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Full text of "The whole works of the Rev. Oliver Heywood : including some Tracts extremely scarce, and others from unpublished Manuscripts ; with memoirs of his life"


presented to 

of the 

Pmiiersiig of Coronto 

Prof. W.H. Ellis 
Mrs. M.E. Ellis 

Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2011 with funding from 

University of Toronto 



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Including some Tracts extremely scarce, and others from 
unpublished Manuscripts : 












1825. \\)t '/ y 

/ / 

-.APR. 1.4. 1989;. 





Editor's Preface ------ 


Mr. Chester's Recommendatory Address - - - - xx i 

Dedication of the Author xxm 

CHAP. I. The Introduction 1 

II. On the Nature of a Treasure - - - - () 

III. On the Christian's Treasure - - - -12 

IV. On the laying out of Heart Treasure - - 20 

V. On the great Necessity of laying up this Trea- 

sure ------ 

VI. On Self-examination relative to this Treasure 47 

VII. Neglect of Heart Treasure reproved - - 57 

VIII. Instructions for the Destitute to obtain a 

Treasure of Good /9 

IX. Directions relative to good Thoughts - - 99 

X. Truths which a Christian should treasure up - 128 

XI. The Graces which a good Man should cherish 

and cultivate ------ 138 

XII. Experiences which should be collected - 149 

XIII. Comforts, as a Treasure, should be laid up 

in the Heart 1^9 

XIV. On the Preservation and Increase of a Chris- 
tian's Treasure - - - - - -1/0 

XV. Directions for bringing forth good Things out 

of the Believer's good Treasure - 191 


CHAP. XVI. The Excellency and Advantage of having a 

Treasure in the Heart - 202 

XVII. Some Objections answered, and Exhortations 

urged ------- 228 

APPENDIX. Concerning Meditation, with some Helps to 
furnish the Thoughts with suitable and pro- 
fitable Subjects 240 


Preface 285 

CHAP. I. Introductory Remarks 293. 

II. Mercies of the Covenant - 300 

III. The Way in which Covenant Mercies are 

made sure ------ 315 

IV. The Manner in which Covenant Mercies are 

confirmed ------- 321 

V. The Medium through which the Sure Mercies 

of David are conveyed - 333 

VI. The Sure Mercies of David furnish a Confuta- 

tion of Errors ------ 347 

VII. The Sure Mercies of David considered as 

contributing Instruction - 360 

VIII. These Sure Mercies supply Materials for 
Self-Examination ----- 381 

IX. Covenant Mercies tend to produce Conviction 408 

X. These Mercies deserve Consideration, and should 

excite in all a Solicitude to obtain them - 432 

XI. The Sure Mercies of David suggest various 

Directions ------ 447 

XII. The Sure Mercies of David are calculated to 

encourage Believers, and to excite their Gra- 
titude 495 



THE preaching of the gospel is the primary and 
most efficient agency appointed and employed by infi- 
nite wisdom for the conversion of men and the edifica- 
tion of the church. But the circulation of books 
characterized by a tendency to promote the interests 
of religion, must be regarded as auxiliary means. 
There have indeed been times when the auxiliary 
means have taken the place of the principal, and books 
have become almost the sole dispensers of religious 

Before the apostles and evangelists had finished 
their course, persecution raised his ferocious and in- 
fernal visage, and blighted the hopes which had been 
entertained by the first followers of Jesus. The 
preachers of truth were driven into corners, or immured 
in dungeons, or suffered at the stake ; but prior to the 
termination of their career so' highly distinguished for 
its usefulness and importance to the church of God, 
the Gospels and Epistles, together with the Acts of 
the Apostles, and the Revelation of John, were, under 
the direction of the Holy Spirit, composed for the 
general benefit of every succeeding age. Those sacred 
VOL. II. l> 


writings were also transcribed by many a hand with 
unwearied perseverance, and the copies were distri- 
buted amongst the various societies of Christians for 
their edification and comfort. In their circumstances 
of persecution, we may easily conceive that the records 
of truth would be held as precious indeed. 

Passing over the instances which exhibit a simi- 
larity of situation to that of the primitive Christians, 
and in which the value of religious books would be 
estimated at a singularly high rate, the Editor would 
introduce the case of about two thousand congregations 
that were at once,* by the Act of Uniformity, deprived 
of the ministers, who had dispensed among them the 
word of life, and whom they esteemed very highly in 
love for their works' sake. Their ministers, however, 
were not formed of such materials as to cause them to 
sink into a state of inactivity. If they were not per- 
mitted any longer to officiate in their former places of 
worship, or to address the people when summoned 
together by the " church-going bell," after embracing 
every opportunity of preaching which presented itself, 
they retired to their studies and employed their leisure 
hours in writing, in order to promote the spiritual 
welfare of the people around them. 

In such a state of seclusion, and even when the 

strong hand of power has shut up the witnesses to the 

truth within the walls of a prison, some of the most 

valuable literary productions have originated. When 

* Aug. 24, 1662. 

editor's PREFACE. Vll 

Luther was confined in the castle of Wartburg, which 
he was accustomed to denominate his Patmos, he com- 
posed several theological tracts, which displayed the 
energies of his powerful mind, and contributed greatly 
to confirm the resolution of those who had attached 
themselves to the cause of the Reformation — which 
also had a mighty influence in gaining adherents to 
this cause, as well as establishing those who not un- 
frequently wavered in their trying and precarious cir- 
cumstances. But the most of his solitude he employed 
on a translation of the Scriptures into the language 
of his native country. This German version, the result 
of his confinement was of the highest importance. 
"The different parts of it," says Mosheim, "being 
successively and gradually spread abroad among the 
people, produced sudden and almost incredible effects, 
and extirpated root and branch, the erroneous princi- 
ples and superstitious doctrines of the church of Rome, 
from the minds of a prodigious number of persons." 
Bunyan is another extraordinary instance of success- 
ful toil, when prevented from discharging in a public 
manner the duties of the ministerial office. In a jail 
at Bedford, torn from the scenes of active life, cut off 
from all the ordinary intercourse of society, his whole 
library consisting of his Bible and Fox's Martyrology, 
he sketched the Progress of his Pilgrim, and even 
in this world procured for himself an immortal name. 

Ingenious dreamer, in whose well told tale 
Sweet fiction and sweet truth alike prevail ; 
Whose hum'rous vein, strong sense, and simple style, 
May teach the gayest, make the gravest smile — Cowper. 
b 2 

viii editor's preface. 

The popular Author of Pilgrim's Progress, the 
venerable Oliver Heywood, and their contemporaries 
who embarked with them in the same cause, had their 
lot cast on evil times ; but whilst enduring the most 
harassing treatment, and the most painful privations 
under the edicts of a faithless monarch, their days of 
trial and suffering did not pass unimproyed. The 
consequence of their ejectment from their places of 
worship, and their condemnation to silence was, that 
during the period between the Restoration and the 
Revolution, a far greater number of religious books 
issued from the English press than had ever, in the 
same space of time, been published in any age or any 
country. Before that period, those authors who made 
a figure in the republic of letters through the whole of 
Europe, generally wrote and published in the Latin 
language ; but as the principal object of the Noncon- 
formist writers was not to engage the attention of the 
learned merely, nor to challenge them to enter any arena 
of controversy either at home or abroad, and as they 
duly estimated the imperious claims of their fellow- 
countrymen at large, and especially the people to 
whose service they had dedicated themselves, and from 
the charge of whom they had been forcibly driven with 
unrelenting severity, the compositions which they pre- 
pared for the press were in their native language, and 
were chiefly intended either to promote the spiritual 
welfare of those who had believed through grace and 
possessed genuine piety, or to arrest the attention of 
such as were in danger of perishing for lack of know- 
ledge, and lead them to a consideration of their eternal 

editor's preface. ix 

interests. Accordingly the age of our forefathers wit- 
nessed the publications of Owen and Baxter, Goodwin 
and Flavel, Howe and Charnock, Manton and Bates, 
and many others, whose names only would fill several 
pages of this Preface. 

To ascertain what degree of moral influence, 
their productions had on the minds of those among 
whom they were first circulated, or on the generation 
that succeeded, would be difficult or rather it may be said 
impossible. There can, however, be no doubt but that 
they operated imperceptibly, and that the impressions 
they made were favourable to the interests of truth 
and morality. It is true that not many years after 
the Revolution, when the civil and religious liberties 
of Britain had been secured, religion could no longer 
boast of the pious zeal which distinguished her confes- 
sors of a former age : her stated ministers, generally 
speaking, began to have less and still less concern, for 
the spiritual and eternal interests of men ; a frigid 
indifference at length seized possession of their minds, 
and then an awful stillness both within and without the 
pale of the established church, seems to have reigned 
over the population of the country. In these circum- 
stances, however, a new description of Nonconformists 
appeared within the walls of the Establishment — 
Whitfield and Wesley and others, broke loose from the 
prescribed routine of ecclesiastical office, and went out 
into the streets and lanes of our towns and cities, and 
into the high ways and hedges of our country, to pub- 
lish the glad tidings of salvation to the people, who 

x editor's preface. 

almost in every place crowded to attend on their 
extra-parochial ministry. But is there not reason to 
believe, that their hearers in numerous instances had 
experienced some peculiar excitement, which prompted 
them to listen to the doctrines advanced, and that 
their minds were in some measure prepared to receive 
cordially the message of the gospel ? When in the 
year 1755, Mr. Whitfield preached at Birstall to an 
assembly of fifteen thousand hearers, and at other places 
in the same district to similar multitudes, the fields may 
be said to have been white unto harvest — but had there 
been previously no tranquil cultivation ? had not the 
thorns and briars in many instances been eradicated ? 
had not the soil been insensibly imbibing the dews of 
heavenly truth ? were not the seeds of religion sown 
here and there, according to our Lord's expression, in 
"honest and good hearts?"* The circulation of our 
Author's works was probably local rather than general. 
As Bernard Gilpin was esteemed and justly desig- 
nated the Apostle of the North, so Oliver Heywood 
may be denominated the Apostle of Yorkshire, on 
account of his unwearied labours in this populous and 
important division of the kingdom ; for annually he 
travelled in every direction many hundreds of miles, 
and dispensed the word of life to a population but 
partially favoured with the means of grace. And 
whilst he was thus employed under the guidance of 
Providence, to make ready a people prepared for the 
Lord,-\ wherever he travelled he was welcomed, and 
hailed as a messenger of God. In such circumstances, 
* Luke viii. 15. t Luke i. 17- 

editor's preface. XI 

no wonder that his publications bearing the impress 
of his piety and zeal, were esteemed and read with 
pleasure ; and as a great book has been reckoned a 
great evil, the smallness of their size too would ensure 
for them a preference to the ponderous folio, among 
the generality of readers. 

The Treatises of our Author published at different 
intervals during the course of forty years, are sixteen 
in number, and they no doubt had a considerable cir- 
culation ; for unless their publication had been sanc- 
tioned by the constant patronage of the friends of 
religion, it can scarcely be supposed that he would 
have continued to publish through such an extended 
period of his life. If we should suppose then, that 
each copy of his circulated Treatises found a few readers 
in a family, that they were read through the space of 
50 or 100 years, and that only a portion of the many 
thousands of his readers experienced improvement of 
character from their perusal ; and if we should sup- 
pose also that every individual who had experienced 
some excitement of feeling from their moral influence, 
and had in consequence become in any respect a better 
man — should either directly or indirectly meliorate 
in some slight degree the moral circumstances of 
those with whom he was brought into contact in the 
common intercourse of society ; who on summing up 
these considerations could calculate the mighty effects 
of such publications as our Author's in a religious point 
of view ? and if from these premises an inference may 
be drawn that their circulation has already had an 

~ii editor's preface. 

extensive moral influence, may we not cherish a hope 
that their republication will not be unproductive of 

In the village in which the Editor resides he has as- 
certained that there are two of Mr. Heywood's Trea- 
tises : one of them, entitled Heart Treasure, he found 
in the course of its transit from family to family, 
in which holy progress it had been proceeding for 158 
years ; but almost all the copies of his works have 
finished their course, and it has been with very great dif- 
ficulty that copies have been procured to complete this 
republication : of the smallest of his publications {Job's 
Appeal) only one printed copy is known to exist, and 
some of the others are exceedingly scarce. The Treatise 
on Closet Prayer is the only part of his Works, so far 
as the Editor knows, which has hitherto been re-printed. 
Dr. Fawcett, indeed, published Life in God's Favour, 
but it cannot, with strict propriety, be called a re-pub- 
lication of the venerable Nonconformist's work, for as 
the Doctor, with the best intentions, seems to have re- 
solved on doing what he could to secure public appro- 
bation by modernizing the phraseology, and inter- 
weaving with the original many additional observa- 
tions, (calculated, as he justly thought, for usefulness) 
it became, in his hands, what may be denominated a 
paraphrase or an improvement. 

In presenting the whole Works of the Reverend 
Oliver Heywood to the Public, the Editor acknow- 
ledges that he has had some hesitation, not because his 


respect for the memory of the Author has wavered, nor 
because he ever considered the subjects discussed and 
illustrated by him as unimportant or uninteresting, nor 
because he judged the Author or his Work unworthy 
of ceaseless fame. No ; but he is aware that the taste 
of the age in which we live is very different from that 
which prevailed in the days of our ancestors, and he has 
apprehended that the language of the seventeenth cen- 
tury would have but few attractions in the nineteenth. 
That quaintness of expression which characterized 
almost all the literary productions of the writers who 
flourished before the revolution, tinges everywhere the 
style of our Author ; his language may often be consi- 
dered as of a homely description, and forms of sentences 
are frequently occurring, in which words are introduced 
to rhyme with each other, which were, doubtless, re- 
garded by him, and probably by a majority of his 
readers, as beauties of composition, but which will ap- 
pear as blemishes to those who are accustomed to the 
polished periods of this refined age. But then there 
are many redeeming qualities. The medium of his 
thoughts is, in general, very transparent ; perspicuity, 
the first excellence of all language, invariably distin- 
guishes his compositions. Seldom will you find an in- 
tricate or involved sentence ; in the formation of his 
periods he does not, like some of his contemporaries, 
conduct you into a labyrinth, from which, with great 
difficulty only, you can find your way. His numerous 
comparisons, though they may in some instances be 
liable to the charge of coarseness, are taken generally 
from common life, and are very often striking and 

xiv editor's preface. 

happy. An unaffected simplicity is a prominent cha- 
racteristic of his writings ; an indescribable something 
which the French have denominated naivete, which 
springs from the amiable and undisguised feelings of 
the writer, and which engages and often charms the 
attention and feelings of his reader, runs through every 
page. And above all, the Works which now, for the 
first time, make their appearance in a uniform edition, 
are rendered interesting by the evident solicitude and 
earnestness of the Author to promote the spiritual and 
eternal welfare of his fellow-men. 

After what has been said, it may be unnecessary 
to observe, that the graces of eloquence are not to be 
expected to ornament these Volumes, and neither do 
learned or metaphysical disquisitions characterize their 
pages. Piety is the grace which must recommend them, 
if they obtain any cordial reception at all, but with this 
recommendation there may be hope that they will suc- 
ceed ; for piety, like the poet's beauty, 

" is when unadorned, adorned the most." 

It must be acknowledged that piety, as here attired, 
appears a little in the antique style — her garb is ac- 
cording to the fashion of other times, but even at the 
present day the fashion of antiquity has had its ad- 
mirers. A singular confirmation of this remark has 
lately occurred ; a preacher and author, * who has 
been ambitious to convert our sermons and discourses 
into orations and arguments, has attempted to revive 

* Rev. E. Irving. 


the obsolete phraseology of our forefathers, and his 
popularity has been great ; but if the copy has not been 
without its attractions, the original ought certainly to 
be received with still greater favour. 

To the reader the Editor would say, you will not 
see here the master-hand of Owen — you will not per- 
ceive the giant-grasp of Howe — nor will you be grati- 
fied with the harmonious periods of the " silver-tongued 
Bates ;" but if you can be pleased and edified with the 
plainness, simplicity, seriousness, and pathetic admoni- 
tions of Flavel — or if your religious feelings are excited 
by the pious solicitude of Baxter and his earnest appeals 
to the consciences of men, there is reason to believe 
that the affection, faithfulness, and zeal perpetually dis- 
coverable in all the productions of our Author, cannot 
fail to engage your attention, and make those impres- 
sions which mark the progress of religion in the heart. 
The state of that man's mind must be far from being 
what it ought to be, who should read the Subjects of 
Thought and Meditation on daily occurrences, pre- 
scribed at the close of the Treatise, entitled Heart 
Treasure, or the advantages of assurance, stated in the 
eleventh Chapter of the Sure Mercies of David, and 
who, when he has finished the perusal, does not feel a 
disposition to say, " Let my soul be as the soul of 
Oliver Hey wood — let me die the death of that righteous 
man, and let my last end be like his." 

The state in which the Editor found the original 
copies, has occasioned him far more labour than he had 


contemplated. The errors of the Press were innumer- 
able ; in not a few instances too, there appear to have 
been slips of the pen, not to be wondered at in the 
Author's circumstances ; in consequence of which, hete- 
rogeneous sentences sometimes occur which he, unques- 
tionably, would himself have corrected if an opportunity 
had presented itself; and in those copies, there are also 
words which custom has long banished from the lan- 
guage, and which would now be unintelligible to many. 
Errors of the press, or the pen, the Editor has cor- 
rected, * and instead of obsolete words, he has substi- 
tuted others sanctioned by modern use ; but this has 
been done very sparingly, and in every case of this de- 
scription, the sense of the Author has been most reli- 
giously preserved — in several instances, the antiquated 
terms have been retained, and their signification given 
at the bottom of the page. 

In these Volumes, Oliver Heywood appears in his 
own dress, in the costume of his age, and if the Editor 
has taken the liberty of brushing off a spot or two 
which had rather an unsightly appearance, he hopes he 
will not be condemned for officiousness ; indeed, he is 
more apprehensive that he may be blamed for not 

* The passages quoted from Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Clemens 
Alexandrinus, Tertullian, C}'prian, Augustine, and others, have 
been collated, and the errors in them, of which there were not a 
few, have been corrected with care. In two or three instances, 
the passages adduced were in such a state, that they were beyond 
the possibility of being corrected, without collation. The Works 
of Bernard, from which several quotations are made, the Editor 
does not possess. 

editor's preface. xvii 

taking such liberty more frequently than he has done. 
If, in this publication he had chiefly proposed to him- 
self, as the scope of his labours, the gratification of the 
antiquary, he would not have ventured on any alteration 
whatever, he would not have suffered the shield of 
Scriblerus to have its rust in any particle disturbed by 
a furbishing operation, but he had a more important 
object in view, and he has therefore departed a little, 
and but a little, from antiquarian punctiliousness in the 
direction of his course. 

Our revered Author by his publications erected for 
himself a monument which has perpetuated the remem- 
brance of his name upwards of 150 years ; but it has 
suffered from the ravages of time, its parts have been 
dislocated, and the fragments have been scattered about, 
in danger of being for ever lost. They are, however, 
now collected, and if Providence should spare the 
Editor a little longer in this precarious state of things, 
they may be expected to be replaced and beautified 
with some additional ornaments, to give permanence to 
the memory of a venerated man. But it was not post- 
humous fame to which he himself aspired as the prize 
of his Christian race ; in the performance of his minis- 
terial services often laborious and fatiguing, amidst the 
sufferings he endured in his Master's cause, and when 
publishing the productions of his pen, he sought, prin- 
cipally, the approbation of heaven. It was sufficient 
for him, as it was for the Apostle of the Gentiles, that 
Christ was magnified either by his life or by his death ; 
" whether he lived, he lived to the Lord, or whether he 


died, he died to tlie Lord, so that whether living or 
dying he was the Lord's." 

So far as the Editor has proceeded, he has, himself, 
reaped no little advantage from the occupation in which 
he has been engaged. The strain of fervent piety 
which pervades every production which came from the 
Author's pen, the artless simplicity with which the 
genuine feelings of a Christian are often described, 
and the unwearied zeal manifested for the immortal 
interests of men, have not been reviewed without some 
correspondent impression. Br. Doddridge in his Pre- 
face to Archbishop Leighton's Commentary on Peter, 
expresses himself thus : " The preparing of these 
Volumes for the Press has generally taken up a little 
of my time, in the intervals of other business, daily for 
several months, but I am far from repenting the labour 
I have bestowed upon it. The delight and edification 
which I have found would have been a full equivalent 
for my pains, separate from all prospect of that effect 
they might have upon others." Similar language I can 
adopt; after having been for a considerable time em- 
ployed on the Works of my Author, which bear a 
strong resemblance to those of the pious Archbishop, 
the experience which I have myself had, encourages 
me to hope that the circulation of this Edition will, 
under the blessing of God, contribute to the spiritual 
improvement of many. 


May 2, 1825. 

Idle, near Bradford, \ 










So soon as thine e y c views fc he Title of this Treatise, do not 
slightly cast the Treatise itself away, but spend some time in 
the serious perusal of it. If any value is to be put on my poor 
judgment, I do assure thee I esteem it a choice Treasure. In 
it thou wilt find a most useful subject treated on, namely, the 
furnishing of the heart with a spiritual treasure, an argument 
necessary for these times, wherein we cannot ensure outward 
treasures. The pious, learned Author, in handling this sub- 
ject, hath approved himself a most experienced^Christian, and 
a workman who needeth not to be ashamed. 

Among the variety of good books, which through divine 
indulgence are yet to be bought, it will be thy wisdom to buy 
those that are of general use, and such is this book which I 
commend to thee. Buy it, read it oft, meditate on it seriously, 
and lift up thy heart to God for his blessing, and thou wilt find 
much cause to admire his good providence in handing this book 
to thee, and wilt be incited to do what many professors are too 
remiss in, namely, getting a heart treasure, which will greatly 
support thee under present and future trial. 

In the Appendix thou wilt meet with excellent helps for the 
discharge of the necessary and much neglected duty of medita- 
tion, whereby thou mayest get much treasure for holy thought-, 



and so prevent what is the burden of many gracious souls, 
namely, vain thoughts ; while thou wilt be fitted for duty, and 
enjoy much of heaven on earth. 

The good Lord bless these papers, and the labours of all 
his faithful ambassadors to the good of his church, so prayeth, 

The meanest of Christ's servants, 

And thy soul's Friend, 


July the 12th, 1667. 





And the Places adjacent. 


GOOD books are not the least part of the church's treasure 
and furniture, but there is not any book to be compared to that 
Book of books, the Holy Bible, or book of canonical Scripture, 
which was indited by the immediate dictates of the blessed 
Spirit—penned by holy men of God— which contains the whole 
of man, and opens God's heart to the sons of men. This pre- 
cious Book is the common magazine of the saints, the greatest 
treasure of heavenly wisdom and science (saith a good Divine) 
that the whole earth hath in keeping. He that peruses and 
digests this Book cannot but be in a thriving state— he that 
digs in these golden mines cannot but be rich — and he that 
makes this Book his main study must needs be learned, holy, 
and happy. The best men have delighted most in the word of 
God, and they that have delighted most therein have become 
the best men : of some famous men it is recorded, that they 
read every day fifteen Chapters in the Bible, man} years to- 
gether ; of others it is said, they read it above twenty times 
over in their lives, with special observations ; of others, that 


by long and assiduous meditation on the Scriptures, their 
breasts became libraries of Jesus Christ. And, indeed, it is 
tJie duty and property of a gracious soul to meditate in God's 
law day and night, and to set a higher estimate upon it than 
upon the richest treasures of gold and silver, pearls, or precious 
stones. " It were better that all other books were burnt, (as 
Luther said) than that they should abate Scripture study : yet 
subordinately, the choice treatises of eminent divines in all ages 
are no mean part of the church's treasure, as helps to under- 
stand and improve the treasures of knowledge contained and 
couched in those sacred pages. These are as so many Philips 
to the studious eunuch to take the uncertain and inquiring 
passenger by the hand, through the deeper fords of Scripture 
studies ; these as tender nurses, feed the children of God with milk 
or stronger meat, as they are able. These are those mineralists 
that dig out of this precious quarry such gold and silver ore, 
that if it have the stamp of God upon it, will much enrich the 
souls of spiritual merchants; only let the spiritual man, who 
judgeth all things, try the spirits, and distinguish betwixt the 
dross of error, and the solid gold of saving truth ; let no poison, 
ping from the pen, infect the eyes, and so bewitch the heart, 
a blessed thing to have a solid judgment, and an honest 
heart, to prove all things, and to hold fast that which is good. 
Blessed be God for good books, which are a better treasure for 
the church than the Romish stock of merits and indulgences ; 
they are as so many sweet reflections from the sun of Scripture 
upon the dark and doubting soul, they are as pipes to convey 
the streams of salvation from those blessed fountains to private 
houses, and troubled hearts : and there is an advantage in 
writing ; when preachers are dead or cannot speak, books may 
remain £»ud instruct their surviving people, and what is wanting 
to the ear maybe compensated to the eye, (which some have called 
the learned senses) and through the eye the heart may be affected, 
and why may not life be conveyed through the eyes to the 
heart ? as death came in that way, so God can by his Spirit 
make pen and ink characters, to leave lively impressions, not 
on paper and parchment, but on the fleshly tables of the heart.* 

• -2 Cor. iii. J. 


This in part is my apology for putting my sickle into this 
harvest, and taking such pains in composing this Treatise; 
whether it shall ever have the advantage of publication through 
the Press, I know not, but if the Lord will make any further 
use of it, for the good of his church, I shall accept of such 
opportunity, and leave myself and these poor labours to the 
service of that God, to whom I have devoted myself and all 
that I have or can do. I look upon myself as the weakest and 
unworthiest of all those that wait at God's altar, yet as the 
Lord hath put me in trust with the gospel, so I have desired in 
my measure to be faithful to the Lord and to your souls, and 
having obtained help of God, I continue a mirror of Providence 
to this day. I am not worthy to preach, much less to print any 
thing on these glorious mysteries. I rather wonder that God 
hath had patience with me thus long in his work ; my God hath 
humbled me amongst you — you know how I have served the 
Lord with many tears and temptations which have befallen me 
many ways,* yet God is faithful, who hath not suffered me to be 
tempted beyond that strength he hath supplied me with, and 
hath, at last, made a way to escape.-f* Let God glorify himself, 
whatever become of this vile, wretched worm ; the good of your 
souls lies near my heart — God is my witness how greatly I long 
after your spiritual welfare ; it much grieves me to think of 
leaving any of your souls without a saving treasure, after all my 
soul-travail over you, and serving two full apprenticeships 
amongst you. Let not my sins or sufferings blemish my doc- 
trine or practise, or be a stumbling-block before any of you. 
What you have seen good in me, imitate — what hath been 
amiss, cover with the skirt of love, and beg a pardon from heaven 
for me. Some may think better of me than I deserve, and 
others worse, but while I consider man's judgment of little im- 
portance, both have tended to humble me, because I do not an- 
swer the apprehensions of the one, and my corruptions exceed 
any grounded censures of the other ; it were but a sorry business 
to undertake a vindication of myself, except wherein the gospel 
is concerned. O that you and yours may be and do that which 
is good, though I should be as reprobate and unapproved. Let 

* Acta xx. 19. f 1 Cor. x. 13. 


Christ live, though we die — let souls be enriched, though we be 
impoverished ;* would to God poor souls did reign as spiritual 
kings, for though they should seek to exclude us as means 
thereof, yet we also would reign with them as sharers therein, 
and in thankfulness to God for their mercy, -f- Let people be 
truly rich in grace, and we must be full of comfort ; yea, our 
people's faith should comfort us in all our affliction. O how 
much would our people's spiritual gains countervail our tem- 
poral losses ! It is better, infinitely better that you be rich 
with our wares, than we with yours ; our greatest treasure, as 
Ministers, lies in your soul's riches — we seek not yours, but 
you, and it will be transcendently more comfort, if you give up 
your souls to Christ, than if you should give all your estates to 
us. We shall gee riches enough if we make you rich, as Con- 
stantius said once. This is one of Paul's paradoxes. O that it 
might be verified in our success also, as poor, yet making many 
rich.— 2 Cor. vi. 10. 

Concerning the birth and bulk of this Treatise I must tell 
you, that the occasion of it was this : I heard a godly Minister 
preach a sermon upon this text, and I was much affected with 
it, and resolved, when I came home to search into it; I studied 
and preached three sermons, as I remember, upon it, with which 
some were so affected, that several entreated me to give them 
copies thereof, which I set myself to ; but as I wrote, it swelled 
in my hands to this magnitude at last — and when some had 
perused it, they entreated me to let it be printed, and some 
would be at the charge. It was a sudden, and, to me, a strange 
motion, for I never yet judged any labours of mine to be of 
so much worth as to be exposed to public view, yet I did not 
know what hand and end the Lord might have in this motion. 
I sought God about it, and desired him to search my heart, and 
and purge it from the leaven of vanity and ostentation, which, 
God knows, I found too much working in me — then I told my 
friends « I would communicate it to some Reverend Ministers, 
and should be ruled by their judgment and advice. I did so, 
and four or five eminent men in these two Counties of Yorkshire 
and Lancashire have moved me to publish it ; and if Providence 

* 2 Cor. xiii. ",. t ' t: ° n IV ' 8 ' 


clears the way, I freely consent : the Lord do with me and it, 
as seems good in his eyes. 

The subject, I am sure, is of great importance, nor have I 
ever seen any Treatise of this nature ; if it were profitably han- 
dled, it might be of singular use— with respect to what is 
merely of man, I hope God will pity, and pardon the unworthy 
instrument, and what proceedeth from his blessed Spirit, may that, 
through the help of the Spirit, reach and teach the spirit ; as 
this occupation hath been, in a measure, painful, so hath it 
been very pleasant and delightful to me ; and this I can say, I 
I never found such variety of matter flowing into my mind 
at any time, as I have experienced in writing this book ; if 
the Lord do good by it, I have my end. 

Devout Bernard begins an Epistle to a great man with 
this text, " A good man out of the good treasure of the 
heart bringeth forth good things ;" and towards the close of 
that Epistle, he hath these words, " Truly, for myself, I read 
myself in thy letters, not what I am, but what I would be, 
and what I am ashamed that I am not." Just so may I 
say in this case. I have written on the Heart's Treasure, 
but alas, how little have I attained of that whereof I have writ- 
ten ! The Lord grant that my own Book may not rise up as a 
witness against me ; but it is the desire of my heart to have 
such a treasure as is here described— if it make our souls long 
and pray for it, some good is done. 

I shall not any longer detain you in the porch, I entreat 
you to read deliberately, and practice what you read and find 
backed with the Scripture of truth, and God forbid that my 
preaching or this writing should rise up in judgment against 
you ; God forbid that any of you should be found without this 
Heart Treasure of saving grace, at death or judgment. 

My dear Friends, pray for me, who have you much upon 
my heart, when I am upon my knees ; pray for me, thai 
utterance may be given unto me — " that I may make known 
the mystery of the gospel. Pray, that I may come unto you 


with joy by the will of God, and may with you be refreshed, for 
the perfecting of that which is lacking in your faith, 1 "' * that so 
you may have a treasure of grace in your hearts laid up in you, 
and a treasure of glory in the heavens laid up for you, which is 
the constant prayer of 

A sinful Worm, 

That desires to continue with you, 

For your furtherance and joy of faith. 


From m>/ Studu, ai Coley-Hall, 1 
'June 14, 1666. / 

* Ephes. v. 19. Rom. xv. 32. 


Matth. xii. 35. 

A good man out of the good treasure of the hearty 
br in geth forth good things. 



Our blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, like a 
skilful alchymist, extracts the pure gold of wholesome 
doctrine from common objects and occurrences : as 
from material water, he proceeds to discourse on spiri- 
tual water of life ; * from common bread, he ascends 
to soul-nourishing conferences on his own flesh and 
blood, that living bread that came down from heaven.f 
As he passed through the vineyards, he takes occasion 
to speak of the true vine himself, and of those saints 
that are really grafted into him, and bring forth pro- 
portionable fruit. \ Christ could preach an excellent 
sermon from any text ; but here he takes an occasion 
of uttering precious medicinal truths, from the poi- 
sonous blasphemies of the Scribes and Pharisees ; 
distinguishing the fruit of the lips into good and bad 
words, which evidence the nature of the root to be 
either good or bad. The occasion of the words was 
this, — when our soul-saving and body-healing Re- 
deemer had cast out a blind and dumb devil, that glo- 

* John, iv. 10. + Ibid. vi. 27- } Ibid. xv. 1. 



rious miracle had various effects : upon the possessed 
person, it wrought soundness; (ver. 22.) upon the people, 
amazement; (ver. 23.) upon the Pharisees, madness and 
blasphemy (though that was only accidental) whereby 
they charge God himself with imposture, (ver. 24.) 
To these last, Christ speaks by way of apology for him- 
self, and confutation of their impudent slander ; his 
answer consists of three members. 

1. He refutes the calumny by clear arguments, de- 
monstrating his divine power in the miracle, from 
ver. 25—31.* 

2. He detects the heinousness of the slander, calling 
it an irremissible blasphemy, ver. 32. 

3. He exhorts them to repentance, by a severe and 
serious challenge, urging them to conceive more soundly 
and soberly of divine works ; and to speak more spiri- 
tually and profitably, since they must give an account 
of every idle, much more blasphemous expression ; 
from whence there will be drawn sufficient matter of 
their condemnation : this exhortation he directs to the 
Pharisees, ver. 33 and 34. parabolically; and to all, 
35 — 37. properly and doctrinally. 

Or our Lord Jesus shews, that thoughts are the 
first-born of the heart the fountain of expressions, 
words are the echo of heart-language ; much may be 
in the heart that is not vented with the lips, but there 
is nothing comes out, but what was first within ; " for 
out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks," 
ver. 34. This is illustrated by two similitudes, 

Of a tree, ver. 33. and a treasure, ver. 35. 

There is much ado amongst expositors to determine 
what is meant by tree; but it is clear, by tree is meant 
a man or woman, who must be good before good can 
be done: but the latter resemblance of a treasure, is 

* Vide Pareum in cap. 


our present subject, which consists of two parts ; re- 
lating, the first, to good men, and the second, to bad 

In both which, are — layings up, called a treasure, 
— and layings out, expressed by bringing forth. 

But to explain a little. 

A good man — there is good, 1. Absolutely; so there 
is none good but God, that is, essentially, perfectly, 
originally, independently. 2. Comparatively ; so godly 
men are truly good, that is, sincerely, if compared with 
profane men, or hypocrites. It is said of Barnabas, 
that he was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost 
and faith, Acts xi. 24. There are also good men, as 
compared with fro ward, 1 Pet. ii. 18. or choice instru- 
ments, compared with persons of an inferior rank, 
Rom. v. 7. as David was worth ten thousand of the 
people. This good man in the text is to be taken in 
the former sense, in opposition to wicked men. 

Good treasure. — This is a metaphorical expres- 
sion, and alludes to the husbandman and tradesman 
laying up in store what must be used in aftertimes ;f 
or provision laid up for the whole year by the mistress 
of a house. This crosses not Christ's prohibition, 
Matt. 6. 19. " Lay not up for yourselves treasures 
upon earth," for that is in opposition, this in subordi- 
nation to the true treasure and divine providence, as 
Joseph's hoarding corn was ; and it is called a good 
treasure in opposition to treasures of wickedness, 
Prov. x. 2. 

Of the heart. — The heart in man is the first mover 
of the actions of man,£ even as the first mover car- 

* Bonus est, non qui talis videtur, sed qui intus habet cor 
bonum, id est, a malitia naturali, Spiritu Dei, repurgatum et rege- 
neratum. — Par. in locum. 

t GjjtravpoC} 7rapa to iig avcuov TiOetrStai, quod in crastinum 
reponitur. J Weems's Portrait, page 20'. 

B 2 


rieth all the spheres of heaven about with it ; so doth 
this little thing in the little world of man, animate all 
his operations. By heart I understand the rational 
soul, with all its faculties of understanding, memory, 
will, and affections ; the chief part of man. The Jews 
compare the heart, 1. To the Holy of holies, or oracle, 
whence the Lord gave his answers. 2. To Solomon's 
throne, as the stateliest place where the King of heaven 
sat, as his throne of residence. 3. To the two ta- 
bles of stone in Moses's hands, in which the Lord 
wrote the law of wisdom ; and I may add, 4. The 
heart of a Christian is the storehouse of the choicest 
treasures, and cabinet of the most precious jewels. 

JSringeth forth;, — emits or sends out suitable ema- 
nations, for his own soul's comfort, and the supply or 
profit of others. This is drawing off the fountain 
into several channels, an educing the habits of grace 
into various acts, the exercise and improvement of 
what has been laid up, a stirring up the gift of God, 
a trading with the talent, required of every soul that 
hopes to give a good account at the last day. 

Good th'nigs. — There are some things good only 
materially, good civilly, but these are good things spi- 
ritually, both as to matter, manner, and end ; pleasing 
to God, profitable to man, and comfortable to him that 
brings them forth ; these are streams flowing from the 
spring of true grace in the heart, through the banks 
and bounds of a divine command to the infinite ocean 
of God's glory. 

The sum of all is this : every man is, and acts as 
principles are found in his heart ; we judge of the 
heart by outward acts, but God judgeth of outward 
acts by the inward frame of the heart ; and hence that 
of Luther is a great truth, that good works do not 
make good men, but first they must be made good men, 


before they can do good works,* for habits must be 
before acts ; yet good acts make good men better, as 
evil actions make bad men worse ; for acts strengthen 
habits, as we see by experience. 
The doctrines are these : 

1. Men's layings out are according to their layings 

2. Every sincere Christian is truly good. 

3. Every gracious soul hath a good treasure. 

4. True grace is a Christian's treasure. 

5. A saint's treasure is in heaven, and in his heart. 

6. A treasure in the heart vents itself in the life. 

7. A treasure truly good, will send forth good 
things ; the heart, so far as it is sanctified and doth 
act like itself, produces gracious acts and exercises. 

But I shall comprise all in this one observation : 

That a good treasure in the heart, is necessary to 
good expenses in the life. No man can do good, ex- 
cept he first be good ; there must be first a laying in, 
before there can be a laying out. 

The Dutch have a proverb, " That a good saver, 
makes a well-doer." I am sure it is so in a spiritual 
sense; he that lays in spiritual provision, is only fit to 
lay out in the exercises of religion. 

I shall give but this one proof for the general doc- 
trine, Matt xiii. 52. — " A scribe" or minister " in- 
structed unto the kingdom of heaven," that is, pre- 
pared to declare the mysteries of the gospel, " is like a 
householder" or steward, for so ministers are called, 
(1 Cor. iv. 1.) "which bringeth forth out of his trea- 
sure things new and old ;" a plain allusion to a house- 
keeper's old store which makes a daily standing dish, 

* Bona opera non facere bonos, sed prius oportere bonos esse, 
quam faciamus bona : sic proprie mala opera non facere malos, 
sed malos facere mala. 


and a new supply from the market upon special occa- 
sions. This scripture clearly holds forth, that he 
had laid up what he now lays out. Joseph laid up 
abundance of corn in the seven years of plenty, else 
there could not have been a supply in time of scarcity, 
Gen. xli. 47 — 49. But this is only for a hint in ge- 
neral ; for a more clear explanation and confirmation of 
this truth, I shall now endeavour to discover, 

1. What laying up a treasure is. 

2. What this treasure in the text is. 

3. What laying out implies. 

4. Why laying up is thus necessary. 



A treasure imports the laying up of things for 
necessary use in aftertimes, and holds forth these seven 
particulars, all which suit with the laying up of spiri- 
tual provision in general. 

First, — Laying up a treasure, implies carefulness, 
anxious thoughts, solicitous endeavours ; it is easy to 
scatter, but it requires some industry to gather, yea it 
is easier to gather by filching and cheating than by 
trading or working ; and things easily got by evil 
means, are as quickly lost by strange ways, Prov. 
xiii. 11. "Wealth gotten by vanity, shall be dimi- 
nished," that is, an estate procured by base shifts, 
devices, and juggling tricks, comes to nought ; " but 
what a man gathereth by labour shall increase," and 
in time become a treasure. Experience tells us, that 

* Male* parte, male dilabuntur. 


they that would get a great estate, take pains in the 
day, and plan in the night, and desires to get and keep 
their abundance, will not suffer them to sleep :* it is 
so in spiritual things, there is hard tugging to get 
abiding provision ; spiritual goods are not got with a 
wet finger ; they drop not into the mouth of a careless 
loiterer; the choicer any thing is, the hardlier is it 
attained ; f a harvest-man's labour is hard toiling. O 
think not to get heaven by laziness ; the kingdom of 
heaven is taken by violence, Matt. xi. 12. A resolute 
Christian as it were storms this uphill city ; as soldiers 
run to get the prey, or racers to obtain the prize. 

Secondly, — It imports choiceness in the things laid 
up. It is not all labour that obtains a treasure; " they 
labour in the very fire, that weary themselves for very 
vanity.":}: Men may lay out money and labour for that 
which neither doth profit nor satisfy ; || there are many 
things better slighted, than sought and gained ; stones 
and straws make no good treasure ; no wise man will 
account himself rich with toys and trifles. A Chris- 
tian's treasure consists in spiritual things, which only 
are of worth and value ; gold and silver are but yellow 
and white clay, called thick clay,J because solid bodies ; 
but compared with divine things they are but dross. 
Spiritual blessings only make believers blessed ; ^[ no- 
thing can be accounted a treasure, but what comes 
from, and leads to heaven : bona thronl, the good 
things of the throne, are a saint's treasure ; bona sea- 
belli, the good things of the footstool, are the portion 
of wicked men, and they may have a large measure, 
yea, a treasure of them ; their bellies are filled with 
hid treasures ; ** yet these do not make them happy ; 
all under-moon comforts are but sorry trifles to make 

* Eccl. v. 12. X Hab. ii. 13. t Difficilia qua pulchra. 

|| Isa. lv. 2. § Hab. ii. 0. IT Eph, i. 3. ** Ps. xvii. 14, 


a treasure of; the whole world cannot counterbalance 
a grain of grace. We account of things by their worth, 
not by their bulk; a little box of precious ointment is 
of more value and virtue, than whole tuns of ordinary 
liquor ; only heavenly riches make up a soul's trea- 

Thirdly, — Suitableness of the things stored up. No 
man will lay up what he shall never need, and ac- 
count it as his treasure ; every tradesman lays up that 
which is fit for his calling ; clothiers, staplers, tanners, 
husbandmen, have all their peculiar provisions, suited 
to their vocations : that may be a cumber to one, 
which is a treasure to another : kings have their pecu- 
liar treasure, that is, that which none but kings 
have ;* so all God's kings have their peculiar treasure, 
which as it is different from all others, so in some 
respects different one from another. Moses had a 
treasure of meekness, Job of patience, Solomon of wis- 
dom, John of love. As the child of God is to come 
behind in no gift, so is he to excel in that which he 
is more especially called to exercise, f It is a great 
duty and mystery in religion to be wise in observa- 
tion, and prudent in provision ; let Christians lay up 
supplies suitable to the several ages, estates, sexes, 
offices, burdens, duties, relations, places, trials, or temp- 
tations, through which they may have to pass, in the 
whole course of their lives ; so shall they not be un- 
provided or unfurnished, but which way soever the 
Lord leads them in this uneven world, still their feet 
shall stand in an even place, and go straight to 
heaven. X 

Fourthly, — A treasure imports sufficiency. Store 
hath no lack ; it is abundance that constitutes a trea- 
sure ; the granary of Egypt afforded plenty of corn : 

* Eccles. ii. 8. t 1 Cor. i. 7- t Psa. xxvi. 12. 


a scant modicum makes not a treasure. Spiritual 
goods are a Christian's riches, and he ought to be 
rich in these riches, rich in faith, and rich in good 
works.* What a full expression is that of St. Paul? 
(Ephes. iii. 19.) where he begs to be filled with all the 
fulness of God. What, Paul, can thy narrow vessel con- 
tain an infinite ocean ? Though he cannot hold all, yet 
he would have all divine fulness. ; he would know the 
love of Christ, which passeth knowledge ; that is, to 
furnish his intellectual faculty with a treasure of hea- 
venly knowledge;! and he would be filled with all grace, 
as the richest treasure of his will and affections ; yea, 
nothing less than fulness will suffice. Nay further, 
the fulness of God; yet higher, even all the fulness 
of God, let the vessel be filled to the brim, and let it be 
made more capacious to receive larger incomes ; never 
hath the believing soul grace enough, till grace be per- 
fected and crowned with glory. A gracious heart hath 
an insatiable appetite after heavenly delights and dain- 
ties ; nothing so good as grace, and the more a soul 
hath of it, the better. 

Fifthly, — It implies secresy. A treasure is not 
exposed to the common view of all men ; it was He- 
zekiah's pride and weakness to lead the Babylonian 
messengers through his treasures. Treasures are 
usually hid in secret places ; hence we read of trea- 
sures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, 
and a treasure hid in a field.:}: So this good man's 
treasure is said to be in his heart; || which St. Peter 
calls the hidden man of the heart, none can see into 
this, but the heart searching God, he that knows all 
* James ii. 5. 1 Tim. vi. 18. 

t Scientia qua? Spiritus Sancti magisterio, non ingenii nostri 
acumine discitur. — Marl. 

% Isa. xlv. 3. Matt. xiii. 44. || 1 Pet. iii. 4. '0 Kpyirrog rijg 
napdiag, Occultus ille, id est, cordis homo. 


tilings, only is the anatomist of this close and hidden 
man. Men see the face, but they see not what lies 
within ; hence it is that the greatest and best part 
of a Christian's treasure, is invisible ; as the roots of 
a tree under the earth, or the bottom of a ship under 
water ; or rather as a merchant's goods in his ware- 
house. So it is with a saint's treasure ; he is a Jew 
inwardly, his circumcision is that of the heart, in 
the spirit and not in the letter, whose praise is not 
of men, but of God. Rom. ii. 29. The regenerate 
soul is the King of heaven's daughter, who is all 
glorious within, though some sparklings of grace ap- 
pear without. The best and the worst of a soul is hid 
from the view of men ; happy were it for a Christian 
if he had no more corruption than appears outwardly, 
and wretched were he also, if he had no more grace 
than others can take notice of. 

Sixthly, — It is a treasure for its safety. This trea- 
sure being out of men's views is therefore secured from 
men's reach and touch : treasures lie not loose, but are 
under lock and key : those at Rome are now laid up in 
the impregnable Castle of St. Angelo. Treasure- 
cities are always well fenced, guards are appointed 
to attend them ; dragons were fancied to wait on trea- 
sures ; hence come dragooners, say some. But sure I 
am, the treasure of a Christian is safe; grace and 
peace are a saint's freehold that men and devils cannot 
deprive him of; grace is an incorruptible seed, and 
God hath engaged himself to maintain it; Mary's 
better part cannot be taken from her ; as soon, saith 
one, may they pluck Christ out of heaven, as grace 
out of my heart. Nay the treasure of joy can no 
man take from the believing soul,* for this pure stream 
of spiritual joy, grows stronger and sweeter, till it be 

* John xvi. 22. 


swallowed up in the vast ocean of our Master's joy in 
eternal bliss. A Christian's treasure is locked up in 
his heart, which is a cabinet that none can wrest 
open : Christ's heart was pierced, that a Christian's 
might remain untouched ; hence it becomes impene- 
trable, and invulnerable. A lively emblem whereof 
was the heart of John Huss, which remained entire, 
even when his body was consumed in the flames. The 
heart may be pulled out of the bosom, but not a, saint's 
treasure out of his heart. 

Seventhly. — In a treasure there is readiness for a 
present supply, it is but giving a turn with the key, 
and taking out provision, and making use thereof, 
which is as soon made ready as Abraham's feast for 
the angels, or Jacob's venison for his father Isaac. 
He that hath a treasure of food, hath it not to seek 
when he should use it ; as the man in the Parable, 
that ran to call up his neighbour, to borrow three 
loaves because he had nothing to set before his 
friend that came unexpectedly ;* but the well-fur- 
nished Christian can make God welcome in all his 
visits, in mercy or displeasure, and own him as a 
friend, whether he come by day or by night ; a well- 
stored soul hath something in readiness for his ho- 
nourable guest. A notable resemblance hereof we 
have in the parable of the wise and foolish virgins ; j- 
the oil in the lamp is the treasure of grace in the 
heart ; and though the virgin Christian may slumber 
as to the exercise of grace, yet he is ready upon a 
sudden alarm for the bridegroom's entertainment; but 
the foolish virgin is the treasureless soul, the grace- 
less sinner, that hath no oil at all, but while he goes to 
buy, is shut out of the presence-chamber. But of 
this more hereafter; only observe, in general, that he 
* Luke xi. 5, 6. t Matt. xxv. 1—11. 


that hath a treasure will be quickly furnished with all 
accommodations, on all occasions. 



The second general head is, what is the treasure that 
our Saviour speaks of here? I conceive it is prin- 
cipally intended of the thoughts of the heart, which 
are called the possessions of the heart,* (Job xvii. 11.) 
because these are the first-born of the soul, and enjoy 
the inheritance of it. You cannot turn off the thoughts 
from their freehold, you may suspend the tongue from 
speaking, the hand from acting, but you cannot sus- 
pend the soul from thinking, while it is a rational 
soul ; for this is the essential property of it, while it 
is itself. Good or bad thoughts are every man's trea- 
sure and possession; and these centre and settle in 
the heart; these are the spring and source of actions 
and expressions. Now it is said of a godly man, " The 
thoughts of the righteous are right," (Prov. xii. 5.) 
that is, judgment, law, measure, as the word imports ;f 
the meaning is, a gracious person thinks as he is, 
according to the rules of rectified, sanctified reason ; 
his thoughts run in a right channel, to right objects, 
for right ends, and are therefore very precious, and may 
well be called a treasure ; hence David's exclamation, 
Ps. cxxxix. 17. " How precious also are thy thoughts 
unto me, O God !" that is, say some, how rare and dear 

* *SSb »ttnV3 Haereditariaa possessiones cordis mei, a WTV jure 
haereditario possedit. 

t QERPQ Lex, statutum, mensura, sive enim secundum normam 
et rationem, vel in judicio.— Pagnin. 

christian's treasure. 13 

are the thoughts I have of thee to my soul ! This 
may be probable from what follows, " When I awake, 
I am still with thee," in thoughts and heavenly medita- 
tions, ver. 18. Certainly a godly man's holy thoughts 
are a precious treasure ; if his tongue be as choice 
silver,* what are his thoughts that furnish the tongue 
with profitable discourses ? 

Now, as the thoughts feed the tongue and hand, so 
there are four springs that feed and furnish the heart 
with holy thoughts ; these are like the four streams of 
the river of paradise, f they water the divine garden 
of a Christian's soul, and being followed to the head, 
will certainly lead the believer to the heavenly para- 

Those thought-nourishing streams are — Scripture 
truths — spiritual graces — large experiences — lively 

The first of these, Scripture truths, is like the river 
Pison, which compasseth the whole land of Havilah, 
where there is gold. So this taketh in the large terri- 
tories of the holy Scriptures, where there is such 
choice gold of divine truths, as are able to make the 
soul both wise and rich, unto salvation ; it is a choice 
mercy to have the understanding furnished with a 
treasure of saving knowledge of gospel mysteries. 
Hence the command is to buy the truth,:]: to search the 
Scriptures, to seek for wisdom as for silver ;|| to search 
for knowledge as for hid treasures. That is a no- 
table passage, " Let the word of God dwell richly in 
you." Cor. iii. 16. [Tr\ovmwg~\ copiously, abundantly, 
the word notes two things, § 1. The measure, and so 
it is rendered plenteously. 2. The worth of the 
knowledge of the word, and so it is otherwise ren- 

* Prov. x. 20. + Gen. ii. 10. J Prov. xxiii. 23. 

|| John v. 39. Prov. ii. 4. § Leigh Crit. Sac. 


tiered richly. And surely a great stock of Scripture- 
knowledge is a precious treasure. O what a blessed 
thing it is to have a man's breast the library of Jesus 
Christ ! The sacred Scriptures are the treasures and 
pleasures of a gracious soul :* to David they were better 
than thousands of gold and silver. A mountain of 
transparent pearls heaped as high as heaven, is not 
so rich a treasure as these ; hence that good man 
chose these as his heritage for ever, and rejoiced in 
them as in all riches. A covetous miser could not 
take such delight in his bags, nor a young heir in a 
large inheritance, as holy David did in God's word, f 
All the saints are priests unto God ; now of Levi it is 
said, Mai. ii. 6. " That the law of truth was in his 
mouth, and his lips kept knowledge as a storehouse. 
So it is or ought to be with God's spiritual priests ; 
they have the law of God graven on their hearts, and in 
their tongues is the law of kindness and holiness. The 
word law, comes from a root that signifies to try as 
merchants that search and prove the wares that they 
buy and lay up ; hence also comes the word for gems 
and jewels that are tried, and found right, i The 
sound Christian is the wise merchant, seeking goodly 
pearls, he tries what he reads, or hears, by the stand- 
ard and touchstone of Scripture, and having found 
genuine truths, he lays them up to the great enriching 
of this supreme, and sovereign faculty of the under- 

2. Another spring that feeds holy thoughts is spi- 
ritual graces, the fruits of the Spirit, which exceedingly 
help the fruit of the lips ; if the will and affections be 

* Sacrae Scripturae sunt sanctae deliciae et divitiae animae. 

t Psal. cxix. 72. also 14. and 111. 
X Rad. Tin Explorare, scrutari : hinc ITfln Lex, Statutum, et 
DTiD Gemmae, margaritae. 

christian's treasure. 15 

sanctified with a principle of true holiness, the lips and 
the life will bring forth heavenly expressions and ac- 
tions in the conversation: hence "The fear of the 
Lord is a fountain of life," Prov. xiv. 27. A gracious 
habit streams freely and fully into all acts of spiritual 
life, and at last is swallowed up in the ocean of eternal 
life. It is said of Jesus Christ, the origin of all grace, 
that the fear of the Lord is his treasure ; and we may 
say also, it is a Christian's treasure: a head full of 
notions will not make the soul rich, without a heart 
full of grace ; it is grace that ennobles the soul with 
heavenly excellencies, and enables the soul to bear bur- 
dens, and do duties. Without a principle in the heart, 
there can be no holiness in the life ; all works of piety, 
charity, and sobriety, must flow from a pure heart, 
a good conscience, and faith unfeigned ; f all which do 
contribute their influence to every good work. Obe- 
dience (saith one) respects the command of a superior ; 
love, the kindness of the lawgiver ; faith, his bounty 
and reward : I the first swayeth the conscience, the se- 
cond inclineth the heart, the third giveth encourage- 
ment ; sure I am, without these there can be no 
spiritual actings in an evangelical manner. He only 
hath a gospel frame of spirit, that hath the law written 
in his heart, and the works thereof in his hand ; whose 
life is a continual transcript of this blessed copy ; for he 
that doth righteousness, is righteous ; yea, it is he that 
moveth heaven-wards, from a living treasure of gra- 
cious principles, and not from external compulsion, as 
clocks and such dead, artificial, yet self-moving engines 
do : hence the church and a believing soul saith, " My 
soul made me like the chariots of Amminadib,"|| or of 
a willing people. Song vi. 12. Though some say 

* Isa. xxxiii. 6. t 1 Tim. i. 5. X Manton on Jude, v. 1. 
|| oy Populus et S"Jj Spontc moveri. 


they are the words of Christ, yet they are applicable 
to every gracious soul, that is acted by a new and 
living principle towards God, and goodness. Christ's 
people are volunteers in the day of his power, in the 
way of duty, being acted by a free and princely spirit, 
the renewed will being the great engine that moves 
the soul in a Christian course ; their own spirits 
make them willing for God.* 

3. Another spring that feeds holy thoughts is well 
gathered experience : the Christian's breast is to be a 
treasury of experimental observations, which may be 
improved as good props to uphold a tottering faith. 
It is said of those mentioned in Luke i. 66. that they 
laid up all the strange passages concerning John, in 
their hearts. And thus we find several saints carefully 
gathering, and seasonably recollecting their former 
experiences, as Jacob, David, Paul, Samuel, Manoah 
and his wife. Time would fail me to recount all the 
instances of this nature ; recording the time, place, 
and manner of divine discoveries, hath been of singular 
advantage to believers. Experience begets hope ; f we 
lose much through neglect thereof: signal memorials 
of received mercies help to present duties, and quicken 
faith in the greatest future difficulties. All artists 
gather knowledge, by recording experiments ; and he 
is the wisest Christian, that in this respect with So- 
lomon, hath his heart filled with experience of wisdom 
and knowledge ; \ experience is the best instructor, and 
helps a man best in instructing others ; an experienced 
physician or lawyer, is seldom non-plust; an expe- 
perienced soldier comes off with honour. O Chris- 
tians ! lay up in your hearts, what you have seen with 
your eyes, and felt in your souls, of the vanity of 

* Exod. xxv. 2, and xxxv. 21 and 29. 
t Rom. v. 4. . + Eccles. i. 16. 

christian's treasure. 17 

wordly, and the excellency of heavenly attainments, 
and enjoyments. You cannot be too young to collect 
experiences ; you cannot be too old to recollect and 
improve them ; if your green heads would use dili- 
gence, your grey hairs would arrive at large experi- 
ences ; by which means, the works and loads of old 
age would be easy, which were almost intolerable in 
your younger years.* A young carpenter is long with 
a little, and makes many chips, that an experienced 
workman dispatcheth, both more quickly, and more 
neatly : it is so in religion, experience facilitates every 
work of it. And how doth experience feed thoughts ? 
Thus ; when a soul is at a pinch, and the heart struck 
dead with a sudden surprisal, so that the thoughts are 
puzzled, experience comes in to bring relief, and re- 
presents the matter as feasible, since it calls to mind 
as arduous a case, which yet was not insuperable; 
and why mayest thou not get through as well as for- 
merly, saith experience? And thus it marshals the 
soul's faculties in their proper ranks, and brings it 
through the present attempt with order and victory, 
whether the undertaking be of doing duty, or enduring 

4. The last refreshing stream that supplies the heart 
with heavenly thoughts, is from the wells of consola- 
tion ; this like the last, yet not the least river of Para- 
dise (Euphrates) doth as the name has been thought to 
import, refresh the heart with cheering incomes and 
influences. This makes the soul both cheerful and 
fruitful ; in the midst of terrifying thoughts, these 
comforts delight the soul, Psal. xciv. 19. O the joy 
that these beget in the midst of sorrow ! Nothing 
can make sad, if divine comforts make glad. These 

* Seniores sunt saniores, incipientes insipientes; quae laboriosa 
fuere juventuti studia, ea sunt jucunda senectuti otia. 


bright beams of light chase away the dismal mists of 
darkness, and disconsolate horror ; these pure streams 
of comfort wash away the bitter effects of despairing 
thoughts. These comforts infinitely exceed wine, 
which philosophers have called the chief allayment of 
men's miseries,* but the sense of this love is better than 
wine ; one drop of these divine joys would even miti- 
gate hell torments. This is a treasure indeed, which, 
as it is of great efficacy, so it is the satisfying result of 
the forementioned provision ; saving truths, savoury 
graces, and sensible experiences, beget solid peace. But 
besides those, there are two clear streams that much 
promote the soul's comfortable thoughts ; which are, 

Precious promises, — and a clear conscience. 

(1.) Promises are the storehouse of comfort, the 
charter of our privileges, the conveyances of our hea- 
venly inheritance. Promises are the breasts of conso- 
lation, the evangelica mulctralia, the milk-pails of the 
gospel ; the great receptacles of that aSoAov yaXa sin- 
cere milk of the word, stored up for babes in Christ. 
The promises, saith a good divine, are bills of exchange 
given you, that you may draw your estate into ano- 
ther country, f Nothing can cheer up the heart so 
much as a word of promise. Hence David desires to 
" hear the voice of joy and gladness,":}: that is, in a pro- 
mise. There is a jjrobatum est\\ upon this means of 
spiritual comfort, whether it concern life or godliness, 
present or future enjoyments. § It is said of the Duke 
of Guise, that he was the richest man in France, though 
not in lands, yet in bills and bonds, and great friends : 
so is a right Christian, he is the richest man in the 
world, in possession and reversion, for he inherits all 

* Miseriarum humanarum /JiaXaKTina. 
t Man ton on Jude, page 152. % Ps. li. 8. 

|| It has been tried and approved. § 1 Tim. iv. 8. 

christian's treasure. 19 

things, and he is heir to a glorious crown at death * 
The exceeding great and precious promises may cheer 
up the heart of a drooping saint, if it were as low as 
hell ; for they were made and confirmed with an oath, 
that the heirs of promise might have strong consola- 
tion, f It is strange if the bucket of faith do not al- 
ways draw up the water of consolation out of the wells 
of salvation. God hath ordered in nature our feeding 
to be with pleasure ; so in spiritual things, our appli- 
cation and improvement of promises is with sweetness 
and delight. This is the first means to beget a treasure 
of comfortable thoughts on the believing of soul- 
enriching promises. 

(2.) Clearness of conscience, also is a help to com- 
fortable thoughts. Yet observe, that peace is not so 
much effected as preserved by a good conscience, and 
conversation, for though joy in the Holy Ghost, will 
make its nest no where but in a holy soul, yet the 
blood of Christ only can speak peace, " being justified 
by faith, we have peace," Rom. v. 1. An exact life 
will not make, but keep conscience quiet ; an easy 
shoe, heals not a sore foot, but keeps a sound one from 
crushing. Walking with God according to gospel 
rules, hath peace entailed upon it, and that peace is 
such a treasure, as thereby a Christian may have his 
rejoicing from himself, Galatians vi. 4, 16. His own 
heart sings him a merry tune, which the threats and 
reproaches of the world cannot silence. The treasure 
of comfort is not expended in affliction ; death itself 
doth not exhaust, but increase and advance it to an 
eternal triumph. O the excellency and necessity of it ! 
Paul laid' it up for a death-bed cordial : " Our rejoicing- 
is this, the testimony of our conscience," 2 Cor. i. 12. 
And Hezekiah dares hold it up to God, as well as cheer 
* 1 Pet. v. 4. t Ilcb. vi. 17, 18. 

C 2 


up himself with it on approaching death.* A con- 
science good in point of integrity, will be good also in 
point of tranquillity : " The righteous are bold as a 
lion ; they have great peace that love and keep God's 
commandments."! And saith the apostle, "If our 
heart condemn us not, then have we confidence towards 
God,"t and I may add also, towards men. O! what 
comfort and solace hath a clear conscience ! A con- 
scientious man hath something within, to answer 
accusations without ; he hath such a rich treasure as 
will not fail in greatest straits and hazards. I shall 
conclude this with a notable saying of an ancient. 
" The pleasures of a good conscience are the Paradise 
of souls, the joy of angels, a garden of delights, a 
field of blessing, the temple of Solomon, the court of 
God, the habitation of the Holy Spirit." j| 



Hitherto the laying up of a treasure of good 
thoughts by the accession of truths, graces, expe- 
riences, and comforts, has been considered. The 
third head propounded, is how this treasure is ex- 
pended, brought forth, and improved, for that treasure 
is in a sort useless, that is not made use of. Now this 
treasure is employed four ways, that is, 

By the heart in meditating, the lips in speaking, the 
hands in doing, and the back in enduring. 

I. By the heart in divine soliloquies, and heavenly 

* Isa.xxxviii.3. + Prov.xxviii.l. Ps.cxix.165. % Uohniii.2. 
|| Laetitiae bonae conscientiae Paradisus animarum, gaudium 
angelorum, hortus deliciarum, ager benedictionis, templum Solo- 
monis, aula Dei, habitaculum Spiritus Sancti.—J3mj. 


meditations, in cheering sentiments, and elevating 
emotions ; these keep the Christian good company, so 
that he is never less alone than when alone,* as a very 
heathen could say. Scripture truths are sweet and 
satisfying companions in all conditions, places, and 
stations : " When thou goest, it shall lead thee ; 
when thou sleepest, it shall keep thee ; and when thou 
awakest, it shall talk with thee," Prov. vi. 22. And 
what can we desire more than a guide in our way, a 
guard around our beds, and a sweet companion in our 
solitudes, and serious retirements ? Such are divine 
truths. A Christian may live upon this treasure in a 
wilderness, in prison, (etiam in inferno) even in hell 
itself, saith Luther. God's statutes were David's songs 
in the house of his pilgrimage :f Isaac went out into 
the fields for recreation, and took his treasure alonp* 
with him, getting a solitary and savoury repast, of 
meditation. Gen. xxiv. 63. When a man is shut out 
from ordinances, " his soul may be satisfied with mar- 
row and fatness, when it meditates on God in the night 
watches ;" \ yea, when dull and discouraging thoughts 
discompose the spirit, this treasure helps as a holy 
spell to raise the spirit of the believer, and drive away 
the evil spirit of deadness and distraction. || Medita- 
tion is a kind of deliberate extacy ; the harmonious 
melody of the soul's faculties within itself by a mutual 
and musical concert; it is the soul's self-conference 
heard only by itself : it is a restoring of meat formerly 
taken down, and diffusing it into the several veins and 
arteries of the soul ; meditation, in a word, is a holy 
concoction and digestion of divine truths, which 
meetens and ripens the soul for heaven. O the ra- 
vishing nature of a close and fixed meditation ! It is 

* Nunquam minus solus, quam cum solus. + Ps. cxix. 5-1. 

% Ibid, lxiii. 5, G. || Ibid, xxxix. 3. Ibid. xlii. 5. 


a God-enjoying, and self-profiting exercise ; the devout 
soul, that is thus furnished with a treasure, can expa- 
tiate upon all things, and like the laborious bee, fetch 
the honey of some comfort out of every object and 
subject. When grace is in the heart, knowledge in 
the head, and truth in the memory, the Christian 
through divine assistance will make good work of 
every condition and dispensation. It is both the cha- 
racter and the honour of a Christian to meditate on 
God's law day and night ;* he that talks much with his 
own heart by meditation, and takes frequent turns in 
Paradise by contemplation, doth far transcend the 
rate and pace of ordinary Christians : " for," saith a 
great divine,f " commonly we are transformed into the 
dispositions and manners of those whose company we 
frequent." And if we keep company with a holy God, 
by meditation, we shall be more exactly holy in all 
manner of conversation. 

II. This treasure of the heart vents itself by the 
lips in heavenly communications, and that two ways. 

1. A treasured soul doth discourse profitably with 
men. This, I think, is the chief design of the text ; 
a bringing forth good things in talking to men's edifi- 
cation. A gracious heart freely pours out holy ex- 
pressions ; Solomon saith, " the heart of the wise 
teacheth his mouth."| That inward spring feeds these 
sweet streams, and tips the tongue with divine rheto- 
ric; so Cant. iv. 11. " Thy lips, O my spouse, drop 
as the honey-comb, honey and milk are under thy 
tongue." Not like vain-glorious, empty scholars, or 
conceited, formal professors, that have got some scraps 
of confused notions, then set open the pack, and ex- 
pose all to open view, but are quickly exhausted ; no, 
no, these well-furnished souls have an overflowing 

Ps. i. 2. t Dr. Hall's Solil. iii. p. 8, 9. J Prov. xvi. 23 


treasure of holy matter, to produce upon occasion, and 
can speak a word in season upon any subject, to any 
soul. It is said of Plato and Ambrose, that bees 
swarmed in their cradles, as presages of their future 
eloquence : so the honey-comb of Scripture truths dis- 
tinguishes the Christian ; his speech is seasoned with 
salt, because his heart is seasoned with grace ;■* his 
discourses, like honey at once become salutary, and 
please the sanctified auditor. f When the well-guided 
tongue is an interpreter of a cleansed heart, it is food 
and physic to him that improves it ; " for the tongue 
of the wise is health," Pro v. xii. 18. The same word 
in the Hebrew that signifies tongue, is also used, joined 
with another word, for a wedge of gold : ^ the truth 
is, a treasured heart finds a precious golden tongue ; 
and nothing more cordial to the fainting heart, than 
the fruit of such choice lips. 

2. This treasure is exercised in religious duties and 
holy performances. The root of grace in the heart, 
brings forth these fruits of the lips in prayer and 
praise. || The spirit of prayer sends up to heaven this 
divine incense : such a soul that hath this lively liturgy 
in his heart, needs not to be prompted by men; the 
Spirit can help both to affections and expressions. <J A 
treasured soul hath a stock of prayers, as an able 
minister hath a stock of sermons, though he may be 
without a stock of written notes ; I mean the body of 
divinity in his head, which makes a ready scribe. The 
more treasure a soul hath within, the more ready will 
it be to every good work ; yea, and the more raised to 
God in the work : such a one is helped very much 
against distractions, the great complaint of pious souls. 

* Colos. iv. 6. Ephes. iv. 29. t Prov. xvi. 24. 

X 3HI V&bl lingua auri, Joshua vii. 21. || Heb. xiii. 15. 

Zech. xii. 10. § Rom. viii. 26. 


It is a notable expression of a good author, " He that 
hath store of gold and silver in his pocket, and but a 
few brass farthings, will more readily, upon every 
draught, come out with gold and silver, than with 
brass farthings."* So he whose heart is stocked with 
holy thoughts, will not find carnal cogitations so rife 
and frequent. If the heart have indited a good matter, 
the tongue will be as the pen of a ready writer ; f if 
the heart be filled with grace, it will make melody to 
the Lord, and music to good men. ^ A treasured soul is 
ready to trade with God in duty. Yet take this caution : 
a true Christian having a large measure of habitual 
grace, is not always in an equal actual capacity for 
duty ; David's heart may need tuning as well as his 
harp ; the key of this treasure may be lost or rusted ; 
hence the treasure of that man after God's own heart, 
was locked up in a great measure, for the space of nine 
months, till God sent the key by Nathan to open the 
sluice of repentance, and draw out the seeds of grace. 

III. The treasure in the heart is also drawn out with 
the hands, in the works of piety towards God, charity 
to men, and sobriety with respect to ourselves ; so the 
apostle distributeth good works, Tit. ii. 12. It is not 
enough for the believer to have the axe laid to the root 
of the tree, in sound conviction and gospel-humiliation 
but he is to bring forth fruits meet for such repentance, || 
in a gospel-conversation. We must not only believe 
with the heart, and confess with the mouth, § but faith 
must work by love;^[ upwards to God, by the obedience 
of faith ; inwards in the heart, by purifying it ; and 
downwards to men, by doing good unto all, but espe- 
cially to the houshold of faith. Here is a large field of 
matter for my pen, and the Christian's hand ; but the 

* Cobbct on Prayer. + Ps. xlv. 1. i Col. iii. 16. Eph. v. 19- 
|| Matt. iii. 8. § Horn. x. 10. IT Gal. v. 6. 


furnished Christian is unreserved in obedience, shuns not 
the hardest and most hazardous duties, will not serve 
God with that which costs him nothing : and this is 
a grand discriminating characteristic betwixt a trea- 
sured saint, and a treasureless hypocrite. The carnal 
person loves a cheap religion, and is loath to be at any 
cost or pains for God, in a way of commanded duty. 
But to a child of God, the more spiritual a duty is, and 
the more opposite it is to carnal ease and profit, the 
more freely doth he close with it ; he is willing to cut 
off a right hand of a beloved lust, pray for enemies, 
forgive wrongs, give to the poor,* as knowing that all 
these are essential parts of our religion; therefore, 
when the heart is full of grace, the hands, Dorcas-like, 
will be full of good works, which are called fruits of 
righteousness.f It is the Christian's duty and dignity 
to be fruitful in eveiy good work,$ which cannot pro- 
ceed from any other root than this heart treasure. A 
willing heart will find a liberal hand to relieve the 
poor; the merchandise of penitent Tyre is treasured up 
for the supply of God's holy ones. || This liberal soul 
deviseth liberal things, and will not make use of carnal 
reasonings, as danger of poverty, unworthiness of 
the poor, hardness of the times, and the like, which 
the prophet calls the instruments of the churl ;J but the 
largeness of a saint's inward treasure will make him 
carefully to seek, and thankfully to embrace objects 
and occasions of charity; yea, in some cases, he stretch- 
eth beyond his power, whereby the freeness of his 
heart enhanceth the mite into a pound, in true worth 
and God's account. Thus the readiness of the heart 
compensates the weakness of the hand. ^[ 

* James i. 27- t Phil. i. 11. + Col. i. 10. || Isa. xxiii. 
18. § Isa. xxxii. 7, 8. IT On this subject of Alms-giving, 
see Morning Exercises at Cripplegate, Serin, xi. p. 240 278. 


But I must fix bounds to this discourse. Yet a 
treasured saint hath no stint of desires and endeavours 
to be acting for God, and the good-will of his heart 
adds new vigour to his fainting hand. Naturalists 
observe, that when the heart more inclineth to the 
right side, the spirits are more lively and apt for con- 
templation and action ; hence that of Solomon's, " A 
wise man's heart is at his right hand."* I am sure 
when a Christian's heart boweth God-wards, his hand 
is full of activity in the ways of God, and works of 
godliness ; when the soul is filled with grace, the hand 
is fitted for acts of religion. 

IV. This inward heart-treasure helps the back and 
shoulders to bear the Christian's burdens. The time 
of affliction is a spending time ; if there be any grace 
within, tribulation will draw it out. Hence it is said 
to work patience ;f not that it creates what was not 
in the soul before, but educeth and evidenceth that 
which before lay hid in the heart. The fiery furnace 
will prove and improve the soul's spiritual strength ; 
for if it faint in the day of adversity, its strength is 
small, and treasure poor. Now, shall it be clearly 
known, whether the conscience be sound or will foun- 
der, whether it will pace well or not, in rough ways. 
Twice is it repeated in the Revelation, when mention 
is made of Antichrist's tyranny and ruin, " Here is 
the patience, here is the patience and faith of saints ; \ 
that is, here is the trial of it, here is room for it, here 
is the root and fruit of it, even Antichrist's desolation, 
which they have been so long waiting and praying 
for : surely a glorious sight worth beholding, — Rome 
flaming, saints triumphing, — yet, in the mean time, 
they have need of faith and patience. For immediately 
before both these passages, we have a description of 
* Eccles. x. 2. t Rom. v. 3. ± Rev. xiii. 10. & xiv. 12. 


Rome's rage ; the devil will come down with the 
greater wrath when he hath a shorter time;* and the 
last bitings of this dying Beast will be the fiercest, 
which may bring forth all the saint's graces, and all 
little enough in times of trial, f We have great need 
of patience after we have done God's will, that we may 
also endure his will, till promises be performed. ^ We 
must buckle on the armour of God, that we may be 
able to withstand in an evil day ; and having done 
and endured all, to stand on the field as conque- 
rors. || In personal conflicts, all our stock of suffering 
graces may be put to it ; poverty will try our faith, 
disgrace our self-denial, sickness our patience, de- 
lay of return of prayers for a long expected mercy 
will try our hope, — and all these graces must have 
their perfect work, that the Christian also may be 
perfect and entire, wanting nothing, James i. 4. He 
should have the whole heritage § of a Christian, the 
complete accomplishments of a saint, every grace in its 
height and due projDortion. Job, David, Eli, and He- 
zekiah had laid in a large stock of bearing graces, and 
they found enough to do with them in affliction ; they 
had no more than they needed. Love bears and breaks 
through all things ; faith holds up the head and heart 
above discouragements. Nature hath furnished the 
camel with a bunched back, to bear huge burdens, and 
a tractable bowing of his knees to the ground, that he 
may be the better loaded : so will the well-taught and 
accomplished saint meekly stoop to take up, and cheer- 
fully carry Christ's cross, during his pleasure. That 
is a sound-hearted Christian indeed, that like the 

* Rev. xii. 12. 
t Morientium ferarum, violentiores sunt raorsus. 
X Hebrews x. 36. || Ephesians vi. 13. 

§ ()Xo(cAj/p(H ex o\og totus, et tcXijpotj sors, hereclitas tola 
sorte constans. 


nightingale can sing most sweetly when the thorn is at 
his breast ; that like spices, the more they are bruised, 
the better is the savour of their graces. But a carnal 
man wanting this treasure of grace, kicks at, yea, kicks 
off his burden ; yet though it be possible that the spirit 
of a man (as of a man of a masculine temper naturally, 
or from acquired magnanimity) may possibly sustain his 
infirmity, and not succumb under outward burdens of 
sorrow, yet there is a vast difference betwixt a gracious 
and graceless heart in enduring afflictions, both as to 
their carriage thereunder, and advantage thereby : hear 
Austin elegantly discovering the difference : " There is, 
saith he, a dissimilitude of sufferers in a similitude of 
sufferings, and though they be under the same tor- 
ment, yet is there not the same virtue and vice ; as 
under one fire gold brighteneth, chaff smoketh, and 
under the same flail stubble is crushed, corn is purged. 
Hence also the lees mingle not with the oil, though 
pressed together ; so one and the same onset proves, 
purifieth, and sweetly melteth the good — condemneth, 
wasteth, rooteth out the bad. Hence in the same af- 
fliction the wicked hate and blaspheme God, the godly 
pray and praise. So much is it of importance not what 
things a man suffereth, but of what a spirit is the suf- 
ferer : for with the same motion may the channel smell 
abominably, and the ointment most sweetly."* Such 

* Manet enim dissimilitude) passorum in similitudine passionum, 
ct licet sub eodem tormento, non est idem virtus et vitium. Nam 
sicut sub uno igne, aurum rutilat, palea fumat, et sub eadem tri- 
bula stipulae comminuuntur, frumenta purgantur, nee ideo cum 
oleo, amurca confunditur, quia eodem praeli pondere exprimitur ; 
ita una eademque vis irruens bonos probat, purificat, eliquat ; ma- 
los damnat, vastat, exterminat. Unde in eadem afflictione mail 
Deum detestantur, atque blasphemant ; boni autem precantur, et 
laudant. Tantum interest, non qualia sed qualis quisque, patiatur: 
nam pari motu exagitatum et exhalat horribiliter coenum, et suavi- 
ter fragrat unguentum — August. Dc Civil. Dei. lib. i. cap. 8. p. 16. 


is the language of Austin, with which I shall conclude 
this head. 



At last we come to the confirmation of this doctrine, 
That a good treasure in the heart is necessary to good 
expences in the life ; and the 

First ground is taken from nature and reason, 
which furnish us with those undoubted maxims, That 
a thing must first be, before it can act — Nothing can 
give what it hath not — Such as the cause is, such are 
the effects — Of nothing, nothing can be made,f with- 
out a miracle of creation ; and we cannot expect to be 
fed by miracles where ordinary means are proposed, 
and supposed to be used. If we wilfully neglect to lay 
in provision while we have a season for it, we are 
guilty of groundless presumption if we conceit we can 
lay out in a necessitous condition. How can any ex- 
pect liquor from the still, meat from the cupboard, gar- 
ments from the wardrobe, where none of these were 
laid in ? What madman would think to reap without 
sowing, or to teach others when he hath no learning 
himself? Was there ever a bringing forth without a 
conception ? Is it not fond dotage in a shop-keeper to 
think to sell wares that hath none ? And is this pre- 
posterous in natural things, and can it hold in spirit- 
ual ? Joseph could not supply the country with corn 
without a store. A tree cannot bring forth good fruit, 
except it be good. The Scripture saith, " Can a fig- 

t Operari sequitur esse. Nihil dat quod non habet. Qualis 
causa talis effectus. Ex nihilo nihil fit. 


tree bear olive-berries, or a vine figs ?" James iii. 12. 
And can we think men can act graciously without a 
principle of grace? 

A Second reason is drawn from the offices of Christ. 
The second person in the sacred Trinity was filled with 
treasure, that he might fill the saints with a treasure 
of grace. " In him are hid all the treasures of wisdom 
and knowledge. The fulness of the Godhead dwelleth 
bodily in Christ." * And for this very end hath God 
stored Christ, that he might supply his members, " that 
of his fulness, we may receive, and grace for grace," 
John i. 16. " The plain, simple sense of which text," 
saith Calvin, " is that, what graces God heaps upon us, 
they all flow from this fountain ; therefore are we 
watered with the graces that are poured upon Christ.f 
For observe it, this is the nature of the gospel dispensa- 
tion; what spiritual good things the saints receive, they 
have them not now from God as Creator, so much as 
through the hands of Jesus Christ as the great Media- 
tor of the new covenant ; he is the channel or cistern, 
or rather fountain of all grace, that our souls expect or 
receive ; he is our Aaron anointed above his fellows, 
that the oil of grace might in its proportion fall from 
the head to the members. Hence it is that he is called 
Christ, and we Christians, from this holy unction. For 
this end was the Lord Jesus advanced to be the head 
of the church, that he might fill it with all gracious 
supplies ; and hence it is that the church is called 
" his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all," 
Eph. i. 23 ; that is, the effect of Christ's fulness, who 
filleth all the saints, in all ordinances and means of 

* Col. ii. 3, 9. 
t Simplex sensus esse videtur, quascunque in nos gratias cumu- 
lat Deus, peraeque ex hoc fonte manare: recte ergo sentiunt qui 
nos irrigari dicunt effusis in Christum gratiis Culv. in loc. 


conveyance of gracious influences. Truth of grace is 
from him, growth and strength of grace are from him ; 
both the least measure and a large treasure are to be 
had in him : " I came that they might have life, and 
that they might have it more abundantly," John x. 
10 ; that is, the essence and abundance are both from 
him. So then we see Christ is designed to be our Jo- 
seph, to furnish our souls with a treasure ; and there- 
fore he that neglects to stock his heart from this store- 
house doth undervalue the great office of Christ, and 
doeth what he can to frustrate the object of God, in 
soul's supply. — This is horrible ingratitude. 

A Third reason is drawn from the end and design 
of all providences and ordinances. They are given to 
be helps to promote this heart treasure. God puts a 
price into our hands, that we may have grace in our 
hearts : he gives us a summer season to lay up for this 
pinching winter. Naturalists say, that while the bird 
called halcyon sitteth on her nest there is calmness and 
serenity upon the sea : such halcyon days of tranquil- 
lity and gospel opportunities have we enjoyed in this 
tempestuous sea of the world, not to feather our nests 
below, much less to hatch the cockatrice eggs of sin ; 
but to warm and ripen the brood of grace in our souls, 
and to lay up a precious treasure for the evil days of 
old age, sickness, or persecution, and for the long day 
of eternity. When God affords a season, he expects 
things should be done in that season ; and if man neg- 
lect it, his misery will be great upon him. The very 
ant lays up for winter, and reads a lecture to man of 
good husbandry. Gathering in summer is a token of 
wisdom, but sleeping in harvest is a sinful, shameful, 
beggaring practice.* God expects that we should work 

* Eccles. viii. 6, 8. Prov. vi. G. Prov. x. 5. Formica, apis, 
et ciconia, sunt vere laicorum libri. 


in the light, and walk in the day, while this day of 
grace lasts, John xii. 35. It is a sad astonishing thing, 
that God should hold men a candle for them to play 
by; especially when time is short and uncertain — death 
and eternity are so near, and of such vast consequence. 
O what a confounding question will that be one day — 
" Wherefore is there a price in the hand of a fool to 
get wisdom, seeing he hath no heart to it ?" Prov. xvii. 
16. Observe it, God takes a strict account of our helps 
and of our hoard, and expects a due proportion. O 
what a sad reckoning will many make, whose negli- 
gence will be condemned by the diligence of brute crea- 
tures, and heathen philosophers in moral studies ;* 
yea, by the light of their own consciences ! 

