where God some- 
times hides some of his people in troublesome times, as it is plain in 
Isa. Ivii. 1, 2. but I cannot allow this to be the sense of this text ; 
God doth not comfort his captives with a natural against a civil 
death, but with protection in their troubles upon earth, as is evident 
from the scope of the whole chapter. 

By chambers therefore, others understand the chambers of 
Divine Providence, where the saints are hid in evil days. So our 
Annotators on the place, and no doubt but this is in part the special 
intendment of the text. 

Others understand the attributes and promises of God to be 
here meant, as well as his providence. And I conceive all three 
make the sense of the text full, i. e. the Divine attributes engaged 
in the promises, and exercised or actuated in the providences of 
God ; these are the sanctuaries and refuges of God's people in days 
of trouble. 

Calvin understands it of the quiet repose of the behever's mind 

Grotius on the place, 



in Gocl, but that is rather the effect of his security, than the place 
of it. It is God's attributes, or his name (which is the same thing) 
to which the righteovis fly and are safe, Pro v. xviii. 10. 

Object. But you will, say, why are they called their chamhers? 
Those attributes are not theirs, but God's. 

Solut. The answer is easy ; though they be God's properties, yet 
they are his people's privileges and benefits ; for when God makes 
over himself to them in covenant to be their God, he doth, as it 
were, dehver to them the keys of all his attributes for their benefit 
and security; and is as if he should say, my wisdom is yours, 
to contrive for your good ; my power is yours, to protect 
your persons ; my mercy yours, to forgive your sins ; my all- 
sufficiency yours to supply your wants ; all that I am, and all that 
I have, is for your benefit and comfort. These are the chambers 
provided for the saints' lodgings, and into these they are invited to 
enter. Enter thou into thy cliamhers. By entering into them un- 
derstand their actual faith exercised in acts of affiance and resigna- 
tion to God in all their dangers. So Psal. Ivi. 3. " At what time 
" I am afraid (saith David) I will trust in thee :" q. d. Lord, if a 
storm come I will make bold to shelter myself from it under thy 
•wings by faith ; look, as unbelief shuts the doors of all God's attri- 
butes and promises against us ; so faith opens them all to the soul : 
and so mucli of the privilege invited to, which is the second 

3. We have here a needful caution for the securing of this pri- 
vilege to ourselves in evil times, shut thy doors about thee. Or as 
the Syriac renders "|Tr:i behind or after thee, i. e. saith Calvin, Dili' 
genter cavendum ne ulla rimula diaholo ad nos j)Citeat. Care must 
be taken that no passage be left open for the devil to creep in after 
us, and drive us out of our refuge ; for so it falls out too often with 
God's people when they are at rest in God's name or promises, Sa- 
tan creeps in by unbelieving doubts and puzzling objections, and 
beats them out of their refuge back again into trouble ; it is there- 
fore of great concernment, in such times especially, not to give place 
to the devil, as the phrase is, Eph. iv. 17. but cleave to God by a 
resolved reliance. 

4. Lastly, We are to note with what arguments or motives they 
are pressed to betake themselves to this refuge. There are two 
found in the text, the one working upon their fear, the other upon 
their hope. 

1. That which works upon their fear is a supposition of a storm 
coming, the indignation of God will fall like a tempest ; this is sup- 
posed in the text, and plainly expressed in the words following, 
" For the Lord cometh out of liis place to punish the inhabitants 
^' of the earth," ver. 21. 


2. The other is fitted to work upon their hope, though his in- 
dignation fall hke a storm, yet it will not continue long ; it shall 
be but for a moment, better days and more comfortable dispensa- 
tions will follow. From all which the general observation is this, 

Doct. That the attributes^ pi'omiscs, and providences of God, are 
the chambers of rest and security, in which his people are to hide 
themselves, when they foresee the storms of his indignation coming 
upon the world. 

" The name of the Lord (saith Solomon) is a strong tower ; 
" the righteous run into it, and are safe,'''' Prov. xviii. 10. And his 
attributes are his name, Exod. xxxiv. 5. For by them he is known 
as a man is known by his name, and this his name is a strong tower 
for his people's security ; now what is the use and end of a tower 
in a city, but to receive and secure the inhabitants when the out- 
works are beaten to the ground, the wall scaled, and the houses left 
desolate ? 

And as it is here resembled to a tower, so in Isa. xxxiii. 16. it is 
shadowed out unto us by a munition of rocks^, " His place of de- 
" fence shall be a munition of rocks.*" How secure is that person 
that is invironed with rocks on every side ? Yea, you will say, but 
yet a rock is but a cold and barren refuge ; though other enemies 
cannot, yet hunger and thirst can invade and kill him there. No, 
in this rock is a storehouse of provision, as well as a magazine for 
defence ; so it follows, " Bread shall be given him, and his water 
shall be sure." 

And sometimes it is resembled to us by the wings of a fowl, 
spread with much tenderness over her young for their defence, Ps. 
Ivii. 1. " Yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, 
" until these calamities be overpast.'" So Psal. xvii. 8. " Keep me 
" as the apple of thine eye, hide me under the shadow of thy 
" wings." No part of the body hath more guards upon it than the 
apple of the eye. God is as careful to preserve his people as men 
are to preserve their eyes ; and he that toucheth them toucheth the 
apple of his eye. But we need not go from one metaphor to another 
to shew you where the sainfs refuge is in time of danger ; you have 
a whole bundle of them lying together in that one scripture, Psal. 
xviii. 2. " The Lord is my rock and my fortress, and my deliverer, 
" my God, my strength, in whom I will trust, my buckler, and the 
'' horn of my salvation, and my high tower." Where you find all 
kinds of defence, whether natural or artificial, under a pleasant 
variety of apt metaphors, ascribed to God for the security of his 

Now for the casting of this great point into as easy and profita- 
ble a method as I can ; I shall resolve this general truth into these 



following propositions, which are implied or expressed in the text 
and doctrine thence deduced ; and the first is this ; 

Prop. 1. That there are times and seasons appointed by God for 
the pouring out of his indignation upon the world. 

Prop. 2. That God's own people are concerned in, mid ought to 
he affected with those judgments. 

Prop. 3. That God hatha special and particular care of his peo- 
ple in the days of his indignation. 

Prop. 4. That God usually premonishes the world, especially his 
own people, of his judgments before they befal them. 

Prop. 5. That Gods attributes, promises, and providences arc 
prepared for the security of his people, in the greatest distresses 
that befal them in the world. 

Prop. 6. That none but Gods people are taken into those cham^ 
hers of security, or can expect his special protection in evil times. 

And then I shall apply the whole in the proper uses of it. 


Demonstrating the first proposition, that there are times and sea^ 
sons appointed by God for the pouring out of his indignation 
upon the world. 

Sect. I. A HIS is plainly implied in the text, that there are times 
of indignation appointed to befal the world ; yea, and more than 
this ; not only that such times shall come, but the duration and 
continuance is also under an appointment. " Hide thyself for a 
*' little moment, until the indignation be over-past." The prophet 
tells us in Zeph. ii. 2. that these stormy times are under a decree, 
and that decree is there compared to a pregnant woman which is to 
go out her appointed months, and then to travail and bring forth : 
Even so it is in the judgments God brings upon the world. We 
see them cot in the days of provocation, sed adhuc foetus in utero 
latent, but all this while they are in the womb of the decree, and at 
the appointed season they shall become visible to the world. As 
there are in nature fair halcyon days, and cloudy, over-cast, and 
stormy : So it is in providences, Eccl. vii. 14. " God hath set the 
" one over-against the other." Yea, one is the occasion of the 
other ; for look as the sun in a hot day exhales abundance of va- 
t)ours from the earth and sea, these occasion showers, thunder, and 
tempests, and those again clear the air, and dispose it to fair 
weather again. So it is here, prosperity is the occasion of abun- 
dance of sin, this brings on adversity from the justice of God to 
correct it ; adversity being sanctified, humbles, reforms, and purges 


the people of God, and this again by mercy procnres their prospe- 
rity : So you find the account stated in Psal. cvii. 17. " Fools be- 
" cause of their iniquities are afflicted, tlien they cry to the Lord 
" in their troubles, and he saveth them out of their distresses." 

And this appointment of times of distress is both profitable and 
necessary for the world, especially God's own people in it. 

In general, hereby the being and righteousness of God is cleared 
and vindicated against the atheism and infidelity of the world, 
Psal. ix. 16. " The Lord is known by the judgments that he exe- 
" cuteth." Impunity is the occasion of many atheistical thoughts 
in the world, Jer. xlviii. 11. " Moab hath been at ease from his 
" youth ; and he hath settled on his lees, and hath not been 
" emptied from vessel to vessel, neither hath he gone into captivity ; 
" therefore his taste remaineth in him, and his scent is not changed." 
So Psal. Iv. 19. " Because they have no changes, therefore they 
" fear not God." Kingdoms, families, and particular persons, like 
standing water and ponds, are apt to corrupt by long continued 
peace and prosperity ; the Lord therefore sees it necessary to purge 
the world by his judgments; " When thy judgments are in the 
'' earth, the inhabitants of the worl4 will learn righteousness." 
Those sermons that God preaches from heaven by the terrible 
voice of his judgments, startle and rouse the secure world, more 
than all the warnings and exhortations of his ministers could ever 
do. Those that slept securely under our ministry, will fear and 
tremble under his rods ; those that are without faith, are not with- 
out sense and feeling, their own eyes will affect their heai'ts, though 
our words could make no impression on them. 

Sect. 2. But of what use soever these national judgments are to 
others, to be sure they shall be beneficial to God's own people ; 
when others die by fear, they shall live by faith ; if they be bane- 
ful poison to the wicked, they shall be healthful physic to the godly. 

1. By these calamities God will mortify and purge their corrup- 
tions ; this winter weather shall be useful to destroy and rot those 
rank weeds, which the summer of prosperity bred, Isa. xxvii. 9. 
" By this therefore shall the iniquity of Jacob be purged." Physic 
in its own nature is griping and unpleasant, but very useful and 
necessary to purge the body from noxious and malignant humours, 
which retained, may put life itself in hazard : And it is with the 
body politic, as with the body natural. 

2. National judgments drive the people of God nearer to him, 
and to one another ; they drive the people of God to their knees, 
and make them pray more frequently, more fervently, and more 
feelingly than they ever were wont to do ; in this posture you find 



them in ver. 8, 9- of this chapter. " Yea, in the way of thy judg- 
" ments, O Lord, have we waited for thee, the desire of our souls 
" 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." 

3. In a word, by these distractions and distresses of nations, the 
people of God are more weaned from the world, and made to long 
more vehemently after heaven ; being now convinced by experience 
that this is not their rest. AVhen all things are tranquil and pro- 
sperous, God's own people are but too apt to fall asleep and dream 
of pleasure and rest on earth, to say as Job in his prosperity, " I 
" shall die in my nest, I shall multiply my days as the sand.'^ 
And then are their heads and hearts filled with many projects and 
designs, to promote their comforts, and make provision for their 
accommodations on earth : the multiplicity of earthly cares and 
comforts take up their time and thoughts too much, and make them 
that they mind death and eternity too little. But saith God, this 
must not be so, things must not go on at this rate, the prosperous 
world must not thus enchant my people ; I must irabitter the earth 
that I may thereby sweeten heaven the more to them ; when they 
find no rest below, they will surely seek it above. 

These, and such like, are the gracious designs and ends of God 
in shaking the world by his terrible judgments ; but yet, though 
national troubles must necessarily come, the wisest of men cannot 
positively determine the precise time of those judgments ; we may 
indeed, by the signs of the times, discern their near approach ; yet 
our judgment can be but probable and conjectural, seeing there are 
tacit conditions in the dreadfulest threatenings, Jer. xviii. 7, 8. 
Jonah iii. 9, 10. And such is the merciful nature of God, that he 
oft-times turns away his anger from his people, when it seems ready 
to pour down upon them, Psal. Ixxviii. 38. The consideration 
whereof no way indulges security, but encourages to repentance 
and greater fervency in prayer. 



Opening and conjirmmg the second m'oposition, viz. That God's 

oivn people are much concerned in, and ought to be suitably qf- 

fccted with those judgments that hefal the nation "wherein tliey live. 

Sect. I. AF God's people have no concernment in these things, 
why are they called upon in this text, to turn into their chambers, 
hide themselves, and shut their doors, till the indignation be over- 
past t Certainly though God hath better provided for them than 


others, yet they are two ways concerned in these cases as much as 
others: viz. 

1 Upon a political | ^^^^^^^ 

2. Upon a religious j 

1. Upon a poUtical account, as they are members of the com- 
munity, and so are equally concerned in the good or evil that be- 
fais the nation in which they live ; their cabins must follow the fate 
of the ship in which they sail : their lives, liberties, estates, and in- 
terest sink and swim with the Public. The good figs were carried 
away with the bad, Jer. xxiv. 5. In these outward respects it 
often-times bears as hard upon the righteous as upon the wicked. 
Ezek, xxi. 3. " I will draw forth my soul out of his sheath, and 
" will cut off from thee the righteous and the wicked." In these 
outward respects, as it is with the good, so with the sinner, EccL. 
ix. 2. The same fire that burns the dry tree, often-times burns 
the green tree too, Ezek. xx. 47. Grace is above all hazards, but 
creature-enjoyments and comforts are not. The sins of the So- 
domites involves not only their own houses and estates, but Lot's 
also, in the ruin and overthrow ; wicked men often fare the better 
for the company of the godly, and the godly often fare the worse 
for the company of the wicked. 

And it is not to be wondered at, if we consider that even the 
saints themselves have an hand in the provocation of these judg- 
ments, as well as others, Deut. xxxii. 19. " And when the Lord 
" saw it, he abhorred them because of the provoking of his sons and 
" of his daughters." We have contributed to the common heap of 
guilt, and therefore must justify God if we partake with others in 
the common calamity. 

