(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Children's Library | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us) Upload
See other formats

Full text of "The Christian in complete armour : or, A treatise on the saints' war with the devil, wherein a discovery is made of the policy, power, wickedness, and stratagems made use of by that enemy of God and his people : a magazine opened, from whence the Christian is furnished with spiritual arms for the battle, assisted in buckling on his armour, and taught the use of his weapons, together with the happy issue of the whole war"

Library of the Theological Seminary 


Donation of 

John M. Krebs 


BV4500 .Ct8 1845 

Gurnail, William, 1617-1679. 

Christian in complete armour : or, A treati 

Ihe saints' war wiih ihs dt^v^l vvhsrein a di. 














> BY 











HIS MIGHT.' EpH. vi. 10. 

I. Of Christian courage and resolution, wherefore necessary, and 

how obtained . . . . .2 

II. Of the saints' strength, where it lies, and wherefore laid up in 

God . . . . . . 7 

III. Of acting our faith on the almighty power of God . ■ .12 

IV. Of acting our faith on the almighty power of God, as engaged 

for our help . . . . .14 

V. Wherein is answered a grand objection, which some disconsolate 

souls may raise against the former discourse . . . 21 

'put on the whole armour of god.' — Ver. 11. 

1. Sheweth that the Christless and graceless soul is a soul without 

armour, and therein his misery . . .27 

II. Sheweth that the armour that we use against Satan, must be 

divine in the institution, such only as God appoints . . 30 

III. Sheweth that the armour we use for our defence against Satan 

nmst not only be divine by institution, but constitution also . 33 

IV. Of the entireness of our furniture ; it must be the whole armour 

of God . . . . . .36 

V. Of the use of our spiritual armour, or the exercise of grace . 40 

' that ye may be able to stand against the WILES OF the devil.' 

—Ver. 11. 

I. Of Satan's subtlety, to choose out the most advantageous seasons 

for tempting . . . . .46 

II. Satan's subtlety in managing his temptations, where several 

stratagems used by him to deceive the Christian are laid down 48 

III. Of Satan's subtlety in choosing instruments fit for his turn, to 

carry on his tempting design . . . .51 

IV. This point of Satan's swbtlety, as a tempter to sin, is briefly 

applied . . . . . .64 

V. Wherein is shewed the subtlety of Satan, as a troubler and an 
accuser for sin, where many of his wiles and policies to dis- 
quiet the saints' spirits are discovered . . . 56 
VI. A brief application of the second branch of the point, viz., of 

Satan's subtlety as a troubler and accuser for sin . . 62 

VII. Containing some directions tending to entrench and fortify the 
Christian against the assaults and wiles of the Devil, as a 
troubler . . . . .63 



VIII. Of the saints' victory over their subtle enemy, and whence it is 
that creatures so over-matched should be able to stand against 
Satan's wiles . . . . . 68 

IX. An account is given, how the all-wise God doth out-wit the 
devil in his tempting of saints to sin, wherein are laid down 
the ends Satan propounds, and how he is prevented in all, 
with the gracious issue that God puts to these his temptations 70 
X. A brief application of the point in two branches . . 75 

'for we wrestle not against FtESH AND ELOOD,' &C. VcT. 12. 

I. Sheweth the Christian life here to be a continual wrestling with 
sin and Satan ; and the paucity of those who are true wrestlers, 
as also how the true wrestlers should manage their combat . 77 
II. Wherein is shewed what is meant by flesh and blood, how the 

Christian doth not, and how he doth, wrestle against the same 84 
III. Wherein is shewn what a principality Satan hath, how he came 
to be such a prince, and how we may know whether we be 
under him as our prince or not . . .89 

IV, Of the great power Satan hath, not only over the elementary and 
sensitive part of the world, but intellectual also, the souls of 
men . . . . . . 97 

V. Of the time when, the place where, and the subjects whom Satan 

rules . . . . . .103 

VI. Of the spirituality of the devil's nature, and their extreme 

wickedness . . . . . . 124 

VII. Of Satan's plot to defile the Christian's spirit with heart-sins. — • 

The second point follows . . . ,129 

VIII. How Satan labours to corrupt the Christian's mind with error . 132 

IX. Of pride of gifts, and how Satan tempts the Christian thereto . 135 

X. Of pride of grace ..... 141 

xl. The third kind of spiritual pride, viz., pride of privileges . 148 

xti. Sheweth what the prize is which believers wrestle against these 
principalities, powers, spiritual wickednesses for, in high 
places . . . . . . 151 

XIII. An exhortation to the pursuit of heaven and heavenly things . 158 


I. The reason why the apostle renews the same exhortation ; and 

also what truths ministers are often to preach to their people 163 
II. The best of saints subject to decline in their graces, and why we 

are to endeavour a recoverj' of decays in grace . .165 

III. A cautionary direction from what we may not, as also from what 

we may judge, our graces to be in a declination . . 166 

IV. A word of counsel for the recovery of declining grace . .169 

V, The words opened, and what is meant by the evil day: "That 

ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, having done, " &c. 1 72 

VI. Sheweth that the day of afHiction is evil, and in what respects ; 

as also unavoidable; and why to be prepared for , .173 

VII. The application of the point . . . . 178 
VI II. The second argument with which the exhortation is pressed, 

drawn from the assured victory which shall crown the soul's 
conflict if in this armour, where several points couched in the 
argument are brieflj^ handled . . .183 

'stand THEREFORE.' Vcr. 14. 

I. Wherein is briefly shewed the necessity of resisting Satan's 

temptations, with the danger of yielding to them . .196 



II. Wherein is shewed, what it is for a Christian to stand in order, 
together with his duty in this particuUir, and the danger of 
stragglers from tlieir own place . . .198 

III. Wlierein is contained the third and last importance of the word 
"stand," and the Christian's dntj' of standing on his watch 
spoken to; why he is to watch, and how he should . . 203 


I. A brief explication of the words . . . 207 

II. Wherein is shewn, it is the Christian's duty to labour for a judg- 
ment established in the truth, with the reasons of it; as also 
some application of the point . . . . 208 

III. Some directions for the establishing the judgment of professors 

in the truth . . . . .213 

IV. Wherein is contained the second way of having our loins girt 

with truth, viz., so as to make a free and bold profession of it; 
and why this is our duty ; and a short exhortation to it .216 

V. A direction or two fur the girding of truth close to us in the pro- 
fession of it . . • . •. . 220 
VI. Of the second kind of truth: truth of heart, or sincerity, with 
the kinds of it ; and in particular, of moral uprightness, toge- 
ther with its deficiency ; and a double caution about this ; the 
one to the saints, the other to the morally upright person . 226 
VII. Of evangelical or godly sincerity, what it is, and what uncome- 

liness this girdle covers, as also how it covers them . . 229 

VIII. An account why sincerity covers the saints' uncomeliness . 236 

IX. Of the odious nature of hypocrisy, and hatefulness of it to God 240 
X. Where all are stirred uj) to put themselves upon the trial, 
whether sincere or not; three arguments used to provoke to 
the work ; and four false characters, by which the hypocrite 
flatters himself into a conceit of being upright . . 246 

XI. The weak grounds whereby tempted souls argue against their 

own uprightness ..... 2.50 
XII. Four chai'acters of truth of heart, or sincerity . . . 254 

XIII. A word of direction to those who, upon trial, are foimd unsound 

and false-hearted . ... . 261 

XIV. An exhortation to those who, upon trial, are found to be true in 

heart, or sincere, to wear this belt close girt to them in the 
daily exercises of it ; with directions for that 2:)urpose . . 264 

XV. Counsel and comfort to those who are sincere, but drooping, 
doubting soids, who neither are condemned absolutely in their 
consciences for hypocrites, nor fully absolved from the sus- 
picion of it in their own thoughts . . . 272 
XVI. Wherein the second reason of the metaphor is opened ; why 
sincerity is set out by the soldier's belt; viz., from the esta- 
blishing and strengtliening nature of this grace, particularly 
of a preserving strength it hath ; with some special seasons 
wherein the hypocrite falls off . . . 277 
xvii. Of a recovering strength that sincerity hath, and whence . 280 
xviii. Of a supporting and comforting projjcrty sincerity hath shewn 

in several particular instances . . . . 282 

xix. A brief applicatory improvement of the point, both in general 

and particular branches also . . . 288 

'and having on the BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS.' Vcr. 14. 

I. Contains the explication of the words . , , 291 

II. A short point from the connexion of this j)iecc of armour with 

the first ; righteousness with truth . . . 294 



HI. Wherein the grand point from tlie word is laid down, that the 
Christian's especial care should be to keep on his breastplate, 
^, e. maintain the power of holiness in his conversation ; with 
the first reason of the point taken from God ; his design as to 
this . . . . . .295 

IV. The second reason why the Christian should wear this breast- 
plate of righteousness, and maintain the power of holiness so 
carefully taken from Satan's great design against it . . 299 

V. The third reason, taken from the excellency of righteousness 

and holiness ..... 301 

VI. Contains the first instance, wherein the Christian is to express 
the power of holiness, and that is in his behaviour towards 
sin ; branched into several pai'ticulars . . . 306 

VII. A second instance, wherein the power of holiness is to appear in 

the Christian's life, i.e., in the duties of God's worship . . 309 

VIII. A third instance, wherein the power of holiness must appear, 

and that is in the Christian's worldly employments . .312 

IX. Of expressing the power of holiness, in and to our family 

relations . . . . . , 314 

x. Of exercising the power of holiness in our carriage to our 

neighbours without doors . . . .318 

XI. Contains nine or ten dii-ections towards the helping those that 

desire to maintain the power of a holy, righteous conversation 320 
XII. Wherein the first policy or stratagem of Satan is defeated, which 
he useth to make the Christian throw away his breastplate 
of righteousness, as that which hinders the pleasure of his 
life • . . . . . 327 

xin. Wherein is defeated Satan's second wile, by which he would cheat 
the Christian of his breastplate, presenting it as prejudicial 
to his worldly profits ... . . 331 

XIV. Wherein is defeated the third stratagem Satan useth to disarm 
the Christian of his breastplate ; and that is by scaring him 
with the contradiction, opposition, and feud, from the world 
it brings . . . . . . 333 

XV. Contains two uses of the point .... 335 

XVI. An exhortation to the saints, in three branches . . . 340 


— Ver. 15. 

I. Wherein the gladsome news that the Gospel brings is declared 
from five particulars, requisite to fill up the joyfvdness of a 
message ; with a word to stir up our bowels in pitying those 
that never heard any of this news . . . 344 

II. A lamentation for the unkind welcome that Gospel news finds 
in the world, with two or three sad grounds of fear, as to us 
in this nation ; taken from the present entertainment the 
Gospel hath amoug us, with a double exhortation to the Saints 
to rejoice in this joyous message, and chiefly in this . 347 

III. A fourfold peace attributed to the Gospel, and in particular, 
peace of reconciliation, where it is proved there is a quarrel 
betwixt God and man ; as also that the Gospel can only take it 
up ; and why God thus laid the method of man's recovery so 352 
IV. A more particular account why God reconciled sinners to himself 

by Christ . . . . . .356 

V. An exhortation to embrace this peace of reconciliation, offered in 

the Gospel . . . . . , 360 

VI. Four directions by way of counsel to sinners, yet in an imre- 

conciled state, how they may be at peace with God . 365 






An exhortation to sucli as are at peace with God, in six 
particvilars ..... 

That peace of conscience is a blessing to be obtained from the 
Gospel, and only the Gospel, with a double demonstration 
thereof . . . . . . 

A reproof to three sorts of persons that offend against this peace 
which the Gospel brings .... 

Where we have a trial of our peace from four characters of 
Gospel peace or comfort , . . . 

That the Gospel alone can unite the hearts of men together in 
true peace, and how the Gosjjel doth it . 

Wherein is shewn the difference between the peace that is among 
saints, and which is among the wicked, the greatness of their 
sin, who are ministers of peace, and yet stir up strife, and the 
reason why there is no more peace and unity among saints 
in this life. . . . . . . 

An exhortation to the saints to maintain peace among them- 
selves, and promote it to their utmost, from three arguments . 

The duty of a Christian to stand shod with a heart prepared for 
all sufferings, with one reason of the point 

The second reason of the point taken from the excellency of this 
frame of spirit . . . . . . 

The number of true Christians but little, shewn from this readi- 
ness to suffer, that is required in every Christian, more or 
less ; with an exhortation to the duty, from two arguments . 

Six directions for the helping on of this Spii'itual shoe 

Sheweth who is the person that is shod and prepared for suffer- 
ings, i. e., he that hath the Gospel's peace in his bosom, and 
how this peace doth prepare for suffering ; with a brief appli- 
cation of all . 















The explication of the words in a fourfold inquiry . . 424 

Sheweth the pre-eminence of faith above other graces, in four 

particulars . . . , . . 

Sheweth imbelief to have the precedency among sins, as faith 

among gi-aces .... 

Some arguments to make us serious in the trial of our faith, with 

one direction taken from the manner of the Spirit's working 

faith ..... 

Where our faith is put upon trial by its obedience, with some 

particular characters that faith's obedience is stamped with . 
Two properties of faith : it is prayerful, and uniform in its acting 449 
An exhortation to all in a state of unbelief, to endeavour for 

faith, with one direction toward the attaining of it . 
Contains a second direction for the obtaining faith 
Containing three directions more towards the obtaining faith 
An exhortation to believers, above all to look to their faith, with 

some directions for the preserving it . 
Sheweth, it is the duty of a Christian to own the grace of God in 

him, and not deny it; with the resolution of some scruples, 

with which weak saints dispute against the truth of their own 

faith . . . . . . 

The saint's enemy described, with his warlike provision, fiery 

darts, and what they are .... 

The fiery nature of Satan's enticing temptations, witli faith's 

power to quench them . . . . . 473 












XIV. How faith quenclieth the hists of the flesh, hists of the eye, and 

pride of life . . . . . . 479 

XV. Sheweth the difference between faith's conquests over the world 
by quenching the fiery darts shot from it, and that victory 
which some of the better heathens attained to; as also a trial 
of our faith propounded by this power to quench Satan's 
enticing temptations, more or less . . . . 483 

XVI. An objection against believing answered; and some directions 

how to use this shield to quench enticing temptations . 485 

XVII. Of the second sort of temptations, that are more affrighting, and 
how faith quencheth these darts in particular temptations to 
Atheism, which is overcome, not by reason, but by faith . 488 

XVIII. Of temptations to blasphemy, and how faith quencheth them, 

and defeats Satan's double design . . . . 491 

XIX. The third fiery dart of despair, and the "hief argument which 
Satan urgeth most upon souls, to drive them into it (taken 
from the greatness of sin), refuted; as also the first answer 
with which faith furnisheth the soul for this purpose . 497 

XX. Faith's second answer to Satan's argument, taken from the 
greatness of sin, to drive the soul to despair, where faith oppo- 
seth the greatness of the promises against the greatness of the 
soul's sin . . . . 504 

XXI. Faith's third answer to Satan's arguments, urging the soul to 
despair, where faith opposeth the greatness of this one sin 
of despair, to the greatness of the rest . . . 508 

'and take the helmet of salvation.' — Ver. 17 

I. Wherein the concatenation of graces, in their birth, growth, and 

decay, is set forth . . . . .512 

II. Of the nature of hope, why styled hope of salvation, and why 

compared to a helmet . . . . . 514 

HI. Of the use of hope in the Christian's warfare, and of the high 

and noble exploits it raiseth the Christian to undertake . 517 

IV. Sheweth how hope makes the Christian content with and faith- 
ful in the meanest place and lowest employment that God 
orders for him ..... 522 

V, Sheweth the mighty influence hope hath upon the Christian, to 
support him in his afflictions ; in particular, what help it gives, 
and how . . . . . . 523 

VI. Wherein is shewn that God stays long before he performs some 
promises, and that it is hope's office then to keep the 
Christian in a waiting posture . . . 527 

VII. Sheweth a threefold assurance which hope gives the Christian, 
and thereby quiets him in waiting for the performance of 
promises when God stays long . . . 530 

VIII. A trial of what metal our helmet of hope is made . . 537 

IX. Two duties pressed upon those, who, upon trial, find this grace 

of hope in them . . . - . 539 

X. Several instances wherein the Christian should comport with, and 

live up to his hopes .... 540 

XI. An exhortation to strengthen hope, pressed from three argu- 
ments . . . . . . 544 

XII. Wherein is contained six directions, how the Christian may get 

hope strengthened ..... 547 

XIII. An objection answered; with two or three reflections useful for 

our improving experience . . . . 553 

XIV. An exhortation to them that want this helmet of hope . . 55G 


'and the sword of the spirit, which is the word of god.' 
— Ver. 17. 


I. Two notes observed in general from the words, and briefly 

touched upon . . . . ' . 559 

II. What is here meant by the word of God . . . 561 

m. The divinity of the Scripture shewn, and the sufficiency of its 

own testimony to prove tlie same . . . 562 

IV. An argimient for the Divinity of the Holy Scriptures, drawn 

from their antiquity and the sincerity of the penmen thereof. 5G3 
v. The Divinity of the Scriptures demonstrated from the prophetic 

part in it . . . . . . 565 

VI. The Divine extraction of tlie Scripture evident in its doctrinal 

part . ..... 567 

VII. The Divinity of tlie ScriptiU'c proved from its preceptive part . 567 

vni. The heart-searching property of the Scriptiu-es . . . 570 

IX. The property of the word to awaken and terrify the conscience . 571 

X. The comforting property of the word to bleeding consciences . 572 

XI. The converting power of the word . . . 573 

XII. Why the word of God is called the sword of tlie Spirit, and from 

it the point raised . . . . . . 576 

XIII. Wherein is shewn how the persecutors of God's truth and church 

are conquered by this sword .... 577 

XIV. Wherein it is shewn how victorious a sword over the seducer and 

heretic the word of God is . . . . 579 

XV. Our third enemy made up of an army of corruptions and lusts 
within, and the power of this sword of the Spirit to conquer 
them . . . . . . .581 

XVI. The fourth and last enemy the Christian engageth, made up of 
many troops of afflictions, together with his victory over them, 
obtained by tliis sword of the word . . . . 583 

XVII. The Church of Rome charged of liigh presumption and great 

cruelty in disarming the jieople of this sword of the Scriptures 584 
XVIII. Against the same Church of Rome, for imputing insufficiency to 

the Scriptures ..... 586 

XIX. Sheweth the great wickedness of those who lift up this sword in 

defence of any sin . . . . . 586 

XX. An exliortation to thankfulness for this sword of the word, 
whereby we are enabled to stand on our defence against our 
greatest enemies ... . . 58/ 

xxi. An exhortation to the study of the word . . . 590 

XXII. Several carnal shifts and objections that some bring to excuse 

them from the study of the Scriptures removed . . 592 

XXIII. Coiitaiiieth four directions to the Christian in the use of this 

sword for his defence against the first enemy, the persecutor 595 

XXIV. Directions to the Christian how to make use of the sword of the 

word for his defence against errors and seducers . . 599 

XXV. Directions how to use this sword for cutting down and conquer- 
ing the lusts in our own bosoms, and temptations to sin from 
without ...... 603 

XXVI. Some Scripture answers, fitted to the common arguments of the 
tempter, with which he usually enticeth to .sin, are here brought 
to the Christian's hand for liis defence . . , 607 

xxvii. Two directions more, how to use the word for our defence 

against temptations to sin . . . .611 

;xviii. How the Christian may use tin- sword of the word for his de- 
fence in any affiiction, and a direction towards it . .613 

XXIX. Five directions more upon the same account . • . 616 

XXX. The whole discourse on this piece, shut up with an exhortation 

to ministers, to whom this sword is especially committed . 620 



ALL SAINTS.'— Ver. 18. 


























Prayer's usefulness and necessity for the saint's defence in his 
warfare shewn, and one reason given of the point . 

The influence prayer hath on all the graces of a saint, shewn . 

Prayers' prevalency with God, the third reason given 

The question answered, Why God requires prayer for that 
which he hath promised before to give . 

A sharp reproof to all prayerless sovils ; with the dismal state 
that such are in, shewn ... . . 

An exhortation to the saints that they abound in this duty 

Two stratagems whereby Satan labours to keep the weak Chris- 
tian from the duty of prayer ..... 

Satan's policy to keep a soul from this duty, upon a pretence of 
present indispo.sition of body . . . . 

The same upon indisposition of heart 

The same to start some worldly business, to be dispatched in 
the hour of prayer, repelled ..... 

The same, to discourage from it under pretence that the mercies 
he would beg are too great .... 

The same to interrupt in prayer by wandering thoughts 

Contains the first cause of roving thoughts in prayer 

Contains the second cause of wandering thoughts in prayer 

Contains a third cause of wandering thoughts in prayer 

The last cause of wandering thoughts in prayer, and its remedy 

Some consolatory considerations, for the Christian dejected over- 
mvich for wandering thoughts in prayer 

Satan's last design upon the saint's prayer, and first impediment 
that may obstruct the acceptation of it in heaven 

The second thing that may hinder the same 

The third and fourth hindrance to the same 

The fifth cause of the same . . . . . 

Four rules whereby we may know whether wo exercise faith in 
prayer ...... 

The second policy with which Satan labours to defeat the saint, 
i. e., to whisper false fears into his ear, that his prayer is 
not heard ..... 

The saint's arms against Satan's first cavil at his prayers 

A threefold argument which Satan draws from God's deport- 
ment to the Christian, in and after prayer, to make him ques- 
tion its acceptance . . ... 

How to know whether a mercy comes to us by common provi- 
dence, or as a gracious answer to prayer, resolved . 

The first importance of 'praying always,' shewn 

The second importance of praying in all conditions . . . 

The third importance of praying always 

Of ejaculatory prayer, its nature, use, and end 

A reproof to those that use not this kind of prayer 

An exhortation to the frequent use of it . 

Secret prayer is a duty incumbent on us, and why 

Wherein is shewn the low stoop of the Divine Majesty in hold- 
ing communion with a saint in closet prayer 

An exhortation to the saints to keep up secret prayer 

The duty of those that have the charge of a family to set up the 
worship of G od in it 

Three objections against it, answered 

A reproof to those that unnecessarily throw themselves to live in 
such families where the worsliip of God is not set up 





















xxxix. A word of counsel to those who live in praying families . G89 

XL. A word to those who have no worship of God in their houses . GOO 

XLi. A word to those who perform this duty . . . 691 

XLii. Of public prayer . . . . . 093 

XLiii. Two questions about it answered . . . 69(i 

XLiv. Public prayer briefly improved . . . . G98 

XLV. Of extraordinary prayer ... . 701 

xLvi. The seasons for extraordinary prayer . . . 703 

xLvn. Why it is to be superadded to ordinary . . . 70G 

XLviii. Directions to the performing it . . . . 707 

XLix. Examination of the end we propound in this duty . . 709 

L. Directions to be observed in and after the duty . . 713 

LI. A fourfold similitude to be observed in pi-ayer . .716 

MI. A threefold dissimilitude to be made in our requests . .718 

Liii. Of deprecatory prayer . . . . . 720 

Liv. How to deprecate the defiling power of sin . ' . . 722 

Lv. How to deprecate the evil of suffering . . . 725 

Lvi. Of imprecatory prayer, and how to be performed . . 728 

Lvn. Of gratulatorj' praj'er .... 731 

Lviii. Four directions how to frame our thanksgivings . . 733 

Lix. Four more rules to be ol)servcd in tlie duty . . . 735 

Lx. The two last direclions in the duty of thanksgiving . . 737 

Lxi. A reproof to the ungrateful world . . . . 710 

LXii. An exhortation to thankfulness ... . 741 



' IN THE SPIRIT.' — Ver. 18. 

What it is to pray in the spirit .... 743 
Sheweth, that to pray in the spirit, it is required that we pray 

with imderstanding, and why ; also what understanding . 743 

Fervencjr necessary in order to pray in the spirit . . 745 

Contains a third reason of the point . . . 747 

Some arguments to enkindle oiu' zeal in prayer . . 748 
Something by way of help, to raise our affections in prayer . 750 

Sincerity required to pray with our spirit . . .751 

Rules for trial of the sincerity of our hearts in prayer . . 752 

The acceptable prayer is that which is in the spirit . . 754 

The assistance the Holy Ghost gives a saint in prayer . . 756 

A reproof to those that make a mock of having the Spirit . 757 

An exhortation to those that want the Spirit of grace . . 759 

An exhortation to the saints not to grieve the Spirit . . 7G1 


The duty of watching, and why it must attend our prayers . 762 

Shews wherein the duty of watching in prayer lies . . 764 

Wherein the Cliristian's watch is set for him about prayer . 7G(J 

With all perseverance . . ... 769 


Of the public spirit that should breathe in our prayers for others 777 
In praying for others, we should principally pray for saints . 780 

The application of the point .... 782 

Shews that all saints are the subject of our prayers . . 784 

The application of the point .... 785 


I. Shews it is a duty to desire the prayers of others, and why . 787 










II. The duty of praying for the ministers of the gospel . . 791 

III. Shews why the ministers of the gospel chiefly desire prayers . 793 

IV. Shews what a mystery is, and in what respects the gospel is so . 797 
V. The reason why the gospel is slighted and persecuted . . 800 

VI. Several duties pressed from the nature of the gospel ; and an 

exhortation to the saints . . . .801 

VII. An exhortation to study this mystery of the gospel . . 804 

VIII. Shews it is the minister's duty to make known the gospel . 807 

IX. An encouragement to faithful ministers . . .810 

X. Boldness a duty in a minister . . . .811 

XI. The minister's dignity and duty shewn . . .81.5 

XII. Why Godsends ambassadors; and why he useth men, notangels . 810 

XIII. An exhortation to hearken to God's ambassadors . . 821 

XIV. How ministers should do the duty of ambassadors . . 82;5 

XV. Five things touched upon, from Paul's being in bonds . . 824 





Ephes. VI. 10. 

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 

Paul was now in bonds, yet not so close kept as to be denied pen and paper ; 
God, it seems, gave him some favoiii- in the sight of his enemies : Paul was 
Nero's prisoner, but Nero was much more God's. And while God had work 
for Paul, he found him friends both in coin't and prison. 

Let persecutors send the saints to prison, God can provide a keeper for their 

But how doth this great apostle spend his time in prison ? Not in publishing 
invectives against those, though the worst of men, who had laid him in ; a 
piece of zeal which the holy sufferers of those times were little acquainted with: 
nor in politic councils, how he might wind himself out of his trouble, by sordid 
flattery of, or sinful compliance with, the great ones of the times. Some would 
have used any picklock to have opened a passage to their liberty, and not 
scrupled, so escape they might, whether they got out at the door or window : 
but this holy man was not so fond of liberty or life, as to purchase them at the 
least hazard to the gospel. He knew too much of another world, to bid so high 
for the enjoying of this ; and therefore he is fearless what his enemies can do 
with him, well knowing he was sure of going to heaven whether they would or 
not. No, the great care which lay upon him, was for the churches of Christ ; 
as a faithful steward, he labours to set this house of God in order before his 
departure. We read of no despatches sent to court to procure his liberty; but 
many to the churches to help them to stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ 
hath made them free. There is no such way to be even with the devil and his 
instruments, for all their spite against us, as by doing what good we can wher- 
ever we are. The devil had as good have let Paul alone, for he no sooner 
comes into prison but he falls a preaching, at which the gates of Satan's prison 
fly open, and poor sinners come forth. Happy for Onesimus that Paul was sent 
to gaol ; God had an errand for Paul to do to him and others, which the devil 
never dreamed of. Nay, he doth not only preach in prison, but, that he may 
do the devil all the mischief he can, he sends liis epistles to the churches, that, 
tasting his spirit in his afliictions, and reading his faith, now ready to be offered 
up, they might much more be confirmed ; amongst which Ephesus was not 
least in his thoughts, as you may perceive by his abode with them two years 
together. Acts xix. 10, as also by his sending for the elders of this cluu-ch as 
far as Miletus, in bis last journey to Jerusalem, Acts xx. 17, to take his farewell 
of them, as never to see their face in this world more. And surely the sad 


l2 be strong. 

impression which that heart-breaking departure left upon the spirits of these 
elders, yea, the whole church by them acquainted with this mournful news, 
might stir up Paul, now in prison, to write unto this church, that having so 
much of his spirit, yea, of the spirit of the gospel, left in their hands to con- 
verse with, they might more patiently take the news of his death. 

In the former part of this epistle he soars high in the mysteries of faith. In 
the latter, according to his usual method, he descends to application; where 
we find him contracting all those ti'uths, as beams together, in a powerfid ex- 
hortation, the more to enkindle their hearts, and powerfully persuade them 
to ' walk worthy of their vocation,' chap. iv. 1, which then is done, when the 
Christian's life is so far transparent, that the grace of the gospel shines forth in 
the power of holiness on eveiy side, and from all his relations, as a candle in a 
crystal glass, not in a dark lanthorn, lightsome one way and dark another ; 
and therefore he runs over the several relations of husband, wife, parents, chil- 
dren, master and servants, and presseth the same in all these. 

Now, having set every one in his proper place, about his particular duty ; as 
a wise general after he hath ranged his army, and drawn thein forth into rank 
and file ; he makes this following speech at the head of this Ephesian camp, all 
in martial phrase, as best suiting the Christian's calling, which is & continued 
warfare with the world, and the prince of the world. "The speech itself contains 
two parts : 

First, A short, but sweet and powei-ful encouragement, ver. 10. 

Secondly, The other part is spent in several directions, for their managing 
this war the more successfully, with some motives here and there sprinkled 
among them. To begin with the first : 

First, The word of encouragement to battle. With this he begins his speech : 
* Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord ;' the best way indeed to prepare 
them for the following directions. A soul deeply possessed with fear, and 
dispirited with strong impressions of danger, is in no posture for counsel. As 
we see in an army when put to flight by some sudden alarm, or apprehension of 
danger, it is hard rallying them into order till the fright occasioned thereby is 
over ; therefore the apostle first raiseth up their spirits, ' Be strong in the Lord :' 
as if he should say. Perhaps some drooping souls find their hearts fail them, 
while they see their enemies so strong, and they so weak ; so numerous, and 
they so few ; so well appointed, and they so naked and unarmed ; so skilful and 
- expert at anns, but they green and raw soldiers : let not these, or any other 
thoughts dismay you ; but with undaunted courage march on, ' and be strong 
in the Lord,' on whose performance lies the stress of the battle, and not on 
your skill or strength. It is not the least of a minister's care and skill in divid- 
ing the word, so to press the Christian's duty, as not to oppress his spii-it with 
the weight of it, by laying it on the creature's own shoidders, and not on the 
Loi'd's strength, as here our apostle teacheth us. 

In this verse. First, here is a familiar appellation ; ' My brethren,' 

Secondly, Here is the exhortation ; ' Be strong.' 

Thirdly, Here is a cautionary direction annexed to the exhortation ; ' In the 

Fourthly, Here is an encouraging amplification of the direction ; ' And in 
the power of his might,' or in his mighty power. 



We shall wave the appellation, and begin with the exhortation, ' Be strong ;' 
that is, be of good courage, so commonly used in scripture phrase : 2 Chron. 
xxxii. 7. 'Be strong and courageous.' So Isa. xxxv. 4, ' Say to them that 
are of a fearful heart, Be strong ;' or unite all the powers of your souls, and 
muster up your whole force, for you will have use of all you can make or get. 
From whence the point is this. 

Doct. The Christian, of all men, needs courage and resolution. Indeed, 
there is nothing he doth as a Christian, or can do, but is an act of valour. A 


cowardly spirit is beneath the lowest duty of a Christian : Josh. i. 7, ' Be thou 
strong and very courageous, that thou mayest' — what ? stand in battle against 
those warlike nations ? No, ' but that thou mayest observe to do according to 
all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee.' It requires more 
prowess and greatness of spirit to obey God faithfully, than to command an 
army of men ; to be a Christian, than to be a captain. What seems less than 
for a Christian to pray ? yet this cannot be performed aright without a princely 
spu-it ; as Jacob is said to behave himself like a prince, when he did but pray; 
for which he came out of the field God's banneret. Indeed if you call that 
prayer which a carnal person performs, nothing more poor and dastard-like. 
Such a one is as great a stranger to this enterprise, as the cowardly soldier is 
to the exploits of a valiant chieftain. The Christian in prayer comes up close 
to God, with a humble boldness of faith, and takes hold of him, wrestles with 
him ; yea, will not let him go without a blessing, and all this in the face of his 
own sins, and divine justice, which let fly upon him from the fiery mouth of 
the law ; while the other's boldness in prayer is but the child, either of igno- 
rance in his mind, or hardness in his heart ; whereby not feeling his sins, and 
not knowing his danger, he rushes upon duty with a blind confidence, which 
soon fails when conscience awakes, and gives him the alarm that his sins are 
upon him, as the Philistines on Samson : alas ! then in a fright the poor-spi- 
rited wretch throws down his weapon, flies the presence of God with guilty 
Adam, and dares not look him in the face. Indeed, there is no duty in a 
Christian's whole course of walking with God, or acting for God, but is lined 
with many difficulties, which shoot like enemies through the hedges at the 
Clu-istian, whilst he is marching towards heaven : so that he is put to dispute 
every inch of ground as he goes. They are only a few noble-spirited souls, 
who dare take heaven by force, that are fit for this calling. For the fiu'ther 
proof of this point, see some few pieces of service that every Christian en- 
gageth in. 

First, The Christian is to proclaim and prosecute an irreconcilable war 
against his bosom sins ; those sins which have lain nearest his heart, must now 
be trampled under his feet. So David, ' I have kept myself from my iniquity.' 
Now what courage and resolution doth this require ? You think Abraham was 
tried to purpose, when called to take his 'son, his son Isaac, his only son whom 
he loved,' Gen. xxii. 2, and offer him up with his own hands, and no other; yet 
what was that to this ? Soid, take thy lust, thy only lust, which is the child of 
thy dearest love, thy Isaac, the sin which has caused most joy and laughter, 
from which thou hast promised thyself the greatest return of pleasure or profit; 
as ever thou lookest to see my face with comfort, lay hands on it, and ofl'er it 
up: pour out the blood of it before me; run the sacrificing knife of mortification 
into the very heart of it ; and this freely, joyfully, for it is no pleasing sacrifice 
that is offered with a countenance cast down ; and all this now, before thou hast 
one embrace more fi'om it. Truly this is a hard chapter; flesh and blood cannot 
bear this saying ; our lust will not lie so patiently on the altar, as Isaac, or as 
a 'lamb that is brought to the slaughter, which is dumb,' but will roar and 
shriek ; yea, even shake and rend the heart with their hideous outcries. Who 
is able to express the conflicts, the wrestlings, the convulsions of spirit the 
Christian feels, before he can bring his heart to this work ? Or who can fully 
set forth the art, the i-hetorical insinuations, which such a lust will plead with for 
itself? One while Satan will extenuate and mince the matter: — It is but a little 
one, O spare it, and thy soul shall live for all that ; another while he flatters 
the soul with the secrecy of it : — Thou mayest keep me and thy credit also ; 
I will not be seen abroad in thy company to shame thee among thy neighbours; 
shut me up in the most retired room thou hast in thy heart, from the hearing 
of others, if thou wilt only let me now and then have the wanton embraces of 
thy thoughts and affections in secret. If that cannot be granted, then Satan will 
seem only to desire execution may be stayed a while, as Jephtha's daughter of 
her father; 'Let me alone a montli or two, and then do to ine according to that 
which hath proceeded out of thy mouth,' Judg. xvii. 2, ;57 ; well knowing few 
such reprieved lusts but at last obtain their full pardon, yea, recover their 
favour with the soul. Now what resolution doth it require to break through 

B 2 


such violence and importunity, and notwithstanding all this to do present 
execution ? Here the valiant sword-men of the world have showed themselves 
mere cowards, who have come out of the field with victorious hanners, and then 
lived, yea, died slaves to a bare lust at home. As one could say of a great 
Roman captain, who, as he rode in his triumphant chariot through Rome, 
had his eye never off' a courtesan that walked along the street,— Behold, how 
this goodly captain, that conquered such potent armies, is himself conquered 
by one silly woman ! 

Secondly, The Christian is to walk singularly, not after the world's guise, 
Rom. xii. 2. We are commanded not to be conformed to this world ; that is, 
not to accommodate ourselves to the corrupt customs of the world. The 
Christian must not be of such a complying nature, to cut the coat of his pro- 
fession according to the fashion of the times, or the luuiioiu of the company he 
falls into; like that courtier, who, being asked how he could keep his preferment 
in such changing times, which one while had a prince for popery, another while 
against popery ; answered, he was e salice, noii ex quercu ortus ; he was 
not a stubborn oak, but bending osier, that could yield to the wind. No, the 
Christian must stand fixed to his principles, and not change his habit ; but 
freely show what countryman he is by his holy constancy in the truth. Now, 
what an odium, what snares, what dangers doth this singularity expose the 
Christian to? Some will hoot and mock him, as one in a Spanish fashion would 
be laughed at in your streets. Thus Michal flouted David. Indeed the world 
counts the Christian, for his singularity of life, the only fool ; which I have 
thought gave the first occasion to that nick-name whereby men commonly 
express a silly man or a fool : Such a one, say they, is a mere Abraham ; that 
is, in the world's account, a fool. But why an Abraham ? because Abraham 
did that which carnal reason, the woi'ld's idol, laughs at as mere folly; he left a 
present estate in his father's house, to go he knew not whither, to receive an 
inheritance he knew not when. And truly such fools all the saints are branded 
for, by the wise world. ' You know the man and his communication,' said 
Jehu to his companions, asking what that mad fellow came for, who was no 
other than a prophet, 2 Kings ix. 11. Now this requires courage to despise the 
shame, which the Christian must expect to meet with for his singularity. 
Shame is that which proud nature most disdains : to avoid which, many durst 
not 'confess Christ openly,' John vii. 13. Many lose heaven, because they are 
ashamed to go in a fool's coat thither. Again, as some will mock, so others 
will persecute to death, merely for this nonconfoi-mity in the Christian's prin- 
ciples and practices to them. This was the trap laid for the three children ; 
they must dance after Nebuchadnezzar's pipe, or burn. This was the jilot laid 
to ensnare Daniel, who walked so unblamably, that his very enemies gave 
him this testimony, that he had no fault, but his singularity in his religion, 
Dan. vi. 5. It is a great honour to a Christian, yea, to religion itself, when all 
their enemies can say, is. They are precise, and will not do as we do. Now in 
such a case as this, when the Christian must turn or biu'n ; leave praying, or 
become a prey to the cruel teeth of bloody men ; how many politic retreats and 
self-preserving distinctions would a cowardly unresolved heart invent! The 
Christian, that hath so great opposition, had need be well locked into the saddle 
of his profession, or else he will be soon dismounted. 

Thirdly, The Christian must keep on his way to heaven, in the midst of all 
the scandals that are cast upon the ways of God, by the apostasy and foid falls 
of false professors. Thei-e were ever such in the church, who, by their sad 
miscan-iages in judgment and practice, have laid a stone of off'ence in the way 
of profession, at which weak Christians are ready to make a stand, as they at 
the bloody body of Asahel, 2 Sam. ii. 22, not knowing whether they may 
venture any further in their profession, seeing such, whose gifts they so much 
admired, lie before them, wallowing in the blood of their slain profession ; of 
zealous professors to prove, perhaps, fiery persecutors ; of strict performers of 
religious duties, irreligious atheists, no more like the men they were some years 
past, than the vale of Sodom, now a bog and quagmire, is to what it was when 
for fruitfulness compared to the garden of the Lord. We had need have a holy 
resolution to bear up against such discouragements, and not to faint; as Joshua, 


who lived to see the whole camp of Israel, a very few excepted, revolting, and 
in their hearts turning hack to Egypt, and yet with an undaunted spirit main- 
tained his integrity ; yea, resolved, though not a man beside would hear him 
company, yet he would serve the Lord. 

Fourthly, The Christian must trust in a withdrawing God, Isa. 1. 10 : ' Let 
him that walks in darkness, and hath no light, trust in the name of the Lord,* 
and stay upon his God.' This requires a holy boldness of faith, indeed, to 
venture into God's presence, as Esther into Ahasuerus's, when no smile is to 
be seen on his face, no golden scejitre of the promise perceived by tlie soul, as 
held forth to embolden it to come near, then to press in with this noble resolu- 
tion, ' If I pei'ish, I perish ;' nay, more, to trust not only in a withdrawing, but 
a ' killing God,' Job xiii. 15 ; not when his love is hid, but when his wrath 
breaks forth. Now for a soul to make his approaches to God, by a recumbency 
of faith, while God seems to fire upon it, and shoot his frowns like envenomed 
arrows into it ; this is hard work, and will try the Christian's metal to purpose. 
Yet such a masculine spirit we find in that poor woman of Canaan, who takes 
up the bullets Christ shot at her, and with a humble boldness of faith sends 
them back again in her prayer. 

Fifthly, The believer is to persevere in his Christian coiu-se to the end of his 
life; his work and his life must go off the stage together. This adds weight to 
every other difhculty of the Christian's calling. We have known many who have 
gone into the field, and liked the work of a soldier for a battle or two, but soon 
have had enough, and come running home again; but few can bear it as a 
constant trade. Many are soon engaged in holy duties, easily persuaded to 
take uji a profession of religion, and as easily persuaded to lay it down ; 
like the new moon, which shines a little in the first part of the night, but is 
down before half the night be gone ; lightsome professors in their youth, whose 
old age is wrapt up in thick darkness of sin and wickedness. O this persevering 
is a hard word ! this taking up of the cross daily, this praying always, this 
watching night and day, and never laying aside our clothes and armour ; I mean, 
indulging ourselves to remit and unbend in our holy waiting on God, and 
walking with God; this sends many sorrowful away from Christ; yet this is the 
saint's duty, to make religion his every-day work, without any vacation from 
one end of the year to the other. These few instances are enough to show 
what need the Christian hath of resolution. The application follows. 

Use 1. This gives us then a reason why there are so many professors and so 
few Christians indeed ; so many that run, and so few obtain ; so many go into 
the field against Satan, and so few come out conquerors ; because all liave a 
desire to be happy, but few have courage and resolution to grapple with the 
difficulties that meet them in their way to happiness. All Israel came joy- 
fully out of Egypt under Moses's conduct, yea, and a mixed multitude with 
them ; but when their bellies were a little pinched with hunger, and their 
greedy desires of a present Canaan deferred ; yea, instead of jieace and 
plenty, war and penury ; they are ready to fly from their colours, and make a 
dishonourable retreat into Egypt. Thus the greatest part of those who profess 
the gospel, when they come to push of pike, — to be tried what they will do, deny, 
endure for Christ, — grow sick of their enterprise. Alas! their hearts fail them! 
they like the waters of Bethlehem ; but if they must dispute their passage with 
so many enemies, they will even content themselves with their own cistern, and 
leave heaven to others that will venture more for it. O, how many part with 
Christ at this cross-way! like Orpah, that go a furlong or two with Christ, while 
he goes to take them off from their wovldly hopes, and bids them pre])are for 
hardsliip, and then they fairly kiss and leave him ; loath indeed to lose heaven, 
but more loath to buy it at so dear a rate. Like some green-licads tliat child- 
ishly make choice of some sweet trade, from a liquorish tooth they have to the 
sweetmeats it affords ; but meeting with sour sauce of labour and toil that goes 
with them, they give in, and are weary of their service, the sweet bait of reli- 
gion hath drawn many to nil)blc at it, who are offended with the hard service 
it calls to ; it requires another spirit than the world can give or receive to 
follow Christ fully. 

Use 2. Let this then exhort you, Christians, tolabo\ir for this holy resolution 


and prowess, which is so needful for your Christian profession, that without 
it you cannot he wliat you profess. Tlie fearful are in the forlorn of those that 
march for hell, Rev. xxi. The violent and valiant are they which take heaven 
by force ; cowards never won heaven. Say not, thou hast royal blood running in 
^thy veins, and art begotten of God, except thou canst prove thy pedigree by this 
heroic spirit, to dare to be holy in spite of men and deyils. The eagle tries her 
young ones by the sun ; Christ tries liis children by their courage, that dare look on 
the face of death and danger for his sake, Mark viii.34, 35. O how uncomely a 
sight is it, a bold sinner, and a fearfid saint ! one resolved to be wicked, and a 
Christian wavering in his holy coiu'se ; to see guilt put innocency to flight, and 
hell keep the field, impudently braving it with displayed banners of open 
profaneness, and saints to hide their coloiu-s for shame, or run from them for 
fear, who should rather wrap themselves in them, and die upon the place, than 
thus betray the glorious name of God, which is called upon by them to the 
scorn of the uncircumcised. Take heart, therefore, O ye saints, and be strong ; 
your cause is good ; God himself espouseth your quarrel, who hath appointed 
you his own Son, general of the field, called ' the Captain of our salvation,' 
Heb. ii. He shall lead you on with courage, and bring you off' with honour. 
He lived and died for you ; he will live and die with you ; for mercy and 
tenderness to his soldiers, none like him. Trajan, it is said, rent his clothes to 
bind up his soldiers' wounds ; Christ poured out his blood as balm to heal his 
saints' woimds ; tears off" his flesh to bind them up. For prowess, none to 
compare with him ; he never turned his head from danger, no, not when hell's 
malice and heaven's justice appeared in the field against him ; ' knowing all that 
should come upon him, he went forth, and said. Whom seek ye ?' John xviii. 4. 
For success, insupera-hle ; he never lost battle, even when he lost his life ; he 
won the field, carrying the spoils thereof in the triumphant chariot of his 
ascension to heaven with him, where he makes an open show of them, to the 
unspeakable joy of saints and angels. You march in the midst of gallant 
spirits ; your fellow-soldiers, every one the son of a Prince. Behold some, 
enduring with you here below a great fight of afflictions and temptations, take 
heaven by storm and force. Others you may see after many assaults, repidses, 
and rallyings of their faith and patience, got upon the walls of heaven, con- 
querors, from whence they do, as it were, look down and call you their fellow- 
brethren on earth, to march up the hill after them, crying aloud. Fall on, and 
the city is your own, as now it is ours, who for a few days' conflict are now 
crowned with heaven's glory, one moment's enjoyment of which hath dried up 
all our tears, healed all our wounds, and made us forget the sharpness of the 
fight, with the joy of oiu- present victory. In a word, Christians, God and 
angels are spectators, observing how you quit yourselves like children of the 
Most High. Every exploit your faith doth against sin and Satan, causeth a 
shout in heaven, while you valiantly prostrate this temptation, scale that 
difficulty, regain the other ground you even now lost, out of your enemies' 
hands. Your dear Saviour, who stands by with a reserve for your relief at a 
pinch, his very heart leaps within him for joy, to see the proof of your love to 
him, and zeal for him in all your combats, and will not forget all the faithful 
service you have done in his wars on earth ; but, when thou comest out of the 
field, will receive thee with the like joy as he was entertained himself, at his 
return to heaven, of his Father. Now, Christian, if thou meanest thus coura- 
geously to bear up against all opposition, in thy march to heaven, as thou 
shouldest do well to raise thy spirit with such generous and soul-ennobling 
thoughts, so in an especial manner look thy principles be well fixed, or else thy 
heart will be unstable ; and an unstable heart is weak as water, it cannot excel 
in courage. Two things are required to fix our principles. 

First, An established judgment in the truth of God. He that knows not well 
what or whom he fights for, may soon be persuaded to change his side, or at 
least stand neuter. Such may be found that go for professors, that can hardly give 
an account what they hope for, or whom they hope in ; yet Christians they must 
be_ thought, though they run before they know their errand ; or if they have some 
principles they go upon, they are so unsettled that every wind blows them 
down, like^ loose tiles from the housetop. Blind zeal is soon put to a shameful 


retreat, while holy resolution, built on fast principles, lifts up its head like a rock 
in the midst of the waves. ' Those that know their God shall be strong and do 
exploits.' Dan. xi. 32. The angel told Daniel who were the men that would 
stand to their tackling, and bear up for God in that hour, both of temptation 
and persecution, which should be brought upon them by Antioclms ; not all 
the Jews, some of them should be corrupted basely by flatteries, others scared 
by threats out of their profession ; only a few of fixed principles, who knew 
their God whom they served, and were grounded in their religion, these should 
be strong and do exploits; that is, to flatteries they shoidd be incorruptible, 
and to power and force unconquerable. 

Secondly, A sincere aim at the right end in our profession. Let a man be 
never so knowing in the things of Christ, if his aim be not right in his profes- 
sion, that man's principles will hang very loose; he will not venture much, or 
far for Christ, no more, no further than he can save his own stake. A hypocrite 
may shew some mettle at hand, some courage for a moment in conquering some 
difficulties, but he will shew himself a jade at length. He that hath a false end 
in his profession, will soon come to an end of his profession, when he is pinched 
on that toe where his corn is; I mean, called to deny that his naughty heart 
aimed at all tliis while ; now his heart fails him, he can go no farther. O take 
heed of this wistful eye to our profit, pleasure, honour, or any thing beneath 
Christ and heaven ; for they will take away your heart, as the prophet saith of 
wine and women; that is, our love; and if our love be taken away, there will l)e 
little courage left for Christ. How courageous was Jehu at first ! and he tells 
the world it is zeal for God. But why doth his heart fail him then before half 
his work be done ? His heart was never right set ; that very thing that stirred 
up his zeal at first, at last quenched it, and that was his ambition ; his desire 
of a kingdom made him zealous against Ahab's house, to cut them oft", who 
might in time jostle liim beside the throne, which done, and he quietly settled, 
he dare not go thorough-stitch with God's work, lest he shoidd lose what he 
had got, by provoking the people with a thorough reformation. Like some 
soldiers, when once they meet with a rich booty at the sacking of some town, 
are spoiled for fighting ever after. 



The second branch of the words foUoweth, which contains a cautionary 
direction. Having exhorted the saints at Ephesus, and in them all believers, to 
a holy resolution and courage in their warfare, lest this should be mistaken, 
and beget in them an opinion of their own strength for the battle, the apostle 
leads them out of themselves for this strength, even to the Lord ; ' Be strong 
in the Lord.' From whence observe, 

. Doct. That the Christian's strength lies in the Lord, not in himself The 
strength of the general in other hosts lies in his troops ; he flies, as a great 
commander once said to his soldiers, upon their wings; if their feathers be clipped, 
their power broken, he is lost. But in the army of saints, the strength of every 
saint, yea, of the whole host of saints, lies in the Lord of hosts. God can 
overcome his enemies without their hands, but they cannot so much as defend 
themselves without his aim. 2. It is one of God's names, ' The Strength of 
Israel,' 1 Sam. xv. 19. He was the strength of David's heart; without him 
this valiant worthy (that could, when held up in his arms, defy him that defied 
a whole army,) behaves himself strangely for fear at a word or two that dropped 
from the Philistine's mouth. He was the strength of his hands; ' He taught his 
fingers to fight,' and so is the strengtli of all his saints in this war against sin 
and Satan. Some propound a question, whether there be a sin committed in 
the world in which Satan hath not a part ? But if the question were, whether 
there be any holy action performed without the special assistance of God 
concurring? that is resolved, John xv. 5: ' Without me you can do nothing.' 
Thinking strength of God, 2 Cor. iii. 5, ' Not that we are sufficient as of 
ourselves, to think anything as of ourselves, but our sufficiency is of God.' 
We apostles, we saints, that have habitual grace, yet this lies like water at the 


bottom of a well, which will not ascend with all our pumping, till God pour in 
his exciting grace, and then it conies. To will is more than to think; to exert 
our will into action, more than both; these are of God, Phd. ii. 13: 'It is God 
that work eth in you to will and to do of his good pleasure.' He makes the 
heart new, and having made it for heavenly motion, setting every wheel, as it 
were, in its right place, then he winds it up by his actuating grace, and sets it 
on going, the thoughts to stir, the will to move, and make towards the holy 
object presented; yet here the chariot is set, and cannot ascend the hill of 
action till God puts his shoidder to the wheel. ' To will is present with me, 
but how to perform that which is good I find not,' Rom. \'ii. God is at the 
bottom of the ladder, and at the top also, the author and finisher; yea, helping 
and lifting the soul at every round in his ascent to any holy action. Well, now 
the Chi'istian is set on work ; how long will he keep close to it ? Alas, poor 
soul, no longer than he is held up by the same hand that empowered him at first! 
He hath soon wrought out the strength received, and therefore to maintain the 
tenure of a holy course, there must be renewing strength from heaven every 
moment; which David knew, and therefore when his heart was in as holy a 
frame as ever he felt it, and his people by their freewill oflering declared the 
same, yet even then he prays that God would ' keep this for ever in the 
imagination of the thoughts of the heart of his people, and establish tlieir hearts 
to him,' 1 Chron. xxix. 18. He adored the mercy that made them willing, and 
then he implores his further grace to strengthen them, and tie a knot, that these 
precious pearls, newly strung on their hearts, might not slip ofi". The Christian, 
when fullest of Divine communications, is but a glass without a foot; he cannot 
stand, or hold what he hath received, any longer than God holds him in his 
strong hand. Therefore Christ, when bound for heaven, and ready to take his 
leave of his children, bespeaks his Father's care of them in his absence, Jolmxvii. 
' Father, keep them;' as if he had said, they must not be left alone ; they are 
poor, shiftless children, and can neither stand nor go without help; they will 
lose the grace I have given them, and fall into those temptations which I kept 
them from while I was with them, if they be out of thine eye or anus but one 
moment; and therefore, 'Father, keep them.' 

Again: consider the Chi-istian as addressing himself to any duty of God's 
worship, still his strength is in the Lord; would he pray? where will he find 
matter for his prayer? Alas! ' he knows not v.'hat to pray for as he ought.' 
Rom. viii. Let him alone, and he would soon pray himself into some temptation 
or other, and cry for that which were cruelty in God to give ; and therefore 
God puts words in our mouths: ' Take words with you and say,' Hos. xiv. 2. 
Well, now he hath put words into his mouth, alas ! they will freeze in his very 
lips, if he hath not some heart-heating aftections to thaw the tap. And where shall 
this fire be had ? Not a spai-k to be found on his own hearth, except it be some 
strange fire of natural desires, which will not serve. Whence then must the fire 
come to thaw the iciness of the heart but from heaven ? The Spirit, he must 
stretch himself upon the soul, as the prophet on the child, and then the soul will 
come to some kindly warmth and heavenly heat in his afl'ections ; the Spirit 
must groan, and then the soul will groan ; he helps us to these sighs and 
groans, which turn the sails of prayer ; he dissolves the heart, and then it bursts 
out of the heart by groans of the lips, by heavenly rhetoric ; out of the eyes as 
from a floodgate, with tears : yet fiu'ther, now the creature is enabled to wrestle 
with God in prayer, what will he get by all this ? Suppose he be weak in 
grace, is he able to pray himself strong, or corruption weak? No, this is not 
to be found in prayer as an act of the creature. This drops from heaven also, 
Psa. cxxxviii. 2 : 'In the day that I cried, thou answerest me, and gavest me 
strength in my soul.' David received it in duty, but had it not from his duty, 
but from his God. He did not pray himself strong, but God strengthened him 
in his prayer. Well, cast yoiu- eye once more upon the Christian, as engaging in 
another ordinance of hearing the word preached. The soul's strength to hear 
the word is from God : 'he opens the heart to attend,' Acts xiv. 14. Yea, he 
opens the imderstanding of the saint to receive the word, so as to conceive what 
it meant. It is like Samson's riddle, which we cannot unfold without his 
heifer; he opens the womb of the soul to conceive by it, as the imderstanding 


to conceive of it, that the barren soul becomes a joyful mother of children. 
David sat for half a year under the public lectures of the law, and the womb of 
his heart shut up, till Nathan comes, and God with him ; and now is the time 
of life : he conceives presently, yea, and brings forth in the same day ; falls 
presently into the bitter pangs of sorrow for his sins, which went not over till 
he had cast them forth in that sweet Psalm 11. Why should this one word work 
more than all the former, but that God now struck in with his word, which he 
did not before ? He is therefore said ' to teach his people to profit,' Isa. xlviii. 1 7. 
He sits in heaven that teacheth hearts. When God's Spirit, who is the head 
master, shall call a soul from his usher to himself, and say. Soul, you have not 
gone the way to thrive by hearing the word ; thus and thus conceive of such a 
truth, improve such a promise ; presently the eyes of his understanding open, 
and his heart burns within him while he speaks to him. Thus you see tlie 
truth of this point, that the Christian's strength is in the Lord. Now we shall 
give some demonstrations. 

Section I.- — Beas. 1. The first reason may be taken from the natin-e of the 
saints and their grace ; both are creatures, they and their grace also ; liow in- 
esse est deesse creatiirce. It is in the very nature of the creature to depend on 
Gpd its Maker, both for being and operation. Can you conceive an accident 
to be out of its subject ? whiteness out of the wall, or some other subject ? It is 
as impossible that the creature should be, or act without strength from God : 
this, to be, act in and of himself, is so incommunicable a property of the Deity, 
that he cannot impart it to his creature : ' God is, and there is none besides 
him;' when God made the world, it is said, indeed, that he ended his work, 
that is, of creation. He made no new species and kinds of creatures more, but 
to this day he hath not ended his work of providence :, ' Hitherto my Father 
worketh,' saith Christ, John v. 17 ; that is, in preserving and empowering what 
he hath made with strength to be and act, and therefore he is said to hold our 
souls in life. Works of art, which man makes, when finished, may stand some 
time without the workman's help, as the house, when the carpenter that made 
it is dead ; but God's works of nature and grace are never off his hand ; and 
therefore, as the Father is said to work hitherto for the preservation of the works 
of nature, so the Son, to whom is committed the work of redemption, he tells us 
he worketh also. Neither ended he his woi-k, when he rose again, any other 
■way than his Father did in the work of creation. God made an end of making, 
so Christ made an end of purchasing mercy, grace, and glory for believers, by 
once dying ; and as God rested at the end of the creation, so he, when he had 
wrought eternal redemption, and ' by himself pin-ged our sins, sat down on the 
right hand of the Majesty on high,' Heb. i. 3. But he ceaseth not to work by 
his intercession with God for us, and by his Spirit in us for God, whereby he 
upholds his saints, their graces, and comforts in life, without which they would 
run to ruin. Thus we see, as grace is a creature, the Christian depends on God 
for his strength. But fm-ther, 

Secondly, The Christian's grace is not only a creature, but a weak creature, 
conflicting with enemies stronger than itself, and therefore cannot keep the 
field without an auxiliary strength from heaven. The weakest goes to the wall, 
if no succour comes in. Grace in this life is but weak, like a king in the cradle, 
which gives advantage to Satan to carry on his plots more stronglj', to the 
disturl)ance of this young king's reign in the soul ; yea, he would soon make 
an end of the war in the ruin of the believer's grace, did not Heaven take the 
Christian into protection. It is true, indeed, grace, wherever it is, hath a j)rin- 
ciple in itself that makes it desire and endeavour to preserve itself according 
to its strength ; but being over])owered, must perish, except assisted by God, as 
fire in green wood (which deadens and damps the parts kindled) will in time go 
out, except blown up, or more fire put to that little ; so will grace in the heart. 
God brings his grace into the heart by conquest : now, as in a conquered city, 
though some yield and become true subjects to the conqueror, yet others plot how 
they may shake off this yoke ; and therefore it requires the same ])ower to keep, 
as it did to win it at first. The Christian hath an unregcnerate part, that is 
discontented at this new change in the heart, and disdains as much to come 
under the sweet government of Christ's sceptre, as the Sodomites that Lot should 


judge them. What, this fellow, a stranger, control iis ! And Satan heads this 
mutinous rout against the Christian : so that if God did not continually rein- 
force this his new planted colony in the heart, the very natives (I mean cor- 
ruptions) that are left would come out of their dens and holes where they lie 
lurking, and eat up the little grace the holiest on earth hath ; it would be as 
bread to these devourers. 

3. A third demonstration may be taken from the grand design which God 
propounds to himself in the saint's salvation ; yea, in the transaction of it from 
lirst to last ; and that is twofold. 

First, God would bring his saints to heaven in such a way, as might be most 
expressive of his love and mercy to them. 

Secondly, He would so express his love and mercy to them, as might rebound 
back to him in the highest advance of his own glory possible : now how be- 
coming this is to both, that saints should have all their ability for every step 
they take in the way to heaven, will soon appear. 

1. This way of communicating strength to saints gives a double accent to 
God's love and mercy. 

First, it distils a sweetness into all that the believer hath or doth, when he 
finds any comfort in his bosom, any enlargement of heart to duty, any support 
under temptations : to consider whence come all these, what friend sends them 
in. They come not from my own cistern, or any creatures : O it is my God 
that hath been here, and left this sweet perfume of comfort behind him in my 
bosom ; my God, that hath, unawares to me, filled my sails with the gales of 
his Spirit, and brought me off the flats of my own deadness, where I lay aground. 
O it is his sweet Spirit that held my head, stayed my heart in such an affliction 
and temptation, or else I had gone away in a fainting fit of unbelief. How can 
this but endear God to a gracious soul ? His succours coming so immediately 
from heaven, which would be lost, if the Christian had any strength to help 
liimself (though this stock of strength came at first from God.) Which, think 
you, speaks more love and condescension, for a prince to give a pension to a 
favourite, on which he may live by his own care ; or for this prince to take the 
chief care upon himself, and come from day to day to this man's house, and 
look into his cupboard, and see what provision he hath, what expense he is at, 
and so constantly to provide for the man from time to time ? Possibly some proud 
spirit, that likes to be his own man, or loves his means better than his prince, 
would prefer the former ; but one that is ambitious to have the heart and love 
of his prince would be ravished with the latter. Thus God doth with his saints ; 
the great God comes and looks into their cupboard, and sees how they are laid 
in, and sends in accordingly as he finds them. Your heavenly Father knows 
you have need of these things, and you shall have them. He knows you need 
strength to pray, hear, suflfer for him, and m ipsa hord dahitur. 

Secondly, This way of God's dealing with his saints adds to the fulness and 
stability of their strength. Were the stock in our own hands, we should soon 
prove broken merchants. God knows we are but leaking vessels ; when fullest, 
we could not hold it long ; and therefore, to make all sure, he set us under the 
streamings forth of his strength ; and a leaking vessel imder a cock, gets what 
it loseth. Thus we have our leakage supplied continually. This was the pro- 
vision God made for Israel in the wilderness ; he clave the rock, and the rock 
followed them. They had not only a draught at present, but it ran in a stream 
after them ; so that you hear no more of their complaints for water : this rock 
was Christ. Every believer hath Christ at his back, following him with strength 
as he goes, for every condition and trial. One flower with the root is worth 
many in a posy, which though sweet, yet do not grow, but wither as we wear 
them in our bosoms. God's strength, as the root, keeps our grace lively, 
without which, though as orient as Adam's was, it would die. 

2. The second design God hath in his saints' happiness is, that he may so 
express his mercy and love to them, as may rebound back to him in the highest 
advance of his own glory therein, Eph. i. 4, 12 ; which is fully attained in his 
way of empowering saints, by a strength not of their own, but of their God's 
sending, as they are put in expense. Had God given his saints a stock of 
grace to have set up with, and left them to the improvement of it, he had been 


magnified indeed, because it was more than God did owe the creature ; but lie 
had not been glorified as now, when, not only the Christian's first strength to 
close with Christ is from God ; but he is beholden still to God for the exercise 
of that strength, in every action of his Christian coiu-se. As a child that travels 
in his father's company, all is paid for, but his father carries the purse, not 
himself; so the Christian's shot is discharged in every condition, but he cannot 
say, This I did, or that I sutl'ered ; but, God wrought all in me, and for me. 
The very comb of pride is cut here, no room for any self-exalting thoughts. 
The Christian cannot say. That 1 am a saint is mercy ; but being a saint, that 
my faith is strong, this is the child of my own care and watchfulness. Alas, 
poor Christian ! Who kept thine eye waking, and stirred up thy care? Was 
not this the otl'spring of God, as well as thy faith at first? No saint shall say 
of heaven M-hen he comes there, This is heaven, which I have built by the 
power of my might. No, ' Jerusalem above is a city, whose builder and 
maker is God ! ' Every grace, yea, degree of grace, is a stcme in that building, 
the top-stone whereof is laid in glory, where saints shall more plainly see, 
how (jod was not only foimder to begin, but benefactor also to finish the same. 
The glory of the work shall not be crumbed, and piece-mealed out, some to 
God, and some to creature ; but all entirely paid in to God, and he acknow- 
ledged all in all. 

Section II. — Ufte 1. Is the Christian's strength in the Lord, not in himself? 
Surely, then, the Christless person must needs be a poor impotent creature, 
void of all strength and ability of doing anything of itself towards its own 
salvation. If the ship, launched, rigged, and with her sails spread, cannot stir 
till the wind come fair, and fills them, much less can the timber that lies in 
the carpenter's yard hew and frame itself into a ship. If the living tree 
cannot grow, except the root communicates its sap, much less can a dead, rot- 
ten stake in the hedge, which has no root, live of its own accord. In a word, 
if a Christian, that hath his s])iritual life of grace, cannot exercise this life 
without strength from above ; then surely, one void of this new life, dead in 
sins and tres])asses, can never be able to beget this in himself, or concur to the 
production of it. The state of unregcneracy is a state of impotency ; ' when we 
were without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly,' Rom. v. 6. 
And as Christ found the lump of mankind covered with the ruins of their 
lapsed estate, (no more able to raise themselves from under the weight of 
God's wrath, which lay u})on them, than one biu'ied imder the rubbish of a 
fallen house, is to free himself of that weight without help,) so the Spirit finds 
sinners in as helpless a condition, as unable to repent, or believe on Christ for 
salvation, as they were of themselves to purchase it. Confounded therefore 
for ever be the language of those sons of pride, who cry up the j^ower of 
nature, as if man, with his own brick and slime of natural abilities, were able to 
rear up such a building, whose top may reach heaven itself. ' It is not of him 
that willeth or runneth, but God that sheweth mercy,' Rom. ix. 16. God 
himself hath scattered such Babel-builders in the imaginations of their hearts, 
who raiseth this spiritual temple in the souls of men, not by might, nor by a 
power of their own, but by his Spirit ; that so grace, grace, might be proclaimed 
before it for ever. And therefore if any, yet in their natural estate, would 
become wise to salvation, let them first become fools in their own eyes, and 
renounce their carnal wisdom, which ])erceives not the things of God ; and beg 
wisdom of God, who givetli, and upbraideth not. If any man would have 
strength to believe, let them become weak, and die to their own ; for ' by 
strength shall no man prevail,' 1 Sam. ii. 9. 

U.se 2. Secondly, Doth the Christian's strength lie in God, not in himself? 
This may for ever keep the Christian humble, when most enlarged in duty, most 
assisted in his Christian course. Remember, Christian, when thou hast thy best 
suit on, who made it, who paid for it : thy grace, thy comfort, is neither the 
work of thy own hands, nor the price of thy own desert ; be not for shame proud 
of another's cost. That assistance will not long stay, which becomes a nurse 
to thy pride ; thou art not Lord of that assistance thou hast. Thy Father is 
wise, who, when he alloweth thee most for thy spiritual maintenance, even then 
keeps the law in his own hands, and can soon curb thee, if thou growest wanton 


with his grace. Walk humbly, therefoi'e, before thy God, and husband well that 
strength thou hast, remembering that it is borrowed strength. Nemo prodiget 
quod mendicat. Who will waste what he begs ? or who will give that beggar 
that spends idly his alms ? When thou hast most, thou canst not be long from 
thy God's door. And how canst thou look him in the face for more, who hast 
embezzled what thou hast received ? 



The third branch followeth, which contains an encouraging amplification 
annexed to the exhortation, in these words; 'And in the power of his might;' 
where a twofold inquiry is requisite for the explication of the phrase. First, 
What these words import, ' The power of his might?' Secondly, What it is to 
' be strong in the power of his might? ' 

For the first, — 'The power of his might.' It is an Hebraism, and imports 
nothing but his mighty power ; like that phrase, Ejjh. i. 6, ' To the praise of 
the glory of his grace ; ' that is, to the praise of his glorious grace. And his 
mighty power imports no less than his almighty power ; sometimes the Lord is 
styled ' mighty and strong,' as Psa. xxiv. 8 ; sometimes most mighty; sometimes 
Almighty : no less is meant in all than God's infinite almighty power. 

For the second, To be strong in the mighty power, or power of the Lord's 
might, implies these two acts of faith : 

First, A settled firm persuasion, that the Lord is almighty in power. ' Be 
strong in the power of his might;' that is, be strongly rooted in your faith, con- 
cerning this one foundation truth, that God is almighty. 

Secondly, It implies a further act of faith, not only to believe that God is 
almighty, but also that this almighty power of God is engaged for its defence : 
so as to bear up in the midst of all trials and temptations undauntedly, leaning on 
the arm of God Almighty, as if it were his own strength ; for that is the apostle's 
drift, as to beat us off' from leaning on our own strength, so to encourage the 
Christian to make use of God's almighty power as freely as if it were his own, 
•whenever assaulted by Satan in any kind. As a man, set upon by a thief, stirs 
up all the force and strength he hath in his whole body to defend himself, and 
offend his adversary ; so the apostle bids the Christian ' be strong in the 
Lord, and in the power of his might;' that is, Soul, away to thy God, whose 
mighty power is all intended and devoted by God himself for thy succour and 
defence. Go, strengthen and entrench thyself in it by a stedfast faith, as that 
which shall be laid out to the utmost for thy good. From whence these two 
notes, I conceive, will draw out the fatness of the words. 

L That it should be the Christian's great care and endeavour, in all tempta- 
tions and trials, to strengthen his faith on the almighty power of God. 

2. The Christian's duty and care is not only to believe that God is almighty; 
but strongly by faith to rest on this almighty power of God, as engaged for his 
help and succour, in all his trials and temptations. 

Doct. First, It should be the Christian's great care, in all temptations and 
trials, to strengthen his faith on the almighty jDower of God. When God liolds 
forth himself as an object of the soul's trust and confidence in any great strait 
or undertaking ; commonly this attribute of his almighty power is presented in 
the promise, as the surest holdfast for faith to lay hold on ; as a father in a 
rugged way gives his child his arm to lay hold by, so doth Crod usually reach 
forth his almighty power for his saints to exercise their faith on. Abraham, 
Isaac, and Jacob, whose faith God tried above most of his saints before or since, 
for not one of those great things which were promised to them, did they live 
to see performedin their days ; and how doth God make known himself to them 
for their support, but by displaying this attribute? Exod. vi. 3: 'I apjieared 
unto Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, by the name of God Almighty.' This was all 
they had to keep house with all their days ; with which they lived comfortably, 
and died triumphantly, bequeathing the promise to their children, not doubting 
(because God Almighty had promised) of the performance. Thus Isa. xxvi., 
where great mercies are promised to Judah, and a song penned beforehand, to 
be sung on that joyous day of their salvation ; yet because there was a shai-p 


winter of captivity to come between the promise and the spring-time of the 
promise; therefore, to keep their faith aUve in this space, the prophet calls 
them up to act their faith on God Almighty (ver. 4) : ' Trust ye in the Lord 
Jehovah, for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength.' So when his saints 
are going into the furnace of persecution, what now doth he direct their faith 
to carry to prison, to stake with them, hut his almighty power? 1 Pet. iv. 19 : 
' Let them that suffer, commit the keeping of their souls to him, as to a faithful 
Creator.' Creator is a name of almighty power. We shall now give some 
reasons of the point. 

Reas. 1. First, Because it is no easy work to make use of this tnith, how 
plain and clear soever it now appears, in great plunges of temptation, that God 
is almighty ; to vindicate this name of God from these evil reports which Satan 
and carnal reason raise against it requires a strong faith indeed. I confess this 
principle is a piece of natiu-al divinity : that light which linds out a Deity, will 
evince, if followed close, this God to be almighty; yet in a carnal heart, it is 
like a rusty sword, hardly drawn out of the scabbard, and so of little or no use. 
Such truths are so imprisoned in natural conscience, that they seldom get a 
fair hearing in the sinner's bosom, till God gives them a gaol-delivery, and 
brings them out of their house of bondage, where they are shut up in imright- 
eousness, with a high hand of his convincing Spirit. Then, and not till then, 
the soul will believe God is holy, merciful, almighty ; nay, some of God's 
peculiar people, and not the meanest for grace amongst them, have had their 
faith for a time set in this slough, much ado to get over those difficulties and 
improbabilities, which sense and reason have objected, so as to rely on the Al- 
mighty power of God with a notwithstanding. Moses himself, a star of the 
first magnitude for grace ; yet see how his faith blinks and twinkles, till he wades 
out of the temptation. Numb. xi. 21 : 'The people amongst whom I am, are 
six hundred thousand, and thou hast said, I will give them flesh that they may 
eat a whole month ; shall the flocks and the herds be slain for them, to suffice 
them V This holy man had lost the sight, for a time, of the almighty power 
of God : and now he is projecting how this should be done ; as if he had said in 
plain terms. How can this be accomplished ? for so God interprets his reasoning, 
vei". 23: 'And the Lord said unto Moses, Is the Lord's hand waxed short?' 
So Mary, John xi. 32 : ' Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not 
died.' And her sister Martha, (ver. 39 :) ' Lord, by this time he stinketh.' Both 
gracious women, yet both betrayed the weakness of their faith on the almighty 
power of Christ, one limiting him to place — If thou hadst been here, he had 
not died ; as if Christ could not have saved his life absent, as well as present ; 
sent his health to him, as well as brought it with him. The other to time — Now 
he stinketh. As if Christ had brought his physic too late, and the grave would 
not deliver up his prisoner at Christ's command. And hast thou such a high 
opinion of thyself. Christian, that thy faith needs not thy utmost care and 
endeavour, for further establishment on the almighty power of God, when thou 
seest such as these dash their foot against this kind of temptation ? 

The second reason may be taken from the absolute necessity of this act of 
faith above others, to support the Christian in the hour of temptation. All the 
Christian's strength and comfort is fetched without doors, and he hath none to 
send on his errand but faith : this goes to heaven, and knocks God up ; as he in 
the parable, his neighbour at midnight for bread: therefore when faith fails, and 
the soul hath none to go to market for supplies, there must needs be a poor 
house kept in the meantime. Now, faith is never quite laid up, till the soul 
denies, or at least questions the power of God. Indeed, when the Christian dis- 
putes the will of God, whispering within its own bosom. Will he pardon ? Will 
he save ? this may make faith go haltingly to the throne of grace, but not knock 
the soul oft" from seeking the face of God ; even then, faith, on the power of 
God, will bear it company thither : ' If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean,' 
Matt. viii. 2. If thou wilt, thou canst pardon, thou canst piu'ge : but when 
tlie soul concludes he cannot pardon, cannot save, this shoots faith to the heart, 
so that the soul falls at the foot of Satan, not able more to resist. Now it grows 
listless to duly, indifferent whether it pray or not; as one that sees the well dry, 
breaks or throws away his pitcher. 


Thirdly, because God is very tender of this flower of his crown, this part of 
his name ; indeed he cannot spell it right, and leave out this letter ; for that is 
God's name, whereby he is known from all his creatures. Now man may be 
called wise, merciful, mighty ; God only all-wise, all-merciful, all-mighty ; so 
when we leave out this syllable all, we nick-name God, and call him by his 
ci'eature's name, which he will not answer to. Now the tenderness that God 
shows to this prerogative of his, appears in three particulars : 

First, in the strict command he lays on his people, to give him the glory of 
his power, Isa. viii. 12, 13 : ' Fear ye not their fear, but sanctify the Lord of 
hosts himself; ' that is, in this sad postui'e of your affairs, when your enemies 
associafe, and you seem a lost people to the eye of reason, not able to contend 
with such united powers which beset you on eveiy side : now I charge you 
sanctify me, in giving me the glory of my almighty power ; believe that your 
God is able of himself, without any other, to defend you, and destroy them. 

Secondly, In his severity to his dearest children, when they stagger in their 
faith, and come not off roundly, without reasoning and disputing the case, to 
rely on his almighty power : Zacharias did but ask the angel. How shall I know 
this, because I am an old man, and my wife stricken in years? yet for bewraying 
therein his unbelief, had a sign indeed given him, but such a one as did not 
only strengthen his faith, but severely punish his unbelief; for he was struck 
dumb upon the place. God loves his children should believe his word, not dis- 
pute his power ; so true is that of Luther, Deus amat currislas non quccristas. 
That which gave accent to Abraham's faith, Rom. iv. 21, was that he was 'fully 
persuaded, that what God had promised he was able to pei'form.' 

Thirdly, In the way God takes of giving his choicest mercies, and greatest 
salvations to his people, wherein he lays the scene of his providence so, that 
when he hath done, it may be said almighty power was here. And therefore 
God commonly puts down those means and second causes, which if they stood 
about his work, would blind and hinder the full prospect thereof in effecting 
the same, 2 Cor. i. 9 : ' We received the sentence of death in ourselves, that we 
might not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead.' Christ staid 
while Lazarus was dead, that he might draw the eyes of their faith more singly 
to look on his powei*, by raising his dead friend, rather than curing him, being 
sick, which would not have carried so full a conviction of almightiness with it. 
Yea, he suffers a contrary power many times to arise in that very juncture of 
time when he intends the mercy to his people, that he may rear up the more 
magnificent pillar of remembrance to his own power, in the ruin of that which 
contends with him. Had God brought Israel out of Egypt in the time of those 
kings which knew Joseph, most likely they might have had a friendly departure 
and an easy deliverance ; but God reserves this for the reign of that proud 
Pharaoh, who shall cruelly oppress them, and ventm-e his kingdom, but he will 
satisfy his lust upon them. And why must this be the time ? but that God 
would bring them forth with a stretched out arm : the magnifying of his power 
was God's great design, Exod. ix. 16: 'In very deed for this cause have I 
raised thee up, to show in thee my power, and that my name may be declared 
throughout the earth.' 

Fourthly, In the prevalency which an argument that is pressed from his 
almighty power hath with God. It was the last string Moses had to his bow, 
when he begged the life of Israel, Nmnb. xiv. 16 : ' The nations which have 
heard the fame of thee, will speak, saying. Because the Lord was notable,' &c. 
And ver. 17: ' Let the power of my Lord be great;' and with this he hath 
their pardon thrown him. 

The application of this j^oint will fall in imder the next, which is, 




Doct. That it is the saints' duty, and should be their care, not only to be- 
lieve God Almighty, but also strongly to believe that this almighty power of 
God is theirs, that is, engaged to their defence and help, so as to make use of 
it in all straits and temptations. 


Section I. — First, I shall prove that the almighty power of Gocl is engaged 
for the Christian's defence ; with tlie groinuls of it. 

Secondly, Why the Christian should strongly act his faith on this. 

First, The almighty power of God is engaged for the saints' defence : God 
brought Israel out of Egypt with a high hand ; but did he set them down on 
the other side the Red Sea, to find and force their way to Canaan, by their own 
policy or power ? When he had opened the iron gate of their house of bondage, 
and brought them into the open fields, did he vanish as the angel from Peter, 
when out of prison? No, as a man carries his son, so the Lord bare them in 
all the way they went, Deut. i. 31. This doth lively set forth the saints' march 
to heaven : God brings a soul out of spiritual Egypt by his converting grace ; 
that is, the day of his power, wherein he makes the soul willing to come out of 
Satan's clutches. Now when the saint is upon his march, all the country riseth 
upon him. How shall this poor creature pass the pikes, and get safely by all 
his enemies' borders ? God himself enfolds him in the arm of his everlasting 
strength : ' We are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.' 
1 Pet. i. 5. The power of God is that ' shoulder,' on which Christ carries his 
sheep home, rejoicing all the way he goes, Luke xv. 5. These everlasting arms 
of his strength are those eagles' wings, upon which the saints are botli tenderly 
and securely conveyed to glory, Exod. xix. 4. There is a fivefold tie or 
engagement that lies upon God's power, to be the saints' life-guard. 

First, The near relation he hath to his saints : they are his own dear children ; 
every one takes care of his own ; the silly hen, how doth she bustle and bestir 
hei'self to gather her brood under her wing when the kite appears ! No care 
like that which nature teacheth. How much more will God, who is the Father 
of such dispositions in his creatures, stir up his whole strength to defend his 
children! 'He said. They are my people; so he became their Saviour,' 
Isa. xxxiii. 8. As if God had said. Shall I sit still with my hand in my bosom, 
while my own people are thus misused before my face ? I cannot bear it. The 
mother, as she sits in her house, hears one shriek, and knows the voice, cries out, 
O it is my child ! Away she throws all, and runs to him. Thus God takes the 
alarm of his children's cry : 'I heard Ephraim bemoaning himself,' saith the 
Lord ; his cry pierced his ear, and his ear affected his bowels, and his bowels 
called up his power to the rescue of him. 

Secondly, The dear love he beareth to his saints engageth his power. He 
that hath God's heart cannot want his arm. Love in the creature commands 
all the other affections, sets all the powers of the whole man on work ; thus in 
God, love sets all his other attributes on work ; when God once pitched his 
thoughts on doing good to lost man, then wisdom fell on projecting the way ; 
almighty power, that undertook to raise the fabric according to wisdom's 
model. All are ready to effect what God saith he likes. Now the believing 
soul is an object of God's choicest love, even the same with which he loves 
his Son, John xvii. 26. 

First, God loves the believer as the birth of his everlasting counsel ; when a 
soul believes, then God's eternal purpose and counsel concerning him, whom he 
chose in Christ before the foundation of the world, and with whom his thoughts 
went so long big, brings forth. And how must God needs love that creatin-e, 
whom he carried so long in the womb of his eternal purpose ! This goodly 
fabric of heaven and earth hath not been built, but as a stage whereon he would 
in time act what he decreed in heaven of old, concerning the saving of thee, and 
a few more of his elect; and therefore according to the same rate of delight with 
which God pleased and entertained himself in the thoughts of this before the 
world was, must he needs rejoice over the sold now believing with love and 
complacency unconceivable ; and God having brought his counsel thus far 
towards its issue, surely will raise all the power he hath, rather than be 
disappointed of his glory within a few steps of home; I mean, his whole 
design in the believer's salvation; the Lord who hath chosen his saints (as 
Christ prays for Joshua their representative) will rebuke Satan and all their 
enemies, Zech. iii. 

Secondly, God loves his saints as the purchase of his Son's blood : they cost 
him dear ; and that which is so hardly got shall not be easily lost. He that was 


willing to expend his Son's blood to gain them, will not deny his power to keep 

Thirdly, God loves the saints for their likeness to himself; so that if he loves 
himself, he cannot but love himself appearing in them ; and as he loves himself 
in them, so he defends himself in defending them. What is it in a saint that 
enrageth hell, but the image of God, without which the war woidd soon be at an 
end ? It is the hatred the panther hath to man that makes him fly at his pic- 
ture ; ' for thy sake are we slain all the day long:' and if the quarrel be God's, 
surely the saint shall not go forth to war at his own cost. 

Thirdly, The covenant engageth God's almighty power. Gen. xvii. 1 : ' I am 
the Almighty God, walk before me.' There is a league offensive and defensive 
between God and his saints; he gives it under his hand, that he will put forth the 
whole power of his godhead for them, 1 Chron. xvii. 24 : ' The Lord of hosts is 
the God of Israel, even a God to Israel.' God doth not parcel himself out by 
retail, but gives his saints leave to challenge whatever God hath as theirs ; and 
let him, whoever he is, sit in God's throne, and take away his crown, that can 
fasten any untruth on the Holy One ; as his name is, so his nature, a God 
keeping covenant for ever. The promises stand as the mountains about Jeru- 
salem, never to be removed ; the weak as well as the strong Christian is within 
this line of communication. Were saints to fight it out in open field, by the 
strength of their own grace, then the strong were more likely. to stand, and the 
weak to fall in battle ; but both, castled in the covenant, are alike safe. 

Fourtlily, The saints' dependence on God, and expectation from God in all 
their straits, oblige this power for their succour : whither doth a gracious soul 
fly in any want or danger from sin, Satan, or his instruments, but to his God ? as 
naturally as the coney to her burrow, Psa. Ivii. 3. 'At what time I am afraid,' 
saith David, ' I will trust in thee :' he tells God he will make bold of his house 
to step into, when taken in any storm ; and doth not question his welcome. 
Thus when Saul hunted him, he left a city of gates and bars, to trust God in 
open field. Indeed, all the saints are taught the same lesson ; to renounce their 
own strength, and rely on the power of God ; their own policy, and cast them- 
selves on the wisdom of God ; their own righteousness, and expect all from the 
pure mercy of God in Christ; which act of faith is so pleasing to God, that such 
a soul shall never be ashamed, Psa. ix. 18. ' The expectation of the poor shall 
not perish.' A heathen could say, when a bii'd, scared by a hawk, flew into his 
bosom, I will not betray thee unto thy enemy, seeing thou comest for sanctuary 
unto me. How much less will God yield up a soul unto its enemy, when it 
takes sanctuary in his name, saying, Loi'd, I am hunted with such a temptation, 
dogged with such a lust; either thou must pardon it, or I am damned; mortify 
it, or I shall be a slave to it; take me into the bosom of thy love, for Christ's 
sake; castle me in the arms of thy everlasting strength; it is in thy power to 
save me from, or give me up into the hands of my enemy ; I have no confidence 
in myself or any other, into thy hands I commit my cause, myself, andrely on 
thee. This dependence of a soul undoubtedly will awaken the almighty power 
of God for such a one's defence. He hath sworn the greatest oath that can 
come out of his blessed lips, even by himself, that such as thus fly for refuge to 
hope in him, shall have strong consolation, Heb. vi. 17. This indeed may give 
the saint the greater boldness of faith to expect kind entertainment, when he 
repairs to God for refuge, because he cannot come before he is looked for ; God 
having set up his name and promises as a strong tower, both calls his people 
into these chambers, and expects they shoidd betake themselves thither. 

Fifthly, Christ's presence and employment in heaven lays a strong engage- 
ment on God to bring his whole force and power into the field, upon all occasions, 
for his saints' defence; one special end of his journey to heaven, and abode there, 
is, that he might, as the saints' solicitor, be ever interceding for such supplies and 
succours of his Father, as their exigencies call for ; and the more to assure us of 
the same before he went, he did, as it were, tell us, what heads he meant to go 
upon in his intercession when he should come there; one of which was this, that 
his Father should keep his children, while they were to stay in the world, from the 
evil thereof, John xvii. 15. Neither doth Cln-ist take upon him this work of his 
own head, but hath the same appointment of his Father, for what he now prays in 


heaven, as he had for what he suffered on earth : he that ordained him a priest to 
die for sinners, did not then strip him of his priestly garments, as Aaron, hut 
appoints him to ascend in them to heaven, where he sits a priest for ever by 
God's oath. And this office of intercession was erected purely in mercy to be- 
lievers, that they might have fidl content given them for the performance of all 
that God hath promised ; so that Jesus Christ attends at court as our ambassador, 
to see all earned fairly between God and us according to agreement : and if 
Christ follows his business close, and be faithful in his place to believers, all is 
well : and doth it not behove him to be so, who intercedes for such dear relations? 
Suppose a king's son should get out of a besieged city, where he had left his wife 
and children, whom he loves as his own soul, and these all ready. to die by sword 
or famine, if supply come not the sooner; could this prince, when arrived at his 
father's house, please himself with the delights of the court, and forget the 
distress of his family ? Or rather, would he not come post to his father, having 
their cries and groans always in his ears, and before he eat or diink, do his 
errand to his father, and entreat him, if ever he loved him, that he would send all 
the force of his kingdom to raise the siege, rather than any of his dear relations 
should perish ? Surely, sirs, though Christ be in the top of his preferment, and 
out of the storm in regard of his own person, yet his children left behind in the 
midst of sin, Satan, and the world's batteries, are in his heart, and shall not be 
forgotten a moment by him. The care he takes in our business, appeared in the 
speedy despatch he made of his Spirit to his apostles' supply, when he ascended, 
which as soon almost as he was warm in his seat, at his Father's right hand, he 
sent, to the incomparable comfort of his apostles and us, that to this day, yea, 
to the end of the world do, or shall believe on him. 

Section II. — The second branch of the point follows : that saints should eye 
this power of God as engaged for them; and press it home upon their souls, till 
they silence all doubts and fears about the matter ; which is the importance of 
this exhortation : ' Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.' 
Fortify and entrench your soids within the breast-work of this attribute of 
God's mighty power, made over to you by God himself. 

First, It is the end as of all promises to be security to our faith ; so of those 
in particulai-, where his almighty power is expressly engaged, that we may count 
this attribute our portion, and reap the comfort it yields as freely as one may the 
crop of his own field. ' Walk before me,' saith God to Abraham, ' I am God 
Almighty;' set on this as thy portion, and live upon it; the apostle, Heb. xiii. 6, 
teacheth us what use to make of promises; ver. 5, ' I will never leave thee, nor 
forsake thee,' — there is the promise ; and the inference, which he teacheth us to 
draw by faith from this, follows, ver. 6, ' So we may boldly say, the Lord is my 
helper.' We, that is, every believer, may boldly say, that is, we may conclude 
God will help ; not sneakingly, timorously, perhaps he will ; Isut we may boldly 
assert it in the face of men and devils, because He that is almighty hath said it. 
Now for a Christian not to strengthen his faith on this incomparably sweet attri- 
bute, but to sit down with a few weak unsettled hopes, wlien he may, yea, ought 
to be strong in tlie faith of such promises ; what is it but to undervalue the 
blessing of such promises? As if one shoidd promise anotlier house and land, 
and bid him make them as sure to himself as the law can bind, and he should 
take no care to effect this ; would it not be interpreted as a sligliting of his 
friend's kindness? Is it a small matter that God passeth over his almighty 
power by promise to us, and bids us make it as sure to ourselves as we can by 
faith, and we neglect this, leaving the writings of the promises unsealed on our 
hearts ? 

Secondly, Our obedience and comfort are strong or weak, as oiu" faith is on 
this principle. 

First, Our obedience, that being a child of faith, partakes of its parent's 
strength or weakness. Abraham being strong in faith, what an heroic act of 
obedience did he perform in offering up his son ? His faith being well set on the 
power of God, he carries that without staggering, which woidd have laid a weak 
faith on the grouTid. No act of faith more strengthens for duty than that 
which eyes God's almighty power engaged for its assistance. ' Go in this thy 
might,' said God to Gideon, ' have not I called thee?' as if he had said, Can I 


not, will I not carry thee through thy work ? Away goes Gideon in the faith of 
this, and doth wonders. This brought the righteous man from the east to God's 
foot, though he knew not whither he went, yet he knew with whom he went, 
God Almighty. But take a soul not persuaded of this ; how imeven and 
unstable is he in this obediential course ! Every threat from man, if mighty, 
dismays him, because his faith is not fixed on the Almighty, and therefore 
sometimes he will shift off a duty to comply with man, and betray his trust into 
the hands of a sorry creature, because he hath fleshly eyes to behold the power 
of man, but wants a spiritual eye to see God at his back, to protect him with his 
almighty power ; which, were his eyes open to see, he would not be so routed in 
his thoughts at the approach of a weak creature : ' Should such a man as I flee? ' 
saith good Nehemiah, Neb. vi. 11. He was newly come from the throne of 
grace, where he had called in the help of the Almighty, ver. 9. ' O God, 
strengthen my hands.' And truly now he will rather die upon the place, than 
disparage his God with a dishonourable retreat. 

Secondly, The Christian's comfort increaseth or wanes, as the aspect of his 
faith is to the power of God. Let the soul question that, or his interest in it, 
and his joy gusheth out, even as blood OTit of a broken vein : it is true, a soul 
may scramble to heaven with much ado, by a faith of recumbency, relying on 
God as able to save, without this persuasion of its interest in God ; but such a 
soul goes with a scant side wind, or like a ship whose masts are laid by the 
board, exposed to wind and weather, if others better appointed did not tow it 
along with them. Many fears like waves ever and anon cover such a soul, that 
it is more under water than above ; whereas one that sees itself folded in the 
arms of almighty power, O how such a soul goes mounting afore the wind, with 
her sails filled with joy and peace ! Let afflictions come, storms arise, this blessed 
soul knows where it shall land and be welcome. The name of God is liis 
harbour, where he puts in as boldly as a man steps into his own house, when 
taken in a shower. He hears God calling him into tliis and other his attributes, 
as chambers taken up for him, Isa. xxvi. ' Come, my people, enter into thy 
chambers.' God calls them his, and it were foolish modesty not to own what 
God gives ; Isa. xlv. 24, ' Surely shall a man say, Li the Lord have I righteous- 
ness and strength ;' that is, I have righteousness in God's righteousness, strength 
in his strength : so that in this respect Christ can no more say that his strength is 
his own, and not the believer's, than the husband can say, my body is my own, 
and not my wife's. A soul persuaded of this, may sing merrily with the sharpest 
thorn at his breast ; so David, Psalm Ivii. 7, ' My heart is fixed, my heart is 
fixed, I will sing and give praise.' What makes him so merry in so sad a 
place a^ the cave where now he was? He will tell you in ver. 1, where you 
have him nestling himself under the shadow of God's wings, and now well may 
he sing care and fear away. A sold .thus provided, may be at ease on a hard 
bed. Do you not think they sleep as soundly who dwell on London-bridge, as 
they who live at Whitehall or Cheapside, knowing the waves that roar under 
them cannot hm-t them? Even so may the saints rest quietly over the floods of 
death itself, and fear no ill. 

Section HI. — Use 1. Is the almighty power of God engaged for the saints' 
defence? Surely then they will have a hard pull, the saints' enemies I mean, who 
meddle with them that are so far above their match. The devil was so cunning, 
that he would have Job out of his trench, his hedge down, before he would fall on ; 
but so desperate are men, they will try the field with the saints, though encircled 
with the almighty power of God. What folly were it to attempt, or sit down before 
such a city, which cannot bo blocked up so as no relief can get in ? The way to 
heaven cannot. In the church's straitest siege, there is a river which shall 
make glad this city of God, with seasonable succo\n-s from heaven. The saints' 
fresh springs are all from God ; and it is as feasible for sorry man to stop the 
water-courses of the clouds, as to dam up those streams, which invincibly glide 
like veins of water in the earth, from the fountain-head of his mercy, into the 
bosom of his people. The Egyptians thought they had Israel in a trap, when 
they saw them march into such a nook by the sea side. They are entangled, 
they are entangled ; and truly so they had been irrecoverably, had not tliat 
almighty power which led them on, engaged to bring them off" with honour and 


safety. Well, when they are out of this danger, behold, they are in a wilderness, 
where nothing is to be had for back and belly, and yet here they shall live forty 
years, withont trade or tillage, without begging or robbing of any of the neigh- 
bour nations ; they shall not be beholden to them for a penny in their way. 
What cannot almighty power do to provide for his people ? What can it not do 
to protect them against the power and wrath of their enemies ? Almighty 
power stood between the Israelites and Egyptians ; so that, poor creatures, they 
could not so much as come to see their enemy. God sets up a dark cloud as a 
blind before their eyes ; and all the while, his eye through the cloud is looking 
them into disorder and confusion. And is the Almighty grown weaker now- 
a-days, or his enemies stronger, that the)' promise themselves better success ? 
No, neither ; but men are blinder than the saints' enemies of old, who sometimes 
have fled at the appearance of God among his people, crying out, ' Let us flee, for 
the Lord fighteth for them.' Whereas there be many now-a-days will rather 
give the honour of their discomfitiu'es to Satan himself, than acknowledge God 
in the business ; more ready to say the devil fought against them, than God. 
O you that have not yet worn off the impressions which the almighty power of 
God hath at any time made upon your spirits, beware of having anything to 
do with this generation of men, whoever they are. Come not near their tabei'- 
nacle, cast not thy lot in amongst them, who are enemies to the saints of the 
Most High ; for they are men devoted to destruction. God so loves his saints 
that he makes nothing to give whole nations for their ransom. He ripped open 
the very womb of Egypt, to save the life of Israel his child, Isa. xliii. 3. 

Use 2. — -This shews the dismal, deplorable condition of all you who are yet 
in a Christless state ; you have seen a rich mine opened, but not a penny of 
this treasure comes to your share ; truth laden with incomparable comfort, but 
it is bound for another coast; it belongs to the saints, into whose bosom this 
truth unlades all her comfort. See God shutting the door upon you, when he 
sets his children to feast themselves with such dainties, Isa. Ixv. L'J, 'My ser- 
vants shall eat, but ye shall be hungry ; my servants shall drink, but ye shall 
be thirsty.' God hath his set number, which he provides for ; he knows how 
many he hath in his family : these and no more shall sit down. One chief dish 
at the saints' board, is the almighty power of God ; tliis was set before Abraham, 
and stands before all his saints, that they may eat to fulness of comfort on it : 
' But thou shalt be hungry.' He is almighty to pardon ; but he will not use it 
for thee an impenitent sinner ; thou hast not a friend on the bench ; not an 
attribute in all God's name will speak for thee : mercy itself will sit and vote 
with the rest of his fellow-attributes for thy damnation. God is able to save and 
help in a time of need ; but upon what acquaintance is it that thou art so bold 
with God, as to expect his saving arm to be stretched forth for thee ? Though a 
man will rise at midnight to let in a child that cries and knocks at his door, yet 
he will not take so much pains for a dog, that lies howling there. This presents 
thy condition, sinner; sad enough ! yet this is to tell thy story fairest; for that 
almighty power of God which is engaged for the believer's salvation, is as deeply 
obliged to bring thee to thy execution and damnation. What greater tie than an 
oath? God himself is inider an oath to be the destruction of every impenitent 
soul. That oath which God sware in his wrath against theimbelieving Israelites, 
that they should not enter into his rest, concerns every unbeliever to the end of 
the world. In the name of God consider, were it but the oath of a man, or a 
company of men, that, like those in the Acts, should swear to be the death of such 
an one, and thou wert the man, would it not fill thee with fear and trembling 
night and day, and take away the quiet of thy life, till they were made friends ? 
What then are their pillows stuffed with, who can sleep so soundly without any 
horror or amazement, though they be told, that the Almighty God is under an 
oath of damning them body and soul, without timely repentance ? O bethink 
yourselves, sinners, is it wisdom, or valour, to reftise terms of mercy from God's 
hands, whose almighty power, if rejected, will soon bring you into the hands 
of justice? And how fearful a thing that is, to fall into the hands of Almighty 
God, no tongue can express, no, not they who feel the weight of it. 

Use 3. — This speaks to you, that are saints indeed. Be strong in the faith 
of this truth, make it an article of yoiu- creed ; with the same faith that you 

c 2 


believe there is a God, believe also this God's almighty power is thy sure friend, 
and then improve it to thy best advantage. As, 

First, In agonies of conscience that arise from the greatness of thy sins, fly 
for refuge into the almighty power of God. Truly, sirs, when a man's sins are 
displayed in all their bloody colours, and spread forth in their killing aggra- 
vations, and the eye of conscience awakened to behold them through the multi- 
plying or magnifying glass of a temptation, they must needs surprise the 
creature with horror and amazement, till the soul can say with the prophet, 
for all this huge host, 'There is yet more with me than against me.' One 
Almighty is more than many mighties. All these mighty sins and devils make 
not any almighty sin, or an almighty devil. Oppose to all the hideous charges 
brought against thee by them, this only attribute. As the French ambassador 
once silenced the Spaniard's pride in repeating his master's many titles, with 
one that drowned them all. God himself, Hos. xi. 9, when he had aggravated 
his people's sins to the height, then to show what a God can do, breaks out into 
a sweet promise : ' I will not execute the fierceness of mine anger : ' and why not ? 
' I am God, and not man.' I will show the almightiness of my mercy. Some- 
thing like our usual phrase, when a child or a woman strikes us ; I am a man, 
and not a child or woman, therefore I will not strike again. The very con- 
sidering God to be God, supposeth him to be almighty to pardon, as well as to 
avenge, and this is some relief; but then to consider it is almighty power in bond 
and covenant to pardon, this is more : as none can bind God but himself, so 
none can break the bond himself makes ; and are they not his own words, that 
' he will abundantly pardon V Isa. Iv. He will multiply to pardon ; as if he 
had said, I will di-op mercy with your sin, and spend all I have, rather than let 
it be said my good is overcome of your evil. It fares with the gracious soul in 
this case, as with a captain that yields his castle upon gracious terms of having 
his life spared, and he safely conveyed to his house, thei-e to be settled peace- 
ably in his estate and possession, for all which he hath the general's hand and 
seal ; on which he marched forth, but the rude soldiers assault him, and put him 
in fear of his life ; he appeals to the general, whose honour now is engaged for 
him, and is presently relieved, and his enemies punished. Thou mayest, poor 
soul, when accused by Satan, molested by his terrors, say. It is God that 
justifies ; I have his hand to it, that I should have my life given me as soon as 
I laid down my arms and submitted to him, which I desire to do ; behold the 
gates of my heart are open to let the Prince of Peace in, and is not the 
Almighty able to perform his promise ? I commit myself to him as unto a 
faithful Creator. 

Secondly, Improve this almighty power of God and thy interest therein, in 
temptations to sin ; when thou art overpowered, and fleest before the face of thy 
strong corruption, or fearest thou shalt one day fall by it, make bold to take 
hold of this attribute, and reinforce thyself from it ; again to resist, and in re- 
sisting, to believe a timely victory over it. The Almighty God stands in sight of 
thee while thou art in the valley fighting, and stays but for a call from thee when 
distressed in battle, and then he will come to thy rescue. Jehoshaphat cried, 
when in the throng of his enemies, and the Lord helped him ; much more mayest 
thou promise thyself his succour in thy soul-combats. Betake thyself to the 
throne of grace with that promise, ' Sin shall not have dominion over you ;' and 
before thou urgest it, the more to help thy faith, comfort thyself with this, that 
though this word Almighty is not expressed, yet it is implied in this and every 
promise ; and thou mayest, without adding a tittle to the word of God, read it in 
thy soul; ' Sin shall not have dominion over you,' saith the Almighty God ; for 
this and all his attributes are the constant seal to all his promises. Now, soul, 
put the bond in suit, fear not the recovery, it is debt, and so due. He is able 
whom thou suest, and so there is no fear of losing the chai'ge of the suit ; and 
he that was so gracious to bind himself when he was free, will be so faithful, 
being able, to perform now he is bound ; only while thou expectest the per- 
formance of the promise, and the assistance of this almighty power against thy 
corruptions, take heed that thou keep under the shadow of this attribute, and 
condition of this promise, Psa. xci. 1. The shadow will not cool, except in it. 
What good to have the shadow, though of a mighty rock, when we sit in the 


open sun ? To have almighty power engaged for us, and we to throw ourselves 
out of the protection thereof, by bold sallies into the mouth of temptation ? 
The saints' falls have been when they run out of their trench and hold ; for, 
like the conies, they are a weak people in themselves, and their strength lies in 
the rock of God's almightiness which is their habitation. 

Thirdly, Christian, improve this, when oppressed with the weight of any duty 
and service, which in thy place and calling lies upon thee. Perhaps thou findest 
the duty of thy calling too heavy for thy weak shoulders ; make bold by faith 
to lay the heaviest end of thy burden on God's shoulder, which is thine, if a 
believer, as sui'e as God can make it by promise. When at any time thou art 
sick of thy work, and ready to think with Jonas to run from it, encourage 
thyself with that of God to Gideon, whom he called from the flail to thresh the 
mountains : Go in this thy might ; hath not God called thee ? Fall to the work 
God sets thee about, and thou engagest his strength for thee. ' The way of the 
Lord is strength.' Run from thy work, and thou engagest God's strength 
against thee ; he will send some storm or other after thee to bring home his 
nmaway servant. How oft hath the coward been killed in a ditch, or under 
some hedge, when the valiant soldier that stood his ground and kept his place, 
got off with safety and honour ? Art thou called to suffer ? Flinch not because 
thou art afraid thou shalt never be able to bear the cross ; God can lay it so even 
that thou shalt not feel it : though thou shouldst find no succour till thou 
comest to the prison door, yea, till thou hast one foot on the ladder, or thy neck 
on the block, despair not. ' In the mount will the Lord be seen.' And in that 
hour he can give thee such a look of his sweet face as shall make the blood come in 
the ghastly face of a cruel death, and appear lovely in thy eye for his sake. He can 
give thee so much comfort in hand, as thou shalt acknowledge God is aforehand 
with thee, for all the shame and pain thou canst endure for him. And if it should 
not amount to this, yet so much as will bear all thy charges thou canst be put 
to in the way, lies ready told in that promise, 1 Cor. x. 13. Thou shalt have it at 
sight ; and this may satisfy a Christian ; especially if he considers, though he 
doth not carry so much of heaven's joy about him to heaven as others, yet he 
shall meet it as soon as he comes to his Father's house, where it is reserved for 
him. In a word. Christian, rely upon thy God, and make thy daily applications to 
the throne of grace, for continual supplies of strength ; you little think how kindly 
he takes it, that you will make use of him, the oftener the better ; and the more 
you come for, the more welcome ; else why woidd Christ have told his disciples, 
'Hitherto ye have asked nothing,' but to express his large heart in giving, 
loath to put his hand to his purse for a little, and therefore by a familiar kind 
of rhetoric puts them to rise higher in asking, as Naaman, when Gehazi asked 
one talent, entreats him to take two. Such a bountiful heart thy God hath, 
while thou art asking a little peace and joy, he bids thee open thy mouth wide, 
and he will fill it. Go and ransack thy heart, Christian, from one end to the 
other ; find out thy wants, acquaint thyself with all thy weaknesses, and set 
them before the Almighty, as the widow her empty vessel before the prophet ; 
hadst thou more than thou canst bring, thou mayest have them all filled. God 
hath strength enough to give, but he hath no strength to deny : here the 
Almighty himself, with reverence be it spoken, is weak ; even a child, the 
weakest in grace of his family that can but say Father, is able to overcome him, 
and therefore let not the weakness of thy faith discourage thee. No greater 
motive to the bowels of mercy to stir up almighty power to relieve thee, 
than thy weakness, when pleaded in the sense of it. The pale face and thin 
cheeks, I hope, move more with us, than the canting language of a stout sturdy 
beggar. Thus that soul that comes laden in the sense of his weak faith, love, 
patience, the very weakness of them carries an argument along with them for 



Object. O BUT, saith some disconsolate Christian, I have prayed again and 
again for strength against such a corruption, and to this day my hands are 


weak, and these sons of Zeruiah are so strong, that I am ready to say, all the 
preachers do but flatter me, that do ponr their oil of comfort upon my head, 
and tell me I shall at last get the conquest of these mine enemies, and see that 
joyful day wherein, with David, I shall ' sing to the Lord, for delivering me out 
of the hands of all mine enemies.' I have prayed for strength for such a duty, 
and find it come off" as weakly and dead-heartedly as before. If God be with 
me by his mighty power to help me, why then is all this befallen me ? 

Answer. First, Look once again, poor heart, into thine own bosom, and see 
whether thou findest not some strength sent into thee, which thou didst over- 
look before ; this may be, yea, very ordinary in this case, when God answers 
our prayer, not in the letter, or when the thing itself is sent, but it comes in at 
the back door, while we are expecting it at the fore ; and truly thus the friend 
thou art looking for may be in thine house, and thou not know it. Is not this 
thy case, poor soul ? Thou hast been praying for strength against such a lust, 
and now thou wouldest have God presently put forth his power to knock it on 
the head, and lay it for dead, that it should never stir more in thy bosom. Is 
not this the door thou hast stood looking for God to come in at, and no sight or 
news of thy God is coming that way ? Thy corruption yet stirs, it may be is 
more troublesome than before ; now thou askest, where is the strength pro- 
mised for thy relief? Let me entreat thee, before thou layest down that sad 
conclusion against thy God or self, see whether he hath not conveyed in some 
strength by another door. Perhajjs thou hast not strength to conquer it so 
soon as thou desirest ; but hath he not given further praying strength against it? 
Thou prayedst before, but now more earnestly; all the powers of thy soul are up 
to plead with God. Before, thou wast more favourable and moderate in thy 
request ; now thou hast a zeal, thou canst take no denial ; yea, welcome any 
thing in the room of thy corruption : would God but take thy sin and send 
a cross, thou wouldst bless him. Now, poor soul, is this nothing, no strength? 
Had not thy God reinforced thee, thy sin would have weakened the spirit of 
thy prayer, and not increased it. David began to recover himself when he 
began to recover his spirit of prayer. The stronger the cry, the stronger the 
child, I warrant you. Jacob wrestled, and this is called his strength, Hos. xii. 
It appeared there was much of God in him that he could take such hold of the 
Almighty as to keep it, though God seemed to shake him off. If thus thou art 
enabled, soul, to deal with the God of heaven, no fear but thou shalt be much 
more able to deal with sin and Satan. If God hath given thee so much 
strength to wrestle with him above and against denials, thou hast prevailed with 
the stronger of the two. Overcome God, and he will overcome the other for 
thee. Again, perhaps thou hast been praying for further strength to be 
communicated to thee in duty, that thou mightest be more spiritual, vigorous, 
united, sincere, and the like therein ; and yet thou findest thy old distempers 
hanging about thee, as if thou hadst never acquainted God with thy malady. Well, 
soul, look once again into thy bosom with an unprejudiced eye, though thou 
dost not find the assisting strength thou prayedst for, yet hast thou no more 
self-abasing strength ? Perhaps the annoyance thou hast from these remaining 
distempers in duty, occasions thee to have a meaner opinion of all thy duties 
than ever, yea, they make thee abhor thyself in the sense of these, as if thou 
hadst so many loathsome vermin about thee. Job's condition on the dunghill, 
with all his blotches and running sores on his body, appears desirable to thee 
in comparison of thine, whose soul thou complainest is worse than his body. 
O this afflicts thy soul deeply, doth it not, that thou shouldest appear before 
the Lord with such a dead, divided heart, and do his work worst that deserves 
best at thy hands : and is all this nothing ? Surely, Christian, thine eyes are 
held as much as Hagar's, or else thou wouldst see the streamings forth of 
divine grace in this frame of thy heai-t; surely others will think God hath done 
a mighty work in thy soul. What harder and more against the grain than to 
bring our proud hearts to take shame for that whereof they naturally boast and 
glory ? And is it nothing for thee, to tread on the veiy neck of thy duties, and 
count them matter of thy humiliation and abasing, which others make the 
matter of their confidence and self-rejoicing? Good store of virtue hath gone 
from Christ to dry this issue of pride in thy heart, which sometimes in gracious 


ones nins through and through their duties, that it is seen, may be, by those 
that have less grace than themselves. 