Fourthly, Another reason is taken from our heart's 
natural emptiness of a treasure of good. " In me, 
(saith Paul) that is, in my flesh, dwells no good thing," 
Rom. vii. 18. This barren soil hath the more need to 
be manured, this empty house to be well furnished ; 
lest the heart continue still destitute of all saving good, 
and the soul depart out of this world as naked of sav- 
ing grace as it entered. 'Tis a pity so brave a house 
should stand empty of inhabitant and furniture. The 
souls of God's people are vessels that are to be well 
fraught with all saving graces, that they may be fitted 
for, and filled with, eternal glory, Rom. ix. 23. The 
Christian is to be holily covetous of those riches of 
glory, that amends may be made for his natural vacu- 
ity. Oh, the vast chaos of an unregenerate heart ! A 
long time and great pains must go, to the replenishing 
of it. There are many waste corners to be filled, even 
after the truth of grace is planted, before the soul be 
enlarged to a due capacity of service here, and for heaven 

* Nullus mihi per otium exit dies, partem etiam noctium 
studiis vendico.— Sencc. 


hereafter. " The soul of a believer," saith one,* " is a 
house well built, where faith lays the foundation, hope 
helps up the walls, knowledge sets open the windows, 
and love covers the roof ; and this makes a room fit 
for Christ." And I add, there must be every day a 
sweeping, and watching, and decking of this house, 
with further degrees of grace ; embellishing it with di- 
vine ornaments, and furnishing every room, I mean 
every faculty, with a rich treasure of heavenly bless- 
ings. It will be some cost and toil to hang every 
room of the heart with lively pictures of the Divine 
image ; for it is altogether empty of that which is truly 
and spiritually good, or may be called a treasure. But 
that is not all, for 

Fifthly, The soul is by nature filled with an evil 
treasure. " The heart is desperately wicked," Jer. xvii. 
9. " Every imagination of the thoughts of man's heart 
is only and continually evil," Gen. vi. 5. The mind, 
will, and affections, are stuffed with a world of blind- 
ness, hardness, and wildness. The soul is naturally 
prepense to evil, averse to good ; and therefore a trea- 
sure of good is necessary, to preponderate and exclude 
this treasure of wickedness — to season and seize upon 
the soul for God, as sin did for Satan. The love of 
God is to be shed abroad into those veins and channels 
of the heart where sin did run with a violent current f 
— the Christian is to be sanctified iri the most polluted 
part. And certainly it is not a little grace that will 
obstruct the active movements of sin ; for though grace 
be of greater worth, yet it is disputable whether it at- 
tain to greater strength than corruption, even in the 
hearts of the sanctified, in this life. But certainly, the 
greater measure of grace and treasure of sanctifying 
truths, the more power against corruption : the whole 

* Mr. Goodwin. t Rom. v. 5. Rom. ii. 20. 



armour of God (which is also the saint's treasure) re- 
sists inward lusts and Satan's assaults, Eph. vi. 12 — 14. 
The Spirit is compared to wind ;* now some have 
called the winds, " the besoms of the world." f But I 
am sure, the spirit of grace with the fruits thereof, are 
choice besoms to sweep the filth of sin out of the soul, 
and also to adorn it with divine jewels, and assist it 
with notable antidotes against corruption. These are 
as water to wash the heart from filthiness : the small- 
est measure helps against sin ; but the more grace, the 
less sin in the heart. Grace is a principle of life, and 
opposeth dead works, which otherwise would lead the 
soul to the chambers of death ; therefore this treasure 
is of absolute necessity ; and the same might we say of 
the word, which being hid in the heart, J: helps against 
sin in the life. 

Sixthly, Another reason is taken from the inbred 
motions of human nature. All men on earth seek after 
a treasure ; it is the harmonious inquest of all rational 
creatures, Who will show us any good, any thing to 
make a treasure of? Man hath a capacious soul, an 
active and laborious spirit ; || the whole world is not a 
morsel big enough for his rapacious swallow. " Our 
covetous desires," saith one, "are a long sentence with- 
out a period." Finite things are dry meat to a hungry 
soul ; they sooner glut than fill : nay, they put on this 
busy bee to buzz about one flower after another, till it 
hath wearied itself in vain, and sit down in utter des- 
pair of comfort and satisfaction. Only interest in the 
God of heaven, and the image of the God of heaven, 
make up all defects : See Psalm lxxiii. 25, 26. A 
Christ alone to justify, and a Christ within to sanctify, 

* John iii. 8. + Scopas mundi ; because they serve to sweep 
the air and the world clean from infectious vapours. 

+ Psalm cxix. 11. || Homo est Z,u)uv tirinovov. 


make the soul completely happy ; for Christ within is 
" the hope of glory."* A glorified and a gracious Re- 
deemer is the Christian's only treasure — his all in all.f 
God hath furnished man with an immortal soul ; 
learning may expand it, but grace fills it : nothing else 
will reach its large dimensions. Man is a little world 
himself, nay, bigger and better than this greater, by 
Christ's own verdict,! who is truth itself. The soul 
itself is better than the world, and it must have some- 
thing better than itself to be a treasure for it. Philo- 
sophy seeks, Christianity shews, the sound believer 
only finds true happiness, which the wise merchant 
has fetched out of the field of the gospel into the cabi- 
net of his own heart. || 

Seventhly, Whatsoever men have or love, they de- 
sire a treasure thereof. No man but would have a 
large treasure of a precious commodity — he that hath 
gold and silver would heap it up to a treasure — he that 
hath wisdom and learning would still have more. Men 
join house to house, and field to field, to procure for 
themselves and heirs a fair domain — a large estate. 
How many rich men are still as eager for more as if 
they had not enough to purchase a meal's meat ! Yet 
these seek for earth, as if abundance thereof would pur- 
chase heaven : like the partridge, they sit close on these 
eggs, though they hatch them not,$ nor are ever likely 
to bring them to their desired maturity. O the un- 
hallowed thirst after filthy lucre ! ^f Many think to fill 
their souls with wealth, whereas they cannot fill one of 
the least members of their body, the eye,f f which yet 
a nut shell will cover. The world at the best is like 

* Col. i. 27- Phil. iii. 8, 9. + Col. iii. 11. 

I Homo est universi orbis epitome, et abbreviata mundi tabella, 
Matt. xvi. 20. || Matt. xiii. 44—46". § Jer. xvii. 11. 

IF Auri sacra fames ! ft Eccles. i. 8. 

D 2 


Pasotes' banquet, which when the guests began to eat 
vanished into nothing. And shall so many men set 
their eyes, and hearts too, on that which is not ;* and 
shall not God's children make a treasure of that which 
is enduring substance ? Shall men think to make a 
treasure of coals, and chaff, and empty shadows ? and 
shall not the Christian gather store of pearls and jewels 
for his treasure ? Shall the children of the world be 
more wise and wary for earth, than the children of 
light for heaven ? God forbid. Surely the Christian 
hath as great reason to heap up as any ; these commo- 
dities are more rare, rich, and necessary than any other; 
and why then should he not get a heart treasure? 
For with these reasons I would both convince the 
judgment and sway the affections ; these are the chief 
motives I have : for I would spend most time in di- 

Eightly, This and only this doth discriminate be- 
twixt persons and persons : my meaning is, this heart 
treasure puts a difference betwixt saints and sinners, 
betwixt weak and strong Christians. As the treasure 
in the heart is, so is the professor's state ; as Solomon 
saith in another case, Prov. xxiii. 7- " As he thinketh 
in his heart, so is he :" not as he speaks with his lips. 
Formalists will speak God as fair as any ; they honour 
him with their lips, and flatter him with false and 
fawning attentions,! as though he were an idol. But 
the heart-searching God is not pleased, except the heart 
be upright with him. It is the upright in whom lie de- 
lights ; not in a person merely, as he acts with his 
hands, or walks with his feet, in many passages of his 
life. A man may, with Ahab, walk softly — with He- 
rod do many things — with Simon Magus make large 
professions of faith ; yea, it is possible a man may suf- 

* Prov. xxiii. 5. t Isa. xxix. 13. Psalm lxxviii. 36, 37- 


fer many troubles, and even death itself, in a good 
cause ; yet except he have a heart treasured with grace, 
he is rejected, and may go to hell at last. God judgeth 
of the fruits by the root ; though men judge of the 
root by the fruits ; a heart after his own heart is bet- 
ter than the tongue of men and angels. The distinc- 
tion of persons is in respect of inside principles and 
workings. A good man may sometimes do an evil 
work, and a bad man may do a good work ; but how 
are their hearts ? The best conferences or perform- 
ances are not current coin with the God of heaven, ex- 
cept they issue out of the mint of a heart where God's 
image is stamped.* A little good is accounted much 
when there is a treasure within — much seeming good 
is looked on as nothing when there is no treasure. This 
also makes the difference betwixt a strong and weak 
Christian ; let their gifts and outward seemings be 
what they will, yet the greater or lesser degree of real 
grace distinguisheth their attainments ; and according- 
ly these measures have different influences upon their 
lives, duties, comforts, or preparedness for death. 

Ninthly, This treasure doth assimilate the soul to 
God. The great Jehovah is the only self-existent and 
self-sufficient good ; he is an absolute, complete, and 
independent Being, and needs no accession of creatures 
or created powers to make him happy. Nothing can 
add to, or detract from, his infinite and incomprehen- 
sible blessedness — he is a treasure of all good,f in and 
to himself, and needs neither gold nor silver to make 
him rich. Parallel to this, in some proportion, is the 
saint's sweet and secret heart treasure, and solitary re- 

* Pius homo numisma est a Deo cusum, impius adulterinum, 
non a Deo seel a Diabolo effectum. — Ignat. Epi.st. ad Mag?ies. 

t Et Deum ipsum verum recte dicimus divitem, non tamen pe- 
cunia, sed omnipotentifi : dicuntur pauperes pecunia cardites, sed 
interius divites si sapientes — Aug. dc Civil. Dei, I. 7- c. 12. p. 395, 


cesses. The Christian is a little world, and is purely 
independent upon the creature to make him happy :* 
he can, through grace, live comfortably without the 
world, though not without but upon God ; yea, God is 
so much in him, as well as to him, that he can live 
comfortably when other things are dead. " A good 
man is satisfied from himself," Pro v. xiv. 14. that is, 
he shall have sufficient content from his own conscience. 
There is but one word there for a backslider, being 
filled with his ways of sin and guilt, and a gracious 
soul's satisfaction from the sweet result of his own 
heart ; to shew that a man's own conscience is either 
his heaven or hell, his greatest comforter or tormentor. 
The world cannot alter the joy or sadness of the heart ; 
a thorough-paced, well tried child of God hath his re- 
joicing in himself alone, and not in another, Gal. vi. 4. 
It is a pedling beggarly life to wander abroad for mor- 
sels ; but that is a noble kind of living, when a man 
hath all within doors, and needs not creatures' sorry 
contributions. I speak not of the fancied familistical 
deification, which is nothing less than blasphemy ; but 
certainly the sound Christian in a sound sense bears 
some resemblance of the Divinity in this [avrapKua] 
self-sufficiency : and the more treasure, the more like 
God ; for such a soul is elevated above the creature, 
and placed in a higher orbit, which storms and tem- 
pests cannot reach. Nay, a soul whose conversation is 
in heaven, hath no dependence upon, nor intercourse 
with the creature, in order to complete his felicity ; no 
more than the sun needs the glimmering light of the 
stars to make day : , who then would not have this trea- 
sure ? I might also add, herein is the Christian's re- 

* jnil?) Satiatus est, abundavit ; quidam conferunt cum lOli;, 
septem, quod septem sit numerus plenitudinig : that is, what he 
hath within, shall be as seven witnesses, or many- 


semblance to the infinite Jehovah, because he hath a 
principle of motion within himself, and not from with- 
out ; for as God is a free agent, yea a pure act, so in a 
sense are the saints, acting from an inward principle. 
Hence those Scripture expressions, of a man's spirit 
making him willing ; and the heart smiting a man, or 
witnessing for him, or with him.* And in the exer- 
cise of repentance, it is said of Lot, " he vexed his 
righteous soul ;"f or put himself upon the rack. Wick- 
ed men are dead, but grace is a principle of life, and 
resembles the Author of it : " for that which is born 
of the Spirit is spirit," John iii. 6. The decayed li- 
berty of the will is in part by grace restored ; and so 
far as the soul is spiritual, the soul of a saint is a flame 
of fire ascending to and acting for God ; and the great- 
er treasure of this a man hath in his breast, the more 
he resembles God. 

The Tenth argument, to evince the necessity of this 
heart treasure, is drawn from the profit and advantage 
in having it ; and that principally in facilitating the 
hardest duties of religion, and furnishing the soul for 
every good work. \ And here I shall keep close to the 
treasure of holy thoughts, fed with those four streams 
of — truths, graces, comforts, and experiences ; not 
only a saving principle, but such a measure thereof as 
will make up a treasure. 

Now the frame of a treasured soul for duty is 

ready — sincere — uniform — and perpetual. 

1. A treasured heart is ready for duty. Like a well 
stored housekeeper, you cannot take him unprovided — 

a well accomplished scholar, that is never von-plust 

and a watchful soldier, that is always fit for service. 
The Christian hath prepared materials to build the 

* Exod. xxxv. 21. 2 Sam. xxiv. 10. Rom. ix. 1. 

t 2 Pet. ii. 8. ^vxnv — Ifiaoav&v. \ 2 Tim. iii. 17. 


house, and wants nothing but its setting up in actual 
performance ; yea, the house is built and furnished, in 
some degree, for the entertaining of this royal guest — 
" Let my beloved come into his garden, and eat his 
pleasant fruits," Canticles iv. 16. The bow is strung, 
the heart fixed, the fire glowing in the embers upon 
the hearth, and one blast of the Spirit's breathing 
heightens it to a flame. Yet suppose the heart be not 
in actual readiness, still habits are sooner educed into 
act than new habits infused ; and this the foolish vir- 
gins knew by sad experience. 

But observe it, the more of this treasure, and the 
more readiness. The reason why we are not so free 
to prayer, conference, and meditation, is because we are 
not so filled with grace ; otherwise gracious acts would 
flow from us as naturally as streams from the spring. 
Had we a treasure, we should never want suitable mat- 
ter, and lively affections ; we should not need to force 
ourselves to offer sacrifice, as Saul in another respect, 
nor with main strength to bind the sacrifice to the 
horns of the altar ; but we should come off freely, 
cheerfully, delighting in God's ways as in our proper 
element, and running with enlarged hearts. The glo- 
rious angels, and glorified spirits of the just made per- 
fect, have a perfect treasure of divine faculties, and are 
therefore ready prepared to do God's will. Now we 
pray that God's " will may be done on earth, as it is 
done in heaven ;" and that will never be, without this 
living treasure. But, () how quickly shall we hear a 
command, and how swiftly shall we obey, if we have a 
treasure ! A good soul is like the centurion's servant 
— half a word will make him run. When God said to 
David, "Seek my face," his heart quickly echoed, "Thy 
face, Lord, will I seek."* His warrant carried the 
' Psalm xxvii. 8. 


force of an argument — he needs no persuading when 
he knows his Master's pleasure. This is one choice 
advantage of having a treasure. 

2. A treasured soul is sincere and serious ; not com- 
plimental and forced. Israel of old made covenants, 
and seemed very religious ; and God himself attested 
that they had well said, but adds, " O that there were 
such a heart in them !"* We have a strange passage 
in Jer. v. 2. " Though they say, the Lord liveth, sure- 
ly they swear falsely." Why, is not that a truth? 
Yes, a great truth. God alone is the living God ; but 
when they say so, their heart gives the lie to their lips ; 
they say it with a deceitful heart, and that they may 
deceive ; though it be a truth in itself, yet they speak 
it not as a truth, wanting a heart to assert the same. 
It is but a fond and frolic ostentation to invite a friend 
to dinner, when nothing is prepared. It is a mocking 
of God to bring Cain's sacrifice, a body without a heart, 
a carcase without spirit — it is as if a Jew had brought 
the skin of a beast for sacrifice, and no more. But 
where the treasure is in the heart, there the essentials 
of the service are made up — the work is filled up, or 
complete before God,f Rev. iii. 2 ; that is, it is not 
lame or defective in any considerable constitutive part 
thereof — it is such as may be truly called a real good 
work. This is the chief thing that God expects ; and 
if a good heart be wanting, the work is as undone still. 
But a sincere Christian finds his prayer in his heart, 
which he utters with his lips : " Thy servant hath 
found in his heart to pray this prayer," 2 Sam. vii. 27. 
He found it not only in his book, but in his heart ; he 
fetcheth his prayer from a treasure. Such a man will 
pray a prayer, as David here, and not only say a pray- 
er, when he finds it in his heart. What cares God for 
* Deuter. v. 28, 29. t IhTrX^o^va. 


a little lip-labour. He may say, " Who required these 
things at your hand ? Did I not require them of your 
hearts ? A mock feast or fast will not content me ; I 
shall not be put off with an empty show : I will have 
your hearts, or nothing ; and I must have a treasure 
in your hearts, or all you bring is worth nothing." The 
truth is, God takes principal notice of the heart, and 
observes how that stands affected. If idols be set up 
in the heart, God takes no notice of a people's prayers;* 
therefore we had need look to the frame of the heart. 

3. A heart treasure makes the Christian uniform, 
and without reserve, in the duties of religion. He 
takes a christian course as it lies, carries on religion 
before him without halting or halving — he practiseth 
all righteousness at all times. There is a sweet har- 
mony and exact symmetry in a saint's performance of 
duty. Some can framef to some easier duties, not to 
more difficult ; but the treasured soul can frame to any 
thing which God in the word hath made his duty ; 
and hence it is, that he is " complete in all the will of 
God,":j: Col. iv. 12. The law of God in his heart carries 
an aspect to every part of his will in the written word ; 
graces and duties are concordant one to another, like 
"a company of horses in Pharaoh's chariot — their 
cheeks are comely with rows of jewels, their necks with 
chains of gold," Song, i. 9, 10. That is, the soul of a 
believer is handsomely adorned with a comely train of 
graces and duties. Yea, such a person will at all times 
act like himself, so that one part of his life will not 
cross another, as a liar's tales and hypocrite's carriage 
do. He doth not serve God by fits and starts, in good 

* Ezek. xiv. .% 4. 
t In the dialect of Yorkshire and Lancashire, " to frame," sig- 
nifies to set about a thing properly, or to proceed in the perform- 
ance of any thing with readiness and like a workman — Ed. 
+ UiTrXrifjojfXivoL iv ttuvt\ OiXi'ifxari tov Ocou. 


moods and motions, so as to be off and on in religion ; 
but he hath a constant, settled spirit, which David 
prays for, and the translators call "aright spirit;* 
(and truly so it is) — disposed for God, fitted for duty, 
bringing forth good fruit in due season ; like a con- 
stant good housekeeper, that is never so suddenly sur- 
prised, but can make a prudent shift to treat his friend 
according to his degree. The truth is, man in his fall- 
en estate is uncertain, intricate, and multiform in all 
his ways ; you cannot tell where to find him, " gad- 
ding about to change his way," Jer. ii. 36. But being 
renewed, he is in part, and in some proportion, reduced 
to that original rectitude, simplicity, and stability of 
spirit and practice that was in Adam ; so that accord- 
ing to the degree of grace received, he hath a constant, 
uniform frame and tenor of spirit, and holds one 
straight, direct, and even course towards heaven. In 
all this suitable to the motion of the wheels in the Pro- 
phet Ezekiel's vision, chap. i. 17. " When they went, 
they went upon their four sides ;" there is their square- 
ness and suitableness to all God's will : " and they re- 
turned not when they went ;" there is their constant, 
permanent, and unchanging motion. That will lead 
us to the next head : only consider what an excellency 
and beauty there is in uniformity in religious duties. 
When works of nature or art are uniform, what lus- 
tre they have ! We are much taken with a building 
that is compact and proportionable. A garden drawn 
exactly, an army marshalled in complete ranks and pos- 
tures, are comely sights — just such are the fruits of 
holiness, proceeding from a well treasured heart. And 
indeed without this treasure there can be no such har- 
mony in holy performances ; but the actings will be 
like the legs of the lame, very unequal. 

* Psalm li. 10. nil pD2 Spiritus constaiiSj firmus, dispositus. 


4. A treasure makes holy duties constant and per- 
petual : though there may be some temporary inter- 
missions, yet never a total cessation, in acts of religion. 
Will a hypocrite pray always ? Job xxvii. 10. No, 
verily. The water riseth no higher than the spring, 
and waters fail that have no spring, like Job's snow- 
water, which, when it waxeth warm, vanisheth away;* 
but a little brook supplied with a constant spring holds 
out in winter and summer : just such is the difference 
betwixt the performances of a treasured and treasure- 
less heart. Two men perform duties, the one from 
gifts, the other from grace ; the former in time withers, 
the latter daily increaseth. The King of France show- 
ed Spain's Ambassador his rich treasures : the Ambas- 
sador looks under the treasure chests, saying, " Have 
these a spring ? — my master's treasures have :" mean- 
ing both the Indies. Just so it is here : let natural 
men's attainments be never so excellent, you may come 
to see an end of all their perfections; their eye of 
knowledge may be darkened, and their arm of natural 
and acquired abilities clean dried up. For, how can a 
well be always giving out water that receives none ? 
How can a rose keep its freshness without a root ? 
But they that are " planted in the house of the Lord, 
shall flourish in the courts of our God ; yea, they shall 
bring forth fruit in old age," Psalm xcii. 13, 14. For 
the seed of God is a lively principle, that will never 
die ; and this spring of grace is fed with supplies from 
the fulness of Jesus Christ, who is the fountain of gar- 
dens and well of living waters. Hence he saith, " He 
that believeth in me, out of his belly shall flow rivers 
of living water,"! John vii. 38. That is, he shall have 

* Job vi. 16, 17- 
t In surama, hie tarn perpetuitas donorum Spiritus, quam afflu- 
entia nobis promittitur. — Marl, in loc 


a perpetual supply of grace, and shall send forth con- 
stant emanations of gracious acts. A well furnished 
Christian shall never be drawn dry ; his Saviour and 
treasure ever live, and because Christ lives, the saints 
and their graces shall live for ever. O friends ! what 
would you give in these backsliding times to hold out 
to the end, that you may not make shipwreck of faith 
and a good conscience ? Behold, I shew unto you an 
excellent way ; — heap one grace upon another, till you 
possess a treasure — tie a chain of these pearls together, 
and lay them up in the closet of your hearts, and you 
will never be spiritually impoverished — be holily cove- 
tous after all graces that are attainable — " add to your 
faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, temperance, patience, 
godliness, brotherly kindness, charity ;" for if you have 
these you will not be barren or unfruitful in duties, 
and if you perform duties according to that treasure, 
you shall never fall, 2 Pet. i. 5—11. These form a 
chain that link the soul to God, and reach as high as 
heaven. But do not think you can endure to the end 
without a treasure; for he that " hath not root in him- 
self, dureth but for a while," Matt. xiii. 21. No wonder 
if many drop off like leaves in autumn — they have not 
any thing to bear them out ; they spend upon them- 
selves, as the spider, which spins her webs out of her 
own bowels, and they are swept away as the spider's 
web. But the gracious soul hath no less than an in- 
finite God to supply the treasures of grace ; so that let 
a Christian fall off to many acts of sin, carelessness in 
duty, and a course of dissipation, yet this treasure will 
work it off: — as a spring clears itself from mud in 
time, so he shall be brought back to God. There is 
something in the heart of a backsliding saint that 
makes him restless in that estate, and moving towards 
the centre. David saith, " I have gone astray like a 


lost sheep ;" there is his acknowledgment : " seek thy 
servant ;" there is his request : " for I do not forget 
thy commandments ;" there is the argument to enforce 
it. As if he had said, There is yet something in my 
heart that owns thee ; though I be fallen far, yet not 
so far but that I am still reaching after thee, and I am 
not fallen below thy reach. The truth is, a child of 
God hath more hold of God in his lowest ebbs than 
another sinner hath. As the spinster leaveth a lock 
of wool to draw on the next thread, so there is some- 
thing left in the heart, the seed of God, that springs 
heaven-wards. Though a saint be in a very dead 
frame, yet he is not twice dead, as wicked men are ; 
there is yet the root of the matter in the heart, that 
by the scent of water, (the heavenly dew of divine grace) 
will sprout again, and bring forth fruit : I dispute not 
how far men may fall, and whether a true saint may 
not be brought back to the bare habits of grace as 
they were at first infused, and lose degrees of grace 
obtained ; but sure I am that Christ prayed for Peter, 
(and so for all believers) that his faith should not fail, 
Luke xxii. 32. and God always heareth him;* therefore 
our Divines have determined, that the seed of regener- 
ation, with those fundamental gifts, without which 
spiritual life cannot subsist, are kept safe and entire ; 
for the same Holy Ghost that infused that seed of 
grace, hath imprinted in it an incorruptible virtue, 
and perpetually cherisheth it and maintaineth it ;* 
Mary's better part shall not be taken away. This fear 
in the heart, keeps them from departing from God, Jer. 
xxxii. 40. They have [constantiam in propositi, et 

* Vid. Suff. Brit, de quin. Artie thes. 6, p. 189. In sanctorum 
cordibus secundum quasdam virtutes semper manet Spiritus. Se- 
cundum quasdam recessurus venit, et venturus recedit. In his 
virtutibus, sine quibus ad vitam non pervenitur, in electorum suo- 
rum cordibus permanet. — Greg. Moral. 


perseverantiam in opere] constancy in their hearts, 
and perseverance in their hands. Holy resolutions 
produce successful performances ; and thus doth the 
treasured Christian hold on in a christian course, till 
these smaller measures of grace end in the vast ocean 
of glory. Thus much for the reasons of the point. 



Now for a more close application of this to our own 
souls ; is it so, that a good treasure in the heart, is 
necessary to good expences in the life ? then 

1. It stands us all in hand to try ourselves, and dig 
into our own hearts to see if we can find a treasure 
there, both in respect of sincerity and degree of grace. 
Know it, you are beggarly souls unless you have truth 
of grace ; graceless souls are the only treasureless souls, 
and I fear there are more than a good many, that could 
never experimentally distinguish betwixt nature and 
grace, and therefore are increasing guilt, and treasuring 
up wrath: O Christians! see whether you have the 
true riches, try what proficiency you have made for 
grace, and in grace ; you have long had a day of grace, 
and you must be accountable for all opportunities. 
Cheat not yourselves with counters instead of gold ; 
Bristol-stones may make as fair a show as pearls ; 
true grace is a rare and rich commodity. Thousands 
that are empty, conceit to themselves a treasure; proud, 
conceited professors are apt to boast of their attain- 
ments, whilst some self-denying humble souls, are apt 
to bear false witness against themselves, by denying 
what they have : Solomon saith, " There is that maketh 


himself rich, yet hath nothing; there is that maketh 
himself poor, yet hath great riches," Prov. xiii. 7- 
Sounding vessels are ofte: nipty, and still running wa- 
ters are usually deep; vapouring tradesmen jingle their 
money in their hands, whilst sober chapmen keep 
it in their chests ; you shall find more of a merchant's 
goods in his warehouse, than in his shop window. So 
it is with a sober, serious, and judicious Christian ; his 
glory and treasure is most within, whilst vain-glorious 
mountebanks in religion set all upon the stage. I 
entreat you, read those books that lay down marks of 
true grace, hear and attend the most heart-searching 
ministry, take much pains in descending frequently 
into your own hearts, and the God of heaven make you 
serious in a thorough search. 

More particularly that I may help you in a discovery 
whether you have laid up a treasure of holy thoughts, 
proceeding from truths, graces, comforts, and experi- 
ences, ask, I beseech you, your own hearts these four 
questions — How came you by it? How do you value 
it? How do you use it? How do you increase it ? 

1. Let me ask you, and do you ask yourselves, if 
you pretend to such a treasure, How came you by it f 
Men usually know how they get a treasure. " The 
hand of the diligent maketh rich," Prov. x. 4. that is, 
" the blessing of the Lord" upon diligent endeavours, 
ver. 22. Men that would be rich ply the oars, run to 
markets and fairs, travel from city to city, to " buy and 
sell, and get gain ;"* they travel by sea and by land, 
compassing the world to possess a small portion of it. 
Why, now, what do you in spiritual things ? Where 
are your thoughtful cares and painful hands? Though 
labour will not get this treasure, (it is a free gift,) yet 
it will not be had without labour. God's ordinance 
* James iv. 13. 


must be honoured ; it is the immutable decree of Hea- 
ven since the fall — "In the sweat of thy face shaft thou 
eat thy bread," Gen. iii. 19- Yea, this holds good for 
the soul : " Labour for that meat which endureth to 
everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto 
you," John vi. 27. Mark it, man's endeavours are very 
consistent with God's free grace, and Christ's dear pur- 
chase. God will be found in his own way ; he ordi- 
narily conveys the first grace in and by his own insti- 
tutions, but seldom will a soul grow up to a treasure 
without a long trading in the royal exchange of holy 
duties ; and diligence hath the promise of increase — 
*' And unto you that hear shall more be given," Mark 
iv. 24. Well, sirs, hath the care of your hearts put la- 
bour into your hands, and travel into your feet, to re- 
pair to the markets and fairs of public, private, and 
secret performances, to get a solid treasure? Have 
you both digged and begged for it ? Where are your 
sweat and agony ? Hath Jesus Christ sweat blood to 
fit you for heaven, and have not you gone through a 
bloody sweat to get interest in him, and possession of 
his grace ? O the pangs of conscience, and sad pant- 
ings of a convinced sinner, to obtain a portion in these 
riches of grace ! Never did a poor labourer toil so hard 
for his day's wages as an humbled soul to be filled with 
Christ. A treasure of money is got with sweat and 
blood ; or to be obtained from alms, with weary steps 
and loud cries :* but if thou be too idle to dig, and 
too proud to beg, thou art without a treasure, and 
mayest pine away in everlasting poverty. 

2. How do you value this treasure ? " Where the 
treasure is, there will the heart be also," Matt. vi. 21. 
The thoughts, cares, and affections will centre upon a 

* CDT Proprie est sanguis, sed apud Ghaldaeos notat pecuniary, 
quia sanguine ac sudore pauperum paratur — Bijlh. 


man's treasure ; for he accounts his treasure the best 
thing he hath, yea worth all his other possessions. No 
man would willingly part with his treasure. So Na- 
both did tenaciously adhere to his hereditary posses- 
sion. The wise merchant parts with all to purchase 
this.* Paul accounted his gain to be no better than 
loss for Christ, nay, as dung,f in comparison of his 
sweet and satisfying Saviour. All the world is a pre- 
judice to a Christian, when it obstructs or obscures the 
grace of Christ. Is it thus with your souls ? Do you 
account your spiritual portion your only riches ? The 
truth is, the riches of the soul, and the riches in the 
soul, are the very soul of riches. I confess, that is a 
meretricious love that prizeth receipts from Christ 
more than the person of Christ, f But here I under- 
stand Jesus Christ to be the marrow and treasure of 
this treasure, and all these as ensuring evidences of in- 
terest in him ; for all that the soul hath is wrapt up 
in him. Well, then, let me question the most dark and 
doubting, if sincere, Christian. What sayest thou, poor 
soul, wouldst thou quit thy share in Christ and spirit- 
ual treasures, for a crown and kingdom ? wouldst thou 
not answer, No ? Wouldst thou cast away thy trem- 
bling hopes of acceptance with God, to be delivered 
from the infamy, poverty, and persecution which some- 
times attend the zealous profession of Christianity, that 
thou mayest live in honour, pleasure, and worldly de- 
lights ? Surely thou wouldest answer, No. Wouldest 
thou change thy present low, afflicted, and conflicting 
state, with thy former carnal, but confident condition, 
or with the pompous, prosperous state of graceless sin- 
ners ? I dare say thou wilt answer negatively. Yet, 
again, art thou not willing to part with thy dearest 

* Matt. xiii. 44. t Phil. iii. 8. 

£ Meretricius est amor, plus annulum, quam sponsum amare. 


bosom lust and earthly enjoyment, for a true immortal 
treasure in heaven and in thy heart ? I am confident 
an upright heart will answer, Yes. And if I mistake 
not, this if not only, yet chiefly, is the very parting 
point betwixt a sound Christian and a rotten hearted 
hypocrite; the one chooseth Martha's many things, 
the other Mary's one thing needful. This is indeed a 
discriminating mark ; for a gracious soul will cry out, 
" None but Christ, none but Christ ; give me Christ, or 
else I die ; give me Christ and I shall live — Christ is 
my life, my crown, my joy, my all ;* if I may have him 
I have enough, without him I have nothing." When 
one asked Alexander where his treasure was, he an- 
swered, " Where Hephsestion my faithful friend is." 
Just so will a good soul say — " Christ is the chief of 
ten thousand."! I prize him above my life, who loved 
me unto the death ; I account that of great value that 
doth evidence my interest in him. As the marigold 
opens to the sun in the firmament, so doth the heart of 
a sincere Christian to the Sun of Righteousness : take 
an instance in Moses, who chose the bitterest cup of 
affliction, rather than the sugared cup of sensual plea- 
sures, that he might enjoy Jesus Christ. See Heb. xi. 
25, 26. Observe the strange disparity that appears to 
carnal reason in that choice ; on the one side there was 
suffering, on the other enjoying — affliction on the one 
hand, pleasures on the other — the despised people of 
God were companions on one side, ruffling gallants in 
Pharaoh's court on the other — yet on the one side it 
was for a season, and but for a season, and that but 
turned the scales in his choice : those were pleasures, 
but treasures may perhaps prevail, with which Christ 
was last tempted 4 No, good Moses esteemed the re- 
proach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of 

* Christ us meus est omnia. t Song v. 10. + Matt. iv. 8, 9. 

E 2 


Egypt. The worst of Christ is better than the best of 
the world. The noble Marquis Galeacius Caracciolus, 
in imitation of him, being tempted with large offers to 
depart from Zion to Babylon, resolutely replied, " Let 
their money perish with them, that account all the trea- 
sures of the world worth one hour's communion with 
Jesus Christ." If all the mountains were gold, the 
rocks pearls, and the whole world filled with the sweet- 
est delights of the sons of men, and these offered to the 
Christian to be his proper inheritance for ever, he 
would, with a holy scorn, trample upon them, and look 
on them as not worth one glance of his eye, in compa- 
rison of one taste of the love of Christ, and a grain of 
saving grace in his heaven-born soul. But a carnal 
heart sees no such beauty in Christ, wherefore he should 
be so desired, nor is he taken with the comeliness and 
excellency of grace ; a sad yet lively emblem whereof 
we have in the hopeful young gentleman that bade fair 
for heaven, yet when he saw it would cost him so dear 
as to part with all, he would rather go without it than 
forego his estate for it.* O, sirs ! this is a pinching 
point, look to it — this one thing employed for examin- 
ation will pierce betwixt joint and marrow, and a day 
of trial will discover what you account a treasure. 

3. How do you use and improve this treasure f 
Habits of grace are no otherwise known than by their 
acts. What is a man better for that he useth not ? A 
talent of grace of the right stamp will not be confined 
to a napkin, though gifts may — exercising is as neces- 
sary and evidential as having sincere grace. Things 
that are not, and things that appear not, are both alike.f 
He is a wicked man that boasteth of his heart's desire, 
and he is a fool that trusteth in his heart. Yet many 

* Matt. xix. 21, 22, 
t Dc non entibus et non apparentibus eadem est ratio. 


will say, " I have as good a heart as the best, though I 
do not talk so well with my tongue, or work so much 
with my hands — I have as good a meaning as any of 
them all, though I cannot make so great a show — I 
love to keep my religion to myself; none knows how 
good I am." It is not denied, but degrees of modesty, 
fears of vain-glory, and jealousies of apostacy, may re- 
strain some Christian's profession, yet there may be a 
temptation on that hand also ; let such know, that 
where fire is, it will betray itself, by heat or smoke — 
it is impossible grace should be hid or stifled ; though 
there be only a smoking flax,* (even the wick of a candle, 
that affords little light and much offensive smell,) yet 
it will appear. Truths and graces in the heart will 
be (as the word was to Jeremiah) as " a burning fire 
shut up in the bones"f and bosom, that cannot be con- 
cealed. He that is full of matter is constrained, by 
the internal workings of the Spirit, to vent it ; else it 
is like Elihu's new wine that hath no vent, and bursts 
the new bottles. \ The truth is, it is as natural for a 
gracious heart to talk and walk holily, as for a living 
creature to breathe and move, so far as gracious ; thus 
it cannot be otherwise, and also, observe it, it must not 
be otherwise. Your treasure within ought to be laid 
out ; what have you it for else ? Profession with the 
mouth is as necessary, in its kind, as believing with 
the heart, Rom. x. 10. Our light must not be " hid 
under a bushel," but " shine before men," that it may 
produce comfort to ourselves and have influence upon 
others, as well as have approbation from the Lord. 
So then, if thou hast a treasure within, thou dost wit- 
ness a good confession, and thy conversation will be 
Suitable to thy profession — thy trading will answer thy 
stock. The text tells you, " A good man, out of the 
* Isa. xlii. 3 + Jcr. xx. 9. J Job xxxii. 18, 19- 


good treasure of his heart, bringeth forth good things." 
And I told you the manner of laying out was, in holy 
meditations, savoury expressions, suitable actions, and 
patiently bearing, and profitably improving of afflic- 
tions. Why, now, lay judgment to the line, and com- 
pare your own course of life with these practices of 
religion. How do you trade with heaven, and for 
heaven ? What do you more than others ? Where is 
the life and power of religion? Do you indeed exercise 
yourselves to godliness ? What large expences do you 
lay out for that God from whom you have such liberal 
incomes ? When we see rich men lay out abundance 
of money in household goods, housekeeping, building, 
and recreations, we guess, certainly, such have a good 
stock beforehand, a great yearly revenue. Thus it is 
here ; though many make a great show of what they 
have not, yet a ready, real, uniform, and constant per- 
formance of duty — a serious, sensible course of walk- 
ing with God — and exercise of grace in all conditions, 
do evidence a suitable inward treasure. What say you 
to these things ? Can our hearts witness for us, " that 
in simplicity and godly sincerity," by the assistance of 
grace, "we have had our conversation?"* Can our 
relations and neighbours witness for us, that we have 
served the Lord with all humility of mind, with many 
tears and temptations? Can our closets, chambers, 
shops, and fields testify our secret groans, meditations, 
self-examinations ? Have we performed our relative 
duties with all care and conscience — as magistrates, 
punishing sin — as ministers, faithfully preaching at all 
seasons, suitably to all persons — as householders, in- 
structing, correcting, and leaving a good example — as 
husbands, wives, parents, children, masters, servants ? 
That man is not good at all that is not good in all re- 
* Cor. i. 12. 


lations. Doth the treasure of grace and truths prompt 
our tongues, employ om* hands, guide our feet ? Do 
those sentiments in our heads, and that principle in the 
heart, dictate to us our duty, and assist us in doing it ? 
Are we fruitful in good works, words, and meditations; 
and are we useful in our generation ? Let us not de- 
ceive ourselves, it is not a conceit of some good mean- 
ings within, that will serve our turn ; but the Apostle 
tells us roundly and plainly, " He that doth righteous- 
ness is righteous," 1 John iii. 7. Acts do evidence 
the state, and a man cannot be good, unless he do good. 
4. How do you increase this treasure f " To him 
that hath shall be given." Truth of grace is the pro- 
logue to growth in grace ; and growth in grace arrives 
at full strength of grace — the saints " go from strength 
to strength," Psalm lxxxiv. 7. The true Christian, 
like his Master, " increaseth in wisdom and stature, 
and in favour with God and man," Luke ii. 52. These 
waters of the sanctuary rise up to the ancles, knees, 
loins, neck, till the soul come to the head, Christ, and 
so be swallowed up in the unfathomable ocean of glory. 
It is monstrous in grace, as well as nature, to grow 
none, but continue as a dwarf. It is a sad shrewd sign 
you have no grace, if you think you have grace enough. 
He was never good that desires not to be better ;* they 
are hypocrites, and sure to be apostates, that are con- 
tented with a taste : the true believer is unsatiable, 
still hungering and thirsting after righteousness, daily 
adding one cubit after another to his spiritual stature, 
that he may be a tall man in Christ, and at last attain 
to the " measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ," 
Eph. iv. 13.j That is, not so much with respect to 

* Minime bonus est qui melior fieri non vult. — Bcr. 
t Habet enim augmenta sua fides, habet suam infantiani, habet 
aetatem virilem, habet senectam Mar. in lac. 


the complete stature of our bodies at the resurrection, 
proportionable to Christ's full age upon earth, as some 
expound it, though that may be true ; but we must be 
increasing, till Christ's mystical body grow to ripeness 
and perfection, both in respect of all the members to be 
added thereunto, and also particular members' growth in 
grace, till they advance to a full maturity in knowledge 
and holiness. What say you to this ? are you any 
better than you have been ? are your last works more 
than your first ? What light of knowledge in saving 
truths, what heat and warmth in sanctifying graces, 
what heart-refreshing experiences and comforts have 
you laid up? Are you grown more solid, humble, 
holy, watchful, faithful and fruitful? Do you get 
more power against your lusts, and more ability to 
walk with God ? Do you forget what is behind, and 
press forwards to perfection?* Are you stirred up 
more to holiness, and strengthened with all might by 
his Spirit in the inward man ?f Are you still sensible 
of defects, craving for more spiritual riches, as a beg- 
gar for alms ? I confess I have sometimes wondered 
at this strange paradox in Christianity, that there is 
nothing doth so fill the soul as grace, and yet nothing 
makes the soul so hungry for more grace as a principle 
of grace ; nothing contents but a dram of grace, yet a 
dram of grace will not content. Believers desire more 
knowlege, more faith, more love, and accordingly they 
are still perfecting holiness in the fear of God.:}: So 
that, as the apostle saith of some, their faith groweth 
exceedingly, and charity aboundeth even till it become 
a treasure ; || for observe it, this spiritual treasure is 
made up, and increased by accumulation, by adding 
more graces, or strengthening graces already conferred. 

* Phil. ill. 13, 14. t Eph. iii. 16. 

+ 2 Cor. vii. 1. || 2 Thess. i. 3. 


Several good Divines* have done worthily in satisfying 
scrupulous souls in this important case about growth 
in grace. Let such as doubt of sincerity read them, 
it would be a digression here to speak fully to this 
point : only take this observation, the more life you 
have added to your light, the more humility to your 
graces, the more watchfulness to your lives by your 
experiences ; and the more tenderness of conscience, 
and cheerfulness in holy performances by your com- 
forts, the more have you grown in grace and increased 
your treasure : and thereby have given a clear evi- 
dence that you have a spiritual treasure in your hearts. 



If it be so necessary to have a heart treasure within, 
that a Christian may be fitter to walk, speak and act 
holily, then this falls with weight upon the head of 
four sorts of persons, namely — 

Careless loiterers, vain-glorious boasters, impious 
offenders, and unprofitable Christians. 

I. Careless loiterers, that sleep out a fair summer's 
day of grace, and forget the day of their visitation. 
Many poor ministers have cause to weep over their 
dear people, as Christ over Jerusalem, and say, " If 
thou hadst known, at least in this thy day, the things 
that belong to thy peace ! but now they are hid from 
thine eyes," Luke xix. 41, 42. If any soul be without 

* See Symonds' Deserted Soul's Case and Cure, -p. 416 — 421. 
Manton on Jude, v. 2. p. 122 — 127- Barlow's Sermon, 2 Pet. 
iii. 18. 


grace, under precious means of grace, let such tremble 
at present providences, lest they lead on to the loss of 
ordinances : if thou hast sat under the droppings of 
the sanctuary, and art yet barren, be afraid, lest God 
either command the clouds to rain no rain on thee, 
or the curse of the barren fig-tree be pronounced 
against thee, — " Let no fruit grow on thee hencefor- 
ward for ever," or else, " cut it down, why cumbereth 
it the ground?"* Oh sirs, have your souls been till 
now empty of grace, amidst ordinances which are the 
channels of grace ? have you lived thus long in Goshen, 
and are you yet in Egyptian darkness ? where is the 
fault, what can you say for yourselves ? Suppose God 
should put you to it, to bring forth your strong rea- 
sons, (as he expostulated with the man that wanted 
the wedding garmentf) and should say, friend, (for so 
wilt thou needs be accounted, and as such thou wast 
invited) where hast thou lived ? in my Church ? and 
didst thou not there hear of a rich wardrobe provided 
for naked souls, even the fine white linen of Christ's 
perfect righteousness ? Was there not a well-furnished 
shop and storehouse of the gifts and graces of the 
Spirit to fill and adorn the house of thy heart ? How 
comes it then that thou art so devoid and destitute of 
what is good ? Hadst thou lived in Turkey or India, 
where I did not set up such an office of mercy, thou 
mightest have more to say, but now what apologies 
canst thou make ? What fig-leaves canst thou find to 
cover thy shameful nakedness, or colour thy wretched 
negligence ? How earnest thou hither ? qua f route ? 
What canst thou say to excuse thy brazen impudence, 
that darest approach such a presence in so sordid a 
habit, or rather miserably naked ? The truth is, 
though witty sinners can find shifts enough to put off 
* Matt. xxi. 19. Luke xiii. 7- + Matt. xxii. 12. 


ministers' arguings, and silence the clamours of consci- 
ence, yet how can their hearts endure, or hands be 
strong, when God shall deal with them ? Their 
months shall be muzzled up in speechless, yet self- 
condemning astonishment; they must needs be con- 
demned out of their own mouths. Oh consider, if yet 
thou be without a treasure of grace, and rather ask 
thyself some heart-awakening questions, than that God 
should put to thee such alarming interrogatories : as 
thus, say to thy soul, My poor pining soul, how is it 
with thee ? What hast thou been doing, and what 
wast thou sent into the world for ? what must become 
of thee ? what provision hast thou made for an eternal 
state ? where must thou lodge, if thou die this night ? 
And let me propose to you these considerations — 

1. If thy soul be yet without a true treasure of a 
gracious principle, thy condition is miserable; for thou 
hast no assurance of any more means to obtain it, nor 
to live another day to hear another sermon, or to hear 
of grace to make the means effectual for thy soul's 
good. Remember Esau ; hast thou stood out so long, 
and dost thou now presume upon a longer day ? Must 
the earth be forsaken for thee ? and shall God leave 
his ordinary road to do thee good, step aside to meet 
with thee ? God sometimes doth so, but what ground 
hast thou to expect it, that hast abused grace so long ? 

2. Is not this emptiness of good a dreadful sign of 
rejection ? Solomon saith, " He that hath a fro ward 
heart findeth no good.* Nothing doeth him good, 
neither word nor rod. But he saith, " the heart of the 
prudent getteth knowledge ;"f may not you sadly fear 
judicial hardness, to punish wilful negligence ? One 
would have thought, if any good had been intended 
for you, that you should have been possessed of it 

* Prov. xvii. 20. t Prov. xviii 15. 


before this ; it is a black brand of reprobation to live 
long under melting ordinances, and be still hard and 

3. Wilful neglect is an act of disingenuousness 
towards God, cruelty to your own souls, and the ready 
way to banish ordinances from posterity. What? 
must God always hold you the candle to play by? 
" Wherefore is there a price in the hand of a fool, 
when there is no heart to improve it ?"* Be sure, if 
Satan find you idle, he will set you to work. Negli- 
gence is a sad prognostic, and preparative for eternal 
torment ; and so much ease now, so much torment 
hereafter. Shall the God of Heaven always heap 
kindness upon offending, grace-abusing and refusing 
wretches ? No, no ; when love hath said its errand, 
justice will act its part : and, 

4. Your lost advantages will prove your bitterest 
torment ; all men must be judged according to their 
receipts, and wilful loiterers shall be punished accord- 
ing to their contempt of gospel opportunities. Gospel 
despisers shall account poor heathens comparatively 
happy, though their companions in eternal misery. 
Their bright sun of gospel grace shall set in thicker 
darkness, and greater treasures of wrath shall be 
poured into those vessels, that shut out treasures of 

II. Another sort to be reproved, are empty and vain- 
glorious boasters, gilded hypocrites that pretend to a 
great treasure, but are sorry beggars. Some rigid 
Papists there are, who will tell you they have merit 
enough, both for themselves and others, that out of the 
abundant treasure of their good works, they can fur- 
nish defective souls on earth, and deliver tormented 
souls out of purgatory: but believe them not — they 
* Prov. xvii. Hi. 


would make merchandize of souls, and draw them to 
delusions and damnation. Jesus Christ is our only 
treasury, there is nothing like merit in a mere creature. 
Angels in heaven stand by grace, having their confir- 
mation by Christ ; sure I am, they have no merits to 
spare ; the wise virgins could not furnish others, but a 
boasting friar pretends he can, though the most of his 
seeming good works will rather prejudice himself, than 
profit others, since they generally spring from that 
vain will-worship, which is coined in the mint of a 
superstitious brain, and so would make the commands 
of God to be of none effect, and provoke the Lord's 
wrath against the promoters and practisers thereof. 
But suppose a man could obey positive commands, in 
practising all Scripture duties, and avoid all prohibited 
sins, yet wherein hath he to glory ? Is he not still an 
unprofitable servant? Doth he give God any thing 
but his own ? Is it not due debt ? and is it by his 
own strength, or by the strength of God ? And can 
he do what he doth, perfectly, without the least tinc- 
ture or stain of imperfection, or of defect ? Let any 
mere creature shew such good works as these, and let 
him climb up to heaven upon Acestus's rotten ladder, 
we are resolved to ascend on Jacob's ladder; let others 
trust their own merit, but let true Christians depend 
on grace.* I hope we shall be so wise as to choose Bel- 
larmine's dying safe way, rather than his disputing 
politic way to heaven; to repose all our trust in the 
mercy of God and merits of Christ, rather than the 
tottering foundation of man's best righteousness, which 
is but a filthy rag, and will rather defile than cover 
our nakedness.f But I principally design to lash such 
persons, as hypocritically and histrionically act the 

* Quaerant alii, si velint meritum, nos gratiam studeamus Bern. 

t Col. ii. 7. Isa. lxiv. 6. 


part of kings and emperors, but are despicable upstarts, 
that pretend upon the stage of their fair profession 
to coffers of gold, and precious treasures of grace ; but 
alas ! follow them into withdrawing-rooms of privacy, 
and you shall find them wofully destitute of all saving 
good ; these poor souls conceit with counterfeit graces 
to purchase heaven ! and by making lies their refuge 
to be secured from wrath : but alas, the God of hea- 
ven sees their false coin and self-flattering hearts; 
" All the ways of man are clean in his own eyes, but 
the Lord weigheth the spirits," Prov. xvi. 2. Oh, 
how many hearts and ways would be found light and 
wanting, if weighed in an even balance, even in the 
balance of the sanctuary ? At the last day it will be 
seen that there are wonderful self-cheating conceits 
and confidences ; there are many false hearts under 
fair vizors, but when these vizors are plucked off, all 
shall appear in their own colours ; and O what strange 
sights will then be seen ! When wicked men's foul 
insides are turned out, certainly they will be very 
abominable; though now every cunning hypocrite 
carries so closely that none can detect him, or say 
black is his eye, yet a time will come that shall bring 
every secret thing to light, and discover the guile of 
the deceitful usurer in religion, who thinks to truck 
for heaven with his stolen wares * Oh, how much 
better is a poor soul than such a self-deluding richling, 
that thinks he is something, yet he is nothing, and so 
deceives his own soul, plays the sophister, and puts a 
false syllogism upon himself, as the Apostle James 
speaks. How many are in a golden dream, that build 
castles in the air, and fancy they are kings ; but when 
they awake out of their frantic dreams do find them- 

* DODH UJ'N Signifies both a deceitful man and a usurer. See 
Prov. xxix. 13. Marg. For usurers are commonly fraudulent. 


selves miserably mistaken ! Solomon saith, " Whoso 
boasteth himself of a false gift, is like clouds and wind 
without rain," Pro v. xxv. 14. That is, he that pre- 
tendeth to give or receive what is not real, but coun- 
terfeiteth either, renders himself ridiculous among men 
and odious to God. Our Lord Jesus " cursed the bar- 
ren fig-tree," to manifest his displeasure against hypo- 
crisy : hypocrites are the most hateful of all persons ; 
they are hated of wicked men for seeming good, they 
are hated of God and good men for but seeming, and 
not being truly good. As hypocrites' fruit is like the 
apples of Sodom, that look fair with a beautiful skin, 
but touch them and they are dust ; so the end of hypo- 
crites will probably be like that of Sodom, which God 
overthrew as in a moment : yea, these must be pat- 
terns to others of a peculiarly dreadful destruction ; 
hence the phrase of " appointing a portion with the 
hypocrites."* But here comes in a carnal, sensual sot, 
and applies all this to the zealous professor, and will 
needs condemn him for a hypocrite, because he makes 
so great a show, and he accounts himself a sincere saint 
because he conceits his heart to be good. The former 
censure is contrary to Scripture, and this latter conceit 
is contrary to the very sense and experience of mere 
pretenders to religion ; for they may find, and God's 
children do feel, that the heart is the worst part of the 
whole man ; it is a man's ignorance of it that makes 
him imagine it is the best. The truth is, no man will 
commend this common cheater, but he that knows it 
not ; for it is known to be " desperately wicked, and it 
is deceitful,"! or a supplanter, (as the word imports,) 
that would trip up the heels of the Christian, and cheat 
him of his prize and reward. If ever thou be undone, 
it is thy heart that will undo thee : thou dost brair of 
* Matt. xxiv. 51. f J er . xvii.9. 


thy heart ; alas, poor soul, thou hast cause to bewail it, 
and be afraid of it ; and if conviction open thee a win- 
dow to look into it, thou shalt see a monstrous, dread- 
ful sight, that will make thee out of love with thyself, 
and cause thy heart to ache, if it do not break, with 
godly sorrow. As for the children of God whom wick- 
ed men condemn, for making so great a show, I shall 
say but this, that it is the most unreasonable uncharit- 
ableness in the world, to judge contrary to what we 
see ; yea, it is a blasphemous assuming to a man's self 
the property of God's omniscience, to pretend to search 
the heart, and to say, the thoughts of the heart are op- 
posite to the professions of the lips, and practices of 
the life. The Lord rebuke such railing Rabshakehs, 
as condemn all the generation of God's children, and 
that because of their holy, world-condemning conversa- 
tion. These moles cannot endure the light of saints' 
paths ; hence they say, " I warrant you, these precise 
walkers are no better than their neighbours ; if the 
truth were known, they are a company of dissemblers, 
and are rotten at the heart ; Pharisee-like, they make 
clean the outside of the cup, and condemn others as 
profane ;" and then they bind it with an oath that they 
are as bad as themselves ! And if a professor slip in- 
to an open sin, then they are confirmed in their cen- 
sures, and conclude, " they are all alike — a pack of dis- 
semblers !" And now the holiest saint (that hates sin, 
and mourns for it as his greatest burden) shall have 
his brother's miscarriage dashed in his teeth for ever. 
But if a man might argue with these sottish, yet cen- 
sorious souls, in a rational way, what could they an- 
swer ? Are not they themselves worse than the loosest 
professors, and how far short do they fall of close- 
walking Christians ? Should all be condemned for the 
sake of one ? and should we not judge according to 


what we see, or can attain to the knowledge of? Is 
not the tree known to ns by its fruits, and not by its 
roots, which are invisible to us ? Lord, set these vain 
boasters a work in searching their own hearts, and ex- 
amining their " ownselves, whether Christ be within 
them," as Paul directs the Corinthians in this very 
case,* and this will cure their censorious spirits, and 
find them work enough to do at home ; for as the eye 
that looks most abroad sees least within, so the most 
uncharitable censurers are the most empty, unprofit- 
able professors : whereas a Christian that hath most 
grace himself, judgeth best of others ; and observe it, 
they that groundlessly judge others to be worse than 
they see apparent cause, will be judged by others in 
like manner in this world,f and are in danger of a sad 
and just censure and sentence at the dreadful day of 
judgment. " What then is the hope of the hypocrite, 
though he hath gained, when God taketh away his 

III. Another sort to be reproved are, impious offend- 
ers, impenitent sinners, that verify the latter part of 
the text, and run a course directly contrary to the good 
man : — " An evil man, out of the evil treasure of his 
heart, bringeth forth evil things." How should it be 
otherwise ? Men must needs act as they are. It was 
a proverb of the ancients, "Wickedness proceedetli 
from the wicked," 1 Sam. xxiv. 13. Such as the foun- 
tain is, such must needs be the streams ; the fruit is 
answerable to the nature of the root and tree : the 
working forge of men's wicked hearts doth sparkle 
forth suitable imaginations. || Why are men so wicked 
in their lives ? It is because they have more naughty 
hearts ; for the cause hath more in it than the effects. 

* 2 Cor. xiii. 5. t Matt. vii. 1, 2. 

t Job xxvii. 8. || James iii. 10, 11. Gen vi. 5. 



Oh, how many vassals of Satan and vessels of sin are 
replenishing and preparing for wrath ! For as a good 
man's treasure prepares him to do the more good, so 
too many are filling their souls with guilt, and harden 
their hearts by custom in sin, that they may be vile 
with less remorse, and swallow down iniquity as the 
fish drinks in water ; they cauterize their consciences, 
and twist a strong cord of customary sinning, that they 
may draw iniquity with cart-ropes, and do evil with 
both hands earnestly, so that their hearts may not smite 
them with a sense of remorse. As the scholar that 
Dr. Preston speaks of, who had committed such a scan- 
dalous sin, that he could not rest by reason of terrors 
of conscience, the devil having instigated him to commit 
that sin again, in order to obtain quiet ; he did so, and 
afterwards could sin without remorse : just so do many 
persons, who have imprinted an impudence on their 
foreheads by constant sinning, so that at last they are 
" past feeling, having given themselves over to all las- 
civiousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness," 
Eph.iv.19-* The word "past feeling," imports remorse- 
lessness, senselessness, like that of a member benumbed, 
seared ; and this comes with custom in sinning, ac- 
cording to that — Consuetudo peccandi tollit sensum 
peccati : that is, the custom of sinning takes away 
the sense of sin. We are apt to wonder at the horrid 
abominations that break out, but if we do consider the 
prodigious wickedness of an atheistical heart, we may 
rather wonder that there is no more profaneness in the 
world. If the tongue be a world of iniquity,f how 
many worlds of wickedness are there in a wicked heart? 
The thousandth part of corruption breaks not out, of 

* A7njAyr}icor££ fit]KtTi OtXovrsg 7roi'Hi', qui non amplius labo- 
rare volant aut possunt. — Vide llcin. Eoccercit. in loc. 
t James iii. 6. 


that which is within. Surely, did not God set bounds 
to men's raging lusts, the world would not be habit- 
able for the saints : God restrains that wrath which 
will not turn to his praise, and saints' advantage ; * 
and when wicked men have belched out as much rage 
as they can, there is a remnant yet behind. We are 
fallen into the dregs of time, and iniquity dotli 
abound ; there is a world of atheism, pride, unclean- 
ness, swearing, drunkenness, gluttony, blasphemy, Sab- 
bath-breaking, contempt and scorning of religion ; men 
break out, and blood toucheth blood : but were there 
a casement or perspective whereby a man might look 
into a carnal heart, O what a filthy sink of unheard-of 
sin, and full nest of odious vipers, might he behold ! 
certainly it would be the dreadfullest sight in the 
world, far worse than to see the devil in the ugliest 
hue. We may stand wondering at the fathomless, bot- 
tomless depth of wickedness in the heart of man ; " it 
is," saith Luther, "the treasure of evils, the fountain of 
poison, the head and original of all iniquity."! Every 
man hath that in his heart which he cannot believe is 
in him, but yet may and will break out in its season, 
upon occasion, as in the known instance of Hazael.ij: 
The truth is, the seed and spawn of all heresies, impie- 
ties, and blasphemies, are in our nature. The Rev. Mr. 
Greenham saith, " That if all errors and the memorials 
of them were annihilated, by the absolute power of 
God, so that there should not the least remembrance 
of them remain, yet there is enough in the heart of 
one man to revive them all again the next day ;" and 
I may add also, as to profane practices : so that the 
wickedness that is in the world doth not proceed from 

* Psalm lxxvi. 10. 
t Cor est thesaurus malorum, fons venenorum, caput et origo 
omnis iniquitatis — Luth. torn. 4. fol. 335. % 2 Kings viii. 13. 

F 2 


imitation of Adam's first sin, (as Pelagians dream,) at 
least not from thence only, but also and chiefly from 
the propagation of original corruption to all his pos- 
terity ; for there is an habitual pravity entailed upon 
us and transmitted to us from our first parents, which 
hath its regency in the heart, and activity in the life. 
The fifth chapter of the Epistle to the Romans will 
stand firm against all Pelagian and Socinian adversa- 
ries, proving that both Adam and Christ our second 
Adam, do communicate to their seed that which is their 
own, both by imputation and propagation ; only the 
first Adam distributes impurity, guilt, and death ; the 
second gives grace, righteousness, and eternal life.* It 
will remain as an undoubted maxim and sad experi- 
ence, that there is an habitual depravation and devia- 
tion of our whole nature from the law of God ; so that 
there is a universal corruption of the whole man — un- 
derstanding, conscience, will, affections, and all the 
members of the body. Now this propagation, Divines 
commonly say, is two ways : — 

1. By divine appointment and designation, that what- 
soever Adam received or lost should be not only for 
himself but for his posterity, being a public person ; so 
God leaves the soul in respect of his image, and hence 
follows defect of original righteousness : this he doth 
not as author of sin, but as a righteous Judge. 

2. By natural generation. As sweet oil poured in- 
to a fusty vessel loseth its pureness, being infected by 
the vessel, so the soul created good, and put into the 
corrupt body, receives contagion thence. This putting 

* Vide Calvin Instit. lib. 2. cap. 8. sect. 5, &c. See M. Perk. 
Exp. on Creed, fol. 162. Adamus fuit humanae naturae non modo 
progenitor, sed radix, ideo in illius corruptione merito vitiatum 
fuit hominum genus. — Calvin ubi supra. Conferas hac de re 
Baron, de orig. Anim. Excer. 2. Arl. 6, 7, 8. p. 91—104. 


of a pure soul into a corrupt body is a just punishment 
of the sin of all men in Adam ; so some. But this is 
generally agreed upon, that original sin is not in some 
men more, in some less, but in every man equally, as 
all men do equally from Adam participate the nature 
of man, and are equally the children of wrath ; and 
the reason why some are more civil, others outrageous, 
proceedeth from God's bridling some and leaving 
others : and, truly, restraining grace is a choice mercy, 
in its kind, else what would not men do ? The truth 
is, the origin of sin is within : " Every man is temp- 
ted when he is drawn away and enticed of his own 
lust," saith the Apostle; there lust is the father: 
" and lust when it hath conceived bringeth forth sin ;" * 
there lust is the mother too. " Hence," saith one, 
" there is no sin but might be committed if Satan were 
dead and buried : original sin is virtually every sin ; 
and could one kill the devil, yet you cannot name the 
sin that original depravity would not entice a man to : 
suppose it possible for a man to be separated from the 
contagious company of wicked men, and out of the 
reach of Satan's suggestions, nay, to converse in the 
midst of renowned saints, yet that man hath enough 
in himself to beget, conceive, bring forth, and consum- 
mate all actual sins."f Well then, sirs, let all men 
behold the foul face of their hearts in the pure glass of 
the law of God, and they will see a strange and aston- 
ishing spectacle, which would end either in evangelical 
repentance or final despair ; as one saith — 

If apparitions make us sad, 

By sight of sin we should grow mad. — Herbert. 

There is a necessary and profitable sight of sin, which 

* James i. 13—15. See Capel on Tempt, p. 38—43. and p. 
g5 — 70, where it is excellently and fully handled, 
t Reynolds' Sinf. of Sin, p. 151, &c. 


drives the soul out of itself to Jesus Christ. O labour 
for that ! Take the candle of the word, and go down 
into the dark dungeon of your hearts — search your- 
selves, lest the Lord search you as with candles — know 
and acknowledge the plague of your own hearts — be 
not afraid to know the worst of yourselves. It is bet- 
ter we should set our sins in order before us while 
there is hope of pardon, for our humiliation, than that 
God should set them in order before us at the great 
and last day, for our eternal condemnation. We may 
say of an impenitent soul as the prophet of his ser- 
vant,* " Lord, open his eyes," and surely he shall see 
a troop of lusts. The mountain of his proud heart is 
covered with monstrous armed sins, that fight against 
the sold. O that the thoughts of your hearts may be 
discovered, pardoned, and purged out, lest, by wilful 
sinning, you heap up "wrath against the day of wrath,"f 
and your souls perish for want of a treasure of grace, 
and by reason of this dreadful treasure of sin and 

IV. The last sort of persons that fall under the lash 
of a sharp and just reproof are, unprofitable Christians, 
who, though they be sincere for the main, and have 
the root of the matter, still have not yet gained this 
treasure. Alas, sirs ! there is none of us but we have 
too much bad, and too little good treasure in our hearts. 
We cannot but know all the wickedness that our hearts 
are privy to, and cannot our consciences discover an 
emptiness, and vacuity of good ? O what a chaos of 
confusion is in our hearts ! And whence comes this ? 
Have we not had means of gathering a large treasure ? 
What have we done with all our ordinances, sermons, 
sacraments, mercies, afflictions ? If we had been dili- 
gent, we might have furnished our souls with truths, 
* 2 Kings vi. 17- t Rom. ii. 5. 


graces, comforts, and experiences. What could have 
been done more for us ? And have we a treasure pro- 
portionable to our enjoyments ? Whence then are we 
so unfit for, and untoward in, duties — so slight, dead, 
and trifling in performances — so unprepared for, and 
unprofitable under, ordinances — so unthankful for mer- 
cies, discontented under crosses — so weak in resisting 
temptations, subduing corruptions — so unwilling and 
unprepared for the communion of saints? Oh, whence 
is it, that we are so apt to sit loose from God — so lit- 
tle fit for fellowship with him, and so much at a dis- 
tance from him ? Certainly the reason is obvious — we 
have not such a treasure as becomes saints. Especially 
the great reason why we are so little skilful in the hea- 
venly duty of meditation is, the want of a treasure of 
holy thoughts ; when we are alone we cannot fix our 
minds upon a heart-affecting subject, or, at least, can- 
not pursue it, till our hearts be deeply affected ; but 
our thoughts are off and on, very inconsistent, incohe- 
rent, independent, like the rambling discourses of a 
madman, or the ranging motions of a spaniel, or like 
"the eyes of a fool, that are in the ends of the earth."* 
We run from object to object in a moment, and one 
thought looks like a mere stranger to another ; should 
our thoughts be patent, or an invisible notary acquain- 
ted with them, write them down, and repeat them to 
us, how should we blush and be confounded in the re- 
hearsal ! As it is recorded of Dr. Potter, that hearing 
the fellows of the college talk of trivial things, said 
nothing ; but after they had done talking he thus be- 
spake them — " And now, my masters, will you hear 
all your extravagant discourses, for I have strictly ob- 
served and marked what you said ; and he told them 
every whit."f So suppose some should present to our 
* Prov. xvii. 24. t Mr. Clark's Life of Dr. Potter, p. 393. 


ears or eyes a relation of our wild imaginations in one 
hour's time, what a strange medley of nonsense would 
there be ! We may say, " The Lord knoweth the 
thoughts of man, that they are vanity," Psalm xciv. 11. 
When we have summed up all the traverses, reason- 
ings, and discourses of the mind, we may write this at 
the bottom as the total sum — " All is vanity, nothing 
but vanity ; yea, vanity in the abstract." And what is 
the reason of all this, but a want of the fore-mentioned 
treasure — a stock of truths, graces, comforts, and ex- 

I shall propound these four considerations, briefly 
for the saints' conviction and humiliation : — 

1. Are not these spiritual things worth hoarding 
up? Look about j^ou, through the whole creation, 
and see if you can find any thing better to make a trea- 
sure of. David saith, " I have seen an end of all per- 
fection," Psalm cxix. 96. All outward enjoyments are 
a scant garment, that cannot cover us, or rotten rags, 
and are soon worn out ; but one part of this treasure, 
that is, God's commandment is of a large extent ; 
hence saith that good man, " Thy commandment is 
exceeding broad," — it reaches from heaven to earth, 
from great to small, to all sorts of sinners, to all the 
faculties of the soul, to and through all eternity. Thus 
long and broad is the Christian's treasure ; where then 
can you mend yourselves for a treasure ? Spiritual 
blessings have all dimensions of perfection — these are 
the cream and flower of all blessings ; no other trea- 
sures avail in the day of wrath. If heavenly things 
be not worth looking after, what are ? Should not 
spiritual persons set their hearts on spiritual riches ? 
Are not these most suitable to your immortal souls, 
and spiritual principles ? Have you not been married 
to Christ, and can you be content to be without any 


part of your dowry ?* Are not you risen with Christ, 
and should you not then seek after things above ?f 
Are not the things of God magnolia — great things of 
eternal concernment ? And did you not prize them at 
a high rate at your first conviction ? And was not 
this your motto, No?i est mortal e quod opto — I seek 
not, I pursue not mortal things, temporary, fading en- 
joyments ? And are not these as much worth inquir- 
ing after now as formerly ? Yes, certainly, these do 
not decay through age ; it was the matters belonging 
to the old covenant, or legal dispensation, that decayed 
and waxed old, and so by degrees did vanish away.| 
New covenant mercies are the " sure mercies of Da- 
vid," || and they are always fresh and green ; hence 
saith the church, in Cant. i. 16. " also our bed is green :" 
that is, our mutual delight in each other is lively, 
sweet, and satisfying, never glutting, as earthly delights 
are. " He that drinks of these living waters shall ne- 
ver thirst," $ that is, after muddy waters of earthly 
comforts, but shall more ardently thirst and pant after 
the living God. Well, sirs, look to it ; there is no- 
thing worth desiring but this heavenly treasure : if 
you can find any better, take it, much good may it do 
you; yet brag not of your bargain till you see the 

2. Are you in any danger of having too much of 
these things ? Surely there are no superfluities in the 
internals of religion. In the outward part too much 
may be done, (though not if a man keep to the rule,) 
so that in some respects one may be " righteous over- 
much ;"^f that is, in either a self-willed, superstitious 
way, or else in an unseasonable or immeasurable per- 
formance of religious duties, to tire out a tempted soul, 

* Rom. vii 4. t Col. iii. 1,2. + Heb. viii. 13. 

|| Isa. lv. 3. § John iv. 14. f Eccles. vii. 16. 


and rim the Christian off his legs : but for inward 
graces, sanctified knowledge, and real holiness, there 
can never be an overplus or excess — whilst you are on 
this side the line, you will be short of perfection. Let 
Festus-like sots say, that " much learning makes pro- 
fessors mad ;"* let 21s study to increase and abound 
more and more in knowledge, faith, love, humility, ex- 
perience ; as Paul pressed forward, if by any means 
he might attain to the resurrection of the dead, forget- 
ting what was behind, and reaching forth to what was 
before, f Moses's ark had staves for removing further, 
Jacob's ladder had rounds for ascending higher — Chris- 
tians must sing the song of degrees in this world, and 
should seek to be renewed day by day. We must 
not sit upon, and be satisfied with, our measure, \ but 
work hard to make it a treasure ; we must strive both 
for fulness of grace and fulness of joy. It is possible 
a Christian may attain to a full assurance ; yea, to that 
joy which is unspeakable, and peace which passeth all 
understanding ; and he may even think he hath enough ; 
as I have heard of a good soul that enjoyed such an abun- 
dant tide of comfort, that he desired the Lord to stay 
his hand, lest the vessel should break, (though this is 
not ordinary for every believer, nor at all times for 
any,) so that some may possibly have as much comfort 
as they can desire ; but I never read or heard of any 
saints that had too much grace, or so much as they de- 
sired — all have bewailed their defects, living and dying ; 
and the best men have been most covetous of divine 
things, young and old. It is said of good Mr. Herbert 
Palmer, when he was of the age of four or five years, 
" that he would cry to go to his lady-mother, that he 
might hear something of God." And of old Grynaeus 

* Acts xxvi. 24. t Phil. iii. 11—14. 

% XotviKi /lit) IniKaOriao, was Pythagoras's motto. 


(that savoury German Divine) it is recorded, that when 
some persons were discoursing by his death-bed he lift 
up himself, saying, " I shall die with more comfort if 
I may die learning something for the good of my soul." 
Now, sirs, who or what are you? Are you wise enough, 
good enough ? Are you afraid of being too like God, 
or of having too much of God in and with your souls ? 
Are you loth to get too ready for, or too readily into, 
heaven ? Alas, alas ! you may call your estate into 
question, if you say, you have grace enough, or are 
good enough, or if you slacken your endeavours to get 
more grace, upon a conceit you have enough.* It is as 
natural for a living saint to call for grace as for a live- 
ly child to cry for food ; insatiable desire after grace, 
is a clear test of the truth of grace. O shame thyself, 
then, for thy neglect, and humble thy soul for thy non- 

3. Do you certainly know what treasure you may 
need? When you go a journey you take money enough, 
because you cannot tell but you may be put to extra- 
ordinary expences ; and truly, in your journey to hea- 
ven you may be put to unexpected charges. You lit- 
tle know what a day may bring forth ; it may bring 
forth a burden for your back ; God may call you to 
sharp service, in a way of duty and difficulty : you are 
sure to go through a purgatory to glory ; the way to 
heaven is strait and narrow, and you must crowd hard 
to get in, and thrust through — " through manifold 
temptations and tribulations you must enter into hea- 
ven." It is an irrevocable decree of Heaven, that " he 
that will live godly in Christ Jesus must suffer perse- 
cution." We have had fair weather hitherto, but the 
greater storm is behind ; we have not yet " resisted to 
blood," but we may be put to it. Be you sure, as long 
* Si dixisti satis est, periisti. 


as the devil is in hell, and Antichrist on earth, there 
will be persecutions raised against the Church, in some 
part of it or other; yea, and the dying blows of the lat- 
ter may prove the heaviest to the Reformed Churches.* 
Woe to those that are unprovided for that sharp day ! 
Oh, what piteous shirking will there be to save the skin, 
and damn the soul ! O Christians ! get furnished for 
this encounter ; we little know whom it may reach, or 
how long the storm may last. You had need get 
"strengthened with all might, unto all patience and 
long-suffering, with joy fulness," f lest, if your patience 
be short and sufferings long, you fail in the way, and 
fall short of your crown. What a sad plight are those 
seamen in that have made but a scant provision, and 
meet with a long voyage. It was a good saying of the 
Rev. Mr. Dod, " That this is the difference betwixt a 
Christian that is provided for troubles, and one that is 
not ; that to the one they are but blows on the harness, 
but to the other they are blows on the flesh." J iElian 
saith, " That in Lybia men slept with their boots on, 
because of the scorpions, that they might not sting 
them." We had need also be well " shod, or booted, 
with the preparation of the gospel of peace ;" || that is, 
with a disposition and resolution to walk in the most 
thorny way, and stinging company of wicked men, that 
we may " follow the Lamb which way soever he go- 
eth." We had need to count the cost in the profession 
of religion, we do not know what God may call us to 
do or to endure. Great services require great strength ; 
that we may neither be weary of, nor weary in, the 
Lord's work ; we must lay in much, that we may lay 
out much for God ; we know not what God will call 

* Contra quos deinceps, bcllum geretur, hodieque durat nee 
finietur, donee, bestia in exitium ierit. — Mede Com. in Apoc. p. 198. 
t Col. i. 11. t Mr. Clark in his Life. || Eph. vi. 15. 


us to use. When Israel was to go out of Egypt, Moses 
would take the cattle, and not leave " a hoof behind ; 
for, saith he, we know not with what we must serve 
the Lord, till we come thither," Exod. x. 26 : therefore 
must they also borrow jewels,* to be thoroughly fur- 
nished ; " and the Egyptians were more willing to lend 
them," saith a learned man, " because themselves were 
decked with jewels, that they might be more acceptable 
to their fine-decked deities." f So you do not know 
with what sort of graces or truths you must serve the 
Lord ; only let us get furnished with all instituted 
qualifications, that we may be so adorned and armed 
that the Lord may take pleasure in us, and that we 
may get through services and sufferings with glory to 
God, credit to religion, and comfort to our own souls. 
Those are unwise Christians that lose their time, and 
are not furnished for the tempests of their sea- voyage, 
since no man knows what he must need. 

4. Neglect herein is a dishonour to God, and dispa- 
ragement to the treasures of grace. " Why art thou 
being the king's son, lean from day to day," said 
Jonadab to Amnion, 2 Sam. xiii. 4. So say I, whence 
proceeds this leanness ? Is there not meat enough 
at your Father's table, store sufficient in your Master's 
treasuiy ? Do you not disparage the means of your 
supply, and bring an ill report on the good land ? 
God is not a hard master, but distributes liberally an 
abundant dole of grace : why then are your souls no 
better liking in religion ? The reason is not in God, 
but in yourselves : " you are not straitened in him, but 
in your own bowels," $ as Paul in another case ; now, 
as a recompense of his love and munificence, be ye also 
enlarged. Indeed, it doth (as it were) ease God's 

* Exod. xi. 2. t Dr. Lightfoot Glean, on Exod. p. 24. 

X 2 Cor. vi. 12. 


heart to be communicating of his goodness ; it did 
please him infinitely from eternity, to think of expend- 
ing riches of grace upon sinners in time :* but he can 
be perfectly and perpetually happy without you ; it 
doth chiefly concern you to fetch all from him, that 
you also may be happy in the enjoyment of him. Are 
you afraid of being happy? who, but foolish man 
would forsake his own mercies ?f Shall God set up 
an office of grace in Christ, and will indigent souls 
take no notice of it ? You cannot grieve him worse 
than to neglect his infinite condescension and tender 
affection. If a mighty king should open his treasure, 
and bid men come and bring their bags, and take as 
much as they desired, do you think they would neg- 
lect this occasion of enriching themselves ? Surely 
not ; they would rather fetch bag after bag, (for scarce 
is any one weary of taking money) and with the poor 
woman in sacred story, borrow vessels that may contain 
larger treasures. The God of heaven hath made a 
glorious proclamation of scattering precious treasures ; 
do you question whether he intends as he speaketh ? 
God forbid : or, do you fear being welcome ? Why, 
you are most welcome when you come for the greatest 
share. Do you fear unworthiness will hinder you ? 
I say, sense of unworthiness will help you to be capa- 
ble of greater receipts. Do you fear these treasures of 
heaven will be exhausted by the myriads of souls that 
are supplied therefrom? Know it, sirs, the royal 
exchequer is as rich this day, as it was when Christ 
was first promised, or the first man saved; these riches 
of grace are an inexhaustible spring. Distribution 
doth not impair its fulness, no more than the sun's 
shining doth rob it of its innate and native light. Oh 
then, why are our souls so poor and pining? The 
* Prov. viii. 31. t Jonah ii. 8. 


Lord humble us because we have no more, when there 
is so much to be had in our all-sufficient treasury. 



A third use is of direction, how a poor soul may be 
furnished with a rich and suitable heart-treasure. 
Now, this is useful to sinners and saints, and it is the 
latter to whom I shall principally address myself. But 
because the treasure of true grace is absolutely neces- 
sary, I shall lay down some few directions for the 
graceless soul, that it may have a right principle, 
without which it cannot bring forth one good thought, 
word, or work. This is the habit without which 
there can be no gracious acts; this is the root, without 
which there can be no fruit to God ; this is that stock 
to trade with, without which there can be no transac- 
tions with God, or true heaping up of the fore-mentioned 
treasure of sanctifying truths, spiritual graces, heart- 
melting experiences, or heart-cheering comforts. I 
know the School-men * have long disputes about the 
generating, acquiring, or infusing of habits, as whe- 
ther any habit be from nature ? or be caused by 
acts, or by one act ? or whether habits be infused by 
God ? But we must distinguish betwixt inferior 
habits, that are merely natural, and spiritual, gracious 
habits, that are supernatural ; these are of a heavenly 
extract and origin. Yet we are to wait upon God in 

* Aquin. Sum Prim. Sec. Qu. 51. Art. 1—4. Qu. 109. Ubi vid- 
eas decimas questiones de gratia agitatas. 


the use of his appointed means ; so saith the Apostle — 
" Work out your own salvation with fear and trem- 
bling ; for it is God which worketh in you both to will 
and to do, of his own good pleasure," Phil. ii. 12, 13.* 
This text both confuteth the speculative free-wilier, 
and convinceth the practical loiterer, that grace is to be 
had from God in his way, though it is not purchased 
by man's working. I purposely wave the schoolmen's 
voluminous disputes concerning grace, and shall pro- 
pound these seven directions to poor graceless souls ; 
and they are plain and practical duties. 

1. Withdraw from the world. At some times learn 
to sequester yourselves from the cares, affairs, comforts, 
cumbers, and company here below. Do not think you 
can hoard up in a crowd. Satan loves to fish in trou- 
bled waters, but so doth not Christ; the noise of Cain's 
hammers, in building cities, drowned the voice of con- 
science. A man will best enjoy himself alone ; solitary 
recesses are of singular advantage, both for getting and 
increasing grace : " Through desire a man having se- 
parated himself, seeketh and intermeddleth with all 
wisdom," Prov. xviii. 1. In this you may and must 
be separatists : let me advise you (and, Oh, that I could 
prevail at least thus far) to treat and entertain your- 
selves by yourselves. He is a wicked man, and re- 
solves to continue so, that dare not entertain himself 
with discourses about spiritual subjects and soul af- 
fairs : it were more safe to know the worst, before you 
feel the worst. Let your solitary thoughts be working 
about things of eternity; accustom yourselves to secret 
and serious pondering. I have read, that the father 
of a prodigal left it as his death-bed charge, unto his 
only son, to spend a quarter of an hour every day in 

* What persons may do towards their own conversion, see 
Morn. Lect. Case of Consc. p. 33. 


retired thinking, but left him at liberty to think of 
what he would : the son having this liberty to please 
himself in the subject, sets himself to the performance 
of his promise ; his thoughts one day recall his past 
pleasures ; another, contrive his future delights ; but at 
length becoming inquisitive to know what might 
be his Father's end in proposing this task, he thought 
his father was a wise and good man, therefore surely 
he intended and hoped that he would some time or other 
think of religion; when this had leavened his thoughts 
they multiplied abundantly, neither could he contain 
them in so short a confinement, but was that night 
sleepless, and afterwards restless, till he became seri- 
ously religious.* 

By all means use sometimes to be alone, 

Salute thyself ; see what thy soul cloth wear ; 

Dare to look in thy chest, for 'tis thine own, 

And tumble up and down what thou find'st there. 