2. They are greatly concerned in such judgments upon a reli- 
gious and Christian account, for it is usual for the flood of God's 
judgments not only to sweep away our civil and natural, but our 
spiritual and best enjoyments and comforts. Thus the ordinances 
of God ceased in Babylon, and there the faithful bewailed their 
misery upon that account, Psal. cxxxvii. per totum ; " we wept 
" when we remembered thee, O Zion." Not only Israel flies, but 
the ark is taken prisoner by the enemy, 1 Sam. iv. 11. And you 
find the people of God more deeply concerned upon this account, 
than for all their outward losses and other sufferings, Zeph. iii. 18. 
" I will gather them of thee that are sorrowful for the solemn as- 
semblies, to whom the reproach of it was a burthen." For by how 
much our souls are more excellent than our bodies, and the con- 
cerns of eternity over-balance those of time ; by so much the more 
are we concerned in the loss of our spiritual, more than of our tem- 
poral mercies and enjoyments. 

Grace indeed cannot be lost, but the means and instruments by 


which it is begotten may; the golden candlestick is one of the 
moreables in God's house, Rev. ii. 5. 

Thus you see a two-fold concernment that the people of God 
have in the effects of national judgments. 

Sect. 2. This being so, how should all that fear God be affected 
-with the appearances and signs of his indignation ? So was David, 
Psal. cxix. 120. " My flesh trembleth for fear of thee, and I am 
" afraid of thy judgments.'' He that feared not a bear, a lion, a 
Goliah, yet trembleth at God's judgment. So did Habakkuk, chap. 
iii. ver. 16. " When 1 heard, my belly trembled, my lips quivered 
" at the voice, rottenness entered into my bones." Expressions 
denoting the deepest seizures of fear and greatest consternations : 
not that I would persuade you to such slavish fear or unchristian 
dejection, as it is not only sinful in itself, but the cause and inlet of 
many other sins; but to a due sense both of the evils of misery that 
will befal the nation when God's indignation comes upon it ; and 
the evils of sin that have incensed it; and to such a fear of both 
as may seasonably awaken us to the use of all preventing remedies. 
And, First, 

1. O that all would lay to heart the national miseries that God's 
indignation threatens upon us. It is said, Psal. cvii. 34. " A 
" fruitful land is turned into barrenness for the wickedness of them 
" that dwell therein." It was long since told England by one of 
its faithful watchmen*, ' The nation and church in w^hich w^e are, 
' are the common ship in which we are all embarked, and if this in 
'judgment be cast aw^ay, whether dashed against the rocks of any 

* foreign power, or swallowed up in the quicksands of domestic 
' divisions, it must need hazard all the passengers : Or if you were 

* sure, that for your parts you might be safe, would it not be a 
« bitter thing to stand upon the shore, and see such a glorious 
' vessel as this nation is, to be cast away ? To see this glorious 
« land defaced, the blessed gospel polluted, the golden candlestick 
' removed, it cannot but affect men that have any bowels. 

' Or if this move you not, yet to see a stranger to lord it in thy 
'habitation, and thy dwelling place to cast thee out; for your 

* delightsome dwellings, your fruitful, pleasant, and well tilled 
' fields to be made a prey ; for you to sow, and another to reap, 

* Impius has segetes ; for* the dehcate women upon whom the wind 

* must not blow, to be exposed to the lust and cruelt^r of an 

* enemy, and be glad to fly away naked to prolong a miserable 

* life, which they w^ould be glad to part with for death, were it 

* not for fear of the exchange. For the tender mother to look 

• Mr. Strong. 


* upon the child of her womb, and consider, must this child in 

* whom I have placed the hope of my age ; for, 

Omnis in Ascanio stat chari cura parentis ; 

* He that hath been so tenderly brought up, must he fall into the 

* rough hands of a bloody soldier, skilful to destroy ? It had been 
' well for me if God had given me dry breasts, or a miscarrying 

* womb, rather than to bring forth children unto murderers; or 
' if you might be safe, how could you endure to see the miseries 
' that should come upon your people, and the destruction of your 
< kindred.' Thus far he. But alas ! What security have any of 
us as to our earthly comforts from the common calamity? We 
may please ourselves as Baruch did, Jer. xlv. 4, 5. and dream of 
exemption, but by so much the greater will our distress be, when 
it shall surprize us. 

2. You that are the people of God ought to be deeply affected 
with the spiritual miseries that threaten us in the day of God's in- 
dignation : do you consider what the removing the candlestick out 
of its place is ? A departing gospel, the going down of the sun upon 
the prophets, the loss of your sweet sabbaths and gospel feasts, 
and the gross darkness of popery to fill the earth : O it is hard 
parting with these things. It is said, 1 Sam. vii. 2. when the ark 
was removed, " that all the house of Israel lamented after the 
" Lord.'' Pity your own souls, and be deeply affected with the 
misery of others, the poor Christless world who are like to perish 
for want of vision, Prov. xxix, 18. In the year 1072, saith Mat- 
thew Paris, preaching was suppressed at Rome, and then letters 
were framed by some as coming from hell, in which the devil 
gives them thanks for the multitude of souls sent to him that 

3. But' especially labour to affect your hearts with the sins that 
have incensed God's indignation : So did the saints in Jerusalem, 
Ezek. ix. 4. they sighed and mourned for all the abominations 
committed in it. So did Lot, 2 Pet. ii. 7. " He vexed his righteous 
" soul from day to day." So did David, Psal. cxix. 36. " Rivers 
" of water run down mine eyes, because men keep not thy law.'^ 
O who that loves God can refrain tears, to see the God of pity, 
the God of tender mercies, a Father full of bowels of compassion, 
so incensed and provoked to indignation ! Oh, it is an heart-melting 
consideration where there is any ingenuity. If our afflictions grieve 
God to the heart, as it doth, Judges x. 16. our souls should be 
grieved for his dishonour. 

4. To conclude, get upon your hearts such a sense of God's in- 
dignation as may quicken you to the use of preventing duties. So 
Amos iv. 12. " Because I will do this, prepare to meet thy God, 


" O Israel." So the prophet, Zeph. ii. 1, 2. " Gather yourselves 
" before the decree bring forth." It was Moses's hoiwur to stand 
in the breach, Psal. cvi. 2S. And Abraham's to plead so with God, 
tliough he did not prevail. ♦ 

Confirming the third proposition, viz. That God hath a special and 
peculiar care of his own people in the days of his indignation. 

Sect. I. JL ROPRIETY and relation engage care and solicitude 
in times of danger ; we see God hath put such a storge, and 
inclination into the very creatures, that they will expose themselves 
to preserve their young ; and it cannot be imagined that the Foun- 
tain of pity which dropt this tenderness into the bowels of the 
creatures, should not abound with it himself; is there such strong 
inclination in the very birds of the air, that they will hazard their 
own lives to save their young ; much more is God solicitous for his 
people, Isa. xxxi. 5. As birds Jlying^ &c. to their nest when their 
young are in danger, so will the Lord of hosts defend Jerusalem. 
No mother is more solicitous for her dearest child in danger and 
distress, than the Lord is for his people, Isa. xl. 15. " Can a woman 
^' forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on 
" the son of her womb ? Yea, they may forget, yet will not I forget 
" thee." A woman [the more affectionate sex] forget her child, a 
piece of herself, her sucking child, which, together with milk from 
her breast, draws love from the heart ! This may rather be supposed, 
than that the Lord should forget his people. 

Two things must here be cleared. 1. That it is so. % Why it 
is so. 

1. That it is so, will appear from, 

1. Scripture emblems. 

2. Scripture promises. 

3. Scripture instances. 

1. Scripture emblems; and among many, I will, upon this oc- 
casion, single out two or three principal ones. In Ezek. v. 1, 2, 3. 
" And thou son of man, take thee a sharp knife, take thee a bar- 
" ber's razor, and cause it to pass upon thine head, and upon thy 
" beard, then take thee balances to weigh and divide the hair ; 
" thou shalt burn with fire a third part in the midst of the city, 
" when the days of the siege are fulfilled ; and thou shalt take a 
" third part, and smite about it with a knife ; and a third part 


*^ thou shalt scatter in the wind, and I will draw out a sword after 
** them ; thou shalt also take thereof a few in number, and bind 
" them in thy skirts." You find this truth shadowed out in this 
excellent emblem ; Jerusalem, the capital city, is the head ; the nu- 
merous inhabitants are the hair; the King of Babylon the ra- 
zor ; the weighing it in balances is the exactness of God's proce- 
dure in judgment with them; the fire, knife, and wirid, are the va- 
rious judgments to which the people were appointed ; the hiding 
of a few in the prophet's skirt, is the care of God for the preserva- 
tion of his own remnant in the common calamity. This is one 
emblem clearing this point. And then Ezek. ix. 3, 4. the 
same truth is ' presented to us in another emblem, as lively 
and significant as the former. " And behold, six men came from 
*' the way of the higher gate, which lieth towards the north, and 
" every man a slaughter- weapon in his hand, and one among them 
" was clothed in linen, with a writer's inkhorn by his side, and 
'' they went in, and stood before the brazen altar ; and the glory 
" of the God of Israel was gone up from the cherub, whereupon 
*' he was, to the threshold of the house, and he called to the man 
" clothed in linen, which had the writer's inkhorn by his side ; 
" and the Lord said unto him, go through the midst of the city, 
♦' through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the fore- 
" heads of the men that sigh, and cry for all the abominations that 
" be done in the midst thereof." The men that had the charge 
of the city are the angels appointed for that service ; some with 
slaughter-weapons, whose work it was to destroy ; but one among 
them had a writer's inkhorn by his side, and he was employed to 
take the names and mark the persons of God's faithful ones among 
them, whom the Lord intended to preserve and hide in that com- 
mon overthrow and desolation of the city, and these were to be 
all marked, man by man, before the destroying angel was to begin 
his bloody work. Oh ! see the tender care of God over his up- 
right mourning sen^ants ! Once more, the same truth is represented 
in a third emblem, Mai. iii. 17. " And they shall be mine, saith 
" the Lord, in the day that I make up my jewels, and I will spare 
" them as a man spareth his own son that serveth him :" where 
the world is compared to an house on fire; God to the master 
and father of the family, the wicked to the useless lumber therein ; 
the saints to the children and jewels in the house; about these his 
first and principal care of preservation is exercised, these he will be 
sure to save, whatever become of the rest. Thus you have the 
chosen emblems that illustrate this comfortable truth. 

2. As these scripture-emblems illustrate it, so there are many ex- 
cellent scripture-promises to confirm it, Isa. xxxii. 2. " A man shall 
" be as an hiding-place from the wind, and a covert from the 


tempest : as rivers of water in a dry place."" This man is tlie man 
Christ Jesus ; the tempests spoken of, are the miseries and calami- 
ties of war, which make the land on which it falls, an hot, dry and 
weary land ; in the midst and rage whereof, Christ shall be to his 
faithful ones a covert for protection, a river of w^ater for supply, and 
a shadow^ for refreshment ; that is to say, whatsoever shall be ne- 
cessary either for their safety or comfort. Christ is not only a sha- 
dow to his people from the w rath of God, but also from the rage 
of men. Again, Zech. ii. 5. " I will be a wall of fire round about :'' 
alluding to travellers in the desert, who, to prevent danger from 
wild beasts in the night, use to make a circular fire round about the 
place where they lie down to rest, and this fire was as a wall to se- 
cure them. You have the like gracious promise also made to the 
poor captivated church, in Ezek. xi. 16. " Although I have cast 
" them far off, among the Heathen, and scattered them among 
*' the countries, yet will I be to them as a little sanctuary in the 
*' countries where they shall come." 

A little sanctuary. The * word is variously rendered and ex- 
pounded ; some adverbially, and render it paulisper^ a sanctuary for 
a little while, viz. during their danger, at the shortness of which 
this adverb points : so Junius. Others adjectively, as we translate 
it, templum pauco?'Ujn, as Vatablus. There was but an handful of 
them, and God would be as a sanctuary to secure and protect that 

3. And all these promises have in all ages been faitlifuUy fulfilled 
to the saints. You have an excellent scripture for this, 2 Pet. ii. 
4, 5, 6. when the flood was brought upon the old world, there 
was one Noah a righteous man in it, and for him God provided an 
ark. When Sodom was overthrown, there was one Lot in it, a just 
man, and God secured him out of danger ; upon which that com- 
fortable conclusion is built, ver. 9. " The Lord knows how to de- 
" liver the godly." When Jerusalem was destroyed, a Pella was 
provided as a refuge for the godly there. Remarkable is that 
place to this purpose, Isa. xxv. 4. " Thou hast been a strength to 
" the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from 
" the storm, a shadow from the heat, when the blast of the terrible 
" ones is as a storm against the wall." And this hath God been not 
only once or twice, but in all ages, Psal. xc. 1. " Lord, thou hast 
" been our dwelhng-place in all generations ;" or as the Hebrew, "in 
" generations and generations." What he hath been in former 
generations to his distressed people, that he is, and wall be without 
alteration in all generations. 

Section II. Yet we must remember, that all who are preserved in 


common calamities, are not the people of God ; nor are all that 
are indeed his people preserved ; he hath people enough to divide 
into two ranks, as the husbandman his corn, some for the mill, and 
some to reserve for seed. There be stars enough in the heaven to 
shine in both hemispheres, and there are saints enough in the 
world, some to shine in heaven, and some to preserve the church 
on earth. 

1. All that are preserved are not the people of God. In the 
ark a wicked Ham was preserved ; and those that were preserved in 
Egypt, many of them were afterwards destroyed for their unbelief, 
Jude 5. So EzekieFs vision, a part even of those hairs which were 
spared were afterwards cast into the fire, Ezek. v. 4. Preservation 
from the dominion of sin and the wrath to come, is peculiar to 
God's own people; but as for temporal deliverances, we cannot in- 
fer that conclusion. 