Second, Christian, candidly interpret God's dealings with thee. Suppose it 
be as thou sayest, thou hast pleaded the promise, and waited on the means, and 
yet findest no strength from all these receipts, either in thy grace or comfort ; 
now take heed of charging God foolishly, as if God were not what he promised ; 
this were to give that to Satan which he is all this while gaping for. It is more 
becoming the dutifid disposition of a child, when he hath not presently what he 
writes for to his father, to say. My father is wiser than I ; his wisdom will 
prompt him what and when to send to me, and his fatherly afl'ections to me 
his child will neither sutfer him to deny anything that is good, nor slip the 
time that is seasonable. Christian, thy heavenly Father hath gracious ends that 
hold his hands at present, or else thou hadst ere this heard from him. 

First, God may deny further degrees of strength, to put thee on the exercise 
of that thou hast more carefully. As a mother doth by her child that is 
learning to go, she sets it down, and stands some distance from it, and bids it 
come to lier; the child feels its legs weak, and cries for the mother's help, but 
the mother steps back on purpose that the child should put forth all its little 
strength in making after her. When a poor soul conies and prays against such 
a sin, God seems to step back and stand at a distance ; the temptation in- 
creaseth, and no visible succour appears, on purpose that the Christian, though 
weak, should exercise that strength he hath. Indeed we shall find the sense of a 
soid's weakness is an especial means to excite it into a further care and dili- 
gence : one that knows his weakness, how prone he is in company to forget 
himself, in passion how apt he is to fly out ; if there be a principle of true 
grace, this will excite him to be more fearful and watchful than another that 
hath obtained greater strength against such great temptations. As a child that 
writes for money to his father ; none comes presently ; that makes him husband 
that little he hath the better; not a penny now shall be laid out idly. Thus, 
when a Christian hath prayed against such a sin again and again, and yet 
finds himself weak, prone to be worsted ; O how careful will this, should this 
make such a one of every company, of every occasion ! Such a one had not 
need give his enemy any advantage. 

Second, God may deny the Christian such assisting strength in duty, or 
mortifying strength of corruption, as he desires, pin-ely on a gracious design, 
that he may thereby have an advantage of expressing his love in such a way 
as shall most kindly work on the ingenuity of the soul to love God again. 
Perhaps, Christian, thou prayest for a mercy thou wantest, or for deliverance 
out of some great affliction, and in the duty thou findest not more assistance 
than ordinary, yea, many distractions of spirit in it, and misgiving thoughts 
with unbelieving fears after it : well, notwithstanding those defects in thy 
duty, yet God hears thy pra3fer, and sends in the mercy on purpose that he 
may greaten his love in thine eye, and make it more luscious and sweet to thy 
taste, from his accepting thy weak services, and passing by the distempers of 
thy spirit. Here is less strength for the duty, that thou mayest have more love 
in the mercy ; nothing will affect a gracious heart more than such a considera- 
tion. See it in David, Psal. cxvi. 11, 12 : 'I said in my haste, All men are 
liars. What shall I render to the Lord for all his benefits towards me !' As if 
David had said, ' Notwithstanding all the comfortable messages I had from 
God by his prophets concerning this matter, my own prayers, and those re- 
markable providences, which carried in them a partial answer to thcTn, and 
performance of what was promised, yet I betrayed much unbelief, questioning 
the truth of the one, and the return of the other; and hath God notwithstand- 
ing all my infirmities fulfilled my desire, and performed his ])r()mise ? O what 
shall I render unto the Lord?' Thus David reads God's mercy through the 
spectacles of his own weakness and infirmity, and it appears great; whereas 
if a mercy should come in, as an answer to a duty managed with such strength 
of faith, and height of other graces, as might free him and his duty from visual 
infirmities, this miglit prove a snare, and occasion some self-applauding, 
rather than mercy-admiring thoughts in the creature. 

Third, God may communicate the less of his assisting strength, that he may 


show the more of his supporting strength, in upholding weak grace : we do 
not wonder to see a man of strong constitution, that eats his bread heartily, 
and sleeps soundly, live : but for a crazy body, full of pains and infirmities, to 
be so patched and shored up by the physician's art, that he stands to old age, 
this begets some wonder in the beholders. It may be thou art a poor tremb- 
ling soul, thy faith is weak, and thy assaults from Satan strong, thy corruptions 
stirring and active, and thy mortifying strength little, so that in thy opinion 
they rather gain ground on thy grace, than give groiuid to it ; ever and anon 
thou art ready to think thou shalt be cast as a wreck on the devil's shore : 
and yet to this day thy grace lives, though full of leaks. Now is it not worth 
the stepping aside to see this strange sight ? A bi'oken ship with masts and 
hull rent and torn, thus towed along by almighty power, through an angry 
sea and armadoes of sins and devils, safely into his harbour ? To see a poor 
taper or rush candle in the face of the boisterous wind, and not blown out ; in 
a word, to see a weak stripling in grace held up in God's anns till he defeats 
the devil ? This God is doing in upholding thee : thou art one of those babes, 
out of whose mouth God is perfecting his praise, by ordaining such strength 
for thee, that thou, a babe in grace, shalt yet foil a giant in wrath and power. 

Third, If after long waiting for strength from God, it be as thou complainest, 
inquire whether that which hinders be not found in thyself. The head is the 
seat of animal spirits, yet there may be such obstructions in the body, as the 
other members may for a time be deprived of them ; till the passage be free 
between Christ, thy head, and thee, thy strength will not come : and therefore 
be willing to inquire. 

First, Hast thou come indeed to God for strength to perform duty, to mortify 
corruption, and the like ? Perhaps thou wilt say. Yes, I have waited on those 
ordinances, which are the way in which he hath pi-omised to give out strength. 
But is this all? Thou mayest come to them, and not wait on God in them. 
Hast thou not carnally expected strength from them, and so put the ordinance 
in God's stead? Hath not the frame of thy spirit some affinity with theirs in 
James iv. 13 : ' We will go into such a city, and buy, and sell, and get gain V 
Hath not thy heart said, I will go and hear such a man, and get comfort, get 
strength ? and dost thou wonder that thou art weak, barren, and unfruitful ? 
Are ordinances God, that they should make you strong or comfortable ? Thou 
mayest hear them answer thee, poor soul, as the king to the woman in the 
siege of Samaria : Help, O prayer, sayest thou : or, O minister, how can they 
help, except the Lord help ? These are but Christ's servants : Christ keeps the 
key of his wine cellar ; they cannot so much as make you drink, when you 
come to your master's houses ; and therefore, poor soul, stay not short of 
Christ, but press through all the crowd of ordinances, and ask to speak with 
Jesus, to see Jesus, and touch him, and virtue will come forth. 

Second, Ask thy soul whether thou hast been thankful for that little strength 
thou hast. Though thou art not of that strength in grace to run with the fore- 
most, and hold pace with the tallest of thy brethren, yet, art thou thankful that 
thou hast any strength at all? Though it be but to cry after them, whom thou 
seest outstrip thee in grace, this is worth thy thanks. All in David's army 
attained not to be equal with his few worthies in prowess and honour, and yet 
did not cashier themselves : thou hast reason to be thankful for the meanest 
place in the anny of saints ; the least communications of gospel-mercy and 
grace must not be overlooked. As soon as Moses with his army was through 
the sea, they strike up before they stir fi-om the bank-side, and acknowledge 
the wonderful appearance of God's power and mercy for them, though this 
was but one step in their way ; a howling wilderness presented itself to them, 
and they not able to subsist a few days with all their provision, for all their 
great victory ; yet Moses, he will praise God for this earnest of mercy. This 
holy man knew the only way to keep credit with God, so as to have more, was 
to pay down his praise for what was received. If thou wouldest have fiiller 
communications of divine strength, own God in what he hath done. Art thou 
weak ? bless God thou hast life. Dost thou through feebleness often fail in 
duty, and fall into temptation ?• mourn in the sense of these ; yet bless God 
that thou dost not live in a total neglect of duty, out of a profane contempt 


thereof, and that instead of falling through weakness, thou dost not lie in the 
mire of sin through the wickedness of thy heart. The unthankful soul may 
thank itself it thrives no better. 

Third, Art thou humble under the assistance and strength God hath given 
thee ? pride stops the conduit. If the heart begins to swell, it is time for God 
to hold his hand, and turn the cock; for all that is poured on such a soul, 
rims over into self-applauding, and so is as water spilt in regard of any good it 
doth the creature, or any glory it bi-ings to God. A proud heart and a lofty 
mountain are never fruitful. Now, beside the common ways that pride discovers 
itself, as by undervaluing others, and overvaluing itself, and such like, you 
shall observe two other symptoms of it. First, It ajjpears in bold adventures, 
when a person runs into the mouth of temptation, bearing himself on the con- 
fidence of his grace received. This was Peter's sin, by which he was drawn to 
engage further than became an humble faith, running into the devil's quarters, 
and so became his prisoner for awhile. The good man, when in his right 
temper, had thoughts low enough of himself; as when he asked his Master, 
' Is it I V But he that feared at one time, lest he might be the traitor, at 
another cannot think so ill of himself, as to suspect he shoidd be the denier of 
his Master. What he ? No, though all the rest forsake him, yet he would 
stand to his colours. Is this thy case, Christian ? Possibly God hath given 
thee much of his mind, thou art skilful in the word of life, and therefore thou 
darest venture to breathe in corrupt air, as if only the weak spirits of less 
knowing Christians exposed them to be infected with the contagion of en-or 
and heresy. Thou hast a large portion of grace, or at least thou thinkest so, 
and venturest to go where an humble-minded Christian would fear his heels 
should slip under him. Truly now thou temptest God to suffer thy locks to be 
cut, when thou art so bold to lay thy head in the lap of a temptation. Secondly, 
Pride appears in the neglect of those means, whereby the saints' graces and 
comforts are to be fed when strongest. May be. Christian, when thou art 
under fears and doubts, then God hath thy company, thou art oft with thy 
pitcher at his door ; but when thou hast got any measure of peace, there goes 
presently some strangeness between God and thee ; thy pitcher walks not as it 
waSi wont to these wells of salvation. No wonder if thou (though rich in grace 
and comfoi-t) goest behind-hand, seeing thou spendest on the old stock, and 
di'ivest no trade at present to bring in more : or if thou dost not thus neglect 
duty, yet may be thou dost not perform it with that humility which formerly 
beautified the same ; then thou prayedst in the sense of thy weakness to get 
■ strength, now thou prayest to shew thy strength, that others may admire thee. 
And if once (like Hezekiah) we call in spectators to see our treasure and 
applaud us for our gifts and comfort, then it is high time for God, if he indeed 
love us, to send some messengers to carry these away from us, which carry 
our hearts from him. 

Fourthly, If thy heart doth not smite thee from what hath been said, but 
thou hast sincerely waited on God, and yet hast not received the strength thou 
desirest, yet let it be thy resolution to live and die waiting on him. God doth 
not tell us his time of coming, and it were boldness to set one of our own heads. 
Go, saith Christ to his disciples, Luke xxiv. 49, ' Stay ye in Jerusalem, until 
ye be endued with power from on high.' Thus he saith to thee ; stay at Jeru- 
salem, wait on him in the means he hath appointed, till thou art endued with 
further power to mortify thy corruptions, &c. And for thy comfort know, 

First, Thy thus persevering to wait on God, will be an evidence of strong 
grace in thee : the less encouragement thou hast to duty, the more thy faith 
and obedience to bear thee up in duty. He that can trade when times are so 
dead, that all his ware lies upon his hand, and yet draws not in his hand, but 
rather trades more and more, sure his stock is great. What, no comfort in 
hearing, no ease to thy spirit in praying, and yet more greedy to hear, and 
more frequent in prayer ? O sold, great is thy faith and patience ! 

2. Assure thyself, when thou art at the greatest ])inch, strength shall come : 
' Tliey that wait on the Lord shall renew their strength :* when the last ' hand- 
ful of meal was dressing,' then is the prophet sent to keep the widow's house ; 
when temptation is strong, thy little strength even spent, and thou ready to 


yield into the hands of thine enemies, then expect succours from heaven to 
enable thee to hold out under the temptation : thus to Paul, ' My grace is 
sufficient,' or power from heaven to raise the siege, and drive away the tempter; 
thus to Job, when Satan had him at an advantage, then God takes him off. 
Like a wise moderator, when the respondent is hard put to it by a subtle 
opponent, takes him off, when he would else run him down, James v. 11 : ' Ye 
have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord, that the 
Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.' 

EpHES. VI. 11. 

Put on the tvhole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles 

of the Devil, 

This verse is a key to the former, wherein the apostle had exhorted be- 
lievers to encourage, and bear up their fainting spirits on the Lord, and the 
power of his might. Now in these words he explains himself, and shews how 
he would have them do this ; not presumptuously come into the field without 
that armour, which God hath appointed to be worn by all his soldiers, and yet 
with a bravado to trvist in the power of God to save them. That soul is sure 
to fall short of home (heaven I mean) who hath nothing but a carnal confi- 
dence on the name of God, blown up by the ignorance of God and himself: 
no, he that would have his confidence duly placed on the power of God, must 
conscientiously use the means appointed for his defence, and not rush naked 
into the battle, like that frantic spirit at Munster, who would needs go forth, 
and chase away the whole army then besieging that city, with no other cannon 
than a few words charged with the name of the Lord of hosts, (which he 
blasphemously made bold to use,) saying, ' In the name of the Lord of hosts, 
depart.' But himself soon perished, to learn others wisdom by what he paid 
for his folly. What foolish braving language shall you hear drop from the 
lips of the most profane and ignorant among us ! Tliey trust in God, hope in 
his mercy, defy the devil and all his works, and such like stufi', who yet are 
poor naked creatures, without the least piece of God's armour upon their souls. 
To cashier such presumption from the saints' camp, he annexeth this directory 
to his exhortation, ' Put on the whole armour of God,' &c. So that the words 
fall into these two general parts. 

First, A direction annexed to the former exhortation, shewing how we may 
in a regular way come to be strong in the Lord ; that is, by putting on the 
whole armour of God. 

Second, A reason or argument strengthening this direction, ' that we may 
be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.' In the direction observe, 

First, Tlie furniture he directs, and that is 'armour.' 

Second, The kind or quality of this armour, ' armour of God.' 

Third, Tlie quantity or entireness of the armour ; the whole armour of God. 

Fourth, The use of this armour : put on the whole armour of God. 

To begin with the first, the furnitiu-e which eveiy one must get that would 
fight Christ's battles, the question here will be, \Vliat is this armour ? 

First, By amiour is meant Clmst ; we read of putting on the Lord Jesus, 
Rom. xiii. 14, where Christ is set forth under the notion of armour. The 
apostle doth not exhort them, for rioting and dnmkenness, to put on sobriety 
and temperance; for chambering and wantonness, put on chastity, (as the philo- 
sopher would have done,) but bids, put on the Lord Jesus Christ; implying thus 
much, till Christ be put on, the creature is unarmed. It is not a man's morality 
and philosophical virtues that will repel a temptation, sent with a full charge 
from Satan's cannon, though possibly it may the pistol shot of some less 
solicitation, so that he is the man in armour, that is in Christ. Again, the 
graces of Christ, these are armour, as the girdle of truth, the breast-plate of 
righteousness, and the rest. Hence we are bid also 'put on the new man,' 
Eph. iv. 24, which is made up of all the several graces, as its parts and 
members. And he is the unarmed soul, that is the unregenerate soul. Not 


excluding those duties and meeins which God hath appointed the Christian to 
use for defence. 

The phrase thus opened ; the point is, 



Obs. — That a person in a Chi-istless, graceless state, is naked and unarmed, 
and so unfit to fight Christ's battles against sin and Satan. Or thus, a soul out 
of Christ is naked and destitute of all armour to defend them against sin and 
Satan. God at first sent man forth in complete armour, ' being created in 
righteousness and tnie holiness;' but by a wile the de\'il stripped him, and 
therefore as soon as the first sin was completed, it is written, Gen. iii. 7, ' They 
were naked,' that is, poor weak creatures, at the will of Satan, a subdued people, 
disanned by their proud conqueror, and unable to make head against him. 
Indeed it cost Satan some dispute to make the first breach, but after that he 
had once the gates opened to let him in as conqueror into the heart of man, he 
plays the king ; behold, a troop of other sins crowd in after him, without any 
stroke or strife ; instead of confessing their sins, they nm their head in a bush, 
and by their good-will would not come where God is ; and when they cannot 
flee from him, how do they prevaricate before him ! They accuse one another, 
shifting the sin, rather than suing for mercy. So quickly were their hearts 
hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. And this is the woeful condition of 
every son and daughter of Adam ; naked he finds us, and slaves he makes us, 
till God, by his effectual call, delivers us from the power of Satan into the king- 
dom of his dear Son : which shall further appear, if we consider this Christless 
state in a fourfold notion. 

First, It is a state of alienation from God, ' Ye were without Christ, being aliens 
from the commonwealth of Israel, strangers from the covenant of promise,' 
Eph. ii. 12. Such a one hath no more to do with any covenant-promise, than 
he that lives at Rome has to do with the charter of London, which is the birth- 
right of its own denizens, not of strangers. He is without God in the world ; he 
can claim no more protection from God than an outlawed subject from his 
prince; if any mischief befals him, the mends is in his own hands, whereas 
God hath his hedge of special providence about his saints : and the devil, 
though his spite be most at them, dares not come upon God's ground to touch 
any of them without particular leave. Now what a deplored condition is that 
wherein a soul is left to the wide world, in the midst of legions of lusts and 
devils, to be rent and torn like a silly hare among a pack of hounds, and no 
God to call them ofi'? Let God leave a people, though never so warlike, 
presently they lose their wits, cannot find their hands : a company of children 
or wounded men may rise up, and chase them out of their fenced cities, because 
God is not with them ; which made Caleb and Joshua pacify the mutinous 
Israelites at the tidings of giants and walled cities, with this : ' They are bread 
for us, their defence is departed from them.' How much more must that soul 
be as bread to Satan, that hath no defence from the Almighty ! Take men of 
the greatest parts, natural or acqiiired accomplishments, who only want an 
union with Christ, and renewing grace from Christ: O what fools doth the 
devil make of them ! leading them at his pleasure, some to one lust, some to 
another ; the proudest of them all is slave to one or other, though it be to the 
ruining of body and soul for ever. Where lies the mystery, that men of such 
parts and wisdom should debase themselves to such drudgery work of hell ? 
Even here, they are in a state of alienation from God, and no more able of 
themselves to break the devil's prison, than a slave to run from his chain. 

Second, The Christless state is a state of ignorance, and such must needs be 
naked and unanned. He that cannot see his enemy, how can he ward off the 
blow he sends? One seeing prophet leads a whole army of blind men whither 
he pleaseth. The impeifect knowledge saints have hei-e, is Satan's advantage 
against them ; he often takes them on the blind side ; how easily then may he, 
with a parcel of good words, carry the blind soul out of his way, who knows not 


a step of the right ! Now, that the Christless state is a state of ignorance, 
see Eph. v. 8 : ' Ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the 
Lord.' Ye were dai'kness, not in the dark, so one that hath an eye may he. 
A child of light is often in the dark, concerning some truth or promise, but then 
hath a spiritual eye, which the Christless person wants, and so is darkness. And 
this darkness cannot be enlightened, but by its union with Christ, which is ex- 
pi-essed in the following phrase, ' But now are ye light in the Lord.' As the 
eye of the body once put out, can never be restored by the creature's art, so 
neither can the spiritual eye, lost by Adam's sin, be restored by the teaching of 
men and angels. It is one of the diseases which Christ came to cure, Luke 
iv. 18. It is true, there is a light of reason, which is imparted to every man by 
natiu-e, but this light is darkness, compared with the saints '; as the night is 
dark to the day, even when the moon is in its full glory. This night-light of 
reason may save a person from some ditch, or pond, great and broad sins, but 
it will never help him to escape the more secret corruptions, which the saints 
see like atoms in the beams of spiritual knowledge. There is such curious 
work the creature is to do, which cannot be wrought by candlelight of natural 
knowledge. Nay more, where the common illumination of the spirit is super- 
added to this light of nature, yet that is darkness compared with the sanctifying 
knowledge of a renewed soul, which doth both discover spiritual truths, and 
warm the heart at the same time with the love of truth, having, like the sun, a 
prolifical and quickening virtue, which the other wants ; so that the heart lies 
under such common illuminations, cold and dead. He hath no more strength 
to resist Satan, than if he knew not the command ; whereas the Christian know- 
ledge, even when taken prisoner by a temptation, pursues and brings back the 
soul, as Abraham his nephew out of the enemies' hand : which hints the third. 

Third, The Christless state is a state of impotency, Rom. v. ' When we 
were without strength, Christ came to die for the ungodly.' What can a dis- 
armed people, not having sword or gun, do to shake off the yoke of a conquering 
enemy? Such a power hath Satan over the soul, Luke xi. 21. He is called 
the strong man that keeps the soul as his palace : if he hath no disturbance 
from heaven, he need fear no mutiny within ; he keeps all in peace there. 
What the Spirit of God doth in a saint, that in a manner doth Satan in a sinner. 
The Spirit fills the heart of his with love, joy, holy desires, fears; so Satan fills 
the sinner's heart with pride, lust, lying: ' Why hath Satan filled thy heart?' 
saith Peter. And thus filled with Satan, (as the drunkard with wine,) he is not 
his own man, but Satan's slave. 

Fourth, The state of unregeneracy is a state of friendship with sin and Satan. 
If it be enmity against God (as it is) then friendship with Satan. Now it will 
be hard to make that sovil fight in earnest against his friend. Is Satan divided? 
Will the devil within fight against the devil without; Satan in the heart, shut out 
Satan at the door ? Sometimes indeed there appears a scuffle betwen Satan and a 
carnal heart ; but it is a mere cheat, like the fighting of two fencers on a stage : 
you would think at first they were in earnest, but observing how wary they are, 
where they hit one another, you may soon know they do not mean to kill ; and 
that which puts all out of doubt, when the prize is done, you shall see them 
making merry together, with what they have got of their spectators, which was 
all they fought for. When a carnal heart makes the greatest bustle against 
sin, by complaining of it, or praying against it, follow him but off" the stage of 
duty (where he had gained the reputation of a saint, the prize he fights for, ) and 
you shall see them sit as friendly together in a comer as ever. 

Use 1. This takes away the wonder off Satan's great conquests in the 
world : when we look abroad and see his vast empire, and what a little spot of 
ground contains Christ's subjects, what heaps of precious soids lie prostrate 
imder this foot of pride, and what a little regiment of saints march under 
Christ's banner ; perhaps the strangeness of the thing may make you ask. Is 
hell stronger than heaven ? the arms of Satan more victorious than the cross of 
Christ? No such matter; consider but this one thing, and you will wonder that 
Christ hath any to follow him, rather than he hath so few. Satan finds the 
world unarmed ; when the Prince of the World comes, he finds nothing to oppose ; 
the whole soul is in a disposition to yield at first summons ; and if conscience, 


governor for God in the creature, stands out a while, all the other powers, as 
will and affections, are in a discontent, (like mutinous soldiers in a garrison,) 
who never rest till they have brought over conscience to yield, or against its 
command set open the city gate to the enemy, and so deliver traitorously 
their conscience prisoner to their lusts : but when Clu-ist comes to demand the 
soul, he meets a scornful answer ; ' Depart from us, we desire not the knowledge 
of the Most High.' ' We will not have this man to reign over us.' With one 
consent they vote against him, and rise up as the Philistines against Samson, 
whom they called ' the destroyer of the country.' 'Ye will not come unto me,' 
saitli Christ. O how true are poor sinners to the devil's trust ! They will not de- 
liver the castle they hold for Satan, till fired over their heads. Pharaoh opposeth 
Moses on one hand, and Israel cry out upon him on the other. Such measures 
hath Christ both at Satan's hand, and the sinner's. That which lessened 
Alexander's conquests, was, he overcame a people buried in barbarism, without 
arms, or discipline of war ; and that which heightened Caesar's, (though not so 
many,) he overcame a people more warlike and furnished. Satan's victories are 
of poor, ignorant, graceless souls, who have neither arms, nor hands, nor hearts 
to oppose ; but when he assaults a saint, then he sits down before a city with 
gates and bars, and ever riseth with shame, unable to take the weakest hold, to 
pluck the weakest saint out of Cluist's hands ; but Chi'ist brings souls out of his 
dominion with a high hand, in spite of all the force and fury of hell, which like 
Pharaoh and his host pursue them. 

Use 2. This gives us a reason why the devil hath so great a spite against 
the gospel. Why ? because this opens a magazine of arms and furniture for the 
soul ; the word is that ' tower of David,' Cant. iv. 4, ' built for an armoury, 
wherein there hang a thousand bucklers, all the shields of mighty men.' Hence 
the saints have ever had their armour, and the preaching of the gospel unlocks 
it. As gospel-light ascends, so Satan's shady kingdom of darkness vanisheth, 
Rev. xiv. 16. Thei-e one angel comes forth to preach the everlasting gospel, 
and another angel follows at his back, ver. 8. crying ' Babylon is fallen, is 
fallen.' The very first charge the gospel gave to the kingdom of darkness, 
shook the foundations thereof, and put the legions of hell to the run. The 
seventy, whom Christ sent out, bring this speedy account of their ambassage : 
Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name; and Chi'ist answers, 
I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven. As if he had said, It is no news 
you tell me, I beheld Satan fall when I sent you ; I knew the gospel would 
make work where it came ; and therefore no wonder Satan labours to dispossess 
the gospel, which dispossesseth him ; he knows that army is near lost, whose 
magazine is blown up. It is true indeed, under the very gospel the devil 
rageth more in such swinish sinners as are given over of God to be possessed of 
that fiend, for rejecting of his grace ; but he is cast out of others, who, before the 
loving-kindness of God to man appeared in the gospel, were commanded by 
him, serving divers lusts and pleasures ; but now by the light of the gospel they 
see their folly, and by the grace it brings, are enabled to renounce him. This, 
this, is that which torments the foul spirit, to see himself forsaken of his old 
friends and servants, and this new Lord to come and take his subjects from 
him ; and therefore he labours either by persecution to drive the gospel away, 
or by policy to persuade a people to send it away from their coasts ; and was he 
ever more likely to effect it among us ? What a low esteem hath he brought the 
preaching of the gospel into ? The price is fallen above half, to what it was 
some years past, even among those that have been counted the greatest mer- 
chants upon the Saints' Exchange. Some, that have thought it worth ci-ossing 
the seas, even to the Indies, (almost as far as others fetch their gold,) to enjoy 
the gospel, are loath now to cross the street to hear it at so cheap a rate ; and 
some that come, (who formerly trembled at it,) make it most of their errand to 
mock at it, or quarrel with it. Nay, it is come to such a pass, that the word is 
so heavy a charge to the squeamish stomachs of many professors, that it comes 
up again presently, and abundance of choler with it against the preacher, espe- 
cially if it fall foul of the sins and errors of the times, the very naming of which 
is enough to offend, though the nation be sinking under the weight. What 
reproaches are the faithful ministers of the gospel laden with ? I call heaven 


and earth to witness, whether ever they suffered a hotter persecution of the 
tongue, than in this apostatizing age. A new generation of professors are 
started up, that will not know them to be the ministers of Christ, though those 
before them (as well in grace, as time, more able to derive their sjnritual pedi- 
gree than themselves) have to their death owned them for their spiritual 
fathers. And must not the ark needs shake, when they that carry it are thus 
struck at, both in their person and office? What are these men doing? Alas, they 
know not; ' Father, forgive them;' they are cutting off their right hand with 
their left ; they are making themselves and the nation naked, by despising the 
gospel, and those that bring it. 

Use 3. Consider your deplored estate, who are wholly naked and imarmed. 
Can you pity the beggar at your door, (when you see such in a winter-day, shiver- 
ing with naked backs, exposed to the fury of the cold ;) and not pity your own 
far more dismal soul-nakedness, by which thou liest open to heaven's wrath, 
and hell's malice? Shall their nakedness cover them with shame, fill th.nn 
with fear of perishing, which makes them with pitiful moans knock and cry 
for relief, as it is reported of Russia, where their poor (through extreme neces- 
sity) have this desperate manner of begging in the streets; ' Give me and cut 
me, give me and kill me ? ' And canst thou let Satan come and cut thy thi'oat 
in thy bed of sloth, rather than accept of clothes to cover, yea, armour to de- 
fend thee? (I mean Christ and his grace, which in the gospel is tendered to 
you.) And do not lightly believe your flattering hearts, if they shall tell you, 
you are provided of these already. I am afraid many a gaudy professor will 
be found as naked in regard of Christ, and truth of grace, as diimkards and 
swearers themselves : such there are, who content themselves with a Christ in 
profession, in gifts, and in duties, but seek not a Christ in solid grace, and so 
perish ; those indeed are an ornament to the Christian, as the scarf and feather 
to the soldier, but these quench not the bvdlet in battle, it is Christ and his grace 
doth that, therefore labour to be sound rather than brave Christians. Grace 
embellished with gifts is the more beautiful, but these without grace, only the 
richer spoil for Satan. 

The second branch of the first general part of the words follows ; and that is, 
the quality or kind of that armour, the Christian is here directed to provide. It 
is not any trash will serve the tvu'n, better none than not armour of proof, and 
none such, bixt armour of God. In a twofold respect, it must be of God. 
First, In institution and appointment ; Secondly, In constitution. 



Obs. First, the Christian's armour which he wears must be of divine in- 
stitution and appointment. The soldier comes into the field with no ai'ins, but 
what his general commands ; it is not left to every one's fancy to bring what 
weapons he please, this will breed confusion. The Christian soldier is bound 
up to God's order ; though the army be on earth, yet the council of war sits in 
heaven ; this duty ye shall do, that means ye shall use ; and to do more or use 
other than God commands, though with some seeming success against sin, 
such shall surely be called to an account for this boldness. The discipline of 
war among men is strict in this case. Some have suff'ered death by a council 
of war, even when they have beaten the enemy, because out of their place, or 
beside their order. God is very precise in this point ; he will say to such as 
invent ways to worship him of their own, and, coining means to mortify corrujJtion, 
obtain comfort in their own mint : ' Who hath required that at yoiu- hands ? ' 
This is truly to be ' righteous over-much,' (as Solomon speaks) when we will 
pretend to correct God's law, and add supplements of our own to his rule. Who 
will pay that man his wages, that is not set on work by God? God tells 
Israel, the false prophets shall do them no good, because they come not of 
his errand, Jer. xxiii. 22. So neither will those ways and means help, which are 
not of God's appointing ; God's thoughts are not as man's, nor his ways as 
ours, which he useth to attain his ends by. If man had been to set forth the 
Israelitish army, now to march out of Egypt, surely his wisdom would have 


directed rather to have phindered the Egyptians of their horse and arms (as 
more necessary for such an expedition) than to borrow their jewels and ear- 
rings ; but God will have them come out naked and on foot ; and Moses keeps 
close to his order; yea, when horses were taken in battle, because God com- 
manded they should be houghed, they obeyed, though to their seeming disad- 
vantage. It was God's war they waged, and therefore but reasonable they 
should be under his command ; they encamped and marched by his order, as 
the ark moved or rested; they fought by his command ; the number appointed 
bj^ him, the means and weapons they should use, all prescribed by God, as in 
the assault of Jericho ; and what is the gospel of all this (for surely God 
hath an eye in that to our marching to heaven, and our fighting with these 
cursed spirits and lusts that stand in our way,) but that we should fight law- 
fully, using those means which we have from his mouth in his word ? 

This reproveth two sorts. 

Use 1. First, those that fight Satan in armour, that hath no divine institu- 
tion, as. 

First, The Papist. Look into his armoury, and hardly a piece that will be 
found armour of God. They fight in the pope's armour; his authority is the 
shop wherein their weapons are forged ; it were a kind of penance to your 
patience, to repeat all the several pieces of armour, with which they load silly 
souls, too heavy indeed for the broadest shoulders among them to bear ; yea, 
more than the wiser sort of them mean to use ; their masses, matins, vigils, 
pilgrimages, Lent-fasts, whippings, vows of chastity, poverty, with a world of 
sucli trash ; where is a word of God for these ? who hath required these things 
at their hands ? A thousand woes will one day fall upon those impostors, who 
have stripped the people of the true armour of God, and put these reeds and 
bidrushes in their hands. This may justify us in the sight of God and men, 
for our departure from them, who will force us to venture the life of our souls 
in such paper armour, when God hath provided better. 

Secondly, The carnal Protestant, who fights in fleshy armour, 2 Cor. x. 3. 
The apostle speaks there of ' warring after the flesh,' that is, with weapons or 
means, which man's carnal wisdom prompts to, and not God's commands, and 
so are weak. How few are clad with other in the day of battle ! First, when 
Satan tempts to sin, if he hath not presently a peaceable entrance, yet the re- 
sistance commonly made is carnal ; the strength carnal they rest on ; their 
own, not God's ; the motives carnal, as the fear of man more than of God. 
Where one saith. How shall I do this, and sin against God ? many in their 
hearts say. How shall I do this, and anger man, displease my master, provoke 
my parents, and lose the good opinion of my minister? Herod feared John, 
and did many things ; had he feared God, he would have laboured to have 
done every thing. The like may be said of all other motives, which have 
their spring in the creature, not in God ; they are armour which will not out- 
stand shot. If thy strength lie in a creature-lock, it may be soon cut off"; if 
in God, it will hold, as bis command. 'It is written:' I cannot doit, but I 
must set my foot on the law of my Maker. Or the love of Christ ; I cannot 
come at my lust, but I must go over my bleeding Saviour; and therefore away, 
foul tempter I I hate thee and thy motion. This foundation is rock, and will 
stand ; but if it be some carnal respect that balanceth thee, another more 
weighty may be found of the same kind, which will cast the scales another 
way. She that likes not the man because of his dress only, may soon be gained 
when he comes in another habit. Satan can change his suit, and then thy 
mouth will be stopped when thy carnal argument is taken ofl". Secondly, 
When the word or conscience rebuke for sin, what is the armour that men 
commonly cover their guiltv soids witlial ? Truly no other than carnal. If 
they cannot evade the chai ge that these bring, then they labour to mitigate 
it, by extenuating the fact. It is true, will they say, I did (I confess) commit 
such a fault, but I was drawn in ; ' The woman gave me, and I did eat,' was 
Adam's fig-leaf amioiir ; it is but once or twice, and I hope that breaks no 
such squares; was this such a great business? I know jolly Christians will do 
as much as this comes to ; I thank (iod, I cannot be charged for whore or 
thief : this is the armour which nuist keep ofl" the blow. But if conscience will 
not be thus taken oflT, then they labour to divert their thoughts, by striking up 


the loud music of carnal delights, that the noise of one may drown the other ; 
or with Cain, they will go from the presence of the Lord, and come no more at 
those ordinances which make their head ache, and hinder the rest of their 
raving consciences. If yet the ghost haunts them, then they labour to pacify 
it with some good work or other, which they set against their bail ; their alms 
and charity in their old age must expiate the oppression and violence of 
their former days ; as if this little frankincense were enough to air and take 
away the plague of God's curse, which is in their ill-gotten goods. Thus 
poor creatures catch at any sorry covering, which will not so much as hide 
their shame, much less choke the bullet of God's wrath, when God shall fire 
upon them ; this must be the armour of God's appointing. Adam was naked 
for all his fig-leaves, while God 'taught him to make coats of skin,' Gen. iii. 
21, covertly (as some think) shadowing out Christ the true 'Lamb of God,' 
whose righteousness alone was appointed by him to cover our shame, and arm 
our naked souls from the sight and stroke of his justice. 

Secondly, It reproves those who use the armour of God, but not as God hath 
appointed ; which appears in three sorts. 

First, When a person useth a duty appointed by God, not as armovir of de- 
fence against sin, but as a cover for sin. Who would think him an enemy that 
wears Christ's colours in his hat, and marcheth after Christ in the exercise of all 
the duties of his worship? Such a one may pass all the covirts of guard, without 
so much as being bid stand ; all take him for a friend ; and yet some such there 
are, who are fighting against Christ all the while. The hypocrite is the man; he 
learns his postures, gets the word, has his tongue tipped with scripture language, 
and walks in the habit of a Christian, merely on a design to drive his trade the 
more closely ; like some highwaymen in our days, who I'ob in the habit of sol- 
diers, that they may be the less suspected ; this is desperate wickedness indeed, 
to take \ip God's arms, and use them in the devil's service ; of all sinners such 
shall find the least mercy ; false friends shall speed worse than open enemies. 

Secondly, They use not the armour of God, as God hath appointed, who put 
a carnal confidence therein. We must not confide in the armour of God, but 
in the God of this armour, because all ' our weapons are only mighty through 
God,' 2 Cor. x. The ark was the means of the Jews' safety, but, carnally ap- 
plauded and gloried in, hastened their overthrow ;• so duties and ordinances, 
gifts and graces, in their place, are means for the soul's defence ; Satan trembles 
as much as the Philistines at the ark, to see a soul diligent in the use of duty 
and exercise of grace ; but when the creature confides in them, this is dangerous. 
As some, when they have prayed, think they please God for all day, though 
they take little heed to their steps. Others have so good an opinion of their 
faith, sincerity, knowledge, that you may as soon make them believe they are 
dogs, as that they may ever be taken in such an error or sinful practice. Others, 
when assisted in duty, are prone to sti-oke their own head with a ' Bene fecisti, 
Bernarde,' and so promise themselves to speed, because they have done their 
errand so well. What speak such passages in the hearts of men, but a carnal 
confidence in their annour to their ruin ? Many soids, we may safely say, do 
not only perish praying, repenting and believing after a sort, but they perish by 
their praying and repenting, &c., while they carnally trust in these. As it falls 
out sometimes, that the soldier in battle loseth his life by means of his own 
armour, it is so heavy he cannot flee with it, and so close buckled to him, that 
he cannot get it oft", to flee for his life without it. If we be saved, we must come 
naked to Christ, for all our duties : we will not flee to Christ while confiding in 
them, and some are so locked into them, that they cannot come without them, 
and so in a day of temptation are trampled under the feet of God's wrath, and 
Satan's fury. The poor Publican throws down his arms, (that is, all confidence 
in himself,) cries out for quarter at the hands of mercy, ' God, be merciful unto 
me a sinner;' and he comes off" with his life ; he went away justified : but the 
Pharisee, laden with his righteousness, and conceited of it, stands to it, and is lost. 
Thirdly, They do not use the armour of God as such, who, in the performing 
of divine duties, eye not God through them ; and this makes them all weak and 
ineflectual. Then the word is mighty, when read as the word of God ; then 
the gospel preached, powerfid to convince the conscience, and revive the droop- 
ing spirit, when heard, as the appointment of the great God, and not the exer- 


cise of a mean creature. Now it will ajipear in three things, whether we eye 
divine appointment in the means. 

First, When we engage in a dnty, and look not up to God for his blessing. 
Didst thou eye God's appointment in the means, thou woiddst say, ' Soul, if 
there come any good of thy present service, it must drop from heaven, for it is 
God's appointment, not man's, and can I profit, whether God will or no? or 
think to find and bring away any soid-em-iching treasure from his ordinance 
without his leave ? Had I not best look up to him, by whose blessing I live 
more than by my bread ? 

Again, Secondly, It appears we look not at God's appointment, when we 
have low thoughts of the means. What is Jordan, that I should wash in it ? 
What is the preaching, that I should attend on it, where I hear nothing but 
■what I knew before ? What are these beggai-ly elements of water, and bread, 
and wine? Are not these the reasonings of a soul that forgets who appoints 
these ? Didst thou remember who commands, thou wouldst not question what 
the command is ; what though it be clay, let Christ use it, and it shall open 
the eyes, though in itself more like to put them out. Hadst thou thine eye on 
God, thou woiddst silence thy carnal reason with this : It is God sends me to 
such a duty ; whatever he saith unto me I will do it, though he should send me 
(as Christ them) to draw wine out of the pots filled with water. 

Thirdly, When a soul leaves off a duty, because he finds not in it what he 
expected from it. O, saith the soul, I see it is in vain to follow the means as 
I have done ; still Satan foils me ; I will even give over. Dost thou remember, 
sold, it is God's ai)pointment? Surely then thou wouldst persevere in the 
midst of discouragement. He that bids thee pray, bids thee pray without 
ceasing. He that bids thee hear, bids thee wait at the posts of wisdom. Thou 
wouldst reason thus, God hath set me on duty, and here I will stand, till God 
takes me oW, and bids me leave praying. 



Secondly, The Christian's armour miist be armour of God, in regard of its 
make and constitution. My meaning is, it is not only God that must a})point 
the weapons and arms the Christian useth for his defence, but he must also 
be the efficient of .hem; he must work all their work in them and for them. 
Prayer is an appointment of God, yet this is not armour of ])roof, except it be a 
prayer of God flowing from his Spirit. Hope ; that is the helmet the saint by 
command is to wear ; but this hope must be God's creature, ' who hath begotten 
us to a lively hope,' 1 Pet. i. 3. Faith; that is another principal piece 
in the Chri.stian's furniture, but it must be ' the faith of God's elect,' 
Tit. i. 1. He is to take righteousness and holiness for his breast-plate ; but it 
must be ' true holiness,' Eph. iv. 24. ' Put on the new man, which after God 
is created in righteousness and true holiness.' Thus, you see, it is not 
annour as armour, but as armour of God, that makes the soul impregnable. 
'That which is born of God overcometh the world.' A faith bom of God, a 
hope born of God ; but the spurious, adulterous brood of duties and graces, 
Ijeing begot of mortal seed, cannot be immortal. 

Must the soul's armour be of God's make? Be exhorted then to look 
narrowly, whether the armour ye wear be the workmanship of God or no. 
There is abundance of false ware put oft" now-a-days ; little good armour worn 
by the multitude of professors ; it is Satan's after-game he plays, if he cannot 
please the sinner with his naked state of profaneness, then to put him off 
with something like grace, some slighty stuff that shall neither do him good 
nor Satan hurt ; thus many, like children that cry for a knife or dagger, and 
are pleased as well with a bone knife and wooden dagger, as wiOi the best of 
all ; so they have some armour it mutters not what. Pray they must, but little 
care how it be performed. Believe in God ! Yes, they hope they are not 
infidels ; but what it is, how they come by it, or whether it \yill hold in an evil 
day, this never was i)ut to the question in their hearts. Thus thousands perish 


with a vain conceit they are armed against Satan, death, and judgment, when 
they are 'miserable and naked,' yea, woi'se off than those who are more 
naked, those, I mean, who have not a rag of civility to hide their shame from 
the world's eye, and that in a double respect. 

First, It is liarder to work on such a soul savingly, because he hath a form, 
though not the power, and this affords him a plea. A soul purely naked, 
having nothing like the wedding garment on, he is speechless ; the drunkard 
hath nothing to say for himself, when you ask him why he lives so swinishly ; 
yon may come up to him, and get within him, and turn the very mouth of his 
conscience upon him, which will shoot conviction into him. But to come to 
deal with one that prays and hears, one that is a pretender to ho])e and faith 
in God ; here is a man in glistering armour ; he hath his weapon in his hand, 
with which he will keep the preacher and the word he chargeth him with at 
arm's length. Who can say I am not a saint? What duty do I neglect? Here 
is a breastwork he lies under, which makes him not so fair a mark either to 
the observation or reproof of another, his chief defect being within, where man's 
eye comes not. Again, it is harder to work on him, because he hath been 
tampered with already, and miscari'ied in the essay. How conies such a one 
to be acquainted with such duties, to make such a profession ? Was it ever 
thus ? No, the word hath been at work upon him, his conscience hath scared 
him from his trade of wickedness into a form of profession ; but taking in short 
of Christ, for want of a thoroiigh change, it is harder to remove him than the 
other ; he is like a lock whose wards have been troubled, which makes it 
harder to tuni the key, than if never pottered with. It is better dealing with 
a wild ragged colt, never backed, than one that in breaking hath taken a 
wrong stroke; a bone quite out of joint, than false set. In a word, such a one 
hath more to deny than a profane person ; the one hath but his lusts, his swill 
and draught ; but the other hath his duties, his seeming graces. O how hard it 
is to persuade such a one to alight, and hold Christ's stirrup, while he and his 
duties are made Christ's footstool. 

Secondly, Such a one is deepest in condemnation. None sink so far into 
hell as those that come neai-est heaven, because they fall from the greatest 
height. As it aggravates the torments of damned souls in this respect above 
devils, they had a cord of mercy thrown out to them, which devils had not ; so 
by how much God by his Spirit waits on, pleads with, and by both gains on a 
soul more than others, by so much such a one, if he perish, will find hell the 
hotter ; these add to his sin, and the remembrance of his sin in hell thus 
accented, will add to his torment. None will have such a sad parting from 
Christ as those who went half way with him, and then left him. Therefore, 
I beseech you, look to your armour. David woidd not fight in armour he had 
not tried, though it was a king's ; perhaps some thought him too nice. What ! 
is not the king's armour good enough for David ? Thus many will say, Art 
thou so curious and precise ? Such a great man doth thus and thus, and 
hopes to come to heaven at last, and darest thou not venture thy soul in his 
armour? No, Christian, follow not the example of the greatest on earth; it is 
thy own soul thou ventui-est in battle, therefore thou canst not be too choice of 
thy armour. Bring th\ heart to ihe word, as the only touchstone of thy grace 
and furniture; the word, I told you, 'is the tower of David,' from whence thy 
armour must be fetched ; if thou canst find this tower-stamp on it, then it is of 
God, else not. Try it therefore by ihis one scri])ture-stamp. Those weapons 
are mighty which God gives his saints to fight his battles withal ; 2 Cor. x. 4, 
'The weapons of oiu- warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God.' The 
sword of the Spirit hath its point and edge, whereby it makes its way into his 
heart and conscience, through the impenitency of the one, and stupidity of the 
other; (wherein Satan, as with buff and coat of mail, arms the sinner against 
God,) and there cuts and slashes, kills and mortifies Ivist in its own castle, where 
Satan thinks himself impregnable. The breast-plate, which is of God, doth not 
bend and break at every dart of temptation, but is of such a divine tempera- 
ment, that it repels Satan's motions with scorn on Satan's teeth. Should such 
a one as I sin ? as Nehemiah in another case ; and such are all the rest. Now 
try whether your weapons be mighty or weak ; what can you do or suffer more 


for God than an hypocrite that is clad in fleshly annour ? I will tell you 
what the world saith, and if you be Christians, clear yourselves, and wipe 
off that dirt which they throw upon your glistening armour ; they say, 
These professors indeed have God more in their talk than we, they are 
oftener in the mount of duty than we ; but when they come down into their 
shops, relations, or worldly employments, then the best of them all is but 
like one of us ; they can throw the tables of God's commandments out of their 
hands as well as we ; come from a sermon, and be as covetous and griping, as 
peevish and passionate, as the worst ; the)' show as little love to Christ as 
others, when it is matter of cost, as to relieve a poor saint, or maintain the 
gospel ; you may get more from a stranger, an enemy, than from a professing 
brother. O Christians, either vindicate'the name of Christ, whose ensign you 
seem to march after, or throw away your seeming armour, by which you have 
drawn the eyes of the world upon you. If you will not, Christ himself will 
cashier you, and that with shame enough, ere long. Never call that armour of 
God, which defends thee not against the power of Satan. Take, therefore, the 
several pieces of your annour and try them, as the soldier before he fights will 
set his helmet or headpiece as a mark, at which he lets fly a brace of bullets, 
and as he finds them, so will wear them or leave them : but be sure thou shootest 
Script\ire bullets. Thou boastest of a breast-plate of righteousness ; ask thy 
sold, Didst thou ever in tliy life perform a duty to please God, and not to 
accommodate thyself? Thou hast prayed often against thy sin ; a great noise of 
these pieces have been heard coming from thee by others, as if there were some 
hot fight between thee and thy corruption ; but canst tliou indeed show one sin 
that thou hast slain by all thy praying ? Joseph was alive, though his coat was 
brought bloody to Jacob ; and so may thy sins be, for all thy mortified look 
in duty, and outcry thou makest against them. If thou woiddest thus try 
every piece, thy credulous heart would not so easily be cheated with Satan's 
false ware. 

Object. But is all armour that is of God thus mighty ? We read of weak grace, 
little faith ; how can this then be a trial of our armoiu-, whether of God or not ? 

Ans. I answer. The weakness of grace is in respect of stronger grace ; but 
that weak grace is strong and mighty in comparison of counterfeit grace. Now 
I do not bid thee try the truth of thy grace by such a power as is peculiar to 
stronger grace, but by that power which will distinguish it from false ; true 
grace, when weakest, is stronger than false, when strongest. There is a prm- 
ciple of Divine life in it, which the other hath not. Now life, as it gives excel- 
lency, (a flea, or fly, by reason of its life, is more excellent than the sun in all its 
glory,) so it gives strength. The slow motion of a living man, though so feeble 
that he cannot go a furlong in a day, yet coming from life, imports more 
strength than is in a ship, which, though it sails swiftly, hath its motion from 
without. Thus possibly a hypocrite may exceed the true Christian in the bulk 
and outside of a duty, yet because his strength is not from life, but from somewind 
and tide abroad that carries him, and the Christian's is from an inward prin- 
ciple, therefore the Christian's weakness is sti-onger than the hypocrite in his 
greatest enlargements. I shall name but two acts of grace, when weakest, 
whereby the Christian exceeds the hypocrite in all his best array. You will 
say, then grace is at a weak stay indeed, when the Christian is persuaded to 
commit a sin, a great sin ; such a one as possibly a carnal person would not 
have it said of him for a great matter, so low may the tide of grace fall ; yet true 
grace at such an ebb, will appear of greater strength and force than the other. 

First, This principle of grace will never leave, till the soul weeps bitterly 
with Peter, that it hath oflended so good a God. Speak, O ye hypocrites! can 
you shew one tear that ever you shed in earnest for a wrong done to God? 
Possibly ye may weep to see the bed of sorrow which your sins are making for 
you hi hell ; but ye never loved God so well, as to mourn for the injury ye 
have done the name of God. It is a good gloss Augustine hath upon Esau's 
tears, Heb. xii., Flevit quod perdidit, iion quod vendidit. He wept that he lost 
the blessing, not that he sold it. Thus we see the excellency of the saint's 
sorrow above the hypocrite's. The Christian, by his sorrow, shows himself a 
conqueror of that sin which even now overcame him ; while the hypocrite, by 

D 2 


his pride, shows himself a slave to a worse lust than that he resists. While the 
Christian commits a sin, he hates it ; whereas the other loves it while he 
forbears it. 

Secondly, When true grace is under the foot of a temptation, yet then it will 
stir up in the heart a vehement desire of revenge, like a prisoner in his enemy's 
hand, who is thinking and plotting how to get out ; and what he will do 
when out, waiting and longing every moment for his delivery, that he may 
again take up arms : ' O God, remember me,' saith Samson, ' this once, I pray 
thee, and strengthen me, that I may be at once avenged on the Philistines for 
my two eyes,' Judges xvi. 27. Thus prays the gracious soul, that God would 
but spare him a little, and strengthen him but once before he dies, that he may 
be avenged on his pride, unbelief, and those sins whereby he hath most 
dishonoured his God ; but a false heart is so far from studying revenge, that 
he rather swells like the sea, against the law, which banks his lust in, and is 
angiy with God, who hath made sin such a leap, that he nmst hazard his soid 
if he will have it. 



3. The third branch in the saint's furniture is, the entireness thereof, ' The 
whole armour of God.' The Christian's armour must be complete, and that in 
a threefold respect. 

Section I. First, He must be armed in every part 'cap-a-pie,' soul and body, 
the powers of the one, and senses of the other, not any part left naked. A 
dart may fly in at a little hole, (like that which brought a message of death to 
Ahab, through the joints of his harness,) and Satan is such an archer, who can 
shoot at penny-breadth. If all the man be armed, and only the eye left without, 
Satan can soon shoot his fire-balls of lust in at that loop-hole, which shall set 
the whole house on a flame. Eve looked but on the tree, and a poisonous dart 
struck her to the heart. If the eye be shut, and the ear be open to corrupt 
coimnunication, Satan will soon wriggle in at this hole ; if all the outward 
senses be guarded, and the heart not kept with all diligence, he will soon by 
his own thoughts be betrayed into Satan's hands. Our enemies are on every 
side, and so must our armour be, ' on the right hand, and on the left,' 2 Cor. 
vi. 7. The apostle calls sin, an enemy that surrounds us. If there be any 
part of the line unguarded, or weakly provided, there Satan falls on ; we see the 
enemy often enter the city at one side, whilst he is beat back on the other, for 
want of care to keep the whole line. Satan divides his temptations into several 
squadrons ; one he employs to assault here, another to storm there. We read 
of fleshly wickedness, and spiritual wickedness ; whilst thou repellest Satan, 
tempting thee to fleshly wickedness, he may be entering thy city at the other 
gate of spiritual wickedness. Perhaps thou hast kept thy integrity in the 
practical part of thy life ; but what armour hast thou to defend thy head, thy 
judgment? If he surprise thee here, corrupting that with some error, then 
thou wilt not long hold out in thy practice. He that coidd not get thee to 
profane the sabbath among sensualists and atheists, will, under the disguise 
of such a corrupt principle as Christian liberty, prevail. Thus we see what 
need we have of universal armour, in regard of every part. 

Section II. Secondly, The Christian must be in complete armour, in regard 
of the several pieces and weapons that make up the whole armour of God. 
Indeed there is a concatenation of graces, they hang together like links in a 
chain, stones in an arch, members in the body ; prick one vein, and the blood 
of the whole body may run out at that sluice ; neglect one duty, and no other 
will do us good. The Apostle Peter, in his second Epistle, chap. i. ver. 5- — ^7, 
presseth the Christian to a joint endeavour to increase the whole body of 
grace ; indeed that is health when the whole body thrives. ' Add,' saith he, to 
your faith virtue;' faith is the leadhig grace. Well, hast thou faith ? add 
virtue : true faith is of a working, stirring nature ; without good works it is 
dead or dying. Fides pingiiesclt uperibits. — Luther. It is kept in plight and 


heart by a holy life, as the flesh which plasters over the frame of man's body, 
though it receive its heat from the vitals within, yet helps to preserve the very 
life of those vitals ; thus good works and gracious actions have their life from 
faith, yet are necessary helps to preserve the life of faith ; thus we see some- 
times the child nursing the parent tha' bare it, and therein performs but his duty. 
Thou art fi'uitful in good works, yet thou art not out of the devil's shot, except 
thou addest * to thy virtue, knowledge.' This is the candle, without which, faith 
cannot see to do its work. Art thou going to give an alms? if it be not ociiJata 
charitas, if charity hath not this eye of knowledge to direct when, how, what, 
and to whom thou art to give, thou mayest at once wrong God, the person thou 
relievest, and thyself Art thou hmnbling thyself for thy sin ? for want of 
knowledge in the tenor of the gospel, Satan may play upon thy ignorance, and 
either jiersuade thee thou art not humbled enough, when God knows thou art 
almost drowned in thy tears, and even carried down by the impetuous torrent 
of thy sorrow, into desjiair ; or else, shewing thee thy blubbered face, may flatter 
thee into a carnal confidence of thy humiliation. Perhaps thou seest the name 
of God dishonoured in the place where thou livest, and thy spirit is stirred 
within thee, as Paid at Athens ; now if knowledge sits not in the saddle to rein 
and bridle in thy zeal, thou wilt be soon carried over hedge and ditch, till thou 
fallest into some precipice or other by thy irregular acting : neither is know- 
ledge enough, except ye be armed with ' temperance,' which, I conceive, is 
that grace, whereby the Christian, as master of his own house, so orders his 
afl'ections, like servants to reason and fai:h, that they do not iri'egularly move, 
or inordinately lash out into desires of, cares for, or joy in the creature comforts 
of this life, withoul: which Satan will be too hard for thee. The historian tells 
us, that in one of the famous battles between the English and French, that 
which lost the French the day was a shower of English arrows, which did so 
gall their horse, as put the whole army into disorder ; their horses knowing no 
ranks, did tread down their own men. The aiFections are but as the horse to 
the rider, on which knowledge shovild be mounted: if Satan's barbed arrows 
light on them, so that the desires of the creature prove unruly, and jostle with 
thy desires of Christ, thy care to keep thy credit or estate, put thy care to keep 
a good conscience to disorder ; and thy carnal joy in wife and child trample 
down, or get before thy joy in the Lord ; judge on which side victory is like to 
fall. Well, suppose thou marchest, provided thus far in goodly array, towards 
heaven, while thou art swimming in prosperity, must thou not also pro\ ide for 
foul way and weather ; I mean, an afflicted estate 1 Satan will line the hedges 
with a thousand temptations, when thou comest into the narrow lanes of ad- 
versity, where thou canst not run from this sort of temptation, as in the campaign 
of prosperity. Possibly thou that didst escape the snare of an alluring world, 
mayst be dismounted by the same when it frowns ; though repentance kept 
thee from being drunk with the sweet wines of those pleasin-es, yet for want of 
* patience,' thou mayest be dnmk with the wine of astonishment, which is in 
affliction's hand : therefore, saith the Apostle, 'to temperance, add patience ;' 
either possess thyself in patience, or else some raving devil of discontent will 
possess thee. An impatient soul in aflliction is a bedlamite in chains ; yea, too 
like the devil in his chains, that rageth against God whilst he is fettered by 
him. Well, hast thou patience ? an excellent grace indeed, but not enough ; 
thou must be a pious man as well as a patient. Therefore, saith the Apostle, ' To 
patience add godliness.' There is an atheistical stupid patience, and there is a 
godly christian patience : Satan benumbs the conscience of the one, and no 
wonder he complains not that feels not; but the Spirit of Christ sweetly calms 
the other, not by taking away the sense of pain, but by overcoming it with the 
sense of his love. Now godliness comprehends the whole worship of God, 
inward and outward. If thou art never so exact in thy morals, and not a 
worshipper of God, then thou art an atheist. If thou dost worship God, and 
that devoutly, but not by scripture rule, th(m art an idolater. If according to the 
rule, but not in spirit and trutli, then thou art an hypocrite, and so fallest 
into the devil's mouth. Or if thou dost give God one piece of his worship, 
and detiiest another, still Satan comes to his market, Prov. xxviii. 9 : ' lie that 
turneth back his ear from hearing the law, his prayer is an abomination to the 


Lord.' Yet, Christian, all thy armour is not on. Thy godliness indeed would 
suffice, wert thou to live in a world by thyself, or hadst nothing to do but im- 
mediate communion with God. But, Christian, thou must not always dwell on 
this mount of immediate worship ; and when thou descendest, thou hast many 
brethren and servants to thy Father, who live with thee in the same family ; 
and thou must comport thyself becomingly, or else thy Father will be angry. 
First, thou hast brethren, heirs of the same promise with thee ; therefore you 
must add to holiness ' brothei-ly kindness.' If Satan can set you at odds, he 
gives a deep wound to your godliness. You will hardly join hearts in a duty, 
that cannot join hands in love. Secondly, There ai-e not only brethren, but 
servants, a multitude of profane cai'nal ones, who, though they never had the 
names of sons and daughters, yet retain to God's family, and thy heavenly 
Father will have thee walk unblameably, yea, winningly to those that are 
without ; which that thou mayest do, thou must add to brotherly kindness, 
'charity;' by which grace thou shalt be willing to do good to the worst of 
men : when they curse thee, thou must pray for them ; yea, pray for no less 
than a Christ, a heaven for them. 'Father, forgive them,' said Christ, while 
they were shedding his heart's blood. And truly I am persuaded the want of 
this last piece of armour hath given Satan great advantage in these our times. 
We are so afraid oiu- charity should be too broad, whereas in this sense, if it 
be not as wide as the world, it is too strait for the command which bids us ' do 
good to all.' May not we ministers be charged with the want of this? when 
the strain of our preaching is solely directed to the saiuts, and no pains taken 
in rescuing poor captived souls, yet uncalled, out of the devil's clutches, who 
may haid them to hell without any disturbance, while we are comforting the 
saints, and preaching their privileges ; but in the mean time let the ignorant be 
ignorant still, and the pi'ofane profane still, for want of a compassionate charity 
to their souls, which would excite us to the reproving and exhorting of them, 
that they might also be brought into the way of life, as well as the saints en- 
couraged, who ai-e walking therein. We are stewards to provide bread for the 
Loi'd's house ; the greatest part of our hearers cannot, must not have the 
children's bread, and shall we therefore give them no portion at all? Christ's 
charity pitied the multitude, to whom in his public preaching he made special 
application, as in that famous sennon, most part of which is spent in rousing 
up the sleepy consciences of the hypocritical Pharisees, by those thunder-claps 
of woes and curses so often denounced against them. Matt, xxiii. Again, how 
great advantage hath Satan from the want of this charity in our families ! Is it 
not observed how little care is taken by professing governors of such societies, 
for the instructing their youth ? Nay, it is a principle which some have drank 
in, that it is not their duty. O where is their charity in the mean time, when 
they can see Satan come within their own walls, and let him drive a child, a 
servant, in their own ignorance and profaneness to hell, and not so much as sally 
out upon his enemy by a word of reproof or instruction, to rescue their silly souls 
out of the murderer's hands ? We must leave them to their liberty forsooth, and 
that is as fair play as we can give the devil ; give but corrupt nature enough of 
this rope, and it will soon strangle the very principles of God and religion in 
their tender years. 

Section III. Thirdly, The entireness of the saint's armour may be taken not 
only for every part and piece of the saint's furniture, but for the completeness 
and perfection of every piece. As the Christian is to endeavour after every 
grace, so is he to press after the advance and increase of every grace, even to 
perfection itself; as he is to add to his faith virtue, so is he to add faith to 
faith ; he is ever to be completing of his grace. It is that which is frequently 
pressed upon believers. Matt. v. 48, ' Be ye perfect, as your heavenly Father 
is perfect. And purify yourselves as God is pure ;' where we have an exact 
copy set, not as if we could equalize that purity and perfection which is in God, 
but to make us strive the more, when we shall see how infinitely short we fall 
of our copy when we write the fairest hand. So James i. 3 : ' Let patience 
have its perfect work, that you may be entire, wanting nothing,' or wanting in 
nothing. Thou who makest a hard shift to carry a little burden with thy little 
patience, wouldst sink under a greater ; therefore there is need that patience 
should be ever perfecting, lest at last we meet a burden too heavy for our weak 


slioulders. Take a few reasons why tlie Christian should be thus completing of 
his grace. 

First, Because grace is subject to decays, and it ever needs completing ; 
as in an army, especially, which often engageth in battle, their aimis are baltei-ed 
and broken ;' one man hath his helmet bent, another his sword gapped, a third his 
pistol unfixed ; and therefore recruits are ever necessary. In one temptation, 
the Christian hath his helmet of hope beaten oil' his head, in another liis patience 
hard put to it. The Christian had need have an armour-shop at hand to make 
up his loss, and that speedily, for Satan is most like to fall on, when the 
Christian is least prepared to receive his charge. ' Simon, Simon, Satan hath 
desired to sift you;' he knew they were at that time weakly provided, Christ 
their captain now to be taken from the head of their troop, discontents among 
tliemselves, striving who should be greatest, and their recruits of stronger grace, 
which the Spirit was to bring, not yet come. Now he hath a design to surprise 
them, and therefore Christ, carefully to prevent him, proniiseth speedy to de- 
spatch his Spirit for their su;i])ly. Acts i. 4, and in the mean tnne sends them to 
Jerusalem, to stand as it were in a body in their joint supplications, upon their 
guard, while he comes to their relief; shewing us in the weakness of our graces 
what to do, and whither to go for supplv. 

Secondly, Because Satan is completing his skill and wrath. It is not for 
nought that he is called the old serpent, subtle by nature, but more by experi- 
ence ; wrathful by nature, yet every day more and more enraged ; like a bull, 
the longer he is baited, the more fiiry he shews. And therefore we who are to 
grapple with him, now his time is so short, had need come well appointed into 
the field. 

Thirdly, It is the end of all God's dispensations, to complete his saints in their 
graces and comforts. Wherefore doth he lop and prune by afflictions, but to 
' purge, that they may bring forth more fruit?' John xv. 2, (that is, fuller and 
fairer.) ' Tribulation works patience,' Rom. v. 3. It is God's ap])ointment 
for that end. ' It works,' that is, it increaseth the saint's patience; it enrageth 
indeed the wicked, but meekens the saints. It is his design in the gospel 
preached, to carry on his sain s ' from faith to faith,' Rom. i. 17. And 
accordingly he hath furnished the church with instruments, and those with 
gifts, ' for the perfecting of the saints, and for the edifying of the body of 
Christ,' Eph. iv. 14. Wherefore doth the scaffold stand, and the workman 
on it, if the buildings go not up ? For us not to advance under such means, 
is to make void the counsel of God. Therefore the Apostle blames the Christian 
Jews, Heb. v. 12, for their non-proficiency in the school of Christ : ' When for 
the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teat^h vou again 
which be the first principles of the oracles of God.' 

Use. O, how few are there who endeavour thus to improve in their spiritual 
state, and labour to jierfect what is yet lacking in their knowledge, patience, 
and the rest! First, Tell some of adding faith to faith, one degree of grace 
to another, and you shall find they have more mind to join house to house, 
and lay field to field; their souls are athirst, ever gaping for nu)re, but of 
what? not of Christ, or heaven: it is earth; earth they never think they 
have enough of, till death comes and stops their mouth with a shovelful 
digged out of their own grave ! What a tormenting life must they needs 
have, who are always crying for more weight, and ye cannot press their 
covetous desires to "death? O sirs, the only way (if men woidd believe it) 
to quench this thirst to the creature, were to enkindle another after Christ 
and heaven. Get but a large heart vehemently thirsting after these, and 
the other will die alone; as the feverish thirst doth when nature comes 
to her temper. Secondly, Others labour not thus to perfect grace, because 
they have a conceit they are perfect already, and upon this fancy throw 
away praying, hearing, and all other ordinances, as strings for those babes 
in grace to be carried by, who are not arrived to their high attainments. 
O what fools does pride make men! Truly heaven were no such desirable 
place, if we should be no more ]>erfect tlian thus ; a sort of ])eoi)le that are 
too high for this world, and too low for another. The way by which (jod 
cures this frenzy of pride, we have in these days seen to be something 


like that in Nebuchadnezzar, to give them the heart of a beast; I mean, for 
a time, suffer them to fall into beastly practices, by which he shows them 
how far they are from that perfection they dreamed of so vainly. Thirdly, 
Others who have true grace, and desire the advancement of it, yet are 
discouraged in their endeavour for moi-e, from too deep a sense of their 
present penury. Bid some such labour to get more power over corruption, 
more faith in, and love to God, that they may be able to do the will of 
God cheerfully, and suffer it in the greatest afflictions patiently, yea, thank- 
fully, and they will never believe, that they, whose faith is so weak, and 
love so chill, and stock so little in hand, should ever attain to an} thing 
like such a pitch. You may as well persuade a beggar with one poor penny 
in his purse, that if he will go and trade with that, he shall come to be 
Lord Mayor of London before he die. But why, poor hearts, should you 
thus des})ise the day of small things? Do you not see a little grain of mus- 
tard-seed spread into a tree, and weak grace compared to it for its growth 
at last, as well as littleness at first ? Darest thou say thou hast no grace 
at all? If thou hast but any, (though the least that ever any had to begin 
with,) I dare tell thee that he hath done more for thee in that, than he 
should in making that which is now so weak, as perfect as the saint's grace 
is now in heaven. First, He hath done more, considering it as an act of 
power. There is a greater gulf between no grace and grace, than between 
weak grace and stx-ong ; between a chaos and nothing, than between a chaos 
and this beautiful frame of heaven and earth. The first day's work of both 
creations is the greates'. Secondly, Consider it as an act of grace; it is a 
greater mercy to give the first grace of conversion, than to crown that with 
glory. It is more grace and condescent in a prince to marry a poor damsel, 
than, having married her, to clothe her like a princess ; he was free to do 
the first or not ; but his relation to her pleads strongly for the other. God 
might have chosen whether he woidd have given thee grace or no, but having 
done this, thy relation to him and his covenant also do oblige him to add 
more and more, till he hath fitted thee as a bride for himself in glory. 



The fourth and last branch in the saint's furniture is, the use they are 
to make thereof: * Put on the whole armour of God.' Briefly, what is this 
duty, ' Put on ? ' These being saints (many of them at least) he writes to, 
it is not only putting on by conversion, what some of them might not yet 
have ; but also, he means they should exercise what they have. It is one 
thing to have armour in the house, and another thing to have it buckled 
on ; to have grace in the principle, and grace in the act. So that the in- 
struction will be, 

Doct. It is not enough to have grace, but this grace must be kept in 
exercise. The Christian armour is made to be worn ; no laying down, or 
putting off our armour, till we have done our warfare, and finished our course. 
Our armour and our garments of flesh go off together ; then indeed will be 
no need of watch and ward, shield or helmet. Those military duties and 
field graces, (as I may call faith, hope, and the rest,) they shall be honourably 
discharged. In heaven we shall appear, not in ai-mour, but in robes of 
glory ; but here they are to be worn night and day ; we must walk, work, 
and sleep in them, or else we are not true soldiers of Christ. This Paul 
professeth to endeavour, Acts xxiv. 16: 'Herein do I exercise myself, to 
have always a conscience void of offence towards God and towards man.' 
Here we have this holy man at his arms, training and exercising himself 
in his postures, like some soldier by himself handling his pike, and inuring 
himself before the battle. Now the reason of this is. 

Section I. First, Christ commands us to have our armour on, our grace 
in exercise, Luke xii. 35. ' Let your loins be girded about, and your lights 
burning.' Christ speaks either in a martial phrase, as to soldiers, or in a 
domestic, as to servants : if as to soldiers, then let your loins be girded. 


and your lights burning, is that we should be ready for a march, having 
our annoiu- on, (for the belt goes over all,) and our matchlight ready to 
give fire at the first alarm of temptation. If as to servants, which seems 
more natural, then he bids us, (as our master that is gone abroad,) not through 
sloth or sleep put oft" our clothes, and put out our lights, but stand ready to open 
when he shall come, though at midnight. It is not fit the master should stand 
at the door knocking, and the servant within sleeping ; indeed there is no duty 
the Christian hath in charge but implies this daily exercise, ' Pray ;' but how ? 
'without ceasing.' 'Rejoice;' but when ? 'evermore.' 'Give thanks;' for 
what? ' in everything,' 1 Thess. v. 16, 17. The shield of faith, and lielmet of 
hope, we must hold them to the end, 1 Pet. i. 13. The sum of all which is, 
that we should walk in the constant exercise of these duties and graces. Where 
the soldier is placed, there he stands, and must neither stir nor sleep till he be 
brought off'. When Christ comes, that soul shall only have his blessing whom 
' he finds so doing.' 

Secondlv, Satan's advantage is great when grace is not in exercise. When 
the devil found Christ so ready to receive his charge, and repel his temjjtation, 
he soon had enough; it is said, ' He departed for a season,' Luke iv. 13 ; as if 
in his shamefid retreat he had comforted himself with hopes of surprising Christ 
xmawares, at another season more advantageous to his design ; and we find him 
coming again, in the most likely time indeed to have attained his end, had his 
enemy been man, and not God. Now, if this bold fiend did thus watch and 
observe Christ from time to time, doth it not behove thee to look about thee, 
lest he take tliy grace at one time or other napping ? what he misseth now by 
thy watchfulness, he may gain anon by thy negligence. Indeed, he hopes thou 
wilt be tired out with continual duty : Surely, saith Satan, (when he sees the 
Christian up, and fervent in duty,) this will not hold long. When he finds 
him tender of conscience, and scrupidous of occasion to sin, this is but for a 
while ; ere long I shall have him unbend his bow, and unbuckle his armour, 
and then have at him. Satan knows what orders thou keepest in thy house 
and closet ; and though he hath not a key to thy heart, yet he can stand in the 
next room to it, and lightly hear what is whispered there. He hunts the 
Christian by the scent of his own feet, and if once he doth but smell which way 
thj' heart inclines, he knows liow to take the hint; if but one door be unbolted, 
one work unarmed, one grace off" its carriage, here is advantage enough. 

Thirdly, Because it is so awkward a business, and hard a work, to recover 
the activity of grace once lost, and to revive a duty in disuse ; ' I have put off 
my coat,' saith the spouse. Cant. v. 3. She had given way to a lazy distemper, 
was laid upon her bed of sloth, and how hard is it to raise her ? Her beloved 
is at the door, beseeching her by all the means of love, which might bring to 
her remembrance the near relation between them ; ' My sister, my love, my 
dove, open to me ;' and yet she riseth not. He tells her, ' His locks are filled 
with the drops of the night;' yet she stirs not. What is the matter ? Her 
coat was off", and she is loth to put it on ; she had given way to her sloth, and 
now she knows not how to shake it off"; slie could have been glad to have her 
beloved's company, if himself would have opened the door ; and he desired as 
nntcli hers, if she would rise to let him in ; and upon these terms they part. 
The longer a soul hath lU'glected duty, the more ado there is to get it taken up ; 
partly through shame, the sold having played the truant, now knows not how 
to look God on the face ; and partly from the difficulty of the work, being 
double to what another finds, that walks in the exercise of his grace : here is all 
out of order. It requires more time and pains for him to tune his instrument, 
tlian for another to play the lesson. He goes to duty as to a new work, as a 
scholar that hath not looked on his book some while; his lesson is almost out of 
his head ; whereas another that was but even now conning it over, hath it ad 
utiguem. Perhaps it is an affliction thou art called to bear, and thy patience 
imexcrcised ; little or no thoughts thou hast had for such a time, (while thou 
wert frisking in a full pasture,) and now thou kickest and flingest, even ' as a 
bullock, unaccustomed to the yoke,' Jer. xxxi. 18; whereas another goes 
meekly and patiently under the like cross, because he had been stimng up his 
patience, and fitting the yoke to liis neck. You know what a confusion there 


is in a town, at some sudden alarm in the dead of the niglit, the enemy at the 
gates, and they asleep within. O what a cry is there heard ! one wants his 
clothes, another his sword, a third knows not what to do for powder ; thus in a 
fright they run up and down, which would not be if the enemy did find them 
upon their guard, orderly waiting for his approach. Such a hubbub there is in 
a soul that keeps not his armour on, this piece and that will be to seek when 
he should use it. 

Fourthly, We must' keep grace in exercise in respect of others, our fellow- 
soldiers. Paul had this in his eye, when he was exercising himself to keep a 
good conscience, that he might not be a scandal to others. The cowardice of 
one may make others run ; the ignorance of one soldier that hath not skill to 
handle his arms may do mischief to his fellow soldiers about him ; some have 
shot their friends for their enemies; the unwise walking of one professor makes 
many others fare the worse. But say, thou dost not fall so far as to become a 
scandal, yet thou canst not be so helpful to thy fellow-brethren as thou shouldst. 
God commanded the Reubenites and Gadites to go before their brethren ready 
armed, until the land was conquered. Thus, Christian, thou art to be helpful 
to thy fellow-brethren, who have not, it may be, that settlement of peace in 
their spirit as thyself, not that measure of grace or comfort : thou art to help 
such weak ones, and go before them, as it were, armed for their defence : now 
if thy grace be not exercised, thou art so far unserviceable to thy weak bi'other. 
Perhaps thou art a master or parent who hast a family under thy wing, they 
fare as thou thrivest ; if thy heart be in a holy frame, they fare the better in the 
duties thou performest ; it thy heart be dead and down, they are losers by the 
hand. So that as the nurse eats the more for the babe's sake she suckles, so 
shouldst thou for their sake, who are under thy tuition, be more careful to 
exercise thy own grace and cherish it. 

Section II. — Object. O but, may some say, this is a hard work indeed, our 
armour never off, our grace always in exercise. Did God ever mean religion 
should be such a toilsome business as this would make it? 

Ans. Thou speakest like one of the foolish world, and shewest thyself a mere 
stranger to the Cliristian's life that speakest thus. A burden to exercise grace ! 
why, it is no burden to exercise the acts of nature, to eat, to drink, to walk, — all 
delightful to us in our right temper ; if any of these be otherwise, nature is op- 
pressed ; if stuffed, then difficult t6 breathe ; if sick, then the meat offensive we 
eat: so take a saint in his i-ight temper, it is his joy to be employed in the exer- 
cise of his grace in this or that duty, Psa. cxxii. 1 : ' I was glad when they said 
unto me. Let us go unto the house of the Lord,' his heart leaped at the motion. 
When any occasion diverts him from communion with God, though he likes 
it never so well, yet it is unwelcome and impleasing to him ; as you who are 
used to be in your shops from morning to night, how tedious is it for you to be 
abroad some days, though among good friends, because you are not where your 
work and calling lies ? A Christian in duty is one in his calling, as it were in 
his shop where he should be, yea, where he would be, and therefore far from 
being tedious. Religion is so burdensome to none, as to those Avho are in- 
frequent in the exercise of it. Use makes heavy things light ; we hardly feel 
the weight of our clothes, because fitted to us and worn daily by us ; whereas 
the same weight on our shoulder would trouble us. Thus the grievousness of 
religious duties to carnal ones, is taken away in the saints, partly by the fitness 
of them to the saints' principles, as also by their daily exercise in them. The 
disciples, when newly entered into the ways of Christ, could not pray much, or 
fast long ; the bottles were new, and that wine too strong ; but by that they 
had walked a few years, they grew mighty in both. Dost thou complain that 
heaven's way is rugged ? Be the more frequently walking in it, and that will 
make it smooth. 

But Secondly, Were this constant exercise of grace more troublesome to the 
flesh, (which is the only complainer,) the sweet advantage that accrues by this 
to the Christian will abundantly recompense all his labour and pains. 

First, The exercise of thy grace will increase thy grace ; ' The diligent hand 
makes rich.' A provident man coimts that lost which might have been got, not 
only when his money is stole out of his chest, but when it lies there unimproved. 


Such a commodity, saith the tradesman, if I had bought with that money in 
my bags, would have brought me in so nnich gain, which is now lost ; so the 
Cliristian may say. My dawning knowledge, had I followed on to know the 
Lord, might have spread to broad day: ' I have more understanding,' saith 
David, ' than all my teachers.' How came he by it? He will tell you in the 
next woi'ds : 'For thy testimonies are my meditation,' Psa. cxix. 99. He was 
more in the exercise of duty and grace. The best wits are not always the 
greatest scholars, because their study is not suitable to their parts ; neither 
always proves he the richest man, that sets up with the greatest stock. A little 
grace, well husbanded by daily exercise, will increase, when greater, neglected, 
shall decay. 

Secondly, As exercise increaseth, so it evidenceth grace. Woidd a man 
know whether he be lame or no ? let him rise ; he will be sooner satisfied by one 
turn in a room, than by a long dispute, and he sit still. Wouldst thou know 
wliether thou lovest God? be frequent in exerting acts of love; the more the 
fire is blown up, the sooner it is seen ; and so of all other graces. Sometimes 
tlie sold is questioning whether it hath any patience, any faith, till God comes 
and puts him into an afflicted estate, (where he must either exercise this grace 
or perish,) and then it appears like one that thinks he cannot swim, yet being 
thrown into the river, then summoning all his strength, he makes a shift to swim 
to land, and sees what he can do. How oft have we heard Clmstians say, I 
thought I could never have endured such a pain, trusted God in such a strait ; 
but now God hath tauglit me what he can do for me, what he hath wrought in 
me ? And this thou mightst have known before, if thou wouldst have often 
stin-ed up and exercised thy grace. 

Thirdly, Exercise of grace doth invite God to communicate himself to such 
a soul. God sets the Christian at work, and then meets him in it. ' Up and 
be doing, and the Lord be with you.' He sets a soul a reading as the eunuch, 
and then joins to his chariot ; a praying, and then comes the messenger 
from heaven : ' O, Daniel, greatly beloved ! ' The spouse who lost her 
beloved 'on her bed,' finds him as she comes from the sermon. Cant. iii. 4: 
' It was but a little that I passed from them, but I found him whom my soul 

Section III. — Use 1. This falls heavy on their heads, who are so far from 
exercising grace, that they walk in the exercise of their lusts ; their hearts are 
like a glass-house, the fire is never out, the shop-windows never shut ; they are 
always at work, hammering some wicked project or other upon the anvil of 
their hearts : there are some who give scope to their lusts ; what their wretched 
hearts will, they will have ; they pamper their lusts, as some their children, 
deny them nothing, who, as it is recorded of David to Adonijah, do not so 
much as say to their souls. Why dost thou so? why art thou so proud, so 
covetous, so profane ? They spend their days in making provision for these 
guests ; as at some inns, the house never cools, but as one guest goes out, another 
comes in ; as one lust is served, another is calling for attendance. As some 
exercise grace more than others, so there are greater traders in sin, that set 
more a-work than others, and return more wrath in a day than others in a 
month. Happy are such (in comparison of these) who are chained up by God's 
restraint upon their outward man or inward, that they cannot drive on so 
furiously as these, who, by health of body, power, and greatness in place, 
riches and treasures in their coffers, numbness and searedness in their con- 
sciences, are hurried on to fill up the measure of their sins. We read of the 
Assyrian, that he ' enlarged his heart as hell,' stretching out his desires as men 
do their bags, that are bursting with money, to hold more. Hab. ii. 5. Thus 
the adulterer, as if his body were not quick enough to execute the commands 
of his lust, stirs it up by sending forth his amorous glances, which come home 
laden with adultery, blows up this fire with unchaste sonnets and luxury, 
proper fuel for the devil's kitchen ; and the malicious man, who, that he may 
lose no time from his lust, is a tearing his neiglibour in pieces, as he lies on 
his bed, cannot sleep unless some such bloody sacrifice be offered to his 
ravening lust. O how may this shame the saints ! How oft is your zeal so 
hot, that you cannot sleep till your hearts have been in heaven, as you are on 


your beds, and thei-e pacified with the sight of your dear Saviour, and some 
embraces of love from him ! 

Use 2. It reproves those who flout and mock at the saints, while exercising 
their graces ; none so jeered as the saint in his calling. Men may work in 
their shops, and every one follow his calling, as diligently as they please, and 
no wonder made of this by those that pass by in the streets ; but let the 
Christian be seen at work for God, in the exercise of any duty or grace, and he 
is hooted at, despised, yea, hated. Few so bad indeed, but seem to like religion 
in the notion ; they can commend a sermon of holiness, like a discourse of 
God or Christ, in the pulpit ; but when these are really set before their eyes, 
as they sparkle in a saint's conversation, they are very contemptible and hateful 
to them ; this living and walking holiness bites ; and though they liked the 
preacher's art, in painting forth the same in his discourse, yet now they run 
from them, and spit at them ; this exercise of grace offends the profane heart, 
and stirs up the enmity that lies within : as Michal, she could not but flout 
David, to see him dancing before the ark. He that commended the preacher 
for making a learned discourse of zeal, will rail on a saint expressing an act of 
zeal in his place and calling; now grace comes too near him. A naughty heart 
must stand at some distance from holiness, that the beams thereof may not bear 
too strongly on his conscience, and so he likes it. Thus the phaiisees the 
prophets of old, these wei'e holy men in their account, and they can lavish out 
their money on their tombs in honour of them ; but Christ, who was more than 
all of them, he is scorned and hated. What is the mystery of this? The reason 
was, these prophets ai"e off the stage, and Christ on. Pascitur in v'wis Uvur, 
post fata quiescit. 

Use 3. Try by this whether you have grace or no ; dost thou walk in the 
exercise of thy grace ? He that hath clothes, surely will wear them, and not 
be seen naked. Men talk of their faith, repentance, love to God ; these are 
precious graces, but why do they not let us see these walking abroad in their 
daily conversation ? Surely if such guests were in thy soul, they would look 
out sometimes at the window, and be seen abroad in this duty, and that holy 
action ; grace is of a stirring nature, and not such a dead thing, like an image, 
which you may lock up in a chest, and none shall know what God you worship : 
no, grace will show itself; it will walk with you in all places and companies; it 
will buy with you, and sell for you; it will have a hand in all your enterprises; 
it will comfort you when you are sincere and faithful for God, and it will 
complain and chide you when you are otherwise ; go to, stop its mouth, and 
heaven shall hear its voice ; it will groan, mourn, and strive, even as a living 
man, when you would smother him. I will as soon believe the man to be alive, 
that lies peaceably as he is nailed up in his coffin, without strife or bustle, as that 
thou hast grace, and never exercise it in any act of spiritual life. What, man, 
hast thou grace, and carried so peaceabl}', as a fool to the stocks, by thy lust ? 
Why hangest thou there nailed to thy lust ? If thou hast grace, come down, 
and we will believe it ; but if thou art such a tame slave, as to sit still under 
the command of lust, thou deceivest thyself. Hast thou grace, and show none 
of it in thy condition thou art placed in? May be thou art rich; dost thou 
show thy humility towards those that ai'e beneath thee ? Dost thou show a 
heavenly mind, breathing after heaven more than earth ? It may be thy heart 
is puffed with thy estate, that thou lookest on the poor as creatui'es of some 
lower species than thyself, and disdainest them ; and as for heaven, thou 
thinkest not of it. Like that wicked prince that said, ' He would lose his 
part in Paradise rather than in Paris.' Art thou poor? Why dost not exercise 
grace in that condition? Art thou contented, diligent? May be, instead of 
contentment, thou repinest; canst not see a fair lace on thy rich brother's cloth, 
but grudgest it, instead of concurring with Providence by diligence to supply 
thy wants? Thou art ready to break through the hedge into thy neighbour's fat 
pasture, thus serving thy own turn by a sin, rather than waiting for God's 
blessing on thy honest diligence; if so, be not angry ; we call thee by thy right 
name, or at least question whether we may style thee Christian, whose 
carriage is so cross to that sacred name, which is too holy to be written on a 
rotten post. 


Use 4. Be exhorted, O ye saints of God, to walk in the exercise of grace. 
It is the minister's duty, with the continual breath of exhortation, and if need 
be, reproof, to keep this heavenly fire clear on the saints' altar. Peter saw it 
necessary to have bellows always in his hands : 2 Peter i. 12, 'I will not be 
negligent to put you always in remembrance of those things, though ye know 
them, and be established in the present truth;' (that shall not take him off;) as 
long as he is in this tabernacle, he saith he will stir them up, and be putting 
' them in remembrance,' ver. 13. TKere is a sleepy disease we are subject to in 
this life ; Christ, though he had roused up his disciples twice, yet takes them 
napping the third time. Either exercise thy grace, or Satan will act thy coi-- 
niption ; as one bucket goes down, the other rises ; there is a body of sin 
within, which, like a malignant party, watcheth for such a time to step into the 
saddle ; and it is easier to keep them down, than to pull them down. Thy time 
is short, and thy way long ; thou hadst best put on, lest thou meanest to be 
overtaken with night, before thou gettest within sight of thy Father's house. 
How uncomfortable it is for a traveller in heaven-road (above all other) to 
go potching in the dark, many can with aching hearts tell thee. And what 
hast thou here to mind like this ? Are they worldly cares and pleasures ? Is 
it wisdom to lay out so much cost on thy tenement, which thou art leaving, and 
forget what thou nuist carry with thee ? Before the fruit of these be ripe 
which thou art now planting, thyself may be rotting in the grave : ' Time is 
short,' saith the apostle, 1 Cor. vii. 29. The world is near its port, and there- 
fore God hath contracted the sails of man's life but a while, and there 
will not be a point to choose whether we had wives or not, riches or not ; 
but there will be a vast difference between those that had grace, and those that 
had not; 3'ea, between those that did drive a quick trade in the exercise thereof, 
and those that were more remiss ; the one shall have an ' abundant entrance 
into glory,' 2 Peter i. 11, while the other shall suffer loss in much of his 
lading, which shall be cast over-board as merchandise that will bear no price in 
that heavenly country; yea, while thou art here, others shall fare the better by 
thy lively graces. Thy cheerfulness and activity in thy heavenly course will 
help others that travel with thee ; he is dull indeed that will not put on, when 
he sees so much metal for God in thee who leadest the way. Yea, thy 
grace will give a check to the sins of others, who never stand in such awe 
as when grace comes forth and sits like a ruler in the gate, to be seen of all 
that pass by. The swearer knows not such majesty is present when the 
Christian is mealy-mouthed, and so goes on and fears no colours ; whose grace, 
had it but her dagger of zeal ready, and courage to draw it forth in a wise 
reproof, would make sin quit the place, and with shame run into its hole ; Job 
xxix. 8, ' The young men saw me, and hid themselves ; the princes refrained 
talking, and laid their hand on their mouth.' And doth not God deserve the 
best service thou canst do him in thy generation ? Did he give thee grace to 
lay it up in a dead stock, and none to be the better? or can you say, that he is 
wanting to you in his love and mercy ? Are they not ever in exercise for 
your good ? Is the eye of Providence ever shut ? No, * He slumbers not ' 
that keeps thee. Or is it one moment off thee ? No, ' The eye of the Lord is 
upon the righteous;' he hath fixed it for ever, and with infinite delight, 
pleased himself in the object. Wlien was his ear shut, or his hand either, 
from receiving thy cries, or supplying thy wants ? nay, doth not thy condition 
take up the thoughts of God, and are they any other than thoughts of 
peace which he entertains? A few drops of this oil will keep the wheel in 

That ye may be able to stand against the Wiles of the Devil. 

These words present us with tlie reason why the Christian soldier is to be thus 
completely armed : ' That ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the 
devil.' The strength of which argument lies in these two particulars. 

First, The danger, if unarmed; the enemy is no mean, contemptible one ; no 
less than the devil, set out as a cimning engineer by his wiles and stratagems. 

Secondly, The certainty of standing against all his wits and wiles, if we be 


thus armed, ' That ye may be able to stand.' As no standing without Armour, 
so no fear of falling into the fiend's hands, if armed. 

To begin with the first, the saint's enemy, the devil, described by his wiles ; 
properly the methods of Satan, which signifies, that art and order one observes 
in handling a point ; we say, such a one is methodical. Now, because it shews 
ingenuity and acuteness of wit so to compose a discourse, therefore it is trans- 
ferred to express the subtilty of Satan in laying of his plots and stratagems, in 
his warlike preparations against the Christian. Indeed, the expert soldier hath 
his order as well as the scholar ; there is method in forming of an army, as 
well as framing an argument. The note which lies before us is, 

. Doct. The devil is a very subtle enemy. The Christian is endangered most 
by his policy and craft ; he is called the old serpent. The serpent, subtle 
above other creatures, an old serpent above other serpents : Satan was too 
crafty for man in his perfection, much more now in his maimed estate, having 
never recovered that first damage he got in his understanding by the fall of Adam. 
And as man hath lost, so Satan hath gained more and more experience ; he lost 
his wisdom indeed as soon as he became a devil, but ever since he hath in- 
creased his craft; though he hath not wisdom enough to do himself good, yet 
subtilty enough to do others hurt. God shews us where his strength lies, when 
he promiseth he will ' bruise the head of the serpent;' his head crushed, and 
he dies presently. Now in handling this point of Satan's subtilty, we shall con- 
sider him in his two main designs, and therein shew you his wiles and policies. 
His first main design is, to draw into sin. The second is to accuse, vex, and 
trouble the saint for sin. First, Let us consider the devil as a tempter to sin, 
and there he shews his wily subtilty in three things. 

First, In choosing the most advantageous season for tempting. 

Secondly, In managing his temptations, laying them in such a method and 
form, as shews his craft. 

Thirdly, In pitching on fit instruments for his turn, to cany on his design. 


OF Satan's subtilty to choose out the most advantageous seasons 


First, he shews his subtilty, in choosing the most proper and advantageous 
seasons for tempting. 'To everything there is a season,' Solomon saith, 
Eccles. iii. 1 ; that is, a nick of time, which taken, gives facility and speedy 
despatch to a business : and therefore the same wise man gives this reason, 
why man miscarries so frequently, and is disappointed in his enterprises, 
'because he knows not his time,' Eccles. ix. 11 ; he comes when the bird is 
flown. A hundred soldiers at one time may turn a battle, save an army, when 
thousands will not do at another. Satan knows when to make his approaches, 
when (if at any time) he is most likely to be entertained. As Christ hath ' the 
tongue of the learned to speak a word in season ' of counsel and comfort to a 
doubting, drooping soul, so Satan shews his black art, and hellish skill, in 
speaking words of seduction and temptation in season ; and a word in season 
is ' a word on its wheels.' I shall give you a view of his subtilty in special 
seasons, which he chooseth to tempt in. 

The first season he takes to tempt in is, when newly converted. No 
sooner is this child of grace, the new creature, born, but this dragon pours a 
flood of temptation after it. He learned the Egyptians but some of his own 
craft, when he taught them that bloody and cruel baptism, which they exercised 
upon the Israelitish babes, in throwing them into the river as soon as they were 
born. The first cry of the new creature gives all the legions of hell an alarm ; 
they are much troubled at it, as Herod and Jerusalem were when Christ was 
born : and now they sit in council to take away the life of this new-born king. 
The apostles met with more opposition and persecution iji their latter days, when 
endued with large portions of the Spirit; but with temptations from Satan in the 
former, when young converts, as you may observe in the several passages 
recorded of them. Satan knew grace within was but weak, and their supplies 
promised at the Spirit's coining, not landed; and when is an enemy more like 


to carry the town than in snch a low condition ? and therefore he tries them 
all. Indeed, the advantages are so many, that we may wonder how the young 
conv-ert escapes with his life ; knowledge weak, and so soon led into an error, 
especially in divided times ; when many ways are held forth, one saying, Here 
is Christ : another. There is Christ; and the Christian ready to think every one 
means honestly that comes with good words ; as a little child, that liath lost his 
way to his father's house, is prone to foHow any that oifer him their conduct. 
Experience of what he knows little ; and if Adam, wliose knowledge was so 
perfect, yet was soon cheated, (being assaulted before he was well warm in his 
new possessions,) how much more advantage hath Satan of the new convert, in 
whom he finds every grace in so great an indisposition to make resistance, both 
from its own weakness, and the strength of the contrary corruption, (which 
commonly in sucli ismuchunmortified,) which makes it act with more difficulty 
and mixture, as in a fire newly kindled, where the smoke is more than the 
flame ; or like beer newly tunned, which runs thick ; so that thougli there 
appear more strength of affection in such, that it works over into a greater 
abundance of duty than in others, yet with more dregs of carnal passion, 
which Satan knows, and therefore chooseth to stir what he sees troubled 

Secondly, When the saint is beset with some great affliction ; this is as 
some blind lane or solitary place, fit for this thief to call for his purse in. An 
expert captain first labours to make a breach in the wall, and then falls on in 
storming the city. Satan first got power from God to weaken Job in his 
estate, children, health, and other comforts he had, and now tempts him to 
impatience, and what not. He lets Christ fast forty days before he comes, and 
then he falls to his work ; as an army stays till a castle be pinched for pro- 
vision within, and then sends a parley, never more likely to be embraced than 
in such a strait. A temptation comes strong, when the way to relief seems 
to lie through the sin that Satan is wooing to : when one is poor, and Satan 
comes, Wliat, wilt starve rather than step over the hedge, and steal for thy 
supply ? This is enough to put flesh and blood to the stand. 

Thirdly, When the Christian is about some notable enterprise for God's 
glory, then Satan will lie like a serpent in the way, ' an adder in the path, that 
biteth his horse's heels, so that his rider shall fall backward.' Thus he stood 
at Joshua's right hand ' to resist him.' The right hand is the working hand, and 
his standing there implies his desire to hinder him in his enterprise. Indeed, 
the devil was never a friend to temple-work, and therefore that work is so long 
a doing. What a handsome excuse doth he help the Jews unto, — ' The time is 
not come;' God's time was come, but not the devil's, and therefore he helps 
them to this poor shift, perverting the sense of Providence, as if it were not 
time, because they were so poor : whereas they thrive no better, because they 
went no sooner about the work, as God tells them plainly. Paul and Barnabas 
had a holy design in their thoughts to go visit the brethren in every city, and 
strengthen their faith ; the devil knew what a blow this miglit give to his 
kingdom ; their visiting might hinder him in his circuit, and he stirs up an 
unhappy difference between these two holy men, who grow so hot that they part 
in this storm. Acts xv. 30. There were two remarkable periods of Christ's life, 
his entrance and exit; his entrance into his public ministry at his baptism, and 
his finishing it at his passion ; and at both we have the devil fiercely encounterino- 
him. The more public thy place. Christian, and the more eminent thy service 
for God, the more thou must look that the devil will have some more danger- 
ous design or other against thee ; and tlierefore, if every private soldier needs 
armour against Satan's bullets of temptation, then the commanders and officers 
who stand in the front of battle much more. 

4. Fourthly, When he hath the presence of some object to enforce his temp- 
tation. Tlius he takes Eve when she is near the tree, and had it in her eye 
while he should make tlie motion, that assaulting two ports at once, it might be 
the harder for her to hinder the landing of his temptation ; and if Eve's eyes did so 
soon affect her heart with an inordinate desire, then mucli more now is it eas)^ 
for him by the presence of the object to excite and actuate that lust which lies 
dormant in the lieart. As Naomi sent her daughter to lie at Boaz's feet, 


knowing well, if he endured her there, there was hope that he might take her 
into his bed at last : if the Christian can let the object come so near, Satan will 
promise himself his suit may in time be granted. Therefore it should be our 
care, if we would not yield to the sin, not to walk by, or sit at the door of the 
occasion : look not on the beauty with wandering eye, by which thou wouldest 
not be taken prisoner ; parley not with that in thy thoughts, which thou meanest 
not to let into thy heart ; conversation begets affection ; some by this have 
been brought to marry those, whom at first they thought they could not 
have liked. 

Fifthly, After great manifestations of God's love, then the tempter 
comes. Such is the weak constitution of grace, that it can neither well bear 
smiles nor frowns from God without a snare ; as one said of our English nation, 
Tolam nee pad potest libertatem nee servitutem ; it cannot well bear liberty 
nor bondage in the height : so neither can the soid ; if God smile and open 
himself a little familiarly to us, then we are prone to grow high and wanton ; 
if he frown, then we sink as much in our faith ; thus the one, like fair weather 
and warm gleams, brings up the weeds of corruption ; and the other, like sharp 
frosts, nips and even kills the flowers of grace. The Christian is in danger on 
both hands, therefore Satan takes this advantage, when the Christian is flush of 
comfort, even as a cheater, who strikes in with some young heir, when he hath 
newly received his rents, and never leaves till he hath eased him of his money ; 
thus Satan lies upon the catch, then to inveigle a saint into one sin or other, 
which he knows will soon leak out his joy. Had ever any a lai-ger testimony 
from heaven than Peter, Matt. xvi. 17; where Christ prono\inceth him 
blessed, and puts a singidar honour upon him, making him the representative 
for all his saints? No doubt this favour to Peter stirred up the envious spirit 
sooner to fall upon him. If Joseph's party-coloiu'ed coat made the patriarchs 
to plot against him, their brother, no wonder malice should prompt Satan to 
show his spite, where Christ had set such a mark of love and honovn* ; and 
therefore we find him soon at Peter's elbow, making him his instrimient to 
tempt his Master, who soon espied his cloven foot, and rebukes Peter with a 
' Get thee behind me, Satan.' He that seemed a rock even now, through 
Satan's policy, is laid a stone of offence for Christ to stumble at. So David, 
when he had received such wonderful mercies, settled in his throne with the 
ruin of his enemies, yea, pardoned for his bloody sin, now ready to lay down 
his head with peace in the dust; Satan steps in to cloud his clear evening, and 
tempts him to number the people ; so ambitious is Satan, then chiefly, to throw 
the saint into the mire of sin, when his coat is cleanest. 

Sixthly, At the hour of death, when the saint is down and prostrate in his 
bodily strength, now this coward falls upon him ; it is the last cast indeed he 
hath for the game ; now or never ; overcome him now and ever. As they say 
of the natural serpent, Nnnquam nisi moriens producitur in longum, he never 
is seen at his length till dying; so this mystical serpent never strains his wits and 
wiles more, than when his time is thus short. The saint is even stepping into 
eternity, and now he treads upon his heel, which if he cannot trip up, so as to 
hinder his arrival in heaven, yet at least to bruise it, that he may go with more 
pain thither. 


Satan's subtilty in managing his temptations, where several stratagems 
used by him to deceive the christian are laid down. 

2. The second way wherein Satan shows his tempting subtilty, is, in those 
stratagems he useth to deceive the Christian in the act of temptation. 

First, He hangs out false colours, and comes up to the Christian in the disguise 
of a friend, so that the gates are opened to him, and his motions received with 
applause, before either be discovered; therefore he is said to ' transform himself 
into an angel of light,' 2 Cor. xi. 14. Of all plots it is most dangerous when 
he appears in Samuel's mantle, and silvers his foul tongue with fair language. 
Thus, in point of error, he corrupts some in their judgment, by commending his 
notions for special gospel-truths, and, like a cunning chapman, puts off his old 


ware (errors I mean that have laid long upon his hand) only turning them a 
little after the mode of the times, and they go for new light; under the skirt 
of Cln-istian liberty, he conveys in libertinism ; 1)y crying up the Spirit, ha 
decries and vilifies the Scripture"; by magnifying faith, he labours to undermine 
repentance, and blow up goojj works ; by bewailing the corruption of the church 
in its administration, he draws unstable souls from it, and amuseth them, till at 
last they fall into a vertigo, and can see no church at all in being. And he 
prevails no less on the hearts and lives of men by this wile, than on their judg- 
ments. Under the notion of zeal, he kindles sometimes a dangerous flame of 
passion and wrath in the heart, which, like a rash fire, makes the Christian's 
spirit boil over into unchristian desires of and prayers for revenge where he 
should forgive, of which we have an instance in the disciples, Luke ix. 55 ; 
where two holy men are desiring that ' fire may come down from heaven.' 
Little did they think from whence they had their coal that did so heat them, till 
Christ told them, ' Ye know not what spirit ye are of.' Sometimes he pretends 
pity and natural affection, which in some cases may be good counsel, and all tlie 
while he desires to promote cowardice and sinful self love, whereby the Christian 
may be brought to fly from his colours, shrink from the truth, or decline some 
necessai-y duty of his calling ; this his wile Christ soon spied, when he got Peter 
to be his spokesman, saying, 'Master, pity thyself;' who stopped his mouth 
with that sharp rebuke, ' Get thee behind me, Satan.' O what need have we 
to study the Scriptures, our hearts, and Satan's wiles, that we may not bid this 
enemy welcome, and all the while think it is Christ that is our guest !_ 

A second policy he useth is, to get intelligence of the saints' affairs. This 
is one great wheel in the politicians' clock, to have spies in all places, by whom 
tliey are acquainted with the counsels and motions of their enemies, and 
this gives them advantage, as to disappoint their designs, so more safely to com- 
pass their ovm. It is no hard matter for him to play his game well that sees 
his enemy's hand. David knew how the squares went at court; Jonathan's 
arrows carried him the news, and accordingly he removed his quarters, and 
was too hard for his great enemy Saul. Satan is the greatest intelligencer 
in the world ; he makes it his business to inquire into the inclinations, thoughts, 
affections, puqjoses of the creature, that finding which humour abounds, he 
may apply himself accordingly which way the stream goes, that he may open 
the passage of temptation, and cut the channel to the fall of the creature's 
affections, and not force it against the torrent of nature. Now, if we consider 
but the piercing apprehension of the angelical nature, how quick he is to take 
the scent which way the game goes, by a word dropped, the cast of an eye, or 
such a small matter, signal enough to give him the alarm, his experience in 
heart-anatomy, having inspected, and (as it were) dissected so many in his long 
practice, whereby his knowledge is much perfected ; as also his great diligence 
to add to both these, being as close a student as ever, considering the saints 
and studying how he may do them a mischief, as we see in Job's case, whom 
he had so observed, that he was able to give an answer ex tempore to God, 
what Job's state and present posture was, and what might be the most probable 
means of obtaining his will of him ; and besides all this, the correspondence 
that he hath with those in and about the Christian, from whom he learns much 
of his state, as David by Hushai, in Absalom's council, — all these considered, it 
is almost impossible for the creature to stir out of the closet of his heart, but it 
will be known whither he inclines : some corrupt passion or other will bewray 
the sold to him, as they did David to Saul, who told him where he might find 
him, 'in the wilderness of Engedi,' 1 Sam. xxiv. 1. Thus will these give in- 
telligence to Satan ; and say. If thou wouldest surprise such a one, he is gone 
that way, you shall have him in the wood of worldly employments, over head 
and ears in the desires and cares of this life ; see where another sits, under such 
a bower, delighting himself in this child, or that gift, endowment of mind, or the 
like ; lay but the lime-twig there, and you sludl soon have him in it. Now 
Satan, having this intelligence, lets him alone to act his part ; he sure cannot be 
at a loss himself, when his scholars (the Jesuits, I mean,) have such agility of 
mind, to wreathe and cast themselves into any form becoming the persons they 
would seduce. Is ambition the lust the heart favoiu's? O the pleasing projects 


that he will put such upon ! Kow easily, having first blown them up with 
vain hopes, doth he draw them uito horrid sins ! Thus Haman, that he may 
have a monopoly of his prince's favom-, is hurried into that bloody plot (fatal 
at last to himself) against the Jews. Is uncleanness the lust after which the 
creature's eye wanders? Now he will be the pander, to bring him and his 
minion together. Thu3 he finding Amnon sick of this disease, sends Jonadab, 
'a deep-pated fellow,' 2 Sam. xiii. 3, to put this fine device into his head of 
feigning himself sick, whereby his sister fell into his snare. 

Thirdly, In his gradual approaches to the soul. When he comes to tempt, 
he is modest, and asks but a little ; he knows he may get that at many times, 
which he should be denied if he asked all at once. A few are let into a city, 
when an army coming in a body would be shut ovit ; and therefore, that he may 
beget no suspicion, he presents, may be, a few general propositions, which do 
not discover the depth of this plot ; these, like scouts, go before, while his whole 
body lies hid, as it were, in some swamp at hand. Thus he wriggled into Eve's 
bosom, whom he doth not at first dash bid take and eat ; no, he is more mannerly 
than so ; this would have been so hideous, that as the fish with some sudden 
noise, by a stone cast into the river, is scared from the bait, so would she have 
been affrighted from holding parley with such a one ; no, he propounds a 
question which shall make way for this, — ' Hath God said?' Art not mistaken? 
Could this be his meaning whose bounty lets thee eat of the rest, to deny thee 
the best of all? Thus he digs about, and loosens the roots of their faith, and then 
the tree falls the easier the next gust of temptation. This is a dangerous policy 
indeed. Many have yielded to go a mile with Satan, that never intended to go 
two, but, when once on the way, have been allured further and further, till at 
last they know not how to leave his company. Thus Satan leads poor creatures 
down into the depths of sin by winding stairs, that let them not see the bottom 
whither they are going: first, he presents an object that occasions some 
thoughts, these set fire on the affections, and these fume up into the brain, and 
cloud the understanding, which, being thus disabled, now Satan dares a little 
more declare himself, and boldly solicit the creature to that it would otherwise 
have defied. Many who at this day lie in open profaneness, never thought they 
should have rolled so far from their profession ; but Satan begiuled them, poor 
souls, with their modest beginnings. O Christians, give not place to Satan ! no, 
not an inch in his first motions ; he that is a beggar, and a modest one without 
doors, will command the house if let in ; yield at first, and thou givest away thy 
strength to resist him in the rest ; when the hem is worn, the whole garment 
will ravel out, if that be not mended by timely repentance. 

The fourth way, wherein Satan shews his subtilty in managing his temptations, 
is in his reserves. A wise captain hath ever some fresh troops at hand to fall 
in at a pinch, when the other are worsted. Satan is seldom at a loss in this 
respect; when one temptation is beat back, he soon hath another to fill up 
the gap, and make good the line. Thus he tempts Christ to difiidence and 
distrust, by bidding him turn stones into bread, as if it were time now to carve 
for himself, being so long neglected of his Father, as to fast forty days, and no 
supplies heard of; no sooner had Christ quenched this dart with that, ' It is 
written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth 
out of the mouth of God,' Matt. iv. 4, 5, but he had another on the string 
which he let fly at him, tempting him to presumption : ver. 5, * Then the devil 
taketh and sets him on a pinnacle,' and bids, ' Cast thyself down headlong, for 
it is written. He shall give his angels charge over thee,' 8ze. As if he had said. 
If thou hast such confidence on God and his word as thou pretendest, shew it 
by casting thyself down, for tliou hast a word between thee and the gi-ound, if 
thou darest trust God ; and truly, though Christ had his answer ready, and was 
prepared to receive his charge on the right hand and on the left, being so 
completely armed that no temptation could come amiss : yet note Ave, Satan's 
temptations on Christ were like the serpent's motion on a rock, (of which 
Solomon speak?,) that makes no impression, no dent at all, Prov. xxx. 19. 
But on us they are as a serpent on sand or dust, that loaves a print, when not 
in the heart, yet in the fancy colovu-s that which is next door to it, and so the 
object there is ready to slip in, if great care be not observed, especially when he 


doth thus change his hand, as when we have resisted one way, fall on aft'esh 
another, vea, plant his succeeding temptation upon our very resistance in the 
former. Now it requires some readiness in our postures, and skill at all our 
weapons, to make our defence ; like a disputant, when he is put out of his road, 
and hath a new question started, or argument unusual hrought, now he is tried 
to piu-pose. And truly this is Satan's way when he tempts the Christian to 
neglect of duties of God's worship, (from his worldly occasions, the multitude 
of them, or necessity of following them,) and this takes not, then he is on the 
other side, and is drawing the Christian to the neglect of his worldly calling, 
out of a seeming zeal to promote his other in the worship of God. Or first, he 
comes and labours to deaden the heart in duty ; but the Christian, too watchful 
for him there, then he is puffing of him up with an opinion of his enlargement 
in it, and ever keeps his sliest and most sublimated temptations for the last. 