Who cannot rest till he good fellows find, 

He breaks up house, turns out of doors his mind.t 

Oh, sirs, you little know what good effects a serious 
consideration may produce ! God propounds it, and 
men have practised it, as the great expedient to begin 
and promote repentance. Consider what you came in- 
to the world for — whither you must go if you die this 
moment — what a state you were born in — what is the 
need and nature of regeneration — what the worth 
and price of your immortal souls, and, through God's 
blessing, these thoughts may leave some good impres- 

2. Be at a point concerning your state. Be exact 
and impartial in searching your hearts, to find out your 
state. Trifle not in this great work of self-examina- 

* Morning Lect. at Crippl. Consc. p. 9. 
t Herb. Church-porch, p. G. 


tion ; be not afraid to know the worst of thyself; make 
a curious and critical heart-anatomy ; try whether 
"Jesus Christ be in you ;"* do as the goldsmith, who 
brings his gold to the balance, so do you weigh your- 
selves in the balance of the sanctuary ; judge not of 
your state by the common opinion of others concerning 
you, but by Scripture characters, and bring your vir- 
tues to the touchstone ; pierce them through, to try 
whether they be genuine graces or moral endowments ; 
see whether your treasm'e be that " gold that is tried 
in the fire," that is, in the fiery furnace of affliction 
and persecution. Oh, how many are deceived with 
imaginary felicities, and empty flourishes ! Take heed 
of being put off with gifts, instead of grace ; convic- 
tion, instead of conversion ; outward reformation, in- 
stead of saving sanctification ; which is the damning 
and undoing of thousands of souls. Why will you not 
use as much diligence for your souls as you do for 
your bodies, or estates ? If your body be in a danger- 
ous disease, or your estate at hazard in an intricate 
suit, you will run and ride, and make friends, and pay 
any money, to know what shall become of them, or 
to secure them : and are not your souls of more worth 
than a putrid carcase, or dunghill estate ? Sirs, pose 
yourselves with serious questions : — Heart, how is it 
with thee ? Art thou renewed ? What life of grace is 
in thee? Are thy graces of the right stamp? Whither 
art thou going ? And get distinct and positive an- 
swers to such questions as these. Let not thy trea- 
cherous heart dally with thee ; be not put off with 
general hopes and groundless conjectures. A man is 
easily induced to believe what he would have to be 
true ; but rest not there, try further, make it out how 
it comes to be so, detect and answer every flaw in thy 

* 2 Cor. xiii. 5. cW/jucj&te, TrupaL,hTi. 


spiritual estate. If thou canst not do this thyself, make 
thy case known to some able Minister, or experienced 
Christian ; tell them how things are with thee, beg 
advice; ask them how it was with their souls, and 
thou shalt find much help this way. Yet after all, 
suspect thine own heart ; call in aid from heaven ; de- 
sire the Lord to search thee ;* and be willing to be 
sifted to the bran, searched to the bottom. David is 
so intent upon it, and so afraid of a mistake, that he 
useth three emphatical words, in that challenge he 
makes for his soul's inquisition, Psalm xxvi. 2. " Ex- 
amine me, O Lord, and prove me, tiy my reins and 
my heart." The first word imports a viewing us as 
from a watch-tower; the second word imports a trying, 
or finding out a thing by questions, or an inquiry by 
signs or tests ; the last word imports such a trial, as 
separates the dross from the gold, or the dregs from 
the wine ; so the Christian would be tried and purged, 
that grace may appear true, sincere, solid ; and indeed 
it is as much as your souls are worth ; therefore take 
the most effectual course to clear your state to your- 
selves, and be not put off with any answer, but what 
will be accepted by God at the great day. 

3. Mourn over your empty hearts : if you find 
things not right in your own hearts lament your state, 
cry out with a loud and bitter cry, as Esau did when 
the blessing was gone ; lament and say, woe and alas 
that ever I was born! that I have lived thus long 
without God in the world, at first entrance into it a 
bankrupt, and ever since a spiritual beggar. Oh 
what will become of me, if I die in this estate ? there 

* Psalm cxxxix. 23. 
t ^n probavit, exploravlt, tentavit ; HD3 signo agnoscere 
conflavit ; Fp¥ defascavit. Met. probavit ; inde Sarepta, civitas 
metallica, nomen habet ab officinis quibus metalla excoquuntur. 

G 2 


is but a step betwixt me and death, and the next 
breath I breathe may be in everlasting burnings. It 
is a wonder I am not hurled into hell before this, what 
shall I do to be saved ? Is there any hope for such a 
wretch as I am ? O that I could bathe myself in briny 
tears of evangelical repentance ! O, how shall I be- 
lieve in Jesus Christ, that I may receive remission of 
sins ! Truth it is, sirs, you will never be filled till 
you be sensible of soul-emptiness ; spiritual poverty is 
the prologue and preparative to true soul-plenty ; 
gospel sorrow expands the soul, and so capacitates it 
for grace ; the oil of grace is poured only into a con- 
trite heart ; the kingdom of God belongs to the poor in 
spirit, and we know, the best benefits of this kingdom 
are internal, as " righteousness, peace, and joy in the 
Holy Ghost ;* and these as a rich treasure replenish 
the penitent soul, for it is the sorrowful soul whom 
God doth replenish, Jer. xxxi. 25. Therefore, you are 
to endeavour to discover the nature of sin, and danger 
therein, the wrath of God hanging over your heads for 
it : if you were pricked in your hearts with a pinching 
pain, you would be restless till you had obtained an 
interest in Jesus Christ ; if your souls were weary and 
heavy laden, you would not be content till you had 
laid the stress of all upon an infinite Saviour. If the 
Lord would help graceless sinners these two steps, 
to see that they are yet graceless, and to discern their 
misery in being so, that were a hopeful gradation to- 
wards conversion : did you see your state, you could not 
but bewail it, and make out for a change ; and did you 
see the precious nature of the soul, and that grace which 
is to fill it, you would not be another day without it. 
4. Empty thy heart of all corruption ; oh, cleanse 

* Deus oleum non infundit nisi in vas contritum.— Bent. 
Matt. v. 3. Rom. xiv. 17- 


that filthy source of all sin, purge thyself from all fil- 
thiness both of flesh and spirit. Shake hands with 
that sin which forbids the banns of marriage betwixt 
Jesus Christ and thy soul : lay aside every weight, and 
the sin which doth so easily beset thee, and then lift 
up thine eyes and heart to Jesus Christ.* " Cleanse 
your hands, ye sinners ; purify your hearts, ye double- 
minded."! Empty this dirty house of thy heart, that 
the King of Glory may enter in ; throw out the devil's 
household stuff, and make room for a new inhabitant. 
The vessel must be emptied, or it can never be filled 
with saving good ; for that which is within, hinders 
any thing else entering :| and alas, the heart is full of 
vain conceits, and worldly thoughts, and impure lusts, 
which keep off good emotions and keep out good dis- 
positions. Now, if a man purge himself from these, 
he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet 
for the Master's use, and prepared unto every good 
work, 2 Tim. ii. 21. Let me entreat you for the 
Lord's sake, and for your own soul's sake, to search 
and sweep every dusty corner of your defiled heart. 
Let not this train of graces and treasure of truths be 
always waiting your leisure, whilst you are wallowing 
in the puddle of sin, and swallowing down the devil's 
sweet, but dangerous pills of soul-murdering tempta- 
tions. Oh, be willing to make this blessed change, to 
part with thy base lusts for a precious Christ, to fore- 
go soul-damning corruptions for soul-gladdening dis- 
positions : if you cannot put off the whole body of sin, 
yet you are to cut off the members thereof, you ought 
indeed to stub up sin by the roots, but you may lop off 
its branches; you may abate sin in part by contrary act- 
ings ; knowledge doth remove ignorance, as light doth 

* Heb. xii. 1, 2. t James iv. 8. 

X Intus existens prohibet extraneum. 


darkness ; grief abates pleasure, and fear, boldness in 
sinning ; patience daunts passion, and fasting tames 
unruly lusts : these you may do, and these may be 
good preparatives for this treasure. Because, as one 
saith, when the strength of a fever is abated by physical 
means, a man is disposed towards health ; * and 
ploughed ground is at least materially prepared for 
seed, though God is not bound then to sow the seeds 
of saving grace, yet thou hast encouragement, that thy 
labour shall not be in vain. Use these means and try 
the issue ; endeavour " to cast off these works of dark- 
ness, and to put on the armour of light ; yea, labour 
to put off the old man, and to put on the new ;"f at 
least do what you can to wash your hearts from filthi- 
ness, that your vain thoughts may not lodge within 
you, Jer. iv. 14. that you may have a saving treasure 
of holy meditations. 

5. Be gleaning in God's field, be filling your sacks 
in the divine granary of ordinances. The way for 
Ruth to be well laden was to glean in Boaz's field, 
among the sheaves near the reapers ; \ the Patriarchs 
must have recourse to Joseph's storehouse for pro- 
vision ; and where may we expect supply, but in 
gospel ordinances ? those [canales gratite] channels of 
grace ; the door-posts of wisdom, the garden where such 
precious spices grow, the orchard where the soul may 
be loaded with the fruits of righteousness. Ordinances 
are the Lord's camp, where this heavenly manna 
falls ; they are the green pastures, where we may 
fill and feast our souls, the galleries where the king of 
heaven takes his walks,* and here the Christless may 
meet with him ; this is like Solomon's house of the 
forest of Lebanon, built for an armory, where the 

* See Morn- Lect p. 41. Ser. 2. + Rom.xiii. 12. Eph. iv. 22,24. 
| Ruth ii. 8. 17- II Song vii. 5. 


naked soul may be furnished with shields and spears ; 
offensive and defensive weapons to fortify the soul 
against the fiercest onsets of the great Abaddon. If 
your souls be sick of love, here you may find flagons 
of precious liquor to revive your fainting spirits, 
dispensed by the Lord's stewards. If you sit under 
this apple-tree, you shall be under its shadow with 
great delight, and the fruit thereof will be sweet to 
your taste. O then seek Christ in the broad ways of 
public ordinances, and " go forth by these footsteps of 
the flock."* Search this pearl in the field of gospel- 
dispensations, and your souls shall be truly enriched 
thereby : it is by these ordinances, through which, as 
by golden pipes, that precious oil is conveyed to us 
from the fruitful olive, Jesus Christ, f O do not leave 
off ordinances, as some conceited professors that boast 
they are above them ; for if you set the cistern above 
the cock, it will never be full ; and therefore you must 
have a reverent esteem for the Lord's appointments. 
Prepare yourselves, and frequent soul-filling ordi- 
nances — live still within the sound of Aaron's bells, 
and beg of God that Aaron's rod may bring forth the 
buds of grace in your immortal souls. " The rod of 
Aaron," as one well observes,^ " may signify the min- 
istry, effective, as to the effects it produceth, by the 
blessing of God, bringing forth buds, blossoms, and 
ripe nuts, all at once : that is," saith he, " precious 
buds of grace, blossoms of heavenly joy, and holy fruits 
of righteousness and new obedience." Only let me en- 
treat you to wait upon a heart-searching ministry, that 
the secrets of your heart may be manifest, and con- 
science may be pricked. Be not afraid of a Boanerges, 
but gladly welcome the sharp rebukes of your soul's 

* Song ii. 5. verse 2. iii. 2. i. 8. + Zech. iv. 12. 

+ IMr. Lee on Solomon's Temple, cap. 9. p. 266. Num. xvii. \i. 


friends ; it may be fittest for your sleepy or seared 
conscience. It is said of the almond tree, of which 
Aaron's rod was,* that the rind thereof is bitter, but 
the kernel is very delicious, and the oil pressed out of 
it very physical and of much virtue : just such are 
the chastising words of a round-dealing ministry ; bit- 
ter at present, but profitable afterwards. And, observe 
it, they are ordinarily the soundest Christians that are 
trained under the most plain and piercing preaching ; 
therefore, I entreat you, lay yourselves directly under 
the hammer of the word, to be framed by the Lord ac- 
cording to his will. 

6. Study and improve free grace. Oh, let your 
thoughts dwell much upon God's infinite condescension 
and unlimited invitation of poor sinners. See what 
you derive from Isaiah lv. 1, John vii. 37, and Rev. 
xxii. 17. " Whosoever will, let him take the water of 
life freely ;" there is no bar to your admission, but 
what yourselves make ; Christ Jesus includes you in 
gospel tenders ; Oh, do not exclude yourselves. The 
great Shepherd calleth his sheep by name, John x. 3. 
How is that, but by speaking expressly to their case ? 
as if he should strike the troubled heart upon the 
shoulder and say, Here is comfort for thee ; what if 
thy name be not there, ) r et the proposition is universal 
— -" he that believeth shall be saved." Thousands of 
poor sinners have ventured their souls upon such a 
word, and never any miscarried that cast themselves 
into the arms of Christ ; you have no reason to sus- 
pect acceptance if you come to him, you have all the 
grounds of encouragement imaginable. A physician 
offereth cure to all that will come, it were madness to 
stand off and say, I know not whether he intendeth it 
for me or not. If men were ready to perish in deep 
* See Mr. Lee on Solomon's Temple, cap. 9. p. 266. 


waters, and a boat should be offered to carry to land 
them that would come into it, it were an absurd thing 
to dispute whether it be for us. If a pardon come from 
the king for a company of condemned prisoners, and 
they shall all have benefit by it, if they will but accept 
of it, what madman would refuse it, and question whe- 
ther the prince intend him particularly, when his name 
is included in the general grant. Surely men would 
not so fondly cast away themselves in temporal things, 
and who would be such a fool in the everlasting con- 
cernments of his precious soul ? The way here is not 
to dispute, but believe. Is not Jesus Christ our souls' 
physician, and are not we sick ? Is not the gospel- 
design of grace a plank after shipwreck, and are not 
we drowning ? Are not we condemned malefactors at 
the bar of God's justice ? and doth not God graciously 
tender to us the redemption so dearly purchased by 
our precious Saviour ? and why then should we for- 
sake our own mercies — why will you be cruel to your 
own souls ? If it were in temporal things, you would 
put out the hand and be very ready for receiving : if 
you sit at a feast, and there stand a dish upon the ta- 
ble that is agreeable to your palate, though all the 
company be free to make use of it, yet you say, Here 
is a dish for me, and you think it good manners to 
feed heartily upon it, without scruples and disputes of 
being welcome, since you were freely invited by your 
generous friend. — Our Lord Jesus hath made " a feast 
of fat things,"* and hath bidden his guests ; he invites 
you to eat and drink abundantly : O do not you make 
apologies for your absence from this gospel feast ; 

* Isa. xxv. 6. Prov. ix. 1, 2. Cant. v. 1, 2. The porch of 
the Temple was open and without doors on all sides, to shew the 

open heartedness of God's grace under the Gospel See Mr. Lcc 

on Solomon's Temple, cap. 9. p. 210. 


when he invites, do not you question whether he means 
as he speaks, but fall to, and make a long arm, and 
take your share of this provision ; I can assure you, 
he hath not an evil eye, he doth not grudge you this 
heavenly manna ; nay, rather than your souls shall 
famish, he freely gives you his flesh and blood, to nou- 
rish your poor immortal souls. Oh, you that have 
torn his flesh with the teeth of cruel persecution of 
himself and his members — you, that have trampled 
upon his blood with the feet of an odious and abomin- 
able conversation — you, he calls to " eat his flesh and 
drink his blood," by faith in him, and improvement of 
him, that your souls may live — you that have despised 
riches of grace, treasures of grace are opened for you 
— you that have fought against Jesus Christ all your 
days, with all your might, he invites you to be his 
soldiers, and he will graciously entertain you as if you 
had never been in rebellion against the King of kings ! 
Will not this melt aud move you to yield yourselves 
unto your dear and loving Lord ? I beseech you, take 
these things into your serious thoughts, and accept of 
Jesus Christ ; only presume not by dreaming of appli- 
cation of Christ, without separation from sin. Take 
a whole Christ, to sanctify thy heart as well as justify 
thy person, to purify conscience as well as pacify wrath 
— take Christ aright, mistake him not, lest you be wo- 
fully mistaken to your eternal undoing. You need a 
whole Christ, and a broken heart will not be content 
with a divided Saviour ; it is the whorish heart that 
will divide; a sincere soul must have all, he needs 
grace as well as peace. Indeed, there is nothing of 
Christ useless ; every part of this Lamb of God is of 
absolute necessity to the indigent soul, and true faith 
takes him in all his mediatory latitude ; it is as dan- 
gerous to divide Christ believed on, as the heart be- 


lieving ; therefore stir up yourselves to a due consid- 
eration of free grace, and application of it in the right 
gospel way of believing. 

7. Be humble petitioners at the throne of grace ; 
beg hard at the gates of mercy, for a large dole of 
heavenly riches. Ask ; if that will not do, seek ; if 
seeking avail not, knock, and you shall be sure to pre- 
vail. The choicest riches of heaven may be had for 
asking, and if they be not worth that, they are worth 
nothing. God loves importunate beggars ; there is 
liberty of petitioning in the court of heaven ; it is no 
bad manners there to heap suit upon suit ; the oftener 
you come the welcomer you are : •• He will give the 
Holy Spirit to them that ask him ;"* and that is a good 
thing in God's account, and should be in ours, for it 
enricheth the soul with an abundant treasure. O beg 
the Spirit of God ! " open your mouths wide, and he 
will fill them." We should think ourselves made for 
ever, if we might but hare what we can ask : but the 
truth is, we cannot ask so much as God is able and 
willing to give us, Ephes. iii. 19, 20. Therefore, sirs, 
stir up your hearts to desire grace ; open these win- 
dows of your souls ; lift up yourselves to God upon 
these wings of desires, and fetch a treasure from hea- 
ven into your hearts. Strong desires are real prayers,f 
and shall prevail ; for they not only capacitate the soul 
for grace, but lay it directly under the promise, Matt. 
v. 6. Desire forms the soul's pullies, that wind it up 
to heaven ; and it is the soul's stomach that receives 
heaven into the Christian : therefore, pray hard. Do 
not you see and hear the pathetical cries of poor beg- 
gars, backed with rhetorical arguments of sores and 
nakedness, at your doors and in the road ? Go you 

* Compare Matt vii. 11, with Luke xi. 13. 
t Mens orat, lingua loquitur. 


and do likewise ; fill the ears of God with mighty cries; 
take no denial, give God no rest, till you have your 
share in spiritual blessings. Tell God you will not be 
put off with the transient good things of this wicked 
world ; tell him he hath better things than these to 
bestow upon children ; crowns and golden mines are 
but crumbs cast to dogs — tell him thou comest to him 
for a child's portion ; and if he will but give thee a 
treasure of grace in thy heart, and reserve a treasure 
of glory for thee in heaven, thou wilt refer matters of 
the world to him, and he shall do with those things as 
he sees good, whether he give thee less or more of the 
" Mammon of unrighteousness," any thing or nothing. 
Tell the Lord, he hath entrusted these talents of grace 
with unworthy creatures and great sinners, and if thou 
be worse than any that ever yet partook thereof, yet 
tell him, he doth not sell these precious commodities 
to men deserving, but give them to necessitous sinners, 
and thou art one that needs as much as any — tell him, 
thou never yet heardest that he refused to give them 
to any that sought them for Christ's sake, with a bro- 
ken heart, above worldly treasures — tell him, that him- 
self hath promised, his Son hath purchased, his Spirit 
will freely convey these gospel riches into thy heart, 
and if he "will but speak the word," the thing shall be 
quickly done. Tell the Lord, yet once again, what a 
monument he will thereby raise to his own glory ; if 
he will fill thy soul with this treasure, he will thereby 
" make known the riches of his glory on a poor vessel 
of mercy."* And whereas now thou art a useless 
vessel, wherein the Lord can have no pleasure, by 
whom he can have no profit nor honour ; yet if he will 
be pleased to own and crown thy soul with saving 
grace, he may theu take delight in thee and rest in his 
* Rom. ix. 23. 


love towards thee ; and when he " hath blessed thee 
with spiritual blessings in heavenly things," then thou 
wilt be " to the praise of the glory of his grace," Eph. 
i. 3, 6. Thus come, thus pour out your hearts like 
water before the Lord, lie day and night at the throne 
of grace ; it is worth all this pains in seeking. Will 
not you do as much as Esau for his blessing ? He 
took pains to hunt for venison, that Isaac's soul might 
bless him, and missing of it, he lift up his voice, and 
" cried with a great and exceeding bitter cry," redou- 
bling his request with an affectionate echo, " Bless me, 
even me also, O my father !"* The words are very 
remarkable, and have as notable an emphasis as almost 
is to be found in Scripture ; and will you be worse 
than profane Esau ? O sirs, if you knew your soul's 
want, and the worth of divine things, your prayers 
would have another accent, and be put up with more 
fervency than usually they are, and you might have 
hopes to speed. So saith the wise man — " If thou 
criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for un- 
derstanding ; if thou seekest her as silver, and search- 
est for her as for hidden treasures ; then shalt thou 
understand the fear of the Lord, and find the know- 
ledge of God," Prov. ii. 3—5. 

Before I break off this subject, let me press a little 
upon you the wholesome counsel of our dear Saviour. 
" I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, 
that thou mayest be rich," &c. Rev. iii. 18. Consider 

First, — What is your estate naturally, and without 
Christ ; you may imagine great things, but God knows 
there is no such matter, as he saith to this self-conceited 
church of Laodicea, " Thou sayest I am rich — and 
knowest not that thou art wretched, miserable, poor, 
blind, naked," verse 17. He heaps up many words to 

* Gen. xxvii. 34, 38. IND-Ty moi rfrn pyir pyjn. 


aggravate their beggarly state. The graceless soul is, 
1. Wretched,* that is, pressed with sickness, misery, 
and calamity, overwhelmed with reproach, overthrown 
in conflicts, cannot stir hand or foot for God, being 
always overborne by his master, Satan. 2. He is 
miserable \\ that is, though he stand in absolute need 
of divine help and mercy, yet he is unworthy and des- 
titute of it ; God will have no mercy on this woful 
object, so that the forlorn soul may be called Lo- 
rn ham ah.\ 3. The sinner is poor ;|| that is, in ex- 
treme necessity, hath not a bit or morsel of brown 
bread, but begs from door to door ; these poor souls 
are ready to famish and pine, and shall have no relief. 

4. Blind ; § this is a sad aggravation, when a man 
must wander for bread to relieve his soul, yet knows 
not whither to go, nay, knows not that he needs to 
go ; is miserable, and knows it not ; yea further, he is 

5. Naked ; ^[ exposed to the injuries of weather, and 
lashes of men. Thus is the poor sinner destitute of 
the wedding garment — Christ's righteousness, having 
only a naked skin to shield him against the wrath of 
God, the curse of the law, and tormentings of con- 
science ; and what can this avail the wretched mis- 
creant? Let a man be the richest potentate under 
heaven, yet if he be graceless, he is thus wretchedly 
poor ; no tongue can express the misery of an unrege- 
nerate person. There are seven words in Hebrew, 
that signify poor, and they are all applicable to a poor 
creature without Christ and grace. 1. He is straiten- 
ed If in the abundance of outward sufficiency, with a 

* 'O TaXuiwiopoQ) a raAaw suffero, et ttCj^oq luctus. 

t 'O tXttivbg. X Isa. xxvii. 11. Hosea i. 6. 

|| IItw^oc, qui ostiatim petit eleemosynam. § Tv<p\bc. 

IT rvfwbg, a yvla juora l\wv, solam cutem habens. 

ft »3i? pauper. 


griping conscience and avaricious grasping after shadows . 

2. His goods are diminished,* and he is become a 
bankrupt in Adam, vain inventions have wasted a fair 
estate, and daily weaken the relics of natural light. 

3. He is oppressed f with intolerable labour, grinding 
in the devil's mill, toiling in worse than Egyptian 
thraldom, without any relief for his famishing soul. 

4. He is of a dejected \ mind, like the serpent, going 
with his bellow on the dust, a degenerate plant, the 
worst part of the creation, the basest of creatures, the 
tail, and not the head. 5. Besides all this he is 
afflicted || spiritually with suits, hatred, exile, imprison- 
ment ; God himself commenceth suit against him, 
hates him, banisheth him from his presence, delivers 
him over into Satan's hands, by whom he is led captive 
at his pleasure. 6. He is always needy, § desires all 
things, but hath nothing; cannot be content, snatching 
on the right and left hand, yet is never satisfied ; un- 
bridled in motion towards a wrong object, that in- 
creaseth his thirst. 7. He is empty ^f of virtues, which 
are the riches of the mind, for though he may have 
some moral accomplishments, yet they are but \splen- 
dida peccatci] mere splendid ana shining sins, without 
grace ; and also he is destitute of the world ; for hav- 
ing a curse and not God's blessing therewith, it doth 
him no good ; nay, it is his bane, being both a snare 
and a poison, aggravating sin, and increasing his tor- 
ment, having a sadder account to make another day. 
This and much worse is the condition of a graceless 
heart, from which it is counselled ! Oh, who would 
tarry one hour in such a wretched state ? The Lord 
be merciful to you, and pluck you out of the Sodom of 
unregeneracy, lest you perish eternally. 

* b~l perditus. t "P attritus. J ")0 attenuatus. 

|| HSbn afflictus. § JV3N egenus. 1T p~ vacuus. 


Secondly, — Consider the state to which you are 
counselled ; for this end observe, 1. Who is your 
Counsellor,* Jesus Christ, who indeed is the only Coun- 
sellor, the wisdom of the Father, who best understands 
the law of heaven, and what will stand you in stead in 
the court of God ; he that might command you into 
hell, doth counsel you for heaven; he that died for 
you, opens his heart to you ; he that will speak to the 
Father for you, entreats you to make use of him as 
your only Advocate. 2. Consider what and who you 
are and have been, that are thus counselled ; enemies 
to his grace, in whom he might glorify his justice, and 
cast you headlong into the pit, and there is an end of 
you ; persons that have been a provocation all your 
days, that have resisted, quenched, grieved, vexed his 
Holy Spirit, trampled Christ under foot, served Satan 
and yourselves ; behold he pours out his words unto 
you, yea, he offers to pour his Spirit into you : f it is 
the voice of an infinite God, to mortal, sinful man — 
" Unto you, O men, I call, and my voice is to the sons 
of men," Prov. viii. 4. And, 3. Consider what he 
counsels to — it is to a rich and precious purchase. O 
ye great purchasers, here is a bargain for you ! not of 
a piece of land, but a kingdom — not an earthly, but a 
heavenly kingdom — not a fair house to live in here, 
but eternal mansions in the heavens. Come, strike up 
the bargain, bid freely ; but what must you give ? 
money, or money's worth ?f No, worldly treasures are 
dross here ; money has no ascendancy ; the price is 
fallen to just nothing — shall I say nothing ? You are 
to give away your sins, and give God yourselves ; yet 
that is no price, because it bears no proportion to such 

* Isaiah ix. 5. t Prov. i. 23. 

| Isaiah lv. 1, 2. Jubet emere non pretio, sed mendicorum 
more, precibus emendicare apud Deum.— Par. in loc. 


receipts. Grace and glory are God's gifts, yet God puts 
this honour upon such as honour him by believing, as 
though they buy what they enjoy. Let every soul 
make this cheap purchase. But if it be so cheap, is it 
not of little worth ? Will it not prove accordingly ? 
What is the purchase, and what is it good for ? That 
brings in four things, namely, the things purchased are 
absolutely necessary and beneficial — 1. Gold. 2. Rai- 
ment. 3. Eye-salve. 4. Every one accomplished a 
notable end to make rich cloth and recover sight : we 
cannot be without any of these. I cannot enlarge, take 
a specimen. 1. This gold tried in the fire, is Scrip- 
ture truths ; and we must by all means buy truth, by 
no means sell it ;* and " the words of God are as sil- 
ver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times ;" 
therefore David loved the word " above fine gold."f 
I told you, we must make a treasure of this refined 
gold of Scripture truths ; but I rather understand this 
of the tried gold of precious graces, especially faith, ± 
which being tried in the furnace of affliction, is much 
more precious than gold that perisheth. This indeed 
makes the soul truly rich; as money answers all things, 
so this will bring us through all conditions ; and this 
is to be had of Christ, || therefore buy or beg it of him, 
and believe in him for obtaining more of the riches of 
grace. 2. White raiment is the robe of Christ's righ- 
teousness, the garments of our elder Brother, fine linen, 
clean and white ; for whiteness is a token of purity, 
and here is an allusion to the Roman candidates, that, 
seeking dignity or magistracy, came forth conspicuous- 
ly into the assembly, thereby signifying that integrity 
which became those honourable offices. So the saints 

* Prov. xxiii. 23. + Psalm xii. 6. Psalm cxix. 127> 

t 1 Pet, i. 7- 

|| Hoc fiovoTwXiov est Christi, extra quod nulla est salus. 


must have the upper garment of imputed righteous- 
ness, and closer raiment of inherent holiness, of both 
which it is said, (Rev. xvi. 15.) " Blessed is he that 
watcheth and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, 
and they see his shame," that is, the filth and guilt of 
sin. 3. Eye-salve ; an ointment that purgeth away 
the rheum and dimness of the eyes. This grace ban- 
isheth the dark mists from the soul, and makes it see 
clearly the state of our hearts, the evil of sin, and ex- 
cellency of the things of God. A right understanding 
of divine mysteries is a mercy worth praying for and 
prizing. This is the only learning of importance ; book 
learning and brain knowledge are not worth naming in 
comparison of this; for this "anointing will teach you 
of all things," 1 John ii. 27. 

Well, sirs, I am loth to leave this subject, till I have 
prevailed with you to make it your main business to 
look after this divine treasure. O that Jesus Christ 
were formed in your hearts, and the life of grace were 
begun in your souls ! If that be wrought, you will be 
fit for all conditions, without it you will be fit for no- 
thing, and nothing can suit you ; you will make no 
shift in a hard time, and you know not how to improve 
happy times ; a day of affliction will swallow you up 
— temptation will overthrow you — mercies will in- 
crease your guilt — judgments drive you to despair — 
you cannot buckle to the easiest duties, nor apply the 
sweetest promises, and how will you come off in the 
great day of accounts — " whither will you go for help, 
and where will you leave your glory ?" 



My principal design is to lay down a directory for the 
the people of God ; and because this is a business of 
great moment, consequence, and concernment, to have, 
keep, use, improve, and increase a heart-treasure, I 
shall be the larger upon it, and rank what I have to 
say under these four topics or heads, viz : — 

I. By what means shall a soul be furnished with a 
treasure of good thoughts ? 

II. In what way shall a Christian lay up truths, 
graces, comforts, and experiences ? 

III. How may a Christian preserve and increase this 
treasure ? 

IV. How he must draw out, and make use of this 

To begin with the first, which is this : What course 
shall a Christian take to hoard up a treasure of holy 
thoughts ? This is the good treasure chiefly intended 
in the text, and I shall be the larger upon this head. 
To this end I shall propound these ten directions : 

1. Work upon your hearts the reality and rarity of 
the things of God : get thoroughly convinced that there 
are such things to be had, and that they are worth lay- 
ing up. You must look upon divine things as infal- 
libly certain, and incomparably excellent. Those were 
accounted sensual and brutish Philosophers, that (fol- 
lowing Epicurus) placed man's chief happiness in mat- 
ters of sense, such as profit, pleasure, and honour. But 
those were the most sublime, and in a sort, divine, that 
placed the summum bomim, or chief good, in what is 

H 2 


above, or opposite to sense — as in the good things of 
the mind, and moral virtue. Can heathens, by the 
light of nature and reason, see a reality and excellency 
in things invisible to sense ? and shall not Christians 
much more ? It is a shame for a saint enlightened by 
the Spirit, to be so blear-eyed, as not to see afar off, or 
view spiritual objects.* It is the duty and property of 
a Christian to overlook things that are seen, and in- 
tently to behold things not seen. — 2 Cor. iv. 18. O, 
sirs, could you as really see with a spiritual eye, spi- 
ritual good, as you can with your natural eyes behold 
corporeal objects, what an advantage would it be to 
you ! Could you make gospel-mysteries and mercies 
as attractive to yourselves as a rich man's bags and 
lands are to him, what an exceeding help would it be ! 
This made Moses forsake the visible glory of Egypt, 
and endure intolerable things in the wilderness, for he 
saw him that was invisible. — Heb. xi. 27. Thus 
Christians are to realize divine things, and account 
highly of them, for no man will treasure up that which 
he accounts not as most excellent. The making light 
of gospel-grace, is the great reason why so many go 
without it ; so it is said in Matt. xxii. 5. the bidden 
guests made light of it ; or, as as the wordf signifies, 
they would not take it into their care and thoughts ; 
they looked upon it as not worth looking after. I am 
persuaded that unbelief, or want of a thorough, settled 
and effectual persuasion of the truth of the gospel, and 
of what real good is contained in the promises, is the 
root of that gross atheism and wilful neglect existing 
in the world. You are to give your full assent to the 
tilings of God ; to venture your souls upon Scripture 
principles. God's ipse dixit\ must be instead of all the 

* 1 Cor. ii. 10. 2 Pet. i. 9. t 'AjLuA//crttv7£c, curam non habentes. 
1 " Thus saith the Lord." 


demonstrations in the world. You must centre and 
anchor yourselves upon that impregnable rock, script um 
est, it is written — and though you cannot find a rea- 
son of the things believed, yet this is to be accounted a 
sufficient reason for your belief, namely, God hath 
spoken them, and you may safely trust your souls upon 
his word ; for he cannot lie. He is wiser than to be 
deceived — and he is more righteous than to deceive. 
You may safely lay the stress of your souls upon his 
word. O, that I could persuade you to this ! Do not 
put off these things with a slight notion and conjec- 
tural opinion, but advance " to the riches of the full 
assurance of understanding."* That is a high word, 
but you cannot be too sure about these things. Your 
strongest confidence may be battered ; your persuasion 
may stagger ; and, therefore, get as well-rooted as you 
can, for according to the degrees of your affiance, will 
your graces and duties ebb and flow, rise or fall. And 
you must not only believe the truth of them, but urge 
them upon your own hearts. As Paul saith, so say 
you : " What shall I say to these things ?"f Are they 
true, or are they not ? Are they worth thinking of, or 
are they not ? Have I an interest in them, or have I 
not ? O, my soul ! let me press thee to the serious 
view of heavenly objects. They are choice things and 
deserve our study ; rare things, wherein few have ac- 
tual interest, yet absolutely necessary, wherein all must 
have a share, or they are undone for ever. 

2. Reserve thy heart for, and resign it vip wholly to, 
God. He calls for it, " My son, give me thy heart," 
Prov. xxiii. 26. Let not thy dearest comforts, rela- 
tions, or companions have a predominating influence in 
thy soul. This is the chief tribute that is due to God. 
Rob not God of any part of it. Clip not the King of 

* Col. ii. 2. t Rom. viii. 31. 


heaven's coin ; but you may and must direct your 
hearts solely and wholly to God, and things above, as 
the lines go to the centre. David had set his affec- 
tions on the house of his God, and therefore his 
thoughts were vehemently carried out after those 
things, that made him offer so much, and offer so wil- 
ingly.* The same man of God prays, Psal. lxxxvi. 11. 
" Unite my heart to fear thy name." The wordf im- 
ports a making his heart one. He would not have a 
heart, and a heart. A divided heart is no God-fearing 
heart. He that would patch up a contentment both 
with God and the creature, shall go without a solid 
treasure, for the creature cannot, and God will not fill 
such a heartless heart. Besides, love, saith one, is for 
one object ; like a pyramid, it ends in a point ; affection 
is weakened by dispersion, as a river by being turned 
into many channels. You cannot serve two masters. 
He that would have a treasure of any thing intends 
that only ; he contracts his affairs into a narrow com- 
pass, and makes that \j6 epyov~\ his only work. So 
must you knit your thoughts together, and fix them 
upon this sole object. It is a dangerous thing to divide 
the affections betwixt God and the world, like Judah, 
that sware by the Lord, f and by Malcham, or their 
king. But God doth make account, that that soul is 
not at all for him, which is not altogether for him. 
Those nations feared not the Lord that joined their 
serving idols, with fearing the true God. — 2 Kings, 
xvii. 33, 34. There can no more be two chief delights 
in one heart, than two suns in one firmament ; those 
spirits are winding and crooked, that are like that 
haven we read of, Acts, xxvii. 12. lying directly 
towards two opposite points of heaven. || Cyrus took 

* 1 Chron. xxix. 3. + "TIT unicum fac. % Zeph. i. 5. 
|| Mr Burrough's Heart-div. p. 7- 


Babylon, by dividing the river. The devil soon sur- 
priseth us if he can but divide our hearts. If our 
hearts be divided, we shall be found faulty.* O let us 
take heed of being voluntary cripples, to halt between 
two opinions.f Let us not dismember ourselves by 
being half and hollow-hearted. God is infinite ; 
Christ is complete ; spiritual things are most excellent ; 
and these deserve the whole heart. Therefore, resign 
up yourselves unto God resolvedly, unreservedly, and 
universally. Fear not, as he fmdeth his life that loseth 
it for God, so he only receiveth his heart as good, and 
worth having, that giveth it to God, for he takes it to 
make it better, as even a heathen could say to his 
scholar, that had nothing to give him but himself, i 
Give God your hearts, and he will furnish them with 
a treasure. Commit your souls into his hands, and he 
will both commit a treasure to you, and will also keep 
that which you commit to him, till the great day of his 
illustrious appearing. || He will preserve both the case 
and the jewel, soul and body ; the least atom of dust 
shall not be lost. How much more will he graciously 
preserve that good work of grace, and those fruits of 
the Spirit, that he hath committed to you ; therefore, I 
beseech you take my counsel in this : keep no corner of 
your hearts for a stranger, but yield yourselves to the 
Lord. Deliver the keys of your hearts into his 
hands. Let the King of glory enter in, and his glo- 
rious train will fill the temple of your souls. § He is a 
treasure wherever he comes. Christians are called God's 
house, his temple ; ^f it is, therefore, gross sacrilege 
to rob him of his house, or to keep him out of doors. 
" The soul of a believer," saith an ancient, " is the 

* Hosea x. 2. +1 Kings xviii. 21. 

} Ea conclitione te accipio, ut te tibi reddam meliorcm. — Socrat. 

|| 2 Tim. i. 12. § Isa. vi. 1. f Heb. iii. 0. 1 Cor. vi. 19. 


true temple of Christ ; adorn and furnish that — offer 
gifts to that — receive Christ into it."* Herein consists 
the sum and marrow of our religion, namely, a heart 
totally dedicated unto God; and that is the second help 
to get a treasure in the heart. 

3. Live hy faith upon Jesus Christ. The lively act- 
ing of faith upon the Mediator of the covenant, will fill 
your souls with saving and savoury incomes. God 
hath appointed Christ to be the storehouse of his 
church. Now faith is the hand to fetch supplies from 
Christ to the heart. By faith is the soul engrafted 
into this true olive, and sucks fatness from it.f Christ 
dwells in the heart by faith, J and still more of 
Christ is fetched in by faith. All the means of a 
Christian's life is by the exercise of faith ; therefore is 
the righteous said to live by his faith, because it lives 
and feeds the soul upon Christ. Faith empties the 
heart, and so makes room for Jesus Christ, and then 
lays hold of him and compels him to turn into the 
heart. And our dear Saviour is willingly conquered 
with the strength of faith. Faith is the key that 
opens the chest where treasures lie, and the hand that 
brings them into the heart. Faith opens the heart to 
receive riches of grace, and that man hath a closed 
heart that hath not the key of faith. || O, get a great 
measure of faith ! for the more faith you have the richer 
you are ; for faith itself is a precious treasure, and it 
doth all for enriching the soul. Truths cannot be a 
treasure in our minds to profit our hearts, excej)t mixed 
with this precious ingredient, faith. § All graces of the 

* Verum Christi templum anima credentis est, illam exorna, 
illam vesti, illi offer donaria, in ilia Christum suscipe. — Hieron. 
ad Paulin. lorn. 1. p. 10o. t Rom. xi. 17, 20. J Eph. iii. 17- 

|| Cor clausum habet, qui clavem fidei non habet. 

§ Hcb. iv. 2. 2 Pet. i. 5. 


spirit attend this queen and sovereign grace of faith. 
Experiences cannot be gathered or improved without 
faith, and that comfort is but a fancy that is not ush- 
ered in by the assurance of faith. Faith is the great 
bucket to draw water out of the wells of salvation, 
and the more faith you bring, the more you receive.* 
Well then, would you have your hearts stored with a 
treasure? strive to increase your faith, and let the Lord 
Jesus be the direct object of your faith. It is he alone 
that hath the key of David, that doth both open heaven 
to us, and a heavenly treasure for us.f Since the fall 
we have no converse with God, or communication from 
him, but through a mediator. " It is a terrible thing," 
said Luther, " even to think of God out of Christ." 
You must " honour the Son as you honour the Father," 
and as you believe in God, so must you also act faith 
upon Christ God-man ; — that as our nature in Christ's 
person is filled with all that poor souls can want, so 
from that fulness we may receive all things needful for 
our being and well-being in grace. O, stir up and 
awake your faith ! Come, poor soul, reach hither thy 
hand of faith, " and thrust it into thy Saviour's pierced 
side," i and there thou mayest feel, and thence fetch 
abundant fruits of love : " Be not faithless but be- 
lieving." Do not dam up the channels of grace by un- 
belief. Do not forsake thy own mercies, by being shy 
and fearful to venture ; thou canst lose nothing, — thou 
mayest get much by one single act of faith. O, sirs, 
one pure act of a lively faith will bring you in more 
treasure, than many hours tugging and struggling in 
duties and performances. Nothing in the world doth 
shoot a bar, and bolt the door betwixt Christ and the 

* Quantum illuc fidei capacis afferimus, tantum inde gratiae in- 
undantis haurimus — Cgp. Epist. ad Horat. p. 108. 
t Rev. iii. 7. t John xx. 27- 


heart, but unbelief ; if thou canst believe all things 
are possible, but unbelief hinders the working of mira- 
cles* and operations of grace. Away with all distrust, 
set afoot the precious grace of faith, — break through 
the quarrelings of thy unbelieving heart, — lie low un- 
der the sad sense of thine insufficiency, and sweet ap- 
prehension of Christ's all-sufficiency. Humbly stretch 
forth the trembling hand of thy weak faith, though 
thou hast many misgivings of spirit, — yet say, with 
tears, " Lord, I believe, help thou mine unbelief." I 
am no more able of myself to put forth one saving act 
of justifying faith, than I am to fulfil all righteousness, 
and keep the whole law ; — but the grace of the gospel 
hath undertaken to do that which it requireth to be 
done. Lord, I roll myself upon thee. I come to thee 
by faith. Do not cast me off. Do not cast me out 
as a broken vessel, wherein there is no pleasure, but fill 
this empty vessel of my broken heart with abundant 
incomes, which will redound to thy glory, and my 
soul's abundant comfort. This do and prosper, — thus 
believe, and be thou filled, poor, wanting soul, " For 
whatsoever you ask believing, you shall receive." — 
Matth. xxi. 22. 

4. Cherish in your hearts the grace of love. That 
noble grace is of an expatiating and extensive nature. 
Heaven is the fittest room for its exercise, and eternity 
for its duration. He that loves much will not be con- 
tent with a little, and God will not put him off with a 
scanty portion. The more the soul is filled with love, 
the more it is filled with God, " for God is love,"f and 
can a man have a better treasure than God himself ? 
Now if you love God, " he will come in unto you, and 
make his abode with you," John, xiv. 23, and can you 
wish a better treasure ? Love makes room in the 
* Mark vi. 5. t 1 John iv. 8. 


heart for more grace. He that loveth much, because 
much is forgiven him, shall have more given. Indeed, 
that expression in 2 Cor. v. 14, seems to denote the 
contracting nature of love, " The love of God con- 
straineth us," [uro^f/]* straiteneth, keeps us in ; but 
that is from other things, that the soul may have freer 
scope for God. This love diverts the affections from 
running in any other channel but towards Jesus Christ. 
It captivates the soul for Christ, and forceth it to do and 
endure, any thing for him whom the soul loveth. The 
grace of love widens the arms to embrace Jesus Christ, 
enlargeth the heart to entertain him, and spiriteth the 
hands to act for him. Christ Jesus rides in a glorious tri- 
umphant chariot. Whether it refer to his personal cha- 
racter, or mystical body, f — his flesh and human nature, 
or his church, which he fills with his presence, I dispute 
not ; but sure I am, the midst thereof is " paved with 
love," Cant. iii. 10. Certainly, a soul decorated with the 
sparkling gems of love is the fittest receptacle for Jesus 
Christ. He that is love itself doth most freely commit 
the largest treasure to a loving disciple, as he be- 
queathed his dear mother to John,t when he was 
breathing out his last upon the bitter cross, and after 
his death entrusted him with the Revelation; || yea, him 
only, with a description of the state of the church to 
the end of the world. O, how freely do a loving 
Saviour*, and loving soul, open their hearts to each 
other ! Like entire and ancient friends meeting, — who 
let out themselves in ample evidences, and reciprocal 
acts of love. So here, the pure flame of a saint's love 
mounts up to Christ, and there meeting with that hea- 

* Ut non possint non velle extrema quaeque pro Christo per- 
peti. — Aret. in loc. 

t See Ainsworth on the place, and Brightman. 
X John xix. 2G. || Rev. i. 1. 


venly element of perfect love, brings more down into 
the soul, and still these continued sallies of love to God, 
bring in successive incomes and increases of grace. 
Every act of love exhales away some corrupt vapours, 
and dilates the soul's faculties, that it may be fit for the 
reception of more grace. Yea, love sets the soul on 
edge for more, and makes it as insatiable as it is un- 
wearied in painful endeavours. " Faith worketh by 
love," that is, as by its hand to act for God ; and, indeed, 
love, in a sort, worketh by faith, as its hand to fetch all 
from God. Faith sets love on to crave, and love en- 
gageth faith to derive more grace from God ; and as 
love helps the soul to a treasure of graces, so of truths. 
Love to truths makes the sold look upon them as a 
precious depositum ; to think much of them, and thus 
rivet them and clench them fast in the heart by medi- 
tation. Love makes a man " contend for the faith" 
by disputing and dying, if God call him to it. Hence 
it is, that love is one of those hands that " hold fast 
the form of sound words." — 2 Tim. i. 13. But " he 
that receives not the truth in love,"* will never make 
it a treasure, but will sell it for a lust, and embrace a 
lie ; therefore, sirs, I entreat you work up this grace, — 
stir up your hearts to think of the love of Christ. Blow 
up this spark to a flame. Content not yourselves with 
a low degree of love to God. Love him with an in- 
tensive, extensive, appreciative love. Let your mea- 
sure of love to him be beyond measure. Let your 
hearts ascend to him in this holy flame of entire love. 
Love him more than your enjoyments, — more than 
your relations, — more than yourselves, f I shall say no 

* 2 Thess. xii. 10. 

t See this subject handled in Mr. Williams' transcend, of Christ's 
Love, on Eph. hi. 19, pp. 73 — 145. " Plus quam tua, plusquam 
tuos, plus quam te ;" vid. ibid. p. 114, very fully. Morn. Lect. 
Serm. 9, p. 180'. Dr. Reynolds on Psal. 110. 


more on this ordinary, yet very necessary subject ; 
because many have done so worthily herein. Read 

5. Walk humbly with your God. A hint may be 
given respecting a close walk with God, but I shall 
speak most of that soul-enriching grace of humility. 
O Christians, the best means of edification is a holy 
conversation. God communicates secrets, and solace 
to them that walk with him. A man of a well-ordered 
conversation shall see God's salvation.* A master will 
entrust a faithful, careful, painful servant with a larger 
talent,f for such a one is a credit to his master, and 
promotes his designs. Bringing forth much fruit glo- 
rifies God and edifies man, and surely the Lord will 
dignify such fruitful vines with more care in dressing, 
and yet more of his blessing to help their abundant 
fruit-bearing ; those shall have more clear discoveries 
of God's will, who carefully do it ; and such as do his 
commandments have right to the tree of life, — that 
they may come to it when they please, and eat abund- 
antly, and live for ever. There is an incomparable ad- 
vantage in close-walking. In keeping the command- 
ments there is this reward, that every act of obedience 
doth increase ability to obey. Every step reneweth 
strength. Saints go from strength to strength, for the 
way of the Lord is strength to the upright. Nothing 
evidenceth and increaseth grace so much as holiness ; 
therefore, as he that hath called you is holy, so be you 
holy, in all manner of conversation ; and let me per- 
suade you to be very humble. God gives more grace 
to the humble ; humility is not only a grace, but a ves- 
sel to receive more, the high and holy God fills the 
humble and lowly heart. The King of heaven loves 
to walk upon this blessed pavement. " Blessed are the 

* Psal. l. 23. t Matth. xxv. 21. 


poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven,* 
and such a soul is the fittest receptacle for the precious 
riches of this heavenly kingdom. Much of the riches 
of the ancients consisted in their garments, and a 
Christian's treasure lies much in his vesture, some 
whereof is his larger upper coat ; that is, Christ's 
righteousness imputed, which covers all defects and im- 
perfections. Some are closer garments, girded to the 
soul by the girdle of truth and sincerity. These are the 
garments of sanctification ; one choice part whereof is 
humility, 1 Pet. v. 5. " Be clothed with humility."! 
Some think the word imports what as a string or rib- 
band ties together the precious pearls of divine graces ; 
these adorn the soul, and if this string break they are 
all scattered. Humility is the knot of every virtue, — 
the ornament of every grace. Hence I have read a quo- 
tation out of Basil, who calls humility \_9o<ravpo<pv\aKiov 
wavrog ayadov] the storehouse or magazine of all good. 
AVould to God we were all humble and holy walkers, 
and we should quickly have our hearts furnished with 
a treasure ! Consecration in the time of the law was 
by filling the hand, and he that is consecrated to the 
Lord shall have his heart filled, especially they that are 
emptied of all self-conceit, shall be filled with much of 
God's fulness. Valley-souls are usually covered over 
with a rich harvest of precious fruits 4 Humility is 
likewise a fit disposition for entertaining divine truths, 
these choice grafts will like best in a low ground. j| A 
meek soul will bid truths welcome ; for an humble 
heart looks upon every truth of God as infinitely above 

* John xv. John vii. 17- Rev. xxii. 14. Psal. xix. 11. 
Psal. lxxxiv. 7- Prov. x. 29. Jam. iv. 6. Isa. lvii. 15. Mat. v. 3. 

t Tr/v TaTruvotypoavvriv IjKOfiftujcraa^e, humilitatem animi 
vobis infixam habete : Eras, on KUfifiog, a knot, vid. Leigh Crit. 
t Psalm lxv. 1.3. || Jam. i. 21. 


itself, and, therefore, falls down under it, and saith, 
" Speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth." An humble 
soul owns the authority of God in his word, wherever 
it finds it, whoever brings it, so that even a " little 
child may lead him"* any whither with a twine- 
thread of Scripture discoveries. But proud men and 
truth can never hit it, for they think scorn to put their 
necks under the yoke of truth, and it will have the 
victory where it lodgeth. Those were proud men that 
would not obey truth in Jeremiah's mouth,f and there- 
fore must that prophet take down their crests before 
they could be right disciples of truth, Jer. xiii. 15. 
" Hear ye, give ear, be not proud." And observe this, 
a proud man is always on the losing hand, both in the 
account of God and man, and in his natural or acquired 
accomplishments. The more a man conceits to him- 
self some imaginary attainments, the more he loseth. 
The stomach may be so stuffed with noxious things that 
a man cannot eat ; or swelled with flatulency, which 
may prove dangerous. This, however, is not a right 
fulness, but a disordered state. Just thus is it with 
men's souls. The swelling disease hinders health by 
either truths or graces. O, therefore, be you humble, 
self-denying souls ; sensible of your own defects. Be 
nothing in your own eyes, and you shall be a temple 
for the God of all grace to abide in, and to walk con- 
stantly in ; yea, he will fill you with abundance of 
grace here and glory hereafter. 

6. Be much in secret prayer. Pray much and pray 
in secret : a word on both. O, pray without ceasing ! ^ 
that is, keep a constant praying disposition, and lay hold 
on every fit season for that duty. While prayer standeth 
still, the trade of religion standeth still, and there is 
nothing got. All comes into the soul by this door. 
* Isa. xi. 6. t Jer. xliii. 2. 1 Thess. v. 17. 


It is good for a Christian to keep up set and stated times 
of prayer. Daniel and David prayed three times a day, 
in extraordinary cases seven times a day.* It is 
not lost labour to be much on our knees. We cannot 
go to God too often. I am sure not oftener than we 
shall be welcome if we pray aright, for the holy of holies 
is ever open, and our High Priest ever lives to make 
intercession for us ; prayer was made in the Jewish 
temple service morning and evening, and we must be 
constant and instant in prayer, f as the hunting clog 
that will not cease following the game till he have got 
it ; so must we pursue the Lord, and persevere with 
strength, till we have obtained what we want. There 
is a kind of omnipotence in prayer ; as it was said of 
Luther, he could do with God, even what he would. 
At present I would advise all Christians to keep up a 
constant set time of prayer. What if thou gettest lit- 
tle thereby ? yet, wait on God still. Tradesmen will 
go to markets and fairs, and set open their shop doors 
and windows, though there be little to be done or got- 
ten many times ; so let the Christian keep this market 
of holy duties, and go upon the exchange to spy what 
good bargain he can meet with for his soul. Learn to 
maintain commerce with heaven still, lest you lose your 
custom. Keep canonical hours as it were of prayer, 
though your hearts be often out of frame. Venture 
upon duty, and try what the Lord will do with you. 
It is the folly of our trifling spirits to put off duty, 
when our hearts are not in tune, with expectation that 
they will be in a better frame another time. But do 
we think that one sin will excuse another ? or that we 

• Dan. vi. 10. Psal.lv. 17- Psal. cxix. 164. 

t Rom. xii. 12. Tp Trpoaev^y TrpbcncapTtpovvTtQ, in oratione 
perdurantes. — Bcza. Continue with strength : a Kapruvj id est, 
ibrtiter tolerare.— - Leigh's Crit. Sac. 


shall be better fitted by a present neglect ? No, cer- 
tainly. We ought to stir up ourselves to take hold on 
God, for why should Satan be gratified by a total 
forbearance ? Will not disuse make us lotlier to go 
to God another time ? Yea, have we not found it in 
Scripture and experience, that a dead and discouraged 
entrance upon duty hath increased to sweet enlarge- 
ments, and ravishments of spirit ? Search and see. 
Usually a heart-engagement hath ended in a heart-en- 
largement, and God-enjoyment. God will bring an en- 
gaged heart nearer himself. — Jer. xxx. 21. None ever 
lost their labour in struggling with their untoward 
hearts. Oh, Christians, be sure you be found in prayer, 
though you come hardly to it, and have much ado to 
keep at it, and have more hazard to get something by 
it ; though with Jonathan and his armour bearer you 
clamber up the hill on your hands and knees, and fight 
when you mount the top ; yet, you shall get the vic- 
tory, and the spoils of such a conflict will be the most 
enriching. One Pisgah-sight of Christ in a promise 
will quit the cost and hazard a thousand-fold. The 
evidence and advantage of such a performance will be 
the best, and worth all the rest ; yea, for ought I know, 
though you meet not with God as you desire at that 
time, yet God may own and crown that undertaking 
as much as the most heart-melting exercise, because 
there is most of obedience in that, and conscience of 
duty is as acceptable a motive to duty as sense of pre- 
sent recompense. 

But withal, keep up a course of secret prayer ; with- 
draw yourselves into a corner according to the rule, 
Matt. vi. 6. God is wont to dispense his choicest 
blessings to solitary souls. When Jacob was left 
alone, he wrestled with the angel of the covenant and 
prevailed. — Gen. xxxii. 24. John and Ezekiel had 



their visions and revelations, wlien withdrawn from the 
world. Solomon saith, " Woe to him that is alone," 
but blessed is he that being alone hath God to bear him 
company. Our dear Saviour tells his disciples, " You 
leave me alone, yet I am not alone, for the Father is 
With me ;"* and when no creature is with us, we have 
most converse with God. For observe it, when per- 
sons are most secluded from other society, they are 
aptest to be subject to divine impressions, or to Satan- 
ical suggestions. Therefore, Christians, learn to get 
alone ; improve solitary hours ; pour out your souls in 
your closets, and God will pour in grace. Think not 
to seek and find Christ in a crowd. An honest intent 
for retirement, to enjoy Christ, did occasion a monastic 
life, but certainly there is much sweetness in secret 
praver, when the soul can freely open its bosom to God, 
and expostulate boldly, yet humbly with him. There 
the Christian may use such postures, pauses, pleadings, 
as would not be convenient before others. You may 
tell him your whole heart, and he will deal with you 
as with friends, and open his breast to you. Observe 
it, sirs, a Christian hath some secret errand to God, 
that the dearest friend and nearest relation must not 
know of, cases that are not to be entrusted with any 
but God alone. Here then, comes in the necessity and 
excellency of secret prayer ; therefore, again, let me 
earnestly request you to go alone (as you know Christ 
did often) and tell God your whole heart; hide nothing 
from him ; plead no excuse from worldly business. 
Satan and your corrupt hearts will find many occasions 
for diversion ; but say to them as Abraham to his ser- 
vants, " Stay you here whilst I go and worship the 
Lord yonder." Steal time from the world and thy 
work ; occasional duties are like accidental bargains, 
* John xvi. 32. 


that make careful tradesmen rich. Bread eaten in 
secret is sweet, and such morsels make the soul well 
liking. Consult with such Christians as converse much 
with God in a corner, and you shall see their faces 
to shine as Moses's did after his retired conversings 
with God in the mount. When Elijah hoped to raise 
the woman's dead son, he took him into the loft, and 
there prayed.* When thou wouldest quicken up thy 
dead heart, take it alone, go into a loft, and fall on thy 
face or knees and pray, and see the blessed effects 
thereof. Cyprian notably describes his sweet and so- 
litary recesses into a place where no hearer could hin- 
der his discourse, or intemperate noise of the busy 
family could obstruct. There he experienced and ob- 
tained what he enjoyed without learning, not through 
a long series of study, but by a compendious act of di- 
vine grace, j- 

7. To obtain a treasure, endeavour after intercourse 
with God in every performance. Rest not satisfied with 
a bare outside of duties, or a trudging in the common 
road or round of formality. If you look not beyond or- 
dinances in the use thereof, you will get no more trea- 
sure than a merchant whose ship sails to the Downs, 
and quickly returns again. He that would be rich 
must use duties as a bridge or boat to bring his soul to 
God, and as a chariot to bring God to his soul. Every 
ordinance should be like those merchant ships that 

* 1 Kings, xvii. 19, 20. 

+ Ac ne eloquium nostrum arbiter profanus impediat, aut cla- 
mor intemperans familiae strepsntis obtundat, petamus hanc sedem: 
dant secessum vicina secreta, ubi, dum erratici palmitum lapsus 
nexibus pendulis per arundines bajulas repunt, viteam porticum 
frondea tecta fecerunt. — Et paulo post : — Accipe quod sentitur 
antequam discitur, nee per moras temporum longa agnitione col- 
ligitur, sed compendio gratia? maturantis hauritur. — Lege toiam 
I-lpist. lib. 2, cap. 2, ad Donat. pag. (mihi) 105, 106. 

I 2 


bring food or gold from afar. * The Christian must 
travel far beyond the Indies, even as far as heaven, to 
fetch a heavenly treasure into his heart, " The soul of 
the diligent shall be made fat." — Prov. xiii. 4. It is 
not a shew of eating, nor merely a sitting at the table 
that filleth. A pretence of trading makes not rich. 
He that stands upon the bridge and walks not, will 
never get over the water. It is not the goodness of 
the boat, but our motion by it that wafts us over. A 
golden bucket will bring us no water, except it be let 
down into the well. The choicest ordinances will 
bring us no spiritual or saving profit, except we have 
to do with God therein. God's institutions work not 
by any innate physical virtue that is in them, but 
morally, that is, by a careful improvement of them, 
and especially the blessing of God with them. A man 
is not, therefore, a good scholar because he went so 
long to school, and for saying so many lessons ; nor is 
an ignorant Papist a whit the better for dropping so 
many beads, or pattering over so many pater-nosters. 
The apostle saith, " Bodily exercise profits little." — 
1 Tim. iv. 8. He means not only recreations or super- 
stitious usages, but even God's own ordinances ; saith 
an expositor, j- " The mere verbal complimental use 
thereof will not advantage the soul ; but godliness is 
profitable to all things." The right spiritual worship 
of God brings along with it abundant incomes. Some 
observe, that religious worshippers are said in Latin, 
Ileum colere, because thereby they " sow to the Spirit" 
and are sure to " reap of the Spirit life everlasting ;" t 
besides the inward refreshments they reap in this life, 
and truly in worshipping God there is great reward ; 
but it is easier to be much in duties, than to be much 
with God in duties. If we had been as often with God 

* Prov. xxxi. 14. t Vid. Marlorat, in loc. ± Gal. vi. 8. 


as we have been before God, we had been readier than 
we are. Job was persuaded that if he could find God, 
and come near to his seat, he would not plead against 
him with his great power, but would put strength into 
him, Job, xxiii. 3, 6 ; and I dare say, if thou couldest 
meet God in duty, he would meet thee in mercy, Isa. 
liv. 7; and if God meet thee he will bless thee,* and fill 
thy soul with a blessed treasure, a treasure of heavenly 
blessings. If thou draw nigh to God, he will draw 
nigh to thee. Let me, therefore, persuade you to 
make conscience of earnestly seeking communion with 
God, and influences from him in all ordinances and per- 
formances. You are great losers if you miss of God in 
duties ; you take God's name in vain and lose your 
labour, nay, you lose a blessing, and get the curse of 
doing the work of the Lord negligently. But, O hoAv 
blessed a thing it is to say with holy St. Bernard, " I 
never come to God, but I meet with God ; I never go 
from God, but I carry God with me." Therefore, in all 
your attendance upon God, carefully prepare before ; 
mind your work, regard the object of your worship, 
and diligently examine your hearts afterwards, how the 
Lord hath dealt with your souls ; and blessed is he 
that can say as David in the point of obedience, Psal. 
cxix. 56, " This I had, because I kept thy precepts." 
What had he ? Why, he had a heart to remember 
God's name in the night, holy thoughts whereby he 
might meditate on divine things. So say you, this I 
got in such a duty or ordinance, and this doth furnish 
my soul with heavenly conceptions, and new matter of 
meditation. It is the power of the Spirit that must 
make ordinances effectual ; though the gospel be the 
ministration of the Spirit, yet the choicest truths, pro- 
mises, sermons, sacraments, will be but a dead letter, 
* Exod. xx. 24. 


and law of death * to the soul, without the Spirit : 
therefore, you are to wait for the Spirit to breathe and 
blow upon the garden of your souls, that the spices, 
divine graces, may be nourished, and so may flourish 
in our hearts and lives. Ordinances are empty cisterns 
if God be not in them ; they are full and filling if the 
presence of God be in them. O, therefore, look after 
God in every spiritual performance. 

8. Spend time well. Lose not a mite or minute of 
this precious article. Fill up all your waste time with 
some profitable work in your general or particular 
callings. Cast not at your heels the least filings of 
these golden seasons ; you have lost too much time 
already. Now buy up the remainder ; engross this 
precious commodity ; take the fittest opportunities, 
like good merchants, for a dear time is coming, nay, 
" The days are evil." — E plies, v. 16. Imitate such 
tradesmen as miss no opportunity of getting gain at 
home or abroad, by night or by day, by planning or by 
practising ; only make use of present moments, and 
promise not to yourselves to-morrow, as worldly trades- 
men are apt to do, and be sure you take God along 
with you, whom they forget and leave behind. Take 
time by the forelock, for it is bald behind, and you can 
get no hold of it. f You little know what one preg- 
nant day may bring forth ; it may produce a birth and 
burden of more duty, difficulty, or misery, than hitherto 
you have met with. Time-redemption is an act of 
great discretion, but time-neglect brings thousands of 
souls to a despairing, Had I wist. The apostle said, 
above a thousand years ago, " the time is short," much 
more may we say so, since the ship is drawing so much 

* Literae damnatoria?, aut leges mortis. 

t James, iv. 13 — 15. Frontc capillata, post est occasio 



nearer the harbour ; the sails are contracted ; and the 
end of all things is at hand. P The world grows old 
and naught ; your own days cannot be long ; it may 
be, " this night thy soul may be required," and leave 
thy body as a putrid carcass. O, then, a treasure for 
another world will stand you in infinite stead ! O, 
consider often, that this time, this span-long life is the 
seminary of eternity, the preludium of an everlasting 
state ; and, therefore, lavish not away your time, cast 
it not at your heels in a brutish prodigality, you will 
have time little enough when you come to die. A rich 
gallant, at death, cried out bitterly, " Call time again ! 
O, call time again !" Another would offer a thousand 
pounds to purchase a day ; but, alas ! time cannot be 
valued with the vastest sums of money. One mispent 
day cannot be recalled with the gold of Ophir. That 
is but dross where time comes, and time and chance is 
upon the whole creation.f You have but your ap- 
pointed time, and all your times are in the hands of 
God ; if once lost, they are lost for ever. The dead 
and damned can say, we have only heard the fame 
thereof with our ears ; \ but, alas ! they are past the 
hopes of time-enjoyment or improvement. When your 
glass is once run, and your sun set, there is no more 
working or gathering time in order to eternity, and 
therefore, " Whatsoever your hand finds to do, do it 
with all your might, for there is no work nor device 
in the grave whither you go." — Eccl. ix. 10. Be not 
you like those silly fishes that are taken in an evil net, 
because they " know not their time," ver. 12. but ply 
the oars while you have time. Let no day pass with- 
out drawing some line towards your great centre. || 

* 1 Cor. vii. 29. SuveoraX/iEVoc, tempus contractual; Met- 
a velis contractis. 

t Eccl. ix. 11. | Job, xxviii. 22. || Nulla dies sine linea. 


You that are Christians had need be good time-students, 
time-merchants. The holiest men have been most 
careful of time, and they that have been the most fear- 
ful to lose an inch of time have been best treasured. 
Read histories* and observe experiments; in all, you 
will find men of the choicest spirits have been most 
diligent time-improvers, and some have accounted that 
day lost, whereupon they have not done some good 
with either tongue, or purse, or pen ; yea, heathens 
have bewailed that day as spent in vain, wherein they 
have not done some memorable action. How much 
more ought Christians to lament the loss of time ? I 
once heard an eminent Minister say, " He could eat 
the flesh off his arm in indignation against himself for 
his lost hours," and truly, the most of us are Epime- 
thiuses, after-witted, we lose time and then smart for 
our loss ; it is to our cost. We are too like the mole, 
of which naturalists say, " It begins to see at death ;"f 
we open our eyes when they must be shut. Let us 
therefore, improve time while we have it, and study 
profitable things, and lay up every day something ; so 
shall we find soul-riches increase, according to that 
proverb, " many littles make a mickle." When God 
offers grace do not put him off, for delay will be inter- 
preted a denial. An aged Christian, now with God, 
advised me, " To be either like Christ, or Mary ;" the 
first was always doing good, the latter still receiving 
good. Were you and I constantly thus employed, our 
treasure would soon be raised to a large proportion, 
and we should be sooner ripe for glory. 

9. Gather something out of every thing. That man 
is likely to be rich that will not let a good bargain pass, 

* See Clark's Lives of the Fathers. 

+ Oculos incipit aperire moriendo quos clausos habuit vivendo. 

— run. 


but lay hold on it, and lay up any thing that he can 
get a penny by. A wise tradesman despiseth not little 
things, for multiplication of small numbers produceth 
a great sum. They that wilfully contemn the smallest 
good, will in time look upon the greatest as contempti- 
ble : 

Who say, I care not, those I give for lost ; 

And to instruct them will not quit the cost. — Herbert. 

Hence it is, that Christ saith, " Gather up the frag- 
ments that nothing be lost." Thus should you make 
a collection of the least things that others cast away. 
Get something out of every word, rod, or work of Pro- 
vidence, in a way of favour or displeasure. " Receive 
not the grace of God in vain." Hinder not your own 
proficiency by carelessness or inadvertency. Be you 
diligent, and God will teach you to profit.* See what 
you can make of every thing you meet with. A wise 
jdiysician can tell you the virtue of every simple, and 
can extract some good out of those herbs, that an ig- 
norant person casts away, as useless weeds. Pro v. x. 
14. it is said, " Wise men lay up knowledge," that is, 
whatever objects occur they consider how they may 
hereafter stand them in stead, what use may be made 
thereof, and so gather from them a profitable inference, 
and store that up for future times. Thus do you, if 
you would lay up a treasure ; be not unwise, but 
understand what the will of the Lord is, by all that 
your eyes behold, or ears hear. Learn to make com- 
ments upon all the creatures, suck sweetness out of 
every flower, not for sensual delight, but spiritual pro- 
fit. Let not so much as a good or bad report concern- 
ing yourselves or others sound in your ears, without 
special observation and improvement. Whatever your 
trade or calling be, you may and must spiritualize it 

* Isaiah, xlviii. 17- 


for your soul's good ; there is never a profitable sci- 
ence, saith one, but it leads to the knowledge of God, 
or of ourselves, so that we need not be at a loss for a 
treasure, if we have hearts to improve objects of sense. 
It was a good design in the Rev. Dr. Hall, and dis- 
covered an honest fancy to improve vacant hours 
and visible objects in his occasional meditations : go 
you and do likewise ; by which blessed art of heavenly 
chemistry, you may both please your fancy and profit 
your hearts ; use your wits and exercise grace, for 
that is the way to increase it. The truth is, there is 
nothing but may do us good, if we have good hearts; the 
sins of others may be of great use to us, that we may 
consider our standing, and take heed lest we fall ; the 
afflictions of others will work our hearts to sympathy, 
prayer, and charity ; the indignities we suffer will 
awaken, quicken, and strengthen us, if our hearts be 
honest in observing and improving them ; there is not 
a minister that we hear preach, but from him we may 
get good by what he saith. The Rev. Mr. Hilder- 
sham* often said, he never heard any godly minister 
preach, though but of weak parts, but he got some 
benefit by him. Divine Herbert f saith — 

Do not grudge 

To pick out treasures from an earthen pot ; 
The worst speak something good ; if all want sense, 
God takes a text, aud preacheth patience. 

But above all, get something out of every chapter you 
read — dig deep into those golden mines, and you shall 
be rich. Digested Scripture is the matter of regular 
prayers, holy discourses, and heavenly meditations ; 
only run not cursorily over them, but let your thoughts 
dwell upon them, and extract some marrow and quin- 
tessence out of them. We usually read the Scriptures, 
* Clark on his Life. t Church-porch, p. 15. 


travellers go over mountains, that are barren on the 
surface, but when dug into, afford precious minerals : 
so the words and the syllables of God's book itself, 
slightly considered, have no great efficacy, but the 
sense and purport thereof containeth spirit and life to 
the intelligent and observant reader. — John, vi. 63. 
There is such a depth in Scripture,* that if you read 
the same place a hundred times over, yet still you may 
get fresh notions and impressions from it. (), there- 
fore learn to read, understand, and improve the word 
of God, this will help you to a treasure ; knowledge is 
fed by Scripture truth, and holiness is the counterpart 
of Scripture precepts ; graces are the accomplishment 
of Scripture promises, and if your comforts and expe- 
riences be not suitable to the word, it is because " you 
have no light in you." f 

10. Maintain communion of saints. Oh, forsake 
not the assembling of yourselves together ; keep up 
this sweet good fellowship both in private conferences, 
and in public ordinances. For the first, you must 
observe and obey the wise man's counsel, through the 
book of Proverbs, to converse with the wise. David 
professeth himself to be a companion of those that fear 
God, and he, though a great king, esteemed the saints 
more excellent than all his courageous worthies or 
grave senators, and therefore professed that all his de- 
light was in them. — Ps. xvi. 3. But it is not enough to 
be in good company, you must improve it, by hearing 
and asking questions. That is a notable passage in 
Prov. xx. 5. " Counsel in the heart of a man is like 
deep water ; but a man of understanding will draw it 
out." Profound men are apt to be silent, therefore 
must be excited by profitable questions, and it is an 

* Adoro Scripturte plenitudinem — Tcritil. 

t Isai. viii. 20. 


evidence of knowledge to propound a useful question 
seasonably, as well as to answer it solidly. 

Doubts well raised do lock, 

The speaker to thee, and preserve thy stock. * 

It is our great loss that we can make no better use of 
one another; unimproved society is the bane of 
Christian converse, for when we meet one another, and 
trifle away time without advantage, it increaseth our 
guilt, and discourageth our hearts, for we are apt to say, 
we will meet no more, because our coming together is 
for the worse and not for the better, for many times 
our spirits are embittered by exasperating contentions. 
But O sirs, when you meet together purposely, or ac- 
cidentally, improve your time in some holy discourses. 
Spend not all your fleeting hours about news or worldly 
affairs, but set afoot some religious talk. Talk some- 
times as Christians, as well as men and chapmen. Let 
somebody begin and break the ice. Many are apt 
enough to cast down the bone of contention ; do you 
present the marrow of religion, that you may edify one 
another. Sit not together as mutes, or as men of the 
world, discoursing about matters of state or trading, or 
of the weather, or your ages, which was Pharaoh's 
question to Jacob, f and that to his sons was of the like 
import ; but if there be ever a wise man among you, 
fetch some spark from heaven, and throw it amongst 
your companions, that every one may bring his stick to 
the fire, and by the bellows of mutual love, it may be 
raised to a flame, that thereby your hearts may be 
warmed, and even burn within you, as did the hearts 
of the two travelling disciples by Christ's opening to 
them the Scriptures; and then record and lay up what 
you have got in profitable conversation. Thus was the 
book of Proverbs collected, and hereby you might fill 
* Herb. Church-porch, p. 11. t Gen. xlvii. 


books and memories with useful observations ; yet, 
take this caution, let not your end be to hear stories and 
notions, nor yet only polemical discourses, to furnish 
your heads with arguments for all subjects and compa- 
nies, but let your principal end be to get your hearts 
bettered, grace strengthened, lusts weakened, lives re- 
formed, consciences resolved. Oh, the advantage you 
may have by Christian society ! You may get good by 
others, do good to others ; yea, observe it, your pro- 
fitable discourses with others will reflect upon your- 
selves with advantage. Scholars find that conference 
rubs up their memories, revives their reading, and in a 
sort, gives them the mastery over their notions, and 
imprints them deeper within them, when almost ob- 
literated. Hence a famous scholar did return many 
thanks, to one that was many degrees below him, for 
affording him so fair an opportunity of private dis- 
course ; and a Jewish Doctor could say, he had learned 
much from his masters, more from his equals, but most 
of all from his scholars, hence their proverb, " I have 
learned by teaching." * Experience doth tell us that 
having to do in others' doubts, temptations, desertions, 
corruptions, directs us how to deal in our own cases ; 
therefore, I advise you, be not shy in helping the weak, 
because thereby you do a double service to yourselves 
and to others, by one act or motion of your lips feeding 
others, and digesting your own food. Besides, this 
Christian communion being God's institution, is se- 
conded with his benediction, and gracious acceptance. 
The members of Christ's mystical body, speaking the 
truth in love, j- or truth ing it in love, as the word im- 
ports, do grow up into him in all tilings, even Christ the 
head, and so that which is lacking in one joint, is made 

* Docendo didici. 

t See Eph. iv 15, 16. lAXr^vovnq 2s \y a-yainj. 


up by the usefulness of another ; and for God's accept- 
ance of the saint's holy conference, see the famous text 
in Mai. iii. 16. But that which I am urging is, — the 
advantage that your souls will have by it ; one live 
coal laid to a dead one, kindles it ; a ripe grape put to a 
green one, ripens it. Company is of an assimilating 
nature, — and grace, like fire, will beget its like ; and it 
is an advantage to trade with rich merchants in precious 
commodities, for then we shall get well-stocked with 
riches. So it is here, yea observe it, when a company 
of Christians meet together for spiritual purposes, Jesus 
Christ makes one more, and he is instead of many more ; 
he walks from person to person, and inquires what 
they want, and Joseph-like, richly fills their sacks with 
a transcendant treasure. Where Christ keeps house, 
there is nothing wanting, he that girded himself to 
serve his disciples will wait to be gracious, and satisfy 
hungry souls. Christ walks in the midst of the golden 
candlesticks, and feeds the lamps of the sanctuary with 
oil. Go forth, therefore, poor soul, by the footsteps of 
the flock, " and feed the kids, beside the shepherds' 
tents ;" * be found in the communion of saints, — be not 
content to have that article in your creed merely, but 
let it be in your practice. Wait on God in public or- 
dinances ; every religious act there will help to fill 
your souls, prayer, reading, singing psalms, the word 
preached, the sacraments administered. You may get 
good by baptism, and the Lord's supper, faithfully 
used, and believingly improved ; and therefore, let 
every soul, that would have a treasure of grace, be 
found in the use of these holy ordinances ; yet, ob- 
serve this caution, that though the sacraments be ne- 
cessary, and the great means of spiritual life, yet not in 
that manner and respect, as food is to a natural life, 
* Cant. i. 8. 


because they contain in themselves no vital force or ef- 
ficacy. " They are" saith a reverend author, * " not 
physical, but moral instruments of salvation ; — all re- 
ceive not the grace of God, who receive the sacraments 
of his grace, neither is it ordinarily his will to bestow 
the grace of sacraments on any, but by the sacraments." 
A little after, he saith, " they are moral instruments, the 
use whereof is in our hands, the effect in his ; for the 
use, we have his express commandment ; for the effect, 
his conditional promise ; and, we may expect his per- 
formance of the promise, upon our obedience to his 
command." He quoteth Hugo, comparing the sacra- 
ments to a vessel, and the grace therein to the medicine 
therein exhibited, and we should apply the spiritual 
good therein to our distempered spirits, f But I have 
been too large on this head. I shall shut up this piece 
of the directory for obtaining a treasure, with an ex- 
pression of Cyprian's, " He cannot be fit for martyrdom, 
who is not armed by the Church for the conflict, and 
that mind faints, which is not raised and animated by 
receiving the eucharist," $ or Lord's supper. So the 
communion of saints in that choice ordinance, is a 
fortifying and furnishing exercise. 

* Hooker's Eccles. Polity, Book 5, par. 57, page 229. 

t Hugo, de Sacramentis, lib. 1, cap. 3, 4. — Si ergo vasa sunt 
spirituals gratiae sacramenta, non ex suo sanant, quia vasa, aegrotum 
non curant, sed medicina. 

% Primo idoneus esse non potest ad martyrium, qui ab Ecclesia 
non armatur ad prEelium ; et mens deficit, quam, non accepta Eu- 
charistia erigit, et" accendit — Cyp. Epist. ad Cornel, lib. 1, Epis. 2, 
page 41- 



The second head of directions, is to descend more par- 
ticularly to give some instructions respecting what the 
Christian is to treasure up. In opening the doctrine I 
told you, he is to treasure up these four rich commo- 
dities, wherewith he may furnish his inward man, 

Truths, Graces, Experiences and Comforts. 
I shall resume my discourse on these, and give you a 
particular account of something in all of them, where- 
with the bosom of a Christian is to be filled and fur- 

For the first, a Christian is to store up all truths : 
the filings of gold are precious, the least star in the 
firmament hath some influence, so all truths have their 
peculiar preciousness and efficacy. Truth is a sacred 
deposit, which God hath committed into the hands of 
ministers and people, * which must not be lost at any 
rate, for all the world cannot give a price proportionable 
to the least truth. To this end was Christ born, yea, 
and shed his dearest blood, even to bear witness to the 
truth, and to purchase the publication of it. It is very 
dangerous to be careless of lesser truths, for there is 
nothing superfluous in the sacred canon, f Things 
comparatively little may be great in their sphere, sea- 
son, and consequences, and it is sad to break the golden 
chain of truths. Yet we are, especially, to treasure up 
fundamental and seasonable truths ; doctrines that we 

* Trjv KaXrjv TrapaKaTaBi'iKiiv. 2 Tim. i. 14. 1 Tim. vi. 20. 
+ 3Iatt. v. 19. Jam. ii. 10. 

TRUTHS. 129 

are to venture our souls upon, and such as we may 
have a peculiar use for, truths suitable to the day we 
live in. Hence it is that the apostle would have 
believers established in the present truth, 2 Pet. i. 12, 
that is, say some, " The doctrine of the gospel which was 
at this time newly revealed ;" or else, as others inter- 
pret it, " Such truths as are most opposed and contra- 
dicted ;" for we find that every church and age hath its 
present errors, whereby false teachers seek to under- 
mine the truth, and seduce the professors of it ; there- 
fore, should every soul be well stored with such truths 
as may antidote him against present prevailing corrup- 
tions in principle or practice. 

There are four sorts of divine truths that I would 
counsel all Christians to get their heads and hearts well 
stocked with, which are these, namely, 

Doctrinal, disciplinary, practical, and experimental 

1. Doctrinal truths. " Hold fast the form of sound 
words." — 2 Tim. i. 13. The word, {nroTinruxng, used 
here, signifies a model or platform, a mould or frame 
of words, or things, methodically disposed, as printers 
set and compose their characters in a table. Thus gos- 
pel doctrine is the mould, and hearers are as the metal 
which takes the form and impression of that into which 
it is cast. * A Christian is to get the body of divinity 
incorporated within him. It is not below the most able, 
knowing, and judicious person to read, yea, and commit 
to memory catechisms, and systems of divinity. I 
beseech you lay this good doctrinal foundation, and you 
will find infinite advantage by it through the whole 
course of your life. This will teach you to discourse dis- 
tinctly, hear profitably, and read the Scriptures and good 
books with judgment, being able to try all things, and 

* Rom. vi. 17- 


reduce every thing to its proper place. Take a 
taste and sample of this sort of truths in these par- 
ticulars : — 

(I.) That the holy Scriptures are of divine au- 

(2.) That God's word is the sole, complete, supreme 
judge of all controversies. 

(3.) That God is an infinite, simple, and immutable 

(4.) That there are three glorious persons in the 
unity of the Godhead. 

(5.) That all things depend upon God's eternal de- 

(6.) That man was created in perfect holiness and 

(7.) That all mankind are polluted and ruined by 
Adam's apostacy. 

(8.) That Christ, God-man, is the only mediator be- 
twixt God and man. 

(9.) That Christ, by doing, enduring, and dying, 
hath satisfied justice, and justified sinners. 

(10.) That such as sincerely repent and believe, are 
justified and accepted. 

(11.) That baptism and the Lord's supper, are seals 
of the covenant of grace. 

(12.) That there shall be a general resurrection and 
day of judgment. 

2. Disciplinary Truths. These, in their kind and 
sphere, are to be stored up and contended for. It is 
true, these are not so fully laid down in Scripture, nor 
is there so much stress laid thereupon, as on doctrinal 
truths, at least as to every punctilio relating to circum- 

ntials, which hath occasioned many hot disputes 
among the strictest Christians ; yet, withal, the essen- 
ti da of discipline are of great use, and in a sort, neces- 

TRUTHS. 131 

sary, if not to the being, yet to the well-being of the 
church. * Our Lord Jesus ** is faithful in his house," 
and hath not left every thing to human prudence, 
though possibly something may be said for a prudential 
application of general rules to particular cases. It is 
lost labour to enter into controversies here ; much pre- 
cious time and pains have been wasted herein, yet, Mr. 
Hooker f acknowledged, " That although there be no 
necessity it should prescribe any one particular form of 
church government, yet touching the manner of go- 
verning in general, the precepts which the Scripture 
setteth down are not few, and the examples many which 
it proposeth, for all church governors, even in particu- 
larities, to follow ; yea, that those things, finally, which 
are of principal weight in the very particular form of 
church polity, are in the self-same Scriptures contained." 
So says he. Neither are these truths to be slighted, but 
we are to be attentive to them, and observant and re- 
tentive of them. Hence, when the gospel church is 
described, God saith, Ezek. xl. 4. " Behold with thine 
eyes, and hear with thine ears, and set thine heart upon 
all that I shew thee." Under correction, I conceive 
such disciplinary truths as these are not obscurely de- 
livered by God, as, 

(1.) That upon Christ's shoulders lies the govern- 
ment of his Church. 

(2.) That Scripture precepts and precedents, are the 
rule of church administrations. 

(3.) That church officers are to be duly qualified and 
called to their work. 

* Quamvis enim non sit nota simpliciter essentialis et reci- 
procal, scil. ecclesiae (sicut neque reliquae duae, i. e. verbum et sa- 
cramenta) ad completum tamen ecclesiae statum necessarib debet 
adesse. — Ames. Medul. lib. 1. cap. 37- 

t Hooker's Eccl. Polit. book 3d. part 4, fol. 69. 

K 2 


(4.) That Christ's own officers have power to dis- 
pense the word and censures. 

(5.) That holy things are for holy men, and ordi- 
nances must be kept from pollution. 

(6.) That visible, credible profession is the ground of 
church communion. 

(7.) That admonition must precede rejection and ex- 

(8.) That heretical persons, and disorderly walkers 
are to be censured. 