2. Nor yet can we say that all God'^s people shall be preserved ; 
that promise, Zeph. ii. 3. leaves it upon a may-be; many a pre- 
cious Christian hath fallen in the common calamity; they have 
been preserved in, but not from trouble. 

But it is usual with God to preserve some in the sorest judgments : 
and the grounds of it are, 

1. Because some must be left as a seed to propagate and preserve 
the church, which is perpetual, and can never fail ; he never so 
overthrows nations as Sodom was overthrown, Isa. i. 9. This was 
the ground of that promise, Jer. xxx. 11. " For I am with thee, 
" saith the liord, to save thee, though I make a full end of all na- 
" tions whither I have scattered thee, yet will I not make a full 
" end of thee." And of that plea, Amos vii. 2. " O Lord God 
'' forgive, I beseech thee ; by whom shall Jacob arise ? for he is 
" small."" Except the Lord had left a small remnant, we had been 
as Sodom. Remarkable to this purpose is that scripture, Isa. vi. 
13. " But yet in it shall be a tenth, and it shall return, and shall 
" be eaten : as the teil-tree, and as an oak, whose substance is in 
" them when they cast their leaves ; so the holy seed shall be the 
" substance thereof."' This preserved remnant is the holy seed by 
which the church is propagated and continued, Psal. cii. 28. 

2. Because God will, even in this world, own and reward the 
fi^ars and sorrows of his people for the sins of the times, and suffer- 
ings of the church, with the joy and comfort of better times, and 
a participation of Sion's consolation ; so Isa. Ixvi. 10. Rejoice ^e zoifh 
Jerusalem^ ye thai have mourned for her. They that have sown iu 
tears, do sometimes live to reap in joy, Psal. cxxv. C. They shall 
say as Isa. xxv. 9. " Lo this is our God, we have waited for him, 
" and he is come to save us.'' And those that live not to reap 
do\ni in this world the harvest of their own prayers and tears, shall 

338 THE JUGHTEors man's refuge. 

be no losers : a full and better reward shall be given them in hea- 
ven, Isa. Ivii. 22. 

3. Because the preserved remnant of saints are they that must 
actually give unto God the glory of all his providential administra- 
tions in the world, both of judgments and mercies upon others, 
and towards themselves : " They that go down to the pit do not 
" celebrate his praise ; the living, the living they praise him,'* 
Isa. xxxviii. 18, J 9- Thus when God turned back Z ion's capti- 
vity, the remnant of the saints that were preserved were they that 
recorded his praise, Psal. cxxvi. 1, 2. " Then was our mouth filled 
"with laughter." And fully to this sense is that scripture, Psal. 
cii. 19, 20, 21. " He delivers those that are appointed to death," 
i. e. that men had doomed to death, " that they may declare the 
" name of the Lord in Zion, and his praise in Jerusalem." 

4. The hiding of the saints in evil days is the gi'eatest discovery 
of the hand of God in the world ; when he hides them, he shews him- 
self, and that both to the saints, and to their enemies. 

It is one of the most glorious mysteries of providence that ever 
the world beheld, viz. the strange and wonderful protection of 
poor helpless Christians from the rage and fury of their mighty 
and mahcious enemies ; though they walk visibly among them, yet 
they are, as it were, hid from their hands, but not from their 
eyes: So Jer. i. 18. you find God made that prophet, among the 
envious princes, and against an enraged and mighty king, as a de^ 
^fenced c'lty^ and as an iron pillar^ and as a brazen wall. And in- 
deed it was easier for them to conquer and take the strongest 
fort or garrison, than that single person, who yet walked day by 
day naked among them. So Luther, a poor monk, was made in- 
vincible; all the papal power could not touch him, for God hid 
him. All the world against one Athanasius, and yet not able to 
destroy him, for God hid him. This is the display of the glorious 
power of God in the world, and he hath much honour by it. 

Well then, if there be a God that takes care of his own in evil 
days ; do not you be distractingly careful what will become of you 
in such times ; you cannot see how it is possible for you to escape : 
but, 2 Pet. ii. 4, 5, 6. the Lord knows how to deliver when you 
do not. Little did Lot know the way and manner of his preserva- 
tion till God opened it to him ; nor Noah till God contrived it for 
him : there was no way to be contrived by them for escape : he 
tliat knew how to deliver them, can deliver you also. 

Leave yourselves to God's disposal, it shall certainly be to your 
advantage : the church is his peculiar care ; Isa. xxviii. ^. " I the 
" Lord do keep it, I will water it every moment ; lest any hurt it, 
'* I will keep it night and day." 

The more you commit yourselves to his care, the more you en- 


S^gc it, Isa. xxvi. 2. " Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, 
^' whose mind is stayed on thee, because lie trusteth in thee." 
He will certainly find a place of safety for his ])eople under, or in 

Neither be too much dejected when the number of visible pro- 
fessors seems but small; think not the church will perish when it 
is brought so low. This was Elijah's case, he thought he bad 
been left alone, that religion had been preserved in his single 
person, as the phosnix of the world ; but see, 1 Kings ix. 18. 
God hath enough left, if we Ave were all in our graves, to continue 
religion in the world ; it concerns him more than you to look to 

Evmcing tliejburth j)roposiiion^ viz. That God usually premonislt^ 
eth the worlds espcciallij his own people, of ' his judgments before 
they befal them. 

Sect. I. vJTOD first y>^arns, and then smites, he delights not to 
surprize men ; when indignation was coming, he tells his people of 
it in the text, and admonisheth them to hide themselves. " Surely 
the Lord will do nothing, but he revealeth his secrets to his servants 
" the prophets,'" Amos iii. 7. Thus when the flood was to come 
upon the old world, he gave them ISO years warning of it. Gen. vi. 
3. compared with 1 Pet. iii. 19. So when Sodom was to be de- 
stroyed, God would not hide it from Abraham ; Gen. xviii. 17^ 
" Shall I hide from Abraham the thing that I do ?"' The like 
discovery was made unto Lot, Gen. xix. 12, 13, 14. So when the 
captivity was at hand, Ezekiel was commanded to give the Jews 
solemn warning of it from God, Ezek. iii. 17. " Hear the word at 
*' my mouth, and give them warning from me.'" 

And when their city and temple were to be destroyed by the 
Romans, how plainly did Christ foretel them of it by his own 
mouth ! I^uke xix. 43, 44. " Thine enemies shall cast a trench 
" about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every 
" side, and lay thee even with the ground, and thy children witli- 
" in thee, and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another ; 
" because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation." Jose- 
phus * also tells us, that a little before the execution of this judg- 

• Joseph, de Belt. Jud. lib. vii. cap. -2, Tacit. Annal. lib. xxi. 

Vol. II L Y 


ment upon them, a voice was heard in the temple, Migremus hinCj 
i. e. Let us go hence ; which voice Tacitus also in his annals, 
mentions, Audita mqjoi' hurnana voce, excedere Deos, simul ingenus 
motus excedcntivm. It was more than a human voice, telling them 
God wae departing from them, and withal there was heard the 
rushing noise, as of some that were going out of the temple. 

And as there were extraordinary premonitions of approaching 
judgments, by revelation to the prophets of old, and signs from 
heaven, so there are still standing and ordinary rules by which the 
world may be admonished of God's judgments before they come 
upon them. 

And the general rule, by which men may discern the indigna- 
tion of God before it comes, is this, 

*^* When the same provocations and evils are found in one nation, 
rchich have brought dozen the wrath of God upon another natio7i ; 
this is an evident sign of God's judgment at the door. For God is 
unchangeably holy and just, and will not favour that in one people, 
which he hath punished in another ; nor bless that in one age, 
which he hath cursed in another. And therefore that which hath 
been a sign of judgment to one, must be so to all. 

Here it is that the carcases of those sinners whose sins had cast 
them away, are, as it were, cast upon the scripture shore, for a 
warning to all others that they steer not the same ill course they 
did : 1 Cor. x. 9. " Now these things were our examples." The 
Israelites are made examples to us, plainly intimating, that if we 
tread the same path, we must expect the same punishment. Let 
us therefore consider what were the evils that provoked God's 
judgments against his ancient people, whom he was so loth to 
give up, Hos. xi. 8. and so long ere he did give up, Jer. xv. 9. 
and we shall find, by the concurrent accounts that the prophets give, 

1. That God's worship among men was generally mixed and 
corrupted with their own inventions ; for so it is said, Psal. cvi. 40, 
41. " Thev went a whoring after their own inventions." And 
this so inflamed the wrath of God, who is a jealous God, and ten- 
der over his own honour, that he abhorred his own inheritance ; 
yea, he expresses himself as a man doth, wliose lieart is broken 
by the unfaithfulness of his wife, Ezek. vi. 9. Upon this account 
his professing people became the generation of his wrath, Jer. vii. 
29, 30. 

2. Incorrigible obstinacy under gentler correction, Amos iv. 6, 
7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12. Scarcity, mildews, pestilence, and sword, had 
been upon them ; and stil] those that remained, though saved as 
a brand out of the fire, in which their fellow-sinners perished, 
would not retiu'n to God ; and this hastened on the general ruin, 
ver. \% This presages the ruin of nations indeed. 


3. Stupidity and senselessness of God's hand was a sad omen, 
and cause of that people's ruin; so Isa. xxvi. 10, 11. " Lord when 
" thy hand is lifted up, they will not see," No, nor yet when his 
hand is laid on, Isa. xlii. 24, 25. It is not some small drop of 
God's anger that passes without observation, but the furij of his 
anger; not some liglU slcirmish of his judgments with them, but the 
strength of battle: not in a corner upon some particular person, or 
family, but that which set him on fire round about; yet all this 
could not awaken them. " He hath poured upon him the fury of 
" his anger, and the strength of battle, and it hath set him on 
" fire round about, yet he knew it not, and it burned him, yet 
" he laid it not to heart.'' Prodigious stupidity ! to be in the 
midst of flames, yea, to be seized by them, and destroyed sooner 
than awakened. So you find again in Hos. vii. 9. " Gray hairs 
" were here and there upon Ephraim, yet he knew it not." 
Youth and age are easily distinguished, and gray hairs do plainly 
distinguish them, being the plain tokens of a declining state, yet 
they took no notice of them. Such stupidity is evermore the 
forerunner of misery. 

4. Persecution of God's faithful ministers and people, was 
another forerunning sign of their ruin, 2 Chron. xxxvi. 16*. " They 
" mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words, and 
" misused his prophets, until the wrath of the Lord arose against 
*' his people, till there was no remedy." There were also a 
number of upright souls among them, that desired to worship God 
according to his own prescription, but a snare was laid for them 
in Mizpah, and a net spread upon Tabor ; and therefore was 
judgment towards that people, Hos. v. 1. Mizpah and Tabor 
were places in the way lying betwixt Samaria and Jerusalem, where 
the true worship of God was, and there was informers or spies 
set by the priest, to intercept such as would venture to serve God 
at Jerusalem, according to his own prescription ; this also foreboded 
the judgments of God upon that nation. 

5. The decay of the life and power of godliness among them 
plainly foreshewed their ruin at hand, Hos. iv. 18. Their drink is 
sour : where, under the 7tietaphor of dead and sour drink, which 
hath lost its spirit, and is become flat, their formal, heartless, and 
perfunctory duties are severely taxed and condemned. 

6. To conclude, the mutual animosities and feuds among 
that professing people, evidently shewed judgment to be at the 
door. Hos. ix. 7. " Tlie days of visitation are come, the days of 
" recompence are come ; Israel shall know it : the prophet is a fool, 
" the spiritual man is mad, for the multitude of thine iniquity, 
" and the great hatred." This great hatred was one of the greatest 



sins, and saddest signs upon them. This spirit of enmity sowed 
by the devil among them, hastened their calamity. If Ephraim 
^vill envy Judah, and Judah vex Ephraim, the common enemy 
shall part the fray : when the whole nation was under water, and 
the Roman armies under the very walls of Jerusalem, their own 
historians tells us, what bitter contentions and shaip conflicts con- 
tinued among them to the very last ; these things must be looked 
upon by all wise and considerate men, no otherwise than we look 
upon glaring meteors, and blazing comets portending judgment 
and ruin at the door. We have had indeed terrible signs in heaven, 
a dreadful rod of God shaken over us of late, which all men 
ought to behold with trembling; yet I must say those moral signs 
of judgments fore-mentioned, are much m>ore terrible and por- 
tentous. According therefore to the evidence of these signs 
among us, let all upright hearts be affected and awakened with ex- 
pectations of God's righteous judgments. It is indeed below faith 
to expect evil days with despondency and distraction ; but surely 
it is a noble exercise of faith, so to expect them, as to make due 
pre}>aration for them. 

Section 9.. And if we enquire for what end God gives such 
warning to the world, and premonishes them from heaven of the 
judgments that are coming on the earth, know that he doth it 
upon a threefold account. 

1. To prevent their execution. 

2. To leave the careless inexcusable. 

3. To make them more tolerable and easy to his own people. 

1. Warning is given with a design to prevent the execution of 
judgments; this is plain from Amos iv. 12. " Therefore will I 
" do this unto thee ;"" there is warning given ; " and because I will 
" do this, prepare to meet thy God, O Israel :"" there is the 
gracious designs of preventing it, by bringing them seasonably upon 
their knees at the foot of an angry God : you see the Lord expects 
it from all his children, that they fall at his feet in deep humilia- 
tion, and fervent intercession, whenever he goes forth in the way 
of judgment. What else was the design of God in sending Jonah 
to Nineveh with that dreadful message, but to excite them to re- 
pentance, and prevent their ruin ? This Jonah guessed at, and 
therefore declined the message, to secure his credit, well knowing, 
that if they took warning and repented, the gracious nature of 
God would soon melt into compassion over them : free grace would 
make him appear as a liar among the people ; for to that sense his 
own words sound, Jonah iv. 2. " Was not this my saying, when 
" I was yet in my country? Therefore I fled before unto Tarshish, 
" for I knew that thou art a gracious God."" q. d. I thought 
before-hand it would come to this ; I knew how wilhng thou art 


to be prevented by repentance ; therefore to secure my credit, 1 
fled to Tarshisli. 