Fifthly, In his politic retreats. You shall have an enemy flee as overcome, 
when it is on a design of overcoming ; this was Joshua's wile, by which he 
caught the men of Ai in a trap. Josh. iii. 1. We read not only of Satan's 
being cast out, but of the ' unclean spirit's going out' (voluntarily), yet with a 
purpose to come again, and bring worse company with him. Matt. xii. 43. 
Satan is not always beat back by the dint and power of conquering grace, but 
sometimes he draws oiF, and raiseth his own siege, the more handsomely to get 
the Christian out of his fastnesses and trenches, that so he may snap him on 
the plains whom he cannot come at in his works and fortifications. Temptations 
send the saint to his castle, as the sight of the dog doth the coney to her burrow : 
now the soul walks the rounds, stands upon its guard, dares not neglect duty, 
because the enemy is under its very walls, shooting in his temptations con- 
tinually ; but when Satan seems to give the soul over, and the Christian finds he 
is not haunted v/ith such motions as fomierly, truly now he is prone to remit in 
his diligence, fail in his duty, and grow either infrequent or formal therein ; as 
the Romans, whose valour decayed for want of the Carthaginian troops to 
alarm them. Let Satan tempt or not tempt, assault or retreat, keep thou in 
order, stand in a fighting posture, let his flight strengthen thy faith, but not 
weaken thy care. The Parthians do their enemies most hurt in their flight, 
shooting their darts as they run ; and so may Satan do thee, if thy seeming 
victory makes thee secure. 


OF satan's subtilty in choosing instruments fit for his turn to 


3. The third particular in which Satan shews his subtilty as a tempter, is in the 
choice of those instruments whom he useth for the carrying on this his design ; 
he, as the master workman, cuts out the temptation, and gives it the shape ; but 
sometimes he hath his journeymen to make it up; he knows his work may be 
carried on better by others, when he appears not above-board himself. Indeed 
there is not such a suitableness between the angelical nature and man's, as 
there is between one man and another, and therefore he cannot make his 
approaches so familiarly to us as man can do to man ; and here, as in other 
things, he is God's ape. You know this very reason was given why the 
Israelites desired God might not speak to them, but Moses and God liked the 
motion; ' They have well said,' saith God, ' I will raise up a prophet from the 
midst of them like unto thee,' Deut. xviii. 17. Thus Satan, he useth the 
ministry of men like ourselves, by which, as he becomes more famihar, so he is 
less suspected, while, Joab-like, he gets another to do his errand. Now it is not 
any will serve his turn for this employment, he is very choice in the instru- 
ments he pitcheth on : it is not every soldier is fit for an embassage to treat 
with an enemy, to betray a town, and the like. Satan considers who can do his 
work to his greatest advantage ; and in this he is unlike God, who is not at all 
choice in his instruments, because he needs none, and is able to do as well with 
one as another; but Satan's power being finite, he must patch up the defect of 
the lion's skin with the fox's. Now the persons Satan aims at for his instru- 
ments are chiefly of four sorts. 

E 2 


First, Persons of place and power. Secondly, Persons of parts and policy. 
Thirdly, Persons of holiness, or at least reputed so. Fourthly, Persons of re- 
lation aiul interest. 

First, Satan makes choice of persons of place and power. These are either 
in the commonwealth or church ; if he can, he will secure the throne and the 
pulpit, as the two forts that command the whole line. First, men of power in 
the commonwealth. It is his old trick to be tampering with such. A prince, a 
rulei', may stand for a thousand, therefore saith Paul to Elymas, when he would 
have tiu-ned the deputy from the faith, ' O full of all subtilty, thou child of the 
devil,' Acts xiii. 8. As if he had said, You have learned this of your father the 
devil, to haunt the courts of princes, wind into the favour of great ones. There 
is double policy Satan hath, in gaining such to his side. First, none have such 
advantage to draw others to their way ; corrupt the captain, and it is hard if he 
bring not of!" his troop with him. When the princes, men of renown in their 
tribes, stood with Korah, Numb. xvi. 2, 10, presently a multitude are drawn into 
conspiracy. Let Jeroboam set up idolatry, and Israel is soon in a snare ; 
it is said the people 'willingly walked after his commandment,' Hos. v. 11. 
Secondly, should the sin stay at court, and the infection go no fin-ther, yet 
the sin of such a one, though a good man, may cost a whole kingdom dear ; 
1 Chron. xxi. 1, ' Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to 
number the people.' He owed Israel spite, and he pays them home in their 
king's sin, which dropped in a fearful plague upon their heads. Secondly, such as 
are in place and office in the church. No such way to infect the whole town, 
as to poison the cistern at which they draw their water. Who shall persuade 
Ahab that he may go to Ramoth Gilead and fall ? Satan can tell : ' I will be a 
lying spirit in the mouth of his prophets,' 2 Kings xxii. 21. How shall the 
profane be hardened in their sins ? Let the preachers sew pillows under their 
elbows, and cry. Peace, peace, and it is done. How may the worship of God 
come to be neglected ? Let Hophni aiul Phinehas be but scandalous in their 
lives, and many both good and bad will ' abhor the sacrifice of the Lord.' 

Secondly, He employeth persons of parts and policy ; if any hath more 
pregnancy of wit and depth of reason than other, he is the man Satan looks 
upon for his service; and so far he prevails, that very few of this rank are 
found amongst Christ's disciples, ' not many wise.' Indeed, God will not have 
his kingdom, either in the heart or in the world, maintained by carnal policy ; it 
is a gospel command that we walk in godly simplicity, sine plicis; though the 
serpent can shrink up into his folds, and appear what he is not, yet it doth not 
become the saints to juggle or shuffle with God or men ; and truly, when any 
of them have made use of the serpent's subtilty, it hath not followed their 
hand ; Jacob got the blessing by a wile, but he might have had it cheaper 
with plain dealing. Abraham and Sarah both dissemble to Abimelech, God 
discovers their sin, and reproves them for it by the mouth of an heathen. Asa, 
out of state policy, joins league with Syria, yea, pawns the vessels of the sanc- 
tuary, and all for help; and what comes of all this? ' Herein thou hast done 
foolishly,' saith God, ' from henceforth thou shalt have wars.' Sinful policy shall 
not long thrive in the saint's hands well, but Satan will not go out of his way; 
he inquires for the subtilest-pated men, a Balaam, Ahithophel, Haman, Sanballat, 
men admired for their cormseland deep plots, these are for his turn. A wicked 
cause needs a smooth orator ; bad ware a pleasing chapman, as in particular, 
his instruments he useth to seduce and corrupt the minds of men are commonly 
subtil-pated fellows, such, ' that if it were possible, would deceive the very elect.' 
This made the apostle so jealous of the Corinthians, whom he had espoused to 
Christ, lest as Eve by the serpent, so their ' minds should be corrupted from the 
simplicity that is in Christ.' He must be a cunning devil indeed that can di-aw 
off the spouse's love from her beloved; yet there is such a witchery in Satan's 
instruments, that many have been brought to fly on the face of those truths 
and ordinances, yea, Christ himself, to whom they have seemed espoused 
formerly. Now in three particulars this sort of Satan's instruments shew their 
master's subtilty. 

First, In aspersing the good name of the sincere messengers of Christ. It 
is Satan's old trick to raise his credit upon the ruined reputation of Christ's 


faithful servants. Thus he taught Korah, Dathan, and Abirani, to charge 
Moses and Aaron, ' Ye take too much upon you, seeing all the congregation is 
holy,' Numb. xvi. 3, 16. They would make the people believe, that it was the 
pride of their heart to claim a monopoly to themselves, as if none but Aaron 
and his fraternity were holy enough to offer incense : and by this subtil 
practice they seduced, for a while, in a manner, the whole congregation to 
tlieir side. So the lying prophets, that were Satan's knights of the post to 
Ahab, fell foul on good Micaiah. Om- Saviour himself was no better handled 
by the Pharisees and their confederates; and Paul, the chief of the apostles, 
his ministry undermined, and his reputation blasted by false teachers, as if he 
had been some weak sorry preacher; 2 Cor. x. 10, ' His bodily presence is 
weak,' say they, ' and his speech contemptible;' and is this your admired man.' 

Secondly, In covering their impostures and errors with choice notions and 
excellent truths. Arius himself, and other dangerous instruments of Satan, 
were too wise to stuff their discourses with noticing but heterodox matter : 
precious truths dropped from them, with which they sprinkled their corrupt 
principles, yet with such art as should not easily be discerned. This, as one 
observes, our Saviour warns his disciples of, when he bids them 'beware of the 
leaven of the Pharisees;' that is, of their errors. But why leaven ? For the 
secret mixture of it with the wholesome bread ; you do not make yoin* bread all 
of leaven, none would then cat it, but crumble a little into a whole batch, which 
sours all. Thus Christ doth tell the disciples, that tire Pharisees among many 
truths mixed their errors, and therefore it behoves them to beware, lest with the 
truth the error go down also. Again, leaven is very like the dough, of the 
same grain with it, only difters in age and sourness ; thus Christ intimates the 
resemblance of their errors to the truth, scraped, as it were, wit of the Scriptures, 
but soured with their false glosses. This indeed makes it easy for Christ's 
sheep to be infected with the scab of error, because that weed which breeds the 
I'ot is so like the grass that nourisheth them. 

Thirdly, Their subtilty appears in holding forth such principles as are 
indulgent to the flesh. This brings in whole shoals of silly souls into their net; 
the heart of man loves a life to shape a religion according to its own humoiu', 
and is ready to believe that to be a truth which favours its own inclination. Now 
thei'e are three lusts that Satan's instruments labour to gratify m their doctrine; 
carnal reason, pride, and fleshly liberty. 

First, Carnal reason. This is the great idol which the more intelligent part 
of the world worship, making it the very standard of their faith; and from this 
bitter root have sprung those Arian and Socinian heresies. And truly, he that 
will go no further than reason will carry him, may hold out in the plain way of 
the moral law ; but when he comes to the depths of the gospel, must either go 
back, or be content that faith should help reason over. 

Secondly, Another lust that Satan cockers — pride. Man naturally woidd be 
a god to himself, though by clambering so high he got his fall ; and whatever 
doctrine nourisheth a good opinion of man in his own eye, this is acceptable to 
him, and this hath spawned another fry of dangerous errors, — the Pelagian 
and Semi-pelagian, which set nature upon its own legs, and persuade man he 
can go alone to Christ, or at least with a little external help of a hand to lead, 
or argument to excite, without any creating work in the soul. O ! we cannot 
conceive how glib such stuff goes down. If one workman should tell you that 
your house is rotten, and must be pulled down and all new materials prepared; 
and another should say, No such matter; such a beani is good, and such a spar 
may stand; a little cost will serve the turn : it were no wonder that you should 
listen to him that would put you to least cost and trouble. The faithful servants 
of Christ tell sinners from the word, that man in his natural state is corrupt and 
rotten, that nothing of the old frame will serve, and there must needs be alj 
new ; but in comes the Arminian, and blows u{) tiie sinner's pride, and tells 
him he is not so weak or wicked as the other re])resents him ; if thou wilt thou 
niayest repent and believe ; or at least, by exerting thy natural al)ilities, oblige 
God to superadd what thou hast not. This is the workman that will please 
proud men best. 

Thirdly, Satan liy his instruments iiourislieth that desire of fleshlv libertv 


which is in man by nature, who is a son of Belial, without yoke ; and if he 
must wear any, that will please best which hath the softest lining, and 
pincheth the flesh least ; and therefore, when the sincere teachers of the word 
will not abate the strictness of the command, but press sincere obedience to it, 
then come Satan's instruments, and say, These are hard task-masters, Avho will 
not allow one play-day in a year to the Christian, but tie him to continual duty; 
we will shew you an easier way to heaven. Come, saith the Papist, confess bvit 
once a year to the priest, pay him well for his pains, and be an obedient son of 
the church, and we will dispense with all the rest. Come, saith the Antinomian, 
the gospel-charter allows more liberty than these legal preachers tell you of; they 
bid you repent and believe, when Christ hath done all these to yoiu* hand ; 
what have you left to do but to nourish the flesh ? Something sure is in it, 
that impostors find such quick return for their ware, while truth hangs upon the 
hand ; and is it not this? — that they are content to afford heaven cheaper to their 
disciples, than Christ will to his. He that sells cheapest shall have the most 
customers, though at last best will be best cheap : truth, with self-denial, a 
better pennyworth than error with all its flesh-pleasing. 

Fourthly, Satan makes choice of such as have a great name for holiness ; 
none to a live bird to draw other birds into the net ; but is it possible that such 
should do this work for the devil ? Yes, such is the policy of Satan, and the 
frailty of the best, that the most holy men have been his instruments to seduce 
others. Abraham, he tempts his wife to lie ; ' Say thou art my sister.' The old 
prophet leads the man of God out of his way, 1 Kings xiii. The holiness of 
the man, and the reverence of his age, it is like, gave authority to his counsel. 
O how this should make you watchful, whose long travail and great progress in 
the ways of God ha^e gained you a name of eminency in the church, what you 
say, do, or hold, because you are file-leading men, and others look more on you 
than their way ! 

Fifthly, Satan chooseth such, as by relation or affection have deep interest in 
the persons he would gain. Some will kiss the child for his nurse's sake, and 
like the present for the hand that brings it. It is not likely David woidd have 
received that from Nabal which he took from Abigail, and thanked her. Satan 
sent the apple by Eve's hand to Adam. Delilah doth more with Samson than 
all the Philistines' bands. Job's wife brings him the poison : ' Curse God and 
die.' Some think Satan spared her life, when he slew his children and servants, 
(though she was also within his commission,) as the most likely instrument, by 
reason of her relation and his aftection, to lead him into temptation. Satan 
employs Peter the disciple to tempt Christ ; at another time his friends and 
kinsfolk. Some martyrs have confessed the hardest work they met with was 
to overcome the prayers and tears of their friends and relations ; Paul himself 
could not get off this snare without heart-breaking ; ' What mean you to weep, 
and to break my heart ?' Acts xxi. 13. 



Use 1. — First, affect not sinful policy and subtilty; it makes you but like the 
devil. There is the wisdom of the serpent, which is commended : and that is, 
his perfection as a creature, in which both the literal and the mystical excel ; 
the one in an ingenious observing nature, above the beasts of the field; and the 
other in knowledge, as an angel above men ; bvit as the subtilty of the one 
and knowledge of the other is degenerate, and makes them more able to do 
mischief, the one to the bodies, the other to the souls of men, this kind of 
wisdom and subtilty is to be abhorred by us: 'The serpent's eye,' as one saith, 
' does well only in the dove's head.' 

First, Afiect not subtilty in contriving any sin. Some are ' wise to do evil,' 
Jer. iv. 22 ; masters of this craft, who can, as they lie on their beds, cast their 
wicked designs into an artificial method, shewing a kind of devilish wit therein, 
as the Egyptians, who dealt wisely, as they thought, with the Israelites, and 
Jezebel, who had printed her bloody design in so fair a letter, that some might 
read her saint, while she was playing the devil. This is the black art indeed. 


and will make the soul as black as hell that practiseth it. It is not hard for 
any, though a fool, to learn. Bo but wicked, and the devil will help thee to be 
witty : come but a while to his sciiool, and thou mayest soon be a cunning man. 
No sins speak a higher attainment in wickedness, than those which are the 
result of deliberate counsel and deep plottings. Creatures, as they go longer 
with their young, so their birth is more strong and perfect : as the elephant 
above all others. The longer a sin is in forming and forging within, and the 
oftener the head and heart meet about it, the more complete the sin. Here are 
many litters of unformed sin in one, such, I mean, that are conceived and cast 
forth in the hurry of an extemporary passion ; such sudden acts shew weakness, 
these others deep wickedness. 

Secondly, Take heed of hiding sin when thou hast committed it. This is 
one of the devices that is in man's heart, *id as much art and cunning is 
shev%-n in this as in any one part of the sinner's trade. What a trick had the 
patriarchs to blind their father's eye with a bloody coat! Joseph's mistress, to 
prevent a charge ti-om Joseph, accuseth him for what she is guilty, like the 
robber who scaped by crying out ' Stop the thief.' God taught man to make coats 
to cover his naked body, but the devil learned him to weave these coverings to 
hide the nakedness of his soul; the more subtile thouseemest, in concealing thy 
sin, the more egregiously thou playest the fool. None so shamed as the liar 
when found out, and that thou art sure to be. Thy covering is too short to 
hide thee from God's eye ; and what God sees, if thou dost not put thyself to 
shame, he will tell all the world of hereafter, however thou escapest in this life. 

Thirdly, Take heed of subtilty and sinful policy, in compassing that which is 
lawful in itself: it is lawful to improve thy estate, and husband it well for thy 
posterity ; but take not the devil's counsel, who will be putting thee upon some 
tricks in thy trade, and slights in thy dealing ; such may go for wise men a 
while, but the prophet reads their destinies, Jer. xvi. 11, 'At his end he shall 
be a fool.' It is lawful to love our estate, life, liberty ; but beware of sinful 
policy to save them. It is no wisdom to shuffle with God, by denying his 
truth, or shifting olFour duty to keep correspondence with men ; he is a weak 
fencer that lays his soul at open guard to be stabbed and wounded with guilt, 
while he is lifting up his hands to save a broken head. Our fear commonly 
meets us at that door by which we think to run from it. ' He that will save 
his life shall lose it.' As you love your peace. Christians, be plain-hearted 
with God and man, and keep the king's highway ; go the plain way of the 
command to obtain thy desire, and not to leap over hedge and ditch to come a 
little sooner to the journey's end ; such commonly either meet with some stop, 
that makes them come back with shame, or else put to venture their necks in 
some desperate leap. He is sure to come safer, if not sooner, home, that is 
willing to go a little about to keep God company. The historian's observation 
is worth the Christian's remembrance : ' Consilia callida prima specie Iseta, 
tractatu dura, eventu tristia." — Liv. Crafty coimsels promise fair at first, but 
prove more difficult in the managing, and in the end do pay the undertaker 
home with desperate sorrow. 

Use 2. — Is Satan so subtile? O then think not to be too cunning for the 
devil ; he will be too hard for thee at last : sin not with thoughts of an after 
repentance ; it is possible thou meanest this at present : but dost thou think, 
who sits down to play with this cheater, to draw out thy stock when thou 
pleasest ? Alas, poor wretch, he has a thousand devices to carry thee on, and 
engage thee deeper, till he hath not left thee any tenderness in thy conscience, 
as some have been served at play, intending only to venture a shilling or two, 
yet have, by the secret witchery in gaming, played the very clothes off their 
back before they had done : 6 how many have thus sinned away all their 
principles, vea, profession itself, that they have not so much as tliis cloak left, 
but walk naked to their shame ! Like children who get into a boat, think to 
play near the shore, but are unawares by a violent gust carried down to the 
wide sea. O how know you that dally with Satan, but that at last you may, 
who begin modestly, be carried down to the broad sea of profaneness ? Some 
men are so subtile to overreach, and so cruel when they get men into their 
haiid, that a man had better beg his bread than l)orrow of them. Such a 


merchant is Satan, cunning to insinuate, and get the creature into his hooks, 
and when he liath him on the hip, no more mercy to be had at his hand, than 
the lamb may expect from the ravenous wolf. 

Use 3. — Study his wiles, and acquaint thyself with Satan's policy. Paul 
takes it for gi-anted, that every saint doth in some measure understand them : 
' We are not ignorant of his devices,' 2 Cor. ii. 11. He is but an ill fencer that 
knows and observes nothing of his enemy's play; many particular stratagems 
I have laid down already w^hich may help a little ; and for thy direction in this 
study of, and inquiry into, Satan's wiles, take this threefold counsel. 

First, Take God into thy counsel : heaven overlooks hell. God at any time 
can tell thee what plots are hatching there against thee. Consider Satan, as 
he is God's creature, so God cannot but know him. He that makes the 
watch, knows every pin in it. He formed this crooked serpent, though not 
the crookedness of this serpent; and though Satan's way in tempting be as 
wonderful as the way of a serpent on a rock, yet God traceth him ; yea, knows 
all his thoughts together. ' Hell itself is naked before him,' and the destroyer 
hath no covering. Again, consider him as God's prisoner, who hath him fast 
in chains ; and so the Lord, who is his keeper, must needs know whither his 
prisoner goes, who cannot stir without liLs leave. Lastly, consider him as his 
messenger ; for so he is. 'An evil spirit from the Lord vexed Saul;' and he 
that gives him his errand, is able to tell thee what it is. Go then, and plough 
with God's heifer ; improve thy interest in Christ, who knows what his Father 
knows, and is ready to reveal all that concerns thee, to thee, John xv. 15. It 
was he who foretold the devil's coming against Peter and the rest of the 
apostles, and faithfully revealed it to them, Luke xxii., before they thought of 
any such matter. Through Christ's hands pass all that is transacted in heaven 
and hell. We live in days of great actions, deep counsels, and plots on all 
sides, and only a few that stand on the upper end of the world know these 
mysteries of state ; all the rest know little more than pamphlet intelligence : 
thus it is in regard of those plots which Satan in his infernal conclave is laying 
against the souls of men ; they are but a few that know anything to purpose of 
Satan's design against them; and those are the saints, from whom God cannot 
hide his own counsels of love, but sends his Spirit to reveal unto them here, 
what he hath prepared for them in heaven, 1 Cor. ii. 10 ; and therefore much 
less will he conceal any destructive plot of Satan from them. 

Secondly, Be intimately acquainted with thy own heart, and thou wilt the bet- 
ter know his design against thee, who takes his method of tempting, from the 
inclination and posture of thy heart. As a general walks about the city, and 
views it well, and then raiseth his batteries where he hath the greatest advantage : 
so doth Satan compass and consider the Christian in every part before he tempts. 
Lastl}', Be careful to read the word of God with observation. In it thou 
hast the history of the most remarkable battles that have been fought by the 
most eminent worthies in Christ's army of saints, with the great warrior Satan : 
here thou mayest see how Satan hath foiled them, and how they have 
recovered their lost ground. Here you have his cabinet councils opened. 
There is not a lust which you are in danger of, but you have it described ; not a 
temptation which the word doth not arm you against. It is reported that a 
certain Jew would have poisoned Luther, but was happily prevented by his 
picture that was sent to Luther, with a warning from a faithful friend, to take 
heed of such a man when he saw him ; by which he knew the murderer, and 
escaped his hands. The word shews thee, O Christian, the face of those his s 
which Satan employs to butcher thy precious soul ; * By them is thy servant 
warned,' saith David, Psa. xix. 11. 



The second general in which Satan appears such a subtile enemy, is, in 
molesting the saints' peace, and disquieting the saints' spirit. As tire Holy 


Spirit's work is not only to be a sanctifier, but also a comforter, whose fruits are 
righteousness and peace ; so the evil spirit Satan is both a seducer unto sin, and 
an accuser for sin, a tempter and a troubler, and indeed in the same order. As 
the Holy Ghost is first a sanctifier, and then a comforter ; so Satan first a 
tempter, then a troubler. Joseph's mistress first tries to draw him to gratify 
her lust ; that string breaking, she had another, to trounce him and charge him ; 
and for a plea, she hath his coat to cover her malice ; nor is it hard for Satan 
to pick some hole in the saint's coat, when he walks most circumspectly. Tlie 
proper seat of sin is the will ; of comfort, the conscience : Satan hath not 
absolute knowledge of or power over these, (being locked up from any other but 
God,) and therefore what he doth, either in defiling, tempting, or disquieting, 
is by wiles more than by open force, and he is not inferior in troubling to himself 
in tempting. Satan hath, as the serpent, a way by himself; other beasts, their 
motion is direct, right on, but the serpent goes askew, as we say, winding and 
wreathing its body, that when you see a serpent creeping along, yon can hardly 
discern which way it tends ; thus Satan in his vexing temptations hath many 
intricate policies, turning this way and that way, the better to conceal his 
designs from the saint, which will appear in these following methods. 

Section I. — First, He vexcth the Christian by laying his brats at the saint's 
door, and charging him with that which is his own creature ; and here he hath 
such a notable art, that many dear saints of God are wofuUy hampered and 
dejected, as if they were the vilest blasphemers and veriest atheists in the 
world ; whereas indeed the cup is of his own putting into the sack, but so slily 
conveyed into thesaint'sbosom, that the Christian, though amazed andfrightened 
at the sight of them, yet being jealous of his own heart, and unacquainted with 
Satan's tricks of this kind, cannot conceive how such motions shoidd come there, 
if not bred in, and vomited out by, his own naughty heart, and so bears the 
blame of the sin himself, because he cannot find the right father, mourning as 
one that is forlorn and cast oft' by God, or else, saith he, I should never have 
such vermin of hell creeping in my bosom ; and here Satan hath his end he pro- 
poseth ; for he is not so silly as to hope he should have welcome with such a 
horrid crew of blasphemous and atheistical thoughts in that soul, where he hath 
been denied when he came in an enticing way ; no, but his design is by way of 
revenge, because the soul will not prostitute itself to his lust otherways, there- 
fore to haunt it and scare it with those imps of blasphemy. As he served 
Luther, to whom he appeared, and when repulsed by him went away, and left a 
noisome stench behind him in the room. Thus when the Christian has worsted 
Satan in his more pleasing temptations, being maddened, he belcheth forth this 
stench of blasphemous motions to annoy and affi'ight him, that from them the 
Christian may draw some sad conclusion or other ; and indeed the Christian's sin 
lies commonly more in the conclusion which he draws from them, as that he is 
not a child of God, than in the motions themselves. All the counsel, therefore, 
I shall give thee in this case, is to do with these motions, as you use to serve 
those vagrants and rogues that come about the country ; whom, though you 
cannot keep from passing through tlie town, yet you look they settle not tliere, 
but whip them and send them to their own home. Thus, give these motions the 
law, in mourning for them, resisting of them, and they shall not be your charge ; 
yea, it is like you shall seldomer be troubled with such guests ; but if once you 
come to entertain them, and be Satan's nurse to them, then the law of God will 
cast them upon you. 

Section II. — Secondly, Another wile of Satan as a troubler, is in aggi'avatino' 
the saint's sins, (against which he hath a notable declamatory faculty,) not that 
he hates the sin, but the saint; now in this, his chief subtilty is so to lay 
his charge, that it may seem to be the act of the Holy Spirit ; he knows an 
arrow out of God's quiver wounds deep ; and therefore when he accuseth, he 
comes in God's name ; as sup])ose a child were conscious to himself of displeas- 
ing his fLither, and one that owes him a spite, to trouble him, should counterfeit 
a letter from his father, and cunningly convey it into the son's hand, wlio re- 
ceives it as from his father, wherein he chargeth him witli many heavy crimes, 
disowns liim, and threatens he shall never come into his sight, or have a penny 
portion from him ; the poor son, conscious to himself of many undutiful 


carriages, and not knowing the plot, takes on heavily, and can neither eat nor 
sleep for grief; here is a real trouble begot from a false and imaginary ground. 
Thus Satan observes how the squares go between God and his children ; such a 
saint he sees tardy in his duty, faulty in that service, and he knows the Chris- 
tian is conscious of this, and that the Spirit of God will also shew his distaste 
for these ; both which prompts Satan to draw a charge at length, raking up all 
the bloody aggravations he can think of, and gives it in to the saint as sent 
from God. Thus he taught Job's friends to pick up those infirmities, which 
dropped from him in his distress, and shoot them back in his face, as if indeed they 
had been sent from God to declare him a hypocrite, and denounce his wrath 
for the same. 

Quest. But how should we know the false accusations of Satan from the re- 
bukes of God and his Spirit ? 

yJnsw. First, If they cross any former act or work of the Spirit in thy soul, 
they are Satan's, and not the Holy Spirit's. Now you shall observe, Satan's 
scope in accusing the Christian, and aggravating his sin, is to imsaint him, and 
persuade him he is but a hypocrite. O, saith Satan, now thou hast shewn 
what thou art, see what a spot is on thy coat, this is not the spot of a child ; who 
ever, that was a saint, committed such a sin after such a sort? All thy comforts 
and confidence, which thou hast boasted of, were false, I warrant you. Thus 
you see Satan at one blov/ dasheth all in pieces. The whole fabric of grace, 
which God hath been rearing up many years in the soul, must now at one puff 
of his malicious mouth be blown down, and all the sweet comforts with which 
the Holy Ghost hath sealed up God's love, must be defaced with this one blot, 
which Satan draws over the fair copy of the saint's evidence. Well, soul, for 
thy comfort know, if ever the Spirit of God hath begun a sanctifying or com- 
forting work, causing thee to hope in his mercy, he never is, will, or can be the 
messenger to'bring contrary news to thy soul ; his language is not yea and nay, 
but yea and amen for ever. Indeed when the saint plays the wanton, he can 
chide, yea, will frown, and tell the soul roundly of its sin, as he did David by 
Nathan ; ' Thou art the man,' this thou hast done ; and paints out his sin with 
such bloody coloiU'S, as made David's heart melt, as it were, into so many drops 
of water. But that shall not serve his turn ; he tells him what a rod is steeping 
for him, that shall smart to purpose ; one of his own house, no other than his 
darling son, shall rise up against him, that he may the more fully conceive how 
ill God took the sin of him, a child, a saint, when he shall know what it is to 
have his beloved child traitorously invade his crown, and unnaturally hunt for 
his precious life ; yet not a word all this while is heard from Nathan teaching 
David to unsaint himself, and call in question the work of God in his soul. 
No, he had no such commission from God ; he was sent to make him mourn for 
his sin, not from his sin to question his state, which God had so oft put out 
of doubt. 

Secondly, When they asperse the riches of God's grace, and so charge the 
Christian, that withal they reflect upon the good name of God ; then they are 
not of the Holy Spirit, but from Satan. When you find your sins so repre- 
sented and aggravated to you, as exceeding either the mercy of God's nature, 
or the grace of his covenant, Hie se aperit diabolus ; this comes from that foul 
liar. The Holy Spirit is Chi'ist's spokesman to commend him to souls, and to 
woo sinners to embrace the grace of the gospel ; and can such words drop from 
the sacred lips, as should break the match, and sink Christ's esteem in the 
thoughts of the creature ? you may know where this was minted. When you 
hear one commend another for a wise or good man, and at last come in with a 
' but ' that dasheth all, you will easily think he is no friend to the man, but some 
sly enemy, that by seeming to commend, desires to disgrace the more. Thiis, 
when you find God represented to you as merciful and gracious, but not to 
such a great sinner as you ; to have power and strength, but not able to save 
thee ; you may say, Avavmt, Satan, thy speech bewrayeth thee. 

Section III. — Thirdly, Another wile of Satan lies in cavilling at the Chris- 
tian's duties and performances, by which he puts him to much toil and trouble. 
He is at chiu-ch as soon as thou canst be. Christian, for thy heart ; yea, he 
stands under thj' closet window, and heareth what thou sayest to God in secret. 


all the while studying how he may commence a suit against thee for thy duty ; 
like those that come to sermons to cai-p and catch at what the preacher saith, 
that they may make him an offender for some word or other misplaced ; or 
like a cunning oppanent in the schools, while his adversary is busy in reading 
his position, he is studying to confute it ; and truly Satan hath such an art at 
this, that he is able to takQ our duties in pieces, and so disfigure them that they 
shall appear fomial, though never so zealous ; hypocritical, though en»-iched 
with much sincerity. When thou hast done thy duty. Christian, tlien stands 
up this sophister to ravel out thy work ; there, will he say, thou playedst the 
hypocrite; zealous, but serving thyself; here wandering, there nodding; a little 
farther puffed up with pride ; and what wages canst thou hope for at Gods 
hands, now thou hast spoiled his work, and cut it all out into chips? Tlius he 
makes many poor souls lead a weary life ; nothing they do but he hath a 
fling at, that they know not whether laest pray or not, hear or not ; and when 
the}' have prayed and heard, whether it be to any purpose or not : thus their 
souls hang in doubt, and their days pass in sorrow, while their enemy stands in 
a corner and laughs at the cheat he hath put upon them ; as one who, by put- 
ting a counterfeit spider into the dish, makes those who sit at table either out 
of conceit with the meat, that they dare not eat, or afraid of themselves, if they 
have eaten, lest they should be poisoned with their meat. 

Quest. But you will say, What will you have us to do in this case, to with- 
stand the cavils of Satan, in reference to our duties ? 

Ansiv. Fii'st, Let this make thee more accurate in all thou doest ; it is tlie 
very end God aims at in suffering Satan thus to watch you, that you his 
children might be the more circumspect, because you have one overlooks you, 
that will be sure to tell tales of you to God, and accuse thee to thy own self. 
Doth it not behove thee to write thy copy fair, when such a critic reads and 
scans it over ? Doth it not concern thee to know thy heart well, to turn over 
the Scriptures diligently, that thou mayest know the state of thy soul-contro- 
versy in all the cases of conscience thereof, when thou hast such a subtle 
opponent to reply upon thee ? 

Secondly, Let it make thee more hvunble. If Satan can charge thee with so 
much in thy best duties, O what then can thy God do ? God suffers sometimes 
the infirmities of his people to be known by the wicked (who are ready to check 
and mock them for them) for this end, to humble his people ; how much more 
low should these accusations of Satan, which are in a great measure too true, 
lay us before God ! 

Thirdly, Observe tjie fallacy of Satan's argument, which, discovered, will 
help thee to answer his cavil : the fallacy is double. 

First, He will persuade thee that thy duty and thyself are hypocritical, jiroud, 
formal, &c., because something of these sins are to be found in thy duty. Now, 
Christian, learn to distinguish between pride in a duty, and a proud duty; hy- 
pocrisy in a person, and a hypocrite ; wine in a man, and a man in wine. 
The best of saints have the stirrings of such corruptions in them, and in their 
services ; these birds will light on an Abraham's sacrifice ; but comfort thyself 
with this, that if thou findest a party within thy bosom pleading for God, and 
entering its protest against these, thou and thy services are evangelically per- 
fect. God beholds these as the weaknesses of thy sickly state here below, and 
pities thee, as thou wouldest do thy lame child. How odious is he to us that 
mocks one for natural defects, a blear eye or a stammering tongue? Such are 
these in thy new nature. Observable is that in Christ's prayer against Satan, 
Zech. iii. 3, ' The Lord said unto Satan, The Lord rebuke thee ; is not this a 
brand plucked out of the fire ? ' As if Clirist had said, Lord, wilt thou suffer 
this envious spirit to tw-it thy poor child with, and charge him for, those infir- 
mities that cleave to his imperfect state? he is but new plucked out of the 
fire, no wonder there are some sparks unquenched, some corruptions unmoi'- 
tified, some disorders unrefonned in his place and calling. And what Christ 
did for Joshua, he doth incessantly for all his saints, apologising for their 
infirmities with his Father. 

Secondly, His other fallacy is in arguing from tlie sin that is in our duties to 
the non-acceptance of them. Will God, saitli he, thinkest thou, take such 


broken groats at tliy hand ? Is he not a holy God ? Now liere, Christian, learn 
to distinguish and answer Satan. There is a double acceptance. There is an 
acceptance of a thing by way of payment of debt, and thei-e is an acceptance 
of a thing offered as a token of love and a testimony of gratitude. He that will 
not accept of broken money, or half the sum for payment of a debt; the same 
man, if his friend sends him, though but a bent sixpence, in token of his love, 
will take it kindly. It is true. Christian, the debt thou owest to God must 
be paid in good and lawful money ; but, for thy comfort, here Christ is thy 
paymaster ; send Satan to him, bid him bring his charge against Christ, who is 
ready at God's right hand to clear his accounts, and shew his discharge for the 
whole debt. But now thy performances and obedience come under another no- 
tion, as tokens of thy love and thankfulness to God ; and such is the gracious 
disposition of thy heavenly Father, that he accepts thy mite : love refuseth 
nothing that love sends. It is not the weight or worth of the gift, but ' the 
desire of a man is his kindness,' Prov. xix. 22. 

SpcTioN IV. — A fourth wile of Satan as a troubler, is, to draw the saint 
into the depths of despair, under a specious pretence of not being humbled 
enough for sin. This we find singled out by the apostle for one of the devil's 
fetches : ' We are not ignorant,' saith he, ' of his devices,' 2 Cor. ii. 11 ; his so- 
phistical reasonings. Satan sets much by this flight ; no weapon oftener in his 
hand : where is the Christian that hath not met him at this door ? Here Satan 
finds the Christian easy to be wroiight on, the humours being stirred to his 
hand ; while the Christian, of his own accord, coinjilains of the hardness of his 
heart, and is very prone to believe any who comply with his musing 
thoughts ; yea, thinks every one flatters him that would persuade him other- 
wise. It is easier to dye that soid into black, which is of a sad colour already, 
than to make such a one take the lightsome tincture of joy and comfort. 

Quest. But how shall I answer this subtile enemy, when he thus pei-plexeth 
my spirit, with not being humbled enough for sin, &c. ? 

yiiisw. I answer as to the former ; Laboiu- to spy the fallacy of his argument, 
and his mouth is soon stopped. 

First, Satan argues thus : There ought to be a proportion between sin and 
sorrow ; but there is no proportion between thy sins and thy sorrow ; therefore 
thou art not humbled enough. What a plausible argument is here at first 
blush ! For the major, that there ought to be a proportion between sin and 
sorrow, this Satan will show you Scripture for. Manasseh was a great sinner, 
and an ordinaiy sorrow will not serve his turn ; ' he humbled himself greatly 
before the Lord,' 1 Chron. iii. 12. No, saith Satan, weigh thy sin in the ba- 
lance with thy sorrow ; art thou as great a mourner as thou hast been a sinner .' 
So many years thou hast waged war against the Almighty, making havoc 
of his laws, loading his patience till it groaned again, raking in the sides of 
Christ with thy bloody dagger, while thou didst grieve his Spirit, and reject his 
grace ; and dost think a little remorse, like a rolling cloud, letting fall a few 
drops of sorrow, will now be accepted ? No, thou must steejj in sorrow, as thou 
hast soaked in sin. Now, to show you the fallacy, we must distinguish of a 
two-fold proportion of sorrow. 

1st, An exact proportion of sorrow to the inherent nature and demerit of sin. 

2ndly, There is a projiortion to the law and ride of the gospel. Now the 
first is not a thing feasible, because the injmy done in the least sin is infinite, 
because done to an infinite God ; and if it could be feasible, yet according to 
the tenour of the first covenant, it would not be acceptable ; because it had no 
claiise to give any hope for an after-game by i-epentance ; but the other, which 
is a gospel sorrow, this is indeed repentance unto life, Acts v. 31 ; Zech. xii. 
10, (both given by the spirit of the gospel, and to be tried by the rule of the 
gospel.) This is given for thy relief. As you see sometimes in the highway, 
where the waters are too deep for travellers, you have a foot-bridge or causey, 
by which they may escape the flood, and safely pass on ; so that none but such 
as have not eyes, or are drunk, will venture to go through the waters, when 
they may avoid the danger. Thou art a dead man, if thou think to answer thy 
sin with proportionable sorrow ; thou wilt soon be above thy depth, and drown 
thyself with thy own tears, but never get over the least sin thou conunittest; 


go not Oil, tlicreforo, as thou lovest thyself, hut tiu-n aside to this gospel-path, 
and thou escapest the danger. O you tempted soids, when Satan saith you are 
not hunihled enough, see where you may he relieved: ' I am a Roman,' saith 
Paul, ' I appeal to Ctesar.' I am a Christian, say, I appeal to Christ's law. And 
what is the law of the gospel concerning this ? Heart-sorrow is gospel-sorrow ; 
' They were pricked in their heart,' Acts i. 37. And Peter, like an honest 
siu-geon, will not keep these hleeding patients longer in pain with their 
wounds open, but presently claps on the healing plaster of the gospel ; 
' Believe in tlie Lord Jesus.' Now a prick to the heart is more than a wound 
to the conscience. The heart is the seat of life. Sin woimded, there lies a dying. 
To do anything from the heart, makes it acceptable, Eph. vi. 6 ; 2 Cor. v. 11. 
Now, poor soul, hadst thou sat thus long in the devil's stocks, if thou hadst 
understood this aright .' Doth thy heart clear or condemn thee, when in secret 
thou art bemoaning thy sin before God ? If thy lieart be false, I cannot help 
von ; no, not the gospel itself; but if sincere, thou hast boldness with God, 
'l John iii. 21. 

A second argument Satan useth, is this : He whose sorrow falls short of 
theirs that never truly repented, he is not humble enough. But, soul, thy 
sorrow falls short of some, that never truly repented ; Ergo. Well, the first 
proposition is true, but how will Satan prove his minor? Thus, Ahab, he took 
on for his sin, and went in sackcloth. Judas, he made bitter complaint. O 
(saith Satan) didst thou not know such a one that lay under terror of con- 
science, walking in a sad moui-nful condition so many months, and eveiy one 
took him for the greatest convert in the country ; and yet he at last fell foully 
and proved an apostate ; but thou never didst feel such smart, pass so many 
weary nights and days in mouining and bitter lamentation as he hath done, 
therefore thou fallcst short of one that fell short of repentance. And truly this is 
a sad stumbling-block to a soul in an hour of temptation. Like a ship sunk in the 
mouth of the harbour, which is more dangerous to others than if it had perished 
in the open sea. There is less scandal by the sins of the wicked, who sink, as 
it were, in the broad sea of profaneness, than in those who are convinced of 
sin, troubled in conscience, and miscarry so near the hai'bour, within sip-ht, 
as it were, of saving grace. Tempted souls can hardly get over these without 
dashing. Am I better than such a one that proved naught at last ? Now to 
help tliee a little to find out the fallacy of this argument, we must distinguish 
between the terrors that accompany sorrow, and the intrinsical nature of this 
grace. The first, which are accessory, may be separated from the other, as the 
raging of the sea, which is caused by the wind, from the swell of the sea, when 
the wind is down. From this distinction take two conclusions. 

First, One may fall short of a hypocrite in the terrors that sometimes ac- 
company sorrow, and yet have the truth of this grace, which the other with all 
his terrors wants. Christians run into many mistakes, by judging rather 
according to that which is accessory, than that which is essential to the nature 
of duties and graces. Sometimes thou hearest one pray with a moving expres- 
sion, whilst thou canst hardly get out a few broken words in duty, and thou art 
ready to accuse thyself and to admire him ; as if the gilt of the key made it 
open the door the better ; thou seest another abound with joy which thou 
wantest, and art ready to conclude his grace more, and thine less, whereas thou 
mayest have more real grace, only thou wantest a light to show thee whci-e it 
lies. Take heed of judging by accessories ; pei'haps thou hast not heard so 
much of the rattling of the chains of hell, nor in thy conscience the outcries of 
the damned, to make thy flesh tremble ; but hast thou not seen that in a bleed- 
ing Christ, which hath made thy heart melt and mourn, yea, loathe and hate thy 
lusts more than the devil himself.' Truly, Christian, it is strange to hear a 
patient complain of the physician, (when he finds his physic work eff'ectually, 
to the evacuating of his distempered humours, and the restoring his health,) 
merely because he was not so sick as some others with the working of it : soul, 
thou hast more reason to be blessing God that the convictions of the Spirit 
wrought so kindly on thee, to effect that in thee, without those terrors, which 
have cost others so dear. 

Secondly, This is so weak an argument, that contrariwise the more the 


terrors are, the less the sorrow is for sin while they remain : these are indeed 
preparatory sometimes to sorrow ; they go before this grace, as austere John 
before meek Jesus. But as John went down, Christ went up, when his increase 
was John's decrease ; so as truly godly sorrow goes up, these terrors go down. 
As the wind gathers the clouds, but those clouds seldom melt into a set rain, 
until the wind falls that gathered them ; so these terrors raise the clouds of our 
sins in our consciences, but when these sins melt into godly sorrow, this lays 
the storm presently ; indeed as the loud winds do blow away the rain, so these 
terrors do keep off the soul from this gospel sorrow. While the creatiire is 
making an outcry, It is damned, it is damned, — it is taken iip so much with the 
fear of hell, that sin as sin (which is the proper object of godly sorrow) is little 
looked on or movu-ned for. A murderer condemned to die is so possessed with 
the fear of death, and thought of the gallows, that there lies the slain body (it 
may be) before him, unlamented by him ; but when his pardon is brought, then 
he can bestow his tears freel}^ on his murdered friend ; ' They shall look on him 
whom they have pierced, and mourn.' Faith is the eye; this eye, beholding its 
sin piercing Christ, and Christ pardoning its sin, affects the heart, the heart 
affected, sighs ; these inward clouds melt and run from the eye of faith in tears ; 
and all this is done when there is no tempest of terror upon the spirit, but a 
sweet serenity of love and peace : and therefore, Christian, see how Satan 
abuseth thee, when he would persuade thee thou art not humbled enough, 
because thy sorrow is not attended v/ith these illegal teri'ors. 


a brief application of the second branch of the point, viz. of 
Satan's subtilty as a troubler and accuser for sin. 

Use 1. Is Satan so subtile to trouble the saints' peace ? This proves them to 
be the children of Satan, who shew the same art and subtilty, in vexing the 
spirit of the saints, as doth their infernal father ; not to speak of bloody perse- 
cutors, who are the devil's slaughter-slaves to butcher the saints ; but of those 
who more slily trouble and molest the saints' peace. 

First, Such as rake up the saints' old sins, which God hath forgiven and 
forgotten, merely to grieve their spirits and bespatter their names, these shew 
their devilish malice indeed ; who can take such pains to travel many years 
back, that they may find a handful of dirt to throw on the saint's face. Thus 
Shimei twitted David ; ' Come out, thou bloody man,' 1 Sam. i. 6, 7. When you 
that fear God meet with such reproaches, answer them as Beza did the Papists, 
who for want of other matter, charged him for some wanton poems, penned by 
him in his youth ; Hi homunciones mmdent mihi gratiam Dei, These men, 
said he, grudge me the pardoning mercy of God. 

Secondly, Such as watch for the saints' halting, and catch at every infirmity 
to make them odious and themselves merry. It is a dreadful curse such bring 
upon themselves, (though they little think of it,) no less than Amalek's, the 
remembrance of whose name God threatened ' to blot from under heaven.' 
Why 1 What had Amalek done to deserve this? They ' smote the hindermost, 
those that were feeble,' Deut. xxv. 19, and could not march with the rest. 
And was it so great a cruelty to do this ? Much more to smite with the edge 
of a mocking tongue the feeble in grace. 

Thirdly, Such who father their sins upon the saints ; thus Ahab calls the 
prophet ' the troubler of Israel,' when it was himself and his father's house. 
What a grief was it, think you, to Moses's spirit, for the Israelites to lay the 
blood of those that died in the wilderness at his door ! Whereas, God knows, 
he was their constant bail, when at any time God's hand was up to destroy 
them. And this is the charge which the best of God's servants in this crooked 
genei-ation of ours lie under. We may thank them, say the profane, for all our 
late miseries in the nation ; we were well enough till they would reform us. O 
for shame ! blame not the good physic that was administered, but the corrupt 
body of the nation that could not bear it. 

Fourthly, Such as will themselves sin, merely to trouble the saints' spirit ; 
thus Rabshakeh blasphemed, and when desired to speak in another language, he 


goes on the more to grieve them. Sometimes you sliall have a profane wretch, 
(knowing one to be conscientious, and cannot brook to hear the name of God 
taken in vain, or the ways of God flouted,) who will on purpose fall upon such dis- 
course as shall grate his chaste ears, and trouble his gracious spirit ; such a one 
strikes father and child at one blow ; thinks it not enough to dishonour God, 
except the saint stands by to see and hear the wrong done to his heavenly 

Use 2. Secondly, This may afford matter of admiration and thankfulness to 
any of you, O ye saints, who are not at this day under Satan's hatches. Is he 
so subtile to disquiet; and hast thou any peace in thy conscience? To whom 
art thou beholden for that serenity that is in thy spirit? To none but thy God, 
under whose wing thou sittest so warm and safe. Is there not combustible 
matter enough in thy conscience for his sparks to kindle ? Perhaps thou hast 
not committed such bloody sins as others ; that is not the reason of thy peace ; 
for the least is big enough to damn, much moi'e to trouble thee. Thou hast not 
grossly fallen, may be, since conversion ; that is rare, if thou art of long 
standing ; yet the ghosts of thy unregenerate sins might walk in thy conscience. 
Thou hast had many testimonies of God's favour; hast thou not? Who more 
than David ? Psa. Ixxvii. Yet he is at a loss sometimes, learning to sjDell his 
evidences as if he could never have read them. The sense of God's love comes 
and goes with the present taste. He that is in the dark, while there, sees not 
the more for former light. O bless God for that light which shines in at thy 
window ; Satan is plotting to undermine thy comfort every day. This thief sees 
thy pleasant fruits as they hang, and his teeth water at them, but the wall is 
too high for him to climb ; thy God keeps this serpent out of thy paradise. It 
is not the grace of God in thee, but the favour of God, as a shield about thee, 
defends thee from the wicked one. 

Use 3. Thirdljf, Let Satan's subtilty, to molest your peace, make thee, O 
Christian, more wise and wary ; thou hast not a fool to deal with, but one 
that hath wit enough to spill thy comfort, and spoil thy joy, if not narrowly 
watched. This is the dainty bit he gapes for ; it is not harder to keep the flies 
out of your cupboards in summer, from tainting your provision, than Satan out 
of your consciences ; many a sweet meal hath he robbed the saints of, and 
sent them supperless to bed ; take heed, therefore, that he roams not thine 
away also. 


OF THE soul's PEACE. 

Quest. How shall I stand in a defensive posture, may the Christian say, against 
these wiles of Satan as a troubler? 

Section I. — Answ. First, If thou wouldest be guarded from him as a 
troubler, take heed of him as a seducer. Tliehaftof Satan's hatchet, with which 
he lies chopping at the root of the Christian's comfort, is commonly made of the 
Christian's wood. First, he tempts to sin, and then for it. Satan is but 
a creature, and cannot work without tools ; he can indeed make much of a little, 
but not anything of nothing, as we see in his assaulting of Christ, where he 
troubled himself to little purpose, because ' he came and found nothing in him,' 
John xiv. 30. Though the devil throws the stone, yet it is the mud in us that 
disturbs our comforts. It was in vain for the Philistines to fall on Samson till 
his lock was cut : take heed therefore of yielding to his enticing motions ; 
these are the stumbling-blocks, at which he hopes thou wilt bruise thy con- 
science, which, when once done, let him alone to spin out the cure. Indeed, 
a saint's flesh heals not so easily as others' : drink not of the devil's wassail, 
there is poison in the cup, his wine is a mocker ; look not on it as it sparkles 
in the temptation ; what thou drinkest down with sweetness, thou wilt be sure 
to bring up again as gall and wormwood. Above all sins, take heed of pre- 
sumptuous ones, thou art not out of the danger of such, Psa. xix. 13. Sad 
stories we have of saints' falls: and what follows? Then take him, jailor, 


paitli God, ' deliver such a one unto Satan;' and if a saint be the prisoner, 
and the devil the keeper, you may guess how he shall be used. O how he 
will tear and rend tliy conscience ! though that dreadful ordinance is not 
used, as it should be, in the church, yet God's covu-t sits, and if he excom- 
municates a soul from his presence, he falls presently into Satan's clutches. 
Well, if through his subtilty thou hast been overtaken, take heed thoii stayest 
not in the devil's quarters ; shake the viper off thy hand, haste thee to thy 
surgeon ; green wounds cure best, but if thou neglectest, and the wind get to 
it, thy conscience will soon fester. Ahab, we read, 1 Kings xxii. 35, was 
wounded in battle, and was loth to yield to it : it is said, ' he was held up in his 
chariot,' but he died for it: when a soiil hath received a wound, committed a 
sin, Satan labours to bolster him up with flattering hopes, holds him up, as it 
were, in the chariot against God ; what, yield for this ? afraid for a little 
scratch, and lose the spoil of thy future pleasure for this ? O take heed of 
listening to such counsel ; the sooner thou yieldest, the fairer quarter thou shalt 
have. Every step in this way sets thee further from thy peace. A rent 
garment is catched by every nail, and the rent made wider. Renew therefore 
thy repentance speedily, whereby this breach may be made up, and worse pre- 
vented, which else will befall thee. 

Section II. — Secondly, Study that grand gospel-truth of a soul's justification 
befoi'e God; acquaint thyself with this in all its causes; the moving cause, the 
free mercy of God, being justified freely by his grace, Rom. iii. 24 ; the merit- 
orious, which is the blood of Christ ; and the instrumental, faith, with all the 
sweet privileges that flow from it. An effectual door once opened to let the 
soul into this truth, would not only spoil the pope's market, as Gardner said, but 
the devil's also; when Satan comes to disquiet the Christian's peace, for want of 
a right understanding here, he is soon worsted by his enemy ; as the silly hare 
which might escape the dogs in some covert or bun'ow that is at hand, but, 
trusting to her heels, is by the print of her own feet and scent, which she leaves 
behind, followed, till at last, weary and spent, she falls into the mouth of them. 
In all that a Christian doth there is a print of sinful infirmity, and a scent by 
which Satan is enabled to trace and pursue him over hedge and ditch ; this 
grace and that duty, till the soul, not able to stand before the accusation of 
Satan, is I'eady to fall down in despair at his feet; whereas here is a hiding- 
place, whither the enemy diu'st not come, the clefts of the rock, the hole of the 
stairs, which this truth leads unto. When Satan chai-geth thee for a sinner, 
perhaps thou interposest thy repentance and reformation, but soon art beaten 
out of those works, when thou art shewn the sinful mixtures that are in them ; 
whereas this ti-uth will choke all his bullets, that thou believest on him who 
hath said, ' Not unto him that worketh, but to him that believeth on him that 
justifieth the ungodly, his faith is imputed for righteousness,' Rom. iv. 5. Get, 
therefore, into this tower of the gospel covenant, and roll this truth, as she that 
stone on the head of Abimelech, on the head of Satan. 

Section III. — Thirdly, Be sure. Christian, thou keepest thy plains. Take 
heed that Satan coop thee not up in some straits, where thou canst neither 
well fight nor fly. Such a trap the Egyptians hoped they had the Israelites in 
when they cried, ' They are entangled, they are entangled.' There are three 
kinds of straits where he labours to entrap the Christian ; nice questions, 
obscure scriptures, and dark providences. 

First, He labours to puzzle him with nice and scrupulous questions, on pur- 
pose to retard the work, and clog him in his motion, that, meeting with such 
intricacies in his Christian course, which he cannot easily resolve, thereby he 
may be made either to give over, or go on heavily ; therefore we have particular 
charge not to trouble the weak heads of young converts with ' doubtful dispu- 
tations,' Rom. xiv. 1. Sometimes Satan will be asking the soul how it knows 
its election ; and where he finds one not so fully resolved as to dare to own the 
same, he frames his argument against such a one's closing with Christ and the 
promise ; as if it were presumption to assume that (which is the only portion of 
the elect) before we know ourselves of that number. Now, Christian, keep the 
plains, and thou art safe. It is plain we are not to make election a ground for 
our faith, but our faith and calling a medium or argument to prove our election. 


Election indeed is first in order of divine acting, — God chooseth before we 
believe ; yet faith is first in our acting, — we must believe before we can know 
we be elected ; j^ea, by believing we know it. The husbandman knows it is 
spring by the sprouting of the grass, though he hath no astrology to know the 
position of the heavens ; thou niayest know thou art elect, as surely by a work 
of grace in thee, as if thou hadst stood by God's elbow when he writ thy name 
in the book of life. It had been presumption for David to have thought he 
should have been king, till Samuel anointed him ; but then none at all : when 
thou believest first, and closest with Christ, then is the Spiiit of God sent to 
anoint thee to the kingdom of heaven ; this is that holy oil which is poured 
upon none but heirs of glory ; and it is no prcsiunption to read what God's 
gracious purpose was towards thee of old, when he prints those his thoughts, 
and makes them legible in thy effectual calling ; here thou dost not go up to 
heaven, and pry into God's secrets, but heaven comes down to thee, and 
reveals them. Again, he will ask the Christian what was the time of his 
conversion ; art thou a Christian, will he say, and dost thou not know wlien 
thou conuuenccdst ? Now keep the plains, and content thyself with this, that 
thou seest the streams of grace, though the time of thy conversion be like 'the 
head of Nilus, not to be found. God oft comes betimes, before gross sins have 
defloured the soul, and steals into the creature's bosom without much noise. In 
such a case Satan doth but abuse thee, when he sends thee on his errand : you 
may know the sun is up, though you did not observe when it rose. Again, 
what will become of thee, saith Satan, if God should bring thee into such an 
aflBiction or trial, when thou must burn or turn, or when all thy outward estate 
shall be rent from thee, no meal in the barrel, or money in the purse ? darest 
thou have so good an opinion of thyself, as to think that thy faith will hold out 
in such an hour of temptation? If thou hast but half an eye. Christian, thou 
mayest see what Satan drives at; this is an ensnaring question ; by the fear of 
future troubles he labours to bring thee into a neglect of thy present duty, and 
indispose thee also for such a state, whenever it falls. If a man hath much 
business to do on the morrow, it is his wisdom to discharge his mind thereof, 
when composing to sleep, lest the thoughts thereof break his rest, and make 
him the more unfit in the morning. The less rest the soul hath in God and his 
promise concerning future events, the less strength it will find to bear them 
when the pinch comes. When, therefore, thou art molested with such fears, 
pacify thy heart with these three plain conclusions : 

First, Every event is the product of God's providence ; not a sparrow, much 
less a saint, falls to the ground by poverty, sickness, persecution, &c., but the 
hand of God is in it. 

Secondly, God hath put in a caution, ' he will never leave thee, nor forsake 
thee,' Heb. xiii. 5. He that enables thee in one condition will in another. God 
learns his servants their whole trade. Grace is an universal principle. At the 
first moment of thy spiritual life, sufi'ering grace was infused as well as praying 

Thirdly, God is wise to conceal the succours he intends in the .several changes 
of thy life, that so he may draw thy heart into an entire dependence on his 
faithful promise. Thus, to try the metal of Abraham's faith, he let him go on 
till his hand was stretched forth, and then he comes to his rescue. Christ 
sends his disciples to sea, but stays behind himself, on a design to tiy their 
faith, and shew his love. Comfort thyself, therefore, with this , though thou 
seest not thy God in the way, yet thou shalt find him in the end. 

Secondly, Satan perplexes the tender consciences of doubting Christians with 
obscure scriptures, whose sense lies too deep for their weak and distempered 
judgments readily to find out, and with these he hampers poor souls exceedingly ; 
indeed, as melancholy men delight in melancholy walks, so doubting souls most 
frequent such places of Scripture in their musing thoughts, as increase their 
doubts ; how many have I known that have looked so long on those difficult 
places, Heb. vi. 7, and x. 26, which pass the understanding as a swift stream the 
eye, so that the sense is not perceived without great observation, till their heads 
have turned round, and they at last, not able to untie the difficulties, have fallen 
down into despairing thouglits and words of their own condition, crying out, 


they liave siimed against knowledge of the truth, and therefore no mercy- 
remains for them ! who, if they woukl have refreshed their understandings by 
looking off these places, whose engraving is too curious to be long pored on by 
a weak eye, they might have found that in other scriptures plainly expressed, 
which would have enabled them, as through a glass, more safely to have viewed 
these. Therefore, Christian, keep the plains ; thou mayest be sure it is thine 
enemy that gives thee such stones to break thy teeth, when thy condition calls 
rather for bread and wine, such scriptiu'es, I mean, as are most apt to nourish 
thy faith, and cheer thy drooping spirit. When thou meetest such plain scrip- 
tures which speak to thy case, go over where it is fordable, and do not venture 
beyond thy depth. Art thou afraid because thou hast sinned since the know- 
ledge of the truth, and therefore no sacrifice remains for thee ? See David and 
Peter's case, how it patterns thine, and left upon record that their recovery may 
be a key in thine hand to open such places as these ; mayest thou not safely con- 
clude from these, this is not their meaning, that none can be saved that sin 
after knowledge ? Indeed, in both these places, it is neither meant of the falls of 
such as ever had true grace, nor of a falling away in some particular acts of 
sin, but of a total universal falling away fi'om the faith, (the doctrine of it 
as well as seeming practice of it.) Now, if the i"oot of the matter were ever 
in thee, other scriptures will first comfort thee against those particular apostasies 
into v/hich thou hast relapsed, by sweet promises inviting such to retiu-n, and 
precedents of saints, who have had peace spoken to them after such folly, and 
also they will satisfy thee against the other, by giving full security to thy faith, 
that thy little grace shall not die, being immortal, though not in its proper 
essence, because a creatiire, yet by covenant, as it is a child of promise. 

Thii-dly, Dark providences. From these Satan disputes against God's love 
to, and grace in a soul. First, he got a commission to phmder Job of his 
temporal estate, and bereave him of his children, and then labours to make 
him question his spiritual estate and sonship : his wife would have him entertain 
hard thoughts of God, saying, 'Curse God and die;' and his friends as hard 
thoughts of himself, as if he were an hypocrite, and both upon the same 
mistake, as if such an afflicted condition and a gracious state were inconsistent. 
Now, Christian, keep the plains, and neither from this charge God foolishly 
for thine enemy, nor thyself as his ; read the saddest providence with the 
comment of the word, and thou canst not make such a harsh interpretation. 
As God can make a straight line with a crooked stick ; be righteous when he 
useth wicked instrinnents ; so also gracious when he dispenseth harsh pro- 
vidences. Joseph kept his love, when he spake roughly to his brethren. 

1 do not wonder that the wicked think they have God's blessings, because they 
are in the warm sun : alas ! they are strangers to God's counsels, void of his 
spirit, and sensual, judging of God and his providence by the report present 
feeling makes of them ; like little children, who think every one loves thejn 
that gives them plums. But it is strange that a saint shoidd be at a loss for 
his afflicted state, when he hath a key to decipher God's character: Christian, 
hath not God secretly instructed thee by his Spirit from the word, how to read 
the short-hand of his providence ? Dost not thou know that the saints' 
afflictions stand for blessings ? 'Every son whom he loves he corrects;' and 
prosperity in a wicked state, must it not be read a curse ? Doth not God damn 
such to be rich, honourable, victorious in this world, as well as to be tormented 
in another world ? God gives them more of these than they seem to desire 
sometimes, and all to bind them faster up in a deep sleep of security, as Jael 
served Siscra, Judg. v. 25 ; he shall have milk, though he asked but water, that 
she might nail him the sru'er to the ground ; milk having a property, as some 
write, to incline to sleep. 

Section IV. — Fourthly, Be careful to keep thy old receipts which thou hast 
from God for the pardon of thy sins. There are some gaudy days and jubilee- 
like festivals, when God comes forth clothed with the robes of his mercy, and 
holds forth the sceptre of his grace more familiarly to his children than ordi- 
nary, bearing witness to their faith, sincerity, &c., and then the firmament is 
clear, not a cloud to be seen to darken the Christian's comfort. Love and joy 
are the soul's repast and pastime, while this feast lasts. Now when God with- 


draws, and this cheer is taken off, Satan's work is, how lie may deface and wear 
off the remembrance of this testimony, wliich the soul so trimnphs in for its 
spiritual standing, that he may not ha\T it as an evidence when he shall bring 
about the suit again, and put the soul to produce his writings for his spiritual 
state, or renounce his claim. It behoves thee, therefore, to lay them up safely : 
such a testimony may serve to Uion-suit thy accuser many years hence : one 
affirmative from God's mouth for thy pardoned state carries more weight, 
though of old date, than a thousand negatives from Satan's. ' David's songs 
of old ' spring in with a light to his soul in his midnight sorrows. 

Quest. But what counsel would you give me, saith the distressed sold, who 
cannot fasten on my former comforts, nor dare to avouch those evidences, which 
once I thought true ? I find indeed there have been some treaties of old be- 
tween God and my soul ; some hopes I have had, but these are now so defaced 
and interlined with backslidings, repentances and falls again, that now I 
question all my evidences, whether true or counterfeit : what shall one in this 
case do? 

Ans. First, Renew thy repentance, as if thou hadst never repented. Put forth 
fresh acts of faith, as if thou hadst never believed. This, seriously done, will stop 
Satan's mouth with an unexpected answer. Let him object against thy foniier 
actings as hypocritical, what can he say against thy present repenting and be- 
lieving, which, if true, sets thee bej'ond his shot? It will be harder for Satan to 
disprove the present workings of God's gracious Spirit, whilst the impressions 
thereof are fresh, than to pick a hole in thy old deeds and evidences. Acts are 
transient ; and as wicked men look at sins committed many years since, as little 
or none, by reason of that breadth of time which interposeth, so the Christian 
upon the same account stands at great disadvantage, to take the true aspect of 
those acts of grace which so long ago passed between God and him, though 
sometimes even these are of great use. As God can make a sinner possess the 
sins of his youth, as if they were newly acted, to his terror in his old age, so 
God can present the comforts and evidences which of old the saint received, 
with those very thoughts he had then of them, as if they were fresh and new. 

And therefore. Secondly, If he haunts thee with fears of thy spiritual estate, 
ply thee to the throne of gi-ace, and beg a new copy of thy old evidence, which 
thou hast lost. The original is in the pardon office in heaven, whereof Christ 
is master; if thou art a saint, thy name is upon record in that court; make thy 
moan to God, hear what news from heaven, rather than listen to the tales 
which are brought by thine enemy from hell. Did such reason less with Satan, 
and pray over their fears more to God, they might sooner be resolved. Can 
you expect truth from a liar, and comfort from an enemy ? Did he ever pro- 
phesy well of believers ? Was not Job the devil's hypocrite, whom God vouched 
for a nonsuch in holiness, and proved him so at last? If he knew that thou 
wert a saint, would he tell thee so? If an hypocrite, he would be as loth thou 
shouldst know it ; turn thy back therefore on him, and go to thy God: fear not, 
but sooner or later he will give his hand again to thy certificate. But look thou 
dost not pass rashly a censure on thyself, because a satisfactory answer is not 
presently sent at thy desire ; the messenger may stay long, and bring good 
news at last. 

Thirdly, Shun battle with thine enemy till thou art in a fitter posture ; and 
that thou mayest draw into thy trenches, and make an honourable retreat into 
those fastnesses and strengths, which Chi-ist hath provided for his sick and 
wounded soldiers. Now there are two places of advantage into which deserted 
souls may retire ; the name of God, and the absolute promises of the gospel ; 
these I may call the fair havens, which are then chiefly of use when the storm 
is so great, that the ship cannot live at sea. O, saith Satan, dost thou hope to 
see God? None but the pure in heart shall be blest with tliat vision. Thinkest 
thou to have comfort? That is the jjortion of the mourners in spirit. Now, soul, 
though thou canst not say, in the hurry of temptation, thou art the pure and the 
mourner in spirit, yet then say thou believest God is able to work these in thee, 
yea, hath promised such a mercy to poor sinners ; it is his covenant, (he will 
give a new heart, a clean heart, a soft heart,) and there I wait, knowing, as 
there was nothing in the creature to move the great God to make such promises, 

F 2 


fco there can be nothing in the creature to hinder the Ahnighty his performance 
of them, where and wlien he pleaseth. This act of faith, accompanied with a 
longing desire after that grace tliou canst not yet find, and an attendance on 
the means, though it will not fully satisfy all thy doubts, may be, yet will keep 
thy head above water, that thou despairest not ; and such a shore thou needest 
in this case, or the house falls. 

Fourthly, If yet Satan dogs thee, call in help, and keep not the devil's covmsel. 
The very strength of some temptations lies in the concealing of them, and the 
very revealing of them to some faithful friend, (like the opening and pricking of 
an iniposthume,) gives the soul present ease. Satan knows this too well; and 
therefore, as some thieves, when they come to rob an house, either gag them in 
it, or hold a pistol to their breast, frighting them with death, if they cry or 
speak : thus Satan, that he may the more freely rifle the soul of its peace 
and comfort, overawes it so, that it dares not disclose its temptation. O, saith 
Satan, if thy brethren or friends know such a thing by thee, they will cast thee 
off", others v^fill hoot at thee. Thus many a poor soul hath been kept long in its 
pangs by biting them in ; thou losest. Christian, a double help by keeping the 
devil's secret, the counsel and prayers of thy fellow-brethren; and what an 
invaluable loss is this ! 



that creatures so overmatched, should be able to stand against 
Satan's wiles. 

The second branch of the apostle's argument follows, to excite them the 
more vigorously to their arms, and that is from the possibility, yea, certainty of 
standing against this subtle enemy, if thus armed, ' That ye may be able to 
stand against the wiles of the devil.' So that this gives the apostle's argument 
its due temperament; for he meant not to scare them into a cowardly flight, or 
sullen despair of victory, when he tells them their enemy is so subtle and politic ; 
but to excite them to a vigorous resistance, from the assured hope of strength to 
stand in battle, and victoriously after it; which two I conceive are compre- 
hended in that phrase, standing against the wiles of Satan. Sometimes ' to 
stand' implies a fighting posture; so verse 14. Sometimes a conquering pos- 
ture. Job xix. 25 : ' I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at 
the latter day upon the earth.' That earth, which was the field where all the 
bloody battles were fought between him and Satan, on it shall he stand, when 
not an enemy shall dare to shew his head. So that taking both these in, the 
observation is, 

Doct. Satan with all his wits and wiles shall never vanquish a soul armed 
with true grace ; nay, he that hath this armour of God on, shall vanquish him. 
Look into the word, you shall not find a saint but hath been in the list with him, 
sifted and winnowed more or less by this enemy, yet at last' we find them all 
coming oflTwith an honourable victory; as in David, Job, Peter, Paul, who were 
the hardest put to it of any upon record ; and lest some should attribute their 
victory to the strength of their inherent grace, above other of their weaker 
brethren, you have the glory of victories appropriated to God, in whom the 
weak are as strong as the strongest, 2 Cor. xii. 9; Jam. v. 21. We shall give 
a double reason of this truth, why the Christian, who seems to be so over- 
matched, is yet so unconquerable. 

Reas. 1. Fii-st, the curse that lies upon Satan and his cause. God's curse 
blasts wherever it comes. The Canaanites with their neighbour-nations were 
' bread for Israel,' though people famous for war ; and why ? — they were cursed 
nations. The Egyptians a politic people; ' Let us deal wisely,' say they; yet 
being cursed of God, this lay like a thorn at their heart, and" was at las't their 
ruin ; yea, let the Israelites themselves, (who carry the badge of God's covenant 
on their flesh,) by their sins once become the people of God's curse, and they 
are trampled like dirt under the Assyrian's foot. This made Balak beg so hard 
for a curse upon Israel. Now there is an iri-evocable curse cleaves to Satan 
from Isa. x. ^ ; Gen. iii. 14, 1.5 : ' And the Lord said to the serpent, Because thou 


hast- done this, thou art cursed,' &c., which place, though partly meant of the 
literal serpent, yet chiefly of the devil and the wicked, (his spiritual serpentine 
brood,) as appears by the enmity pronounced against the serpent's seed and the 
woman's, which clearly holds forth the feud between Christ with his seed, against 
the devil and his. Now there are two things in that curse which may conifort 
the saints. First, the curse prostrates Satan under their feet : ' Upon thy belly 
shalt thou go,' which is no more than is elsewliere promised, that God * will 
subdue Satan imder our feet.' Now this prostrate condition of Satan assures 
believers that the devil shall never lift his head (that is, his wily policy) higher 
than the saint's heel. He may make thee limp, but not bereave thee of thy 
life; and this bruise which he gives thee shall be rewarded with the ' breaking' 
of his ' own head,' that is, the utter ruin of him and his cause. Secondly, his 
food is here limited and appointed. Satan shall not devour whom he will. The 
' dust ' is his food, which seems to restrain his power to the wicked, who are 
of the earth earth}', mere dust; but for those who are of a heavenly extraction, 
their graces are reserved for Christ's food, Cant. vii. 13, and their souls surely 
are not a morsel for the devil's tooth. 

The second reason is taken from the wisdom of God, who, as he undertakes 
the ordering of the Christian's way to heaven, Psa. xxxvii. 24, so especially 
this business of Satan's temptations. We find Chi'ist was not led of the evil 
spirit into the wilderness to be tempted, but of the Holy Spirit, Matt. iv. 1 . 
Satan tempts not when he will, but when God pleaseth ; and the same Holy 
Spirit which led Christ into the field, brought him off with victory. And 
therefore we find him marching in ' the power of the Spirit' (after he had re- 
pulsed Satan) into Galilee, Luke iv. 14. When Satan tempts a saint, he is but 
God's messenger, 2 Cor. xii. 7: 'There was given to me a thorn in the flesh, 
the messenger of Satan to buffet me ;' so our translation. But rather as Beza, 
who will have it in casu recto, the messenger Satan, implying tliat he was 
sent of God to Paul, and indeed the errand he came about was too good and 
gracious to be his own, ' Lest I should be exalted above measure.' The devil 
never meant to do Paul such a good office ; but God sends him to Paul, as 
David sent Uriah with letters to Joab, — neither knew the contents of their uies- 
sage. The devil and his instruments both a'-e God's instruments, therefore the 
wicked are called his sword, his axe, Psa. xvii. 13 ; Isa. x. 15 ; now lot God 
alone to wield the one, and handle the other. He is but a bungler that hurts and 
hackles his own legs with his own axe ; which God should do, if his children should 
be the worse for Satan's temptations. Let the devil choose his way, God is for 
him at every weapon. If he will tiy it by'force of arms, and assaults the saints 
by persecution, as ' the Lord of hosts' he will oppose him. If by p(ilicy and 
subtilty, he is ready there also. The devil and his whole coimcil are but fools 
to God ; nay, their wisdom foolishness. Cunning and art commend every 
thing but shi. The more artificial the watch, the picture, &c., the better; but 
the more wit and art in sin, the worse, because it is employed against an all- 
wise God, that cannot be outwitted, and therefore will in the end but pay the 
workman in greater damnation. '"The foolishness of God is wiser than man,' 
yea, than the wisdom of men and devils, that is, the means and instruments 
which God opposeth Satan withal. What weaker than a sermon ? who sillier 
than the saints in the account of the wise world? yet God is wiser in a weak 
sermon than Satan in his deep plots; (wherein he state-heads of a whole con- 
clave of profound cardinals are knocked together;) wiser in his simple ones, 
than Satan in his Ahithophels and Sanballats; and truly God chooseth on pur- 
pose to defeat the policies of hell and earth by these, that he may put such to 
greater shame, 1 Cor. i. 21. How is the great scholar ashamed to be baffled 
by a plain countryman's argument? thus Ciod calls forth Job to wrestle with 
Satan and his seconds; (for such his three friends shewed themselves in taking 
the devil's part;) and sure he is not able to hold up the cudgels against the 
fencing-master, who is beaten by one of his scholars. God sits laughing, while 
hell and ear h sit plotting, Psa. ii. 4 : 'He disappoinleth the devices of the 
crafty,' he breaketh their studied thoughts and plots, as the words import, 
Job V. 12; in one moment pulling down the labours of many years' policy. 
Indeed, as great men keep wild beasts for game and sport, (as the fox, the 


boar, &c.,) so doth God Satan and his instruments, to manifest his wisdoBi in 
the taking of them. It is observed, that the very hunting of some beasts affords 
not only pleasure to the hunter, but also more sweetness to the eater. Indeed 
God, by displaying of his wisdom in the pursuit of his saints' enemies, doth 
superadd a sweet relish to their deliverances at last. * He brake the heads of 
the Leviathan in pieces, and gave him to be meat to his people.' After he had 
hunted Pharaoh out of all his forms and burrows, now he breaks the very 
brains of all his plots, and serves him up to his people with the garnishment of 
his wisdom and power about. 



Quest. ' But how doth God defeat Satan, and outwit his wiles in tempting 
his saints?' 

Answ. This God doth by accomplishing his own gracious ends for the good 
and comfort of his people, out of those temptations from whicli Satan designs 
their ruin : this is the noblest kind of conquest, to beat back the devil's weapon 
to the wounding of his own head, yea, to cut it off with the devil's own sword ; 
thus God sets the devil to catch the devil, and lays, as it were, his own counsels 
under Satan's wings, and makes him hatch them. Thus the patriarchs helped 
to fulfil Joseph's dream, while they are thinking to rid their hands of him. 
To instance in a few particulai's. 

Section I. — First, Satan by his temptations aims at the defiling of the Chris- 
tian's conscience, and disfiguring that beautiful face of God's image, which is 
engraven with holiness in the Christian's bosom; he is an unclean spirit him- 
self, and would have them such, that he might glory in their shame ; but God 
outwits him, for he turneth the temptations of Satan to sin, to the purging them 
from sin ; they are the black soap with which God washeth his saints white. 

First, God useth the temptations of Satan to one sin, as a preventive against 
another; so ' Paul's thorn in the flesh,' to prevent his pride. God sends Satan 
to assault Paul on that side where he is strong, that in the mean time he may 
fortify him where he is weak. Thus Satan is befooled ; as sometimes we see an 
army sitting down before a town, where it wastes its strength to no purpose ; 
and in the mean time gives the enemj' an advantage to recruit, and all this by 
the counsel of some Hushai, that is a secret friend to the contrary side. God, 
who is the saint's true friend, sits in the devil's counsel, and overrules proceed- 
ings there to the saint's advantage ; he suffers the devil to annoy the Christian 
with temptations to blasphemy, atheism; and by these, together with the trou- 
bles of spirit they produce, the soul is driven to duty, is humbled in the sense 
of these horrid apparitions in its imagination, and secured from abundance of 
formality and pride, which otherwise God saw invading him. As in a family, 
some business falls out which keeps the master up later than oi'dinary, and by 
this the thief, who that night intended to rob him, is disappointed ; had not 
such a soul had his spirit of prayer and diligence kept awake by those afflicting 
temptations, it is likely Satan might have come as a seducer, and taken him 
napjiing in secui-ity. 

Secondly, God purgeth out the very sin Satan tempts to, even by his tempt- 
ing. Peter never had such a conquest over his self-confidence, never such 
an establishment of his faith, as after his foul fall in the high priest's hall. 
He that was so well persuaded of himself before, as to say. Though all were 
offended with Christ, yet would not he ; how modest and humble was he in a 
few days become, when he durst not say he loved Chi-ist more than his fellow- 
brethren, to whom before he had preferred himself? What an imdaunted 
confessor of Christ and his gospel doth he prove before councils and rulers, 
who even now was dashed out of countenance by a silly maid ? and all this the 
product of Satan's temptation sanctified unto him. Indeed, a saint hath a 
discovery by his fall, what is the prevailing corruption in him ; so that the 


temptation doth but stir humour, which the soul, having found out, hath the 
greater advantage to evacuate, by applying those means, and using those 
ingredients which do pm-ge that malady, cum delecfu. Now the soul will 
call all out against this destroyer ; Paul had not took such pains to ' buffet his 
body,' had he not found Satan knocking at that door. 

Thirdly, God useth these temptations for the advancing of the whole work 
of grace in the heart. One spot occasions the whole garment to be washed. 
David, overcome with one sin, renews his repentance for all, Psa. li. A good 
husband, when lie secth it rain in at one place, sends for the workmen to look 
over all the house. This indeed differcnceth a sincere heart from an hypocrite, 
whose repentance is partial, soft in one plot, and hard in another. Judas cries 
out of his treason, but not a word of his thievery and hypocrisy. Tlie hole was 
no wider in his conscience than where the bullet went in ; whereas true sorrow 
for one breaks the heart into shivers for others also. 

Section II. — Secondly, Satan by tempting one saint, hath aniischiovous de- 
sign against others, either by encouraging them to sin by the example of such a 
-one, or discouraging them in their holy course by the scandal he hath given ; 
but God here befools him. 

First, Making the miscamages of such a seasonable caveat to others to look to 
their standing. Dost thou see a meek Moses provoked to anger ? What watch 
and ward hast thou need keep over thy urundy heai-t! Though loud winds do 
some hurt by blowing down here a loose tile, and there a turret, (which was 
falling before,) yet the common good surmounts the private damage of some 
few ; these being as a broom in God's hand to sweejD and cleanse the air ; so, 
though some (that are wicked) are by God's righteous judgment for the same 
hardened into further abominations by the saints' falls, yet the good which 
sincere souls receive by having their formality and security in a further degree 
purged, doth abundantly countervail the other, who are but sent a little faster 
whither they were going before. 

Secondly, God makes his saints' falls an argument for comfort to distressed 
consciences. This hath been, and is as a feather (when the passage seems so 
stopped that no comfort can be got down otherwise) to drop a little hope into the 
soul, to keep the creature alive from falling into utter despair; some have been 
revived with this when next door to hell in their own fears. David's sin was 
great, yet found mercy ; Peter fell foully, yet now in heaven. Why sittest thou 
here, O my soul, under the hatches of despair? Up, and call upon thy God 
for mercy, who hath pardoned the same to others. 

Thirdly, God hath a design in sutt'ering Satan to trounce some of his saints 
by temptation, to train them up into a fitness to succour their fellow-brethren 
in the like condition : he sends them hither to school, (where they are under 
Satan's fenila and lash,) that his cruel hand over them may make them study 
the word and their own hearts, by which they get experience of Satan's policies, 
till at last they commence masters in this art of comforting tempted souls. 
It is an art by itself, ' to speak a word in season to the weary soul : ' it is not 
serving out an apprenticeship to himian arts will furnish a man for this : great 
doctors have proved great dunces here, knowing no more how to handle a 
wounded conscience, than a rustic the surgeon's instrument in dissecting the 
body when an anatomical lecture is to be read. It is not the knowledge of the 
Scripture (though a man were as well acquainted with it as an apothecary with 
his pots and glasses in his shop, able to go directly to any promise on a sudden) 
will suffice. No, not grace itself, except exercised with these buffetings and soul- 
conflicts. Christ himself we find trained up in this school, Isa. 1.4: ' He wakeneth 
mine ear to hear as the learned.' Even as the tutor calls up his pupil to read to 
him ; and what is the lecture which is read to Christ, that he may have the 
tongue of the learned to speak a word in season to the weary soul ? see ver. 5. 
' The Lord hath opened mine ear, and I was not rebellious, neither turned I away 
my back ; I gave my back to the smiters,' &c. His sufl(?rings (which were all 
alongmingled with temptations) were the lecture from whicli Christ came out so 
learned, to resolve and comfort distressed souls. So that the de\'il had better have 
let Christ alone, yea, and his saints also, who do him but the greater disservice in 
comforting others ; none will handle poor souls so gently as those who remember 


the smart of their own heart-sorrows : none so skilful in applying the comforts of 
the word to wounded consciences, as those who have lain bleeding themselves ; 
such know the symptoms of soul-trouble, and feel others' pains in their own 
bosoms, which some that know the Scriptures (for lack of experience) do not, and 
therefore are like a novice physician, who perhaps can tell j'ou every plant in the 
herbal, yet, wanting the practical part, when a patient comes, knows not well 
how to make use of his skill. The saints' experiences help them to a sovereign 
ointment made of the scorpion's own flesh, (wliich they through Christ have 
slain,) and that hath a virtue above all other to expel the venom of Satan's 
temptations from the heart. 

Section III. — Thirdly, Satan, in tempting the saint to sin, labours to make a 
breach between God and the soul. He hates both, and therefore labours to 
divide these dear friends. If I can (thinks he) get such a one to sin, God will 
be angry, and when angry, he will whip his child soundly, this will be some sport; 
and when God is correcting the saint, he will be questioning the love of God to 
him, and cool in his love to God ; so, though I should not keep him from 
heaven at last, yet he shall have little joy in the way thither. In his case, 
God and the soul will be like a man and wife fallen out, who neither of them 
look kindly one upon another. Now see how God befools Satan in both these. 

First, God useth his saints' temptations as his method by which he advanceth - 
the communications of his love unto them. The devil thovight he had got the 
goal, when he got Adam to eat the forbidden fi'uit ; he thought now he had men 
in the same predicament with himself, as unlikely ever to see the face of God 
as those apostate spirits: but, alas! this was by God intended to usher in that 
great gospel plot of saving man by Christ, who (as soon as this prologue of 
man's fall is done) is brought upon the stage in that grand promise of the gospel 
made to Adam, and at God's command vindertakes the charge of recovering lost 
man out of Satan's clutches, and reinstating him in his primitive glory, with an 
accession of more than ever man had at first, so that the meanest lily in Christ's 
field exceeds Adam in all his native royalty. And as Satan sped in his first 
temptation, so he is still on the losing hand : what got he by all his pains upon 
Job, but to let that holy man know at last, how dearly God loved him ! When 
he foiled Peter so shamefully, do we not find Christ owning Peter with as much 
love as ever? Peter must be the only disciple to whom by name the joyful 
news of the resurrection is sent : ' Go tell my disciples and Peter ;' as if Christ 
had said. Be sure let his sad heart be comforted with this news, that he may 
know I am friends with him for all his late cowardice. 

Quest. But doth not this seem to countenance sin, and make Chi'istians 
heedless whether they fall into temptation or no? If God does thus show his 
love to his saints after their falls and foils, why should we be so shy of sin, 
which ends so well at last ? 

Answ. Two things will prevent the danger of such an inference. 
First, we must distinguish between a soul's being foiled through his own 
infirmity, and his enemies' subtilty and power over-matching him, and another, 
who through a false heart doth voluntarily prostrate himself to the lust of 
Satan ; though a general will shew little pity to a soldier that should traitorously 
throw down his arms and run to the enemy, yet if another in fighting receives 
a wound and be worsted, it will be no dishonour for him to express his pity and 
love, no, though he should send him out of the field in his own coach, lay him 
in his own bed, and appoint him his own surgeon. God doth not encourage 
wickedness in a saint, but pities weakness. Even when the saints fall into a sin 
in its nature presumptuous, they do not commit it so presumptuously as others ; 
there is a part true to God in their bosoms, though overvoted. Moses spake 
unadvisedly, but the devil had his instruments to provoke him, quite against the 
good man's temper. David numbers the people, but see how the devil dogged 
and hunted him, till at last he got the better, 1 Chron. xxi. 1 : ' Satan stood up 
and provoked David to nimiber Israel.' How bravely did Job repel Satan's 
darts! No wonder if in such a shower some one should get between the joints 
of his armour. And for Peter, we know with what a loyal heart, yea, zealous, 
he went into the field, though, when the enemy appeared, his heart failed 

ac;ai-Nst the wiles ov the devil. 73 

Secondly, Consider but the way how God communicates his love after the 
saints' fall ; not in sinning, or for sinning, but in mourning and humbling their souls 
for their sins. Indeed did God smile on them while acting sinfully, this might 
strengthen their sin, as wine in a fever would the disease ; but when the fit is off, 
the venom of the disease spent, and breathed out in a kindly humiliation, now the 
creature lies low. God's wine and comfort is a cordial to the drooping spirit, 
not fuel for sin. When David was led into temptation, first he must be clad in 
sackcloth and moiu-ning, and then God takes it off, and puts on the garment 
of joy and praise, 1 Chron. xxi. 10, 15. Job, though he expressed so much 
courage and pa'ience, yet (bewi-aying some infirmities after he was baited long 
by so many fresh dogs, men and devils) he nuist cry peccavi, and abhor himself 
in dust and ashes, before God will take him into his arms. Job xlii. 6; and the 
same way God takes with all his children. Now to his saints in such a posture, 
God may with safety, to his honour and their good, give a larger draught of his 
love than ordinary ; their fears and sorrow, which their sin hath cost them, will 
serve instead of water to dash this strong wine of joy, and take away its headi- 
ness, that it neither fume up into pride, nor occasion them to reel backward 
into apostasj'. 

Quest. But why doth God now connnunicate his love ? 

^)is. First, from his pitiful nature : ' You have heard of the patience of 
Job, and have seen the end of the Lord, that the Lord is very pitiful and of 
tender mercy.' God loves not to rake in bleeding wounds ; he knows a 
mourning soul is subject to be discouraged. A frown or angry look from God, 
whom the saint so dearly loves, must needs go near the heart, therefore God 
declares himself at hand to revive such, Isa. Ivii. 1.5 ; and he gives the reason, 
ver. 16: ' For I will not contend for ever, neither will I be always wrath, for 
the spirit should fail before me.' Whose spirit is there meant? Not of the 
presumptuous sinner ; he goes on, and never blinks ; but of the contrite and 
humble ones. As the father observes the disposition of his children ; one 
commits a fault and goes on rebelliously, despising his father's anger ; another, 
when offending, lays it to heart, refuseth to eat, gets into some corner to 
lament the displeasure of his father : the father sees it, and his bowels yearn 
towards him. Indeed, should he not put his child out of fear, by discovering 
his love, the spirit of such a one would fail ; it is not possible there should be a 
long breach between such a father, and such a son ; the one relenting over his 
sin, the other over his mourning son. 

Secondly, God doth thus, to pour the greater shame upon Satan, who is the 
great mischief-maker between God and the soul. How is the man ashamed that 
hath stirred up variance between husband and wife, father and son, to see the 
breach made up, and all set themselves against him ! It went ill on Christ's 
side, when Herod and Pilate were made friends; and can it go well with Satan 
to see all well between God and his children ? If Esther be in favour, Haman 
her enemy shall have his face covered. Indeed, this covers Satan's face with 
shame, to see a poor saint even now his prisoner, whom he had leave to rob 
and plunder, tempt and disquiet, now sitting in the sunshine of God's love, 
while he like a ravening lion takes on for the loss of his prey. 

Secondly, Satan's aim is, to weaken the saint's faith on God, and cool his 
love to God, but befooled in both ; for, First, God tin-ns their tem])tations, yea, 
their falls, to the further establishment of their faith, which, like the tree, 
stands stronger for its shaking, or like the giant Antcus, who in his wrestling 
with Hercules is feigned to get strength by every fall to the ground. False 
faith, indeed, once foiled, seldom comes on again ; but true faith rises and 
fights more valiantly, as we see in Peter and other Scripture examples. Temp- 
tation to faith is as fire to gold, 1 Pet. i. 7. The fire doth not only discover 
which is true gold, but makes the true gold more pure ; it comes out may be 
less in bulk and weight, because severed from that soil and dross which em- 
based it, but more in value and worth. When Satan is bound up, and the Chris- 
tian walks under the light of Divine favour, and encouragement of Divine 
assistance, his faith may appear great, if compared with another under the with- 
drawings of God, and buffetings of Satan ; but this is not equal judgment; as if to 
try who is biggest of two mf^n, wp should measure one naked, and the other over 


his clothes; or in comparing two pieces of gold, weigh one with the dross and dirt 
it contracts in the purse, with the other purged from these in the fire : faith 
before temptation hath much heterogeneal stuff in it, that cleaves to it, and 
goes for faith ; but when temptation comes, these are discovered. Now the 
Christian feels corruption stir, which lay as dead before ; now a cloud comes 
between the soul and the sweet face of God, the sense of which latter, and the 
little sense of the other, bore up his faith before; but these bladders pricked, he 
comes now to learn the true stroke of this heavenly art of swinnning on the 
promise, having nothing else to bear him up but that; and a little of this carries 
more of the precious nature of faith in it than all the othei', yea, is, like 
Gideon's handful of men, stronger, when all these accessaries to faith are sent 
away, than when they were present ; and here is all the devil gets ; instead of 
destroying his faith, which he aims at, he is the occasion of the refining of it, 
and thereby adding to its strength. 

Secondly, The love of tempted saints is enkindled to Christ by their tempta- 
tions, and foils in their temptations. Possibly in the fit there may seem a damp 
upon their love, as when water is first sprinkled upon the fire ; but when the 
conflict is a little over, and the Christian comes to himself, his love to Christ 
will break out like a vehement flame. First, the shame and sorrow which a 
gracious soul must needs feel in his bosom for his sinful miscarriage, while 
under the temptation, will provoke him to express his love to Christ above 
others, as is sweetly set forth in the spouse, who, when the cold fit of her 
distemper was off^, and the temptation over, bestirs her to purpose ; her lazy 
sickness was turned to love sickness ; she finds it as hard now to sit, as she did 
before to rise ; she can rest in no place out of her beloved's sight, but runs and 
asks every one she meets for him. And whence came all this vehemency of her 
zeal ? All occasioned by her undutiful carriage to her husband : she parted so 
unkindly with him, that, bethinking what slie had done, away she goes to make 
her peace. If sins committed in unregeneracy have such a force upon a 
gracious soul, that the thought of them, though pardoned, will still break and 
melt the heart into sorrow, as we see in Magdalen, and prick on to show zeal 
for God above others, as in Paul, how much more will the sins of a saint, who, 
after sweet acquaintance with Jesus Christ, lifts up the heel against that bosom 
where he hath lain, affect, yea, dissolve the heart, as into so many drops of 
water, and that sorrow provoke him to serve God at a higher rate than others .' 
No child so dutiful in all the family, as he who is retimied from his rebellion. 
Again, Secondly, As his own shame, so the experience which such a one hath 
of Christ's love above others, will increase his love. Christ's love is fuel to 
ours. Ex eisdem nutrirmir quihus coiistamus ; as it gives its being, so it affords 
growth ; it is both mother and nurse to our love. The more Christ puts forth 
his love, the more heat our love gets ; and next to Christ's dying love, none 
greater than his succouring love in temptation. The mother never hath such 
advantage to show her affection to her child, as when in distress, sick, poor, or 
imprisoned ; so neither hath Christ to his children, as when tempted, yea, 
woi-sted by temptation. When his children lie in Satan's prison, bleeding imder 
the wounds of their consciences, this is the season he takes to give an experi- 
ment of his tender heart in pitying, his faithfulness in praying for them, his 
mindfulness in sending succour to them ; yea, his dear love in visiting them by 
his comforting Spirit. Now when the soul hath got off some great temptation, 
and reads the whole history thereof together, — wherein he finds what his own 
weakness was to i-esist Satan, nay, his unfaithfulness in comj^lying with Satan, 
which might have provoked Christ to leave him to the fury of Satan, — now to 
see both his folly pardoned, and ruin graciously prevented, and that by no 
other hand but Christ's coming in to his rescue, as Abishai to David, 2 Sam. xxi. 
when that giant thought to have slain him, this must needs exceedingly endear 
Christ to the sold. At the reading of such records, the Christian cannot but 
inquire, as Ahasuerus concerning Mordecai, — who, by discovering a treason, had 
saved the king's life, — what hojiour hath been done to his sweet Saviour for all 
this? And thus Jesus Christ, whom Satan thought to bring out of the soul's 
favour and liking, comes in the end to sit higher and surer in the saint's affec- 
tion than ever. 




Use 1. This affords a reason why God suffers his dear children to fall into 
temptation, because he is able to outshoot Satan in his own bow, and, in the 
thing wherein he thinks to outwit the Christian, to be above him. God will not 
only be admired by his saints in glory for his love in their salvation, but for his 
wisdom in the way to it. The love of God in saving them will be the sweet 
draught at the marriage feast, and the rare wisdom of God in effecting this, as 
the curious workmanship with which the cup shall be enamelled. Now wisdom 
appears most in untying of knots, and wading through difficulties. The 
more cross wards there are in a business, the more wisdom to fit a key to the 
lock, to make choice of such means as shall meet with the several turnings in 
the same. On purpose, therefore, doth God suffer such temptations to intervene, 
that his wisdom may be the more admired in opening all these, and leading his 
saints that way to glory, by which Satan thought to have brought them to hell. 
The Israelites are bid ' remember all the way that God led them in the 
wilderness for fortv \ears,' Dent. viii. 2. The history of these wars. Christian, 
will be pleasant to read in heaven, though bloody to fight on earth. Moses and 
Elias talked with Christ on Tabor, (an emblem of the sweet communion which 
shall pass between Christ and his saints in glory ;) and what was their talk, Luke 
ix. 30, but of his death and sufferings ? It seems a discourse of our sufferings 
and temptations are not too low a subject for that blissful state. Indeed, this 
left out would make a blemish in the fair face of heaven's glory. Could the 
damned forget the way they went into hell, how oft the Spirit of God was 
wooing, and how far they were overcome by the conviction of it; in a word, how 
many turns and returns there were in their jom-ney forward and backward ; what 
possibilities, yea, pi'obabilities, they had for heaven, when on earth ; were but 
some hand so kind as to blot these tormenting passages out of their memories, 
it would ease them wonderfully. So, were it possible glorified saints could 
forget the way wherein they went to glory, and the several dangers that 
intervened from Satan, and their own backsliding hearts, they, and their God 
too, would be losers by it ; I mean in regard of his manifestative glory. What 
is the glory wherein God appears at Zion's deliverance — those royal garments 
of salvation that make him admired of men and angels — but the celebration of 
all his attributes, according to what every one hath done towards their salvation ? 
Now wisdom being that which the creature chiefly glories in, and chosen by 
Satan for his first bait, who made Eve believe she should be like God in 
knowledge and wisdom ; therefore God, to give Satan the more shameful fall, 
gives him leave to use his wits and wiles in tempting and troubling his children, 
in which lies his great advantage over the saints, that so the way to his own 
throne, where his wisdom shall at last, as well as his mercy, sit in all its royalty, 
may be paved with the skulls, as I may so speak, of devils. 

Secondly, This gives a strong cordial to our fainting faith, in the behalf of 
the church of Christ. If all the devil's wits and wiles will not serve him to ovei*- 
come one single soldier in Christ's camp, much less shall he ever ruin the whole 
army. These are days of great confusions in the Christian world ; and the 
chief fear of a gracious heart is for the ark, lest that should fall into the 
enemy's hand, and when this palladium is taken, the city of God (his church) 
be trod under the feet of pride. I confess Satan seems to get ground daily; he 
hath strangely wriggled into the bosoms and principles of many, who, by the 
fame of their profession and zeal, had obtained, in the opinion of others, to be 
reckoned among the chief of Christ's worthies in their generation. He hath 
sadly corrupted the tniths of Christ, brought a disesteem on ordinances, that by 
this, and as a judgment for this, the woml) of the gospel is become in a great 
measure barren, and her children, which hang about her breasts, thrive not in 
love and holiness as of old, when the milk was not so nuich nor that so spiritful ; 
he hath had advantage by the divisions of the godly, to liarden tliose that 
are wicked into a further disdain of religion, and by the bloody wars of late 
years, to boil up the wrath of the popish and profane crew to a higher 


pitch of rage and fiiry against Christ's little remnant than ever : so that 
if ever God should suffer the sword to fall into their hand, they are disciplined 
and fitted to play the bloody butchers on Christ's sheep above their forefathers ; 
neither are they so crest-fallen, but that they can hope for such a day, yea, 
take up some of those joys upon trust aforehand to solace themselves, while the 
rest follow. And now, Christian, may be their confidence, together with the 
distracted state of Christ's aff'airs in the world, may discompose thy spirit con- 
cerning the issue of these rolling providences that are over our heads ; but be 
still, poor heart, and know that the contest is not between the church and 
Satan, but between Christ and him ; these are the two champions. Stand now, 
O ye army of saints, still by faith, to see the all-wise God wrestle with the 
subtle devil. If you live not to see the period of these great confusions, yet • 
generations after you shall behold the Almighty smite off this Goliath's head 
with his own sword, and take this cunning hunter in the toil of his own policies ; 
that faith, which ascribes greatness and wisdom to God, will shrink up Satan's 
subtilty into a ^tigrum iiiliil, a thing of nothing. Increduli timent diaholum, 
cfuafsi leoneni, qui Jide fortes despichmt quasi vei-micuhim. — Bern. Unbelief fears 
Satan as a lion ; faith treads on him as a worm. Behold, therefore, thj' God at 
work, and promise thyself, that what he is about will be an excellent piece ; 
none can drive him from his work. The pilot is beaten from the helm, and can 
do little in a storm but let the ship go adrift. The architect cannot work when 
night draws the curtain, yea, is driven off the scaffold with a storm of rain ; 
such workmen are the wisest counsellors, and mightiest princes on earth. A 
pinch may come, when it is as vain to say. Help, O king, as Help, O beggar ; 
man's wisdom may be levelled with foil}', but God is never interrupted. All 
the plots of hell and commotions on earth, have not so much as shaked God's 
hand, to spoil one letter or line that he hath been drawing. The mysteriousness 
of his providence ma)' hang a curtain before his work, that we cannot see what 
he is doing ; but then ' when darkness is about him, righteousness is the seat of 
his throne for ever.' O where is our faith, sirs? let God be wise, and all men 
and devils fools. What, though thou seest a Babel more likely to go up, than 
a Babj'lon to be pulled down, yet believe God is making his secret approaches, 
and will clap his ladders on a sudden to the walls thereof. Suppose truth were 
prisoner with Joseph, and error the courtier, to have its head lift up by the 
favour of the times, yet dost not remember that the way to triith's perferment 
lies through the prison? yea, what though the church were like Jonah in the 
whale's belly, swallowed up to the eye of reason, by the fury of men ; yet dost 
not remember the whale had not power to digest the prophet ? O be not too 
quick to bury the church before she be dead. Stay while Christ tries his skill 
before you give it over ; bring Christ by your prayers to its grave, to speak a 
resurrection word. Admirable hath the saints' faith been in such straits ; as 
Joseph's, who pawned his bones that God would visit his brethren, willing them 
to lay him where he believed they should be brought. Jeremiah pvn-chaseth a 
field of his uncle, and pays down the money for it ; and this when the Chaldean 
army quartered about Jerusalem, ready to take the city, and carry him with the 
rest into Babylon ! and all this by God's appointment, Jer. xxii. 6 — 8, that he 
might show the Jews by this, how undoubtedly he, in that sad juncture of 
time, did believe the performance of the promise for their return out of capti- 
vity. Indeed God counts himself exceedingly disparaged in the thoughts of 
his people, (though at the lowest ebb of his church's affairs,) if his naked word, 
and the single bond of his promise, will not be taken as sufficient security to 
their faith for its deliverance. 

Ephes. VI. 12. 
For we wrestle not agninsf flesh and blood, hut against principalities and 

powers; against the riders of the darkness of this trorld ; against spiriinnl 

wickedness in high places. 
The words are coupled to theprecedent with that casual particle/or, which either 
refers to the two foregoing verses, and then they are a further reason, pressing 
the necessity of Christian fortitude in the tenth verse, and furniture in the 

FOR y\li ^VUEbTLE. "JY 

eleventh; orelse to the last words of the eleventh verse, where the apostle, having 
descried the saints' grand enemy to he Satan, anddescrihedhini in one of his attri- 
butes, his wily suhtilty, he in this further displays him in his proper colours, not 
to weaken the saints' hands, but waken their care, that seeing their enemy 
marching up in a full body, they might stand in better order to receive his 
charge. Where, by the way, we may observe the apostle's simplicity and plain 
dealing ; he doth not undervalue the strength of the enemy, and repiesent him 
inconsiderable, as captains use to keep (heir soldiers together by slighting the 
power of their adversary ; no, he tells them the worst at first. If Satan had 
been to set out his own power, he coidd have challenged no more than is here 
granted him. See here the difference between Christ dealing with his fol- 
lowers, and Satan with his. Satan dares not let sinners know who that God is 
they fight against; this were enough to breed a mutiny in the devil's camp. 
Silly souls, they are drawn into the field by a false report of God and his ways, 
and ai-e kept there together with lies and fair tales ; but Christ is not afraid to 
show his saints their enemy in all his power and principality, the weakness of 
God being stronger than the powers of hell. 



The words contain a lively description of a bloody and lasting war between 
the Christian and his implacable enemy ; in which we may observe. 

First, The Christian's state in this life, set out by this word ' wrestling.' 

Secondly, The assailants that appear in arms against the Christian, who are 
described ; First, Negatively, ' Not flesh and blood :' or rather comparatively, 
not chiefly flesh and blood. Secondly, Positively, ' But against principalities, 
powers,' &c. 

Section I. — For the first, the wrestling or conflicting state of a Christian 
in this life, is rendered observable here by a threefold circumstance. 

First, The kind of combat which the Christian's state is here set out by, 
which though it be used sometimes for a wrestling of sport and recreation, yet 
here to set out the sharpness of the Christian's encounter ; there are two things 
in wrestling that render it a sharper combat than others. First, Wrestling is 
not properly fighting against a nmltitude, but when one enemy singles out 
another, and enters the list with him, each exerting their whole force and strength 
against one another; as David and Goliath, when the whole armies stood as it 
were in a i-ing to behold the bloody issue of that duel. Now, this is more fierce 
than to fight in an army, where, though the battle be sharp and long, the 
soldier is not always engaged, but falls oft" when he hath discharged, and takes 
breath awhile ; yea, possibly may escape without hurt or stroke, because there 
the enemy's aim is not at this or that man, but at the whole heap ; but in 
wrestling one cannot escape so ; he being the particular object of the enemy's 
fury, must needs be shaked and tried to purpose. Indeed the word signifies 
such a strife as makes the body shake again. Satan hath not only a general 
malice against the army of saints, but a spite against thee, John, thee, Joan ; 
lie will single thee out for his enemy. We find Jacob, when alone, a man 
wrestled with. As God delights to have pi'ivate communion with his single 
saints, so the devil to try it hand to hand with the Christian, when he ge,s him 
alone. As we lose much comfort when we do not apply the promise and 
providence of God to our particular persons and conditions ; God loves me, 
pardons me; takes care of me ; the water at the town-conduit doth me no good, 
if I want a pipe to empty it into my cistern ; so it obstructs our care and 
watchfulness, when we concei\e of Satan's wrath and fury as bent in general 
against the saints, and not against me in particular. O how careful would a 
soul be in duty, if as going to church or closet, he had such a serious medita- 
tion as this, Now Satan is at my heels to hinder me in my work, if my God 
help me not! 

Secondly, It is a close combat, .\rinies fight at some distance, wrestlers 


grapple hand to hand. An arrow shot from afar may he seen and shunned, 
but when the enemy hath hold of one, there is no declining, but either he must 
resist manfully, or fall shamefully at his enemy's feet. Satan comes close up, 
and gets within the Christian, takes his hold of his very flesh and corrupt 
nature, and by this shakes him. 

Secondly, The universality of the combat. We wrestle, which comprehends 
all, on purpose you may perceive the apostle changeth the pronoun ye in the 
former verse, into we in this, that he may include himself as well as them ; 
as if he had said, the quarrel is with every saint. Satan neither fears to 
assault the minister, nor despiseth to wrestle with the meanest saint in the 
congregation ; great and small, minister and people, all must wrestle : not one 
part of Christ's anny in the field, and the other at ease in their quarters, 
where no enemy comes ; here are enemies enough to engage all at once. 