(9.) That evidence of repentance pleads for re-ad- 

(10.) That the duty of magistrates is to cherish, de- 
fend, and propagate the church, of ministers to oversee, 
and of members to watch over, and admonish one 

(11.) That at least there may be associations of 
churches by their officers, for mutual communion and 

(12.) That synods and councils consulting about 
church affairs, are but companies of men subject to 
error, are not to have dominion over men's faith, or 
lord it over consciences, &c. 

3. Another sort of truths to be laid up are practical 
truths. Fundamental truths of practical concernment, 
are in a sort the life of religion. Our religion is not a 
mere notion; Christianity lies much in the heart and life. 
The young candidate's question, in the gospel, had 
mainly reference to practice, " Good master," saith he, 
'■ what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life ?" * 
Socrates is accounted the wisest man, because he applied 
his studies and knowledge to the moral part — the 
squaring and ordering of men's lives. Saith Dr. Ham- 
mond,f (and quotes an ancient saying) " The end of 
* Mark x. 1J- t Practical Catech. p. 2. 

TRUTHS. 133 

Christian Philosophy is to make them better, not more 
learned ; to edify, not to instruct." The truth is, con- 
scientious practice is both the end of knowledge, and 
the means of further knowledge. If we live up to God's 
will known, we shall know more of his will that is to 
be done ; * if we give up ourselves to truth, we shall 
be made free by truth. Truths of a practical import 
tend to deliver the soul from the bondage of sin, to 
bring us into the liberty of the sons of God, and to make 
us account God's service, perfect freedom. Some truths 
are to be believed, others to be lived upon, others to be 
lived up to, and so are more practical ; such as these : 

(1.) That all creatures are made for the glory of 

(2.) That the covenant of works cannot be kept by 
any mere man since the fall. 

(3.) That true faith closeth wholly with a whole 

(4.) That none can expect pardon without a sincere 
gospel repentance. 

(5.) That good works are the fruits and evidences of 
a lively faith. 

(6.) That those only are good works that have a 
right source, rule and end. 

(7.) That man's best duties are imperfect, and merit 
no good at God's hands. 

(8.) That the moral law is a Christian's rule of 

(9.) That God alone is to be worshipped, and that 
according to his will. 

(10.) That the observation of a Sabbath is a moral 
and perpetual duty. 

(11.) That magistrates are to behonou 
lawful commands obej ... 

* John vii. 17- 


(12.) That every man is to attend upon and act ac- 
cording to his general or particular calling. 

4. We ought to lay up experimental truths, which 
are vital, and vivifical, that beget and maintain good 
blood, as it were, in the soul. These are the sweetest 
solace to a sound believer ; these reach and teach the 
very heart, bow the will, engage the affections, awaken 
the conscience, and influence the whole conversation ; 
the delightful revolving of these divine truths in the 
mind, helps the soul to walk in the sweetest paradise of 
contemplation. These mysterious, marrowy truths are 
like that song that none could learn but the " hundred 
and forty and four thousand that are redeemed from 
the earth," Rev. xiv. 4, ; or like that " new name 
which no man knoweth, saving he that receiveth it." — 
Rev. ii. 17. Such truths are better felt than spoken, 
sooner experienced than expressed ; indeed, like those 
[appi)Ta p<)jxaTa\ unutterable words that Paul heard in 
paradise. — 2 Cor. xii. 4. Such truths as " are hid 
from the wise and prudent, but revealed unto babes. — 
Matth. xi. 25. This is aright " knowing of the truth 
as it is in Jesus," a lying under the power and impres- 
sion of divine revelation ; without this experience, 
knowledge is a cold, dull, moonlight speculation, without 
the clear, quickening heat of the sun of righteousness ; 
nay, the choicest truths of the gospel cannot be dis- 
cerned but by experience. Divinity is not a speculative, 
but effective or influential knowledge. * Treasure up 
such truths as these : — 

(1.) That by nature we are averse to good, and 
prone to evil. 

(2.) That we have no free will with respect to saving 
good, but are passive in conversion. 

* Theclogia est scientia effectiva., non speculativa. 


TltUTIIS. 135 

(3.) That regeneration is a thorough change of the 
whole man, in heart and life. 

(4.) That faith and repentance are the gifts of God's 
free grace. 

(5.) That a sinner is justified only by Christ's merits 
imputed, not by works. 

(6.) That conformity to God is an inseparable com- 
panion of communion with God. 

(7.) That every child of God hath the Spirit of adop- 
tion, to assist in prayer. 

(8.) That the best saints in this life are sanctified but 
in part. 

(9.) That a Christian's best and bravest life is a life 
of faith. 

(10.) That sincere saints may be assured of the truth 
of grace, and their title to glory. 

(11.) That a justified person cannot totally and finally 
fall away. 

(12.) That some spiritual good is exhibited in, and 
conveyed through the seals of the covenant. 

Such precious truths as these, Christians, you are to 
gather, and seal them up among your treasures, and 
you will find that such a treasure will furnish your 
minds with saving knowledge, fortify your hearts 
against errors and opposition, satisfy your spirits 
amidst all doubts and objections, teach you to profit 
by God's verbal and real dispensations, and prepare you 
for fiery trials, and hottest persecutions. You cannot 
stand for truths you know not, and you will not stand 
for those truths that you do not adopt, and look not 
upon as your treasure ;' you must hold fast what you 
have received, and therefore must you receive what 
you may retain, and lay up what you may live up to, 
and live upon them in an evil clay ; as a minister, so a 
member of the church must hold fast the faithful word, 


as he hath been taught. — Titus, i. 9- He must main- 
tain truth with all his might, struggle and contend for 
it, fight and die in the defence of it ; truth and our 
souls must be married, and never divorced. There are 
truths that we may venture our souls upon, and must 
venture our lives for. That is an atheistical speech of 
some, that the martyrs in Queen Mary's days died in 
the pet, and were too prodigal of their blood ; and that 
God requires no man to be cruel to himself for his sake. 
But the saints have otherwise learned Christ, than to 
deny him, or his truths before men, for they would not 
be denied by him another day ; they have not otherwise 
learned to love him * than to lay down their lives for 
him, if he call them to it ; and, thus, by being overcome 
they do overcome, as their Saviour before them ; and 
as it is on record, Rev. xii. 11, " They overcame by 
the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testi- 
mony, and they loved not their lives unto the death." 
It is the duty of every Christian to lay up such truths 
in the close cabinet of his heart, as he may live and die 
by, and adhere closely and constantly unto. We must 
do by truths, as Csesar by his books, who having to 
swim through a river to escape the fury of his enemies, 
carried his books above water with his hand, but lost 
his robe ; f so though we should be put to swim through 
a sea of trouble in following the Lamb, yet must we keep 
the Lord's deposit, though we should lose our garments 
of earthly enjoyments ; yea, our lives themselves, rather 
than part with the sacred and saving truths of God con- 
tained in this blessed book of books, the holy Scriptures, 
which are to be our treasures. Hence, saith the wise 
man, + " Take fast hold of instruction, let her not go, 

* Aliter amare non didici. 

t Major fait cura libellorum, quam purpuras. 

+ Prov. iv. 13. 

TRUTHS. 137 

keep her, for she is thy life." Hence, some good souls have 
been willing to be burnt themselves, rather than willingly 
to burn their Bibles ; and have been racked in pieces, 
rather than suffer themselves to be rent from the truth. 
It is our great duty to hold fast, and hold forth the word 
of truth ; to be witnesses to the truth actively, and for 
the truth passively, and if we maintain it, it will main- 
tain us. " Because thou hast kept the word of my pa- 
tience, I also will keep thee from the hour of tempta- 
tion." — Rev. iii. 10. The word of his patience may be 
taken either effectively, for such a word as works a 
quiet, composed, submissive frame of spirit, or eventu- 
ally, for that word that may put a man upon the exer- 
cise of patience, so that he may suffer great hardships 
for it, and lay down his life, as a sacrifice on the behalf 
of it, for a Christian must not flinch back, but in the 
strength of God run the greatest hazard for approved, 
experienced, sacred truths. " I know," saith a reverend 
Divine, * " there is a difference in truths, and the value 
we are to set upon them, as in coins, whereof one piece 
is a farthing, another no less than a pound." Only take 

this rule in general, — despise not the meanest truth, 

prove all things by Scripture rules, — lay up and hold 
fast what is consonant thereunto, but above all lay the 
greatest stress upon fundamental points of religion, and 
be not beat from your hold, through fear or favour. 
So much for treasuring up Scripture truths. 

* See Dr. Hall's Peace Maker, sect. 1, p. 1 ; read it through. 



The second class of precious commodities that a 
Christian's breast is to be stored with, is, divine graces. 
Every grace is of vast worth, and excellent use ; yea, 
the least degree of sincere grace is worth a mine of 
gold, or a prince's crown and kingdom. It is said of 
the grace of faith, that the trial of it (or faith tried in 
the furnace of affliction) is much more precious than 
gold, that perisheth. — 1 Pet. i. 7. None can set aright 
and perfect estimate on a grain of true grace, which is 
no other than the offspring of Heaven, the purchase of 
Christ's blood, and the blessed fruit of the Spirit of 
grace. It is part of the divine nature, the image of 
God, and seed of immortality. Grace is the monument 
and ornament of the soul ; it is the only emolument 
and accomplishment of a Christian. Let the world be 
hurried to gather great estates, filling their houses with 
goods, their barns with grain, and bags with gold. 
Let the pious soul get filled with the fruits of righte- 
ousness, the graces of the Spirit. 

There are four sorts of graces, which I shall advise 
all Christians in a special manner to treasure up in 
their hearts, which are these, — 

Directing, subjecting, profiting, and persevering 

1. The believing soul is to lay up, with diligence, 
directing, conducting, deciding, and satisfying graces, 
that is, abundance of knowledge, wisdom, prudence, 
and judgment, that he may have light and discernment 
about the things of God. Days are coming, when 

GRACES. 139 

Christians may need the wisdom of the serpent, as well 
as the innocence of the dove. A Christian in his jour- 
ney is often puzzled with various paths, and intricate 
meanders. O, how much worth is a spirit of under- 
standing, whereby we may choose the good, and refuse 
the bad, and keep the straight road to heaven ? Hence 
the apostle prays for his Philippians, that their love 
might abound more and more in knowledp-e, and in all 
judgment, that they might approve things that are ex- 
cellent.— Phil, i. 9, 10. The means to keep us from 
erring about [aZifyopa] things indifferent, is to have a 
solid apprehension concerning those [ Tc \ % M $i 9 ovra\ 
things that are excellent, or differenced from others, as 
the word imports ; that is, those things that tend to 
sincerity and innocency of life; therefore, he adds, 
" that ye may be sincere, and without offence till the 
day of Christ," That is the best policy which helps on 
piety ; a spirit of discerning is useful to exact walking; 
an enlightened conscience helps the soul to be without 
offence. No man can walk circumspectly, but " he that 
hath his eyes in his head." * He that walks in dark- 
ness with a blind eye knows not whither he goeth. 
The eye of the mind is the light and guide of the will 
and affections, and if that be blind, those blind faculties 
fall into the ditch of error, terror, apostacy, and misery. 
The Christian's eyes must be full of light. We cannct 
have too much knowledge if it be sanctified. In one 
act of religion, a Christian is to look many ways, in- 
wards, at his principle, — upwards, to the pleasing of 
God,— forwards, at the reward,— downwards at the 
profit of men, &c. There are many eyes upon us, and 
our eyes must be upon many ; some long to see our 
well-doing, others watch for our halting. We had need 
get wisdom to carry ourselves usefully towards the 
good, and wisely towards those that are without, There 
* Eph. v. 15. Eccl. ii. 14. 


is great necessity for true solid knowledge, to discern 
our own duty and exercise charity, to inind our own 
business, and yet to do good offices to saints and sin- 
ners, and to keep within our place and station. We 
shall find some difficulty so to carry ourselves as not to 
give offence carelessly, or to take offence causelessly. 
We should learn to see with our own eyes, and not be 
led by multitudes, either wise, or learned, or godly. 
Oh, what a blessed thing it is to be wise unto that 
which is good and simple concerning evil ! * With 
how much more ease may a Christian go through his 
Christian course with, than without, a solid knowledge ! 
for " wisdom is profitable to direct ;" f yea, it strength- 
ened the wise more than weapons of war ; | therefore, 
it " excelleth folly as far as light excelleth darkness " 
Practical wisdom is infinitely beyond speculative ; 
hence, saith Solomon, " the wisdom of the prudent is to 
understand his way." — Prov. xiv. 8. This treasure of 
directing graces is practical ; it helps the tongue to an- 
swer discreetly, the feet to walk properly, the hands to 
work completely, to spend no time or pains in bye-ways, 
and it also concerns a man's self ; it doth not range 
abroad, and forget home. The greatest politician is a 
very fool when he cannot order his own affairs with dis- 
cretion. He that is not wise for himself is not wise at 
all. God will accept, and men will praise that man 
that doth well to himself. Paul prays for the saints at 
Colosse, " that they might be filled with the knowledge 
of his will, in all wisdom and spiritual understanding." 
Col. i. 9. For what end ? Why, not to talk, but to 
walk worthy of the Lord. — Col. i. 10. $ That is the 
only valuable knowledge which ends in holy practice. 

* Rom. xvi. 19. + Eccl. x. 10. J Eccl. ix. 10. || Ecd. ii. 13. 

§ Quicunque ad hunc scopum non dirigunt studia sua, fieri 
potest tit multum sudent ac laborent, sed nihil quam vagantur per 
ambages, nullo profectu — Calv. hi loc. 

GRACES. 141 

Soul-profiting is the end of spiritual understanding; 
they that aim not at this end, and by their studies are 
not furthered in this work, may have the repute of 
learned men, but will never pass for judicious Christians. 
Oh, sirs, take much pains to lay up those graces that 
may direct you. Certainly there is a vast difference 
betwixt a Christian of a solid judgment, and another of 
a weak head, though both sincere ; the one knows duty 
and lawful liberty, the other's conscience is wofully per- 
plexed with nice and needless scruples, which render 
him a burden to himself, and offence to others, and ex- 
pose him to a world of temptations. An unsettled 
soul, that yet is well-meaning, but ignorant, forms a 
theatre upon which Satan and seducers do act dreadful 
tragedies. It is unstable souls that wrest and pervert 
the Scriptures, that are only constant in inconstancy, 
" and are tossed to and fro with every wind of doc- 
trine." * Alas, these receive a new impression by every 
sermon or company, and as quickly abandon, as they 
speedily close with a new notion, so that you cannot 
tell where to find them ; but now, a sober, solid, well- 
taught Christian hath fixed the staff, and you may 
know where to find him, and he knows where to find 
his own principles ; he moves always upon the solid 
axle-tree of Scripture truths and duties; by the light of 
revelation, he can ordinarily find his way through the 
dark mists of error, and by the hand of the Spirit he is 
conducted along the often obscure entry and narrow pas- 
sage of duty, to rest and satisfaction. Hence, it is said, 
that a "spiritual man judgeth all things," f that is, which 
are doubtful, and is by this stock of directing graces 
assisted to behave himself wisely in a perfect way. — 
Psalm ci. 2. 

2. Treasure up subjecting graces, that may help you 
• 2 Pet. iii. 16. Jam. i. 8. Eph. iv. 14. t 1 Cor. ii. 15. 


to bear God's will, and freely to submit to his disposal ; 
such as patience, humility, self-denial, weanedness from 
ths world, heavenly-mindedness, and that rare jewel of 
Christian contentment in all conditions. Oh, what a 
happy soul is that to which nothing can come amiss, 
which is furnished for every storm ! Paul was a brave 
scholar in this suffering school, he had " learned, in all 
estates to be content." — Phil. iv. 11, 12. It is a hard 
task, and long trade, but what cannot grace undertake 
and overcome, through the help of assisting grace ? 
The truth is, a treasured Christian may say, with 
David, " My foot standeth in an even place." * Come 
what can come, a good man will light upon his feet, 
and stand upright, and not wrench his foot by turning 
aside into crooked ways ; as he lies square to every 
command of God, so he doth righteousness at all times. 
Wicked men's design is to push away the feet of the 
godly from their standing in holy paths and outward 
comforts ; f therefore, must they " make strait paths 
for their feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of 
the way," Heb. xii. 13. that is, get a principle of health 
and rectitude in opposition to that wayward and wan- 
dering disposition of heart, which is naturally in all 
men, that you may not turn aside to the right hand nor 
to the left, but hasten with a right foot in a straight 
course to the goal of glory. Grace strengthens the 
nerves of the soul, and helps against halting. With 
courage and holy resolution the feet of the saints are 
shod, that they may walk steadily in slippery places. 
" The whole armour of God," even the precious stock 
of Christian graces will fortify the believing soul against 
the sharpest encounters ; above all, preparative for suf- 
ferings, there is nothing doth so bow the spirit to bear 
burdens, subject so much the heart to the Lord's plea- 
* Psal. xx vi. 12. t Job. xxx. 12. 

GRACES. 143 

sure, help the soul to wait his time, and secure from 
danger, as the heart-quieting grace of faith. This is 
the way to strength and safety. A believing soul is fit 
for any condition, and will live by his faith when all 
things fail; nothing can daunt him, all things are easy. * 
" He is," saith an ancient, f " invincible in labours, 
strong for dangers, rigid against pleasures, hardened 
against the alluring baits of the world." Oh, the excel- 
lency and necessity of faith, courage, and a Christian 
magnanimity ! A believing soul moves in a higher 
orbit than other saints, as one saith, " and leads up the 
van of the militia of heaven." Faith sets the soul "as 
an impregnable rock in the midst of the sea, and breaks 
the waves of men's malicious threats and hot revenge, 
so that it can say, as David, " in God have I put my 
trust, I will not fear what flesh, what man can do unto 
me." — Psalm lvi. 4, 11. Amongst other subjecting 
graces be sure you lay up a good treasure of that in- 
comparable grace of meekness, which captivates the 
understanding to the obedience of faith, and moderates 
the will to a due submission to the Lord's disposal, and 
silenceth the lips against all murmuring expostulations. 
This precious grace takes all well that God doth, and 
doth not rage against the instruments ; it yieldeth 
active or passive obedience to superiors with cheerful- 
ness, though it dares uot yield up its judgment to the 
guidance of any mortal man, or church on earth ; yet, 
it meekly lies under the censures and punishments of 
men, $ " committing all to him that judgeth righte- 
ously," as Christ did.— 1 Pet. ii. 23. These and such 

* Psal. cxxv. 1. Prov. xviii. 10. 

+ Invictus ad labores, fortis ad pericula, rigidus adversus vo- 
luptates, durus adversus illecebras. — Ambr. 

^See Meekness largely discussed in Dr. Hammond's Pract. 
Catech. p. 107— 11 «. 


like suffering graces, and dispositions, must Christians 
store up, that they may suffer according to the will of 
God, both for cause, and call, and carriage, in the 
sharpest conflicts they may meet with upon earth. 
The truth is, sirs, you little know what lies betwixt 
you and the grave ; you have not yet resisted unto 
blood, but you may ; you little know what religion may 
cost you ; * you may go through a long " vale of the 
shadow of death," to death, and " fight with beasts at 
Ephesus," and then mount up in a fiery chariot to hea- 
ven. Sit down then and reckon the charges in building 
the tower of religion, and whether you have armour of 
proof to carry you through an army of dangers and 
difficulties. Stock yourselves for a storm ; frame your 
backs for a burden ; melt your wills into God's will, as 
you desire to hold out against fainting and despair, and 
as you desire to hear that blessed euge, and sweet en- 
comium, from Jesus Christ, Revel, ii. 3, 7, " Thou 
hast born, and hast patience, and for my name's sake 
hast laboured, and hast not fainted ; to him that over- 
coineth I will give to eat of the tree of life, which is 
in the midst of the paradise of God." 

3. Endeavour to treasure up profiting graces, I 
mean such as will help you both in doing and receiving 
good. For the first, lay up such graces as will render 
you serviceable in your places, Rom.xiv. 19, " Let us 
follow after the things which make for peace, and 
things wherewith one may edify another," such as bro- 
therly love, or kindness, charity, meekness, forbearance, 
gentleness, condescension, mutual sympathy, compas- 
sion to souls, and zeal for God's glory ; a public spirit 
and a heart to lament the sins and sufferings of the 
church. It is a blessed thing to be of public use ; it 
adds lustre to what is truly good, to be diffusive and 

* Luke xiv. 26—34. 

GRACES. 145 

communicative. Some Christians have those useful 
gifts and graces, that others, though truly good, may- 
want. The more good you have, the more good you 
may do. The " manifestation of the Spirit" is given 
to every man to profit withal. — 1 Cor. xii. 7. God 
lays in, that we may lay out, and we are to lay up 
great treasures on purpose that we may do the more 
good. That is an excellent expression of Luther's, that 
" all things are made free by faith, and all things are 
made serviceable by charity or love." * It is the pro- 
perty and pleasure of a good soul to be doing good. 
Living springs send forth streams of water, dead pits 
must have all that they afford drawn out with buckets. 
The fuller a gracious soul is, the more free will be the 
communication. There is as much comfort in doing, 
as in receiving good. You must be fitted for both, 
therefore, pray for, and put on, as the elect of God, 
bowels of mercy, kindness, humbleness of mind, meek- 
ness, long suffering, Col. iii. 12, 13, that you may 
be disposed to glorify God, edify others, and serve your 
generation, according to the will of God, and at last 
give a good account of your talents and stewardship. 
Blessed is the man that hath his quiver full of these 
valuable shafts, and his boxes full of cordial receipts, 
whereby he may both wound sinners by admonition, 
and heal them with the sweet words of consolation. And 
then, secondly, you had need treasure up profiting 
graces, that is, such as will help you to get good to 
your own souls by all God's dealings with you. Mix 
trials as well as the word with faith, receive all with 
meekness, bring forth fruit with patience. All that 
God doth is for our profit, even tokens of his anger are 
for our advantage ; corrections are for our instruction ; 
partaking of his holiness is the peaceable fruit of righte- 

* Omnia libera per fidem, omnia serva per charitatem. — Luth. 



ousness that God aims at in all our troubles. * All 
things would work together for our good, if we had a 
receptive principle ; to him that hath a treasure shall 
more be given, according to the proportion of grace re- 
ceived and improved. Ordinances would do us more 
good if we had grace to get good by them. A heart 
sanctified and stored with improving graces, is like tin- 
der, which soon takes fire, and is apt to keep it, till 
it be forced out. Naturalists observe, that transmuta- 
tion is easy in symbolical elements, such as agree in 
some prime qualities. Water is more easily turned 
into air than into fire ; even so, a holy and spiritual 
heart will be easily wrought on by holy and spiritual 
ordinances ; for here is an agreement in qualities. 
Gracious qualities make the soul both receptive and re- 
tentive of heavenly impressions. Grow in grace every 
day, and then you will get good by all that God doth. 
There are several graces that dispose the soul to spi- 
ritual proficiency, as sensibleness, brokenness, and ten- 
derness of heart, fit to receive divine impressions, which 
plough up, and prepare the ground for the seed ; f and 
then, apprehensiveness of spiritual wants, being bur- 
dened with sin, breathing after God and grace, with 
longing, hungering desires, which capacitate the soul 
for both sanctifying and satisfying incomes. Strength 
of grace is usually seconded with sweet discoveries. 
" I write unto you, young men, because ye are strong 
and the word of God abideth in you." — 1 John ii. 14. 
Strong and stored Christians have many precious epis- 
tles from heaven. 

4. Treasure up persevering, perfecting and crown- 
ing graces. Furnish your hearts with such graces as 
may help you through this world, and through death, 
and land you safe on the shore of eternity ; such as 
* Heb xii. 6, 10. + Jer. iv. 3. 

GRACES. 147 

these, sincerity, humility, faith, hope, love, the fear of 
God, delight in him, resignation to him, resolution for 
him, contempt of the world, desire of heaven ; if you 
have these graces you shall never fail or fall. Unsound 
professors may and will fall away, but such as are thus 
rooted, shall grow up as high as heaven ; hypocrites 
may ascend many steps towards heaven, but he that 
hath sincerity at the bottom, and perseverance at the 
top, of this ladder, shall not miss of glory. O, see to 
the uprightness of your hearts, and truth of your 
graces ; be not mistaken about your state ; build high 
by laying the foundation low ; if the root of the matter 
be in you, it shall not be eradicated ; saving grace will 
end in eternal glory. " The girdle of truth, the breast- 
plate of righteousness," the shoes of heroic resolution, 
" the shield of faith, the helmet of hope," * the sword 
of Scripture truths, and constant, fervent prayer, will 
help the conflicting soul to a glorious conquest, and 
God will set an imperishable crown upon the conquer- 
ing head of a persevering saint. If you lay up perse- 
vering graces, you will hold on and hold out ; " if your 
love abound in knowledge and in all judgment, your 
souls shall be without offence till the day of Christ." 
Phil. i. 9, 10. What would you give, sirs, to come 
safely to heaven ? Why ! do but lay up a good founda- 
tion for yourselves, against the time to come, and 
thereby you do, as it were, lay hold upon eternal life, 

I Tim. vi. 19- Press forward, and be aiming at per- 
fection ; beware of, so much as, seeming to fall short ; 
heap up such graces, so many, and such degrees and 
measures of them, that an abundant entrance may be 
made for " you into the kingdom of Christ, 2 Pet. i. 

II ; the great direction there prescribed is an addition 
of one degree of grace to another, or rather of one sort 

» Eph. vi. 14—18. 
I, 2 


of graces to another, and the word in Greek, which is 
translated, " add ye," 2 Pet. i. 5, is an elegant allusion 
to virgins' dances, * who link themselves hand in hand, 
and observe a decent order in their recreating exercises ; 
and it is observable that the same word f is used in 
2 Pet. i. 11, to express the adding or ministering to such 
a soul the entrance into glory, to note to us, the near- 
ness and propinquity betwixt the highest degrees of 
grace and the state of glory. The link, or rather chain 
of divine graces, reacheth from the first uniting grace 
of faith, to the God-enjoying grace of perfect love, and 
these virgin-graces going hand in hand in a believing 
soul, lead it higher and higher, till they bring it into 
the Prince's presence, and bridegroom's chamber. \ Oh, 
how merrily will you dance to heaven, with these con- 
catenated graces ! the Lord still holding the end of this 
golden chain, and drawing your souls every day nearer 
to glory ; for the same Apostle saith, " We are kept by 
the power of God, through faith, to salvation, 1 Pet. 
i. 5; so that the soul is happy, by the Lord's keeping 
and strengthening the grace of faith ; we shall perse- 
vere, by the assistance of God, as the efficient cause, 
and in the exercise and increase of all graces, especially 
faith, as the means. Thus are Christians to treasure 
up all persevering graces, that they may not faint by 
the way, but hold out, and that their last may be more 
than their first, and this brave fabric of grace may be 
raised up as high as heaven ; only I intreat you, be 
sure that you lay Christ for a foundation, and dig deep 
in humiliation. You will never have a perfection of 

* 'E7nY_op?]yJi(7aT£, proprie significat chorum ducere, ab £7rt, 
\bpoQ et ayo), duco. — Beza. 

1 Psalm xlv. 14, 15. 


degrees, except you have a perfection of parts in in- 
tegrity of heart ; and you will never reach glory, 
unless Christ draw you with him, in his ascension by 
his merit, and Spirit ; therefore, see to your interest, 
and then grow in grace, and if you do these things, you 
shall never fail. 



The third sort of precious useful things which the 
Christian is to lay up, are those various experiences, 
he hath in all passages of his life. Certainly, a 
Christian may be a great gainer this way; this is a grand 
duty, a character of solid wisdom, and a means of more. 
So saith the Psalmist, concerning the various acts of di- 
vine Providence, in Psal. cvii. 43, " Whoso is wise, and 
will observe those things, even they shall understand the 
loving kindness of the Lord ;" as if he had said, such as set 
their hearts to consider of the Lord's blessed and em- 
broidered workmanship in the world have wise and ob- 
servant spirits, and shall grow still wiser, and see more 
of God in his dispensations, than other men.* God 
opens his secret cabinet to observant Christians, but he 
is much offended with those that regard not his works, 
and threatens to destroy them, and not to build them 
up.— -Psal. xxviii. 5. But this is too high a work for 
brutish, sottish souls ; f it is the good soul that lays up 
experiences. The righteous man, saith Solomon, wisely 
considereth the house of the wicked, Prov. xxi. 12 ; 
* Psal. xxv. 14. Isai. v. 12. t Psal. xcii. 5—7- 


that is, he takes notice what becomes of it, how the 
Lord deals with wicked men, and their houses ; and so 
in all other affairs, both public and private, he observes, 
God's carriage to both good and bad, in mercy and 
judgment, as Scripture testifies. * 

But I shall rather keep close to the Christian's per- 
sonal experience which relates to himself, and desire 
every child of God to treasure up experiences of these 
four sorts, namely, 

Of the vanity of the world, the treachery of his 
heart, the bitterness of sin, and heavenly discoveries. 

1. Lay up experiences of the world's vanity. Solo- 
mon was making such a collection all his life long, and 
recorded it in his Ecclesiastes, in his declining old age. 
He had great opportunities, and extraordinary facul- 
ties and means that capacitated him for such an experi- 
ment ; he knew better than any man breathing, what 
the flattering world could do for her beloved minions, 
yet, cries out at last, " all is vanity, yea, vexing vanity;" 
and the whole book is an induction of particulars, to 
prove this assertion. And, what can the man do that 
cometh after the king ? f Alas, sirs, if you make the 
like investigation, you must needs make the same con- 
clusion ; you cannot search more into, nor make more 
of the creature than Solomon, yet he found vanity en- 
graven upon the choicest enjoyment ; and have not you 
also found the like in your time and observation? 
Well then, Christian, rub off the rust and dust of old 
experiences, read the wise man's last and soundest lec- 
tures on the whole creation, and let your dear-bought 
experience comment thereupon, and lay up both text 
and comment in your hearts for after-times. Poor soul ! 
consider, didst thou ever trust the world, but it de- 
ceived thee ? Hath it not failed thee at such a time ? 

* Jer. ix. 12, 13. Hos. xiv. 9. t Eccl. ii. 12. 


and disappointed thee in such a case ? O, how didst 
thou bless thyself in such an expectation ? but, alas, 
thou didst but grasp the sand or smoke. Hast thou 
not found riches uncertain, friends inconstant, relations 
vanishing ? * Have you not seen the world passing 
away, f and the treble enjoyments of it, pleasure, profit, 
and preferment, just like the sliding stream of a swift 
river, hastening towards their primitive chaos of vanity 
and confusion ? However men may be bewitched with 
the world's bravery, yet the Spirit of God judgeth of it 
but as a mere phantasy, or pageant shew, or as a ma- 
thematical figure, which is but a notion, an idea in the 
fancy or imagination ; | at the best it is but an acci- 
dental figure without substance. What solid content 
have you ever found in it ? When you have sought 
to the creature, hath it not answered, " It is not in me 
to fill the soul, or do you good ?" or at best, it is but 
like a dream of the night vision, when the hungry and 
thirsty think they eat and drink, but are faint when 
they awake. |j Have not your souls found this too true 
by sad experience ? Why now, lay up these things, 
produce them out of your stock, and learn thereby to 
trust the world no more. Oh, what good may these 
do you upon a temptation to carnal confidence ! 
Tremble, Christian, to pierce and prejudice thy soul 
again, never lean upon this broken reed, that will run 
into thy hand and heart, and pierce thee with many 
sorrows here, and be in danger of drowning thee in 
eternal perdition. — 1 Tim. vi. 9, 10. The truth is, there 
nothing answers our desires and hopes in this world, $ 

* 1 Tim. vi. 17- t 1 John, ii. 16, 17- 

X Acts, xxv. 23. 1 Cor. vii. 31. a^J]fxa. 

|| Isai. xxix. 7, 8. 

§ Nihil oeque adeptis et concupiscentibus gratum. — PUn. 


nothing pleases us so well in the fruition, as in the ex- 
pectation, we find the world but a lie, and the sweetest 
comforts, lying vanities, and, as one saith, our leaning- 
stafF becomes a knocking cudgel. Well then, since you 
have found it so, look upon it as such, and lay up that 

2. Lay up experiences of the treachery of the heart. 
Read over Mr. Dyke's treatise on the deceitfulness of 
the heart, and compare your own experience with that 
book ; but especially read and study well this multifa- 
rious book of a depraved heart, consider and remember 
those ways of guile and guilt, that have cost thy soul 
so dear ; as thus, in such a duty my heart gave me 
the slip — in such a temptation, my heart led away my 
hand or foot, and caused my flesh to sin — in such an 
enjoyment my perfidious heart stole away — in such an 
affliction I had discontented risings of heart, and my 
tumultuous, quarrelsome spirit made me to speak unad- 
visedly with my lips ; I will never trust this deceitful 
heart again. Who but a fool will venture his whole 
estate with a known thief? What wise man will trust 
a known juggler? Solomon saith, " He that trusteth 
in his own heart is a fool ;" * and I shall be the most 
errant fool that breathes, if after so many cheating 
tricks, I should confide in this perfidious traitor. Ah, 
Christian, I appeal to thine own experience, how many 
a woful instance hast thou had of the heart's deceitful- 
ness ! It is apt to deceive, and as easy to be deceived, 
and self-deceit is the most dangerous. The heart, since 
the fall, is naturally of a vafrous, subtile, and fickle 
temper, and is still made worse and worse, by the de- 
ceitfulness of sin, Heb. iii. 13, which is, as it were 
woven and twisted in the frame and constitution thereof, 
and so those two cheats conspire to undo the poor soul ; 

* Prov. xxviii. 26. 


and were not God a more fast friend to the saint, than 
he is to himself, there were no salvation for a poor sin- 
ner ; for every man is a Satan to himself, * and the 
sincere saint will pray most, with divine Austin, f to 
be delivered from that evil man, himself ; and is more 
afraid of the folly that is bound up in his own heart, 
than of assaults from without ; and, indeed, the reason 
of a soul's self-confidence, is self-ignorance, or not lay- 
ing up experiences of the heart's deceitfuhiess. The 
truth is, a poor self deceiving sinner dares not look into 
his heart, lest he find not things there as he fancieth, 
or would persuade himself, but puts all to the venture, 
like a desperate bankrupt. A child of God, however, 
cannot but see this treachery that others hide or coun- 
terfeit, and willingly sees it, and as sadly laments it, 
and as watchfully avoids those deceits. Observe it, 
though deceivings by the heart be bad, yet observing 
and laying up such sad experiences, is certainly good, 
and of singular use to the sincere and serious soul. 
The Lord help us all so to note, and be afraid of our 
naughty spirits, that we may trust them less, and God 
more, while we live. 

3. Lay up experiences of sin's bitterness. Con- 
sider what have been the insinuating ways of sin and 
Satan to entangle you, and the sad effects of sin. What 
tears, and groans, and bitter bickerings it has cost your 
captivated souls, to extricate yourselves, and regulate 
your state. Oh, the intricate windings of that crooked 
serpent ! What strange and subtile methods and de- 
vices has Satan used, to trap and overtake you with 
his fresh and furious assaults ! How often hath he pre- 
sented the bait and hid the hook ? Hath he not set 
before your credulous souls the pleasure or profit of a 

* Quisque sibi Satan est. 

t A malo homine meipso libera me, Domine. 


base lust ? Hath he not extenuated sin at first to bring 
you to commit it, and afterwards aggravated it to drive 
you to despair ? Sin doth cheat us with golden moun- 
tains, as one saith, but leaves us in the mire at last. 
Though sin was delightful at the first, yet it always 
proved bitterness in the end. * Ask your own hearts, 
what fruit had you of those things whereof you are 
now ashamed ? The awakened conscience will answer 
the end of those things is death ;f deadly pain, or eter- 
nal death ; repentance, or vengeance. Your wild oats 
sown in youth with delight, rose up in bitter hemlock 
and wormwood. Though wickedness was sweet in the 
mouth, yet it is turned to be as the gall of asps within, 
yea, the cruel venom of asps, as Moses testifies, 
that is, capital, deadly, biting poison ; so it proves. $ 
Oh, the dreadful stings and pangs that sin leaves be- 
hind it ! With what fears and tears, terrors and hor- 
rors does it fill the poor penitent soul ! What broken 
bones and affrighting cares had the offending prodigal 
before he was admitted into his father's sweet embraces ! 
How long did the humble suitor lie at the gates of 
mercy before he could get admission, or see the King's 
face? or obtain the joy of God's salvation ? Not that 
God is so hard to be entreated, or delights in a poor 
creature's malady or misery, but that he may affect the 
heart with the evil of sin, stir up more longings after 
grace, prize Christ and pardon, and learn to sin no 
more. Therefore, he keeps the soul long in suspense, 
even when his bowels yearn upon it, as Joseph's did 

* Jam. i. 14, 15. 

+ See the Slights of Sin opened in Capel on Temp, page 21 — 

t Rom. vi. 21. Job. xx. 12, 13, 14. Deut. xxxii. 33. 

UNT) et caput ; per metonym. venenum, quod capiti ant dentibus 
serpentis vel aspidis inest ; venenum capitale et mortiferum. 


upon his brethren ; on the like ground, as he dealt 
with Miriam, in healing her body of the leprosy. If 
her father, saith he, had but spit in her face, should she 
not be ashamed seven days. — Num. xii. 14. Thus God 
would have us to know the worth of his favour, by the 
want of it for a season. Surely, sirs, if you would lay 
such sad experience in store, it would prove a notable 
antidote against the next assault ; the burnt child will 
dread the fire. Oh, what sin-abhorring resolutions had 
the penitent soul in its deep humiliations ! If you had 
come to David whilst he was bathing himself in briny 
tears, and said, what sayest thou now to murder ? 
How dost thou like thy fleshly lusts ? Wilt thou buy 
repentance at so dear a rate, and fall again into unclean- 
ness ? Would he not have answered, " Oh, no ! God 
forbid that I should sin again ?" I will be racked, or 
torn in pieces, rather than dishonour my God, grieve 
his Spirit, and fill my poor soul with such tormenting 
troubles. Certainly, when poor David was roaring, by 
reason of the disquietness of his Spirit, when there 
" was no rest in his bones because of his sin," * 
he had other thoughts of his sin than when he was 
adventuring upon it. There is scarcely any man 
so brutish, but will abstain from that which expe- 
rience tells him hath done him hurt. A wise man 
will forbear stale drink when he knows infallibly 
it will bring upon him excruciating pain. So the 
Christian that hath laid up experience of sin having 
cost him dear, will thus argue, " I remember what an 
ill condition sin brought me into, I had need to sin no 
more lest a worse thing come unto me. Sin broke my 
bones, but now if I sin again, I fear it will break my 
neck ; sin filled my soul with heart-shaking fears, but 
I may expect it will now fill me Avith heart-desolating 
* Psal. xxxviii. 3, 8. 


despair ; it brought a hell into my conscience before, 
but now I fear it will cast my soul into hell." Lay up 
and make use of such sad experience, and I may then 
almost say, Sin if you dare. 

4. Lay up divine discoveries, which your souls 
have had sweet and satisfying experience of. If you 
be Christians, such you have had, I dare say, and you 
dare not deny. I find very many precious saints that 
have kept a diary of God's dealings with their souls, as 
the Rev. Mr. Carter, and many others. * There are 
two sorts of experiences that I shall recommend to 
you to treasure up : special providences, and spiritual 

(1.) You are to lay up experiences of God's gracious 
providence about you. The wise God hath so disposed 
of affairs concerning his people, that one part of our 
lives may help us in another ; the van and former part 
of our days may contribute to bring up the rear and 
remainder of them ; as thus, the soul argues, the Lord 
hath helped in such a strait, directed in such a doubt, 
prevented such a fear, broken such a snare, and he is 
the same God still, and will help for the future. Let 
the saints set up some Ebenezer, f as a memorial of 
former goodness ; let them make use of the excellent 
Scripture logic, Hath delivered, doth and will deliver. 
Write down signal providences, or lock them up in the 
safe chest of a sanctified memory, and produce them 
when you are non-plused, and have your back to the 
wall. Sweet experiences of bye-past deliverances are 
not the least part of a Christian's treasure, though I 
would not have you dote upon them, or imagine that 
God can go no further than he hath gone, which may 
more daunt you in new and greater troubles ; yet 
withal, do not despise them, and slight them, but lay 

* Clark's Collect, page 21. t Stone of help. 


them up and plead them with the Lord as the church 
often doth. * One part of Psalm lxxiv. is a sad 
complaint of God's anger, and the church's afflic- 
tion ; the other part is an encouraging rehearsal of 
former providences. Thus, the assistance formerly- 
vouchsafed, proves an argument for the saint's future 

(2.) You must also lay up experiences of soul-en- 
largement and refreshing comforts, as thus ; in such an 
ordinance I met with God, and beheld his reconciled 
face ; in such a duty, my graces were quickened, exer- 
cised, increased ; in such a chamber, or closet, my heart 
was warmed, melted, and satisfied ; in such a company, 
with such a society, was my soul enlarged, resolved, 
and sweetly transported beyond myself. Oh ! what a 
blessed day or night was that unto me, when I expe- 
rienced the manifestations of God's favour, enjoyed the 
smiles of his face, and had a clear acquittance sealed to 
my conscience, ensuring the remission of my sins ! I 
well remember it, and my heart danceth within me to 
think of the sweet days of mutual intercourse that God 
and I have had together ! These are not always to be 
expected, such sweet-meats of divine joy are not a 
Christian's constant common fare ; a pining time may 
come ; I will make much of, and long store up, such 
sweet and secret hints of love against a time of need. 
God forbid that I should lose this token for good, this 
broken ring, this pledge from heaven. This may stand 
me in stead, in a dark and gloomy day, when the Lord 
may frown upon me as an enemy, and put me from him 
as though he would forsake me ; then will I say unto 
God, as Job, " Thou knowest that I am not wicked, f 
Lord, dost thou use to deal so with wicked men, or re- 
veal thyself thus to them that know thee not ?" Art 

* Isa. li. 9, 10, chap. lxiv. }, % 3. t Job, x. 7. 


thou wont to stir up in the careless world, such peni- 
nent bemoanings, such ardent breathings, and such ve- 
hement pantings after thyself? And hast thou ever 
given such familiar discoveries to unregenerate souls, 
as my heart hath had experience of many a time, and 
is this the manner of man, O Lord ? Are these thy 
ways with unsanctified souls ? Wilt thou hold com- 
munion with those that never were united to thee ? 
Doth not such communion pre-suppose a union ? 
Either this experience is false and counterfeit, or I am 
thine, for whom thou " lovest once, thou lovest to the 
end ;" though I be fickle and inconstant, yet thou art 
the same, and unchangeable in thy love. Now I dare 
not say that all these sweet experiences are mere fic- 
tions, dreams, and shadows ; no, God forbid. I hum- 
bly hope they were genuine evidences of thy special 
love, arising from and built upon thy word ; yea, they 
carried their evidence along with them, and left such 
impressions upon my soul as can never be forgotten or 
worn off. I can appeal to thyself, O Lord, if such pas- 
sages were not betwixt thyself and my heart, which no 
creature upon earth hath known, and since thou canst 
not deny thine own name, engraven on my heart and 
sealed sweetly to me, I commit the matter wholly to 
thee, though now thou seemest to carry strangely 
towards me, as though thou hadst quite cast me off, 
yet thou art my God still, my loving father, and only 
friend ; I cannot part from thee, I will not let thee go. 
There was once love betwixt us, and though now in 
wisdom and faithfulness thou seemest to smother thy 
bowels of mercy, and restrain the effects of thy 
love ; yet, thou hast the same heart now as thou 
wast wont to have; I know it by the workings I feel 
in mine own breast towards thee ; and therefore, 
Lord, I hang upon thee, and plead with David, 


" Where are thy former loving-kindnesses which thou 
shewedst to me ?" * 

Thus, Christians, thus lay up, and thus draw forth 
your sweet experiences in such a time of need, in this 
night of desertion, as Tamar once did produce Judah's 
staff, signet and bracelets, as her pledge when she was 
brought out to be burnt, f O, sirs, -when God deals 
graciously with you, cast not these precious love tokens 
at your heels, as whorish spirits do, but lay up these 
testimonies of love, sent from your husband, Christ, 
among your choicest treasures, that you may produce 
them as occasion serves. 



A fourth description of treasure to be hoarded up in 
the breast of a believer, consists of the sweet and satis- 
fying comforts of the Spirit. It is true, these are the 
sovereign and immediate effects of the sanctifying and 
sealing Spirit, yet, ordinarily comfort is dropped from 
heaven into the believing soul, in a way of duty and 
holy endeavour. The nearer we approach to the sun, 
and the more light and heat ; now exercises of religion 
are a soul's approaching to the sun of righteousness, 
and for this cause, it is good for us to draw near to God, 
that we may anchor and centre our souls upon him, 
where only we can have rest. This present reward 
we may find in keeping God's commandments ; grace 
* Psalm lxxxix. 49. t Gen. xxxviii. 25. 


and peace, holiness and comfort go usually hand in 
hand; "for wisdom's ways are ways of pleasantness and 
all her paths are peace," Pro v. iii. 17. "And great peace 
have they that love God's law, Psalm c:.ix. 165. Every 
gracious act hath some degree of comfort annexed to 
it ; peace is in them, as well as on them, that walk ac- 
cording to rule, * and these good old ways, j- bring us 
to rest in God, and produce a blessed sabbath of rest 
in our spirits. If you keep God's commands, Christ 
will " send the comforter to you," nay, " himself will 
come unto you, and make his abode with you." — John 
xiv. 15, 16, 23. Be much in the performance of holy 
duties, and seek the enjoyment of God in ordinances ; 
therein you may behold the light of his countenance, 
and hear his pleasant voice ; there you may suck and 
be satisfied at those breasts of consolation ; through 
those blessed pipes you may derive solid joy, and ex- 
perience ravishing sweetness. Improve Scripture truths, 
act spiritual graces, lay up reviving experiences, and 
the result of all will be refreshing comforts. 

But besides these, 1 counsel you to hoard up and 
make much of such thoughts as may be streams to feed 
and fill the well of solid, settled comforts in your hearts. 
Take only these four directions. 

1 . Lay up all your comfort in God alone. God " is 
the father of mercies, and the God of all consolation." | 
There is not a beam of light or stream of joy, but what 
proceeds from this sun and spring of grace and happi- 
ness. The great God that made all things with a word, 
can speak and make peace in the confused heart. It is 
one of his royal incommunicable prerogatives, Isa. li. 
12, " I, even am he that comforteth you." If God 
comfort, who can sadden ? and if God afflict, who else 
can comfort ? || The air lights not without the sun ; 
* Gal. vi. 16. t Jer. vi. 16. } 2 Cor. i. 3. || Job xxxiv. 29. 


the fuel heats not without the fire ; neither can any 
instrument cheer up a drooping heart, where God sus- 
pends his influence ; but God's children have been en- 
couraged and comforted in him in the absence of other 
comforts, as David and Habakkuk. * O Christians, 
learn this divine art of fetching all your comforts from 
God ! Lay up your stock of comfort in the rock of 
ages ; this will be as " honey out of the rock, as water 
from the fountain," that comes freely, sweetly, purely, 
and abundantly. If you lay up all your comfort in the 
streams, what will you do for comfort when the streams 
are cut off? If you hang your comfort on every hedge, 
it will be far to seek in a day of need ; but if God be 
your portion, the antidote is at hand, so that you need 
not fear poisoning or perplexing evils, for his very 
" rod and staff shall comfort you." Old Chytrseus had 
this only and all-sufficient medicine and remedy in his 
troubled affairs, to support his fainting heart ; the 
father's heart, the faithful word and powerful hand of 
Jehovah, and thus he sings, 

Una est in trepida mihi re medicina Jehovae, 
Cor patrium, os verax, omnipotensque manus. 

Hence, it was, that holy David disclaims all the world, 
and saith, " he hath none in heaven, or earth, besides 
God, Psalm lxxiii. 25, 26, and when all was gone he 
had still a sufficient portion on the absence or opposi- 
tion of all the world. Hence it is, that the saints 
have been like mount Zion, and remained impregnable 
in the midst of waves, being settled upon the rock of 
ages. O sirs, could you account God your exceeding 
joy, how sweetly and cheerfully would you go to his 
altar upon all occasions ! Psalm xliii. 4, and if you lay 
up your comfort in God, you may know where to find 

* 1 Sam. xxx. 6. Hab. iii. 17, 18. 


it when you have need of it, and none can take your 
joy, because they cannot take your God away from 

2. Lay the stress of your comfort on free grace 
in justification. Here, only, is the spring of all your 
comfort, Rom. v. 1, " being justified by faith, we have 
peace with God." Yea, peace within, in our own con- 
sciences, " for we glory in tribulation." — Rom. v. 3. 
Gratuitous justification is the ground- of all consolation. 
Christ's righteousness imputed, is the sweetest word in 
all the Scriptures, which is ten times repeated in Rom. 
iv. Though Papists make a mock of it, let Protestants 
make much of it ; it is the sweetest flower in our gar- 
den, the Jachin and Boaz of our gospel temple, the 
ladder whereupon souls ascend to heaven. Our only 
comfort is bound up in the covenant of free grace, 
not in that of works. Stick to this ; contend earnestly 
for this ; let all go, rather than let this go ; it is the 
chief article and principle of our religion, upon which 
the church stands, without which it falls, as Luther 
saith. * O, therefore, let no mud defile this blessed 
stream ; study free grace, — ascribe all to free grace, — 
lay up thoughts of undeserved, distinguishing grace. 
Remember what our blessed Redeemer hath done and 
endured ; let the dolours of his soul be the solace of 
your hearts ; fetch your only comfort from his bitter 
cross. Consider, how fully Christ hath satisfied divine 
justice ! how large and liberal the gospel proclamation is ! 
how our dear Redeemer opens his arms and bosom to 
embrace repenting prodigals ! how he bids all welcome, 
and never yet cast off any that came unto him ! how 
he hath pardoned infamous sinners, and hath received 
gifts even for the rebellious ! Revolve these in thy mind ; 
bring the promises warm to thy heart; let thy hyssop of 
* Articulus stantis aut cadentis Ecclesia?. 


faith sprinkle Christ's blood upon thy conscience, for 
generals afford no comfort. Particular application is 
the only means of consolation. A hungry man takes 
little pleasure in gazing upon a feast, while he tastes 
not of it. David's table spread with dainties in the 
midst of his enemies, rather vexed than pleased those 
envious spectators. It is a blessed thing to think of 
pardon of sin, justifying grace, adoption, reconciliation, 
but what comfort can we take therein, except we can 
say, he loved me and gave himself for me ; my Lord 
and my God ; my Redeemer liveth ; a crown of life is 
laid up for me ? * O, this, this is the life of our lives, 
the support of our souls ! Yet, if you cannot always 
say, that grace is yours, Christ is yours, and heaven is 
yours, yet be much in the thoughts of free grace ; pore 
not upon your vileness and unworthiness, but ponder 
upon that which can answer all in one word. " I will 
have mercy, because I will have mercy and on whom 
I will have mercy." Lay up such Scriptures as these, 
Rom. iii. 24, Isai. liii. 4 — 6, and xliii. 25, Heb. viii. 
12, that by the comfort of these and such like Scrip- 
tures you may have hope ; they may be worth mines 
of gold, and all the world, in a day of darkness, to the 
doubting Christian. 

3. Store up your clearest evidences of sincerity. The 
Spirit ordinarily conveyeth comfort by shining upon his 
own work, and by helping the soul to make practical 
syllogisms ; as thus, whosoever doth sincerely call on 
the name of the Lord shall be saved, ; f but saith the 
soul, I do sincerely pray and perform other Christian 
duties, therefore I shall be saved ; — or thus, grace is 
with them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity, ^ 
but saith the soul, I love the Lord Jesus in sincerity, 

* Gal. ii. 20. John xx. 28. Job xix. 25. 2 Tim. iv. 8. 
t Rom. x. 13. % Eph. vi. 24. 

M 2 


therefore, I have the grace or favour of God. The 
major proposition is a Scripture assertion ; the minor, 
or assumption, is from a soul's inward experience of 
sincerity, and the Spirit of God witnessing with an up- 
right heart and conscience, helps the soul to this demon- 
strative inference and conclusion, that he is a child of 
God, in God's favour, and shall be saved ; and thence 
arises satisfaction aud consolation. The poor soul by 
a reflex act, doth view the seeds and sproutings of a 
sincere faith and love, and saith, though these have not 
purchased my husband's love, yet are they sweet effects 
thereof. These divine ornaments of saving graces do 
satisfyingly evidence that my soul is betrothed to Jesus 
Christ. If your souls be all glorious within in sancti- 
fication, it is a good sign that your clothing is of 
wrought gold in justification. Make sure and clear 
your effectual vocation, and then you clear up your 
eternal election. * The sanctifying Spirit witnesseth 
with the sanctified soul that it is a child of God, f and 
thus, some understand those three that bear witness in 
(arth, the spirit, water, and blood, to be the cleansing- 
acts of the Spirit, evidencing the soul's interest in our 
Saviour's efficacious merits ; i but this I desire of you, 
to clear up the truth of grace ; fall upon the old trade 
of inquiring after marks of sincerity, yet do not think 
the bare hearing of them, or having such notes in your 
books or memory will be sufficient means of comfort, 
but lay your hearts by them in a close and convincing 
application, improve them by a self-imposing examina- 
tion, and then fetch inferences therefrom in a rational 
way of argumentation, and lay up those deductions 
against a time of need ; write it down that thou mayest 
have it to shew under thy hand against the quarrels of 
an unbelieving heart. Treasure up the means and in- 
* 2 Pet. i. 10. t Rom. viii. 16. + 1 John v. 8. 


struments of your peace and settlement, the time when, 
and place where, your souls were satisfied ; the low and 
hopeless state your souls were in, before the Lord did 
visit you from on high. O lay up carefully, the va- 
rious circumstances about your satisfying comforts, the 
seasonable incomes thereof, their powerful entrance, 
and self-discovering, soul-recovering evidence. Lay up 
the gradual progress, or sudden elapses of comfort into 
your hearts, with the strong abiding impression they 
left upon your spirits. Finally, lay up the sweet re- 
sult and strengthening effects of those your consola- 
tions, that so for the future, in the multitude of your 
disquieting thoughts within you, these comforts may 
again delight your souls. — Psal. xciv. 19. 

4. Lay up tears in God's bottle, prayers in God's 
book, comforts in others' breasts, and promises in your 
own. I put all under one head, for brevity sake. 
(1.) Lay up many tears in God's bottle : — comfort is the 
portion of mourners, * it is promised by God, purchased 
by Christ, applied by the Spirit of comfort, and only 
suitable to weeping, mourning souls. It is the usual, 
constant design of God to comfort those that are cast 
down, to heal the broken in heart, to revive drooping 
souls, and contrite hearts, f Do you mourn for your 
sins, God will comfort you in yonr mourning. The 
sorrows of the saints are like the pangs of a travailing 
woman, that tend to and end in comfort, John xvi. 21. 
Repentance is the ready road to contentment. The 
same word in Hebrew, that signifieth first, to repent, ^ 
doth also denote comforting or ceasing from sorrow, || 

* Matt. v. 4. Isai. lxi. 2, 3. 
t 2 Cor. vii. 6. Psal. cxlvii. 3. Isai. lvii. 15. 
+ Dni Doluit, pcenituit, 1 Sam. xv. 35. 

|| Niph. QIl] dedoluit, dolore desiit, vel consolationem dat, in- 
venit. Isa. xl. 1. 


because true comfort belongs only to the penitent. 
The Jews fable, that with such as weep in the night, 
the stars and planets weep, and if they let the tears fall 
down their cheeks, God is ready with his bottle to re- 
ceive them, which he pours, say they, upon the ene- 
my's edicts to blot the writings that the Jews shall re- 
ceive no hurt thereby. But sure I am, God is much 
affected with his children's tears, and comes, as it were, 
with a handkerchief to wipe away those tears, or 
rather, as the Scripture speaks, puts their tears into his 
bottle,* and reserves them for their future comfort. 
Shedding penitential tears is a spiritual seed-time, and 
they that sow in tears shall reap in joy ; even sheaves 
of comfort are the harvest of this precious seed-plot, f 
This briny water shall be turned into refreshing wine. 
According to the depth of your sorrow, will be the 
height of your comfort. Not a tear shall be lost that 
is of the right sort. Every gracious sigh rises before 
the Lord as delectable incense, and every drop distilled 
from a broken heart, shall in time multiply to a flood 
of joy. Who was more dissolved into tears than holy 
David? And, who had a heart more full of joy, or a 
tongue so full of the high praises of God, as that sweet 
singer of Israel ? O sirs, grieve much for sin, and 
you shall rejoice in, and for your grief. Plenty of tears 
prepares for, and ushers in plenty of joy. But (2.) 
Lay up many prayers in God's book, as well as tears in 
his bottle, be frequently approaching to the throne of 
grace. The sighs of your spirits will be echoed back 
with the sweet breezes of God's Spirit. The Spirit of 
grace will be a spirit of peace ; as prayer goeth up, 
comfort comes down ; God makes children joyful in the 
duty of prayer, as well as in the house of prayer. "For 
this," saith the Psalmist, "shall every one that is godly 
* Psal. lvi. 8. t Psal. cxxvi. 5, 6. 


pray unto thee ; surely, then, in the floods of great 
waters they shall not come nigh unto him," Psal. 
xxxii. 6. Prayer reacheth to heaven, and fetcheth 
heaven into the heart ; prayer seeketh, and the soul by 
faith in prayer seeth, God's face, which is a heart-re- 
joicing sight ; it scattereth fears, lighteneth the soul, 
and preventeth shame and sorrow.* "Ask," saith Christ, 
"and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full," John 
xvi. 24. Therefore, Christians, pour out your hearts to 
God, and he will pour in comfort to you. And then, 
(3) Comfort others, as you are able, empty yourselves 
of experiences, by communicating them to afflicted 
souls, and they will return upon you with double ad- 
vantage. There is much pleasure in opening our 
hearts to Christian friends. When you say, come, and 
I will shew you what he hath done for my soul, God 
will do more for your souls ; if you help others, God 
will help you. You little know how it may comfort 
you to impart comforts to others. Mr. Knox rose off 
from his sick and death-bed, and would needs go to the 
pulpit, that he might impart to others his sweet medi- 
tations on Christ's resurrection, and the solacing conso- 
lation he felt in his soul. There is no envy in spiritual 
things ; it is the property of a child of God to long, 
that others may taste of that which his soul feels com- 
fort in ; and, indeed, God makes the breasts of some, 
to be the storehouse of comfort for others. 2 Cor. i. 6, 
" Whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation 
and salvation ;" not only by way of sympathy and af- 
fection, but by way of intercourse and communication. 
Besides, the more you comfort others, the more you 
have to pity and comfort you ; the law of gratitude 
will engage them, and the treasure you have laid up in 

* See Psal. xxxiv. 4, 5. 


them will dispose them to be helps to you in the day of 
your sadness. (4.) Store up Scripture cordials, cove- 
nant promises in your souls. Psal. cxix. 50, " This is 
my comfort in affliction; thy word hath quickened me." 
This was David's portion, heritage, and song in the 
house of his pilgrimage. Especially improve and ap- 
ply gospel promises. These are, fasclcc Christi, the 
swaddling clothes of Chiist ; these are like aqua vitce* 
to the fainting soul. The Scripture is full of them. 
Some have observed that the covenant of grace is men- 
tioned directly a hundred times, but by clear and ne- 
cessary consequence, a thousand times in the book of 
God. God hath laid in all these promises for our com- 
fort, that we through patience and comfort of the Scrip- 
tures might have hope, f To this very end is it, that 
God hath not only spoken but sworn, that we might 
have strong consolation. — Heb. vi. 18. Promises are 
the breasts of consolation, at which you may suck and 
be satisfied ; promises are sacred anchors, to keep the 
soul unmoved amidst the fluctuations of time ; white 
sails for the blessed spirit to waft souls to the haven of 
rest ; they are gospel pails, bowls, and breasts to suckle 
and feed the lambs of the flock, and rich mines to make 
the Christian rich in grace, and rich in comfort. J 
Therefore, let Christians always have these divine anti- 
dotes at hand for the help and support of their fainting 
souls. Only look to your right to, and improvement 
of, the promises. Divines observe a two-fold right to 

First, A hereditary right. As we are co-heirs with 

* Water of life. t Rom. xv. 4. 

t Promissiones sunt sacrac anchorse, vela Candida, mulctralia 
evangelica, ccelestes uteres, spirituales aurifocbnoc — See Dr. 
Spurst, on Promises. 


Christ, so an interest in, and union to, Jesus Christ, 
gives us this right. Secondly, A right of aptitude, 
fitness, or disposedness, and this is by having holy dis- 
positions, gospel qualifications, and the required con- 
ditions of conditional promises. This is necessary, as 
well as the other, ; look you after both, and then you 
shall have the comfort of the promises, and a sure 
foundation of lively hope. 

Thus I have endeavoured to help you to hoard up 
these four precious and necessary treasures of truths, 
graces, experiences and comforts. Let none of your 
souls be found destitute of these, or of a large share 
thereof, particularly of this last. O let not the conso- 
lations of God be small in your eyes ; * set a high 
price upon them, store them up ; they are not the least 
part of your treasures ; these will fit you for God's ser- 
vice, qualify you for enduring afflictions, fortify your 
spirits against temptations. You that at present are 
dandled upon the knee of God's fatherly indulgence, 
satisfied with favour, and sit at the high table eating 
and drinking in God's presence, feasting your souls 
with the pleasant repasts of assurance ; consider how 
soon the Lord may turn the tables, give you bare com- 
mons and water of gall to drink, and fill your souls 
with bitterness. Be sure, you shall not always live by 
this kind of spiritual sense, a time of heaviness may 
come, when you must cast anchor in the dark, and act 
a faith of adherence upon an unseen Redeemer. Yea, 
trust in that God whom your souls do also fear as one 
that is ready to kill, f and you will find it a hard thing 
to hang about an angry, chiding, scourging father. 
Therefore, lay up the comforts your souls do now par- 
take of ; give God the glory of them, and recollect them 
in a time of darkness. Plead them before the Lord, 

* Job xv. 11. t Job xiii. 15. 


and upon a due sense of those, though now you see 
him not, yet love him, and believe in him, and in due 
time you shall " rejoice with joy unspeakable and full 
of glory."— 1 Pet. i. 8. 



Thus I have largely handled directions for obtaining 
a treasure, and particular instructions relative to dif- 
ferent portions of treasure to furnish the soul. Now, 
it is also necessaiy to beware of losing or diminishing 
this treasure. It is a piece of wisdom to keep as well 
as get, to maintain as well as obtain, a treasure. * A 
little negligence loseth that suddenly, which had been 
got with much diligence. Solomon saith, " there is a 
time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones 
together," but there is no time to cast away these pre- 
cious treasures ; you must keep what you have, and 
still be gathering more. Now to help you herein, take 
these ten practical directions. 

1. Let not Satan rob or circumvent you. He is that 
evil one that envies a saint's treasure. He steals away 
the <# seed of the word", f lest it become a treasure of 
divine truths ; he it- is, that most grudgeth our growth 
in grace. The better the soul is treasured, the more 
assaults must he suffer from the evil one. A pirate 
makes most at a rich laden ship ; a thief breaks not 
into the beggar's cottage ; the devil lets his sworn vas- 

* Non minor est virtus quam quaerere parta tueri. 
t Matth. xiii. 19. 


sals live in peace, but raiseth aii uproar in the believer's 
heart. This juggler will " transform himself into an 
angel of light," that like a familiar he may pick our 
pockets with more ease and less suspicion. As he foists 
in dangerous errors under the notion of truth, so he 
lures to damnable sins under the paintings of virtue. 
Take heed of both; observe it, new notions may eat out 
the heart's root of religion, as well as corrupt practices. 
Satan may rob us of our treasure by subtile insinua- 
tions of new light, as well as grosser temptations to ap- 
parent works of darkness, for these drink up the mar- 
row of those spirits that should be laid out otherwise. 
Therefore, take Paul's advice, " refuse profane and 
old wives' fables, and exercise yourselves rather to 
godliness." — 1 Tim. iv. 7. Strivings, though they 
should be even about the Scriptures and the law, may 
come to be " unprofitable and vain." — Tit. iii. 9- Great 
triflers are no good treasurers, and many great dis- 
puters have argued away much of their religion, or at 
least have filled their heads with notions, rather than 
their hearts with saving truths or pious affections. 
Precious saints have complained that even necessaiy 
disputes have put their spirits out of tune. You have 
zeal little enough for the vitals of religion ; let none 
run in by channels. The Lord help you to prize more 
a fundamental truth, and a degree of saving grace, 
than a fine notion or victory over an antagonist. Take 
heed lest Satan dart into you a spark of false zeal and 
blow it up to an eager dispute for an opinion, to divert 
or excuse you from occupying your attention with the 
more weighty matters of Christianity. O Christians, 
be not ignorant of Satan's various methods to get an 
advantage against you, that he may rob you of your 
treasure. * You know, the old serpent, when he was 
* 2 Cor. ii. 11. xi. 3, 14. 


young, outwitted our first parents in their best estate ; 
now he is grown more cunning by almost six thousand 
year's experience, and we more foolish in this dotage 
of the world ; we are, therefore, in great danger of 
being undone. O let us watch and pray that we enter 
not into temptation ; keep out of Satan's road ; hold 
him at a distance, suspect his wiles, and resist his 
power, that neither his seven heads by plotting, nor his 
ten horns by pushing, may deprive our souls of our 
precious treasure. 

2. Fill not your hearts with the world. Carnal men 
have the world set in their hearts, and are therefore 
called, " the men of this world,"* that have their por- 
tion therein, and that is totally inconsistent with this 
heavenly treasure ; for the more you admit the world 
into your hearts, the more you thrust out divine things. 
As the shining sun eats out the burning fire, or as the 
abundance of weeds sucks up the virtue of the earth 
that should nourish the herbs and fruit trees ; just so do 
riches choke the word by a wicked encroachment which 
they make upon the heart. The love of the world jostles 
out the love of God. — 1 John ii. 15. Love and roy- 
alty can endure no rivals. It is true, "religion begot 
wealth, but the daughter devours the mother,"f as the 
Proverb hath it : worldly-mindedness is directly oppo- 
site to heavenly treasures. O let not your hearts be 
in the world, though your heads and hands be in it. 
The heart is to be reserved for God ; if riches be placed 
in that closet, Christ will be thrust into the stable ; if 
riches increase, set not your hearts thereon. | In the 
Apostle's times, the saints " cast their money and 
estates at the Apostle's feet," || thereby signifying, 

* Eccl. iii. 11. Psal. xvii. 14. 

t Religio peperit divitias sed filia devoravit matrem. 

+ Psal. lxii. 10. || Acts iv. 37- 


saith an Ancient, " that they were fitter to be trodden 
upon, than doted upon, or rather to be a step-stone to 
divine things, than a burden on our backs ;" but the 
truth is, these outward things are to many, rather a 
stumbling block to cast them down, than a footstool to 
lift them up. It is better to be without great estates, 
than to have them for a snare. Tremble lest you be 
overcharged with the cares of the world, or be bewitched 
with the delights here below. Be not like that carnal 
Cardinal, that preferred his part in Paris to his part 
in paradise ; but say, as that noble commander to a 
common soldier, " Thou art not Themistocles, take 
this trash to thee ;" for so he called and accounted the 
Persian spoils, of richest jewels and goodliest orna- 
ments. So do thou scorn to load thy noble soul with 
such unworthy baggage ; cast out those wares that will 
sink the ship of the soul. One staff will help in 
your journey, but a bundle will be burdensome car- 
riage ; a garment fit for the body is easy and useful, 
but one that is too wide, or with a long train, is in 
danger to be troublesome to the party that wears it, and 
others ; not that I would have you to cast away the 
tender mercies of God, though you must " cast your 
bread on the waters ;" but cast the world out of your 
hearts. Let not your precious souls, like the serpent, 
feed on the dust. If you possess much of the world, 
let it not possess you ; fear yourselves in this most. 
How many Demases are hereby shipwrecked ! How 
many Sampsons have lost their best strength by the 
embraces of this Delilah ! Alas ! thousands have been 
cheated of their spiritual riches by its syren songs, and 
bewitching charms, and, therefore, let our souls stand 
at a distance from it, make no friendship with it ; let 
us more suspect its fawnings, than fear its frowns. 
A false friend will prejudice us more than an open foe. 


Let no earthly treasure take off our spirits from one 
that is heavenly, lest we abate of the divine stock that 
our precious souls are furnished with. 

3. Mortify the corruption of your hearts. Cast out 
those intestine enemies, carnal affections. Sin and 
grace are like two scales, as one goeth up, the other 
goeth down, or like two buckets, as the one mounts up 
full, so the other falls down empty ; the more full the 
heart is of sin, the more empty it is of goodness. Sin 
is the thief in the candle that dims our light and com- 
fort ; it is as mire in the channel that stops the current 
of grace. Sin is a great prodigal that wastes a fair 
revenue. Adam, by cne fall, lost every thing. Sin is 
the canker and moth that mars all our enjoyments ; it 
is a drawback to high attainments ; it is the only make- 
bait betwixt God and the soul, which hinders commu- 
nion with God and communications from God. * The 
devil, the world, and the flesh, are the soul's mischiev- 
ous and mortal enemies, but the flesh is nearest and 
worst ; therefore, these fleshly lusts are said peculiarly 
to fight against the soul, f Divines distinguish three 
sorts of temptations, ascendant, objected, and injected. 
Ascendant temptations are such as spring up from some 
stirred humour or inferior faculty within us, that bor- 
ders next upon the sense or affection. Objected, are 
such as reflect from some outward object, baited and 
suited to the organ. Injected, are such as the tempter 
immediately affects the faculty itself with. This last 
proceeds from Satan, the second from the world, but 
the first from our own hearts, which is of all others 
most dangerous. Except the wicked one find some- 
thing in us he can have no advantage against us. { 
Our base hearts entertain little thieves within, which 
open the door to Satan without, who comes to spoil us 
* Isa. lix. 2. t 1 Pet. ii. 11. J John xiv. 30. 


of our treasure ; therefore, take heed of this wily, be- 
guiling thing, touch not the forbidden fruit, admit no 
parley with lust, commit no sin, though ever so secretly, 
a secret way of spending hath exhausted large estates. 
Heart sins dallied with, and delighted in, will do your 
souls a deadly mischief. A privy stab may let out your 
heart's blood ; an unsuspected leak may sink a well laden 
ship, and therefore let a Christian say as good Joseph, 
who though might have committed lewdness with his 
mistress secretly and safely as toman, yetcries out, "How 
shall I do this wickedness and sin against God ?" O 
sirs, consider how unsuitable and incongruous it is for a 
vessel of mercy to admit iniquity ! it is as if a cup of 
gold were filled with the vilest filth. O let not your 
precious souls be filled with the loathsome impurities of 
sin. Remember your dignity and duty, and " keep 
yourselves from an evil matter ;" have not any " fel- 
lowship with the unfruitful works of darkness ; mortify 
earthly members ; possess your vessel in sanctification 
and honour ; purge out filthiness of flesh and spirit,"* 
and thereby you will not only maintain, but increase 
your soul's treasure. 

4. Observe the Spirit's impulses. Yield to the genu- 
ine motions of God's blessed Spirit ; " grieve him not,"f 
lest he grieve or leave you ; he is delicate, and will 
deal with you as you deal with him. Christ Jesus 
hath left the Holy Ghost to supply his place, and now 
the Spirit is God's great factor in the world; if he knock 
at your doors, he hath a good bargain for you. O 
slight not such a chapman lest you dally away your 
market. The Spirit never puts you upon duty, but he 
calls you to some profit. Now, it is good making hay 
when the sun shines, and sailing when you have wind 

*Eph.v.ll. Col.iii.5. lThes.iv.4. 2Cor.vii.l. 
t Eph. iv. 30. 


and tide to Lei}) yon. Take this advantage, lest if you 
miss it, you be left to your own strength, and then 
what can you do ? The Spirit is that gentle nurse, and 
strengthening hand that helps the infirmities of the dead 
or daunted child of God in prayer.* O refuse not this 
assistance. The Spirit is that holy fire, that sets the soul 
in a flame for God. " O do not quench it." f This 
Holy Spirit is a queen, that comes attended with a 
goodly train of graces and comforts, called the fruits of 
the Spirit, and, therefore, labour you to be filled with 
the Spirit,| an d then you have this blessed treasure. It 
is true, you cannot expect it as Christ had it, beyond 
measure, || yet your portion will be a treasure, and 
help you to maintain and increase that heavenly trea- 
sure in the heart. The incomes of the Spirit promote 
renewed acts of grace. As the sea ebbs and flows 
according to the influence of the heavenly bodies, so 
doth grace in the heart move, according to the ope- 
rations of the Spirit. The more you yield up your- 
selves to the guidance of the Spirit, the more you will 
feel the assistance of the Spirit. § This will be a pre- 
servative from sin, a preparative to duty, an evidence 
of your state, and an entrance into glory ; yea, then the 
peace of God, as well as the God of peace, shall keep 
your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus, Phil, i v. 7. 
(jtoovpfon, shall keep as with a guard in a garrison, that 
is, shall stand centinel for you to prevent the furious 
assaults of your spiritual enemies, and be a safe convoy 
to the ship of your souls, to preserve you from rocks 
and sands, storms and pirates, till you come to the port 
of heaven ; therefore, O ye Christians, make much of 
the Spirit, maintain familiarity with him, and he will 

* Rom. viii. 26. (TvvavTiXafifiai'trai. 

t 1 Thess. v. 9. % Gal. v. 22. Eph. v. 18. 

|| John iii. 34. § See Gal. v. 5, 16, 18. 


maintain your treasure, keep up intercourse witli him, 
and he will keep his interest in you. Allies and con- 
federates have the same friends and foes, and if you 
have the Holy Ghost to take your part, you shall be 
kept by the power of God, through faith unto salvation. 
If received faith cannot keep you, yet supporting power 
is able ; never did any fall out of the hands of God ; 
therefore, I beseech you, give up yourselves to the 
Spirit's guidance, and governance and he will be your 
guard and defence ; that God who preserves his people's 
bones, will preserve their souls, and he that keepeth 
the feet of his saints, will also keep the fruits of his 
love in the souls of his servants, and if you thus do, 
" he that is able to keep you from falling, will present 
you faultless before the presence of his glory with ex- 
ceeding joy." — Jude 24. 

5. Carefully watch your hearts ; though God hath 
undertaken to guard you, yet you are bound to watch 
your own hearts. That is the command, Prov. iv. 23, 
" Keep thy heart with all diligence ;" in the Hebrew * 
it is very full and emphatical, in or above all keeping, 
take care of thy heart ; thou mayest, and must look 
to other things, but above all, let thy eye be most intent 
upon, and thy study most about, the frame of thy heart. 
But why so ? What great need of industry about the 
heart ? Why, he tells us, out of it are the issues of 
life, that is, all our treasure is there, our greatest stock 
and store ; if that be neglected, our wealth is exposed 
to apparent hazard, therefore, keep thy heart with all 
diligence, lock up thy treasure, and set a guard upon it ; 
admit no strangers into this closet, let not other things 
make an inroad upon thee, or at least, a thoroughfare 
of thee. There is no keeping a treasure in a common 
room. A man that fears his purse in a strange place, 
* -p 1 ? nxj -inwa bin. 



hath always an eye upon it, he dare not let it go out of 
his sight ; in a time of great robbing, a stranger sus- 
pects every one, and goeth not forth unarmed. O sirs, 
consider you are strangers on this earth ; many thieves 
are abroad, they aim at you, they have plundered 
many of their treasures, and cast down many strong 
men wounded ; therefore, look about you, keep strict 
watch, be not found asleep on guard, as the ten virgins, 
or Christ's own disciples, but gird up your loins, watch 
and be sober, and if drowsiness at any time seize on 
you, rub your eyes, shake off sloth, and awake out of 
sleep, and when there is any one knocks at your door, 
boldly ask, who is there ? Whence comest thou ? Art 
thou a messenger sent from God, or from Satan ? Art 
thou for me, or against me ? What is thy end or 
errand ? Make your thoughts stand still, and go no 
further till they have undergone an impartial trial, 
whether they have a pass and commission under the 
great seal of heaven, and be warranted by the word, 
and tend unto the glory of God, and the soul's eternal 
good ; and though vain thoughts may step into thy 
heart, yet, suffer them not to lodge there, for thy heart 
is not thine own, thou dost but keep it for thy Lord 
and Master ; there he hath laid up a treasure, and if 
any thing be wanting through thy fault, thou canst not 
give a good account, but must be exposed unto shame, 
and grief, and loss. Principally and particularly watch 
thy heart when thou art before God in duty ; beware 
of distractions, diversions, and excursions of spirit from 
God ; these will waste and weaken thy treasure, by 
running out in a wrong channel, and diverting or 
spoiling the soul's activity ; for the narrow, shallow 
spirit, cannot mind many things at once. * Besides, 
wandering thoughts are as dead flies in the box of pre- 

* Quando animus dividitur ad multa fit minor. 


cious ointment ; * these vain cogitations obstruct the 
operations of grace, and insensibly steal away the affec- 
tions from God ; even dust, though small, may hinder 
the clock from going. Raise up your affections hea- 
venwards, centre and settle your hearts upon God, say 
to distractions, as Nehemiah to his enemies, I am doing 
a great work, and I cannot come down, or as it is sto- 
ried of John Baptist, who being asked of his compa- 
nions to play with them, when he was a child, yet an- 
swered, " I am not born for sport ;" thus do you say 
to your trifling hearts, it is not fit that I should leave 
the work of God, to attend upon toys ; I must mind 
my business, or I shall go behind in my spiritual trade. 
That man is in danger to be on the losing hand, that 
stands gazing at others, or runs playing at foot-ball on 
the market-day, when others are busy making bargains, 
and getting money. O Christians, you either gain 
something, or lose in every performance ; if the heart 
be not fixed on God, you are on the losing hand. 
Every thing is beautiful in its season, do what you do 
with all your might, pray when you pray, work when 
you work, but let not these things interfere. Set not 
up any idols in your hearts, drive away that which 
may interpose betwixt God and your souls, as Abraham 
drove away the fowls that sat upon the carcase. The 
Jewish Rabbins say, f that if a serpent bite a man by 
the heel, while he is at his devotions, he must not stop, 
nor stoop to shake it off, and heathens have recorded 
instances of some that have rather suffered their arms 
or legs to be burnt, with a coal from the altar, 
than move whilst sacrificing ; and do not Christians 
blush, upon consideration of their slight occasions 
of diversion from God in duty? O learn from 
hence to be more instant and intent in worshipping 

* Eccl. x. 1. + Lightfoot's Miscell. page 26. 

N 2 


God, whereby your treasure will be maintained and 

6. Be most jealous over yourselves after the sweetest 
enlargements. There is the greatest danger after you 
have been with God, and loaded your souls with 
choicest treasures of refreshing incomes. I have ob- 
served almost a score of Scripture instances of saints' 
saddest falls, suddenly after God's doing some signal 
thing for them, or their doing some notable thing for 
God ; and I appeal to experienced souls, if they have 
not sustained saddest shakings and losses, after the 
sweetest gains. Dear, barren years usually succeed 
great plenty ; a great spending follows a time of gain- 
ing; a long journey comes after a good bait, and a sharp 
winter after a pleasant summer. God in his wisdom 
usually lets Satan loose upon such as he hath armed to 
the combat. Paul must have Satan's messenger to 
buffet him after abundant revelations. Peter acts 
Satan's part in dissuading Christ from suffering, after 
he had acted an angel's part in acknowledging him for 
the Messias. The French have often got that again by 
craft, which the English had obtained by prowess, and 
we know in all wars, supine negligence hath undone 
many an army, after famous victories. This pugna 
osculana, as historians call it, is when the conquered 
gathered strength, and so returned upon the conquerors 
when they were dividing the spoils. Just thus, doth 
Satan with God's children, when the soul has been with 
God, and got its vessel well fraught with spiritual 
riches, then it is in greatest danger of pirates ; then 
Satan doth bestir himself most, his malice and policy 
take that as the fittest season to foil and plunder the 
well-laden soul; and then the soul is most apt to grow se- 
cure and carnally confident, and so gives Satan the great- 
est advantage ; as a man that hath run fast, or worked 


hard, sits down and cools suddenly after much sweating, 
doth thereby endanger his health, and life too, by a dan- 
gerous surfeit : so when the heart hath been sweetly 
warmed with the love of God, and is powerfully affected 
in a holy duty, it is then most in danger of a spiritual 
ague, a chill fit of deadness, for such a one blesseth 
himself, and thinks now he may sit still, and take his 
ease, and then comes a fall. This is the believer's 
round ; this is his wheeling condition in the world. 
Peter confesseth Christ nobly, then magnifies himself 
too confidently, then denies his master shamefully, and 
at last goes out and weeps bitterly, and so was kindly 
received by his loving Master. This, this is the 
Christian's round, ebbing and flowing state, up-hill and 
down-hill condition, in this howling wilderness. But 
how sad is it, that a Christian should so soon forget his 
enlargements ! and so soon return unto folly, after his 
heart is broken, and peace is imparted to him ! * O, 
why should the soul so quickly turn out of the way, 
wherein so lately it had such encouragements ? f Why 
should we give Satan such occasion to rejn-esent and in- 
sinuate to the God of heaven, that his servants will not 
be hired to continue with him, for all his present re- 
wards, and promises of future happiness ? Ah, sirs, is 
there not much reward in keeping God's command- 
ments ? Is there not more pleasure in holiness, than 
any sin ? Why should you think to eke out your spi- 
ritual delights with sensual pleasures ? Think seriously 
of it, be afraid to stain your milk-white souls, that are 
newly washed in the blood of the Lamb, by wallowing 
in the mud of sin. Be ashamed to dishonour God, to 
torment yourselves, to gratify your grand enemy, and lose 
that in an instant, which was so hardly obtained. Be 
not high-minded, but fear ; be jealous over yourselves, 
* Psal. lxxxv. 8. t Exod. xxxii. 8. 


with godly jealousy ; rejoice with trembling, cast not 
off fear, nor restrain prayer before God, keep conscience 
tender, eyes open, and hearts resolved for God. Pray 
over David's prayer, for the continued settlement of 
those affectionate impressions upon your own hearts, in 
1 Chron. xxix. 18. For, alas, the best man on earth, 
is no more than the Lord makes him hourly ; we are 
like a staff that must fall, if the hand be removed, or a 
stone that descends, if not carried or cast upwards ; if 
we were as good as Paul or Peter, we should fall foully, 
without supporting grace ; therefore, be jealous of your- 
selves after enlargements, and take heed, lest by secu- 
rity, you become a sacrifice to the devil, as Luther 
speaks. * 

7. Another help for continuing and increasing this 
good treasure of the heart, is, to be frequent and exact 
in the search of your hearts. Be much in reviewing 
the frame of your spirits, " commune with your heart," 
ask what it getteth or loseth every day. Wise trades- 
men often cast up accounts, and provident housekeepers 
look into their provision to see how it holds out, and 
wherein there is most danger of want. O Christians, 
be serious in this self-sifting work, and keep a dis- 
tinct account how things are with you, whether you 
get or lose ground. Take the advice of a royal, learned 
writer to his princely son, f " Censure yourself as 
sharply as if you were your own enemy." A little fur- 
ther, " therefore, I would not have you to pray to be 
delivered from sudden death, but that God would give 

* Nos nihil sumus, Christus solus est omnia qui si avertat faciem 
suam nos perimus et Satanas triumphat, etiamsi aut Petri aut 
Pauli simus : sicut Deo sacrificium est spiritus contribulatus, ita 
baud dubie Diaboli sacrificium spiritus prasfractus et securus. — 
Luth. Tom. 1. Lal.fol. 522. 

t King James, Basil. Doron, page 16, 17- 


you grace so to live, as that you may every hour of 
your life be ready for death." Sirs, study your hearts, 
tiy your ways, deal faithfully with your own souls, for 
you must undergo a critical search at the great day ; 
yea, now in this world, God is about to " search you 
with candles," * and rouse up secure sinners from off 
their lees. A trying time may come, search yourselves 
first, you may by searching come to discern your state, 
and what degrees of grace you have, your " spirits may 
know the things of man " that concern yourselves, and 
may descend into the inward parts of the belly ; j there- 
fore, make use of this reflective faculty of conscience, try 
your hearts, measure yourselves at this time with what 
you were formerly, and thereby you will understand 
how things are, and this will be a singular help against 
losing ground, will prevent apostacy, prepare you for, 
and engage you in a work of thankfulness, or repenting, 
suitable to what you find in your hearts. Only be clear 
and distinct about your state, that you may deplore, or 
congratulate yourselves on your condition accordingly. 
Thereby, God will have great glory, your souls much 
comfort, and if you find things amiss, that self-trial 
will be a step to reparation. \ O friends, take some 
time to pose || and search your own hearts, in the mul- 
titude of businesses abroad, be not strangers at home, 
you will find work enough there. I shall conclude all 
with the words of a contemplative Divine : " The va- 
rieties of an ever changing condition whilst in this vale 
of misery, cannot be without perpetual employment 
for a busy soul, therefore," saith he, " O God, let me 
be dumb to all the world, so as I may ever have a 

* Zeph. i. 12. t 1 Cor. xxi. 10. Prov. xx. 27- 

t Dr. Hall's Sol. 13, called Bosom Discourse. For this subject 
of Self Exam, see Baxt. Saint's Rest, 3rd part. || Examine. 


tongue for thee and mine own heart." Take, yet, a 
verse from divine Herbert : — 

Sum up at night, what thou hast done by day, 
And in the morning, what thou hast to do ; 
Dress and undress thy soul, mark the decay 
And growth of it ; if with thy watch, that too 
Be down, then wind up both, since we shall be 
Most surely judged ; make thy accounts agree. 