2. He forewarns of judgments to leave the incorrigible wholly 
inexcusable, that those who have neither sense of sin, nor fear of 
judgment before, might have no cloak for their folly, nor plea for 
themselves afterward ? " What wilt thou say when he shall punish 
"thee?" Jer. xiii. 21, 22. q. d. What plea or apology is left 
thee, after so many fair warnings ? You cannot say you were sur- 
prized before you were admonished, or ruined before you were 

3. God warns of judgments before they come, to make them 
the more easy to his people when they come indeed ; thus in John 
xvi. 4. Christ foretold his disciples of their approaching sufferings, 
that when they come, they should not be found amazed at them, 
or unprovided for them ; for unexpected miseries are astonishing 
to the best men, and destructive to wicked men, Luke xvii. 26, 
27, 28. 

Well then, if it be so, let all that are wise in heart consider the 
signs of the times, and seasonably liearken to God's warnings. 
" The Lord's voice crieth to the city, and the man of wisdom 
"shall see thy name; hear ye the rod, and who hath appointed 
" it," Mic. vi. 9. It is our wisdom to way-lay our troubles, and 
provide for the worst estate, whilst we enjoy the best : happy is 
he that is at once believing and praying for good days, and pre- 
paring for the worst. Noah's example is our advantage, Heb. xi. 
7. " Who, by faith being warned of God, of things not seen as 
" yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark." Preventing mercies 
are the most ravishing mercies, Psal. Ixix. 10. And preventing 
calamities are the sorest calamities, Amos ix. 10. 

And let us heartily beware the supineness and carelessness of the 
world in which we live, who take no notice of God's warning, ])ut 
put the evil day far from them, Amos vi. 3. who will admit no 
fear till they are past all hope ; they see God housing his saints 
apace, yet will not see the evil to come from which God takes 
them, Isa. Ivii. 1, 2. " The righteous perisheth, and no man lay- 
" eth it to heart ; and merciful men are taken away, none con- 
" sidering that the righteous is taken away from the evil to come. 
" He shall enter into peace : they shall rest in their beds, each one 
" walking in his uprightness." They hear the cry of sin which is 
gone up to heaven, but cry not for the abominations that are com- 
mitted, nor tremble at the judgments that they will procure. 

O careless sinners, drowned in stupidity, and sleeping like Jonah 
under the hatches, when others are upon their knees, and at their 
wits-end ! Do saints tremble, and are you secure .? Have not you 
more reason to be afraid than they.? if judgments come, the great 



est harm it can do them is but to hasten them to heaven : but as 
for you, it may huny yo^i away to hell : they only fear tribulation 
in the way ; but you will not fear danmation in the end. Believe 
it reader, in days of common calamity both heaven and hell will fill 


Demonstrating the Jlfth proposition, viz. That God^s attributes, pro^ 
mises, and providences, are prepared Jbr the security of his peo^ 
pie, in the greatest distresses that can hefal them in the world. 

Sect. I.-tJ-AVING more briefly dispatched the foregoing preli- 
minary propositions, it remains that we now more fully open this 
fifth proposition, which contains the main subject matter of this 
discourse ; here therefore our meditations must fix and abide, and 
truly such is the deliciousness of the subject to spiritual hearts, that 
I judge it wholly needless to offer any other motive besides itself to 
engage your affections. Let us therefore view our chambers, and 
see how well God hath provided for his children in all the distresses 
that befal them in this world ; it is our Father's voice that calls to 
us, Qome, my people, enter thou into thy chambers. And the 

1. Chamber which comes to be opened as a refuge to distressed 
behevers in a stormy day, is that most secure and safe attribute of 
Divine Power : into this let us first enter by serious and beheving 
meditation, and see how safe they are whom God hides under the 
protection thereof, in the worst and most dangerous days. In 
opening this attribute, we shall consider it, 

1. In its own nature and properties. 

2. With respect to the promises. 

3. As it is actuated by providence in the behalf of distressed 

And then give you a comfortable prospect of their safe and happy 
condition, who take up their lodgings by faith in this attribute of 

1. Let us consider the power of God in itself, and we shall find 
it represented to us in the scriptures, in these three lovely proper- 
ties, viz. 

1. Omnipotent ^ 

2. Supreme >- Power. 

3. Everlasting J 

1. As an omnipotent and all-sufficient power, which hath no 


bounds or limits but the pleasure and will of God, Dan. iv. 34, 35. 
" He doth according to his will in the armies of heaven, and 
" among the inhabitants of the earth, and none can stav his hand, 
" or say unto him, Wliat dost thou ?'' So Psal. cxxxv. 6. " What- 
*' soever the Lord pleased that did he, in heaven, ainl in earth, in 
" the seas, and in all deep places." You see Divine pleasure is the 
only rule according to which Divine Power exerts itself in the 
world ; we are not therefore to limit and restrain it in our narrow 
and shallow thoughts, and to think in this, or in that, the j)o\\er of 
God may help or secure us ; but to believe that he is able to do 
exceeding abundantly above all that we can ask or think. Thus 
those worthies, Dan. iii. 17. by faith exalted the power of God 
above the order and common rule of second causes. " Our God 
*' vvhom we serve is able to deliver us from tlie burning fiery fur- 
" nace, and he will dehver us out of thine hand, O king." Their 
faith resting itself upon the omnipotent power of God, expected 
deliverance from it in an extraordinary way; it is true, this is no 
standing rule for our faith ordinarily to work by ; nor have we 
ground to expect such miraculous salvations, but yet when extraor- 
dinary difficulties press us, and the common ways and means of 
deliverance are shut up, we ought by faith to exalt the omnipotency 
of God, by ascribing the glory thereof to him, and leave ourselves 
to his good pleasure, without straitening or narrowing his Almighty 
Power, according to the mould of our poor, low thoughts and ap- 
prehensions of it : for so the Lord himself directeth our faith in 
difficult cases, Isa. Iv. 8, 9. " For my thoughts are not your 
" thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord ; for 
" as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher 
" than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts." He 
speaks there of his pardoning mercy, which he will not have his 
people to contract and hmit according to the model and platform 
of their own desponding, misgiving, and unbelieving thoughts ; but 
to exalt and glorify it, according to its unbounded fulness ; as it is 
in tlie thoughts of God, the fountain of that mercy ; so it ought to 
be with respect to his power, about which his thoughts and ours do 
vastly differ ; the power of God as we cast in the mould of our 
thoughts, is as vastly different and disproportionate from what it is 
in the thoughts of God the fountain thereof, as the earth is to the 
heavens, which is but a small inconsiderable point compared with 

2. The power of God is a supreme and sovereign power, from 
which all creature-power is derived, and by which it is over-ruled, 
restrained, and limited at his pleasure. Nebuchadnezzar was a 
great monarch, he ruled over other kings, yet he lield his king- 
dom from God ; it was God that placed not only the crown upon 



his head, but his head upon his shoulders, Dan. ii. 37. " Thou, O 
" king, art a king of kings ; for the God of heaven hath given 
" thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory." Hence it fol- 
lows, that no creature can move tongue or hand against any of 
God's people, but by virtue of a commission or permission from their 
God, albeit they think not so. Knoivest thou not^ saith Pilate unto 
Christ, that I have power to crucify thee, cmd power to release thee? 
Proud worm ! what an ig-norant and insolent boast was this of his 
own power ! and how doth Christ spoil and shame it in his answer ? 
John xix. 11. Thou couldest have no power at all against me, ex- 
cept it were given thee from above. 

Wicked men, like wild horscF, would run over and trample 
under foot all the people of God in the world, were it not that 
the bridle of Divine Providence had a strong curb to restrain 
them : Ezek. xxii. 6. " The princes of Israel every one were in 
" thee, to their power to shed blood.*" And it was well foi' 
God's Israel that their power was not as large as their wills were ; 
this world is a raging and boisterous sea, which sorely tosses the pas- 
sengers for heaven that sail upon it, but this is their comfort and 
security : " The Lord stilleth the noise of the sea, the noise of the 
" waves, and the tumult of the people,'' Psal. Ixv. 7. Moral, 
as well as natural waves, are checked and bounded by Divine 
power. " Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee, and the re- 
" mainder of wrath thou shalt restrain,'' Psal. Ixxvi. 10. As a 
man turns so much water into the channel as will drive the mill, 
and turns away the rest into another sluice. 

Yea, not ordy the power of man, but the power of devils also is 
under the restraint and limitation of this power. Rev. iii. 10. " Sa- 
" tan shall cast som.eofyou into prison, and ye shall have tribulation 
" ten days." He would have cast them into their graves, yea, into 
hell if he could, but it must be only into a prison : He would have 
kept them in prison till they had died and rotted there, but it must 
be only for ten days. Oh glorious sovereign power ! which thus 
keeps the reins of government in its own hand ! 

3. The power of God is an everlasting power ; time doth not 
weaken or diminish it, as it doth all creature-powers, Isa. xl. 28. 
" The Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, 
" neither is weary," Isa. lix. 1. " The Lord's hand is not shorten- 
" ed," i. e. He hath as much power now as ever he had, and can 
do for his people as much as ever he did ; time will decay the 
power of the strongest creature, and make him faint and feeble ; 
but the Creator of the ends of the earth fainteth not. " Thou 
(saith the Psalmist) abideth for ever, thy years flee not," Psal. cii. 
27. In God's working there is no expence of his strength, he is 
able to do as much for his church now as ever he did, to act over- 


again all the glorious deliverances that ever he wrought for his peo- 
ple from the beginning of the world ; to do as much for his church 
now, as he did at the Red-sea ; and upon this ground the churcli 
builds its plea, Isa. li. 9, 10. " Awake, awake, put on strength, O 
" arm of the Lord, awake as in the ancient days, as in the genera- 
" tions of old. Art thou not it that hath cut Rahab, and wounded 
" the dragon .^" q. d. Lord, why should not thy people at this day 
expect as glorious productions of thy power, as any of them found 
in former ages ? 

Sect. II. Let us view the power of God in the vast extent of its 
operations, and then you will find it working beyond the line, 

1. Of creature-power, 

2. Of creature-expectation, 

3. Of human probability. 

1. Beyond the line of all created power, even upon the hearts, 
thoughts, and minds of men, Avhere no creature hath any jurisdic- 
tion. So Gen. xxxi. 29- God bound up the spirit of Laban, and 
becalmed it towards Jacob. So Psal. cvi. 46. " He made them 
" also to be pitied of all them that carried them captives.'' Thus 
the Lord promised Jeremiah, Jer. xv. 11. "I will cause the enemy 
" to entreat thee well, in the time of evil." This power of God 
softens the hearts of the most fierce and cruel enemies, and 
sweetens the spirits of the most bitter and enraged foes of his 

2. Reyond the line of all creature-expectations, Eph. iii. 20. 
" God is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we can 
" ask or think." He doth so in spirituals ; as appears by those 
two famous parables, Luke xv. 19, 22. " And am no more worthy 
" to be called thy son ; make me as one of thy hired servants. 
" But the Father said to his servants, bring forth the best robe, 
" and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his 
" feet." The prodigal desired to be but as an hired servant, and 
lo, the fatted calf is killed for him, and music to his meat ; and the 
gold ring upon his finger. And in Matth. xviii. 26, 27. the debtor 
did but desire patience, and the creditor forgave the debt. Oh ! 
thinks a poor humbled sinner, if I might have but the least glimpse 
of hope, how sweet would it be ! But God brings him to more than 
he expects, even the clear shining of assurance. It is so in tempo- 
rals, the church confesses the Lord did things they looked not for , 
Isa. Ixiv. 3. And in both spirituals and temporals this power 
moves in an higher orb than our thoughts, Isa. Iv. 8, 9. " My 
" thoughts are not your thoughts, nor my ways your ways ; but 
" as far as the heavens are above the earth, so are my thoughts 
" above your thoughts." The earth is but a punctum to the hea- 


vens ; all its tallest cedars, mountains and pyramids cannot reach 
it : He speaks, as was said before, of God's pitying, pardoning, and 
merciful thoughts, and shews that no creature can think of God, as 
he doth of the creature under sin, or under misery ; our thoughts 
are not his thoughts ; either first, by way of simple cogitation we 
cannot think such thoughts towards others in misery, by way of 
pity ; or under sin against us by way of pardon, as God doth : 
Nor secondly, are our thoughts as God's in respect of reflexive 
comprehension ; i. e. We cannot conceive or comprehend what those 
thoughts of God towards us are; when we fall into sin or misery, 
just as he thinks them, they are altered, debased, and straitened as 
soon as ever they come into our thoughts. See an excellent instance 
in Gen. xlviii. 11. "I had not thought to see thy face, and lo, 
" God hath shewed me also thy seed." A surprizing providence ; 
and thus the divine power works in a sphere above all the thoughts, 
prayers, and expectations of men. 