Thirdly, The permanency or duration of this combat, and that lies in the tense. 
"Not, our wrestling was at first conversion, but now over, and we passed the pikes ; 
not, we shall wrestle when sickness comes, and death comes, but our wrestling 
is; the enemy is ever in sight of us, yea, in sight with us : and there is an evil of 
every day's temptation, which, like Paul's bonds, abides us wherever we be 
come. So that these particulars summed up, will amount to this point : 

Section II. — Doct. The Christian's life is a continual v^restling. He is, as 
Jeremy said of himself, born ' a man of strife,' or what the prophet to Asa, 
maybe said to every Christian; ' From hence thou shalt have wars,' from 
thy spiritual birth to thy natural death ; from the hoiu- when thou first didst 
set thy face to heaven, till thou shalt set thy foot in heaven. Israel's march 
out of Egypt was in gospel-sense our taking the field against sin and Satan ; 
and when had they peace ? not till they lodged their colours in Canaan. No 
condition wherein the Christian is here below is quiet. Is it prosperity or 
adversity ? here is work for both hands, to keep pride and security down in the 
one, faith and patience up in the other ; no place which the Christian can call 
privileged ground. Lot, in Sodom, wrestled with the wicked inhabitants 
thereof, his ' righteous soul being vexed with their unclean conversation.' And 
how fares he at Zoar ? Do not his own daugliters bring a spark of Sodom's fire 
into his own bed, whereby he is inflamed with lust ? Some have thought, if 
they were but in such a family, under such a ministry, out of such occa- 
sions, O then they should never be tempted as now they are : I confess 
change of air is a great help to weak nature, and these forenamed as 
vantage-ground against Satan ; but thinkest thou to fly from Satan's presence 
thus? No, though thou shouldst take the wings of the morning, he would 
fly after thee: these may make him change his method in tempting, but not 
lay down his design ; so long as his old friend is alive within, he will be 
knocking at the door without. No duty can be performed without wrestling ! 
the Christian needs his sword as much as his trowel. He wrestles with a body 
of flesh ; this to the Christian in duty is as the beast to the traveller ; he cannot 
go his journey without it, and much ado to go with it. If the flesli be kept 
high and lusty, then it is wanton, and will not obey ; if low, then it is weak, 
and soon tires : thus the Christian rids but little grovmd, because he must go 
his weak body's pace. He wrestles with a body of sin as well as of flesh; this 
mutters and murmurs when the soul is takhig up any duty. Sometimes it 
keeps the Christian from duty, so that he cannot do what he would. As Paul 
said, 'I would have come once and again, but Satan hindered me.' I would 
have prayed, may the Christian say, at such a time, and meditated on the 
word I heard, the mercies I received at another, but this enemy hindered. 
It is true, indeed, grace sways the sceptre in such a soul, yet as schoolboys 
taking their time when their master is abroad, do shut him out, and for a while 
lord it in misrule, though they are whipped for it afterwards ; thus the unrege- 
nerate part takes advantage when grace is not on its watch, to disturb its 
government, and shut it out from duty ; though this last makes the soul more 
severe in mortifying, yet it costs some scuffle before it can recover its throne ; 
and when it cannot shut from duty, yet then is the Christian wofully yoked 
with it in duty ; it cannot do what it doth as it would ; many a letter in its copy 
doth this enemy spoil, while he jogs him with impertinent thoughts ; when the 


Christian is pi'aying, tlien Satan and the flesh are a prating; he cries, and they 
louder, to put him out, or drown his cry. Thus we see the Christian is assailed 
on everj- side by his eneni}' ; and how can it be other, when the seeds of war 
are laid deep in the natures of both, which can never be rooted up till the 
devil cease to be a devil, sin to be sin, and the saint to be a saint ? Though 
wolves may snarl at one another, yet soon are quiet again, because the quarrel 
is not in their natiu-e ; _ but the wolf and the lamb can never be made 
friends. Sin will lust against grace, and grace draw upon sin whenever they 

Section III. — Use 1. First, This may reprove such as wrestle ; but against 
whom ? — against God, not against sin and Satan. These are bold men, indeed, 
who dare try a fall with the Almighty ; yet such they are, and a woe pro- 
nounced against them, Isa. xlv. 9 : ' Woe unto him that striveth with his 
Maker.' It is easy to tell which of these will be worsted. What can he do 
but break his shins, that dasheth them against a rock ? A goodly battle there 
is like to be, when thorns contest with fire, and stubble with flame. But where 
live those giants that dare enter the list with the great God? What are their 
names, that we may know them, and brand them for creatures above all other 
unworthy to live ? Take heed, O thou who askest, that the wretclicd man 
whom thou seemest so to defy, be not found in thine own clothes itself! Judas 
was the traitor, though he would not answer to his name, but put it off with a 
' Master, is it I V and so mayest thou be the fighter against God. The heart is 
deceitful. "Even holy David, for all his anger was so hot against the rich man 
that took away the poor man's ewe-lamb, that he bound it with an oath, the 
man shall not live who hath done it, yet proves at last to be himself the man, 
as the prophet told him, 2 Sam. xii. 

Now there are two ways wherein men wrestle against God : First, When 
they wrestle against his Spirit. Secondly, When they wrestle against his 

First, When they wrestle against his Spirit. We read of the Spirit's striving 
with the creature. Gen. vi. 3 : ' My Spirit shall not always. strive with man.' 
Where the striving is not in anger and wrath to destroy them, (that God could 
do witliout any stir or scuffle,) but a loving strife and contest with man. The 
old world was running with such a career headlong into their ruin, he sends 
his Spirit to interpose^ and by his counsels and reproofs to offer, as it were, to 
stop and reclaim them. As if one seeing another ready to offer violence on 
himself, should strive to get the knife out of his hand, with which he would do 
the mischief: or one that hath a purse of gold in his hand to give, should 
follow another by all manner of entreaties, striving with him to accept and take 
it. Such a kind of strife is this of the Spirit's \tith men. They are the lusts of 
men, those bloody instrmnents of death, with which sinners are mischieving 
themselves, that the Holy Spii'it strives by sweet counsels and entreaties, to get 
out of our hands. They are Christ's, his grace and eternal life, he strives to 
make us accept at the hands of God's mercy ; and for repulsing the Spirit thus 
striving with them, sinners are justly counted fighters against God : ' Ye stiff- 
necked, and uncircmiicised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy 
Ghost,' Acts vii. .51. Now there is a twofold striving of the Spirit, and so of 
our wrestling against it. First, The Spirit strives in his messengers with 
sinners ; they coming on his errand, and not their own, he voucheth the faith- 
ful coimsels, reproofs, and exhortations, which they give as his own act. 
' Noah, that preacher of righteousness,' what he said to the old world, is called, 
' the preaching of the Spirit,' 1 Pet. iii. 19. The pains that Moses, Aaron, and 
other servants of God took in instructing Israel, is called the instruction of the 
Spirit, Nehem. ix. 20. So that when the word, which God's ministers bring in 
his name, is rejected, the faithful coimsels they give arc thrown at sinners' 
heels, and made light of, then do they strive with the Spirit, and wrestle against 
Christ as really, as if he visibly, in bis own person, had been in the pulpit, and 
preached the sermon to them. When God comes to reckon with sinners, it 
will prove so ; then God will rub up your memories, and mind you of his 
striving with you, and your unkind resisting him. ' They, whether they will 
Hear, or whether they will forbear, shall know they had a Prophet among them,' 


Ezek. ii. 5. Now men soon forget whom and what they hear; ask them what 
was pressed upon their conscience in such a sermon, they have forgot ; what were 
the precious truths laid out in another, and ;hey are lost ; and well were it for 
them, if their memoi'ies were no better in another world ; it would ease their 
torments more than a little. But then they shall knov/ they had a Prophet 
among them, and what a price they had with him in their hands, though it was 
in fools' keeping. They shall know what he was, and what he said, though a 
thousand j^cars past, as fresh as if it were done but last night. The more 
zealous and compassionate, the more painful and powerful he was in his place, 
the greater shall their sin be found to break from such holy violence offered to 
do them good. Surely God will have something for the sweat, yea, lives of his 
servants, which were worn out in striving with such rebellious ones. May be 
yet, sinners, your firmament is clear, no cloud to be seen that portends a s orm ; 
but know, as you used to say, winter does not rot in the clouds, you shall have 
it at last; every threatening which your faithful ministers have denounced 
against you out of the word, God is bound to make good. ' He confirmeth the 
word of his servant, and performeth the counsel of his messengers,' Isa. xliv. 26 ; 
and that in judgment against sinners, confirming the threatenings, as well as 
in mercy performing the promises, which they declare as the portion of his 
children. But it will be time enough to ask such on a sick bed, or a dying hour, 
whether the words of the Lord delivered by their faithful preachers have not 
taken hold of them. Some have confessed, with horror they have, as the Jews, 
Zech. i. 6 : ' Like as the Lord of hosts thought to do unto us, so hath he dealt 
with us.' Secondly, the Spirit strives with men more immediately, when he 
takes his inward approaches to the consciences of men, debating in their own 
bosoms the case with them ; one while he shows them their sins in their bloodj'^ 
colours, and whither they will surely bring them, if not looked to timely, which 
he doth so convincing!}^, that the creature smells sometimes the very fire and 
brimstone about him, and is at present in a temporal hell ; another while he 
falls a parleying and treating with them, making gracious overtures to the 
sinner, if he willj'eturn at his reproof, presents the grace of the gospel, and 
opens a door of hope for its recover}^, yea, falls a wooing and beseeching of him 
to throw down his rebellious arms, and come to Christ for life, whose heart is in 
a present disposition to receive and embrace the first motion the returning 
sinner makes for mercy. Now, when the Spirit of God follows the sinner from 
place to place, and time to time, suggesting such motions, and renewing his old 
suit, and the creature shall fling out of the Spirit's hands thus striving with him, 
re infecta, as far from renouncing his lusts, or taking any liking to Christ as 
ever ; this is to resist the Spirit to his face, and it carries so much malignity in 
it, that, even where it hath not been final, poor humbled souls have been overset 
with the horror of it, that they could not for a long time be persuaded but that 
it was the impardonable sin. Take heed, therefore, sinners, how you use the 
Spirit when he comes knocking at the door of your hearts : open at his knock, 
and he will be your guest, you shall have his sweet company ; repulse him, and 
you have not a promise he will knock again. And if once he leave striving 
with thee, unhappy man, thou art lost for ever ! thou liest like a ship cast up 
by the waves upon some high rock, where the tide never comes to fetch it off. 
Thou mayest come to the word, converse with other ordinances, but in vain. 
It is the spirit of them which is both tide and wind, to set the soul afloat, and 
carry it on, or else it lies like a ship on dry ground, which stirs not. 

Secondly, We wrestle against God when we wrestle with his providence, and 
that two ways ; First, When we are discontented with his providential disposure 
of us. God's carving for us doth not please us so, but that we are objecting 
against his dealings towards us, at least nuittering something with the fool in 
our hearts, which God hears as lightly as man our words. God counts, then we 
begin to quarrel with him, when we do not acquiesce in, and say Amen to his 
providence, whatever it is. He calls it ' a contending with the Almighty,' Job 
xl. 1, yea, ' a reproving of God.' And he is a bold man sure that dare find fault 
with God, and article against heaven. God challengeth him, whoever he is 
that doth this, to answer it at his peril. ' He that reproveth God, let him 
answer it,' ver. 2 of the chapter fore-mentiovied. It was high time for Job to 

FOR Wj; WRF.STI.I'.. J5j 

have clone, wlien he liears what a sense CJod puts upon those unwary vvord^', 
which dropped from him in the anguish of liis spirit, and pai-oxysm of liis suffei'- 
ings. Contend with the Ahnighty ! Reprove God ! Good man, liow Wank he is, 
and cries out, ' I am vile : what shall I answer thee ? I will lay my hand upon my 
mouth." Let God hut pardon what is ])ast, and he shall hear such language no 
more. O sirs, take heed of tliis wrestling above all other. Contention is un- 
comfortable, with whomsoever it is we fall out; neighbours or friends, wife or 
husband, children or servants ; but worst of all with God. If God cannot please 
thee, but thy heart riseth against him, what hopes are tliere of th\' pleasing 
liini, who will take nothing kindly fi-om that man who is angr}' with him ? And 
how can love to God be preserved in a discontented heart, that is always mut- 
tering against him ? Love cannot think anj^ evi! of God, nor endure to hear 
any speak evil of him, but it must take God's part, as Jonathan David's, when 
Saul spake basely of him ; and when it cannot be heard, will, like him, arise 
and be gone. When afflicted, love can allovv thee to groan, but not to grumble. 
If tliou wilt ease thy encumbered spirit into God's bosom by prayer, and 
humbly wrestle with God on thy knees, love is for thee, and will help thee to 
the best arguments thou canst use to God : but if thou wilt vent thy dis- 
tempered passions, and shew a mutinous spirit against God, this stabs it to 
the heart. 

Secondly, We wrestle against Providence, wiien incorrigible under the various 
dispensations of God towards us. Providence has a voice, if we had an ear; mer- 
cies should drav^', alHictions drive; now when neither fair means nor foul do us 
good, but we are impenitent under both, this is to wrestle against God with 
both hands. Either of these have their peculiar aggravations. One is agaijist 
love, and so disingenuous ; the other is against the smart of his rod, and 
therein we slight his anger, and are cruel to ourselves in kicking against the 
pricks. Mercy should make us asiiamed, v>rrath afraid to sin. He that is not 
ashamed, has not the spirit of a man. He that is not afraid when smitten, is 
worse than a beast, who stands in awe of whip and spur. Sometimes mercy, 
especially those outward mercies which have a pleasing relish to tlie carnal 
part in a Christian, hath proved a snare to the best of men ; but then affliction 
useth to recover them : but when affliction makes men worse, and they harden 
themselves against God, to sin more and more while the rod is on them, what 
is like to I'eclaim them ? Few arc made better by prosperitj', whom afflictions 
make worse. He that will sin, though he goes in pain, will nuich more if that 
once be gone. But take lieed of thus contesting with God. There is nothing 
got by scuffling with God, but blows, or worse. If he say he will afflict thee no 
more, it is even the worst he can say ; it is as much as if he should say, he will 
be in thy debt till another world, and there pay thee altogether. But if \u\ 
means thee mere}?, tliou shalt hear from him in sonie sharper affliction than e\er. 
He hath wedges that can rive thee, wert thou a mere knotty piece than thou art. 
' Are there yet the treasures of wickedness, and the scant measure that is abo- 
minable?' saith God to Israel, Micah vi. 9. What, incorrigible, though 'the 
Lord's voice crieth unto the city,' bidding you 'hear the rod, and him that hath 
appointed it!' See Avhat coiu'se God resolves on, ver. 1.3 : 'Therefore I will mak(> 
thee sick in smiting of thee.' As if he had said, My other physic I see was too 
weak, it did not work to turn yoin* stomacli, but I will prepare a potion that 
shall make you sick at heart. 

Use 2. It reproves those who seem to wrestle against sin, but not according 
to the word of conmiand that Christ gives. There is a law in wrestling whicli 
must be observed, 2 Tim. ii. 5 : ' If a m.an also strive for )nasteries, yet he is not 
crowned except he strive lawfully.' He aUudesto tlie Roman games, to which 
there were judges appointed to see that no foul play were offered contrary to the 
law for wrestling ; the prize being denied to such, thougli they did foil their 
adversary; which the apostle improves to make the Christian careful in his war 
as being imdcr a stricter law and discipline, that requires not oidy valour to 
fight, but obedience to fight, by order, and according to the word of command; 
iu)w few do this that go for great wrestlers. 

First, Stmie, while they wrestle against one sin, embrace another ; and in this 
case, it is not the person wrestles against sin, but one sin wrestles with another • 


and it is no wonder to see thieves fall out when they come to divide the spoil : 
lusts are divei-s, Tit. iv. 3, and it is hard to please many masters, especially when 
their commands are so contrary ; when pride bids lay on in bravery, lavish out 
in entertainment, covetousness bids lay up ; when malice bids revenge, carnal 
policy saith, Conceal thy wrath, though not forgive ; when lust sends to his 
sink of shi, hypocrisy pulls him back for shame of the world. Now is he God's 
champion that resists one sin at the command of another, it may be a worse ? ^ 

Secondly, Some wrestle, but they are pressed into the field, not volunteers ; their 
slavish fear scares them at present from their lust; so that the combat is rather 
betwixt their conscience and will, than them and their lust. Give me such a sin, 
saith will ; no, saith conscience, it will scald, and throws it away. A man may 
love the wine, though he is loth to have his lips burned ; ' hypocrites themselves 
are afraid to burn.' In such combats the will at last prevails, either by bribing 
the understanding to present the lust it desires in a more pleasing dress, that 
conscience may not be scai-ed with such hideous apparitions of wrath, or by paci- 
fying conscience with some promise of repentance for the future, or by forbear- 
ing some sin for the present, which it can best spare, thereby to gain the re- 
putation of something like a reformation ; or if all this will not do, then, 
prompted by the fury of its lust, the will proclaims open war against conscience, 
sinning in the face of it, like some wild horse, impatient of the spur which 
pricks him, and bridle that curbs him, gets the bit between his teeth, and runs 
with full speed, till at last he easeth himself of his rider ; and then, where he 
sees fattest pasture, no hedge or ditch can withhold him, till in the end you find 
him starving in some pound for his trespass : thus many sin at such rate, that 
conscience can no longer hold the reins, nor sit the saddle, but is thrown down 
and laid for dead; and then the wretches range where their lusts can have the 
fullest meal, till at last they pay for their stolen pleasures most dearly, when 
conscience comes to itself, pursues them, and takes them more surely by the 
throat than ever, never to let them go till it brings them before God's tribunal. 
Thirdly, Others wrestle with sin, but they do not hate it, and therefore they 
are favourable to it, and seek not the life of sin as their deadly enemy : these 
wrestle in jest, and not in earnest; the wounds they give sin one day, are 
healed by the next. Let men resolve never so strongly against sin, yet it will 
creep ao-ain into their favour, till the love of sin be quenched in the heart ; and 
this fire will never die of itself, the love of Christ must quench the love of sin, 
as Jerome excellently, Ibius amor, extinguit alium. This heavenly fire will 
indeed put out that flame of hell, which he illustrates by Ahasuerus's carriage 
to Vashti, his queen, who in the first chapter makes a decree in all haste, that 
she come no more before him ; but when his passion is a little down, chap. ii. 1, 
he begins to relent towards her, which his council perceiving, presently seek 
out for a beautiful virgin, on whom the king might place his love, and take into 
his royal bed ; which done, we hear no more of Vashti : then, and not till then, 
will the sord's decree stand against sin, when the soul hath taken Christ into 
his bosom. 

Section IV. — Secondly, To the saints ; seeing your life is a continual wrest- 
ling here on earth, it is your wisdom to study how you may best manage the 
combat with your worst enemy ; which that you may do, take these few 

First, Look thou goest not into the field without thy second ; my meaning 
is eno-a'^e God by prayer to stand at thy back ; God is in a league offensive and 
defensive with thee ; but he looks to be called. Did the Ephramites take it ill, 
that Gideon called not them into the field ; and may not God much more ? As 
if thou meanest to steal a victory before he shoidd know it. Thou hast more 
valour than Moses, who would not stir without God ; no, though he sent an 
angel for his lieutenant. Thou art wiser than Jacob, who, to overcome Esau, 
now marching up, turns from him, and falls upon God : he knew if he could 
wrestle with God, he might trust God to deal with his brother. Engage God, 
and the back-door is shut, no enemy can come behind thee ; yea, thine enemy 
shall fall befoi-e thee. 'God turn the counsel of Ahitophel into foolishness,' 
saith David; Heaven saith Amen to his prayer, and the wretch ' hangs himself.' 
Secondly, Be very careful of giving thine enemy hand-hold. Wrestlers strive 

FOR \\y. WRESTLE. 8;5 

to fasten upon some pai-t or other which gives them advantage moi'e easily to 
throw their adversary ; to prevent which they used, first, to lay aside their 
garments ; secondly, to anoint their bodies. For the first, Cliristian, labour to 
put off the old man, which is most personal ; that corruption which David calls 
his own iniquity, Psalm xviii. 23. This is the skirt which Satan lays hold of; 
observe what it is, and mortify it daily ; then Satan will retreat with shame, 
when he sees the head of that enemy upon the wall, which shoxild have 
betrayed thee into his hands. 

Secondly, The Roman wrestlers used to anoint their bodies ; so do thou ; 
bathe thy soul with the frequent meditation of Christ's love. Satan will 
find little welcome where Christ's love dwells ; love w'ill kindle love ; and that 
will be as a wall of fire to keep oft' Satan ; it will make thee disdain the oficr of 
a sin, and, as oil, supple thy joints, and make agile to offend thy enemy. 
Think how Christ wrestled in thy quarrel : sin, hell, and wrath, had all come 
full mouth upon thee, had not he coped with them in the way. And canst thou 
find in thy heart to requite his love by betraying his glory into the hands of 
sin by cowardice or treachery ? Say not thou lovest him, so long as thou canst 
lay those sins in thy bosom which plucked his heart out of his bosom. It were 
strange if a child should keep, and delight to use, no other knife but that 
wherewith his father was stabbed. 

Thirdly, Improve the advantage thou gettest at any time wisely. Sometimes 
the Christian hath his enemy on the hip, yea, on the ground ; can set his foot 
on the very neck of his pride, and throw away his unbelief, as a thing absurd 
and unreasonable ; now, as p, wise wrestler, fall with all thy weight upon thine 
enemy ; though a man think it fold play to strike when his adversary is down, 
yef do not thou so compliment with sin as to let it breathe or rise. Take heed 
thou art not charged of God, as once Ahab, for letting go this enemy now in 
thy hands, whom God has appointed to destruction. Learn a little wisdom of 
the serpent's brood, who, when they had Christ under their foot, never thought 
they had him sure enough ; no, not when dead ; and therefore both seal and 
watch his grave. Thus do thou to hinder the resurrection of thy sin ; seal it 
down w'ith stronger piu-poses, solemn ovenants, and watch it by a wakeful, cir- 
cumspect walking. 

Use 3. This is ground of consolation to the weak Christian, who disputes 
against the truth of his grace, from the inward conflicts and fightings he 
hath with his lusts ; and is ready to say, like Gideon, in regard of outward 
enemies, ' If God be with me, why is all this befallen me ?' Why do I find such 
strugglings in me, provoking me to sin, pulling me back from that which is 
good ? Why dost ask ? The answer is soon given ; because thou art a wrestler, 
not a conqueror. Thou mistakest the state of a Christian in this life ; when one 
is made a Christian, he is not presently called to triumph over his slain enemies, 
but carried into the field to meet and fight them. The state of grace is the 
commencing of a war against sin, not the ending of it ; rather than thou shalt 
not have an enemy to wrestle with, God himself will come in a disguise into 
the field, and appear to be thine enemy. Thus, when Jacob was alone, a man 
wrestled with him until the breaking of the day ; and therefore set thy heart 
at rest if this be thy scruple. Thy soul may rather take comfort in this, that 
thou art a wrestler; this struggling within thee, if upon the right ground, and 
to the right end, doth evidence there are two nations within thee, two contrary 
natures ; the one from earth, earthly ; and the other from heaven, heavenly ; 
yea, for thy further comfort know, though thy corrupt nature be the elder, yet 
it shall serve the younger. 

Use 4. O how should this make thee, Christian, long to be gone home, 
where there is none of this stir and scuffle I It is strange, that every hour seems 
not a day, and every day a year, till death soimds thy joyful retreat, and calls 
thee off the field, where the bullets fly so thick, and thou art fighting for thyself 
with thy deadly enemies, to come to court, where not swords, but palms are 
seen in the saints' hands ; not drums, but harps ; not groans of bleeding 
soldiers and wounded consciences, but sweet and ravishing music is heard of 
triumphing victors, caroling the praises of God and the Lamb, through whom 
they have overcome. Well, Christians, while you are below, comfort yourselves 

G 2 


with tliese thing;?. There is a jjlace of rest remains for the peoplu of God. You 
do not beat tlie air, hut wrestle for a heaven tliat is yonder above these clouds; 
you have your worst first ; the best will follow. You wrestle but to win a crown, 
and win to wear it, yea, wear, never to lose it; which, once on, none shall take 
off, or put you to the hazard of a battle more. Here, we overcome to fitht 
again ; the battle of one temptation may be over, but the war remains. What 
peace can we have, as long as devils can come abroad out of their holes, or any 
thing of sinful nature remains in ourselves unniortified, which will even fight 
upon its knets, and strike with one arm while the other is cut ofl"? But when 
death conies, the last stroke is struck ; this good physician will perfectly cure 
thee of thy spiritual blindness and lameness, as tlie martyr told his fellow at 
the stake, bloody Bonner would do their bodies. What is it. Christian, which 
takes away the joy of thy life, but the wrestlings and combats which this bosom 
enemy puts thee to? Is not this the Peninnah, that, vexing and disturbing thy 
.spirit, hath kept thee oft' many a sweet meal thou mightest have had in com- 
munion with God and his saints ? Or, if thou hast come, hath made thee cover 
the aitar of God with thy tears and groans ? And will it not be a happy hand 
that cuts the knot, and sets thee loose from thy deadness, hypocrisy, pride, and 
what not, wherewith thou wert yoked? It is life which is thy loss, and death 
which is thy gain. Be but willing to endure the rending of the veil of thy flesh, 
and thou art where thou wouklst be, out of the reach of sin, at rest in the 
bosom of thy God. And why should a short evil of pain aftright thee more, 
than the deliverance from a continual torment of sin's evil ravish thee ? Some . 
you know have chosen to be cut, rather than to be ground daily with the stone, 
and yet, may be, their pain comes again ; and canst thou not quietly think of 
dying, to be delivered from the torment of thy sins, never to return more? And 
yet that is not half that death doth for thee. Peace is sweet after war, ease 
after pain; but wha tongue can express what joy, what glory must fill the 
creature at the first sight of God, and that blessed company ? None but one 
that dwells there can tell. Did we know more of that blissful state, we 
ministers would find it as hard a work to persuade Christians to be willing to 
live here so long, as now it is to persuade them to be v/illing to die so soon. 



Section I. — Now follows the description of the saint's enemies, with whom 
he is to wrestle. 

First, Desciibed negatively, ' Not with flesh and blood.' 

Secondly, Positively, 'But against principalities and powers,' &c. 

First, For the negative part of the description ; we are not to take it for 
a pure negation, as if we had no conflict with flesh and blood, but wholly and 
solely to engage against Satan ; but by way of comparison, not only with flesli 
and blood, and in some sense not chiefly. It is usual in Scripture, such manner 
of phrases; Luke xiv. 12, ' Call not thy friends to dinner, but the poor ;' that 
is, not only those, so as to neglect the poor. Now, what is meant here by flesLh 
and blood? There is a double interpretation of the words. 

First, By -flesh and blood may be meant our bosom corruptions; that sin 
which is in our corrupt natvue so oft called ilesli in the Scripture ; ' The flesh 
lustelh against the spirit;' and sometimes flesh and blood; as Matt. xvi. 17, 
' Fle^h and blood hath not revealed this;' that is, this confession thou ha.st 
made comes from above ; thy fleshly corrupt mind could never have found out 
this supernatural truth ; thy sinful will would never have embraced it. So 
1 Cor. XV. 20: 'Flesh and blood cannot inheiit the kingdom of God;' 
that is, sinful mortal flesh, as it is expounded in the words following. So, 
Gal. i. 11 : 'Consultednot with flesh and blood;' that is, carnal reason. Now this 
bosom enemy may be called flesh,* partly from its derivation, and partly 
from its operation ; from its derivation, because it is derived and propa- 
gated to us by natural generation ; thus Adam is said to beget ' a son in his 
own likeness,' sinful as he was, as well as nmrtal and miserable ; jea, the 


holiest saint on e:inii having flesli in him, derives this corrupt and sinful nature 
toliischikl; as the circumcised Jew begat an imcircumcised child ; and the 
wheat cleansed and fanned, being sown, conies up with a husk : John iii. 6, 
* That which is born of the flesh is flesh.' 

Secondl;, It is called flesh from the operations of this corrupt nature, which 
are fleshly and carnal. The reasonings of the corruj)t mind, fleshl>-, therefore 
called the carnal mind, incapable indeed of the things of God, which it neither 
doth nor can perceive ; as the sim doth obsijinare sKperiorn dui/i revelet ivfe- 
r'tora, hide the heavens which are above it from us, while it reveals things 
beneath ; so carnal reason leaves the creature in the dark concerning spiritual 
truths, when it is most able to conceive and discourse of creature excellences 
and carnal interests here below. What a childisli question, for so wise a m;ni, 
did Nicodemus yut to Christ ! though Christ, to help him, did wrap his speech 
in a carnal pln-ase. If fleshly reason cannot understand spiritual truths when 
thus accommodated, and the notions of tlie gos])el translated into its own 
language, what skill is it like to have of them, if put to read them in their 
original tongue : I mean, if this garment of carnal expression were taken oft', 
and sjjiritual truths in their naked hue presented to its view '( The motions of 
the natiu'al will are carnal, and therefore, Rom. viii. 5, ' they that are after the 
flesh' are said to 'mind the things of the flesh.' All its desires, delights, cares, 
fears, are in and of carnal things ; it savours spiritual food no more than an 
angel fleshly. Omn'is lulagiistu ducitur : what we cannot relish we will hardly 
make our daily food. Every creature hath its jiroper diet ; the lion eats not 
grass, nor the horse flesh ; what is food to the carnal heart, is poison 
to the gracious ; and that which is pleasing to the gracious, is distasteful 
to the carnal. Now according to this interpretation, the sense of the 
apostle is not as if the Christian had no combat with his corrupt natiUT, 
(for in another place it is said, ' The spirit lusts against the flesh, and the 
flesh against the spirit;' and this enemy is called the sin that besets the 
Chiistian round ;) but to aggravate his conflict with tliis enemy by the access of 
a foreign power, Satan, who strikes in with this domestic enemy. As if, while 
a king is^iighting with his own mutinous subjects, some outlandish troops 
.should join with then), now he may be said not to fight with his subjects, but 
with a foreign power. The Christian wrestles not with his naked corruptions, 
but with Satrai in them : were there no devil, yet we should have our hands full 
in resisting the corruptions of our own hearts ; but the access of this enemy makes 
the battle more terrible, because he heads them, who is a captain so skilful and 
experienced. Our sin is the engine, Satan is the engineer; lust the bait, Satan the 
angler : when a soul is enticed by his own lusts, he is said to be tempted, James 
i. 14 ; because both Satan, and our own lusts, concm- to the completing the sin. 

Use 1. First, Let this make thee. Christian, ply the work of mortification 
close; it is no policy to let thy lusts have arms, who are sure to rise and declare 
ag:;inst thee when thine enemy comes. Achish's nobles did but wisely, iu that 
they would not trust David in their army when to fight against Isi-ael, lest in 
the battle he should be an adversary to them. And darest thou go to duty, or 
engage in any action, where Satan will appear against thee, and not endeavom- 
to make sure of thy pride, unbelief, &c., tliat they join not with thine enemy I 

Secondlr, Are Satan and thine own flesh against thee, not single corruption, 
but edged with his policy, and backed by his power? See then what need thou 
hast of more help than thy own grace ; take heed of grappling with him in the 
strength of thy naked grace ; here thou hast two to one against thee. Satan 
was too hard for Adam, though he went so well appointed into the field, 
because left to himself ; much n)ore easily will he foil thee; cling, therefore, 
about thy God for strength, get Inm with thee, and then, though a worm, thou 
shalt be able to deal with this serpent. 

Sr.cTiOiN II. — Secondly, Flesh and blood is interpreted as a periphrasis 
of man. .We wrestle not with flesh and l)]ood, tliat is, not with man, who is 
here described by that part whicli chiefly distinguisheth him from the angelic;;! 
natin-e : ' Touch me,' saith Clirist, 'and handle me ; a spirit liath not flesh,' 
Now according to this interpretation oi)serve ; 

First, Hew mciniy the Spirit of fiod s])e;iks of man. 


Secondly, Where he lays the stress of the saints' battle, not in resisting flesh 
and blood, laut principalities and powers ; where the apostle excludes not our 
combat with man, for the war is against the serpent and his seed. As wide as 
the world is, it cannot peaceably hold the saints and wicked together; but his 
intent is to shew what a complicated enemy (man's wrath and Satan's inter- 
woven together) we have to deal with. 

First, For the first, How meanly doth the Spirit of God speak of man, calling 
him flesh and blood I Man hath a heaven-born soul, which makes him akin 
to angels, yea, to the God of them, who is the Father of spirits ; but this is 
passed by in silence, as if God would not own that which is tainted with sin, 
and not the creature God at first made it ; or because the soul, though of such 
noble extraction, yet being so immersed in sensuality, deserves no other name 
than flesh, which part of man levels him with the beast, and is here intended 
to express the weakness and frailty of man's nature. It is the phrase which 
the Holy Ghost expresseth the weakness and impotency of a creature by; 
Isa. xxxi. 3 : ' They are men, and their horses are flesh,' that is, v/eak ; as on 
the contrary, when he would set out the power and strength of a thing, he 
opposeth it to flesh, 2 Cor. x. 3 : ' Our weapons are not carnal, but mighty;' 
and so in the text, not flesh and blood, but powers. As if he should say, Had 
you no other to fear but a weak sorry man, it were not worth the providing 
arms or ammunition ; bvit you have enemies that neither are flesh, nor are 
resisted with flesh. So that here we see what a weak creature man is, not only 
weaker than angels, as they are spirits, and he flesh, but in some sense beneath 
the beasts, as the flesh of man is frailer than the flesh of beasts ; therefore the 
Spirit of God compares man to the ' grass," which soon ' withers,' Isa. xl. 6 ; and 
his 'goodliness to the flower of the field.' Yea, he is called vanity, Psa. Ixii. D : 
'Men of lovv^ degree are vanity, and men of high degree are a lie,' both alike 
vain ; only the rich and the great man, his vanity is covered with honour, 
wealth, &c., which are here called a lie, because they are not what they seem, 
and so worse than plain vanity, which is known to be so, and deceives not. 

Use 1. Is man but frail flesh? Let this humble thee, O man, in all thy 
excellency ; flesh is but one remove from filth and corruption ; thy soul is the 
salt that keeps thee sweet, or else thou wouldst stink above ground. Is it thy 
beauty thou pridest in ? Flesh is grass, but beauty is the vanity of this vanity. 
This goodliness is like the flower, which lasts not so long as the grass, appears 
in its month, and is gone ; yea, like the beauty of the flower, which fades while 
the flower stands. How soon will time's plough make furrows in thy face ; yea, 
one fit of an ague so change thy countenance, as shall make thy doating lovers 
afraid to look on thee ? Is it strength ? Alas, it is an arm of flesh, which withers 
often in the stretching forth ; ere long thy blood, which is now warm, will 
freeze in thy veins ; thy spring crowned with May buds, will tread on De- 
cember's heel ; thy marrow dry in thy bones, thy sinews sin-ink, thy legs bow 
under the weight of thy body, thy eye-strings crack, thy tongue not able to call 
for help ; yea, thy heart with thy flesh shall fail ; and now thou, who art such 
a giant, take a turn if thou canst in thy chamber, yea, raise but thy head from 
thy pillow, if thou art able, or call back thy breath, which is making haste to be 
gone out of thy nostrils, never to return more ; and darest thou glory in that 
which so soon may be prostrate ? 

Is it wisdom ? The same grave that covers thy body shall bury all that, (the 
wisdom of thy flesh I mean;) all thy thoughts shall perish, and goodly plots 
come to nothing. Indeed, if a Christian, thy thoughts as sUch shall ascend 
with thee, not one holy breathing of thy soul lost. Is it thy blood and birth? 
Whoever thou art, thou art base-born till born again ; the same blood runs in 
thy veins with the beggar in the street, Acts xvii. 26. All nations there we 
find made of the same blood : in two things all are alike ; we come in and go 
out of the world alike ; as one is not made of finer earth, so not resolved into 
pui'er dust. 

Use 2. Secondly, Is man flesh? Trust not in man; ' ciu'sed be he that 
makes flesh his arm.' Not the mighty man ; robes may hide and garnish, they 
cannot change flesh: Psa. cxlvi., ' Put not your trust in princes;' alas! they 
cannot keep their crowns on their own heads, their heads on their own 


shoulders, and lookest thou for that which they cannot give themselves? Not 
in wise men, whose designs recoil oft upon themselves, that they cannot 
perform their enterprise. Amplioracapii institui currentc rota cur urceus exit. 
Man's carnal wisdom intends one thing, but God turns the wheel, and brings 
forth another. Trust not in holy men ; they have flesh, and so their judgment 
not hifallible, yea, their way sometimes doubtful. His mistake may lead thee 
aside, and though he returns, thou mayest go on and perish. Trust not in any 
man, in all men, no not in thyself, "thou art flesh. 'He is a fool,' saith the 
wise man, 'that trusts his heart.' Not in the best thou art or doest ; the 
garmeiit of thy righteousness is spotted with the flesh ; all is counted by 
St. Paul, ' confidence in the flesh,' besides oiu- rejoicing in Christ, Phil, iih 3. 

Use 3. Thirdly, Fear not man, he is but flesh. This was David's resolve, 
Psa. Ivi. 4 : ' I will not fear what flesh can do unto me.' Thou needest not, 
thou oughtest not to fear. Thou needest not. What, not such a great man ; 
not such a number of men, who have the keys of all the prisons at their girdle ; 
who can kill or save alive? No, not these; only look they be thy enemies for 
righteousness' sake. Take heed thou makest not the least child thine enemy, 
by offering wrong to him ; God will right the wicked even upon the saint. If 
he offends, he shall find no shelter under God's wing for his sin. This made 
Jerome complain, that the Christian's sin made the arms of those barbarous 
nations which invaded Christendom victorious : Nostris pcccatis fortes sunt 
barbari. But if man's wrath find thee in God's way, and his fury take fire at 
thy holiness, thou needest not fear though thy life be the prey he hunts for. 
Flesh can only wound flesh; he may kill thee, but not hurt thee. Why 
shouldst thou fear to be stripped of that which thou hast resigned already to 
Christ? It is the first lesson thou learnest, if a Christian, to deny thyself, take 
up thy cross, and follow thy Master ; so that the enemy comes too late ; thou 
hast no life to lose, because thou hast given it already to Christ ; nor can man 
take away that without God's leave ; all thou hast is insured ; and though God 
hath not promised thee immunity frojn suffering in this kind, yet he hath 
undertaken to bear the loss, yea, to pay thee a hundredfold, and thou shalt not 
stay for it till another world. Again, thou oughtest not to fear flesh. Our 
Saviour, Matt, x., thrice in the compass of six verses, commands us not to fear 
man ; if thy heart quail at him, how wilt thou behave thyself in the list 
against Satan, whose little finger is heavier than man's loins? The Romans had 
arnia pra-lusoria, weapons rebated, or cudgels, which they were tried at before 
they came to the sharp. If thou canst not bear a bruise in thy flesh from 
man's cudgels and blunt weapons, what wilt thou do when thou shalt have 
Satan's swoi-d in thy side? God counts himself reproached when his children 
fear a sorry man ; therefore we are bid sanctify the Lord, not to fear their 
fear. Now, if thou wouldst not fear man, who is but flesh, laboui*. 

First, to mortify thy own flesh ; flesh only fears flesh : when the soul dege- 
nerates into cai-nal desires and delights, no wonder he falls into carnal fears. 
Have a care. Christian, thou bringest not thyself into bondage : perhaps thy 
heart feeds on the applause of man ; this will make thee afraid to be evil spoken 
of, as those who shuffled with Christ, John xii. 42, owning him in private, 
when they durst not confess him openly, for they loved the praise of men. 
David saith, ' The mouth of the wicked is an open sepulchre ; ' and in this 
grave hath many a saint's name been buried. But if this fleshly desire were 
mortified, thou wouldst not pass to be judged by man, and so of all carnal 
aft'ections. Some meat you observe is anguish : if thou settest thy heart on any- 
thing that is carnal, wife, child, estate, &c., these will incline thee to a base fear 
of man, who may be Ciod's messenger to afflict thee in these. 

Secondly, Set faith against flesh : faith fixeth the heart, and a fixed heart is 
not readily afraid. Physicians tell us, we are never so subject to receive 
infection as when the spirits are low, and therefore the antidotes they give are 
all cordials. When the spirit is low through unbelief, every threatening from 
man makes a sad impression. Let thy faith but take a deep draught of the 
promises, and thy courage will rise. 

Fourthly, Comfort thyself, Christian, with this, that thou art flesh, so thy 
heavenly Father knows it, and considers thee for it. 


First, In point of affliction. Psa. ciii. 14, "He knoweth onr frame, lie 
renieniberetli that we are but dust.' Not like some unskilled enipyric, who 
hath but one receipt for all, strong or weak, young or old ; but as a wise 
physician considers his patient, and then wi'ites his bill : men and devils are 
but God's apothecaries ; they make not our physic, but give what God prescribes. 
Balaam loved Balak's fee well enough, but could not go a hair's breadth 
beyond God's commission. Indeed, God is not so choice with the wicked, 
Isa. xxvii. 7: ' Hath he smiten him as he smote those that smote him?' In 
a saint's cup the poison or the affliction is corrected, not so in the wicked's ; 
iind therefore what is medicine to the one is ruin to the other. 

Secondly, In duty ; be knows you are but flesh, and therefore pities and 
accepts thy weak service, yea, he makes apologies for thee ; ' The spirit is 
willing,' saith Christ, ' but the flesh is weak.' 

Thirdly, In temptations he considers thou art flesh, and proportions the 
temptation to so weak a nature : such a temptation as is common to man, 
a moderate temptation, as in the margin, fitted for so frail a creature. When- 
ever the Christian begins to faint under the weight of it, God makes as much 
haste to his succour, as a tender mother would to her swooning child ; there- 
fore he is said to be nigh to revive such, lest their spirits should fail. 

Section III. — The second thing follows ; the conjuncture of the saint's 
enemies : we have not to do with naked man, but with man led on by Satan ; 
not with flesh and blood, but principalities and pov/ers acting in them. There 
are two sorts of men the Christian wrestles v/ith, good men and bad; Satan 
strikes in with both. 

First, The Christian wrestles with good men. Many a sharp conflict there 
hath been betv/een saint and saint, scuffling in the dark through misitnder- 
standing of the truth and each other. Abraham and Lot, at strife. Aaron 
and Miriam jostled with Moses for the wall, till God interposed and ended the 
quarrel by his inmiediate stroke on Miriam. The apostles, even in the pre- 
sence of their Master, were at high words, contesting who should be greatest. 
Nov/ in these civil wars among saints, Satan is the great kindle-coal, though 
little seen, because, like Ahab, he fights in a disguise, playing first on one side, 
and then on the other, aggravating every petty injury, and thereupon pro- 
voking to wrath and revenge ; therefore the apostle, dehorting from anger, 
useth this argument ; 'Give no place to the devil;' as if he had said, fall not out 
among yom'selves, except you long for the devil's company, who is the true 
soldier of fortune, as the common phrase is, living by his sword, and therefore 
hastes thither where there is any hopes of war. Gregory compares the saints 
in their sad differences to two cocks, which Satan, the master of the pit, sets on 
fighting, in hope, when killed, to sup with them at night. Solomon saith, 
Prov. xviii. 6, ' Tlie mouth of the contentious man calls for strokes.' Indeed, 
we by our mutual strifes give the devil a stafl' to beat us with ; he cannot well 
work without fire, and therefore blows up these coals of contention, which he 
useth as his forge, to heat our spirits into wrath, and then we are malleable, 
easily hammered as he pleaseth. Contention puts the sovil into disorder, and 
inter arnia silent leges. The law of gi-ace acts not freely, when the spirit is in 
a commotion ; meek Moses, provoked, speaks unadvisedly. Methinks this, if 
nothing else will, should sound a retreat to our unhappy differences, that this 
Joab hath a hand in them ; he sets this evil spirit between brethren ; and what 
folly is it to bite and devour one another, to make hell sport ! We are prone 
to mistake our heat for zeal, whereas commonly in strife between saints it is a 
fireship sent in by Satan to break their unity and order ; wherein while they 
stand they are an armada invincible : and Satan knows he hath no other way 
but this to shatter them : when the Christians' langviage, which should be one, 
begins to be confounded, they are then near scattering ; it is time for God to 
part his children, when they cannot live in peace together. 

Secondly, The Christian wrestles with wicked men. ' Because you are not of 
the world,' saith Christ, ' the world hates you.' The saints' nature and life 
are antipodes to the world ; fire and water, heaven and hell, may as soon be 
reconciled, as they with it. Tlie heretic is his enemy for truth's sake, the pro- 
fane for holiness ; to both the C'hristian is an abomination, as the Israelite to 


tlie Egyptian : hence come wars ; the fire of persecution never goes out in the 
hearts of the wicked, who suy in their hearts as they once witli their lips, 
Christiani ad leoms. Now in all the saints' wars with the wicked, Satan is 
connnander in chief; it is their father's works they do, his lusts they fulfil. 
The Sabeans ])lundered Job, hut went on Satan's errand. The heretic broach- 
eth corrupt doctrine, perverts the faith of many, but in that he is the minister 
of Satan, 2 Cor. xi. 15. 'I'hey have tlieir call, their wiles, and wages from him. 
The work of persecutors is ascribed to hell. Is it a persecution of the tongue? 
it is hell sets on lire. Is it of the hand ? still they are but the devil's instru- 
ments, Rev. ii. 10 : 'The devil shall cast some of you into prison.' 

Use 1. First, Do you see any driving furiously against the truths or servants 
of Christ ; O pity them as the most miserable wretches in the world ; fear not 
their power, admire not their parts ; they are men possessed of and acted by the 
devil, they are his drudges and slaughter-slaves, as a martyr called them. 
Augustine, in his epistle to Lycinius, one of excellent parts, but wicked, who 
once was his scholar, speaks thus pathetically to him : O how I coidd weep and 
mourn over thee, to see such a sparkling wit prostituted to the devil's service ! 
if thou hadst found a golden chalice, thou wculdst have given it to the clmrch ; 
but God hath given thee a golden head, parts and wit, and in this, propinas 
teipsum diabolo, thou drinkest thyself to the devil. When you see men of 
pov/er or parts using them against God that gave them, weep over them ; 
better they had lived and died, the one slaves, the other fools, than do the devil 
such service with tliem. 

Use 2. Secondly, O ye saints, when reproaclied and persecuted, look further 
than man ; spend not your wrath upon him ; alas, they are but instruments in 
the devil's hand : save your displeasure for Satan, who is thy chief enemy : these 
may be won to Cluist's side, and so become thy friends at last. Now and then 
we see some running away from the devJ's colours, and washing the wound 
with their tears, which they have made by their cruelty. It is a notable pas- 
sage in Anselm, who compares the heretic and persecutor to the horse, and 
the devil to the rider. Now, saith he, in battle, when the enemy comes riding 
up, the valiant soldier, Non irascilur equo, sed eqiiili, tt quantum potest agit 
ul cqii/fe7ti pcrculiat, eqmon possideat ; sic contra malos hotn'nies orji ndinn, non 
contra illos, sed ilium qui illosinstigat, ut dum diabolous viiicitur, iiiftBlices quos 
ille pcssidet libcrentur : he is angry not with the horse, but horseman ; he 
labours to kill the man, that he may possess the liorse for his use : thus we do 
with the wicked ; we are not to bend our wrath against them, but Satan that rides 
them, and spin's them on ; labouring by prayer for them as Christ did on the 
cross, to dismoimt the devil, that so these miserable souls, luickneyed by him, 
may be delivered from him. It is more honour to take one soul alive out of 
ihe devil's clutches, than to leave many slain upon the field. Erasmus saith of 
Augustine, that he begged the lives of those heretics at the hands of the 
emperor's officers, who had been bloody persecutors of the orthodox : Cupiehat, 
saith he, amicus iiicdiciis superesse, quos arte sua sanaret : like a kind physician 
he desired their life, that if possible he night work a cure on them, and make 
them sound in the faith. 



But against jirincipalitits and powers, ^-c. 

Section I. — The apostle having shewn what the saints' enemies are not, 
' flesh and blood,' frail men, who cannot come bu they are seen ; who may be 
resisted with man's power, or escape hy flight : now he describes tliem positively, 
'against principalities and powers,' &'c. Some think the apostle, by these 
diverse names and titles, intends to set forth ihc distinct orders, whereby the 
devils are suboitlinate one to anotlier ; so tliev make the de\il, ^'cr. 11, to be 


the head or monarch, and these, ver. 12, so many inferior orders, as among 
men there are princes, dukes, earls, &c., under an emperor. That there is 
an order among the devils, cannot be denied. The Scripture speaks of a 
'prince of devils,' Matt, ix., and of the ' devil and his angels,' who with him 
fell from their first station, called his angels, as it is probably conceived, because 
one above the rest, as the head of the faction, drew with him multitude.s of 
others into his party, who with him sinned and fell. But that there should be 
so many distinct orders among them, as there are several branches in this de- 
scription, is not probable ; too weak a notion "to be the foundation of a pulpit 
discovirse, therefore we shall take them as meant of the devils collectively. We 
v/restle not with flesh and blood, but devils, who are pi-incipalities, powers, &c., 
and not distributively, to make principalities one rank, powers another ; for 
some of these branches cannot be meant of distinct orders, but promiscuously 
of all as spiritual wickedness ; it being not proper to one to be spirits or 
wicked, but common to all. 

First, Then, the devil, or whole pack of them, are here described by their 
government in this world, ' Principalities.' 

Secondly, By their strength and puissance, called ' Powers.' 

Thirdly, By their nature, in their substance and degeneracy, ' Spiritual 

Fourthly, In their kingdom or proper territories, ' Rulers of the darkness 
of this world.' 

Fifthly, By the ground of the war, ' In heavenly places, or about heavenly 

Fii'st, Of the first, 'Principalities;' the abstract for the concrete, that is, 
such as have a principality; so Titus iii. 1, we are bid to be 'subject to 
principalities and powers,' that is, princes and rulei's, so the Vulgate reads it. 
We wrestle against princes ; which some will have to express the eminency of 
their nature aljove man's, that as the state and spirit of princes is more raised 
than others, great men have great spirits ; as Zeba and Zalmunna to Gideon, 
asking who they were they slew at Tabor ; ' As thou art,' say they, ' so were 
they, each one resembled the children of a king,' that is, for majesty and pre- 
sence beseeming a princely race. So, they think the eminent nature of angels 
here to be intended, who are so far above the highest prince, as he above the 
basest peasant ; but because they are described by their nature in the fourth 
branch, I shall subscribe to their judgment who take this for the principality 
of government which the devil exerciseth in this lower world ; and the note 
shall be, 

Docf. That Satan is a great prince ; Chr-ist himself styles him ' the prince of 
the world,' John xiv. Princes have their thrones where they sit in state ; Satan 
hath his. Rev. ii. 13, ' Thou dwellest where Satan hath his throne ;' and that 
such a one as no earthly prince may compare : few kings are enthroned in the 
hearts of their subjects; they rule their bodies, and command their purses, 
but how often in a day are they pulled out of their thrones by the wishes of 
their discontented subjects! But Satan hath the hearts of all his subjects. 
Princes have their homage and peculiar honour done to them ; Satan is served 
upon the knee of his subjects ; the wicked is said to ' worship the devil, ' Rev. xiii. 4. 
No prince expects such worship as he ; no less than religious worship will serve 
him, 2 Chron. xi. 15. Jeroboam there is said to ordain priests for devils, and 
therefore he is called not only the prince, but the god of this world, because he 
hath the worship of a god given him. Princes, such as are absolute, have a 
legislate power, nay, their own will is their law, as at this day in Turkey, where 
their laws are wi-it in no other tables than in the proud sultan's breast ; thus 
Satan gives law to the poor sinner, who is bound, and must obey, though the 
law be writ with his own blood, and the creature hath nothing but damnation 
for fulfillino- the devil's lusts ; it is called ' a law of sin,' Rom. viii. 2 ; because 
it comes with authority. Princes have their ministers of state, whom they 
employ for the safety and enlargement of their territories : so Satan his, 2 Cor. 
xi. 15, who propagate his cursed designs ; therefoi'e we read of ' doctrine of 
devils.' Princes have their arcana imperii, which none know but a few 
favourites in whom they confide ; thus the devil hath his mysteries of iniquity, 


and depths of Satan we read of, which all his subjects know not of, Rev. ii. 24. 
These are imparted to a few favourites, such as Elynias, whom Paul calls ' full 
of all subtilty, and child of the devil ; ' such, whose consciences are so debauched, 
that they scruple not the most horrid sins ; these are his white boys. I have 
read of a people in America that love meat best when it is rotten and stinks. 
The devil is of their diet ; the more corrupt and rotten the creature is in sin, 
the better he pleaseth his tooth ; some are more the children of the devil than 
others. Christ had his beloved disciple, and Satan those that lie in his very 
bosom, and know what is in his heart. In a word, princes have their vccli- 
ffatia, their tribute and custom ; so Satan his. Indeed he doth not so much 
share with the sinner in all, but is owner of all he hath, so that the devil 
is the merchant, and the sinner but the broker to trade for him, who at last 
puts all his gains into the devil's purse : time, strength, parts, yea, conscience 
and all are spent to keep him in his throne. 

Section II. — Quest. Bvit how comes Satan to his principality? 

Ans. Not lawfull}-, though he can shew a fair claim. As, 

First, He obtained it by conquest ; as he won his crown, so he wears it by power 
and policy. But conquest is a cracked title. A thief is not the honester 
because able to force the traveller to deliver his purse ; and a thief on the 
throne is no better than a private one on the road, or pirate in a pinnace, as he 
boldly told Alexander. Neither doth thatprove good with process of time which 
was evil at first. Satan indeed hath kept possession long, but a thief will be 
so as long as he keeps his stolen goods ; he stole the heart of Adam from God 
at first, and doth no better to this day. Christ's conquest is good, because 
the ground of the war is righteous, fo recover what was his own ; but Satan 
cannot say of the meanest creature, ' It is my own.' 

Secondly, Satan may lay claim to his principality by election ; it is true, he 
came in by a wile, but now he is a prince elect, by the unanimous choice of 
corrupt nature; ' Ye are of your father the devil,' saith Christ, ' and his lusts 
ye will do.' But this also hath a flaw in it ; for man by law of creation is God's 
subject, and cannot give away God's right; by sin he loseth his right in God, 
as a protector, but God loseth not his right as a sovereign. Sin disabled man 
to keep God's law, but it doth not enfranchise or discharge him that he need 
not keep it. 

Thirdly, Satan may claim a deed of gift from God himself; as he was bold to 
do to Christ himself, upon this ground, persuading him to worship him as the 
prince of the world, Luke iv. 5,6:' He shewed unto him all the kingdoms of 
the world, saying. All this will I give thee, for that is delivered unto me, and to 
whomsoever I will I give it:' where there was a truth, though he spake more 
than the truth, as he cannot speak truth, but to gain credit to some lie at the 
end of it ; God indeed hath delivered in a sense this world to him, but not in his 
sense, to do what he will with it, nor by any approbatory act given him a patent 
to vouch him his viceroy; not Satan by the ' grace' of God, but by the ' permis- 
sion' of God, prince of the world. 

Quest. But why doth God permit this apostate creature to exercise such a 
principality over the world ? 

Ans. First, As a righteous act of vengeance on man, for revolting from the 
sweet government of his rightful Lord and Maker ; it is the way that God 
punisheth rebellion : ' Because ye would not serve me with gladness, in the 
abundance of all things, therefore ye shall serve your enemies in hunger,' &c. 
Satan is a king given in God's wrath. Ham's cvu'se is man's punishment, ' a 
servant of servants.' The devil is God's slave, man the devil's. Sin hath set 
the devil on the creature's back, and now he hurries him without mercy, as he 
did the swine, till he be choked with flames, if mercy interpose not. 

Secondly, God permits tliis his principality, in order to the glorifying of his 
name in the recovery of his elect from the power of this great potentate. 
What a glorious name will (iod have when he hath finished this war, wherein 
at first he found all possessed by this enemy, and not a man of all the sons 
of Adam to offer himself as a volunteer in this service, till made willing in 
the day of his power ! This, this will gain God a name above every name, 
not only of creatures, but of those by which himself was known to his 


cre;'iture. The workmanship of heaven and earth give h.ini the nnnie of a 
Creator, providence of Preserver; but this of Saviour, wherein lie doth both 
the former, preserve the creature, which else had been lost, and create a 
new creature, I mean the babe of Grace, which, through God, shall be 
able to beat the devil out of the field, who was able to drive Adam, 
though created in his full stature, out of Paradise ; and may not all the 
other works of God empty themselves as rivers into the sea, losing their 
names, or rather swelling into one redemption? Had not Satan taken God's 
elect prisoners, they would not have gone to heaven with such acclamations of 
triumph. There arc three expressions of a great joy in Scripture, the joy of a 
v,'oman after her travail, the joy of harvest, and the joy of him that divideth the 
spoil ; the exultation of all these is wrought upon a sad ground ; many a pain 
and tear it costs the travailing woman, many a fear the husbandman, perils 
and wounds the soldier, before they come at their joy, hut at last are paid for 
all, the remembrance of their past sorrows feeding their present joys. Had 
Christ come and entered into afthiity with our nature, and returned peaceably 
to heaven with his spouse, finding no resistance ; though this would have been 
admirable love, and that would have afforded true joy of marriage, yet this way 
of carrying his saints to heaven will heighten the joy, as it adds to the nuptial 
song the triumph of a conqueror, who iiath rescued his bride out of the hands 
of Satan, as he was leading her to the chambers of hell. 

Section III. — Uae 1. IsSatan such aprince ? try whose subject tliou art. His 
empire is large, only a few privileged who are translated into the kingdom of 
God's dear Son ; even in Christ's OAvn territories, (visible church I mean,) where 
his name is professed, and the sceptre of his gospel held forth, there Satan hath 
liis subjects. As Christ hath his saints in Nero's court, so the devil his ser- 
vants in the outward court of his visible cluuxh. Thou must therefore have 
something more to exempt thee from his government, than living within the 
pale, and giving an outv.'ard confoi-mity to the ordinances of Christ; Satan will 
yield to this and be no loser : as a king lets liis merchants trade to, yea, live in 
a foreign kingdom, and while they are there learn the language, and observe 
the customs of the j^lace ; this breaks not their allegiance : nor all that thy 
loyalty to Satan. When a statute was made in Queen Elizabeth's reign, that all 
should come to church, the papists sent to Rome to know the pope's pleasure ; 
he returned them this answer, as it is said: ' Bid the catholics in P^ngland give 
me their heart, and let the queen take the rest.' His subject thou art whom 
thou crownest in thy heart, and not whom thou flatterest with thy lips. 

But to bring the trial to an issue, know thou belongest to one of these, and 
but to one ; Christ and Satan divide the whole world ; Christ will bear no equal, 
and Satan no superior, and therefore hold in with both thou canst not. Now 
if thoji sayest, Christ be thy Prince, answer to these interrogatories. 

First, How came he into the throne? Satan had once the quiet possession of 
thy heart : thou wast by birth, as the rest of thy neighbours, Satan's vassal, yea, 
hast oft vouched him in the course of thy life to be thy liege lord ; how then 
comes this great change ? Satan siu-oly would not of his own accord resign his 
crown and sceptre to Christ; and as for thyself, thou wert neither willing to 
renounce, nor able to resist his power : this then must only be the fruits of 
Christ's victorious arms, whom ' God hath exalted to be a Prince and a Saviour,' 
Acts V. 31 . Speak, therefore, hath Christ come to thee as once Abraham to Lot, 
when prisoner to Chedorlaomer, rescuing thee out of Satan's hands, as he was 
leading thee in chains of lust to hell? Didst thou ever hear a voice from heaven 
in the ministry of tlie word calling out to thee, as once to Saul, so as to lay thee 
at God's foot, and make thee face about for heaven ? to strike thee blind in thine 
own apprehension, who before had a good opinion of thy state ? to tame and 
weaken thee, so as now thou art willing to be led by the hand of a cliild after 
Christ? Did ever Christ come to thee, as the angel to Peter in prison, rousing 
thee up, and not only causing the chains of darkness and stupidity to fall off thy 
mind and conscience, but make thee obedient also, that the iron grate of thy 
will hath opene.d to Christ before he left thee ? then thou hast something to say 
for thy freedom. But if in all this I be a barbarian, and the language I speak 
be strange, thou knowest no such work to have passed upon thy spirit, tlicn 


thou art yet in thy eld 2)vIson . can thei'c bo a change of government in a 
nation by a conqueror that invades it, and liis subjects not hear of this ? one king 
enthroned, and anotlier crowned in thy soul, and tliou hear no sculile all this 
while ? 'I'lie regenerating Spirit is compared to the wind, John iii. 8 ; his first 
attempts on the soul may be so secret, that the creature knows not whence 
they come, or whither they tend ; but before he hath done, the sound will be 
heard throughoiit the soul, so as it cannot but see a great change in itself, and 
say, I tliat was blind, now see : I that was as hard as ice, now relenting for 
sin ; now my heart gives, I can melt and moiun for it : I that was well enough 
witliout a Christ, yea, did wonder what others saw in him, to make such ado for 
him, nov,- have changed my note with the 'daughters of Jerusalem;' and for 
What is your beloved.' as I scornfully have asked, I have learned to ask where he 
is, that 1 might seek him with you. O soul I canst thou say it is thus with thee ? 
thou mayest know who has been here, no loss than Christ ; who, by his victorious 
Spirit, hath translated thee from Satan's power into his own sweet kingdom. 

Secondly, Whose law dost thou freely subject thyself unto ? The law's of these 
princes are as contrary as their natures ; the one a law of sin, Rom. viii. 2, the 
other a law of holiness, Rom. vii. 12 ; and therefore if sin hath not so far 
bereaved tliec of thy wits, as not to know sin from holiness, thou mayest, except 
resolved to cheat thy own soul, soon be resolved ; confess, therefore, and give 
glory to God. To which of these laws doth tliy soul set its seal? When Satan 
sends out his proclamation, and bids. Sinner go, set thy foot upon such a com- 
mand of God ; observe, what is thyv behaviour, dost thou yield thyself, as Paul 
phraseth it, Rom. vi. 16? a metaphor from princes, servants, or others, who are 
said to present themselves before their lord, as ready and at hand to do their 
pleasure ; by which the apostle elegantly describes' the forwardness of the sin- 
ner's heart to come to Satan's foot, wlien knock or call. Now doth thy soul go 
out thus to meet thy lust, as Aaron his brother, glad to see its face in an occa- 
sion ? Thou art not brouglit over to sin witii much ado, but thou likest the 
command ; ' Transgress at Gilgal,' saith God, ' tliis liketh you well,' Hos. iv. 5. 
As a courtier, who doth not only obey, but thank his prince that he will employ 
him. Needest thou be long in resolving whose thou art ? Did ever any ques- 
tion whether those were Jeroboam's subjects who willingly followed his com- 
mand ? Hos. V. 11. Alas for thee, thou art under the power of Satan, tied by 
a chain stronger than brass or iron : thou lovest thy lust. A saint may be for 
a time under u force, 'sold under sin,' as the apostle bemoans, and therefore 
glad when deliverance comes ; but thou sellest th3'self to work iniquity. If 
Christ should come to take thee from thy lusts, thou woiddst whine after theHi, 
as Micah after his gods. 

Thirdly, To whom goest thou for protection ? As it belongs to the prince to 
protect his subjects, so princes ex])ect their subjects should trust them with their 
safety. The very bramble bids, Judg. xi. 1.5, ' If in truth ye anoint me king, 
then put j'our trust under my^ shadow.' Now who hath thy confidence ? Barest 
thou trust God with thy sold, and the affairs of it in well doing? Good subjects 
follow their calling, commit state matters to the wisdom of their prince and his 
counsel ; when wronged, they appeal to their prince in his laws for right ; and 
when they do ou'end their pi'ince, tliey submit to the penalty^ of the law, <md 
bear his displeasvu'c patiently, till lumibling themselves they recover his favour, 
and do not in a discontent fall to opm rebellion. Thus a gracious soul follows 
his Christian calling, connnitting himself to God as a faithful Creator, to be or- 
dered by his wise providence. If he meets with rtolence from any, he scorns 
to beg aid of the devil to lielp liiu), or l)e his own judge to riglit himself: no, 
he acquiesceth in the counsel and comfort tlie word of God gives him. If 
himself offends, and so comes under the lash of (Jod's correcting hand, he doth 
not then take up rebiUious arms against God, and refuse to receive correction, 
but saith, ' Why should a living man complain ; a man for the punislnnent of 
his sin ?' whereas a naughty heart dares not venture his estate, life, credit, or 
anything he hath with God in well-doing ; he thinks he shall l)e undone pre- 
sently, if he sits still under the shadow of God's promise for protection ; and 
therefore he runs from (Jod as from vnder an old house that would fall on his 
head, and lays the v.eight of his confidence in wicked policv, making lies his 


refuge ; like ' Israel, he trusts in perverseness.' When God tells him, ' In re- 
turning and rest he shall be saved, in quietness and confidence shall be his 
strength;" he hath not faith to take God's word for his security in ways of 
obedience. And when God comes to afflict him for any disloyal carriage, 
instead of accepting the punishment for his sin, and so to own him for his 
sovereign Lord, that may righteously punish the faults of his disobedient sub- 
jects, his heart is filled with rage against God, and instead of waiting quietly 
and humbly, like a good subject, till God upon his repentance receives him into 
his favour, his v.'retched heart, presenting God as an enemy to him, will not 
suffer any such gracious or amiable thought of God to dwell in his bosom, but 
bids him look for no good at his hand. ' This evil is of the Lord, why should 
I wait on the Lord any longer?' Whereas a gracious heart is most encouraged 
to wait from this very consideration that drives the other away ; because it is 
the Lord afflicts, Micah vii. 6. 

Fourthly, Whom dost thou sympathize with ? He is thy prince, whose victo- 
ries and losses thou layest to heart, whether in thy own bosom, or abroad in the 
world. What saith thy soul, when God hedgeth up thy way, and keeps thee 
from that sin which Satan hath been soliciting for ? If on Christ's side, thou 
wilt rejoice when thou art delivered out of a temptation, though it be by falling 
into an affliction ; as David said of Abigail, so wilt thou here. Blessed be the 
ordinance, blessed be the providence, which kept me from sinning against my 
God. But if otherwise, thou wilt harbour a secret grudge against the word 
which stood in the way, and be discontented thy design took not. A naughty 
heart, like Amnon, pines whilst his lust hath not vent. Again, what music do 
the achievements of Christ in the world make in thy ear? When thou hearest the 
gospel thrives, the blind see, the lame walk, the poor gospellized, doth thy spirit 
rejoice in that hour? If a saint, thou wilt, as God is thy Father, rejoice thou 
hast more brethren born ; as he is thy Prince, that the multitude of his subjects 
increase : so when thou seest the plots of Christ's enemies discovered, powers 
defeated, canst thou go forth with the saints to meet King Jesus, and ring him 
out of the field with praises ; or do thy bells ring backward, and such news 
make thee haste, like Haman, mourning to thine house, there to empty thy 
spirit, swoln with rancour against his saints and truth ? Or if thy policy can 
master thy passion so far, as to make fair weather in thy countenance, and 
suffer thee to join with the people of God in their acclamations of joy, yet then 
art thou a close mourner within, and likest the work no better than Haman did 
his office, in holding Mordecai's stirrup, who had rather have held the ladder : 
this speaks thee a certain enemy to Christ, how handsomely soever thou mayest 
carry it before men. 

Use 2. Bless God, O ye saints, who vipon the former trial can say, you are 
translated into the kingdom of Christ, and so deltvered from the tyranny of this 
usurper. There are few but have some one gaudy day in a year which they 
solemnize ; some keep their birthday, others their mai-riage ; some their manu- 
mission from a cruel service, others their deliverance from some eminent 
danger : here is a mercy where all these meet. You may call it, as Adam did 
his wife, Chavah, the mother of all the living ; every mercy riseth up and calls 
this blessed : this is thy birthday ; thou wert before, but begannest to live when 
Christ began to live in thee. The father of the prodigal dated his son's life 
from his return ; ' This my son was dead, and is alive.' It is thy marriage day ; 
' I have married you to one husband, even Christ Jesus,' saith Paul to the Co- 
rinthians. Perhaps thou kast enjoyed this thy husband's sweet company 
many a day, and had a numerous offspring of joys and comforts by thy fellow- 
ship with him, the thought of which cannot but endear him to thee, and make 
the day of thy espousals delightful to thy memory. It is thy manumission : 
then were the indentures cancelled, wherein thou wert bound to sin and Satan : 
when the Son made thee free, thou becamest free indeed : thou canst not say 
thou wast born free, for thy father was a slave ; nor that thou bovightest thy 
freedom with a sum ; ' bj^ grace ye are saved.' Heaven is settled on thee in the 
promise, and thou not at charge so much as for the writings' drawing. All is 
done at Christ's cost, with whom God indented, and to whom he gave the pro- 
mise of eternal life before the world began, as a free estate to settle upon every 


believing soul in the day they shall come to Christ, and receive him for their 
Prince and Saviour; so that from the hour thou didst come under Christ's 
shadow, all the sweet fruit that grows on this tree of life is thine ; with Christ, 
all that both worlds have falls to thee ; all is yours, because you are Christ's. 
O Christian, look upon tliyself now, and bless thy God to see what a change 
there is made in thy state, since that black and dismal time when thou wast 
a slave to the prince of dai-kness; how couldst thou like thy old scvdlion's work 
again, or think of returning to thy house of bondage, now thou knowest the 
privileges of Christ's kingdom ? Great princes, who from baseness and beggary 
nave ascended to kingdoms and empires, to add to the joy of their present 
honour, have delighted to speak often of their base birtli, to go and see the 
mean cottages where they were first entertained, and had their birth and 
breeding, and the like. And it is not unuseful for the Christian to look in at 
the grate, to see the smoky hole where once he lay, to view the chains where- 
with he was laden, and so to compare Christ's court and the devil's prison, the 
felicity of the one and the horror of the other together. But when we do our 
best to aflect our hearts with this mercy, by all the enhancing aggravations we 
can find out ; alas ! how little portion of it shall we know here ? This is a 
nbnium excellens, which cannot be fully seen, unless it be bj- a glorified eye ; 
how can it be fully known by us, where it cannot be fully enjoyed? Thou art 
translated into the kingdom of Christ, but thou art a great way from his court; 
that is kept in heaven, and that the Christian knows, but as we far countries, 
which we never saw, only by map, or some rarities that are sent us as a taste of 
what grows there in abundance. 

Use 3. Thirdly, This, Christian, calls for thy loyalty and faithful service to 
Christ, who hath saved thee from Satan's bondage. Say, O ye saints, to Christ, 
as they to Gideon, Come thou and rule over us, for thou hast delivered us from 
the hand, not of Midian, but of Satan. Who so able to defend thee from his 
wrath, as he who broke his power ? Who like to rule thee so tenderly, as he 
that could not brook another's tyrannj- over thee ? In a word, who hath right 
to thee besides him, who ventured his life to redeem thee? 'That, being deli- 
vered from all thine enemies, thou mayst serve him without fear in holiness all 
the days of thy life.' And were it not pity that Christ should take all this pains 
to lift up thy head from Satan's house of bondage, and give thee a place among 
those in his own house, who are admitted to minister unto him, (which is the 
highest honour the nature of men or angels is capable of,) and that thou 
shouldest after all this be found to have a hand in any treasonable practice 
against thy dear Saviour ? Surely Christ may think he hath deserved better at 
your hands, if at none besides. Where shall a prince safely dwell, if not in the 
midst of his own courtiers ; and those such who were all taken from chains and 
prisons to be thus prefeiTcd, the more to oblige them in his service ? Let devils 
and devilish men do their own work, but let not thy hand, O Christian, be 
upon thy Saviour. But this is too little, to bid thee not play the traitor. If thou 
hast any loyal blood running in thy veins, thy own heart will smite thee when 
thou rendest the least skirt of his holy law ; thou canst as well carry burning 
coals in thy bosom, as hide any treason there against thy Sovereign. No, 
it is some noble enterprise I wouhl have thee think upon, how thou mayest ad- 
vance the name of Christ higher in thy heart, and the world too, as much as in 
thee lies. O how kindly did God take it, that David, when peaceably set on 
his throne, was casting about, not liow he might entertain himself with those 
pleasures which "usually corrupt and debauch the court of princes in times of 
peace, but how he might show zeal for God, in building a house for his worship, 
that had reared a throne for him, 2 Sam. vii. And is there nothing. Christian, 
thou canst think on, wherein thou mayst eminently be instrumental for God in 
thy generation ? He is not a good subject that is all for what he can get of his 
prince, but never thinks what service he may do for him. Nor he the true 
Christian, whose thoughts dwell more on his own happiness than the honour of 
his God. If subjects might choose what life stands best for their own enjoy- 
ment, all would desire to live at court with their prince; but because the prince's 
honour is more to be valued than this, therefore noble spirits, to do their pi-ince 
service, can denv themselves the delicacies of a court, to risk their lives in 


tlie field, rand thank their prince too for the honour of their employment. 
Paul, upon these terms, was willing to have his day of coronation in 
glory prorogued, and he to stay as companion with his brethren in tribula- 
tion here, for the furtherance of the gospel. This indeed makes it operce 
prefium vivere, worth the M'hile to live, that we have by it a fair opportunity 
(if hearts to husband it) in which we may give a proof of our real gratitude 
to our God for his redeeming love in rescuing us out of the power of the 
prince of darkness, and translating us into the kingdom of his dear Son. And 
therefore, Christian, lose no time ; but what thou meanest to do for God, do it 
quickly. Art tliou a magistrate ? Now it will be soon seen on whose side thou 
art. If indeed thou hast renounced allegiance to Satan, and taken Christ for 
thy prince, declare thyself an enemy to all that bear the name of Satan, and 
march under his colours. Study well thy commission, and when thou under- 
standest the duty of thy place, fall to work zealously for God. Thou hast thy 
prince's sword put into thy hand, be sui'e thou use it, and take heed how thou 
iisest it ; that when called to deliver it up, and thy account also, it may not be 
found rusty in the sheath through sloth and cowardice, besmeared with the 
blood of violence, nor bent and gapped with partiality and injustice. Art thou 
a minister of the gospel? Thy employment is high; an ambassador, and that 
not from some petty prince, but the great God to his rebellious subjects ; a 
calling so honourable, that the Son of God disdained not to come in extraordinary 
from heaven to perform it, called therefore the ' Messenger of the covenant;' 
yea, he had to this day staid on earth in person about it, had he not been called 
to reside as om- Ambassador and Advocate in heaven wilh the Father : and there- 
fore, in his bodily absence, he hath intrusted thee and a few more to carry on 
the treaty with sinners, which when on earth himself began. And what can 
you do more acceptable to him, than to be faithllil in it, as a business on which 
he hath set his heart so much? If ever you would see his face with jo)^ 
(you that are his ambassadors,) attend to your work, and labour to bring this 
treaty of peace to a blessed issue between God and those you are sent to. And 
then if sinners will not come off, and seal the articles of the gospel, you shall, 
as Abraham said to his servant, be clear of your oath. Though Israel be not 
gathered, yet you shall be glorious in the eyes of the Lord. And let not the 
private Christian say he is a drjr tree, and can do nothing for Christ, his 
Prince, because he may not bear the magistrate's fruit or minister's : though 
thou hast not a commission to punish the sins of others with the sword of 
justice, yet thou mayest show thy zeal in mortifying thy own with the sword of 
the Spirit, and mourn for theirs also : though thou mayest not condemn them on 
the bench, yet tliou mayest, yea, oughtest, by the power of a holy life, to 
convince and judge them ; such a judge Lot was to the Sodomites. Though 
thou art not sent to preach and baptize, yet thou mayest be wonderful helpful to 
them who are. The Christian's prayers whet the magistrate's and minister's 
sword also. O pray. Christian, and pray again, that Christ's territories may be 
enlarged ; never go to hear the word but pray, ' Thy kingdom come.' Loving 
princes take great content in the acclamations and good wishes of their subject,-* 
as they pass by ; a I'hrif Bex, Long live the king, coming from a loyal breatli, 
though poor, is more worth than a subsidy from those who deny their hearts 
while they part with their money. Thou servest a Prince, Christian, who knows 
what all his subjects think of him, and he counts it liis honour not to have a 
nudtitude feignedly submit to him, but to have a people that love him, and 
cordially like bis government ; who, if they were to choose their king, and make 
tlieir own laws, they should live uiider every day, would desire no other than 
himself, nor any other laws than what they have already from his mouth. It 
was no doubt great content to David, that he had the hearts of his people so, 
as 'whatever the king did pleased them all,' 2 Sam. iii. 2G. And surely God 
took it as well that what he did pleased David ; for indeed David was as content 
luider the rule and disposure of God, as the people were under his; witness tlie 
calmness of his spiiitin the greatest affliction (hat ever befell him, 2 Sam. xv. 
2G : ' Behold, here am I, let him do to me as seemeth good imto him.' Loyal 
soul ! he had rather live in exile with the good will of God, than haA-e his 
throne, if Gtod will not say, It is good for him. 






Section I. — This is the second branch of the description, wherein Satan is set 
forth by his might and power. This gives weight to the former ; were he a 
prince, and not able to raise a force that might appal the saints, tlie swelling 
name of a prince were contemptible ; but he hath power answerable to his 
dignity, which in five particulars will appear. 

First, In his names; Secondly, his nature ; Thirdly, his numl)er; Fourthly, 
his order and unity ; Lastly, the mighty works that are attributed to him. 

First: For the first. He hath names of great power, called the ' strong man, 
Luke xi. 21, so strong, that he keeps his house in peace, in defiance of all the 
sons of Adam, none on earth being able to cope with this giant : Christ must 
come from heaven to destroy hiin and his works, or the field is lost. He is 
called the 'roaring lion,' which beast commands the whole forest; if he roars, all 
tremble ; yea, in such a manner, as Pliny relates, that he goes amongst them, 
and they stand exanimated while he chooseth his prey without resistance : such 
a lion is Satan, who leads sinners ' captive at his will,' 2 Tim. iii. 26. ' He 
takes them alive,' as the word is, as the fowler the bird, which with a little sci'ap 
is enticed into the net ; or as the conqueror his cowardly enemy, who has no 
heart to fight, but yields without contest. Such cowards the devil finds sinners ; 
he no sooner appears in a motion, but they yield : there are but a very few 
noble spirits, and those are the children of the most high God, who dare 
valiantly oppose him, and in striving against sin resist to blood. He is called 
the ' great red dragon,' who with his tail, wicked men, his instruments, sweeps 
down the third part of the stars of heaven. ' The prince of tlie power of the 
air ;' because as a prince can muster his subjects, and draw them into the field 
for his service, so the devil can raise the posse cceti aerii. In a word, he is called 
' the god of this world,' 2 Cor. iv. 4, because sinners give him a god-like worship, 
fear him as the saints do God himself. 

Secondly, The devil's nature shows his power; it is angelical. ' Bless the 
Lord, ye his angels, that excel in strength,' Psa. ciii. 20. Strength is put for 
angels, Psa. Ixxviii. 25. ' They did cat angels' food;' Heb., ' the food of the 
mighty.' In two things the power of angelical nature will appear, — in its 
superiority, and in its spiritualit3^ 

First, Its superiority. Angels are the top of the creation; man himself made 
a little lower than the angels. Now in the works of creation, the superior hath 
a power over the inferior ; the beasts over the grass and herb, man over the 
beasts, and angels over man. 

Secondly, The spirituality of their nature. The weakness of man is from his 
flesh : his soul, made for great enterprises, but weighed down with a lump of 
flesh, is forced to row with a strength suitable to its weaker partner ; but now 
the devils, being angels, have no such encumbrance, no fiiines from a fleshly 
part to cloud their understanding, which is clear and piercing; no clog at their 
lieel to retaTd their motion, which for swiftness is set out by the wind and flame 
of fire ; yea, being spiritual, they cannot be resisted with carnal force ; fire 
and sword hurt them not ; the angel which appeared to Manoah went up 
in the fire that consumed the sacrifice. Such hath been the dotage, and is at 
this day, of superstitious ones, that they think to charm the devil with their 
carnal exorcisms ; hence the Romish relics, cross, holy water; yea, and among 
the Jews themselves in corrupter times, who thought by their phylacteries and 
circumcision to scare away the devil, which mode some of them expound that, 
Cant. iii. 8, of circumcision, ' Every man liath his sword on his thigh, because 
of fear in the night.' By sword on the thigh, they expound circumcision, 
which they will vainly have given as a charm against evil spirits that aflfright 
tliem in tlie night. But alas! the devil cares for none of these, no, not for an 
ordinance of God, when by fleshly confidence we make it a spell : he hath been 
often bound with these fetters and chains, (as is said of him in the gospel,) and 


the chains have been phicked asunder by him, neither could any man thus tame 
him. He esteems, as Job saith of the Leviathan, ' iron as straw, and brass as 
rotten wood.' It must be a stj-onger than the strong man must bind him, 
and none stronger but God, the Father of spirits. The devil lost, indeed, by his 
fall, nujch of his power, in relation to that holy and happy state in which he was 
created, but not his natural abilities ; he is an angel still, and hath an angel's 

Thirdly, The number of devils adds to their power. What lighter than the 
sand ? yet number makes it weighty. What creatures less than lice ? yet what 
plague greater to the Egyptians ? How foi-midable then must devils be, who are 
both for nature so mighty, and for number such a multitude ! There are devils 
enough to besiege the whole earth ; not a place under heaven where Satan 
hath not his troops ; not a person without some of these cursed spirits haunting 
and watching him wherever he goes ; yea, for some special service he can send 
a legion to keep garrison in one single person ; as Mark v. ; and if so many 
can be spared to attend one, to what a number would the muster-roll of Satan's 
whole army amount, if known ! And now tell me, if we are not like to find 
our march difficult to heaven, (if ever we mean to go thither,) that are to pass 
through the very quarters of this multitude, who are scattered over the face of 
all the earth ? When armies are disbanded, and the roads full of debauched 
soldiers, wandering up and down, it is dangerous travelling : we hear then of 
murders and robberies from all quarters. These powers of hell are that party 
of angels, who, for their mutiny and disobedience, were cashiered heaven, and 
thrust out of that glorious host ; and ever since they have straggled here below, 
endeavouring to do mischief to the children of men, especially travelling in 
heaven's road. 

Fourthly, Their unity and order makes their number formidable. We cannot 
say there is love among them, that heavenly fire cannot live in the devil's 
bosom ; yet there is unity and order as to this, they are all agreed in their 
designs against God and man ; so their unity and consent is knit together by 
the ligaments, not of love, but of hatred and policy; hatred against God and his 
children, which they are filled with ; and policy, which tells them, that if they 
agree not in their design, their kingdom cannot stand. And how true they are 
to this wicked brotherhood, our Saviour gives a fair testimony, when he saith, 
' Satan fights not against Satan.' Did you ever hear of any mutiny in the 
devil's army? or that any of those apostate angels did freely yield up one soul 
to Christ? They are many, and yet but one spirit of wickedness among them 
all. ' My name,' said the devils, (not our name,) 'is legion.' The devil is 
called the Leviathan, Isa. xxvii. 1, 'The Lord with his strong sword shall 
pimish Leviathan,' from their cleaving together, being of close compact, ov 
joined together, a phrase used for the whale. Job iv., whose strength lies in his 
scales, which are so knit, that he is, as it were, covered with armour. Thus 
these cursed spirits do accord in their machinations, and labour to bring their 
instruments into the same league with them, not contented with their bare 
obedience, but, where they can obtain it, do require an express oath of their 
servants to be true to them, as in witches. 

Fifthly, The mighty works that are attributed to these evil spirits, in 
Scripture, declare their power, and these either respect the elementary, sensible, 
or intellectual part of the world. The elementary, what dreadful effects this 
prince of the power of the air is able to produce on that, see in the word ; he 
cannot indeed make the least breath of air, drop of water, or spark of fire, but 
he can, if let loose, as reverend master Caryl saith on Job i., go to God's store- 
house, and make use of these in such a sort, as no man can stand before him ; 
he can hurl the sea into such a commotion, that the depths shall boil like a pot, 
and disturb the air into storms and tempests, as if heaven and earth would 
meet. Job's children were buried in the ruins of their house by a puff of his 
mouth ; yea, he can go to God's magazine, as the former author saith, and let 
off the great ordinance of heaven, causing such dreadful thunder and lightning, 
as shall not only affright, but do real execution, and that in a more dreadful 
way than in the ordinary course of nature. If man's art can so sublimate 
nature, as we see in the invention of powder, that hath such a strange force. 


much more able is he to draw forth its power. Again, over the sensitive 
world liis power is great; not only the beasts, as in the herd of swine hurried 
by him into the deep, but over the bodies of men also, as in Job, whose sore 
boils were not the breakings out of a distempered nature, but the print of 
Satan's fangs on his flesh, doing that suddenly, which in nature would have 
required more time to gather and ripen ; and the demoniacs in the gospel, 
grievously vexed and tormented by him. But this the devil coiuits small 
game ; his great s^jite is at the souls of men, which I call the intellectual world; 
his cruelty to the body is for the soul's sake. As Christ's pity to the bodies of 
men, when on earth, healing their diseases, was in a subserviency to the good of 
their souls, bribing them with those mercies suitable to their carnal desires, that 
they might more willingly receive mercies for their souls from that hand which 
was so kind to their bodies ; as we give children something that plcascth them, 
to persuade them to do something that pleaseth them not, go to school, learn 
their book: so the devil, who is cruel as Christ is meek, and wisheth good 
neither to body nor soul, yet shews his cruelty to the body, but on a design 
against the soul, knowing well that the soul is soon discomposed by the pertur- 
bation of the other ; the soul cannot but lightly hear, and so have its peace 
and rest broken by the groans aiul complaints of the body, under whose very 
roof it dwells ; and then it is not strange, if as for want of sleep the tongue 
talk idly, so the soul shoidd break out into some sinful carriage, which is the 
bottom of the devil's plot on a saint. And as for other poor silly souls, he 
gains little less than a godlike fear and dread from them by that power he puts 
forth, through Divine permission, in smiting their goods, beasts, and bodies, as 
among the Indians at this day. Yea, there are many among ourselves plainly 
shew what a throne Satan hath in their hearts upon this account, such who, as 
if there were not a God in Israel, go for help and cure to his doctors, — wizards 
I mean. And truly, had Satan no other way to work his will on the souls of 
men, but by this advantage he takes from the body, yet considering the dege- 
neracy of man's state, how low his soid is sunk beneath its primitive extraction, 
how the body, which was a lightsome house, is now become a pi-ison to it; 
that which was its servant, is now become its master ; it is no wonder he is able 
to do so much. But besides this, he hath, as a spirit, a nearer way of access to 
the soul, and as a superior spirit yet more over man, a lower creatui'e. And 
above all, having got within the soul, by man's fall, he hath now far more 
power than before ; so that where he meets not resistance from God, he carries 
all before him ; as in the wicked, whom he hath so at his devotion, that he is, 
in a sense, said to do that in them which God doth in the saints. God works 
efl'ectually in them. Gal. ii. 8; 1 Thess. ii. 13. Satan worketh effectually in the 
children of disobedience, Eph. ii. 2, energountos, the same word with the former 
places; he is in a manner efficacious with them, as the Holy Spirit with the other. 
His delusions strong, 2 Thess. ii. 11. They returned not re infecta. The 
Spirit ' enlightens ; ' he ' blinds ' the minds of those that believe not, 2 Cor. iv. 4 . 
The Spirit 'tills' the saints, Ephes. v. 18; 'Why hath Satan filled thy heart?' 
saith Peter to Ananias, Acts v. 3. ' The Spirit fills with knowledge, and the 
fruits of righteousness ;' Satan fills with envy and all unrighteousness. The 
Holy Spirit fills with comfort ; Satan the wicked with terrors : as in Saul vexed 
\t\ an evil spirit ; and Judas, into whom it is said he entered, and when he had 
satisfied his lust upon him, as Amnon on Tamar, shuts the door of mercy upon 
him, and makes him that was even now traitor to his Master, hangman to him- 
self. And though saints be not the proper subjects of his power, yet they are 
the chief objects of his wrath; his foot stands on the wicked's back, but he 
wrestles with these, and when CJod steps aside, he is far above their match : he 
hath sent the strongest among them home, trembling and crying to their God, 
with the blood running about their consciences. He is mighty, both as a 
tempter to and for sin, knowing the state of the Christian's affairs so well, aiul 
able to throw his fire-balls so far into the inward senses, whether they be of 
lust or horror, and to blow up these with sucli unwearied solicitations, that if 
they iit first meet not with some suita])le dispositions in the Christian, at which, 
as from loose corners of powder, they may take fire, which is most ordinary, 
yet in time he may bring over the creature by the length of the siege, and 

H 2 


continued volleys of such motions, to listen to a parley with them, if not a yield- 
ing to them. Thus many times he even wearies out the soul with importunity. 
Section II. — Use 1. First, let this, O man, make the plumes of thy pride 
fall, whoever thou art that gloriest in thy power ; hadst thou more than thou or 
any of the sons of Adam ever had, yet what is all that to the power of these 
ano-els? Is it the strength of thy body thou gloriest in? Alas, what is the 
strength of frail flesh, to the force of their spiritual nature? Thou art no more 
to these than a cliild to a giant, a worm to a man ; who could tear up the 
mountains, and hurl the world into a confusion, if God would but suffer them. 
Is it the strength of thy parts above others? Dost thou not see what fools 
he makes of the wisest among men ? winding them about as a sophister would 
do an idiot, making them believe light is dark, bitter is sweet, and sweet bitter ; 
were not the strength of his parts admirable, could he make a rational creature, 
as a man is, so absurdly throw away his scarlet, and embrace dung ? I mean, 
part with God and the glorious happiness he hath in him, in hope to mend 
himself by embracing sin. Yet this he did when man had his best wits about 
him in innocency. Is it the power of place and dignity got by warlike achieve- 
ment ? Grant thou wert able to subdue nations, and give laws to the whole 
world, yet even then without grace from above thou wouldst be his slave. 
And he himself, for all this his power, is a cursed spirit, the most miserable 
of all God's creatures, and the more, because he hath so much power to do 
mischief; had the devil lost all his angelical abilities, when he fell, he had 
gained by his loss. Therefore tremble, O man, at any power thou hast, except 
thou usest it for God. Art thou strong in body ? Who hath thy strength? God, 
or thy lusts ? Some are strong to drink, strong to sin ; ' thy hand shall there- 
fore be stronger,' Isa. xxviii. 22. Hast thou power by thy place to do God 
and his church service, but no heart to lay it out for them, but rather against 
them ? Thou and the devil shall be tried at the same bar ; it seems thou meanest 
to go to hell for something, thou wilt carry thy full lading thither. No greater 
plague can befall a man than power without grace. Such great ones in the 
world, while here, make a brave show, like chief commanders and field-officers 
at the head of their regiments ; the common soldiers are poor creatures to 
them : but when the army is beaten, and all taken prisoners, then they fling 
off their scarf and feather, and would be glad to pass for the meanest in the 
army. Happy would devils be, princes and great ones in the world be, if then 
they could appear in the habit of some poor sneaks to i-eceive their sentence as 
such ; but then their titles, and dignity, and riches shall be read, not for their 
honour, but for their shame and damnation. 

Use 2. Secondly, It shews the folly of those that think it such an easy 
matter to get heaven. If the devil be so mighty, and heaven's way so full of 
them, then sure it will cost hot water before we display our banners upon the 
walls of the New Jerusalem. Yet it is plain many think otherwise, by the 
provision they make for their march. If you should see a man walking forth 
without a cloak, or with a very thin one, you will say. Surely he fears no foul 
weather ; or one riding a long journey alone, and without ai-ms, you will con- 
clude he expects no thieves on the road. All, if you ask them, will tell you 
they are on their way to heaven ; but how few care for the company of the 
saints, as if they needed not their fellowship on their journey ! Most go naked, 
without so much as anything like armour, have not enough to gain the name 
of professors at large ; others, it may be, will shew you some vain flighty hopes 
on the mercy of God, without any Scripture-bottom for the same, and with 
these content themselves, which will, like a rusty unsound pistol, fly in their 
own face when they come to use it : and is it any wrong to say these make 
nothing of getting heaven ? Surely these men, many of whom thrive so well 
in the world, never got their estates with so little care as they think to get 
heaven. Ask them why they follow their trade so close, they will tell you, 
estates are not got by sleeping, families are not provided for with the hands in 
the pocket, they meet with many rooks and cheaters in their dealing, who, 
should they not look to themselves, would soon undo them : and are there 
none that thou needest fear will put a cheat on thy soul, and bereave thee of 
thy crown of glory if they can ? Thou art blinder "than the prophet's servant. 


if thou seest not more devils encompassing thee than he saw men about 
Samaria. Thy worldly trade they will not hinder, nay, may be, help thee 
to sinful tricks in that, to hinder thee in this : but if once thou resolvest to 
seek out for Christ and his grace, they will oppose thee to thy face ; they are 
under an oath, as Paul's enemies were, to take away the life of thy sold if they 
can ; desperate creatures themselves, who know their doom is irrevocable ; 
and sell their own lives they will as dear as they can. Now what folly is it to 
betray thy soul into their hands, when Chris stands by to be thy convoy ! Out 
of him thou art a lost creature, thou canst not defend thyself alone against 
Satan, nor with Satan against God. Close with Christ, and thou art delivered 
from one of thy enemies, and him the most formidable, God I mean ; yea, he is 
become thy friend, who will stick close to thee in thy conflict with the other. 

Use 3. Thirdly, To the saints. Be ye not dismayed at this report which the 
Scripture makes of Satan's power ; let them fear him who fear not God. What 
are these mountains of power and pride before thee, O Christian, who servesta 
God that can make a woi-m thrash a mountain ? The greatest hurt he can do 
thee, is by nourishing this false fear of him in thy bosom. It is observed, Ber- 
nard saith, of some beast in the forest, Plerunque superant leonem ferientem, 
quce non sustinent rugientcm ; though they are too hard for the lion in fight, 
yet tremble when he roars. Thus the Christian, when he comes to the pinch, 
indeed, is able, through Christ, to trample Satan under his feet ; yet before the 
conflict, stands trembling at the thought of him. Labour, therefore, to get a 
right understanding of Satan's power, and then this lion will not appear so 
fierce as you paint him in your melancholy fancy. Three considerations will 
relieve you, when at any time you are beset with the fears of his power. 

First, It is derived power ; he hath it not in himself, but by patent from 
another, and that no other but God : * All powers are of him,' whether on 
earth or in hell. This truth, subscribed in faith, would. First, secure thee, 
Christian, that Satan's power shall never hurt thee. Would thy Father give 
him a sword to mischief thee his cliild ? * I have created the smitli,' saith God, 
' that bloweth the coals; I have created the waster to destroy;' and there- 
fore assures them, that ' no weapon formed against them shall prosper,' 
Isa. liv. 16, &c. If God provides his enemies arms, they shall, I warrant you, 
be such as will do them little service. When Pilate thought to scare Christ 
with what he could do towards the saving or taking away of his life, he replies, 
' that he could do nothing except it were given from above,' John xix. 10 ; as 
if he had said. Do your worst, I know who sealed your commission. 

Secondly, This considered, would meeken and quiet the soul, when troubled 
by Satan within, or his instruments without. It is Satan buffets, man perse- 
cutes me, but God who gives them both power; 'The Lord,' saith David, 
'bids him curse;' 'The Lord,' saith Job, 'hath given, and the Lord hath 
taken.' This kept the King's peace in both their bosoms. O Christian, look 
not at the jailor that whips thee; may be he is cruel; but read the warrant; 
who wrote that ? and at the bottom thou shalt find thy Father's hand. 

Secondly, Satan's power is limited, and that two ways ; he cannot do what 
he will ; and he shall not do what he can. 

First, He cannot do what he will. His desires are boundless ; they walk not 
only to and fro here below, but in heaven itself, where he is pulling down his 
once fellow-angels, knocking down the carved work of that glorious temple, as 
with axes and hammers; yea, dethroning God, and setting himself in his 
place : this fool saith in his heart. There is no God ; but he cannot do this, 
nor many other things which his cankered malice stirs him up to wish ; he is 
but a creature, and so hath the length of his tether, to which he is staked, and 
cannot exceed ; and if God be safe, then thou also, for thy life is hid with 
Christ in fiod ; ' If I live,' saith Christ, ' you shall live also.' You are engraven 
on the table of his heart; if he pluck one away, he must the other also. Again, 
as he cannot hurt the being of God, so he cannot piy into the bosom of God. 
He knows not man's, much less God's thoughts. The astrologers nor 
their master could bring back Nebuchadnezzar's dream. As men have their 
closets for their own privacy, where none can enter in but with their key, so 
God keeps the heart as his withdrawing-room, shut to all besides himself; and 


thei-efore when he takes upon him to foretell events, if God teach him not his 
lesson, nor second causes help him, he is beside his book ; so, to save his 
credit, delivers them dubiously, that his text may bear a gloss suitable to the 
effect, whatever it is. And when he is bold to tell the state of a person, there 
is no weight to be laid on his judgment; Job was an hypocrite in his mouth, 
but God proved him a liar. Again, Thirdly, he cannot hinder those purposes 
and counsels of God he knows. He knew Christ was to come in the flesh, and 
did his worst, but could not hinder his landing ; though there were many 
devices in his heart, yet the comisel of the Lord concerning him did stand, 
yea, was delivered by the midwifery of Satan's suggesting, and his instruments 
executing his lust, as they thought, but fulfilling God's counsel against them- 
selves. Fourthly, He cannot ravish thy will; Diaholus non est jttssor vitiorum, 
sed incentor. He cannot command thee to sin against thy will; he can motum 
agere, make the soul go faster that is on its way, as the wind carries the tide 
with more swiftness, but he cannot turn the stream of the heart contrary to its 
own course and tendency. 

Secondly, Satan's power is so limited, that he shall not do what he can : God 
lets out so much of his wrath as shall praise him, and be as a stream to set his 
purpose of love to his saints at work, and then lets down the flood-gate, by 
restraining the residue thereof. God ever takes him oflPbefore he can finish his 
work on a saint. He can, if God suff"ers him, rob the Christian of much of his 
joy, and disturb his peace by his cunning insinuation ; but he is under 
command ; he stands like a dog by the table, while the saints sit at this sweet 
feast of comfort, but dares not stir to disturb their cheer ; his Master's eye is 
on him. The want of this considei-ation loseth God his praise, and us om- 
comfort, God having locked up our comfort in the performance of our duty. 
Did the Christian consider what Satan's power is, and who dams it up, this 
would always be a song of praise in his mouth. Hath Satan power to rob and 
burn, kill and slay, torment the body, distress the mind ? Whom may I thank 
that I am in any of these out of his hands? Doth Satan love one better than 
Job ? or am I out of sight, or beside his walk ? Is his courage cooled, or his 
wrath apjieased, that I escape so well ? No, none of these ; his wrath is not 
against one, but all the saints ; his eye is on thee, and his ann can reach thee ; 
his spirit is not cowed, nor his stomach stayed with those millions he hath 
devoured, but keen as ever, yea, shai-pei", because now he sees God ready to 
take away, and the end of the world drawing on so fiist. It is thy God alone 
whom thou art beholden to for all this ; his eye keepeth thee ; when Satan finds 
the good man asleep, then he finds our good God awake ; therefore thou art not 
consumed, because he changeth not. Did his eye slumber or wander one 
moment, there woidd need no other flood to drown thee, yea, the whole world, 
than what woidd come out of this dragon's mouth. 

Thirdly, Satan's power is ministerial, appointed by God for the service and 
benefit of the saints : it is true, as it is said of the pi'oud Assyrian, ' He meaneth 
not so, neither doth his heart think so,' Isa. x. 7; but it is in his heart to 
destroy those he tempts : but no matter what he thinks ; as Luther comforted 
himself, when told what had passed at the diet of Nuremberg against the Pro- 
testants, ' that it was decreed one way there, but otherwise in heaven ;' so for the 
saints' comfort, the thoughts which God thinks to them are peace, while Satan's 
are ruin to their graces, and destruction to their soids ; and his counsel shall 
stand in spite of the devil. The very mittimus which God makes, when he 
commits any of his saints to the devil's prison, runs thus : ' Deliver such a one 
to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the 
day of the Lord Jesus,' 1 Cor. v. 5. So that tempted saints may say. We had 
perished if we had not perished to our own thinking. This Leviathan, while he 
thinks to swallow them up, is but sent of God, as the whale to Jonah, to waft 
them safe to land. ' Some of them of iniderstanding shall fall, to try them, and 
to purge them, and to make them white,' Dan. xi. 3.5. This God intends when 
he lets his children fall into temptation, as we do with om- linen ; the spots they 
get at our feasts are taken out by washing, rubbing, and laying them out to 
bleach. Tiic saints' spots are most in peace, plenty, and prosperity, and they never 
recover their whiteness to such a degree, as when they come from under Satan's 


scouring. We do too little not to fear Satan ; we should comfort ourselves 
with the usefulness and suhserviency of his temptations to our good. ' All 
things are yours,' who are Christ's. He that hath given life to be yours, 
hath given death also. He that hath given heaven" for your inheritance, 
Paul and Cephas, his ministers and ordinances, to help you thither, hath given 
the world, with all the afflictions of it, yea, the ])rinceof it too, with all his wrath 
and power, in order to the same end. This, indeed, is love and wisdom in a 
riddle ; but you who have the spirit of Christ can unfold it. 




Agaiiist the rulers of the darkness of this world. 
These woi-ds contain the third branch in the description of our great enemy 
the devil : and they hold forth the proper seat of his empire, with a threefold 
boundary ; he is not ' lord over all,' that is the inconmiunicable title of God : 
but a ' ruler of the darkness of this world,' where the time, place, and subjects 
of his empire are stinted. 

1. The time when this prince hath his rule ' in this world ;' that is, now, not 

2. The place where he rules, ' in this world ;' that is, here below, not in 

3. The subjects, or persons whom he rules ; not all in this lower world 
neither ; and they are wrapped up in these words, ' The darkness of this world.' 
P'irst, of the first boundary. 

Section I. — 1. The time when he rules ; so this word world, may be taken 
in the text for that little spot of time, which, like an inconsiderable parenthesis, 
is clasped in on either side with vast eternity, called sometimes the ' present 
world,' Tit. ii. 12. On this stage of time, this mock king acts the part of a 
prince ; but when Christ comes to take down this scaffold at the end of this 
world, then he shall be degraded ; his crown taken off, his sword broken over 
his head, and he hissed off with scorn and shame ; yea, of a prince, become a 
close prisoner in hell : no more then shall he infest the saints, no, nor rule the 
wicked ; but he with them, and they with him, shall lie under the immediate 
execution of God's wrath. For this very end Christ hath his patent and com- 
mission, which he will not give up, 'till he shall have put down all rule,' 
1 Cor. XV. 24, 2.5. Then, and not till then, will he deliver up his economical 
kingdom to his Father, when he shall have put down all rule ; ' for he must 
reign till he have put all enemies under his feet.' Satan is cast already; his 
doom is passed upon him, as Adam's was upon his first sin ; but full execution 
is stayed till the end of the world. The devil knows it ; it is an article in his 
creed which made him tremblingly ask Christ, Why he came, ' to torment him 
before his time ?' 

Use 1. First, This brings ill news to the wicked. Your prince cannot long 
sit in his throne ; sinners at present have a merry time of it, if it would hold ; 
they rejoice, while Christ's disciples weep and mourn; they rustle in ther 
silks, while the saint goes in his rags. Princes are not more careful to oblige 
their courtiers with pensions and prefennents, than the devil is to gratify his 
followers. He hath his rewards also; ' All this will I give thee.' ' Am not I 
able to promote thee?' saith Balak to Balaam. O it is strange, and yet not 
strange, considering the degeneracy of man's nature, to see how Satan carries 
sinners after him with this golden hook ! Let him but present such a bait as 
honour, pelf, or pleasure, and their hearts skip after it as a dog would at a 
crust ; he makes them sin for a morsel of bread. O the naughty heart of man 
loves the wages of unrighteousness, which the devil promiseth, so dearly, that 
it fears not the dreadful wages whicli the great God threatens! As sometimes 
you shall see a spaniel so greedy of a bone, that he will leap into the very river 
for it, if you throw it thither, and by that time he comes with nuich ado 
thither, it is sunk, and he gets nothing but a mouthful of water for his pains: 
thus sinners will calch at their desired pleasures, honours, and profits, swinnning 
through the very threatenings of the word to them, and oftcntuucs they lose 


even what they gaped for here. Thus ' God kept Balaam,' as Balak told him, 
' from honour,' Numb. xxiv. 11. But, however they speed here, they are sure 
to lose themselves everlastingly, without repentance. They that are resolved 
they will have these things, are the men that fall into the devil's snare, and are 
led into those foolish and hurtful lusts which will drown them in destruction 
and perdition, 1 Tim. vi. 9. O poor sinners ! were it not wisdom, before you 
truck with the devil, to inquire what title he can give you to these goodly 
vanities ? Will he settle them as a free estate upon you ? Can he secure your 
bargain, and keep you from suits of law ? Or is he able to put two lives into the 
purchase, that when you die you may not be left destitute in another world? 
Alas, poor wretches ! you shall ere long see what a cheat he hath put on you, 
from whom you are like to have nought but caveat emptor. Let the buyer 
look to that. Yea, this great prince, that is so brag to tell what he will give 
you, must down himself; and a sad prince must needs make a sad court. O 
what howling will there then be of Satan and his vassals together ! O, but, 
saith the sinner, the pleasures and honours sin and Satan offer are present, and 
that which Christ promiseth we must stay for. This, indeed, is that which takes 
most. 'Demas,' saith Paul, 'forsook me, having loved this present world,' 
2 Tim. iv. 10. It is present indeed, sinners, for you cannot say it will be yours 
the next moment ; your present felicity is going, and the saints', though future, 
is coming never to go. And who for a gulp of pottage, and sensual enjoyments 
at present, would part with a reversion of such a kingdom ? except thou art of his 
mind, who thought he had nothing but what he had swallowed down his throat, 

Ilac habeo qua edi, qnceque exaturata libido 

Which Cicero could say, was more lit to be writ on an ox's grave than a man's. 
Vile wretch, that thinkest it is not better to deal with God for time, than the 
devil for ready pay ! Tertullian wonders at the folly of the Roman ambition, 
who would endure all manner of hardship in field and fight, for no other thing 
but to obtain at last the honour to be consul, which he calls unius anni volaticum 
gaudium, a joy that flies away at the year's end. But O what a desperate 
madness is it for sinners then, not to endure a little hardship here, but entail on 
themselves the eternal wrath of God hereafter, for the short feast and running 
banquet their lusts entertain them here withal, which often is noi gaudium unius 
horcE, a joy that lasts an hour. 

Use 2. Secondly, Let this encourage thee, O Christian, in thy conflict with 
Satan ; the skirmish may be sharp, but it cannot be long. Let him tempt thee, 
and his wicked instnnnents trounce thee ; it is but a little while, and thou shalt 
be rid of both their evil neighbourhoods. The cloud, while it drops, is rolling 
over thy head, and then comes fair weather, and eternal sunshine of glory. 
Canst thou not watch with Christ one horn- or two ? keep the field a few days ? 
If yield, thou art undone for ever ; persevere but imtil the battle be over, 
and thine enemy shall never rally more : bid faith look through the key- 
hole of the promise, and tell thee what it sees there laid up for him that 
overcomes ; bid it listen and tell thee, whetlicr it cannot hear the shouts of 
those crowned saints, as of those that are dividing the spoil, and receiving 
the reward of all their services and sufferings here on earth : and dost thou 
stand on the other side, afraid to wet thy foot with those sufferings and 
temptations, which, like a little plash of water, run between thee and glory ? 

Section II. — Secondly, The devil's empire is confined to place as well as time ; 
he is the ruler of this lower world, not of the heavenly. The highest the devil 
can go is the air, called the pinnce thereof, as being the utmost marches of his 
empire ; he hath nothing to do with the upper world. Heaven fears no devil, 
and therefore its gates stand always open ; never durst this fiend look into the 
holy place since he was first expelled, but rangeth to and fro here below, as a 
vagabond creature, excommunicated the presence of God, doing what mis- 
chief he can to saints in their way to heaven. But is not this matter of great 
ioy, that Satan hath no power there where the saints' happiness lies? What 
hast thou. Christian, which thou needest value, that is not there? Thy Christ 
is there, and, if thou lovest him, thy lieart also, which lives in the bosom of its 


Beloved. Thy friends and kindred in Christ are there, ot expected, with whom 
thou shalt have a happy meeting in thy Father's house, notwithstanding the 
snare on Tabor, the plots of Satan which lie in the way. O friends, get a title 
to that kingdom, and you are above the flight of this kite. This made Job a 
iiappy man indeed, who, when the devil had plundered him to his skin, and 
woiTied him almost out of that too, could then vouch Christ in the {ace of death 
and devils to be his Redeemer, whom he should with those eyes, that now stood 
full with brinish tears, behold, and that for himself as his own portion. It is 
sad with him indeed, who is robbed of all he is worth at once ; but this can never 
be said of a saint. The devil took away Job's purse, as I may say, which put him 
into some straits, but he had a God in heaven that put him into stock again. 
Some spending money thou hast at present in thy purse, in the activity of thy 
faith, the evidence of thy sonship, and comfort flowing from the same, 
enlargement in duty, and the like, which Satan may for a time disturb, 
yea, deprive thee of, but he cannot blot thy name out of the book of life ; he 
cannot annul thy faith, make void thy relation, dry up thy comfort in the 
spring, though he may dam up the stream ; nor hinder thee a happy issue of 
thy whole war with sin, though he may worst thee in a private skirmish ; these 
all are kept in heaven, among God's own crown jewels, who is said to keep us 
by his power ' through faith unto salvation.' 

Section III. — The third boundary of the devil's principality is in regard of 
his subjects, and they are described here to be 'the darkness of this world,' 
that is, such as are in darkness. This word is used sometimes to express the 
desolate condition of a creature in some great distress, Isa. 1. : ' He that walks in 
darkness, and sees no light:' sometimes to express the nature of all sin ; so 
Ephes. v. 1, sin is called the work of darkness: sometimes the particular sin of 
ignorance; often set out by the darkness of the night, blindness of the eye : all 
these I conceive may be meant, but chiefly the latter; for though Satan makes 
a fold stir in the soul ; that is, in the darkness of sorrow, whether it be from 
outward crosses, or inward desertions ; yet if the creature be not in the darkness 
of sin at the same time, though he may disturb his peace as an enemy, yet 
cannot be said to rule as a prince. Sin only sets Satan in the throne ; so that 
I shall take the words in the two latter intei-pretations. 

First, For the darkness of sin in general. 

Secondly, For the darkness of ignorance in special ; and the sense will be, 
that the devil's rule is over those that are in a state of sin and ignorance, not 
over those who are sinful or ignorant ; so he would take hold of saints as well 
as others ; but over those who are in a state of sin, which is set out by the 
abstract, ' nder of the darkness,' the more to express the fulness of the sin and 
ignorance that possesseth Satan's slaves ; and the notes will be two. 

First, Every soul in a state of sin is under the rule of Satan. 

Secondly, Ignorance, above other things, enslaves a soul to Satan ; and there- 
fore all sins are set out by that which chiefly expresseth this, viz., darkness. 