8. Timely make up spiritual decays. This seconds 
the former. If you find yourselves declining, do not 
rest satisfied ; let not an ill matter go on, decays and 
delays therein are dangerous, the further you proceed 
the worse will things be. A little rent in a a garment, if 
neglected, grows large and incurable ; a breach of water 
upon banks is quickly repaired at first, but afterwards 
in process of time, is widened to unavoidable inunda- 
tions. Suits in law are easily taken up in the begin- 
ning, and fallings out amongst friends may be soon 
composed at first, but when contentions beget animo- 
sity, and then a grudge, the agreement is more unfeas- 
able, and the offended party more unreconcileable. If 
you miss your way upon the road, how speedily may 
you, at the first, step back, and rectify your error ! But 
the further you go in a wrong way, the more is your 
danger and labour in returning. Many diseases, that 
have proved mortal in the issue, might have been cured 
had they been looked to in time ; and, therefore, the 
rule is, ohsta principiis, * hinder the first beginnings 
of a disease. We know it is easier to keep off an enemy, 
than turn him out when once he is entered. The juice 
of a lemon is soon wiped off a knife when first sprinkled 
on it, without impression left, but its abiding thereon 
corrodes the metal, and leaves an indelible character. 
Even so, guilt is sooner removed immediately after it 

* Principiis obsta : sera medicina paratur, cum mala per longas 
invaluere moras. 


is contracted, than when it is long delayed ; deferring 
doubles the guilt and makes the wound deeper. David's 
long absence from God procures to his back a heavier 
burden and broken bones, but Peter got the breach 
made up quickly by a speedy repentance ; therefore, 
David learned, by sad experience, to make more haste 
to God, and not to delay his repentance and course of 
obedience. — Psal. cxix. 59, 60. O Christians, fall pre- 
sently about this work. Vow this day unto the mighty 
God of Jacob, and you will not find rest for yourselves 
in your houses or beds, " till you have found a place 
for the Lord" in your hearts. Make not up the day 
till you have made your peace with God. Give not 
sleep to your eyes, till you can, through grace, say, 
your souls rest in the Lord, and God rests in his 
love to you * ; and, if you die in that sleep, you shall 
sleep in Christ. Go to God, poor sinning, pining 
soul, and say to him, Lord, I feel my heart growing 
out of order, thou dost not grant to me thy wonted 
presence ; sin is encroaching upon me, temptations pre- 
vailing, grace weakening, my spirit cooling, all things 
go to wreck within me ; but I am not satisfied in this 
declining state, I cannot live at a distance from thee. 
I dare not neglect the means of my recovery. O revive 
thy work, restore thy quickening Spirit, repair and 
make visible in my precious soul thy glorious image, 
which consists in " knowledge, righteousness, and true 
holiness ;" renew in my heart former affections, and 
restore unto my soul thy wonted favour. And thus, 
sirs, do you betake yourselves, first, to your hearts, and 
then to God, and use your utmost endeavours to recruit 
with speed your treasure of truths, graces, comforts, 
and experiences, and as a candle newly extinguished 
will quickly catch fire, so the smoking flax of your lan- 
* Psal. cxxxii. 2 — 5. 


guishing graces will quickly be restored and revived, 
and your fainting spirits, if taken timely, will suddenly 
be recovered. Say, then, with sweet Herbert in his 
Poems — 

Sin is still hammering my heart, 
Unto a hardness void of love ; 
Let suppling grace, to cross his art, 
Drop from above. 

9. Be much in layings out. Mental and spiritual 
treasures have this strange property, that the more 
you lay out the more you increase therein : here that 
text is applicable, Luke vi. 38, " Give, and it shall be 
given unto you; good measure, pressed down and shaken 
together, and running over, shall be given into your 
bosom." We see, in other things, use makes prompt 
and perfect : it is use chiefly that makes the right 
hand stronger than the left — a key much used is bright, 
disuse makes it rusty — a pump much used brings forth 
water easily and abundantly — instruments of iron and 
steel are brighter with use. Thus it is in human 
learning, gifts, and graces ; expenditure enricheth the 
possessor, and Solomon saith, " The liberal soul shall 
be made fat, and he that watereth shall be watered 
also himself," Prov. xi. 25. A liberal soul is a soul of 
blessing, as the Hebrew hath it, because it is a bless- 
ing to others, and the more blessed by God ; for to 
him that useth well shall be given more, as that is 
usually interpreted, Matt. xxv. 29, (though that must 
be referred to talents of the same kind, for improving 
common grace doth not necessarily procure special 
grace ;) God doth not impart these habits to lie dead 
in you, but you must stir up the gift of God, employ 
your stock, lay out your money to exchangers ; be not 
either non-residents or non-agents — Christianity re- 
quires activity. The truth is, all excellencies in the 


world are worthless, if they be useless. There is much 
good ground in the world that is neither cultivated 
nor owned — a world of precious metals in the bowels 
of the earth, which will never be coined; it is the con- 
stant use of money whereby it answers all things. 
" Improvement, (saith a reverend man,) gives a true 
value to all blessings ; a penny in the purse is worth 
many talents in an unknown mine ; that is our good 
that doeth us good, and that whereby we do good ; 
and the more we do good, the more we are good." * 
Therefore, sirs, be active for God ; read, pray, medi- 
tate, confer, and do every thing with your might, as 
men that are bound straight for heaven, and would do 
all the good you can upon earth, and draw with you 
as many as you can to glory. O how this will enrich 
you, and increase your stock ! But this I have en- 
larged upon before ; only observe, that it is the pro- 
perty of true grace to be communicative, and that it is 
a blessing annexed to its exercise to be aggregative. 
A Christian gets most by laying out — God helps those 
that are ready to help the souls of others. 

10. Be thankful for treasures received. Give God 
praise, and God will give you more grace. As our 
duty ascends, mercy descends. Man's blessing God, 
brings down more blessings from God. Adore free 
grace, and you shall have more fruits of free grace. 
You are bound to bless God for worldly comforts and 
earthly treasures, much more for heavenly riches. 
Should we bless him for filling our houses with goods, 
and satisfying our appetites with victuals, and shall 
we not bless him for filling our heads with truths, and 
our hearts with grace? Must we bless him for a crust, 
and shall we not much more for a Christ ? Shall we 
thank God for earth, and shall we not for heaven ? I 
* Soliloq. 20. Stock employed, p. 72, 73. 


fear Christians are much defective in this angelical and 
evangelical duty of praise. They are much in com- 
plaining of their defects and imperfections, and that is 
good in its due place, and season, and measure, so as 
to humble them and promote endeavours ; but withal, 
you ought to be thankful for what you are or have. 
Self-denial and gratitude are very consistent, and con- 
tribute mutually to improve each other. You may 
and ought to bewail your barrenness, though you must 
also thank God for degrees of fruitfulness ; for what 
you have attained is the fruit of special grace. From 
God alone is your fruit found — he alone hath tilled, 
and sown, and given the increase ; let him have all 
the crop and harvest : to him is this debt of thanks 
owing. Pay for the old, and fetch new ; admire his 
free grace that you have any divine incomes ; though 
you have not what you desire, yet you have more than 
you deserve, and so much as deserves your thankful- 
ness. That is a churlish creature that drowns past 
kindnesses in a sea of desires after more. I do appeal 
to thine own conscience, hast thou not something in 
thy soul worth thanks ? Hast thou not seen thy sin 
and misery — laid them more to heart than outward 
troubles ? Dost thou not prize Christ above the world 
and long after communion with him ? You cannot deny 
but you have received sweet impressions of divine 
truths, and various experiences ; and as for graces and 
comforts, deal but faithfully with your own hearts, and 
see what they will say to you. Begin to enumerate 
your mercies, and you will see further occasion of gra- 
titude ; especially recount your spiritual blessings " in 
heavenly things in Jesus Christ." Thus doth holy 
David, Psalm ciii. 1 — 3 ; he stirs up " all within him 
to praise God," and reckoneth up spiritual mercies first. 
And canst not thou say, he hath satisfied thy heart, 


and replenished thy soul " with good things ?" Lay 
thy hand upon thy heart, and ask it whether thou hast 
not abundant cause of thankfulness? and give God 
praise according to thy convictions. This is one great 
end God hath in bestowing mercy, and returning an 
answer of prayer, that the soul may praise him, which 
is the tribute of glory that is due from the creature to 
our Creator. See Psalm 1. 14, 15, 23. Mr. Greenham 
observes,* " That in our liturgies, among a hundred 
prayers, scarce one thanksgiving is found ; and yet in 
civil matters, either by a natural logic or cunning 
rhetoric, we have learned to begin a new suit, with a 
thankful commemoration of succeeding in the old." But, 
I beseech you, show not yourselves ungrateful — praise 
God for what you have received, yea, bless him for 
your sure grounds of hope — perform your duty, and 
trust God for the performance of his promise — bless 
God that he hath laid up so large a treasure in Christ 
for indigent souls — bless him that he hath laid out so 
much thereof upon the many thousands that are now 
filled brimful of grace and glory — and bless him for 
the sweet overflowings of distinguishing grace to your 
languishing souls. Sirs, you are often questioning the 
truth of grace ; but exercising yourselves in this duty 
of thankfulness will evidence sincerity, and preserve 
your stock, and be a means of further proficiency. 
Unthankfulness and unholiness are linked together in 
Scripture ; f and the more thankful you are, the more 
holy you are and will be — God loves cheerful worship- 
pers. The great variety of musical instruments in 
God's worship of old, should be echoed with cordial 
praises in gospel times. Praise is comely in God's ac- 
count, and thankful souls have largest incomes. What 
saint was ever loaded with such riches of grace as the 
* Joel ii. 26. inter opera, fol. 8, 13. t 2 Tim. iii. 2. 


chosen vessel, blessed Paul ? and who was fuller of 
thankfulness, or sounded out the praises of God so 
much as he ? He had it much on his lips, who had 
so much in his heart ; and the more he speaks of it, 
the more he is filled with it. Every breath, let out in 
praises, draws in new supplies of grace. Do you glo- 
rify God, and he will satisfy you ; pay this rent, and 
God will not turn you out of doors — give him this tri- 
bute, and you shall have your freehold ; praise God 
for your little here, and you shall have fulness of grace 
and riches of glory to praise him in and with to all 

I shall close all these directions to maintain a trea- 
sure, especially this last of thankfulness, with a sweet 
poem of divine Herbert's, called Gratefulness. 

Thou that hast given so much to me, 

Give one thing more — a grateful heart ; 
See how thy beggar works on thee, 

By art. 

He makes thy gifts occasion more, 
And says, If he in this be crost, 
All thou hast given him heretofore 

Is lost. 

But thou didst reckon, when at first 

Thy word our hands and hearts did crave, 
What it would come to at the worst 

To save. 
Perpetual knockings at thy door, 

Tears sullying thy transparent rooms, 
Gift upon gift — much would have more, 

And comes. 
This notwithstanding, thou went'st on, 

And didst allow us all our noise ; 
Nay, thou hast made a sigh and groan 

Thy joys. 
Not that thou hast not still above 

Much better tunes than groans can make ; 

But that these country airs, thy love 

Did take. 


Wherefore I cry, and cry again ; 
And in no quiet canst thou be, 
Till I a thankful heart obtain 

Of thee. 
Not thankful when it pleaseth me, 

As if thy blessings had spare days ; 
But such a heart whose pulse may be 

Thy praise.* 



There remains yet another part of this directory, 
namely, how a good man is to bring forth good things 
out of the good treasure of the heart. In the explica- 
tion this hath been largely insisted upon, that a Chris- 
tian must lay out, and make use of his treasure in the 
great duties of meditation, religious performances, spi- 
ritual conferences, and in doing and enduring much for 
God. Passing these, I shall only add something on 
the manner of improving this treasure in the foremen- 
tioned duties. 

A Christian's treasure must be drawn out speedily, 
seasonably, sincerely, and suitably. 

1. The Christian is to bring forth things new, as 
well as old — lately obtained, as well as long since 
hoarded. You are to improve truths on the first ac- 
quisition. Many good convictions, conceptions, im- 
pressions are lost, for want of speedy use ; and many 
souls are undone by neglect and delay. " The slothful 
man roasteth not that which he took in hunting ;" f 
* Herb, the Church, p. 116. t Prov. xii. 27- 


that is, he lets it lie by and mar upon his hands : he 
takes pains to hunt for it, but will not take pains to 
roast it. That meat is best that is fresh and new, and 
quickly used — it is a folly to keep it till it be old and 
good for nothing. O how many such sluggards are 
there in spiritual things ! How many have I seen who 
have travelled far to hear a sermon, and been affected 
under it, yet lose all before they come home, for want 
of following it home ! Many hunt after the means of 
grace, and take abundance of pains to run to ordi- 
nances, (which is to be commended,) but, alas, make 
little improvement thereof to their present advantage : 
their hearts were full of desires before, and of delight 
under the droppings of the sanctuary ; but in a little 
time, these things grow stale, and by degrees wear out 
for want of a speedy improvement. The Jews were 
not to keep any of the manna, till the morrow, if they 
did, it stank ; and God's people must not so lay up the 
word, as to neglect the present use thereof, for that will 
hinder the operation thereof; many a choice notion is lost 
for want of rubbing it up in a speedy recognition ; many 
a powerful conviction of sin and duty dies, for want of 
speedy observation and application. The preacher lays 
on the plaster, but the wound is not cured, except it be 
kept on by the soul's voluntary consideration ; when 
blossoms are knit, though the flourish be gone, yet 
they are more secured from injury by frosts and winds, 
than before ; good emotions speedily brought into act, 
are knit, and have a due consistency and settled con- 
tinuance. O sirs, your work is not done, when public 
ordinances are at an end, you must, as the well-bred 
Bereans, try by Scripture what you hear, and see how 
it suits your case. A man will try a pair of gloves or 
shoes, how they fit him, when he first receives them, 
and use them afterwards, as he hath occasion ; and, will 


not Christians honour the word so far ? David can do 
nothing with the armour that he had not proved, nor 
can you manage that word which doth not fit you, there- 
fore, you must first prove, then approve, and then im- 
prove truths, as you have occasion ; yea, you must take 
the first season you can for it, as soon as you come 
home, draw oat this treasure, lest a day's neglect wear 
it out, and so you have heard and believed in vain, * 
as the apostle's hearers, who were like him that be- 
holds his natural face in a glass, and then quite forgets 
his own physiognomy, f and hence the word is as water 
spilt upon the ground. Remembrance hath in it ap- 
prehension, deposition, retention, and production ; as a 
man takes a shaft in his hand, puts it in his quiver, 
retains it there for a season, and when he would re- 
create himself, draws it out again ; just so is treasur- 
ing any thing in the memory. The end of laying up 
is laying out, only let not our hearts be as leaking 
vessels to let slip what we hear, \ but let us lay hold 
on, lay up, and lay out for our own and others' good. 
The best help to preserve, is to improve truths. 
Speedy exercise helps to spiritual dexterity. Specula- 
tion will never make a man an artist ; a few hours of 
practice will do more than many days of contempla- 
tion : set on the work betimes, and the next opportu- 
nity make apparent what you received from God 
the last season of grace : let your deeds speak what 
David in words professeth, Psalm cxix. 56, " This I 
had, because I kept thy precepts." So in such a con- 
flict, let your practice and success say, this I got from 
God in such a duty, this I had in such an ordinance, 
this is by the sweet help I had in such a performance, 
methinks I feel the virtue of that repast. O what 
good will this do you ? It will excite thankfulness, 

* 1 Cor. xv. 2. t James i. 23, 24. J Heb. ii. 1. 



engage you to the like performance, accustom you to 
this divine commerce of fetching from God and acting 
for God. Make speedy use of spiritual profit, and draw 
out the treasure speedily. 

2. Seasonably. All things are beautiful in their 
season, though you must draw out of your treasure 
speedily, yet not unseasonably ; * you must not be so 
hasty as to be premature. Let your summer fruits be 
also ripe grapes. A Christian must learn to time all his 
actions and expressions ; circumstances much vary 
cases; that may be a duty at one time, which is not so 
at another. Divines lay down this rule in expounding 
the commandments — negatives bind at all times, and in 
all circumstances ; affirmatives are constantly binding, 
yet not in all circumstances. Brotherly admonition is a 
christian duty, yet it is not a duty to reprove a man when 
he is drunk, or in a passion. Here christian prudence 
interposeth, and is of singular use : though David was 
full of a treasure of good thoughts, yet he knew there 
was as well a time to keep silence, as a time to speak, 
therefore he kept his lips with a bridle, while the 
wicked were present, Psalm xxxix. 1. David here 
did not bind himself to perpetual silence, but to a con- 
stant watch: so we must consider, when speaking may 
do ffood, and when hurt. Our Lord Jesus knew how 
to speak a word in season, f and though he was 
always full of a heavenly treasure, yet sometimes he 
answered not a word, and waved doing a good work, 
until he saw a fitter season ; $ that God might be more 
glorified, souls edified, and his designs furthered. 
Some companies at some times may not be fit for holy 
discourses, and we must not cast pearls before swine, 

* Sunt aliqui, quorum fructus quia nimis propere minus pro- 
spered oriuntur. — Bern, de Sanct. Ben. Serm. 1. 

t Isaiah 1. 4. t Matt, xxvii. 14. John xi. 6. 


lest instead of receiving them, they rend us ;* "a wise 
man's heart discerneth time and judgment," saith Solo- 
mon ; f and a godly man brings forth fruit in due 
season, saith David, i "A word fitly spoken, is like 
apples of gold in pictures of silver," Pro v. xxv. 11. 
in Hebrew, it is a word spoken upon its wheels ; fit 
times are wheels which carry words to greater advantage. 
There is a nick of time, into which, if a word or work 
fall, it becomes sweet and successful, and because most 
men miss of this, their misery is great upon them. 
Ambrose |j observes, that very many by speaking, 
scarce any by keeping silence, fall into sin, — and quotes 
the son of Syrach, saying, a wise man will first spy his 
opportunity before he opens his mouth, — and con- 
cludes, let thy words be under the yoke and balance, 
that is, in humility and measure, and so thy tongue 
shall be subject to thy mind : so also for self-conference, 
as well as discourse with others, you should draw out 
truths, and press them seasonably upon your own 
consciences ; also threatenings and promises, precepts 
and prophecies. Oh, what stead may these stand you 
in ? to check you for sin, or to cheer your hearts in 
the ways of God : to curb or conduct you in your 
progress ; they may come in opportunely, as Abigail 
to David to prevent a rash attempt, to rouse up your 
drowsy or drooping spirits, to calm your quarrelsome or 
troubled hearts. Do you awaken your own spirits, 
call to remembrance your experiences and comforts at 
a dead lift, as David did in a like case, § and the Spirit 
of God will bring truths also to your remembrance, in 
a fit juncture of time; ^[ and certainly in those dubious 
workings and ambiguous debates betwixt the carnal 

* Matt. vii. 6. t Eccl. viii. 5. $ Psalm i. 3. 

|| Amb. Christi Offic. lib. 1. cap. 2—4. 
§ Psalm lxxvii. IF John xiv. 26. 

O 2 


and spiritual part, seasonable thoughts cany it and 
cast the scales for God : a small grain may help to 
preponderate in an equal poise — Christians know what 
this means. O, what good hath a seasonable thought 
done many a sinking soul ! On the contrary, unsea- 
sonable thoughts, though good in their own nature, 
have much prejudiced and distracted the soul, as when 
a Christian is at prayer, to have an impulse or inclina- 
tion to read or meditate, when hearing to converse, 
&c. — this is to make religious duties to interfere. 
God's Spirit is a Spirit of order, and this is not a 
methodical or seasonable bringing forth, or laying out 
of this treasure. All Divines conclude, that thoughts,* 
though about good objects, if they be out of place do 
become vain thoughts, and weaken the worship of 
God : beware of those, but nourish pertinent thoughts, 
and make seasonable use of this heart treasure. 

3. Sincerely. Be upright in your layings out ; my 
meaning is, make shew of no more than indeed you 
have, profess not to have that to which you never 
attained. Beware of hypocrisy; there are many forth- 
putting professors, that talk of many things they 
understand not ; that brag of many truths, graces, 
comforts, and experiences, which they never felt in 
their own hearts, like the false prophets, that are said 
" to steal the word every one from his neighbour." f 
So, many steal phrases, passages, and observations, 
which they glean up from other Christians, which they 
know nothing of, but learn them by rote, and speak 

* See Mr. Cobbet on Prayer, part 3, chap. 3. page 416. how 
to discern them, page 423. 

t Jer. xxiii.30. Arbores autem quae fructum faciunt sed non 
suum, hypocritae sunt, cum Simone Syrenaeo crucem portantes 
non suam : qui religiosa intentione cardites angariantur ; et quae 
non amant, amore gloria? quam desiderant, facere compelluntur. 
—Bern. Serm. ful. 120. 


them like a parrot : these are just like some scholars 
that pretend to much learning, and acquaintance with 
many books which they never saw, and though they 
talk much, yet if they be well sounded, are found very 
shallow. Herein appears a great difference betwixt a 
child of God and a hypocrite: the latter cares not how 
good he makes men believe he is ; the former is 
jealous lest others should think too well of him, and is 
afraid he should fail of their expectation ; his heart is 
broken witli this one thought, that he is not such a 
one as Christians account him to be, he hath not such 
a treasure as men think he hath. O, thinks the poor 
soul, by my discourses, prayers, and carriage, I have 
given occasion to my dear friends to imagine that 
there is more good in me than indeed there is ; they 
see the better side, but God and my conscience know 
of much rottenness in these garnished tombs : this 
made Mr. Bradford subscribe his name with the epi- 
thet of a very painted hypocrite. Nay, this is it that 
lays many a good man under a temptation, not to ap- 
pear well to others, lest his treasure within him should 
not answer, or bear out his professions ; though that 
may be a temptation, yet it is a good token of sincerity, 
when a good report even of the truth itself, doth pro- 
mote self-abasing humility. But that to which I urge, 
is uprightness in words and works ; let your heart 
and tongue be tied together; rather be good than seem 
good ; approve your heart to God, that your " praise 
may not be of men, but of God ;" profess to be what 
you are, and be what you profess ; be sure you have 
that within you, which you pretend unto. Upright- 
ness is a good means to evidence and increase your 
treasure ; " The upright shall have good things in 
possession." — Prov. xxviii. 10. Alas, sirs, what will 
fair words and a false heart advantage you ? Fine 


flourishes and a polluted inside will render you odious; 
groundless brags end in woful disgrace ; God knows 
what you have, and men will know in time, Frov. xxvi. 
23, " Burning lips, and a wicked heart, are like a pot- 
sherd covered with silver dross." This gilded earth 
makes a fair shew of seeming zeal, but alas ! he shall be 
detected, " his wickedness shall be shewed before the 
congregation." — Prov. xxvi. 26. Some men's religion 
is like pepper, hot in the mouth, but cold in the stomach; 
or like a man in a fever, whose face and outward parts 
burn, but his heart shakes and quivers for cold ; and 
oh what zeal have some in external profession ! but, 
alas, are destitute either of any principle at all, or at 
least, want that treasure or measure of grace they pre- 
tend to. Dr. Hall * tells us of one, that said, " It is 
good to enure the mouth to speak well, for good speech 
is many times drawn into affection ; but," saith he, " I 
would fear that speaking well without feeling, were the 
next way to draw a man to habitual hypocrisy." But 
let me earnestly persuade all to sincerity and simplicity, 
for as Bernard saith, f " Of two imperfect things, it is 
better to have a holy rusticity, than an offending elo- 
quence. If our intention be upright to God-wards, our 
work will not be dark and dangerous in God's account, 
but they that are not pure by righteousness, cannot be 
innocent by simplicity." 

4. Draw out of your treasure suitably, that is, not 
only acting answerably to what you have within, that 

. " Dr. Hall in Medit. et Vows, cent. ] . page 77- 

+ Ex duobus imperfectis multo est melius habere rusticitatem 
sanctam, quam eloquentiampeccatricem; magis venerandaest sancta 
rusticitas, quam verbosa loquacitas. Soror in Christo dilecta, si 
nostra intentio est simplex apud Deum, in judicio ejus nostra 
operatio tenebrosa non erit ; qui casti esse per justitiam nesciunt, 
nequaquam esse innocentes per simplicitatem possunt — Bern, 
Smn.BQjfot. 1299. 


your layings out be not more than your layings up, * 
which was the last head ; but you must produce holy 
actions and expressions in some degree proportionable 
unto God's vouchsafed means and appointed ends. 

(1.) Let your treasure within, and performances with- 
out, be suitable to your receipts and advantages. 
Where God lays out much, he looks for much ; the 
more pains he takes, the more fruit he expects. You 
must bring " forth good fruit," and " much fruit, that 
you may glorify God, and edify others."f Wicked men 
manifest a prodigious contrariety to the Lord's tillage, 
but godly men should not manifest any disparity be- 
twixt their receipts and returns. Enclosed grounds 
must not be like the barren wilderness. God's garden 
should be more fruitful than the common field. Trees 
of God's planting and watering, are not to be like the 
trees of the forest. Well tilled souls should abound in 
fruits of righteousness. The Scripture compares the 
church to a vineyard, and particular souls to vine-trees, 
that must " bring forth grapes ;" and, indeed, a vine 
is good for nothing if it be not fruitful, not so much as 
to make a pin of, to hang a vessel upon. £ Now, let us 
consider, if God have not done as much for his 
vineyard amongst us, as for that in Isa. v. have not 
our returns been parallel to theirs ? the most part 
have brought forth wild grapes, the best have not 
brought forth full grapes, ripe grapes, at least not sweet 
grapes, but legal acts of too, too constrained obedience. 
Have not God's children often rather acted from a spirit 
of bondage, than of liberty ? Well now, God hath a 
controversy with his vine, justly may he command the 
clouds to rain no more upon it, nay, he will cast the 
wild vines into eternal fire, and his own chosen vines 
into the fiery furnace of sharp affliction ; therefore, 

* Ne promus sit fortior condo. t John xv. 5, 8. 

i Ezek. xv. 3. 


be fruitful, bring forth abundantly, answer Cod's call 
and cost, as the heavens hear the earth in sending 
down fructifying showers, and the earth hears the in- 
habitants in bringing forth abundant fruits, so " let 
us bring forth much fruit ;" hear we the Lord's summons, 
and echo back answerable fruitfulness to the drop- 
pings of the sanctuary and the sweet showers of divine 
grace. The fruits you are to bring forth are those 
" fruits of the Spirit," mentioned in Gal. v. 22, " Love, 
joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 
meekness, temperance ;" these fruits are our produce, 
as Bernard speaks, * and God accounts our produce to 
be as his own fruits. 

(2.) Answer God's designed and appointed ends; that 
is, God's glory, and the edification of your own and 
others' souls. Be not self-seeking, but self-denying in 
all your layings out, else it is a sign you are barren, 
and you lose your labour. Israel is but an " empty 
vine, if he brine; forth fruit to himself." — Hos. x. 1. 
The vine of Eshcol will commend the land of Canaan. 
Clusters of ripe grapes will glorify God, the chief hus- 
bandman, and evidence the fatness of the soil, even 
the courts of our God and gospel ordinances. God takes 
himself to be glorified " by our bringing forth much 
fruit," f and is it not a blessed thing to be an instrument 
to glorify God ? This was the end of our creation, of 
our redemption, of all the impulses and operations of 
the sanctifying Spirit; awake, therefore, to much fruit- 
bearing, and let God's glory be the main thing in your 
eye and aim. Let the observant Christian that takes 
care of the vineyard of his own soul, reap some comfort, 
but let our " Solomon (Jesus Christ, the prince of 
peace) have the thousand pieces of silver," \ all the glory 

* Fructus isti, profectus nostri, et nostros profectus, suos fructus 
deputat. — Bern. Snp. Cant. Serm. 63. 

t John xv. 8. t Cant viii. 12. 


to himself, to whom only it belongs. A Christian must 
speak the language of the Psalmist, " Not unto us, not 
unto us, but to thy name be the praise, * for God will 
not give his glory to another." f Herod was eaten 
with worms, because he made a fine oration, " and gave 
not God the glory." £ It is gross sacrilege to ascribe 
any thing to ourselves. " Let him that glorieth glory 
in the Lord." If you be called to make a confession of 
your faith, and to produce your treasure before 
courts, and judgment-seats, speak out, be not afraid 
of men, or ashamed of the gospel, yet take those two 
rules with you, 1 Pet. iii. 15. In the middle of the 
verse you have a profession required; in the beginning 
and the end, there are the dispositions necessary. First, 
" Sanctify the Lord God in your hearts." There you 
perceive the principle and end. See that you have grace, 
and act for God's glory. Secondly, " Be ready to give 
an answer with meekness and fear;" there is the manner, 
with cheerfulness and humility, without vain boasting 
or ostentation. Some may speak confidently, and carry 
it highly, even to suffering for a good cause, and yet be 
the devil's martyrs, by seeking to get a reputation 
among men, or to bear up an opinion, or please a faction, 
or gratify a humour, or merit something at the hands 
of God. The end makes or mars the action. Vain 
glory spoils great achievements ; yet, it is a miserable 
thing to " bear the cross," and " not to follow Christ." |j 
So I may say of prayer, almsgiving; or mortifying acts, 
or any other excellent ways of laying out of a treasure, 
if they be only to be seen of men, the work is as if it 
were not done, and the doer in danger of being undone. 
Another subordinate end is, our own soul's good, and 
the good of others. " I do all things," saith Paul, 
* Psal. cxv. 1. t Isa. xlii. 8. % Acts xii. 23. 
|| Ya? portantibus crucem et non sequentibus Christum Bern. 


" for your edification," so must we. God hath inter- 
woven his glory and the good of souls, so nearly, that 
they are both promoted together. You must make 
God's glory the ultimate end of all your actions and 
expressions ; in all things natural, as eating and drink- 
ing ; civil, in buying and selling ; and spiritual in 
praying and conversing. Take that notable text in 
1 Pet. iv. 10, 11, " As every man hath received the 
gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good 
stewards of the manifold grace of God — that God in 
all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to 
whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. 



The last use to be made of this point concerning this 
heart treasure, is partly of consolation, and partly of 
exhortation, wherein I shall both encourage those that 
have it, and provoke to emulation those that have it 
not, that they may labour to reach it, and obtain it. 
And for the better urging this, I shall further illustrate 
the usefulness of this heart treasure in these ten parti- 

1. A treasured soul is of great worth. A gracious 
Christian is the rarest piece of all God's workmanship, 
called \jroir]jia] Eph. ii. 10. It is a word that is no 
where else used, it signifieth an artificial work, fabric 
or structure, that notable operation, wherein the God 


of heaven shewed singular care and skill, as well as love 
and grace. This new creature in one soul is a greater 
work, and of more worth, than this goodly frame of the 
world. A renewed soul is the epitome of the creation, 
the clearest image of divinity upon earth, the true 
portraiture of God in man, and a blessed treasury of 
spiritual perfections. The soul of the man is the man, 
and grace is the ornament of the soul ; every man is so 
far excellent, as he is religious ; a Christian's greatest 
glory is, in what he is God-wards ; * gracious souls are 
truly precious, and such as are precious in God's sight 
are honourable, and of more worth than the richest 
princes and largest kingdoms, f Well may they be 
the Lord's jewels, that have a treasure of jewels locked 
up in their breasts. These precious sons of Zion are 
comparable to fine gold, though men esteem them as 
earthen pitchers, i It is true, they seem to be of little 
worth to the outward view of a carnal eye ; like their 
dear Redeemer, of whom it is said by his despisers, " he 
hath no form nor comeliness, and when we see him, 
there is no beauty that we should desire him;"|| so the 
saints appear mean and sordid, but if you could see 
all, you would find them all glorious within. The 
servants of God are like unto the tabernacle under the 
law, whose outside was rams' skins, goats' hair, and 
badgers' skins — coarse stuff; but the inside was gold, 
silver, precious stones, and curious workmanship. 
Just so are the saints compared therefore to the tents 
of Kedar, to the curtains of Solomon, Song, i. 5. $ 
The word Kedar doth signify blackness, and Kedar 
(Ishmael's second son's posterity) dwelt in tents made 

* Animus cujusque est quisque : tantus quisque est, quantus 
est apud Deum. 

t Isaiah xliii. 3, 4. £ Lam. iv. 2. || Isaiah liii. 2. 

§ See Ainsworth in locum. 


of hair-cloth ; thus the church and particular souls 
are dwelling in tents, and through afflictions, persecu- 
tions, and many corruptions in this howling wilder- 
ness and weary pilgrimage, are black and unlovely to 
look upon ; but if you could open the tent door, and 
see into the secret cabinet of a believer's heart, you 
would discover a treasure of the rarest graces, truths, 
experiences, and comforts, that ever mortal eyes be- 
held ; you should behold them as glorious as the beau- 
tiful hangings about Solomon's bed, " as comely (saith 
the text) as the curtains of Solomon." Take but an- 
other familiar resemblance ; suppose you see an earthen 
pot full of gold, let him that only sees the outside and 
knows not what is within, be asked the price thereof, 
possibly he will answer, not many pence, but the pot 
with the treasure in it may be worth many thousand 
pounds ; a sorry canvas purse may contain a vast sum 
of money, nor must the whole be rated according to 
the poor facing, but the rich lining. A Christian hath 
an excellent treasure in an earthen vessel ; you must 
not censure him before you see every part of his 
character fully disclosed at the great day : his life is 
hid at present, but when Christ who is his life appears, 
he shall appear with him in glory. * The saints here 
are as princes, walking in disguise in a strange coun- 
try, and it doth not yet appear, who or what they are, 
but God hath his time to unveil their glory, and reveal 
their excellency. The pearl cannot be found, till the 
shell of the fish be broken ; and when these vile bodies 
are turned to dust, then this precious treasure shall be 
made manifest. O the excellency of a poor child of 
God ; it would make him holily proud to consider 
what he is, the honour God hath put upon him, and 
the treasures laid up in him. As a man is a little world, 
* Col. iii. 3, 4. 


so a Christian is a commonwealth, a church, and a 
heaven (as it were) within himself ; he hath a mono- 
poly of the best commodities, a rich magazine of pre- 
cious things for the delight of God, profit of men, and 
comfort of his own soul. Though wicked men do 
account them not worthy to live in the world, as 
though this earth were too good for them ; yet God saith 
of the saints, " of whom the world was not worthy," 
they are too good to breathe in this foul air, and shall 
be translated to heaven. Here I might far exceed 
bounds : for a close, take brave Luther's character of a 
saint : * " He is," saith he, " a child of God, an heir 
of heaven, the brother of Christ, the companion of 
angels, the lord of the world, and partaker of a 
divine nature." Be cheered, therefore, O thou trem- 
bling Christian — be provoked, O thou careless soul, to 
look after a large treasure. Who would not be of this 
number? methinks it should excite all rational and 
intelligent creatures to a holy covetousness, and ambi- 
tion to be filled with these treasures, and to be clothed 
with all this glory. 

2. This treasure makes the soul fit for any 
condition ; nothing can come amiss to the Christian 
thus furnished, he is prepared for all dispensations, 
nothing can make him miserable; let Paul and Silas 
have their treasure with them, and they can sing in 
the stocks at midnight ; let David be in a pilgrimage, 
his treasure will make him both company and melody ; 
a Christian cannot be banished from his treasure, he 
may say more truly than the philosopher,! " I carry 
my all with me." When the proconsul told Cyprian 

* Christianus est filius Dei, haeres regni, frater Christi, socius 

angelorum, dominus mundi, particeps divinae naturae Tom. 1 

Lat. 106. 

t Omnia raea mecum porto. 


he would banish hiin, he answered, " he is no exile 
that hath God in his mind ;" separate God from a 
child of God, and then you undo him ; if you could 
rob him of his treasure, you might make him mi- 
serable, but not otherwise. He that is out of hell, 
and hath a heaven in his heart, hath no cause of 
shame or terror ; when he is under sharp trials, and 
others condole with him, he may say, as Christ to the 
daughters of Jerusalem, " weep not for me, but weep 
for yourselves ;" of himself, he can say as Paul, " I 
am ready, not to be bound only, but also to die at Je- 
rusalem, for the name of the Lord Jesus." * God 
hath laid a treasure in his heart, and he is willing to 
lay it out, which way soever the Lord shall call for 
it. By this way of laying out, the treasure is not 
impaired but increased ; by afflictions, truths are im- 
proved, graces exercised, experience added, and com- 
forts wonderfully enlarged, and these advantages 
countervail the smart of affliction. This is a holy 
" merchandize," saith an ancient, " to lose some things, 
that we may gain greater."! The believing Hebrews 
" took joyfully the spoiling of their goods, knowing in 
themselves that they had in heaven a better, and an 
enduring substance. — Heb. x. 34. Observe it, they 
know in themselves, that is, they had experience there- 
of in their own hearts, and now by this loss of their 
estates this experience was made more clear, was in- 
creased, and confirmed. Oh blessed exchange ! to part 
with earth and get heaven, to get riches off the heart, 
and to get better riches into the heart. I must tell you, 
that one grain or degree of grace is more worth than 
heaps of wordly riches, and happy is that soul that 
endures the loss of these, to get a good share of the 

* Acts xxi. 13. 

t Mercatura est qusedam amittere, lit majora lucreris.— Ttrtul. 


former. Read the eleventh chapter of the Epistle to 
the Hebrews, and follow that blessed army of martyrs, 
that long cloud of witnesses, and fear not man, for you 
shall be gainers in the result of all. A treasured soul 
is still gathering more to himself in every dispensation 
from words spoken, from the rod laid on, and from every 
interposition in his favour. The honest heart makes a 
good use of, and is prepared for every event, being satis- 
fied as well as edified, whatever the Lord doth with him. 
But more of this anon, only observe, that a treasured 
soul can pick out of a sermon worth nothing, or from 
a providence, that which another cannot. We read 
of Mr. Ignatius Jurdain, * a zealous magistrate in Exe- 
ter, that a formal man having once preached a sermon 
at the cathedral, about Heaven, the discourse was for 
the most part frothy, and beneath the dignity of such 
an argument : after sermon, Mr. Manton having occa- 
sion to visit Mr. Jurdain, after many good instructions, 
he asked Mr. Manton if he had heard the sermon that 
morning; he answered, yes. "And did you not," said he, 
" hear those wonderful things which God hath provided 
for them that love him?" and then readily selected all 
those passages that were any way subservient to use 
and profit. " It was wonderful to me," saith Mr. Man- 
ton, " to see a holy heart could draw comfort out of any 
thing : the sermon as repeated to me, was another 
kind of sermon, and seemed to be savoury and spiri- 
tual. I remember with what warmth and vigour he 
spake of it, even till this day, and hope that I shall 
never forget it." Such is Mr. Manton's account. O 
sirs, if you had a treasure, you would hear sermons 
with profit, and endure troubles after another manner 
than you ordinarily do. 

3. This divine treasure qualifies the saint for noble 
* Mr. Clark's Collect, in the Life of Mr. Ign. Jurd. page 481. 


enterprises. The people that do know their God, 
shall be strong and do exploits ; whereas unsound per- 
sons may be corrupted by flatteries, Dan. xi. 32, or 
chased away by threats. The greater treasure you 
have, and the more singular things may you do for 
God ; the Lord will own you to do much for him, and 
you shall glorify God in suffering much for him. 
Paul's vessel was well fraught with this treasure (and 
it may be for this cause he is called a chosen vessel, * 
and he alone is so called, though doubtless others were 
so also) and what mere man did more for God than 
blessed Paul ? Who ever travelled over so much of 
the world to preach the gospel, as this unwearied Apos- 
tle? He preached all along from Jerusalem round 
about to Illyricum, or Sclavonia, in Europe, which is, 
saith Pareus, in a direct line, 1400 miles ; but he went 
lv kvkXw in a circuit, visiting circumjacent places to 
preach the gospel ; f yea, a good author reckons up 
Paul's travels in the Lord's work to be above 10,000 
miles, so that he may be called, as George Eagles, that 
good martyr in Queen Mary's days, " Trudge-over- 
the-world, for he laboured more abundantly than all 
the rest." J And whence was it that Paul was in 
labours more abundant ? It was, because he had a 
large stock to expend, a well furnished head and heart, 
and the Lord made his labours very successful ; and 
observe it, treasured souls are very instrumental for 
God. Such he calls out to be as captains in the war- 
fare, and leaders in his field to go before others in the 
sharpest service and most hazardous undertakings ; 
these he puts to the trial and brings them off victorious. 
It was a fine speech of Queen Elizabeth's, when she 

* Acts ix.lo. rnctvoQ ticXo-yijc, est Hebraismus; a vessel of choice, 
t Rom. xv. 19. See Hen. Bunting on the travels of Paul. 
X 1 Cor. xv. 10. 2 Cor. xi. 23. 


was locked up close in the tower, " desiring God not 
to suffer her to lay her foundation upon the sands, but 
upon the rock, whereby no blasts of blustering weather 
might prevail against her." Whereunto she added, 
" The skill of a pilot is unknown but in a tempest, the 
valour of a captain is unseen but in a battle, and the 
worth of a Christian is unknown but in a trial and 
temptation. This earthly globe, O Lord, is but a the- 
atre on which thou hast placed us, to get some proof 
from hence of our sufficiency." Thus proceeds that 
peerless princess, " Oh the advantage of a well-stored 
Christian ! such a little David, thus furnished with a 
scrip full of smooth stones of the brook, I mean, a head 
and heart full of Scripture truths and saving graces 
will be able to vanquish the proud Goliah, or chief spi- 
ritual adversary." * How did silly women encounter 
and conquer the learned Doctors in the Marian days ? 
The subtlest Jesuists have been puzzled and non-plussed 
with the solid answers of spiritual-minded Christians. 
That precious promise is sweetly performed to God's 
children, Matt. x. 19, 20, dictating to them what they 
must speak ; the reason there given is, " the Spirit of 
your Father speaketh in you ;" yea, so full of matter 
have the treasured saints been, that when bodily organs 
have ceased, their full hearts have found a miraculous 
vent. Read the church histories. Take a specimen of 
wonders. When Romanus, f that noble martyr, had 
his tongue plucked up by the roots, by the tormentors, 
he praised God, and said, " He that speaketh of Christ 
shall never want a tongue." When his cheeks were 
sore rent with knives, he said, " I thank thee, O cap- 
tain, that thou hast opened to me many mouths to 
preach my Lord Christ." So it is recorded of Barlaam, 

* Mr. Thorn. Heywood's Engl. Elizab. p. 105. 

t Acts and Mon. fol. 90—92. 

VOI,. II. P 


a martyr, that having fire and frankincense put into 
his right hand, wherein yet, he had some strength, his 
enemies laying hiin on the altar thinking that he by 
the heat of the fire, would scatter some incense on the 
altar, he let the flame eat about his hand, which lie 
kept fast closed, singing, " blessed be the Lord my God 
which teacheth my hands to war and my fingers to 
fight." Sirs, if you have a treasure, fear not, though you 
cannot expect such miracles ; yet it will be produced 
in such a. manner, and at such times as may most glo- 
rify God, silence the wicked, and comfort your hearts. 
I know it is the discouraging fear of trembling souls. 
If God call me to sharp encounters, I shall deny my 
Lord, betray his truths, bewray my weakness. But, 
poor Christian, fear not, God's " grace shall be suffi- 
cient for thee, " * thy little strength shall do wonders ; 
if thou hast a right treasure within, it will appear to 
the admiration of others and beyond thine own expec- 
tation. Oh for such a treasure as is before described. 

4. A treasured soul is God's delight. A full trea- 
sure in the heart, of the good things of heaven, is 
pleasure to the Almighty. God takes delight among 
the sons of men, and amongst men, the believer's heart 
is the Lord's highest throne, next to that in the highest 
heavens ; and amongst sincere Christians none can 
make God so welcome, or give him better entertain- 
ment, than he whose heart is beautified with these 
blessed ornaments. Such a soul makes its Saviour a 
sumptuous feast, and gives him a cheerful invitation. 
So in Solomon's Song, ch. iv. 16, saith the church, 
" Let my beloved come into his garden and eat his 
pleasant fruits," that is, let him enjoy satisfaction in the 
fruits of his own free grace. He hath provided himself 
a sacrifice, a feast ; let the graces of the Spirit delight 
» See Revel, iii. 8—10. 


and solace the heart of the author ; no sooner doth she 
invite him, but he comes, Solomon's Song, ch. v. 1. " and 
gathers his myrrh with his spices, and eats his honey- 
comb with his honey;" that is, he reaps the graces and 
virtues of the sincere soul, with as much delight, as the 
grape gatherers or husbandmen reap their fruits in the 
vineyard or field. Oh with what pleasure doth the 
Lord accept the holy actings of a treasured saint ! but 
he contemneth the costly sacrifices of a graceless soul ; 
he cares not for their " thousands of rams," or " ten 
thousands of rivers of oil." No, no ; a soul stored with 
graces is better than a house full of sacrifices ; the 
honeycomb of human infirmities is dispensed with, 
where there is store of honey in gracious acts, and hea- 
venly dispositions. A little honey is better to God 
than the mere comb of duties, though artificially com- 
posed, and exactly performed. Happy is the soul whom 
the Lord delights thus to visit, that is thus fitted to 
entertain the " high and lofty One." O that Christians 
could say, as the church, in Song, vii. 13, " At our 
gates are all manner of pleasant fruits, new and old, 
which I have laid up for thee, O my beloved." So the 
soul should say, this grace or that disposition I will lay 
up for my spiritual husband, Jesus Christ, and bring it 
forth to give him content ; this smell of sweet perfume 
shall meet him at his entrance ! I will entertain the be- 
loved object of my dearest affections at the doors at 
home, in the fields abroad ; I will bid him welcome 
upon all occasions ; I will walk closely in my family 
sighing out blessed David's wish, " O when wilt thou 
come unto me !" * I will get upon my knees in my 
closet, and there I will seek, and shall find my father, 
that " seeth in secret ;" f I will go unto his table and 
partake of his holy supper, and " while the King sitteth 

* Psal. ci. 2. t Matth. vi. 6. 

r 2 


at his table, my spikenard will send forth the smell 
thereof ;" * my " bruised spices," my exercised graces, 
shall be as pleasant odours to him ; he will " smell a 
sweet savour" from my sacrifices, and my prayers and 
praises shall ascend before him as "incense,"f acceptable 
to God through Jesus Christ. It is not every one's 
happiness thus to enjoy God, or to be well-pleasing to 
him. Some may come near with Moses, when others 
must worship afar off; none so capable of intimate 
communion with God as the well-furnished Christian. 
Ordinarily, he that hath the greatest treasure hath the 
sweetest visits. To such as bring out of their treasure 
the precious fruits of the Spirit, to such will God open 
the precious treasures of his love. Observe it, there is 
much good laid up for them that have grace, but it is 
brought forth to them that use grace, j. Well then, 
Christians, lay up much grace and draw it out ; send 
your lamb to this ruler of the land ; bring your pre- 
sents to Jesus Christ. The wise men set us an example 
in that welcome they brought to Jesus in his cradle, 
Matt. ii. 11, " They opened their treasures, and pre- 
sented to him gifts, gold, frankincense and myrrh," an- 
swerable to his three offices, of King, Priest and Pro- 
phet. No man was to come to the Lord empty-handed 
in the time of the law ; and if you come full-hearted 
with this treasure, and full-handed in drawing it out, 
be sure the Lord will be open-hearted to admit you, 
and open-handed to fill your hungry souls with ravish- 
ing incomes ; you shall have Jesus Christ to lodge with 
you all the night of affliction. Who would not have 
this treasure that he may be welcome to heaven ? 

5. A treasured soul can live well in a time of spi- 
ritual dearth. " In the days of famine such shall be 

* Cant. i. 12. t Gen. viii. 21. Psal. cxli. 2. 

^ See Psalm xxxi. 19. 


satisfied." * When others are hungry and thirsty, and 
their souls fainting, a treasured Christian hath good 
commons ; for the Christian thus stocked hath laid up 
that which stands him in stead in an evil day. It is 
true, a " famine of the word," is an afflictive judgment 
to a child of God. f Ordinances are to the saints their 
glory, the excellency of their strength, and the desire 
of their eyes, | and the want of the word for a season 
doth more grieve them, than the total loss doth affect 
the wicked, though it concern them more ; for God's 
children have that to live upon that natural men have 
not, they have a stock of inward strength that will 
carry them to the rock of ages, a stream of grace in 
their hearts that will lead them to the fountain of grace. 
Real saints are never famished, but always furnished. 
They can make a better shift to live than others can, 
they have something within doors : a treasure of truths, 
graces, comforts, and experiences, makes the saint a rich 
feast, for God is where these are. The flowing rivers 
of living water, || that are among true believers, and 
the hidden manna, § will make a good meal when God 
himself sits at the table. They that cannot go to pub- 
lic assemblies may find the Lord's presence a little 
sanctuary ; he is every where to be found, and can 
make amends in private, for want of public liberty. 
The word opened and applied is convincing, satisfy- 
ing, and edifying. Well, they have their lesson still 
before them, the Bible in their hands, and a promise 
of the Spirit to bring things to their remembrance ; and 
why may not the treasured soul, whose senses are well 
exercised by a habit of Scripture knowledge and self- 
conference preach to himself in the want of other 
preachers ? Certainly, an able Christian, at full ajre 

* Psal. xxxvii. 19. t Amos viii. 11,12. J Ezek. xxiv. 21. 

|| John vii. 38. § R ev . ii. 17. 


may digest strong meat, * though he carve for himself. 
One leaf of the Bible was in Luther's account worth a 
world, much more all a Christian's treasure whereby 
he is enabled to improve Scriptures. Histories and 
tradition tell us of some good Christians, who in dark 
times having got a few leaves of the Bible, run with 
them into a corner, and either read themselves or hired 
others to read, whereby they received incredible com- 
fort and profit, and arrived at a high degree of know- 
ledge and courage. So likewise the souls of God's 
children may seek and see God's face in private com- 
munion of saints, in conference, prayer, and praise ; 
God may make it a happy exchange to them ; the 
private lesser glass of secret duties may represent God 
as clearly to the eye of their souls, as the broad glass 
of public ordinances. I speak not this to derogate from 
public ordinances ; they are to be preferred when God 
grants liberty ; and when God withdraws them, the 
want of open vision is much to be lamented. We are to 
be sorrowful for the breaking up of solemn assemblies, 
and mourn sore when the gates of Zion mourn, f But 
this I mean, when by persecution public teachers are 
driven into corners, then the Lord may supply that 
want to his children some other way. Lest, however, 
Ihis be condemned as novelty, I shall express it in the 
words of a learned author. | Buchanan asks the ques- 
tion, " 'What shall they do that want the opportunity 
of frequenting the public ordinances ?" He answers, 
" Such must travel abroad, and seek far and near for 
them, but if they cannot find them, they must exercise 
themselves in religious duties at home ; because," saith 
he, " the kingdom of God is within them, and because 
the word without the sacrament may be the power of 

* Heb. v. ]4. t Zeph. iii. 18. Lam. i. 4. 

J Institut. Theol. De Sacram. loo 4fi, page (501. 


God to salvation." And he further adds, " That the 
faithful can never be without the matter and marrow 
of a sacrament, though they may be compelled to want 
the visible sign." * Oh what a blessed thing it is to 
have a principle of grace, and this blessed treasure ! 
It is surely worth something to have light and plenty, 
in a time of darkness and scarcity. 

6. Consider this benefit of a heavenly treasure in the 
heart of a Christian, that every thing turns to the in- 
crease of his stock. It is the strange, attractive pro- 
perty of this treasure, that it will fetch from all things 
to fill it up, and make it greater. Like fire, it will 
turn every thing into its own nature. It is a divine 
alembic, f that can extract pure spirits out of all things, 
according to that catholic promise in Rom. viii. 28, 
" We know that all things work together for good," 
prosperity and adversity, riches and poverty, renown, 
and ignominy, thraldom and liberty, sickness and health, 
success and disappointment, satanical suggestions, vio- 
lent temptations and victorious conquests, all work for 
good ; yea, some extend this also to corruptions, yet 
these but accidentally, or being managed by the con- 
stant care of a wise, gracious and able physician ; 
as poison may be turned into a remedy, f or, as they 
say, " the drinking of that wine wherein a viper hath 
been drowned cureth the leprosy ;" even thus, God can 
so husband even the breakings in of temptation, and 
breakings out of corruption as to make them turn to 
good, being an occasion of deeper humiliation ; a rope 
to bring down the topsails of spiritual pride ; a spur to 
promote a holy jealousy and watchfulness, and a means 
to work in the soul charity and sympathy towards 

* Re sacramenti nunquam tlestituuntur fideles, etiamsi visibili- 
bus signis carere cogantur. 

t A Still. X Venerium aliquando pro remedio fuit Sai. 


others, to alienate our hearts from this sinning, weary 
world, to endear our hearts to God for pardoning 
grace, and to make us long for a sinless state in glory. 
These and such like ends and uses God hath and makes 
of sin, or else he would not suffer this dead body, or 
rather " body of death," to haunt the souls of living 
saints. Our wise God raised a stately structure over 
the ruins of Adam's fall, or he had never suffered it. 
God doth his servants good by their sins ; this uncouth 
experiment made good Mr. Fox to say, " That his 
graces did him most hurt, and his sins most good." A 
strange paradox, but a gracious soul knows what this 
means, that hath many a time by divine assistance, 
fetched heaven out of hell, light out of darkness, 
sweet advantages from sad miscarriages. Sometimes 
the Christian can say, I had sinned, except I had sinned, 
the furthest way about hath proved the nearest way 
home, God hath suffered me to break my bones by fall- 
ing, that he might set them more strongly. " We can- 
not go to heaven," saith an experienced divine, * " by 
Geometry, we must fetch a compass by the gates of 
hell, and hear what news with Satan, ere we be duly 
humbled, or can relish the promises aright." Yet mis- 
take not, no thanks to sin or Satan for this, but to free 
grace, that orders all things for the best ; nor let any 
adventure upon sin with such a conceit, for this were 
to " sin that grace may abound ;" that is the devil's 
logic and dangerous presumption. But when the 
Christian hath fallen thus, the Lord helps him to im- 
prove his falls for spiritual good ; but much more all 
dispensations of providence, sweet and severe ; if it go 
well with the treasured soul, it is drawn nearer to God 
by these cords of love ; if ill, it is whipped further from 
sin and the world by these scourges of anger. He can 
* Mr. Capel, on Tempt, page 234. 


fetch a good crop of spiritual fruit out of the barren 
heath of a wilderness condition. If from outward 
poverty he get this advantage, to be " poor in spirit," 
it is a rich gain, and worth a mine of gold ; and so of 
other afflictions. The north wind is sharp and piercing, 
the south wind soft and cherishing, but both blow good 
to the Christian, and make his spices flow out, or graces 
break forth into lively exercises. — Cant. iv. 16. Yet 
further, this treasure doth in a sort consecrate all states, 
so that let a man have more or less, he hath a sufficient 
treasure if he have this treasure within ; " godliness 
with contentment" is not only enough, " but gain," 
yea " great gain ;" it seasons all things. That man 
hath nothing that wants this — that man who hath 
this wants nothing. Wicked men may have much, 
but godly men have all things. * When Jacob 
and Esau complimented each other about the present 
which Jacob sent to pacify his angry brother, Esau 
said, " I have enough my brother," Jacob also said, 
" I have enough ;" but in the Hebrew, Esau said, " I 
have much," f and Jacob saith, " I have all," or " all 
things are to me," J intimating that Jacob's treasure 
■was far beyond his brother's, even as the whole is more 
than the part. There is a secret blessing attends this 
hidden treasure, which gives content with want or 
abundance, and if God see good lie will increase the 
store. However, a saint's modicum, or little, amounts 
to more than wicked men's multum, or large revenues, 
as the word of truth testifies. — Psalm xxxvii. 16. 

7. This treasure is safe, it is well locked up, and 
cannot be lost, Phil. i. 6, " being confident of this very 

* Habet omnia qui habet habentem omnia. 

+ Gen. xxxiii. 9, 11. l"l ^ tpi multum est mihi. 

+ bj w W* sunt mihi omnia. 


thing, that lie which hath begun a good work in you, 
will perform it until the clay of Jesus Christ." It is 
true, an external profession, and mental accomplish- 
ments may be lost, but sincere saving graces shall not 
be lost. It is also true, a saving treasure may be ob- 
scured, but cannot be destroyed ; yea, it may be dimi- 
nished, but is never totally wasted. The infinite Jeho- 
vah is the keeper of Israel. He that is the portion of 
your cup, will maintain your lot. * It is not so much 
the truth, nor yet the strength of grace that keeps you 
from falling, but it is God only who alone is able to keep 
you from falling, and who supports the weak Christian. 
Received grace will not preserve without assisting grace ; 
faith as a habit, will not cany on the soul to death, or 
through death, but we are kept by the power of God, 
through faith unto salvation. — 1 Pet. i. 5. The power 
of God, as the efficient cause, — faith, as the the instru- 
ment ; God keeps faith, and faith keeps the soul stead- 
fast. They that have Mary's part and Mary's spirit, 
shall never be poor ; God will fulfil the desires of them 
that fear him, and will likewise fill the hearts of his 
saints with a rich treasure. " My God," saith Paul, 
" shall supply all your need according to his riches in 
glory by Christ Jesus." — Phil. iv. 19- It is a mighty 
full expression, and refers to all want, spiritual, as well 
as corporeal. Our heavenly father gives his travelling 
children a sufficient stock to bear their charges through 
the world, and discharge every debt of duty to God and 
man, in some measure of sincerity. This is that two- 
pence with which the good Samaritan furnished the 
wounded man, f as some allegorize. It is true, some 
saints live at a high rate, in great expence, in costly 
duties, but this very chargeable living in high and hard 
exercises, and efforts of self-denial, do much increase 
• Psal. xvi, 5. t Luke x. 3.5. 


the Christian's store. A Christian is no loser, but a 
gainer, by flesh-displeasing performances ; the more 
strength you lay out for God, the more you feteh in. 
This is one means to keep a spiritual treasure from 
being lost. Neither men nor devils can deprive you of 
it ; you may take up blessed Paul's bold and triumphant 
challenge, Rom. viii. 35, " Who shall separate us from 
the love of Christ ?" All the powers of darkness cannot 
loose this knot betwixt a precious Saviour and a gra- 
cious soul. The covenant is ordered in all things, and 
sure, it contains the sure mercies of David, * it is a 
covenant of saH. " The mountains shall depart, and 
the hills be removed, but my kindness shall not depart 
from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be 
removed, saith the Lord, that hath mercy on thee." 
Isaiah liv. 10. Grace is the seed of God that abides for 
ever ; God may repent of bestowing common gifts, but 
these saving gifts and this holy calling are without re- 
pentance. All the motions and commotions in the 
world cannot rob the believing soul of its treasure. 
Those flames that shall burn the world cannot dissolve, 
but will rather cement and solder, the blessed union of 
a saint to his Saviour ; the treasured Christian may 
stand upon the world's ruins, and say, I have nothing 
of all this huge heap to lose ; I shall not be a mite 
poorer for the stupendous conflagration of this goodly 
fabric. Let brutish worldlings weep and wail over 
their fair houses, large domains and full bags, numerous 
cattle, and gorgeous attire ; I am rich still, as rich as 
ever I was, and some richer, for what I had in hope 
and expectation, I have now in full enjoyment and 
possession. Augustine sweetly discourseth concerning 
one Paulinus Bishop of Nola, who, having lost a great 
estate by the invasion of the Barbarians, prayed thus, 
* 2 Sam. xxiii. 5. Isaiah lv. 3. 


" Lord, I shall not be troubled for silver or gold, for 
where my all is, thou knowest ;" for, saith Austin, 
there he had his all, where he, who had forewarned 
the world of these approaching evils, had warned him 
to lay it. * A little after, he saith that some were tor- 
tured by the Barbarians to discover their riches, but 
adds he, " nee prodere nee perdere potuerunt bonum 
quo ipsi boni erant ;" they could neither betray nor 
lose that good by which they themselves were good, 
namely, their graces and virtues. Oh sirs, what would 
you give to have your estates secured in a losing, plun- 
dering, desolating day. Here is an insuring office, the 
God of heaven will secure the well-laden ship, that it 
shall come safe to shore. Certainly this is a rich privi- 
lege in a day when we can be sure of nothing, that, 
that only which can make us happy, that and nothing 
else can be made sure. 

8. God knows and owns, that treasure which some- 
times is hid from the possessor. This is a sweet con- 
sideration ; Col. iii. 3, " Our life is hid with Christ in 
God," that is, sometimes it is hid from our own eyes, as 
well as from the eyes of others, but still it is hid with 
God, and he that hides can find. Saints are called God's 
hidden ones, and their life is hidden, alike in respect of 
safety, secresy, and obscurity. A Christian may have 
more of God in him than he knows of ; it is one thing 
to have grace, another to know that we have grace. A 
child of God may have the seed and root of holiness, 
yet want the bud and blossom of actual comfort. A 
sincere soul hath always the solid foundation for, yet 

* Domine, non excrucier propter aurum et argentum, ubi enim 
sint omnia mea tu scis : ibi enim habebat omnia sua, ubi eum con- 
dere et thesaurizare ille monuerat ; qui haec mala mundo ventura 
praedixerat. — Vide plura in lib. 1, de Civit. Dei cap. 10, cui 
Titulus est — " Quod Sanctis in amissione rerum temporalium nihil 


may, at some time, be without the actual possession of 
divine consolations. Sometimes God withdraws the 
light of his countenance, and leaves the soul in dark- 
ness and desertion ; he often suspends that act of the 
Spirit, which may evidence the soul's interest and sin- 
cerity ; sometimes the Christian is lazy, and useth not 
God's appointed means to beget assurance; or by think- 
ing of more comfort, than God is willing to impart, 
may deny what he hath ; or by entertaining some be- 
loved lust, or by the prevalency of melancholy, or ina- 
bility of natural parts, this treasure may be hid from 
the eyes of the believer himself. These, and other rea- 
sons, divines * have laid down as causes of a Christian's 
want of comfort or assurance. Every saint knows this 
by too sad experience, that he is often at a loss, and 
cannot tell what to make of his condition ; he hath his 
nights as well as days, a nipping winter as well as a 
flourishing summer. The sap of grace may retreat 
into the root — the herbs and flowers, and plants, may 
shrink and disappear — and this goodly new creation may 
droop and lose its glorious verdure, yet life may be 
there. A summer may come at the return of the year, 
when the glorious sun of righteousness shall reflect 
beauty upon these hidden graces, and draw them 
forth into lively fruits of gospel obedience, whereby 
the saint shall live again, and know that he lives ; 
believe, and know that he believes. In the mean 
time, while such a soul doth walk in darkness and 
see no light, let him trust in the name of the Lord, f 
and stay himself upon his God ; let him even cast an- 
chor in the dark, and repose his troubled heart upon 
the rock of ages ; faith is a venture, and you must ven- 

* See Dr. Sibb's Soul's Conflict. Symond's Deser. Soul's Case. 
Baxter's Rest, part 3, p. 156 — 169. 
t Isaiah 1. 7- 


ture your all on this bottom, use God's appointed means 
for obtaining comfort, improve free grace, study the 
promises, awaken your graces, recollect experiences, re- 
new your repentance, walk closely with God, be impor- 
tunate at the throne of grace, and certainly joy and 
comfort will spring forth speedily. Peace is the usual 
result of the exercise of grace, and as the striking of 
flint and steel together produceth fire, so the lively act- 
ing of sincere grace, upon its proper object, begetteth 
the light and heat of joy and warmth ; yea, it is the ob- 
servation of a good divine, * that the comfort of letting 
out our hearts to God, is a greater comfort, than any 
comfort we can have in receiving any thing from God ; 
but this is sure, if you have a treasure of graces, God 
will, in due time, give you a treasure of comforts ; 
if he do not fill you with joy and peace in believing, 
yet he will maintain his interest in you, and keep you 
from fainting ; if you have not spiritual suavities, you 
shall have secret 6ustentation ; if your state be not 
sweet, yet it shall be sure ; his grace shall be sufficient 
for you, and that is equivalent to the mercy desired, 
and the less comfort you have in the way, the more you 
shall have in the end, and it matters not much whether 
comfort come an hour before death, or an hour after, 
since it will certainly come, as a man of God once said. 
In the mean time, approve your hearts to God, he search- 
eth the hearts, and knoweth what you are and have, 
though neither yourselves nor others know it ; he sees 
how your principles lie within you, and knows, that is, 
approves the way of the righteous, f and though your 
way be troublesome, yet your end shall be peace, { and 
though you may be ready to misjudge your state and 
acts in a hurry of temptation, yet your happiness doth 

* Mr. Burrough's on Hos. ii. 19, page 606. 

+ Psal. i. 6. + Psal. xxxvii. 37- 


not depend upon your account of yourselves, but upon 
God's account of you in Christ. A gracious soul may 
not know the acts of faith, yet may be satisfied respect- 
ing the object of faith ; he cannot say sometimes, I 
know that I do sincerely believe, but yet may say, I 
know in whom I have believed, * and desire again to 
believe. The good soul may say, I know not how 
things are with me, I have lost myself in a thicket of 
cares and fears ; yet, I put my hand into his, who knows 
the way, and can lead me out, and let him, who in ten- 
der care of my soul shed his precious blood for it, see to 
the safe conducting of it to a blessed place of rest, and 
to the lodging of it in the bosom of Abraham. 

9. A treasured believer hath a treasure in heaven, and 
indeed, his best treasure is above ; for this treasure in 
his heart is the counterpart of a treasure in the heavens. 
These are always conjoined. Never is any soul brought 
up to heaven, but first God brings down heaven into it. 
God furnisheth the soul by the operations of his grace, 
and then takes possession of it by the earnest of his 
spirit, before he fill it with glory. — 2 Cor. v. 5. Hast 
thou a treasure laid up in thy heart ? That is, the 
first fruits of a larger vintage ; light is sown for the 
righteous, and, I may say, in the hearts of the righteous; 
if gracious treasures be laid up in the temple of your 
souls, glorious things are laid up in the new Jerusalem 
for you, such things as eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, 
nor heart conceived. Happy art thou, oh poor soul, or 
rather rich soul, poor in this " world, rich in faith, and 
heir of a kingdom," yea, " of the kingdom ;" f thou 
mayest both sigh and smile at the mad and frantic 
world, that weary themselves for very vanity, that tor- 
ment themselves in caring and toiling for an earthly 
treasure, which, when obtained, doth rather beget tor- 
ment than content, and leads at last to final desperation. 
* 2 Tim. i. 12. f James ii. 5. 


It is recorded of Stigandus, archbishop of Canterbury, 
that he lived very poorly, saying and swearing " that 
he had nothing, no, not a penny ; * yet by a key fastened 
about his neck, there were found great treasures after 
his death, which he had hid under the ground ; but, 
alas, that key would not open heaven's gates, nor would 
that treasure purchase glory. But the believing soul 
hath his treasure above, and by faith he hath interest 
in the Lord Jesus, who hath, indeed, the key of David, 
and is already entered into the holiest of all, and hath 
set heaven's gates wide open to his purchased and pre- 
pared ones, and who is gone to prepare a place for them. 
Oh sirs, fear not ; you that have grace shall not miss 
of glory, as your Head is in heaven, so you shall be 
called to be with him ; he will open the gates of glory 
to those that opened their hearts to receive the King of 
Glory. The treasure of grace raiseth the heart to this 
treasure above, and lays up provision for an eternal 
state. This stream runs to that ocean, and shall at last 
be swallowed up therein, where there " is fulness of 
joy, where there are pleasures for evermore."! And let 
this excite all persons to hoard up a treasure in their 
hearts and in heaven, which " neither moth nor rust 
can corrupt, nor thief break through and steal." ^ Alas, 
poor creatures, if you get a treasure in the world, what 
will you do for a treasure when you must be gone 
hence ? Your earthly treasures will not purchase eter- 
nal happiness. You cannot always live here, therefore 
lay up in store for yourselves, a good " foundation 
against the time to come, that you may lay hold on 
eternal life." — 1 Tim. vi. 19- Make friends of the 
" mammon of unrighteousness, that when these fail, you 
may be received into everlasting habitations." — Luke 
xvi. 9. Like that provident King of the Spartans, who 

* Mr. Fox's Acts and Monum. fol. 174. t Psalm xvi. 11. 
J Mat. vi. 20. 


observing the people to dethrone their kings at the 
year's end, and thrust them into a foreign isle to live 
in misery, did not figure away in that prodigality 
wherein his predecessors lived for one year, but provided 
a great estate for himself in that country where he 
was to be banished, that he might live comfortably 
when he was degraded : just thus must the wise and 
gracious Christian do; provide amidst the enjoyment of 
all things, for a day of darkness in the want of 
all things. As time is the seminary of eternity, so the 
soul is to lay up here for an eternal state hereafter 
Blessed is that soul that is found with these treasures 
in his heart ; a crown of righteousness is laid up for 
those in whose hearts is found the work of righteous- 
ness, and upon whom are found the robes of righteous- 
ness. Let such bless God for grace, and long for 

10. Consider yet further, treasures of glory are pro- 
portioned to treasures of grace in the heart. It is true, 
they that have least glory in heaven shall want none ; 
yet withal, it is very likely there will be degrees of 
happiness, and they that have had most grace will have 
most glory. My reason is, because grace doth widen 
and capacitate the soul for larger revenues of glory. 
Many vessels of great and small quantity cast into the 
ocean are all full, but some hold more, and others less ; 
such is the immense and inconceivable happiness of the 
saints above, that all shall have all, and none shall want 
any thing to complete their felicity. As it is impossible 
for a soul to be in heaven and not be happy, so there 
shall be no nook nor corner of a glorified soul, but it shall 
be filled with happiness. These clean vessels shall be 
filled with the new wine of the kingdom ; " God shall 
be all in all," all good to all souls, and in all souls; yea, 
such is the vast and infinite ocean of glory, that they 



shall " enter into their master's joy," not it into them, 
tin nigh they shall be as full of it as their hearts can 
hold. Oh how will they bathe themselves in those 
rivers of pleasure ! The mind shall be full of light, 
the will of holiness, and the affections of raptures 
and satisfaction; " when we awake we shall be satisfied 
with his image," Psalm xvii. 15, nor shall there be any 
envyings of one another's happiness, though one star 
differ from another in glory, but every one shall bear 
his part in the lower or higher praises of God, as one 
saith, with a harmonious variety in perfect symphony. 
Certainly, that unfading crown of glory shall be as 
weighty upon every saint's head, as he is able to bear, 
though that weight shall be their joy; nothing is heavy 
in its proper element, and heaven is the proper element 
of the " spirits of just men made perfect ;" hence it is 
said, " the four living creatures," that is, the com- 
munity of the faithful, " rest not day nor night, praising 
God," Rev. iv. 8, yet their work is their rest, only some 
have an instrument of six, some of eight strings, others 
sing praise to God upon an instrument of ten strings, 
having more enlarged faculties fitted to that angelical 
duty. It may seem that as there are degrees of tor- 
ments in hell, for it will be more tolerable for some 
than for others,* so there will be degrees of happiness in 
heaven, by the rule of contrarieties ; " For," saith 
Beza, f " that Scripture of sowing and reaping spar- 
ingly, and liberally," in 2 Cor. ix. 6. refers not only to 
charity and temporal advantages, but piety and eternal 
incomes." Thus doth Calvin ^ interpret it also, and 
the parable of the talents, whose reward was propor- 

* Matthew xi. 22. t Vid. Bez. Quaest. et Resp. p. 98. 

X Carterum messis tarn de spirituals mercede vitae aeterna?, quam 
tcrrenis benedictionibus, quibus Deus prosequitur homines bene- 
fices exponi debet — Calv. in lac. 


tionable to the improvement. — Luke xix. 16 — 19- It is 
true, parabolical divinity is not argumentative, yet the 
main scope of a parable hath a demonstration in it, and 
it may seem probable that those whom God honours 
with most grace, and that honour God with most ser- 
vice and suffering should be most honoured with glory ; 
but nothing of merit is in all this, for giving heaven 
as wages for work is an act of commutative justice. 
But what equality is there betwixt finite services and 
infinite glory ? None at all. No, no ; eternal life is 
the gift of God. Let proud papists say, they will not 
have heaven gratis ; let the real saint look upon gospel 
blessings as fruits of free grace, and the city above as 
built all of this free stone, and the way paved thither 
with the meritorious blood shed by our dear Redeemer ; 
but whether there be degrees of glory or not, be sure the 
treasured soul shall have its share; we shall however be 
best able to resolve this question by experience,* vision 
and fruition will form the best determination. Now 
these great things are riddles and mysteries to us, be- 
cause we look but through a glass darkly ; we have 
but faint emblems and poor glimpses of that glory 
which shall be revealed, but then we shall see God as 
he is, and know all things fit for creatures to be ac- 
quainted with ; a thousand of these hard knots shall 
be untied, and our souls fully irradiated with the beams 
of divine light. 

* See this question answered in Buch. loc. 36. De vita. a?terria, 
page 446. Decided that there shall be degrees of glory from 
1 Thess. ii. 19 Dan. xii. 3. 1 Cor. xv. 41. 

Q 2 



But here come in many doubting souls, with their 
several sad complaints and self-puzzling objections. 

1. Alas, saith one, I fear I have no such treasure as 
is here described, for I have a very ignorant head, and 
therefore an empty heart ; these treasures enter in by 
the door and window of knowledge, but I know no- 
thing yet as I ought to know. I cannot conceive 
aright of one truth, and how should I then have a 
treasure of truths ? 

I answer, it is well thou art complaining ; unsanc- 
tified knowledge puffeth up with conceits of imaginary 
attainments, gracious souls are sensible of defects and 
lament their ignorance. David was a saint well- 
treasured, yet calls himself a beast ; Agur was a wise 
and holy man, yet professeth that he was more brutish 
than any man, nay, he saith " he had not the under- 
standing of a man." — Prov. xxx. 2. It is a hopeful 
sign to hear Christians bewail their ignorance, but it 
doth not become any man to brag of his knowledge : 
1 he lowest humility is the highest attainment : self- 
denial is a sign of, and means to spiritual riches : it is 
a sign thou hast profited, when thou discernest and 
bewailest thy non-proficiency. Besides, you must 
know, that you are not to determine on your treasure 
of truths, by the number of truths known, but by the 
manner of your knowing them, and your estimation of 
them. Do you value the truth so, as to buy it at any 
rate, and to sell it at no rate? nay, are you not willing 
to part with your lives rather than truth ? Hath not 


truth had efficacy in your hearts, authority over your 
consciences, and prevalency in your conversation ? Do 
you give up yourselves to the truths you do know ? 
and walk with God according to light received ? if so, 
then you have a treasure both of truths and graces. 
It is a wonder to consider how little light, and how 
much heat, Christ's own disciples and zealous martyrs 
have gone straight to heaven with. I speak not this 
to sooth up any in ignorance, or to patronize negli- 
gence, but to quiet the poor doubting, disconsolate 
conscience, that is affected with a sense of its igno- 

2. Ah, saith another, is it possible that I should 
have a treasure of grace that have such a treasure of 
sin ? the Lord knows, my heart is even stuffed full of 
conniption, there is such a huge load on my back, such 
a monstrous body of death, that I much fear whether 
I have any grace at all in my heart, my sin bears me 
down like a violent torrent, lust is predominant, and 
— can grace prevail ? 

I answer, I am glad to hear these complaints from 
thee ; it is no new thing for a Paul to cry out of a 
" body of death :" living men feel the weight of a 
burden, but dead men are not hurt. Dost thou really 
complain of the power of sin ? then it is a tyrant, not 
a king in thy heart. Dost thou sigh and fight against 
sin? bless God for that light to see it, and life to 
oppose it : the forced damsel cleared her innocency by 
crying out,* so doth the vanquished soul evidence in- 
tegrity by earnest cries to God ; it is not a complete 
conquest, while the soul is struggling with its enemy, 
and gives not up the fort of the heart. But know 
this, that a Christian may have a large treasure of 
grace in his heart, and yet feel violent workings of 
* Deut. xxii. 27- 


depravity ; grace may be strong, yet corruption impe- 
tuous ; God may give it a commission to make violent 
incursions upon the well-furnished soul, for wise and 
gracious ends : only consider whether thy prayers be 
ardent, contests vehement, and mournings for it bitter 
and more than ordinary ; if it be thus with thee, thou 
mayest have a treasure for all that, not only a princi- 
ple of grace, but a large measure thereof; for oppo- 
sites illustrate one another, and though there be strong 
lustings of the flesh against the Spirit, yet if there be 
also proportionable struggling?, of the Spirit against 
the flesh, the soul's condition may be safe, and for 
aught I know, it may be rich in grace. 

3. But, saith the Christian, you talk much of a 
treasure of comforts, but alas, I know not what that 
means — alas, comfort is far away ; surely if I had any 
grace, I should have peace, but I have been long under 
sadness and in many disconsolate fears ; I am appre- 
hensive I have no treasure of grace. 

Answer. Grace and peace are not inseparable, they 
may be disjoined, as Scripture and experience testify, 
many a gracious soul hath been in deep sorrows, a 
soul may have a hell within it, and yet at last go 
to heaven ; a Christian may sail through a tempes- 
tuous sea to a quiet haven. Yea, further observe, that 
a Christian may have a treasure of grace, yet want a 
treasure of joy and comfort ; the reason is, because 
comfort is an effect of God's Spirit, who acts as a 
sovereign, and not by necessity ; for if the Spirit shine 
not upon the graces of the Spirit in the soul, it will 
have no comfort, though it be full of grace. Now, 
God doth sometimes suspend the comforting presence 
of his Spirit from the best of his servants, for righteous 
and gracious ends : hence we find eminent servants of 
God, that feared God above many, complaining of the 


want of comfort, as Job, and David, and Heman ; yea, 
sometimes we find our dear Redeemer, who had a 
treasure of grace and the Spirit above measure, com- 
plaining of God's forsaking him, and consequently of 
the absence of joy and comfort. Poor soul, do not 
murmur that God doth not always feed thee with 
these sweetmeats, which are the fare of the upper 
table, and are reserved for a heavenly banquet : what 
though thou hast not always actual possession of com- 
fort, yet thou hast a solid foundation for it : what if 
thou be not continually dandled on thy Father's knee, 
and kissed with the kisses of his mouth, yet thou art a 
child still, and thou canst not deny but sometimes he 
doth visit thy soul with heart-solacing consolations, 
and thou mightest have a treasure of them if thou 
couldest be ready for them, or rightly improve them. 

4. Alas, saith the troubled heart, if I knew my 
state were safe, I could be better satisfied amidst the 
want of comfort ; but I have cause to call every thing 
into question, I have been so barren and unprofitable 
under means of grace, ordinances, and providences ; I 
may cry out, My leanness, my leanness, woe unto me ! 
if there had been any real good in my soul, it would 
have been more increased under my long-enjoyed 

I answer, there is never a soul under heaven, but 
hath sad cause to complain under ordinances and 
enjoyments ; where is the man that can stand forth, 
and say he hath gathered in harvest as much as he 
might have done ? But there is a profiting for the 
obtainment of grace, hast thou had any experience of 
this ? hast thou been wafted over by the boat of ordi- 
nances, unto a state of grace? I hope thou canst 
not deny this. Well then, thou hast attained to the 
main proficiency, bless God for that : and for a pro- 


gress in grace, examine thyself a little more strictly. — 
Is not Jesus Christ more endeared to thee ? Do not 
the things of God relish better with thee ? Dost thou 
not more disregard the world, and all preferments that 
it offers to thee ? Is not thy prevailing purpose to 
cleave to God notwithstanding oppositions, more fixed 
and settled in thy heart, upon long experience of the 
ways of God ? Dost thou not every day see more 
demonstrative reasons to confirm thee in thy choice of 
this better part ? And let me ask thee, whether thou 
hast not grown downwards in humility, self-denial, 
hatred of sin, love to the saints, though thou canst 
not say, thou hast grown upwards in joy, faith, 
heavenly-mindedness, and communion with God ? Do 
not think thou art above complaint and proficiency in 
this life ; none have attained to a perfect treasure in this 
valley of tears, and shadow of death ; you will have 
cause to complain of defects and imperfections, which 
with your perfect Saviour's complete righteousness, your 
God will graciously cover and cure. 

5. But, saith the poor soul, methinks I fall very far 
short, not only of what I might have attained to, but 
what others, with the same privileges, have arrived at. 
I am outstripped by such as set out long after me ; they 
that were converted some years after me, have attained 
to more treasures of gifts, graces, and abilities for edi- 
fication, and I lag behind, what shall I think of 

I answer, thou hast cause to lament thy non-profi- 
ciency, and bewail that thou hast not kept pace with 
others. There should be a holy emulation amongst 
Christians, and a striving which shall be richest in these 
good things of heaven ; but withal, comparing your- 
selves with others, is no good rule, except it be to 
shame your negligent hearts and excite diligent endea- 


vours; because some have better parts, and may sooner 
attain to higher degrees of knowledge ; and some, God 
intends to call out to extraordinary service or suffering ; 
others, God designs to snatch away sooner by death, 
and so lays up much in a shorter time. Besides, though 
they may seem to have a larger treasure, yet you do not 
know what they may have to do with it ; they may be 
put to it, and all they have be little enough ; they may 
have such corruptions, temptations, afflictions, deser- 
tions, as may exhaust a great treasure ; possibly they 
put the best side out, and you see the bright side, and 
not the black side of the cloud ; you hear their prayers, 
discourses, exercises amongst others, but you know not 
their dolorous griefs, and bitter complaints, before the 
Lord in secret. Could you lay your ears to their closets, 
you would overhear their sad sighs for their fulness of 
sin, emptiness of grace, and naughty frame of heart. 
It may be your treasure is more settled, and theirs more 
floating, and you see it when the tide is high. You 
should take in all, before you judge yourselves by others, 
and indeed, no man is a competent judge of another's 
frame of spirit, you may even fall below hypocrites 
themselves in seeming enlargements. 