3. It works beyond all probabilities, and rational conjectures of 
men ; this Almighty power hath created deliverances for the peo- 
ple of God, when things have been brought to the lowest ebb, and 
all the means of salvation have been hid from their eyes. We 
have divers famous instances of this in scripture, wherein we may 
observe a remarkable gradation in the working of this Almighty 
power : It is said in 2 Kings xiv. 26, 27. " The Lord saw the af- 
" fliction of Israel, that it was very ])itter, for there was not any 
" shut up, or any left, nor any helper for Israel.'' A deplorable 
state ! How inevitable was their ruin to the eye of sense ? Well 
might it be called a bitter affliction ; yet from this immediate power 
arose for them a sweet and unexpected salvation : And if we look 
into 2 Cor. i. 9, 10. we shall find the apostles and choicest Chris- 
tians of those times, giving up themselves as lost men ; all ways 
of escaping being quite out of sight, for so much those words sig- 
nify. We had the sentence of death in ourselves ; i.e. AVe yielded 
ourselves for dead men. But though they were sentenced to death, 
yea, though they sentenced themselves, this power, which wrought 
above all their thoughts and rational conjectures, reprieved them. 
And yet one step farther, in Ezek. xxxvii. 4, 5, 6, 7. The people 
of God are there represented as actually dead, yea, as in their 
gi-aves, yea, as rotted in their graves, and their very bones dry, 
Eke those that are dead of old ; so utterly improbable was their 
recovery : Yet by the working of this Almighty power, which sub- 
dueth all things to itself, their graves in Babylon were opened, the 
breath of life came into them, bone came to bone, and there stood 
up a very great army ; it was the working of his power above the 
thoughts of man's heart, which gave the ground of that famous 
proverb. Gen. xxii. 14. " In the mount of the Lord it shall be 


" seen.^' And the ground of that famous promise, Zecb. xiv. T. 
" At evening time it shall be light ;" i. e. Light shall unexpectedly 
spring up, when all men according to the course and order of na- 
ture, expect nothing but increasing darkness. How extensive is the 
power of God in its glorious operations ! 

Sect. III. Let us view the power of God in its relation to the 
promises, for so it becomes our sanctuary in the day of trouble ; if 
the power of God be the chamber, it is the promise of God which 
is that golden key that opens it. And if we will consult the scrip- 
tures in this matter, we shall find the Almighty power of God 
made over to his people by promise, for many excellent ends and 
uses in the day of their trouble. As, 

1. To uphold and support them when their own strength fails, 
Isa. xli. 10. " Fear thou not, for I am with thee, be not dismayed, 
" for I am thy God : I will strengthen thee, yea, I will help thee, 
" yea, I will uphold thee, with the right hand of my righteousness.'' 
And which of the saints have not sensibly felt these everlasting 
arms underneath their spirits, when afflictions have pressed them 
above their own strength ! So runs the promise to Paul, in 2 Cor. 
xii. 9. " My grace is sufficient for thee, for my strength is made 
" perfect in weakness ;" i. e. It is made known in thy weakness. 
Our weakness adds nothing to God's power, it doth not make his 
power perfect, but it hath the better advantage of its discovery, 
and puts forth itself more signally and conspicuously in our weak- 
ness ; as the stars which never shine so gloriously as in the darkest 

2. To preserve them in all their dangers, to which they lie ex- 
posed in soul and body, 1 Pet. i. 5. " You are kept (saith the 
" apostle by the mighty power of God.'' Kept as in a garrison ; 
this is their arm every morning, as it is Isa. xxxiii. 2. " O Lord 
" be gracious unto us, we have waited for thee, be thou their arm 
" every morning, our salvation also in the time of trouble." The 
arm is that member which is fitted for the defence of the body, 
and for that end so placed by the God of nature, that it may 
guard every part above and below it; but as good they were 
bound behind our backs, for any help they can give us in some 
cases : It is God's arm that defends us and not our own. This 
invisible power of God makes the saints the world's wonder. 
Psal. Ixxi. 7. " I am as a wonder to many, but thou art my strong 
" refuge." To see the poor defenceless creatures preserved in 
the midst of furious enemies, that is just matter of wonder; but 
God being their invisible refuge, that solves the wonder ; to this 
end the power of God is by promise engaged to his people, Isa, 


xxvii. 3. " T the Lord do keep it, I will water it every moment, 
" lest any hurt it, I will keep it night and day." And thus they 
subsist in the midst of dangers and troubles ; as the burning bush 
(the emblem of the church) did amidst the devouring flames, Exod. 
iii. 3. 

3. To deliver them out of their distresses ; so runs the promise, 
Psal. xci. 14, 15. " Because he hath set his love upon me, there- 
" fore will I deliver him ; I will set him on high, because he hath 
" known my name ; he shall call upon me, and I will answer him, 
" I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honour 
'* him." And Jer. xxx. 7. " Alas for that day is great, so that 
" none is like it : It is even the time of Jacob's trouble; but ye 
" shall be saved out of it." And surely there can be no distress so 
great, no case of believers so forlorn, but, 

1. It is easy with God to save them out of it. Are they to the 
eye of sense lost, as hopeless as men in the grave ? Yet see Ezek. 
xxxvii. 12. " O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to 
" come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel." 
And he doth whatever he doth easily, with a word, Psal. xliv. 4. 
" Thou art my king, O God, command deliverances for Jacob." 
And it requireth no more violent motion to do it, than he that 
swimmeth in the water uses, Isa. xxv. 11. A gentle easy motion 
of the hand doth it. 

2. And as the power of God can deliver them easily, so speedily. 
Their deliverance is often wrought by way of surprizal. Isa. xvii. 
14. " Behold, at evening-tide, trouble, and in the morning he is 
*' not."" So the church prays, in Psal. cxxxvi. 14. " Turn again 
" our captivity as the streams in the south." The southern coun- 
tries are dry, the streams there come not in a gentle and slow cur- 
rent, but being occasioned by violent sudden spouts of rain, they 
presently overflow the country, and as soon retire : So speedily can 
the power of God free his people from their dangers and fears. 

3. Yea, such is the excellency of his delivering power, that he can 
save alone, without any contribution of creature-aids. So Isa. lix. 
16. " He wondered that there was no intercessor; therefore his 
** hand brought salvation unto him, and his righteousness sustained 
" him." We read indeed, Judg. v. 23. of helping the Lord, but 
that is not to express his need, but their duty ; we have continual 
need of God, but he hath no need of us : he uses instruments, but 
not out of necessity, his arm alone can save us, be the danger never 
so great, or the visible means of deliverance never so remote. 

4. Once more, let us view this chamber of Divine Power, as it 
is continually opened by the hand of providence, to receive arid se- 
cure the people of God in all their dangers. It is said, 2 Chron. 


xvi. <). " The eyes of the Lord run to and fro tliroilgliout tlie 
" whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose 
" lieart is perfect towards him." Where you have an excellent 
account oi^ the immediacy, universality, and efficacy of Divine Pro- 
vidence, as it uses and applies this Divine Power for the guard and 
defence of that people who are its charge ; he doth not only set 
angels to watch for them, but his own eyes guard them, even those 
seven eyes of providence mentioned, Zech. iii. 9- wliich riever sleep 
7ior slumber ; for they are said to run continually to and fro, and 
that not in this or that particular place only, for the service of some 
more eminent and excellent persons ; but through the whole earth. 
It is an encompassing and surrounding providence which hath its eye 
upon all whose hearts are upright ; all the saints are within the 
line of its care and protection ; the eye of providence discovereth 
all their dangers, and its arm defends them, for he shews himself 
strong in their behalf 

The secret, ■ but the almighty efficacy of providence is also ex- 
cellently described to us in Ezek. i. 8. where the angels are said 
to have their hands under their wings, working secretly and un- 
liiscernibl}^ but very effectually for the saints committed to their 
charge. Like unto which is that in Hab. iii. 4. where it is said of 
God, " that he had horns coming out of his hands, and there 
" was the hiding of his power.'" The hand is the instrument of 
action, denoting God's active power, and the horns coming out of 
them are the glorious rays and beams of that power shining forth 
in the salvation of his people. Oh that we could sun ourselves in 
those cheerful and reviving beams of Divine Power, by considering 
how gloriously they have broken forth, and shone out for the sal- 
vation of his people in all ages. So it did for Israel at the Red-sea, 
Exod. XV. 6. So for Jehoshaphat in that great strait, 2 Chron. 
XX. 12, 15. And so in the time of Hezekiah, 2 Kings xix. 8, 7. 
Yea, in all ages from the beginning of the world the saints have 
been sheltered under these Avings of Divine Power, Isa. li. 9, 10. 
Thus providence hath hanged and adorned this chamber of Divine 
Power with the delightful histories of the church's manifold pre- 
servations by it. 

Section IV. Having taken a short view of this glorious chamber 
of God's power, absolutely in itself, and also in relation to his pro- 
mises and providences, it remains now, that I press and persuade 
all the people of God under their fears and dangers, according to 
GckI's gracious invitation, to enter into it, shut their doors, and 
to behold with delight this glorious attribute working for them in 
all their exigencies and distresses. 

1. Enter into this chamber of Divine Power, all ve that fear the 


Lord, and hide yourselves there in those dangerous and distressful 
days ; let me say to you as the prophet did to the poor distressed 
Jews, Zech. ix. 12. " Turn ye to your strong hold, ye prisoners of 
" hope." Strong holds might they say ; why, where are they ? 
The walls of Jerusalem are in the dust, the temple burnt with fire, 
Sion an heap; what meanest thou in telling us of our strong holds? 
Why, admit all this, yet there is satis prcesidii in uno Deo, refuge 
enough for you in God alone, as Calvin excellently notes upon 
that place. Christian, art thou not able to fetch a good subsistence 
for thy soul by faith, out of the Almighty Power of God ? The 
renowned saints of old did so. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob met 
with as many difficulties and plunges of trouble in their time, as 
ever you did, or shall meet with ; yet, by the exercise of their 
faith upon this attribute, they lived comfortably, and why cannot 
you ? Exod. vi. 3. " I appeared (saith God) unto Abraham, Isaac, 
" and Jacob, by the name of God Almighty." They kept house 
and feasted by faith upon this name of mine ; O that we could do 
as Abraham did, Rom. iv. 21. We have the same attribute, but, 
alas, we have not such a faith as his was to improve it. It is easy 
to beheve the Almighty power of God in a calm, but not so easy 
to resign ourselves to it, and securely rest upon it in a storm of ad- 
versity ; but oh what peace and rest would our faith procure us by 
the free use and exercise of it this way ! to assist your faith in this 
difficulty wherein we find the faith of a Moses sometimes staggered, 
let me briefly offer you these four following encouragements. 

1. Consider how your gracious God hath engaged this his Al- 
mighty Power, by promise and covenant for the security of his 
people. God pawned it, as it were, to Abraham, in that famous 
promise. Gen. xvii. 1. "I am the Almighty God, walk thou before 
"me, and be thou perfect." And Gen. xv. 1. "Fear not, Abra- 
" ham, I am thy shield." Say not, this Mas Abraham's pecuhar 
privilege, for if thou consult Hosea xii. 4. and Heb. xiii. 5, 6. you 
will find that believers in these days have as good a title to the pro- 
mises made in those days, as those worthies had to whom they were 
immediately made. 

2. If you be believers, your relation to God strongly engageth 
his power for you, as well as his own promises, " Surely, (saith 
" God) they are my people, children that will not lie: so he be- 
" came their Saviour," Isa. Ixiii. 8. We say relations have the 
least of entity, but the greatest efficacy ; you find it so in your 
own experience, let a wife, child, or friend be in imminent danger, 
and it shall engage all the power you have to succour and deliver 

3. This glorious power of God is engaged for you by the very 
malice and wickedness of your enemies, who will be apt to impute 


the ruin of the saints to the defect of power in God ; from whence 
those excellent arguments are drawn, Numb. xiv. 15, 16. " Now 
" if thou shalt kill all this people as one man, then the nations 
*' which have heard the fame of thee, will speak, saying, Because 
" the Lord was not able to bring this people into the land which 
" he sware unto them, therefore he hath slain them in the wilder- 
" ness." And again, Deut. xxxii. 26, 27. you will find the Lord 
improving this argument for them himself; if they do not plead 
it for themselves, he will. " I would scatter them into corners, I 
" would make the remembrai>(ce of them to cease from among 
" men, were it not that I feared the wrath of the enemy, lest their 
" adversaries should behave themselves strangely, and lest they 
" should say, Our hand is high, and the Lord hath not done all 
" this." O see how much you are beholden to the \ery rage of 
your enemies, for your deliverances from them ! 

4. To conclude, the very reliance of your souls by faith upon 
the power of God, your very leaning upon his arm engages it for 
your protection, Isa. xxvi. 3. " Thou wilt keep him in perfect 
" peace, whose mind is stayed on thee, because he trusteth in 
" thee." Puzzle not yourselves therefore any longer about qua- 
lifications : but know that the very acting of your faith on God, 
the recumbency of your souls upon him, is that which will engage 
him for your defence, how weak and defective soever thou art in 
other respects. 

2. Having thus entered by faith into this chamber of Divine 
Power, the next counsel the text gives you, is, to shut the door 
behind you ; i. e. after the acting of your faith, and the quiet re- 
pose of your souls upon God's almighty power ; then take heed lest 
unbelieving fears and jealousies creep in again, and disturb the rest 
of your souls in God ; you find a sad instance of this in Moses, 
Numb. xi. 21 , 23. " After so many glorious acts and triumphs of 
his faith, how were his heels tripped up by diffidence which crept 
in afterwards ! Good men may be posed with difficult providences, 
and made to stagger. The Israelites had lived upon miracles many 
years, Psal. Ixxviii. 20. "Can he give bread also.?" Good Martha 
objects difficulty to Christ, John xi. 39. '•' By this time he stinketh." 
Oh ! it is a glorious thing to give God the glory of his Almighty 
Power in difficult cases that we cannot comprehend. See Zech. viii. 
6. " If it be marvellous in the eyes of the remnant of this people in 
'• these days, should it be as marvellous in mine eyes.-^ saith the 
" Lord of hosts." Difficulties are for men, but not for God ; be- 
cause it is marvellous in your eyes, must it be so in God's ! Vcirious 
objections will be apt to arise in your hearts to drive you out of 
this your refuge. As, 

Object. 1. Oh ! but the long continuance of our troubles and 


distresses will sink our very hearts, Isa. xl. 27. " Why sayest thou, 
" O Jacob, and speakest, O Israel, my way is hid from the Lord, 
*' and my judgment is passed over from my God." 