Doct, Every soid in a state of sin is under the ride of Satan ; under which 
point these two things must be inquired; — 

First, The reason why sin is set out by darkness. 

Secondly, How every one in such a state appears to be under the devil's 
rule. For the fii'st. 

First, Sin may be called darkness, because the spring and common cause of 
sin in man is darkness. The external cause Satan, who is the great promoter 
of it ; he is a cursed spirit, held in chains of darkness. The internal is the 
blindness and darkness of the st)ul : we may say when any one sins, he doth 
he knows not what, as Christ said of his murderers. Did the creature know the 
time worth of the soul, which he now sells for a song, the glorious, amiable nature 
of God and his holy ways, the matchless love of God in Christ, the poisonous 
nature of sin, and all these not by a sudden beam darted into the window at a 
sermon, and gone again, like a flash of lightning, but by an abiding light; this 
would spoil the devil's market, and poor creatures would not readily take this 
toad into their bosom ; sin goes in a disguise, and so is welcome. 

Secondly, It is darkness, because it brings darkness into the soul, and that 
naturally and judicially. 


First, Naturally. There is a noxious quality in sin offensive to the under- 
standing, which is to the soul what the eye and palate are to the body ; it 
discerns things, and distinguishes true from false, as the eye white from 
black ; it trieth words as the mouth tasteth meats. Now as there are some 
things bad for the sight, and others bad for the palate, vitiating it, so that it 
shall not know sweet from bitter ; so here sin besots the creature, and makes it 
injudicious, that he who could see such a practice absurd and base in others 
before, when once he had drank of this enchanting cup himself, as one that 
hath lost his understanding, is maddened by it himself, not able now to see the 
evil of it, or use his reason against it. Thus Saul, before he had debauched his 
conscience, thought the witch worthy of death ; but after he had trodden his 
conscience hard with other foul sins, went to ask counsel of one himself. 

Again, sin brings darkness judicially ; such have been threatened, whose ear 
God hath been trying to open and instruct, and have run out of God's school 
into the devil's, by ' rebelling against light,' that they shall ' die without know- 
ledge,' Job xxxvi. 10 — 12. What! should the candle burn waste, when tlie 
creature hath more mind to play than work? 

Thirdly, Sin runs into darkness. Imposters bring in their ' damnable heresies 
privily,' like those who sell bad ware, loth to come to the market, where the 
standard tries all, but put it off in secret : so in moral wickedness, sinners, like 
beasts, go out in the night for their prey, loth to be seen, afraid to come where 
they should be found out. Nothing more terrible to sinners than the light 
of truth, John iii. 19, 'because their deeds are evil.' Felix was so nettled with 
what Paul spake, that he could not sit out the sermon, but runs away in haste, 
and adjourns the hearing of Paul till a convenient season, but he never could 
tind one. The sun is not more troublesome in hot countries, than truth is to 
those who sit under the powerful preaching of it ; and, therefore, as those 
seldom come abroad in the heat of the day, and, when they must, have their 
devices over their heads to screen them from the sun ; so sinners shim as much 
as may be the preaching of the word; but if they must go, to keep in with their 
relations, or for other carnal advantages, they, if possible, will keeji off the 
power of truth, either by sleeping the sermon away, or prating it away with 
any foolish imagination which Satan sends to bear them company and chat 
with them at such a time ; or, by choosing such a cool preacher to sit under, 
whose toothless discoiu'se shall rather flatter than trouble, rather tickle their 
fancy than prick their consciences ; and then their sore eyes can look upon the 
light. Florescentem amant i^eritatem qui noti redarguentiir ; they dare handle 
and look on the sword with a delight, when in a rich scabbard, who would run 
away to see it drawn. 

Fourthly, Sin is darkness for its uncomfortableness, and that in a threefold 

First, Darkness is uncomfortable, as it shuts out of all employment. What 
could the Egyptians do under the plague of darkness, but sit still ? and this to 
an active spirit is trouble enough. Thus, in a state of sin man is an unser- 
viceable creature ; he can do his God no service acceptably, spoils everything 
he takes in hand, like one running up and down in a shop, with windows shu', 
who doth nothing right. It may be writ on the grave of every sinner, who 
lives and dies in that state : ' Here lies the man that never did God an hom-'s 
work in all his life.' 

Secondly, Darkness is uncomfortable in point of enjoyment; be there ever 
such rare pictures in the room, if dark, who is the better? A soul in a state 
of sin may possess much, but enjoys nothing. This is a sore evil, and little 
thought of. One thought of its state of enmity to God, would di-op bitterness 
into every cup; all he hath smells of hell-fire; and a man at a rich feast would 
enjoy it sure but little if he smelt fire, ready to burn his house and himself. 

Thirdly, Darkness fills with terrors ; fears in the night are most dreadful ; a 
state of sin is a state of fear. Men that owe much, have no quiet, but when 
they are asleep, and not then either, the cares and fears of the day sink so 
deep, as makes their rest troublesome and imquiet in the night. The wicked 
hath no peace, but when his conscience sleeps, and that sleeps but slightly, 
awaking often with sick fits of terror : when he hath most prosperity, he is 


scared like a flock of birds in a corn field, at every piece going off. He eats in 
fear, and drinks in fear ; when afflicted, he expects worse behind, and knows 
not what this cloud may spread to, and where it may lay him, whether in hell 
or not he knows not, and therefore trembles, as one in the dark, not knowing 
but his next step may be into the pit. 

Fifthly, Sin leads to utter darkness ; utter darkness is darkness to the ut- 
most ; sin in its fidl height, and wrath in its full heat, together ; both univer- 
sal, both eternal. Here is some mixture, peace and trouble, j^ain and ease, 
sin and thoughts of repenting, sin and hopes of pardon; there the fire of wrath 
shall burn without slacking, and sin run parallel with torment : hell- birds are no 
changelings ; their toniient makes them sin, and their sin feeds their torment, 
both imquenchable, one being fuel to another. 

Secondly, Let us see how it ajjpears, that such as are under a state of sin, are 
under the rule of Satan. Sinners are called the children of thedcvil, 1 John iii. 10 ; 
and who rules the child but the father ? They are slaves ; who rules the slave 
but the master? They are the very mansion-house of the devil; where hath a 
man command, but in his own house? 'I will go to my house,' Matt. xii. 44. 
As if the devil had said, I have walked among the saints of God, to and fro, 
knocking at this door and that, and none will bid me welcome ; I can find no 
rest; well, I know where I may be bold; I'll even go to my own house, and 
thei"e I am sure to rule the roast without control ; and ' when he comes, he 
finds it empty, swept and garnished;' that is, all ready for his entertainment. 
Servants make the house tinm and handsome against their master comes home, 
especially when he brings guests with him, as here the devil brings ' seven more.' 

Look to the sinner ; there is nothing he is or hath, but the devil hath domi- 
nion over it: 'he rules the whole man,' their minds blinding them. All the 
sinner's apprehensions of things are shaped by Satan : he looks on sin with the 
devil's spectacles ; he reads the word with the devil's comment : he sees nothing 
in its native colours, but is imder a continual delusion. The very wisdom of 
a wicked man is said to be 'devilish,' Jam. iii. 15; or devil-like, because 
taught by the devil, and also such as the devil's is, ' wise only to do evil.' ' He 
commands their wills,' though not to force them, yet eftectually to draw them. 
' His work,' saith Christ, ' ye will do.' You are resolved on your way, the 
devil hath got your hearts, and him ye will obey : and therefore when Christ 
comes to recover his throne, he finds the soul in an uproar, as Ephesus at Paul's 
sermon, crying him down, and Diana up. We will not have this man to reign 
over us ; what is the Almighty that we shoidd serve him ? ' He rules over all 
their members;' they ai'e called 'weapons of unrighteousness ;' all at the 
devil's service ; as all the arms of a kingdom, to defend the prince against any 
that shall invade. The head to plot, the hand to act, the feet swift to carry the 
body up and down about his service ; ' he rules over all that he hath.' Let God 
come in a poor member, and beseech him to lend him a penny, or bestow a 
morsel to refresh his craving heart, and the covetous wretch's hand of cha- 
rity is withered, that he cannot stretch it forth : but let Satan call, and his purse 
flies open, and his heart also. Nabal, that could not spare a few fragments 
for David and his followers, coidd make ' a feast like a prince,' to satisfy 
his own lusts of gluttony and drunkeimess. ' Heconnnands their time ;' when 
God calls to duty, to pi'ay, to hear, no time all the week to be spared for that ; 
but if the sinner hears there is a merry meeting, a knot of good fellows at the 
ale-house, all is thrown aside to wait on his lord and master; calling left at sixes 
and sevens, yea, wife and children crying, it may be starving, while the wretch 
is pouring out their very blood, in wasting their livelihood, at the foot of his lust. 
The sinner is in the 'bond of iniquity ;' and being bound, he must obey. He 
is said to go after his lusts, ' as the fool to the stocks,' Prov. vii. 22. The 
pinioned malefactor can as soon untie his own arms and legs, and so run from 
his keeper, as he from his lusts. 'They are servants,' and their members in- 
struments of sin : even as the workman takes up his axe, and it resists not; so 
doth Satan dispose of them, except CJod saith nay. 

See here the deplorable condition of every one in a state of sin. He is under 
the rule of Satan, and government of hell. What tongue can utter, what heart 
can conceive the misery of this state! It was a dismal day which Christ 


foretold, Matt, xxiv., when the abomination of desolation should be seen, stand- 
ing in the holy place : ' Then,' saith Christ, ' let him that is in Judea flee into 
the mountains.' But what was that to this? They are but men, though abomi- 
nable ; these devils. They did but stand in the material temple, and defile and 
deface that ; hut these display their banners in the souls of men, pollute that 
throne, which is more glorious than the material heaven itself, made for God 
alone to sit in. They exercised their cruelties at furthest on the bodies of men, 
killing and torturing them : here the precious souls of men are destroyed. 
When David would curse to purpose the enemies of God, he prays that ' Satan 
may be at their right hand.' It is strange sinners should no more tremble at 
this, who, should they but- see their swine or a beast, bewitched and possessed 
of the devil, run headlong into the sea, would cry out as half undone. And is 
not one soul worth more than all these ? What a plague is it to have Satan 
possess thy heart and spirit, hurrying thee in the fury of thy lusts to perdition? 
O poor man ! what a sad change hast thou made ? Thou who wouldst not sit 
under the meek and peaceable government of God thy rightful Lord, art paid 
for thy rebellion against him, in the crueltv of this tyrant, who writes all his laws 
in the blood of his subjects : and why will yovi sit any longer, O sinners, under 
the shadow of this bramble, from which you can expect nothing but eternal 
fire to come at last and devour you ? Behold, Christ is in the field, sent of God to 
recover his right and your liberty. His royal standard is pitched in the gospel, 
and proclamation made, that if any poor sinners, weary of the devil's govern- 
ment, and heavy laden with the miserable chains of his spiritual bondage, so as 
these irons of his sins enter into his very soul to afflict it with the sense of them, 
shall thus come and repair to Christ ; he shall have protection from God's 
justice, the devil's wrath, and sin's dominion ; in a word, ' he shall have rest,' 
and that 'glorious,' Matt. xi. 28; Isa. xi. 10. Usually, when a people have 
been ground with the oppression of some bloody tyrant, they are apt enough to 
long for a change, and to listen to any overture that gives them hope of liberty, 
though reached by the hand of a stranger, who may prove as bad as the other ; 
yet bondage is so grievous, that people desire to change, as sick men their beds, 
though they find little ease thereby. Why then should deliverance be unwel- 
come to you, sinners? Deliverance brought not by a stranger whom you need 
fear what his design is upon you, but your near kinsman in blood, who cannot 
mean you ill, but he must first hate his own flesh ; and whoever did that? To 
be sure, not he, who though he took part of our flesh, that he might have the 
right of being our Redeemer, yet would have no kindred with us in the sinful- 
ness of our nature, Heb. ii. 14, 15. And it is sin that makes us cruel, yea, to 
our own flesh. What can you expect from him but pui-e mercy, who is him- 
self pure ? They are ' the mercies of the wicked which are cruel,' Heb. iv. 15. 
Believe it, Christ counts it his honovir, that he is King of a willing people, 
and not of slaves. He comes to make you free, not to bring you into bondage ; 
to make you kings, not vassals. None give Christ an evil woi'd, but those who 
never were his subjects. Inquire but of those who have tried both Satan's 
service and Christ's ; they are best able to resolve you what they are. You see 
when a soul comes over from Satan's quarters unto Christ's, and has but once 
the experience of that sweetness which is in his service, there is no getting him 
back to his old drudgery, as they say of those who come out of the north, which 
is cold and poor, they like the warm south so well, that they seldom go back more. 
What more dreadful to a gracious soul than to be delivered into the hands of 
Satan, or fall under the power of his lusts ? It would choose rather to leap 
into a burning furnace, than be commanded by them. This is the great 
request a child of God makes, that he would rather whip him in his house, 
than turn him out of it to become a prey to Satan. O sinners, did you know, 
which you cannot till you come over to Christ, and embrace him as j'our Lord 
and Saviour, what the privileges of Christ's servants are, and what gentle usage 
saints have at Christ's hands, you would say those were the only happy men in 
the world which stand continuallj^ before him. His laws are written, not with 
his subjects' blood, as Satan's are, but with his own. All his commands are acts 
of grace ; it is a favour to be employed about them. To you it is given to 
. believe, yea, to ' suffer,' Phil. i. 20. Such an honour the saints esteem it to do 


anything he commands, that they count God rewards them for one piece of 
service, if he enables them for another. ' This I had,' saith David, ' because I 
kept thy precepts,' Psa. cxix. 56. What Avas the great reward he got? see 
ver. 55 : ' I have remembered thy name, O Lord, in the night, and kept thy 
law ;' then follows, ' This I had :' he got more strength and skill to keep the 
law for the future, by his obedience past ; and was he not well paid, think you, 
for his pains ? There is fruit even in holiness, the Christian hath in hand, 
■which he eats while he is at work, that may stay his stomach until the full 
reward comes, which is ' eternal life,' Rom. vi. 22. Jesiis Christ is a Prince 
that loves to see his people thrive, and grow rich vmder his government. This 
is he whom sinners are so much afraid of, that when he sets open their prison, 
and bids them come forth, they choose rather to bore their ears to the devil's 
post, than enjoy this blessed liberty. It is no wonder that some of the saints 
nave indeed, ' when tortured, not accepted deliverance, that they might obtain 
a better resurrection,' Heb. xi. 53. But what a riddle is this, that forlorn souls, 
bound with the chain of their lusts, and the irresistible decree of God for their 
damnation if they believe not on the Lord Jesus, should, as they are driving to 
execution, refuse deliverance ! This may set heaven and earth a wondering. 
Surely, dying in their sins, they cannot hope to have a better resurrection than 
they have a death. I am afraid rather, that they do not firmly believe that 
they shall have any resm-rection ; and then no wonder they make so light of 
Christ's offer, who think themselves safe when once earthed in this burrow of 
the grave. But let sinners know, it is not the grave can hold them, when the 
daj' of assizes comes, and the Judge calls for the prisoners to the bar. The 
grave was never intended to be a sanctuary to defend sinners from the hand of 
justice, but a close prison to secure them against the day of trial, that they may 
be forthcoming. Then sinners shall be digged out of their burrows, and 
di-agged out of their holes to answer their contempt of Christ and his grace. 
O how will you be astonished to see him become your judge, whom you now 
refuse to be your king ! to hear that gospel witness against you for your dam- 
nation, which at the same time shall acquit others for their salvation ! What 
think you to do, sinners, in that day ? Wilt thou cry and scream for mercy at 
Chi'ist's hand ? Alas ! when the sentence is passed, thy face will immediately be 
covered : condemned prisoners are not allowed to speak : tears then are unpro- 
fitable, when no place left for repentance either in Christ's heart or thine own. 
Or meanest thou to apply thyself to thy old lord, in whose service thou hast 
undone thy soul, and cry to him, as she to Ahab, 'Help, O king :' alas! thine eve 
shall see him in the same condemnation with thyself. Hadst thou not better 
now renoimce the devil's rule, whilst thou mayest be received into Christ's 
government ? pour out thy tears and cries now for mercy and grace when thev 
are to be had, tiian to save them for another world to no purpose ? 

Qttesf. But possibly thou wilt say, ' How ma}' I, that am a home-born slave 
to sin, yea, who have lived so many years under his cm'sed rule, get out of his 
dominion and power, and be translated into the kingdom of Christ ? ' 

j^nsw. The difficulty of this great work lies not in prevailing with Christ to 
receive thee for his subject, who refuseth none that in truth of heart desire to 
come under his shadow. It doth not stand with his design to reject any such. 
Do physicians use to chide their patients away, lawyers their clients, or 
generals discourage those who fall oft' from the enemy, and come to their side? 
Surely not. When David was in the field, it is said, 1 Sam. xxii. 2, ' Every one 
that was in distress, in debt, or discontented, gathered themselves to him, and 
he became a captain over them.' And so will Christ be to every one that is 
truly discontented with Satan's government, and upon an inward dislike thereof 
repairs to him. But the main business will be to take tliee off from thy 
engagements to thy lusts and Satan, till which be done, Christ will not own 
thee as a subject, but look on thee as a spy. It fares with sinners as with 
servants. There may be fallings out between them and their masters, and high 
words pass between them, that you would think they woidd take up their pack 
and be gone in all haste ; but the fi-ay is soon over, and by next morning all is 
forgot, and the servants are as hard at their work as ever. O how oft are 
sinners taking their leave of their lusts, and giving warning to their old masters; 


they will repent and refoi-m, and what not ! but in few days they have repented 
of their repentance, and deformed their reformings, which shews they were 
drunk with some passion, when they thought or spake this ; and no wonder 
they reverse all when they come to their true temper. Now because Satan has 
many policies, by which he useth to keep his hold of sinners, I shall discover 
some of them, which if thou canst withstand, it will be no hard matter to bring 
thee out of his power and rule. 

First, Satan doth his utmost, that sinners may not have any serious thoughts 
of the miserable state they are in, while under his ride ; or hear anything from 
others, which might the least unsettle their minds from his service. Con- 
sideration, he knows, is the first step to repentance : he that doth not consider 
his ways, what they ai'e, and whither they lead him, is not like to change them 
in haste. Israel stirred not, till Moses came, and had some discourse with 
them about their woful slavery, and the gracious thoughts of God towards 
them ; and then they begin to desire to be gone. Pharaoh soon bethought him 
what consequence might follow upon this, and cunningly labours to prevent by 
doubling their task : ' Ye are idle, ye are idle, therefore ye say. Let us go, and 
do sacrifice to the Lord. Go therefore and wox-k,' Exod. v. 17, 18. As if he 
had said, Have you so much spare time to think of gadding into the wilderness, 
and have you your seditious conventicles, Moses and you, to lay your plots 
together ? I will break the knot ; give them more work, scatter them all over 
the -land to gather straw, that they may not meet to entice one another's hearts 
from my service. Thus Satan is very jealous of the sinner, afraid every 
Christian that speaks to him, or ordinance he hears, shoidd inveigle him. By 
his good-will he shoidd come at neither ; no, nor have a thought of heaven 
or hell from one end of the week to the other; and that he may have as few as 
may be, he keeps them full-handed with work. The sinner grinds, and he 
is filling the hopper, that the mill may not stand still. He is with the sinner as 
soon as he wakes, and fills his wretched heart with some wicked thoughts, which 
as a morning draught may keep him from the infection of any savour of good, 
that may be breathed on him by others in the day-time. All the day long he 
watcheth him, as the master would do his man that he fears will run away. 
And at night, like a careful jailor, he locks him up again in his chamber with 
more bolts and fetters upon him, not suffering him to sleep as he lies on his 
bed, ' till he hath done some mischief,' Luke xv. Ah, poor wretch ! was ever 
slave so looked to? As long as the devil can keep thee thus, thou art his own, 
sure enough. The prodigal 'came to himself,' before he came to his father. 
He considered with himself what a starving condition he was in ; his husks 
were poor meat, and yet he had not enough of them neither ; and how easily 
he might mend his commons, if he had but grace to go home, and humble him- 
self to his father. Now, and not till now, he goes. Resolve thus, poor sinner, 
to sit down and consider what thy state is, and what it might be, if thou 
wouldst but change the bondage of Satan for the sweet government of Jesus 
Chi-ist. First, Ask thy soul whether the devil can, after thou hast worn 
out thy miserable life here in his drudgery, prefer thee to a happy state in the 
other world, or so much as secure thee from a state of torment and woe? H" 
he cannot, whether there be not one Jesus Christ, who is able and willing to do 
it? and if so, whether it be not extreme cruelty to thy precious soul, to stay any 
longer under the shadow of this bramble, when thou mayest make so blessed a 
change ? A few of these thoughts abidingly laid home to thy soul may, God 
striking in with them, shake the foundations of the devil's prison, and make 
thee haste as fast from him as one out of a house on fire about his ears. 

Secondly, Satan hath his instruments to oppose the messengers and over- 
tures which God sends by them to bring the sinner out of Satan's rule. When 
Moses comes to deliver Israel out of the Egyptian bondage, up starts Jannes 
and Jambres to resist him. When Paul preaclieth to the Deputy, the devil 
hath his chaplain at court to hinder him ; Elymas, one that was ' full of all 
subtilty and mischief.' Some or other, to be sure, he will find, when God is 
parlying with a sinner, and persuading him to come over to Christ, that shall 
labour to clog the work. Either carnal friends, these he sends to plead his 
cause, or old companions in wickedness, these bestir them, one while labouring 


to jeer him out of his new way ; or if that take not, by turning their old love 
into bitter wrath against him for ])hiying tiie apostate, and heaving him so. Or 
if yet he will not be stopped in his way, then he hatli his daubing preachers, 
still like Job's messengers, the last the worst, who with their sold flattering or 
rather murdering doctrine shall go about to heal his wound slightly. Now as 
ever you desire to get out of Satan's bondage, have a care of all these : harden 
thyself against the entreaties of carnal friends and relations ; resolve that if 
tliy cliildren should hang about thy knees to keep thee from Christ, tliou wilt 
throw them away ; if thy father and mother should lie prostrate at thy foot, 
rather than not go to Christ, to go over their very backs to him. Never can 
we part with their love upon such advantageous terms as these. And for thy 
brethren in iniquity I hope thou dost not mean to stay until thou hast their 
good will, then even ask the devil's also. Heaven is but little worth if thou 
liast not a heart to despise a little shame, and bear a few taunts from profane 
Ishmaels for thy hopes of it. Let them spit on thy face, Christ will wipe it off; 
let them laugh, so thou winnest. If tliey follow not thy example before they 
die, the shame will be their own ; (Jod himself shall spit it on their face before 
men and angels, and then kick them into hell. And lastly, escape but the 
snare of those flatterers, who use their tongues only to lick sinners' consciences 
whole with their j)Jace»tkis, soothing doctrine, and thou art fair for a Christ : 
ask not coimsel of them ; they may go about to give you ease, but all those 
stitches with which they sew up thy wounds, must be ripped open, or thou 
diest for it. 

Thirdly, Satan laboui's to put off the sinner with delays. Floating, flitting 
thoughts of repenting he fears not ; he can give sinners leave to talk what they 
will do, so he can beg time, and by his art keep such thoughts from coming to 
a head, and ripening into a perfect resolution ; few are in hell but thought of 
repenting ; but Satan so handled the matter, that they could never pitch upon 
the time in earnest when to do it. If ever thou meanest to get out of his 
clutches, fly out of his doors, and run for thy life ; wherever this warning finds 
thee, stay not, though in the midst of thy joys, with which thy lusts entertain 
thee : as the paper which came to Brentius, from that senator his dear friend, 
took him at supper with his w'lfe and children, and bade him flee, cito, cliius, 
citissime; which he did, leaving his dear company and sweet cheer; so do 
thou, or else thou mayest repent thy stay when it is too late. A vision charged 
the ' wise men' to go back another way, and not so much as see Herod, though 
he had charged them otherwise. O go not back, drunkard, to thy good fellows; 
adulterer, to thy queans ; covetous wretch, to thy usury and unlawful gain : 
turn another way, and gratify not the devil a moment. The conmiand saith, 
Now repent. The imperative hath no future tense. God saith, ' To-day, while 
it is to-day :' the devil saith. To-morrow. Which wilt thou obey, God or him? 
Thou sayest thou meanest at last to do it ; then why not now ? Wilt thou 
stand with God for a day or two, buckle with him for a penny ! Heaven is 
not such a hard pennyworth, but thou mayest come up to his terms. And 
which is the morrow thou meanest ? thou hast but a day in thy life, for aught 
thouknowest; where then canst thou find a morrow for repentance? But 
shouldst thou have as many days to come as Methuselah lived, yet know, sin is 
hereditary, and such sort-of diseases grow more upon us with our years. It is 
witli long-accustomed sinners, as with those who have sat long mider a govern- 
ment, they rather like to be as they are, though but ill off", than think of a 
change ; or like those who in a journey have gone out of the way all the day, 
will rather take any new way, over hedge or ditch, than think of going so far 
back to be set right. 

Fourthly, Satan labours to compromise the business, and bring it to a com- 
position between him and Christ : when conscience will not be pacified, then 
Satan, for quiet's sake, will yield to something, as Pharaoh with Moses ; after 
much ado he is willing they shoidd go : Exod. viii. 28, ' And Pliaraoh said, I 
will let you go, that you may sacrifice to the Lord your God in the wiklern-ss.' 
But then comes in this caution, 'Only you shall not go very far away.' Thus 
Satan will yield the sinner may pray, and hear the word, and make a goodly 


profession, so he dotli not go very far, but that he may have him again at night. 
If God hath the matins, he looks for the vigils, and thus he is content the day 
should be divided. Doth conscience press a reformation and change of the 
sinner's course, rather than fail, he will grant that also : yet as Pharaoh when 
he yielded they should go, he meant ' their little ones should stay behind as a 
pledge for those that went,' Exod. x. 11 ; so Satan must have some one sin 
that must be spared, and no matter though it be a little one. Now if ever you 
would get out of the de^^^s rule, make no composition with him. Christ will 
be king or no king. Not a hoof must be left behind, or anything which may 
make an errand for thee afterwai'ds to retm-n. Take therefore thy everlasting 
farewell of every sin, as to the sincere and fixed pui-pose of thy heart, or thou 
doest nothing. Pavil joins his faith and his pui-pose together, 2 Tim. iii. 10, not 
the one without the other. At the promulgation of the law in Sinai, God did, 
as it were, give Israel the oath of allegiance to him, then he told them what 
law he would rule them by, and they gave their consent : this was the ' espousal ' 
which God puts them in mind of, Jer. ii., in which they were solemnly married 
together, as king and subjects. Now mark, before God woidd do this, he will 
have them out of Egypt. They could not obey his laws, and Pharaoh's 
idolatrous customs also, and therefore he will have them out before he solemnly 
espouseth them to be a nation pecidiarly his. Thou must be a widow before 
Christ marry thee ; he will not lie by the side of another's wife. O that it 
were come to this ! then the match would soon be made between Christ and 
thee. Let me ask thee, poor soul, hast thou seriously considered who Christ is, 
and what his sweet government is ? And couldst thou find in thy heart, out of 
an inward abhorrency of sin and Satan, and a liking to Christ, to renounce sin 
and Satan and choose Christ for thy Lord? Doth thy soul say as Rebecca, ' I 
will go,' if I could tell how to get to him. But, alas! I am here a poor prisoner, 
I cannot shake off my fetters, and set myself at liberty to come imto Christ ? 
Well, poor soul, canst thou groan heartily under thy bondage ? Then for thy 
comfort know, thy deliverance is at the door ; He that heard the cry of Israel in 
Egypt will hear thine also, yea, come and save thee out of the hands of thy 
lusts. He will not, as some, who entangle thy affections by making love to 
thee, and then give over the suit, and come to thee no more. If Christ has 
won thy heart, he will be true for thee, and be at all the cost to bring thee out 
of thy prison-house also ; yea, take the pains to come to thee himself, and 
bring with him those wedding garments in which he will carry thee from thy 
prison to his Father's house with joy, where thou shalt live not only as a subject 
under his law, but as a bride in the bosom of his love. And what can be added 
to thy happiness more, when thy Prince is thy husband, and that such a 
prince to whom all other are vassals, even the prince of the world himself? and 
yet so gracious, that his majesty hinders not his familiar converse with thee, a 
poor creature, but adds to the condescent thereof; therefore God chooseth to mix 
names of greatness and relation together : the one to sweeten the other : ' Thy 
Maker is thy husband, thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel : The God of the 
whole earth shall he be called,' Isa. liv. 5 ; and to usher in those promises 
with titles of greatest dread and terror to the creature, that hold forth the 
greatest condescensions of love. How can God stoop lower than to come and 
dwell with a poor humble soul, which is more than if-he had said, such a one 
should dwell with him ? For a beggar to live at court, is not so much as the king 
to dwell with him in his cottage. Yet this promise is ushered in with the most 
magnificent titles : ' Thus saith the High and Lofty One, that inhabits eternity, 
whose name is Holy, I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of 
a contrite and humble spirit,' Isa. Ivii. 15. And why such titles but to 
take away the fears Avhich his saints are prone to take up from them. Will 
the High and Lofty One, saith the humble soul, look on me, a poor worm ? Will 
the holy God come near such an unclean creature ? saith the contrite one. 
Isaiah himself cried he was undone at the sight of God, and this attribute pro- 
claimed before him, Isa. vi. 5. Now God prefixeth these, that the creatm'e may 
know his majesty and holiness, which seem so terrible to us, are no prejudice 
to his love ; yea, so gracious a prince is thy husband, that he delights rather 


his saints should call him by the names of love, than state. ' Thou shalt call 
me Islii, and shall no more call me Baali,' Hos. ii. IG. That is, ni)- hus])and, 
not my lord. 

Section IV. — Dnct. The second point fisllows. Ifjnorance above other sins 
enslaves a soul to Satan ; a knowing man may be his slave, but an ignorant one 
can be no other. Knowledge doth not make the hcai't good, but it is impos- 
sible that without knowledge it should be good. There are some sins which an 
ignorant person cannot commit, there are more which he cannot but commit : 
knowledge is the key, Luke xi. 52, Christ the door, John x. Christ opens 
heaven, knowledge opens Christ. In three particulars the jioint will appear 
more fully. 

First, Ignorance opens a door for sin to enter. 

Secondly, As ignorance lets sin in, so it locks it iip in the soul, and the soul 
in it. 

Thirdly, As it locks it up, so it shuts all means of help out. 

First, Ignorance opens the door for Satan to enter in with his troops of lusts; 
where tXiv watch is blind, the city is soon taken : an ignorant man sins, and, 
like drunken Lot, he knows not when the temjiter comes, nor when he goes : 
he is like a man that walks in his sleep, knows not where he is, nor what he 
does. 'Father, forgive them,' saith Christ, 'they know not what they do.' 
The apostle, 1 Cor. xv., having reproved the sensuality of some, ver. 32, who 
made the considei'ation of death, by which others are awed from sin, a pro- 
vocative to sin, ' Let us eat and drink, for to-morrow we shall die,' he gives an 
account of this absurd reasoning : ' All have not the knowledge of God.' An 
ignorant person is a man in shape, and a beast in heart. ' There is no knowledge 
in the land,' saith the prophet Hosea, chap. iv. 1 ; and see what a regiment follows 
this blind captain, swearing, lying, killing, stealing, and what not? We read, 
2 Tim. iii. 5, of some ' laden with sin ;' here are trees full of bitter fruit, and 
what dung shall Ave find at the root, that makes them so fruitful, but ignorance? 
* silly women,' and such ' who never come to the knowledge of the truth.' 

Secondl}', Ignorance, as it lets sin in, so it locks it up, and the soul in it ; 
such a one lies in Satan's inner dungeon, where no light of conviction comes, 
darkness inclines to sleep, a blind mind and drowsy conscience go together. 
When the storm arose, the mariners who were awake fell a praying to their 
God ; but the sleeper fears nothing. Ignorance lays the soul asleep under the 
hatches of stupidity. God hath planted in the beast a natural fear of that 
which threatens to hurt it. Go to thrust a beast into a pit, and it hangs 
back, nature sliews its abhorrency. Man being of a nobler nature, and subject 
to more dangers, God hath set a double guard on him, as a natural fear of danger, 
so a natural shame that covers the face at the doing of any unworthy action. 
Now an ignorant man hatli slipped from both these his keepers ; he sins and 
blusheth not, because he knows not his guilt; he wants that magistrate within, 
who should put him to shame ; neither is he afraid, because he knows not his 
danger ; therefore he plays with his sin, as the child with the waves, that b}'- and 
by will swallow him up. Conscience is God's alarm to call the sinner up; it 
doth not always ring in his ear that hath knowledge, being usually set by God 
to go off at some special hour ; when God is speaking in an ordinance, or striking 
in a providence ; but in an ignorant soul this is silent. The clock cannot go 
when the weights are taken off"; conscience is only a witness to what it knows. 

Thirdly, Ignorance shuts out the means of recovery. Friends and ministers, 
yea, Christ himself stands without, and cannot help the creature, as such 
threatenings and promises are of no use; he fears not the one, he desires not the 
other, because he knows neither: heaven-way cannot be found in the dark, and 
therefore the first thing CJod doth is to spring in with a light, and let the crea- 
ture know where he is, and what the way is to get out of his j)nson-house, 
without which all attempts to escape are in vain. There is some glimmering 
light in all. Noii danlur jJiircc fciiehrcp, I think, is good divinity as well as philo- 
sophy: and this night-light may discover many sins, produce inward prickings 
of conscience for them ; yea, stir uj) the creature to step aside, rather than drown 
in such broad waters. There are some sins so cruel and costly, that the most 
prostrate soul may in time be weary of their service for low ends: but what will 


all this come to, if tlie creature be not acquainted with Christ the true way to 
God, faith and repentance the only way to Christ? Such a one, after all this 
bustle, instead of making an escape from Satan, will run full into his mouth 
another way. There are some ways which at first seem right to the traveller ; 
yet wind about so insensibl}^ that when a man hath gone far, and thinks him- 
self near home, he is carried back to the place from whence he set forth. This 
will befall every soid ignorant of Christ, and the way of life through him ; after 
many years' travel, as they think, towards heaven by their good meanings, 
blind devotions, and reformation, when they shall expect to be within sight of 
heaven, they shall find themselves even where they were at first, as much the 
slaves of Satan as ever. 

Use 1. This speaks to you that are parents. See what need you have of 
instructing yoiu- children, and training them up betimes in the nurture and 
admonition of the Lord. Till these chains of darkness be knocked off their 
minds, there is no possibility of getting them out of the devil's prison ; he hath 
no such tame slave as the ignorant soul : such a one goes before Satan, as 
the silly sheep before the butcher, and knows not who he is, nor whither he 
carries him ; and can you see the devil driving your children to the shambles, 
and not labour to rescue them out of his hands ? Bloody parents you are, 
that can thus harden your bowels against your own flesh. Now the more to 
provoke you to your duty, take these considerations. 

1. Your relation obligeth you to take care of their precious souls. It is 
the soul is the child rather than the body ; and therefore in Scripture put for 
the whole man. Abraham and Lot went forth ' with all the souls they had 
gotten in Haran,' Gen. xii. So, ' all the souls that came with Jacob into Egypt;' 
that is, all the persons. The body is but the sheath ; and if one should leave 
his sword with you to be kept safely for him, would you throw away the blade, 
and only preserve the scabbard? And yet parents do commonly judge of their 
care and love to their children by providing for the outward man, by their 
breeding, and teaching them how to live like men, as they say, when they are 
dead and gone, and comport themselves to their civil place and rank in the 
world. These things indeed ai'e commendable ; but is not the most weighty 
business of all forgotten in the mean time, while no endeavour is used that 
they may live as Christians, and know how to carry themselves in duty to God 
or man as such? And can they do this without the knowledge of the holy rule 
they are to walk b}' ? I am sure David knew no means effectual without this, 
and therefore propounds the question, ' Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse 
his way V and he resolves it in the next words, ' By taking heed thereto 
according to thy word,' Psa. cxix. 9. And how shall they compare their way 
and the word together, if not instructed ? Our children are not born with 
Bibles in their heads or hearts. And who ought to be the instructor, if not the 
parent? yea, who will do it with such natural afiection? As I have lieard 
sometimes a mother say in other respects. Who can take such pains with my 
child, and be so careful as myself that am its mother? Bloody parents then 
they are, who acquaint not their children with God or his word ; what do they 
but put them under a necessity of perishing, if God stir not up some to shew 
more mercy than themselves to them. Is it any wonder to hear that ship to be 
sunk, or dashed upon the rock, which Avas put to sea without card or compass? 
no more is it, they should engulf themselves in sin and perdition, that are 
thrust forth into the world, which is a sea of temptation, without the know- 
ledge of God, or their duty to him. In the fear of God think of it, parents 
your children have souls, and these God set you to watch over ; it will be a poor 
account at the last day, if you can only say, Lord, here are my children, I bred 
them complete gentlemen, left them rich and wealthy. The rust of that silver 
you left them will witness yoiu- folly and sin, that you woidd do so much for 
that which rusts, and nothing for the enriching their minds with the knowledge 
of God, which woidd have endured for ever ; happy if you had left them less 
money and more knowledge. 

2. Consider, it hath ever been the saints' practice to instruct and teach their 
children the way of God. David we find dropping instruction into his son 
Solomon, 1 Chron. xxviii. 9: ' Know thou the God of thy father, and serve him 


with a perfect heart, and witli a willing mind.' Though a king, lie did 
not put it off to his chaplains, but whetted it on him with his own 
lips. Neither was his (picen Bathsheba forgetful of her duty : her gracious 
counsel is upon record, Prov. xxxi. ; and that she may do it with the more 
seriousness and solemnity, we find her stirring up her motherly bowels, 
to let her son see that she fetched her words deep, even from her heart : 
* What, my son ? and what, the son of ni)' womb ? and what, the son of my 
vows ? ' ver. 2. Indeed, that counsel is most like to go to the heart, which 
comes from thence. Parents know not what impression such melting expres- 
sions of their love, mingled with their instrxictions, leave on their children. 
God bids ' draw forth our souls to the hungry ; ' that is more than draAV oiu- 
purse, which may be done, and the heart hard and churlish. Thus we should 
draw forth oiu- souls with oiu- instructions. What need I tell of Timothy's 
mother and grandmother, who acquainted him with the Scripture from his 
youth ? And truly, 1 think, that man calls in question his own saintship, that 
takes no care to acquaint his child with God, and the way that leads to him. I 
have known some, that though profane themselves, have been very solicitous 
their children should have good education ; bvit never kneAV I a saint that was 
regardless whether his child knew God or not. 

3. It is an act of great unrighteousness not to instruct our cliildren. We read 
of some ' that hold the truth in unrighteousness ;' among others, those parents 
do it, that lock up the knowledge of these saving truths from their children, 
which God hatli imparted to themselves. There is a double inn-ighteousness in it. 

First, They ai-e unrighteous to their children, who may lay as much claim 
to their care of instructing them, as to their labour and industry in laying up a 
temporal estate for them. If he should do unrighteously with his child, that 
should not endeavour to provide for his outward maintenance ; or, having 
gathered an estate, shoidd lock it up, and deny his child necessaries ; then much 
more he that lives in ignorance of God, v/hereby he renders himself incapable 
of providing for his child's soul ; but most of all, he that having gathered a 
stock of knowledge, yet hides it from his child. 

Secondly, They are unrighteous to God. 

First, In that they keep that talent in their own hands which was given to 
be paid out to their children. V/hen God revealed himself to Abraham, he had 
respect to Abraham's children; and therefore we find God promising himself 
this at Abraham's hands, upon which he imparts his mind to him, concerning 
liis pvn-pose of destroying Sodom : ' Shall I hide from Abraham,' saith God, 'that 
thing which I do ? I know that he will command his children and his household 
after him ; and they shall keep the way of the Lord,' Gen. xviii. 17, 19. The 
church began at first in a family, and was preserved by the godly care of 
parents in instructing their children and household in the truths of God, 
whereby the knowledge of God vi'as transmitted from generation to generation; 
and though now the cluu-ch is not confined to such strait limits, yet every 
private family is as a little nursery to the church ; if the nursery be not care- 
fully planted, the orchard will soon decay. O, could you be willing. Christians, 
that your cluldren, when you are laid in the dust, should be turned into the 
degenerate plant of a strange vine, and prove a generation that do not know 
God ? Atheism needs not be planted ; you do enough to make your children 
such, if you do not endeavour to plant religion in their minds. The very 
neglect of the gardener to sow and dress his garden, gives advantage enough 
to the weeds to come up. This is the difierence l)etween religion and atheism; 
religion doth not grov/ without planting, but will die even where it is planted, 
without watering: atheism, irreligion, and profaneness, are weeds will grow 
without setting; but they will not die without plucking up; all care and means 
little enough to stub them up. And, therefore, you that arc parents, and do not 
teach your children, deal the more imrighteously with God, because you neglect 
the best season in their whole life for planting in them the knowledge of God, 
and plucking up the contrary weeds of atheism and irreligion. Young weeds 
come up with most ease : sinful ignorance in youth becomes wilful ignorance ; 
vea, impudence in age : you will not instruct them when young, and they will 
scorn their ministers when thev are old. 


Secondly, Yon deal vmrighteonsly with God, that train not up yonr children 
in the knowledge of God, because your children, if you be Christian parents, 
are God's children ; they stand in a federal relation to him, which the children 
of others do not ; and shall God's children be niu-turcd with the devil's educa- 
tion ? Ignorance is that which he blinds the minds of the children of dis- 
obedience withal. Shall God's children have no better breeding ? The children 
of a Jew God made account were born to him : ' Thy sons and daughters whom 
thou hast borne to me,' Ezek. xvi. 20. God had, by the covenant which he made 
with that people, married them unto himself; and, therefore, as the wife bears 
her children to her husband, they are his children, so God calls the children of 
the Jews his, and complains of it as an horrible wickedness in them, that they 
should not bring them up as his, but offer them up to Moloch : ' They have 
slain my children,' saith God, ver. 21. And are not the children of a Christian 
his children, as well as the Jews were? Hath God recalled or altered the first 
covenant, and cut olf the entail? and darcst thou slay not only thy children, 
but the Lord's also ? and is not ignorance that bloody knife that doth it? ' My 
people are destroyed for lack of knowledge,' Hos. iv. 6. Do you not tremble 
to offer them, not to Moloch, but the devil, whom before you had given up to 
God, when you brought them to that solemn ordinance of baptism, and there 
desired, before God and man, that they might become covenant-servants to the 
Lord? And hast thou bound them to him, and never teach them, either who 
their Lord and Master is. Or what tlieir duty is as his servants? Out of thy 
own mouth will God condemn thee. 

4. Consider you, who are parents, that by not instructing your chil- 
dren, you entitle yourselves to all the sins they shall commit to their death. 
We may sin by a proxy, and make another's fact our own. ' Thou hast,' saith 
God by Nathan to David, concerning Uriah, ' slain him with the sword of the 
children of Ammon,' 2 Sam. xii. 9. So thou mayest pierce Christ, and slay him 
over and over with the bloody sword of thy wicked children, if thou art not the 
more careful to train them up in the fear of God. There might be something said 
for that heathen, who, when the scholar abused him, fell upon the master and 
struck him : indeed it is possible he might be in the most fault. When tlie 
child breaks the sabbath, it is his sin ; but more the father's if he never taught 
him what the command of God was. And if the parent be accessary to the sin 
of the child, it will be hard for him to escape a partnership, yea, a precedency 
in the punishment. O what a sad greeting will such have of their children 
at the great day ! Will they not then accuse you to be the murderers of their 
precious souls, and lay their blood at your door, ciu-sing you to your fiice, that 
taught them no better ? But grant, that by the interposition of thy timely 
repentance, thou securest thy soul from the judgment of that day, yet God can 
scourge thee here for the neglect of thy duty to them. How oft do we see 
children become heavy crosses to such parents ! It is just that they should not 
know their duty to thee, who didst not teach them their duty to God ; or if 
thou shouldst not live so long as to see this, yet sure thou canst not but go in 
sorrow to thy grave, to leave children behind thee that are on their way to hell. 
Some think that Lot's lingering so long in Sodom, was his lothness to leave his 
sons-in-law behind him, to perish in the flames. No doubt, good man, it was 
very grievous to him, and this might make him stay pleading with them, till the 
angel pulled him away. And certainly nothing makes holy parents more loth to 
be gone out of the reach of that fire, before they go, that God will rain upon 
the heads of sinners. You know not how soon the messenger may come to 
pluck you hence ; do your best while you are among them to win them 
home to God. 

Use 2. To the ministers of the gospel. Let this stir up your bowels of com- 
passion towards those many ignorant soids, in your respective congregations, 
who know not the right hand from the left. This, this is the great destroyer of 
the country, which ministers should come forth against with all their care and 
strength. More are swept to hell with this plague of spiritual darkness than any 
other. Where the light of knowledge and conviction is, there connnonly is a 
sense and pain that accompanies the sinner when he doth evil, which forceth 
some now and then to inquire for a physician, and come in the distress of their 


spirits to ihcir iiiinisters or others for counsel ; but the ignorant eoul feels no 
smart. If the minister stay till he sends for him to instruct him, he may sooner 
hear the bell go for him, than anj' messenger come for him ; you must seek 
them out, and not expect that they will come to you. These are a sort of 
people that are afraid more of their remedy than their disease, and study more 
to hide their ignorance, than how thej' may have it cured ; which should make 
us pity them the more, because they can pity themselves so little. I confess, 
it is no small imhappiness to some of us, who have to do with a multitude, that 
we have neither time nor strength to make our address to every particular 
person in our congregations, and attend on them as their needs require, and 
yet cannot well satisfy our consciences otherwise. But let us look to it, that 
though we cannot do to the height of what we would, we be not found wanting 
in what we may. Let not the difticulty of our province make us like some, 
who, when they see they have more work u])on their hands than they can well 
despatch, grow sick of it, and sit down out of a lazy despondency, and do just 
nothing. He that hath a great house running to ruin, and but a small purse, it 
is better for him to repair now a little, and then a little, than let all fall down, 
because he cannot do it all at once. Many ministers may complain of their 
predecessors, that they left them their people more out of repair than their 
nouses, and this makes the work great indeed. As the Jews, who were to 
revive the stones out of the heaps of rubbish before they could build the wall, 
yet it went up, because ' the people had a mind to work,' Neh. iv. ; O, if once 
our hearts were but filled with zeal for God, and compassion to our people's 
souls, we would up and be doing, though we could but lay a brick a day, and 
God would be with us. May be you who find a peo])le rude and sottishly 
ignorant, like stones in the quarry, and trees unfelled, shall not bring the work 
to such perfection in your days as you desire ; yet, as David did for Solomon, 
thou niayest, by thy pains in teaching and instrxicting them, prepare materials 
for another who shall rear the temple. It is very ordinary for one minister to 
enter into the labours of another, to reap those by a work of conversion, in whom 
a former minister hath cast the seed of knowledge and conviction . and when 
God comes to reckon with his workmen, the ploughman and sower shall have 
his penny, as well as the harvest man and reaper. O it is a blessed thing to be, 
as Job saith he was, eyes to the blind, much moi-e to blind souls ; such are the 
ministers whom God himself calls ' pastors after his own heart, that feed his 
people with knowledge and understanding,' Jer. iii. 15. But woe to those that 
are accessary to their people's ignorance ! Now a minister may be accessary 
to the ignorance of his people. 

First, By his own ignorance. Knowledge is so fundamental to the work and 
calling of a minister, that he cannot be one without it : ' Because thou hast 
rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thovi shalt be no priest to me; 
seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children,' 
IIos. iv. 6. The want of knowledge in a minister is such a defect as cannot be 
supplied by an\'thing else ; be he never so meek, patient, boimtiful, iniblam- 
able, if he hath not skill to divide the word aright, he is not cut out for a minister. 
Everything is good, as it is good for the end it is appointed to ; a knife, though 
it had a haft of diamonds, yet if it will not cut, it is no knife. A bell, if not 
sound, is no bell. The great work of a minister is to teach others ; his lips are 
to preserve knowledge ; he should be as conversant in the things of God, as 
others in their particular trades. Ministers are called lights ; if the light then 
be darkness, how great is the darkness of that people like to be ! I know these 
stars in Christ's hands are not all of the same magnitude ; there is a greater 
glory of gifts and graces shines in some than others ; j'ct so much light is 
necessary to every minister, as was in the star the wise men saw at Christ's 
birth, to be able, out of the word, to direct simiers the safe and true way to 
Christ and salvation. O sirs, it is a sad way of getting a living by killing of 
men, as some imskilful physiciaiis do ; but much more to get a temporal live- 
lihood by ruining souls through our' ignorance. He is a cruel man to the poor 
passengers, who will undertake lo be pilot, when he never so much as learned 
his compass. 

Secondly, By his negligence. It. is all one if (he nurse hath no milk in her 


breasts, or having, draws it not forth to her child. There is a woe to the 
idol-shepherd, Zech. xi. ; such as have months, but speak not ; lips, but not to 
feed the people with knowledge. It shall be the people's sin, if they feed not 
when bread is before them ; but woe to us if we give them not meat in due 
season. O sirs, what shall we say to our Lord tha't trusts us, if those abilities 
which he hath given us as market-money, to buy bread for our people, be found 
wrapped up in a napkin of sloth ? If that time, wherein we shoidd have been 
teaching and instructing them, shall appear to be wasted in our pleasures, or 
employed about our carnal profits ? That servant shall have but a sad welcome 
of his master when he comes home, that shall be found out of the way with the 
key, and the family starving in the meantime for want of provision. 

Thirdly, By his unedifying preaching, when he preacheth unsoimd doctrine, 
which doth not perfect the understanding, but corrupt it. Better he did leave 
them in simple ignorance, than colour their minds with a false dye, or when 
that he preacheth is frothy and flashy ; no more fit to feed their souls, than 
husks the pi-odigal's belly, which, when they know, they are little wiser for 
their soul's good. Or when his discourses are so high flown that the poor people 
stand gazing, as those who have lost the sigiit of their preacher, and at the end 
of the sermon cannot tell what he would "have. Or those who preach only 
truths that are for the higher forms of professors, who have their senses well 
exercised, excellent may be for the building of three or four eminent saints in 
the congregation ; but in the meantime, the weak ones in the family, Avho 
should indeed chiefly be thought on, because least able to guide themselves, ov 
carve for themselves, these are forgotten. He sure is an unwise builder, that 
makes a scaffold as high as Paul's steeple, when his work is at the bottom, and 
he is to lay the foundation, whereas the scaffold should rise as the building goes 
up. So Paul advanceth in his doctrine, as his hearers do in knowledge : Heb. 
vi. 1, ' Therefore, leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on 
imto perfection.' ' Let us.' It is well indeed when the people can keep pace 
with the jn-eacher. To preach truths and notions above the heai-ers' capacity, 
is like a nurse that should go to feed a child with a spoon too big to go into its 
mouth. We may, by such preaching, please oiu'selves, some of higher attain- 
ments ; but what shall poor ignorant ones do in the meantime ? He is the 
faithful steward that considers both. The preacher is, as Paul saith of himself, 
' a debtor both to the Greek and to the barbarian, to the wise and to the 
unwise,' Rom. i. 14, to prepare truths suitable to the degree of his hearers. 
Let tlie wise have their portion, but let them be patient to see the weaker in 
the family served also. 

Fourthly, A minister maybe accessary to the ignorance of his people, when 
through the scandal of his life he prejudiceth his doctrine, as a cook, who by 
his nastiness makes others afraid to eat what comes out of his foul fingers ; or 
when through his supercilious carriage his poor people dare not come to him. 
He that will do any good in the minister's calling, must be as careful as the 
fisher that he doth nothing to scare souls away from him, but all to allure and 
invite, that they may be drawn within the compass of his net. 

Use 3. Is the ignorant soul such a slave to Satan ? Let this stir you up that 
are ignorant, from your seats of sloth, whereon, like the blind Egyptian, you 
sit in darkness ; speedily come out of this darkness, and resolve not to go down 
to utter darkness. The covering of Haman's face did tell him that he should 
not stay in the king's presence. If thou livest in ignorance, it shews thou art 
in God's black bill ; he puts this cover before thine eyes in wrath, whom he 
means to turn off into hell : 2 Cor. iv., ' If our gospel be hid, it is to those 
that perish.' In one jilace sinners are threatened, ' they shall die without 
knowledge,' Job xxxvi. In another place, ' they shall die in their sins,' John 
viii. He indeed that dies without knowledge, dies in his sins : and what more 
fearful doom can the great God pass upon a creature than this ; better die in a 
prison, die in a ditch, than die in our sins. If thou die in thy sins, thoii shalt 
rise in thy sins : as thou fallest asleep in the dust, so thou awakest in the 
morning of the resurrection ; if an ignorant, Christless wretch, as such thou 
shalt be arraigned and judged. That Cxod whom now sinners bid depart from 
them, will then be worth their acquaintance, themselves being judges ; but, 

I)A^K^K;^s ok this would. J|() 

ala3 ! then he will throw their own words in their teeth, nad bid them depart 
from him, he desires not the knowledge of them. O sinners, you shall see, 
at last, God can better be without your company in heaven, than you could 
without his knowledge on earth : yet, yet it is day, draw your curtains, and 
behold Christ shining upon your face with gos^pel-light ; hear wisdom crying in 
the streets, and Christ piping under your window in the voice of his Spirit and 
messengers, ' How long will ye simple ones love simplicity, and fools hate 
knowledge? Turn you at my reproof; behold, I will pour out my Spirit unto 
you, and make known my words unto you,' Prov. i. 21 — 23. Wliat can 
you say, sinners, for your sottish ignorance? Where is your cloak for this sin .' 
The time hath been when the word of the Lord was precious, and there was no 
open vision, not a Bible to be found in a town or country ; when the tree of 
knowledge was forbidden fruit, and none might taste thereof without license 
from the pope ! happy he that could get a leaf or two of the Testament into 
a corner, afi-aid to tell the wife of his bosom ! O how sweet were these waters, 
when you were forced to steal them ! But you have the word, or may, in your 
houses; you have those that open it every sabbath in their assemblies; 
many of you at least have the offers of your ministers to take any pains with 
you in private, passionately beseeching you to pity your souls, and receive in- 
struction : yea, it is the lamentation they generally take up, you will not come 
unto them that you may receive light. How long may a poor minister sit in 
his study, before any of the ignorant sort will come upon such an errand ! 
Lawyers have their clients, and physicians their patients : these are sought 
after, and called up at midnight for counsel : but, alas ! the soul, which is more 
worth than raiment and body too, that is neglected, and the minister seldom 
thought on, till both these be sent away. Perhaps when the physician gives 
them over for dead, then we must come and close up those eyes with comfort, 
which were never opened to see Christ in his truth, or be counted cruel, because 
we will not sprinkle them with his holy water, and anoint them for the king- 
dom of heaven, though they know not a step of the way that leads to it. Ah, 
poor wretches ! what comfort would you have us speak to those, to whom God 
himself speaks terror? Is heaven ours to give to whom we please? or is it in 
our power to alter the laws of the Most High, and save those whom he con- 
demns ? Do you not remember the curse that is to fall upon his head, * that 
maketh the blind to wander out of the way?' Deut. xxvii. 18. What curse then 
would be our portion, if we should confirm such blind souls, that are quite out 
of the way to heaven, encouraging you to go on and expect to reach heaven at 
last, when God knows your feet stand in those paths that lead to eternal death? 
No, it is written ; we cannot, and God will not reverse it ; you may read your 
very names among those damned souls which Christ comes in flaming fire to 
take vengeance on, who the apostle tells us are such, ' that know not God, and 
obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ,' 2 Thess. i. 8. And therefore in 
the fear of God, let us provoke you, of what age or sex, rank or condition so- 
ever in the world, to labour for the saving knowledge of God in Christ, ' whom 
to know is life eternal.' Are ye young? Liquire after God betimes, while your 
parts are fresh, and memory strong, before the throng of worldly cares divert 
you, or lusts of youth debauch you. The feet of those lusts which have buined 
millions of others in perdition, stand ready to carry you the same way, if pre- 
venting grace come not and deliver you out of their hands, by seasoning your 
minds with the knowledge of God. This morning's draught may prevent thy 
being infected with the ill savours thou mayest receive from the corrupt exam- 
ples of others. Nay, how long thy stay may be in the world thou knowest not ; 
see whether thou canst not find graves of thy length in the bin-ial place ; and if 
thou shouklest die ignorant of God and his law, what would then become of 
thee ? The small brush, and the old logs, young sinners, and those that are 
withered with age, meet and burn together. Or if thou shouklest stay a while 
longer here, may be, because thou wilt not learn now, God will not teach thee 
then : or if thou shouklest in thy old age get acqiiaintance with (iod, yet it is 
sad to be sowing thy seed when thou shouldest be reaping thy sheaves, learn- 
ing to know God when thou mightest be comforting thyself from the old 
acquaintance thou hast enjoyed with him. Arc you old and ignorant ? Alas, 


poor creature ! your life in the socket, and this candle of the Lord not set up 
and lighted in your understanding ; your body bowing to the dust, and nature 
tolling the passing bell, as it were, and you, like one going in the dark, know 
not whither death will lead you or leave yo\i. It is like, the infirmities of 
age make you wish your bones were even laid at rest in the grave : but if you 
should die in this condition, your poor souls would even wish they were here 
again with tlieir old burthens on their backs ; aches and diseases of old age are 
grievous, but damned souls would thank God if he would bless them with such 
a heaven, as to lie in these pains to escape the torments of the other! O bethink 
you before you go hence ; the less time you have, the more diligence you must 
use to gain knowledge ; we need n,ot be earnest, one would think, to bid the 
poor prisoner learn his book, that cannot read, when he knows he shall be 
hanged if he read not his neck-verse. It is not indeed the bare knowing the 
truths of the gospel saves ; but the gross ignorance of them to be sure will 
damn souls. Are you poor? It is not your poverty is your sin or misery. 
Were you God's poor, rich in knowledge and faith, you were happy : Eccles. 
iv. 13, ' Better is a poor and wise child, than a foolish king, who will no more 
'be admonished;' yea, so happy, that did the princes of the world understand 
themselves aright, they would wish themselves in our clothes, how ragged 
soever they are, rather than be in their own robes; thei'e are better making for 
you in heaven, which you shall put on, when their "s shall be pulled off to their 
shame : it will not then trouble you that you were, while in the world, poor; 
but it will torment them that they were so rich and great, and so poor to God, 
and beggarly in their souls. 

Are you rich ? Labour for the knowledge of the Most High. Solomon 
had more of the world's treasure than a thovisand of you have, and yet we find 
him hard at prayer, wrestling with God for knowledge, 1 Chron. i. 10. All these 
outward enjoyments are but vagincB bonoriim, as afflictions ai-e but rogincB ma- 
lorum. I am afraid many men think themselves privileged by their worldly 
greatness from this duty, as if God were bound to save them, because rich. 
Alas, sii's ! there are not so many of you like to come there. I must confess it 
would make one tremble to think what a small number those among the great 
ones that shall be saved are summed up into, ' Not many great, not many 
rich;' why so few saved? Because so few have saving knowledge. O the 
atheism, the ignorance, the sottish barbarism that is to be found even in those 
that the world applaud, and even worship, because of their lands and estates, 
who yet are not able to give any account of their faith ! A poor leather-coat 
Christian \wll shame and catechise a hundred of them. If heaven were to 
be purchased with house and lands, then these would carry it away from the 
poor disciples of Jesus Christ ; they have their hundreds and thousands lie by 
them for a ^Jurchase always, but this money is not current in heaven's exchange. 
' This is life eternal, to know thee, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.' 

Quest. But how may an ignorant soul attain to knowledge ? 

Alls. First, Be deeply affected with thy ignorance. Some are blind, as Lao- 
dicea, and know it not. Rev. iii. 17. As ignorance blinds the mind, so pride is 
a blind before their ignorance, that they know it not. These have such a high 
opinion of themselves^ that they take it ill any should suspect them as such ; 
these of all men are most out of the way to knowledge ; they are too good to 
learn of man, as they think, and too bad to be taught of God. The gate into 
Christ's school is low, and these cannot stoop : the Master himself is so humble 
and lowly, that he will not teach a proud scholar. Thei'efore first become a 
fool in thy own eye. A wiser man than thyself hath confessed as much, Prov. 
XXX. 2, 3 : ' I am more brutish than any man, and have not the understanding 
of a man ; I neither learned wisdom, nor have the knowledge of the holy.' 
When thou art come to thyself, to own and blush at the brutish ignorance of 
thy mind, thou art fit to be admitted into Christ's school. ' If they be ashamed, 
then shew them the pattern of the house,' Ezek. xliii. 10. 

Secondly, Be faithful with that little knowledge thou hast. Art thou con- 
vinced this is a sin, and that is a duty ?- P'ollow the light' close, you know not 
what this little may grow to ; we use to set up our children with a little stock 
at first, and as thcv use it, so we add. The kingdom of God comes of small 


beginnings. God complains of Israel, tlu-y wore 'brutish in their knowledge,' 
Jer. X. 14. He doth not say brutish in their ignoranee ; had they sinned be- 
cause they did not know better, this would have excused a tanio ; but they did 
that which was brutish and unreasonable, as their worshipping graven images, 
notwithstanding they knew to the contraiy. That man shall not excel in 
knowledge who prostitutes it to sin : Job xxxvi. 12, ' If they obey not, they 
shall perish by the sword, and shall die without knowledge.' A candle pent up 
close in a dark lantern swails out apace: and so doth light shut up in the 
conscience, and not suffered to come forth in the conversation. Those heathens 
that ai'e charged for 'holding the truth in unrighteousness,' Rom. i. 18, the 
next news you hear of them is, that ' they became vain in their imaginations, 
and their foolish heart was darkened,' ver. 21. 

Thirdly, Ply the throne of grace. Bene orasse est bene studuisne ; he is the 
best student in divinity, that studies most upon his knees. Knowledge is a 
divine gift ; all light is from heaven. God is the Father of light, and prayer 
puts the sold under the pupilage of God. ' If any man lack wisdom, let him 
ask it of God.' Tliis is more than naked knowledge, wisdom how to use it. 
Study may make one a great scholar in the Scriptures, but ])rayer makes a wise 
Christian, as it obtahis sanctified knowledge, without which it is no perfect gift, 
but cloron a doron, a gift and no gift. Pray then with an humble boldness ; 
God gives it to all that ask, and that candidly, liberally ; not like proud man, 
who will rather put one to shame who is weak, for his ignorance, than take 
the pains to teach him. Thy petition is very pleasing to God. Remember 
how Solomon sped upon the like occasion, and promise thyself the same suc- 
cess. Christ's school is a free school ; he denies none that come to him, so 
they Avill submit to the orders of the school ; and though all have not an answer 
in the same degree of knowledge, it is not needful that all should be Solomons 
in knowledge, except all were to be Solomons in place ; yet the meanest dis- 
ciple that Christ sends forth shall be furnished with saving knowledge enough 
to fit him for his admittance into heaven's academy. ' Thou shalt guide me 
with thy counsel, and after bring me to glory.' 

Fourthly, Thou must bestow some time for thy diligent search after truth. 
Truth lies deep, and must be digged for. Since man was turned out of para- 
dise, he can do nothing without labour, except sin ; this follows his hand indeed, 
but this treasure of knowledge calls for spade and mattock. We are bid 
' search the Scriptures ;' and, Dan. xii. 4, ' Many shall nm to and fro, and know- 
ledge shall be increased ;' a metaphor from merchants, who bestir themselves to 
get an estate, run to and fro, first in one land, then in another ; wherever they 
hear of anything to be got, thither they post, though to the ends of the earth ; 
thus must the soul run from one duty to another, one while read, and anon 
meditate of what he hath read, then pray over his meditations, and ask coimsel 
after all. What is the meaning of this, and how understand you that? Non 
schola Epicura facit magnos viros, sed cuntuhcrnium. There is more light got 
sometimes by a short conference with a preacher, than by his whole sermon. 
Re sure thou compass all the means for knowledge within the walk of thy 
endeavour. In tliis thy search for knowledge observe three things : 

First, The end thou proi)osest, that it be pure and holy, not merely to know, 
as some do, who labour for knowledge, as many for estates, and when they 
have got it, look on their notions, as they on their bags of money, but have not 
a heart to use their knowledge for their own or others' good ; this is a sore evil. 
Speculative knowledge, like Rachel, is fair, but barren. Not to be known and 
admired by others for thy statiu-e in knowledge above thy brethren ; verily it is 
too base an end to aim at in seeking knowledge, especially such as is the know- 
ledge of God and Christ. To see a heathen study for knowledge in philosophy, 
and then carry all his laboiu- to this market, and think himself rewarded with 
obtaining the name of a wise man, is, though base, yet more tolerable : but for 
one that knows God, and what it is to enjoy him; for such a one to content 
himself with a blast or two of sorry man's vain breath, this is folly with a wit- 
ness : look thou fliest higher in the end than so. Labour for knowhdge that 
thou mayest fear God whom thou knowcst ; thus David, Psa. cxix. .'},'5, ' Teach 
me, O Lord, the way of thy statutes, and 1 shall keep it unto the end.' The 


■word of God is called a light unto our feet, not to our tongues, merely to talk of, 
but feet to walk by : endeavour for it, not that thou mayest spread thy own 
name, but celebrate God. As David promiseth, when he understands the pre- 
cepts of God, then he will talk of his wondrous works, he will trumpet the fame 
of them, and thereby awaken others to inquire after God. 

Secondly, When thy end is right set, then thou must be constant in thy 
endeavour after it. The mysteries of Christ are not learned in a day. ' Then 
shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord,' Hos. vi. 3. Some are in a 
good mood, may be, and they will look into the Bible, and read a chapter or 
two, and away they go for a week, and never practise it more ; like some 
yoimg boys, if at school one day, truant all the week after : is it any wonder 
such thrive not in knowledge? It is a good speech of Bernard, Tantuvi d'tstat 
stitdium a lectione, (juantum amicitia ab hospitio, socialis ajfectio, a fortuita 
salutatione. The study of the word, and tlie reading of it, differs as much as 
the friendship of such who every day converse lovingly together doth from the 
acquaintance one hath with a stranger at an inn, or whom he salutes as he 
passeth by in the streets. If you will get knowledge indeed, you must not 
only salute the word now and then, but walk wilh it, and enter into daily con- 
verse with it. The three men, who were indeed angels, that stood by Abraham, 
as he sat at his tent-door, were reserved and strange, till Abraham invited them 
into his tent, and entertained them friendly ; and then Christ (who was one 
among them, as appears by the name Jehovah given him in several verses, and 
also by what he promised he would do for Sarah, ver. 10, not Avhat God woidd 
do, which, if a created angel, he would, ) begins to discover himself to Abraham, 
and reveal his secrets to him. That soul above others shall be acquainted with 
the secrets of God in his word, that doth not slightly read the word, and as it 
were compliment with it at his tent-door, but desires more intimacy with it, and 
therefore entertains it within his soul by frequent meditating of it. David 
compares the word for sweetness to ' the honey and the honey-comb.' Indeed, 
it is so full, that at first reading some sweetness will now and then drop from it, 
but he that doth not press it by meditation, leaves the most behind. 

Thirdly, Be svn-e thou takest the right order and method. Arts and sciences 
have their rudiments, and also their more abstruse and deep notions ; and sure 
the right end to begin at, is first to learn the principles : he, we say, is not like 
to make a good scholar in the university, that never was a good grammar- 
scholar. And they cannot be solid Christians, that are not instructed in the 
grounds of Christianity. The want of this is the cause why many are so 
imstedfast ; first of this way, and then of that, blown like glasses into any 
shape, as false teachers please to breathe. Alas I they have no centre to draw 
their lines from. Think it no disgrace, you who have run into error, and lost your- 
selves in the labyrinths of deep points, which now are the great discoiu'se of the 
weakest professors, to be set back to learn the first principles of the oracles 
of God better; too many are, asTertullian saith in another case, pudoris niagis 
tnevwres quam salutis, more tender of their reputation than their salvation, who 
are more ashamed to be thought ignorant, than careful to have it cured. 

Fifthly, If thou wouldst attain to divine knowledge, wait on the ministi'y of 
the word. As for those who neglect this, and come not where the word is 
preached, they do like one that should turn his back to the sun, that he may 
see it ; if thou wouldest know God, come where he hath appointed thee to learn. 
Indeed, where the means is not, God hath extraordinary ways ; as a father, if 
no school in town, will teach his child at home ; but if there be a piiblic school, 
thither he sends him. 'God maketh manifest,' saith Paul, 'the savour of his 
knowledge by us in every place,' 2 Cor. ii. 14. Let men talk of the Spirit what 
they please, he will at last be found a quencher of the Spirit, that is a despiser 
of pi-ophecy ; they both stand close together : 1 Thess. v. 1 9, 20, ' Quench not 
the Spirit, despise not prophesying.' But it is not enough to sit luider the 
means ; Avoful experience teacheth us this ; there are some no siui will tan ; they 
keep their own complexion under the most shining and burning light of the 
word preached, as ignorant and profane as those that never saw gospel-day ; 
and therefore if thou wilt receive any spiritual advantage by the word, take 
heed how thou hearcst. 


FhrA, Look tliou art a wakeful heaver. Is it any wonder he should go 
away from the sermon no wiser than he came, that sleeps the greatest part of it 
away, or hears between sleeping and v.aking ? It must be in a dream siu"e, if 
God reveals anything of his mind to him. So indeed God did to the fathers 
of old ; but it was not as they profanely slept under an ordinance. O take 
heed of such irreverence. He that composeth himself to sleep, as some do, 
at such a time, or he that is not humbled for it, and that deeply, both of them 
l)etray a base and low esteem they have of the ordinance. Surely thou thinkest 
but meanly of what is delivered, if it will not keep thee awake ; yea, of God 
himself, whose message it is. See how thou art reproved by the awful carriage 
of a heathen, and that a king ; Ehud did but say to Eglon, ' I have a message 
from God unto thee, and he arose out of his seat,' Judg. iii. 20. And thou 
clappest down on thy seat to sleep! O how darest thou put such an affront 
upon the great God ? How oft did you fall asleep at dinner, or telling your 
money? And is not the word of God worth more than these? I should 
wonder if such sermon-sleepers do dream of anything but hell-iire. It is dan- 
gerous you know to fall asleep with a candle burning by our side; some have 
been so burnt in their beds : but more dangerous to sleep while the candle of 
the word is shining so near us. What if you should sink down dead, like 
Eutychus ? here is no Paid to raise you as he had ; and that you shall not, 
where is your security ? 

Secondly, Thou must be an attentive hearer. He that is awake, but wanders 
with his eye or heart, what doth he but sleep with his eyes open ? It were as 
good the servant should be asleep in his bed, as Avhen up not to mind his 
master's business. When God intends a soul good by the word, he draws such 
a one to listen and hearken heedfully to what is delivei'ed; as we see in Lydia, 
' who,' it is said, * attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul.' And 
those, Luke xix. 48 : ' The people were attentive to hear him.' They did 
hang on him as you shall see bees on some sweet flower, or as young birds on 
the bills of their dams as they feed them ; that is the soul which shall get light 
and life by the word. ' Hear, ye children, and attend to know understanding,' 
Prov. iv. L Labour, therefore, in hearing the word, to fix thy quicksilver mind, 
and set thyself to hear, as it is said Jehoshaphat did to pray, and that thou 
mayest before thou goest get thy heart into some deep sense of thy spiritual 
wants, especially of thy ignoi-ance of the things of God, and thy deplored con- 
dition by reason of it ; till the heart be touched, the mind will not be fixed. 
Therefore you may observe, it is said, ' God opened the heai't of Lydia, that 
she attended,' Acts xvi. 14. The mind goes of the will's errand; we spend our 
thoughts upon what our hearts propose. If the heart hath no sense of its 
ignorance, or no desires after God, no wonder such a one listens not what the 
preacher saith, his heart sends his mind another way. ' They sit before thee 
as my people,' saith God, 'but their heart goeth after their covetousness.' 
They do not come out of such an intent or desire to hear for any good to their 
souls, then they would apply themselves wholly to the work ; no, it is their 
covetousness hath their hearts ; and therefore as some idle servant, when he 
hath waited on his mastei", brought him to his pew, then he goes out to his 
good fellows at the ale-house, and comes no more till sermon be almost done ; 
so do the thoughts of most when they go to the ordinance, they slip out in the 
street, market, or shop, you may find them any where but about the duty before 
them, and all because these have their hearts more than God and his word. 

Thirdly, Tliou must be a retentive hearer ; without this the work will ever be 
to begin again. Truths to a forgetful hearer are as a seal set on water, the 
impression lasts no longer than the seal is on ; the sermon once done, and all is 
undone ; be therefore very careful to fasten what thou hearest on thy memory^ 
which that thou mayest do. 

First, Receive the truth in the love of it. An affectionate hearer will not be 
a forgetful hearer. Love helps the memory ; ' Can a woman forget her child, 
or a maid her ornaments, or a bride her attire ? ' No, they love them too well : 
were the truths of God thus precious to thee, thou wouldst with David think of 
them day and night. Even wlien the Christian, llirnugh weakness of memory, 
cannot remember tlie very words he hears, to repeal lliem ; yea, tlirn he keepr; 


llie power and savour of tliem in his spirit, as when sugar is dissolved in wine, 
you cannot see it, but you may taste it ; when meat is eaten and digested, it is 
not to be found as it was received, but the man is cheered and strengthened by 
it, more able to walk and work than before, by which you may know it is not 
lost : so you may taste the truths the Christian heard, in his spirit, see them in 
his life. Perhaps if you ask him what the particidars were the minister had 
about faith, mortification, repentance, and the like, he cannot tell you ; yet this 
you may find, his heart is more broken for sin, more enabled to rely on the pro- 
mises, and now weaned from the world. As that good woman answered one, 
that coming from the seiinon, asked her what she remembered of the sermon, 
said, She could not at present recall much, but she heard that which should 
make her reform some things as soon as she came home. 

Secondly, Meditate on what thou heare§t ; by this David got more wisdom 
than his teachers. Observe what trutli, what scripture is cleared to thee in the 
sermon more than before, take some time in secret to converse with it, and 
make it thereby familiar to thy understanding. Meditation is to the sermon 
what the harrow is to the seed, it covers those truths which else might have been 
picked or washed away. I am afraid there are many proofs turned down at a 
sermon, that are hardly turned up and looked on any more when the sermon is 
done ; and if so, you make others believe you are greater traders for your soul s 
than you are indeed ; as if one should come to a shop and lay by a great deal 
of rich ware, and when he hath done, goes away and never calls for it. O take 
heed of such doings. The hypocrite cheats himself worst at last. 

Thirdly, Discharge thy memory of what is sinful. We wipe our table-book, 
and deface what is there scribbled, before we can write new. There is such a 
contrariety betwixt the truths of God and all that is frothy and sinful, that one 
puts out the other ; if you would retain the one, you must let the other go. 



Against sjnritnal wickedness. 

These words are the fourth branch in the description, ' Spiritual wicked- 
nesses ;' and our contest or combat with them as such, expressed by the adver- 
sative particle ' against,' in the Greek, pros ta jmeumatica tes ponerias, vford 
for word, ' against the spirituals of wickedness,' which is, as say some, 
' against wicked spirits;' that is true, but not all. I conceive with many inter- 
preters, not only the spiritual nature of the devil, and the wickedness thereof, to 
be intended, but also, yea, chiefly, the nature and kind of those sins which 
these wicked spirits do most usually and vigorously provoke the saints unto, and 
they are the spirituals of wickedness, not those gross fleshly sins, which the 
herd of beastly sinners, like swine, wallow in, but sin spiritualised, and this, 
because it is not pneiimata, but pneumatica, not spirits, but spirituals. The 
words present us with these three doctrinal conclusions. 

First, The devils are spirits. 

Secondly, The devils are spirits extremely wicked. 

Thirdly, These wicked spirits do chiefly annoy the saints with, and provoke 
them to spiritual wickednesses. 

Section I. — First, They are spirits. Spirit is a word of various acceptation 
in Scripture. Amongst other used often to set forth tlie essence and nature of 
angels, good and evil, both which are called spirits. The holy angels, Heb. i. 14 : 
'Are they not all ministering spirits ?' The evil, ' There came forth a spirit 
and stood before the Lord, and said, I will persuade him,' 1 Kings xxii. 21 ; 
that spirit w'as a devil. How oft is the devil called the unclean spirit, foul 
spirit, lying spirit, &c. Sin did not alter their substance ; for then, as one saitli 
well, that natin-e and substance which transgressed could not be punished. 

i""irst. The devil is a spirit ; that is, his essence is immaterial i'.iid simple, not 
compounded (as corporal beings are) of matter and I'oim : 'Handle and sec 
nu',' (saith Christ to his disciples, that thought they had ^.cen a spirit,) 'a spirit 
hath not flesh and bones as ye see me have,' Luke xxiv. '69. W they were not 


thus immaterial, how could tliey enter into bodies and possess them, as the 
Scripture tells us tliey have, even a legion into one man ? Luke viii. 30. One 
body cannot thus enter into another. 

Secondly, The devils arc s])iritual substances, not qualities, or evil motions 
arising from us, as some have al)s\n-dly conceived. So the Sadducees, and 
otliers following tliem, deny any such being as an angel, good or evil ; but this 
is so fond a conceit, that we must both forfeit our reason, and deny the Scriptures 
to nuiintain it, where we find their creation related. Col. i. 18 ; the fall of some 
from their first estate, Jude 6 ; and the standing of others, called the elect 
angels. The hapi)iness of the one, who behold God's face ; aiul their employ- 
ment — being sent out to attend on the saints as servants on their master's heirs, 
Heb. i. The misery of the othei", reserved in chains of darkness unto the 
judgment of the great day ; and their present work, which is to do mischief to 
the soids and bodies of men, as far as they are permitted. All of which shew 
their subsistence ])lain enough. But so inunersed is sorry man in flesh, that 
he will not easily believe what he sees not with his fleshly eyes ; upon the 
same account we may deny the being of God himself, because invisible. 

Tliirdly, They are entire spiritual substances, which have every one proper 
existence : and thus they are distinguished from the souls of men, which are 
made to sul)sist in a hiunan body ; and together with it to make one perfect 
man, so that the soid, though when separated from the body doth exist, yet 
hath a tendency to union with its body again. 

Fourthly, They are, though entire spiritual substances, yet finite, being but 
creatures. God only is the uncreated, infinite, and absolutely simple Spirit, 
yea, Father of all other spirits. 

Now from this spiritual nature of the devil, we may further see what a 
dreadful enemy we have to grapple with. 

First, As spirits, they are of vast intellectual abilities. Sorry man, while in 
this dai"k prison of the body, hath not light enough to know what angelical per- 
fections are; that they excel in knowledge all other creatures, we know, because 
as spirits they come nearest by creation to the nature of God that made them ; 
the heavens are not lifted higher from the earth, than angels by knowledge 
from man while on earth. Man by art hath learnt to take the height of the 
stars of heaven ; but where is he that can tell how far in knowledge angels ex- 
ceed man ? It is true, they have lost much of that knowledge they had, even 
all their knowledge as holy angels ; what now they know of God hath lost its 
savour, and they have no power to use it for their own good. What Jude saith 
of wicked men, may be said of them, ' What they know naturally, in these 
things they cornipt themselves.' They know the holiness of God, but love him 
not for it, as the elect angels do, and themselves by creation did. They know 
the evil of sin, and love it not the less ; but though they are such fools for 
themselves, yet have subtilty too much for all the saints on earth, if we had 
not a God to play our game for us. 

Secondly, As spirits they are invisible, and their approaches also. They 
come, and you see not your enemy. Indeed this makes him so little feared by 
the ignorant world, whereas it is his greatest advantage, if rightly weighed. 
() if men liave an apparition of the de\il, or hear a noise in the night, they cry. 
The devil, the devil ! and are ready to run out of their wits for fear ; but they 
carry him in their hearts, and walk all the day long in his company, and fear 
him not. When thy proud heart is clambering up to the pinnacle of honour in 
thy ambitious thoughts, who sets thee there but the devil ? When thy adult- 
erous heart is big with all manner of uncleanness and filthiness, who but Satan 
hath been there, begetting these brats on thy whorish spirit ? When thou art 
raging in thy passion, throwing burning, coals of wrath and fin-y about with thy 
inflamed tongue, where was it set on fire but of hell ? When thou art hurried 
like the swine down the precipice, and even choked with thy own drunken 
vomit, who but the devil rides thee ? 

Thirdly, As s])irits, they are immortal. Of other enemies you may hear 
news at last that they are dead which sought thy life, as the angel told Joseph 
of Herod. Persecuting men walk a turn or two upon the stage, and are called 
off by death, and there is an end of all their plots : but devils die not, they will 


hunt thee to thy grave, and when thou diest they will meet thee in another 
world, to accuse and torment thee there also. 

Fourthly, They are unwearied in their motions. When the light is over 
among men, the conqueror must sit down and breathe, and so loseth the chase, 
because not able to pursue it in time. Yea, some have given over their 
empires, as glutted with the blood of men, andweary of the work, when they 
cannot have their will as they desired. Thus Dioclesian, because he saw he 
did but mow a meadow that grew the thicker for the cutting down, (as Tertullian 
speaks of the Christians martyred,) he throws away his sceptre in a pet. Charles 
the Fifth did the like (some say) upon the same reason, because lie could not 
root out the Lutherans. But the devil's spirit is never cowed, nor he weary of 
doing mischief, though he hath never stood still since first he began his walk 
to and fro in the world. O what would become of us if a God were not at our 
back, who is infinitely more the devil's odds than he ours ? 

Section II. — Secondly, They are wicked spirits ; wicked in the abstract, as in 
the text, and called byway of eminency in sin, ' The wicked one,' Matt. xiii. 19, 
as God is called the Holy One, because ' none holy as the Lord ;' so the devil 
the wicked one, because he is a nonsuch in sin. In a few particulars let us 
endeavour to take the height of the devil's sin, and the rather, that we may 
judge of the degrees of sins, and sinners, among the sons of men : the nearer 
God in holiness, the more holy ; the liker the devil, the more wicked. 

First, These apostate angels are the inventors of sin ; the first that soiuided 
the tnnnpet of rebellion against their Maker, and led the dance to all that 
sin which since hath filled the world. Now what tongue can accent this sin 
to its full ? P'or such a noble creature, whom God hath set on the top, as 
it were, of all the creation, nearest to himself, from whom God hath kept 
nothing but his own royal diadem ; for this peer and favourite of the court, 
without any cause or solicitation from any other, to make this bold and blas- 
phemous attempt to snatch at God's own ci-own, this paints the devil blacker 
than the thoughts of men and angels can conceive. He is called ' the father of 
lies,' as those who have found out any art arc called the father of it. ' Jubal, 
the father of all such as handle the harp and organ ;' he invented music. And 
this is a dreadful aggravation, because they sinned without a tempter. And 
though man is not in such a degree capable of this aggravation, yet some men 
sin after the very similitude of the devil's transgression in this respect, who, as 
Paul, Rom. i. 8, styles them, ' are inventors of evil things.' Indeed sin is an 
old trade, found out to our hand : but as in other trades and ai'ts, some famous 
men arise, who add to the inventions of others, and make trades and arts as it 
were new ; so there are ever some infamous in their generation, that make old 
sins new, by superadding to the wickedness of others. Uncleanness is an old sin 
from the beginning, but the Sodomites will be filthy in a new way ; and therefore 
it carries their name to this day. Some invent new errors, others new oaths, such 
as are of their own coining, hot out of the mint ; they scorn to swear after the old 
fashion : others new devices of persecuting, as Julian had a way by hunself dif- 
ferent from all before him : and to the end of the world every age will exceed 
other in the degrees of sinning. Ishmael and the mockers of the old world were 
but children and bunglers to the scoffers and cruel mockers of the last time. 
Well, take heed of shewing thy wit in inventing new sins, lest thou stir up God 
to invent new punishments. ' Is not destruction to the wicked, and a strange 
punishment to the workers of iniquity V Job xxxi. 3. Sodom sinned after a 
new mode, and God destroys them after a new way, sending hell from above 
upon them. Some have invented new opinions, monstrous errors, and God hath 
suited their monstrous erroi-s with births as monstrous of their own body. 

Secondly, They were not only the inventors of sin, but are still the chief 
tempters to and promotei-s of sin in the world, therefore called Peirazon, the 
Tempter: and sin called ' the work of the devil,' whoever commits it; as the 
house goes by the name of the master-workman, though he useth his servants' 
hands to build it. O take heed of soliciting others to sin ! Thou takest the 
devil's office, as I may say, out of his hand ; let him do it himself, if he will ; 
make not thyself so like him. To tempt another, is worse than to sin thyself. 
It speaks sin to be of great growth in that man, that doth it knowingly and 


willino;ly. Herbs and Howers shed not their seed til! ripe ; creatures pi'opagate 
not till of stature and age. What do those that tempt others, but dittiise their 
wicked opinions and practices, and as it were raise up seed to the devil, thereby 
to keep up the name of their infernal father in the world ? This shews sin is 
mighty in them indeed. Many a man, though so cruel to his own soul as to be 
drunk or swear, yet will not like this in a child or servant ; what are they then 
but devils incarnate, who teach their children the devil's catechism, to swear 
and lie, drink and drab ? If you meet such, be not afraid to call them (as Paul 
did Elymas, when he vv'ould have perverted the deputy,) children of the devil, 
full of all subtilty and mischief, and enemies of all righteousness. O do you not 
know what you do, when you tempt ? I will tell you ; you do that which you 
cannot undo by your own repentance ; thou poisonest one with error, initiatest 
another in the devil's school, (ale-house, I mean,) but afterwards, it may be, thou 
seest thy mistake, and recantest thy error, thy folly, and givest over thy drunken 
trade. Art thou sure now to rectify and convert them with thyself? Alas, poor 
creatures ! this is out of thy power ; they, perhaps, will say, as he (though he 
did it upon a better account) that was solicited to turn back to popery by him 
who had before persuaded'him to renounce the same : ' You have given me one 
turn, but shall not give me another.' And what a grief to thy spirit will it be, 
to see these going to hell on thy errand, and thou not able to call them back ! 
Thou mayest cry out as Lamech, ' I have slain a man to my wounding, and a 
young man to my Inu't.' Nay, when thou art asleep in thy grave, he whom 
thou seducedst may have drawn in others, and thy name may be quoted to 
commend the opinion and practice to others; by which (as it is said, though in 
another sense, ' Abel, being dead, yet speaks,') thou mayst, though dead, sin in 
those that are alive, generation after generation. A little spark kindled by the 
error of one, hath cost the pains of many ages to quench it ; and when thought 
to be out, it hath broken forth again. 

Thirdly, They are not barely wicked, but maliciously wicked. The devil's 
name denoteth his spiteful nature, his desire to vex and injure others. When 
he draws souls to sin, it is not because he tastes any sweetness, or finds any 
profit therein ; he hath too much light to have any joy or peace in sin ; he 
knows his doom, and trembles at the thought of it, and yet his spiteful nature 
makes him vehemently desire, and incessantly endeavour, the damnation of souls. 
As you shall see a mad dog run after a flock of sheep, kill one, then another, 
and when dead not able to eat of their flesh, but kills to kill : so Satan is carried 
out with a boundless rage against man, especially the saints ; he would not, if 
he could, leave one of Christ's flock alive ; such is the height of his malice 
against God, whom he hates with a perfect hatred, and because he cannot reach 
liim with a direct blow, therefore he strikes him at second hand through his 
saints; that wicked arm which reacheth not to God, is extended against these 
excellent on the earth, well knowing the life of God is in a manner bound up 
in theirs. God cannot outlive his honour, and his honour speeds as his mercy 
is exalted or depressed ; this being the attribute God means to honour in their 
salvation so highl)% and therefore jualigned above the rest by Satan. And this 
is the worst that can be said of these wicked spirits, that they maliciously spite 
God, and in God the glory of his mercy. 

Use 1. First, This may help us to conceive more fully what the desperate 
wickedness of man's nature is, which is so hard to be known, because it can 
never be seen at once, it being a fountain whose immensity consists not in the 
stream of actual sin, (that is visible, and may seem little,) but in the spring that 
incessantly feeds this : but here is a glass that will give us the shape of our 
hearts truly like themselves. Seest thou the monstrous pitch and height of 
wickedness that is in the devil ? All this there is in the heart of every man ; 
there is no less M'ickedness, potentially, in the tamest sinner on earth, than in 
the devils themselves ; and that one day thou, whoever thou art, wilt shew to 
purpose, if God prevent thee not by hi^ renewing grace ; thou art not yet 
fledged, thy wings are not grown to make thee a flying dragon, but thou art of 
the same brood, the seed of this serpent is in thee, and the devil begets a child 
like himself ; thou yet standest in a soil not so proper for the ripening of sin, 
which will not come to its fulness till transplanted into hell. Thou who art 


here so diffident and modest, as to blush at some sins out of shame, and forbear 
the acting of others out of fear, when there thou slialt see thy case as desperate 
as the devil doth his, then thou wilt spit out thy blasphemies, with which thy 
nature is stuffed, with the same malice that he doth. The Indians have a con- 
ceit, that when they die, they shall be transformed into the deformed likeness of 
the devil ; therefore in their language they have the same word for a dead man 
and the devil. Sin makes the wicked like him before they come there, but indeed 
they will come to their countenance more fully there, when those flames shall 
wash off that paint which here hides their complexion. The saints in heaven 
shall be like the angels in their alacrity, love, and constancy to serve God, and 
the dannied, like the devils in sin as well as punishment. This one considera- 
' tion might be of excellent use to unbottom a sinner, and abase him, so as never 
to have high thoughts of himself. It is easy to run down a person whose life is 
wicked, and convince him of the evil of his actions, and inake him confess that 
what he doth is evil ; but here is the thicket we lose him in ; he will say, ' It 
is true, I am overseen, I do what I should not, God forgive me ; but my heart 
is good.' Thy heart good, sinner ! and so is the devil's; his nature is wicked, 
and thine as bad as his. These pimples in thy face shew the heat of thy cor- 
rupt natiu'e witliin, and without gospel physic, the blood of Christ applied to 
thee, thou wilt die a leper ; none but Christ can give thee a new heart, till 
which thou wilt every day gi'ow worse and worse. Sin is an hereditary disease, 
that increaseth with age. A young sinner will be an old devil. 

Use 2. Again, It would be of use to the saints, especially those in whom God 
by his timely call forestalled the devil's market ; as sometimes the Spirit of 
God takes sin in its quarters before it comes into the field, in the sins of youth ; 
now such a one finding not those daring sins committed by him, that others 
have been left unto, may possibly not be affected so with his own sin, or God's 
mercy. O let such a one behold here the wickedness of his heart in this glass 
of the devil's nature, and he will see himself as great a debtor to the mercy of 
God as Manasses, or the worst of sinners ; as in pardoning, so in preventing 
the same cursed nature with theirs, before it rose against God with those bloody 
sins they committed. That thou didst not act such outrageous shis, thou art 
beholden to God's gracious restraint, and not to the goodness of thy nature, 
which hath the devil's stamp on it, for which God might have crushed thee, as 
we do the brood of serpents before they sting, knowing what they will do in 
time. Who will say that Faux suffered unjustly, because the parliament was 
not blown up ? It was enough that the materials for that massacre were pro- 
vided, and he taken there with match and fire about him, ready to lay the 
train ; and canst thou say, when God first took hold on thee, that thou hadst 
not those weapons of rebellion about thee, a nature fully charged with enmity 
against God, which in time would have made its own report of what for present 
lay like unfired powder silent in thy bosom ? O Christian, think of this, and 
be humbled for thy villanous nature, and say. Blessed be God, that sent his 
Spirit and grace so opportunely to stay thy hand, as Abigail to David, while 
thy nature meditated nothing but war against God and his laws. 

Again, Thirdly, Are the devils so wickedly malicious against God himself? 
O sii's, take the right notion of sin, and you will hate it. The reason why we 
are so easily persuaded to sin is, because we understand not the bottom of his 
design in drawing a creature to sin. It is with men in sinning, as it is with 
armies in fighting ; captains beat their drums for volunteers, and promise all 
that enlist, pay and plunder; and this makes them come trooping in ; but few 
consider what the ground of the war is, against whom, or for what. Satan 
enticetli to sin, and gives golden promises what they shall have in his service, 
with which silly souls are won ; but how few ask their souls, Whom do I sin 
against ? What is the devil's design in drawing me to sin ? Shall I tell thee ? 
Dost thou think it is thy pleasure or profit he desires in thy sinning ? Alas, he 
means nothing less ; he hath greater plots in his head than so. He hath by his 
apostasy proclaimed war against God, and he brings thee by sinning to espouse 
his quarrel, and to hazard the life of thy soul in defence of his pride and lust ; 
which that he may do, he cares no more for the damnation of thy sold, tlian 
the great Turk doth to see a company of his slaves cut off for the carrying on of 


his design in a siege : and darest thou venture to go into the fiehl upon his 
quarrel against (iod .' O earth, treiul)le thou at the presence of tlie Lord. 
Tiiis bloody Joab sets tliee where never any came oft' alive. () stand not 
where God's bullets fly ; throw down thy arms, or thou art a dead man. 
Whatever others do, O ye saints, abhor the thoughts of sinning willingly, 
which, when you do, you help the devil against God ; and what more un- 
natural, than for a chilli to be seen in arms against his father? 


OF Satan's plot to defile the christian's spirit with heart-sins. 

The second point follows. 

Doct. 2. That these wicked spirits do chiefly annoy the saints with, and 
provoke them to, spiritual sins. Sins may be called spiritual u])on a double 
account; either from the subject wherein they are acted, or from the object 
about which they are conversant. 

First, In regard of the subject; when the spirit or heart is the stage whereon 
sin is acted, this is a spiritual sin ; such are all impure thoughts, vile affections 
and desires; though the object be fleshly lust, yet are spiritual sins, because they 
are purely acts of the soul and spirit, and break not forth unto the outward man. 

Secondly, In regard of the object; when that is spiritual, and not carnal, 
such as are idolatry, error, spiritual pride, unbelief, &c., both which Paul calls 
' the filthiness of the spirit,' and distinguisheth them from ' filthiness of the 
flesh,' 2 Cor. vii. 1. 

Section I. — First, Of the first, Satan labours what he can to provoke the 
Christian to heart-sins, to stir up and foment these inward motions of sin in the 
Christian's bosom ; hence it is, he can go about no duty, but these (his imps I 
may call them) haunt him ; one motion or other darts in to interrupt him, as 
Paul tells us of himself, ' When he would do good, evil was present with him.' 
If a Christian should turn back whenever these cross the way "of him, he should 
never go on his journey to heaven. It is the chief game the devil hath left 
to play against the children of God, now his field army is broken, and his 
commanding power taken away, which he had over them, to come out of these 
his holds where he lies skulking, and fall upon their rear with these suggestions. 
He knows his credit now is not so great with the soul as when it was his slave ; 
then no drudgery work was so base, that it would not do at his command ; but 
now the soul is out of this bondage, and he must not think to command 
another's servant as his own ; no, all he can do, is to watch the fittest season, 
when the Christian least suspects, and then to present some sinful motion 
handsomely dressed up to the eye of the soul, that the Christian may, before he 
is aware, take this brat up, and handle it in his thoughts, till at last he makes it 
his own by embracing it ; and this he knows will defile the soul : and may be 
this boy, sent in at the window, may open the door to let in a greater thief; or 
if he should not so prevail, yet the guilt of these heart-sins, yea, their very 
neighbourhood, will be a sad vexation to a gracious heart, whose nature is so 
pure that it abhors all filthiness; so that to be haunted with such motions, is as 
if a living man should be chained to a stinking carcase, tliat wherever he goes, 
he must draw that after him; and whose love is so dear to Chi'ist, that it cannot 
bear the company of those thoughts without amazement and horror, which are 
so contrary and abusive to his beloved. This makes Satan so desirous to be ever 
raking in the unregenerate part, that as a dunghill stirred, it may offend them 
both with the noisome steams which arise from it. 

Section II. — Use 1. First, Let this be for a trial of thy spiritual state. What 
entertainment finds Satan when he comes with these spirituals of wickedness, 
and solicits thee to dwell on them? Canst thou dispense with ihe filthiness of 
thy spirit, so thy hands be clean ? Or dost thou wrestle agauist tliese heart-sins 
as well as others ? I do not ask whether such guests come within thy door; for 
the w(n-st of sins may be found, in the motions of them, not only passing by the 
door of a Christian, but looking in also; as holy motions may be found stirring 
in the bosom of wicked men. But I ask thee, whether thou canst find in th}- 



lieart to lodge tliese guests, and bid them welcome ? It is like thou wouldst 
not be seen to walk in the street with such companj', not violently break open 
thy neighbour's house to murder or rob him ; but canst thou not, under thy 
own roof, in the withdrawing room of thy soul, let thy thoughts hold up an 
unclean lust, while thy heart commits speculative folly with it? Canst thou 
not draw thy neighbour into thy den, and there rend him limb from limb by 
thy malice, and thy heart not so much as cry murdei;, murder ? In a word, 
canst thou hide any one sin in the vance-roof of thy heart, there to save the 
life of it, when inquired after by the word and Spirit, as Rahab hid the spies, 
and sent the king of Jericho's messengers to pursue them, as if they had 
been gone ? Perhaps tliou canst say, The adulterer, the murderer is not here ; 
thou hast sent these sins away long ago ; and all this while thou hidest them ; 
for the love of thy soul know it, or thou shalt another day know it to thy cost ; 
thou art stark naught. If there were a spark of the life of God, or the 
love of Christ in thy bosom, though thou eouldst not hinder such inotions in 
thy soul, yet thou wouldst not conceal them, much less nourish them in thy 
bosom ; when overpowered by them, thou wouldst call in help from Heaven 
against these destroyers of thy soid. 

Use 2. Secondly, Shew your loyalty, O ye saints, to God, by a vigorous 
resistance of and wrestling against these spirituals of wickedness. First, con- 
sider, Christian, heart-sins are sins as well as any ; ' The thought of foolishness 
is sin,' Prov. xxiv. 9. Mercury is poison in the water distilled, as well as in the 
gross body. Uncleanness, covetousness, murder, are such in the heart, as well 
as in the outward; every point of hell is hell. Secondly, consider, thy spirit is 
the seat of the Holy Spirit. He takes up the whole heart for his lodgings; and 
it is time for him to be gone when he sees his house let over his head. Defile 
not thy spirit till thou art weary of his company. Thirdly, consider, there may 
be more wickedness in a sin of the heart than of the hand, or outward man ; 
for the aggravation of these is taken from the behaviour of the heart in the act. 
The more of the -heart and spirit is let out, the more malignity is let in to any 
sinful act. To backslide in heart, is more than to backslide ; it is the 
comfort of a poor soul when tempted and troubled for his relapses, that though 
his foot slides back, yet his heart tiunis not back, but faceth heaven and Christ 
at the same time ; so to err in the heart, is worse than to have an error in the 
head ; therefore God aggi'avates Israel's sin with this, ' They do always err in 
their heart,' Heb. iii. 10. Their hearts run them upon the error; they liked 
idolatry, and so were soon made to believe what pleased them best. As on the 
contrary, the more of the heart and spirit is in any holy service, the more real 
goodness there is in it, though it fall short of others in the outward expression. 
The widow's two mites surpassed all the rest, Christ himself being Judge; so in 
sin, though the internal acts of sin, in thoughts and affections, seem light upon 
man's balance, if compared with outward act; yet these may be so circum- 
stanced that they may exceed the other in God's account. Peter lays the 
accent of Magus's sin on the wicked thought, which his words betrayed to be 
in his heart; ' Pray God, if perhaps the thought of thy heart may be forgiven,' 
Acts viii. 22. Saul's sin in sparing Agag, and saving the best of the sheep and 
oxen, which he was commanded to destroy, was materially a far less sin than 
David's adultery and murder, yet it is made equal with a greater than both, 
even witchcraft itself, 1 Sam. xv. 23. And whence received his sin such a dye, 
but from the wickedness of his heart, that was worse than David's when 
deepest in the temptation ? Fourtlily, if Satan get into thy spirit and defile it, 
O how hard wilt thou find it to stay there? Thou hast already sipped of his 
broth, and now art more likely to be overcome at last to sit down and make 
thy full meal of that, which liy tasting hath vitiated thy palate already. It were 
strange if, while thou art musing, and thy heart hot with the thought of lust, 
the fire should not break forth at thy lips, or worse. 

Quest. But what help have we against this sort of Satan's temptation ? 

Answ. I suppose thee a Christian that maketh this question ; and if thou dost 

it in the plainness of thy heart, it proves thee one. Who besides will, or can 

desire in earnest, to be eased of these guests ? Even when a carnal heart prays 

for deliverance from them, he would be loth his prayer should be heard. ' Not 


yet Lord,' the heart of such a one cries, as Austin confessed of himself. Sin is 
as truly tlie offspring of the soul, as cliildren are of our bodies, and it finds as 
much favour in our eyes, yea, more; for the sinner can slay a son to save a sin 
alive, Micah vi. 7 ; and of all sins, none are more cherished than these heart-sins. 

First, Because tliey are the first-born of the sinful heart, and the chiefest 
strength of the soul is laid ovit upon them. 

Secondly, Because the heart hath more scope in them than in outward acts. 
The proud man is staked down oft to a short state, and cannot mffie it in the 
world, and appear to others in that pomp he would ; but within his own bosom 
he can set up a stage, and in his own foolish heart present himself as great a 
prince as he pleaseth. The malicious can kill in his desires as many in a few 
minutes, as the angel smote in a night of Sennacherib's host. Nero thus could 
slay all Rome on the block at once. 

Thirdly, These sins stay with the soul when the others leave it ; when the 
sinner hatli crippled his body with drunkenness and filthiness, and proves tniles 
emeritus, cannot follow the devil's camp any longer in those ways, then these 
cursed lusts will entertain the sinner with stories of his old pranks and pleasures. 
In a word, these inward lusts of the heart have nothing but the conscience of a 
Deity to quell them. Other sins put the sinner to shame before men ; and as 
some that believed on Christ, durst not confess him openly, because they loved 
the praise of men, so there are sinners who are kept from vouching their lust 
openly, for the same tenderness to their reputation ; but hei-e is no fear of that, 
if they can but forget that heaven sees them, or persuade themselves there is 
no danger from thence ; the coast then is clear, they may be as wicked as they 
please. These make inward sins so hugged and embraced. If thou therefore 
canst find thy heart set against these, I may venture to call thee a real Chris- 
tian, and for thy help against them, 

First, Be earnest with God in prayer to move and order thy heart in its thoughts 
and desires. If the tongue be such an unruly thing that few can tame, O 
what is the heart, where such a multitude of thoughts are flying forth as thick 
as bees from the hive, and sparks from the furnace ! It is not in man, not in the 
holiest on earth, to do this without Divine assistance. Therefore we find David 
so often ci-ying out in this respect to order his steps in his word, to unite his 
heart to his fear, to incline his heart to his testimonies. As a servant, when 
the child he tends is troublesome, and will not be ruled by him, calls out to 
the father to come to him, who no sooner speaks but all is silence with him : no 
doubt holy David found his heart beyond his skill or power, that makes him 
so oft do its errand to God. Indeed God hath promised thus much to his 
children, to order their steps for them, Psalm xxxvii. 22 ; only he looks they 
should bring their hearts to him for that end. ' Commit thy work to the Loi'd, 
and thy thoughts shall be established,' Prov. xvi. .3, or ordered. Art thou set- 
ting thy face towards an ordinance, where thou art sure to meet Satan, who will 
be disturbing thee with worldly thoughts, and may be worse ? let God know 
from thy mouth whither thou art going, and what thy fears are ; never doth the 
soul march in so goodly order, as when it puts itself under the conduct of God. 

Secondly, Set a strong guard about thy outward senses : these are Satan's 
landing places, especially the eye and the ear. Take heed what thou importest 
at these ; vain discourse seldom passeth without leaving some tincture upon the 
heart : as unwholesome air inclines to putrefaction things sweet in themselves, 
so unsavoury discourse to corrupt the mind that is pure ; look thou breathest 
therefore in a clear air. And for thy eye, let it not wander ; wanton objects 
cause wanton thoughts. Job knew his eye and his thoughts were like to go 
together, and therefore to secure one, he covenants with the other, Jobxxxi. 1. 

Thirdly, Often reflect upon thyself in a day, and observe what company is 
with thy heart. A careful master will ever and anon be looking into his work- 
house, and see what his servants .are doing, and a wise Christian should do the 
same. We may know by the noise in the school, the master is not there : much 
of the misrule in our bosoms ariseth from the neglect of visiting our hearts. 
Now when thou art parleying with thy soul, make this threefold inquiry : 

First, Whether that which thy heart is thinking on be good or evil. If evil 
and wicked, such as are proud, unclean, distrusti'ul thouglits, show thy abhor- 

K 2 


rence of them, and cliide thy soul sharply for so much as holding conference 
with them, of which nought can come but dishonour to God, and mischief to 
thy own soid ; and stir up thy heart to mourn for the evil neighhoiu-hood of 
them, and by this thou shalt give a testimony of thy faithfulness to God. When 
David mourned for Abner, all Israel, it is said, ' understood that day, that it was 
not of the king to slay Abner:' thy mourning for them will show these thoughts 
are not so much of thee, as of Satan. 

Secondly, If they be not broadly wicked, inquire whether they be not empty, 
frothy, vain imaginations, that have no subserviency to the glory of God, thy 
own good, or others' ; and if so, leave not till thou hast made thyself apprehen- 
sive of Satan's design on thee in them ; though such are not for thy purpose, 
yet they are for his, they serve his turn to keep thee from better. All the 
water is lost that i-uns beside the mill, and all thy thoughts are waste which 
help thee not to do God's work withal in thy general or particular calling. The 
bee will not sit on a flower where no honey can be sucked, neither should the 
Christian. Why sittest thou here idle, thou shouldest say to thy soul, when 
thou hast so much to do for God and thy soul, and so little time to despatch it in .' 

Thirdly, If thovi findest they are good for matter thy heart is busied abo\it, 
then inquire whether they be good for time and manner, which, being wanting, 
they degenerate. 

First, For the season ; that is good fruit which is brought forth in its season. 
Christ liked the work his mother would have put him upon as well as herself, 
(John ii.) but his time was not come. Good thoughts and meditations misplaced, 
ai-e like some interpretations of Scripture, good truths, but bad expositions ; 
they fit not the place they are drawn from, nor these the time. To pray when 
we should hear, or be musing on the sermon when we should pray, this is to 
rob God one way to pay him another. 

Secondly, Carefully observe the maimer. Thy heart may meditate a good 
matter, and spoil it in the doing. Thou art, may be, musing of thy sins, and 
affecting thy heart into a sense of them, but so, that while thou art stirring up 
thy sorrow, thou weakenest thy faith on the promise, that is thy sin. He is a 
bad surgeon, that in opening a vein goes so deep that he cuts an artery, 
and lames the arm, if not kills the man. Or thou art thinking of thy family 
and providing for that. This thou oughtest to do, and art worse than an infidel 
if thou neglectest ; but perhaps these thoughts are so distracting and distrustful 
as if thei-e were no promise, no providence to relieve thee. God takes this ill, 
because it reflects upon his care of thee. O how near doth our duty here stand 
to our sin ! so much care is necessary ballast to the soul ; a little more sinks it 
under the waves of unbelief; like some things very wholesome, but one degree 
more of hot or cold would make them poison. 



The second sort of spiritual sins are svich as are not only acted in tlie spirit, 
but are conversant about spiritual objects proper to the soul's nature, that is a 
spirit, and not laid out in carnal passions of fleshly lusts, in which the soul acts 
but as a pander for the body, and partakes of their delights only by way of 
sympathy ; for as the soul feels the body's pains no other way than by sym- 
pathy, so neither doth it share in the pleasures of the flesh by any proper taste 
it hath of them, but, only from its near neighbom'hood with the body, doth sym- 
pathize with its joy ; but in spiritual wickednesses that corrupt the mhid, here 
the soul moves in its own sphere, with a delight proper to itself; and there are 
no less of these than the other. There is hardly a fleshly lust, but hath some 
spiritual sin analogical to it ; as they say there is no species of creatures on the 
land, but may be patterned in the sea : thus the heart of man can produce spi- 
ritual sins answering carnal lusts ; for whoredom and uncleanness of the flesh, 
there is idolatry, called in Scripture spiritual adultery, from which the seat of 
Antichrist is called spiritual Sodom ; for sensual drunkenness, there is a drun- 
kenness of the mind, intoxicating the judgment with error ; a drunkenness of 


the heart in cares and fears ; for carnal pride in beauty, riches, honour, there is 
a spiritual pride of gifts, graces, &c. Now Satan ui an especial manner assaults 
the Christian with such as these ; it wouh) require a larger discourse than I can 
allow, to run over the several kinds of them ; I shall of many j)ick out two or 
tin-ee. At first, Satan labours to corrupt the mind with erroneous principles ; 
he was at work at the very lirst plantation of the gospel, sowing his darnel, as 
soon almost as Christ his wheat, which s))rung up in j)ernicious errors, even in 
the apostles' times, which made them take tiie weeding-hook into their hands, 
and in all their epistles labour to countermine Satan in this design. Now Satan 
hath a threefold design in this his endeavour to corrupt the miuds of men, 
especially })rofessors, with error. 