6. Yea, saith the soul, but I fall below others in real 
usefulness. If there were a treasure within, methinks 
it would appear more to the glory of God and good of 
others, but I do no good in my place, I cumber the 
ground, and bring not forth fruit as others do, who do 
God a great deal more service, than I do. 

I answer, the Apostle saith, there are diversities of 
gifts and operations, so also, all members have not the 
same office, and consequently not the same usefulness.* 
Some move in a higher sphere, and some in a lower, 
but if thou art placed in the heavenly orbit of the 
* 1 Cor. xii. 4 — G. Rom. xii. 4. 


church, thou hast some influence ; there is not a finger 
or toe in the body of Christ, but is of some use, and 
cannot be spared without making the body lame and 
defective ; not a loop or pin in the tabernacle of the 
church, but as it fills up some space, so it bears some 
weight ; not the choicest member can say to the mean- 
est in the church, I have no need of thee. Paul, though 
a great apostle, stood in need of the prayers of the 
meanest Christian. An iron key may sometimes open 
that lock, which a silver one cannot. There is never 
a saint in the world, that knows the good that he 
doth, nor shall it be known to others the use he is of, 
till he be taken away, and then the place will feel a 
loss of him : a city, a country, and kingdom may be 
spared upon the prayers and uprightness of one righte- 
ous person. Let not more worthy members despise the 
ignoble, since they cannot be without them ; and let not 
inferior members envy the more honourable, because 
God appointeth every one his station, and accepteth the 
meanest member's faithful service ; a sweeper of chim- 
neys may honour God in his place, as well as a pastor 
of souls in his ; a plain Christian in a leathern coat 
may, if faithful in his station, do God as much service, 
as a great Doctor in his purple robes. If thou be seri- 
ous in the work of God, thou mayest promote the cause 
of God in thy family, which may reflect a lustre on the 
whole church. 

7. But alas, saith the soul, I am so far from increasing 
my treasure, that I fear I am on the losing hand. I am 
spending, wasting, decreasing by sinful practices ; what 
I gain in a duty or ordinance, I lose by an act of sin- 
ning, and have much ado to recover myself. Oh tliis 
inconstant, unstable spirit ! What shall become of me ? 

I answer, the case is sad, and much to be lamented, 
but so it is with the best of God's children. David 


saith, thou hast lifted me up, and cast me down, while 
we are tossed upon the fluctuating waves of the sea, we 
must expect a mariner's motion — to mount up to heaven, 
and go down to the depths,* to have rich enjoyments, 
and sadder abatements, that we may know both how to 
want, and how to abound in point of enlargement. 
Sometimes our hearts are opened, as the heart of Lydia, 
to receive of that grace which becomes our treasure, 
then again our hearts are shut up, and we are in danger 
of shutting out divine incomes. Sometimes the sails of 
our souls are spread to receive the lively gales of the 
Holy Spirit, but how often are they contracted, and we 
then resist the blessed operations thereof ? Let us com- 
plain of this, as our sin and shame, but thus it must be 
in this sublunary state, to make a distinction betwixt this 
vale of mutability and the heavenly mount of unchange- 
able blessedness ; yet, take notice, that the believer's 
treasure may be maintained, and even increased by this 
variety of conditions ; by standing still, or falling back, 
he may grow more self-suspicious, penitent, vigilant, 
and diligent, and make the more haste after his God, to 
redeem the time that he hath left, and pick up his scat- 
tered crumbs. When a covetous man hath wasted any 
thing, or missed a good bargain, he will seek to make 
amends, by future diligence. Thus will the gracious 
soul do : so that God may overrule slips, to make a 
firmer standing, stumbling to produce a speedy motion 
forwards, and falls to occasion a greater needfulness 
and sensibleness. Hast thou not found it thus believer ? 
Hast thou not been a gainer by thy losses ? Have not 
these spiritual Egyptians of raging corruptions, paid 
tribute to thy soul, to increase thy spiritual stock ? 
Have not these Gibeonites been hewers of wood and 
drawers of water, to help thee in the service of the 
* Psal. cvii. 26. 


sanctuary ? I question not, but thou hast found these 
bitter enemies, as occasions at least, to put thee on to 
watch thy treasure better. The Canaanites were to be 
to Israel, as pricks in their eyes, and thorns in their 
sides ; * just so are sins to the saints — those pricks in 
their eyes make them weep more for sin, and those 
thorns in their sides spur them on towards the city of 
refuge. There are different sorts of Christians, some 
are solid, sober, and more regular in their movements, 
that keep forward in a good, even pace in the ways 
of God ; others are more unstable, sometimes pushing 
forwards, and then drawing back again, yet these may 
be God's children, as well as the former. Sometimes 
it is occasioned by the natural levity and fickleness of 
their spirits, or other causes, yet still the almighty arm 
of Jehovah is under them, and all his saints are in his 
hand, and though these unstable souls may not excel, 
yet they shall keep their hold, and be still approaching 
nearer to heaven, to that immutable state, where there 
is fulness of joy, and rivers of pleasure flow for ever- 

Thus much for answer to some objections ; I shall 
now conclude all with a brief and serious exhortation, 
and oh that I could persuade and prevail upon all to 
look after their share in the treasure, so largely opened 
to you. Methinks it should be an easy thing to per- 
suade men to embrace a treasure, but oh how hard it is 
to engage them to look after a treasure for their souls ! 
I see what a wretched thing a carnal heart is, and poor 
souls fight against their own interest, and forsake their 
own mercy. 

One would think that they who are poor in the world 
would be induced to think of some treasure at last. I 
beseech you, let reason be heard, argue rationally, and 
* Num. xxxiii. 55. 


let your souls be framing such thoughts as these — God 
hath cast my lot in a mean estate, and I work hard for 
a bare living ; I toil and travel night and day, and I 
can scarce get coarse clothes for my back, and food for 
myself and my family ; I would have got something 
beforehand, but I see it will not do, times are hard, 
trade is dead, I despair of growing rich ; the world is 
like a shadow, the more I pursue it, the further it flees 
from me, and have I been pursuing after that which I 
cannot overtake ? and which, if I should overtake, can 
do me no good, may do me much hurt ; and, in the 
meantime, have I neglected my immortal soul, and the 
getting of a treasure in it to make it rich and happy ? 
These spiritual goods are the best that can be got, and 
these may be got, and little else. O my soul, shall I be 
poor in this world and poor to all eternity ? Must I 
live in misery here, and be in greater torment here- 
after ? Oh why should I be such a perfect beggar, 
doubly poor, of a poor estate, and of a poor, low, dege- 
nerate spirit ? Oh rather let me be poor in spirit that 
I may be an heir of a kingdom, a better than this 
dunghill world can afford. If I want bread for my 
body, Lord, evermore give me the bread of life for my 
poor soul ; the garments of Christ's righteousness to 
cover my nakedness ; fine gold that I may be rich ; 
though I be separated from my neighbour, let me be 
united to the Lord ; though I be despised by men, yet 
let my soul be owned by the Lord ; although I have 
not a foot of land, or house of mine own in this world, 
yet, oh that I may have right to mansions above, that 
I may take possession at death of the inheritance of the 
saints in light. Thus do you that are poor argue the 
case, and rest not satisfied without the true riches ; 
if you cannot get earth, make sure of heaven, and then 
you make no bad bargain. Keep up this trade of re- 


ligion, when oilier trades decay ; live above the world, 
learn to act faith, put the bond in suit, make a virtue 
of necessity, and if you cannot get left-hand mercies, 
be sure of right-hand mercies, and then you are 
liappy for ever. 

Let rich men also look after a treasure above. I know 
it is a hard thing to persuade such as have treasures on 
earth, to look after treasures of heaven, and in heaven. 
It is impossible for them that trust in riches to be saved, 
and most men do so. Oh how apt are men of great 
estates to please and applaud themselves on account of 
their large possessions, especially after the malicious 
revilings of the poor, or the awakening convictions of 
God's Spirit by some heart-shaking Boanerges; they 
go home and thus bespeak themselves — " what need I 
regard the vain calumnies of the sons of Belial, or the 
furious invectives of these bawling priests ; I have need 
of nothing, and I fear no man ; I am able to live of 
myself ; let every man look to himself. * It is a hard 
world, and we must look to ourselves ; God hath blessed 
me with an estate, and I trust he loves me, and I shall 
do as well as others." Such workings are in rich 
men's breasts ! The God of heaven knows your secret, 
self-flattering thoughts, but they will be found to be 
vain another day; when you lie upon a death-bed, ready 
to breathe out your despairing souls, what will money 
do in the chest without grace in the heart ? What art 
thou better for hundreds or thousands a-year ? What 
art thou the better for the honourable or worshipful 
titles of lord, knight, esquire, or gentleman ? I have 
heard of a person of quality that cried out upon his 
sick-bed, " ten thousand pounds for a good conscience !" 
but alas, pardon and heaven cannot be bought with 

Populus me sibilat, at mihi plaudo 

Ipse domi simul ac nummos contemplor in area. — Hur. 


money ; purity and peace of conscience are valued at a 
higher rate, they cost the precious blood of Jesus Christ, 
and are not bought but given in God's way and in God's 
time. He was a fool that pleased himself with con- 
ceits of filling his soul with his full bags and furnished 
houses, or fruitful fields ; what are these to the immor- 
tal soul, which is of a spiritual nature ? No, no ; riches 
profit not in a day of wrath ; you cannot stop the mouth 
of conscience in the pangs of death with a little worldly 
trash ; try this in lesser things, and see whether " mo- 
ney, which answereth all things," will fill your hungry 
bellies, cure the head-ache or tooth-ache, or remove 
fevers ; * alas, it cannot, you know it cannot. How 
then, can riches satisfy, or sanctify, or save the immor- 
tal soul ? A time is coming when the careless and co- 
vetous worldling would be glad to exchange earth for 
heaven, and would be willing to cast all his rare com- 
modities overboard to save the precious vessel of his 
never-dying soul ; but he that has made the world his 
god, will have no God to relieve him when he is leaving 
the world ; he that has spent his strength and time to 
compass his worldly ends, will have nothing but his 
labour for his pains, in the upshot; what hath he gained, 
(let him brag of his bargain) " when God taketh away 
his. soul ?" f Nay, this very treasure that he hath 
heaped up, shall rise " up in judgment against him ;" 
so Heinsius reads, $ James v. 3, as though their gold 
and silver would become a treasure of tormenting fire 
to the rich and wretched misers ; and, oh what an 
astonishing consideration is this, that a covetous man 

* Non domus et fundus, non acris acervus et auri, 

iEgroto Domini deduxit corpore febres Hor. 

t Job xxvii. 8. 

+ c Qc Trvp' iQn)(javplaaTt iv 1<j\iit(iiq ijfjitpaic;. — Heins. Exercit- 
page 663. 


should gather the fuel to that fire which shall torment 
him for ever, and that his beloved minion, the world, 
with which he hath committed adultery, shall be the in- 
strument of his torment ; yea, some think further, that 
this earth, where wicked men have had their heaven, 
shall be the place of hell-torments after the great day of 
judgment. Certainly, this world, which hath bewitched 
sensual souls, shall be burnt with fire ; and how just is 
it, that where men have acted their pleasant comedy, 
they should suffer this last and everlasting tragedy? 
Oh sirs, think of this betimes, do but in cold blood con- 
sider whether your great estates will form a screen be- 
twixt God's flaming wrath and your sinning souls 
another day. Bethink yourselves betimes, whether you 
would have God or the world to stand your friend at 
death or judgment, whether you would have a heart 
laden with this heavenly treasure, or a conscience loaded 
with guilt, and filled with excruciating worms ; whe- 
ther you would hear that sad word, " Woe unto you 
that are rich, for ye have received your consolation," or 
" Come, my friends, enter into your master's joy." 
Remember you were forewarned of those things, look 
about you betimes. 

Here I might admonish all ages and sexes to get 
their hearts full of this treasure. You young men, begin 
the world with this stock, this alone will fit you for all 
callings, places, relations and conditions ; you are en- 
tering the world, and you know not what you may pass 
through betwixt this and the grave; without this trea- 
sure you are fit for nothing ; this will fit you for any 
thing, this will render you well-accomplished gentle- 
men, merchants, ministers ; this will carry you through 
all companies with credit and profit ; it will be an ex- 
cellent guide and guard in your journeys; this will 
season your younger years with gravity, prudence, and 


humility, and ripen your souls for heaven as your bodies 
are ripening for the grave. * Oh my brethren, set up 
with this stock, begin in grace, and you shall end in 
peace ; begin with this treasure, and you shall end in 
everlasting pleasures. 

And you that are aged, look after this treasure ; old 
men are addicted to hoarding ; why, here is work 
for you ; be hoarding up in your hearts, divine truths, 
graces, comforts, and experiences ; in " malice be ye 
children, but in understanding be ye men." Give me 
leave to admonish old men, and fathers, to labour to 
" know Mm that is from the beginning ;" f you delight 
much in antiquity, here is an object for you to contem- 
plate, even " the ancient of days." Oil mind not toys 
and earthly treasures, even the best of them ; let your 
hoary heads be found in the way of righteousness, and 
your hearts be filled with the fruits of righteousness. 
Alas, shall you be full of days and empty of grace ? 
Shall you be drawing to a period of your lives, and be 
destitute at the end of your lives ? Ah sirs, that you 
should be taking your leave of the world, and yet have 
laid no foundation, made no preparation for a better 
life ; alas, what shall become of you ? the Lord be 
merciful to you, and lay hands on you and pluck you 
" as brands out of the fire. It is a monstrous 'sight to 
see a wicked old man ! how unbecoming is it to hear 
an old man swear, to see an old man drunk, or unclean ! 
it is, indeed, a shocking sight ! such are worse, because 
they should be better ; the grey hair which should be 
a crown of glory, is e testimony of sloth, and monitor of 
approaching wrath. All sirs, think it not strange, if at 
the great day you be set on the left hand, that have all 

* Read Proverbs i. 4 ; ii. 1 ; and iv. 1 ; or rather, read the first 
nine Chapters in Proverbs. 

t 1 Johnii. 14. 


your days made choice of left hand blessings. The 
God of heaven awaken you to provide for eternity, be- 
fore the flames of hell awaken you when there is no 

Let all, and every one, without fail, without dally- 
ing or delay, look after this treasure. Oh let your 
souls be furnished with a store of holy thoughts, you 
are always thinking, the mind is active, never idle, 
always in motion. Oh get it furnished for contempla- 
tion ! bring some work to this millstone, else as Luther 
saith, " it will grind itself thinner," or be as a lamp 
that is soon extinct without a fresh supply of oil. You 
can neither discourse in company, nor spend your time 
in solitary retirement profitably, without this treasure. 
But I have been too tedious. Let not all these words 
be in vain to you, or rise up in judgment against 

A few words to those precious souls into whose bo- 
som the Lord hath dropped this heavenly treasure. 
These, I might urge to bless God for it, live up to it, 
make much of it, maintain and increase it, and be sure 
you do not part with it upon any terms. In giving 
your attention to this treasure, let it not be in the least 
impaired, wasted or injured. It is, I may assure you, 
a greater loss to lose one grain of grace, than a mine of 
gold, or both the Indies. The gaining of the world 
cannot countervail the loss of a soul, and if your trea- 
sure be gone, your souls are gone. Take fast hold of 
" instruction, let her not go, for she is thy life." — Prov. 
iv. 13. Let all go rather than part with your treasure. 
Caesar, swimming through a river to escape his enemies, 
carried his books above water with his hand, but lost 
his robe ; so do you. Though you should swim through 
a sea of sorrows, yet be sure you keep fast the Lord's 
deposit, make not " shipwreck of faith and a good con- 


science." Let neither the treasures nor pleasures of the 
world rob or cozen you of this glorious treasure. Take 
two famous instances of constancy in the primitive 
times. * The one is of a soldier, whom the Praetor 
could not with torments remove from his christian pro- 
fession, at last he commanded him to be laid in a soft 
bed, in a pleasant garden among flourishing lilies and 
red roses, and being left alone, a beautiful harlot came 
to him, and embracing him wantonly, solicited him to 
sin ; he resolutely opposed ; at last, for very vexation, 
and to prevent by his pain the danger of pleasure, he 
bit off part of his tongue and spit it in her face, and so 
bravely overcame. This valiant soldier would not en- 
danger his treasure for sensual enjoyment. The other 
example is, of one Hormisda, a great nobleman's son, 
who, for religion was condemned to keep the king of 
Persia's elephants, and to go naked. One day, the 
king looking out, and seeing him tanned with the sun, 
commanded a shirt to be put upon him, and to bring 
him before him, when the king asked him " if he 
would now deny Christ." Hormisda tore off his shirt, 
saying, " if you think I will deny my faith for a shirt 
have here your gift again." See here, a young man 
stripped naked, rather than lose his inward treasure. 
Imitate his resolution. Say as Job did, chap, xxvii. 5, 
6, " Till I die, I will not remove my integrity from me, 
my righteousness I hold fast and will not let it go ; 
my heart shall not reproach me so long as I live." 
Live upon your stock, make use of it upon all occa- 
sions, draw forth the seeds of grace, bring " forth much 
fruit," improve your treasure for maintaining constant 
intercourse with God. Josephus tells us, f that there 
was a tumult raised among the Jews, because their 

* Acts and Mon. par. 1, fol. 63, fol. 100. 
t Joseph, de Bello Jud. lib. 2, cap. 8. 
R 2 


holy treasure was wasted upon a conduit, reaching the 
space of 300 furlongs, but if you spend your treasure 
in maintaining ways of conveyance betwixt God and 
your hearts, it will produce an increase, and keep up 
peace with God, and peace of conscience. Communion 
with God will compose all mutinous insurrections in 
your own hearts ; pay to God the constant tribute of 
duty and obedience ; give him the glory of all, that he 
hath done for you ; sweep the temple of your hearts ; 
free it from all dust and filth; prepare a clean lodging 
for this blessed guest : the Holy Spirit is compared to a 
dove, and we know the dove is a delicate creature, and 
leaves its residence when it is defiled, so will the Spirit. 
Be holy in all your conceptions, and in all manner of 
conversation ; learn that blessed round that Enoch took 
of walking with God ; solace your souls in him, scorn 
any thing that the world can offer, as a temptation to 
divert your hearts into another channel; ask the world 
what it can give, that may be a valuable consideration 
for the loss of communion with God ; make such a 
challenge as Saul did in another case, — can the son of 
Jesse give you fields and vineyards ? So ask, can the 
world give pardon of sin, peace of conscience, grace 
here, and glory hereafter ? If it say it can, believe it 
not, it is a vain brag and impudent lie, like that of 
Satan's to Christ. If it cannot, as certainly it cannot, 
why shouldest thou leave the substance, and embrace 
the shadow ? Oh make not so mad, so bad a bargain ! 
I stand the more upon this, because there is danger, 
lest you should be cheated out of your treasure by the 
world, as Delilah beguiled Sampson, or as the maid got 
tiie apple out of the giant's hand by fair means, which 
the champions could not wrest from him. Do not de- 
light in the creature, lest it abate your content in God ; 
be not afraid of afflictions that accompany godliness, 


you may get a larger increase of your treasure by trou- 
ble, than by any other means ; as it is storied of Tibe- 
rius, that passing by a cross upon a marble stone, and 
causing the cross to be dug up, he found a large trea- 
sure under the cross. So may, and do, gracious souls 
find treasures under their crosses. 

But to draw to an end : the Lord engage all your 
hearts to make sure of this treasure, and to make much 
of this treasure. Lock it up in the inmost closet of 
your hearts, lay it out in ways of holiness as the Lord 
gives opportunity, raise up your hearts heavenwards, 
improve solitariness, do all the good you can in your 
places, sanctify the name of God in all things you do 
or receive, watch over your own spirits, be faithful 
unto death and he will give you a crown of life. I 
shall conclude all with an elegant exhortation of Cy- 
prian : " Thou only, whom the heavenly warfare hath 
sealed up in these spiritual tents, keep incorrupt, keep 
sober this blessed discipline of religious virtues ; be 
thou diligent either in praying or reading, sometimes 
speak thou to God, sometimes hear God speak to thee, 
let him instruct thee by his precepts and dispose of thee; 
whom he hath made rich, no man shall make poor; thou 
canst not now be subject to any penury, when thy 
breast is satiated with variety of all heavenly delica- 
cies ;" * thus he, " Blessed is the soul that hath this 
blessed treasure, and is mounting upwards to everlast- 
ing pleasures. 

* Tu tantum quern jam spiritualibus castris ccelestis militia sig- 
navit, tene incorruptam, tene sobriam religiosis virtutibus discip- 
linary sit tibi vel oratio assidua vel lectio ; nunc cum Deo loquere, 
nunc Deus tecum ; ille te praeceptis suis instruat, ille disponat ; 
quern ille divitem fecerit, nemo pauperem faciet ; penuria esse 
nulla jam poterit, cum semel pectus ccelestis sagina saturaverit. — 
Videas plura in Cup. Epist. lib. 2, Ep. 2, ad Donation. 




That the vacant pages may be supplied, it will not be 
out of place here, to annex a specimen or example, to 
help the active thoughts in the great duty of medita- 
tion ; yet, here I shall not undertake to handle the com- 
mon-place of meditation, which you may find insisted 
upon, purposely, by Mr. Fenner, Mr. Ball, Mr. Baxter 
in his " Saints' Rest," and many others — and abundant 
examples thereof, in those incomparable works of that 
reverend, contemplative divine, Dr. Hall ; but what I 
shall do on this behalf, is only to pursue the design of 
the foregoing treatise, in presenting some considerations 
to help the Christian to a treasure of good thoughts, 
that he may not want a subject of meditation, where- 
ever he is. Before I proceed to the examples, I shall 
speak a few words concerning thoughts and good 
thoughts, and deliberate good thoughts in the duty of 

Thoughts in general, according to Scripture, are the 

internal acts of the soul, of what faculty soever, mind, 

will, memory, affections ; to remember, is to think* on 

a person or thing ; to take care is to take thought ; f 

* Gen. xl. 14. t 1 Sam. ix. 5. 


to be troubled, is expressed by thoughts of heart ;* and 
so thoughts denote any internal operations, consisting 
of reasonings, motives, desires, designs, and resolutions, 
as opposed to external words or works ; so Isaiah lxvi. 
18, "I know their works and their thoughts." But 
thoughts are also taken more strictly, as being the pro- 
per products of the understanding faculty, the imme- 
diate musings of the speculative power, and so not only 
opposed to words and works, but also to the acts of the 
soul of another nature, and thus ciitics distinguish (as 
the word itself acts the critic, betwixt the thoughts of 
the heart, and the intents of the heart, in Heb. iv. 15. \ 
The thoughts then are the soul's self-conferences, dis- 
courses, parleys, interviews ; hence there is mention in 
Scripture of speaking in the heart, Deut. ix. 4, com- 
muning with our own hearts, Psal. iv. 4, applied both 
to the godly and the wicked ; the subjects of these dis- 
courses within, are either from without, or from within, || 
sometimes the subjects are fetched from abroad ; as if 
good, the thoughts are furnished from the word of God, 
or otherwise, Prov. vi. 22, "When thou awakest, it 
shall talk with thee," that is, thou shalt find the word 
as a sweet companion, affording thee matter of self-con- 
ference ; so also, the matter of thoughts may arise from 
within, but they are ordinarily evil, and so every ima- 
gination of the thoughts of man's heart is evil ; the 
word signifies every figment, § creature, or workman- 
ship, that the mind hammers within itself, as in a 
forge, mint, or on an anvil; for thoughts are, as it were, 
spun out of ourselves, they are webs of our own weav- 

* Judg. v. 15. 

+ Kat KpiTlKOQ IvOvflfatlOV KCU twOlhiV KOpcidQ. 

|| Psal. lxxvii. 6. Psal. xiv. 1, 

§ Gen. vi. 5. "^ ^T) omnc figmentum. 


ing, for thoughts can work of themselves, when there are 
no outward objects presented. Now my design is to 
furnish and rectify these internal operations of the 
heart, and to help the soul with such subjects and ob- 
jects as may find it profitable work when it hath no 
creature to converse with, that the thoughts may be 
holy, sweet, spiritual, and heavenly. Now there are 
four qualifications essentially requisite to the constitu- 
tion of good thoughts. 1. They must be materially 
good, not employed about sinful or trifling things, that 
do either prejudice, or not at all profit the soul; but ex- 
ercised in some spiritual, suitable meditations about 
God, Christ, the word, or what may tend to edification. 

2. They must be formally good, that is, regulated by 
the word of God, as the rule thereof, to square and 
order the thoughts, both for principle, manner, and end. 

3. They must be seasonably good, every thing is beau- 
tiful in its season ; a thing may be good in its own na- 
ture, yet not good as to those circumstances of time and 
other respects wherewith it may be clothed. 4. They 
must be eventually good, as to the fruit, effect, and im- 
pression of these thoughts ; he that thinks, should aim at 
God's glory and his own soul's good ; and the fruit of 
the thoughts must be good, tending to quicken or 
strengthen some grace, kill or crucify some lust, enlarge 
or encourage the straitened or saddened heart. Now, 
this is not a mere exercise of the mind and memory 
about good things, but a working them upon the heart, 
the impressing of these things on the will and affec- 
tions ; it is not merely speculative, but practical and 
experimental, it must be a set and solemn acting of all 
the powers of the soul upon divine things, in order to 
spiritual advantage, or raising the heart heaven-wards. 

And now I shall present to your thoughts twenty 
useful subjects to meditate upon, which may by the 


Lord's assistance, become in your souls a sacred trea- 
sure of heavenly thoughts. 

1. Let your thoughts be exercised upon the the infi- 
nite, eternal and incomprehensible majesty of God. 
Here you may soon lose yourselves in the vast ocean of 
his blessed essence, yet launch not too far, but bound 
your thoughts by the sure compass of Scripture disco- 
very. Thus think : Oh what a holy, omniscient, om- 
nipresent Spirit is the almighty maker and possessor 
of heaven and earth ! What transcendent mysteries 
are locked up in the trinity of persons, in the unity of 
essence ! How impossible is it for a mortal eye to ap- 
proach that inaccessible light ! " none can see God and 
live," yet have poor sinners a glorious reflection of the 
Godhead in the person of our dear Redeemer, and in his 
sweetly proclaiming his blessed name, and displaying 
his glorious attributes of wisdom, power, holiness, 
justice, goodness and truth to the sons of men. By 
these, we taste and see what a Being the Lord is. Oh 
how great is this Jehovah whom we worship ! " the 
heaven of heavens cannot contain him," he is the King 
of kings and Lord of lords ; he sitteth upon the circle 
of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grass- 
hoppers ; he is clothed with honour and majesty, thou- 
sand thousands minister unto him, ten thousand times 
ten thousand stand before him ; he is the God in whose 
hands my breath is, the searcher of hearts, the hearer 
of prayer, the Lord of hosts, and King of saints. O 
my soul admire him for his greatness, fear him for his 
justice, love him for his goodness, trust him for his 
faithfulness, worship him in the beauty of holiness, and 
delight thyself in his transcendent perfections. 

2. Fix your thoughts upon the works of creation, 
study this large, voluminous book, every page thereof 
will find you fresh matter of meditation and admira- 


tion ; every creature hath a tongue to tell us of the 
power and wisdom of its Maker ; and thus let your 
thoughts be working : Surely, this goodly fabric of 
heaven and earth speaks aloud the glory of the great 
Creator. If this vast globe of the earth be above 
twenty thousand miles in compass, then of what a vast 
extent are the heavens, which are stretched out as a 
curtain ! How admirably hath God laid the beams of 
his chambers in the waters, and suspended the earth 
upon nothing ! How firmly hath he built his stories 
in the heavens, and fixed the glorious constellations as 
fountains of light ! Oh what beauty there must be in 
the " Father of lights," that hath set up the resplendent 
luminaries ! These great bodies were created of 
nothing by the word of God's power, while there are 
deep mysteries in the least and lowest creature ; every 
herb, flower, plant, spire of grass, twig or leaf, worm 
or fly, scale or feather, billow or meteor, hath enough 
in it to puzzle the most profound philosopher, and 
speaks the power and wisdom of our great Creator ; 
how much more the curious piece of man's body ! " I 
am fearfully and wonderfully made," but much more 
may I stand admiring the strange nature of my im- 
mortal soul, and still reflect with thankfulness and ad- 
miration upon the power and goodness of my omnipo- 
tent Creator. 

3. Think on the capacity, excellency, and immor- 
tality of the precious soul ; you cannot think without 
it, and should you not spend some thoughts upon it. 
This distinguisheth you from beasts. Thus, then, me- 
ditate : What divine spark is this that God hath 
breathed into this lump of clay? this immortal soul 
which God immediately created, is greater and better 
than the world, and cannot be satisfied with the 
world ; it is a spiritual being, and of the same 


nature with the angels ; it is of an active nature, and 
can make quick excursions to the creatures, and sallies 
through this vast universe, and must return like Noah's 
dove, because there is no place to rest the weary foot 
of her affections upon. God alone is the anchor and 
centre of this tossed wanderer. This soul is capable of 
communion with God in spiritual ordinances and eternal 
happiness ; it must return at last to God, that gave it, 
to receive from him a sentence of absolution or con- 
demnation. Oh my soul, thou art in constant motion, 
whither art thou moving ? what art thou doing ? what 
condition art thou in ? and what must become of thee 
when thy body shall be left a putrefying carcase ? Soar 
aloft my soul, and mind things above ; debase not thy 
noble nature with the pursuit of things that are below 
thyself. Get well adorned with the graces of the Spirit, 
and enriched with an interest in Jesus Christ, make 
God thy portion, lay up lasting treasures in heaven, 
and then return unto thy rest, and God will deal boun- 
tifully with thee. 

4. Think much upon the sacred word of God, " me- 
ditate on it day and night, — let the word of God dwell 
richly in you," and let your thoughts be furnished with, 
and dwell much upon it ; what is in your Bibles is 
God's, but what is in your hearts is your own. Thus 
then, let your thoughts be working : Oh the infinite 
condescension of the great Jehovah ! What is worth- 
less man that God himself should write so large an 
epistle from heaven to him with the hand of his blessed 
Spirit ? What care hath God taken to direct, move, 
incite, and encourage fallen and sinning man to attain 
eternal happiness ! What precepts, promises, threat- 
enings, examples, are sprinkled up and down in this 
blessed book ! Oh the antiquity and authority, excellency 
and efficacy, power and purity, perfection and suffi- 


ciency, verity and perpetuity of the sacred Eible ! Me- 
thinks when I take up this Holy Book, I take wonders 
into my hand, and when I look within it, I meet with 
mysteries, that the wisdom of the greatest clerks can 
never reach, and yet the meanest capacity, by the help 
of that Spirit who indited them, may wade this deep 
ford of divine secrets. How plainly held forth therein 
are necessary truths and duties that lead the soul to 
God and eternal happiness ! How familiarly and affec- 
tionately doth God converse with man therein ! How 
pat and proper to my state are the precious promises in 
these blessed pages ! every word hath its weight, and 
comes as pertinently as if the Lord had named me. 
Methinks, there is no such virtue or savour in any other 
writings. What reviving doth it bring to my heart. 
O blessed be God for the holy Scriptures. 

5. Let your thoughts be employed about the glorious 
works of providence. Oh how sweet are they ! Whoso 
is wise will consider them. Pause after this manner : 
O my soul, take a view of this beautiful checker-work 
of divine providence ; consider the days of old, and the 
years of many generations ; recollect what the Scrip- 
ture records of drying up the " sea, driving back 
Jordan," the " standing still" and " going back of the 
sun in the firmament ;" reflect upon the miracles of 
mercy for the church, and of judgment upon her ene- 
mies ; nay, consider, O my soul, what wonders God hath 
wrought in thy days, in thine eyes. Oh what national, 
domestic, personal deliverances hast thou seen ! even 
such as may astonish the atheist, and silence unbelief 
for ever. Thou needest not want matter of holy musing, 
if thou take a strict survey of the course of thy life, 
and particular providences about thy soul, body, estate, 
name, relations, and all thy concernments, which may 
afford a vast field of devout meditation. Those ways 


of providence that seemed uncouth and unlovely whilst 
seen but in their birth and parts, how comely now are 
they in their mature product and perfection ! I saw 
not then, but I have fully seen since what the Lord 
aimed at in his strange dispensations. Oh the happy 
connection, symmetry, and contexture of all things, 
combining together by the concurrence of providence 
to accomplish, and to centre in the grand end of all 
things, namely " the glory of God." How wonderful 
are his " judgments, and his ways past finding out !" 
6. Think humbly upon man's apostacy. Let your 
thoughts be sometimes taking a view of the origin of 
all our present sinfulness and wretchedness in such 
thoughts as these. Woe is me, whence and whither 
are we fallen ? God made man " upright, but he 
sought out many inventions ;" once man was " created 
after the image of God," now is he defaced after the 
image of the devil ; once was man entire and straight, 
now lie is deformed and crooked in all his faculties ; 
once holy and happy, now filthy and subject to all 
sin and misery ; once he was the darling of God, lord 
of the world, and a fit companion for the blessed angels, 
now he is God's enemy, the devil's slave, and the basest 
part of the whole creation. Oh mutable free-will that 
chose to fall, that might have chosen to stand ! surely 
man, in his best estate was subject to vanity. Oh, 
how little w T as the pleasure, and how lasting is the pain ! 
But, O my soul, find not fault with Adam, — if thou 
hadst been in his stead thou wouldest have done as he 
did, yea, thou dost the same every day, too, too volun- 
tarily, and of choice : sin is a " transgression of the 
law," and this holy law thou breakest every moment. 
Oh my soul, what a miserable case art thou in ? what 
enmity to God, antipathy to good, and constant ten- 
dency to all evil is in thy depraved nature ! Woe is me, 


where is the light in my understanding, the rectitude 
of my will, the regularity of my affections ? Where is 
the tenderness of my conscience, the tenacity of my 
memory, and the victory over my inferior unruly pas- 
sions ? Lord, where am I, and what will become of 
me, except free grace interpose for my deliverance ? 

7. Think, oh think much upon the stupendous work 
of man's redemption. Here the ransomed of the Lord 
may and must expatiate in heart-melting meditations 
on the way of their recovery, thus : Here stand 
and ruminate, my soul, upon the sweet, transcendent 
contrivance to save lost man. Oh why, wherefore was 
it, that the heart of God was working for men, and not 
for devils ? they were as near and dear to God, when 
standing, and as perfect in their natures. Was it be- 
cause man had a tempter, and they had none ? No, 
certainly; though that may be a truth, yet no reason for 
chusing man, and leaving devils to be reserved in chains 
of darkness to the judgment of the great day. No, no ; 
free grace alone made the difference ; but, what was 
the way of man's redemption ? Why, truly, the Son 
of God, the second Person of the glorious trinity must 
become man, and put himself into the sinners' stead, to 
do and endure, be and bear what man must have gone 
through and undergone. Oh stupendous mystery ! 
oh transcendent mercy ! who could have devised such 
a way ? who durst have desired such a thing, that 
God should part with his only begotten Son for such 
an end ? Oh the manifold wisdom of God ! Oh the 
inconceivable love of the Father, to send his Son, and 
of his Son to come on such an errand ! Great is the 
mercy of God, " great is the mystery of godliness, God 
manifest in the flesh." O the wonders in his strange 
hypostatical union, the completeness of his person, the 
usefulness of his offices ! Oh the bitterness of his 


temptations, travels, trials, reproaches, agonies, deser- 
tions and death, sharp to him, sweet to us. These will 
be the subject of saints' thoughts, and praises in heaven, 
to all eternity. 

8. Think upon the terms and tenor of the gospel, 
how, and upon what conditions, Christ and all his bene- 
fits may be made over to you ; and that is, on a cordial 
accepting of Christ in his mediatorial offices, as he is 
tendered in the gospel, to justify, sanctify, and save. 
Thus then, conceive thereof: Oh strange mercy, 
boundless love ; God might have appointed the condi- 
tions of salvation to have been travelling tedious jour- 
neys, conquering kingdoms, or lying so many years in 
misery. He might have said, thou must either keep 
the moral law exactly or die eternally ; but he saith be- 
lieve in the Lord Jesus, and thou shalt be saved, nor 
hath he left thee, O my soul, to do this by thine own 
strength, which had been as impossible as the former, 
but he that requires faith of thee, promiseth to give 
faith to thee. Faith is in the covenant as well as for- 
giveness ; Jesus Christ hath purchased strength to be- 
lieve, as well as salvation for believers. Oh blessed 
contrivance, all is laid upon our gracious and all-suffi- 
cient surety ; he is exalted to be a Prince and a Saviour, 
he is the way, the truth, and the life, the author and 
finisher of our faith, he saves to the uttermost, all the 
elect who have faith, and none of them shall miscarry. 
This, this is the kernel and marrow of the gospel, that 
Christ is the surety for all believers and hath under- 
taken to bear them all to heaven by the power of his 
Spirit, and by virtue of his atonement, and he wants 
neither ability nor fidelity to bring about this glorious 
enterprise for poor souls. 

9. Think, and think again, what interest you have in 
this Redeemer and redemption, for all are not sharers 


in it, all will not be saved by it, nay, but few of those 
that hear the tidings of it. Think thus, oh my soul : 
What is thy state ? where is thy standing ? what in- 
terest hast thou in Christ ? what title to the promises 
of the covenant ? hast thou a sound and saving faith, 
a thorough heart-shaking, heart-breaking repentance ? 
I hear in the word that Christ becomes the author of 
eternal salvation to all them that obey him. Oh my 
soul ! hast thou given up thyself to him in the obedi- 
ence of faith ? What operations of the Spirit hast thou 
felt for thy effectual vocation ? what regenerating work 
hath passed upon thee ? art thou translated from death 
to life, from darkness to light ? art thou, indeed, trans- 
planted out of the old stock into the new and living vine ? 
what particular application hast thou made of this 
general redemption ? hast thou viewed a bleeding 
Christ with a bleeding heart ? and looked on him whom 
thy sins have pierced with a repenting, believing frame 
of spirit ? hast thou accepted of Jesus Christ in his 
mediatorial latitude, as Prophet, Priest, and King, to 
subdue thy lusts, to guide thee by his sceptre, and save 
thee in his own way ? Oh my soul, be serious in this 
inquiry, it is no trifling matter — it is as much as thy 
soul is worth — it is of great concernment to all eternity ! 
The way is strait and narrow — thousands are deceived 
and spend no thoughts upon it, till they be past hope 
or remedy. The stroke of death will suddenly deter- 
mine the business. Oh look to it, before that blow be 
given, lest it be too late. 

10. When thou hast cleared thy state, then think with 
comfort on the rich privileges of believers. Here thou 
mayest have a spacious field of contemplation ; God al- 
lows thee to solace thy soul in such thoughts as these : 
O the inestimable, incomparable, invaluable advan- 
tages of the saints ! What sayest thou, oh my guilty, 


weary soul, is it nothing to have sin pardoned, thy 
debts paid, the bond cancelled ? Certainly, to a soul 
heavy laden, under a sense of guilt, an assurance of 
pardon is the most joyful tidings in the world, and shall 
my filthy, naked soul be clothed with this blessed robe 
of Christ's perfect righteousness ? Oh the riches of 
free grace ! Shall such a base and bankrupt beggar 
become the beautiful spouse of the King of heaven ? It 
was infinite mercy that kept me thus long out of hell, 
but will the Lord also make this polluted soul an heir of 
heaven ? shall Jesus Christ be my elder brother, the 
Spirit my comforter, and God himself my Father? Oh 
boundless and bottomless riches of free grace ! more- 
over, O my soul, thou hast interest in all the promises, 
the assistance of the Spirit in prayer, and free access to 
the throne of grace. The providences of God are work- 
ing for thy good, the protection of heaven shall be over 
thy person, and the blessing of the Almighty shall be 
upon thy undertakings. Thou hast, O my soul, sweet 
fellowship with God, the benefit of communion of saints, 
and the presence and service of the holy angels ; he 
will guide thee with his counsel, and at last receive 
thee to glory. And is not this a ne plus ultra of pre- 
ferment ? Can thy covetous or ambitious thoughts 
reach any further ? No, no, my soul, God hath done 
for thee beyond thy expectation, even to admiration. 

11. Now then, my soul, let thy thoughts be working 
upon some returns. What doth God require of thee in 
lieu of all these rich and royal favours ? Oh set thy 
heart to study duty, lie under a sense of the law of 
thankfulness, desire the Lord to write that blessed law 
upon the table of thy heart, consider what thou hast to 
do, but here my soul is non-plussed. Alas, what re- 
turns can I make unto my God for all these benefits ? 
what can a poor, worthless worm do, in requiting infi- 



nite kindness ? Myself, and all I am, or can do, are 
the Lord's due, and here I offer up all to thee, O Lord, 
as a whole burnt sacrifice, which is most reasonable. 
Oh that it may be acceptable through Jesus Christ! 
my heart, my lips, my life shall praise thee, — bless the 
Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me bless his 
holy name ! Oh that my heart were well-tuned to sing 
the song of Moses, and of the Lamb ! alas, my soul, how 
low and dull art thou ! how short and shallow in thy 
poor returns for these rich receipts ! surely my soul 
will sing a new, and another kind of song amongst the 
heavenly choir of blessed saints and angels in eternal 
mansions. In the mean time, O my soul, be winding- 
up thy heart, screwing up thy faint affections ; be much 
in the work of thankfulness, lay out thyself for the 
glory of thy Redeemer, sin no more, serve him better ; 
walk with God, wait upon him, worship him with all 
thy heart ; do all the good thou canst in thy place, hie 
apace towards heaven, and lift up thy head with ex- 
pectation, desire, and exultation, for the day of redemp- 
tion draweth near. 

12. Think much, and seriously on the evil of sin, 
how offensive it is to God ! how destructive to the 
soul ! that so you may eschew and abhor the very risings 
and appearance thereof. Thus let your thoughts be 
employed : What a monstrous, shocking, venemous 
thing is sin ! it is the very epitome of all evil, worse 
than the devil himself, the most loathsome creature 
that crawls is very good if compared with sin. It 
is a heart-plague, more evil than all the plagues and 
diseases that are incident to the body of man, — it is 
worse than hell itself. O sin, what hast thou done ? 
was it not sin that cast the angels out of heaven, 
Adam out of paradise, and thousands, yea, tens of 
thousands of souls headlong into hell ? was it not sin 


that drowned the old world, burnt Sodom, and will set 
the whole world in a flame at the last day ? is it not sin 
only that provoketh the eyes of God's glory, grieveth 
his Spirit, breaketh his laws, and bringeth swift de- 
struction on impenitent sinners ? Nay, O my soul, 
consider, was it not sin that betrayed, arraigned, ac- 
cused, condemned, crucified and buried the Lord of life 
and glory ? Oh then, who would have any thing to do 
with unprofitable, pernicious works of darkness ? what 
fruit hast thou, poor soul, from sin, but shame, and 
grief, and death ? Oh what hurt hath it done 
thee ! what grief, and tears, and sorrows, and pangs 
hath it cost thee ! and all these better than the 
proper product of it, even eternal damnation. O 
my soul, God hates nothing but sin ! hate sin, then, 
with a perfect hatred, or with respect unto it, sin no 
more, lest thou offend a good God, gratify Satan, 
and damn thy soul for ever. 

13. Think much on the vanity of the world, and 
the uncertainty of all things here below ; read to 
yourselves sometimes, lectures on the instability of 
all worldly excellencies, and take off your own fin- 
gers from playing with them, lest God use some se- 
verer course to loosen your hearts from things below. 
Thus think, O my grovelling soul : What is it that 
thou seest in this garish strumpet to allure and en- 
tangle thy affection ? how comest thou to dote upon 
her painted beauty ? what real good, what solid com- 
fort hast thou ever found therein ? what are the pro- 
fits of it, but a little white and yellow earth, of the 
same nature and origin with thy vile and perishing 
body, and far inferior to thy noble soul ? what are 
the sorry honours of the world but bubbles, dependent 
on the slippery tongues and ears of mutable men, 
that can kiss and kill with a breath or beck? and, 

s 2 


what are the sordid pleasures here below, but swinish 
epicurism, that debase the best part of human nature, 
transform men into beasts, and leave a stinging guilt 
behind them ? Alas, my soul, why wilt thou set 
thine eyes upon that which is not ? what will riches 
avail thee in the day of wrath ? where is the hope 
of the hypocrite, though he hath gained the whole 
world, when God taketh away his soul ? what was 
Cain better for ail his fair cities, or Nimrod for his 
large dominions, or Absalom for his beauty, or Ahi- 
thophel for his policy, or Judas for his bags, or Dives 
for his delicate fare ? Hell-fire burns up all these, 
and heaven cannot be purchased with them. Alas, 
the fashion of the world passeth away, and when it 
is gone, what is a man better for being a gentleman, 
knight, lord, or prince? 31ors sceptra ligonibus <equat. % 
14. Let your thoughts be exercised about the 
the present, and final state of all the children of 
men, the vast difference betwixt the good and bad, 
the godly and the wicked, in this world and the 
world to come, and thus let your hearts be musing : 
Admitting that the wicked flourish like a green bay- 
tree, and do enjoy the world at will, that they are not 
in trouble as other men, but eat and drink, and 
laugh and play, and change their sports for more 
delight, and wash their steps with butter, and have 
more than heart can wish. In the mean time, the 
godly are daily afflicted by God, tempted by Satan, 
persecuted by the world, they are chastened every 
morning, and lie down with sorrow every evening, 
they eat their bread, and water their beds, with tears. 
Oh the bitter, heart-breaking griefs, by reason of 
the withdrawing^ of God, the unkindness of men, 
but especially from corruptions within ! Well now, 
* Death levels sceptres and ploughshares. 


my soul, wilt thou call this the only wretched man 
and the former the only happy person ? God forbid, 
so shouldest thou offend against the generation of 
God's children ; thou must not acquit the wicked nor 
condemn the righteous. No, my soul, look not with 
carnal but with spiritual eyes, " judge righteous 
judgment," he is not happy that hath the world at 
will, but he only is happy " whose God is the Lord." 
Search the Scriptures, and see there who is called, 
and who is accounted happy. " Mark the perfect 
man, the end of that man is peace," whatever be his 
trouble in the way ; observe the wicked, it " cannot 
be well with him" in the end ; Croesus, at last, found 
Solon's words true, " There is no man happy before 
death." O my soul, wisely consider the state of the 
godly and the wicked, and it will beget strange effects 
upon thee for thy encouragement and wonder. 

15. Sometimes let your thoughts run out upon the 
state of the church and people of God, that you may 
joy or sorrow, pray or praise God, with, or for Zion, 
and the saints. Upon blessed Paul's heart lay the 
care of all the churches, and shall we cast away the 
thoughts thereof? Well, then, my soul, art thou a 
member of the church, and wilt thou not spend some 
thoughts on it, and for it ? Let me feel the pulse of 
Christ's mystical body, how fares it with her ? is she 
in health, or is she sick ? what diseases is she labour- 
ing under ? do her sacred lungs move fast in prayer to 
God ? doth she flourish in her pure and powerful ad- 
ministration of divine institutions ? is she fair as the 
moon in the holiness of her members ? clear as the sun 
in the soundness of her doctrine, especially in that fun- 
damental point of justification by Christ's righteousness 
imputed? (hence, the woman, the church, is to be 
" clothed with the sun,") and is she terrible as an army 


with banners, in the due administration of wholesome 
discipline, and execution of censures? do the lights 
shine clear in the candlesticks ? are ministers in their 
places burning and shining lights, and do the faithful 
" walk in the light of the Lord ?" have the saints com- 
munion in all ordinances, walking together in mutual 
edification ? or, are they broken in pieces by persecu- 
tions or separations ? How is it with this militant 
church ? O my soul, take a full view thereof, that thou 
mayest rejoice with her, or mourn for her. 

16. Think, O think often upon death, your own 
death ; O that you were wise to consider your latter 
end ; amongst all your thoughts, spend some upon your 
dying day, set a death's head before your eyes, and think 
to this purpose : Oh what a dying, fading creature am I ! 
I dwell in a tottering tabernacle, in a house of clay, 
that is ready to be crushed every moment like a moth ; 
this vile body of mine is made of perishing ingredients, 
and my life is like a vapour. O my soul, thou lodgest 
in a brittle case, how certainly shall, how suddenly may 
it be broken ! and then thou launchest forth into the vast 
ocean of eternity ; death will shortly loose the knot 
betwixt these old companions, soul and body — nature 
abhors a dissolution, but what saith grace ? is the sting 
of death plucked out by the death of Christ ? hath the 
Lord of life warmed and perfumed the grave for thee ? 
Canst thou, O my soul, look beyond death at glory, 
and own it as thy Father's porter, or attendant, that 
takes thee by the hand to lead thee into his palace and 
presence-chamber ? Surely, if thou have a grounded 
sense of God's love, thou wilt, with the wearied tra- 
veller, long to be at home, and go to bed to take thy 
thy rest, thou wilt desire to depart and to be with 
Christ, which is best of all ? Only be sure, poor soul, 
that thy work be not to do when thy time is done. Get 


ready for that fatal stroke, it is a solemn business to 
die, it is but once to be done, and it must be well done, 
or thou art undone for ever. Look upon every day as 
the last day, defer not another day to repent and make 
thy peace with God, that thou mayest be found of him 
in peace. 

17. Pass on a little further in thy meditations, and 
let thy thoughts thus be exercised about the great 
things of the resurrection of the dead, and the solemn 
day of judgment : O my soul, consider what an illus- 
trious day that will be, when the great trumpet shall 
sound, the graves shall be opened, the dead shall be 
raised, and the living shall be changed, — the holy 
angels shall gather from the ends of the earth, the 
scattered bodies and bones of all the saints, from 
righteous Abel, to the last convert on earth, and 
again marry the blessed pair of soul and body to- 
gether, and convoy them up to meet their " blessed 
Saviour in the air," that they may with him judge 
the world of ungodly sinners. Methinks I hear on 
the contrary, the wretched bowlings of despairing- 
souls, whose bodies, will they, ifiill they, are dragged 
out of their cursed holes, and are forced to come 
trembling before the just Judge ; fain would they 
skulk in darkness, and not appear, being convicted 
in their consciences, and not able to stand in 
judgment, but appear they must, and yet they dare 
not. Methinks I see the Judge set, the books open- 
ed, and myriads of rational creatures attending the 
righteous Judge to receive their final sentence. On the 
right hand stand, the blessed saints in white raiment, 
lifting up their heads before their beloved husband, who 
absolves them, saying, " Come ye blessed of my 
Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you," wel- 
come home from a weary world — here are mansions 


ready for you — sit down upon these thrones — take 
these palms of victory into your hands, I set these 
crowns upon your heads, and you shall be with me for 
ever. On the left hand, the filthy goats, despairing, 
wicked wretches, expecting the dreadful sentence, 
" go ye cursed," wishing they had never been, or that 
now they might not be, calling to the senseless rocks 
to fall upon them, but all in vain ; the despised Saviour 
is their angry Judge, devils are attendant on the pro- 
nouncing of the sentence, ready to hurry them to its 

18. Let this, then, carry thy thoughts, O my soul, 
a little further to a serious meditation on the intolerable 
torments of hell : as soon as that sentence is out, then 
issues the order, take them, devil ; surely the punish- 
ment of loss is inconceivable. Oh how bitter it is to a 
poor child of God in this world, to endure the short 
withdrawings of God's pleasant face from their souls. 
What bitter lamentations and expostulations hath it 
wrung from them ! and yet, what is that in comparison 
of being banished from the presence of the Lord, and 
from the glory of his power ? Cain's mark of trembling 
proceeded from the dreadful sense of this formidable 
expulsion. Though wicked men care not for God's 
presence here, yet they shall feel to their cost what it 
is to want his presence hereafter. Together with God 
they lose all that is comfortable, they shall never have 
a good day afterwards, they lose ordinances, mercies, 
hopes of heaven — they shall never hear a sermon more, 
nor enjoy a day of grace again. Above them is the 
wrath of the Lamb, whose melting bowels are turned 
into a consuming fire to them — under them is the de- 
vouring lake of fire and brimstone gaping to receive 
thein ; on their right hand are the blessed saints whom 
they despised, triumphing in the execution of justice 


on them, and entering into their Master's joy. On the 
left hand stands that cursed fiend who drew them into 
sin, now as ready to draw them into hell, to be tor- 
mented with himself for ever ; behind them are their 
short and sorry pleasures in tliis world, and multitudes 
of abominations in a wicked life — before them is a sad 
eternity of never-ceasing torments — within them is a 
gnawing conscience — without them the saddest objects 
that ever eyes beheld ; old companions in sin roaring 
under wrath, legions of devils blaspheming God, and 
scourging their fellow prisoners, their beloved minion 
the world, all in a flame, and themselves fire-brands 
there for ever. O my soul, think on these dismal 
subjects sometimes, and let it work kindly on thy heart, 
to make thee avoid the way to hell, and walk in the way 
to heaven. 

19- On the contrary, O my soul, mount up to heaven 
in thy contemplations, soar above the clouds, and take a 
view of paradise, as soon as the bridegroom of his 
church hath admitted his beloved spouse into his pre- 
sence-chamber. O the rapturous joys, and transporting 
emotions at this blessed meeting ! Heaven echoes again 
at the triumphant hallelujahs of all the redeemed ones. 
How shall sorrow and sighing flee away ! Sin and 
sickness shall be known no more — Satan with his fiery 
darts, and wicked men with their drawn swords, can- 
not reach thither. There shall be no more complaints 
of ignorant and erroneous heads, of dead and hard, un- 
believing and distracted hearts, or of lame decrepit feet, 
there shall not be a tear upon a saint's cheek, for God 
will wipe away tears from all faces, not one complaint 
heard, nothing but joy and triumph, solace and satis- 
faction ; the blessed presence of the eternal God shall 
be all in all to those happy souls. Oh what is a sight 
of God worth ? but what will it be above, where it is 
immediate, constant and uninterrupted ? No need there 


of ordinances, God himself will be instead of all, it will 
be another kind of enjoying of God than poor souls felt 
in this world, though that was sweet, yet this shall be 
infinitely sweeter ; now, at the best, we see but through 
a glass darkly, then face to face ; communion with God 
is the heaven of that heaven, yet shall there be every 
thing beautiful and desirable — there my soul shall be 
filled with all perfections, and grace shall be complete, 
the mind shall in an instant have as large a comprehen- 
sion, as Solomon, or Adam in innocency ; my will shall 
be conformed to the divine will, in perfect rectitude and 
integrity ; my affections shall be spiritually and regu- 
larly fixed on the Lord my God, with fulness of de- 
light and joy ; my body shall shine as the brightness of 
the firmament, yea, it shall be made like unto the glo- 
rious body of Jesus Christ ; my whole man shall be fit 
for the high employments of heaven, and the enjoyment 
of God — there shall I meet with Abraham, and all the 
patriarchs, prophets, apostles, and martyrs, and all 
my christian friends that have died in the faith ; and 
oh the animating joys that will arise from such a blessed 
sight ! — there we shall meet and part no more, agree 
and fall out no more, rejoice together and be sad no 
more. O blessed day! my soul, be thou cheered in 
the forethoughts and foretastes thereof. 

20. Once more, then, O my soul, and but this once, 
fix thy thoughts upon eternity ! How canst thou for- 
get it ? What is this sorry point of time in comparison 
of the vast ocean of eternity ? Alas, poor mortals, act 
a part on this stage awhile, and then are gone into 
another world, which must endure for ever ! This little 
inch of time is a seed-plot for eternity ; upon the well 
or ill improving of this time depends an everlasting 
state in weal or woe. Oh what wretched folly is it to 
lose eternal happiness for a transient draught of 
sensual delights ! Oh what should not any endure 


here a short moment, to escape eternal terments ! Me- 
thinks nothing hath weight in it, but as it relates to 
eternity. Eternity is the only accent and emphasis of 
joy and sorrow. This is that which makes the joys 
of heaven joys indeed, and the torments of hell tor- 
ments with a witness. Oh for a poor, damned soul 
that hath been a thousand years, or a thousand thou- 
sands of ages roaring in hell, to think that it is not one 
moment nearer an end than at the first instant when it 
was cast into that devouring fire. This cuts to the 
heart, this adds new terrors to the despairing soul — 
here must I abide for ever. Oh that I might be con- 
sumed so as not to be ! cannot, may not I, poor wretch, 
be once at last annihilated, and be as if I never had 
been? No, no; once in hell and for ever in hell ; the 
great gulf of God's decree once crossed, is impassable 
again ; so, on the contrary, eternity increaseth every 
moment the joy of the glorified — here I am, and here I 
shall be for ever, saith the happy soul, my state is better 
than Adam's in the earthly, or the fallen angels when 
in the heavenly paradise ; I shall never lose these joys. 
Oh what a durable reward have I for a little temporary 
service ; my sorrow is past, my joy remains. How 
comes it to pass, that those light afflictions that were 
but for a moment have wrought out for me this exceed- 
ing and eternal weight of glory ? Surely, because it 
was my Father's good pleasure to give me this king- 
dom ; this eternal life is the gift of God. Oh, who 
would not do or endure any thing for this eternity of 
joys? Thus the soul will bathe itself in these rivers 
of pleasures at " God's right hand for evermore. 

I have now dispatched these set and solemn subjects 
for your thoughts to work upon ; I shall but briefly add 
some occasional grounds for holy thoughts, which, if 
you have a right frame of spirit, you may gather much 


from, to be a sufficient treasure for heavenly meditations. 
Take some instances in such as these. 

1. When you awake in the morning, think thus : 
The great Jehovah can, and will as easily raise our mor- 
tal bodies at the general resurrection, as my frail body 
now ; this sleep is the image of death — death is but a 
sleep, the grave my bed, the resurrection the morning. 
Oh that when I awake, I may be still with God, and 
then at my last awaking, I " shall be satisfied with his 
likeness," and the upright shall have dominion in that 
blessed morning. 

2. When you have had a good night, think : Blessed 
be the keeper of " Israel, that neither slumbers, nor 
sleeps," the " Lord only makes me dwell in safety," 
even " thus he gives his beloved sleep," and if natural 
sleep be so refreshing, oh, what is it to be received to 
the arms of my best beloved Christ ? what enjoyments 
have those souls that walk all the day in the light of 
his countenance ! and sleep all the night of affliction 
upon the lap of his love ! 

3. When you are putting on your apparel, think : 
How came I to the necessity of covering my nakedness ? 
By Adam's fall, sin ushered in shame, and these gar- 
ments hide our shame ; shall I, then, glory in my shame, 
or be proud of that for which I should be humbled ? 
O rather let me be truly sensible of my spiritual naked- 
ness, and look after the robes of Christ's righteousness 
to cover my soul's deformity, that the shame thereof 
may not appear. 

4. When you see the morning sky, or rising sun, 
then think : Truly light is sweet, and it is a pleasant 
thing for the eyes to behold this sun. Blessed be God 
that hath set up this candle, by which poor mortals 
may see to walk or work ; what a dark dungeon, and 
confused chaos would this world be without it ! but oh 


the blessed mercy we have in the light of the glorious 
gospel ! without which we should be in the darkness of 
ignorance, and go into utter darkness. 

5. When you pray in your chambers, think : Now 
my Father in heaven sees me in secret, darkness or 
closeness hides not from him — my God sees the move- 
ments of my body, and imaginations of my heart. Oh 
for an upright frame of spirit ! oh that my heart were 
now seasoned for God all this day ! The searcher of 
hearts will have his eye upon me whither soever I go. 
Oh that I could set the Lord in my sight in all places, 
companies and occasions. 

6. When your families are together, think : How 
sadly and suddenly might a breach have been made ! Oh 
that God should make this image of death, a means of 
life! We are alive, that is rich mercy; we are in health, 
that is more ; we are called together, so will God gather 
his saints together. How many of this family shall be 
of that number ! Lord, grant that none under my 
charge may be an Ismael, or an Esau. Oh that we 
may all meet in heaven. 

7. When you are to read the word, or go to prayer 
in your families, think : Oh what mercy it is, that I 
may read this blessed book ! Lord open mine eyes 
that I may understand the wonders of thy word. What 
an infinite, glorious, gracious God is this, to whom I am 
to pray. Oh for a suitable frame of heart ! Oh the 
mercy of a throne of grace, of a blessed advocate ! 
Who knows but some soul may be touched now, if I 
pray aright ? 

8. When you go out of your houses to work or tra- 
vel, think : The world is full of snares and temptations 
and my heart as full of sin and treachery. Little, ah, 
little do I know what corruptions may break out, or 
afflictions break in upon me before my return ; the 


least occasion of sin may seduce me, the least accident 
ma}' overthrow me — the Lord bless and preserve my 
going out, and my coining in, from this time forth and 
for evermore. 

9. When you are travelling by the way, think : My 
life is a journey, I am in constant motion towards eter- 
nity. Every action is another step; heaven is my home. 
I cannot get thither without diligent exertion ; Lord 
let me not miss my way, or miscarry in the end ; take 
me by the hand, support me by thy Spirit, keep me from 
fainting, give me some good baits, and bring me to the 
end of my faith at last, even the salvation of my 

10. When you see various objects before your eyes, 
deduct some holy matter therefrom, as thus : What a 
vast world is this ! and yet, what is this to the hea- 
vens ? and what are both earth and heavens to the im- 
mense and infinite God ? what multitudes of people are 
there in this city ? but, oh what an assembly shall meet 
at the great day ! O my soul, art not thou too like 
yonder hard rock, or fruitless tree, or barren moun- 
tain ? Look about thee, make something of these 

11. When you are discoursing with others think : Of 
every idle word I must give an account, and in a mul- 
titude of words there wanteth not sin. O my soul, 
think twice before thou speak once. Will this be to the 
glory of God and others' edification ? Let no corrupt 
communication proceed from thee ; say what thou 
wouldst say if Jesus Christ stood by thee in his human 
nature ; speak here as thou must speak in heaven, or 
wouldst be found speaking at death. 

12. When you are alone, oh think : I am now in the 
presence of the omnipresent God ; these are precious 
hours that go over my head. Why should I squander 


away my time and thoughts about trifles ? O my 
soul thou hast a noble faculty of reflection ! find work 
at home, busy thyself about thy soul, thou mayest find 
work enough. Oh that I might be never less alone 
than when alone ! When thou hast no creature to con- 
verse with, my soul, converse with God. 

13. When you eat, think : O how beneficial are the 
creatures to us living, and how serviceable, being dead ! 
they accomplish the end of their creation and appoint- 
ment. O my soul, sit thou as queen-regent, over thy 
sensual apj)etite ! take heed of excess, put a knife to the 
throat of intemperate desires, be not brutish in a sinful 
abuse, be saint-like in a sanctified use of creatures ; 
look up to God for a blessing, else these dead things 
cannot preserve life. 

14. When you rise up well refreshed, think : If the 
creatures be so nourishing and supporting, what is the 
Creator! oh the sweetness of the blessed feast of fat things 
in the gospel? oh the delicacy of the wine in my 
Father's kingdom ? why should I abuse the gifts, forget 
the donor, eat and drink, and rise up to play ? many 
better than I want these refreshments. Oh for a thank- 
fid heart ! what a bountiful master do I serve ! what a 
great housekeeper is the Lord ! that provides for so 
great a family in heaven and earth. 

15. When you go to public ordinances, think : O 
how glad am I when people say, Come, let us go up to 
the house of the Lord ! what a mercy is the Sabbath, 
this sweet day of rest ? what a blessed thing to have 
the benefit of these public places, and solemn assem- 
blies ! it is a comely sight to see people flock to ordi- 
nances, as doves to their windows. Lord, grant that 
some soul may be caught this day in the net of the 
gospel. Oh for a prepared, and profiting heart ! this 
may be the last day of grace. 


16. When you are to hear a sermon, think : The 
preacher comes as an ambassador, from God to me ; 
it is God that speaks, the great Jehovah, that can com- 
mand audience and attendance, and with a word can 
command us into hell-torments. The truths, O my 
soul, thou art to hear, are words of eternal life, and 
do nearly concern thy everlasting peace ; prepare thy- 
self for the receipt of them, slight them not ; for ought 
thou knowest, life or death may depend upon this 
sermon : heaven or hell is now before thee. 

17. When you are to partake of the Lord's supper, 
think : I am this day to sup with Christ, and have I 
on my soul a wedding garment? have I an interest 
in Christ, the maker and substance of this blessed feast? 
where is thy appetite, O my soul? dost thou rightly 
discern the Lord's body ? rouse up thy faith and love, 
thy hope and desire ; his flesh is meat indeed, his blood 
is drink indeed, his love is better than wine. Lord, fill 
and satisfy my famishing soul with spiritual repasts. 

18. When you depart from public worship, think 
thus : O my soul, thy work is not done when public 
work is over, when that is ended, thou must now begin ; 
ruminate upon the word, what hast thou got ? what 
light to thy understanding ? what conviction to thy will, 
what direction to thy affections ? O my soul, look 
to it, thou art this night either a step nearer to heaven 
or to hell, for this day ; get good, be good, do good, or 
all these helps will render thee inexcusable. 

19. When you meet with, or part from your ac- 
quaintance, think : If it be so sweet a thing to meet 
with my dear, and long-tried friends, how much better 
is it to meet with God, my best beloved, most loving 
friend ; God is a friend that is nearer than any brother 
or neighbour : I meet now with friends, oh that I knew 
how to improve their friendship, to get good by them, 


or do good to them; we must part once for all, oh that 
we may meet in heaven at the resurrection of the just ! 

20. When you are busy in your particular callings, 
think : Who sets me a work ? is it not God ? whom 
do I work for ? is it not for God ? do I seek myself, 
or strive to grow rich ? then I am carnal ; oh my 
soul, be moderate in the pursuit of the world, let not 
the cares of the world overwhelm thee : drive on even- 
ly, both thy general and particular calling ; let nothing 
interpose betwixt thy God and thee, or hinder thee in 
spiritual worship ; abide with God in thy calling. 

21. When you reflect upon the nature of your call- 
ings, gather something in your meditations therefrom, 
as thus : Am I a magistrate ? I judge not for man but 
for God, who will judge the unrighteous judge, and 
now sits among the gods : am I a minister ? upon me, 
rests the charge of souls that cry out, we are perishing, 
study, labour, pray for us : oh what account shall I 
give ? If I be a merchant, tradesman, husbandman, 
weaver, lawyer, soldier, scholar, oh the spiritual im- 
provement I may make of all these ! 

22. When you consider your relative connections, 
think : Am I a husband ? I must dwell with my wife, 
as a man of knowledge : am I a wife ? I must be a 
help to my husband in all things : am I a parent ? I 
must not provoke, but profit my child, and train it up 
for God : am I a child ? I must yield all reverence and 
obedience to my parents, as unto God, in whose stead 
they are : am I a master or superior ? my master in 
heaven, sees how I carry myself, and is no respecter of 
persons : am I a servant ? oh for a submissive spirit. 

23. When you hear any news, good or bad, think 
too of the blessed tidings in the gospel : good news 
from heaven, glory to God in the highest, on the earth 
peace, good-will towards men. the best message that 

VOL. II. t 


ever angel brought, or man received. Let God say, 
that he is my salvation, I am fortified against bad news, 
the righteous is not afraid of evil tidings, his heart is 
fixed, trusting in God. Let Christ be advanced, Anti- 
christ destroyed, and I am satisfied. 

24. When you see or hear of any prodigies, think : 
Who knoweth the power of God's anger ? Oh the 
dreadful majesty of the Lord of hosts, who made the 
sea and dry land, who commands all the elements, and 
works his wonders in the fire, water, earth, and air — 
they that dwell in the uttermost parts of the earth are 
afraid at his tokens ; Lord, what mean these things ? 
what wilt thou do with us ? our sins cry for vengeance, 
prevent it, or hide thy saints till thy wrath be past. 

25. When you hear or see the sinful acts of men, 
think : Oh, what are the best of us by nature ? Who 
makes me to differ ? Free grace stops my course, else 
I had been reeling with the drunkard, blaspheming with 
the swearer, revelling with the wanton ; Lord, let me 
not bless myself in morality, but let me arrive at sin- 
cerity of disposition ; never leave me to ways of mine 
own heart. Ah how is God dishonoured ! What long 
suffering doth he exercise ! but justice will awake. 

26. When your own corruptions break out, think : 
Oh the vileness of this naughty heart ! oh wretched 
creature that I am, " who shall deliver me from this 
body of death ?" Little did I think to have been thus 
beguiled and surprised ; God is just and I am vile ; I 
have grown secure and God hath left me. Oh how 
justly might he have taken me in the act of sin and 
cast me headlong into hell ! My soul, defer not to hum- 
ble thyself, and make thy peace with God. 

27. When any sad crosses befal you in body, estate, 
name, relations, think : Oh what sin is it that God now 
chastens me for ? Lord, bore mine ears, to hear the voice 


of the rod, — bow my heart in obedience to thy will. 
Oh that instruction may come along with correction ; 
my soul, search thy heart and ways, this stroke of God 
is either a token of his love, or the beginning of his 
wrath. Oh that I may see a Father's heart, and feel a 
Father's hand, and attain my Father's end therein. 

28. When you are delivered out of apparent danger 
of death by sickness or sad accidents, consider : Oh my 
soul, what if thou hadst now been snatched away, and 
thy body left a mass of corruption ! where hadst thou 
been ? wast thou ready for glory ? what assurance 
hadst thou of a better state ? didst thou not then wish 
thy soul had been in a better posture ? Mend the mat- 
ter now, give God the glory of thy deliverance, serve 
him better, be more prepared against another time. 

29. When night approacheth, candles are brought 
in, and the spacious sky is full of stars, think : There is 
one day more of my life now past and gone, I am thus 
far, nearer eternity. Lord, set up the candle of thy 
grace in my soul in this night of darkness, error, and 
dismay ; shew me the light of life — let the blessed day- 
star arise in my heart. Oh when shall my soul be 
translated above yonder twinkling stars to shine as a 
star in the firmament of glory ! 

30. When you put off your clothes, and go to bed, 
think : Thus, even thus must thou, my soul, put off thy 
body at death ; thou must be unclothed, that thou 
mayest " be clothed upon with a house from heaven. 
O my soul, be daily undressing thee of the body of sin, 
and lay thyself in the grave of Christ, " be buried with 
him in spiritual baptism," give up thyself into his 
hands, and lay thyself to sleep as thou wouldest be 
found at death, or when raised at the great day of 

These, and such like occurrences, must put you in 

T 2 


mind of such meditations, and thus your thoughts may 
become a blessed treasure. 

I shall now conclude the whole with a few considera- 
tions to move us all, thus to employ our thoughts upon 
profitable subjects. 

1. Consider the strictness of God's command, Josh. 
i. 8. " Thou shalt meditate therein," that is, in the 
Book of the Law, " day and night." " Set your affections 
on things above." — Col. iii. 2. How dare you neglect a 
positive duty ? The same God who commands thee to 
pray and believe, who forbids thee to steal and murder, 
doth enjoin thee to meditate. It is not a thing in- 

2. Remember God's omniscience and omnipresence ; 
when David had duly considered that God did search 
and know him, when sitting down and when rising up, 
did understand his thoughts afar off, and was ac- 
quainted with all his ways, he tells God that his 
thoughts were precious, Psalm, cxxxix. 17, and in the 
following verse he says, " When I awake I am still 
with thee." Let God's omnipresence produce in you 
the like meditations. 

3. The saints of God have thus employed their 
thoughts, and the better the saints, the more holy have 
been their thoughts. Isaac went into the fields to me- 
ditate. — Gen. xxiv. 63. David meditated in the night 
watches, Psalm lxiii. 6, on the word, and on the works 
of God. — Psalm cxliii. 5. * Oh be not unlike the saints, 
resemble your brethren, follow them to heaven. 

4. This is a true character of a child of God ; j- all 
saints are described to be such as have thought upon 
his name, Mai. iii. 17, for, indeed, they that are of the 
Spirit, " do mind the things of the Spirit." — Rom. viii. 
o. Holy thoughts are proper fruits of a sanctified mind. 

* Psalm cxix. 15, 23, 48, 78, 97, 99, 148. t Matt vi. 21. 


None sees the thoughts but God ; a good heart ap- 
proves itself to the searcher of hearts. 

5. Holy thoughts help against Satan's temptations ; 
these are as cold water to quench Satan's fiery darts ; 
these are a precious antidote against the poisonous al- 
lurements of the world, for these find the soul some- 
thing else to do than to mind toys ; the best way to 
silence scolding women, and barking dogs, is to mind 
our work and way, and let them alone.* Will a judge 
go off the bench to play with boys ? Give them Nehe- 
miah's answer, ch. vi. 3. 

6. This exercise of the thoughts will help against 
corruptions,! thereby you will see more of the evil of 
sin, " and in vain is the net spread before any bird," 
Prov. i. 17. Also it lifts the soul heavenwards ; a bird 
in the air is not taken by a net on the ground, — yea, 
when the heart is taken up with divine enjoyments, it 
cannot relish the husks of sin ; the child will not part 
with the apple, while the taste of it is in his mouth. 

7. This is the highest excellency and improvement 
of our spirits — it is the noblest employment of the soul, 
and advancement of its faculties. The soul is of a high 
birth — it is a debasing of it to mind low things — the 
saints being of an elevated and noble extraction by 
their second birth, must and will mind the things of 
heaven, in all things besides, excelling others, in 
this, excelling themselves, as it is said of Bucholzen. 

8. This is best way for the improvement and in- 
crease of grace ; gifts are promoted by verbal, but 
grace by mental exercises. If the thoughts feed on 
Christ, the soul becomes spiritual, like its food ; the 
air, food, and climate have great influence upon bodies ; 
conversing with wise and learned men makes persons 

* Non vacat exiguis rebus ndesse mini. t See Psal. cxix. 11. 


such, exercise increaseth habits, holy thoughts increase 
faith, love, joy, sorrow for sin, &c. 

9. Holy thoughts excite heavenly affections. " While 
I was musing, the fire burned." — Psalm xxxix. 3. 
Thoughts are the bellows of the soul, and stir up 
suitable emotions in the heart. Would a Christian 
have a humble, tender, melting heart? let his thoughts 
be employed upon the law and love of God, or on such 
subjects as are proper to produce such affections, and 
try what impression they will make. 

10. Holy thoughts are a good preparative to holy 
duties, and help in performances.* David joins prayer 
and meditation together. " Give ear to my words, 
consider my meditation," Psalm v. 1 ; when " the heart 
is meditating a good matter, the tongue is as the pen 
of a ready writer." — Psalm xlv. 1. Meditation fixeth 
the heart, and tuneth the instrument for prayer, hear- 
ing, reading : oh how it composeth the spirit ! 

11. Yea, holy thoughts form a great part of a Chris- 
tian's devotion, and such a portion of it, that when 
public ordinances are obstructed, or private societies 
interrupted, yet the holy soul may sally out to its 
God, upon the wings of holy thoughts, in the presence 
of the most malicious adversaries ; thoughts are free 
from men, no bolts can hinder this access to God. 

12. This is an excellent part of time-redemption, 
when we are walking or riding by the way, working 
in our callings, shut up in prison, deprived of pen, ink 
and paper, still our thoughts may be busy, we may 
have good thoughts wherever we are ; though we can 
do nothing else, yet we may think of God and good 
subjects : and that is the way to obey that excellent 
precept, Redeem the time. 

* Psalm, xix. 14. Psalm xlix. 3. 


13. This exercise of the thoughts is indeed a Chris- 
tian's walking with God, as Enoch and Noah are said 
to do : it is the way to have our conversation in hea- 
ven : it is a communion with God, a walking in para- 
dise, an enjoying of God : it is indeed an angelical life, 
the life of heaven, an anticipation of glory, and a tak- 
ing possession of heaven in our thoughts. Oh blessed 
frame ! 

14. This helps the Christian in sad pressures and 
soul-conflicts ; good thoughts counterwork bad. David 
could out-argue his disquieting thoughts, Psal. xlii. 5. 
so may the Christian. Thoughts fed and furnished 
from the word, will encounter and conquer the severest 
trials. " Unless thy law had been my delight, I 
should have perished in mine affliction." — Psal.cxix. 92. 
These thoughts are an antidote which keeps sufferings 
from the vital spirits. 

15. Holy thoughts help the Christian to rivet and 
retain divine truths in the memory ; ruminating on 
truths, turns them into blood and spirits, juice and 
nourishment : our heads and hearts are like riven 
vessels, all runs out, unless the vessels be well mois- 
tened with heavenly meditation. Oh what a tenacious 
memory, large understanding, and vast abilities have 
some attained to by this means ! 

16. Holy thoughts prepare the tongue for profitable 
discourse, and render Christians useful. He that 
hath his thoughts best employed when alone, will have 
his tongue best exercised in company : if you converse 
with such a one in your houses, in trading, on a jour- 
ney, upon any occasion, still his thoughts will prompt 
his tongue to profitable conference ; and oh the good 
that such a one may do ! 

17. Holy thoughts answer God's thoughts. " I 
know the thoughts, saith God, that I think towards 


you, thoughts of peace, and not of evil," Jer. xxix. 1 1 ; 
and if we can make such an appeal as this to God, 
that he knows the thoughts we have towards him, to 
be not evil but good — how acceptable will it be to 
God ! On the contrary, what gross ingratitude will 
it be, if our thoughts be not God-wards ! 

18. Divine things are only worth thinking of; other 
matters are not worth a glance of our eye, or a thought 
of our mind, whatever relates not to the soul and to 
eternity is not worth minding. " We look not," saith 
the apostle, "at things that are seen, but at things which 
are not seen." — 2 Cor. iv. 18. These latter are things 
of great moment, and of nearest concernment to our 
immortal souls. 

19- Thinking upon these heavenly subjects helps 
the soul to attain the end of its creation and redemption. 
The supreme and ultimate end is God's glory, the subor- 
dinate end, yet involved in the former, the soul's salva- 
tion ; the God of heaven takes himself to be highly 
hononrrd by the heavenly-minded Christian, this is a 
sanctifying, and so a glorifying, God in our thoughts 
or hearts. — 1 Pet. iii. 15. 

20. Lastly, This is an actual preparing of the soul 
for heaven, the heart is there already, and this is part 
of a meetness " to be partakers of the inheritance of 
the saints in light." — Col. i. 12. " Blessed is the soul, 
whom its Lord, when he comes shall find thus," think- 
ing and doing well. Oh the blessed change they shall 
make ! They may say, as sweet Dr. Sibbs, " Going to 
die, I shall change my place, but not my company ;" 
and when the poor soul arrives at glory, the thoughts 
shall be fixed, grace completed, and the soul transported 
with evi joys. 

I have been the shorter in hinting only these mo- 
tives, because Mr. Baxter hath fully driven this nail to 


the head in such like arguments to " heavenly mind- 
edness," in his book entitled " Saint's Rest," part 4, 
p. 51 — 96. Read them seriously. 

I have done with this subject also. Oh that God would 
undertake to write all these things with power upon 
the tables of your hearts, and elevate your thoughts to 
heavenly subjects, and bring suitable things to your 
minds to meditate upon. Oh that he would deeply im- 
press them upon your souls, and keep alive those im- 
pressions upon your hearts, that you may not lose the 
divine savour of the things of God, after your serious 
and awakening meditations, but pray with holy David, 
1 Chron. xxix. 18. " O Lord God of Abraham, 
Isaac, and Israel, our fathers, keep this for ever in the 
imagination of the thoughts of the heart of thy people, 
and prepare their heart unto thee." 

I shall conclude all with a Poem of divine Herbert's 
in his Temple, called, " The Temper." 

How should I praise thee, Lord ! how should my rhymes 

Gladly engrave thy love in steel, 
If what my soul doth feel sometimes, 

My soul might ever feel ! 

Although there were some forty heavens, or more, 

Sometimes I peer above them all, 
Sometimes I hardly reach a score, 

Sometimes to hell I fall. 

O rack me not to such a vast extent, 

Those distances belong to thee, — 
The world's too little for thy tent, 

A grave too big for me. 

Wilt thou mete arms with man, that thou dost stretch, 

A crumb of dust from heaven to hell ? 
Will great God measure with a wretch ? 

Shall he thy stature spell ? 

O let me, when thy roof my soul hath hid, 

O let me roost and nestle there ! 
Then of a sinner thou art rid, 

And I of hope and fear. 


Yet take thy way, for sure thy way is best, 
Stretch or contract me, thy poor debtor, 

This is but tuning of my breast, 
To make the music better. 

Whether I fly with angels, fall with dust, 
Thy hands made both, and I am there, 

Thy power and love, my love and trust, 
Make one place every where. 









1 WO things, my dearly beloved in the Lord, are absolutely 
necessary to make souls happy ; first, that the thing possessed 
be fully adequate to the nature of the soul ; and secondly, that 
it be made over to it legally and everlastingly : for if either 
any thing be defective at present required to give content, or 
there be danger of losing it, it is not commensurate to the 
soul's state or need ; for as this immortal spark infused into 
man, whereby he has become a rational creature, is vast and 
capacious in its desires and dimensions ; so it is very lasting 
yea, everlasting in its continuance and duration ; therefore the 
riches necessary to make it happy must be both suitable and 
durable. But all the creatures fall short in both. The soul of man 
travelling through this spacious universe in its contemplations, 
and following the guidance of the intellectual faculties, the 
souFs ear and eye, — can get no satisfying sight or report in 
answer to that curious inquiry, who will shew me any good ? 
To fix upon the creature, is to set our eyes upon that which 
is not, for it is vanity; yea, to place our hopes on that 
which hath a lie in its right hand, and so becomes vexation of 
spirit in an overwhelming disappointment. Woe to man, if 


there were no hopes for him but in this life, and great would be 
his infelicity, if it were true that there is no God, as atheists 
say and think. How poorly should this princely thing in man 
be served with the sordid husks of creature enjoyments ! How 
base and brutish would its life be ! How well becoming man 
would that epitaph of the Epicure be, which, Cicero saith, " was 
fitter to be written on an ox's grave than a man's ? — Here habeo 
quce edi, quceque exsaturata libido hausit; " the things my 
greedy appetite hath devoured are mine." Let such brutified 
sots, that understand nothing of the worth or proper food of 
immortal souls, feed on husks, but let the heaven-born saints 
aspire to other nourishment ; if the mixed multitude of common 
professors linger after the Egyptian food of cucumbers, melons, 
leeks, onions, and garlic,* real saints fare better — they feed on 
heavenly manna. The flesh and blood of Christ is the proper 
pabulv/m ani?nce, or nourishment of the soul. The soul hath 
a more delicate appetite, which requires answerable food ; it 
cannot feed on such coarse stuff as worldly delights. Hear 
David begging as for an alms — but what alms begs he ? " mer- 
cies; 11 and what mercies? "tender mercies. 11 Psal. xl. 11, 
" Withhold not thy tender mercies from me, O Lord ;" as if 
he said, there are common mercies, that gratify the appetites, 
and clothe the bodies of good or bad, but these will not serve 
my turn, nor save my soul ; the mercies that will do me good 
for ever, are tender things of another stamp, that come stream- 
ing through the blood of a Mediator, that spring from 
covenant love, and such as can fill, and feed, and feast my soul 
for ever. 