SoL But, oh ! wait upon God without fainting, Heb. ii. 3. " The 
" vision is yet for an ap}x>inted time, but at the end it shall speak 
" and not lie : though it tarry, wait for it, because it will surely 
" come, it will not tarry.'' 

Object. 2. Oh, but our former hopes and expectations of deliver- 
ance are frustrated, Jer. viii. 15. " We looked for peace, but no 
" good came : and for a time of health, and behold trouble."*"* 

SoL Oh, but yet be not discouraged : see how the Psalmist begins 
the Ixixth Psalm with trembling, and ends it with triumph ; the 
husbandman waiteth, and so must you. 

Object. 3. But there is no sign or appearance of our deliverance. 

Sol. What then, this is no new thing, Psal. Ixxiv. 9. " We see 
*' not our signs, there is no more any prophet, neither is there any 
'' among us that knoweth how long." 

Object. 4. But all things work contrary to our hope. 

Sol. Why, so did things with Abraham ; yet see, Rom. iv. 18. 
" Against hope, he believed in hope." 

3. Observe farther with delight, the outgoings and glorious 
workings of Divine power for you and for the church in times of 
trouble : this is sweet entertainment for your souls, it is food for 
faith, Psal. Ixxiv. 14. " Thou brakest the heads of Leviathan in 
'^ pieces, and gavest him to be meat to the people inhabiting the 
" wilderness." And here I beseech you behold and admire, 

1. Its mysterious and admirable protection of the saints in all 
their dangers. They feed as sheep in the midst of wolves, Luk6 
X. 3. They lie among them that are set on fire, Psal. Ivii. 4. 
'• Their habitation is in the midst of deceit," Jer. ix. 6. Yet they 
are kept in safety by the mighty power of God. 

2. Behold and admire it in casting the bonds of restraint upon 
your enemies, that though they would, yet they cannot hurt you; 
our dangers are visible, and our fears great, but our security and 
safety admirable, Isa. li. 13. " Thou hast feared continually every 
'' day, because of the fury of the oppressor, as if he were ready to 
" destroy ; and where is the fury of the oppressor ?''' 

3. Behold its opening unexpected and unlikely refuges and se- 
curities for the saints in their distresses ; Isa. xvi. 4. " Let mine out- 
" casts dwell with thee, Moab, be thou a covert to them from the 
'' face of the spoiler ; for the extortioner is at an end, the spoiler 
" ceaseth, the oppressors are consumed out of the land." Rev. xii. 
16. "The earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her 
" mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out 
" of hi* mouth." 


5. Behold it frustrating all the designs of our enemies against us, 
Isa. liv. 17. "No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper, 
" and every tongue that shall rise against tiiee in judgment thou 
**' shalt condemn. Behold, I have created the smith," Isa. liv. 16. 
q. d. He tha-t created the smith, can order as he pleasetli the wea- 
pon made by him ; hence our enemies are not masters of tlieir own 

Oh then, depend upon this power of God, for it is your security; 
tliere is a twofold dependence, the one natural and necessary, the 
other elective. 

1. Natural dependence, so all do, and must depend upon him. 

2. Elective and voluntary, and so we all ought to depend upon 
him ; and fc^ your encouragement take this scripture, Psal. ix. 9, 10. 
" The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times 
" of trouble, and they that know thy name will put their trust in 
" thee, for thou, Lord, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.'" And 
thus of the first attribute of Ood, prepared for the safety of liis 
people in times of trouble. 


Opening that ghrioits attribute of Divine Wisdom, as a second 
chamber of security to tfte saints in difficult times. 

Sect, I. A HE next chamber of Divine protection into which 
I shall lead you is the infinite wisdom of God; I call it the next, 
because I so find it placed in scripture. Job xxxvi. 5. " He is 
" ^nighty in power and' wisdom." Dan. ii. 20. " Wisdom and 
" might are his. 

This attribute may be fitly called the council-chamber of heaven, 
wliere all things are contrived in the deepest wisdom, which are 
afterwards wrought in the world by power, Eph. i. 11. " He 
" worketh all things after the counsel of his own wiU." Counsel 
in the creature implies weakness and defect ; we are not able at one 
thought to fathom the depth of a business, and therefore must de- 
liberate and spend many thoughts about it, and when we have spent 
all our thoughts, we are oft-times at a loss, and must borrow help, 
and ask counsel of others; but in God it notes the perfection of his 
understanding, for as those acts of the creature which are the results 
of deliberation and counsel, are the heiglit and top of all rational 
contrivemcnt ; so in its accommodation to God, it notes the ex- 
cellent results of his infinite and most perfect understanding. 

Vol. III. Z 


Now tills wisdom of God is to be considered either absolutely 
or relatively. 

1. Absolutely in itself, and so it is, That whereby he most 
perfectly and exactly knows himself^ and all things without himself^ 
ordering and disposing them in the most convenient manner, to tlie 
glory of his own name. 

Wisdom comprehends two things, 1. Knowledge of the nature 
of things which, in the creature, is called science. 2. Knowledge 
how to govern, order and dispose them, which, in the creature, is 
cdXled. prudence ; these things in a man are but faint shadows of that 
which is in God, in the most absolute perfection ; he fully knows 
himself, for his understanding is infinite, Psal. cxlvii. 5. and the 
thoughts he thinks towards us, Jer. xxix. 11. And as he perfectly 
understands himself, so likewise all things that are without himself, 
Acts XV. 18. " Known unto God are all his works from the begin- 
" ning of the world.'"' Together with all the secret designs, thoughts, 
and purposes which lie hid from all others, in the inmost recesses of 
men's hearts, Psal. cxxxix. 2. 

And as he perfectly knows all things, so he fully understands 
how to govern and direct them to the best end, even the exalting 
of his own praise, Psal. civ. 24. Rom. xi. 36. " For of him, and 
*' through him, and to him are all things:'' of him, as the efficient 
cause : through him as the conserving cause : and to him as the 
final cause. And in this wise disposition of all things, he hath a 
gracious respect to the good of his chosen, Rom. viii. 28. " AU 
*' things shall work together for good to them that love God." More 
particularly, the wisdom of God is to be considered by us in its ex- 
cellent properties, among which these four following are eminently 
conspicuous, as it is the 

1. Original, 3. Perfect, and 

2. Essential, 4. Only wisdom. 

1. The v/isdom of God is the original wisdom, from which all 
the wisdom found in angels or men is derived, and into that foun- 
tain we are directed to go for supplies of wisdom, James i. 5. 
" If any man lack wisdom, let him ask it of God." There is in- 
deed a spirit in man, but it is the inspiration of the Almighty that 
giveth understanding. Job xxxii. 8. The natural faculty is ours, 
but the illum.ination thereof is God's, the understanding of the 
creature is the dial, which signifies nothing till the sun shine upon 

2. God's wisdom is essential wisdom. Wisdom in the creature 
is but a quality separable from the subject ; but in God it is his na- 
ture, his very essence, he can as soon cease to be God as to be most 

3. The wisdom of God is perfect wisdom, full of itself, and ex- 


tluslve of its contrary ; the wisest of men are not wise at all times; 
the o-reatest wits are not without some mixture of madness ; it is 
an high attainment in human wisdom to understand our own 
weakness and folly ; the deepest heads are but shallows, but the 
wisdom of God is an unsearchable depth, Rom. xi. 33. " O the 
" depth of the riches, both of the wisdom and knowledge of God ! 
" how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding 

4. To conclude, the wisdom of God is the only wisdom : there 
is no wisdom without him, none against him, he is the only wise 
God, Jude, ver. 25. 

2. The wisdom of God must be considered relatively, and that 
in a double respect : 

1. To his promises. 
S. To his providences. 

Sect. II. Let us view it in its relation to the promises, where you 
shall find it made over by God to his people for divers excellent 
uses and purposes in times of distress and danger. As, 

1. It was made over to them in promises for their direction and 
guidance when they knew not what to do, or which way to take. 
So Psal. XXV. 9. " The meek will he guide in judgment, and the 
*« meek will he teach his way :" and Isa. Iviii. 11. " The Lord shall 
" guide thee continually C and Psal. xxxiii. 8. " I will guide thee 
" with mine eye."" And with this the Psalmist encourages himself, 
Psal. Ixxiii. 24. " Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and 
" afterwards receive me to glory."" O what an invaluable mercy 
is this! we should make shipwreck both of our temporal and 
eternal mercies quickly, were it not for the guidance of Divine wis- 

2. To extricate them when involved in difficulties. So 2 Pet. 
ii. 9. '• The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temp- 
" tation." They know not how, but their God doth ; they are 
often at a loss, but he is never. So 1 Cor. x. 13. " There hath no 
" temptation taken you, but such as is common to man, but God is 
" faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that which 
" you are able, but will with the temptation also make a way to 
" escape, that ye may be able to bear it.'"* 

3. To over-rule and order all their troubles to their good and 
real advantage. So runs that most comprehensive promise, Rom. 
viii. 28. " All things shall work together for good to them that 
*« love God.'' In the faith whereof Paul concludes, Phil. i. 19i 
Even this shall work for his salvation. Thus the people of God 
were sent into captivity for their good, Jer. xxiv. 8. and Joseph 
into Egypt, Gen. 1. 20. "Ye thought evil against me, but God 

Z 2 


** meant it unto good, to bring to pass as it is this day, to save much 
'* people aHve." 

2. Let us view the wisdom of God in its relation to his provi- 
dences, for there it shines forth eminently, Ezek. i. 18. The 
wheels were full of eyes, i. e. the motions and providential revo- 
lutions in this lower world are very judicious and advised motions; 
Non cocco impetu volvuntitr rotce ; it hath an end and design which 
no man understands till it open itself in the event. 

The enemies of the church are oft-times men of the finest brains 
and deepest policies : Herod a fox for subtlety, Luke xiii. 32. Julian 
and Ahithophel, with many otl>ers, who have digged as deep as hell 
in their counsels, and laid their designs so sure that they doubted 
not to be masters of it ; yet their hands could not perform their 

The wisdom of providence has still befooled them, and baffled the 
cunningest head-pieces that ever undertook any design against the 
church, as fast as ever they arose; and here the wisdom of providence 
is remarkable in three things especially. 

1. In revealing and discovering the secret conspiracies and coun- 
sels of the church's enemies, and thereby frustrating their designs. 
Gen. xxvii. 41, 42. Providence (as one calls it) is the bird of the 
air, that carries tidings, and whistles deeds of darkness ; Job xii. 
22. " He disco vereth deep things out of darkness, and bringeth 
" out to light the shadow of death.'' And this God hath done 
both immediately and mediately. 1. Immediately, 2 Kings vi. 11. 
AVhat counsel soever the king of Syria took in his bed-chamber was 
still discovered by the word to the prophet. So ^ue is that. Job 
xxxiv. 22. " There is no darkness nor shadow of death where the 
" workers of iniquity may hide themselves." Thus the design of 
Herod is revealed to Joseph in a dream. 

But commonly he doth it by means ; as, 

1. By giving knowledge of it to some that are under obligations 
of duty or affection to reveal it to those that are concerned in the 
danger. So Paul's sister's son. Acts xxiii. 16. revealed the con- 
spiracy against his life, and so the plot miscai'ried by revealing it 
before it was ripe for execution. 

2. By the failure of some circumstance, the whole is brought 
to light ; there be many fine threads upon which the designs of 
politicians hang ; if one break, the whole design is unravelled. 
Thus the wisdom of God sometimes prevents his people's ruin, by 
taking away the speech of the trusty from him, and making their 
own tongues to fall upon themselves. 

3. By their own confession, so Psal. Ixiv. 5, 6, 7, 8. where you 
have the plot laid, ver. 5. " They encourage themselves in an evil 
[' matter, they commune of laying snares privily, they say, who 


«' shall sec them r" The deep contrivance of it, ver. 6. " They 
" search out iniquity, they accomplish a dilifrent search, both the 
" inward thought of every one. of them, and the heart is deep.^' 
Their plot destroyed, ver. 7. " But God shall shoot at them with 
" an arrow, suddenly shall they be wounded." The method or 
way of providence in destroying it, ver. 8. " So they shall make 
" their own tongue to fall upon themselves, all that see them shall 
" fly away.*" Thus hath the wisdom of our God wrought for us 
this day, beyond all the thoughts of our hearts ; and oh that it 
might make such impressions upon all our hearts, as follow in ver. 
9, 10. " All men shall fear, and shall declare the work of God, 
" for they shall wisely consider his doing. The righteous shall be 
*' glad in the Lord, and shall trust in him, and all the upright in 
" heart shall glory." 

2. The wisdom of God discovers itself in behalf of that people 
who are his own, in diverting the danger from them, and putting 
by the deadly thrusts their enemies make at them ; thus it spoils 
their game by an unforeseen rub in the green, and that especially 
three ways. 

1. By making their counsels to jar among themselves, in which 
jars is the sweetest harmony of providence; thus the counsel of 
Ahithophel jars with the counsel of Hushai, 2 Sam. xvii. 5, 7. by 
which means David escaped : The Pharisees clashed with the Sad- 
ducees, Acts xxiii. 7. and by that means Paul escaped. 

2. By cutting out other work, and starting some new design, 
which puts them, as a fresh scent does the dog, to a loss. Thus 
the people of God in Jerusalem were delivered by a diversion, 
2 Kings xix. 7. " Behold, I will send a blast upon him, and he 
" shall hear a rumour and shall return to his own land, and I will 
" cause him to fall by the sword in his own land : so Rabshakeh 
" returned." By this means also was David delivered from the 
hand of Saul, 1 Sam. xxiii. 27. And in this method of provi- 
dence, that scripture is often fulfilled, Prov. xxi. 18. " The wicked 
" shall be a ransom for the righteous, and the transgressor for the 
" upright." 