Section I. — First, He doth this in despite to God, against whom he cainiot 
vent his malice at a higher rate, than by corrupting his tnith, which God hath 
so highly honoured, Psa. cxxxviii. 2 ; ' Thou hast magnified thy word above all 
thy name.' Every creature bears the name of God, but in his word and truth 
tlxerein contained it is written at length, and therefore lie is more choice of this 
than of all his other works ; he cares not much wliat l)ecomes of the world and 
all in it, so he keeps his word, and saves his truth. Ere long we shall see the 
world on a light flame ; the heavens and eartii shall pass away, ' but the word 
of tlie Lord endures for ever.' When (iod will, he can nuike more such worlds 
as this ; but he cannot make another truth, and therefore he will not lose one 
jot thereof. Satan knowing this, sets all his wits on work to deface this, and 
disfigure it by unsoiuid doctrine. Tlie word is the glass in which we see God, 
and seeing him, are changed into his likeness by his Spirit. If this glass be 
cracked, then the conceptions we have of God will misrepresent him unto us ; 
whereas the word, in its native clearness, sets him out in all his glory unto 
our eye. 

Secondly, He endeavours to draw into this spiritual sin of error, as the most 
subtle and effectual means to weaken, if not destroy the power of godliness in 
them. The apostle joins the spirit of power and a sound mind together, 2 Tim. 
i. 7. Indeed the power of holiness in practice depends much on the soundness 
of judgment. Godliness is the child of truth ; and it must be nursed, if we will 
have it tlirive, with no other milk than that of its own mother. Therefore we are 
exhorted to 'desire the sincere milk of the word, that we may grow thereby,' 
1 Pet. ii. 2. If this milk be but a little dashed with error, it is not nutritive. 
All error, how innocent soever it may seem, like the ivy, draws away the 
strength of the soul's love from holiness. Hosea tells us, whoredom and wine 
take away the heart. Now error is spiritual adultery. Pcud speaks of his 
espousing them to Christ : when a person receives an error, he takes a stranger . 
into Christ's bed ; and it is the nature of adulterous love to take away the 
wife's heart from her true husband, that she delights not in his conqjany so 
much as in that of her adulterous lover. And do we not see it at this day ful- 
filled ? Do not many shew more zeal in contending for one error, than for 
many truths? How strangely are the hearts of many taken off from the ways 
of God, their love cooled to the ordinances and messengers of C'hrist? And all 
this occasioned by some corru])t principle got into their bosoms, which controls 
Christ and his trutli, as Hagar and her son did Sarah and her child. Indeed 
Christ will never enjoy true conjugal love from the soul, till, like Abraham, he 
turns these out of doors. Error is not so innocent a thing as many think it ; it 
ia as unwholesome food to the body, that ])oisons the spirits, aiul surfeits the 
whole body, and seldoni passeth away without breaking out into sores. As the 
knowledge of Christ carries the soul above the pollution of the world, so error 
entangles and betrays it to those lusts whose hands it had escaped. 

Thii-dly, Satan, in drawing a soul into this spiritual sin, hath a design to 
disturb the peace of the church, which is rent and shattered when this fire-ship 
comes among them. ' I hear,' saith Paid, ' there are di\isions among you, and 
I ])artly believe it, for there must be heresies,' 1 Cor. xi. 18, 19; implying that 
divisions are the natural issue of heresy, terror cannot well agree with error, 
exce))t it be against the truth ; then indeed, like I'ilate and Herod, they are 
easily made friends ; but when (ruth seems to be overcome, and the battle is 
over with that, then they fall out among themselves; and therefore it is no 


wonder if it be so troublesome a neighbour to truth. O sirs ! what a sweet 
silence and peace was there among Christians a dozen years ago ! Methinks 
the looking back to those blessed days in this respect, (though they had also 
in another way their troubles, yet not so uncomfortable, because that storm 
united, this scatters the saints' spirits,) is joyous to remember in whatimity and 
love Christians walked, so that the persecutors of those times might have said, 
as their predecessors did of the saints in primitive times, ' See how they 
love one another!' but now, alas! they may jeer and say, See how they that 
loved so dearly are ready to pluck one another's eyes out ! 

Section I. — Use. The application of this shall be only in a word of exhor- 
tation to all, especially you who bear the name of Christ by a more eminent 
profession of him. O beware of this soul-infection, this leprosy of the head. I 
hope you do not think it needless ; for it is the disease of the times. This 
plague is begun, yea, spreads apace ; not a flock, a congregation hardly, that 
hath not this scab among them. Paul was a preacher the best of us all may 
write after, and he presseth this home upon the saints ; yea, in the constant 
course of his preaching it made a piece of his sermon, Acts xx. 30, 31 ; he sets 
us preachers also on this work ; * take heed to yoiu-selves, and to all the flock ; 
for I know this, that after my departiu-e shall grievous wolves enter; also of 
yoin- own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things;' therefoi'e watch. 
And then he presents his own example, that he hardly made a sermon for 
several years, but this was part of it, to warn every one night and day with 
tears. We need not prophesy what impostors may come upon the stage, when 
we go ofl"; there are too many at present above board of this gang, drawing 
disci23les after them. And if it be our duty to warn you of them, siu'ely it is 
yours to watch, lest you by any of them be led into temptation this hour thereof, 
wherein Satan is let loose in so great a measure to deceive the nation. May 
you not as easily be soiu-ed with this leaven, as the disciples, whom Christ bids 
beware? Are 3fou privileged above those famous chm'ches of Galatia and 
Corinth, many of which were bewitched with false teachers, and in a manner 
turned to another gospel 1 Is Satan grown orthodox, or have his instrinuents 
lost their cunning, who hunt for souls ? In a word, is there not a sympathy 
between thy corrupt heart and error ? hast thou not a disposition, which, like 
the foams of the earth, makes it natural for these weeds to grow in thy soil ? 
Seest tliou not many prostrated by this enemy, who sat upon the mountain of 
their faith, and thought it should never have been removed ? Surely they woidd 
have taken it ill to have been told. You are the men and women that will decry 
sabbaths, which now ye count holy ; you will turn Pelagians, who now defy 
the name ; you will despise prophecy itself, who now seem so much to honour 
the prophets ; you will throw family duties out of doors, who dare not now go 
out of doors, till you have prayed there. Yet these, and more than these are 
come to pass, and doth it not behove thee. Christian, to take heed lest thou fall 
also ? And that thou mayest not, 

First, Make it thy chief care to get a thorough change of thy heart. If once 
the root of the matter be in thee, and thou art bottomed by a lively faith on 
Christ, thou art then safe : I do not say wholly free from all error, but this I 
am sure, free from ingulfing thy soul in damning error. ' They went out 
from us,' saith St. John, ' but they were not of us, for if they had been of us, 
they would no doubt have continued with us,' 1 John ii. 19. As if he had said. 
They had some outward profession, and common work of the Spirit with us, 
which they have either lost or carried over to the devil's quarters, but they 
never had the unction of the sanctifying Spirit. By this, ver. 20, he distinguish- 
etli them, and comforts the sincere ones, who possibly might fear their own fall 
by their departure : ' But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know 
all things.' It is one thing to know a truth, and another to know it by miction. 
An hypocrite may do the former, the saint only the latter. It is this unction 
which gives the soul the savour of the knowledge of Christ : those are the fit 
prey for impostors, who are enlightened but not enlivened. Oh it is good to 
have the heart established with grace ; this as an anchor will keep us from 
being set adrift, and carried about with divers and strange doctrines,. as the 
apostle teacheth us, Hcb. xiii. 9. 


Secondly, Ply the work of mortification : crucify the flesh daily. Heresy, 
though a spiritual sin, yet by the apostle reckoned among the deeds of the flesh. 
Gal. V. 20; because it is occasioned by fleshly motives, and noiu-ishcd by carnal 
food and fuel. Never any turned heretic, but flesh was at the bottom ; either 
they served their belly, or a lust of pride ; it was the way to court, or secured 
their estates, and saved their lives, as sometimes the reward of truth is fire and 
faggot ; some evil or other is in the straw when least seen, and therefore it is no 
wonder heresies should end in the flesh, seeing that they in a manner sprang from 
it. The rheum in the head ascends in fumes from the stomach, and returns thither 
or unto the lungs, which at last fret and ulcerate : carnal affections first send 
up their fumes to the understanding, clouding that, yea, bribing it to receive 
such and such principles for truths, which, embraced, fall down into the life, 
corrupting that with the ulcer of profaneness. So that, Christian, if once thou 
canst break off" thy engagements to the flesh, and become a free man, so as not 
to give thy vote to gratify thy carnal fears or hopes, thou wilt then be a sure 
iriend to truth. 

Thirdly, Wait conscionably on the ministry of the word. Satan conunonly 
stops the ear from hearing sound doctrine, before he opens it to embrace cor- 
rupt. This is the method of souls apostatizing from truth, 2 Tim. iv. 3, 4 : 
'They shall turn their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.' 
Satan, like a cunning thief, draws the soul out of the road into some lane or 
corner, and there robs him of the truth. By rejecting of one ordinance, we 
deprive ourselves of the blessing of all other : say not that thou prayest to be 
led into truth ; he will not- hear thy prayer, if thou turnest thine ear from 
hearing the law. He that loves his child, when he sees him play the truant, 
will whip him to school : if God loves a soul, he will bring him back to the 
word with shame and sorrow. 

Fourthly, When you hear any unusual doctrine, though never so pleasing, 
make not up the match hastily with it ; have some better testimony of it before 
you open your heart to it. The apostle indeed bids us 'entertain strangers,' 
for some have entertained angels unawares, Heb. xiii. 3 ; but he would not have 
us carried about with ' strange doctrine,' ver. 9 : by this I am sure some have 
entertained devils. I confess, it is not enough to reject a doctrine because 
strange to us, but a ground why we should wait and inquire. Paul marvelled that 
the Galatians were so soon removed from him, who had called them unto the 
grace of Christ, unto another gospel ; they might, surely, have stayed till they 
had acquainted Paul with it, and asked his judgment. What ! no sooner an 
impostor come into the coimtry and open his pack, but buy all his ware at first 
sight ! , O friends, were it not more wisdom to pray such new notions over and 
over again, to search the word and our hearts by it, yea, not to trust our own 
hearts, but call in counsel from others? If your minister have not so much 
credit with you, get the most holy, humble, and established Christians you can 
find. Error is like fish, which must be eaten new, or it will stink. When 
those dangerous errors sprung up first in New England, O how unsettled were 
many of the churches ! what an outcry was made, as if some mine of gold had 
been discovered ! but in a while, when those errors came to their complexion, 
and it was perceived whither they were bound, — to destroy churches, ordinances, 
and power of godliness, — tlien such as feared God, who had stepped aside, 
returned back with shame and sorrow. 



The second spiritual wickedness which Satan provokes unto, especially the 
saint, is spiritual pride. This was the sin which made him of a blessed angel 
a cursed devil ; and as it was his personal sin, so he chiefly labours to derive it 
to the sons of men ; and he so far prevailed on our first parents, that ever since 
this sin has and claims a kind of regency in the heart, making use both of 
bad and good to draw her chariot. First, of evil ; pride enters into the labours 
of other sins ; they do but work to make her brave, as subjects to uphold the 
state and grandeur of their prince. Thus you shall see some drudge and toil. 


clieat, cozen, oppress ; and what mean they ? Oh, it is to get an estate to main- 
tain their pride. Otliers fawn and flatter, lie, dissemble, and for what? to 
help pride up some mount of honour. Again, it maketh use of that which is 
good ; it can work with God's own tools, his ordinances, by which the Holy 
Spirit advanced his kingdom of grace in the hearts of his saints. These often 
are prostituted to pride. A man may be very zealous in prayer, and painstaking 
in preaching, and all the while pi'ide is the master whom he serves, though in 
God's livery. It can take sanctuary in the holiest actions, and hide itself under 
the skirt of virtue itself. Thus, while a man is exercising his charity, pride may 
be the idol in secret for which he lavished out his gold so freely. It is hard starving 
this sin ; there is nothing almost but it can live on ; nothing so base that a proud 
heart will not be lifted up with, and nothing so sacred but it will profane — even 
dare to drink in the bowls of the sanctuary ; nay, rather than starve, it will feed 
on the carcases of other sins ; Difficile valde vitiatur peccatiim, quod ex victoria 
vitionim naseitur. This minion pride will stir up the soul to resist, yea, in a 
manner kill some sins, that she may boastingly show the head of them, and 
blow the creature up with the conceit of himself above others ; as the 
Pharisee, who through pride boasted that he was not as the Publican ; so that 
pride, if not looked to, will have to do everywhere, and hath a large sphere it 
moves in. Nothing, indeed, without Divine assistance, the creature hath or 
doth, but will soon become a prey to this devourer ; but I am not to handle it 
in its latitude. Pride is either conversant about carnal objects, as pride of 
beauty, strength, riches, and such like ; or about spiritual : the latter we shall 
speak a little to. I confess for the former, possibly a saint may be caught in 
them ; no sin to be slighted, yet not so commonly, for ordinarily pride is of those 
perfections which are suitable, if not proper to the state and calling we are in : 
thus the musician is proud of the skill he hath in his art, by which he excels 
others of his rank. The scholar, though he can play perhaps as well, yet is 
not proud of that, but looks on it as beneath him ; no, he is proud of his learn- 
ing and choice notions ; and so of othei-s. Now the life of a Christian, as a 
Christian, is superior to the life of man as a man ; and therefore doth not value 
himself by these which are beneath him, but in higher and more raised perfec- 
tions, which suit a Christian's calling. As a natiu'al man is proiwl of perfections 
suitable to his natural estate, as honour, beauty ; so the Christian is prone 
chiefly to be puffed up with perfections suitable to his life ; I shall name three : 
pride of gifts, pride of grace, pride of privileges ; these are the things which 
Satan chiefly labours to entangle him in. 

Section I. — First, Pride of gifts. By gifts I mean those supernatural abilities, 
with which the Spirit of God doth enrich and endow the minds of men, for 
edification of the body of Christ ; of which gifts the apostle tells us there is 
great diversity, and all from the same Spirit, 1 Cor. xii. 4. There is not greater 
variety of colours and qualities in plants and flowers, with which the earth like 
a carpet of needlework is variegated for the delight and service of man, than 
there is of gifts in the minds of men, natm-al and spiritual, to render them 
useful to one another, both in civil societies and Christian fellowship. The 
Christian, as well as man, is intended to be a sociable creature ; and for the 
better managing of this spiritual commonwealth among Christians, God doth 
wisely and graciously provide and impart gifts suitable to the place every one 
stands in to his brethren, as the vessels are larger or less in the body natural, 
according to their j)lace therein. Now Satan labours what he can to taint these 
gifts, and fly-blow them with pride in the Christian, that so he may spoil the 
Christian's trade and commerce, which is nuitually maintained by the gifts and 
graces of one another. Pride of gifts hinders the Christian's trade, at least his 
thriving by their commerce, two ways. 

First, Pride of gifts is the cause why we do so little good with them to 
others. , 

Secondly, Why we receive so little good from the gifts of others. 

First, Pride of gifts hinders the doing of good by Ihem to others, and that 
upon a threefold account. 

First, Pride diverts a man from aiming at that end ; so far as pride prevails, 
the man prays, preaches, &c., rather to be thought good by others ; rather to 


enthrone himself tlian Christ, in tlie opinion and hearts of his hearers. Pride 
earries the man aloft to be admired for the height of his parts and notions, and 
will not sutler him to stoop so low as to speak of })lain truths, or, if he does, not 
plainly ; he must have some line lace, though on a plain stuff"; such a one may 
tickle the ear, but very unlikely to do real good to souls : alas ! it is not that 
he intends. 

Secondly, If this painted Jezebel of pride be perceived to look out at the 
window in any exercise, whether of preaching, prayer, or conference, it doth 
beget a disdain in the spirits of those that hear such a one, both good and bad. 
It is a sin very odious to a gracious heart, and often makes the stomach go 
against the food, though good, through their abhorrence of that pride they see 
in the instrument. It is indeed their weakness ; but wo to them that by their 
pride lead them into temptation ; nay, those that are bad, and may be in the 
same kind, like not that in another, which they favour in themselves, and so, 
prejudiced, I'eturn as bad as they went. 

Thirdly, Pride of gifts robs us of God's blessing in the use of them. The 
humble man may have Satan at his right hand to oppose him ; but be sure the 
proud man shall find God himself there to resist him, whenever he goes about 
any duty. God proclaims so much, and would have the proud man know 
whenever he meets him he will oppose him. 'He resists the proud.' Great 
gifts are beautiful as Rachel, but pride makes them also barren, like her : either 
we nuist lay self aside, or God will lay us aside. 

Secondly, Pride of gifts hinders the receiving of good from others. Pride 
fills the soul, and a full soul will take nothing from God, nuich less from nuui, 
to do it good. Such a one is very dainty : it is not every sermon, though whole- 
some food, nor every prayer, though savoury, will go down ; he must have a 
choice dish; he thinks he hath better than this of his own : and is such a one 
like to get good? And truly we may see it, that as the plain ploughman that 
can eat of any homely food, if wholesome, hath more health, and is able to do 
more work in a day, than many enjoy or can do in their whole life, that are 
nice, squeamish, and courtly in their fare ; so the humble Christian, that can 
feed on plain truths, and ordinances, which have not so much of the art of man 
to commend them to their palate, enjoy more of God, than the nicer sort of 
professors, who are all to be served in a lordly dish of rare gifts. The clmrch 
of Corinth was famous for gifts above other clnu'ches, 1 Cor. i., but not in 
grace; none so charged for weakness in that; 1 Cor. iii. 2, he calls them 'carnal, 
babes in Christ;' so weak, as not able to digest man's meat; 'I have fed you,' 
saith Paul, ' with milk and not with meat ; for hitherto ye were not able to bear 
it, neither yet are ye now able.' Why? what is the matter? The reason lies, 
ver. 3 : ' Ye are carnal ; there is among you envy and strife.' Ver. 4 : 'One 
saith, I am of Paul ; another I am of Apollos.' Pride makes them take parts, 
and make sides, one for this jireacher, another for that, as they fancied one to 
excel another. And this is not the way to tlu-ive. Pride destroys love, and 
love wanting edification is lost. The devil hath made fold work in the cluu'ch 
by this engine. Zanchy tells of one in Geneva, who, being desired to go to 
hear Viretus, that preached at the same time with Culvin, answered his friend, 
' If Paul were to preach, rclicfo Paulo Calv'inum audiran, I would leave Paul 
himself to hear Calvin.' And will pride in the gifts of another so far transport, 
even to the borders of blasphemy? what work then will pride make when the 
gifts are a man's own! 

Section II. — Use 1. Doth Satan thus stir up saints to this spiritual pride of 
gifts? First, Here is a word to you that have mean gifts, yet truth of grace : 
be content with thy condition. Perhaps when thou hearest others, how en- 
largedly they pray, how able to discoiu'se of the truths of God, and the like, thou 
art ready to go into a corner, and mourn to think how weak thy memory, hoAV 
dull thy apprehension, how straitened thy spirit, hardly able, though in secret, 
to utter and express thy mind to God in prayer. O thou art ready to think 
those the happy men and women, and almost nuirnuir at thy condition ; well, 
canst thou not say, Though I have not words, I ho])e I have faith ; I cannot 
dispute for the truth, but I am willing to sufi'er for it ; I cannot remember a 
sermon ; but I never heard the word, but I hate sin and love Christ more than 


ever ? Lord, thou knowest I love thee. Truly, Christian, thou hast the better 
part ; thou little thinkest what a mercy may be wrapped up even in the meanest 
of thy gifts, or what temptations their gifts expose them to, which, God, for 
aught I know, may in mercy deny thee. Joseph's coat made him finer than 
his brethren, but this caused all his trouble ; this set the archers a shooting their 
arrows into his side : thus great gifts lift a saiijt up a little higher in the 
eyes of men, but it occasions many temptations which thou meetest not with 
that art kept low ; what with envy from their brethren, malice from Satan, 
and pride in their own hearts, I dare say none find so hard a work to go to 
heaven as sucli ; much ado to bear up against those waves and winds, while thou 
creepest along the shore under the wind to heaven. It is with such, as with 
sgme great lord of little estate ; a meaner man oft hath money in his purse, 
when he hath none, and can lend his lordship some at a time of need. Great 
gifts and parts are titles of honour among men, but many such may come and 
borrow grace and comfort of a mean-gifted brother ; possibly the preacher of his 
poor neighbour. O, poor Christian ! do not mm-mur or envy them, but rather 
pity and pray for them ; they need it more than others ; his gifts are thine, thy 
grace is for thyself; thou art like a merchant that hath his factor go to sea, but 
he hath his adventure without hazard brought home. Thou joinest with him 
in prayer, hast the help of his gifts, but not the temptation of his pride. 

Use 2. Secondly, Doth Satan labour thus to draw to pride of gifts ? This 
speaks a word to thee to whom God hath given more gifts than ordinary ; be- 
ware of pride, that is now thy snare. Satan is at work : if possible he will 
turn thy artillery against thyself; thy safety lies in thy humility ; if this lock 
be cut, the legions of hell are on thee. Remember whom thou wrestlest with, — 
spiritual wickedness ; and their play is to lift uj), that they may give the sorer 
fall. Now the more to stir up thy heart against it, I shall add some soul- 
humbling considerations. 

First, Consider these spiritual gifts are not thy own ; and wilt thou be proud 
of another's bounty ? Is not God the foundei", and can he not soon be the con- 
founder of thy gifts ? Thou art proud of thy gourd, what wilt thou be when 
it is gone ? Surely then thou wilt be peevish and angry ; and truly thou takest 
the course to be stripped of them. Gifts come on other terms than grace. God 
gives grace as a freehold ; it hath the promise of this and another world : but 
gifts come on liking; though a father will not cast oft' his child, yet he may take 
away his fine coat and ornaments, if proud of them. 

Secondly, Gifts are not merely for thyself. As the light of the sun is 
ministerial, it shines not for itself ; so all thy gifts are for others ; ' gifts for the 
edifying of the body.' Suppose a man should leave a chest of money in yoiu' 
hands to be distributed to others ; what folly is it in this man to put this into 
his own inventory, and applaud himself that he hath so much money ! Poor 
soul! thou art but God's executor, and by that time thou hast paid all the 
legacies, thou wilt see little left for thee to brag and boast of. 

Thirdly, Know, Christian, thou shalt be accountable for these talents. Now 
with what face can a proud soul look on God? Suppose one left an executor to 
pay legacies, and this man should pay them, not as legacies of another, but 
gifts of his ovv-n. Christ at his ascension gave gifts, that his children should 
receive; thou hast some in thy hand : now a proud soul gives out all, not as the 
legacy of Christ, but as his own ; he assumes all to himself. O, how abominable 
is this, to entitle ourselves to Christ's honours! 

Fourthly, Thy gifts commend thee not to God. Man may be taken with 
thy expression and notion in prayer ; but these are all pared off when thy prayer 
comes before God. ' O woman,' saith Christ, 'great is thy faith!' not, polite 
and flourishing thy language. It were good after our duties, to sort the ingre- 
dients of which they are made up, what grace contributed, and what gifts, 
and what pride ; and when all the heterogeneal stuft' is severed, you shall see in 
what a little compass the actings of grace in our duties will lie. 

Fifthly, Consider, while thou art priding in thy gifts, thou art dwindling and 
withering in thy grace. Such are like corn that runs up much into straw, 
whose ear commonly is but light and thin. Grace is too much i ^iccted, 
where gifts are too highly prized; we are commanded to be clothed with 


humility. Our gannents cover the shame of our bodies, humiHty tlie beauty 
of the soul ; and as a tender body cannot live without clothes, so neitiier can 
grace without this clothing of humility. It kills the spirit of praise : when thou 
shouldst bless God, thou art applauding thyself. It destroys Christian love, 
and stabs our fellowship with the saints to the heart : a proxid man hath not 
room enovgh to walk in company, because the gifts of others he thinks stand 
in his way. Pride so distempers the palate, that it can relish nothing that is 
drawn from another's vessel. 

Sixthly, It is the forerunner of some great sin, or some great affliction. 
God will not suffer such a weed as pride to grow in his garden, without taking 
some course or other to root it up ; it may be he will let thee fall into some 
great sin, and that shall bring thee home with shame. God iiseth sometimes 
a thorn in the flesh, to prick the bladder of pride in the spirit ; or at least some 
great affliction, the very end whereof is ' to hide pride from man,' Job xxxiii. 
17, 18; as you do with yoiu- hot-metalled horses, ride them over ploughed 
lands to tame them, and then you can sit safely on their backs. If God's 
honour be in danger through thy pride, then expect a rod, and most likely the 
affliction shall be in that which will be most grievous to thee, in the thing thou 
art proud of. Hezekiah boasted of his treasures, God sends the Chaldeans to 
plunder him ; Jonah was fond of his gourd, and that is smitten : and if thy 
spirit be blown up with the pride of gifts, thou art in danger of having them 
blasted, at least in the opinion of others, whose breath of applause, possibly, 
was a means to overset thy unballasted spirit. 

Section III. — Quest. But how would you direct us against this ? 

Answ. Argimients you have had before. I shall only therefore point to two 
or three doors, where your enemy comes forth upon you ; and surely the very 
sight thereof, if thou art loyal to Christ, will stir thee up to fall upon it. 

First, Pride discovers itself in dwelling upon the thoughts of our gifts, with 
a secret kind of content to see our own face, till at last we fall in love with it. 
We read of some, whose ' eyes are fidl of the adulteress, and cannot cease from 
sin ;' a proud heart is full of himself ; his own abilities cast their shadow before 
him ; they are in his eye wherever he goes ; the great subject and theme of his 
thoughts is, what he is, and what he hath above others, applauding himself, as 
Bernard confesseth, that (when one would think he had little leisure for such 
thoughts) even in preaching pride would be whispering in his ear, Bene fecist'i, 
Bernarde, O well done, Bernard. Now have a care, Christian, of chatting 
with such company. Run from such thoughts as from a bear. If the devil can 
get thee to stand on this pinnacle, while he presents thee Vv-ith the glory of thy 
spiritual attainments and endowments for thee to gaze on them, thy weak head 
will soon turn round in pride ; and thei'efore labour to keep the sense of thy 
own infirmities lively in thy soul, to divert the temptation : as those who are 
subject to some kind of fits, cany about them things proper for the disease, that 
when the fit is coming (which oft is occasioned with a sweet perfume) they may 
use them for their help. Sweet scents are not more dangerous for them, than 
anything that may applaud thee is to thy soul. Have a care, therefore, not 
only of wearing such thoughts in thy own bosom, but also of sitting by others 
that bring the sweet scent of thy perfections to thee by their flattery. 

Secondly, This kind of pride appears in a forwardness to oppose itself to 
view. David's brethren were mistaken in him indeed, 1 Sam. xvii. 18 ; but oft 
the pride and naughtiness of the heart breaks out at this door. Christ's carnal 
friends bid Christ shew himself; pride loves to climb up, not as Zaccheus, to 
see Christ, but to be seen himself. 'The fool,' Solomon tells us, 'hath no 
delight in imderstanding, but that his heart may discover itself,' Prov. xviii. 2. 
Pride would be somebody, and therefore comes abroad to court the multitude ; 
whereas humility delights in privacy, as the leaves do cover and shade the fruits, 
that some hand nuist gently lift them up before they can see the fruit : so should 
humility and a holy modesty conceal the perfections of the soul, till a hand of 
providence by some call invites them out. Thei-e is a pride in naked gifts, as 
well as in naked breasts and backs: humility is a necessary veil to all other 
graces ; aiul therefore, first. Christian, look whenever thou comest forth to public 
duty, that thou hast a call : it is obedience to be ready to answer when God calls 


thee forth ; but it is pride to run before God speaks. Secondly, when called, 
earnestly implore Divine strength against this enemy ; shun not a duty for 
fear of pride ; thou mayest show it in the very seeming to escape it ; but go in 
the strength of God against it ; there is more hope of overcoming it by obedi- 
ence than disobedience. 

Thirdly, In envying the gifts of others, when they seem to blind our own, 
that they are not so fair a prospect as we desire. This is a weed which may 
grow too rank in a good soil. Aaron and Mii'iani could not bear Moses's honour. 
Numb. xii. 1. That was the business, though they picked a quarrel with him 
about his wife, (because an Ethiopian,) as appears plainly, ver. 2 : ' Hath the 
Lord indeed spoken only by Moses? hath he not also spoken by us?' They 
thought Moses went away with too much of the honour, and did repine that 
God should use liim more than themselves. And it is observable, that the 
histing for flesh broke out among the mixed nudtitude and baser sort of people, 
(Numb. xi. 4, 5,) but this of pride and envy took fire in the bosoms of the 
most eminent for place and piety. O, what need then have we, poor creatin-es, 
to watch our hearts, when we see such precious servants of God led into tempt- 
ation ! 'The spirit that dwelleth in us, lusteth to envy,' Jam. iv. 5. Our 
corrupt nature is ever putting on to this sin. It is as hard to keep our hearts 
and this sin asvmder, as it is to hinder two lovers from meeting together. 
Thatch is not more ready to be fired with every flash of lightning, than the 
heart to be kindled at the shining forth of any excelling gift or grace in an- 
other. It was one of the first windows that corrupt nature looked out at, a 
sin that shed the first blood ; Cain's envy hatched Abel's murder. Now if 
ever thou meanest to get the mastery of this sin. 

First, Call in help from heaven. No sooner hath the apostle set forth how 
big and teeming full the heart of man is with envy, but he shows where a 
fountain of grace is infinitely exceeding that of lust ; ' the spirit within us 
lusteth to envy, but he giveth more grace,' ver. 5. And therefore sit not down 
tamely under this sin ; it is not unconquerable. God can give thee more grace 
than thou hast sin, more humility than thou hast pride. Be but so humble as 
cordially to beg his grace, and thou shalt not be so proud as wickedly to envy 
his gil'ts or grace in others. 

Secondly, Make this sin as black and ugly as thou canst possibly to thy 
thought, that when it is presented to thee, thou mayest abhor it the more. 
Indeed there needs no more than its own face, (wouldst thou look wistly on 
it,) to make thee out of love with it. For first, this envying of others' gifts 
casts great contempt upon God, and that more ways than one. 

First, When thou enviest the gifts of thy brethren, thou takest upon thee to 
teach God what he shall give, and to whom ; as if the great God should take 
counsel or ask leave of thee before he dispenseth his gifts : and darest thou 
stand to thy own envious thoughts with this interpretation ? Such a one thou 
findest Christ himself give, Matt. xx. 15 : 'Is it not lawftil for me to do what I 
will with mine own ?' As if Christ had said, What hath any to do to cavil at 
my disposal of what is not theirs, but mine to give ? 

Secondly, Thou malignest the goodness of God. It ti-oubles thee, it seems, 
that God hath a heart to do good to any besides thyself; thy eye is evil because 
his is good. Wouldst not thou have God be good? jrou had as good speak out 
and saj', You would not have him God ; he can as soon cease to be God, as to 
be good. 

"Thirdly, Thou art an enemy to the glory of God, as thou defacest that which 
should set it forth. Every gift is a ray of Divine excellency : and as all the 
beams declare the glory of the sun, so all the gifts God imparts declare the glory 
of God : now envy laboiu-s to deface and sully the representations of God; it 
hath ever something to disparage the excellency of another withal. Ciod 
showed Miriam her sin by her punishment ; she went to bespatter Moses, that 
shone so eminently with the gifts and graces of God, and God spits in her face, 
(Numb, xii.) yea, fills her all over with a noisome scab. Dost thou cordially 
wish well to the honour of God? why then hangcst thou thy head, and dost not 
rather rejoice to see him glorified by the gifts of others? Could a hcatlien take 
it so well, when himself was passed by, and others chosen to places of honour 


and government, that he said, He was glad liis city could find so many more 
worthy than himself.' And shall a Christian i-epine that anj' are found fit to 
honour God beside himself.' 

Secondly, Thou wrongest thy brother, as thou sinnest against the law of love, 
which obligeth thee to rejoice in his good as thy own, yea, to prefer him in 
honour before thyself. Thou canst not love and envy the same person ; envy 
is as contrary to love, as the hectical feverish fire in the body is to the kindly 
heat of nature. ' Charity envieth not,' 1 Cor. xiii. How can it, when it lives 
where it loves ? and when thou ceasest to love, thou beginnest to hate and kill 
him ; and dost not thou tremble to be found a murderer at last? 

Thirdly, Thou consultest worst of all for thyself. God is out of thy reach ; 
what thou spittest against heaven, thou art sure to have fall on thy own face at 
last ; and thy brother whom thou enviest, God stands boimd to defend him 
against th\' envy, because he is maligned for what he hath of God in him. 
Thus did (Jod plead Joseph's cause against his envious brethren, and David's 
against wicked Saul. Thyself only hast real hurt. 

First, Thou deprivest thyself of what thou mightcst reap from the gifts of 
others. That old saying is true, Tol/e invidiam, mea tua sunt, et tiia mea : 
' What thou hast is mine, and what I have thine, when envy is gone.' Whereas 
now, like the leech (which they say draws out the worst blood) thou suckest 
nothing but what swells thy mind with discontent, and is after vomited out in 
strife and contention. O what a sad thing it is,, that one should go ft-om a 
precious sermon, a sweet prayer, and bring nothing away but a grudge against 
the instrument God used, as we see in the Pharisees and others at Christ's 

Secondly, Thou robbest thyself of the joy of thy life : ' He that is cruel, 
troubles his own flesh,' Prov. xi. 17. The envious man doth it to purpose; he 
sticks the honour and esteem of others as thorns in his own heart ; he cannot 
think of them without pain and anguish, and he must needs pine that is ever 
in pain. 

Thirdly, Thou throwest thyself into the mouth of temptation ; thou needest give 
the devil no greater advantage ; it is a stock any sin almost will grow upon. 
What will not the patriarchs do to rid their hands of Joseph, whom they envied? 
That very pride which made them disdain the thought of bowing to his sheaf, 
made them stoop far lower, even to debase themselves as low as hell, and be 
the devil's instruments to sell their dear brother into slavery, which might have 
been worse to him (if God had not provided otherwise) than if they had slain 
him on the place. What an impotent and cruel mind did Saul shew against 
David, when once envy had envenomed his heart? From that day on which he 
heard David prcfen-ed in tlie women's songs above himself, he could never get 
that sound out of his head, but did ever devote this innocent man to death in 
his thoughts, who had done him no other wrong but in l)cing an instrument to 
keep the crown on his head, by the hazard of his own life with Goliath. O it 
is a bloody sin ; it is the womb wherein a whole litter of other sins are formed! 
Rom. i. 29, ' Full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity,' &c.; and there- 
fore, except you be resolved to bid the devil welcome, and his whole train, resist 
him in this, that comes before to take up cpiarters for the rest. 



Secondly, Pride of grace. This is another way Satan assaults the Christian. 
It is true, grace cannot be proud, yet it is possible a saint may be proud of his 
grace ; there is nothing the Christian hath (u- doth, but this worm of pride will 
breed in it. The world we live in is corniptil)le, and all here is subject to j)utrify, 
as things kept in a rafty, muggish room are sidoject to mould. It is not the 
nature of grace, but the salt of the covenant that keeps and preserves the purity 
of it ; in heaven indeed we shall be safe. But how can a saint be said to be proud 
of his grace? Then a soul is proud of his grace when he trusts in his grace. 
Trust and confidence is an inconnnunicable flower of (rod's crown, as sovereign 
Lord ; even among men it goes along with royalty. Set up a king, and as such 


he expects you should give him this, as the undovibted prerogative of liis place; 
and therefore to seek protection from any other, is, as it were, to set up another 
king: Judg. xix. 15, ' If indeed you anoint me king over you, then come and 
put your trust imder my shadow.' Tlieref'ore, when a soul puts his trust in any 
thing beside God, he sets up a prince, a king, an idol, to which he gives God's 
glory away. Now it doth not make the sin less, that it is the grace of God 
we crown, than if it were a lust we crowned. It is idolatry to worship a holy 
angel, as well as a cursed devil ; to make our grace our god, as well as our 
belly our god ; nay, rather, it adds to it, because that is now used to rob him 
of his glory which should have brought him in the greatest revenue of glory : 
certainly the more treasure you put into j'our servant's hands, the greater 
wrong to you for him to run away with it. I doubt not but David could have 
borne it better to have seen a Philistine di'ive him from his throne, than a son, 
an Absalom. But how can or may a saint be said to trust in his grace ? 

First, By trusting to the strength of his grace. 

Secondly, By trusting on the worth of his grace. Indeed a professed ti-iist 
in grace, I conceive cannot stand with grace ; but there is an oblique kind 
of trust, or that which by interpretation may savour of it. Satan is sly in his 

Section I. — First, of the first : To trust in the strength of grace is to be 
proud of grace. This is opposed to that poverty of spirit so commended by 
our Saviour, Matt, v., by which a man lives in the continual sense of his spiritual 
beggary and nothingness, and so hath his recourse to Christ, as the poor to the 
rich man's door, knowing he hath nothing at home to maintain him. Such a 
one was Paul, not able to do anything of himself; he is not ashamed to let the 
world know that Christ carries his purse for him. ' Our sufficiency is of God ;' 
vea, after many years' trading, this holy man sees nothing he hath got, Phil. iii. 
13 : 'I count not myself to have apprehended;' he is still pressing forward. 
Ask him how he lives, he will tell you who keeps house for him : ' I live, yet 
not I,' Gal. ii. 20 : as ask a beggar where he hath his meat, clothes, &c., he 
will say, ' I thank my good master.' Now Satan chiefly labours to puff the soul 
up with an overweening conceit of his own ability, as the readiest means to bring 
him into his snare : Satan knows it is God's method to give his children into 
his hands, when once they grow proud and self-confident : Hezekiah was left 
to a temptation, 2 Chron. xxxii. 31, ' to ti-y him.' Why, God had tried him to 
purpose a little before in affliction : what needs this? O ! Hezekiah's heart was 
lifted up after his affliction. It was time for God to let the tempter alone a 
little to foil him : probably now Hezekiah had high thoughts of his grace ; O ! 
he would never do as he had done before, and God will let him see what a weak 
creature he is. Peter makes a whip for his own back in that bravado, ' Though 
all should forsake thee, yet will not I.' Christ now, in mere mercy, must set 
Satan on him, to lay him on his back, that, seeing the weakness of his faith, he 
might be dismounted from the height of his pride. All that I shall say from 
this is, to entreat thee. Christian, to have a care of this kind of pride. You 
know what Joab said to David, when he perceived his heart lift up with the 
strength of his kingdom, and therefore would have the people numbered : ' The 
Lord God add unto thy people, how many soever they be, a hundredfold ; but 
why doth my lord the king delight in this thing?' 2 Sam. xxiv. 3. The Lord 
add to the strength of thy grace a hundredfold, but why delightest thou in this? 
Why shouldst thou be lii't up ? Is it not grace ? Shall the groom be proud 
because he rides on his master's horse ? or the mud wall because the sun shines 
on it? Mayest thou not say of every dram of grace, as the young man of his 
hatchet, ' Alas! master, it is borrowed;' nay, not only borrowed, but thou canst 
not use it without his skill and strength that lends it thee. O beware of this ; 
let not those vain thoughts lodge in thee, lest thou enter into temptation. It is 
a breach a whole troop of sins may enter at, yea will, except speedily filled up. 

First, It will make thee soon grow loose and negligent in thy duty. It is a 
sense of insufflciency that keeps a soul at work, to pray and hear, as want in the 
house and hutch holds up the market ; no man comes thither to buy what he 
hath at home. ' Up,' saith Jacob, ' go down to Egypt for corn, that we live 
and not die.' Thus saith the needy Christian, Up, soul, to thy God; th}' faith 


is weak, thj' patience almost spent; ply thee to the throne of grace, go with thy 
homer to the ordinances, and get some supplies. Now a soul conceited of his 
store hath another song, ' Soul, take thine ease, thou art richly laid up for many 
days.' Let the doiihting soid pray, thy faith is strong; let the weak lie at the 
breast, thou art well grown up ; nay, it is well if it goes not further to a 
despising of ordinances, except they have some more courtly fare than ordinary : 
such a pass were the Corinthians come to, 1 Cor. iv. 8 : 'Now ye are full, now 
ye are rich, ye reign like kings without us.' I pray observe how he lays the 
accent on the particle noiv ; 'now ye are rich,' as if he had said, I knew the 
time, if Paul had been come to town, and news spread abroad in the city that 
Paul was to preach, you would have flocked to hear him, and blessed God for 
the season ; but then ye were poor and empty; now ye are full, you have got to 
a higher attainment ; Paul is a plain fellow now, he may carry his cheer to a 
hungry people, if he will ; we are well supplied. And when once the heart is 
come to this, it is easy to judge what will follow. 

Secondly, This trusting to the strength of grace will make the soul bold and 
venturous. The humble Christian is the wary Christian ; he knows his weak- 
ness, and this makes him afraid. I have a weak head, saith he ; I may be soon 
disputed into an error and heres}^, and therefore I dare not come where such 
stufl' is broached, lest my weak head should be intoxicated. The confident 
man will sip of every cuj), he fears none ; no, he is stablished in the truth, a 
Avhole team of heretics shall not draw him aside. I have a vain, light heart, 
saith the humble soul ; I dare not come among wicked, debauched company, lest 
I should at last bring the naughty man home with me : but the other, on 
trusting to the strength of his grace, dares venture into the devil's quarters. 
Thus Peter into the rout of Christ's enemies ; and how he came off you know; 
there his faith had been slain on the place, had not Christ sounded a retreat, 
b)' the seasonable look of love he gave him. Indeed I have read of some brag- 
ging philosophers, who did not think it enough to be temjierate, except they 
had the object for intemperance present; and therefore they would go into 
taverns and mix with bad company, as if they meant to beat the devil on his 
own ground ; but the Christian knows an enemy nearer at hand, which they 
were ignorant of; and that he need not go over his own threshold to challenge 
the devil. He hath lust in his bosom that will be hard enough for him all his 
diiys, without giving it the vantage of ground. Christian, I know no sin which 
thou mayest not be left to commit, except one. It was a bold speech of him, 
and yet a good man, as I have heard ; ' If Clapham die of the plague, say 
Clapham had no faith ;' and this made him boldly go among the infected. If 
a Christian, thou shalt not die of spiritual plagues, yet such may have the 
plague sores of gross sins running on them for a time, and is not this sad 
enough ? Therefore walk humbly witli thy God. 

Thirdly, This high conceit of the strength of thy grace will make thee cruel 
and churlish to thy weak brethren in their infirmities, a sin that least becomes a 
saint; Gal. vi. 1 : 'If any one be overtaken, you that be spiritual restore such a 
one with meekness.' But how shall a soul get such a meek spirit? It follows, 
' considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.' What makes men hard to the 
poor ? They think they shall never be so themselves. Why are many so 
shai-p in their censures, but because they trust too much to their grace, as if 
they could never tall ? O you ai'e in the body, and the body of sin in you, 
therefore fear. Bernard used to say, when he heard any scandalous sin of a 
professor, Hodie i/li, eras mihi. He fell to-day, I may stumble to-morrow. 

Section II. — The second way a soid maybe proud of his grace, is by resting 
on it for his acceptance with God. The Scripture galls inherent grace ' our 
own righteousness,' though God indeed be the efficient of it, and opposeth 
it to the righteousness of Christ, which alone is called the ' righteousness of 
God,' Rom. X. 1. Now to rest on any grace inherent, is to exalt our own 
righteousness above the righteousness of God; and what pride will this amount 
to? If this were so, then a saint, when he comes to heaven, might say. This is 
heaven which I have built, my grace hath purchased ; and thus the God of 
heaven should become tenant to his creature in heaven. No, (Jod hath cast 
the order of our salvation into another n)ethod of grace, but not of grace in us, 
but grace to us. Inherent grace hath its place and office to accompany 


salvation, Heb. vi. 9, but not procure it. This is Christ's work, not the work 
of grace. When Israel waited on the Lord at Mount Sinai, they had their 
bounds ; not a man must come up besides Moses to treat with God, no, not 
touch the Mount lest they die : thus all the graces of the Spirit wait on God, 
but none come up to challenge any acceptance of God besides faith, which is a 
grace that presents the soul not in its own garments. But you will say. What 
needs all this ? where is the man that trusts in his grace ? Alas ! where is the 
Christian that doth fully stand clear, and freely come offby his own righteous- 
ness? He is a i-are pilot indeed that can steer his faith in so direct a course, as 
not now and then to knock upon this duty, and run on ground upon that grace. 
Abraham went in to Hagar, and the children of Abraham's faith are not per- 
fectly dead to the law, and may be found sometimes in Hagar's arms ; witness 
the flux and reflux of our faith, according to the various aspect of our 
"obedience; when this seems full, then our faith is at a spring-tide, and covers 
all the mountains of our fears ; but let it seem to wane in any service or duty, 
then the Jordan of our faith flies back, and leaves the soul naked. The devil's 
spite is at Christ, and therefore since he could not hinder his landing, which he 
endeavoui-ed all he could, nor work his will on his person when he was come, 
he goes now in a more refined way to darken the glory of his sufferings, and 
the sufficiency of his righteousness, by blending ours with his; the doctrine of 
justification by faith hath had more works and batteries made against it, than 
any other in the Scripture. Indeed, many other errors were but his sly 
approaches to get,nearer to undermine this ; and lastly, when he cannot hide 
this truth, which now shines in the church like the sun in its strength, then he 
labours to hinder the practical improvement of it, that we, if he can help it, 
shall not live up to our own principles ; making us at the same time, that in our 
judgment we profess acceptance only through Christ, in our practice confute 
oiu-selves. Now there is a double pride in the soul which he makes use of 
for this end ; the one I may call a mannerly pride, the other a self-applauding 

First, A mannerly pride, which comes forth in the habit and guise of 
humility ; and that discovers itself, either at the soul's first coming to Christ, 
and keeps him from closing with the promise, or afterwards in the daily course 
of a Christian's walking with God, which keeps him from comfortably living 
on Christ. 

First, When a poor soul is starved off" the promise by the sense of liis own 
unworthiness and great unrighteousness; tell him of a pardon, alas ? he is so 
wrapped up with the thoughts of his own vileness, that you cannot fasten it 
upon him. What ! will God ever take such a toad as he is into his bosom, 
discount so many great abominations at once, and receive him into his favour, 
that hath been so long in rebellious arms against him ? he cannot believe it ; 
no, though he hears what Christ hath done and suffered for sin, he refuseth to 
be comforted. Little doth the soul think what a bitter root such thoughts 
spring from ; thou thinkest thou dost well, thus to declaim against thyself, and 
aggravate thy sins ; indeed, thou canst not paint them black enough, or enter- 
tain too low and base thoughts of thyself for them : but what wrong hath God 
and Christ done thee, that thou shouldst so unworthily reflect upon the mercy 
of the one, and the merit of the other? Mayest thou not do this, and be tender of 
the good name of God also ? Is there no way to shew thy sense of thy sin 
except thou asperse thy Saviour ? Canst thou not charge thyself, but thou 
must condemn God, and put Christ and his blood to shame before Satan, who 
triumphs more in this than in all thy other sins ? In a word, though thou like a 
wretch hast undone thyself, and damned thy soul by thy sins, yet art thou not 
willing God should have the glory of pardoning them, and Christ the honour 
of procuring the same ? Or art thou like him in the gospel, Luke xvi. 3, ' who 
could not dig, and to beg was ashamed ?' Thou canst not earn heaven by thine 
own righteousness, and is thy spirit so stout that thou wilt not beg it for Christ's 
sake, yea, take it at God's hands, who in the gospel comes a begging to thee, 
and beseecheth thee to be reconciled to him ? Ah, sold ! who would ever have 
thought there could have lain such pride under such a modest veil ? And yet 
none like it. It is horrible pride for a beggar to starve, rather than to take an 
alms at a rich man's hands ; a malefactor rather to choose his halter, than a 


pardon from his gracious prince's liand : but here is one infinitely surpassing 
both ; a soul pining and jierishing in sin, and yet rejecting the mercy of God, 
and the helping hand of Christ to save him. Though Abigail did not tliink her- 
self wortliy to be David's wife, yet she thought David was worthy of her, and 
therefore slie humbly accepted his offer, and makes haste to go with the mes- 
sengers : that is the sweet frame of heart indeed, to lie low in the sense of your 
own vileness, yet to believe ; to renounce all conceit of worthiness in ourselves, 
yet not therefere to renounce, all hope of mercy, but the more speedily to make 
haste to Christ that woos us. All the pride and unmannerliness lies in making 
Christ stay for us, who bids his messengers invite poor sinners to come, and tell 
them ' all things ai-e ready.' But may be thou wilt say still, it is not pride 
that keeps theeoff, but thou canst not believe that God will ever entertain such 
as thou art. Truly, thou mendest the matter but little with this ; either thou 
keepest some lust in thy heart, which thou wilt not part with to obtain the 
benefit of the promise, and then thou art a notorious hypocrite, who, under 
such an outcry for thy sins, canst drive a secret trade with hell at the same 
time ; or if not so, thou dost discover the more pride in that thou darest stand 
out, when thou hast nothing to oppose against the many plain and clear pro- 
mises of the gospel, but thv peremptory unbelief. God bids the wicked forsake 
his ways, and turn to him, and promises he will abundantly pardon him ; but thou 
sayest, thou canst not believe this for thy own self. Now who speaks the truth? 
one of you two must be the liar ; either thou must take it with shame to thyself, 
for what thou hast said against God and his promise, and that is thy best course ; 
or thou must proudly, yea, blasphemously cast it upon God, as every unbeliever 
doth, 1 John v. 10.' Nay, thou makest him foresv/orn, for God (to give poor 
sinners the greater security in flying for refuge to Christ, who is that hope set 
before them, Heb. vi. 17, 18,) hath sworn they should have strong consolation: 
bealos quorum causa Deus jurat ! miserrimos si nee juranti credamus! — 
Tertidl. de Pcenit. O happy we, for whose sake God puts himself under an oath ; 
but O miserable we, who will not believe God, no, not when he swears. 

Secondly, When the soul hath shot the great gulf, and got into a state of 
peace and life by closing with Cln-ist, yet this mannerly pride Satan makes use 
of, in the Christian's daily course of duty and obedience, to disturb him, and 
hinder his peace and comfort. O how imcheerfully, yea, joylessly, do many 
precious souls pass their days ! If you inquire what is the cause, you shall 
lind all their joy runs out at the crannies of their imperfect duties, and weak 
graces ; they cannot pray as they would, and walk as they desire, with even- 
ness and constancy : they see how short they fall of the holy rule in the word, 
and the pattern which others more eminent in grace do set before them ; and 
this, though it doth not make them throw the promises away, and quite 
renounce all hope of Christ, yet it begets many sad fears and suspicions, yea, 
makes them sit at the feast Christ hath provided, and not know whether they 
may eat or not. In a woi-d, as it robs them of their joy, so it robs Christ of 
that glory which he should receive from their rejoicing in him. I do not say. 
Christian, thou oughtest not to mourn for those defects thou findest in thy 
graces and duties ; nay, thou couldst not approve thyself to be sincere, if thou 
didst not. A gracious heart, seeing how far short his renewed state, for the 
jn-esent, falls of man's primitive holiness by creation, cannot but weep and 
mourn, as the Jews to behold the second temple ; yet. Christian, e\en while 
the tears are in thy eyes for thy imperfect graces, (for a soul riseth with his 
grave-clotlies on,) thou shouldst rejoice, yea, trmmph over all these thy defects 
by faith in Christ, ' in whom thou art complete,' Col. i. 10, while imperfect in 
thyself. Christ's presence in the secoiurtemple, which the first had not, 
made it, though comparatively mean, more glorious than the first. Hag. ii. !>. 
How nnich more doth his presence in this spiritual temple of a gracious heart, 
imputing his righteousness to cover all its uncomeliness, make the soul glorious 
above man at first? This is a garment for which, as Christ saith of the lily, 
we neither spin nor toil ; yet Adam, in all his created royalty, was not so clad 
as the weakest believer is with this on his soul. Now, Cliristian, consider well 
what thou dost, while thou sittest languishing under the sense of thy own 
weaknesses, and refusest to rejoice in Christ, and live comfortal)ly on the sweet 
l)rivileges thou art interested in by thy marriage to him. Dost thou not liewray 


some of tins spiritual pride working in thee ? O ! if thou coyldst pray without 
wandering, walk without limping, believe without wavering, then thou couldst 
rejoice and walk cheerfully. It seems, soul, thou stayest to bring the ground of 
thy comfort with thee, and not to receive it pm-ely from Christ. O how much 
better were it if thou wouldst say with David, ' Though my house (my heart) 
be not so with God, yet he hath made with me a covenant ordered in all 
things and sure;' and this is all my desire, all my confidence : Christ I oppose 
to all my sins, Christ to all wants; he is my all in all, and all above all! Indeed, 
all those complaints of our wants and weaknesses, so far as they withdraw our 
hearts from relying cheerfully on Christ, they are but the language of pride 
hankering after the covenant of works. O it is hard to forget our mother- 
tongue, which is so natural to us ! labour therefore to be sensible of it, how 
grievous it is to the Spirit of Christ. What would a husband say, if his wife, 
instead of expressing her love to him, and delight in him, shoidd, day and night, 
do nothing but weep and cry to think of her former husband that is dead ? The 
law as a covenant, and Christ, are compared to two hubands, Rom. vii. 4 : 'Ye 
are become dead to the law by the body of Christ, that ye should be married to 
another, even to him who is raised from the dead.' Now thy sorrow for the 
defect of thy own righteousness, when it hinders thy rejoicing in Christ, is but 
a whining after thy other husband : and this Christ cannot but take unkindly, 
that thou art not as well pleased to lie in the bosom of Christ, and have thy 
happiness from him, as with your old husband the law. 

Secondly, A self-applauding pride, when the heart is secretly lift up, so as to 
promise itself acceptation at God's hands, for any duty or act of obedience it 
performs, and doth not, when most assisted, go out of his own actings, to lay the 
weight of his expectation entirely upon Christ ; every such glance of the soul's 
eye is adulterous, yea, idolatrous. If thy heart. Christian, at any time be 
secretly enticed, as Job saith of another kind of idolatry, or thy mouth doth 
kiss thy hand ; that is, doat so far on thy own duties or righteousness, as to 
give them this inward worship of thy confidence and trust ; this is a great 
iniquity indeed : for, in this thou deniest the God that is above, who hath 
determined thy faith to another objecL Thou comest to open heaven's gate 
with the old key, when God hath set on a new lock. Dost thou not acknow- 
ledge that thy first entrance into thy justified state was of pure mercy? Thou 
wast ' justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Jesus 
Christ,' Rom. vii. 24. And whom art thou beholden to, now thou art recon- 
ciled, for thy further acceptance in every duty or holy action ? to thy duty, thy 
obedience, thyself, or Christ ? The same apostle will tell you, Rom. v. 2 : 'By 
whom we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand.' If Christ 
should not lead thee in, and all thou doest, thou art sure to find the door shut 
upon thee ; there is no more place for desert now thou art gracious, than when 
thou wast graceless, Rom. i. 17. ' The righteousness of God is revealed from 
faith to faith, for the just shall live by faith.' We are not only made alive by 
Christ, but we live by Christ : faith sucks in continual pardoning, assisting, 
comforting mercy from him, as the lungs suck in the air. Heaven's way is 
paved with grace and mercy to the end. 

Use. Be exhorted, above all, to watch against this plea of Satan. Beware 
thou restest not in thy own righteousness: thou standest under a tottering wall; 
the very cracks thou seest in thy graces and duties, when best, bid thee stand 
off, except thou wouldst have them fall on thy head. The greatest step to 
heaven is out of our own doors, over our own threshold. It hath cost many a 
man his life, when his house was on fire, a covetousness to save some of the stuff, 
which venturing among the flames to preserve, they have perished themselves; 
more have lost their souls by thinking to carry some of their own stuff with 
them to heaven, such a good work or duty, which they, like lingering Lot, have 
been loath to leave in point of confidence, have themselves perished. O sirs, 
come out, come out; leave what is your own in the fire ; flee to Christ naked; 
he hath clothing for you better than your own. Flee poor to Christ, and he hath 
gold, not like thine, which will consume, and be found drossy in the fire ; but 
such as hath, in the fiery trial, passed in God's righteous judgment for pure and 
full weight. You cannot be found in two places at once ; choose whether you 
will be found in vour own righteousness or in Christ's. Those who have had 


more to shew tlian thj'self, liave thrown away all and gone a begging to Christ. 
Read Paul's inventory, Phil, iii., what he had, what he did, yet all dross and 
loss : give him Christ, and take the rest who will. So Job, as holy a man as 
trod on earth, (God himself being witness,) yet saith, 'Though I were pei'fect, 
yet would I not know my own soul ; I would despise my life,' Job ix. 21. He 
had acknowledged his imperfection before ; now he makes a supposition (in- 
deed cjuod non est supponendum:) If I were perfect, yet would I not know my 
own soul; I would not entertain any such thoughts as should puff me up into 
such a confidence of my holiness, as to make it my ])lea with God. Like to 
our common phrase, we say, Such a one hath excellent parts, but he knows it; 
that is, he is proud of it. Take heed of knowing thy own grace in this sense ; 
thou canst not give a greater wound both to thy grace and comfort, than by 
thus priding thyself in it. 

Section III. — First, Thy grace cannot thrive so long as thou thus rcstest on it. 
A legal spirit is no friend to grace ; nay, a bitter enemy against it, as appeared 
by the Pharisees in Christ's time. Grace comes not by the law, but by Christ ; 
thou mayest stand long enough by it, before thou gettest any life of grace into 
thy soul, or further life into thy grace. If thou wouldest have this, thou must 
set thyself imder Christ's wings by faith ; from his spirit in the gospel alone 
comes his kindly natural heat to hatch thy soul to the life of holiness, and 
increase what thou hast ; and thou canst not come under Christ's wings till 
thou comest from under the shadow of the other, by renouncing all expecta- 
tion from thy own works and services. You know Reuben's curse, that he 
should not excel, because he went up into his father's bed ; when other tribes 
increased, he stood at a little number. By trusting in thy own works thou dost 
worse by Christ ; and shalt thou excel in grace 1 Perhaps some of you have 
been long professors, and yet come to little growth in love to God, humility, 
heavenly-mindedness, mortification ; and it is worth the digging to see what 
lies at the root of your profession, whether there be not a legal principle that 
hath too much influenced you. Have you not thought to cany all with God 
from your duties and services, and too much laid up your hopes in your own 
actings ? Alas ! this is as so much dead earth, which must be thrown out, and 
gospel principles laid in the room thereof. Try but this course, and see whether 
the spring of thy grace will not come on apace. David gives an account how he 
came to stand and flourish, when some, that were rich and mighty, on a sudden 
withered and came to nothing. ' Lo,' saith he, ' this is the man that made not 
God his strength, but trusted in the abundance of his riches. But I am like a 
green olive tree in the house of God ; I trust in the mercy of God for ever and 
ever,' Psa. Iii. 7, 8. While others trust in the riches of their own righteous- 
ness and services, and make not Christ their strength, do thou renounce all, 
and trust in the mercy of God in Christ, and thou shalt be like a green olive, 
when they fade and wither. 

Secondly, Christian, you will not thrive in true comfort so long as you rest 
in any inherent work of grace, and do not stand clear of your own actings and 
righteousness. Gospel comfort springs from a gospel root, which is Christ. 
Phil. iii. 3: 'We are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and 
rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.' Now, a soul that 
rests on any holiness in himself, he grafts his comfort upon himself, not Christ ; 
he sucks his own breast, not Christ's, and so makes Christ a dry nurse. And 
what comfort can grow on that dry tree 1 The Spirit is our comforter, as well 
as our teacher and counsellor. Now as the Spirit, when he teacheth, comes 
not with any new or strange truth, but takes of Christ's own, (what he finds in 
the word,) so, where he ctmiforts, he takes of Christ's own, his righteousness, 
not our own. Christ is the matter and ground of his comfort ; all cordials are 
but Christ distilled, and made u]) in several promises ; his acting, not ours. He 
doth not say, Soid, rejoice thou art holy ; but, Soid, triumph, Christ is right- 
eous, and is ' the Lord thy righteousness ;' not, Sold, thou prayest sweetly, fear 
not ; but. Thou hast an Advocate with the Father, Christ the righteous. So that 
the first stej) to the receiving of comfort from the Spirit, is to send away all 
comforters of our own. As in learning of the Spirit, he that will be taught by 
him must first become a fool ; that is, no way lean to his own understanding ; 
so he that would be comforted nnist first be emptied of all self-supports; must 



not lean to his own coniforts. As a ])hysician first bids liis patient cast off all 
others he hath tampered with, he asks what physic he hath had from them, 
takes oft' their plasters, and throws away their physic, and goes about the work 
de novo; so the Spirit, when he comes to comfort a poor soul, first persuades 
the soul to send away all its own physicians. O, saith the soul, I have been 
in the hand of such a duty, such a coiu-se of obedience, and have thought, sure 
now I shall be well, and have comfort now I do this duty, set upon such a holy 
course. Well, saitli the Spirit, if you will have me do an j thing, these must all 
be dismissed in point of confidence. Now, and not till now, is the soul a sub- 
ject fit to receive the Spirit's comforts. And therefore, friends, as you love 
your inv.ard peace, beware what vessel you draw your comfort from. Grace is 
finite, and so cannot atford much ; it is leaking, and so cannot hold long ; thou 
clrinkest in a riven dish that hast thy comforts froni thy grace. It is mixed, and 
so, weak ; and weak grace Ciinnot give strong consolation ; and such thou 
rieedest, especially in strong conflicts. Nay, lastly, thy comfort, which thou 
drawest from it, is stolen ; thou dost not come honestly by it ; and stolen com- 
forts Mall not thrive with thee. Oh, what folly is it for the child to play the 
thief for that which he may freely and more fully ha\e from his father, who 
gives and reproacheth not ! That comfort which thou wouldst filch out of thy 
own righteousness and duties, behold it is laid up for thee in Christ, from whose 
fulness thou mayest carry as much as thy faith can hold, and none to check 
thee. Yea, the more thou improvest Chi'ist for thy comfort, the more heartily 
welcome ; we are bid to ' open our mouth wide, and he will fill it.' 



The third kind of pride (spiritual pride I mean) is pride of privileges; with 
which these wicked spirits labour to blowup the Christian. To name three :- — 

First, When God calls a person to some eminent place, or useth him to do 
some special piece of service. 

Secondlj', When God honours a saint to sufi'er for his truth or cause. 

Thirdly, When God flows in with more than ordinary manifestations of his 
love, and fills the sold with joy and comfort. These are privileges not equally 
dispensed to all ; and, therefore, where they are, Satan takes the advantage of 
assaulting such with pride. . 

Section I.- — First, When God calls a person to some eminent place, or useth 
him to do some special piece of service. Indeed, it requires a great measure of 
grace to keep the heart low when the man stands high. The apostle, speaking 
how a minister of the gospel should be qualified, 1 Tim. iii. 6, saith, he must 
not be a ' novice,' or a young convert, ' lest he should be lifted up with pride, 
and fall into the condemnation of the devil.' As if he had said. This calling is 
honourable ; if he be not well ballasted with humility, a little gust from Satan 
will toss him into this sin. The seventy that Christ first sent out to preach the 
gospel, and prevailed so miraculously over Satan, even these, while they trod 
on the serpent's head, he tiu-ncd again, and had like to have stung them with 
pride ; which our Saviour perceived, when they returned in triumph, and told 
what great miracles they had wrought ; and therefore he takes them oft' that 
glorying, lest it should degenerate into vain-glory, and bids them ' not rejoice 
that devils were subject to them, but rather that their names were writ in 
heaven.' As if he had said. It is not the honour of your calling, and success of 
your ministry that will save you ; there shall be some cast to the devils, who 
shall then say, ' Lord, Lord, in thy name we have cast out devils :' and there- 
fore value not yourselves by that ; but rather evidence to your souls that ye 
are of mine elect ones, which will stand you more in stead at the great day than 
all this. 

Section II. — A second privilege is, when God honours a person to sufl!"er for 
his truth : this is a great privilege. ' Unto you it is given, not only to believe, 
but to sufter for his sake.' God doth not use to give worthless gifts to his saints: 
there is some precioiisness in it which a carnal eye cannot see. Faith, you will 
say, is a great gift, but perseverance greater ; without which faith would be 
little worth ; and perseverance in sufi'ering, this above both honourable. This 
made John Careless, our English martj'r, (who, though he died not at the stake. 


jct in prison, for Christ,) ?ay, ' Such an liour it is as angels are not permiltecl to 
have, therefore God forgive me mine iinthankfulness.' Now, when Satan can- 
not scare a soul from pri&on, yet then he will laboin- to puff him np in prison; 
when he cannot make him pity himself, then he will flatter him till he prides 
in himsi.>lf. Affliction from God exposeth to impatience ; for God, to pride ; 
and therefore. Christians, labour to fortify yourselves against this temptation of 
Satan. How soon you may be called to suflering work, yoxi know not ; such 
clouds oft are not long arising. Now, to keep th}' heart humble, when thou 
art honoured to sufl'er for the truth, consider, 

First, Though thou dost not deserve those suIFerings at man's hand, (thou 
canst and ma3'est in tliat regard glory in thy innocency ; thou sufferest not as 
an evildoer,) yet thou canst not but confess it is a just affliction from God in 
regard of sin in thee ; and this methinks should keep thee hmnble. The same 
sutlering may be martyrdom in regard of man, and yet a fatherly chastising for 
sin in regard of God. None suilered without sin but Christ ; and therefore 
none may glorj- in them but he ; Christ in his own, we in his. ' God forbid 
that I should glory, save in the cross of Christ.' Gal. vi. This kept Mr. Bradford 
humble in his suft'erings for the truth : none more rejoiced in them, and blessed 
God for them, yet none more humble under them than he. And what kept 
him in this humble frame ? Read his godly letters, and you shall find almost 
in all how he bemoans his sins, and the sins of the Protestants under the reign 
of King Edward : — ' It was time,' saitli he, ' for God to put his rod into the 
papists' hands ; we were grown so proud, foimal, unfiuitful, yea, so as to loathe 
and des})ise the means of grace, when we enjoyed the liberty thereof; and 
therefore God hath brought the wheel of persecution on us.' As he looked at 
the honom-, to nuike him thankful ; so to sin, to keep him lumable. 

Secondly, Consider who bears thee up, and carries thee through thy s\ifl'erings 
for Christ. Is it thy grace, or his, that is sufficient for such a work ? thy spirit, 
or Christ's, by which thou speakest, when called to bear witness to the truth ? 
How comes it to pass thou art a sufferer, and not a persecutor ; a confessor, and 
not a denier ; yea, a betrayer of Christ and his gospel .' This thou owest 
to God ; he is not beholden to thee, that thou wilt part with estate, credit, or 
life itself for his s;ike. If thou hadst a thousand lives, thou wouldst owe them 
all to him ; but thou art beholden to God exceedingly, that he will call for 
these in this way, which has such an honour and reward attending it. He 
might liave suft'ered thee to live in thy lusts, and at last to suffer the loss of all 
these for them. Oh, how nuuiy die at the gallows, as martyrs in the devil's 
cause, for felonies, rapes, and murders ! Or he might withdiaw his grace, and 
leave thee to thy own cowardice and vmbelief, and then thou wouldst shew 
thyself in thy colours. The stoutest champions for Christ have been taught 
how weak they are if Christ steps aside. Some that liave given great testimony 
of their faith and resolution in Christ's cause, even to come so near dying for 
liis name, as to give themselves to be bound to the stake, and fire to be kindled 
upon them, yet then their hearts ha'. e failed; as that hoi)' man, Mr. Benbridge, 
in our English martyrology, who thrust the faggots from him, and cried out, ' I 
recant! I recant!' Yet this man, when reinforced in his faith, and endued 
with power from above, was able, within the space of a week after that sa 1 foil, 
to die at the stake cheerfidly ; Qui pro nobis mortem seviel v'lcit, semper in 
nobis vincil ; he that overcame death for us, is he that alwajs overcame death 
in us. And who should be thy song, but lie that is thy strength ? Applaud 
not thyself, but bless him. It is one of God's names ; he is called the ' glory of 
his people's strength,' Psa. Ixxxix. 17. The more thou gloriest in God that 
gives thee strength to suffer for lum, the less thou wilt boast of thyself. A 
thankful heart and a pi-oud cannot dwell together in one bosom. 

Thirdly, Consider what a fou! blot pride gives to all thy suilerings, where it 
is not bewailed and resisted ; it alters the case. The old saying is, that it is 
not the pimislnnent, but the cause makes the martyr : we may safely say 
further, it is not barely the cause, but the sincere frame of the heart in suf- 
fering for a good cause, that makes a man a martyr in Ciod's sight. Though 
thou shouldstgivc thy body to be biu'ned, if thou hast not nn humble lieart of 
a sufl'erer for Christ, thou turnest nu'rchaut for tliyself. Thou denicst but one 
self, to .set up another; runnest the hazard of thy estate and life to gain some 


applause, it may be, and rear up a monument to thy honour in the opinions of 
men ; thou dost no more in this case than a soldier, who for the name of valour 
will venture into the mouth of danger and death ; only thou shewest thy pride 
under a religious disguise ; yet that helps it not, but makes it the worse. If thou 
wilt in thy sufferings be a sacrifice acceptable to God, thoii must not only be 
ready to offer up thy life for his truth, but sacrifice thy pride also, or else thou 
mayest tumble out of one fire into another ; suffer here from man, as a seeming 
champion for the gospel, and in another world from God, for robbing him of 
his glory in thy sufferings. 

Section III. — A third privilege is, "When God flows in with more than 
ordinary manifestations of his love ; then the Christian is in danger of having 
his heart secretly lifted up in pride. Indeed, the genuine and natvu-al effect, 
which such discoveries of Divine love have on a gracious soul, is to himible it. 
The sight of mercy increaseth the sense of sin, and that sense dissolves the 
soul kindly into sorrow, as we see in Magdalen. The heart which possibly was 
hard and frozen in the shade, will give and thaw in the sunshine of love, and 
so long all pride is hid from the creature's eye. 'Then,' saith God, Ezek. 
xxxvi. 31, 'ye shall remember your ways and your doings, that were not good, 
and shall loathe yourselves in your own sight,' &c. And when shall this be, 
but when God would save them fi'om all their uncleanness ? as appears ver. 25 ; 
yet notwithstanding this, there remain such dregs of corruption vmpurged out 
of the best, that Satan finds it not impossible to make the manifestations of 
God's love an occasion of pride to the Christian : and tndy God lets us see our 
proneness to this sin in the short stay he makes, when he comes with any 
greater discoveries of his love. The Comforter, it is true, abides for ever in the 
saint's bosom, but his joys come, and are gone again quickly. They are 
choice viands, with which he feasts the believer, but the cloth is soon drawn ; 
and why so ? but because we cannot bear them for our every-day food. A 
short interview of heaven, and a vision of love now and then upon the mount 
of an ordinance or affliction, cheers the spirits of drooping Christians, who, 
might they have leave to build tabernacles there, and dwell under a constant 
shine of such manifestations, would be prone to forget themselves, and think 
they were lords of their own comforts. If holy Paul was in danger of falling 
into this distemper of pride from his short rapture, (to prevent which, God saw 
it needful to let him blood with a thorn in the flesh,) would not our blood 
much more grow too rank, and we too crank and wanton, if we should feed 
long on such luscious food ? And therefore, if ever, Christian, thou hadst need 
to watch, then is the time when comforts abound, and God dandles thee most 
on the knee of his love ; when his face shines with clearest manifestations ; lest 
this sin of pride, as a thief in the candle, should extinguish thy joy. To prevent 
which, thou shouldst do well, first, to look that thou measurest not thy grace by 
thy comfort, lest so thou shouldst be led into a false opinion that thy grace is strong, 
because thy comforts are so. Satan will be ready to help forward such thoughts 
as a fit mediimi to lift thee up, and slacken thy care in duty for the future. 
Such discoveries do indeed bear witness to the truth of thy grace, but not to 
the degree and measure of it : the weak child may be, yea, is oftener in the lap 
than the strong. Secondly, do not so much applaud thyself in thy present 
comfort, as labour to improve it for the glory of God. 'Up, and eat,' saith 
the angel to the prophet, 'because the journey is too great for thee.' The 
manifestations of God's love are to fit us for our work. It is one thing to 
rejoice in the light of our comfort, and another to go forth in the power of the 
Spirit comforting us, as giants refreshed with this wine, to run our race of duty 
and obedience with more strength and alacrity. He shews his pride that 
spends his time in telling his money merely to see how rich he is ; but he his 
wisdom that lays out his money and trades with it. The boaster of his com- 
forts will lose what he hath, . when he that improves his comforts in a fuller 
trade of duty shall add more to what he hath. Thirdly, remember thou 
dependest on God for the continuance of thy comfort. They are not the smiles 
thou hadst yesterday can make thee joyous to-day, any more than the bread 
thou didst then eat can make thee strong without more ; thou needest new dis- 
coveries for new comforts : let God hide his face, and thou wilt soon lose the 
sight and forget the taste of what thou even now hadst. It is beyond our skill 

IN HIGH PLACES, &e. 151 

or power to preserve those impressions of joy, and comfortable apprehensions 
of God's favour on our spirit, which sometimes we find; as God's presence 
brings those, so when he goes he carries thorn away with him, as the setting 
sun doth the day. We would laugh heartily at him who, when the sim shines 
in at his window, should think by shutting that to imprison the sunbeams in 
his chamber; and dost thou not shew as much folly, who thinkest because thou 
now hast comfort, thou therefore shalt never be in darkness of spirit more ? 
The believer's comfort is like Israel's manna; it is not like our ordinary bread 
and provision we buy at mai-ket, and lock up in our cupboards, where we can 
go to it when we will : no, it is rained as that was from heaven. Indeed God 
provided for them after this sort to humble them, Deut. viii. 16: * Who fed 
thee in the wilderness with manna, which thy fathers knew not, that he miglit 
humble thee.' It was not such mean food because that God is said to humble 
them, for it was delicious food, therefore called 'angels' food,' Psa. Ixxviii. 25 ; 
such as, if angels did eat, might serve them ; but the manner of the dispensing 
it, from hand to mouth, every day their portion and no more, so that God kept 
the key of their cupboard, they stood to his inuuediate allowance ; and thus 
God communicates our spiritual comforts for the same end to humble us. So 
much for this second sort of spii'itual wickedness. 

I had thought to have instanced in some other, as hypoci-isy, unbelief, 
morality; but possibly the subject being general, what I have already said may 
be thought but a digression, and that too long. 

I shall therefore conclude tliis branch of ' spiritual wickedness,' in a word to 
those who are yet in a natural and unsanctified state ; which is, to stir them 
up from what I have said, concerning Satan's assaulting believers with such 
temptations, to consider seriously, that Satan's chief design against them also 
lies in the same sins. These are the wickednesses he labours to ingulf you in 
above all others. If ever you perish, it will be by the hand of these sins. It 
is yom- seared conscience, blind mind, and impenitent heart, will be your 
undoing, if you miscarry finally. Other sins, the devil knows, are prepa- 
ratory to these, and therefore he draws thee into them to bring thee into these. 
Two ways they prepare a way to spiritual sins ; first, as they naturally dispose 
the sinner to them ; it is the nature of sin to blind the mind, stupify the con- 
science, harden the heart, as is implied, Heb. iii. 1.3: 'Lest your heart be 
hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.' As the feet of travellers beat the 
highway hard, so does walking in carnal, gross sins the heart; they benumb 
the conscience, so that in time the sinner loses his feeling, and can carry his 
lusts in his heart, as bedlams their pins in their very flesh, without pain and 
remorse. Secondly, as they do provoke God by a judiciary act to give them 
up to these sins. Lam. iii. 65 : ' Give them obstinacy of heart,' so it is in the 
margin, ' thy curse imto them.' And when the devil hath got sinners at this 
pass, then he hath them under lock and key. They are the forerunners of 
damnation ; if God leave thy heart hard and unbroken up, it is a sad sign he 
means not to sow the seed of grace there. O sinners, pray, as he did request 
Peter for him, that none of these things may come upon you ; which that they 
may not, take heed thou rejectest not the oilers he makes to soften thee. God's 
hardening is a consequent of, and a punishment for, our hardening our own 
hearts. It is most true what Prosper saith. Potest homo invitus nmittere tem- 
poralia, non nisi volens amittere spirilualiu : A man may lose temporals 
against his will, but not spirituals; God will harden none, damn none, against 
their will. 



In high places. 

Section I. — These words contain the last branch in the description of our 
grand enemy ; which have in them some ambiguity, the adjective being only 
expressed in the original; e» fois epoiiranioix, that is, in heavenlies; the phrase 
being defective, our translators read it, in higli or heavenly places, as if the 


apostle mtended to set out the advantage of place wliicli this our enemy, by 
being above us, hath of us. Indeed this way most intei-pretei-s go ; yet some, 
both ancient and modern, read the words, not. In heavenly places, but ' In 
heavenly things.' En tois epnuraniois, saith fficumenius, is as much as if the 
apostle had said, Emin pale ou peri milcron tinon, alia uper ton en iois epour- 
aniois pragmaton. We wrestle not for small and trivial things, but for heavenly, 
yea, for heaven itself, and o\w adoption as he goes on. The same way Chry- 
sostom carries it ; in ccelesiibus, id e.yt, fro ccelestibus Dei. And after him 
Musculus, and other modern writers. The reasons which arc given for this 
interpretation are weighty. 

First, The word elsewhere indefinitely set down, is taken for things, not 
places, Heb. viii. 5. Nay, one observes this word to be used almost twenty 
times in the New Testament, and never for any aerial place, but always for 
things truly heavenly and spiritual; the word indeed properly signifies 
super-celestial, and, if applied to places, would signify, that where the devil 
never came since his fall. 

Lastly, There seems no great argument to render Satan formidable by his 
being above us in place ; it is some advantage indeed to men to gain the hill, 
ov be above their enemy, in some place of strength, but none at all to spirits ; 
but now take it of things, and then it adds v/eight to all the other branches of 
the description. We wrestle with principalities and powers, and spiritual wicked- 
ness ; and against all these, not for such toys and trifles as the earth affords, 
which are inconsiderable whether to keep or lose; but for such as heaven holds 
forth ; such an enemy, and such a prize, makes it matter of our greatest care 
how to manage the combat. The word tlms opened, the note will be this. 

Section II. — Doct. The chief prize for which we wrestle against Satan is 
heavenly. Or thus, Satan's main design is to spoil and plimder the Christian of 
all that is heavenly. Indeed all the Christian hath, or desires as a Christian, is 
heavenly ; the world is extrinsical, both to his being and happiness ; it is a 
stranger to the Christian, and intermeddles not with his joy or grief. Heap 
all the riches and honours of the world upon a man, they will not make him 
a Clu-istian ; heap them upon a Christian, they will not make him a better 
Christian. Again, take them aU away, let every bird have his feather, — when 
stripped and naked, he will still be a Christian, and may be a better Christian. 
It was a notable speech of Erasmus, if spoken in earnest, and his wit were not 
too quick for his conscience, Nikilo marfis amhio opes et dignifaf.es, qitam elumbis 
equus graves sareinas ; he said. He desired wealth and honour no more than a 
feeble horse doth a heavy cloak-bag. And I think every Christian in his right 
temper would be of his mind. Satan would do the saint little hurt, if he did 
bend his forces only or chiefly against his outward enjoyments ; alas, the Chris- 
tian doth not value them, or himself by them ; this were as if one should think 
to hurt a man by beating of his clothes when he hath put them off. So far as 
the spii'it of grace prevails in the heart of a saint, he hath put off the world in 
the desire of it, and joy of it, so that these blows are not much felt ; and there- 
fore they are his heavenly treasures which are the booty Satan waits for. 

Section III. — ^First, The Christian's nature is heavenly, bom from above; 
as Christ is the Lord from heaven, so all his ofFspiung are heavenly and holy : 
now Satan's design is to debase and deflov/er this ; it is the precious life of this 
new creature that he hunts for ; he hath lost that beauty of holiness which 
once shone so gloriously on his angelical nature, and now, like a true apostate, 
he endeavours to ruin that in the Christian, which he hath lost himself. The 
seeds of this war are sown in the Christian's nature ; you are holy, — that he 
cannot endure : Miles, feri faciem, was Caesar's speech, when, to fight with the 
Roman citizens, he bid his soldiers strike at their face ; These citizens, said he, 
love their beauty ; mar that, and mar all. The soul is the face whereon God's 
image is stamped ; holiness is the beauty of this face, which makes us indeed 
like God : his Satan knows God loves, and the saint is chary of; and therefore 
he labours to wound and disfigure this, that he may at once glory in the 
Christian's shame, and pour contempt upon God in breaking his image ; and is 
it not worth engaging limb and life in battle against this enemy, who would rob 
us of that Avhich makes us like God himself? Have you forgot the bloody articles 
of peace that Nahash offered to the mon of Jabesli-Gilead ? no peace to lie had 


except they would let liiin thrust out their right ej'es, and lay it for a reproach 
upon all Israel ; and to see how it was entertained, read 1 Sam. xi. 6. The 
face is not so deformed that hath lost its eye, as the soul is that losclh its holi- 
ness ; and no peace to be expected at Satan's hands, except he may deprive 
us of this: methinks, at the thought of this, the Spirit of the Lord slioiddcome 
upon the Christian, and his anger shouUl be kindled much more against this 
cursed spirit than Saul's and the men of Israel's was against Nahash. 

Secondly, Tlie Christian's trade is heavenly ; the mercliandise he deals for is 
of the growth of that heavenly country, Phil. iii. 20 : ' Our conversation is in 
heaven.' Every man's conversation is suitable to his calling; he whose trade 
is heavenly, follows that close. ' Every man minds his own business,' the 
apostle tells us. You may possibly find a tradesman out of his shop now and 
then, but he is as a fish out of the water, never in his element till he be in his 
calling again. Thus when the Christian is about the world, and the wordling 
about heavenly matters, both are men out of their way, not rightly girt, till 
they get into their employment again. Now this heavenly trade is that which 
Satan doth in an especial manner labour to stop. Could tlie Christian enjoy but 
a free trade with heaven a few years without molestation, he would soon grow 
a rich man, too rich indeed for earth ; but what with losses sustained by the 
hands of this pirate Satan, and also the wrong he receives by the treachery 
of some ill his own bosom, that, like unfaithful servants, hold correspondence 
with this robber, he is kept but low in this life, and much of his gains are 
lost; now the Christian's heavenly trade lies either within doors, or abroad ; 
he can be free in neither ; Satan is at his heels in both. 

First, Within doors ; this I may call his home trade, which is spent in secret 
between God and his own soul ; here the Christian drives an unknown trade ; 
he is at heaven and home again, richly laden in his thoughts with heavenly 
meditations, before the world knows where he hath been. Every creature he 
sees is a text for his heart to raise some spiritual matter and observations from. 
Every sermon he hears cuts him out work to make up and enlarge upon 
when he gets alone. Every providence is as wind to his sails, and sets his heart 
a moving in some heavenly affection or other, suitable to the occasion. One 
while he is wrapped up with joy in the consideration of mercy, another while 
melted into godly sorrow from the sense of his sins. Sometimes exalting God 
in his praises, anon abasing himself before God for his own vilcness. One 
while he is at the breast of the covenant, milking out the consolations of the 
promises ; another while working his heart into a holy awe and fear of the 
threatenings. Thus the Christian walks aloft, while the base worldling is 
licking the dust below. One of these heavenly pearls which the Christian 
trades for is more worth, than the worldling gets with all his sweat and travel 
in his whole life. The Christian's feet stand where other men's heads are ; 
he treads on the moon, and is clothed with the sun ; he looks down on earthly 
men, as one from a high hill doth upon those that live in some fen or moor, and 
sees them buried in a fog of carnal pleasures and profits, while he breathes 
in a pure heavenly air; but yet not so high as to be free from all storms and 
tempests ; many a sad gust he hath from sin and Satan without. What else 
mean those sad complaints and groans which come from the children of God, 
that their hearts are so dead and dull, their thoughts so roving and luifixed in 
duty, many times so wicked and filthy, that they dare hardly tell what they are, 
for fear of staining their own lips, and offending the ears of others by naming 
them ? Surely the Christian finds it in his heart to will and desire he could 
meditate, pray, hear, and live after another sort than this? doth lie not? Yes, 
I durst be his surety he doth. But so long as there is a devil tempts, and 
we continue within his walk, it will be thus, more or less ; as fast as we 
labom- to clear the spring of our heart;, he will be labouring to thicken or 
stop it again : so that we have two works to do at once ; to perform a duty, 
and watch him that opposeth us ; trowel and sword both in our hands. They 
had need work hard indeed, who have others contiiuially endeavouring to 
pull down, as they are labouring to rear up the l>uilding. 

Secondly, That part of the Cliristian's trade, which lies abroad, is heavenly 
also. "^I'ake a Christian in his relations, calling, neighbourliood, he is a heavenly 
trader in all ; the great business of his life is to be doing or receiving some good ; 


that company is not for him, that will neither give nor take this. What should 
a merchant do where there is no buying nor selling ? Every one labours, as his 
calling is, to seat himself where ti'ade is quickest, and he is like to have most 
takings. The Christian, where he may choose, takes such in relations near to 
himself, — husband, wife, servants, — as may suit with his heavenly trade, and 
not such as will be a pull-back to him : he falls in with the holiest persons as 
his dearest acquaintance ; if there be a saint in the town wliere he lives, he will 
find hhn out ; and this shall be the man he will associate with ; and in his con- 
versation with these and all else, his chief work is for heaven ; his heavenly 
principle within inclines him to it. Now this alarms hell : what, not contented 
to go to heaven himself, but by his holy example, gracious speeches, sweet 
counsels, seasonable reproofs, will be trading with others, and labour to carry 
them along with him also ? This brings the lion fell and mad out of his den ; 
such, to be sure, shall find the devil in their way to oppose them. ' I would 
have come,' saith Paul, 'but Satan hindeied me.' He that will vouch God, 
and let it appear by the tenor of his conversation that he trades for him, shall 
have enemies enough, the devil can help him to such. 

Thirdly, The Christian's hopes are all heavenly ; he harps not upon anything 
the world hath to give him. Indeed, he would think himself the most miser- 
able man of all others, if here were all he could make of his religion. No, it is 
heaven and eternal life that he expects ; and though he be so poor as not to be 
able to make a will of a groat, yet he counts himself a richer heir than if he 
were child to the greatest prince on earth. This inheritance he sees by faith, 
and can rejoice in the hope of the glory whicli it will bring him. The uncer- 
tain and cheating glory of the great ones of this world, moves liim not to envy 
their fancied pomp ; but when on the dunghill himself, he can forget his own 
present sorrows to pity them in all their bravery, knowing that within a few 
days the cross will be off his back, and the crowns off their heads together ; 
their portion will be spent, when he shall be to receive all his. These things 
entertain him with such joy, that they will not sufl'er him to acknowledge him- 
self miserable, when others think him, and the devil tells him he is such. This, 
this torments the very soul of the devil, to see the Christian under sail for 
heaven, filled with the sweet liope of his joyful entertainment when he comes 
there ; and, therefore, he raiseth what storms and tempests he can, either to 
hinder his arrival in that blessed port, which he most desires, and doth not 
wholly despair of, or at least to make it a troublesome winter voyage, such as 
Paul's was, in which they suffered so much loss. And this, indeed, very often 
he obtains in such a degree, that by his violent, impetuous temptations beating 
long upon the Christian, he makes him throw over much precious lading of his 
joys and comforts ; yea, sometimes he brings the soul through stress of tempta- 
tion to think of quitting the ship, while for the present all hope of being saved 
seems to be taken away. Thus you see what we wrestle with devils for. We 
come to application. 

Section IV. — Use 1. This is a word of reproof to four sorts of persons. 

First, To those that are so far from wrestling against Satan for this heavenly 
prize, that they resist the offer of it. Instead of taking heaven by force, they 
keep it off by force. How long hath the Lord been crying in our streets, 
' Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand !' How long have gospel-oilers 
rung in our ears, and yet to this day many devil-deluded soiils furiously drive 
on towards hell, and will not be persuaded back ; who refuse to be called the 
children of God, and choose rather the devil's bondage than the glorious liberty 
with which Christ would make them free ; esteeming the pleasures of sin for a 
season, greater treasures than the riches of heaven. It is told of Cato (who 
was Caesar's bitter enemy) that when he saw Caesar prevail, rather than fall into 
his hand and stand to his mercy, he laid violent hands on himself; which Ctesar 
hearing of, passionately broke out into tliese words : Cafo^ cur Invidisti mi/ii 
salutem tuam ? O Cato, why didst thou envy me the honour of saving thj' life ? 
And do not many walk as if they grudged Christ the honour of saving their 
souls ? What other account can you give, sinners, of rejecting his grace ? Are 
not heaven and happiness things desirable, and to be preferred before sin 
and misery 1 Why then do you not embrace them ? or are they the worse, 
because they come swimming to you in the blood of Christ ? Oh, how ill must 


Christ take it to be thus used, when he comes on such a gracious embassy ? 
May he not say to tliee, as once he did to those officers sent to attack him, 
' Do you come out against me as a thief, with swords and staves?' If he be a 
thief, it is only in this, that he would steal your sins from you, and leave heaven 
in the room. Oh, for the love of God, think what you do ; it is eternal life you 
put away from you ; in doing of which, ' you judge yourself unworthy of it,' 
Acts xiii. 46. 

Secondly, It reproves those who are Satan's instruments to rob souls of what 
is heavenly. Among tliieves there are some ye call setters, who inquire wliere 
a booty is to be had ; which when they have found, and know such a one travels 
with a charge about him, then they employ some other to rob him, and are 
themselves not seen in the business. The devil is the grand setter ; he observes 
the Christian, how he walks, what place and company he frequents, what grace 
or heavenly treasure he carries in his bosom ; which when he hath done, he 
hath his instruments for the purpose to execute his design. Thus he considered 
the admirable graces of Job, and cast about how he might rob him of his 
heavenly treasure : and who but his wife and friends must do this for him ? 
(well knowing that his tale would receive credit from their mouths.) Oh, friends, 
ask your consciences, whether you have not done the devil some service of this 
kindin your days. Possibly you have a child or servant who once looked heaven- 
ward, but your browbeating of them scared them back, and now it may be they 
are as carnal as you would have them : or possibly thy wife, before acquainted 
with thee, was full of life in the ways of God ; but since she hath been trans- 
planted into thy cold soil, what by thy frothy speeches and unsavoury conver- 
sation, at best thy worldliness and formality, she is now both decayed in her 
graces, and a loser in her comforts. Oh, man, what an indictment will be 
brought against thee for this act at God's bar ! You woidd come offbetter, were 
it for robbing one of his money and jewels, than of his graces and comforts. 

Thirdly, It reproves the woful negligence most shew in labouring for this 
heavenly prize. None but would be glad their souls might be saved at last : 
but where is the man or woman that makes it appear, by their vigorous endea- 
vour, that they mean in earnest? What warlike preparation do they make 
against Satan, who lies between them and home? Where ai-e their arms, 
wliere their skill to use them, their resolution to stand to them, and conscionable 
care to exercise themselves daily in the use of them ? Alas ! this is rarity indeed, 
not to be found in every house where the profession of religion is hanged out at 
the door. If woulding and wishing would bring them to heaven, then they may 
come thither ; but as for this wrestling and fighting, this making religion our 
business, they are as far from these as at last they are like to be from heaven. 
They are of his mind in TuUy, who in a summer's day, as he lay indulging him- 
self on the grass, would say, O utinam hoc esset laborare ! O that this were 
to work, that I could lie here and do my day-labour ! Thus many melt and 
waste their lives in sloth, and say in their hearts, O that this were the way to 
heaven ! but will use no means to furnish themselves witli grace for such an 
entei-prise. I have read of a great prince in Germany, invaded by a more 
potent enemy than himself, yet from his fi-iends and allies, who flocked in to 
his help, he soon had a good army, but had no money, as he said, to pay them ; 
but the truth is, he was loath to part with it ; for which some in discontent went 
away, others did not vigorously attend his liusiness, and so he was soon beaten 
out of his kingdom ; and his coffers, when his palace was i-ifled, were found full 
of treasure. Thus he was ruined, as some sick men die because imwilling to 
be at cost to pay the physician. It will add to the misery of damned souls, 
when they shall have leisure enough to consider what they have lost in losing 
God, to remember what means, offers, and talents they once had towards the 
obtaining of everlasting life, but had not a heart to use them. 

Fourthly, It reproves those who make a great bustle and noise in religion, 
who are forward in profession, very l)usy to meddle with the strictest duties, as 
if heaven had mono])olized their whole hearts; but, like the eagle, when they 
tower highest, their prey is below, where their eye is also. Such a generation 
there ever was and will be, that mingle themselves with the saints of God ; who 
pretend heaven, and have their outward garl) faced and fringed, as it were, 
with heavenly speeches and duties, while their hearts are lined witli hypocrisy, 


whereby they deceive others, and most of all themselves ; such may be the 
world's saints, but devils in Christ's account. Have not I chosen twelve, and one 
of you is a devil ? And truly, of all devils, none so bad as the professing devil, 
the preaching, praying devil. O sirs, be plain-hearted ; religion is as tender 
as your eye, it will not be jested v/ith : remember the vengeance which fell on 
Belshazzar, while he caroused in the bowls of the sanctuary. Religion and the 
duties of it are consecrated things, not made for thee to drink thy lusts out of. 
God hath remarkably appeared in discovering and confounding such as have 
prostituted sacred things to worldly ends. Jezebel fasts and prays, the better 
to devour Naboth's vineyard, but was devoured by it. Absalom was as sick 
till lie had ravished his father's crown, as his brother Amnon till he had done 
the like to his sister ; and to hide his treason he puts on a religious cloak, and 
therefore begs leave to go and pay his vow in Hebron, when he had another 
game in chase : and did he not fall by the hand of his hypocrisy ? Of all men, 
their judgment is indorsed with most speed, who silver over worldly or wicked 
enterprises with heavenly semblances. Of this gang were those, 2 Pet. ii. '3, 
concerning whom the apostle saith, 'Their damnation slumbers not;' and 
those, Ezek. xiv. 7, 8, to whom God saith, ' I the Lord will answer him by 
myself, and I will set my face against that man, and will make him a sign and 
a proverb, and I will cut him off from the midst of my people, and ye shall 
know that I a,n the Lord.' 

Use 2. Secondly, Try whether they be heavenly things or earthly thou chiefly 
pursuest. Certainly, friends, we need not be so ignorant of our soid's state and 
affairs, did we oftener converse with oiu- thoughts, and observe the haunts of 
our hearts. We soon can tell what dish pleaseth our palate best ; and may you 
not tell whether heaven or earth be the most savoury meat to your souls ? And 
if you should ask how you might know whether heaven be the prize you 
chiefly desii-e, I would put you only upon this double trial. 

First, Art thou uniform in thy pursuit? Dost thou contend for heaven, and 
that which leads to heaven also? Earthly things God is pleased to retail; all 
have some, none have all. But in heavenly treasure he will iu)t break the 
whole piece, and cut into remnants. If thou wilt have heaven, thou must have 
Christ ; if Christ, thou must like his service as well as his sacrifice; no holiness, 
no happiness. If God would cut off" so much as would serve men's turns, he 
might have customers enough : Balaam himself likes one end of the piece, ' he 
would die like a righteous man,' though live like a wizard as he was. No, God 
will not deal with such peddling merchants ; that man alone is for God, and God 
for him, who will come roundly up to God's offer, and take all off" his hands. 
One fitly compares holiness and happiness to those two sisters, Leah and 
Rachel. Happiness, like Rachel, seems the fairer, (even a carnal heart may 
tall in love with that,) but holiness, like Leah, is the elder, and beautiful also; 
though in this life it appears with some disadvantage, her eyes being bleared 
with tears of repentance, and her face furrowed with the works of mortification : 
but this is the law of that heavenly country, ' That the younger sister must not 
be bestowed before the elder.' We cannot enjoy fair Rachel, (heaven and hap- 
piness,) except we first embrace tender-eyed Leah, (holiness,) with all her severe 
duties of repentance and mortification. Now, sirs, how like you this method ? 
Art thou content to marry Christ and his grace, and then serving an hard appren- 
ticeship in temptations both of prosperity and adversity, endiu-ing the heat of the 
one, and the cold of the other, to wait till at last the other be given into thy bosom ? 

Secondly, If indeed heaven and heavenly things be the prize thou wrestlest 
for, thou wilt discover a heavenly deportment of heart, even in earthly things. 
Wherever you meet a Christian he is going to heaven ; heaven is at the bottom 
of his lowest actions. Now observe thy heart in three particulars ; in getting, 
in using, and in keeping earthly things, whether it be after a heavenly manner. 

First, In getting earthly things. If heaven be thy chief prize, then thou 
wilt be ruled by a heavenly lav,' in the gathering of these. Take a carnal wretch, 
and what his heart is set on he will have, though it be by hook or crook. A lie 
fits Gehazi's mouth well enough, so he may fill his pockets by it. Jezebel dares 
mock God, and murder an innocent man, for an acre or two of ground. Absalom, 
regnnndi causa, what will he not do? God's fence is too low to keep a graceless 
heart in bounds, wlien the game is before him ; but a soul that hath heaven in 


his eye, is ruled by heaven's kuv ; he dares not stej) out of heaven's road to take 
up a crown, as we see in David's carriage towards Saul. Indeed, in so doing, 
he should cross himself in his own grand design, which is the glory of God, 
and the happiness of his own soul in enjoying of him; upon these very terms 
the servants of God have refused to be rich and great in the world, when either 
of these lay at stake : Moses threw his court-preferment at his heels, ' refusing 
to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter.' Abraham scorned to be made 
rich by the king of Sodom, Gen. xiv. 22, that he might avoid the suspicion of 
covetousness and self-seeking ; it shall not be said another day, that he came to 
enrich himself with the spoil, more than to rescue his kinsmen. Nehemiah 
would not take the tax and tribute to maintain his state, when he knew they 
were a poor peeled people, ' because of the fear of the Lord.' Dost thou walk 
bj' this I'ule ? woiddst tliou gather no more estate or honour than thou maj'est 
have with God's leave, and will stand with thy hopes of heaven ? 

Secondly, Dost thou discover a heavenly spirit in using these things ? 

First, The saint improves his earthly things for an heavenly end. Where 
laj'est thou up thj- treasure ? Dost thou bestow it on thy voluptuous appetite, 
thy hawks and thy hounds ; or lockest thou it up in the bosom of Clu-ist's poor 
nrembers ? What use makest thou of thy honour and greatness ? To strengthen 
the hands of the godly or the wicked? And so of all thy other temporal en- 
joyments. A gracious heart improves them for God ; when a saint prays for 
these things, he hath an eye to some heavenly end. If David prays for life, it 
is not that he may live, but * live and praise God,' Psal. cxix. 175. When he 
was driven from his regal throne by the rebellious arms of Absalom, see what 
his desire was and hope, 2 Sam. xv. 25 : * The king said to 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 show me both it and his habitation.' Mark, not show 
me my crown, my palace, but the ark, the house of God. 

Secondly, A gracious heart pursues earthly things with a holy indifference, 
saving the violence and zeal of his spirit for the things of heaven : he useth the 
former as if he used them not, with a kind of non-attendance ; his head and 
heart is taken up with higher matters, how he may please God, thrive in his 
grace, enjoy more intimate communion with Christ in his ordinances; in these 
he spreads all his sails, plies all his oars, strains every part and power. Thus 
we find David upoai his full speed : ' My soul pressed hard after thee,' Psa. Ixiii. 
And before the ark we find him dancing with all his might. Now a carnal heart 
is clean contrary : his zeal is for the world, and his indifference in the things of 
God : he prays as if he did not pray, &c. ; he sweats in his shop, but chills and 
grows cold in his closet. Oh how hard to pulley him up to a duty of God's wor- 
ship, or to get him out to an ordinance ! No weather shall keep him from the 
market ; rain, blow or snow, he goes thither ; but if the chin-ch-path be but a 
little wet, or the air somewhat cold, it is apology enough for him if his pew be 
empty. When he is about any worldly business, he is earnest at it, as the 
idolatrous smith in hammering of his image, ' who (the prophet saith) worketh 
it with the strength of his arms, yea, he is hungi-y and his strength faileth, he 
drinketh not, and is faint,' Isa. xliv. 12. So zealous is tlie muckworm in his 
worldly employments, that he will pinch his carcase, and deny himself his repast 
in due season, to pursue that ; the kitchen there shall wait on the shop : but in 
the worship of God, it is enough to make him sick of the sermon, and angry 
with the preacher, if he be kept beyond his hour ; here the sermon must give 
place to the kitchen ; so the man for his pleasures and carnal pastime, he tells 
no clock at his sports, and knows not how the day goes ; when night comes, he 
is angry that it takes him off: but at any heavenly work, O how is the man 
punished ! time now hath got leaden heels, he thinks; all he does at a sermon 
is to tell the clock, and see how the glass runs. If men were not willing to 
deceive themselves, surely they might know which way their heart goes by the 
swift motion, or the hard tugging and slow pace it stirs, as well as they know 
in a boat whether they row against the tide or with it. 

Thirdly, The Christian useth these things with a holy fear, lest earth should 
rob heaven, and his outward enjoyments prejudice his heavenly interest; he 
eats in fear, works in fear, rejoiceth in his abundance with fear : as Job sancti- 
fied his children by offering a sacrifice, out of a fear lest they had sinned ; so 


the Christian is continually sanctifying his earthly enjoyments by prayer, that 
so he may be delivered from the snare of them. 

Thirdly, The Christian is heavenly in his keeping of earthly things. The 
same heavenly law which he went by in getting, he observes in holding them. 
As he dares not say he will be rich and honourable in the world, but if God 
will ; so neither that he will hold what he hath, he only keeps them until his 
heavenly Father calls for them that at first gave them. If God will continiie 
them to him, and entail them on his posterity too, he blesseth God ; and so he 
desires to do also when he takes them aw^ay. Indeed God's meaning in the 
great things of this world, which sometimes he throws in upon the saints, is 
chiefly to give them the greater advantage of expressing their love to him, in 
denying them for his sake. God never intended by that strange providence, in 
bringing Moses to Pharaoh's coiu-t, to settle him there in worldly pomp and 
grandeur ; — a carnal heart indeed would have expounded Providence, and inter- 
preted it as a fair occasion put into his hands by God to have advanced himself 
into the throne, which some say he might in time have done ; — but as an oppor- 
tunity to make his faith and self-denial more eminently conspicuous in throwing 
all these at his heels, for which he hath so honourable a remembrance among 
the Lord's worthies, Heb. xi. 24, 25. And truly, a gracious soul reckons he 
cannot make so much of his worldly interests any other way, as by oftei-ing 
them up for Christ's sake; however, that traitor thought Mary's ointment might 
have been carried to a better market, yet no doubt that good woman herself 
was only troubled that she had not one more precious to pour on her Saviour's 
head. This makes the Christian ever to hold the sacrificing knife at the 
throat of his worldly enjoyments, ready to offer them up when God calls ; 
overboard they shall go, rather than hazard a wreck to faith or a good con- 
science ; he sought them in the last place, and therefore he will part with them 
in the first. Naboth will hazard the king's anger, which at last cost him his 
life, rather than sell an acre or two of land which was his birthright. The 
Christian will expose all he hath in this world, to preserve his hopes for another. 
Jacob in his march towards Esau sent his servants with his flocks before, and 
came himself with his wives behind ; if he can save any thing from his brother's 
rage, it shall be what he loves best. If the Christian can save any thing, it shall 
be his soul, his interest in Christ and heaven, and then no matter if the rest go; 
even then he can say, not as Esau to Jacob, I have a great deal ; but as Jacob 
to him, I have all, CJen. xxxiii. 9, 11 ; all I want, all I desire ; as David ex- 
presseth it, ' This is all my salvation, and all my desire,' 2 Sam. xxiii. 5. Now try 
whether thy heart be tuned to this note. Does heaven give law to thy earthly 
enjoyments ? Woiddst thou not keep thy honour, estate, no, not life itself, to 
prejudice thy heavenly nature and hopes? Which wouldst thou choose, if thou 
couldst not keep both, a whole skin or a soimd conscience ? It was a strange 
answer, if true, which the historian saith Henry the Fifth gave to his father, 
who had usurped the crown, and now dying, sent for this his son, to whom he 
said. Fair son, take the crown, (which stood on his pillow by his head,) but God 
knows how I came by it. To whom he answered, I care not how you came by 
it ; now I have it, I will keep it as long as my sword can defend it. He that 
keeps earth by wrong, cannot expect heaven by right. 



Use 3. Thirdly, Is it heaven and all that is heavenly that Satan seeks to 
hinder us of? Let this provoke us the more earnestly to contend for them. Had 
we to do with an enemy that came only to plunder us of earthly trifles, would 
honours, estates, and what this world affords us, stay his stomach, it might 
sufter a debate, in a soul that hath hopes of heaven, whether it were worth 
fighting to keep this lumber ; but Christ and heaven, these sure are too precious 
to part withal upon any terms. ' Ask the kingdom for him also,' said Solomon 
to Bathsheba, when she begged Abishag for Adonijah. What can the devil 
leave thee worth if he deprive thee of these ? And yet I confess I have heard of 
one, that wished God would let him alone, and not take him from what he had 
here. Vile brute ' the choice of a swine, and not a man, that could choose to 


wallow in the dung and orduie of his carnal pleasures, and wish himself for 
ever shut up with his swill in the hog's sty of this dunghill eartli, rather than 
leave these to dwell in heaven's palace, and be admitted to no meaner plea- 
sures tlian what God himself with his saints enjoys. It were even just if (iod 
gave sucli brutes as these a swine's face to their swinish hearts: but, alas! how 
few then should we meet that woxdd have the countenance of a man ! the 
greatest part of the world, even all that are carnal and worldly, being of the 
same mind, though not so impudent as that wretch, to speak what they think. 
The lives of men tell plain enough that they say in their hearts. It is good being 
here; that they wish they coidd build tabernacles on earth for all the mansions 
that are prepared in heaven. The ti-ansgression of the wicked said in David's 
heart, that ' the fear of God was not before them,' Psa. xxxvi. 1. And may 
not the worldliness of a muckworm say in the heart of any rational man, that 
heaven and heavenly excellences are not before their eyes or thoughts? Oh, 
what a deep silence is there concerning these in the conversations of men I 
Heaven is such a stranger to the most, that very few are heard to inquire the 
way thither, or so much as ask the question in earnest, what they shall do to 
be saved. The most express no more desires of attaining heaven, than those 
blessed soids now in heaven do of corning again to dwell on earth ; alas ! their 
heads are full of other projects ; they are either as Israel, scattered over the 
face of the earth to gather straw, or busied to pick that straw they have 
gathered ; labouring to get the world, or pleasing themselves with what they 
have got. So that it is no more than needs to use some argimients to call men 
off the world to the pursuit of heaven, and what is heavenly. 

First, For earthly things, it is not necessary that thou hast them ; that is 
necessary which cannot be supplied per vicm-ium, with somewhat besides itself. 
Now, there is no such earthly enjoyment, but may be so supplied, as to make its 
room more desirable than its company. In heaven there shall be light, and 
no sun; a rich feast, and yet no meat; glorious robes, and yet no clothes; 
there shall want nothing, and yet none of this worldly glory be found there ; 
j'ea, even while we are here, they may be recompensed : thou mayest be under 
infirmities of body, and yet better than if thou hadst health : ' The inhabitants 
shall not say, I am sick ; the people that dwell therein shall be forgiven their 
iniquity,' Isa. xxxiii. 34. Thou mayest miss of worldly honoin-, and obtain, 
with those worthies of Christ, Heb. xi., a good report by faith ; arid that is a 
name better than of the great ones of the earth ; thou mayest be poor in the 
world, and yet rich in grace; and ' godliness with content is great gain.' In a 
word, if thou partest with thy temporal life, and findest an eternal, what dost 
thou lose by thy change ? But heaven and heavenly things are such as cannot 
be recompensed with any other. Thou hast a heavenly soul in thy bosom ; lose 
that, and where canst thou have another? There is but one heaven; miss that, 
and where can you take up your lodging but in hell? One Christ that can lead 
you thither; reject him, ' and there remains no more sacrifice for sin.' O that 
men would think on these things! Go, sinner, to the world, and see what it can 
afford you in lieu of these ; may be it will offer to entertain you with its plea- 
sures and delights : O poor reward for the loss of Christ and heaven ! Is this all 
thou canst get? Doth Satan rob thee of heaven and happiness, and only give 
thee this nosegay to smell on as thou art going to thy execution 1 Will these 
quench hell-fire, or so much as cool those flames thou art falling into? Who but 
those that have perverted their understandings, woidd take these toys and new- 
nothings for Christ and heaven? While Satan is pleasing your fancies with 
these rattles and baubles, his hand is in your treasure, robbing you of that which 
is alone necessary : it is more necessary to be saved than to be ; better not to be, 
than to have a being in hell. 