These are the mercies that God hath dropt into your 
bosoms, heirs of promise, and these are the mercies described 
and deciphered in this Treatise ; I have gone out to measure 
the Land of Promise, and according to grace received, I have 

• Num. xi. 4, 5. 'Oi St aAAot, TrtpiirttyvKOTtg Tifj noopq, 61a 
<p{iKia riva lva\oig nirpaiQ, a^avacriag oAiywpovaiv' KaSairep 6 
iS'aiajfT'OC yepwv, oil tT]q aXifttiaq, kcu rfjc iv ovpavio 7rarptoog, 


Ka7Ti'of/. Qui mundo adhfeserunt ut marinis petris alga, contemnunt 

immortalitatem sicut senex Ithaceusis, qui non veritatem et ccelestem patriam, 
eamque lucem quse vere est, sed fumum optabat.-CVem. Akxand. Adm. ad Gen. 


viewed it in the length and breadth thereof, and I have no 
reason to bring up an evil report on it ; it is a land flowing 
with milk and honey, a blessed and beautiful land, which God 
careth for, and if the Lord delight in you, he will bring you 
into it. What though there be giants and Anakim of opposi- 
tion in heavens way, fear them not, for they are bread for us, 
they shall contribute to the saint's nourishment, and their 
defence is departed from them * ; the Lord is with us, let not 
our hearts faint — God will cl,vtj us as upon eagles' wings, he 
will give us a pillar of cloud by day, and a pillar of fire by 
night ; sure mercies in the way, and everlasting mercies at the 
end. This is the true Arabia Felix, yet far beyond that, 
which though it abounded with spices and gold, profits and 
pleasures, yet stupified the senses of the inhabitants with its 
palling sweetness : but there is no nauseous feeling occasioned 
by a participation of heavenly delights ; the longer you enjoy 
them, the more you long after them, and the fuller draught 
you take, the sweeter relish they have. Oh the pleasure a 
soul may have in divine things ! other things will disgust in 
comparison of these rapturous delights : no pleasures like those 
that come from above. But that which adds an emphasis to 
these is, that they are sure as well as sweet, abiding as well as 
abounding pleasures : God the author and object of them is 
immutable — the spring of them is the love of God — the meri- 
torious cause, Christ's blood — the way of conveyance, precious 
promises ; all these are settled and invariably the same ; as long 
as the soul needs mercies it enjoys them, for we have grace to 
help in time of need. God will not, men cannot tear away 
these mercies from you, when you have a well-grounded title 
thereunto : God will not ; for the gifts and callings of God are 
without repentance, and whom he loves once he loves to the end : 
men cannot, for they are above and beyond their reach. These 
mercies are made sure to you by a " covenant of salt,"-f- which is 
a symbol of incorruption : they wear not away with length of 
time, nor are they snatcht away by human violence : the 
tyrant's rage cannot wrest sure mercies out of your hearts and 
hands. This consideration is of singular use in a losing time ; 

* Num. xiv. 7 — 0. -f Sole et sale omnia conservantur. 


men may take away our estates, liberties, and privileges, but 
they cannot take away our mercies : they may degrade us and 
remove us from our functions and offices, but cannot so dissettle 
our souls as to separate them from their relation to Christ, or 
a state of grace, or the blessed influences of grace. When 
Popish bishops took from John Huss the chalice, saying, 
" O cursed Judas, we take away from thee this chalice of thy 
salvation ;" he answered, " but I trust unto God the Father 
omnipotent, and my Lord Jesus Christ, for whose sake I 
suffer these things, that he will not take awav the chalice of 
his redemption, but I have a steadfast and firm hope, that this 
day I shall drink thereof in his kingdom.'' 1 * Yea, men may 
take away the members of the body, but not the graces and 
comforts of the soul. Notable is the story of Agatha a 
primitive martvr. When Quintilian had commanded her 
breasts to be cut off, she said, " Art thou not ashamed, O 
tyrant, to dismember me of what in thy mother was the 
original source of thy own nourishment ? But go to, rage as 
much as thou canst, yet two breasts are left, which thou canst 
not touch, the one of faith, the other of hope ; they supply 
me with comfort and safety in the midst of torments, and 
abundant strength to sustain these, is repaired in me by the 
nourishment I derive from them. - " "f Alas, it were a sad state 
of an immortal soul to have nothing but what supplies cor- 
poreal wants. How soon may worm, or moth, or fire, or 
thieves, or tyrants, make a prey of visible riches ! The good 
things of saints are invisible : happy are you whose mercies are 
divine, you need not fear plundering or spoiling of your best 
goods ; these are the true riches ; though you be poor in this 
world, yet if you be rich in faith, you are heirs of a kingdom ; 
you live as strangers and pilgrims, for your estates lie in 
another country : and indeed, a Christian is a paradox in this, 

• Fox's Mart. vol. i. p. 823. 

■f Quintiliano dixisse ferunt ex eiijus jussu praecisae sunt ipsi mammillae, 
annon te pudet, tyranne, membrum illud in me amputare, quod in mntre 
suxisti ? verum, age saevi quantum poteris : duae tamen supersunt mammillae, 
quas nequis attingere, fidei una, spei altera, has mihi vel in mediis tormentis 
solamen et tutamen suppeditant et earum alimento sustinendi virtus in me 
reparatur Dr. Arrows. Tact. Sac. p. 195. 


as Justin Martyr observes of the ancient Christians,* that 
they inhabit their own country but as strangers ; " they have 
all things common with others as citizens, yet suffer all things 
as pilgrims ; every strange region is their country, and every 
country a strange region. A Christian's politics are seemingly 
contradictory, and truly mysterious : they make a common 
table, yet are not polluted : they are in the flesh, but live not 
after the flesh : they live on earth, but have their conversation 
in heaven : they obey laws established, yet by their way of 
living go beyond laws : they love all and are persecuted by all : 
they are not known, yet condemned : they are killed, yet made 
alive : they are poor, yet enrich many : they want all things, 
yet abound in all things: they are disgraced, yet thereby 
honoured, 11 &c. Thus he proceeds, shewing the state of 
Christians ; which is the same now. Oh what a mystery, yet 
felicity, is it to be a saint ! all things are yours, though nothing 
were yours ; a saint by covenant hath right to all, and shall 
have actual possession of what is for his good : the saints rule 
the earth, themselves being trampled on by all : they pass 
through the world as conquerors, and carry the spoils as 
trophies, along with them till death, and when death is swal- 
lowed up in victory, these blessed champions arise triumphant 
in glory. O Christians, study your state, know your privi- 
leges, be always triumphing in Christ : live at the rate of those 
mercies, make no reckoning of the world but as a footstool to 
raise you higher God-wards, or as a stepping-stone to pass for- 
wards thereby, through this polluted and polluting world, 
heaven-wards : bless God for the least outward mercy, but be 
not put off with the greatest ; a little with God is enough, all 
things without God are nothing. Suppose you be below the 
higher parts of the dust of the earth in riches, power, and 
glory, yet you are above them in grace, true riches, and favour 
with the God of heaven ; therein he makes amends : as the 
Jews have a fable that the waters terrestrial, in the beginning, 
took it ill to be divided from the celestial by the firma- 
ment; the Creator to pacify them promised a sacred use of 

* Omnia cum aliis commimia habent tanquam cives, omnia patiuntur 
tanquam peregrin i : oinnis peregrina regio patria est eorum, et omnis patria 
est peregrina Just. Mart. Ep. a>! Diog. virf. p!ura. 


i'90 PREFACE. 

them below, in the tabernacle of the covenant ; so although 
you are set below many in other things, yet in this you have 
preeminence above them, that you are interested in, and em- 
ployed about these covenant mercies : this is abundant com- 
pensation. Be not discouraged, whatever you suffer here, it is 
not hell ; whatever you lose for God, heaven will make amends ; 
faithful is he that hath promised, who also will do it ; God is 
yet able to pay his debts, as able and willing as to the first 
man that ever sought the performance of a promise : never any 
went away grumbling or charging God, (as some men are too 
justly charged) that he minds not what he saith. When 
David through weakness of faith began to stagger, and expos- 
tulate, saying, " Doth his promise fail for evermore?" he 
quickly checks himself with that reflection, " But I said, this 
is my infirmity ." — Psal. lxxvii. 8, 10. 

It would be a blessed thing (which Luther wished for *) 
" that our faith were as certain and firm as the thing itself be- 
lieved ; but, alas, sin in the flesh doth resist the spirit, so that 
we cannot so firmly believe ;" as he complains. The way to 
.stability is the acting of faith — believe, and ye shall be established. 
As long as we consult with reason, we shall still be fluctuating. 
An individual's expedient for establishment, after many tempt- 
ations of doubt concerning a main article of faith was, a hearty 
humiliation and subjection of his understanding to the obedi- 
ence of faith, which brought such clear light of truth and cer- 
titude into his soul, that there remained no relics at all of du- 
b.tation. We may all cry out with the disciples, " Lord, in- 
crease our faith." Alas, the want of faith is the root of ail 
actual sins and insensibieness ; yea, the want of a thorough 
persuasion of the reality of divine things surpasses the world. 
Most men do but read the gospel as a fine fiction, or a well- 
composed romance, but work not their hearts to credit these 
things ; a may be, or may not be, in a conjectural uncertainty, 
is all they arrive at : however, they do not follow home the 
light and persuasions they have. Alas, did persons seriously 
think of this, that as sure as they are men or women, as cer- 

• Optarim fidem tam certam et firmam esse quam et res ipsa, verum 
peccatum in came registit spiritui ut non possim tirmiter credere.— Luth. 


tainly as they eat and drink, work and sleep, so certainly there 
is a God — a Christ — grace — pardon — guilt — heaven — hell, of 
which they must very shortly have a full conviction. This 
could not but have a wonderful influence upon their hearts and 
lives — their affections and conversation. O what persons 
should saints be, if they lived under the thorough impressions 
and convictions of the certainty of divine revelation ! 

It were a blessed effect, if all the Treatises that have of late 
been written might convince this profane and atheistical world of 
the certainty of Christianity. Many have laboured much in 
this with great success ; several ancient writers, as Clemens, 
Polycarp, Justin Martyr, Tatian, Iraeneus, Athenagoras, and 
Tertullian, have proved by demonstrative arguments the truth 
of the Christian religion, against Jews, Heathens, &c. ; * lately, 
Grotius, Mornay du Plessis, and at the present day, Baxter, 
Stillingfleet, and others, have put their sickle into this harvest, 
through whom the church hath reaped precious fruit. I pretend 
neither to the learning or authority of those famous worthies, 
but insist only on the sure mercies of the covenant to raise a poor 
superstructure upon those solid foundations. It was the design 
of Luke the Evangelist, in writing his Gospel to the noble and 
excellent Theophilus, that " he might be assured of the cer- 
tainty of those things wherein he had been instructed. 1 '' — Luke 
i. 4. Such a design have I in this small piece. O that some 
might stand up and address the Saviour as the disciples did, 
" Now we are sure that thou knowest all things ; by this we 
believe that thou earnest forth from God." — John xvi. 30. O 
sirs, be not satisfied with uncertain conjectures — endeavour to 
arrive at a " full assurance of understanding to the acknowledg- 
ing of the mystery of God," Col. ii. 2. — pray for the spirit of 
revelation, that you may both know the certainty of gospel 
mysteries and mercies and your own interest therein, that you 
may both be strong in faith and full of comfort — advance 
higher daily in embracing unseen things — rest not in a scepti- 
cal lira y/j, or philosophical state of doubt, but strive to arrive 
at an iXey^bc;, or firm demonstration — rest your souls upon 
the testimony of God, as to the object of faith, and commit 

• Vide Srult. Med. Patrum. 
U 2 


your souls to him in believing and well-doing for evidence of 
your state — remember that choice word, Hosea vi. 3, " Then 
shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord ; his going 
forth is prepared as the morning, and he shall come unto us as 
the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth." That 
this and all other soul-helps may accomplish this great end of 
your edification, consolation, and salvation, shall be the earnest 
prayer of 

Your soul's friend, and servant in Christ, 

O. H. 

June 3, 1670. 



Isaiah lv. 3. 
Even the sure Mercies of David. 

. CHAP. I. 


This evangelical prophet acts the part of an apos- 
tolical preacher, pourtraying our dear Saviour in as 
lively a manner as if he wrote a history, not a prophecy; 
as if he saw him in the flesh and not in the type only. 
This chapter contains a sweet relation or revelation of 
the mysteries of gospel grace, a high sounding procla- 
mation, and pathetical exhortation to the sons of men 
to embrace the saving benefits purchased by our Lord 
Jesus Christ. 

This exhortation is pressed upon the consciences of 
men with four arguments, which are, as it were, a sa- 
tisfying answer to as many tacit objections which may 
be made by unbelieving souls ; these arguments are in 
the first, second, third, and fifth verses drawn from the 
— Freeness, fulness, security and abundance of gospel 

1. A person may say, alas, I am an unworthy wretch, 
I have nothing that can commend me to God, I have 


neither penny nor pennyworth, money nor price to 
give, neither grace nor good works to bring to God. 
May I have a share in, it? Yes, it is free, come buy, 
for just nothing, ver. 1. 

2. But he may say, if it be so cheap, it may be it is 
of as little worth, too dear to take gratis ; things of 
light price are often of as light use, and answer their 
rate, by being unprofitable — will it do me any good ? 

yes, it is of vast advantage ; if you take pains for any 
thing else, you do but spend money for that which is 
no bread, but if you obtain gospel grace, " you eat that 
which is good, and your soul shall delight itself in fat- 
ness," ver. 2. 

3. But again it may be said, may I have a share in 
these mercies ? shall I not miss of them ? and when I 
once have them, shall I not lose them again ? I am 
but tantalized if I see such sweet morsels and cannot 
reach them, and I shall be more miserable if I taste 
such pleasant things, and have them snatched away. 
He answers to the first, " all shall be made over to you 
by a covenant/' and to the second, " they are the sure 
mercies of David," ver. 3. 

4. But, alas, may a poor soul say, this is children's 
meat, what have dogs to do with these sure mercies ? 

1 am a sinner of the Gentiles, salvation is of the Jews, 
and for the Jews ; is there any hope for such strangers 
to the commonwealth of Israel ? Yes, Jesus Christ is 
given for a witness to the people, to all people, that is, 
Gentiles;* " a nation that thou knowest not, and nations 
that knew not thee, shall run unto thee," ver. 4, 5. 

The text falls under the third argument, and 

1. A double duty — hear, and come, that is, believe 
and obey. 

* Isaiah xlix. (5. 


2. A double promise, of life, and a covenant. 

(1.) " Your soul shall live." Life is the flower and 
essence of all outward mercies, but spiritual life tran- 
scends a corporeal, temporal life, which is but a dying 
life, or living death ; " Grace is the life of the soul." 
Spiritual life is the seed-plot of eternal life in glory. 
Mankind lost life by hearing the alluring temptations 
of the subtle serpent. Life is recovered by hearing the 
gracious words of life from Jesus Christ, " Hear, and 
your souls shall live. 

(2.) " I will make an everlasting covenant with you." 
The words are in Hebrew, " I will cut a covenant 
with you." * The expression hath allusion to the an- 
cient practice of entering into covenants, which was by 
cutting a beast into two parts, and the parties covenant- 
ing going betwixt those parts, to denote that after that 
manner should that man's limbs be divided who should 
violate that solemn covenant, f 

Now, the great contents of this covenant are ex- 
pressed in these words which I have selected and pitched 
upon to speak fully to, " even the sure mercies of 
David," which contain, 

1. The sum of the covenant, that is, " mercies." 

2. The nature of those mercies, that is, " sure." 

3. The subject of the mercies, " David." 

There is not much difficulty in the words, only it is 
disputed what is meant by David here. Now in Scrip- 
ture, David is taken, first, in a literal sense, for David 
the son of Jesse ; and, secondly, in a mystical sense, for 
Jesus Christ. It way be applicable very properly both 
ways here. 

JT"12 Dj/ nn~OXl Percutiam vobiscum foedus, q.d. divi- 
dantur ejus membra qui juramentum violaverit. 

+ See the Practice, in Gen. xv. 9, 10, 17, 18. Jer. xxxiv. 18. 


(1.) It may be taken for the person of David, the son 
of Jesse, king of Israel ; and then, the mercies of David 
are the choice promises that God made to his servant 
David, described in 2 Sam. vii. 13 — 17, and in Psalm 
lxxxix. Some make the first words of that Psalm to be 
the title of it, and render it thus, " I will sing of the 
mercies of David," because God's covenant with David 
is abundantly held forth in that Psalm. But this 
phrase doth rather aliude to 2 Chron. vi. 42, where 
Solomon thus prays, " Remember the mercies of David, 
thy servant." 

(2.) By David, is meant Jesus Christ, who is of the 
seed of David according to the flesh,* Rom. i. 3, and 
called by this name of David frequently in the Old 
Testament, as in Ezek. xxxiv. 23, 24, xxxvii. 24, 25, 
Hos. iii. 5, and I conceive this to be the meaning of 
the words, rather than the former, for these two 
reasons : 

[i.] Because in the New Testament, where these 
words are quoted, the Holy Ghost applies them to Jesus 
Christ, Acts xiii. 34, " I will give you the sure mer- 
cies of David." Indeed, the Greek renders it differently 
from the original of the Old Testament, for thus it 
stands in the Septuaghit, ra 5tna Aafiic to -mara ; in 
English, " the faithful, holy things of David," but 
all comes to the same point, for the mercies of the 
covenant are holy things. But observe the scope of 
that quotation in the Acts, which is to prove Cnrist's 
resurrection, " for if Christ had not risen from the 
dead, the promises had not been made good," so that 
still it relates to Christ. 

[ii.] Another consideration that moves me to con- 
ceive that by David here is meant Jesus Christ, is what 
follows in the fourth verse, " I have given him," that 
* Acts xiii. 23. 


is, David, before-mentioned, or Christ, " for a witness 
to the people," that is, a witness to testify God's vera- 
city in performing all his promises ; so, then, the words 
may be thus read, I will make an everlasting covenant 
with you, according to the sure mercies of David, that 
is, the Messiah, who is to come — the mercies before 
promised, and to be exhibited in and by him in the ful- 
ness of time. The words are but few, being but three, * 
yet, they are full of sense and significancy, and are 
pregnant, travailing with the precious mysteries of gos- 
pel grace. 

I shall only name some doctrinal observations by the 
way from the text, with the intention of reducing them 
to a single point. 

Doct. 1. The covenant of grace is made up of 
mercies, it is a compound of mercies, the root, the 
branches, the top, the bottom of this chariot is love, 
grace, grace, all free grace. 

2. Covenant mercies are sure mercies, they are 
not like the uncertain riches of this world, the true 
treasure is a sure treasure, the better part that cannot 
be taken away. 

3. The sure mercies of the covenant are David's por- 
tion : taking David here, literally, and the saints with 
him, so it signifies beloved ; all God's Davids, or be- 
loved ones have a right to covenant mercies. 

4. Jesus Christ alone doth make sure all the mercies 
of the covenant ; so taking it in the latter acceptation, 
that David imports the Messiah. 

The substance of the text and the fore-mentioned 
doctrines may be given in this one proposition. 

Doct. That covenant mercies granted in Christ are 
made sure by Christ, to all the heirs of promise. 


The mercies which the Messiah procureth and ap- 
plieth are sure mercies. 

That the covenant of grace is made in Christ, see, 
Isa. xlix. 8, " I will preserve thee, and give thee for a 
covenant of the people," that is, " the mediator of the 
covenant," so the apostle expounds it, calling Jesus 
Christ a " surety of a better testament," or covenant ; 
and again, he calls him the mediator of the New Testa- 
ment ; * and as the promises are made good in Christ, 
so they are made good by Christ, 2 Cor. i. 20, " for all 
the promises of God in him are yea, and in him, Amen, 
unto the glory of God, by us," that is, they are ratified, 
confirmed, and applied, by virtue of Christ's own me- 
ritorious undertaking. A text full to our purpose we 
have in Rom. xv. 8. " Now I say, that Jesus Christ 
was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, 
to confirm the promises made unto the fathers ;" hence 
it is, that he hath sealed the covenant, by his person, 
obedience, and sufferings, (as afterwards I shall parti- 
cularly demonstrate) so that the mercies must needs be 
sure. David, the subject of these mercies doth acknow- 
ledge the sureness of them, even in the Old Testament, 
in that famous text, 2 Sam. xxiii. 5, " Although my 
house be not so with God," that is, for outward splen- 
dour, according to the description of a magnificent 
family, " yet he hath made with me an everlasting co- 
venant, ordered in all things and sure," as if he should 
say, it is true indeed, God hath performed his good 
word to me in making me king, but alas, still my heart 
is full of corruptions, and my house of distractions ; 
though the sun be risen upon me, yet I cannot say it 
is a morning without clouds ; it is sadly eclipsed and 
overcast with the obscuring clouds of temptations as- 

* Heb. vii. 22. Heb. viii. 6. Heb. ix. 15. 


saulting me ; I have committed grievous sins which 
darken my glory, and damp my comfort; Amnon 
commits incest with his sister ; Absalom rebels against 
his father ; I am driven from my throne and city; my 
whole family is wofully broken, discomposed, and shat- 
tered : well, but I have a well-ordered covenant in the 
midst of all disorders. When I am driven from mine 
own house, I am not sure that ever I shall return to it, 
but this covenant is sure ; my outward condition is un- 
certain, but the best mercies of this blessed covenant 
are so solid and substantial, that I am satisfied there- 
with ; if God deny me the temporal mercies therein 
contained, yet if I have the spiritual mercies thereof, 
that is enough for me, " for it is all my salvation and 
all my desire, although he make it not to grow ;" that 
is, though his blessing upon my house be not as the 
tender grass springing out of the earth by clear shining 
after the rain, to multiply my family, making it either 
numerous or wealthy, potent or magnificent ; jet I have 
all that I look for, and that which gives me content, I 
have these sweet and sure mercies of this blessed 

For the more distinct and profitable handling of this 
important subject, I shall, in the doctrinal part, discuss 
these four particulars, or principle points, and endea- 
vour to shew, 

1. What are the mercies of the covenant ? 

2. In what respects they are said to be made sure ? 

3. By what ways and means they are ensured to us ? 

4. How they are said to be made sure in Christ. 



I. I might prepare the way for a consideration of 
covenant mercies, by declaring what a covenant is, and 
give some description of this new covenant, and dis- 
tinctions about it ; but I shall rather wave this, be- 
cause it has been done so extensively already by so 
many able hands. Only for our present purpose, take 
notice, that in all contracts or covenants, even in any 
ordinary conveyance, there are four things very consi- 
derable, and indeed, essentially requisite. * 

1. There are the parties covenanting. 

2. The consideration paid or laid down. 

3. The conditions required and performed. 

4. The grant made, or the privilege to be enjoyed, 
upon the conditions, and consideration, called in our 
writings, the habendum, or the thing that we must 
have and hold. 

Now all these are either expressly or implicitly held 
forth in one Scripture, which is, Heb. viii. 10. 

(1.) There are the parties covenanting, God, and the 
house of Israel : " This is the covenant that I will make 
with the house of Israel." f 

(2.) Here is a consideration evidently implied in 
these words, " after those days," that is, after those 
days of types, shadows, and prophecies, " in the fulness 
of time, the Messiah shall come, who is the substance, 
who will satisfy divine justice, and make an atone- 

(3.) Here is the condition of the covenant, plainly 

* Mr. Herle's Christian Wisdom, chap. 4, page 227- 
t Heb. viii. 10. 


expressed in these words, " I will put my laws into 
their mind, and write them in their hearts," that is, I 
will give that which I require, I will put within them 
a principle of grace that they may love me, believe in 
me, repent of sin, and obey the gospel. 

(4.) Here is the grant, or good, to be enjoyed, which 
is the end and result of all the former, namely, " I will 
be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people," 
that is, whatsoever I am, or have, or can do, who am 
omnipotent, shall be employed for their good ; or what- 
soever they would choose a God for, or desire to be in 
a God, that will I be to them with whom I contract 
this covenant, and I will own them as my peculiar 

Now the mercies of the covenant consist in these four 
particulars, epecially in the last. 

I shall a little open these, that we may the better 
find out the mercies wrapt up in the covenant of 

1. The parties that enter into this covenant, are God 
and man. Oh the infinite distance and vast dispropor- 
tion ! quantus quantillo f Heaven makes a match 
with earth, the great Creator with a mortal creature, 
the glorious King with a silly beggar ! Is not this a 
rich mercy ? Shall the cedar in Lebanon contract a 
league not only with the contemptible shrub, but with 
the pricking, worthless thistle ? shall the sun of righte- 
ousness convey beams of love to such poor worms, yea, 
to such offensive dunghills ? shall the beauty of holi- 
ness be confederate with sorry man, who is but a lump 
of vanity or mass of impurity ? Yet, thus it is, and 
this is transcendent mercy ; there is mercy in a cove- 
nant : God might have dealt with man in a way of ab- 
solute sovereignty, and done with him even as he 
pleased, without giving us any account of his matters ; 


but he treats with man in a rational way, as above the 
level of other creatures. God takes man up to parley 
and treat with him, as though he were his equal, 
" what is man that thou art thus mindful of him ? or 
the son of man that thou visitest him?"* This mutual 
stipulation is infinite condescension on God's part, and 
advancement on man's. Man, only man, of all the 
creatures, is the subject of this covenant ; angels had no 
need of it — devils had no hope from it — brute creatures 
were not capable of it — only man, and fallen man, hath 
an interest in it, and benefit by it. Oh the mercy there 
is in a covenant of reconciliation ! Even after man 
had become bankrupt, spent a fair estate, broken his 
engagements, and brought himself into a desperate case, 
that still God should forget what was past, enter into a 
new and better covenant, entrust him with a new stock, 
and also lay help, not upon foolish man's weak shoul- 
ders, but upon one that is mighty to save ! Oh rich, 

transcendent love ! this leads us to the second thing 
in this covenant. 

2. The consideration interposed ; that is, Jesus 
Christ, and he is eminently the gift of God,f such a gift 
as never came out of the hands of God, and was never 
received by the hands of mortal man, a rich and en- 
riching gift, a gift proceeding from love ; " God so 
loved the world, that he gave his son," John iii. 16. 
Christ is several ways a gift. 

(1.) Nobis, to us, 1 Cor. i. 30, " who of God is made 
unto us wisdom." 

(2.) Pro nobis, for us, Gal. ii. 20, " who loved me, 
and gave himself for me." 

(3.) Prce nobis, before us, as an example, copy and 
pattern, as he suffered for us, so he left us an example, 

1 Pet. ii. 21. 

* Psal. viii. 4. t John iv. 10 


(4.) In nobis, in us, " so Christ is said to dwell in 
our hearts by faith," Eph. iii. 17. Thus Christ is 
given to believers by sanctificaticn, and inhabitation of 
his Spirit. 

Now, it is in the second way principally wherein 
Christ was the consideration interposed, or his blood 
the price paid in this new covenant, namely, as he 
is given for us, a valuable consideration to pacify 
wrath and satisfy justice. Thus is Jesus Christ 
the lutron, or price of our redemption ; " we are 
bought with a price," 1 Cor. vi. 20, such a price 
as never was paid. Men pay money to purchase 
great possessions, " but we were not redeemed with 
corruptible things as silver and gold," but with blood, 
yea, " with the precious blood of Christ," IPet. i. 18, 19. 
Without shedding of blood there could be no remission, 
yet the blood of bulls or goats could never take away 
sin ; * nay, the blood of all the men upon earth could 
never wash away the guilt of the least sin ; no, no, it 
must be the blood of the immaculate Lamb, the 
blood of God, Acts xx. 28, so called from the 
union of the two natures, and communication of 
idioms or properties : and this is the price paid; the 
Father found out a ransom, and our dear Saviour gave 
himself a ransom :f certainly this is a transcendent 
mercy of the new covenant. I agitate not those nice 
controversies, whether God could not have pardoned 
and saved man without the consideration of Christ's 
undertaking ? or how God in justice can charge guilt 
and inflict punishment upon an innocent person ? this 
I am sure, is God's way of saving souls, and we must 
not dispute, but believe, that Jesus Christ is the medi- 
ator of the covenant, and the price of our redemption, 
as God-man ; and this is the marrow of the rich mercy 
and deep mystery contained in the gospel. 

* Heb. ix. 22, 12. t 1 Tim. ii. 6. 


3. In a covenant are contained its conditions ; what 
God requires of us, without which we can have no be- 
nefit by the covenant. These also are to be reckoned 
as mercies of the covenant on God's part as well as du- 
ties on ours, for they are secured and effected in us, 
as well as commanded and required by God. Luther 
makes this to be the main difference betwixt the two 
covenants ; the covenant of works requires obedience, 
but gives no strength ; but the covenant of grace en- 
gageth the grace of God for the performance of the 
conditions ; hence it is, that what the law command- 
eth, the gospel promiseth ; * what God requireth, 
Christ procureth ; what justice demandeth, our dear 
Saviour purchaseth and worketh by his Spirit in the 
heart. Faith is the great gospel condition, whereby 
Christ with all his benefits becomes ours, but faith is 
the gift of God, and " none can come to Christ, except 
the Father draw him." — John vi. 44. Alas, it is as 
impossible to believe in Christ as to keep the moral 
law, from principles of corrupted nature ; our state had 
been sad, and forlorn still, if God had not undertaken 
to work the faith which he requireth ; f it is only the 
arm of omnipotence that can draw the soul to Christ ; 
Jesus is the only author and finisher of our faith ; J 
there is an exceeding greatness of his power with re- 
spect to all them that believe, put forth to create an 
act of saving faith, || all they that have felt it, can tes- 
tify that this is a rich mercy ; and this is one of the 
mercies of the covenant. 

More particularly there are four important things 
promised in the covenant of grace, which are covenant 

* Quod lex imperat, gratia impetrat. Evangelium dat quod lex 
exigit. — Aug. de Spir. el Litera. 

t Duce Deo venitur ad Deum. + Heb. xii. 2. 

|| Eph. i. 19. 


(1.) Saving illumination. Jer. xxxi. 34, "They 
shall all know me, saith the Lord." By nature we are 
blind and blockish creatures, but the new covenant 
brings light and sight to the ignorant and erring sinner, 
and O what a mercy it is to know God and Christ, sin 
and misery, duty and felicity — to know Scripture truths 
and gospel mysteries, our own hearts and the sweet- 
ness of grace, heaven and the way thither ! Certainly, 
such saving knowledge is worth a world ; truly, such 
light is sweet, and a pleasant thing it is for the eye of 
the soul to behold the sun of righteousness, and the 
beauty of heaven ; what blind Bartimeus would not 
own it as a rich mercy to have his eyes opened ? 
and is it not a blessed thing to be translated out of 
Egyptian darkness into this marvellous light? O 
happy are the eyes that are anointed with the new 
covenant eye-salve, that behold celestial objects through 
this divine glass of faith, and become faithful guides in 
the progress of a holy life ! 

(2.) Genuine humiliation. This is another covenant 
mercy, Ezek. xi. 19, "I will take the stony heart out 
of their flesh, and will give them a heart of flesh." A 
broken heart is instead of many sacrifices ; a hard 
heart is the greatest judgment, and a soft heart the 
greatest mercy ; repentance is God's gift bound up in 
the covenant of grace. Our dear and blessed Redeemer 
is exalted as well to be a Prince that he may give re- 
pentance, as to be a Saviour to give unto us remission 
of sins. O what a mercy is the spirit of repentance ! 
they that have this godly sorrow shall never need to 
sorrow for it — such a repentance needs not to be re- 
pented of; " Blessed are they that mourn for sin, for 
they shall be comforted ; happy such as sow in tears, 
for they shall reap in joy !" Certainly a converted sin- 
ner looks on a penitent disposition as a rich mercy ; one 



penitent tear is an orient pearl, of more worth than the 
whole creation ; a bleeding heart is a blessed sight in 
the eyes of God and man — it lays the Christian under 
the promise of the covenant, and prepares him for re- 
mission of sins and the sweetest consolation. 

(3.) Another covenant mercy which respects the 
condition is sanctification of heart ; Ezek. xxxvi. 25, 
'.' I will sprinkle clean water upon you and you 
shall be clean." This is the mercy that David is so 
importunate for, " create in me a clean heart," no 
less than creation will effect it ; putting off the old 
man,and putting on the new in a sound regenera- 
tion, is a miraculous mercy. O what would a poor 
soul give for dominion over some particular cor- 
ruptions, and power to resist temptations ! why here 
it is, this mercy of mortification, which is also a Chris- 
tian's duty, is unfolded in this blessed gospel covenant, 
so that sin shall not have dominion over them that are 
under this covenant of grace. A Christian can do more 
to mortify sin, and crucify the flesh than another man. 
Every word of God hath a cleansing virtue ; " now you 
are clean," saith Christ, " through the word that I have 
spoken to you ;" but the promises of the covenant have 
a direct and immediate tendency to cleansing, 2 Cor. 
vii. 1, " having these promises," that is, of the fore- 
mentioned covenant, " let us cleanse ourselves from all 
filthiness, both of flesh and spirit." It is only gospel 
grace that can make us evangelically holy ; and holi- 
ness is the image of God, the beauty of the soul, the 
duty of a Christian, and the mercy of the covenant. 

(4.) A spiritual conversation. This is also included 
in the covenant, Ezek. xxxvi. 27, " I will put my spirit 
within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye 
shall keep my commandments and do them." O what 
a blessed thing it is to have a heart to love, and fear, 


and serve the Lord ! O what a mercy to be enabled 
to perform holy duties, to walk with God in all ways 
of well-pleasing, to have the law of God written on the 
heart, and transcribed in the life ! * yea, to keep God's 
commands with ease, alacrit) r , and complacency, not to 
have them grievous but pleasant to the soul ! and thus 
it is when the Christian acts from an innate principle 
of grace and holiness. Well, this is the promised and 
purchased condition of the new covenant ; God under- 
takes to put a new habit into the soul, his fear which 
is the beginning of wisdom, and principle of obedi- 
ence. God gives the spirit of prayer, the spirit of 
power, love, and of a sound mind ; j he promiseth to 
give them one heart and one way, that they may 
fear him for ever. ; O what rich mercies are these ! 
4. Yet the great mercies of the covenant are behind, 
under another division, for a covenant, contract, or 
conveyance contains the habendum, or grant, ensuring 
advantage to the party covenanting, and that in these 
words, " I will be thy God," this is repeated fifteen or 
sixteen times in the Scriptures ; this, this is the mercy 
of the new covenant, the mercy of mercies, the flower, 
cream and quintessence of all mercies ; God gives him- 
self to the soul by covenant, and what greater or bet- 
ter gift can he bestow ? if he should give vis all the 
world and deny himself, we are miserable beggars ; 
if he give himself and nothing of the world, we are 
truly rich ; if we have God we have all things, if we 
want God we want all things. My God is my all, saith 
the assured believer. It is recorded of Thomas Aqui- 
nas, || the great schoolman, that a voice from heaven 
spake thus to him : " Thou hast well written Thomas, 

* Jer. xxxi. 33. t 2 Tim. i. 7. % Jer. xxxii. 39. 

|| Deus meus est omnia. Bene scripsisti, Thoma, quid petis ? 
Ee^p. nil nisi teipsurn, Domine. 

X 2 


what desirest thou?" and that he answered thus : 
" Nothing, O Lord, but thyself." This, certainly, is 
the language of a gracious soul, Lord put me not off 
with any thing below or besides thyself. What mortal 
creature durst have presumed to bog of God such a boon, 
if God had not graciously promised himself in the new 
covenant ? What can the creature desire more ? What 
can it now want when it hath an infinite God? All 
that God is, hath, or doth, is now employed for the ad- 
vantage of believers ; all his attributes and the good of 
them, are laid out for the covenanted soul. These words, 
" ray Lord and mv God," echoing to their correlatives " I 
will be thy God," are wonderfully sweet, as they use to 
say of the pronoun, mine, that though it be of the least 
entity, yet it is of the greatest efficacy ; * suppose a 
man could w r ith one cast of his eye take a view of the 
perfections of the whole creation, what were all these 
things to him if he have no interest in them ? A clear 
title to a good tiling completes the comfort we have 
therein. If God were not our God we could have no 
comfort from thoughts of him. What is God, saith 
one, if he be not my God ? j- if he be not our friend, 
he will be our enemy, and we had better have the 
whole creation against us, than God against us ; but 
" if God be for us. who can be against us ?" Now in 
the covenant of grace God undertakes to be our God, 
and this is properly that which this text intends, by 
" the sure mercies of David :" not in the singular but 
the plural number, as I conceive, for these two reasons : 
First, because God is the fountain, spring, and origin 
of all mercies ; " all my springs are in thee," saith 
David, i Hence God is said to be plenteous in mercy, 
and he is the Father of mercies. All mercies are vir- 

* Relativa sunt minima? entitatis, maxima? verb efficacia?. 

t Quid est Deus, si non sit meus ? % Psal. lxxxvii. 7- 


tually, eminently, and transcendently in God, and he 
that hath him that hath all things, hath all things him- 
self. * Secondly, because the covenant contains all 
mercies in itself ; when any one enters into this cove- 
nant, behold a gad, a troop, a train of mercies attend 
upon him ; the covenant is a blessed constellation, and 
all the stars of gospel promises do lend their aid to 
beautify the covenanted soul. 

Take a sample of the mercies of the covenant in both 
these respects, as 

1. What God is to the soul, and so what mercies are 
bound up in the covenant ; in this respect, 

(1.) God stands in every endearing relation to those 
who are interested in his mercy, he is a father to them, 
2 Cor. vi. 18 ; f a husband, " thy maker is thine hus- 
band," Isa. liv. 5 ; " a near and bosom friend," Jam. ii. 
23. Abraham was called the friend of God, so conse- 
quently God was his friend ; for this covenant begets 
and contracts the most endearing bond of intimate 
friendship betwixt God and the soul, and if there can be 
any other relation, that holdeth forth still more tender- 
ness of affection ; that and much more is God to the 
gracious soul, ji " as one whom his mother comforteth, 
so," saith God, " will I comfort you," Isa. lxvi. 13, nay, 
the Scripture doth testify more affectionate workings 
in God's heart towards his people than can be found in 
the most indulgent parents to their natural offspring ; 
sweetness of all relations proceeds from God, and there- 
fore to be found in God ; our relative affection is but 
a drop to this fountain, and our content in relations is 
no otherwise sweet than as flowing from him, or with 
relation to him. 

• Habet omnia qui habet habentem omnia. 

t Psalm x. Matt. iii. 17- 

1 Consult Isaiah xlix. 1."), 16'. Jer. xxxi. 20. 


(2.) God is all that is pleasant, desirable and honour- 
able ; hence, we are bidden to taste and see how good 
the Lord is, and to delight ourselves in the Lord, and 
are informed that at his right hand there are everlast- 
ing pleasures ; * he, he alone, is the object and centre 
of our desires — he alone, is the rock and rest of the 
fluctuating soul ; therefore, David doth charge his soul 
to return to God as his rest, f God only is the sabbath 
and solace of the Christian's soul. Communion with 
God is heaven in the heaven of heavens. No desires 
so insatiable but may be satisfied with an infinite God, 
if regularly carried out towards him. O what a 
blessed thing it is to have God to be the object of our 
delight ! the God of heaven is the King of glory, and 
he alone is the glory of a people or an individual, I the 
best ornament is to have a God in covenant, Isa. xxviii. 
5, " when the glorious beauty shall be as a fading 

flower then shall the Lord of hosts be for a crown 

of glory," instead of their crown of pride, " and for a 
diadem of beauty to the residue of his people." O 
blessed and beautiful ornament ! 

(3.) God is all that is required for safety and defence 
to his covenanted people. He is a sun and a shield ; |j 
a sun to direct in times of darkness, a shield to protect 
in times of danger. There are seven words, Ps.xviii.2, 
that set forth this self-same thing : what a protection 
God is to a believer — a rock, a fortress, a deliverer, a 
strength, a buckler, the horn of his salvation, and his 
high tower. Every one of these hath its peculiar em- 
phasis and significancy ; I cannot take notice of them 
all, only hint at the first and last : a rock, you know, 
is a natural defence, a tower is an artificial defence ; 

* Psal. xxxiv. 8. Psal. xxxvii. 4. Psal. xvi. ]1. 

t Psal. cxvi. 7- % Psal. iii. 3. Psal. xxiv. 10. 

II P.sal. lxxxiv. 9— 11. 


God is both, in a sort, by way of cov enant, in the first 
respect as our God and Creator, in the second as God- 
man, Mediator, appointed to be the only succour and 
shelter of fallen mankind ; here we may be safe and 
free from the roaring lion, the raving bear and uncir- 
cumcised Philistine ; he alone is a hiding-place from 

the wind, a covert from the tempest, " and as the 

shadow of a great rock in a weary land," Isa. xxxii. 2. 
An admirable place you have Jer.xvii.12, " a throne, a 
glorious throne, and a glorious high throne ;" and this, 
"from the beginning is the place," notonly of our defence, 
but "of our sanctuary." Every word hath its peculiar 
weight ; who dare presume to meddle with a throne or 
to surprise a sanctuary ? The glory whereof will af- 
fright and appal them ; it is a high throne, how can 
they reach it ? It is from the beginning, and to ever- 
lasting, and what mortal man can lay siege to this im- 
pregnable tower ? The eternal God is the saints' refuge, 
and underneath them are everlasting arms ; * there- 
fore, are they safe from total falling, and fear of des- 
perate evils. 

(4.) God is all that is necessary for profit, advantage, 
and usefulness to the saints. It is said, " money an- 
swers all things," but God is better, and more truly 
answers all things ; as a precious saint used to say, 
God is good, when gold is gone ; no gain in the world 
like that which God is to the soul — God is our riches, 
treasure, portion, inheritance, and our all in all. David 
saith, Psal. lxxiii. 25, 26, " whom have I in heaven 
but thee ?" and then adds, " my flesh and my heart 
faileth, but God is the strength of my heart, and my 
portion for ever." God is fitly called the saints' portion, 
for he is so one saint's portion, as if he were no one's 
else, and yet entirely every one's, as if wholly theirs, as 
* Dent, xxxiii. 27- 


indeed he is, yet without division, partition, or dimi- 
nution. That is a notable passage in the gospel cove- 
nant, at least one part of it, the mercy in it we are 
speaking of, Gen. xv. 1, " Fear not Abraham, I am thy 
shield, and thy exceeding great reward." First, thy 
reward, as if it were, as indeed it is, reward enough to 
have God, if we have nothing else. Secondly, a great 
reward worth speaking of, not an inconsiderable trifle, 
but a great reward. Thirdly, an cwcced'uig great re- 
ward, no hyperbole can reach its import,* much less ex- 
ceed it ; none can express the goodness of God, but 
those that experience it, nor can they sufficiently de- 
clare it ; but is he mine ? Yes, Fourthly, by this cove- 
nant he is thy exceeding great reward. " Blessed are 
they that are in such a case — Happy is that people 
whose God is the Lord, f 

Thus I have shewed what God is. 

2. I shall briefly particularize what God gives and 
grants to those who are in covenant with him ; there 
are many benefits, and advantages, which are, indeed, 
rich covenant mercies. 

(1.) Pardon of sin, Jer. xxxi. 3-1, " for I will 

forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no 
more ;" and, O what a mercy is pardon of sin ? ask 
David when he is roaring under his broken bones and 
disquiet spirit, whether pardon of sin be a mercy ? — he 
will answer yes ; O yes, I know it, and could even 
envy the happiness of a pardoned sinner. " Blessed is 
he whose transgression is forgiven, yea, many times 
blessed is he to whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity.":]: 
This is a mercy that cost a great price, even the blood 
of the immaculate Lamb of God; it is a mercy that 
God shews for his own sake ; a mercy that easeth the 

' Christus et ceelum non patiuntur hyperbolen. 

t IValcxliv. 1."). % Psal. xxxii. 1, 2, 


guilty soul of a heavy burden ; a mercy that hath 
sweet and satisfying concomitants. O the riches of 
this mercy! 

(2.) God's favour, love, and tender compassion, Jer. 
xxxii. 40, 41, " I will make an everlasting covenant 
with them, that 1 will not turn away from them to Jo 

them good- Yea, I will rejoice over them to do them 

good," as if he had said, now I am in covenant with 
them, I will seek and study in every way to promote 
their spiritual and eternal advantage ; yea, and their 
temporal good also ; I will be a fast and faithful friend 
to them ; all my attributes shall contribute their assist- 
ance to forward the designs of mercy towards them, 
and what God doth for them is with his whole heart 
and with his whole soul — he will, in the relation 
of a father, take care of his children, and, is not that a 
mercy ? 

(3.) Gospel ordinances, Ezek. xxxvii. 26, 27, " I will 

make a covenant of peace with them and will set 

my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore 

my tabernacle, also, shall be with them," that is, they 
shall have the means of grace, the visible tokens of 
God's presence, and ways of communion with God ; 
and is not this a rich mercy ? David looked upon it as 
such in his banishment from God's house, and every 
child of God prizeth it at a very high rate : this is one 
of the mercies of the covenant. 

(4.) Seasonable afflictions, with a sanctified use of 
them, Psal. lxxxix. 30, 32, 33, " if his children forsake 

my law then will I visit their transgressions with 

the rod." It is infinite mercy that God will take the 
pains to chasten his offending children ; it is faithfulness 
to the great object of the covenant that God will fetch 
in his wandering sheep by the sharpest means ; it is, 
as it were, a cruel mercy to let men alone in sin, that 


they may hasten their ruin ; it is the father's care 
and kindness to chide and correct his son, and it is as 
needful as food and raiment. A child of God would 
rather be scourged to God, than allured from him in 
the paths most agreeable to human nature. This 
covenant mercy doth change the nature of affliction, 
and make every thing to work for the soul's greatest 
advantage; this bitter potion is a useful, healing medi- 
cine ; this stinging serpent is turned into a harmless, 
nay, helpful rod, with which the Lord works wonders 
of mercy upon and for his covenanted people. 

But time would fail me to enumerate the large cata- 
logue of covenant mercies. From this fountain, stream 
to believers those choice mercies of reconciliation with 
God, filiation, the spirit of adoption, free admission to 
the throne of grace, acceptance of their persons, hear- 
ing of their prayers, assurance of God's love, peace of 
conscience, communion of saints, the benefits of Christ's 
passion, resurrection, ascension, intercession, an interest 
in all the promises, Christ's purchase, the Spirit's aid 
and comforts, freedom from the wrath of God, the curse 
of the law and eternal death, and lastly, an interest in, 
and at death a full possession of, the inheritance of the 
saints in light. These and such like are the mercies of 
the covenant ; in a word, all the goodness that is in 
God, and all that can be considered as real blessings in 
the world, are to be accounted as the " sure mercies of 



II. It may be observed that there are some things 
absolutely and unchangeably sure, as to their own 
nature by an intrinsecal necessity ; thus God's essence 
is immutable ; with him there is no variableness nor 
shadow of change : though the heavens perish yet he 
endures, " he is still the same and his years have no 
end," Psal. cii. 24 — 27. thus God alone is the certain 
and immoveable centre of the whole creation ; he is the 
rock of ages, originally, infinitely, and independently 
sure, and so is nothing besides ; other things are sure 
jure posith'o, not of themselves, but by the virtue of 
God's appointment and designation, invariable, irrevoc- 
able, so as shall not be altered, or otherways ordered ; 
for instance there is no new way contrived to save lost 
man ; thus the scriptures are sure for ever, " O Lord 
thy word is settled in heaven,"* and our Saviour saith, 
" till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall 
in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled ;"f 
and in this way is the covenant of grace sure, not 
because of any intrinsecal necessity, resulting from its 
nature, but free to be or not to be as the infinite God 
sees good ; as a covenant it depends merely on God's 
free-grace for making it, he might have forborne enter- 
ing into this new covenant, and have dealt with man 
as with the lapsed angels; or he might have reserved 
to himself a power of revocation, to have called in his 
patent, and shut up his office of mercy, but now God 
hath fixed this as the only and everlasting way of 
* Psalm cxix. 89. t Matt. v. 18. 


salvation : thus this covenant is as sure as that the 
world shall no more be totally drowned with water ; 
yea, as sure as the standing of the lasting mountains 
and hills : yet further, as sure as the ordinances of 
the sun by day, and the moon and stars by night ; nay, 
once more it is as possible that the heavens should be 
measured by the short span of a mortal, or the founda- 
tions of the earth searched out, as for the great and un- 
changeable God to violate this gospel covenant with his 
dear Israel. Read this fullv in Isa. liv. 6 — 10. Jer. xxxi. 



But yet more particularly, this covenant and these 
mercies of it, may be made sure two ways to believers ; 

1. Infallibly, so as not to miss of them, and 

2. Immutably, so as never to lose them. 

1. These mercies of the covenant are sure infallibly, 
that is, the number of elect souls set apart by the 
sovereign Lord of heaven and earth to eternal happi- 
ness through our Lord Jesus Christ, shall have interest 
in and possession of the fore-mentioned mercies of 
David. That God hath chosen some to life as the end, 
and through Christ as the way of attaining that end 
is clear in Scripture ; Ephes. i. 4. " According as he 
hath chosen us in him — and ver. 5. having predestin- 
ated us unto the adoj>tion of children by Jesus Christ 
to himself;" and 1 Thess. v. 9. "for God hath not 
appointed us unto wrath, but to obtain salvation by 
our Lord Jesus Christ :" electing and redeeming love 
are of the same latitude and extent ; whom God the 
Father in his counsels regarded, God the Son atoned for 
upon the bitter cross ; " and those that are ordained to 
eternal life believe," Acts xiii. 48, which text, saith 
Calvin, teacheth that saving faith depends upon God's 
eternal election ; hence also faith is called " the faith 


of God's elect," Tit. i, 1. because it peculiarly dis- 
tinguished! them, for all men have not faith. Besides, 
God hath placed man's salvation upon the sure founda- 
tion of his own free grace, on purpose to make these 
things firm and sure to believers, so that their un- 
worthiness shall not hinder the certain execution of his 
eternal decrees, Rom iv. 16, " therefore it is of faith 
that it might be by grace, to the end the promise 
might be sure to all the seed," that is, that the covenant 
with all the mercies of it might be made good to all 
the heirs of promise ; " the election, hath obtained it, 
but the rest are blinded," Rom. xi. 7; hence, saith 
the apostle, 2 Tim. ii. 19, " The foundation of God 
standeth sure, the Lord knoweth them that are his : 
he knows his sheep even before they know them- 
selves, according to his purpose of grace before the 
foundation of the world. * Hence also, God would 
not have the enjoyment of these mercies to depend 
upon man's sorry, mutable, and inconstant will, nor 
upon any works wrought by man, as the whole strain 
and tenor of the gospel holds forth : and indeed, if the 
whole stress lay on man's free will, it would brino- u« 
back to a covenant of works ; and if it were possible 
for any man to attain such mercies, he would be the 
determining cause of his own salvation, — and then 
what need of any Redeemer ? Besides, it might so fall 
out, that these mercies might be applied to none ; for, 
conditio nihil ponit in esse, that which is not effectual 
without a contingent condition upon which it depends, 
that is to say, the particular movement of this man's 
will, and so of another's towards God, being in his own 
choice, is doubtful and uncertain, and so must needs 

* Dico, novit Dominus qui sunt ejus, ipsae oves aliquando 
scipsas nesciunt, set! pastor novit eas, secundum electionem ovium 
ante constitutionem mundi — Aits;, in Joh. x. 


be the privileges which depend upon that condition : 
therefore, they that make these mercies possibly every 
one's, make them certainly no one's. The truth is, 
God hath not left the enjoyment of these covenant 
mercies to the choice or refusal of the fickle or incon- 
stant will of the creature at his pleasure ; but though 
he doth not violence to this faculty, but from its being 
unwilling makes it willing, God himself by his Holy 
Spirit hath engaged to bring souls home by converting 
grace certainly and infallibly, though sweetly and suit- 
ably to the nature of a rational creature. Hence effec- 
tual calling, which is introductory to these mercies, is 
not left at rovers, may-bes, or hap-hazard, but it is put 
beyond all perad venture ; so that there is a must and 
shall annexed to it. " Other sheep I have — them 
also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice." — 
John x. 16. " All that the Father giveth me, shall 
come to me." — John vi. 37- The God of heaven hath 
engaged himself for it, and he is a God of truth to 
make good his word ; he also possesses infinite power, 
he works and who can let it : " He worketh all things 
according to the counsel of his own will." — Eph. i. 11. 
All that God the Father hath given to Christ, the Son 
hath undertaken to bring to glory by his mediatorial 
administration: these mercies, then, are sure infallibly, 
the heir of glory shall partake of them. 

2. They are sure immutably ; not any that do par- 
take of these mercies shall ever lose them — they shall 
never be deprived of them. There are indeed some 
common gifts of the Spirit that God may revoke and 
take away, as the gifts that Saul had ; but these gifts 
of grace and this effectual calling are without repentance, 
Rom. xi. 29 '. he will never repent of, nor retract these 

* Vide sis Ames. Coron. ad Coll. Hag. adversus Remons. Artie, 
prim, de Electione, cap. 4. p. 15. &c. 


precious donations — Mary's better part shall never be 
taken from her ; worldly riches may be lost, but spiri- 
tual mercies are durable riches. God, the Author of 
these mercies, is immutable, with him there is no vari- 
ableness nor shadow of change ; he is subject to no 
variation from the contingent events of second causes. 
' The Lord will not forsake his people for his great 
name's sake, because it hath pleased the Lord to make 
them his people," 1 Sam. xii. 22 : he hateth putting 
away, he will not disinherit his children for misde- 
meanours, he knows their frame, sees and pities their 
weaknesses, raiseth them out of falls, and heals their 
backslidings. Christ Jesus, the purchaser of these 
mercies, is " the Amen, the faithful and true witness ;" 
" the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever ;" " mighty 
to save, a merciful and faithful high-priest ;" " none 
can pluck them out of his hands ; he will lose none of 
those that his Father hath given him ;" " he will save 
to the uttermost."* This our Joshua will bring his 
people to the Canaan of eternal rest. The principle 
of grace, and these mercies themselves, are of a durable 
nature ; grace is an immortal seed, a never-dyinp- root 
—principium continuativum. « He that believeth in 
me," as the Scripture hath said, " out of his belly shall 
flow rivers of living water."— John vii. 38. Though 
grace is loseable in its own nature, yet not in the issue, 
because God upholds it. " The house built on the rock 
shall stand immoveable; the righteous is an everlasting 
foundation: he that doth the will of God abides 
for ever ; f yea, he hath eternal life abiding in him." 
But may not they depart from God ? no, not totally 
and finally, " for God hath put his fear in their hearts 
that they shall not depart from him."— Jer. xxxii. 40. 

* Rev. iii. 14. Heb. xiii. 8. Isa. lxiii. 1. Johnx. 28,29. xvii 
t Prov. x. 25. 1 John ii. 17. 


They may sin and provoke God to withdraw the sense 

of his love, they may lose their standing, comforts, and 
some degrees of grace, but never be stripped naked 
wholly of these sure mercies of David ; God hath 
secret hold of them, and they have more hold of him 
than others have ; they are restless and dissatisfied till 
they enjoy God, and till these mercies be clear to them. 
This golden chain stretcheth itself from everlasting, it 
begins in a purpose of grace, and ends in final salva- 
tion ; " whom he predestinates them he calls, justifies, 
glorifies," &c. — Rom. viii. 29, 30. It is sacrilege to 
pluck one link from this golden chain ; God is the 
finisher as well as the author of faith. It is not with- 
in the compass of any finite being to rob a gracious 
soul of the love of God, or stop the course of his free 
grace to those in covenant with him. Paul can make 
a bold challenge, Rom. viii. 35, 38, 39, " Who shall 
separate us from the love of God ? and he makes a 
sufficient enumeration of all things that were likely to 
conquer the believing soul, and yet concludes, that in 
in all these things " we are more than conquerors 
through Christ ; there are in the word sweet promises 
that may answer all cavils and unbelieving fears con- 
cerning perseverance, which many able champions 
have produced and managed with dexterity and suc- 
cess. * 

* See Mr. Prins on Perseverance ; Dr. Prid. Lect. 7- De Per- 
sev. Sanct.; Dr. Ames Coron. Artie 5. De Perseverantia. 



III. The next thing intended is more particularly to 
shew in what way these covenant mercies are confirmed 
or made sure. Now there are several steps of making 
a thing sure amongst men, and God hath used the 
same means, (and even done more) to make these 
mercies sure to the children of men. 

1. Men are wont to pass their word. When they 
promise any thing upon the word of an honest man, 
they expect credit ; and among men this is current, 
and the God of heaven is worthy to be believed upon 
his bare word, (if I may so speak) for he is a God that 
cannot lie nor deny himself : " yea, let God be true and 
every man a liar :" even a Balaam is convinced of it, 
and must profess it, Numb, xxiii. 19. " God is not a 
man that he should lie — hath he said, and shall he 
not do it ? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make 
it good ?" The unchangeable God hath engaged his 
word in the new covenant : the patriarchs of old gave 
credit to all that God spake by dreams, visions and revela- 
tions, as in the instances of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 

2. Men use to give stronger evidence by subscribing 
their names, and putting their mind and promise into 
writing ;* hence the expression and practice of giving 
letters of credence, and we use to say " men are mortal, 
give it me under your hand, that will abide." f Well, 
our gracious God hath condescended to subscribe his 
promises under his own hand, the hand of his blessed 

* Hence Neh. ix. 38. " We make a sure covenant, and write it." 
t Litera scripta nianet. 



Spirit ; the word of God is upon record, " therefore 
v/hatsoever was written, it is for our learning, (I may 
raid satisfaction) that we through patience and comfort 
of the Scriptures might have hope," Rom. xv. 4 : he 
hath given assurance to us of these things in the word 
of truth — " for this cause was the gospel written, that 
we may know the certainty of these things," Luke i. 4. 
" and that we may believe," John xx. 31. Who 
dare now dispute or doubt of the truth and sureness of 
gospel promises ? since " heaven and earth may pass 
away, but one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass 
from the law till all be fulfilled."— Matt. v. 18. 

3. Men use to call in witnesses for further confirma- 
tion. Some important business requires several wit- 
nesses ; it is a standing rule, " at the mouth of two or 
three witnesses shall the matter be established." * 
Well, the God of heaven hath confirmed the gospel to 
us by twice three witnesses ; there are three in hea- 
ven, the glorious persons of the blessed Trinity, the 
Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost, and these 
three are one, one in essence, though three persons, 
1 John v. 7, these bear record of Christ's Godhead ; 
and there are three that bear witness on earth, verse 8. 
these testify of Christ's manhood — the Spirit, that is, 
say some, his breathing out his soul and spirit in his 
giving up the ghost, and water, and Mood, that came 
out of his side when it was pierced with a spear, which 
shew he was real man, and that he did really die ; 
Aretius j- interprets these three latter of the Spirit in 
the ministry of the word, the water of baptism, and 
the blood signified by the wine of the Lord's supper in 
which Christ's meritorious sacrifice is represented, and 

* Deut. xix. 15. 

t Hanc sequor sententiam hoc loco, nee puto aliam posse ad- 
duci veriorem. — Aretius in loc. See Marlorate in loc 


still this interpretation further confirms the gospel 
covenant, and consequently the mercies of it. 

4. Men use to give assurance to others by affixing 
their seal ; hence the practice amongst us of setting a 
seal to bills, bonds, leases, purchases, letters patent, 
and this seal hath usually a person's cognizance or coat 
of arms, or some impression upon it, and leaves the 
impression upon the wax. The God of heaven adds 
his seal ; there is the broad seal of the new covenant, 
baptism and the Lord's supper are given and appointed 
purposely for the confirmation of our faith, and assur- 
ing our hearts of the truth of the promises, as cir- 
cumcision is called the seal of the righteousness of 
faith, Rom. iv. 11 ; for by these seals both the grace of 
God is confirmed to us, and holy impressions made on 
the hearts of believers. There is also a privy seal, the 
seal of the blessed Spirit in our hearts ; * Eph. i. 13, 

. " sealed with that holy Spirit of promise :" hereby 

God's children are distinguished from wicked men, 
and confirmed in the truth of the gospel ; yea, it 
beareth witness with their spirits that they are the 
children of God, Rom. viii. 16. This is an elegant 
similitude, for all civil charters and testaments become 
valid by the addition of a seal, and the seal in former 
times was the note in letters by which the author was 
known, and a seal is the mark whereby genuine things 
are discerned from counterfeit : all these are the uses 
of the Spirit's sealing, to confirm our hearts in the 
truth of God in his promises, against all the tempta- 
tions of Satan ; this blessed sealing is more prevalent 
for our confirmation, than all philosophical reasons or 

5. Another way to create assurance among men is a 
solemn oath ; " and we know an oath for confirmation 
* Eph. iv. 30. 2 Cor. i. 22. 

y 2 


is to them an end for all strife," Heb. vi. 16 ; and 
thus God willing more abundantly to shew unto the 
heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, con- 
firmed it by an oath, or interposed himself by an oath.* 
It is very important to consider the form of the oath ; 
God swears by himself, who is the living and true 
God, he could swear by no greater : and it may be ob- 
served, that two considerations make a thing more 
credible — 1. The quality of the person speaking; 2. 
The manner of the speech. Now, the form of the oath 
to Abraham is exceedingly emphatical ; f partly be- 
cause of the asseveration, " surely ;" partly because of 
the reduplication, " in blessing I will bless thee," if I 
speak it, it shall be done. Moreover, the form of the 
expression in Genesis is strange, i for it is thus — " If I 
bless thee, thou shalt be blessed," or because I bless 
thee; or if I do not bless thee, (which is the form of an 
oath, Heb. iv. 3.) as if he should say, then let me not 
be true or just, yea, let me not be God. God pledges 
his faithfulness upon it, and may he not then be be- 
lieved ? But for what end is this ? it is to confirm his 
promises, and assure the hearts of all the heirs of pro- 
mise that he intends to do, and will accomplish what 
he hath spoken, that they may have strong consolation, 
and that he may take away all doubts and hesitation ; 
and all this he doth for the heirs of promise ; he would 

* 'EfitaiTSvacv. Invitat prsemio salutem ; jurans etiam, vivo 
dicens : cupit credi sibi. O beatos nos quorum causa Deus jurat ! 
O miserrimos si nee juranti Domino credimus. — Tertnl. de Poen. 

t Gen. xxii. 16, 17- "p*QN "p2"^D, "O est particula cau- 
salis et eonditionalis. 

X Quid tibi prodest si Deus se juramento eonstringit, si tu haec 
quasi communem audiens fabuLun transeas? — Jurare dicitur Deus, 
at tu audiens paveas et intremiscas et metu consternatus inquiras 
quid illud tantum est, pro quo Deus jurare dicitur. — Orig. Homil. 
9. super Gen. a-xii. 


not have done thus for others, but he doth this and 
much more to satisfy his doubting children. 

6. Yet further, men use to give an earnest or a 
pledge to assure others of their real purpose to make 
good the bargain, and this is part of the payment. 
This also doth our gracious God, Eph. i. 14 ; his Spirit 
is the " earnest of our inheritance,* until the redemp- 
tion of the purchased possession." An earnest is used 
in purchasing land, in hiring of servants, and in con- 
tracting marriage, and whenever the Lord puts his 
Holy Spirit into the heart, it is as a pledge of all the 
mercies of the covenant and of our eternal inheritance. 
And though some men may be unfaithful, so far as 
rather to lose their earnest, than make good their bar- 
gain, yet we may be assured God will not do so, for it 
is as impossible that any saving grace of the Spirit 
should be cast into hell, as it is for any sin to enter 
into heaven. God will not lose his pledge, but fetch 
the soul to heaven when he hath fetcht the heart to 
himself; grace is the prologue and prelude to glory, 
the first resurrection leads the van to the second ; a 
gracious change prepares for a glorious change. " If 
the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead 
dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead 
shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that 
dwelleth in you." — Rom. viii. 11. The Spirit confirms 
the promises, and we need not fear any danger of re- 
tractation ; not but that the promises are firm enough 
of themselves, but he would establish our hearts in the 
faith thereof and acquiescence therein, lest there should 
be any question. 

7. Another way whereby men testify their cordial 
resolution to make their promises good, is, by doing a 
great part of the work, which gives real evidence that 
* 2 Cor. i. 22. and v. 5. 


they will do the rest ; he that promiseth to give an- 
other a thousand pounds, and hath already given him 
nine hundred, may he not rationally trust him for the 
rest? or suppose there were but one pound, or a penny 
behind, there is great reason to confide in him for what 
is wanting. * Why, truly the Lord hath performed 
the greatest part of the promises of the covenant ; the 
great promise of the covenant was, " that the seed of 
the woman should bruise the serpent's head ;" that the 
Son of God should be incarnate, be in man's stead in 
life and death to satisfy justice, fulfil the law, and by 
his death bring in everlasting righteousness, and he 
hath already done it. Now, saith the apostle, Rom. 
viii. 32, " He that spared not his own Son, but de- 
livered him up for us all, how shall he not with him 
also freely give us all things ?" f God is beforehand 
with us; yea, if we be indeed heirs of promise, he hath 
made good another grand branch of the new covenant, 
in giving the conditions of the covenant, faith repent- 
ance, and new obedience ; so that the main business is 
already done, the writings are made, sealed, signed, 
and delivered, there wants nothing but actual posses- 
sion ; nay, there is a seisin and delivery of part of 
the inheritance, — and dare we not trust God for the 
remainder ? certainly we have good reason so to do ; 
the contrary is unreasonable. 

8. God hath gone further, namely, to work many 
miracles for the confirmation of these sure mercies ; 

* Should a king promise to erect some college, and give liberal 
maintenance to students in it, we are certain by a human faith, 
that he will do such a thing though it be not begun ; but if the 
foundations be in laying, we see its execution in part, and are 
assured it will be finished. — Bairn on Eph. i. 17, p- 144 

t Kit Rom. iv. 8 — 10. Qui misit unigenitum, immisit Spiri- 
tum, promisit vultum ; quid tandem tibi negaturus est? — Bern. 


this is a degree beyond what man can reach to make 
any thing sure. Hence, saith our dear Saviour, John v. 
36, " I have greater witness than that of John, for the 
works which the Father hath given me to finish, the 
same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the 
Father hath sent me." This text shews the true and 
proper end and efficacy of Christ's miracles ; they are 
not dumb shows, but have a voice, and cry aloud for 
faith in the intelligent observer ; * yea, and they were 
wont to beget faith in the spectators, as Nathaniel be- 
lieved, upon Christ's telling him of his conference at a 
distance, John i. 48, 49. " The beginning of his mi- 
racles manifested his glory, and his disciples believed 
on him," John ii. 11 ; and others comparing the doc- 
trine of John with Christ's miracles believed on him, 
John x. 41 ; and indeed the argument of miracles is a 
cogent, convincing argument, " for no man can do 
those real miracles except God be with him," — John 
iii. 2. Certainly, the wonderful things wrought by 
Christ ought to assure our hearts of the truth of the 
gospel, and consequently of the sureness of these cove- 
nant mercies. But upon this subject you have evident 
and abundant demonstrations from the pen of the Rev. 
Mr. Baxter, in his Saints' Rest, Part 2, in the Preface, 
and in page 215 — 234, to which I refer you. The 
truth is, God hath graciously condescended to confirm 
the gospel by many infallible miracles which none can 
question, and all this to make sure to believers these 
covenant mercies, therefore they are inexcusable that 
slight this way of the gospel's confirmation.! 

9. Another step that God hath taken is the adop- 
tion of various means to make known to us these 

* Igitur non sunt muta sed vocalissima ; ideo non simplicitrr 
intuenda, sed et intelligenter audienda. — Marl, in loc. 
t See Heb. ii. 3, 4. 


sure mercies, and thereby to give us assurance of 
them, as, 

(1.) An audible, intelligible voice from heaven, at 
Christ's baptism, and his transfiguration, " This is my 
beloved son, in whom I am well-pleased," * and this 
voice, the Apostle Peter saith, he heard in the holy 
mount, 2 Pet. i. 17, 18, so that these gospel mercies are 
not cunningly devised fables, but divine oracles of un- 
doubted truth. 

(2.) The constant preaching of honest and unbiassed 
men, that were eye-witnesses of his glory. They give 
clear evidence of their hatred of evil, love of truth and 
goodness, and they could not be perverted by any selfish 
ends of profit, pleasure, or honour, for these were not 
proposed, promised or attained ; nay, affliction and per- 
secution was their known portion, and, therefore, they 
certainly could not, would not cozen the world with 
lies to get what was not attainable in that way. 

(3.) God hath qualified men with admirable gifts to 
enable them to demonstrate the certainty and excel- 
lency of these covenant mercies ; in the apostles' days, 
extraordinary gifts, as extemporary prophecying, heal- 
ing diseases, working miracles, discerning spirits, divers 
kinds of tongues, f so that all nations might hear these 
magnolia Dei, great things of God in their own dia- 
lects, f and now they are translated into all laguages ; 
and God hath continued to distribute ministerial gifts 
for the church's satisfaction and edification. || 

(4.) He sent even his own Son to be the preacher as 
well as purchaser of these sure mercies. " He spake 
at sundry times, and in divers manners in times past 
by the prophets, but in these last days he hath spoken 
to us by his Son," Heb. i. 1,2, the more to conciliate in 

* Mat. iii. 17. Mat xvii. 5. t 1 Cor. xii. 8 — 10. 

% Acts ii. 11. || Kph. iv. 8— 12. 


us reverence and credence, for he saith, " surely thev 
will reverence my Son ;" certainly, he declares to us 
the whole counsel of God, " for he was in the bosom 
of the Father, and came from thence for this very end 
to declare his Father's will." — John i. 18. 

(5.) Yea, he hath raised Jesus Christ from the dead, 
so that we have a preacher sent from the grave to as- 
sure us of the truth of these high mysteries and sweet 
mercies ; so the rich man could say in hell, if one went 
to them from the dead, they would repent and believe, 
Luke xvi. 30. Now our dear Saviour himself was 
dead and is alive, and as he is declared to be the Son 
of God by his resurrection from the dead, * so after his 
resurrection he declared the great things of God, con- 
firming his disciples in the truth of things formerly de- 
livered, and giving further testimonies and instructions, 
Luke xxiv. 44 — 49. 

(6.) Still other means of manifestation are clear and 
crystal ordinances, in which, as in a fair glass, we 
may behold both the face of God, and the choicest mer- 
cies of the covenant ; here you may not only hear the 
voice of God, but see Jesus Christ evidently set forth, 
crucified before your eyes. — Gal. iii. 1. In the sacra- 
ment of his holy supper, are exhibited God's grace in 
giving Christ, Christ's love in giving himself, his body 
broken for our food, his blood shed for the remission of 
our sins, and all the benefits of this new covenant. 

(7.) Another way of the Lord's manifesting these 
mercies, and so making them sure is through the sanc- 
tifying and satisfying illumination of souls by his holy 
Spirit — by his holy unction they know all things, 
1 John ii. 20, " God hath revealed them unto us by 
his Spirit," 1 Cor. ii. 10, 12. Now the Spirit comes 
with conviction and demonstration, answers all the 
* Rom. i. 4. 


soul's doubts and cavils, arid leaves it without dispute 
and hesitation ; so that the believer cannot but say, 
they are sure mercies. He dares not deny this for a 

(10.) There is yet one other way whereby God doth 
make sure these mercies of the covenant, and that is 
by a marriage contract, a mutual and matrimonial en- 
gagement in the perpetual and inviolable bond of the 
covenant, whereby Christ and the soul are inseparably 
linked together, and this relates to the particular appli- 
cation of these covenant mercies, and completes all the 
former ; for, saith the poor soul, I do not question but 
these mercies are sure in themselves, in their own na- 
ture, and sure to some — but are they so to me ? What 
way may I be assured of my title thereunto and interest 
therein ? Now this, the Lord doth make good by en- 
tering into the sweet and familiar relation of marriage 
with his people ; " thy Maker is thy husband, and I 
am married to you," saith the Lord. * A believing 
soul is dead to the law, that he may be married to 
Christ, f and our heavenly husband " hateth putting 
away," 1 once married to Christ and for ever married to 
him, death itself breaks not this marriage contract, nay, 
it fastens and makes it indissoluble ; here Christ and 
the soul are but as it were engaged, then the marriage 
is solemnized with the acclamations of glorious angels, 
and glorified saints, for, saith the apostle, 2 Cor. xi. 2, 
" I have espoused you to one husband that I may pre- 
sent you as a chaste virgin to Christ." Now souls are 
fitting for that great solemnity, " when the marriage 
of the Lamb shall come that the bride may be ready." | 
She is making herself ready in this world, she is mar- 
ried at the illustrious day of Christ's second appearing ; 

* Isaiah liv. 5. Jew iii. 14, + Rom. vii. 4. 

t Mai. ii. 16. || Rev. xix. /• 


so then this marriage contract cannot be broken since 
it is completed in glory. But yet more particularly 
consider that remarkable text in Hosea ii. 19, 20, 
wherein the mercies of the covenant are made over in a 
way of matrimonial relation, and " I will betroth thee 
unto me for ever," &c. in which Scripture there are 
four things that may assure the heart of the security 
of these covenant mercies. 

[i.] The author and husband I, the great Jehovah, 
the infinite God, the creator of heaven and earth, who 
speaks and it is done, who works, and none can let it. 
It is he that saith, " I will betroth thee," and who can 
forbid the banns of matrimony ? who is able to hinder 
this conjunction ? 

[ii.] Here is the doubling of the phrase for greater 
certainty and security, " I will betroth thee, yea, I will 
betroth thee ;" fear not it shall be done ; nay, the third 
time it is repeated, v. 20. " I will even betroth thee," 
what can any say more to assure a suspicious bride of 
a firm contract and marriage, as if he had said, do not 
distrust me, a marriage shall most undoubtedly take 
place. All this God saith to meet the incredulity of a 
guilty soul, that through fear desponds, and dares 
scarcely look upon it as possible or credible ; yet, 

[iii.] Here is the term and date of the marriage, it is 
not for a week, month, year, seven years, no nor a 
hundred years only, nay, it is not only during life, as 
other marriages are made, but it is for ever, unto " all 
eternity," it never fails, it lasts as long as the soul lasts, 
that is a long day ; other marriages are temporary, 
terminable, failable, and " death looseth a woman from 
the law of her husband ;" * but this is a marriage con- 
firmed, and completed at death, and endures for ever- 
more ; and then, 

* Rom. vii. 2. 


[iv.] The terms,"* the conditions, and the manner of 
marriage speak the snreness of this covenant, and the 
mercies thereof, observe it : Loving kindness is the mo- 
tive to it, and mercies are the soul's jointure — righteous- 
ness, judgment, and faithfulness, are the writings, as it 
were, and evidences, to assure these forementioned con- 
ditions. Individuals sometimes marry such persons as 
they ought not to marry, as such as are too near of kin, 
and contrary to consent of friends, &c. and so are di- 
vorced, " but my marrying thee shall be in righteous- 
ness." Many marry in a sudden gust of affection, and 
repent when they have done, but " I will marry thee 
in judgment." Many marry fraudulently, cheat the 
persons whom they marry, lead them into a snare, and 
then leave them, but " I will marry thee in faithfulness, 
integrity and fidelity ;" we shall never part, and though 
thou be unworthy now, and mayest transgress, yet, I 
will fetch thee home, pardon thee, and maintain this mar- 
riao-e relation with invariable constancy and fidelity. 
What more can be said to assure the believing soul of 
the sureness of covenant mercies ? Besides, consider, 
loving kindness is the beginning middle and end of the 
engagement ; he fetcheth arguments out of his own 
bosom to enter into this parley, and after he hath con- 
tracted this friendship, and intimate relation, the same 
loving kindness will influence him to maintain it ; nay, 
now his truth and faithfulness are engaged, and he will 
be faithful in performing all his promises. Consider 
that notable text, Mic. vii. 20, " Thou wilt perform the 
truth to Jacob, and the mercy to Abraham, which thou 
hast sworn unto our fathers from the days of old." 
Mark, it is mercy to Abraham because promised to him, 
but it is truth to Jacob, and now is a kind of debt, and 
must be paid, and made good. God is a " free agent," 
yet he binds himself by promise, and so becomes a 


debtor to his creature, or rather to himself on the be- 
half of his creature. * Thus doth God assure to his 
saints and spouse the dowry and jointure of mercies 
that he promiseth to them, in this contract of marriage, 
betwixt himself and souls, f 

Thus I have considered the ways which God takes 
to make these mercies of the covenant sure to all the 
heirs of promise. 



IV. The last thing in the doctrinal part by way of 
illustration is, to shew how these covenant mercies 
are made sure, in or by or through Jesus Christ. 

Now for clearing of this : observe these four things 
with reference to Jesus Christ, whereby these mercies 
are made sure : first, his hypostatical union ; secondly, 
his spiritual unction ; thirdly, the covenant of re- 
demption ; and fourthly, the execution of Christ's 
office in the work of man's redemption. 

1. Consider the mysterious and astonishing union of 
the two natures in Jesus Christ, whereby he is both 
God and man united together in one person ; by the 
former, he hath ability — by the latter, a capacity to 
make the covenant sure to his people ; so that now it 
is impossible the work should miscarry ; as God he is 
omnipotent and cannot fail or fall short of his end — as 

• Reddis debita nulli debens. t See Zach. viii. 8. 


man he is adapted to his work, and fitted with a body 
both for active and passive obedience ; so that there is 
nothing required of man's nature, but Christ, being in 
our stead, did effectually perform it, for the apostle 
saith, Col. ii. 9, " that in him dwelletli all the fulness 
of the Godhead bodily, tf<opttrtKw& that is, naturally, 
personally, in such a way as he is in no other, 
" in him we live, move, and have our being," as crea- 
tures. God is said to dwell in the saints in a superior 
manner, as his children ; but the Godhead is not said 
to dwell in any man except Jesus Christ, God and man. 
God dwells in the saints by his Spirit as in a temple 
effectively, and operatively ; in Christ essentially, and 
substantially :* " the word was made flesh," and some- 
times there were sparklings forth of his glory and ma- 
jesty, so that the disciples " beheld his glory as that of 
the only begotten of the Father." — John i. 14. Well 
then, since this is an undeniable mystery, that God was 
manifested in the flesh, and hath undertaken to manage 
the work of our redemption in both natures, certainly 
he will make sure work in what concerns him, for so 
saith the prophet, Isa. xlii. 4, u he shall not fail nor be 
discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth ;" 
he hath the powerful hand of an infinite God, therefore, 
he is mighty " to save," and he hath the innocent 
nature of a finite man, therefore he was fit " to suffer." 
2. Consider the complete and abundant unction of 
Jesus Christ, whereby he hath both sufficiency and effi- 
ciency to go through his work, and authority for it 
also ; the Scripture tells us that " Jesus Christ was 
anointed with oil, and that above his fellows." — Heb. 
i. 9. Christ was not only qualified with gifts fit 
for office, but also to furnish the souls of all be- 

* In aliis Sanctis habitat Deus ut in templo et organo, effective, 
operative, in Christo substantialiter. — Aret. in foe. 


lievers with supijlies both lor saiictification and edifi- 
cation. Jesus Christ hath the Spirit but not as others 
have it, for the saints have only a scantling and small 
measure thereof, but God giveth not the Spirit by mea- 
sure unto him, John iii. 34. " To every one of us is 
given grace according to the measure of the gift of 
Christ ;" * but Christ hath it above all measure, for he 
hath the whole Spirit substantially, he is and hath the 
treasury of grace, a storehouse of riches to supply indi- 
gent creatures, " in him are hid all the treasures of 
wisdom and knowledge," Col. ii. 3, " therefore of his 
fulness do we receive grace for grace," John i. 16 ; "it 
pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell," 
Col. i. 19, and this is laid up on purpose for the supply 
of his members, that from the head may be conveyed in- 
fluences through the whole body, Ephes. iv. 13 16 ; 

besides, he is invested with authority for granting 
these supplies, Ephes. i. 22, 23, " He hath put all 
things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over 
all things to the church, which is his body, the fulness 
of him that filleth all in all." Hence, he tells his dis- 
ciples, " that all power is given to him in heaven and 
earth," Matt, xxviii. 18; add to all this, his fidelity, that 
as Moses was faithful as a steward, much more is 
Christ as a Son faithful to him that appointed him, 
Heb. iii. 2 — 6. Well now, lay all these together, and 
surely we need not question the certainty of covenant 
mercies. Since Christ hath sufficiency, authority and 
fidelity, and is thus abundantly qualified for carrying 
on this gospel design, he both can and will make good 
the mercies of the covenant to the heirs of promise ; 
especially considering, 

3. The covenant of redemption, which is an admi- 
rable, insuring act of free grace, engaging all the per- 
* Eph iv. 7. 

330" SURE mercies of davtd. 

sons of ihe sacred Trinity to (.-any on this work, es- 
pecially God the Son of whom we are now speaking. 
This covenant of redemption is that mutual compact 
betwixt God the Father and the Son concerning the 
saving of lost man, wherein each did undertake to act 
his part in this great affair, as thus : God the Father, 
hath chosen sinners, and given the objects of his choice 
into the hands of Christ to redeem, John xvii. 9, he was 
to part with his beloved Son out of his bosom whilst 
he came to the earth to do this great work, he was to 
uphold him, encourage him, put his Spirit upon him, 
call him in righteousness, hold his hand, keep him, and 
give him for a covenant of the people, and give him to 
see his seed ; * and though they be but few in compa- 
rison of the world, yet he will make him glorious, f and 
in time he will satisfy him by giving him " the heathen 
for his inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth 
for his possession." 1 This is the engagement on the 
Father's part, and then the Lord Jesus, the Son of God 
promised the Father that he would assume the human 
nature, and so become man, putting himself into the 
sinner's stead and becoming his surety, fulfil all righte- 
ousness by obeying the moral law and suffering for our 
breach of it, be betrayed, accused, condemned, cru- 
cified, and buried ; that he should rise from the 
dead, ascend into heaven, sit at God's right hand, inter- 
cede for the saints, &c. This part which Christ per- 
formed is fully laid down in Isa. liii. throughout. This 
was the great transaction betwixt the Father and the 
Son from all eternity. That there was such a mutual 
agreement, see Titus i. 2, " in hope of eternal life 
which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world 
began." To whom did God promise any thing before 

* Isaiah xlii. 1, 4, 0. Isaiah liii. 10, 11. t Isaiah xlix. 5. 
X Psalm ii. 8. 


man was created? Certainly, he promised something 
to Jesus Christ concerning man's redemption as before- 
mentioned ; such a gracious plan was laid, and compact 
made betwixt the Father and the Son, and he cannot 
lie nor deny himself. * So C Z Tim. i. 9, " who hath 

saved us according to his own purpose and grace 

which was given us in Christ Jesus, before the world 
began," that is, as Christ was a public person, as head, 
instead of the elect, so we were given to him by this 
covenant, and that from all eternity, but how come we 
to know this, that are but of yesterday, and so dim 
sighted that we cannot see afar off? Why, verse 10, we 
read " it is now made manifest by the appearing of our 
Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and 
hath brought life and immortality to light through the 
gospel," for Christ revealeth all the secrets that weie 
locked up in the bosom of the Father. Well then, if 
this was the mutual stipulation betwixt the Father and 
the Son, there is no question but they will be faithful 
to each other. In the Old Testament God the Father 
trusted God the Son upon his promise to lay down his 
life, and so brought thousands of souls to heaven before 
ever Christ was incarnate or suffered ; and now when 
Christ hath gone through the greatest part of his task, 
he trusteth God the Father to make good his part, that 
" he may fully see his seed, prolong his days, and that 
the pleasure of the Lord may prosper in his hand ;" 
and, certainly there cannot be any failing on either part. 
Now this covenant of redemption is the platform and 
foundation of the covenant of grace betwixt God and 
believers ; there are the same persons, and the like 

* That this is no singular doctrine, but opened before, see Mr. 
Bulkly's Gospel Covenant, part 1, chap. 4, page 31 — 46, where it 
is fully opened. Also, Mr. David Dickson in his Thevapeutica sac. 
book 4, chap. 4, page 23 — 71- 


terms, proportionably, in both ; hence, it is, that 
although a believer find an unfaithful, treacherous, and 
unbelieving heart in himself, daily departing from the 
living God, yet this covenant is built upon a higher 
and firmer covenant betwixt God the Father and God 
the Son, which cannot be broken and disannulled ; the 
Father and Son cannot deceive or be unfaithful to each 
other ; hence, then, it cometh to pass that the covenant 
and the mercies thereof, are so sure. I shall conclude 
this head with that notable passage of Christ's to his 
Father upon this very account, John xvii. 4, " I have 
finished the work which thou gavest me to do," that is, 
I have hitherto made good and performed the condi- 
tions of the agreement on my part, verse 5, " and now, 
O Father, glorify me with thine own self," that is, 
make good thy engagement, in my exaltation. So 
much with reference to Christ's person ; then for his 
seed and members, he tells the Father that he had per- 
formed his part with respect to them, in manifesting 
his name to them, praying for them, preserving of them, 
and now when lie was to leave them, he desires the 
Father to do his part of the work " in keeping those 
whom he had given him," verse 11 ; " in sanctifying 
and saving them," verse 24 ; and can we imagine but 
that God will be faithful to liis Son on the behalf of his 
saints? Certain 1 ;,- he will, for as they were redeemed 
by the Son, so they were chosen by the Father, and as 
God the Father gave them to Jesus Christ, verse (i, and 
Jesus Christ died for them, and thus redeemed them, 
so God the Son resigns them up again to the Father, 
who will certainly keep them by his power through 
faith unto salvation. 