3. By cutting off the capital enemies of his church, by whose 
seasonable destruction they are delivered. Thus fell Julian, that 
bitter enemy of the Christians, when he was preparing to put his 
last and most bloody design against them in execution. And thus 
fell Haman, Nero, and many more in the very height and heat of 
their designs against the church. 

4. The wisdom of God gloriously displays itself in causing the 
designs of the wicked, like a surcharged gun, to recoil upf)n and 
destroy themselves: it often falls out with ihe undermining enemies 
of the church, as it sometimes doth with them that dig deep mines 



in the earth, who are destroyed and buried in their oivn works, 
Psal. ix. 15, 16. " The Heathen are sunk down in the pit that 
'* they made, in the net which they hid is their own feet taken. 
" The Lord is known by the judgments wliich he executeth, the 
*' wicked is snared in the work of his own hands. Higgajon, 
" Selah." There is a double mercy in this providence, one in de- 
livering the saints from the danger, the other in causing it to fall 
upon the contrivers, and is therefore celebrated with a double note 
of attention : in these observable strokes, the righteousness of God 
shines forth in repaying his people^s enemies in their own coin *. 

Thus Haman did eat the first-fruits of that tree which his own 
hands planted, and thus Jerusalem becomes a burdensome stone to 
all that burden themselves with it, Zech. xii. S. 

4. Admire and adore the wisdom of your God in those great and 
unexpected advantages, which arise to you out of those very dan- 
gers and designs of your enemies that threatened your ruin ; the 
hands of your very enemies are sometimes made the instruments of 
your advancement and enlargement; your persecutions become 
your privileges, the motto of the palm-tree fitly becomes yours, 
Suppressa resurgo. 

In three things the wisdom of God makes advantage out of your 

1. In fortifying your souls and bodies with suitable strength, 
when any eminent trial is intended for you ; so it was with the 
apostles, S Cor. i. 5. " As the sufferings of Christ abound in us, 
" so our consolation by Christ." God lays in suitably to what men 
lay on mercilessly : Christ would not draw the poor timorous dis- 
ciples out of Jerusalem unto hard encounters, until first he had en- 
dued them with power from on high, Luke xxiv. 49. 

9.. The wisdom of your God can, and often doth make your very 
troubles and sufferings, instead of so many ordinances, to strengthen 
your faith and fortify your patience. So the heads of Leviathan 
became meat to his people inhabiting the wilderness, Psal. Ixxiv. 
14. And so the plots of Balak and Balaam were designed by God 
to be as a standing instructing ordinance for the encouragement of 
his people's faith in future difficulties, Mic. vi. 5. " O my people, 
" remember now what Balak king of Moab consulted, and what 
" Balaam the son of Beor answered him from Shittim unto Gilgal, 
" that ye may know the righteousness of the Lord.'' q. d. You 
cannot but remember how those your enemies courted me %vith 

-Nee lex estjustior ulla. 

Quam necis artifices arte perire sua. Ovid. 

Kor is there any juster law, than that contrivers of mischief perish by their own art, 


iiuiltitutles of ofierings to deliver you up into their hands, and ho^^' 
faithfully I stood by you in all tliose dangers ; that plot discovered 
at once the policy of your enemies, and the righteousness of your 

3. His wisdom is discovered to your advantage, in permitting 
your dangers to grow to an extremity, on purpose to magnify his 
goodness, and increase your comfort in your deliverance from it. 
Psal. cxxvi. 1. " When the Lord turned our captivity, we were as 
'' them that dreamed.'' Proportionable to the greatness of your 
dangers will your joys be. 

Section III. Well then, if the wisdom of God shines forth so glo- 
riously in the times of his people's trouble, be persuaded by faith 
to enter into tkis chamber also ; it is a chamber where a believing 
soul may enjoy the sweetest rest and quietness in the most hurrying 
and distracting times ; shut the door behind you, and improve this 
attribute to your best advantage. 

1. Enter into this chamber by faith, believe firmly that the ma- 
nagement of all the affairs of this world, whether public or per- 
sonal, is in the hands of your all- wise God ; more particularly, ex- 
ercise your faith about the wisdom of God in these things : 

1 . Believe that the wisdom of God can contrive and order the 
way of your escape and deliverance, when all doors of hope are 
shut up to sense and reason ; we know not what to do, said good 
Jehoshaphat, but our eyes are unto thee ; q. d. Lord, though I am 
at a loss, and see no way of escape, thou art never at a loss. The 
Lord, (saith Peter) knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temp- 
tation : Divine Wisdom hath infinite methods and ways of deliver- 
ance unknown to man, till they are opened in the event. 

2. Believe that the wisdom of God can turn your greatest trou- 
bles and fears into the choicest blessings and mercies to you : I 
know (saith Paul) that this shall turn to my salvation, Phil. i. 19- 
meaning his bonds and sufferings for Christ. Divine wisdom can 
give you honey out of the carcase of the lion, cause you to part 
with those afflictions, admiring and blessing God for them, which 
you met with fear and trembling, as suspecting your destruction 
was imported in them. 

3. In consideration of both these, resign up yourselves to the 
wisdom of God, and lean not to your own understandings : 
" Commit thy way unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be 
" established,'' Prov. xvi. 3. When Melancthon was oppressed 
with cares and doubts about the distracting affairs of the church in 
his time, Luther thus chides him out of his despondency, Desinat 
Philippus esse rector mundi, do not thou presume to be the governor 
of the world, but leave the reins of government in his hands that 
made it, and best knows how to rule it : let God alone to chuse thr 



lot and portion, to order thy condition, and manage all thy affairs, 
and let thy soul take its rest in this quiet chamber of Divine Wis- 
dom. But then, 

2. Be sure to shut thy door behind thee, and beware, lest unbe- 
lief, anxieties, fears, and doubts, creep in after thee to disturb thy 
rest, and shake thy faith in this point ; we are apt, in two cases, to 
be stumbled in this matter. 

1. When subtle and cunning enemies are engaged against us ; 
this was David's case, 2 Sam. xv. 31. " One told David, saying, 
" Ahithophel is among the conspirators with Absalom ; and David 
" said, O Lord, I pray thee, turn the counsel of Ahithophel into 
^ fooli^ness." When he heard Ahithophel was with the conspira- 
tors, it greatly puzzled him. Though a whole conclave of politi- 
cians be against us, yet if God be with us, let us not fear. 

% When our own reason intrudes too far, and offers its dictates 
too boldly in the case, we are apt to say in the arrogancy of our own 
reason, we cannot be delivered ; but oh that we would learn to re- 
sign it up to the ^^^sdom of God. Tlie Lord knows how to deliver 
the godly. W^hen the question was asked the prophet, Ezek. 
xxxvii. 3. Can these dry bones live.? he answers, Lord, thou 
k no west. That is excellent counsel, Prov. iii. 5. " Trust in the 
" Lord with all thine heart ; and lean not to thine own under- 
•* standing." 

3. Improve the wisdom of God for yourselves in all difficult and 
distressful cases. 

1. Beg of God to exercise his wisdom for you, when enemies 
conspire against you : so did David, 2 Sam. xv. 31. " Lord, turn 
" the counsel of Ahithophel into foohshness !" Oh it is the noblest 
and surest way to vanquish an enemy : it was but asked and done. 

2. Comfort yourselves with this whenever you are at a loss in 
your own thoughts, and know not what to do, then commit all to 
Divine conduct ; let God steer for you in a storm ; he loves to be 
trusted, Psal. xxxvii. 5. " Commit thy way unto the Lord, trust 
" also in him, and he shall bring it to pass." 

3. Encourage yourselves from this when the church is in the 
greatest danger, and most sorely shaken ; O that is a blessed pro- 
mise, Zech. iii. 9. " Upon one stone shall be seven eyes." Mean- 
mg Christ, and the church built on him as the chief comer-stone ; 
the seven eyes are the seven eyes of providence, which are never all 



Opening that glorious attribute of Divine faithfulness ^ as a third 
chamber of security to the people of God, in times of distress and 

Sect. I. JlIaVING viewed the saint's refuge in the power and 
wisdom of God, we next proceed to a third chamber of safety for 
the saints refuge, viz. The faithfulness of God. 

In this attribute is our safety and rest, amidst the confusions of 
the world, and daily disappointments we are vexed withal, through 
the vanity and falseness of the creature ; as to creatures, the very 
best of them are but vanity, ye^ vanity of vanity, the vainest va- 
nity, Eccl. i. 2. " Every man in his best estate is altogether vanity," 
Psal. xxxix. 5. Yea, those that we expect most from, give us most 
trouble, Mic. vii. 5. Nearest relations bring up the rear of sor- 
rows. Job vi. 15. " My brethren have dealt deceitfully as a 
" brook.'' Especially their deceit appears most, when we have 
most need of their help, Psal cxlii. 4. How great a mercy is it 
then to have a refuge in the faithfulness of God as David had ; 
" I looked on my right hand, and beheld, but there was no 
" man that would know me, refuge failed me, no man cared for 
" my soul." And likewise the church, Mia vii. 7. " I will look 
" unto the Lord, I will wait for the God of my salvation, my God 
*' will hear me." A time may come, when you shall not know 
where to trust in all this world. Let me therefore open to you 
this chamber of rest in the faithfulness of God against such a day, 
and this I shall do in a twofold consideration of it, viz. 

1. Absolutely in its own nature. 

2. Relatively in the promises and providences of Gml. 

1. Absolutely, and so the faithfulness of God is his sincerity, 
firmness, and constancy in performing his word to his people in 
all times and cases. So Moses describes him to Israel, Deut. vii. 
9- " Know therefore, that the Lord thy God he is God, the 
" faithful God." And Joshua appeals to their experience for the 
vindication of it, Josh, xxiii. 14. " Ye know in all your hearts, 
*' and in all your souls, that not one thing hath failed of all the 
" good which the Lord your God spake concerning you ; all are 
*' come to pass, and not one thing hath failed thereof" And it is 
also fully asserted, Jer. xxxi. 35, 36, 37. and greatly admired even 
in the darkest day. Lam. iii. 23. Great is thy fait? fulness. And it 
is well for us that his faithfulness is gTeat, for great is that weight 
that leans upon it, even all our hopes for both worlds, for this 
world, and for that to come. Tit. i. 2. " In hope of eternal life, 
" which God that cannot lie promised before the world began." 


It was was a very dishonourable character that * Suidas gave of 
Tiberius, " That he never made sliew of having what he desired 
" to have, nor ever minded to do what he promised to do :"" but 
God is faithful, and that will appear by these following evidences 
of it. 

Evid. 1. By his exact fulfilling of his promises of the longest 
date. So Acts vii. 6. four hundred and thirty years were run out 
before the promise of Israel's deliverance out of Egypt was accom- 
plished; yet. Acts vii. 17. when the time of the promise was come, 
God was punctual to a day : Seventy years in Babylon, and at the 
expiration of that time, they returned, 2 Chron. xxxvi. 21. Men 
may forget, but God cannot, Isa. xlix. 15, 16. 

Evid. 2. By making way for his promises through the greatest 
difficulties, and seeming impossibilities. So to Abraham when 
old. Gen. xviii. 13, 14. " Is there any thing too hard for the Lord ? 
" At the appointed time will I return unto thee, according to the 
*' time of life; and Sarah shall have a son.'' And likewise to the 
Israelites, Can these dry bones live ? Ezek. xxxvii. 3. Difficulties 
are for men, not God, Gen. xviii. 14. What art thou, O great 
mountain, Zech. viii. 9- " If it be marvellous in the eyes of the 
" remnant of this people, should it also be marvellous in mine eyes .^ 
'' saith the I^ord of hosts." 

Evid. 3. By fulfilling promises to his people, when their hopes 
and expectations have been given up. So Ezek. xxxvii. 11. Our 
bones are dry, our hope is lost, we are cut off for our part. And 
Isa. xlix. 14. " Zion said, The Lord hath forsaken me, and my 
" Lord hath forgotten me." There may be much unbelief in 
good men, their faith may be sorely staggered, yet God is faithful ; 
men may question his promises, yet God cannot deny himself, 2 
Tim. ii. 13. 

Evid. 4. By God's appealing to his people, and referring the 
matter to their own judgment, Micah vi. 3, 4, 5. " O my people, 
" what have I done unto thee, and wherein have I wearied thee .^ 
" Testify against me, for I brought thee up out of the land of 
" Egypt, and redeemed thee out of the house of servants, 
'• and I sent before thee Moses, Aaron, and Miriam. O my 
*' people, remember now what Balak king of Moab consulted, 
" and what Balaam the son of Beor answered him from Shittim 
'' unto Gilgal, that ye may know the righteousness of the Lord ;" 
q. d. If I have failed in a punctilio of my promise, shew it : Did 
not Balak and Balaam court me, and try all ways to win me over 
to them by multitudes of sacrifices ? yet I did not desert you. So 

* Eonim qiuB ajrpetebat ne guicguam prcs sejerebat, et eorumqua dicebat,ne quicqwim 
Jacere volebat, Suidas. 


Jer. ii. 31. " O generation, see ye the word of the Lord : Have I 
" been a wilderness unto Israel, a land of darkness ? Wherefore 
*' say my people, We are lords, we will come no more unto thee,'* 
Isa. xliv. 8. 

Evid. 5. The faithfulness of God is abundantly cleared by the 
constant testimonies given unto it in all ages by them that have tried 
it, they have all witnessed for God, and attested his unspotted faith- 
fulness to the generations that were to come. So did Joshua, 
chap, xxiii. 14. " All is come to pass,'' and so did Daniel, chap, 
ix. 4. " O Lord, the great and dreadful God, keeping the cove- 
" nant and mercy to them that love him :" with which David's 
testimony concurs, Psal. cxlvi. 6. " Happy is he that hath the God 
" of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God, 
" which made the heaven and earth, the sea, and all that therein 
'' is, which keepeth truth for ever." Thus his people have been 
witnesses in all generations, unto the faithfulness of God in his pro- 
mises ; the consideration whereof leaves no doubt or objection 
behind it. 