Secondly, Earthly things are such, as it is a great uncertainty whether with 
all our labour we can have them or not. The world, though so many thousand 
years old, hath not learned the merchant such a method of trading, as that 
from it he may infallil)ly conclude he sliall at last get an estate by his trade ; 
nor the courtier such rules of comporting himself to the humour of his prince, 
as to assure him he shall rise. They are but few that carry away the prize in 
the world's lottery ; the greater niunber have only their labour for their pains, 
and a sorrowful remembrance left them of their egregious folly, to be led such 

J(3() IN HiGII PLACES; Oil, 

a wild-goose chase after that whicli Imth decfivecl them at last. But now for 
heaven and the things of heaven, there is such a clear and certain rule laid 
down, that if we will but take the counsel of the word, we can neither mistake 
the way, nor in that way miscaiTy of the end. ' As many as walk by this i"ule, 
peace be upon them, and the whole Israel of God.' There are some indeed who 
run, and yet obtain not this prize, that seek and find not, knock and hud tlie 
door shut upon them ; but it is, because they do it either not in the right 
manner, or in the right season. Some would have heaven ; but, if God save 
them, he must save their sins also, for they do not mean to part with them ; and 
how heaven can hold God and such company together, judge you : as they 
come in at one door, Christ and all those holy spirits with him would run out 
at the other. Ungrateful wretches ! that will not come to this glorious feast, 
unless they may bring that with them which would disturb the joy of that bliss- 
ful state, and offend all the guests that sit at the table with them ; yea, drive 
God out of his own mansion-house. A second sort would have heaven, but, like 
him in Ruth, iv. 2 — 4, who had a mind to his kinsman Ellmclech's land, and 
would have paid for the piu'chase, but he liked not to have it by marrying Rnth, 
and so missed of it. Some seem very forward to have heaven and salvation, if 
their own righteousness could procure the same ; all the good they do, and 
duties they perform, they lay up for this purchase, but at last perish, because 
they close not with Christ, and take not heaven in his right. ' A third sort are 
content to have it by Christ, but their desires are so impotent and listless, that 
they put them upon no vigoi'ous use of means to obtain him, and so, like the 
sluggard, they starve, beca\ise they will not pull their hands out of their bosom 
of sloth to reach their food that is before them ; for the world they have metal 
enough, and too much ; they trudge far and near for that, and when they have 
ran themselves out of breath, can stand and ' pant after the dust of the earth,' 
as the prophet phraseth it, Amos ii. 7. But for Christ, and obtaining interest 
in him, O how key-cold are they ! There is a kind of cramp invades all the 
powers of their souls when they should pray, hear, examine their hearts, draw 
out their aflections in hungerings and thirstings after his grace and Spirit. It 
is strange to see how they even now went full swoop to the world, are suddenly 
becalmed, not a breath of wind stirring to any purpose in their souls after these 
things : and is it any wonder that Christ and heaven shoidd be denied to them 
that have no more mind to them? Lastly, Some have zeal enough to have 
Christ and heaven, but it is when the master of the house is risen, and hath shut 
to the door ; and truly then they may stand long enough rapping before any^ 
come to let them in. There is no gospel preached in another world; but as for 
thee, poor soul, who art persuaded to renounce thy lusts, throw away the conceit 
of thy own righteousness, that thou mayest run with more speed to Christ; and 
art so possessed with the excellency of Christ, thy own present need of him, and 
salvation by him, that thou pantest after him more than life itself; — in God's 
name go on and speed, be of good comfort; he calls tliee by name to come unto 
him, that thou mayest have rest for thy soul. There id an office in the word where 
thou mayest have thy soul and its external happiness insured to thee. Those 
tiiat come to him, as he will himself in no wise cast away, so not suffer any 
other to pluck them away. ' This day,' said Christ to Zaccheus, ' salvation is 
come to thy house,' Luke xix. 9. Salvation conies to thee, poor soid, that 
openest thy heart to receive Christ ; tiiou hast eternal life already, as siu-e as if 
thou wast "a glorified saint now walking in that heavenly city. O sirs, if there 
were a free trade proclaimed to the Indies, enough gold for all that went, and a 
certainty of making a safe voyage, who would stay at home ? But alas, this can 
never be had : alfthis, and infinitely more, may be said for heaven ; and yet 
how few leave their uncertain hopes of the woidd to trade for it? What account 
can be given for this, but the desperate atheism of men's hearts ? They are 
not yet fully persuaded whether the Scripture speaks true or not, whether they 
may rely upon the discovery that God makes in his word of this new-found 
land, and those mines of spirituals there to be had, as certain. God open the 
eyes of the unbelieving world, as he did the prophet's servants, that they may 
see these things to be realities, not fictions; it is faith only that gives a being to 
these things in our hearts. By faith Moses saw him that was invisible. 

Tha-dly^ Earthly things, when we have them, we are not sure of them ; like 


birds, tlicy hop up and down, now on tliis liedge, and anon upon that, none can 
call them his own: rich to-day, and poor to-morrow ; in health when we lie 
down, and arrested with ])angs of death hefore midniijht. Joyful ])arents, one 
while solacing ourselves with the liopes of our hudding j)osterity, and may be 
ere long knocks one of Job's messengers at our door to tell us they are all dead; 
now in honour, but who kiu)\vs whether we shall not live to see that buried in 
scorn and reproach? The Scripture compares the uudtitude of people to waters; 
the great ones of the world sit upon these waters ; as the ship Hoats upon the 
waves, so do their honours upon the breath and favour of the multitude ; and 
how long is he like to sit that is carried upon a wave? One while they are 
mounted up to heaven, as David speaks of the ship, and then down again they 
fall into the deep. ' We have tey parts in the king,' say the men of Israel, 
2 Sam. xix. 43 ; and in the very next verse, Sheba doth but sound a trumpet 
of sedition, saying, * We have no part in David, no inheritance in the son of 
Jesse ;' and the wind is in another corner presently ; for it is said, ' Kvery man 
of Israel went up from afti'r David, and followed Sheba.' Thus was David 
cried up and down, and tliat ahnost in the same breath. Unliap])y num. he 
that hath no surer ])ortion than what this variable world will offer him ! The 
time of mourning for the departure of all earthly enjoyments is at hand; we 
.shall see them, as Eglon's servants did their lord, frdlen down dead before us, 
and weep because they are not. What folly then is it to dandle this vain 
world in our affections, whose joy, like the child's laughter on the mother's 
knee, is sure to end in a cry at last, and neglect heaven and heavenly things 
which endure for ever! O remember Dives stirring up his pillow, and com- 
posing himself to rest, how he was called up with the tidings of death before he 
was wann in his bed of ease, and laid with sorrow on another, which God had 
made for him in flames, from whence we hear him roaring in the angiush of his 
conscience ! O soul, couldst thou hut get an interest in the heavenly things we 
are speaking of, these would not thus slip from under thee ! heaven is a king- 
dom that cannot be shaken, Christ an abiding portion, his graces and comforts 
sure waters that fail not, but spring up unto eternal life. The quails that were 
food for the Israelites' lust soon ceased, but the rock that was drink to their 
faith followed them ; this rock is Christ : make sure of him, and he will make 
sure of thee ; he will follow thee to thy sick bed, and lie in thy bosom, cheering 
tliy heart with his sweet comforts, when worldly joys lie cold upon thee, as 
David's clothes on liim, and no warmth of comfort to be got from them. When 
thy outward senses are locked up, that thou canst neither see the face of thy 
dear friends, nor hear the counsel and comfort they would give thee, then he 
will come, though these doors be shut, and say. Peace be to thee, my dear 
child, fear not death or devils, I stay to receive thy last breath, and have here 
my angels waiting, that as soon as thy soul is breathed out of thy body, they 
may carry and lay it in my bosom of love, where I will nourish thee with those 
eternal joys that my blood hath pinxdiased, and my love prepared for thee. 

Fourthly, Earthly things are empty and unsatisfying. We may have too 
much, but never encnigh of them ; they oft breed loathing, but never content ; 
and indeed how should they, being so disproportionate to the vast desires of 
these immortal spirits that dwell in our bosoms? A spirit hath not flesh and 
l)ones, neither can it be fed with sucli ; and what hath the world, but a few 
bones covered over with some fleshly delights, to give it? The less is blessed 
of the greater, not the greater of the less. These things, therefore, being so far 
inferior to the nature of man, he must look higher if he will be blessed, even to 
(iod himself, who is the Father of spirits. God intended these things for oiu- 
use, not enjoyment; and what folly is it to think we can scpiceze that from them 
which God never put in them? Tliey are breasts, that, moderately drawn, 
yield good milk, sweet, refreshing ; but wring them too hard, and you will suck 
nothing but wind or blood from them. We lose what they have by expecting 
to find what they have not : none find less sweetness, and more dissatisfaction 
in these things, than those who strive most to please themselves with them. 
Tlie cream of the creature floats on the top ; and he that is not content to 
skim it, but thinks by drinking a deeper draught to find yet more, goes 
fiu'ther to s])eed worse ; l)eing siu'c by the disaj)|)ointment he shall meet to 
])ierce himself through with many sorrows. But all these fears might happily 


be escaped, if thou wouldst turn thy hack on the creature, and face about for 
heaven. Labour to get Christ, and through him hopes of heaven ; and thou 
takest the right road to content, thou shalt see it before thee, and enjoy the 
prospect of it as thou goest, yea, find that every step thou drawest nearer and 
nearer to it. Oh what a sweet change wouldst thou find! as a sick man 
coming out of an impure, imwholesome climate, where he never was well, when 
he gets into fresh air, or his native soil, so wilt thou find a cheering of thy 
spirit, and reviving thy soul Vv'ith unspeakable content and peace. Having 
once closed with Christ, first, the guilt of all thy sins is gone, and this spoiled 
all thy mirth before : all your dancing of a child, when some pin pricks it, will 
not make it quiet or merry ; well, now that pin is taken out which robbed thee 
of the joy of thy life. Secondly, Thy nature is renewed and sanctified, and 
when is a man at ease, if not v^hen he is in health? And what is holiness but 
the creature restored to his right temper in which God created him ? Thirdly, 
Thou becomest a child of God, and that cannot but please thee well, I hope, to 
be son or daughter to so great a King. Foiu-thly, Thou hast a right to heaven's 
glory, whither thou shalt ere long be conducted to take and hold possession of 
that thy inheritance for ever : and who can tell what that is ? Nicephorus tells 
us of one Agbarus, a great man, that hearing so much of Christ's fame, by 
reason of the miracles he wrought, sent a painter to take his picture ; and that 
the painter when he came was not able to do it, because of that radiancy of 
Divine splendour which sat on Christ's face. Whether this be true or no, I 
leave it; but to be sure, there is such a brightness on the face of Christ glori- 
fied, and that happiness which in heaven saints shall have with him, as for- 
bids vis, that dwell in mortal flesh, to conceive of it aright, much more to 
express ; it is best going thither to be informed, and then we shall confess we 
on earth heard not half of what we there find, yea, and that oiu- present con- 
ceptions are no more like to that vision of glory we shall there have, than the 
sun in the painter's picture is to the sun itself in the heavens. And if all this 
be so, why then do you spend money for that Avhich is not bread, and your 
labour for that which satisfieth not, yea, for that which keeps you from that 
which can satisfy ? Earthly things are like some trash, which do not only not 
nourish, but take away the appetite from that which would: heaven and 
heavenly things are not relished by a soul vitiated with these. Manna, though 
for deliciousness called angels' food, was yet but light bread to an Egyptian 
palate. But these spiritual things depend not on thy opinion, O man, whoever 
thou art, as earthly things in a great measure do, that the value of them should 
rise or fall as the world's exchange doth, and as vain man is pleased to rate 
them : think gold dirt, and it is so, for all the royal stamp on it ; count the 
swelling titles of worldly honour that proud dust so brags in, vanity, and they 
are such; but have base thoughts of Christ, and he is not the worse; slight 
heaven as much as you will, it will be heaven still ; and when thovi comest so 
far to thy wits with the prodigal as to know which is the best fare, husks or 
bread ; where is the best living, among hogs in the field, or in thy Father's 
house ; then thou wilt know how to judge of these heavenly things better. 
Till then go and make the best market thou canst of the world ; but look not to 
find this pearl of price, true satisfaction to thy soul, in any of the creature 
shops ; and were it not better to take it when thou mayest have it, than after 
thou hast wearied thyself in vain in following the creature, to come back with 
shame, and may be misg of it here also, because thou wouldest not have it 
when it was offered? 

Verse 13. Wherefore take unto you the tvhoJe armour of God, that ye may 
be able to withstand in the evil day, and having dune all, to stand. 

The apostle in these words resumes his former exhortation, mentioned 
ver. 11, and presseth it with a new force from that more particular discovery 
which he gives of the enemy, ver. 12 ; where, like a faithful scout, he makes a 
fall report of Satan's great power and malice, and also discloseth what a dan- 
gerous design he hath upon the saints, no less than to despoil them of all that is 


heavenly: from all which he gives them a second alarm, and bids them 'Arm ! 
arm ! wlierefore take unto you,' &c. In tlie words consider, 

First, The exhortation with the inference, ' Wherefore take luito you the 
whole armour of God.' 

Secondly, The argument with which he ui'geth the exhortation, and that 
is double. ' 

First, ' That ye may be able to withstand in the evil day.' 

Secondly, ' Having done all, to stand ;' that is, both able to fight, and able to 
conquer. As for the first general, 'the exhortation,' we shall wave it as to the 
substance of it, being the same with what we have handled, ver. 11. Only 
there are two observables which we shall lightly touch. The one from the 
repetition of the very same exhortation so soon, one verse only interposed. 
The other from the verb the apostle useth here ; which being not the same 
with ver. 11, affords a different note. There it is, endiisasthe, here, analaiii- 



First, of the first, the repetition of the same exhortation, and that in so 
short a space. Sure it was not for want of matter, but rather out of abundance 
of zeal, that he harps the second time on the same string. Indeed, he is the 
better workman, who di-ives one nail home with reiterated blows, than he which 
covets to enter many, but fastens none. Such preachers are not likely to reach 
the conscience, w'ho hop from one truth to another, but dwell on none. Every 
hearer is not so quick as the preacher, to take a notion as it is first darted forth ; 
neither can many carry away so much of that sermon, which is made up all of 
varieties, where a point is no sooner named, but presently pulls back its hand, 
and another makes a breach and comes forth, before the first hath been opened 
and hammered upon the conscience by a powerful application, as where the 
discourse is homogeneal, and some one necessary truth is cleared, insisted on, 
and urged home with blow upon blow ; here the whole matter of the discourse 
is akin, and one part remembered, brings the memory acquainted with the 
other; whereas in the former, one puts out the other in a weak memory. Short 
hints and away, may please a scholar, but not so profitable for others ; the one 
more fit for the schools, but the other for the pulpit. Were I to buy a garment 
in a shop, I should like him better that lays one good piece or two before me 
that are for my turn, which I may fully examine, than him who takes down all 
his shop, and heaps piece upon piece, merely to shew his store, till at last for 
variety I can look attentively on none, they lie so one upon another. 

Again, As it is profitable thus to insist on truths, so it is not unbecoming a 
minister to preach the same truths again and again : Paul here goes over and 
over the same exhortation, ver. 11 and 13 ; and elsewhere tells us, ' this is not 
grievous to him, but to them it is safe,' to hear the same thing over and over, 
Phil. iii. 1. There are three sorts of truths must in our ministry be preached oft. 
First, Fundamental truths, or, as we call them, catechism points, that 
contain truths necessary to be known and believed. The weight of the whole 
building lies on these ground-cells more than on superstructory truths. In a 
kingdom there are some staple commodities and trades, without which the com- 
monwealth could not subsist, as wool, corn, &c., in our country ; and these ought 
to be encouraged above others, which though they be an ornament to the nation, ■ 
yea, add to the riches of it, yet are not so necessary to the subsistence of it. 
Thus here, there is an excellent use of our other ministerial labours, as they 
tend to beautify and adorn, yea, enrich the Christian with the knowledge of 
spiritual mysteries ; l)ut tliat which is chiefly to be regarded, is the constant 
faithful opening of those main truths of the gospel ; these are the landmarks, 
and shew us the bounds of truths; and as it is in towns that abut one upon 
another, if the inhabitants do not sometimes perambulate, and walk the bounds, 
to shew the youth what they are, when the old studs are gone, the next gene- 
ration may lose all their privileges by their encroaching neighbours, because 

"m 2 


not able to tell what is their own. There is no fundamental truth, but hath 
some evil neighbour (heresy I mean) butting on it ; and the very reason why 
a spiri of error hath so encroached of late years upon truth, is, because we have 
not walked the bounds with our people, in acquainting them with, and esta- 
blishing their judgments on these fundamental points, so frequently and carefully 
as is requisite. And people are so much in fault, because they cast so much 
contempt upon this work, that they count a sermon on such points next to lost, 
and only child's meat. 

Secondly, Those truths are oft to be preached, which ministers observe to be 
most undermined by Satan or his instruments in the judgments or lives of their 
people. The preacher must read and study his people as diligently as any book 
in his study; and as he finds them, dispense like a faithful steward imto them. 
Paul takes notice that the Galatians had been in ill handling by false apostles, 
who had even bewitched them back to the law in that great point of justification, 
and see how he beats upon that point. Our people complain, we are so much, 
so oft reproving the same error or sin ; and the fault is their own, because they 
will not leave it. Who will blame the dog for continuing to bark, when the thief 
is all the while in the yard ? Alas, alas, it is not once or twice rousing against 
sin, will do it ! When people think the minister shows his laziness, because he 
preaches the same things, he may then be exercising liis patience, in continuing 
to exhort and rejirove those who oppose, waiting, if at last (Jod will give them 
repentance, to the acknowledging of the truth. We are bid to lift \ip our voice 
like a trumpet ; and would you have us cease while the battle lasts, or sound a 
retreat when it should be a battle ? 

Tliirdly, Truths of daily use and practice. These are like bread and salt; 
whatever else is on, these must be on the board every meal. St. Peter was of 
this mind, 2 Pet. i. 12 : 'I will not be negligent to put you always in remem- 
brance of these things, though ye know them.' He had, you may see, been 
speaking of such graces and duties, that they could not pass a daj' without the 
exercise of them, and therefore will be ever their monitor to stir up their piu'e 
minds about them. All is not well, when a man is weary of his ordinary food, 
and nothing will go down but rarities ; the stomach is sickly, when a man 
delights rather to pick some salad, than eat of solid meat : and how far this 
dainty age is gone in this sjiiritual disease, I think few are so far come to them- 
selves, as yet to consider and lament. O sirs, be not weary, as in doing, so not 
in hearing those savoury tiniths preached you have daily use of, because ye 
know them, and have heard them often: faith and repentance will be good 
doctrine to preach and hear to the end of the world. You may as well quarrel 
with God because he hath made but one heaven, and one way to it, as be 
offended .at the preacher for preaching these over and over. If thy heart be 
humble, and thy palate spiritual, old truths will be new to thee every time 
thou hearest them. In heaven, the saints draw all their wine of joy, as I may 
so say, at one tap, and shall to all eternity, and yet it never tastes flat. God is 
that one ol)ject their soids are filled with, and never weary of; and can any- 
thing of God and his love be wearisome to thee in the hearing here ? I am not 
all this while an advocate for any loiterer in our Lord's vineyard, for any sloth- 
ful servant in the work of the gospel, who wraps up his talent in idleness, or 
buries it in the earth, where, may be, he is digging and playing the worldling all 
the week, and then hath nothing to set before his people on the Lord's day, but 
one or two mouldy loaves, which were kneaded many years before. Tliis is 
not the good stewai'd ; here is the old, but where are the new things which he 
should bring out of his treasure ? If the minister labours not to increase his 
stock, he is the worst thief in the parish. It is wicked for a man, trusted with 
the improving of orphans' estates, to let them lie dead by him ; much more for 
a minister not to improve his gifts, which I may call the townstock given for 
the good of the souls of both rich and poor. If that preacher was wise, 
Eccl. xii. 9, who still ' taught the people knowledge,' that is, was ever going 
on, endeavouring to build them higher in knowledge, and that he might, did 
' give good heed, and sought out, and set in order many proverbs;' then surely 
he will be proved a foolish preacher at last, that wastes his time in sloth, or 
spends more of it in studying how to add to his estate out of his people's, than how 
to add to their gifts and graces, by a conscientious endeavour to increase his own. 




The second observable in tbe exhortation is taken from the verb which the 
apostle iisetli, analamhanefe, which signilies not only to take, but to take again, 
or recover a thing which we have lost, or reassunic a thing which for the present 
we have left. Now the apostle writing to the saints at Ephesus, who (at least 
many of them) were not now to put on this armour by a conversion, or the first 
work of faith, which no doubt had already passed u])on many among them, he, in 
regard of them and believers to the end of the world, hath a further meaning, i. e. 
that they would put on more clothes where this armour hangs loose, and they 
would recover where they have let fall any duty, or decayed in any grace. So 
that the note is, 

Doct. That the Christian should have an especial care to repair his broken 
armour, to recover his decayed graces. This armour may be battered ; I might 
shew sad exam])les in the several pieces. Was not Jacob's girdle of truth and 
sincerity unbuckled, when he used that sniful policy to get the blessing? lie 
was not the plain man then, but the supplanter; but he had as good have 
stayed God's time; he was paid home in his own kind: he puts a cheat on his 
father, and did not Laban put a cheat on him, giving Leah for llacliel ? What 
say you of David's breastplate of righteousness, in the matter of Uriali ? Was it 
not shot through, and that holy man feai-fuUy wounded, who lay almost a year 
(for aught we read of him) before he came to himself, so far as to be thoroughly 
sensible of his sin, till Nathan, a faithful surgeon, was sent to search tlie wound, 
and clear it of that dead flesh which liad grown over it ? And Jonah, (otherwise 
a holy prophet,) when God wovild send him on an errand to Nineveh, he hath 
his shoes to seek, I mean that preparation and readiness with which his mind 
should have been shod, to have gone at the first call. Good Hezekiah, we find 
how near liis helmet of hope was of being beat off his head, who tells us himself 
what his thoughts were in the day of his distress ; that he ' should not see the 
Lord in the land of the living,' expecting that God would never let go his hold, 
' till like a lion he had bi'oke his bones, and at last made an end of him.' Even 
Abraham himself, famous for faith, yet had his fits of unbelief, and distrustful 
qualms coming over his valiant heart. Now in this ease, the Christian's care 
shoiUd be to get his armour speedily repaired ; a battered helmet is next to no 
helmet, in point of present use ; grace in a decay is like a man pulled off' his 
legs by sickness ; if some means be not used to recover it, little service will be 
done by it, or comfort received from it. Therefore Christ gives the church of 
Ephesus (to whom Paul wrote this epistle) this coimsel, to ' remember from 
whence she was fallen, to repent and do her first works.' How many does a 
declining Christian wrong ac once ! 

Eirst, He wrongs God, and that in a high degree, because God reckons upon 
more honour to be paid him in by his saints' grace than by all other talents 
which his creatin-es have to trade with in the world. He can in some sense better 
bear the open sins of the world, tlian the decays of his saints' graces : they, by 
abusing tlieir talents, rob him of his 'oil, flax, and wool ;' but the Christian by 
the otlier bereaves him of the glory which should ])c paid him from his faith, 
zeal, patience, self-denial, sincerity, and the rest. Suppose a master should 
trust one servant with his money, and another with his child to look to ; would 
be not be more displeased to see his dear child hurt, or almost killed, by the 
negligence of the one, than his money stolen ])y the carelessness of the other ? 
Grace is the new creature, the birth of the Spirit; when this comes to any harm 
by the Christian's careless walking, it nuist needs go nearer the heart of God, 
than the wrong he hath from the world, who are trusted with nothing like this. 

Secondly, lie that declines in grace, and labours not to repair 'it, he wrongs 
his brethren, who have a share in one another's grace : he wrongs his whole 
body, that seeks not cure for a woimd in any member. We are bid ' to love 
one another,' 2 John, ver. 5. But how shall we shew our love to one another? 
The very next words will direct us; ' And this is love, tliat we walk after his 
connnaiulments.' Indeed, we shew little love to our !)rethren by sinning, 
whereby we are sure either to ensnare them, or grieve them : and how to let 


grace go down, and sin not go np, is a riddle to any that know what they 
both are. 

Thirdly, The Christian wrongs himself in not endeavouring to repair his 
broken armour, and recover his declining grace. By this he loses the evidence 
of his inheritance, or at least so blots it, that it cannot be so clearly perceived 
by him. A declining Christian must needs be a doubting Christian, because 
the common symptom of an hypocrite is, to wear and waste like a stake set in 
the groimd, which rots ; while true grace, like the tree, grows. Is not this the 
knot which the devil puzzleth many poor souls withal, and finds them work for 
many years to untie ? If thou wast a Christian, thou wouldst grow ; right 
saints go from strength to strength, and thou goest from strength to weakness. 
They go up the hill to Zion ; every ordinance and providence is a step that bears 
them nearer heaven : but thou goest down the hill, and art further from thy 
salvation than when thou didst first believe (as thou though test.) And doth it 
stand with thy wisdom. Christian, to put a staff into the devil's hand, an argu- 
ment into his mouth, to dispute against thy salvation with? If you held an 
estate by the life of a child, which upon the death of it should all go away from 
you, that child I warrant you should be well looked unto ; his head should not 
ache, but you would post to the physician for coimsel. I pray what is your 
evidence for that glorious estate you hope for? Is it not Christ within you? 
Is not this new creature (which may well be called Christ for its likeness to him) 
the young heir of heaven 's glory ? And when that is sick or weak, is it not time 
to use all means for its recovery? While thus, thou canst neither live nor die 
comfortably. Not live. A man in a consumption has little joy of his life : he 
neither finds sweetness in his meat, nor delight in his work, as an healthful man 
doth. Oh, how sweet is the promise to faith, when active and vigorous ! How 
easy the yoke of the command to the Christian, when his conscience is not 
galled with guilt, nor his strength enfeebled by temptation ! But the Christian 
in a declining condition tastes not the promise ; every command is grievous, 
and every duty burdensome to him : he goes in pain, like one whose foot is out 
of joint, though the way be ever so pleasant. And he is as unfit to die, as he 
is to live. Such an one can like no more to hear the news of death, than a 
tenant that wants his rent doth to hear of the quarter-day. This made David 
beg time of God ; ' Spare me a little, that I may recover my strength.' 

Having shewn you why the Christian should endeavour to recover his 
declining graces, it will be very requisite to give a word of counsel to the 

First, To direct him hov/ to judge of the declining state of grace, that he may 
not pass a false judgment upon himself therein. 

Secondljr, To direct him when he finds grace to be in a declination, how he 
may recover it. 



Quest, First of the first; how may a Christian judge whether grace be 
declining in him or no ? 

Answ. First, I shall resolve this negatively, and shew by what he is not to 
judge his grace to decline. 

Secondly, Positively, by what he may certainly conclude a decay of grace. 

First, Negativeh', and that in several particulars. 

First, Christian, do not judge grace to be fallen weaker, because thy sense of 
corruption is grown stronger. This oft lies at the bottom of poor souls' complaints 
in this case ; oh, they never felt pride, hypocrisj^, and other cori'uptions so 
haunt them, as now ; none knows how they are vexed with these and the like, 
beside themselves. Now let me ask thee, who makes this sad moan ? whether 
thou dost not think these corruptions were in thee before thou didst thus feel 
them ? How oft hast thou prayed as formally, and not been troubled ? How 
oft hast thou stood chatting with the same lusts, and thy soul hath not been laid 
low before the Lord vv'ith such, abasement of thyself as now? Deal faithfully 
between God and thj' soul, and tell not a lie for God, by bearing false witness 
against thyself If it bp tlius, thou hast raiher a comfortable sign of grace 


growing, than decaying. Sin cannot be on the getting hand, if the sense of sin 
grow quick. This is the concomitant of a thriving soul ; none so full of 
complaints of their own hearts as such; the least sin goes now to their very 
souls, which makes them think worse of themselves than ever : but it is not the 
increase of sin in them, but the advance of their love to Christ makes them 
judge so. When the sun shines with some power, and the year gets up, we 
observe, though we may have frost and snow, yet they do not lie long, but are 
soon dissolved by the sun. Oh ! it is a sweet sign that the love of Christ shines 
with a force upon thy soul, that no corruptions can lie long in thy bosom, but 
they melt into sorrow and bitter complaints; tliat is, the decaying sold, where 
sin lies bound up and frozen, little sense of, or sorrow for it appears. 

Secondly, Take heed thou thinkest not grace decays, because thy comfort 
withdi-aws. The influence of the sun comes where the light of it is not to be 
found ; yea, is mighty, as appears in those mines of gold and silver which are 
concocted by the same. And so may the actings of grace be vigorous in thee, 
when least under the shinings of his countenance. Did ever faith triumph more 
than in our Saviour, crying, 'My God, my God I' Here faith was at its 
meridian, when it was midnight in respect of joy. Possibly thou comest from 
an ordinance, and bringest not home with thee those sheaves of comfort thou 
usest to do, and therefore concludest grace acted not in thee as formerly. 
Ti-uly, if thou hast nothing else to go by, thou mayest wrong the grace of God 
in thee exceedingly ; because thy comfort is extrinsical to thy duty : a boon 
which God may give or not, yea, doth give to the weak, and deny to the strong. 
The traveller may go as fast, and ride as much ground, when the sun doth not 
shine as when it doth; though indeed, he goes not so merrily on his joiu'ney ; 
nay, sometimes he makes the more haste ; the warm sun makes him sometimes 
to lie down and loiter ; but when dark and cold, he jiuts on with more speed. 
Some graces thrive best, like some flowers, in the shade, such as humility, 
dependence on God, &c. 

Thirdly, Take heed thou dost not mistake, and think thy gi-ace decays, when 
may be it is only thy temptations increase, and not thy grace decreases. If you 
should hear a man say, because he cannot to-day run so fast, when an hundred 
weight is on his back, as he could yesterday without any such a burden, that 
therefore he was grown weaker, you would soon tell him where his mistake 
lies. Temptation lies not in the same heaviness always upon the Christian's 
shoulder. Observe, therefore, whether Satan is not more than ordinary let 
loose to assault thee ; whether thy temptations come not with more force and 
violence than ever ; possibly, though thou dost not with the same facility 
overcome these, as thou hast done less, yet grace may act stronger in conflicting 
with the greater than in overcoming the less. The same ship, that when light 
ballasted and favoured with the wind, goes mounting ; at another time, deeply 
laden, and going against wind and tide, may move with a slow pace, and yet 
they in the ship take more pains to make it sail thus, than they did when 
it went faster. 

Secondly, Positively ; how thou mayest conclude that grace is declining ; and 
that in a threefold respect. 

First, In reference to temptations to sin. 

Secondly, In refei-ence to the duties of God's worship. 

Thirdly, The frame of thy heart in worldly employments. 

First, In reference to sin ; and that is threefold. 

First, When thou art not so wakeful to discover the cncroachings of sin upon 
thee as formerly. At one time v.'e find David's heart smote him, when he but 
rent the skirt of Saul's garment. At another time, when his eye glanced on 
Bathsheba, he takes no such notice of the snare Satan had him in, and so is led 
from one sin to another ; which plainly shews that grace in him was heavy- 
eyed, and his heart not in so holy a frame as it had been. If an enemy 
comes up to the gates, and the sentinel not so nuich as gives an alarm to the 
city of his approach, it shews he is oil" his guard, either fallen asleep or worse. 
If grace were awake, and thy conscience had not contracted some hardness, 
it would do its ofllce. 

Secondly, When a temptation to sin is discovered, and tliou findest thy heart 
shut uj>, that thou d^'sl not prav against it, or not with that zeal and lidy 


indignation as formerly upon such occasions, it is a bad sign that hist liath got 
an advantage of thy grace, that thou canst not readily betake thyself to thy 
arms. Tliy affections are bribed, and this makes thee so cold a suitor at the 
throne of grace for help against thine enemy. 

Thirdly, When the arguments prevailing most with thee to resist temptations 
to sin, or to mourn for sin committed, are more carnal and less evangelical than 
formerly. May be thou rememberest when thy love to Christ would have spit 
lire on the face of Satmi, tempting thee to such a sin, but now that holy fire is 
so abated, tliat if there were not some other carnal motives to make the vote full, 
it would hazard to be carried for it rather than against it. And so in mourning 
for a sin, there is possibly now some slavish argvnnents,likean onion in the eye, 
which makes thee weep, rather than pure ingenuity arising from love to God, 
whom thou hast offended. This speaks a sad decay ; and the more mixture 
there is of such carnal arguments, either in the resisting of, or mourning for, 
sin, the greater the declination of grace is. David's natural heat sure was nuich 
decayed when he needed so many clothes to be laid on him, and yet feel so 
little lieat; the time was he would have sweat with fewer. I am afraid of many, 
their love to Christ will be found, in these declining times, to have lost so much 
of its youthful vigour, that what would formerly have put thenii hito a holy 
fury and burning zeal against some sins, such as sabbath-breaking, pi'ide of 
apparel, neglect of family duties, &c., hath now much ado to keep any heat at 
all in thom against the same. 

Secondly, In point of duties of worship. 

First, if thy heart doth not prompt thee with that forwardness and readiness 
as formerly, to hold communion with God in any duty. Possibly thou knowest 
the time when thy heart echoed back to the motions of God's Spirit, bidding 
thee 'seek his face; Thy face. Lord, will I seek;' yea, thou didst long as 
much till a sabbath or sermon season came, as a carnal wretch doth till it be 
gone ; but now thy pulse doth not beat so quick a march to the ordinances, 
public or secret. Nature cannot but decay if appetite to food go away. A 
craving soul is the thriving soul ; such a child that will not let his mother rest, 
but is frequently crying for the breast. 

Secondly, When thou declinest in thy care to perform duties in a spiritual 
sort, and to preserve tlie sense of those more inward failings, which in duty 
none but thyself can check thee of. It is not frequency in duty, but spiritiudity 
in duty, causeth thriving ; and therefore neglect in this point soon brings gi-ace 
into a consumptive posture. Possibly, soul, the time was thou wert not satisfied 
with praying, but thou didst watch thy heart strictly, as a man would every 
piece in a sum of money he pays, lest he should wrong his friend with any 
bi'ass or imcurrent coin ; thou wouldst have God not only have duty, but duty 
stamped with that faith which makes it current, have that zeal and sincerity 
which makes it gospel-weight ; but now thou art more careless and formal. 
Oh, look to it, poor soid ! thou wilt, if tlum continue thus careless, melt in thy 
spiritual estate apace ; such dealings will spoil thy trade with heaven ; God 
will not take off these flighty duties at thy hands. 

Thirdly, When a Christian gets little spiritual nom-ishment from communion 
with God to what he hath done. The time hatli been, it may be, thou coiddst 
shew what came of thy praying, hearing, and fasting ; but now the case is 
altered. Tliere is a double strength in communion which God imparts to a soul 
in a healthful disposition ; strength to faith, and strength for our obediential 
walking. Dost thou hear and pray, and get no more strength to hold by a 
promise ; no more poAver over, or brokenness of heart under, thy usual corrup- 
tions? What, come down the moimt, and break the tables of God's law as soon 
as thou art off tlie place ? As deep in thy passion, as uneven in thy course as 
before.' There is a sure decay of that inward heat which should and would, if 
in his right temper, suck some nourishment from these. 

Thirdly, By thy behaviour in thy worldly employments. 

First, W'hen thy woiddly occasions do not leave thee in so free and spiritual 
a disposition to return into the presence of God as formerly. It may be thou 
couldst have come from thy sho]) and family emploj'ments to thy closet, and 
fmd that they have kept tliee in frame, yea, perha])s delivered tliee uj) in a 
better frame for those duties ; but now it is otherwise, thou canst not so shake 


them off, but they cleave to thy spirit, and give an earthly savour to thy 
praying and hearing ; tliou hast reason to hewail it. When nature decays, men 
go more stooping ; and it is a sign some such decay is in thee, that thou canst 
not as thou usest lift up thy heart from earthly to spiritual duties. They were 
intended as helps against temptation ; and therefore when they prove snares to 
us, there is a distemper on us. If we wax worse after sleep, the body is not 
right, because the natiu'e of sleep is to refresh ; if exercise indisposeth for work, 
the reason is in oiu' bodies. So here. 

Secondly, When thy diligence in thy particular calling is more selfish. Pos- 
sibly thou hast wrought in thy shop, and sat close at thy study, in obedience to 
the command chiefly ; thy carnal interests have swaj-ed but little with thee ; 
but now thou tradest more for thyself, and less for God. Oh, have a care of this ! 

Thirdly, When thou canst not bear tlie disappointment of thy cainial ends in 
thy particular calling, as thou hast done : thou workest and gettest little of the 
world, thou preachcst and art not much esteemed, and thou knowest not well 
how to brook these. The time was thou ccmldst retire thyself into God, and 
make up all tliou didst want elsewhere in him ; but now thou art not so well 
satisfiecl with thy estate, rank, and condition ; thy heart is fingering for more of 
these than God allows thee ; this shews declining. Children are harder to be 
pleased, and old men, (whose decay of nature makes them more froward, and 
in a manner children the second time,) than others. Labour therefore to re- 
cover thy decaying grace ; and as this lock grows, so thy strength with it will, 
to acqiiiesce in the disposiire of God's providence. 



We come now to give a few directions to the Christian, how to recover de- 
caying grace. 

Inquire faithfully into the cause of thy declining. The Christian's armour 
decays two ways ; cither by violent battery, when the Christian is overcome by 
temptation to sin, or else by neglecting to furbish and scour it with the use of 
those means which are as oil to keep it clean and bright. Now inquire 
which of these have been the cause of thy decay. It is likely both conciu". 

First, If thy grace be weakened by any blow given it, by any sin committed 
by thee, there then lies a threefold duty upon thee towards the recovery of it. 

First, Thou art to renew thy repentance. It is Christ's counsel, Rev. ii. 5, to 
Ephesus, ' Repent, and do thy first works;' where it is not only conmianded as 
a duty, but prescribed as a means for her recovery ; as if he had said, Repent, 
that thou mayest do thy first works. Lo, Hos. xiv. 2, the Lord sets backsliding 
Israel about this work, bidding her ' take words, and turn to the Lord;' and, 
ver. 4, he then tells her he will take her in hand to recover her of her sins, 
' I will heal their backslidings.' A repenting soul is under promise of healing; 
and therefore, Clnistian, go and search thy heart, as thou wouldst do thy 
house if some thief or murderer lay hid in it to cut thy throat in the night ; 
when thou hast found the sin that has done thee the mischief, then labour 
to fill thy heart with shame for it, and indignation against it, and so go big with 
sorrow, and cast it forth before the Lord in a heartbreaking confession. Better 
thou do this, tiian Satan do thy errand to God for tliee. 

Secondly, When tJiou hast renewed thy repentance, forget not, delay not 
then to renew thy faith on the promise for pardon. Repentance, that is like 
purging physic to evacuate the peccant humour ; but if faith come not pre- 
sently with its restorative, the poor creature will never get heart, or recover his 
strength. A soul inay die of a Hux of sorrow, as well as of sin ; faith hath an 
incarnating virtue, as they say of some strengthening meats ; it feeds upon the 
promise, and that is 'perfect, converting,' or rather restoring 'the soul,' Psa. 
xix. 7. Though thou wert pined to skin and bones, all thy strength wasted, yet 
faith would soon recruit thee, and enable every grace "to jjerfomi its office 
cheerfully. Faith sucks pence from the pnmiise, called ' peace in believing ;' 
from peace flows joy ; ' being justified l)y faith, we have peace with God,' 
Rom. v. 1 ; and, ver. 2, ' We rejoice in hope of glory;' and joy aflbrds strength, 
' the joy f)f the Lord is our strength.' 


Thirdly, Back both these with a daily endeavour to mortify those lusts which 
most prevail over thy grace. Weeds cannot thrive and the flowers also ; when 
grace doth not act vigorously and freely, conclude it is oppressed with some 
contrary lust, which weighs down its spirits, and makes them lumpish ; even as 
superfluous humours do load the natural spirits in our bodies, that we have little 
joy to stir or go about any business till they be evacuated : and therefore ply 
this work close ; it is not a day's work or two in the year, like physic at spring 
and fall. Nothing more vain than to make a bustle, as the papists do at their 
Lent, or as some unsound professors among ourselves, who seem to bestir them- 
selves before a sacrament or day of fasting, with a great noise of zeal, and then 
let those ^'ery lusts live peaceably in them all tl>e year after. No, this is child- 
play, to do and undo ; thou must ' mortify daily thy lusts by the Spirit," Rom. 
viii. 13. Follow but this work conscientioiisly in thy Christian course, making it 
thy endeavour, as constantly as the labouring man goes out every day to work 
in the field where his calling lies, to watch thy lieart, and use all means for the 
discovery of sin ; and as it breaks forth, to be humbled for it, and be chopping 
at the root of it with the axe of mortification; and thou shalt see, by the blessing 
of God, v\'hat a change for the better there will be in the constitution of thy 
grace ; thou, who art now so poor, so pale, that thou art afraid to see thy own 
face long in the glass of thy own conscience, thou shalt then reflect with joy 
upon thy own conscience, and dare to converse with thyself without those 
surprisals of horror and fear which before did appal thee ; thy grace, though 
it shall not be thy rejoicing, yet h will be thy evidence for Christ, in whom it is, 
and lead thee in with boldness to lay claim to him ; while the loose Christian, 
■whose grace is overgrown with lusts, for want of this weeding-hook, shall 
stand trembling at the door, questioning whether his grace be true or no ; and 
from that, doubt of his welcome. 

Secondly, If, upon inquiry, thou findest that thy armour decays, rather for 
want of scouring than by any blow from sin presumptuously committed, (as 
that is most common and ordinary, rust will soon spoil the best armour, and 
negligence give grace its bane, as well as gross sins,) then apply thyself to the 
use of those means which God hath appointed for strengthening grace. If 
the fire goes out by taking oft' the wood, what may preserve it but by laying it 
on again ? 

First, I shall send thee to the word of God. Be more frequently conversant 
with it. David tells us where he renewed his spiritual life, and got his soul so 
oft into a heavenly heat, when grace in him began to chill: 'The word,' he 
tells us, 'quickened him ;' this was the sunny bank he sat under. The word draws 
forth the Christian's grace, by presenting every one with an object suitable to 
act upon, this is of great power to rouse them up ; as the coming of a friend 
makes us, though sleepy before, shake oft" all drowsiness, to enjoy his company. 
Aftections are actuated when their object is before them; if we love a per- 
son, this is excited by sight of him ; if we hate one, our blood riseth much more 
against him when before us. Now the word brings the Christian's graces 
and their objects together. Here love may delight herself with the beholding 
Christ, who is set out to life there in all his love and loveliness ; here the 
Christian may see his sins in a glass that will not flatter him ; and can there 
any godly sorrow be in the heart, any hatred of sin, and not come forth, while 
the man is reading what they cost Christ for them ? 

Secondly, From the word go to meditation ; this is a bellows to the fire : 
that grace which lies choked and eaten up for want of exercise, will by this be 
cleared and break forth ; while thou art musing this fire will burn, and thy 
heart grow hot within thee, according to the nature of the subject thy thoughts 
dwell upon. Resolve therefore. Christian, to inclose some time from all worldly 
suitors, wherein thou mayest every day, if possible, at least take a xievf of the 
most remarkable occurrences that have passed between God and thee. First, 
ask thy soul what takings it hath had that day, what mercies heaven hath sent 
in to thee ; and do not, when thou hast asked the question, like Pilate, go out, 
but stay till thy soul hath made report of God's gracious dealings with thee. 
And if thou art wise to observe, and faithful to relate them, thy conscience 
must tell thee that the cock was never tuined, the breast of mercy never put 
up all tlio day ; yen, while (lion art viewing these fresh mercies, telling over 


this new coin, hot out of the mint of God's bounty, ancient mercies will come 
crowding in upon thee, and call for a ])lace in thy thoughts, and tell thee 
what God liath done for thee, months and years ago ; and, indeed, old debts 
should not be paid last; give them. Christian, all a hearing one time or another, 
and tliou shalt see how they work upon tliy ingenuous spirit. It is with the 
Christian in this case, as with some mercliant's servant that keeps his master's 
cash; he tells his master he hath a great sum of his by him, and desires he 
would discharge him of it, and see how his accounts stand; but he can never 
find him at leisure. There is a great treasure of mercy always in the Christian's 
hands, and conscience is oft calling the Christian to take the account, and see 
what God has done for him ; but seldom it is he can find time to tell his 
mercies over ; and is it any wonder that such should go behind-hand in their 
spiritual estate, who take no more notice what the gracious dealings of God are 
with them? How can he be thankful that seldom thinks of what he receives? 
or patient when God afflicts, that wants one of the most powerful arguments to 
pacify a mutinous spirit in trouble, and that is taken from the abundant good 
■we receive at the hands' of the Lord, as well as a little evil? How can such a 
soul's love flame to God that is kept at such a distance from the mercies of 
God, which are fuel to.it? And the like may be said of all the other graces. 
Secondly, Reflect upon thyself, and bestow a few serious thoughts upon thine 
own behaviour, what it hath been towards God and man all along the day. 
Ask thy soul, as Elisha his servant, Whence comest thou, O my soul ? Where 
hast thou been ? What hast thou done for God this day ; and how ? And when 
thou goest about this, look that thou neither art taken off from a thorough 
search, as Jacob was by Rachel's specious excuse ; nor to be found to excuse 
thyself, as Eli his sons, when thou shalt upon inquiry take thy heart tardy in 
any point of duty ; take heed what thou doest, for thou judgest for God, who 
receives the wi"ong by thy sin, and therefore will do himself justice, if thou 
will not. 

Thirdly, From meditation go to prayer: indeed, a soul in meditation is on his 
way to prayer ; that duty leads the Christian to this, and this brings help to 
that ; when the Christian has done his utmost by meditation to excite his graces 
and chase his spirit into some divine heat, he knows all this is but to lay the 
wood in order. The fire must come from above to kindle, and this must be 
fetched by prayer. They sa)^ stars have greatest influences when they are in 
conjunction with the sun : then sure the graces of a saint should never work 
more powerfully than in prayer, for then he is in the nearest conjunction and 
comnumion with God. That ordinance, which hath such power with God, 
must needs have a mighty influence on ourselves. It will not let God rest, but 
raiseth him up to his jieople's succour ; and is it any wonder if it be a means to 
rouse up and excite the Christian's gi'ace ? How oft do we see a dark cloud 
upon David's spirit at the beginning of his prayer, Avhich by that time he is a 
little warm in his work begins to clear up, and, before he ends, breaks forth 
into high actings of faith, and acclamations of praise ! Only here. Christian, 
take heed of formal praying, this is as baneful to grace as not praying. A 
plaster, though proper, and of sovereign virtue, yet if it be laid on cold, may 
do more hurt than good. 

Fourthly, To all the former, join fellowship and comnumion with the saints 
thou livest amongst. No wonder to hear a house is robbed that stands far from 
neighbours. He that walks in communion of saints, he travels in company, he 
dwells in a city where one house keeps up another, to which Jerusalem is com- 
pared. It is observable, concerning tlie house in whose ruins Job's children 
were entombed, that a wind came from the wilderness and smote the four 
corners of it ; it seems it stood alone. The devil knows what he does in 
hindering this great ordinance of comnumion of saints; in doing this, he 
hinders the progress of grace, yea, brings that which Christians have into a 
declining, wasting state. The apostle couples those two duties close together ; 
' to hold fast our profession, and consider one another, and provoke unto love 
and to good works,' Heb. x. 2;5, 2t. Indeed, it is a dangerous step to apostasy 
to forsake the communion of saints; hence it is said of Demas, 'he hath left 
us, and embraced the present world.' O what mischief has Satan done us in 
thcfee few late years in this one particular ! What is liccome of this communion 


of saints? Where are two or three to be found that can agree to walk together? 
Those that could formerly pray together, cannot sit together at their Father's 
table, can hardly pray one with or one for another ; the breath of one Chris- 
tian is strange to another, that once lay in his bosom. ' This is a lamentation, 
and shall be for a lamentation.' 



That ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done, ^c. 

Wh come to the argmnent with which the apostle urgeth the exhortation, and 
that is double. 

The first hath respect to the hour of battle, ' That ye may be able to with- 
stand in the evil day.' 

The second to the happy issue of the war, which will crown the Christian 
thus armed, and that is certain victory, ' and having done all, to stand,' 

First, Of the first, 'That ye may be able to withstand in the evil day.' But 
what is this evil day? Some take tliis evil day to comprehend the whole life 
of a Christian here below in this vale of tears ; and then the argument runs 
thus : take to yourselves the whole armom* of God, that ye may he able to 
persevere to the end of your life, which you will find, as it were, one continued 
day of trouble and trial. Thus Jacob di-aws a black line over his whole life, 
' Few and evil have the days of my life been,' Gen. xlvii. What day shines 
so fair that overcasts not before night, nay, in which the Christian meets not 
with some shower or other, enough to deserve the name of an evil day? Every 
day hath its portion, yea, proportion; ' siifficient is the evil of the day.' We 
need not bori'ow and take up sorrows upon use of the morrow, to make up om* 
present load ; as we read of daily bread, so of a daily cross, Luke ix. 24, which 
we are bid to take, not to make ; we need not make crosses for ourselves, as we 
are prone to do, God in his providence will provide one for us ; and we are bid 
to take it up, but we hear nothing of laying it down, till cross and we lie down 
together ; our troubles and our lives are co-existent, live and die together ; here 
when joy comes, sorrow is at its heel ; staff and rod go together : Job himself, 
whose pi'osperity the devil so grudged, and set forth in all his bravery and 
pomp. Job i. 10, as if his sun had no shadow, hear what account this good man 
gives of this his most flourishing time, chap. iii. 26 : ' I was not in safety, 
neither had I rest, neither was I quiet.' There were some trovibles that broke 
his rest wh«n his bed was, to thinking, as soft as heart could wish ; even now 
this good man tosses and tumbles from one side to the other, and is not quiet. 
If one should have come to Job, and blessed him jvith his happy condition, and 
said. Surely, Job, thou couldst be content with what thou hast for thy portion, 
if thou mightest have all this settled on thee and thy heirs after thee, he would 
have said, as once Luther, that God should not jmt him off with these. Such 
is the saints' state in this bottom, that their very life here, and all the pompous 
entertainments of it, are their cross, because they detain them from their 
crown. We need nothing to make our life an evil clay, more than our absence 
from our chief good; which cannot be recompensed by the world, nor enjoyed 
v/ith it. Only this goodness there is in this evil, that it is short ; our life is but 
an evil day, it will not last long ; and sure it was mercy that God hath abridged 
so much of the term of man's life in these last days, wherein so much of Christ 
and heaven are discovered, that it would have put the saint's patience hard to 
it to have known so much of the upper world's glory, and then be kept so long 
from it, as the fathei-s in the first age were. O comfort one another. Christians, 
with this ! though your life be evil with troubles, yet it is short ; a few steps, 
and you are out of the rain. There is a great difference between a saint, in 
regard of the evils he meets with, and the wicked ; as two travellers riding con- 
trary ways, both taken in the rain and wet, but one rides from the rain, and so 
is soon out of the shower; but the other rides into the rainy corner, the further 
he goes, the worse he is. The saint meets with troubles as well as the wicked, 
but he is soon out of the shower ; when death cimies, he has fair weather : 
but as for the wicked, the further he goes the worse: what he meets with 
here is but a few drops, the great storm is the last. The poui'ing out of GA<l's 


wrath shall be in hell, where all the depths of horror are opened, both from 
above of God's righteous fury, and from beneath of their own accusing and 
tormenting consciences. 

Secondly, Others take the phrase in a more restrained sense, to denote those 
particular seasons of our life, wherein more especially we meet with afflictions 
and suflerings. Beza reads it, tempore adverso, in the time of our adversity. 
Though our whole life be evil, if compared with heaven's blissful state ; our 
clearest day, night to that glorious morning; yet, one part of our life compared 
with another, may be called good, and the other evil, we have our vicissitudes 
here. The providences of God to his saints here, while on this low bottom of 
earth, are mixed and party-coloured, as was signified by the ' speckled horses' in 
Zechariah's vision, Zech. i. 8. lied and white, jieacc and war, joy and sorrow, 
checker our days. Earth is a middle place betwixt heaven and hell, and so is 
our state here, it partakes of both ; we go uj) hill and down hill, till we get to 
our journey's end ; yea, we find the deepest slough nearest to our Father's 
house : death, 1 mean, into Avhich all the other troubles of oin- life fall, as 
streams into some great river, and with which they all end, and are swallowed 
up. This being tJie comprehensive evil, I conceive, to be meant here, being 
made remarkable by a double article, en fe emera te ponera, that day, that evil 
day, not excluding (hose other days of tribulation which intervene. These are 
but so many petty deaths, every one snatching away a piece of our lives with 
them, or like pages sent before, to usher in this king of terrors that comes 

The phrase being opened, let us consider the strength of this first argument, 
with which the apostle reinforceth his exhortation, of taking to om-selves the 
whole armour of God, and that consists in thi'ee weighty circmnstances. 

First, The nature and quality of this day of affliction. It is an evil day. 

Secondly, The unavoidableness of this evil day of affliction, implied in the 
form of speech, ' That you may withstand in the evil day.' He shuts out all 
hope of escaping, as if he had said, You have no way but to withstand; please 
not yourselves with thoughts of shunning battle ; the evil da}' must come, be 
you armed or not ai'med. 

Thirdly, The necessity of this armour, ' to withstand.' As we cannot run 
from it, so not bear up before it, and oppose the force which will be made 
against us, except clad with armom*. These would afford several points, but 
for brevity we shall lay them together in one conclusion. 



Doct. It behoves every one to arm and prepare himself for the evil day of 
affliction and death, which unavoidably he must conflict with. The point hath 
three branches. 

First, The day of affliction and death is an evil day. 

Secondly, This evil day is unavoidable. 

Thirdly, It behoves every one to provide for this evil day. 

First, Of the first branch ; the day of affliction, especially death, is an evil 
day. Here we must shew how affliction is evil, and how not. 

First, It is not morall}' or intrinsically evil. If it were evil in this sense, first, 
God could not be the author of it; his nature is so pure, that no such evil can 
come from him, any more than the sun's light can make night. But this evil 
of affliction he voucheth for his own act : ' Against this family do I devise an 
evil,' Mic. iii. 2. Yea, more, he impropriates it so to himself, as that he will 
not have us think any can do us evil beside himself It is the prerogative he 
glories in, that there is no evil in the city, but it is of his doing, Amos iii. 0. 
And well it is for the saints, that their crosses are all made in heaven ; they 
would not else be so fitted to their backs as they are. But for the evil of sin, 
he disowns it with a strict charge, that we lay not this brat, which is begotten 
by Satan upon our impure hearts, at his door : ' Let no man say, when he is 
tempted, I am tempted of God; for God cannot be tempted wi h evil, neither 
tempteth he any man,' Jam. i. 13. 


Secondly, If affliction were intrinsically evil, it could in no respect be the 
object of our desire, which sometimes it is and 4nay be. We are to choose afflic- 
tion rather than sin, yea, the greatest affliction before the least sin. Moses 
chose affliction with the people of God, rather than the pleasures of sin for a sea- 
son. We are bid to rejoice when wefall into divers temptations, that is, afflictions. 

But in what respects then may the day of affliction be called evil ? 

First, As it is grievous to sense. In Scripture, evil is oft put in contradistinc- 
tion to joy and comfort: ' we look for peace, and behold no good.' A merry 
heart is called a good heart; a sad spirit, an evil spirit; because nature hath an 
abhorrency to all that opposeth its joy, and this every affliction doth more or 
less. No affliction, while present, is joyous, but grievous, Heb. x. 11 ; it hath, 
like physic, an unpleasing fai'ewell to the sense. Therefore Solomon, speaking 
of the evil days of sickness, expresseth them to be distasteful to nature, that we 
shall say, ' We have no pleasure in them.' They take away the joy of our life. 
Natural joy is a true flower of the sun of prosperity, it opens and shuts with it. 
It is true indeed, the saints never have more joy than in their affliction, but this 
comes in upon another score : they have a good God that sends it in, or else 
they would be as sadly off as others. It is no more natui-al for comfort to 
spring from affl.ictions, than for grapes to grow on thorns, or maima in the 
wilderness. The Israelites might have looked long enough for such bread, if 
Heaven had not miraculously rained it down. God chooseth this season, to 
make the omnipotency of his love the more conspicuous : as Elijah, to add to 
the miracle, first caused water in abundance to be poured on the wood and 
sacrifice, so much as to fill the trench, and then bring fii-e from heaven by his 
prayer to lick it up. Thus God poiu's out the flood of affliction upon his children, 
and then kindles that inward joy in their bosoms which licks up all their soitow; 
yea, he makes the very waters of affliction they float on add a further sweet- 
ness to the music of their spiritual joy; but still it is God that is good, and 
affliction that is evil. 

Secondly, The day of affl.iction is an evil day, as it is an unwelcome remem- 
brancer of what sinful evils have passed in our lives. It revives the memory of 
old sins, which, it may be, were buried many years ago in the grave of forget- 
fulness. The night of affliction is the time when such ghosts use to walk in 
men's consciences; and as the darkness of the night adds to the horror of any 
fearful object, so doth the state of affliction, which is itself imcomfortable, add to 
the terror of our sins then remembered. Never did the patriarchs' sin look so 
ghastly on them, as when it recoiled upon them in their distress. Gen. xlii. 21. 
The sinner then hath more real apprehensions of wrath than at another time : 
affliction approximates judgment; yea, it is interpreted by him, as a pursuivant 
sent to call him presently before God, and therefore must beget a woful con- 
fusion and consternation in his spirit. Oh that men would but think how 
they could bear the fight of their sins, and a rehearsal-sermon of all their ways 
in that day ! That is the blessed man indeed, who can with the prophet then 
look on them, and triumph over them. This indeed is a dark parable, as he 
calls it, few can understand it ; as Psa. xlix. 4, 5 : 'I will open my dark saying 
upon the harp ; wherefore should I fear in the day of evil, when the iniquity of 
my heels compasseth me about?' 

Thirdly, The day of affliction makes discovery of much evil to be in the 
heart, which was not seen before. Affliction shakes and exposes the creature ; 
if any sediment be at the bottom, it will appear then. Sometimes it discovers 
the heart to be quite naught, that before had some seeming good ; these suds wash 
oft' the hypocrite's paint. Naiitra vexuta prodit seipsam, when corrupt natiu'e 
is vexed, it shews itself; and some afflictions do that to purpose. We read of 
such as are oftended when persecution comes ; they fall quite out with their 
profession, because it puts them to such cost and trouble ; others, in their distress, 
that curse their God, Isa. viii. 21. It is impossible for a naughty heart to think 
well of an afflicting God. The hireling, if his master takes up a staff to beat 
him, throws down his work and runs away ; and so doth a false heart serve God. 
Yea, even where the person is gracious, corruption is oft found to be stronger, 
and graces weaker, than they were thought to be. Peter, who sets out so 
valiantly at first to walk on the sea, the wind doth but rise, and he begins to 
sink: now he sees thei'e was more unbelief in his heart than he before suspected. 


Sharp afflictions are to the soul as a driving rain to the house ; we know not 
that there are such crannies and holes in tlie house, till we see it drop down here 
and there. Thus we perceive not how unniortihed this corruption, not how weak 
that grace is, till we are thus searched, and made more lully to know what is in 
our hearts hy such trials. This is the reason why none have such humhle 
thoughts of themselves, and suchpitifvil and forbearing thoughts towards others 
in their infirmities, as those who are most acquainted with afflictions ; they meet 
with so many foils in their conflicts, as make them carry a low sail in respect 
of their own grace, and a tender respect to their brethren, more ready to pity 
than censure them in their weaknesses. 

Fourtlily, This is the season when the evil one, Satan, comes to tempt. What 
we find called the time of tribulation, Matt. xiii. 22, we find in the same parable, 
Luke viii. 1,3, called the time of temptation. Indeed, they both meet; seldom 
doth God afflict us, but Satan addeth temptation to our wilderness : ' This is 
your hour," saith Christ, ' and the power of darkness,' Luke xxii. 53. Christ's 
suff'ei-ings from man, and temptation from the devil, came together. Esau, who 
hated his brother for the blessing, said in his heart, ' The days of mourning fin- 
my father are at hand, then will I kill my brother,' Gen. xxviii. 4L Times of 
affliction are the daj-s of mourning ; those Satan waits to do us a mischief in. 

Fifthly' and lastly, The day of affliction hath oft an evil event and issue, and 
in this respect proves an evil day indeed. All is well, we say, that ends well ; 
the product of afflictions on the Christian is good ; the rod with which they are 
corrected yields the peaceable fi'uits of righteousness, and therefore they can 
call their afflictions good ; that is a good instrument that lets out only the bad 
blood : 'It was good for me that I was afflicted,' saith David. I have read of 
a holy woman who used to compare her afflictions to her children ; they both 
put her to great pain in the bearing; but as she knew not which of her children 
to have been without, for all the trouble in the bringing forth, so neither which 
of her afflictions she could have missed, notwithstanding the sorrow they put 
her to in the enduring. But to the wicked the issue is sad ; first, in regard of sin, 
they leave them worse, more impenitent, hardened in sin, and outrageous in 
their wicked practices. Every plague on Egypt added to the plague of hardness 
on Pharaoh's heart : he that for some while could beg prayers of Moses for 
himself, at last comes to that pass that he threatens to kill him if he came to 
him any more. Oh, what a prodigious height do we see many come to in sin, 
after some great sickness or other judgment! Children do not more shoot up 
in their bodily stature after an ague, .than they in tlieir lusts after afflictions. 
Oh, how greedy and i-avenous are they after their prey, when they once get off 
their clog and chain from their heels ! When physic works not kindly, it doth 
not only leave the disease uncured, but the poison of the physic stays in the body 
also. Many appear thus poisoned by their afflictions, by the breaking out of 
their lusts afterwards. Secondly, In regard of soitow ; every affliction on a 
wicked person produceth another, and that a greater than itself: the greatest 
wedge comes at last, which shall cleave him fit for the fire. The sinner is 
whipped from affliction to afSliction, as a vagrant from constable to constable, 
till at last he comes to hell, his projjcr place and settled abode, where all sorrows 
will meet in one that is endless. 

The second branch of the point follows. This evil day is unavoidable : we 
may as well stop the chariot of the sun, when posting to night, and chase away 
the shades of the evening, as escape this hour of darkness that is coming upon 
us all. ' None hath power over the spirit to retain it, neither hath he power in 
the body of death, and there is no discharge in that war,' Eccl. viii. 8. Among 
men it is possible to get off" when pressed for the wars, by pleading privilege of 
years, estate, weakness of body, protection from the prince, and the like ; or if 
all these fhil, possibly, the sending another in our room, or a bribe given in the 
hand, may serve the turn ; but in tliis war the press is so strict, that there is 
no dispensation. David could willingly ha\'e gone for his son : we hear him 
crying, ' Would God I had died for thee, O Absalom, my son, my son ! ' But 
he will not he taken, that young gallant must go himself. We must in our own 
person come into the field, and look death in the face. Some indeed we find so 
fond as to promise themselves immunity from this day, as if they had an in- 
suring-office in their breast : they say they have made a covenant with death, 


and with hell they are at an agreement ; when the overflowing scourge shall 
pass through, it shall not come unto them ; and now, like dehtors, they have 
feed the sergeant, they walk abroad boldly, and fear no arrest. But God tells 
them, as fast as they bind he will loose : ' Your covenant with death shall be 
disannulled, and your agreement with hell shall not stand.' And how should 
it, if God will not set his seal to it? There is a divine law for this evil day, 
which came in force upon Adam's first sin, that laid the fatal knife to the 
thi-oat of mankind, which hath opened a sluice to let out his heart-blood ever 
since. God, to prevent all escape, hath sown the seeds of death in ovu- very con- 
stitution and nature, so that we can as soon run fi'om oin-selves as from deatli. 
We need no feller to come with a hand of violence and hew us down ; there is 
in the tree a worm which gi-ows out of its own substance, that will destroy it ; 
so in us, those infirmities of nature that will In-ing us down to the dust. Our 
death was bred when our life was first conceived ; . and as a breeding woman 
cannot hinder the hour of her travail, that follows in nature upon the other, so 
neither can man hinder the bringing forth of death, with which his life is big. 
All the pains and aches man feels in his life are but so nuiiiy singu/tus inonenfis 
naturcc, groans of dying nature ; they tell him his dissolution is at hand. Art 
thou a prince, sitting in all thy state and pomp, death dare enter thy palace, 
and come through all thy guards, to deliver the fatal message it hath from God 
to thee; yea, run its dagger to thy heart. Wert thou compassed with a college 
of doctors, consulting thy health, art and natiu-e both must deliver thee up when 
that comes. Even when thy strength is finnest, and thou eatest thy bread with 
a merry heart, that very food which nourishes thy life gives thee withal an 
earnest of thy death, as it leaves those dregs in thee which will in time procure 
the same. Oh, how unavoidable must tliis evil day of death be, when that very 
staff' knocks us down to the grave at last, which our life leans on, and is pre- 
served by! God owes a debt both to the first Adam and second : to the first he 
owes the wages of his sin ; to the second the reward of his sufferings. The 
place for full payment of both is the other world ; so that except death comes 
to convey man thithei-, the wicked, who are the posterity of the first Adam, will 
miss that full pay for their sins which tlie threatenings makes due debt, and 
engageth God to perform : the godly, also, who are the seed of Christ, these 
should not receive the whole purchase of his blood, which he would never have 
shed but upon credit of that promise of eternal life which God gave him for 
them befoi-e the world began. This is the reason why God hath made this day 
so sure ; in it he dischargeth both bonds. 

The third branch of the point follows, That it behoves every one to prepare and 
effectually to provide for this evil day, which so unavoidably impends over us : and 
that upon a twofold account; First, in ])ointof duty ; Secondly, in pointof wisdom. 
First, In point of duty. First, It is upon our allegiance to the great God 
that we provide and arm oin-selves against this day. Suppose a subject were 
trusted with one of his prince's castles, and this man should hear that a puissant 
enemy was coming to lay siege to this castle, yet takes no care to lay in arms 
and provisions for his defence, and so it is lost; how could such a one be cleared 
of treason? Doth he not basely betray the place, and with it his prince's 
honour, into his enemies' hand? Our souls are this castle^ which we are every 
one to keep for God. We have certain intelligence that Satan hath a design 
upon them, and the time when he intends to come with all his powers of 
darkness, to be that evil day. Now, as we should be found true to our trust, 
we are obliged to stand upon our defence, and store ourselves with what may 
enable us to make a vigorous resistance. 

Secondly, We are obliged to provide for that day, as a suitable return for, 
and improvement of the opportunities and means which God aflPords us for this 
very end. We caiinot, without shameful ingratitude to God, make waste of 
those helps God gives us in order to this great work. Every one would cry 
out upon him that should basely spend that money upon riot in prison, which 
was sent Inm to procin-e his deliverance out of prison : and do we not blush 
to bestow those talents upon our lusts and Satan, which God graciously indidgeth 
to deliver us from them, and his rage in a dying hour? What have we Bibles for, 
ministers and preaching for, if we mean not to furnish ourselves by them with 
armour for the evil day? In a word, what is the intent of God in lengthening 


out our dajs, and continuing us some while here in the land of the living ? Was 
it that we might have time to revel, or rather ravel out upon the pleasure of this 
vain world? Doth he give us our precious time to be employed in catching 
such butterflies as these earthly honours and riches are ? It cannot be. Masters 
do not use, if wise, to set their servants about such work as will not pay for the 
candle they biun in doing it. And truly nothing less than the glorifying of God, 
and saving o\u' soids at last, can be worth the precious time we spend here. 
The great God hath a greater end than most men think in this dispensation : 
if we would judge aright, we should take his own interpretation of his actions ; 
and the apostle Peter bids us ' count that the longsuftering of the Lord is 
salvation,' 2 Pet. iii. 15; which place he quotes out of Paul, as to the sense, 
though not in the same form of words, which in Rom. ii. 4, are these : ' Or 
despisest thou the riches of his goodness, and forbearance, and longsuffering, 
not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?' Fi-om both 
places we are taught what is the mind of God, and in this language he speaks 
to us by every moment's patience and inch of time that is granted to us. It is 
a space given for repentance. God sees, that as we are, death and judgment 
could bring no good news to us ; we ai'e in no case to welcome the evil day ; 
and therefore mercy stands up to plead for the poor creature in God's bosom, 
and begs a little more time may be added to his life, that by this indulgence he 
may be provoked to repent before he be called to the bar. Thus we come by 
every day that is continually superadded to our time on earth ; and doth not 
this lay a strong obligation on us to lay out every point of this time unto the 
same end it is begged for ? 

Secondly, In point of wisdom. The wisdom of a man appears most eminently 
in two things. 

First, In the matter of his choice and chief care. 

Secondly, In a due time of this his choice and care. 

First, A wise man makes choice of that for the subject of his chief care and 
endeavour, which is of the greatest importance and consequence to him : fools 
and children only are intent about toys and trifles ; they are as busy and earnest 
in making of a house of dirt or cards, as Solomon was in making of his temple. 
Those poor babes are as adequate to their foolish apprehensions, as great enter- 
prises are to wise men. Now such is the importance of the evil day, especially 
that of death, that it proves a man a fool, or wise, as he comports himself to it. 
The end specifies every action, and gives it the name of good or evil, of wise or 
foolish. The solemn day of death is, as the end of our days, to be the end of 
all the actions of our life. Such will our life be found at last, as it hath been in 
order to this one day. If the several items of our life, counsels and projects 
that we have pursued, when they shall then be cast up, will amount to a blessed 
death, then we shall appear to be wise men indeed : but if, after all our goodly 
plots and policies for other things, we be unprovided for that hour, we must be 
content to die fools at last ; and no such fool as the dying fool. The Chi'istian 
goes for the fool, in the world's account, while he lives; but when death comes, 
the wise world will then confess they miscalled him, and shall take it to them- 
selves. ' We fools counted his life to be madness, and his end to be without 
honour: but how is he now numbered among the children of God, and his lot 
is among the saints ! therefore have we erred from the way of truth,' Wisd. v. 
4, 5. The words are apocryphal, but sinners will find the matter of them canoni- 
cal. It is true indeed, saints are outwitted by the world in the things of the world, 
and no marvel ; neither doth it impeach their wisdom any more than it doth a 
scholar's to be excelled by the cobbler in his mean trade. Nature, where it 
intends higher excellences, is more careless in those things that are inferior ; 
as we see in man, who, being made to excel the beasts in a rational sovd, is 
himself excelled by some beast or other in all his senses. Thus the Christian 
may well be surpassed in matters of worldly commerce, because he hath a nobler 
object in his eye, that makes him converse with the things of the world in a 
kind of non-attendance; he is not much careful in these matters: if he can die 
well at last, and be justified for a wise man at the day of the resurrection, all is 
well ; he thinks it not manners to be unwilling to stay so long for the clearing 
of his wisdom, as God can wait for the vindication of his own glorious nature, 
which will not appear in its glory till that day, when he will convince the 


ungodly of their hai-d thoughts and speeches against him, Jude 15. Then they 
shall, and till then they will not, be convinced. 

Secondly, A wise man labours duly to time his care and endeavour for the 
attaining of what he proposeth. It is the fool that comes when the market is 
done : as the evil day is of great concernment in respect of its event, so the 
placing of our care for it in the right season is of chief imjDortance, and that 
sure nuist be before it comes. There are more doors than one at which the 
messenger may enter that brings evil tidings to us, and at which he will knock we 
know not ; we know not where we shall be arrested, whether at bed or board, whether 
at home or in the field, whether among our friends, that will counsel and comfort us, 
or among our enemies, that will add weight to our sorrow by their cruelty. We know 
not when, whether by day or night ; many of us, not whether in the morning, 
noon, or evening of our age. As he calls to work at all times of the day, so he 
doth to bed ; it may be while thou art praying or preaching, and it would be sad 
to go away profaning them and the name of God in them ; possibly when thou 
art about worse work ; death may strike thy quaffing-cup out of thy hand, while 
thou art sitting in the alehouse with thy jovial mates, or meet thee as thou art 
reeling home, and make some ditch thy grave, that as thou livedst like a beast, 
so thou shouldst die like a beast. In a word, we know not the kind of evil 
God will use as the instrument to stab us ; whether some bloody hand of 
violence shall do it, or a disease out of our bowels and bodies ; whether some 
acute disease, or some lingering sickness; whether such a sickness as shall slay 
the man while the body is alive, I mean, take the head and deprive us of our 
reason, or not; whether such noisome troubles as shall make our friends afraid 
to let us breathe on them, or themselves look on us ; whether they shall be 
afflictions aggravated with Satan's temptations, and the terrors of our own 
affrighted consciences, or not. Who knows where, when, or what the evil day 
shall be ? Therefore doth God conceal these, that we should provide for- all. 
Caesar would never let his soldiers know when or whither he meant to march. 
The knowing of these would torment us with distracting fear ; the not knowing 
them should awaken us to a providing care. It is an ill time to calk the ship 
when at sea, tumbling up and down in a storm ; this should have been looked 
to when on her seat in the harbour. And as bad it is to begin to trim a soul 
for heaven, when tossing on a sick bed. Things that are done in a hurry are 
seldom done well : a man called out of his bed at midnight, with a dismal fire 
on his house-top, cannot stand to dress himself in order as at another time, but 
runs down with one stocking half on, may be, and the other not on at all. 
Those poor creatures, I am afraid, go in as ill a dress into another world, who 
begin to provide for it when on a dying bed : conscience calls them up with a 
cry of hell-fire in their bosoms ; but, alas ! they must go, though they have not 
time to put their armour on ; and so they are put to repent at leisure in hell of 
their shuffling up a repentance in haste here. We come to the application of 
the point. 



Use 1. — It repi'oves those that are so far from providing for the evil day, 
that they will not suffer any thoughts of that day to stay with them ; they 
are as unwilling to be led into a discourse of this subject, as a child is to be 
carried into the dark, and there left : it is a death to them to think of death, or 
that which leads to it. As some foolishly think, they must needs die presently 
when they have made their will, so these think they hasten that sorrowful day 
by musing on it. The meditation of it is no more welcome to them, than the 
company of Moses was to Pharaoh : therefore they say to it, as he to Moses, 
' Get thee from me, and let me see thy face no more.' The fear of it makes 
them to butcher and make away all those thoughts which conscience stirs up con- 
cerning it : and at last they get such a mastery of their consciences, that they 
arrive to a kind of atheism ; it is as rare to have them think or speak of such 
matters, as to see a fly busy in winter : nothing now but what is frolicsome and 
jocund is entertained by them. If any such thoughts come as prophesy mirth, 
and carnal content, these, as right with their hearts, are taken up into the 


chariot to sit with them, but all other arc commanded to go behind. Alas, 
poor-spirited wretches ! something might be said for you, if this evil day of 
death and judgment were such en/ia i-a(ionls as had no foundation or being but 
what our fancies give them. Such troubles there are in the world, which have 
all their evil from our thoughts ; when we are disquieted with the scorns and 
reproaches of men, did we but not think of them, they were nothing : but thy 
banishing the thoughts of this evil day from thy mind will be a poor, sliort 
relief. Thou canst neither hinder its coming, nor take away its sting when 
it comes by the slighting it. Thou art like a passenger in a ship, sleep or awake 
thou art going thy voyage. Thou dost but like that silly bird, who puts her 
head into a reed, and then thinks she is safe from the fowler because she sees 
him not. Thou art a fair mark for God's vengeance ; he sees thee, and is 
taking his aim at thee, when thou seest him not ; yea, thou puttest thyself 
under an inevitable necessity of perishing by not thinking of this day. The 
first step to our safety is consideration of oiu- danger. 

Use 2. — It reproves those, who if they think of the evil day, yet it is so far 
off, that it is to little purpose. They will be sure to set it at such a distance 
from them as shall take away the force of the meditation, that it shall not 
strike them down in the deep sense and fear of it. That cannon, which if we 
stood at the mouth of it, would scatter us limb from limb, will not so much as 
scare them that get out of its reach. The further we put the evil day, the 
weaker impression it makes on us. It is true, say sinners, it cannot be helped ; 
we owe a debt to nature, it must be paid : sickness will come, and death follow 
on that, and judgment brings up the rear of both. But, alas ! they look not 
for these guests yet ; they prophesy of these things a great while hence to 
come ; many a fair day they hope will intervene. Thus men are very kind to 
themselves : first they wish it may be long before it comes ; and then because 
they would have it so, they are bold to promise themselves it shall be so ; and 
when once they have made this promise, no wonder if they then live after the 
rate of their vain hopes, putting off" the stating of their accounts till the winter 
evening of old age, when they shall not have such allurements to gad abroad 
from the pleasures of this life. O then they will do great matters to fit them 
for the evil day ! Bold man ! who gave thee leave to cut out such large thongs 
of that time which is not thine, but God's? Who makes the lease? the tenant or 
the landlord ? Or dost thou forget thou farmest thy life, and art not an owner ? 
This is the device of Satan to make you delay ; whereas a present expectation 
of the evil day would not let you sit still unprepared. Oh, why do you let 
your souls from their work, make them idle and rest from their burdens, by 
telling them of long life, while death chops in upon you unawares? And let 
me tell you, sudden destruction is threatened, especially to such secure ones. 
Read Matt. xxiv. 48, 50, 51, where it is denounced against that sort of sinners 
who please themselves with their Lord's delaying his coming, that ' the Lord 
of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour 
that he is not aware of.' Indeed, God must go out of his ordinary road of 
dealing with sinners if such escape sudden ruin. One is bold to challenge any 
to shew a precedent in Scriptvu'e of any that are branded for secin'ity, that some 
remarkable, yea, sudden judgment did not surprise. Sodom, how soon after a 
sunshine morning did the heavens thicken, and bury them in a few hours, by a 
storm of fire, in their own ashes ! Careless Laish cut off" before they almost 
think of it. Agag, when he saw the clouds of his fears break, and fair weather 
was in his countenance, they return immediately upon him, and shut him up in 
death ; he is presently hewn in pieces. Amalek slaughtered by David before 
the triumph of their late victory was cold. Nebuchadnezzar strutting himself 
in his palace with this bravado in his mouth, ' Is not this great Babylon which 
I have built?' and before he can get the words out of his throat, there is 
another voice, falling from heaven, saying, ' O king, to thee be it spoken, thy 
kingdom is departed from thee,' Dan. iv. .'51, .'53. ' And the same hoiu- it was 
fulfilled,' and he sent to graze with the beasts. Dives blessing himself for 
many years, and within a few hours the pillow is plucked from under his head, 
and you hear no more of him, till out of hell he roar. Yea, a whole world, 
few persons excepted, drowned, and they not know till the day the flood came 

N 2 


Matt. xxiv. 39, and swept them all away. And who art thou, O man, that 
promisest thyself an exemption, when kings, cities, a whole world have been 
mined after this sort ? 

Use 3. — This reproves those who indeed think oft of this evil day, much 
against their will, by reason of an awakened conscience, that is ever pinching 
them, and preaching on Paul's text before Felix to them, till it makes them 
tremble as he did ; yet such is the power of lusts in their hearts, that it makes 
them spur on, notwithstanding all the rebukes conscience gives them, and 
affrighting thoughts they have of the evil day ; yet they continue their old 
trade of sin desperately. The secure sinner, that has broke prison from his 
conscience, is like a sti'ong-brained drimkard; he swallows down his sin, as the 
other does his drink, with pleasure, and is not stirred at all. But here is a 
man that is stomach-sick, as I may so say ; his conscience is oft disgorging his 
sweet draughts, and yet he will sin, though with pain and anguish. O con- 
sider, poor wretches, wjiat you do ; instead of arming yourselves against the 
evil day, you arm the evil day against yourselves ; you are sticking the bed 
with pins and needles, on which you must ere long be laid ; you are throwing 
billets into that fiery furnace, .wherein at last you shall be cast : and all this in 
spite of your consciences, which God mercifully sets in your way, that the 
pricking of them may be as a hedge of thorns, to keep thee from the pursuit 
of thy lusts. Know, therefore, if thou wilt go on, that as thy conscience takes 
from the pleasures of thy sin at present, so it will add to the horror of thy 
torment hei'eafter. 

Use 4. — It reproves those who, though they are not so violent and out- 
rageous in sin, to make them stink above ground in the nosti'ils of others, yet 
rest in an unarmed condition ; they do not fly to Christ for covering and 
shelter against this day of storm and tempest ; and the reason is, they have a 
lie in their right hand ; they feed on ashes, and a deceived heart carries them 
aside from seeking after Christ. It would make one tremble to see how con- 
fident many are with their false hopes and self-confidences, daring to come up, 
as Korah, with his censer, as undauntedly as Moses himself, even to the mouth 
of the grave, till on a sudden they are swallowed up with destruction, and sent 
to be undeceived in hell, who would not be beaten from their refuge of lies 
here. Whoever thou art, O man, and whatever thou hast to glory in, were it 
the most saint-like conversation that ever any lived on earth, yet if this be thy 
shelter against the evil day, thou wilt perish. No salvation when that flood 
comes, but Christ, yea, being in Christ : hanging on the outside of the ark by a 
specious profession, will not save. Methinks I see how those of the old world 
ran for their lives, some to this hill, and others to that high tree ; and how the 
waves jjursued them, till at last they were swept into the devouring flood. 
Such will your end be that turn any other way for help than to Christ ; yet the 
ark waits on you, yea, comes up close to your gate to take you in. Noah did 
not put forth his hand more willing to take in the dove, than Christ doth to 
receive those who fly to him for refuge. Oh, reject not your own mercies for 
lying vanity ! 

Use 5. — Let this put thee upon the inquiry, whoever thou art, whether thou art 
in a posture of defence for this evil day. Ask thy soul, soberly and solemnly, 
Art thou provided for this day, this evil day ? How couldst thou part with 
what that will take away, and welcome what it will certainly bring? Death 
comes with a warrant to carry away all thy carnal enjoyments, and to bring thee 
up a reckoning for them. Oh, canst thou take thy leave of the one, and with 
peace and confidence read the other? Will it not affright thee to have thy 
health and strength turned into faintness and feebleness ; thy sweet nights of 
rest into waking eyes, and restless tossings up and down ; thy voice, that has 
so often chanted to the viol, to be now acquainted to no other tune but sighs 
and groans? Oh, how canst thou look upon thy sweet and dear relations with 
thoughts of removing from them? yea, behold the instrument, as it were, 
whetting, that shnll give the fatal stroke to sever soul and body ? Think that 
thou wert now half dead in thy members, that are most remote from the foun- 
tain of life, and death to have but a few moments' journey, before it arrives to 
thy heart, and so beat thy last breath out of thy body. Possibly the inevitable 


necessity of these do make thee to harden thyself against them ; this might 
indeed in some heathen, that is not resolved whether there be another world cr 
no, help a little to blunt the edge of that terror, which otherwise would cut 
deeper into his amazed heart. But if thou believest another world, and that 
judgment which stands at death's back, ready to allot thee thj' unchangeable 
state in bliss or miser}' ; surely thou canst not relieve thy awakened conscience 
with such a poor cordial. Oh, therefore, think what answer thou meanest to 
give luito the great God, at thy appearing before him, when he shall ask thee 
what thou canst say, why the sentence of eternal damnatifm should not then be 
pronounced against thee. Truly, we deal unfaithfully with our own souls, if we 
bring not our thoughts to this issue. If now you should ask, how you should 
provide against the evil day, so that 3'ou may stand before that dreadful bar, 
and live so in the mean time that you might not be under a slavish bondage 
through the fearful expectation of it; take it in a few directions. 

First, If ever you would have a blessed issue of this evil day, so as to stand 
in judgment before the great God, rest not till thou hast got into a covenant- 
relation with Christ. Dying David's living comfort was drawn from the 
covenant God had made with him; this was all his desire, and all his salvation. 
How canst thou put thy head into the other world without horror, if thou hast 
not solid ground that Christ will own thee for his ? Heaven hath its proper 
heirs, and so hath hell. The heirs of heaven are such as are in covenant with 
God : the foundation of it was laid in a covenant, and all the mansions there 
are prepared for a people in covenant with him ; ' Gather my saints together 
that have made a covenant with me.' But how mayest thou get into this 
covenant-relation? First, Break thy covenant with sin: thou art by nature a 
covenant-servant to sin and Satan ; may be thou hast not expressly in words 
and formally, as witches, sealed this covenant; yet virtually, as thou hast done 
the work of Satan, and been at the command of thy lusts, accepting the reward 
of unrighteousness, (the pleasure and carnal advantages they have paid thee in 
for the same,) therein thou hast declared thyself to be so. Now, if ever thou 
wilt be taken into covenant with God, break this : a covenant with hell and 
heaven cannot stand together. 

Secondly, Betroth thyself to Christ. The covenant of grace is the jointure 
which God settles only upon Christ's spouse. Rebecca had not the jewels and 
costly raiment, till she was promised to become Isaac's wife. Gen. xxiv. 53. 
' All the promises are yea and amen in Christ.' If once thou receivest Christ, 
with him thou receivest them. He that owns the tree hath right to all the 
fruit that is on it. Now that thou mayest not huddle up a marriage between 
Christ and thee, so as to be disowned of Christ, and it prove a nullity at last, 
it behoves thee to look to it that there be found in thee what Christ expects in 
every soul that he espouscth. First, therefore, consider whether thou canst 
heartily love the person of Christ. Look wishfully on him again and again, as 
he is set forth in all his spiritual excellences ; are they such as thy heart can 
close with ? Doth his holy nature, and all those heavenly graces with which 
he is beautified, render him desirable to thee? or couldst thou like him 
better if he were not so precise and exactly holy? Yea, is thy heart so inflamed 
with a desire of him, that thou canst love him with a conjugal love? A 
woman may love one as a friend, whom she cannot love so as to make him her 
husband. A friendly love may stand with a love of some other equal to it, yea, 
superior ; but a conjugal love is such as will bear neither. Canst thou find in 
thy heart to forsake all other, and cleave to Christ? Does thy heart sj)eak 
thee ready, and present thee willing, to go with thy sweet Jesus, though he 
carry thee from father and father's house? Is thy confidence such of his power 
to protect thee from all thy enemies, sin, wrath, and hell, that thou canst 
resolvedly put the lii'e of thy soid into his hands, to be saved by the sole virtue 
of his blood, and the strength of his omnipotent arm ; and of his care to provide 
for thee for this life and tlie otlii'r, that thou canst accpiiesce in what lie promiseth 
to do for thee ? In a word, if thou hast ("hrist, thou must not only love him, but 
for his sake all thy new kindred, which by thy marriage to him thou shalt be allied 
unto. How canst thou fancy to call the saints thy brethren ? Canst thou love 
them heartily, and forget all the old grudges thou hast had against then)? Some 


of tliem thou wilt find poor and persecuted, yet Christ is not ashamed to call them 
brethren, neither must thou. If thou findest thy heart now in such a dispo- 
sition as suits these interrogatories, I dare not deny the banns ; yea, I dare not 
but pronounce Christ and thee husband and wife. Go, poor soul, (if I may 
call so glorious a bride poor,) go and comfort thyself with the expectation of thy 
Bridegroom's coming for thee ; and when the evil day approaches, and death 
itself draws nigh, look not now with terror upon it, but rather revive with old 
Jacob, to see the chariot which shall carry thee over unto the embraces of thy 
Husband, whom thou hearest to be in so great honour and majesty in heaven, 
as may assure thee he is able to make thee welcome when thou comest there. 
Amongst the ' all things' which are ours by being Christ's, the apostle forgets 
not to name this to be one, ' death is ours:' and well he did so, or else we 
should never have looked upon it as a gift, but rather as a judgment. Now, 
soul, thou art out of any danger of hurt that the evil day can do thee. Yet 
there remains something for thee to do, that thou mayest walk in the com- 
fortable expectation of the evil day. We see that gracious persons may, for 
want of a holy care, fall into such distempers, as may put a sting into their 
thoughts of the evil day. David, that at one time would not fear ' to walk in 
the valley of the shadow of death,' is so affrighted at another time, when he is 
led towards it, that he cries, ' Spare me, () Lord, that I may recoA^er my 
strength, before I go hence,' Psa. xxxix. The child, though he loves his 
father, may do that which may make him afraid to go home. Now, Christian, 
if thou wouldst live in a comfortable expectation of the evil day. 

First, Labour to die to this life, and the enjoyments of it, every day, more and 
more. Death is not so sti-ong to him, whose natural strength has been wasted 
by long pining sickness, as it is to him that lies but a few days, and has 
strength of nature to make great resistance. Truly, thus it is here : that 
Christian, whose love to this life and the contents of it hath been for many 
years consuming and dying, will with more facility part with them, than he 
whose love is stronger to them. All Christians are not mortified in the same 
degree to the world. Paul tells us he died daily, he was ever sending more 
and more of his heart out of the world ; so that by that time he came to die, all 
his affections were packed up and gone, which made him the more ready to 
follow: ' I am ready to be offered up,' 2 Tim. iv. 6. If it be but a tooth to pull 
out, the faster it stands, the more pain we have to draw it. O loosen the roots 
of thy affections from the world, and the tree will fall more easily. 

Secondly, Be careful to approve thyself with diligence and faithfulness to 
God in thy place and calling. The clearer thou standest in thy own thoughts, 
concerning the uprightness of thy heart in the tenure of thy Christian course, 
the more composure thou wilt have when the evil day comes. ' I beseech 
thee, O Lord,' saith good Hezekiah at the point of death, as he thought, 
' remember how I have walked before thee in truth, and with a perfect heart, 
and have done that which is good in thy sight.' This cannot be our confidence, 
but it will be a better companion than a scolding conscience : if the blood be 
bad, the spirits will be tainted also : the more our life hath been corrupted 
with hypocrisy and unfaithfulness, the weaker our faith will be in a dying hour. 
There is great difference between two children that come home at night; one 
from the field, where he hath been diligent and faithful about his father's work, 
and another that hath played the tmiant a great part of the day ; the former 
comes in confidently to stand before his father, the other sneaks to bed, and is 
afraid his father should see him, or ask him where he hath been. O, sirs, look 
to your walking : these have been trying times as ever came to England ; it 
has required more care and courage to keep sincerity than formerly. And that 
is the reason why it is so rare to find Christians, especially those whose place 
and calling hath been more in the wind of temptation, go off the stage at 
death with such a plaudit of inward peace in their bosoms. 

Thirdly, Familiarize the thoughts of the evil day to thy soul ; handle this 
serpent often ; walk daily in the serious meditations of it; do not run from them 
because they are unpleasing to flesh: that is the way to increase the terror of it. 
Do with your souls, when shy of, and scared with the thoughts of affliction or 
death, as you use to do with your beast that is given to boggle and start as you 


ride on him : when he flies back and starts at a thing, you do not yield to his 
fear and go back, that will make him worse another time ; but you ride him up 
close to that which he is afraid of, and in time you break him of that quality. 
The evil day is not such a terrific thing to thee that art a Christian, as that 
thou shouldst start at it. Bring up tliy heart close to it ; show thy soul what 
Christ hath done to take the sting out of it ; what the sweet promises are that 
are given on purpose to overcome the fear of it, and what thy hopes are thou 
shalt get by it. These will satisfy and compose thy spirit ; whereas the 
shunning the thoughts of it will but increase thy fear, and bring thee more 
into bondage to it. 



We come now to the second argument the apostle useth, further to press the 
exhortation ; and that is taken from tlie glorious victory which hovers over the 
heads of believers while in the fight, and shall surely crown them in the end ; 
this is held forth in these words, 'And having done all, to stand.' The j^hrase 
is short, but full. 

Section I. — First observe, Heaven is not won with good words and a fair 
profession, ' Having done all.' The doing Christian is the man that shall stand, 
when the empty boaster of his faith shall fall. The great talkers of religion 
art oft the least doers. His religion is in vain, whose profession brings not 
letters testimonial from a holy life. Sacrifice without obedience is sacrilege. 
Such rob God of that which he makes most account of. A great captain once 
smote one of his soldiers for railing at his enemy, saying, that he called him not 
to rail on him, but to fight against him and kill him. It is not crying out upon 
the devil, and declaiming against sin in praj^er or discourse, but fighting and 
mortifying it, that God looks chiefly upon ; such a one else doth but beat the air : 
there are no marks to be seen on his flesh and unmortified lusts that he hath 
fought. Paul was in earnest ; he left a witness upon his body, made black and 
blue with the strokes of mortification. It was not a little vapoviring in sight of 
the Philistines that got David his wife, but shedding their blood : and is it so 
small a matter to be son to the King of heaven, that thou thinkest to obtain it 
without giving a real proof of thy zeal for God, and hatred to sin ? ' Not a 
forgetful hearer, but a doer of the word : this man,' saith the apostle, ' shall be 
blessed in his deed,' Jam. i. 25. Mark, not btj his deed, but in his deed ; he 
shall meet blessedness in that way of obedience he walks in. The empty pro- 
fessor disappoints others, who seeing his leaves, expect fruit, but find none ; 
and at last he disappoints himself, he thinks to reach heaven, but shall miss of 
it. Tertullian speaks of some that think. Satis Deum habere, si corde et animo 
suspiciatur, licet aclu minus fiat : God hath enough, they think, if he be feared 
and reverenced in their hearts, though in their actions they shew it not so 
much, and therefore they can sin, and believe in God, and fear him never the 
worse : this, saith he, is to play the adulteress, and yet be chaste ; to prepare 
poison for one's father, and )'ct be dutiful : but let such know, saith the same 
father, that if they can sin and believe, God will pardon them with a contra- 
diction also; he will forgive them, but they shall be turned into hell for all 
that. As ever you would stand at last, look you be found doing the work your 
Lord hath left you to make \\\y, and trust not to lying words, as the prophet 
speaks, Jer. vii. 

Section II. — Doct. 2. Secondly observe. That such is the mercy of God in 
Christ to his children, that he accepts their weak endeavours, joined with since- 
rity and perseverance in his service, as if they were full obedience ; and tliere- 
fore they are here said to have ' done all.' O, who would not serve such a 
Lord ! You hear servants sometimes complain of their masters to be so rigid 
and stnct, that they can never please them ; no,'not when they do their utmost: 
but this cannot be charged upon God. Be but so faithful as to do thy best, and 
God is so gracious that he will pardon thy worst. David knew this gospel 



indulgence, when he said, ' Then shall I not be ashamed when I have respect 
to all thy commandments,' Psa. cxix. 6, when my eye is to all thy command- 
ments. The traveller hath his eye on or towards the place he is going to, though 
he he but yet short of it ; there he would be, and is putting on all he can to 
reach it : so stands the saint's heart to all the commands of God ; he presseth 
on to come nearer and nearer to full obedience ; such a soul shall never be put 
to shame. But woe to those that cover their sloth with the name of infirmity, 
yea, that spend their zeal and strength in the pursuit of the world or their lusts, 
and then think to make all up when charged therewith, that it is their infirmity, 
and they can serve God no better. These do by God as those two by their 
prince, (Francis I. of France,) who cut off their right hand one for another, and 
then made it an excuse they were lame, and so could not serve in his galleys ; 
for which they were sent to the gallows. Thus many will be found at last to 
have disabled themselves, by refusing that help the Spirit hath offered to them ; 
yea, wasted what they had given them, and so shall be rewarded for hypocrites 
as they are. God knows how to distinguish between the sincerity of a saint, in 
the midst of his infirmities, and the shifts of a false heart. But we will wave 
these, and briefly speak to four points, which lie clear in the words. 

First, Here is the necessity of perseverance : ' Having done all.' 

Secondly, Here is the necessity of Divine armour, to persevere till we have 
done all. Wherefore else bids he them take this armour for this end, if they 
could do it without ? 

Thirdly, Here is the certainty of persevering and overcoming at last, if clad 
with this armour, else it were small encouragement to bid them take that 
armour which would not surely defend them. 

Fourthly, Here is the blessed result of the saints' perseverance propounded, 
as that which will abundantly recompense all their pain and patience in the 
war; having done all, ' to stand.' From these follow four distinct points. 

First, He that will be Christ's soldier, must persevere. 

Secondly, There can be no perseverance without true grace in the heart. 

Thirdly, Where true grace is, that soul shall persevere. 

Fourthly, To stand at the end of this war, will abundantly recompense all our 
hazard and hardship endured in the war. 

Section HI. — Doct. 1. He that will be Christ's soldier, must persevere to 
the end of his life in this war against Satan. This ' having done all,' comes in 
after our conflict with death : ' That ye may be able to withstand in the evil 
day.' Then follows, 'And having done all.' We have not done all till that 
pitched battle be fought. ' The last enemy is death.' The word Katergazestai 
imports as much as to finish a business, and bring a matter to a full issue ; so 
Phil. ii. 12, where we translate it well, 'work out your salvation;' that is, 
perfect it, be not Christians by halves, but go through with it ; the thorough 
Christian is the true Christian. Not he that takes the field, but he that keeps 
the field ; not he that sets out, but he that holds out in this holy war; deserves 
the name of a saint. There is not such a thing in this sense belonging to Chris- 
tianity, as an honourable retreat ; not such a word of command, in all Christ's 
military discipline, as. Fall back, and lay down your arms : no, you must fall 
on, and stand to your arms, till called off by death. 

First, We are under a covenant and oath to do this. Formerly soldiers used 
to take an oath not to flinch from their colours, but faithfully to cleave to their 
leaders ; this they called sacramentmn militare, a military oath ; such an oath 
lies upon every Christian. It is so essential to the being of a saint, that they 
are described by this, Psa. 1. 5 : ' Gather my saints together, those that have 
made a covenant with me.' We are not Christians till we have subscribed this 
covenant, and that without any reservation. When we take upon us the pro- 
fession of Christ's name, we enlist ourselves in his muster-roll, and by it do 
promise, that we will live and die with him in opposition to all his enemies. 
' Every nation will walk in the name of his god, and we will walk in the name 
of ouv God.' And what is it to walk in the name of our God, but to fight under 
the banner of his gospel, wherein his name is displayed, by giving an eternal 
defiance to sin and Satan ? If a captain had not such a tie on his soldiers, he 
might have them to seek when the day of battle comes. Therefore Christ tells 
xis upon what terms he will enrol us among his discijiles : ' If any man will be 

AND iiAviNu do:;e all, to stand. ]g5 

my disciple, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.' He 
will not entertain us, till we resign up ourselves freely to his disposal, that 
there may be no disputing with his commands afterwards, but, as one under his 
authority, go and come at his word. 

Secondly, Perseverance is necessary, because our enemy perseveres to oppose 
us. There is no truce in the devil's heart, no cessati(m of arms in our enemy's 
camp. If an enemy continue to assaidt a city, and they within cease to resist, 
it is easy to tell what will follow. The prophet that was sent to Bethel did his 
errand well, withstood Jeroboam's temptation, but in his way home was drawn 
aside by the old prophet, and at last slain by a lion. Thus many fly from one 
temptation, but not persevering, are vanquished by another ; those that at one 
time escape his sword, at another time are slain by it. Joasli was hopeful when 
young, but it lasted not long. Yea, many precious servants of God, not making 
such vigorous resistance in their last days as in their first, have fallen foully; as 
we see in Solomon, Asa, and others. Indeed it is hard when a line is drawn to 
a great length, to keep it so straight that it slacken not ; and to hold a thing long 
in our hand, and not to have a numbness grow in our fingers, so as to remit of 
our strength : therefore we are bid so often to hold fast the profession of our 
faith. But when we see an enemy gaping, to catch us when we fall, methinks 
this shoidd quicken us the more to it. 

Thirdly, Because the jH'omise of life and glory is settled upon the persevering 
soul, the crown stands at the goal ; he hath it that comes to the end of the race. 
'To him that overcomes will I give,' not in prcBlio, but in bello, not in a par- 
ticular skirmish, but in the whole war. ' Ye have need of patience, that after 
ye have done the whole will of God, ye might receive the promise,' Heb. x. 36. 
Thft'e is a remarkable accent on that 'henceforth,' which Paul mentions, 
2. Tim. iv. 7, 8 : 'I have fought a good fight ; henceforth is laid up for me a 
crown of righteousness.' Why, was it not laid up before ? Yes, but having per- 
severed and come near the goal, being within sight of home, ready to die, he 
takes now sm-er hold of the promise. Indeed in this sense it is, that a gracious 
soul is nearer its salvation after every victoi-y than it was before, because he 
approacheth nearer to the end of his race, which is the time promised for the 
receiving of the promised salvation, Rom. xiii. 10. Then, and not till then, the 
garland drops upon his head. 

Use. — ^Here we may take up a sad lamentation in respect of the many apostate 
professors of our days. Never was this spiritual falling-sickness more rife : O 
how many are sick of it at present, and not a few fallen asleep by it ! These 
times of war and confusion have not made so many broken merchants, as 
broken professors : where is tlie congregation that cannot shew some who 
have outlived their profession? Not unlike the silkworm, which, they say, 
after all her spinning, works herself out of her bottom, and becomes at last a 
common fly. Are there not many whose forwardness in religion we have 
stood gazing on with admiration, as the disciples on the temple, ready to say 
one to another, as they to Christ, See what manner of stones these are ! what 
polished gifts and shining graces are here ! and now not one stone left upon 
another. O did you ever think, that they who went in so goodly array to- 
wards heaven, in communion with you, would after that face about, and run 
over to the devil's side ; turn blasphemers, worldlings, and atheists, as some 
have done? 

Oh, what a sad change is here ! ' It had been better for them not to have 
known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from 
the holy commandment delivered unto them,' 2 Pet. ii. 21. Better never to have 
walked a step towards heaven, than to put such a scorn and reproach upon the 
ways of God. Such a one who hath known what a service Satan's is, and what 
God's is, then to revolt from God to the devil, seems to have compared one with 
the other; and as the result of his matm-e thoughts, to pronounce the devil's, 
which he chooseth, better than God's, which he leaveth. And how is it possible 
that any can sin upon a higher guilt, and go to hell under a greater load of 
wrath ? These are they which God loathes. He that hates putting away, dis- 
dains much more to be himself thus put away. ' If any man draw back, my 
soul shall have no pleasm-e in him,' Heb. x. 31. The apostate is said to tread 
upon the Son of God, Heb. x. 29, as if he were no better than the dirt under 


his feet. Well, he shall have treading for treading ; God himself will set his 
foot upon him, Psa. cxix. 118 : 'Thou hast trodden down all that err from thy 
statutes.' And who think you will be weary soonest ? He that is under foot 
bears the weight of the whole man U])on him. To be under the foot of God, is 
to lie under the whole weight of God's wrath. O pity and pray for such for- 
lorn souls; they are objects of the one, and subjects of the other; though 
they are fallen low, yet not into hell : now and then we see an Eutychus 
raised, that hath fallen from such a height. ' And you that stand, take heed 
lest you fall.' 

Section IV. — Doct. 2. Secondly, A soul void of divine armour cannot perse- 
vere. What this divine armour is, I have shewn, and the apostle here doth in 
the several pieces of it. The sanctifying graces of God's Spirit are this armour. 
One that hath not these wrought in him, will never hold out to pass all the 
stages of this Christian race, to fight all the battles that are to be fought before 
victory is to be had. Common gifts of the Spirit, such as illumination, convic- 
tion, sudden pangs and flushing heats of affection, may carry out the creature 
for a while with a goodly appearance of zeal for God, and forwardness in 
profession; but the strength these afford is soon spent. John's hearers, men- 
tioned John V. 35, got some light and heat by sitting under his burning ministi-y ; 
but how long did it last? 'Ye were willing to rejoice for a season.' They were 
very beautiful colours that were drawn on them,- but not laid in oil, and 
therefore soon washed off again. The foolish virgins made as great a blaze with 
their lamps, and did expect as good a day when Christ should come, as the 
wise virgins ; but, alas ! their lamps are out before he appeai-ed, and as good 
never a whit as never the better. The stony ground more forward than the best 
soil ; the seed comes up immediately, as if a crop should soon have been 
reaped, but a few nipping frosts turn its hue, and the day of the harvest proves 
a day of desperate sorrow. All these instances and many more in Scripture do 
evince, that nothing short of solid grace, and a principle of divine life in the 
soul, will persevere. How forward soever formalists and flighty professprs are 
to promise to themselves hopes of reaching heaven, they will find it too long a 
step for their short-breathed souls to attain. The reasons are, 

First, Such want a principle of divine life to draw strength from Christ to pre- 
serve them in their course. That by which the gracious soul itself perseveres, is 
the continual supply it receives from Christ; as the arm and foot is kept alive in 
the body by those vital spirits which they receive from the heart: ' I live,' saith 
Paul, 'yet not I, but Christ in me;' that is. Hive, but at Christ's cost; he holds, 
as my soul, so my grace in life. Now the carnal person wanting this union, 
must needs waste and consume in time ; he hath no root to stand on. A car- 
case, when once it begins to rot, never recovers, but every day grows worse till 
it runs all into putrefaction; no salve or plaster will do it good; but where there 
is a principle of lite, there, when a member is wounded, nature sends supplies 
of spirits, and helps to work with the salve for a cure. There is the same 
difference between a gracious person and an ungracious : see them opposed in 
this respect, Prov. xiv. 17 : ' 'Phe righteous man falls seven times a day, and 
riseth; Ijut the wicked falleth into mischief:' that is, in falling he falls further, 
and hath no power to recover himself. When Cain sinned, see how he falls fur- 
ther and further, like a stone down a hill, never stays till he comes to the bottom 
of despair; from envying his brother to malice, from malice to murder, from 
murder to impudent lying and brazen-faced boldness to God himself, and from 
that to despair; so true is that, 2 Tim. ii. 13, ' Evil men shall wax worse and 
worse.' But now when a saint falls, he riseth; because when he falls he hath a 
principle of life to cry out to Christ, and such an interest in Christ as stirs him 
up to help: ' Lord, save me,' said Peter, when he began to sink ; and presently 
Christ's hand is put forth ; he chides him for his unbelief, but he helps him. 

Secondly, An unregenerate soul hath no assurance for the continuance of 
those common gifts of the Spirit he hath at present : they come on the same 
terms that temporal enjoyments do to such a one. A carnal person, when he 
hath his table most sumptuously spread, cannot shew any word of promise under 
God's hand, that he shall be provided for the next meal. God gives these 
things to the wicked, as we a crust or night's lodging to a beggar in our barn ; it 
is our bounty ; such a one could not sue us for denying the same : so in the 


common gifts of the Spirit, God was not bound to give them, nor is he to con- 
tinue them. Thou hast some knowledge of the tilings of God ; thou mayest for 
all this die without knowledge at last : thou art a sinner in chains ; restraining 
grace keeps thee in ; this may he taken off, and thou let loose to thy lusts as 
freely as ever. And how can he persevere, that in one day may from praying 
fall to cursing ; from a whining, complaining conscience, come to have a seared 

Thirdly, Every unregenerate man, when most busy with profession, hath 
those engagements lie upon him, that will necessarily, when put to it, take him 
off one time or other. One is engaged to the woi-ld ; and when he can come 
to a good market for that, then he goes away : he cannot have both, and now he 
will make it appear which he loves best : * Demas hath forsaken us, and em- 
braced this present world.' Another is a slave to liis lust ; and when this calls 
him, he must go, in spite of profession, conscience, God and all. Herod feared 
John, and did many things ; but love is stronger than fear ; his love to Herodias 
overcomes his fear of John, and makes him cut off at once the head of John, 
and the hopeful buddings which appeared in the tenderness of his conscience 
and begun reformation. One root of bitterness or other will spring up in such 
a one. If the complexion of the soul be profane, it will at last come to it, 
however for a while there may be some religious colour ajipcar in the man's 
face from some other external cause. 

Use. — -This shews us what is the root of all final apostasy ; and that is, the 
want of a thorough change of the heart. The apostate doth not lose the grace 
he had, but discovers he never had any ; and it is no wonder to hear that he 
proves bankrupt, that was worse than nouglit when he first set up. M^ny take 
up their saintship upon trust, and ti-ade in the duties of religion with the credit 
they have gained from others' opinion of them. They believe themselves to be 
Christians, because others hope them to be such ; and so their great business is, 
by a zeal in those exercises of religion that lie outmost, to keep up the credit 
they have abroad, but do not look to get a stock of solid grace within, which 
should maintain them in their profession ; and this proves their undoing at last. 
Let it therefore make us, in the fear of God, to consider upon what score we take 
up our profession. Is there that within which bears proportion to our outward 
zeal ? Have we laid a good bottom 1 Is not the superstructure top-heavy, 
jetting too far beyond the weak foundation? They say trees shoot as much 
in the root under ground as in the branches above, and so doth true grace. O 
remember what was the perishing of the seed in stony ground ! it lacked root ; 
and why so, but because it was stony ? Be willing the plough should go deep 
enough to humble thee for sin, and rend thy heart from sin. The soul effectually 
brought out of the love of sin, as sin, will never be thorough friends with it again. 
In a word, be serious to find out the great spring that sets all thy wheels on 
motion in thy religious trade. Do as men that would know how much they 
are worth, who set what they owe on one side, and what stock they have on the 
other ; and then when they have laid out enough to discharge all debts and 
engagements, what remains to themselves they may call their own. Thus do 
thou consider what thou standest engaged to, thy worldly credit, profit, slavish 
fear of God, and selfish desire of happiness ; and when thou hast allowed for 
all these, see then what remains of thy fear of God, love to God, &c. If nothing, 
thou art naught ; if any, the less there be the weaker Christian thou art ; and 
when thou comest to be tried in God's fire, thou wilt suffer loss of all the other, 
which as hay and stubble will be burnt up. 