Sect. II. And if we enquire into the grounds and reasons why- 
God is, and ever must be most faithful in performing his promises, 
we shall find it is built upon stable and unshaken pillars : viz. 
^1. The holiness of his nature. 
S. The all-sufficiency of his power. 

3. The honour of his name. 

4. the unchangeableness of his nature. 

1. The faithfulness of God is built upon the perfect holiness of 
his nature, by reason whereof it is impossible for God to lie. Tit. 
i. 2. Heb. vi. 11. The deceitfulness of a man flows from the cor- 
ruption of the human nature, but " God is not a man that he 
" should lie, neither the son of man that he should repent : hath 
"• he said, and shall he not do it.'' Or hath he spoken, and shall he 
*' not make it good ?" Numb, xxxiii. 19. If there be no defect in 
his being, there can be none in his working ; if his nature be pure 
holiness, all his ways must be perfect faithfulness. 

2. It is built upon the all-sufficiency of his power; whatsoever 
he hath promised to his people, he is able to perform it ; men 
sometimes falsify their promises through the defects of ability to 
perform them; but God never out-promised himself; if he will 
work, none can let, Isa. xliii. 13. He can do whatsoever he 
pleaseth to do, Psal. cxxxv. 6. The holiness of his nature en- 
gageth, and the Almightiness of his power enables him to be faith- 

3. The glory and honour of his name may assure us of his faith- 
fulness, in making good the promises, and all that good which is 


in the promises, to a tittle; for wherever you find a promise of 
God, you also find the name and honour of God given as a security 
for the performance of it ; and so his name hath ever been pleaded 
with him by his people, as a mighty argument to work for them, 
Josh. vii. 9. What wilt thou do for thy ^reat name^ q. d. Lord, 
thine honour is a thousand times more than our lives, it is no such 
great matter what becomes of us ; but ah. Lord, it is of infinite 
concernment that the glory of thy name be secured, and thy faith- 
fulness kept pure and unspotted in the world. So again, Exod. 
xxxii. 11, 12. " And Moses besought the Lord his God, and said, 
" Lord, why doth thy wrath wax hot against thy people which thou 
" hast brought out of the land of Egypt, with great power, and 
" with a mighty hand ? Wherefore should the Egyptians speak, 
" and say, for mischief did he bring them out to slay them in the 
" mountains, and to consume tliem from the face of the earth ? turn 
" from thy fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against thy people." 
q. d. It will be sad enough for the hands of the Egyptians to fall 
upon thy people, but infinitely worse for the tongues of the Egyp- 
tians to fall upon thy name. 

4. The unchangeableness of his nature gives us the fullest assu- 
rance of his faithfulness in the promises, Mai. iii. 6. " I am the 
" Lord, I change not ; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not fox\- 
'' sumed." God's unchangeableness is his people's indemnity, and 
best security in the midst of dangers ; as there is not yea and nay 
•with God, neither should it be so with our faith ; that which 
gives steadiness to the promises should give steadiness also to our 
expectations for the performance of them : and so much, briefly, 
of the faithfulness of God, absolutely considered in the nature and 
grounds of it. 

2. Next let us view the faithfulness of God, as it relates to the 
many great and precious promises made unto his people for their 
security, both in their 

1. Temporal ) ^ 

2. Spiritual } Concernments. 

1. AVe find the faithfulness of God pledged for the security of 
his people, in their spiritual and eternal concernments against all 
their dangers and fears, threatening them on that account, and that 
more especially in these three respects. 

1. It is given them as their great and best security for the par- 
don of their sins, 1 John i. 9. " If v.e confess our sins, he is faith- 
" ful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all un- 
" righteousness." Our greatest danger comes from sin ; guilt is a 
fountain of tears, a pardoned soul only can look other troubles in the 
face boldly : as guilt begets fear, so pardon produces courage, and 
God's faithfulness in the covenant is, as it were, that pardon-office 


from whence we fetch our discharges and acquittances, Isa. xHii. 
25. " I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy trangressions for mine 
" own sake."" The promises of remission are made for Christ's sake, 
and wlien made, they must be fulfulled for his own, that is, his 
faithfulness sake. 

2. It is engaged for the perseverance of the saints, and their con- 
tinuance in the ways of God in the most hazardous and difficult 
times; this was the encouragement given them. 1 Cor. i. 8, 9. 
*' Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blame- 
" less in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ ; God is faithful by 
<' whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ 
" our Lord." Ah Lord ! might those Corinthians say, the powers 
of the world are against us, suffering and death are before us, a 
treacherous and fearful heart within us. Ay, but yet fear not, 
Christ shall confirm you whosoever opposes you ; though the world 
and your own hearts be deceitful, yet comfort yourselves with this, 
your God is faithful. 

3. The faithfulness of God is given by promise for his people's 
security in, and encouragement against all their sufferings and af- 
flictions in this world, 2 Thess. iii. 2, 3. " That we may be de- 
*' livered from unreasonable and wicked men, for all men have not 
*' faith ; but the Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep 
" you from evil." He prays they may be delivered from absurd, 
treacherous, and unfaithful men, who would trepan and betray 
them to ruin ; but this is proposed as their relief, that when the 
treachery of men shall bring them into troubles, the faithfulness of 
God shall support them under, and deliver them out of those trou- 
bles ; they shall have spiritual supports from God under their deep- 
est sufferings from men, 1 Pet. iv. 19. 

2. God's faithfulness is engaged for his people's indemnity and 
security, amidst the temporal and outward evils whereunto they are 
liable in this world ; and that, either to preserve them from trou- 
bles, Psal. xci. 1, 2, 3, 4. or to open a seasonable door of deliver- 
ance out of trouble, 1 Cor. x. 13. In both, or either of which, the 
hearts of Christians may be at rest in this troublesome world ; for 
what need those troubles fright us, which either shall never touch 
us, or if they do, shall never hurt, much less ruin us? 

Sect. III". Having taken a short view of God's faithfulness in the 
promises, it will be a lovely sight to take one view of it more, as it 
is actuated, and exerted in his providences over his people. Believe 
it, Christians, the faithfulness of God runs through all his works 
of providence, whenever he goes forth to work in the world. 
" Faithfulness is the girdle of his loins," Isa. xi. 5. It is an al- 
lusion to workmen who going forth in the morning to their labour, 
•gird their loins pr reins with a. girdle; now there is no work 


wrought by God in this world, but his faithfulness is as the girdle 
of his loins : The consideration whereof should make the most des- 
pondent believer, Gird up the loins of his mind, that is, encourage 
and strengthen his drooping and discouraged heart. Those works 
of God which are wrought in faithfulness, and in pursuit of his eter- 
nal purposes and gracious promises, should rather delight than 
affright us, in beholding them. It pluckt out the sting of Da- 
vid's affliction, when he considered it was in very faithfulness that 
God had afflicted him, Psal. cxix. 89, 90. But more particularly, 
let us behold with delight the faithfulness of God, making good six 
sorts of promises to his people, in the days of their affliction and 
trouble, viz. 

1. The promises of preservation. 

2. The promises of support. 
8. The promises of direction. 

4. The promises of provision. 

5. The promises of deliverance. 

6. The promises of ordering and directing the event to their 

1. There are promises in the word for your preservation from 
ruin, and what you read in those promises, you daily see the same 
fulfilled in your own experiences. You have a promise in Psal. Ivii. 
3. " He shall send from heaven, and save me from the reproach of 
" him that would swallow me up. Selah. God shall send forth 
** his mercy and truth."*' Say now, have you not found it so ? 
When hell hath sent forth its temptations to defile you, the world 
its persecutions to destroy you, your own heart its unbelieving fears 
to distract and sink you, hath not your God sent forth all his mercy 
and his truth to save you ? Hath not his truth been your shield and 
buckler ? Psal. xci. 4. May you not say with the church, it is of 
his mercy you are not consumed, his mercies are new every morn- 
ing, and great is his faithfulness. Lam. iii. 23. 

2. As you have seen it actually fulfilling the promises for your 
preservation, so you may see it making good all the promises in his 
word for your support in troubles. That is a sweet promise, Psal. 
xci. 15. " I will be with him in trouble : I will deliver him."*' You 
have also a very supporting promise in Isa. xli. 10. " Fear not 
^' thou, for I am with thee : be not dismayed, for I am thy God : 
*' I will strengthen thee, yea, I will help thee, yea, I will uphold 
" thee with the right hand of my righteousness." Oh ! how evi- 
dently hath the faithfulness of God shone forth in the perfor- 
mance of his word to you in this respect ? you are his witnesses, 
you would have sunk in the deep waters of trouble if it had not 
been so. So speaks David, Psal. Ixxiii. 26. '•' My heart and my 
" flesh faileth ; but Ged is the strength of my heart, and my por- 


'^ tion for ever." Have you not found it so with you as it is in 
2 Cor. xii. 10. " Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in re- 
" proaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's 
*• sake: for when I am weak, then I am strong/' God's strength 
hath been made perfect in your weakness, by this you have been car- 
ried through all your troubles : hitherto hath he helped you. 

3. As you have seen it faithfully fulfilling the promises for your 
preservation and support ; so you have seen it in the direction of 
your ways. So runs that promise, Psal. xxxii. 8. " I will instruct 
*' thee and teach thee in the way that thou shalt go : I will guide 
" thee with mine eye.'' Certain it is " that the way of man is not 
" in himself," Jer. x. 23. O how faithfully hath your God guided 
you, and stood by you in all the difficult cases of your life ! Is not 
that promise, Heb. xiii. 5. faithfully fulfilled to a tittle, " I will 
" never leave thee, nor forsake thee ?"" Surely you can set your 
seal to that in John xvii. 17. " Thy word is truth ;"" had you been 
left to your own counsels you had certainly perished ; as it is said 
of them in Psal. Ixxxi. 12. "I gave them up unto their own 
" hearts lusts : and they walked in their own counsels." 

4. As there are promises in the word for your preservation, sup- 
port, and direction ; so in the fourth place, there are promises for 
your provision, as in Psal. xxxiv. 9. the Lord hath promised that 
t?ici/ that fear him shall not want. When they are driven to extre- 
mity, he will provide, Isa. xli. 17. " Wh?n the poor and needy 
" seek water, and there is none, when their tongue faileth for thirst, 
" I the Lord will hear them, I the God of Israel will not forsake 
" them." And is not this faithfully performed ? " He hath given 
" meat unto them that fear him ; he Mill ever be mindful of his 
" covenant," Psal. cxi. 5. In all the exigencies of your lives you 
have found him faithful to this day ; you are his « itnesses that his 
providences never failed you, his care hath been renewed every 
morning for you ; how great is his faithfulness ! 

5. You also find in the word some reviving promises for your 
deliverances. You have a very sweet promise in Psal. xci. 14. 
" Because he liath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver 
*'him:" and again, Psal. 1. 15. " Call upon me in the day of 
" trouble ; I will deliver thee :" you have done so, and he hath 
made a way to escape. Our lives are so many monuments of 
mercy; we have lived among lions, yet preserved, Psal. Ivii. 4. 
The burning bush was an emblem of the church miraculously pre- 

G. There are promises in the world for the ordering and direct- 
ing all the occurrences of providence to your great advantage; so it 
4s promised, Rom. viii. 28. " That all things shall work together 
" for good to them that love God." Fear not, Christians, however 


you find it now ; whilst you are tossing to and fro upon the unsta- 
ble waves of this world ; you shall find, to be sure, when you come 
to heaven, that all the troubles of your lives were guided as stea- 
dily by this promise as ever any ship at sea was directed to its port, 
by the compass or north-star. 

And now what remains but that I press you as before, 

1. To enter into this chamber of Divine faithfulness. 

2, To shut the door after you. 

8. And then to live comfortably on it in e\al days. 

1. Enter into this chamber of God's faithfulness by faith, and 
hide yourselves there. Every man is a lie, but God is true, eter- 
nally and unchangeably faithful. Oh ! exercise your faith upon it, 
be at rest in it. 

Now there are two great and weighty arguments to press you to 
enter into this chamber of Divine faithfulness. 

A?'g. 1. Is fetched from the nature of God, who cannot lie, 
Tit. i. 2. " He is not a man, that he should lie.'' Numb, xxiii. 19- 
*' Neither the son of man that he should repent : hath he said, 
^' and shall he not do it .'^ or hath he spoken, and shall he not 
" make it good ?'' Remember upon what everlasting, steady 
grounds the faithfulness of God is built. These are immutable 
things, Heb. vi. 18. This Abraham built upon, Rom. iv. 21. 
*' being fully persuaded,- that what he had promised, he was able 
" also to perform." He accounted him faithful that promised. What 
would you expect or require in the person that you are to trust ? 
You would, 

1. Expect a clear promise ; and lo ! you have a thousand all 
the scripture over, fitted to all the cases of your souls and bodies 
Thus you may plead with God, as David, Psal. cxix. 49. " Re- 
*' member the word unto thy servant, upon which thou hast 
*^ caused me to hope.'' So Jacob pleaded, Gen. xxxii. 12. " Thou 
" saidst I will surely do thee good." These are God's bonds and 

2. You would expext sufficient power to make good what he 
promiseth. This is in God as a fair foundation of faith, Is. xxvi. 
4. " Trust ye in the Lord for ever ; for in the Lord Jehovah is 
*' everlasting strength :" Because of thy strength we will wait 
upon thee : creatures cannot, but God can do what he will. 

S. You would expect infinite goodness and mercy inclining him 
to help and save you. Why, so it is here, Psal. cxxx. 7. " Let 
^' Is-r