Sf.ction V. — Doct. 3. Every soul clad with this annour of God shall stand 
and persevere ; or thus, true grace can never be vanquished. The Chi'istian 
is born a conqueror, the gates of hell shall not prevail against him. ' He that 
is born of God overcometh the world,' 1 John v. 4. Mark from whence the 
victory is dated, even from his birth : there is victory sown in his new nature, 
even that seed of (xod, which will keep him from being swallowed up by sin or 
Satan. As Christ rose, never to die more, so doth hp raise souls from the grave 
of sin, never to come under the power of spiritual death more. ' These holy 
ones of God cannot see corruption.' Hence he that believes is said in the 
present tense to have eternal life. As the law that came four hundred years_ 
after could not make void the promise to Abraham, so nothing that intervenes 


can hinder the accomplishing of that promise of eternal life which was given 
and passed to Christ in their behalf before the foundation of the world. If a 
saint could any way miscarry and fall short of this eternal life, it must be from 
one of these three causes : 1. Because God may forsake the Christian, and 
withdraw his grace and help from him ; or, 2. Because the believer may forsake 
God ; or, lastly. Because Satan may pluck him out of the hands of God. A 
fourth I know not. Now none of these can be. 

First, God can never forsake the Christian. Some imadvised speeches have 
dropped from tempted souls, discovering some fears of God's casting them oiF; 
but they have been confuted, and have eaten their words with shame, as we 
see in Job and David. O what admirable security hath the great God given 
his children in this particular ! 

First, In promises. ' He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee,' 
Heb. xiii. .5. Five negatives in that promise, as so many seals to ratify it to 
our faith : he assures us there never did or can so much as arise a repenting 
thought in his heart concerning the purposes of his love and special grace 
towards his children. Rom. xi. 29 : 'The gifts and calling of God are without 
repentance :' even the believers' sin against him, their froward carriage, stirs not 
up thoughts of casting off, but of reducing them : ' For the iniquity of his 
covetousness was I wroth, and smote him ; I hid me, and was wroth, and he 
went on frowardly in the way of his heart; I have seen his ways, and will heal 
him,' Isa. Ivii. 17, 18. The water of the saints' failings, cast on the fire of God's 
love, cannot quench it ; ' Whom he loves, he loves to the end,' 

Secondly, God, to give further weight and credit to our unbelieving and 
misgiving hearts, seals his promise with an oath; see Isa. liv. 9, 10: 'With 
everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the Lord thy Redeemer. 
This is as the waters of Noah unto me ; for as I have sworn that the waters of 
Noah should not return over the earth, so have I sworn that I will not be wroth 
with thee.' Yea, he goes on and tells them, ' The mountains shall depart,' 
(meaning at the end of the world, when the whole frame of the heavens and 
earth shall be dissolved,) ' but my kindness shall not depart, neither shall my 
covenant of peace be removed.' Now lest any should think this was some 
charter belonging to the Jews alone, we find it, ver. 17, settled on every servant 
of God as his portion : ' This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and 
their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord.' And siu-ely God that is so care- 
ful to make his children's inheritan(;e sure to them, will give them little thanks 
who busy their wits to invalid and weaken his conveyances, yea, disprove his 
will : if they had taken a bribe, they could not plead Satan's cause better. 

Thirdly, In the actual fulfilling these promises (which he hath made to 
believers) to Christ their representative. As God, before the world began, 
gave a promise of eternal life to Christ for them, so now hath he given actual 
possession of that glorious place to Christ as their advocate, where that eternal 
life shall be enjoyed by them ; for as he came upon our errand from heaven, 
so thither he returned again to take and hold possession of that inheritance 
which God had of old promised, and he in one sum at his death had paid for. 
And now what ground of fear can there be in the believer's heart concerning 
God's love standing firm to him, when he sees the whole covenant performed 
already to Christ for him, whom God hath not only called to, sanctified for, 
and upheld in, the great work he was to finish for us, bixt also justified in his 
resurrection and gaol delivery, and received him into heaven, there to sit on 
the right hand of the Majesty on high, by which he hath not only possession 
for us, but full power to give to all believers? 

A second occasion of fear to the believer that he shall not persevere, may be 
taken from himself. He has many sad fears and tremblings of heart that he 
shall at last forsake God : the journey to heaven is long, and his grace weak. 
Oh, saith he, is it not possible that tliis little grace should fail, and I fall short 
at last of glory ? Nov/ here there is such provision made in the covenant as 
scatters this cloud also. 

First, The Spirit of God is given on purpose to prevent this. Christ left his 
mother with John, but his saints with his Spirit, to tutor and keep them, that 
they should not lose themselves in their journey to heaven. O, how sweet is 
that place, Ezck. xxxvi. 27 : ' I will put my Spirit in you, and cause you to 


walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments and do them!' He doth 
not say, they shall have his Spirit, if they will walk in his statutes ; no, his Spirit 
shall cause them to do it. But may be thou art afraid thou may est grieve him, 
and so he in anger leave thee, and thou perish for want of his help and counsel. 
Answ. The Spirit of God is indeed sensible of unkindness, and upon a saint's 
sin may withdraw in regard of present assistance, but never in regard of his 
care ; as a mother may let her froward child go alone, till it get a knock, that 
may make it cry to be taken up again into her arms, but still her eyes are on 
it that it shall not fall into mischief. The Spirit withdrew from Samson, and 
he fell into the Philistines' hands ; and this makes him cry to God, and the 
Spirit puts forth his strength in him again. Thus, here, indeed, the office of the 
Spirit is to abide for ever with the saints, John xiv. 16: 'He shall send you 
another Comforter, that he may abide for ever with you.' 

Secondly, It is one main business of Christ's intercession, to obtain of God 
persevei-ance for our weak graces. ' I have prayed,' saith Christ to Peter, 'that 
thy faith fail not.' But was not that a particular privilege granted to him, 
which maybe denied to another? O sirs, do we think that Christ's love looks 
asquint? Doth he pray for one child more than another? Such fears and 
jealousies foolish children are ready to take up; and therefore Christ prevents 
them, by bidding Petei-, in the very next words, ' When thou art converted, 
strengthen thy brethren,' Luke xxii. 32; that is, when thou feelest the efficacy 
and force of my prayer for thy laith, carry this good news to them, that their 
hearts may be strengthened also : and what strengthening had it been to them, 
if Christ prayed not for them as well as Peter ? Does Christ pray for us ? 
yea, doth he not live to pi-ay for us? O, how can children of so many prayers, 
of such prayers, perish ? The saints' prayers have a mighty power. Jacob 
wrestled and had power with God; this was his sword and bow (to allude to 
what lie said of the parcel of ground he took from the Amorite) by whicli he 
got the victoi-y and had power with God. This was the key with which Elijah 
opened and shut heaven. And if the weak prayers of saints, coming in his 
name, have such credit in heaven, that with them they can go to God's treasure, 
and carry away as much as their arm of faith can hold ; O then, what pre- 
valency has Christ's intercession, who is a Son, an obedient Son, that is come 
from finishing his great work on earth, and now prays his Father for nothing 
but what he hath bid him ask, yea, for nothing but what he is beforehand with 
him for ; and all this to a Father that loves those he prays for as well as him- 
self! Bid Satan avaunt. Say not thy weak faith shall perish, till thou hearest 
that Christ hath left praying, or meets with a repulse. 

Thirdly, Let us see whether Satan be able to pluck the Christian away, and 
step betwixt him and home. I have had occasion to speak of this subject in 
another place, the less here shall serve. Abundant provision is made against 
his assaults. The saint is wi-apped up in the everlasting arms of Almighty power; 
and what can a cursed devil do against God, who laid those chains on him 
which he cannot shake off? When he is able to pluck that dart of divine fury 
out of his own conscience which God hath fastened there, then let him think of 
such an enterprise as this. How can he overcome thee, that cannot tempt thee 
but in God's appointed time ? And if God set Satan his time to assault the 
Christian whom he loves so dearly, surely it shall be when he shall be repulsed 
with greatest shame. 

Use 1 . — Away then with that doctrine which saith, One may be a saint to- 
day, and none to-mon-ow ; now a Peter, anon a Judas : O what unsavory stuff 
is this ! it is a principle that at once crosseth the main design of God in the 
gospel-covenant, reflects sadly on the honour of Christ, and wounds the saints' 
comfort to the heart. 

First, It is derogatory to God's design in the gospel-covenant, which we find 
to be this, that his children might be put into a state sure and safe from miscar- 
rying at last, which by the first covenant man was not. Sec Rom. iv. 16: 
' Therefore it is of faith, that it might be of grace, to the end the promise might 
be sure to all the seed.' God on ])urpose, because of the weakness of the first 
covenant, through the nuitable nature of man, makes a new covenant of a far 
different constitution and frame, not of works, as that was, but of faith ; and 
why ? The apostle tells us, that it might be sure to ' all the seed,' that not one 


soul, who by faith should be adopted into Abraham's family, and so become a 
child of the promise, should fail of inheriting the blessing of the promise, which 
is eternctl life ; called so, Tit. i. 2 ; and all this because the promise is founded 
upon grace, that is, God's inmiutable good pleasure in Christ, and not xipon the 
variable and inconstant obedience of man, as the first covenant was. But if a 
saint may finally fall, then is the promise no more sure in this covenant than it 
was in that, and so God should not have the end he propounds. 

Secondly, It reflects sadly on Christ's honour, both as he is intrusted with 
the saints' salvation, and also as he is interested in it. First, as he is intrusted 
with the saints' salvation. He tells us they are given him of his Father for 
this very end, that he should give them eternal life ; yea, that power which he 
hath over all flesh was given him, to render him every way able to effect this 
one business, John xvii. 2. He accepts the charge, owns them as his sheep, 
knows thean every one, and promiseth, ' he will give them eternal life ; they 
shall never perish, neither shall any pluck them out of his hand,' John x. 27,28. 
Now how well do they consult with Christ's honour, that say his sheep may die 
in a ditch of final apostasy, notwithstanding all this ! Secondly, As he is 
interested in the salvation of every saint. The life of his own glory is bound 
up in the eternal life of his saints. It is true, when Adam fell, God did save 
his stake ; but how can Christ who is so nearly united to every believing soul ? 
There was a league of friendship betwixt God and Adam ; but no such union 
as here, where Christ and his saints make but one Christ, for which his church 
is called Christ, 1 Cor. xii. 12 : 'As tlie body is one, and hath many members, 
and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so is Christ.' 
Christ and his members make one Christ : now is it possible a part of Christ 
can be found at last burning in hell ? Can Christ be a cripple Christ ? Can 
this member drop off", and that? It is as possible that all as that any should; and 
how can Christ part with his mystical members, and not with his glory ? Doth 
not every member add an ornament to the body, yea, an honour ? The church 
is called, ' The fulness of him,' Eph. i. 23.* O how dishonoiu'able is it to Christ, 
that we should think he shoidd want any of his fulness ! and how can the man 
be full and complete that wants a member ? 

Thirdly, It wounds the saints' comfort to the heart, and lays their joy 
a bleeding. Paul saith he did not, 2 Cor. ii. 17; he did not dash the 
generous wine of God's word with the water of man's conceits ; no, he 
gave them pure gospel. Truly this principle of saints falling from grace 
gives a sad dash to the sweet wine of the promises ; the soid-reviving comfort 
that sparkles in them ariseth from the sure conveyance with which they 
are in Christ made over to the believers to have and to hold for ever : 
hence called 'the sure mercies of David,' Acts xiii. 34; mercies that shall never 
fail. This, this indeed is wine that makes glad the heart of a saint ; though 
he may be whipped in the house when he sins, yet he shall not be tm-ned out 
of doors. As God promised in the type to David's seed, Psa. Ixxxix. 33 : 
' Nevertheless my lovingkindness will I not utterly take from him, nor suffer 
my faithfulness to fail ;' and, ver 36, ' His seed shall endure for ever.' CoiUd 
anything separate the believer from the love of God in Chi'ist, this would be as 
a hole at the bottom of his cup, to leak out allhis joy ; he might then fear 
every temptation or affliction he meets would slay him, and so the wicked's 
curse would be the saint's portion. His life would ever hang in doubt before 
him, and the fearful expectation of his final miscarriage, which he sees may 
befall him, would eat up the joy of his present hope. Now how contrary such a 
fi-ame of heart is to the spii'it of adoption, and full assurance of hope, which the 
grace of the new covenant gives, he that runs may read in the word. 

Use 2. — This truth prepares a sovereign cordial to restore the fainting spirits 
of weak believers, who are surprised with many fears concerning their per- 
severing, and holding out to the end of their warfare. Be of good cheer, poor 
soul ; God hath given Christ the life of every soul within the ark of his cove- 
nant. Your eternal safety is provided for ; ' Whom he loves, he loves to the 
end,' John xiii. 1. Hath he made thee willing in the day of his power to march 
under his banner, and espouse his quarrel against sin and hell ? The same 
power that overcame thy rebellious h&art to himself, will overcome all thy 
enemies within and without for thee. Say not, thou art a bruised reed ; with 


this he will break Satan's head, and not cease till he hath brought forth judg- 
ment unto complete victory in thy soul. He that can make a few wounded 
men rise up and take a strong city, can make a wounded spirit triumph over 
sin and devils, Jer. xxxvii. 10. The ai-k stood in the midst of Jordan till the 
whole camp of Israel was safely got over into Canaan, Josh. iii. And so doth 
the covenant, which the ark did but typify ; yea, Christ, covenant, and all, 
stand to secure the saints a safe passage to heaven. If but one believer 
drowns, the covenant must drown with him. Christ and the saints are put 
together as co-lieirs of the same inheritance, Rom. viii. 17. ' If children, then 
heirs, heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ.' We cannot dispute against one 
but we question the firmness of the other's title. When you hear Christ is 
tunied out of heaven, or himself to be willing to sell his inheritance there, then, 
poor Christian, fear thy coming thither, and not till then. Co-heirs cannot sell 
the inheritance except both give up their right, which Christ will never do, nor 
suffer thee. 

Use 3. — Thirdly, This tiiith calls for a word or two of caution. Though 
there is no fear of a saint's falling from grace, yet there is great danger of 
others falling from tlie top of this comfortable doctrine, into a careless security, 
and presumptuous boldness; and therefore a battlement is very necessary, that 
from it we mav with safety to oiu- souls stand and view the pleasant prospect 
this truth presents to our eye. That flower from which the bee sucks honey, 
the spider draws poison. That which is a restorative to the saint's grace, proves 
an incentive to the lust of a wicked man. What Paul said of the law, we may 
truly say of the gospel : sin taking occasion from the grace of the gospel, and 
the sweet promises thereof, deceives the carnal heart, and works in him all 
maimer of wickedness. Indeed, sin seldom grows so rank anywhere, as in 
those who water its roots with the grace of the gospel. Two ways this doctrine 
may be abused. 

First, Into a neglect of duty. 

Secondly, Into a liberty to sin. Take heed of both. 

First, Beware of falling into a neglect of duty upon this score; if a Christian, 
thou canst not fall away from grace. Take for an antidote against this, three 

First, There are other arguments to invite, yea, that will constrain thee to a 
constant vigorous performing of duty, though the fear of falling away should 
not come in, or else thou art not a Christian. What ! nothing make the child 
diligent about his father's business, but fear of being disinherited and turned 
out of doors ! There is sure some better motive to duty in a saint's heart, or 
else religion is a melancholy work. Speak for yourselves, O j^e saints, is self- 
preservation all you pray for, and hear for? Should a messenger come from 
heaven, and tell you heaven were yours, would this make you give over your 
spiritual trade, and not care whether you had any more acquaintance with God 
till you came thither ? O how harsh doth this sound in your ears ! There are 
such principles engraven in the Christian's bosom, that will not suffer a strange- 
ness long to grow betwixt God and him. He is under the law of a new life, 
winch carries him naturally to desire communion with God, as the child doth to 
see the face of his dear father ; and every duty is a mount wherein God pre- 
sents himself to be seen and enjoyed by every Christian. 

Secondly, To neglect duty upon such a persuasion, is contrary to Christ's 
practice and counsel. First, His practice. Though Christ never doubted of his 
Father's love, nor questioned the happy issue of all his temptations, agonies, 
and sufferings ; yet he prays, and prays again more earnestly, Luke xxii. 44. 
Secondly, His counsel and command. He told Peter, that Satan had begged 
leave to have him, to sift him. But withal he comforts him, who was to be 
hardest put to it, with this, ' But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not.' 
Sure our Saviour, by this provision made for him and the rest, means to save 
them a labour that they need not watch or pray. No such matter; after this, as 
you may see, verse 40, he calls them up to duty: ' Pray, tluit ye enter not into 
temptation.' Christ's praying for them was to strengthen their faith, when 
they should themselves pray for the same mercy ; not to nourish their sloth, 
that they needed not to pray. Christ's prayers in heaven for his saints are all 
heard already, but the return of them is reserved to be inclosed in the answer 


God sends to tlieir own prayers: the Christian cannot in faith expect to receive 
the mercies Christ prays for in heaven, so long as he lives in the neglect of his 
duty on earth. They stand ready against he calls for them by the prayer of 
faith; and if they be not worth sending this messenger to heaven, truly they are 
worth little. 

Thirdly, Consider, that although the Christian be secured from a total and 
final apostasy, yet he may fall sadly, to the bruising of his conscience, enfeebling 
his grace, and reproach of the gospel ; which sure are enough to keep the 
Christian upon his watch, and the more, because ordinarily the saints' back- 
slidings begin in their duties. As it is with tradesmen in the world, they iirst 
grow careless of their business, often out of their shop, and then they go behind- 
hand in their estates : so here, first remiss in a duty, and then fall into a decay 
of their graces and comforts, yea, sometimes into those ways that are scan- 
dalous. A stuff loseth its gloss before it wears : the Christian, the lustre of his 
grace, in the lively exercise of duty, and then the strength of it. 

Secondly, Take heed of abusing this doctrine unto a liberty to sin. Shall we 
sin because grace abounds ; grow loose because we have God fast bound in his 
promise ? God forbid : none but a devil would teach us this logic. It was a 
gi-eat height of sin those wretched Jews came to, who could quaff and carouse 
it while death looked in upon them at the windows : ' Let us eat and drink, for 
to-morrow we shall die.' They discovered their atheism therein. But what a 
prodigious stature in sin must that man be grown to, that can sin under the 
protection of the promise, and draw his encouragement to sin from the evei- 
lasting love of God ! Let us eat and drink, for we are sure to live and be 
saved. Grace cannot dwell in that heart which draws such a cursed conclusion 
from the promises of God's grace ; the saints have not so learned Christ. The 
inference the apostle makes from the sweet privileges we enjoy in the covenant 
of grace, is not to wallow in sin ; but having these promises, to cleanse ourselves 
from all filthiness of flesh and spirit, 2 Cor. vii. 1 . It is the nature of faith, the 
grace that trades with promises, to purify the heart. Now the more certain 
report faith brings of God's love from the promise of the soul, the more it 
purifies the heart, because love, by which faith works, is thereby more inflamed 
to God ; and if once this affection takes fire, the room becomes too hot for sin 
to stay there. 

Section VI. — The fourth note and last is. That it will abundantly recompense 
all the hardship and trouble the Christian endures in this war against sin and 
Satan, that he shall be able, when the war is ended, to stand. In man's wars, all do 
not get by them that fight in them ; the gains of these are commonly put into a 
few pockets. The common soldiers endure most of the hardship, but go away with 
little of the profit ; they fight to make a few that are great yet greater, and are 
many times themselves turned off at last, with what will hardly pay for the cin-e 
of their wounds, or keep them from starving in a poor hospital. But in this war 
there is none loseth, but he that runs away. A glorious reward there is for every 
faithful soldier in Christ's camp ; and that is wrapped up in this phrase, ' Having 
done all, to stand.' Now in this place, ' to stand,' imports three things, which 
laid together will clear the point. 

First, ' To stand,' in this place, is to stand conquerors. An army, when 
conquered, is said to fall before their enemy, and the conqueror to stand. 
Lev. xxvi. ; Dan. xi. 25. Every Christian shall, at the end of the war, stand a 
conqueror over his vanquished lusts, and Satan that headed them. Many a 
sweet victory the Christian hath here over Satan : but, alas ! the joy of these 
conquests is again interrupted with fresh alarms from his rallied enemy. One 
day he hath the better, and may be the next he puts us to the hazard of another 
battle; much ado he hath to keep what he hath got; yea, his victoines are such 
as send him bleeding out of the field. Though he repulses the temptation at 
last, yet the wounds his conscience gets in the fight do overcast the glory of 
the victory. It is seldom the Christian comes off without some sad complaint 
of the treachery of his own heart, which had like to have lost the day, and 
betrayed him into his enemies' hand. But for thy eternal comfort, know, poor 
Christian, there is a blessed day coming, which shall make a full and final deci- 
sion of the quarrel betwixt thee and Satan ; thou shalt see this enemy's camp 
quite broke up ; not a weapon left in his hand to lift up against thee. Thou 


shalt tread upon his high places, from which he hath made so many shots at 
thee. Thou shalt see them all dismantled and demolished, till there he not 
left standing any one corruption in thy bosom for a devil to hide and hai-bour 
himself in. Satan, at whose approach thou hast so trembled, shall then be 
subdued under thy feet. He that hath so oft bid thee bow down, tliat he might go 
over thy soul, and trample upon all thj' glory, shall now have his neck laid to 
be trodden on by thee. Were there nothing else to be expected as the fruits of 
our watching and praying, weeping and mourning, severe duties of mortification 
and self-denial, with whatever else oiu- Christian warfare puts us upon, but this, 
our labour would not be in vain in the Lord. Yea, blessed watching and 
praying, hajjpy tears and woimds, we meet with in this war ; may they but at 
last end in a full and eternal vjctory over sin and Satan. Bondage is one of the 
worst of evils. The baser an enemy is, the more abhorred by noble spirits. 
Saul feared to fall into the hands of the luicircumcised Philistines, and to be 
abused by their scorn and reproach, more than a bloody death. Who baser 
than Satan .' What viler tyrant than sin ? Glorious then will the day be, 
wherein we shall praise God for delivering us out of the hands of all our sins, 
and from the hand of Satan. But dismal to you, sinners, who at the same time, 
wherein you shall see the saints stand with crowns of victory on their heads, 
nnist yourselves, like fettered captives, be dragged to hell's dungeon, there to 
have your ear bored unto an eternal bondage under your lusts. And what 
more miserable sentence can God himself pass upon you? Here sin is pleasure, 
there it will be torment. Here you have suitable provision to entertain your lusts 
withal ; palaces for pride to dwell and strut herself in ; delicious fare for your 
wanton palates; houses and lands, with coffers of silver and gold for your 
covetous hearts, by their self-pleasing thoughts, to sit brooding upon. But 3'ou 
will find none of these there ; hell is a barren place, nothing grows in that land 
of darkness to solace and recreate the sinners' minds. You shall have your lusts, 
but want the food you long for. O what a torment must that needs be, to have a 
soul sharp set, even to a ravenous hunger after sin, but chained up where it can 
come at nothing it would have to satisfy its lusts ! For a proud wretch, that 
could wish he might domineer over all the world, yea, over God himself, if he 
would let him, to be kept down in such a dungeon as hell ! O how it will cut, 
for the malicious sinner, whose heart swells with rancour against God and his 
saints, that he could pluck them out of God's bosom, yea, God out of his throne, 
if he had power, to find his hands so manacled, that lie can do nothing against 
them he so hates! O how this will torment! Speak, O you saints, Avhose partial 
victory over sin at present is so sweet to you, that you would choose a thousand 
deaths, sooner than return to yoiu' old bondage under yoiu* lusts; how glorious 
then is that day in your eye, when this shall be completed in a full and eternal 
conquest, never to have anything to do more with sin or Satan ! 

Secondly, ' To stand,' is here to stand justified and acquitted at the great day 
of judgment. The phrase is frequent in Scripture, whicli sets out the solemn 
discharge they shall have then by standing in judgment: Psa. i. 5, 'The 
wicked shall not stand in the judgment;' that is, they shall not be justified; 
Psa. cxxx. 3, ' If thou. Lord, shouldst mark iniquity, O Lord, who shall 
stand ? ' that is, who shall be discharged ? The great God, upon whose errand 
we come into the world, hath aj)pointed a day wherein he will judge the world 
by Jesus Christ : a solemn day it will be, when all that ever lived on earth, 
high and low, good and bad, shall meet in one assembly to make their personal 
appearance before Christ, and from his mouth to receive their eternal doom, 
who sliall, in his majestic robes of glory, ascend the awful seat of judicature, 
attended with his illustrious train and guard of angels about him, as so many 
officers ready to execute and perform his pleasure, according to the definitive 
sentence that he shall pronounce, either to conduct those blessed ones whom he 
shall justify into his glorious kingdom, or bind them hand and foot to be cast 
into hell's unquenchable flames, whom he shall condemn. I do not wonder that 
Paul's sermon on this subject did make an eartlupiake in Felix's conscience ; 
but rather that any should be so far gone in a spiritual lethargy and nmnbness 
of conscience, that the thought of this day cannot recover them to their sense and 
feeling. O, sirs, do you not vote them happy men and women that shall speed 


well on this day ? Ai-e not your thoughts inquiring who those blessed souls 
are which shall he acquitted by the lively voice of Christ the Judge ? You need 
not ascend to search the rolls of election in heaven : here you may know they 
are such as fight the Lord's battles on earth against Satan, in the Lord's 
armour, and that to the end of their lives. These having done all, shall stand in 
judgment. And were it but at a man's bar, some court-martial, where a soldier 
stood upon trial for his life, either to be condemned as a traitor to his prince, or 
cleared as faithful in his trust, O how such a one would listen, to hear how it 
would go with him, and be overjoyed when the judge pronoimces him innocent! 
Well may such be bid to fall down on their knees, thank God and the judge 
that have saved their lives ; how much more ravishing will the sweet voice of 
Christ be, in the saints' ears, when he shall, in the face of men and angels, make 
public declai-ation of their righteousness ! O how confounded will Satan then 
be, who was their accuser to God, and their consciences also, ever threatening 
them with the terror of that day ! How blank will the wicked world be, to see 
the dirt that they had thrown by their calumnies and lying reports on the 
saints' faces wiped off with Christ's own hand ; those from Christ's mouth to be 
justified as sincere whom they had called hypocrites ! Will not this, O ye saints, 
be enough for all the scorn you were laden with from the world, and the conflict 
you endured with the prince of the world ? But this is not all. Therefore, 

Thirdly, ' To stand,' doth here also, as the complement of their reward, 
denote the saint's standing in heaven's glory. Princes, when they would reward 
any of their subjects, that in their wars have done eminent service to the 
crown, as the utmost they can do for them, do prefer them to court, there to 
enjoy their princely favour, and stand in some place of honourable service 
before them continually. Solomon sets it out as the greatest reward of faithful 
subjects ' to stand before kings.' Heaven is the royal city, where the great God 
keeps his court. The happiness of glorious angels is to stand there before God. 
' I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God,' Luke i. 19; that is, I am 
one of those heavenly spirits who wait on the great God, and stand before his 
face, as courtiers do about their prince. Now, such honour shall every faithful 
soul have. ' Thus saith the Lord of hosts, If thou wilt walk in my ways, and if 
thou wilt keep my charge, I will give thee places to walk among these that 
stand by,' Zech. iii. 7. He alludes to the temple, which had rooms joining to it, 
for the priests that waited on the Lord in his holy service there ; or to courtiers, 
that have stately galleries and lodgings becoming their place at court, allowed 
them in the king's palace they wait upon. Thus all the saints, whose represen- 
tative Joshua was, shall, after they have kept the Lord's charge, in a short life's 
service on earth, be called up to stand before God in heaven, where with angels 
they shall have their galleries and mansions of glory also. O, happy they, who 
shall stand before the Lord in glory ! The greatest peers of a realm, such as 
earls, marquises, and dukes, count it greater honour to stand before their king, 
though bare-headed, and oft upon the knee, than to live in the country, where 
all bow and stand bare to them ; yea, let but their prince forbid them coming 
to court, and it is not their great estates, or respect they have where they live, 
will content them. It is better to wait in heaven, than to reign on earth. It is 
sweet standing before the Lord here in an ordinance. One day in the worship 
of God is better that many elsewhere ; O, what then is it to stand before God in 
glory ! If the saint's spikenard sendeth forth so sweet a smell, while the king 
sits at his table here, in a sermon or sacrament. Cant, i. 12, O then, what joy 
must needs flow from their near attendance on him, as he sits at his table in 
heaven, which when God first made, it was intended by him to be that chamber 
of presence in which he would present himself to be seen and enjoyed by his 
saints in all his glory ! I know nothing would have amore powerful, yea, universal 
operation upon a saint's spii-it, than the frequent and spiritual consideration of 
that blissful state in heaven, which will at last crown all their sad conflicts here 
on earth. None like this sword to cut the very sinews of temptation, and behead 
those lusts which defy and outbrave whole troo})s of other arguments. It is 
almost impossible to sin with lively thoughts and hopes of that glory. It is 
when the thoughts of heaven are long out of the Christian's sight, and he knows 
not what is become of his hopes of that glorious place, that he begins to set up 


some idol, as Israel the calf in Moses's absence, which he may dance before. 
But let. heaven come in sight, and the Christian's heart will be well warmed 
with the thoughts of it, and you may as soon persuade a Iving to throw his royal 
diadem into a sink, and wallow with his ro])es in a kennel, as a saint to sin with 
expectation of heaven's glory. Sin is the devil's work, not a saint's, who is a peer 
in heaven, and waits every hour for the writ that shall call him to stand, with 
angels and glorilied saints, before the throne of God. This would cheer the 
Christian's heart, and confirm him when the fight is hottest, and the bullets 
fly thickest from men and devils, to think it is heaven all this is for, where it is 
worth having a place, though we go through fire and water to it. ' It is before 
the Lord,' saitli David to scoffing Michal, ' that chose me before thy father, 
and all his house ; therefore I will play before the Lord, and I will yet be more 
vile than thus,' 2 Sam. vi. 21. Thus, Christian, wouldst thou throw off the 
vipers of reproaches, which from the fire of the wicked's malice fly upon thee ? 
It is for God that I pray, hear, mortify my lust, deny myself of my carnal sports, 
profits, and pleasin-es, that God who hath passed by kings and princes, to 
choose me, a poor wretch, to stand before him in glory ; therefore I will be yet 
more vile than thus. O, sirs, were there not another world to enjoy God in, yet 
should we not, while we have our being, serve our Maker? The heavens and 
the earth obey his law, that are capable of no reward for doing his will. 
* Quench hell, burn heaven,' said a holy man, 'yet I will love and fear my 
God.' How much more, when the everlasting arms of mercy stand ready 
stretched to carry you, as soon as the fight is over, into the blissful presence of 
God ! You have servants of your own so ingenious and observant, that can 
follow your work hard abroad in all weathers ; and may they but, when they 
come home, weary and himgry at night, obtain a kind look from you, and some 
tender care over them, they are very thankful. ' Yea,' saith one, to shame the 
sluggish Christian, ' how many hundred miles will the poor spaniel run after his 
master in a journey, although he gets nothing but a few crumbs, or a bone from 
his master's trencher?' In a word, which is more, the devil's slaves, what will 
they not do and venture at his command, who hath not so much to give them 
as you to your dog ; not a crust, not a drop of water to cool their tongue I And 
shall not the joy of heaven, which is set before the Christian, into which he 
shall assuredly enter, make him run his race, endure a short scuflle of tempta- 
tion and affliction? Yea, sure, and make him reckon also, that ' these are not 
worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in him,' 

Ephes. VI. 14. 

Stand therefore. 

The apostle had laid down in general, ver. 13, what armour tlie Christian 
soldier must use; 'armour of God.' Now, lest any should stamp divinity 
upon what is human, and make bold to set God's name on their counterfeit 
ware, calling that armour of God which comes out of their private forge, (as 
Papists, and many carnal Protestants also do, who invent weapons to fight the 
devil with that never came into God's heart to appoint,) he therefore comes 
more particularly to shew what this whole armour of God is, describing it piece 
by piece, which together make up the complete suit, and every way furnish the 
Christian to take tlie field against this his enemy. We shall handle them in 
that order we find them here laid by the apostle. Only something would 
briefly be first said to the posture given us in cliarge, as that which we are to 
observe in the use of every piece, and therefore prefixed to all, because it hath 
influence into all. The posture lies in these words, 'Stand, therefore:' this 
word 'stand' is the same witli the last in the preceding verse; but neither 
in the same mood nor tense ; there, put for victory and triumph when the war 
is done; here, for the Christian's posture in tlie fight, and in order to it. It is 
a military expression, a word of command that captains use upon diiferent 
occasions to their soldiers, and so imports several duties that are required at 
the Christian's hands. 






First, To stand is opposed to a cowardly flight from, or treacherous yield- 
ing to the enemy. When a captain sees his men begin to shrink, and per- 
ceives some disposition in them to fly or yield, then he bids stand, that is, 
stand m.infully to it, and make good your ground against the enemy, by a 
valiant receiving his charge, and repelling his force. The word, taken thus, 
points at a siiitable duty incumbent on the Christian, which take in this note. 

Note. — Satan in his temptations is stoutly to be resisted, not in any wise 
yielded unto. 

Reas. 1. — -The command is express for it, 1 Pet. v. 9 : ' Whom resist sted- 
fast in the faith.' Set yourself in battle against him, as the word imports ; 
fight him whenever he comes. Soldiers must keep close to their commission, 
whatever comes on it. When Joab sent Uriah to stand in the fore front of the 
battle, in the face of death itself, he could not but see his danger, yet he dis- 
putes not the matter with his general; obey he must, though he loses his life upon 
the place. Cowardice and disobedience to the leader's command are counted, 
among the Turks, the most damning sins ; and shall they be thought peccadillos, 
little ones, by us, that have Christ for our captain to serve, and sin and the devil 
for enemies to fight ? To resist some temptations may cost us dear. ' Ye have 
not yet resisted unto blood,' saith the apostle, ' striving against sin,' Heb. xii. 4, 
implying it may come to that; and if it should, it alters not the case, nor 
gives a dispensation to shift for ourselves, by choosing to sin, rather than to 
suffer. The Roman captain said it was necessary to sail, not to live ; and shall 
a Christian be afraid of his duty, when it is attended without hazard ? The 
soldier carries his prince's honour into the field with him, and so doth the 
Christian his God's, whenever he is called to contest with any temptation. 
Now it will be seen at what rate he values his honour. David's subjects valued 
him wortli ten thousand of their lives, and therefore would die every man of 
them rather than hazard him. O how unworthy is it, then, to expose the 
name of God to reproach rather than ourselves to a little scorn, temporal loss, 
or trouble ! It was Pompey's boast, that at a word or nod of his he could 
make his soldiers creep up the steepest rock on their hands and knees, though 
they were knocked down as fast as they went up. Truly, God is not prodigal 
of the blood of his servants ; yet sometimes he tries their loyalty in hard 
services and sharp temptations, that he may, from their faithfulness to him, 
and holy stoutness in their sufferings for him, triumph over Satan, who was 
so impudent as to tell God that one of his choicest servants did but serve him- 
self in serving of him : ' Doth Job fear God for nought V As if, when any 
sharp encounter came, he would turn head, and rather curse God than submit 
to him ; and therefore we find the Ivord glorying over Satan, Job ii. 3 : ' Still 
he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedst me against him ;' as if the 
Lord had said, What dost think now, Satan ? Hath not Job proved thee a 
loud liar ? I have some servants, thou seest, that will serve me without a bribe; 
that will hold fast their integrit}' when they can hold fast nothing else. Thou 
hast got away his estate, servants, and children, and yet he stands his ground, 
and thou hast not got thy will of him, nor his integrity from him. 

2. God furnisheth us with armour for this end, that we should stand it out 
valiantly, and not yield to Satan tempting. To deliver up a castle into an 
enemy's hand, when it is well provided with ammunition to defend it, is shame- 
ful, and unworthy of such a trust. This makes the Christian's sin more dis- 
honourable than another's, because he is better appointed to make resistance. 
Take a graceless soul, when solicited (suppose) to a sin that promiseth carnal 
pleasure or pi'ofit, it is no great wonder that he yields at first summons, and 
delivers up himself prisoner to Satan. The poor wretch, alas! hath no armour 
on to repel the motion. He tastes no sweetness in Christ ; what marvel is it 
if his hungry soul, for want of better food, falls on board upon the devil's 
cheer? that he who hath no hope of another world be made to shark and 
prowl to get some of this? The goat, we say, nnist browse where she is tied, 


and the sinner feed on earth and eartlily things, to which he is staked down by 
his carnal heart; hut the Christian hath a hope in liis bosom of possessing 
greater glory than this peddling world can pretend to ; yea, a faith that is able 
to entertain him at present with some of heaven's joys, it being the nature of 
that grace to give existence to the good things of the promise. This helmet on, 
and shield lifted up, would keep olf a whole shower of such arrows from hurt- 
ing a Christian. God hath reason to take it the worse at his hands to yield, 
that might have stood, would he but have made use of those graces which God 
had given him for his defence, or called in help from heaven. ' Hast thou 
eaten,' saith God to Adam, ' of the tree whereof I conunanded thee that thou 
shouldest not eat?' Gen. iii. 11. The accent lies in thou. It was not sure for 
hunger ; thou hadst a whole paradise before thee : hast thou eaten, that wert 
provided so well to have withstood him? Hast thou, may God say to the 
Christian, eaten of the devil's dainties, who hast a key to go to my cupboard ? 
Does thy heavenly Father keep so starved a house that the devil's scraps will 
go down with thee ? 

3. The Christian's safety lies in resisting. All the armour here provided 
is to defend the Christian fighting, none to secure him flying; stand, and 
the day is oiu's ; fly or yield, and all is lost. Great captains, to make their 
soldiers more resolute, do sometimes cut ofl:" all hope of a safe retreat to them 
that nm away : thus the Norman conqueror, as soon as his men were set on 
English shore, sent away his ships in their sight, that they might resolve to 
fight or die. God takes away all thought of safety to the coward. Not a piece 
to be found for the back in all God's armoury. Stand, and the bullets light 
all on your armour ; fly, and they enter into yom* hearts. It is a tenible 
place, Heb. x. 38 : ' The just shall live by faith ; but if any man draw back, 
my soul shall have no pleasiu-e in him.' He that stands to it believingly, 
comes off" with his life; but he that recoils, and runs from his colours, as the 
word iiposteiletai imports, God will have no pleasure in hiir>, except it be in 
the just execution of his wrath on him. And doth he not make a sad change, 
that, from fighting against Satan, engageth God as an enemy against him ? 
There is comfort in striving against sin and Satan, though to blood ; but none 
to lie sweating under the fiery indignation of a revenging God. What Satan 
lays on, God can take ofl"; but who can ease, if God lays on? What man 
would not rather die in the field fighting for his prince, than on a scaffold by 
the axe for cowardice or treachery ? 

4. The enemy we have to do withal is such as is only to be dealt with by re- 
sisting. God is an enemy that is overcome by yielding ; the devil only by 
force of arms. 

First, He is a cowardly enemy; though he sets a bold face on it in tempting, 
he carries a fearful heart in his breast. The work is naught he goes about ; 
and as a thief is afraid of , every light he sees, or noise he hears, in the house he 
would rob, so Satan is discouraged where he finds the soul waking, and in a 
posture to oppose him. He fears the Christian more than thou needest him. 
' Jesus I know, and Paul I know,' said the devil, Acts xix. 15. That is, I 
know them to my shame; they have both put me to flight, and if ye were such 
as they, I should fear you also. Believe it, soul, he trembles at thy faith ; put 
it forth in prayer to call for help to heaven against him, and exert it vigorously 
by rejecting the motions he makes, and thou shalt see him run. Did soldiers 
in a castle know that their enemies besieging them were in a distracted con- 
dition, and would certainly, upon their sallying out, break up and fly away, 
what metal and courage would this fill them withal? The Spirit of God (who 
knows well enough how affairs stand in the devil's camp) sends this intelli- 
gence unto every soul that is beset by his temptations. Jam. iv. 8, ' Resist 
the devil, and he will flee from you.' He cannot hurt us without our leave. 
The devil is not so good a drawer, but when he finds it comes not, the soul 
yields not, his heart then fails hini, at least for the present; as in Christ's 
combat, it is said, ' he departed from him for a season.' When the devil 
continues long the same suit, it is to be feared that person, though he hath not 
fully promised him, yet he hath not given him a peremptory denial. He is a 
suitor that listens for something to drop from the creature that may encourage 
him to prosecute his motion ; no way to be rid of hiin, but to shut the door 


upon him, and deny all discourse with him ; which prompts to the second 

2. He is an encroaching enemy, and therefore to be resisted. ' Let not the 
sun go down upon your wrath,' saith the apostle, ' neither give place to the 
devil,' Eph. iv. 26, as soldiers, by cowardly leaving some outwork they are 
set to defend, give place to their enemy, who enters the same, and from thence 
doth more easily shoot into the city than he could before. Thus, yielding in 
one temptation, we let the devil into our trench, and give him a fair advantage 
to do us the more mischief. The angry man, while he is raging and raving, 
thinks, perhaps, no more but to ease his passion by disgorging it in some bitter 
keen words ; but, alas, while his fury and wrath is sallying out at the portal of 
his lips, the devil, finding the door open, enters, and humes him further than 
he dreamed of. We have not to do with an Hannibal, who, though a great 
swordsman, yet wanted the art of following and improving the advantages his 
victories gave him; but with a cunning devil, that will easily lose no ground he 
gets. Our best way, therefore, is to give him no hand-hold, not so much as to 
come near the door where sin dwells, lest we be hooked in. If we mean not to 
be burnt, let us not walk upon the coals of temptation ; if not to be tanned, let 
us not stand where the sun lies. They sure forget what an insinuating, wriggling 
nature this serpent hath that dare yield to him in something, and make us 
believe they will not in another ; who will sit in the company of drunkards, 
frequent the places where the sin is committed, and yet pretend they mean not 
to be such ; that will pi-ostitute their eyes to unchaste objects, and yet be 
chaste ; that will lend their ears to any coniipt doctrine of the times, and yet 
be sound in the faith. This is a strong delusion that such were under. If a 
man hath not power enough to resist Satan in the less, what reason hath he 
to think he shall in the greater ? Thou hast not grace, it seems, to keep thee 
from throwing thyself into the whirl of temptation, and dost thou think, when 
in it, thou shalt bear up against the stream of it? One would think it is easier 
when in the ship to keep from falling overboard, than when in the sea to get 
safely into the ship again. 

3. He is an accusing enemy; and of a truth folly is in that man's name who 
knows what a tell-tale the devil is, and yet will, by yielding to his temptation, 
put an errand into his mouth, with which he may accuse him to God. Some 
foolishly report that witches cannot hurt till they receive an alms ; but I am 
sure, so long as thou shewest no kindness to the devil, he cannot hurt thee, 
because he cannot accuse thee ; take up, therefore, holy Job's resolution. 
Job xxvii., ' My righteousness I hold fast : my heart shall not reproach me so 
long as I live.' It is never sad, indeed, with the soul, till the barking is within 
doors ; conscience, not the devil, is the bloodhound that pulls down the 
creature. Oh, let not that reproach thee, and thou art well enough ! 



Secondly,' ' To stand,' amounts to as much as to stand every one in his rank and 
proper station, and is here opposed to all disorder or straggling from our place. 
When a captain sees his soldiei's march or fight out of their rank and order, 
then he bids ' Stand.' Military discipline is so strict in this case, that it allows 
none to stir from their place without special warrant. It hath cost some their 
lives for fighting out of their place, though with great success. Manlius killed 
his own son for no other fault. From hence the note is : 

Note. That it should be the care of every Christian to stand orderly in the 
particular place wherein God hath set him. The devil's method is first to rout, 
and then to ruin. Order supposeth company, one that walks alone cannot go 
out of his rank. This place, therefore, and rank wherein the Christian is to stand, 
relates to some society or company in which he walks. The Christian may be 
considered relating to a threefold society — church, commonwealth, and family. 
In all there are several ranks and places. In the church, officers and private 
members. In the commonwealth, magistrates and people. In the family. 


masters and servants ; parents and children ; husband and wife. The welfare 
of these societies consisteth in the order that is kept, when every wheel moves 
in its place without clashing, when every one contributes by performing the 
duty of his place to the benefit of the whole society ; but more distinctly, then 
a person stands orderly in his place, when he doth these three things : 

First, When he understands the pec\iliar duty of his place and relation. ' The 
wisdom of the prudent is to understand his way,' Prov. xiv. 8. His way, that 
is, the way which he in particular is to walk. It will not profit a man to know 
.the way to York, if going to London; yet how prone are we to study another's 
way and work than our own ! The servant what his master's duty is, not what 
his is to his master. The people what the minister in his place should do, 
rather than what is incumbent on themselves to such as are over them in the 
Lord. It is not knowing another's duty, no, nor censuring the negligence of 
another, but doing our own that will bring us safely and comfortably to our 
journey's end; and how can we do it except we know it ? Solomon in no one 
thing gave a greater proof of his wisdom, than in asking of God wisdom to 
enable him for the duty of his place. 

Secondly, When knowing the duty of our place, we conscientiously attend to 
it and lay out ourselves for God therein. What Paid charged Timothy in his 
place, that every Christian nuist do in his ; he must meditate on these things, 
and give himself wholly to the discharge of his dutj' as a Christian in such a 
place and calling, en foiifois ist/ii, 1 Tim. iv. 15, 'be in them,' let thy heart be 
on thy work, and thou wholly taken up about it. The very power of godliness 
lies in this. Religion, if not made practicable in our several places and callings, 
becomes ridicidous, and vanisheth into an empty notion that is next to nothing. 
Yet many there are that have nothing to prove themselves Christians, but a 
naked profession, of whom we may say as they do of the cinnamon-tree, that 
the bark is more worth than all they have besides. Such the apostle speaks of, 
Tit. i. 16 : 'They profess that they know God, but in works they deny him, 
being abominable and disobedient, and to every good work reprobate.' What 
good works the apostle means, will appear by the next words, chap. ii. 1, where 
in opposition to these he presseth those duties which Christians in their parti- 
cular places and relations (as becometh holiness) ought to perform. A good 
Christian, and a disobedient wife ; a godly man, and an unfaithful servant, or 
undutiful child ; is a contradiction that can never be reconciled. He that walks 
not uprightly in his house, is but a hypocrite at church. He that is not a 
Christian in his shop, is not in his closet a Christian, though upon his knees in 
prayer. Wound religion in one part, and it is felt in every part. If it declines 
one way, it cannot thrive in any other. All that miscarry in religion, do not 
the same way miscarry. As it is in the regard of our natural life, some, it is 
observed, die upwards, some downwards. In one, the extreme parts ; his feet 
are first dead, and so creeps up the legs, and so at last takes hold on the 
vitals; in another his superior parts are first invaded. Thus is profession, some, 
their declining appears first in a negligence of duties about their particular 
callings, and duties they owe by tlieir place and relation to man, who all this 
while seem very forward and zealous in the duties of worship to God, much in 
hearing, praying, and such like; others falter first in these, and at the same 
time seem very strict in the other ; both destructive alike to the soul, they both 
meet in the ruin of the power of godliness. He stands orderly that makes 
conscience of the whole duty that lies on him in his place to God or man. 

Thirdly, To stand orderly, it is requisite that we keep the bounds of our 
place and calling. Tlie Israelites were commanded ' to pitch every man by 
his own standard,' Num. ii. 2. The Septuagint translates it, /cafa tafjma, 
according to order. God allows no stragglers from their station in his army of 
saints. 'As the Lord hath called every man, so let him walk,' 1 Cor. vii. 17. 
Our walk must be in that path which our call beats out. We are therefore 
commanded every one 'to do his own business,' 1 Thess. iv. 1 1. That which is 
the commander'.s business in an army, is not the private soldier's ; the magis- 
trate's, not the subject's; the minister's, not the people's. That which is 
justice in the ruler, is murder in another. They are our own things, that come 
within the compass of our general or particular calling; out of these, we are 
out of our diocese. O what a quiet world we should have, if everything and 


person knew his own place ! If the sea kept its own place, we should have no 
inundations ; if men had theirs, we should neither have seen such floods of sin, 
nor miseries, as this unhappj' age has heen almost drowned with. But it must 
be a strong bank indeed, that can contain our fluid spirits within our own terms. 
Peter himself was sharply chid, for prying out of curiosity into that which 
concerned him not. * What is that to thee?' John xxi. 22 ; as if Christ had 
said, Peter, meddle with thy own matters, this concerns not thee ; which sharp 
rebuke, saith one, might possibly make Peter afterwards give so strict a charge 
against, and set so black a brand upon this very sin, as you may find, 1 Pet. 
iv. 15, where he ranks the busybody among miu'derers and thieves. 

Now to fix every one in his place, and persuade all to stand orderly there 
without breaking their rank, these five considerations, methinks, may carry 
some weight, among those especially with whom the word of God in the Scrip- 
ture yet keeps its authority to conclude and determine their thoughts. 

1. Consider, What thou doest out of thy place is not acceptable to God, 
because thou canst not do it in faith, ' without which it is impossible to please 
God ;' and it cannot be in faith, because thou hast no call. God will not thank 
thee for doing that v/hich he did not set thee about ; possibly thou hast good 
intentions ; so had Uzzah in staying the ark, yet how well God liked his zeal, 
see 2 Sam. vi. 7. Saul himself could make a fair story of his sacrificing, but 
that served not his turn. It concerns us, not only to ask ourselves, what the 
thing is we do? but also, who requireth this at our hands? To be sure, God 
will at last put us upon that question, and it will go ill with us if we cannot 
shew our commission. So long we must needs neglect what is our duty, as we 
are busy about that which is not. The spouse confesseth this, Cant. i. 6 : ' They 
made me-the keeper of the vineyards, but mine own vineyard have I not kept ;' 
she could not mind theirs and her own too ; our own iron will cool while we 
are heating another's. And this must needs be displeasing to God, to leave the 
work God sets us about, to do that he never conmianded. When a master calls 
a truant scholar to account, that he hath been missing some days from school, 
would this be a good plea for him to tell his master, that he was all the while 
in such a man's shop at work with his tools? No sure, his business lay at 
school, not in that shop. 

2. By going out of our proper place and calling, we pvit oiu'selves from under 
God's protection: the promise is, he will keep us in 'all our ways,' Psa. 
xci. 11. When we go out of our way, we go from under his wing. We have 
an excellent place for this, 1 Cor. vii. 24 : ' Let every one wherein he is called, 
therein abide with God.' Mark that phrase, ' abide with God.' As we love 
to walk in God's company, we must abide in our place and calling; every step 
from that is a departure from God ; and better to stay at home in a mean place, 
and low calling, wherein we may enjoy God's sweet presence, than go to court, 
and there live without him. It is likely you have heard of that holy bishop, 
that in a jovuney came to an inn; and by some discourse with the host, finding 
him to be an atheist, or very atheistical, presently calls for his servant to bring 
him his hoise, saying he would not lodge there, for God was not in that place. 
Truly when thou art in any place, or about any work to which thou art not 
called, we may safely say, God is not in that place or enterprise ; and what a 
bold adventure is it to stay there, where you cannot expect his presence to 
assist, or protect! ' As a bird that wandereth from her nest, so is a man that 
wandereth from his jilace,' Prov. xxvii. 8. God took special care, that the 
' bird sitting over her eggs in her nest' should not be hurt, Deut. xxii. 6 ; but 
we find nothing to secure her if found abroad. In doing the duty of our place, 
we have heaven's word for our security ; but upon our own peril be it if we 
wander ; then we are like Shimei out of his precints, and lay ourselves open 
to some judgment or other : it is alike dangerous to do what we are not 
called to, and to neglect or leave undone the duty of our place. As the 
earth could not bear Korah's usurpation of what belonged not to them, but 
swallowed them up ; so the sea could not but bear witness against Jonah 
the runaway prophet, disdaining to waft him that fled from his place and 
work that God called him to. Naj^, heaven itself would not harboiu- the angels, 
when once they left their own place and office that their Maker had appointed ; 
so those words, Jude 6, I find most probably interpreted. The ruin of 


many souls breaks in npon them at this door. First they break their ranks, 
and then they are led further into temptation. Absalom fii-st looks over the 
hedge in his ambitions thought ; a king he would be ; and this wandering 
desire beyond his place lets in those bloody sins, rebellion, incest, and murder ; 
and these ripened him for, and at last delivered him up into the hand of Divine 
vengeance. The apostle joins order and stedfastness together, Col. ii. 5 : 'I 
am with you in the spirit, joying and beliolding your order, and the stedfast- 
ness of your faith.' If an army stands in close order, every one in his place 
attending his duty, content with his work, it is in a maimer impregnable. How 
came many in our days to fall from their stedfastness, but by breaking their 
order ! 

3. We shall never be charged for not doing another's work : ' Give an accoimt 
of thy stewardship,' Luke xvi. 2; that is, of what by thy place thou wert 
intrusted with. We may indeed be accessory to another's sin and miscarriage 
in his place. ' Be not partakers with them,' saith tlie apostle, Eph. v. 7. There 
is a partnership, if not very waichful, that we may have with others' sins, and 
therefore we may say Amen to that holy man's prayer, ' Lord, forgive me my 
other sins.' Merchants can trade in bottoms that are not their own, and we 
may sin with other men's hands many ways, and one especially is, when we 
do not lend our brother that assistance in his work and duty which our place 
and relation obligeth to ; but it is not our sin that we do not supply others' 
negligence, by doing that which belongs not to our place. We are to pray for 
magistrates, that they may rule in the fear of God; but if they do not, we may 
not step upon the bench and do his work for him. God requires no more than 
faithfulness in our place. We do not find fault with an apple-tree if it be laden 
with apples, which is the fruit of its own kind, though we can find no figs or 
grapes growing on it : we expect these only from their proper root and stock. 
He is a fruitful tree in God's orchard that brings forth his fruit in his season, 
Psa. i. 3. 

4. Tliere is poor comfort in suffering for doing that which was not the work 
of our place and calling. Before we launch out into any undertaking, it behoves 
us to ask ourselves, and that seriously, what our tackling is, if a storm should 
overtake us in our voyage. It is folly to engage in that enterprise which will 
not bear us out, and pay the charge of all the loss and trouble it can put us to. 
Now, no comfort or countenance from God can be expected in any suffering, 
except we can entitle him to the business we suffer for. ' For thy sake are we 
killed all the day long,' saith the church, Psa. xliv. 22. But if suffering finds 
us out of our calling and place, we cannot say, ' For thj' sake ' we are thus and 
thus afflicted, but for our own sakes ; and you know the proverb, ' Self do, self 
have.' The apostle makes a vast difference between suffering as a ' busybody' 
and suffering as a 'Christian,' 1 Pet. iv. 15, 16. It is to the latter he saith, 
' Let him not be ashamed, but let liim glorify God on this behalf;' as for the 
busybody, he mates him with thieves and nuirderers ; and those, I trow, liave 
reason both to be ashamed and afraid. The carpenter that gets a cut or wound 
on liis leg from his axe, as he is at work in his calling, may bear it more 
patiently and comfortably than one tliat is wantonly meddling with his tools, 
and hath nothing to do with such work. When affliction or persecution ovei*- 
takes the Christian travelling in the way God hath set him in, he may shew the 
Bible, as that holy man (suffering for Clirist) did, and say, 'This hath made me 
poor, tills hath brought me to prison ;' that is, his faith on tjie truths, and 
obedience to the commands in it, and therefore may confidently expect to 
suffer at God's cost, as the soldier to be kept and maintained by his prince, in 
whose service he hath lost his limbs. But the other, that rims out of his place, 
and so meets with sufierings, he hath this to embitter them, that lie can look 
for nothing from God, but to be soundly chid for his pains, as the child is served 
that gets some hurt while he is gadding abroad, and when he conies home 
at night with his battered face meets with a whipjiing from his father into the 
bargain for being from home. This lay heavy on the spirit of that learned 
German, Joliannes Funccius, who of a minister of the gospel in his prince's 
court, turned minister of state to his prince ; and was at last, for some evil 
counsel, (at least so judged,) condemned to die. Before he suffered, he much 
lamented the leaving of his calling, and to warn others left this distich: — 


To keep thy place and calling learn of me : 
Flee as the plague a meddler for to be. 

5. It is an erratic spirit, that usually carries men out of their place and 
calling. I confess there is an keroicits impetus, an impulse which some of the 
servants of God have had from heaven, to do things extraordinary, as we read 
in Scripture of Moses, Gideon, Phineas, and others. But it is dangerous to 
pi'etend to the like, and unlawfid to expect such immediate commissions from 
Heaven now, when he issueth them out in a more ordinary way, and gives rules 
for the same in his word ; we may as well expect to be taught extraordinarily, 
without using the ordinary means, as to be called so. When I see any mira- 
culously gifted, as the prophets and apostles, then I shall think the immediate 
calling they pretend to is authentic. To be sure, we find in the word, extra- 
ordinary calling and extraordinary teaching go together. Well, let us see what 
that erratic spirit is which carries many out of their place and calling. It is not 
always the same ; sometimes it is idleness. First, men neglect what they should 
do, and then are easily persuaded to meddle with what they have nothing to do. 
The apostle intimates this plainly, 1 Tim. v. 13 : ' They learn to be idle, 
wandering from house to house, and not only idle, but busybodies.' An idle 
person is a gadder ; he hath his foot on the threshold, easily drawn from his 
own place, and as soon into another's diocese. He is at leisure to hear the 
devil's chat. He that will not serve God in his own place, the devil, rather 
than lie shall stand out, will send him of his errand, and get him to put his 
sickle into another's corn. Secondly, it is pride and discontent that makes 
persons go out of their place ; some men are in this very unhappy, their spirits 
are too big and haughty for the place God hath set them in. Their calling, may 
be, is mean and low, but their spirits high and towering ; and whereas they 
should labour to bring their hearts to their condition, they project how they 
may bring their condition to their proud hearts. They think themselves very 
vmhappy while they are shut up in such strait limits ; (indeed the whole world 
is too narrow a walk for a proud heart, ^stual infcelix aiigtisto limi/e nnindi ; 
the world was but a little ease to Alexander;) shall they be hid in a crowd, lie 
in an obscure corner, and die before they let the world know their worth ? No, 
they cannot brook it, and therefore they must get on the stage, and put forth 
themselves one way or other. It was not the priests' toork that Korah and his 
accomplices were so in love with, but the priests' honour which attended the work ; 
this they desired to share, and liked not to see others run away with it from them ; 
nor was it the zeal that Absalom had to do justice, which made his teeth water 
so after his father's crown, though this must silver over his ambition. These 
places of church and state are such fair flowers, that proud spirits in all ages 
have been ambitious to have them set in their own garden, though they never 
thrive so well as in their proper soil. In a third it is unbelief: this made Uzzah 
stretch forth his hand unadvisedly to stay the ark that shook, M'hich being not 
a Levite he was not to touch. See Numb. iv. 15. Alas ! good man, it was his 
faith shook more dangerously than the ark ; by fearing the fall of this, he fell 
to the groimd himself. God needs not our sin to shore up his glory, truth, or 
church. Lastly, in some it is misinformed zeal : many think they may do a 
thing because they can do it. They can preach, and therefore they may; where- 
fore else have they gifts .' Certainly the gifts of the saints need not be lost any of 
them, tliough they be not laid oiit in the minister's work. The private Christian 
hath a large field wherein he may be serviceable to his brethren ; he need not 
break the hedge which God hath set, and thereby occasion such disorder as we 
see to be the consequence of this. We read in the Jewish law, Exod. xxii., that 
he who set a hedge on fire, and that fire burnt the corn standing in a field, was 
to make restitution, though he only fired the hedge, perliaps not intending to 
hurt the coi'n ; and the reason was, because his firing tlie hedge was an occasion 
of the corn's being burnt, though he meant it not. I dare not say, that every 
private Christian who hath in these times taken upon him the minister's work, 
did intend to make such a combustion in the church as hatli been, and still 
sadly is among us. God forbid I should think so ! But, O that I could 
clear them from being accessory to it, in that they have fired the hedge which 
God hath set between the minister's calling and people's. If we will acknow- 


ledge the ministry a particular office in the church of Christ, — and this I think 
the word will compel us to do, — then we must also confess it is not any one's 
work, though never so able, except called to the office. There are many in 
a kingdom to be found, that could do the prince's errand, it is like, as well as 
his ambassador, but none takes the place but he that is sent, and can shew his let- 
ters credential. Those that are not sent and commissionated by God's call for 
ministerial work, they may speak truths as well as they that are ; yet of him that 
acts b}^ virtue of his calling, we may say that he prcacheth with authority, and not 
like those that can shew no commission but what the opinion themselves have of 
their own abilities gives them. Dost thou like the minister's work? Whyshouldst 
thou not desire the office, that thou mayest do the work acceptably ? Thou dost 
find thyself gifted, as thou thinkest, for the work, but were not the church more 
fit to judge so than thyself? And if thou shouldst be found so by them appointed 
for the trial, who would not give thee the riglit hand of fellowship ? There are 
not so many labourers in Christ's field, but thy help, if able, would be accepted ; 
but as now thou actest, thou bringest thyself into suspicion in the thoughts of 
sober Christians, as he would justly do, who comes into the field, where his prince 
hath an army, and gives out he comes to do his sovereign service against the 
common enemy, yet stands by himself at the head of a troop he hath got 
together, and refuseth to take any commission from his prince's officers, or 
join himself with them : I question whether the service such a one can perform, 
should he mean as he says, which is to be feared, would do so much good, as 
the distraction which this his carriage might cause in the army would do hurt. 



Thirdly, 'To stand,' here is opposed to sleep and sloth; standing is a waking, 
watching posture ; when the captain sees his soldiers lying secure upon the 
ground asleep, he bids ' Stand to your arms,' that is, stand and watch. In some 
cases it is death for a soldier to be found asleep, as when he is appointed" to 
stand sentinel, or the like ; now to sleep, deserves death, because he is to wake, 
that the whole army may sleep; and his sleep may cost them their lives; there- 
fore a great captain thought he gave that soldier but his due, whom he run 
through with his sword, because he found him asleep when he should have stood 
sentinel, excusing his severity with this, that he left him but as he found him ; 
Mortuum invent, et mortumn reliqid : ' I found him dead in sleep, and left him 
but asleep in death.' Watchfulness is more needful for the Christian soldier 
than any other, because other soldiers fight with men that need sleep as well as 
themselves; but the Christian's grand enemy, Satan, is ever awake, and walking 
his rounds, seeking whom he may surprise. And if Satan be always awake, it 
is dangerous for the Christain at any time to be spiritually asleep, that is, secure 
and careless. The Christian is seldom worsted, by this his enemy, but there is 
either treachery or negligence in the business ; either the unregenerate part 
betrays him, or his grace is not wakefid to make a timely discovery of him, so 
as to prepare for the encounter; the enemy is upon him before he is thoroughly 
awake to draw his sword. The saint's sleeping time is Satan's tempting time ; 
every fly dares venture to creep on a sleeping lion. No temptation so weak, 
but is strong enough to foil a Christian that is napping in security. Samson 
asleep, and Delilah cut his locks. Saul asleep, and the spear is taken away 
from his very side, and he never the wiser. Noah asleep, and his graceless son 
has a fit time to discover his father's nakedness. Eutychus asleep, nods, and 
falls from the third loft, and is taken up for dead. Thus the Christian asleep in 
security may soon be surprised so as to lose much of his spiritual strength, 
('the joy of the Lord,' which is ' his strength,') be robbed of his spear, his ai*- 
mour, graces I mean, at least in the present use of them, and his nakedness dis- 
covered by graceless men, to the shame of his ])rof('ssion; as, when bloodv Joab 
coiUd take notice of David's vain-glory in numbering the people, was not David's 
grace aslee^^ ? Yea, he may fall from a high loft of profession, so low, into 


such scandalous practices, that others may question whether thei'e be any life 
of grace indeed in him. And therefore it behoves the Christian to stand wake- 
fully ; sleep steals as insensibly on the soul, as it doth on the body. The wise 
virgins fell asleep as well as the foolish, though not so soundly ; take heed thou 
dost not indulge thyself in thy lazy distemper, but stir up thyself to action, as 
we bid one that is drowsy, stand up, or walk. Yield to it by idleness and sloth, 
and it will grow upon thee ; bestir thyself in this duty and that, and it will be 
over. David first awakes his tongue to sing, his hand, to play on his harp, and 
then David's heart awakes also, Psa. li. 8. The lion, it is said, when he first 
wakes, lashes himself with his tail, thereby to stir and rouse up his courage, 
and then away he goes after his prey : we have enough to excite and provoke 
us to use all the care and diligence possible. 

First, The Christian's work is too curious to be done well between sleeping 
and waking, and too important to be done ill, and slubbered over, no matter 
how. He had need be awake that walks upon the brink of a deep river, or 
brow of a steep hill. The Christian's path is so narrow, and the danger is so 
great, that it calls for both a nimble eye to discern, and a steady eye to direct, but 
a sleepy eye can do neither. Look upon any duty or grace, and you will find 
it lie between Scylla and Charybdis, two extremes alike dangerous. Faith, the 
great work of God, cuts its way between the mountain of presumption and 
gulf of despair ; patience, a grace so necessary that we cannot be without it a 
day, except we woidd be all that while besides ourselves ; this keeps us that 
we fall neither into the sleepy apoplexy of a blockish stupidity, which deprives 
the creature of its senses ; nor into a raging fit of discontent, which hath sense 
enough, and too much, to feel the hand of God, but deprives the man of his 
reason, that he turns again upon God, and shoots back the Almighty's arrows 
on his fiery face in the fury of his froward spirit. The like we might say of 
the rest. No truth but hath some error next door to her ; no duty can be per- 
formed without approaching very near the enemy's quarters, who soon takes 
the alarm, and comes out to oppose the Christian ; and ought he not then to 
have always his heart on the watch ? 

Secondly, The trouble of watching is not comparable to the advantage it 

First, By tliis, thou frustratest the designs Satan hath upon thee : it is worth 
watching to keep the house from robbing, much more the heart from rifling by 
the devil. 'Watch, that ye enter not into temptation,' Matt. xxvi. 41. He 
buys his sleep dear, that pays his throat cutting for it; yea, though the wound 
be not so deep, but may be cured at last. Thy not watching one night, may 
keep thee awake many a night upon a more uncomfortable occasion. And 
hadst thou not better wake with care to keep thyself from a mischief, than 
afterwards thy eyes be held open, whether thou wilt or not, with pain and 
anguish of the wound given thee in thy sleep? You know how sadly David 
was bruised by a fall got in his spiiitiial slumber ; for what else was he, when 
in the eventide he rose from his bed, and walked upon the roof of his house, 
like a man walking in his sleep '! 2 Sam. xi. 2 ; and how many restless nights 
this brought over this holy man's head, you may perceive by his own mournful 
complaints of this sin, which is the foot and sad burthen of several mournful 

Secondly, By thy watchfulness thou shall best learn the evil of a sleepy 
state ; one asleep is not sensible of his own snorting, how uncomely and trou- 
blesome to others it is ; but he that is awake is apprehensive of both. The man 
asleep is not sensible, if laid naked by some that would abuse him ; but he that 
is awake, observes, is ashamed, and covers him ; thus while thou art in a 
spiritual sense awake, thou canst not but observe many uncomely passages in 
the lives of those professors, who do not watch their hearts, which will fill thy 
heart with pity to them, to see how they are abused by Satan and their own 
passions, which, like rude servants, take this their own time to play their 
pranks in, when they have made sure of their mistress, (grace I mean, now 
laid asleep,) that should keep them in better rule : yea, it will make the blood 
come into thy face for shame to see how by their nakedness, profession itself is 
flouted at, by those that pass by, and see how it is with them. Well, what thou 


blushest *o see, and pitiest to find in another, take heed it befall not thyself; if 
thou sufferest a spiritual slumber to grow upon thee, thou wilt be the man thy- 
self that all this may come upon, and what not besides? Sleep levels all ; the 
wise man then is no wiser than a fool, to project for his safety ; nor the strong- 
man better than the weak, to defend himself: if slumber falls once upon thy 
eye, it is night with thee, and thou art, though the best of saints, but as other 
men, so far as this sleep prevails on thee. 

Thirdly, By thy watchfulness thou shalt invite such company in unto thee, as 
will make the time short and sweet, and that is thy precious Saviour, whose 
sweet communication and discourse, about the things of thy Father's kingdom, 
will make thou shalt not grudge the ease sleepy Christians get, with the loss of 
such a heavenly entertainment as thou enjoyest. Who had not, that loves his 
soul better than his body, rather have David's song than David's sleep in the 
night? And who had not rather have Christ's comforting presence with a 
waking soul, than his absence with a sleepy, slothful one? It is the watchful 
soul that Christ delights to be with, and open his heart unto. We do not 
choose that for the time of giving our friends a visit, when they are asleep 
in their beds ; nay, if we be with them, and perceive they grow sleepy, we 
think it is time to leave' them to their pillow, and verily Christ doth so too. 
Christ withdraws from the spouse, till she be better awake, as a fitter time for 
her to receive his loves. Put the sweetest wine into a sleepy man's hand, and 
you are like to have it all spilled; yea, jmt a purse of gold into his hand, and the 
man will hardly remember in the morning what you gave him over night. 
Thus in the sleepy state of a soul, both the Christian loseth the benefit, and 
Christ the praise of his mercy ; and therefore Christ will stay to give out 
his choice favours, when the soul is more wakeful, that he may both do the 
creature good, and his creature may speak good of him for it. 

Quest. But how must the Christian stand upon his watch ? 

Answ. First, constantly. The lamp of God in the tabernacle was to 
' burn always,' Exod. xxvii. 20, and xxx. 8; that is, always in the night, which 
sense is favoured by several other places. And I pray, what is our life in this 
world but a dark night of temptation ? Take heed. Christian, that thy watch- 
candle go not out in any part of this darksome time, lest thy enemy come upon 
thee in that hour. He can find thee, but not thou resist him in the dark ; if 
once thy eye be shut in a spiritual slumber, thou art a fair mark for his wrath; 
and know, thou canst not be long off thy watch, but the devil will hear on it. 
The devil knew the apostle's sleeping time, and then he desires leave to winnow 
them, Luke xxii. He saw they were in some disorder ; the eye of their soul 
began to be heavy : the thief riseth when honest men go to bed. The devil, I 
am sure, begins to tempt when saints cease to watch; when the staifis thrown . 
away, then the wolf appears. When the soid puts her danger furthest off, and 
lies most secure, then it is nearest; therefore labour to be constant in thy holy 
care ; the want of this spoils all. Some you shall have, that after a great fall 
into a sin that hath bruised them sorely, will seem very careful for a time 
where they set their foot, how they walk, and what company they come in ; 
but as soon as the soreness of their consciences wears off, their watch is broke 
up, and they are as careless as ever ; like one that is very eai-eful to shut up his 
shop strongly, and may be sit up late to watch it also, for two or three nights 
after it hath been robbed, but then minds it no more. Others in an affliction, 
or newly come out of the furnace, O how nice and scrupulous are they while 
the smell of fire is about them, and memory of their distress fresh ! They are 
as tender of sinning as one that comes out of a hot, close room is of the air ; 
they shrink at every breath of temptation stirring; but alas, how soon are they 
hardened to commit those sins without remorse, the bare motion of which, 
but a little befoi-e, did so trouble and afflict them ! Josephus, in his ' Antiquities, ' 
tells us, that the sons of Noah, for some years after the flood, dwelt on the 
tops of high moimtains, not daring to take up their habitation in the lower 
ground, for fear of being drowned by another flood ; yet in process of time, 
seeing no flood came, they ventured down to the plain of Shinar, where their 
former fear we see ended in one of the boldest, proudest attempts against God 
that the sun was ever witness to; the building, I mean, of a tower, whose 
top should reach heaven, Gen. xi. 2, 3. They, who at first were so maidenly 


and fearful, as not to venture down their hills, for fear of drowning, now have 
a design to secure themselves against all future attempts from the God of 
heaven himself. Thus oft we see God's judgments leave such an impression 
in men's spirits, that for a while they stand aloof from their sins, as they on 
their hills, afraid to come down to them ; but when they see fair weather con- 
tinue, and no clouds gather towards another stomi, then they can descend to 
their old wicked practices, and grow more bold and heaven-daring than ever. 
But if thou wilt be a Christian indeed, keep on thy watch still, remit not in thy 
care ; thou hast well run hitherto, O lie not down, like some lazy traveller, by 
the way-side to sleep, but reserve thy resting-time till thou gettest home out of 
all danger. Thy God rested not till the last day's work in the creation was 
finished; neither do thou cease to wake or work, till thou canst say, thy 
salvation-work is finished. 

Secondly, Watch universally. First, watch thy whole man. The honest 
watchman walks the rounds, and compasseth the whole town. He doth not 
limit his care to this house or that. So do thou watch over thy whole man. A 
pore in thy body is a door wide enough to let in a disease, if God command ; 
and any one faculty of thy soul, or member of thy body, to let in an enemy 
that may endanger thy spiritual welfare. Alas, how few set the watch round ! 
some one faculty is not guarded, or member of the body not regarded. He 
that is scrupulous in one, you shall find him secure in another : may be thou 
settest a watch at the door of thy lips, that no impure commvmication offends 
the ears of men; but how is the 'Lord's watch' kept at the temple door of 
thy heart ? 2 Chron. xxiii. 6. Is not that defiled with lust ? Thou perhaps 
keepest thy hand out of thy neighbour's pm-se, and foot from going on a 
thievish errand to thy neighbour's house ; but does not thy envious heart 
grudge him what God allows him ? When thou prayest, thou art very careful 
thy outward posture be reverent ; but what eye hast thou on thy soul, that it 
performs its part in the duty ? Secondly, watch in everything : if the 
apostle bids 'in everything give thanks,' then it behoves us in everything 
to watch, that God may not lose his praise, which he doth in most, for want of 
watching. No action so little, almost, but we may in it do God or the devil 
some service, and therefore none too little for our care to be bestowed on. He 
was a holy man indeed, of whom it was said, 'that he ate and drank eternal 
life.' The meaning is, he kept such holy watch over himself in these things, 
that he was in heaven while doing them. There is no creature so little among 
all God's works but his providence watcheth over it, even to a sparrow and a 
hair. Let there be no word or work of thine over which thou art not watchful. 
Thou shalt be judged by them, even to thy idle words and thoughts ; and wilt 
thou not have care of them ? 

Thirdly, Watch wisely ; which thou shalt do, if thou knowest where thou 
shoiddst keep strictest watch, and that must be first in the weightiest duty of 
the command ; ' tything of cummin and anise ' must not be neglected, but 
take heed thou dost not neglect the weightiest things of the ' law, judgment, 
mercy,' and ' faith,' Matt, xxiii. 23, making your preciseness in the less a blind 
for your horrible wickedness in the greater. 

Begin at the i-ight end of your work. Christian, by placing your chief care 
about those main duties to God and man, in his law and gospel, in his worship, 
and in thy daily coiuse, which when thou hast done, neglect not the circum- 
stantials. Should a master, before he goes forth, charge his servant to look to 
his child, and trim his house up handsomely against he comes home, when he 
returns will he thank his servant for sweeping his house, and making it trim, 
as he bid him, if he find his child through his negligence fallen into the fire, 
and by it kille.i or crijjpled? No, sure, he left his child with him as his chief 
charge, to which the other should have yielded, if both could not be done. 
There hath been a great zeal of late among us, about some circumstantials of 
worship ; but who looks to the little child, the main duties of Christianity, I 
mean. Was there ever less love, charity, self-denial, heavenly-mindedness, or 
the power of holiness in any of its several walks, than in this sad age of ours ? 
Alas ! these, like the child, are in great danger of perishing in the fire of con- 
tention and division, which a perverse zeal in less things hath kindled among 
us. Secondly, Be sure thou art watchful more than ordinary over thyself, in 


thofse things where tlioii findest thyself weakest and hast been oftenest foiled. 
The weakest part of the citj- needs the strongest guard, and in our bodies the 
tenderest part is most observed and kept warmest. And I should think it were 
strange, if thy fabric of grace stands so strong and even, that thou shouldst 
not soon perceive which side needs the shore most, by some inclination of it 
one way more than another. Thy body is not so firm, but thou findest this 
humour over-abound, and that part craze faster tlian another; and so ma_yest 
thou in thv soul. Well, take counsel in the thing, and what thou findest 
weakest, watch most carefully. Is it thy head that is weak, thy judgment I 
mean ? Watch thyself, and come not among those that drink no wine but that 
which thy weak parts cannot bear, (seraphic notions and high-flown opinions,) 
and do not think thyself much wronged to be forbidden their cup ; such strong 
wine is more heady than hearty, and they that trade most with it are not 
found of the healthiest tempers of their souls, no more than they that live most 
of strong waters are for their bodies. Is thy impotency in thy passions ? In- 
deed we are weak as they are strong and violent. Now watch over them, as 
one that dwells in a thatched house would do of every spark that flies out of 
his chimney, lest it should light on it, and set all on fire. O take heed what 
speeches come from thy mouth, or from any thou conversest with ; this is the 
little instrument sets the whole course of nature on flame. When our neigh- 
bour's house is on fire, we cast water on our roof, or cover it with a wet sheet ; 
when the flame breaks out at another's moutli, now look thou throwest water 
on thy own hot spirit; some cooling, wrath-quenching scriptures and arguments 
ever carry with thee for that purpose, and so in any other particular, as thou 
findest thy weakness. 

Verse 14. Having your loins girt about with truth. 
The apostle having ordered the Ephesians, and in them every Christian, the 
posture which they are to observe in fight with their enemy ; he comes now to 
instance, in the several pieces of that armour, which before he had commanded 
to them only in general. The first of which is the ' girdle of truth.' 

Wherein is contained a brief explication of the words, 

' Having your loins girt about with truth.' A twofold inquiry is here requisite. 
First, What he means by 'truth.' Secondly, what by ' loins,' and their being 
girt with truth. 

First, For the first. What is ' truth ' here ? Some by ' truth ' understand Christ, 
who indeed elsewhere is called 'truth;' yet in this place I conceive not so pro- 
perly, because the apostle instanceth here in several pieces and parts of armour, 
one distinct from another ; and Christ cannot so well be said to be a single 
piece to defend this or that part, as the whole in whom we are complete ; com- 
pared, therefore, Rom. xiii., to the whole suit of armour ; ' Put ye on the Lord 
Jesus;' that is, be clothed and harnessed with Christ, as a soldier with his 
armoiu- cap-a-pie. Some by truth mean, 'truth of doctrine;' others will have 
it, ' truth of heart, sincerity ;' they, I think best, that comprise both. And so I 
shall handle it ; both indeed are required to make the girdle complete ; one will 
not do without the other. It is possible to find good meanings, and a kind of 
sincerity without, yea, against the truth. Many follow an error, as they 
Absalom, in the simplicity of their hearts. Such do ill while they mean well. 
Good intentions do no more make a good action, than a fair mark makes a good 
shot by an unskilful archer. God did not like Saul's zeal when he persecuted 
the Christian church, though he thought, no question, he did him good service 
therein. Neither is it enough to have truth on our side, if we have not truth 
in our hearts. Jehu was a great stickler against idolatry, but kicked down all 
again by his hypocrisy. Both then are necessary ; sincerity to propound a 
right end, and knowledge of the word of truth, to direct us in the right way 
to that end. 

Secondly, What is meant here by loins that are to be girt with this girdle? 
The loins nuist be like the girdle. This is s))iritnal, and therefore they nuist be 
so. Peter will help to inteqiret Paul ; ' (jird up the loins of yoin- minds,' 1 Pet. 
i. 13. They are our minds and spirits which must wear this girdle, and very 


fitly may our spirits and minds be compared to the loins. The loins are the 
chief seat of bodily strength. Of Behemoth it is said, Job xl. 6, ' His strength is 
in his loins.' The loins are to tlie body, as carina navi, the keel to the ship; the 
whole ship is knit to that, and snstained by it ; and the body to the loins ; if 
the loins fail, the whole body sinks. Hence, to ' smite through the loins,' is a 
phrase to express destruction andniin, Deut. xxxiii. 11, weak loins, and a weak 
man. If we be but a little weary, nature directs us to lay our hands on our loins 
to sustain them, as our chief strength. Thus, as the actings of our minds and 
spirits are in their faculties and powers, so we are weak or strong Christians ; if 
the understanding be clear in its apprehensions of truth, and the will sincere, 
vigorous, and fixed in its pin-poses, for that which is holy and good, then he is a 
strong Christian. But if the understanding be dark, or uncertain in its notions, 
as a distempered eye that cannot well discern its object, and the will be waver- 
ing and unsteady, like a needle that trembles between two loadstones, not able 
to bring its thoughts to an issue, which to close with ; here the man is weak, 
and all he doth will be so. Feeble spirits cause an intermitting, faltering pulse ; 
so, want of strength in the mind, to know truth, and resolution in the will to 
pursue that which he knows to be holy and good, causeth a man to falter in 
his course. The use therefore of these two, — -truth of doctrine for the mind, and 
sincerity for the will, — is to unite and establish both these faculties, which they 
do when they are clasped, and girt about the soul, as the girdle about the loins 
of the body. Though the loins be the strength of the body, yet they need an 
auxiliary, — their strength from the girdle, — to keep those parts close, and unite 
their force ; without which, men, when they would strain themselves, and put 
forth their strength in any work, find a trembling and looseness in their loins. 
Hence, the * shaking of the loins,' is a phrase to express weakness, Psa. 
Ixix. 23. Thus our minds and spirits need this girdle to strengthen them in 
every work we do, or else we shall act nothing vigorously. 

First, We shall begin with tnith of doctrine, or truth of the woi'd, called ' the 
word of truth,' Ephes. i. 13, because it is the word of God, who is God of 
truth. It behoves every Christian to be well girt with this truth. ' Resist the 
devil,' saith Peter, ' stedfast in the faith,' 1 Pet. v. 9 ; that is, in the truth ; faith 
being there put for the object of our faith, which is the truth of God declared in 
the doctrine of the gospel; this is 'the faith which was once delivered to the 
saints,' Jude 10; that is, the truth delivered to them to be believed and held fast. 
And of what importance is it to be thus stedfast in the faith, the apostle Peter, 
in the following verse of the aforementioned place, shews by his vehement and 
earnest prayingfor them, that God would 'stablish, strengthen, and settle them.' 
The heaping of words to the same purpose implies the great danger they were in 
of being unsettled by Satan and his instruments, and the necessity of their 
standing firm and inishaken in the faith. Nothing is more frequently incul- 
cated than this in the Epistles, and the more, because in those blustering times 
it was impossible to have kept the faith from being blown from them, without 
this girdle to hold it fast. Now, as there is a double design Satan hath to rob 
Christians of truth, so there is a twofold girding about with this truth necessary. 

First, Satan comes as a serpent, in the persons of false teachers, and by them 
labours to put a cheat on us, and cozen us with error for truth. To defend us 
against this design, it is necessary we be girt with truth in our understanding, 
that we have an established judgment in the truths of Christ. 

Secondly, Satan comes sometimes as a lion, in the persons of bloody perse- 
cutors, and labours to scare Christians from the truth, with fire and faggot. Now 
to defend us against this, we need have truth girt about us, so that with a holy 
resolution we may maintain our profession in the face of. death and danger. To 
begin with the first. 



It should be the care of every Christian to get an established judgment in the 
truth. The Bereans are highly commended for the inquiry they made into the 


Scripture, to satisfy their judgments concerning the doctrine Paxil preached. 
They did not believe hand over head, })ut their faith was the result of a judg- 
ment, upon diligent search, convinced by Scripture evidence. Acts xvii. 1 1 : it is 
said there, ' They searched the Scriptures daily, whether these things were so.' 
They carried the preacher's doctrine to the written word, and compared it with 
that; and mark, ver. 12, ' Therefore many believed ;' as they did not believe 
before, so they durst not but believe now. I remember TertuUian, speaking of 
some heretics, tlieir manner of preaching, saith, Pcrsundendo Jocent, non 
docendo persuadenl ; ' they teach by persuading, and not persuade by teaching :' 
that is, they woo and entice the affections of their hearers, without convincing 
of their judgment aJiout what they preach. Indeed it were a hard work for the 
adulterer to convince her he would ruin, that the fact is lawful. No, he goes 
another way to work. First, he inveigles her affections, and they once be- 
witched, the other is not much questioned, it being easy for the affections to 
make the judgment of their party. Well, though error, like a thief, comes 
thus in at the window, yet truth, like the true owner of the house, delights to 
enter at the right door of understanding, from thence into the conscience, and 
so passeth into the will and affections. Indeed, he that hits upon truth, and 
takes up the profession of it, before he is bi'ought into the acquaintance of its 
excellency and heavenly beauty by his understanding, cannot entertain it, be- 
coming its heavenly birth and descent ; it is as a prince that travels in disguise, 
not known, therefore not honoured. Truth is loved and prized only of those 
that know it : and not to desire to know it, is to despise it, as much as know- 
ing it, to reject it. It were not hard sure to cheat that man of truth, who knows 
not what he hath. Truth and error are all one to the ignorant man, so it hath 
but the name of truth. Leah and Rachel were both alike to Jacob in the dark. 
Indeed, it is said, ' In the morning, behold it was Leah,' Gen. xxix. 25. So 
in the morning, when it is day in the understanding, then the deceived jierson 
will see he hath had a false bride in his bosom ; will cry out, Behold, it is an 
error which I took for a truth. You have may be heard of the covetous man, 
that hugged himself in the many bags of gold he had, but never opened them, 
nor used them ; when the thief took away his gold, and left him his bags fidl 
of pebbles in the room, he was as happy as when he had his gold, for he looked 
not at the one or other. And verily an ignorant person is in a manner no 
better with truth than error on his .side. Both are alike to him, day and night, 
all one to a blind man. 

But to proceed, and give some more particular account, why the Christian 
should endeavour for an established judgment in the truth, I shall content 
myself with three reasons. The first, taken from the damning nature of false 
doctrine; the second, from the subtlety of seducers to draw into false doctrine ; 
and the third, from the universal influence that an established judgment hath 
on the whole man, and whole course of a Christian. 

First, From the damning natiu-e of false doctrines. They hunt for the 
precious life of souls, as well as any other sin. An imposthume in the head 
proves oft as deadly as one in the stomach. A corrupt judgment in foundation 
truths kills as sure as a rotten heart, indeed it proceeds thence. Jezebel's 
children are threatened to be killed with death. Rev. ii. 23 ; and who are her 
children, but her disciples, that drink of her cup of fornication, and embrace 
her corrupt doctrines? But sure this is not believed by some, who, though very 
strict in their lives, and seem as tender in matters of morality as Lot was of his 
guests, yet are very loose in their principles and judgments, exposing them, as 
he his daughters, to be defiled with any corrupt doctrine that comes to their 
door. They would make us think, that here men played but at small games, 
and their souls were not at stake, as in other sins. As if there were not such a 
question to be asked at the great day, what opinions we held, and whether we 
were sound in the faith? In a word, as if false doctrines were but an innocent 
thing, not like the wild gom-d, which brought death into the prophet's pot, 
2 Kings iv. ; turning wholesome food, with which it was mingled, into baneful 
poison ; but rather, like herb John in the pot, that does neither nmch good nor 
hurt. Yea, there be some that speak out, and tell us, a man may be saved in 
any religion, so he doth but follow his light ; and are not these charitable men, 
who, because they would have the company as few as may be that are dannied, 


make as many roads to heaven as the Scripture tells us there are ways to hell? 
Contrai-y to Christ, who tells us of no other way but by him to life: ' I am the 
way, the truth, and the life,' John xiv. G. Point l)lank against St. John, who 
tell us but of one doctrine, and that the doctrine of Christ ; and he that holds 
not this, to be marked out for a lost man, 2 John, ver. 9, 10: 'Whosoever 
transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God.' And 
how far, I pray, is that man off hell, that hath not God ? He that hath not God 
before he dies, the devil shall have him when he dies. Well, sirs, the time is 
coming, yea, it hastens, (what favour and kindness soever corrupt doctrine find 
here at man's hand,) wherein the obstinate heretic shall receive the same law at 
Christ's hands with the impenitent drunkard ; you may see them both under 
the same condemnation, as they stand pinioned together for hell. Gal. v. 20, 21: 
' I tell you now,' saith the apostle, ' as I have told you in times past, that they 
which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.' And see, I pray 
you, if you cannot find the heretic's name amongst them : ignorance in funda- 
mentals is damning, sure then error in fundamentals much more. If a pound 
weighs down the scale, there is no doubt then but a stone weight will do it. If 
the less sin presseth down to hell, how can we rationally think that the greater 
should escape it? Error stands at a farther distance from, yea, a fuller con- 
trariety to truth, than ignorance. Error is ignorance with a dye on it. He 
that eats little or nothing, must needs die, much more he that eats rank poison. 
The apostle doth not only tell us of ' pernicious doctrines,' and ' damnable 
heresies,' but he tells us, they ' bring swift damnation' upon those that hold 
them, 2 Pet. ii. 1. I pray observe what an accent he lays on the damnation 
that comes by these corrupt doctrines ; he calls it ' swift damnation.' All 
rivers find their way at last to the sea, from whence they sprang ; but some 
return with a more swift stream, and get sooner to it than others. Would any 
make it a shorter voyage to hell than ordinary, let him throw himself but into 
this stream of corrupt doctrine, and he is not like to be long in going. 

Secondly, Because impostors are so subtle, therefore it behoves the Christian 
to establish and strengthen his judgment in the truths of Christ. They are a 
generation of men, skilful to destroy the faith of others. There is an erudita 
neguitia in the world, as one calls it, a learned kind of wickedness, that some 
have to corrupt the minds of men. The Spii'it of God sets them out to life, 
sometimes comparing them to merchants, who can set a gloss upon their false 
ware with fine words, 2 Pet. ii. 3 : they are said with ' feigned words' to 
' make merchandize' of souls. To hucksters, that blend and dash their wine 
with water, 2 Cor. ii. 17. To cheating gamesters, that have a sleight of hand to 
cog the die, Ephes. iv. 14. Yea, to witches themselves. Gal. iii. 1 : ' Who 
hath bewitched you?' saith the apostle. Strange things have been done in our 
days, on those that God has suffered them to practise their sorcery upon ; and 
what counter-charm better than an established judgment? It is observable that 
in 2 Tim. iii., where the apostle compares the seducers of that present age to 
those sorcerers, Jannes and Jambres, that resisted Moses, and shews what kind 
of persons they were that fell into their snare ; ' such as though ever learning, 
yet never come to the knowledge of the truth,' ver. 7. Then he turns to 
Timothy, ver. 10: ' But thou hast fully known my doctrine.' As if he had 
said, I am out of fear for thee, thou art better grounded in the doctrine of the 
apostle, than to be thus cheated of it. Indeed, those whom seducers lay in 
wait for, are chiefly weak, unsettled ones ; for as Solomon saith, ' In vain the 
net is spread in the sight of any bird,' Prov. i. 17. The devil chose rather to 
assault Eve than Adam, as more likely of the two to be caught. And ever 
since he takes the same course ; he labours to creep over where the hedge is 
lowest, and the resistance like to be weakest. Three chai'acters j^ou may 
observe of those who are most commonly seduced. First, they are called 
simple ones, Rom. xvi. 18: ' B3' good words and fair speeches deceive the 
hearts of the simple.' Such who mean Avell, but want wisdom to discern those 
that mean ill ; incautious ones, that dare pledge everybody, and drink of any 
one's cup, and never suspect poisoning. Secondly, ' children,' Eph. iv. 14 : 
' Be no more children, tossed to and fro with every wind of doctrine.' Now 
children they are very credulous, prone to believe every one that gives them a 
parcel of fair words; they think anything is good, if it be sweet; it is not 


hard to make them eat poison for sugar ; they are not swayed hy principles of 
their own, but hy others ; the child reads, construes, and learns his lesson as his 
master saith, and thinks it therefore right. Thus poor creatures that have 
little knowledge of the word themselves, they are easily persuaded this or that 
way, even as those of whom they have a good opinion please to lead them ; 
let the doctrine be but sweet, and it goes down glib ; they, like Isaac, bless 
their opinions by feeling, not by sight : hence many poor creatures applaud 
themselves so much of the joy they have found since they were of this judg- 
ment, and that way, not being able to try the comfort and sweetness they feel 
by the truth of their way from the word, they are fain to believe the truth of it 
by their feeling, and so, poor creatures, they bless error for truth. Thirdly, 
they are such as are unstable, 2 Pet. ii. 14 : ' beguiling unstable souls,' such as 
are not well grounded and principled. The truth they profess hath no anchor- 
hold in their understanding, and so they are at the mercy of the wind, soon set 
adrift, and carried down the stream of those opinions which are the favourites 
of the present time, and are most cried up, even as the dead fish with the cur- 
rent of the tide. 

Thirdly, We are to endeavour after an established judgment in the truth, 
because of the universal influence it hath upon the whole man. First, upon the 
memory, which is helped much by the understanding. The more weight is 
laid on the seal, the deeper impression is made on the wax. The memory is 
that faculty which carries the images of things. It holds fast what we receive, 
and is that treasury where we lay up what we desire afterwards to use and con- 
verse with. Now, the more clear and certain our knowledge of anything is, 
the deeper it sinks, and surer it is held by the memory. Secondly, upon the 
affections : truth is a light, the more steady and fixed the glass of the undei-- 
standing is through which its beams are darted upon the affections, the sooner 
they take fire. ' Did not our hearts burn,' said the disciples, 'within us, while 
he opened to us the Scriptures ?' Luke xxiv. 32. They had heard, no doubt, 
Christ preached much of what then he said before his passion, but never were 
they so satisfied and confirmed as now, when Scriptiu'es and understanding 
were opened together, and this made their hearts burn. The sun in the firma- 
ment sends his influence where he doth not shed his beams, I mean, into the 
bowels of the earth ; but the Sun of Righteousness imparts his influence only 
where his light comes ; he spreads the beams of truth into the understanding to 
enlighten that ; and while the creature sits under these wings, a kindly heart- 
quickening heat is begot in its bosom. Hence we find, even when the Spirit is 
promised a-i a Comfoi'ter, he comes as a Convincer, John xvi. 13 ; he comforts 
by teaching. And certainly the reason why many poor trembling soids have so 
little heat of heavenly joy in their hearts, is, because they have so little light to 
understand the nature and tenure of the gospel-covenant. The further a soul 
stands from the light of truth, the further he must needs be from the heat of 
comfort. Thirdly, an established judgment hath a powerful influence upon the 
life and conversation. The eye directs the foot ; he walks veiy unsafely that 
sees not his way ; and he uncomfortably, that is not resolved whether right or 
wrong. That which moves, must rest on something that doth not move : a 
man could not walk if the earth turned muler his feet. Now the principles we 
have in our understanding, are, as it were, the ground we go upon in all our 
actions ; if they stagger and reel, much more will oiu- life and practice. It is 
as impossible for a shaking hand to write a straight line, as an unfixed judg- 
ment to have an even conversation. The apostle joins stedfastness and 
vmmovableness with ' aboimding in the work of the Lord,' 1 Cor. xv. rjS. And 
if I mistake not, he means chiefly in that place, stedfastness of judgment in 
that truth of the resurrection which some had been shaking ; it is not the 
many notions we have, but the establishment we have in the truth, makes us 
strong Christians; as he is a strong man whose joints are well set together and 
knit, not he who is spun out at length, but not thickened suitable to his height. 
One saith well, men are what they see and judge ; though some do not fill up 
their light, yet none go beyond it. A truth under dispute in the understanding, 
is, as I may so say, sto])ped in the head : it cannot conunence in the heart, or 
become practicable in the life : but when it passeth clearly there, and upon its 
commendation is embraced in the will and affections, then it is held fast, and 



hath powerful effects in the conversation. The gospel, it is said, came to the 
Thessalonians in much ' assurance,' 1 Thess. i. 6; i. e. evidence of its truth ; and 
see how prevalent and operative it was, ver. 6 : ' Ye became followers of us, and 
of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy in the Holy 
Ghost.' They were assured that the doctrine was of God; and this carried 
them merrily through the saddest afflictions which attended the same. 

Use 1. First, To reprove those, that instead of endeavouring to establish 
their judgments in the truth, make it their greatest study how to strengthen 
themselves in their errors. I am persuaded some men take more pains to fui'- 
nish themselves with arguments to defend some one error they have taken up, 
than they do for the most saving truths in the Bible ; yea, they coidd sooner 
die at a stake to defend one error they hold, than all the truths they profess. 
Austin saith of himself when he was a Manichsean, Non tu eras, sed error nieits 
erat Detis mens : ' Thou, O Lord, were not, but my error was my god.' O, it is 
hard to reduce a person deeply engaged in the defence of an error ; how oft 
had the Pharisees their mouths stopped by our Saviour, yet few or none 
reclaimed ! Their spirits were too proud to recant. What, they lay down the 
bucklers, come down from Moses' chair, and confess what they might have 
taught the people for an oracle is now false ! They will rather go on, and 
brave it out as well as they can, than come back with shame, though the shame 
was not to be ashamed of their error, but ashamed to confess it. The cynic 
answered smartly, who, coming out of a brothel house, was asked whether he 
was not ashamed to be seen coming out of such a naughty house, said. No, 
the shame was to go in, but honesty to come out. O, sirs, it is bad enough to 
fall into an error, but worse to persist. The first shews thee a weak man, 
humanum est errai c ; but the other makes thee too like the devil, who is to this 
day of the same mind he was at his first fall. 

Use 2. Secondly, It reproves those who labour to unsettle the judgments of 
others, to ungird this belt about the Christian's loins. They come with the 
devil's question in their mouths, 'Yea, hath God said?' Are you siu-e this is a 
truth? Do not your ministers deceive you? Labouring slily to breed suspicions 
and jealousies in the hearts of Christians towards the truths they have received ; 
such were they that troubled the Galatians, whom Paul wished ' cut off ' for 
their pains. Gal. v. 12. They laboured to puzzle them, by starting scruples in 
their minds concerning the docti-ine of the gospel. This is a cunning Avay at 
last to draw them from the faith, and therefore they are called ' subverters of 
the faith of others,' 2 Tim. ii. 14; Tit. i. IL The house must needs be in 
danger, when the groundsels are loosened ; can you think he means honestly, 
that undermines the foundation of your house ? This they do, that would call 
in question the gi-and truths of the gospel : but this is a small fault in our 
loose age, or else so many seducers would not be suffered, whom I may call 
spiritiual rogues and vagrants, to wander like gipsies up and down, bewitching 
poor simple souls to their perdition. O, it is sad, that he who steals the worth 
of two or three shillings should hold up his hand at the bar for his life, yea, 
sometimes hang for it ; and that those who rob poor souls of the treasure of 
saving truths, and subvert the faith of whole families, should be let to lift up their 
heads with impudence, glorying in their impunity : that blasphemy against 
God should not bear an action, where blasphemy against the king is indicted 
for treason. It is well that God loves his truth better than men, or else these 
would escape in both worlds ; but God hath declared himself against them. 
There is a day, when they who rob souls of truth shall be found and con- 
demned as greater felons than they who rob houses of gold and silver. See 
how God lays their indictment, Jer. xxiii. 30 : ' Behold, I am against the pro- 
phets, saith the Lord, that steal my word, every one from his neighbour.' He 
means the false prophets, that enticed the people from those truths which the 
faithful servants of God had delivered to them. There will be none on the 
bench to plead the blasphemer and seducer's cause, when God shall sit judge. 

Use 3. Thirdly, This might well chastise the strange fickleness and unset- 
tledness of judgment which many labour with in this unconstant age. Truths 
in many professors' minds are not as stars fixed in the heavens, but like meteors, 
that dance in the air ; they are not as characters engraven in mai'ble, but writ . 
in the dust, which every wind and idle breath of seducers deface ; many 


entertain opinions, as some entertain suitors, not that they mean to marry them, 
but cast them oft' as soon as new ones come. Never was there a more giddy 
age than ours. What is said of fashion-mongers, that some men, should they 
see their pictures in that habit which they wore a few years past, woukl hardly 
know themselves in their present garb, it is most ti'uc in regard of their 
opinions ; should many that have been great professors take a view of their 
religious principles a dozen years ago, and compare them with their present, 
they would be found not the same men. They have so chopped and changed, 
that they seem to have forsaken their old faith. Not that the old which they 
renounce was false, or the new which they espouse is true ; but because they 
were either ignorant of the truth they first professed, or were insincere in the 
profession of it ; and it is no wonder that the one should upon easy tenns part 
with that, which he first took upon as weak grounds as now he leaves it ; or 
that the other, who did not love or impi'ove the truth he professed, slwuld be 
given up of God to change it for an error. If the heathen, who did not glorify 
God with the light of nature they had, were righteously given up to a reprobate, 
injudicious mind to do that which was inconvenient, and morally absurd ; then 
they who dishonour God with the revealed light of Scripture truth much more 
deserve that they should be given up to that which is spiritually wicked, even 
to believe lies and errors for truth. A heavy curse, did we rightly judge of it, 
to wander and wilder in a maze of error, and yet think they are walking in the 
way of truth. 

Quest. But, may some say. How is it possible that ordinary professors 
should attain to this established judgment in the truth, when we see many of 
great parts and eminency much unsettled in their judgments ? 

Answ. We must distinguish, first, of persons ; secondly, of truths. First, of 
persons ; there are many eminent for parts, whose parts want piety to establish 
them, and no wonder to see wanton wits unfixed in the truths of God. None 
sooner topple over into error, than such who have not an honest heart to a 
nimble head. The richest soil, without culture, is most tainted with such weeds. 
They have been men of unsanctified parts, that have been the leaders in the 
way of error, though the more simple and weak that are led by them. They 
are knowing men, which first disgorge and vomit error from their coiTiipt 
hearts, and ignorant ones that lick it up. And therefore despair not of an 
established judgment so long as thou dcsirest to have an honest, upright heart, 
and conscientiously useth the means. The promise is on thy side, Psa. cxi. 10: 
* The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and a good understanding 
have they that do his commands.' 

Secondly, We must distinguish of truths ; some are fundamental, others are 
superstructory ; now though many eminent for piety as well as parts are in 
the dark concerning some of the superstructory, and more circumstantial, 
because mysteriously laid down in the word, yet there is a sweet harmony 
among the godly in fundamentals. And in those, poor soul, thou mayest come 
by a faithful use of means to be established. As for our bodies, God hath so 
provided, that things necessary to preserve their life are more common, and to 
be had at a cheaper rate, than things for delicacy and state. So also for our 
souls. If bread were as hard to come by as sweetmeats, or water as scarce as 
wine, the greatest part of men must needs famish ; so if truths necessary to 
salvation were as hard to be understood, and cleared from the Scriptures, as 
some others, many poor weak-hearted Christians would certainly perish without 
a miracle to help them. But the saving truths of the gospel lie plain, and run 
clear to all, but those who muddy the streams with their own corrupt minds. 




Quest. But what counsel can you give me towards the establishing of my 
judgment in the truths of Christ ? 

Ans. 1 . First, let thy aim be suicere in embracing of truths ; a false, naughty 
heart, and an unsound judgment, like ice and water, are produced mutually by 
one another. The reason of the fickleness of some men's judgments proceeds 


from the guile of their hearts. A stable mind and a double heart seldom meet. 
That place speaks full to this, 1 Tim. i. 5 : ' The end of the commandment is 
love out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned.' 
Now mark what follows, ver. 6 : ' From which some having swerved,' or as it is 
in the original, not aiming at, 'have turned aside to vain jangling.' They 
never aimed at the power of holiness in receiving truth, that by it they might 
advance in their love, faith, and other graces ; and taking a wrong end and aim, 
no wonder they turn out of the right way. A naughty heart can easily bribe 
the judgment to vote on its side. This shall be truth now and no truth a 
month hence, if it please. That is truth with many, which serves their interest ; 
they tie their judgments to their purse-strings, or preferments, &c., and such 
men are ready, with that weather-cock in Queen Mary's days, to sing a new 
song upon any change in their carnal concernments. When love receives a 
truth, it is held fast ; but if lust after any worldly interest be the cause, .then it 
may be packed away again, when the tiu-n is served. Amnon was soon as 
sick of Tamar, as ever he was for her. And have we not in our days seen 
some truths and ordinances kicked away with as much scorn and contempt as 
he did her, and by those that have been sufficiently fond of them, a few years 
past, but, to be feared, never truly in love with them ? 

Secondly, Attend on the ministry of the word. One great end of its appoint- 
ment is to establish us in truth, Ephes. iv. 1 1 : 'He gave some pastors and 
teachers, for the perfecting of the saints.' And mark, ver. 14, ' That we hence- 
forth be no more children^ tossed to and fro,' &c. He that rims from his guide, 
will be soon out of his way. It is no small testimony that God hath given to 
his faithful ministers in this present age ; that few leave them but the leprosy of 
error appears soon on their forehead. And in thy waiting on the ministry of 
the word, be sure thou attendest to the doctrinal part of the sermon as well as 
to the applicatory. The former is necessary to make thee a solid Christian, as 
the other to make thee a warm Christian : indeed, hot affections, without solid 
knowledge, are but like fire in the pan when the piece is not charged. The 
Levites, Nehem. viii. 7, 8, we find, ' gave the sentence of the law, and caused 
the people to understand it.' Planting goes before watering, and so should 
teaching before exhorting. And the same method people should learn in, that 
we are to preach in. 

Thirdly, Enslave not thy judgment to any person or party. There is a spii-itual 
suretyship hath undone many in their judgments and principles : be notboimd 
to, or for, the judgment of any. Weigh truth, and tell gold, thou mayest after 
thy father : thou must live by thy own faith, not another's. Labour to see 
truth with thine own eyes. That building stands weak, which is held up by a 
shore or some neighbour's house it leans on, rather than on any foundation of 
its own ; v\'hen these go, that will fall to the ground also : let not authority from 
man, but evidence from the word, conclude thy judgment; that is but a shore, this 
a foundation. Quote the Scripture rather than men for thy judgment. Not, So 
saitli such a learned holy man, but. Thus saith the holy Scripture ; yet take heed 
of bending this direction too far the other way, which is done when we condenni 
the judgment of such, whose piety and learning might command reverence : 
there is sure a mean to be found betwixt defying men and deifying them. It 
is admiring of persons that is the traitor to truth, and makes many cry 'Hosanna' 
to error, and ' Crucify' to truth. Eusebius, out of Josephus, tells us of Herod 
(that Herod whom we read. Acts xii., to be eaten up of worms) his coming upon 
the theatre gorgeously clad, and that while he was making an eloquent oration 
to the people, his silver robe, which he then wore, did, by the reflex of the 
sunbeams shining on it, so glister, as dazzled the eyes of the spectators ; and 
this, saith he, occasioned some flatterers to cry out, ' The voice of God, and not 
of man.' And truly the glistering varnish which some men's parts and rhetoric 
put upon their discourses does oft so blind the judgments of their admirers, 
that they are too prone to think all divine they speak ; especially if they be 
such, whom God hath used as instrmnents for any good to their souls formerly. 
O it is hard then, as he said, amare hominem humanller, to love and esteem man 
as man, to reverence such so as not to be in danger of loving their errors also. 
Augustine had been a means to convert Alypius from one error, and he confess- 
et!i this was an occasion, why he was so easily by him led into another error, 


no less than Manicheeism ; Alypius thought he could not pervert liini here, 
that had converted him : call therefore none father on earth ; despise none, 
adore none. 

Fourthly, Beware of curiosity. He is half gone into error that vainly covets 
novelties, and listens after every new-fangled opinion. We read of itching ears, 
2 Tim. iv. .'} : this itch commonly ends in a scab of error. Tamar lost her 
chastity by gadding ; castitas mentis est fides incorrupta ; the chastity of the 
mind is its soundness in the faith. And this they are in danger to lose, who 
will go into all companies, and lend an ear to all doctrines that are preached. 
First, be a hearer, and then a disciple of them. Many indulge themselves so 
far in this curiosity of conversing with every sect and opinion, that at last they 
turn sceptics, and can settle upon nothing as truth. Augustine confesseth of 
himself that he had gone through so many errors and delusions of the Manichees, 
(which he once cried up for truths, but afterwards saw them abominable errors,) 
that at last he was afraid of truth itself, which he heard Ambrose preach. tJt 
malum medlcum ei-pertus, etknn bono t'niwdt se conim'Utere. 'As,' saith he, 
' one that hath had experience of an unskilful physician, is at last afraid to put 
himself in the hands of him that is skilful.' O take heed that you who will 
now hear anything, come not in the end that you will believe nothing! 

Fifthly, Humbly beg an established judgment of God. No travellers lose 
their way sooner than they who think they know it so well, as they need not 
ask it. And no professors are in such danger of being drawn from the truth as they 
who lean to their own understanding, and acknowledge not God in their way, 
by consulting with himself daily. Mark, pride, however it may seem to soar, 
hath such a mercy in store for them, they may, with Nebuchadnezzar, ' bless 
the Most High,' and acknowledge him at their return, whom they neglected so 
unworthily at their setting forth. O take heed therefore of pride, which will 
soon make thee a stranger at the throne of grace ! Pride takes little delight in 
begging : it turns humble praying for truth into a busy, stickling, and ambitious 
disputing about truth : there is honour to be got here ; and thus many, to get 
victory, have lost truth in the heat of the battle. Lay this deep in thy heart, 
that God, which gives an eye to see truth, must give a hand to hold it fast when 
we have it. What we have from God we cannot keep without God ; keep 
therefore thy acquaintance with God, or else truth will not keep her acquaint- 
ance long with thee. God is light ; thou art going into the dark, as soon as 
thou turnest thy back upon him. We stand at better advantage to find truth, 
and keep it also, when devoutly praying for it, than fiercely wrangling and 
contending about it : disputes toil the soul, and raise the dust of passion ; pi-ayer 
sweetly composeth