IV. Another thing of importance concerning the en- 
suring of covenant mercies by and through Jesus 
Christ is, that these are most fully made sure to us by 


the execution of Christ's mediatorial offices, both in his 
state of humiliation and exaltation. Let us here con- 
sider, first, Christ's offices ; secondly, his states. 

First, Christ's offices are of three sorts, sacerdotal, 
prophetical, and regal. 

1. As Priest, Christ ensures to us many covenant 
mercies, for he hath put himself in our stead and of- 
fered himself as a propitiatory sacrifice to satisfy divine 
justice, which is " a sweet smelling savour," * and of 
infinite value ; hence it is, that Christ is called " a 
merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining 
to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the peo- 
ple." — Heb. ii. 17. Certainly, remission of sins is one 
of the grand mercies of the new covenant, and this 
Christ assureth as Priest. 

2. As Prophet he reveals to us the will of his Father, 
opens to us the sealed book, and anoints our eyes by 
his blessed Spirit. The Spirit of Christ inspired the 
prophets of the Old Testament, and the apostles of the 
New, in writing the Scripture, and ministers in preach- 
ing the gospel, and believers in discerning the meaning 
of the word, and beauty of Christ, f It is Christ as 
Prophet, that writes his law in believer's hearts which 
is one of the great mercies of the new covenant, that 
enlightens dark minds, and unlocks to us divine mys- 
teries, and bringeth us from darkness to light. 

3. As King. Christ Jesus doth what he pleaseth 
for the good of his church, converting and subduing 
souls to himself, granting to them the spirit of power, 
love, and of a sound mind, softening their hard and 
stony hearts, mastering their high and sturdy wills, 
awing, ordering, and centring their unruly, roving, 
and raging affections, subduing their strong corrup- 
tions, regulating their conversations, begetting and in- 

* Eph. v. 2. t 1 Pet. i. 10, 11. 

z 2 


creasing their graces, supporting them under and sanc- 
tifying their afflictions — all which Jesus Christ, as 
King, works for his covenanted ones. 

Yet more particularly, in the second place, let us 
consider how our covenant mercies are assured to us 
by Jesus Christ, with reference to his two estates of 
humiliation and exaltation. 

1. In his estate of exinanition and humiliation. 
Here I mistfit run through the instances of his humble 
birth, his despicable life, that is, to a carnal eye, his 
being in the form of a servant, having no form nor 
comeliness ; his hunger, thirst, wanderings, revilings 
of men, wrath of God and rage of devils — all these 
confirm the covenant, if we believe the history of the 
gospel. But there is one thing more that puts all out 
of doubt, which is, his real, ready, and voluntary death, 
for as he had a power, so he had a will, to lay down 
his life, and he died for the confirmation of this cove- 
nant, and all the mercies thereof. A pregnant proof 
of this you have in Heb. ix. 15 ; the sum of which 
text is, that Jesus Christ, the great Mediator of this 
new covenant, hath suffered death for the sins of his 
people, that were committed against the first covenant, 
whereby all true believers might have the benefits of 
the new covenant more surely and immutably made 
over to them ; and this he further confirms by the pa- 
rallel case of a testament and the testator even amongst 
men, ver. 16, 17, " where a testament is, there must also 
of necessity be the death of the testator."* No man 
can challenge a legacy till he prove the death of him 
that left it, for while he is alive he may alter his will 
at his pleasure, or as reason requireth ; but when the 

* Thus the apostle argues, Gal. iii. 15, " Brethren, I speak 
after the manner of men: though it be but a man's covenant, 
yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulled! or addeth thereto." 



testator is dead the heirs may look after their legacies. 
— Jesus Christ is the testator, saints are the heirs, the 
legacies are these mercies of the covenant. Now the 
Testator is dead the legacies come clear, and the heirs 
of promise may claim their interest therein ; . there is 
no alteration of the will when the testator is dead, 
there is no reversing, true Christians now come to en- 
joy their estates; Christ emptied himself that we might 
be filled — he lost his life that we might live — " he be- 
came poor that we through his poverty might be rich." 
2 Cor. viii. 9- 

2. Christ's exaltation doth much more assure to us 
covenant mercies ; and this exaltation consists in his 
resurrection and his ascension, both of which tend to 
their confirmation. 

(1.) Christ's " rising again from the grave," assures 
us of the certainty of these mercies ; for though he 
. was dead, yet he is alive, and so lives to be his own 
executor : if Christ had been detained prisoner by the 
king of terrors, we might warrantably have suspected that 
justice was not satisfied, nor mercies fully purchased ; 
but " he was delivered for our offences, and raised 
again for our justification," Rom. iv. 25, and now he 
hath conquered death, and " through death hath de- 
stroyed him that had the power of death, that is, the 
devil," and so hath delivered the heirs of promise from 
the fear of death, Heb. ii. 14, 15 ; nay, and by his 
resurrection he raiseth us to a new life of holiness here, 
and a blessed life of happiness hereafter:* compare Rom. 
vi. 4. with chap. viii. 11. Christ's resurrection abun- 
dantly clears the saints from all accusations and con- 
demnation, Rom. viii. 33, 34 ; in this, therefore, we 
may rejoice and triumph as the source of our consola- 
tion. See Acts ii. 24 — 26. 

* 2 Cor. iv. 14. 


(2.) Christ's " ascension into heaven" ensures and 
secures covenant mercies to us, both as it sets him in 
the holy of holies, far above the reach of men and 
devils, and as he went before " to prepare a place for 
us."* He bids Mary, John xx. 17, to go to his bre- 
thren the disciples, and say unto them, " I ascend to 
my Father and your Father, to my God and your God ;" 
as if he had said, now you may be assured of your in- 
terest in God in a covenant way, for I have on earth 
completely removed what obstructed your fellowship 
and obscured your interest ; so that now you may call 
him your God, and come unto him as your Father, 
without misgivings within or challenges from without. 

There are two things in Christ's ascension that assure 
these mercies to us ; first, his session at God's right 
hand, and secondly, his intercession. 

First, Jesus Christ is set at God's right hand in 
heavenly places, Ephes. i. 20, and the two following 
verses afford us two choice considerations that tend 
further to assure us, 

1. That " he is far above all principality and power, 
might, dominion, and every name in this world 
and that to come," Ephes. i. 21 ; that is, Christ 
as man is advanced not only above all states and 
potentates on earth, but above all angels and arch- 
angels in heaven, therefore far above the devils ; none 
can hinder, all are his servants to help forward his 
design for the good of souls. O what a sweet con- 
sideration is this, that our nature is advanced thus 
high ! yea, in the person of the Redeemer there are 
alike sympathy, ability, and authority ; and, therefore, 
he will effectually manage his glorious undertaking. 
Yet, that is not all, for 

2. In the 22nd verse, it is said, that he " gave him 

* John xiv. 2. 


to be the head over all things to the church," that is, 
not only to be the head of the church, but to be head 
and governor over all things for the good of the church, 
so that now the whole world is subordinate to him for 
the advantage of his people, and now every thing shall 
help them forward towards heaven ; yet, further there 
is something more in the phrase, and that is, that as 
the head is gone before to heaven, so the members shall 
undoubtedly follow after, and so salvation shall be sure, 
and this is very clear in that admirable text, Ephes. ii. 
6, " and hath raised us up together, and made us sit 
together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus." Thus, it 
is as sure as if we were there already, for we are set 
there in our representative Jesus Christ, or the holy 
places and privileges on earth are an earnest of glory, 
but indeed the saints are already saved, * so saith Paul, 
verse 5, " by grace ye are saved," and elsewhere, " we 
are saved by hope," * so that we have, as it were, taken 
up our rooms, as one saith, in heaven aforehand, where- 
unto, we have a just right upon earth by virtue of a 
union, which is the ground of communion, for " he that 
hath the Son hath life," j- that is, he hath possession of 
it as by turf or twig, he hath, in a sort, seisin and de- 
livery. Our head is in heaven, and although these 
things yet appear not in the members, yet because of 
the hidden union betwixt the head and members, that 
which is peculiar to the one is appropriated to the 
other. Hence, saith the apostle again, Col. iii. 3, 4, 

" Your life is hid with Christ in God, when Christ, 

who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear 
with him in glory," when the opaque shell of our 

* Rom. viii. 24. 

t Quia nonduni haec, qiur commemorat, in membris apparent — 

propter arcanam tamen unitatem ad membra certo pertinent 

Calvin in he. 


mortal bodies shall be broken, then shall the pearl or 
grace shine forth in its lustre and glory ; yea, " he will 
also change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like 
unto the glorious body of Jesus Christ. — Phil. iii. 21. 

Yet further, in the second place, Christ's interces- 
sion, now that he is in heaven, assures us of the cer- 
tainty of covenant mercies, for he is Mediator, * a mid- 
dle person, and so fit to negociate the business with God, 
for poor man, and he intercedes effectually for guilty 
souls, by virtue of the worthiness of his own person and 
merits ; and as an advocate in a legal and judicial way 
he solicits for them and pleads their cause, and he ap- 
pears in heaven for them, vindicating them from all 
accusations ; and will not all this satisfy ? Further, 
Christ's intercession is of large extent, and of as pow- 
erful efficacy, for as he can refuse no cause committed to 
him, but must and will intercede, when employed, so 
he cannot but be heard always ; and his promise is as 
full, " whatsoever ye ask in my name, it shall be done 
unto you," John xiv. 13, 14 ; nay, " I will do it ;" the 
intercessor is the executor, f But I shall not be large 
on this interesting subject of Christ's intercession, be- 
cause many have written much about it ; only take 
notice of that well-known text in Heb. vii. 25, for clos- 
ing this head, " wherefore he is able also to save them 
to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he 
ever liveth to make intercession for them." This text 
is a notable demonstration of the excellency of Christ's 
priestly office, tending to the confirmation of this point 
and the consolation of believers, wherein are these 
seven things. 

* ] Tim. ii. 5. 

t See this Doctrine of Christ's intercession pithily and profit- 
ably opened, in Mr. Durham's Expos, of Revel, viii, 1, Lect. 1, 
page 407-^414. 


1. The end of it, and that is to save souk, and the 
infinite God will certainly accomplish his end; men 
may fall short, but God cannot miscarry, " I work," 
saith he, " and who shall let it. 

2. The universality of it, " he saves all," that is, all 
believers, rich and poor, whether they have more or less 
worthiness, for they are not saved for their own, but 
for Christ's merits. 

3. The efficacy thereof, " he saves to the utter- 
most, [kg to TravTiXlg] that is, to the uttermost point or 
term of life, even to death and beyond it, or so as none 
can mend his work, for as he is " the author," so he is 
" the finisher of our faith and hope," consolation and 
salvation, none can come after him to finish what he 
hath begun ; and he saves to the uttermost from all 
classes of enemies ; none can challenge an interest in 
souls after he hath done his work, and he saves to the 
uttermost, that is, he leaves them not till he have 
brought them into the highest happiness that creatures 
are capable of enjoying ; there is all manner of perfec- 
tion in this salvation. 

4. Here are the subjects or persons saved, " those 
that come to God," or the condition, " coming to God 
by Christ ;" now this is such a disposition as he him- 
self doth work, for the power of his Spirit doth effectu- 
ally draw souls to God, John vi. 44, 45 ; the condition 
is believing, and he works the condition. Christ is that 
sure ladder of Jacob by which souls may ascend to God, 
and into heaven ; never any fell off this ladder, or mis- 
carried that came to God by Christ. 

5. Christ's ability to carry on that work, in the first 
words, " he is able ;" this we cleared in the first head 
concerning the union of the two natures. " He is oin- 
nipotent," therefore he is said to be mighty to save, and 


if lie can do any tiling in this soul-saving; work, lie will 
not fail those that lay the whole stress of their souls 
upon him. 

6. Here is his capacity to save, for the text saith, 
" he ever lives ;" a living Saviour can revive dying, 
dead souls. If Christ were not alive, there would be 
no hope of life by him, in vain should we seek for 
living enjoyments among the dead; but our Saviour is 
revived and lives for ever, " he is the living bread that 
came down from heaven," John vi. 51 ; " and is again 
risen and ascended up into heaven, and because he lives, 
we live also." 

7. There is his complete execution of his present 
office, " he ever liveth to make intercession for them," 
saith the text, therefore, he must needs complete the 
work he hath begun on earth ; like the high priest un- 
der the law, our Mediator sprinkles the blood of his me- 
ritorious offering here on earth, upon the mercy-seat 
now in heaven, * and continually bears the names of 
his saints upon his breast, and appears in the presence 
of God for us, Heb. ix. 24, so that we have a friend in 
our nature to own us in open court ; yea, God the 
Father bade him welcome into heaven, and as a token 
thereof, sets him upon his right hand, which is an evi- 
dence of honour, (as Solomon dealt with his mother) and 
then bids him ask, promising that he will give him all 
that is in his heart. Certainly, then, the mercies of 
the covenant must needs be sure, and that through 
Christ, the Mediator, since his intercession is so pre- 
vailing, that he said in the days of his flesh, when pray- 
ing over Lazarus's grave, " Father, I knew that thou 
nearest me always. — John xi. 42. 

Thus I have dispatched the doctrinal part of this 
• Lcvit. xvi. 14. Heb. ix. 11, 12. 


subject, wherein I have endeavoured to shew what the 
mercies of the covenant are ; in what respects they are 
said to be sure, by what means arid ways they are 
made sure, and how they are made sure in and by 
Jesus Christ, the great Mediator of the covenant. 



Now for the application of this point, I shall make use 
of it several ways. In the first place, for the confuta- 
tion of Atheists, Papists, Arminians, and Socinians. 

1. It confutes the vain conceits of Atheists who call 
in question the great things of religion ; they are first 
sceptics and disputants, then by degrees they grow 
Atheists and deny God — as one saith, in the academy 
of Atheism, a sinning soul takes these sad degrees. 
He proceeds, 

(1.) To doubting whether there be a God or not. 

(2.) To living as though there were indeed no God. 

(3.) To wishing that there were none : and 

(4.) To disputing against a Deity, and then he coni- 
menceth doctor in positive conclusions, asserting with 
the fool that " there is no God," * Psalm xiv. 1. 

Many are ready to say, that religion in the power of 
it is but a fiery meteor, which the influence of those hot 
dog-stars of the times, ministers, have drawn up and 
kindled in the grosser region of some sick and melan- 
choly brains, and so like fire is apt to catch in thatched 
and low built houses, not palaces, and castles, that is, 
* Mr. Hcrlc on Policy., pnge 52. 


large and high-built souls. But the truth is, some 
Atheists do find, even in this life, the certainty of our 
religion, all shall find it to the their cost hereafter by 
an irretrievable loss of these sure mercies, and by the 
intolerable sustaining of everlasting miseries. As Athe- 
ism hath been much propagated in these latter days, 
so God hath afforded instances of remarkable convic- 
tions by several modern examples. Cardinal Richlieu, 
who after he had given law to all Europe many years, 
confessed to P. Du Moulin, that being forced to many 
irregularities in his life time, by what they call reasons 
of state, and not being able to satisfy his conscience, 
thence had temptations to disbelieve in a God, another 
world, and the immortality of the soul, and by that 
distrust to relieve his aching heart, but could not ; so 
strong, as he said, was the notion of God on his soul, 
so clear the impression of him upon the frame of the 
world, so unanimous the consent of mankind — that 
he could not but taste the powers of the world 
to come, and so live as one that must die, and so 
die as one that must live for ever ; and being asked 
one day why he was so sad, he answered, ** Mon- 
sieur, Monsieur, the soul is a serious thing, it must 
be either sad here for a moment, or sad for ever ;" 
and though Cardinal Mazarin was an Atheist the great- 
est part of his time, yet he hath left behind him evi- 
dence of clear convictions of the immortality of the soul, 
and certainty of another state after this life, professing 
that if he were to live again, he would be a Capuchin 
rather than a courtier, that is, of a Popish religious 
order, to serve God in their way, rather than choose 
worldly preferments. It is recorded of Sir John Mason, 
counsellor to Henry the Eighth and Edward the Sixth, 
that he called his clerk and steward to him, and said, 
" I have seen five princes, been privy counsellor to four, 


seen the things most worthy of observation in foreign 
parts, been at most state transactions for thirty years, and 
have learned, that ' seriousness is the greatest wisdom, 
temperance the best physic, and a good conscience the 
fairest estate,' and were I to live again I would change 
the court life for a cloister, my privy counsellor's bus- 
tles for a hermit's retirement, and my whole life in the 
palace for one hour's enjoyment of God, in the chapel ; 
all things else forsake me, besides my God, my duty, 
and prayer." Thus he expressed himself. It is also 
recorded of Charles the Fifth, emperor of Germany, 
king of Spain, and lord of the Netherlands, that after 
twenty-three pitched battles, six triumphs, eight king- 
doms won — after all this success, he resigned all these, 
retired to his devotion, had his funeral celebrated before 
his face, left this testimony behind him, that the sin- 
cere profession of religion hath its sweets and joys that 
courts were strangers to ; and we know from holy writ 
that Solomon, after his vast experiments and exact dis- 
disquisitions left this maxim as the total sum of his 
large accounts, Eccles. xii. 13, " Fear God and keep 
his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man." 
Atheists never yet tasted the sweetness of religion, they 
never fully studied the word or works of God, both 
which would satisfy them. It is recorded of Francis 
Junius, that reading Tully de Legibus, he fell into a vi- 
olent persuasion that God cared for nothing, neither for 
his own nor others' affairs , * but in a tumult at Lyons, 
the Lord convinced him of a divine providence by deli- 
vering him strangely from imminent death, and also be- 
ing put by his father upon reading the first chapter 
of John's gospel, he was abundantly convinced by the 
force of the argument,and by the majesty and authority 
* Nihil curare Deum, nee sui nee alieni. 


of the style, in such a manner that his body trembled, 
his mind was astonished, and his soul savingly con- 
verted ; yea, the works of God are sufficient to leave 
upon conscience, a conviction of a Deity. Lord Bacon 
used to say, that " a little smattering in philosophy 
might tempt a man to be an Atheist, but a thorough 
study of it would bring him back to be religious, for it 
would reduce him to a first cause and a last end." But 
I must not enlarge on these Atheists, see them described 
and confuted in Weems's Treatise on four degenerate 
Sons of Adam. I shall only add now the words of 
Lord Chancellor Egerton. " To be prophane is the 
simplest thing in the world, for the Atheist lays a 
wager against the serious man, that there is no God, 
but upon woful odds ; he ventures his everlasting state, 
the other only hazards the loss of his sensual gratifica- 
tions. If there were no God, yet the latter doth as 
well as the Atheist at last, and lives better at present, 
but if there be a God, as undoubtedly there is, O the 
vast disproportion at the great day ! if the arguments 
for and against the verity of the gospel were equal, yet 
the gain or hazard is infinitely unequal ; therefore, 
every wise man will take the safest side. Lord, what 
an age do we live in ! when the choicest truths, duties, 
and mercies, from a principle of opinionativeness or li- 
centiousness, are questioned or denied. Well, God 
hath his way and time to convince these wretched 
Atheists by real and unanswerable demonstrations, so 
that all men shall say, " Verily, there is a reward for 
the righteous ; verily, there is a God that judgeth in 
the earth." — Psal. lviii. 11. 

c 2. What has been stated, notably confutes the 
Papists, because, in the first place, all these good things 
of the covenant are mercy, not merit ; we are under a 


covenant of grace, not of works ; " the mercies of God 
are our merits. * We have cause to renounce our own 
righteousness ; alas, what are our best works to obtain 
favour at the hands of God ! Those before conversion, 
which they call meritorious, cle congruo, are not truly 
good works, wanting a principle ; and those after con- 
version, which they call works of condignity, are not 
exactly good, not being without the stain of imperfec- 
tion ; and, therefore, cannot merit. They hold two 
justifications according to these preparatories, the first 
is, when a sinner, of an evil man is made a good man, 
which is done by pardon of sin, and infusion of inward 
righteousness, that is, the habit of hope and charity ; 
the second is, when a man, of a good man is made bet- 
ter, and this, say they, may proceed from works of 
grace, because he who is righteous by the first justifi- 
cation can bring forth good works, by merit whereof 
he is able to make himself more just and righteous ; 
but we assert that the very thing by which we are jus- 
tified and accepted is only the mercy of God, and the 
merits of Christ's active and passive obedience, which 
are imputed to us and received by faith alone, and our 
obedience or performances cannot be satisfaction to 
God's justice, because they are imperfect and defective, 
" filthy rags," \ a rag, and cannot cover us, and filthy, 
therefore, will rather defile than justify us. At the 
great day, we must have some thing that can counter- 

* Dei misericordia, merita nostra. 

t They acknowledged Christ's righteousness to be the only me- 
ritorious cause of this first justification, i. e. he procureth the infu- 
sion of this grace. All papists assert, roundly, that man is justified, 
per solam gratiam inhaerentem, tanquam per formam integram 
sine imputatione externae justitise Christi. — Suarez, Led. 7, 
chap. 7, P"g c 83i 

% Isaiah lxiv. 6. 


vail the justice of God ; Paul durst uot appear in his 
own righteousness, but in Christ's, Phil. iii. 9, and how 
dare we ? Certainly, Paul's doctrine is an infallible 

truth of God, Rom. iii. 20, " by the deeds of the 

law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight ;" and 
verse 24, " being justified freely by his grace through 
the redemption that is in Christ Jesus," and though 
Papists deride imputed righteousness ; yet it is men- 
tioned ten times in Rom. iv. and frequently asserted 
and proved through Paul's epistles. So 2 Cor. v. 21, 
" as Christ was made sin for us, so are we made the 
righteousness of God in hiin." Now Christ was made 
sin for us no otherwise than by God's imputing our 
sins to him, for it is blasphemy to say Christ was sin 
by infusion of sin into him, or inherency of sin in him. 
Besides, our justification comes to us as our condemna- 
tion, which was not only by propagation, but by the 
imputation of Adam's disobedience. — Rom. v. 19- All 
the mercies of the covenant are to believers made over 
by a deed of gift, indeed " the wages of sin is death, 
but eternal life is only the gift of God," with all that 
leads thereunto, Rom. vi. 23. But, however, Papists 
may dispute in the schools, yet when they come to lie 
upon sick and death-beds, they are glad to come off 
with Bellarmine's, tutissimum est, " it is safest to rely 
only on the mercy of God and merits of Christ for jus- 
tification." Let us still hold the safe way and leave them 
to their uncertain, imperfect righteousness ; but it is 
easily discernible what is the reason of the Papist's op- 
posing free justification by grace only ;* because it 
would demolish their purgatory, masses for quick and 
dead, invocation of saints, worshipping of images, in- 
dulgences, and their treasures of merits ; hence, a 
modern Divine hath laid down the grounds that render 
* Dr. Pritleaux, Lect. 5. De just. fol. 64. 


the salvation of a Papist in a sort impossible, and 
proves undeniably, that their contrivance for justi- 
fication doth overturn most, if not all, the truths of the 
gospel, and is utterly inconsistent with God's way of 
saving sinners ; * for it is the same for matter and 
form with the covenant of works, for the keeping of 
which, in the same circumstances as Adam in inno- 
cence, they say that Christ merited new strength, 
and now sinners are to stand or fall in the obtain- 
ment of life promised, according to their own perform- 
ing of the condition of works, in the use of that first 
grace, and by this they merit perseverance and heaven ; 
and lest indwelling corruptions and defects in duties 
mar this, they say concupiscence is not a sin against 
the moral law, and that there are many sins venial and 
not mortal, which therefore do not hinder merit and 
acceptance. Alas, what a new and anti-evangelical 
way is this, which confounds justification and sanctifi- 
cation, derogates from the nature of grace, enervateth 
the merit of Christ, altereth the nature of the gospel 
covenant, &c. But I must not enlarge, let us study 
this important subject, and beware of corrupting this 
fountain, or building on any other foundation than 
Christ's righteousness alone. 

Secondly, the following is also an uncomfortable 
doctrine of the Papists, namely, " that a Christian can- 
not be assured of his interest in the covenant of grace, 
or of his eternal salvation." We hold that a Christian 
may attain to assurance of faith, without extraordinary 
revelation. They say a man may indeed attain to a 
conjectural certainty which only ariseth from hope, in 
regard of God who promiseth. but in regard of our- 
selves and our indisposition, we are to be at uncertain- 

* See this doctrine stated and cleared in Durham on Rev. fcl. 
585, &c. Add. fol. 590—594. 

VOL. II. 2 A 


ties. Certainly, a child of God may not only be as- 
sured of God's fidelity but his own sincerity. These 
mercies are sure in respect of the subject as well as the 
object, for the promises run in general and indefinite 
terms, " whosoever believeth shall be saved ;" but I, 
saith the soul, truly believe, therefore I shall be saved, 
and this particular application and reflection is as much 
as if it were said, if thou John, Thomas, Peter, do be- 
lieve, thou shalt be saved ; now though the heart be 
deceitful, yet the Scripture hath laid down such charac- 
ters by which a man may try and discern the sincerity 
of his own act in closing with Christ, for true believ- 
ing is a receiving of him as he is offered to us in the 
gospel. — John i. 12. Besides, the saints " receive the 
spirit of adoption, which beareth witness with their 
spirits, that they are the children of God, Rom. viii. 
15, 16, and this is " an earnest of their inheritance," * 
which assures them of the whole possession ; it is a 
seal, and takes away all occasion of doubting, f Paul 
saith of all believers, 1 Cor. ii. 12, '* we have not re- 
ceived the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is 
of God, that we might know the things that are 
given us of God," that is, these mercies of the covenant, 
adoption, pardon, sanctification, salvation. God hath 
laid it upon us as a duty " to make our calling and 
election sure," t not in itself, but to ourselves, there- 
fore, it is attainable, for God doth not command us im- 
possibilities ; he that bids us " try ourselves whether 
we be in the faith," || supposeth we may come to know 
upon an exact trial ; besides, many of the saints have 
been assured of their sincerity and salvation by ordi- 
nary ways, which all the saints may use, and have a 
like success in a like full assurance of faith ; and God 

* Ephes. i. 14 t Ephes. iv. 30. 

$ 2 Pet. i. 10. || 2 Cor. xiii. 5. 


hath bid us " ask that we may receive, that our joy 
may be full."* Now, we are to "ask in faith," be- 
lieving that he will grant what we ask, and we have a 
promise to be heard, yea, he sets us on asking that he 
may give. But I need not stand long to prove the 
possibility of a child of God's attaining assurance, for 
experience doth abundantly confirm it, and blessed be 
God that in this we can groundedly say the Papists are 

3. Another class whom this doctrine confutes are 
the Arminians, and that in two respects : first, on the 
subject of universal redemption ; secondly, on falling 
away from grace. 

(1.) The text saith these are " the sure mercies of 
David ;" God's Davids or beloved ones only have an 
interest in them, not all men : and in the Doctrine, I 
say, that covenant mercies promised in Christ are pur- 
chased and ensured by Christ to all the heirs of pro- 
mise, and I must add — only to these, and to none 
besides ; and therefore Christ died not for all. Here I 
shall only use these two arguments, which immediately 
relate to the present subject : — 

First, Christ's mediatorial undertaking is not in- 
tended as a price for any but such as were proposed by 
God to the mediator in the covenant of redemption, to 
be redeemed by him ; but all and every one were not 
so proposed, therefore not redeemed. I have before 
considered that great transaction betwixt the Father 
and the Son: now, it is most certain that the mediator's 
death and sufferings are to be looked upon as regulated 
and qualified in respect of their effects, according to 
what was proposed by the Father, and consented to 
by the Son. Hence Christ saith, that " he came not 
to do his own will, but the will of him that sent him, 
* John xvi. 24. Mark xi. 24. 1 John v. 14, 15. 


and to finish his work, and to give eternal life to as 
many as God hath given to him :" therefore Christ 
must by his undertaking ensure those mercies to all 
those, and none but those that the Father proposed to 
him in this everlasting engagement. As for that con- 
ditional giving of some to Christ, which some speak of, 
that would derogate from his glory, for he must needs 
know the event, and that such a conditional giving 
would not effect it ; and to say he willed what should 
not come to pass, or applied such means as he knew 
would not be effectual to the end, cannot be imagined. 
Besides, those that are given to Christ are contra- 
distinguished from others that are not given to him ; 
therefore, those only are assigned peculiarly to be re- 
deemed and not others. 

Secondly, All those and only those whom Christ 
redeemed, have all the mercies of the covenant ensured 
to them, but all have not all covenant mercies ensured 
to them and conferred on them, therefore all are not 
redeemed by Christ. Christ is the surety and media- 
tor of the new covenant ; and he gives faith, repent- 
ance, pardon, heaven to them for whom he is engaged 
as a surety, they shall not fail of any covenant mer- 
cies, that are absolutely necessary to salvation, for 
he is faithful in the execution of all his offices. Now, 
we know all men have not saving faith nor repentance ; 
while it cannot be conceived but that his satisfaction 
must be equally effectual for the procuring of these 
saving mercies to those whose place he occupied as 
surety ; and indeed God promiseth as a recompence to 
him, that " he shall see of the travail of his soul and 
be satisfied ;" yea, " he shall justify many," that is, as 
many as he undertook for, Isa. liii. 11. If Christ hath 
borne their iniquites, they must be justified, else he 
missed of his object; there is an inseparable connexion 


betwixt Christ's undertaking for them, and his bestow- 
ing covenant mercies on them. All that are redeemed 
by Christ's blood are made " kings and priests to God," 
Rev. v. 9, 10. They are purchased to be " a peculiar 
people to God ;" they are " washed from their sins in 
his blood, redeemed from their vain conversation, de- 
livered from spiritual enemies to serve God in holiness 
all their days," and to be received to heaven when they 
die. These are the mercies of the covenant which the 
mediator purchaseth, and applieth to all his people ; 
therefore none else are redeemed : for the proper and 
native fruits of Christ's death are not divided, there- 
fore he prays for them that were given to him, and 
for whose sake he did sanctify himself, and passes by 
others. — John xvii. 

(2.) This statement confutes Arminians in their 
discouraging opinion of the saints' apostacy. Some 
hold that there may be a total apostacy of saints, as 
the Lutherans ; some that it may be final, as Arminius ; 
others maintain that it may be total and final. We 
hold that believing, regenerate, justified persons, who 
are endowed with the divine nature and a lively hope, 
shall not lose that principle and fall from that state of 
grace, and be utterly deprived of the favour of God : 
indeed, we need no argument but this, that these mer- 
cies of the covenant are sure mercies, which they 
would not be if they might be lost. There is the im- 
mutability of God's promise in the new covenant, the 
intercession of Jesus Christ for believers, the omnipo- 
tency of the Shepherd of Israel who will not lose one 
of his sheep, the efficacy of the Spirit, supporting and 
renewing the seed of God, and life of grace in believers, 
and this seed of God keeps a believer from sinning in 
two respects :* first, he hates and nills in part the evil 

* 1 John iii. 1). 

•35S SURE mercies 01 DAVID. 

which he wills and works;* secondly, if by human 
frailty he fall, he makes not a trade of sin, nor keeps a 
course in it, but the seed of grace makes him restless 
till he return to God, and be admitted into favour and 
fellowship with him. Thus, though good David some- 
times '* goes astray like a lost sheep," yet since he 
cannot forget God or his commandments, Ps. cxix. 176. 
his heart was dissatisfied till his God and his soul were 
at peace again. This gracious principle inclines a 
Christian God-wards and heaven-wards ; " it is a well 
of water springing up into an everlasting life," John 
iv. 14 ; it is " an increasing grain of mustard-seed ;" it 
is " an incorruptible seed that liveth and abideth for 
ever, an abiding unction, an engrafted word, an in- 
dwelling Spirit," &c.f therefore cannot be lost. Blessed 
be God for this comfortable assurance, which doth not 
beget licentiousness as our adversaries reproach it, but 
diligence in the ways of God for the genuine product 
of it, as the experience of the saints testifies. But I 
shall say the less on this, because I have hinted at it 
before in the doctrinal part, and others have said so 
much on this subject. 

4. The last class that are confuted by this doctrine 
of " the sure mercies of David," are such as maintain 
the Socinian error, that Christ's death is not a satisfac- 
tion for sin ; the Socinians hold that Christ's sufferings 
were only for the confirmation of his doctrine, or for 
the imitation of the saints, or at most, only to pur- 
chase to himself the prerogative to forgive sins freely. 
These ends are framed mainly as an engine to destroy 
Christ's Godhead and personality in the glorious 
Trinity ; and it is recorded of Socinus the patron of 
this blasphemy, that he held that " the world was not 

* Rom. vii. 19. 

t Matt. xiii. 31. 1 Pet. i. 23. 1 John ii. 27- James i. 21. 


made of nothing," lest he should be forced to acknow- 
ledge the infiniteness of God's power, which he denied, 
and of Christ's divine nature, by whom he made the 
worlds. * But we, on the contrary, do confidently 
believe, that when the majesty of God was wronged by 
the sin of man, and when it behoved man to make 
satisfaction to justice, or never be freed from the sen- 
tence of condemnation, or obtain reconciliation ; this 
being beyond the power of a finite creature — Christ, 
God-man did interpose himself in our stead to be a 
sacrifice for us to satisfy justice, and bring in everlast- 
ing righteousness, which satisfaction is accepted of God 
the Father, and imputed to the sincere believer. This 
is the sum of the gospel, and clearly held forth therein 
to all that are not wilfully blind. In Isa. liii. 6, it is 
said, " the Lord laid on him the iniquity of us all," 
and saith the apostle, " he became sin for us," f that 
is, in our room or stead ; hence he is called " a surety" 
on paying our debt, and " a ransom," and his death is 
called " a propitiation, an expiatory sacrifice, by endur- 
ing the curse for us, and washing us from our sins in 
his own blood, and purchasing his church with his own 
blood," that is, the blood of God-man. i But the 
Scripture is full of testimonies, and the subject I have 
been so largely insisting upon in the doctrinal part 
abundantly evinces, that Jesus Christ as mediator of 
the new covenant doth ensure the mercies of it to all 
the heirs of promise by his meritorious undertaking, 
which I have abundantly proved ; and the Socinians 
denying this, do also deny the merit and excellency of 
Christ's obedience and death, and his divine nature, 
and so deserve not to be ranked among the number 

* Heb. i. 2. t 2 Cor. v. 21. 

1 Heb. vii. 22. Job xxxiii. 24. Gal. iii. 13, 14. Rev. i. 5. 
Acts xx. 28. 

360 sum: mercies of david. 

of Christians. The Lord preserve us from those 
black and destructive ways of error and heresy, and 
imbue our hearts with a thorough sense and expe- 
rience of these " sure mercies of David ;" for all Dagons 
will fall before this ark of the covenant, and the clear 
understanding of this doctrine will rectify many mis- 
takes ; the right conceiving, and unfeigned embracing 
of these new covenant mercies, is the greatest help to a 
sound mind, and sincere heart which are great preser- 
vatives against error and apostacy. 



II. This subject may be regarded as contributing 
instruction, since we may be informed relative to 
sundry very necessary truths, and directed in several 
duties from the consideration of these " sure mercies of 
David," and the previously described way of making 
them sure. 

1. It instructs concerning the great difference be- 
twixt the covenant of works and the covenant of grace. 
Divines use to make several distinctions betwixt them. 
But indeed this is the main, that the former was de- 
pendent on an inherent righteousness, the other on one 
imputed ; in the first, man was to perform personal, 
perfect, and perpetual righteousness — in this second, our 
surety and great mediator undertakes it for us, and it 
is applied to us by faith, which is now become the 
evangelical condition, in the room of the legal condi- 
tion of complete obedience ; so that was settled be- 


twixt God and man immediately, this through an 
interposing mediator, Gal. iii. 19 ; the former was 
soon broken, because though man was upright, yet 
he was mutable, and that we feel to our cost ; but 
Jesus Christ the great mediator of this new covenant 
is " the Lord Jehovah, the mighty God, the ever- 
lasting Father, the Prince of peace, able to save to 
the uttermost ; he is God and changeth not, therefore 
we are not consumed, and therefore are souls saved." 
Hence saith the apostle, Heb. viii. 6, " He (that is, 
Jesus Christ) hath obtained a more excellent ministry, 
by how much also he is the mediator of a better cove- 
nant which was established upon better promises." 
Indeed the excellency of the covenant doth chiefly 
arise from the excellency of the mediator of it, and the 
manner of its confirmation, which is Christ, God-man 
by his active and passive obedience, who is frequently 
called our mediator. * Although that place in the 
Hebrews doth rather respect the form of administering 
the covenant than the matter, and it is a comparison 
betwixt the dispensation to the fathers under the law, 
and the dispensation in gospel times ; for they had the 
same covenant of grace, though under shadows and 
types, that we enjoy in substance and performance, yet 
by consequence it holds forth the precedency of our 
gospel covenant above, and beyond the legal covenant 
which was made with Adam. 

That I may a little further unfold this, there are 
two things illustriously shining in this gospel cove- 
nant : first, the grace and love of God ; secondly, the 
wisdom of God. 

(1.) Consider the infinite mercy, favour and compas- 

* Heb. vii. 22. ix. 15. xii. 24. 1 Tim. ii. 8. Verum ha?c 
Apostoli comparatio ad formam potius quam ad materiam referen- 
da — Calv. in loc. 


sion, the tenderness, love and condescension of the 
great God in renewing the covenant which man had 
broken. I confess there are many curious questions 
asked concerning these two covenants, such as these : 
Could not God as well have secured the conditions of 
the first covenant, by assisting Adam with grace to per- 
form them, and persevere therein? and again, Why 
might not the first covenant have been spared, and this 
second have answered the purpose of both ? But what 
is man that he should find fault with God's pleasure ? 
Yet we might answer all these with the assertion and 
admiration of God's infinite wisdom and mercy. His 
glorious attributes all aid one another — mercy em- 
ploys power, power supports truth, truth seconds jus- 
tice, and they do all employ wisdom, and wisdom doth 
order all to his glory. If there had not been a first 
covenant, there had not been a trial of man's obedience; 
if it had been kept, God's wisdom had not appeared in 
repairing the breach, nor his love in sending his Son, 
nor his justice and power in triumphing over Satan's 
malice, and gaining advantage thereby. Besides, if 
there had been no first covenant violated, there could 
not have been such a glorious display of free grace 
in the reconciliation betwixt God and man, which im- 
plies both a covenant and a breach. O the mercy of 
God in Christ ! it is wonderful, stupendous mercy that 
God was willing to hold any correspondence with man 
in a covenant way, who had broken with him before. 
Yet free grace would not any more trust sorry man 
that had been a bankrupt, with a stock in his own 
hands : yea, God staid not till man sought out for this 
surety, but prevented him with free grace. We read 
that when Augustus made a proclamation, that who- 
ever would bring him the head of Carocotta the Spanish 
pirate, should have a rich reward ; Carocotta hearing 


of it came and presented his head to the emperor, and 
challenged the reward : but when man had fallen he runs 
away, endeavours to hide himself, yet love pursues and 
overtakes him, and contracts with guilty Adam, a better, 
and unthought of, unsought for covenant. Parmenio's 
large letter to Alexander against Olympias, was all an- 
swered with one tear of a mother : but where is there 
any one tear to bewail or make amends for man's hor- 
rid crime ? no, not a word to procure favour ; free 
grace did all to bring traitors into a league. God's 
heart was full ; he could not hold but call he must, 
and seek and run to fetch home apostate man, that 
profligate rebel, who durst not shew his face, or ask 
forgiveness : but the Lord of life and glory, the King 
of heaven is ready to forgive, and to give the glo- 
rious things of heaven to them that inquired not after 

(2.) Here behold such a display of wisdom, as " never 
eye beheld, ear heard, or heart conceived ;" the apostle 
calls it " the manifold wisdom of God." I cannot here 
stand to open all the parts thereof that fall within the 
reach of a finite view ; I shall only endeavour to unfold 
one of its branches, by explaining this strange para- 
dox, namely, how it could be possible, since God him- 
self is immutable — since the moral law, which is an 
obligation of the creature to obedience, is irrevocable — 
and since man hath now broken it, and death and wrath 
have been threatened thereupon. I ask, whence does 
it come to pass that the malediction and condemnation 
are not executed ? no, nor perfect obedience exacted, as 
the nature of the law requires ? The direct and pro- 
per force of the law is obedience, the secondary and 
conditional effect of it, is a binding over to the curse 
upon supposition of disobedience ; but we see the law 
doth neither, and yet the Scripture testifies of the 


word of God, that it is " settled for ever in heaven, that 
his commandments are sure and stand fast for ever, that 
one tittle of the law cannot fail." * How comes it to 
pass then, that the law is neither thoroughly obeyed nor 
executed? obeyed it is not, for " all have sinned, and by 
the deeds of the law is no flesh justified :" executed 
it is not, for " there is no condemnation to them that 
are in Christ, and they are delivered from the curse of 
the law :" f abrogated or extinguished it is not, for 
then there would be no sin nor duty, reward nor 
punishment : no, nor is it moderated or favourably 
interpreted, by rules of equity to abate the rigour 
of it, for it is inflexible, and the text saith, " Cursed is 
every one that continueth not in all things which are 
written, in the book of the law to do them." $ There- 
fore there is no way but one, that is, that the law 
should so far be dispensed with, as that a surety be 
accepted instead of the malefactor, this is the blessed 
design of the gospel. God is willing to allow and 
accept a surety, Jesus Christ is willing to undertake 
and perform this office, and the believer is willing to 
embrace this blessed mediator, and thus the agreement 
is made, the covenant is renewed, and the law is es- 
tablished. Yea, by this gospel way of saving souls, he 
doth magnify the law, and make it honourable ; the 
obligations of the law are discharged in Christ by the 
second covenant, our surety hath fulfilled its duties by 
his active obedience, and undergone its curses in his 
sufferings and death, and both better by Christ than 
ever it was possible for man to satisfy. Adam in 
innocency and the angelical nature could not have 
obeyed the law so perfectly, (at least so meritoriously) 

* Psalm cxix. 89. Psalm cxi. 7> 8. Luke xvi. 1 7- 
+ Rom. iii. 20, 23. Rom. viii. 1. Gal. iii. 13. 
J Gal. iii. 10. 


as our surety hath done, and if we had lain for ever in 
hell, we could not have satisfied justice so as our Sa- 
viour did by his short, yet infinite sufferings satisfy 
for our woful breach of divine commands. Thus, it is 
often said, is the law established,* Christ was delivered 
to the law, and we are delivered from it, and now be- 
lieving souls are married to Christ, and are no more 
under the malediction of it.f God's grace numbereth 
the saints as Christ's seed, bindeth all in the same 
contract, and accepteth man and wife as one in a law 
sense, so that the wife shines in the rays of her hus- 
band's beauty. ^ Divines illustrate it by the similitude 
of a wall that is green either by the colour inherent, or 
else by the same colour in some diaphanous transparent 
body, as glass, through which the sun shining doth 
affect it with that colour ; thus, in the latter sense, 
Christ's righteousness presents us in his own colour to 
the Father : so that word is to be understood, Matt, 
iii. 17, " This is my beloved Son, in whom," not in 
whom as ivith his person only, but " in whom I am 
well pleased ;" that is, through his merits and media- 
tion I accept of and delight in all that believe, and 
come unto me by him. O astonishing contrivance of 
free grace ! we cannot well conceive, nor sufficiently 
admire the wisdom of God in laying this blessed plan 
and platform for our redemption ; rich grace and pro- 
found wisdom seem to vie with each other in this glorious 
fabric. If every man, saith one, were as wise as an 
angel, and every angel a seraph, (a flame burning with 
the fervour of divine love, and reflecting the celestial 
light of knowledge) they could never have found out 
such an expedient to reconcile God and man ; the very 
angels themselves admire it, and would willingly be- 

* Rom. iii. 31. viii. 2 — 4. t Rom. vii. 4, 6. 

\ Uxor fulget radiis mariti. 


come scholars to the church, to understand more of the 
height and depth of this glorious mystery;* but this 
shall never be rightly understood till believers, face to 
face, see him who devised and effected this work, and 
their faculties be enlarged to take in more of God's 
grace and wisdom. 

2. Another consequence is this, if the mercies of the 
covenant be made sure in Christ, it lets us see the great 
difference betwixt covenant mercies and common mer- 
cies, temporal and spiritual mercies. Saul's mercies 
that God took away, and the sure mercies of David 
founded upon the covenant of grace, 1 Chron. xvii. 13, 
discover their difference principally in these four par- 

(1.) They differ in the fountain, origin, and rise 
thereof, or in the affection of the giver. Outward mer- 
cies proceed from common bounty, these gospel mercies 
from special grace ; the former from general munifi- 
cence, the other from peculiar benevolence ; the former 
are but crumbs for dogs, these are bread for babes, all 
things come alike to all, so that none can know love or 
or hatred by the want or abundance of creature com- 
forts, but the mercies of the covenant are always tokens 
of special affection, f Luther calls the whole Turkish 
empire but " a morsel cast to dogs," but a portion of 
grace is a child's patrimony. God hates the wicked 
though he give them the world ; he loves the godly, 
though he deny them worldly enjoyments ; ^ be may 
give that to his enemies in anger which he denies his 
children in love ; he gives to many wicked, giftless 
gifts, as some call them ; but he gives his grace, 
his heart, himself, to his saints with covenant 
mercies. These are always clear evidences of special 

* 1 Pet. i. 12. Eph. iii. 10. t See Eccles. ix. 1—3. 

X Deus scepe dat iratus quod negat propitius. 


love ; they are bracelets and jewels that are sent as 
love tokens to the espoused saint from the celestial 

(2.) They differ in the dimensions of the gifts, their 
nature, properties and adaptedness to the precious and 
immortal soul. Temporal mercies may, indeed, sup- 
ply the outward man, the clothes cover nakedness, fire 
may warm, meat may fill, and drink may quench thirst, 
but all these serve but to supply corporeal necessities ; 
they do not reach the soul — he was a fool that said, 
" soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years, 
take thine ease, eat, drink and be merry;"* and well 
might he be called a fool, for alas, what were those 
goods to the soul ? it was a sensual, brutish soul that 
could be satisfied with these things ; they bear no pro- 
portion to the nature of the immortal, heaven-born soul, 
it is above them, and when it comes to itself, scorns to feed 
on such refuse or wind. It is recorded of Pasotes, that 
he called his friends to a banquet, where they should 
see a table furnished with variety and plenty, but that 
when the guests went to eat, it vanished away into 
nothing, and truly so will worldly enjoyments, they 
promise fair and perform nothing ; not but that these 
are useful mercies in their kind, and do attain their 
end, which was to accommodate the outward man, 
though they were never designed to satisfy souls, but 
covenant mercies fill and feast the soul ; pardon of sin, 
sense of God's love, Jesus Christ, and the benefits flow- 
ing from him, these are adequate to the nature and 
faculties of precious souls. " These satiate the souls 
both of priests and people with fatness and goodness ; f 
yea, they are abundantly satisfied with the fatness of 
his house," t this living bread and water nourisheth 
immortal souls to eternal life ; hence it is, that holy 
* Luke xii. 19, 20. t Jer. xxxi. 14. J Psalm xxxvi. 8. 


David prays, Psalm xl. 11, " withhold not thy 

tender mercies from me, O Lord ;" as if he had said, 
Lord, my soul is a fine delicate thing, it cannot do with 
the coarse fare of common mercies ; these husks are 
for the swine of the world, I must have bread at " my 
Father's table," my soul must have " angels' food," or 
it will not like nor live : Lord, let me have tender mer- 
cies, for my tender soul: otherwise I shall famish and 
die, therefore he prays again, " Let thy tender mer- 
cies come unto me that I may live," Psalm cxix. 77, 
and again, verse 132, " Look upon me and be merciful, 
as thou used to do to those that love thy name." David 
will not be content with any mercies but saints' pecu- 
liar privileges, and such as accompany salvation. These, 
these only fit and fill, suit and satisfy the ardent desires 
of the immortal soul, but other things cannot ; for you 
may as soon fill a sack with wit, as a soul with 
wealth. Covenant mercies are only proper for immor- 
tal souls. 

(3.) They differ in their efficacy and operation, in 
the effects and impressions they leave upon the heart ; 
common mercies never make any better, but many 
worse. Covenant mercies always improve the sub- 
ject with whom they lodge abundance ; common 
mercies can no more sanctify, than they can satisfy ; a 
large share of the things of the world hath been a 
snare to many souls ; these things are apt to puff up 
with pride, to steal the heart from God, to beget car- 
nal confidence and security, which prove the bane of 
grace, and a bait to sin. They that have tried it, find 
that it is hard to have worldly honour without vain 
glory,* to have great estates without a covetous desire, 
and to swim in worldly pleasures without too much 
sensual delight. Oh the sad demonstrations we have 

* Difficile est esse in honore sine tumore — Bern. 


had of the truth of this ! How may the souls of thou- 
sands sadly say, the world hath undone them ! Its 
syren songs have bewitched the credulous, and unwary ; 
the world oftentimes proves a stumbling-block of ini- 
quity that obstructs men in their journey to heaven, 
and blinds their eyes that they cannot make divine dis- 
coveries ; even believers have found, by sad experiment, 
that outward enjoyments have had a malignant influ- 
ence upon their spirits ; they -were in a better frame 
when they were poor, than they have been since raised 
in the world — according to that distich, 

Pellitus nunc es, fueras sine veste retentus, 
Nudus eras purus, crimen amictus habes. 

Well, this is the too, too common effect of common 
mercies, but covenant mercies always make; the soul 
better. Certainly, sanctifying knowledge, softening 
grace, the spirit of faith and holiness leave the soul in 
a gracious frame ; and the privileges of the covenant, 
reconciliation with God, adoption, justification, assur- 
ance, communion with God, always work kindly and 
evangelically upon the heart ; these are so many silver 
and silken cords of love to draw and join the soul to 
God. These mercies are as coals of fire to melt the 
heart, and make the conscience supple and pliable to 
the will of God ; he cannot be a wicked man who hath 
these mercies, and he that hath most of these mercies, 
is the best ; our perfection consists in the possession 
and participation of these sure mercies of David. * Out- 
ward mercies are occasions of ripening the sins of the 
wicked and fitting them for hell ; but covenant mer- 
cies ripen saints for glory, by filling their souls with 

* Dives qui multa possidet, auro onustus ut sordidum marsu- 

pium, at qui Justus est, bene compositus est et decorus Clem. 

Alex. Pcedag. 

VOL. II 2 B 


grace, and filling them for God's use both here and 

(4.) Common mercies and covenant mercies differ in 
their duration and continuance ; and this is that which 
is discriminating in this passage — they are called sure 
mercies, in opposition to those uncertain riches, " that 
take to themselves wings and fly away ; alas the fashion 
of the world passetli away !" * Earthly enjoyments 
are but of a short continuance — at death they and we 
must part, but many times they leave us before we leave 
them, the dreadful example of many thousands in Lon- 
don, in the late astonishing burning, confirms this — 
they were very rich, and very poor, in a few hours ; 
many worth thousands in the morning, but before 
night had not a house to put their heads in. Our eyes 
have seen and ears have heard how suddenly vast 
estates have been plucked out of the hands cf the secur- 
est possessors ; a night may put an end to the rich fool's 
confident boasting. No man is rich who cannot carry 
away with him that which he hath, f What we must 
leave behind us is not ours, but some others ; and this 
is the certain end of these uncertain enjoyments — that 
lose them we must, and we know not when nor how ; 
and what a condition will a poor worldling be in, when 
his god and he must be parted ! But now these mer- 
cies of the covenant are lasting, yea, everlasting mer- 
cies — they continue even beyond this transitory life, 
and run parallel with the life of God, and the line of 
eternity — eternal life is in the rear of spiritual life ; 
grace ends in glory ; yea, an immortal crown is one of 
the mercies of this sure covenant. These form a trea- 
sure that is neither subject to inward decays nor out- 

* 1 Tim. vi. 7. 1 Cor. vii. 31. 

t Nemo dives est, qui, quod habet, secum hinc auferre non 
potest. — Ambros. 


ward violence, "no moth can corrupt it, nor thief steal 
it."— Matt. vi. 19, 20. 

Well, then, since this is the vast difference betwixt 
common and covenant mercies, why should we make 
so great account of the former, and so little of the lat- 
ter ? What need have we to advance our hearts and 
eyes to things that are not seen with bodily eyes, and 
not dote upon things that are seen ? * Our souls 
should decide with brave Luther, j- who said, " I ear- 
nestly protested I would not be put off with these 
things." Alas, what poor things are outward enjoy- 
ments ! Consider the differences mentioned. God may 
hate you though you abound with worldly comforts, 
but covenant mercies are infallible tokens of God's love. 
The former gifts are not suitable and satisfying to the 
soul, the latter are ; outward mercies will make you no 
better in the eyes of God or good men, but spiritual will 
render you truly good. The world will take its sudden 
farewell of you and fail you at your greatest need ; 
covenant mercies will stand by you while you live, and 
bring you blameless before the divine throne in eternal 
glory ; here will come in that usual distinction of bona 
ilironi and bona scabelli. It is these covenant mer- 
cies that are the good things of the throne ; outward 
mercies are but the good things of the footstool. Let 
heaven-born souls mount up to the mercies of the 
throne, but let the moon and all sublunary enjoyments 
be under their feet; ; the whole world is too little for 
the godly man — not but that we should be thankful 
for the least common mercy : but we should not be put 
off with the greatest — a little of the world should con- 
tent a Christian with God — all the world should not 
content him without God. O how sweet are common 

* 2 Cor. iv. 18. 

t Valde protestatus sum me istis non satiari. 
2 B 2 


mercies when they come to us in a covenant way ! a 
morsel coming from the hands of Christ as our media- 
tor, hath a delicate relish ; his mediation only takes 
away the poison, venom, and malignity, that guilt hath 
brought upon the creature, and reduceth all things to 
their pristine usefulness, and primitive perfection. O 
the happiness of the saints! they have all they do enjoy 
as so many tokens of love ; as it is said of the kiss of 
Cyrus, given to Chrysantas, that it was better than the 
costly cup of gold which he gave to Artabarus. So 
common mercies perfumed with covenant love, are 
transcendently better than the richest treasures of 
wretched worldlings. 

3. Another inference is this, if covenant mercies be 
thus sure, then it instructs us in the precedency of 
grace above gifts. * There are gifts of illumination, 
conviction, interpretation, elocution, prayer, prophecy, 
which are given for the church's edification ; the main 
difference betwixt gifts and grace is that the former 
may languish, vanish and utterly perish, but grace 
never totally and finally decays. God may give Saul 
a spirit of government, Judas a gift of preaching and 
miracles, Simon Magus a temporary faith, and yet re- 
pent him of these and pluck them quite away. He 
may, and often doth, dry up the right arm of an idol, 
idle shepherd, and darken his right eye of knowledge, 
Zech. xi. 17, so that he who improves not talents or 
gifts, " from him shall be taken away that which he 
hath," even real gifts and appearances of grace : per- 

* Gifts come upon other terms than grace, God gives grace as 
a freehold, it hath the promise of this and another world, but 
gifts come upon liking, though a father will not cast oft' his 
child, yet he may take away his fine coat, and ornaments, if he 
be proud of them. — Mr. Gurnal. Christ. Armour. Matt xxv. 29. 
Luke viii. 18. 


sons eminently gifted, may be fire-brands of hell. Men 
may fall from the brightest intellectual attainments, 
to brutish sensuality ; but the gifts and callings of sav- 
ing grace are without repentance ; " God loveth his 
own to the end," gracious habits shall not be lost. The 
apostle elegantly expresseth the difference to my hand, 
1 Cor. xiii. 8. " Charity," that is, saving grace, " never 
faileth, but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail ; 
whether there be tongues, they shall cease ; whether 
there be knowledge, it shall vanish away." I know 
the main intent of the place is to commend love 
above other saving graces, from the duration and per- 
petuity of it, that it shall continue and be of use in 
heaven ; yet here it is opposed to such gifts as may 
also be lost in this life— and, therefore, by consequence 
it will follow, that the one is separable from its sub- 
ject, the other not. Natural men may make a fair show 
and flourish with fine gifts, which are, as it were, the 
trimming and ornament of grace; which, yet may, 
through negligence or old age decay and wither, true 
grace may be accompanied with the gildings and var- 
nish of gifts, which may, in time, wear off, whilst 
a sound principle continues fresh and lively. Besides 
this, give me leave to add other four differences betwixt 
common gifts and saving graces. 

(1.) They differ in respect of their fountain and 
spring, the origin from whence they flow. " Gifts," 
as one saith, " come from God's treasury of bounty, 
grace proceeds from the choice cabinet of his love." 
Grace flows to believers through the blood of Christ 
from God's bowels of tender love, gifts proceed from 
the hand of God as an act of munificence, upon his Son's 
glorious ascension and complete inauguration.* It is 
one thing to eat meat at the king's table, and another 

• Ephes. iy. 7- 


thing to gather the fruits of royal grace upon some 
solemn day, as that was of David's, 2 Sam. vi. 19- 
Saints only have the covenant graces, hypocrites may 
have a large share in these gifts, nay a larger portion 
than some saints themselves. Saul, Balaam, Caiphas, 
may have the gift of prophecy ; Judas may preach, 
but only Thomas and those who are under the influ- 
ence of grace, can believe, and it is a greater work, 
saith Luther, to believe, than to work miracles.* 

(2.) They differ in their nature and manner of opera- 
tion. Covenant grace stamps on the soul the image of 
our heavenly Father, it is the divine nature, God's 
most curious workmanship, the form and portraiture, 
the representation and exemplar of God blessed for 
ever ; grace is God's picture, if I may so speak, drawn 
to the life ; it is a forming of Christ in the soul. Now 
gifts are no such thing — the devil himself hath great 
gifts* yet hath razed out the image of God ; gifts are 
but the works of God's power and wisdom, such as the 
sun and stars ; yea, even flies and atoms, they are 
in a sort dead, and we may call them God's lumber ; 
some have noted that gifts are only the effects, but 
graces are called the fruits of the Spirit ; f the one is 
husk of a common profession, at least, the shell of some 
rare endowments, but the other is the kernel of sin- 
cerity, and fruit of a gospel conversion. 

(3.) The)' differ in their train and retinue, as to gifts 
none have all, either of all sorts, or any great eminency 

in all ; hence it is said, 1 Cor. xii. 8, 9. " to one 

is given the word of wisdom, to another, knowledge," 
&c. Moses had a gift of government, not of eloquence ; 
Paul had a gift of planting, Apollos of watering ; some 
of the apostles were sons of thunder, others of consola- 

* Pra?stat credere quam miracula edere. 
t 1 Cor. xii. 11. Gal. v. 22. 


tion ; some ministers are fitter for opening Scriptures 
and clearing controversies — others are more for ex- 
hortation and conviction of the conscience ; some think 
that pastors and teachers differ with respect to their 
gifts. But these covenant graces and mercies are linked 
together, they dance their round in the believing soul, 
hand in hand, as the word signifies,* 2 Peter i. 5. 
One grace strengthens another, as stones do in an arch ; 
yea, all graces are radically in faith — some, indeed, 
have said, that every grace is but faith exercised ; how- 
ever, all graces are infused at once into the soul, though 
some get the lead as to exercise — the new man is per- 
fect with a perfection of parts, though not of degrees, 
as it is with a new-born child. 

(4.) Gifts and grace differ in their several designs, 
ends, and effects. Gifts, offices and privileges, are but 
for others' advantage, and edification ; they are given 
to profit withal. — 1 Cor. xii. 7. When Christ ascended, 
he gave gifts to men — for what end ? The apostle 
tells us " for the perfecting of the saints, for the work 
of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 
Ephes. iv. 8 — 12. But now the end of grace is the 
soul's spiritual advantage, that by it Christ may take 
possession of the heart, that the soul may have some 
life and principle of opposition to beloved corruptions, 
and thereby be better helped to perform religious du- 
ties, walk with God, improve privileges, and be made 
meet for heaven. These, and such ?.s these, are the 
ends of the graces of the covenant. A man may have 
rare gifts, yet have a base heart ; he may have singu- 
lar endowments, and yet not be helped thereby, to mor- 
tify one lust, perform one duty spiritually, or get one 
step nearer God : but covenant grace is profitable for 
those great ends and uses ; gifts and grace may be said 
to differ as the sun and moon ; the moon casts a light, 


indeed, but no heat — but the sun sheds his quickening" 
rays into this lower world — he quickens many things, 
and maketh all things verdant and fruitful. So doth 
covenant mercy bring forth many precious things, and 
divine graces have a lively influence, whereby a man 
shall both save himself and others, 1 Tim. iv. 16 ; but 
a man may have gifts like an angel, and be never the 
nearer to heaven ; he may direct others in the way to 
heaven, and yet not walk a step therein ; he may teach 
others what he hath not learned himself; he may preach 
to others and be a castaway. " ::: " It is one thing to have 
the form of knowledge, another to have the power of 
grace ; it is one thing to have angelical gifts, and an- 
other thing to have evangelical graces. All gifted 
persons are not gracious persons ; never was any man 
saved by his gifts, and rarely have they, who have only 
gifts, been instruments to save others. I dare not say, 
that it is impossible that a graceless, yet gifted minister, 
should be a mean of conversion, for God is not to be 
limited, but it is not ordinary, as common experi- 
ence testifies. 

4. An additional inference is, if covenant mercies be 
thus sure, then it lets us see the truth of our religion. 
If the mercies thereof be thus sure, as I have demon- 
strated, then let us be established in our persuasion of 
the verity, certainty and infallibility of Christianity ; 
if these be sure mercies, who can doubt of the reality 
thereof? Every thing in the gospel is made sure, and 
you may venture your souls upon it ; since God hath 
confirmed these things as a sacred oracle from heaven, 
who dare dispute them ? The God of truth cannot lie 
nor deny himself; he is so good that he cannot deceive, 
and so wise that he cannot be deceived, f There is in 

* See fully in Rom. ii. 1/— 24. 1 Cor. ix. 27- 
t Divino praccepto intonante obediendum est non disputandum. 


him neither imprudence in promising, nor inability in 
performing. " Heaven and earth may pass away, but 
not one iota of his word shall fail." You are to believe 
these things without hesitation, and give your full as- 
sent to them ; as the mystery of godliness is great, so 
it is without controversy. Grotius * observes that our 
Christian religion doth transcend all the religions in the 
world in three things. First, " in the certainty of 
its maxims ;" secondly, " in the spirituality of its pre- 
cepts ;" thirdly, " in the transcendency of its rewards." 
We have the unerring testimony of heaven for what we 
believe ; which is surer than any logical conclusions, 
philosophical speculations, yea, or mathematical de- 
monstrations, and I may add, than Old Testament 
dreams and visions ; so the apostle seems to extol God's 
speaking to us by his Son above the divers manners of 
his speaking to the Fathers, Heb. i. 1, 2 ; nay, the 
apostle Peter asserts that we have in the Scriptures a 
more sure word of prophecy, than that voice which 
came to Christ in the holy mount, from the excellent 
glory, 2 Pet. i. 18, 19 ; not that any thing can be 
more sure than the very undoubted words of Jehovah, 
who is truth itself; but a more sure, that is, most sure, 
a comparative for a superlative, for the former visions 
being from God, as well as the prophecies, were them- 
selves as sure as they ; but the meaning is, that the 
Scripture testimony is more sure than that vision, em- 
ployed as an argument to convince others, or secun- 
dum nos, for the authority of the Scriptures is beyond 
the testimony of angels ; nay, above the credit that 

* Aut ha;c admittenda religio, non tantum ob factorum testi- 
monia, de quibus jam egimus, verum etiam ob ea, quae religioni 
sunt intrinseca: cum nulla ex omnibus sseculis ac nationibus pro- 
f'crri potest; aut praemio excellentior, praeceptis perfection aut 
modo quo propagari jussa est admirabiliov. — H"g- Grot- de J ert- 
tat. Relig. Christ. lib. 2, cap. 8, p. 52. John ix. 32. Acts xxvi. 
22, 23. Acts xvii. 11. 


might be given to men, for men might suspect Peter 
and the other apostles, as though this apparition were 
but a fiction of their own brains — therefore, he appeals 
to the undoubted prophecies in the Old Testament, 
which were by long use settled in the hearts of the 
godly Jews, who believed all that the prophets spake 
as coming from God ; therefore our Saviour declares 
that they that believe not Moses's writings, will not 
believe his words, John v. 45 — 47, and hence it was 
that they examined doctrines by the prophets; nay 
our Saviour himself, affirms, " that if they will not 
hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be per- 
suaded though one rise from the dead, Luke xvi. 31, 
therefore, the apostles had the prophets as patrons of 
their doctrine, and thence did the faithful fetch a con- 
firmation of the gospel. * The sum of this text is, then, 
to demonstrate the verity and certainty of the gospel 
by evidencing the consent of prophetical and apostol- 
ical testimony for its fuller confirmation ; as if he had 
said, if you distrust me in commending the evangelical 
doctrine, I send you back to the prophets, whom, with- 
out any exception, you account holy and faithful. 
These testify of the truth of the gospel, therefore this 
consent should be evincing and satisfying. Hence it is, 
that the disciples of Christ have professed such a ple- 
rophory, f and abundant acquiescence in their persua- 
sion of Christ's being the Messiah and Saviour of man- 
kind ; so John vi. 69, " We believe and are sure that 
thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God ;" and 
Simon Peter acknowledged it, Matt. xvi. 16 ; yea, un- 
believing Thomas at last cried out " My Lord, and 
my God," John xx. 28, as being overcome with the 

* Habebaut apostoli prophetas tanquam patronos doctrina? suae ; 
fideles quoque inde petebant evangelii confirmationem. — Calv. in 
loc. Vide sis Mart. Arci. ef coetera in Locum. 

t Full assurance. 


clearness of that stupendous, condescending demonstra- 
tion ; the apostle John testifies, 1 Epist. i. 1, concern- 
ing Christ, saying, " We have heard, seen with our 
eyes, looked upon, yea, our hands have handled of the 
word of life ;" and this doth he declare to us from ex- 
perience of several senses. O what a blessed thing 
were it to have an undoubted assurance of the certainty 
of divine things ! O what life would it put into our 
graces, duties and comforts ! what an antidote would 
it be against temptations, corruptions and persecutions ! 
Could we as truly believe the reality of the things of 
God as corporeal objects, what beauty should we discern 
therein ! what comfort should we receive therefrom ! 
what should we not do and endure for them ! Did we 
see the reality, necessity, and excellency of covenant 
mercies as we do of common mercies, how should our 
hearts be enamoured therewith ? They that have the 
most prevailing persuasion of the certainty and trans- 
cendency of heavenly mercies, are the most exact and 
eminent Christians ; but a faint belief of these things 
is the cause of sloth ; all irreligion and prophaneness 
proceeds from a want of an effectual assent to gospel 
revelations. Alas, there is more atheism and infidelity 
in the world than we are aware of. Did men as cer- 
tainly believe there is a heaven and a hell, as they see 
and know there are stones and trees, earth and water, 
would not this have a wonderful influence upon their 
practice ? would they not be other manner of persons 
than they are ? especially if they did faithfully work 
upon their hearts the reality of the things of God. 
Paul and the saints in his days looked not on the things 
seen, but on things not seen, that is, eternal things, 
2 Cor. iv. 18. Moses saw him that was invisible, 
which made him to endure any thing. — Heb. xi. 27. 
O Christians, rest not satisfied with a bare conjecture, 


but press forward till you arrive at a full assurance, 
you cannot be too sure in these cases. The apostle 
hath a mighty full expression, Col. ii. 2, to this pur- 
pose ; verse 1, he tells of " a conflict that he had for 
them, and the Laodiceans," that is, a care, fear, and de- 
sire ; good man, he was in a heart-rending conflict, an 
agony. Why, what is the matter ? well, " it is that 
their hearts might be comforted, being knit together 
in love, and to all riches of the full assurance of under- 
standing, to the acknowledgment of the mystery of God, 
and of the Father, and of Christ." Observe the climax, 
here is, 

(1.) Assurance he desires for them ; then, 
(2.) Full assurance ; further, 
(3.) Riches of full assurance ; yet again, 
(4.) All riches of full assurance ; yea, not a rash and 
ignorant assurance, but an assurance, 

(5.) Of understanding, that is, with a settled judg- 
ment, and not only to have such assurance, and keep 
it to themselves, but all this 

(6.) To the acknowledgment of the mystery of God, 
that they may make an open profession of it. 

But why was he so earnest for all this, verse 4, 
" This I say, or pray for you, lest any man beguile 
you with enticing words," as if he had said, you will 
find all this little enough when a subtle disputer 
shall set upon you with cunning artifice to draw 
you from the truth ; you will perhaps feel that you 
have need of the fullest persuasion that creatures 
can arrive at, that you may keep your hold, and 
not be driven away from the hope of the gospel. 
You little know what storms may assault your faith in 
the truth of the gospel. Peter made a glorious pro- 
fession, yet his faith was staggered by a temptation ; 
and Satan is a cunning sophister — he desires to have 


you that he may sift you, and toss you so as to shake 
away the purest grain of gospel truth ; he will do what 
he can to cheat you of your religion ; hence it is, that 
" Paul was so jealous over the Corinthians with godly 

jealousy, lest by any means, (and he hath store of 

devices) that as the serpent beguiled Eve through his 
subtilty ; so their minds should be corrupted from the 
simplicity that is in Christ." — 2 Cor. xi. 1 — 3. Hence 
it is, that teachers have always been so careful to settle 
and ground their hearers in the certainty of things they 
taught, as Luke his Theophilus, and Paul his Timothy.* 
O sirs, get well assured of these things ! Let your faith 
and persuasion have its full dimensions ; let it be deeply 
rooted, and high built ; take not things upon trust — 
let every truth have its complete emphasis and efficacy 
upon your hearts and consciences, especially the main 
momentous gospel truths, which you must venture your 
souls upon, and live and die by. You had need con- 
sider what ground you stand upon, and be fully per- 
suaded in your own minds. 



III. A further use may be suggested, namely, to try 
us whether we have a real interest in these sure mer- 
cies of the covenant ; it is one of the most important 
questions that we can be asked, whether we have a 
right title to covenant mercies ? Alas, we have for- 
* Lukei. 3, 4. 2 Tim. iii. 14. 


feited our title to (rod, or to any good thing from him, 
by our breach of the old covenant, and now we have 
nothing to do with God, except only to endure the 
severe strokes of his sin-revenging justice. O what 
need have we to try ourselves by an impartial scrutiny ! 
For our better assistance in this great and weighty 
business, I shall a little explain what it is to enter into 
covenant in general, next inquire what conditions of 
the new covenant we can find in our hearts, and then 
shew a little of the nature and effects of these covenant 
mercies where they exist. 

For the first, to enter into covenant with God is to 
own God as our God, and to give up ourselves wholly 
to him as his ; expressed in these words in Scripture, 
" I will be thy God and thou shalt be my people " — 
this, this is the marrow of the covenant, for God to be 
our God — it is a comprehensive word ; it is substantia 
foederis, as Funius calls it ; anima foederis, as Pareus 
calls it; caput foederis, as Musail — the substance, soul, 
and head of the covenant ; the life of religion is in 
this : as one saith sweetly, the goodness of duties lies 
in adverbs, and the sweetness of the covenant lies in 

Well then, the contracting of this covenant betwixt 
God and a soul consists chiefly in a mutual surrender, 
or giving up of themselves to each other, expressed in 
Scripture by a matrimonial contract, when God gives 
up himself to the believer, and accepts of him, and the 
believer accepts of God as his God, and gives up him- 
self to him. Now, we are not left to inquire after the 
act of God, for it is fully expressed in the Scriptures, 
and it is certainly supposed God accepts the sinner, 
when the sinner accepts of God, for these are correla- 
tives, nor is there any change in God, the change is 
only in the sinner, who is now put into a new state 


and relation. It is certain by the free offers of the 
gospel, that God doth consent, and the main thing to 
be inquired into is, whether the soul do consent or not ? 
for if it cordially do, the agreement is made, God and 
the soul are united, which is a thins: of the greatest 
importance in the whole world. I shall purposely 
wave controversies in this business wherein this con- 
sent lies, whether it be only an assent as an act of the 
understanding, or be a choice as an act of the will, &c. 
I conceive it is an act of the whole soul, whereby a 
poor troubled sinner discovering its forlorn estate by 
its breach of the old covenant, and sad consequences 
thereof, and discerning a possibility of a recovery and 
the way of reconciliation by a new covenant formed 
and contracted betwixt God and fallen man, sealed and 
confirmed by the blood of the Mediator, God-man, doth 
freely, cordially, and decidedly accept of God as his 
chief good and ultimate end, and give up himself to 
him resolvedly, unreservedly, and universally, to be 
the Lord's ; to be and do what the Lord pleaseth, to 
obey divine commands, be at God's disposal in life and 
death, and thus to continue even to the end of his days. 
This is for a soul to enter into covenant with the 
Lord. The trial will lie in these two things : first, 
whether we have accepted of God as our God ? se- 
condly, whether we have given up ourselves to him, 
to be at his disposal, yea or no ? a little on both these. 
1. Whether have you taken the Lord to be yours, 
or not? We are all naturally idolaters and have our 
hearts glued to the creature, or something else besides 
God ; we are of those many, who cry out, " who will 
shew us any good ?" who trace the whole creation to 
find satisfaction, till they are weary, and sit down in 
despair of obtaining what they seek, for all the crea- 
* See Mr. Baxt. Saints' Rest, part 1. p. 177, 178. 


tures are forced to echo this unanimous confession, 
Happiness is not in me. Thus, like Hagar,* we wan- 
der in this howling wilderness, till the water of hope 
be spent in the bottle, and our souls, like Ishmael, be 
ready to perish under the shrubs of guilt and wrath, 
and then we sit down in sorrow, ready to pine away in 
our iniquities, loth to see or think of our own damna- 
tion, lifting up our voice with bitter weeping and de- 
spair. God hears and asks the troubled soul what it 
ails, and amidst these confusions he creates a blessed 
spring of hope in this desert state ; opens the eyes, 
enraptures the heart with the glory of gospel grace, 
draws water of life out of the wells of salvation, and 
satisfieth the hungry soul with good things ; the ran- 
somed sinner is made to own that God thus owns him 
in a time of need, and to cry out with repenting 
Israel, " Once, O Lord our God, other lords besides 
thee have had dominion over us, but by thee only will 
we make mention of thy name," Isa. xxvi. 13 ; or with 
David, " Whom have I in heaven but thee ? and there 
is none upon earth that I desire besides thee. My 
flesh and my heart faileth, but God is the strength of 
my heart and my portion for ever," Psalm lxxiii. 25, 
26 ; as if the poor soul should say, I have been long 
seeking contentment here below, but I see by sad ex- 
perience, all things fail, there is vanity and vexation 
written upon the sweetest comforts under the moon ; 
I have laid out much labour for that which profits not ; 
I am weary with my disappointments, I will return to 
my first husband ; return unto thy rest, O my soul ! 
God alone is the most, yea, the only, suitable satisfy- 
ing rest of my wandering and bewildered soul. Let 
others go a whoring from God to creature dependencies 

it is good for me to draw nigh to God ; I am undone 

* Gen. xxi. 15—19. 


without him ; I am sick of love for him. Woe is me, 

what shall I do ? If my soul get not an interest in 
God I faint, I die, I perish. Lord, put me not off with- 
out thyself, let nothing take up my heart besides thee ;" 
let all the pleasures, profits and honours of the world 
go whither they will, so only I may have my God, I 
can set God against them all, if God be the portion of 
mine inheritance, I can say truly, " the lines are fallen 
to me in pleasant places, I have a goodly heritage," * 
I can bid defiance to all the world to make me misera- 
ble ; when all the world looks black about me, and all 
my comforts forsake me, when seeming friends scorn 
me, and open enemies pursue me with cruel hatred ; I 
can then encourage myself in the Lord my God ; yea, 
rejoice in the Lord; should even the whole creation crack 
about my ears, the earth tremble, and the heavens be 
rolled together as a scroll ; I know that my Redeemer 
lives and I shall live with him in joy and blessedness 
for ever. These, or the like, are the musings of the 
humble, sensible sinner, and though he cannot say the 
Lord is his, yet, he can say through grace, that it is 
the desire of his soul to have the Lord for his God, he 
looks upon that as the happiest estate that a creature 
is capable of, and if God should say this house or land, 
and these goods, or this kingdom, or this world, are 
thine, except he say withal, I am thine, the soul goes 
away disconsolate, and looks on all those things as 
nothing worth. 

Christians, try yourselves, hath it been thus with 
you, or hath it not ? What settled, prevailing esteem 
hath the God of heaven in your hearts ? Do you look 
upon all the bravery and delights of the world but as 
straw and mire under your feet in comparison of your 
God ? Do your hearts pant after the living God ? Do 
* Psalm xvi. .1, 6. 

VOL. II. 2c 


your souls desire him in the night ? Can you boast of 
your God, and challenge all the world, and say, there 
is none like unto our God ? Can you depend upon 
him, and cast all your care on him ? Do you, in all 
things, give him the preeminence ? Are your hearts 
endeared to, and enamoured with this glorious, gra- 
cious God? But, 

I proceed to ask, have you given yourselves up to 
him ? for if you be the Lord's you are not your own, 
you have wholly resigned up yourselves to him ; * you 
have given him the keys of your hearts, and delivered 
him possession of your souls, as the only rightful 
owner thereof ; just as the wife gives up her all to her 
husband, so that " she hath not power of her own 
body, but her husband ;" f so do believers surrender 
themselves unto the spiritual husband of the church, 
so that now they have nothing to dispose of without 
leave ; house, land, money, estates, relations, name, 
time, gifts of mind, members of the body, faculties of 
soul, life itself, and all they have and do are at God's 
disposal, and they lay them all at his feet, and dare not 
dispose of one penny in their purse, or minute of time, 
or cast of the eye, or thought of the heart, with their 
good will, but by his permission. Hence, you will 
hear a believer inquiring with respect to sin and duty, 
and making conscience of compliance with the Lord's 
will and pleasure. The Scripture calls this a giving 
ourselves to the Lord, 2 Cor. viii. 5 ; yea, there are 
several outward symbols to evidence it, Isa. xliv. 5, 
" One shall say I am the Lord's, and another shall 
call himself by the name of Jacob, and another shall 
subscribe with his hand to the Lord, and surname him- 
self by the name of Israel." Profession, subscription, 
denomination, nay, though it be to endure the scorn of 
* 1 Cor. vi. 19. + 1 Cor. vii. 4. 

applied for self-examination'. 387 

a reproachful name, any thing would he do, or un- 
dergo, so he might be ranked amongst real saints, 
and be indeed the Lord's. 

And there are four properties of the soul's self-sur- 
render to God. A covenanting soul gives up itself to 
God these four ways, that is to say, 

Really, readily, resolvedly and unreservedly. 

(I.) Really, truly, sincerely, without the ordinary, 
counterfeiting and complimenting expressions common 
in the world. It is easy, as it is customary, for men 
to court others with that empty ceremony, Your ser- 
vant, sir, when they never think as they speak. This, 
by the v/ay, is to be ranked, at least, among idle words, 
of which, I fear, many have a sad account to give. Let 
professors learn better manners and language than to 
conform herein to the world ; well, but a saint's 
giving up himself to the Lord, is not complimental, but 
real. Hear holy David, you shall find him in good 
earnest, Psal. cxvi. 16, " O Lord, truly I am. thy ser- 
vant; I am thy servant, and the son of thine handmaid, 
thou hast loosed my bonds." Here is, 

[i.] An asseveration, " truly." 

[ii.] An affirmation, " I am thine." 

[iii] A reduplication, " I am thy servant, I am thy 

[iv.] A confirmation by two arguments. 

First, " He was his servant by his birth, being born 
in his house," for if a woman was servant in a house, 
all the children she bore there were servants to the 
master of that house. Hence, saith David, " the son 
of thine handmaid. 

Secondly, David was God's by redemption, " thou 
hast loosed my bonds," for such as delivered any from 
captivity, had them to be their servants for ever. Thus 
every genuine believer really professeth himself to be the 

2 c 2 


Lord's, he is God's bought and devoted servant, he doth, 
as the servant of old, plainly say, " I love my master, 
I will not go out," and so is brought to the door-post, 
and hath his ear bored through with an awl, he re- 
ceives an ear mark, being subjected to the operation of 
the blessed Spirit of God, and so made willing and obe- 
dient to the Lord's calls. * This engageth him to be 
much in desiring to know the Lord's will with a reso- 
lution to do it ; he stops not his ear, he hides not his 
eyes from his master's commands, but prays as David, 
Psalm cxix. 125, " I am thy servant, give me under- 
standing, that I may know thy testimonies ;" a good 
man would not be ignorant of any part of his work, 
because he is a real servant, and makes conscience of 
upright obedience. Ah sirs, what say your hearts to 
this ? are you in good earnest ? do you, indeed, speak 
as you think, and will you do accordingly ? It is no 
jesting, trifling matter. Israel gave God good words ; 
so that God saith, they have well spoken, when they 
promised to he the Lord's and to obey him, but God 
adds, " O that there were such a heart in them that 
they would fear me," &c. — Deut. v. 28, 29. Alas, 
persons may say fair, in a glow of affection, but in- 
quire you into the frame of your spirits and actions 
whether they be of a genuine description. 

(2.) This self-surrender to God is ready, free, willing, 
and cheerful, not with grumbling, and by compulsion. 
When persons do it because they cannot help it, when 
they see they must die, and can serve the devil no 
longer, or when they are under the rod, they will as- 
sume the appearance of being religious ; but it is full 
sore against their wills, for they would rather choose to 
be slaves to their passions. They are, however, forced 
on by violence or constraint, or else they lie under such 
* See Exod. xxi. 5 — G. 


terrors and convictions, that for the present they are 
overawed, and dare not but profess to be the Lord's. 
It is strangers that yield feigned or forced obedience to 
our David. * But the Lord's true hearted subjects 
shall be a willing people in the day of his power, Psalm 
ex. 3, voluntariness or liberalities, so the word signi- 
fies : they are all volunteers, and look upon it as their 
privilege, honour and happiness to be the Lord's ser- 
vants, as the good emperor Theodosius, who accounted 
it a greater honour to be the subject of Christ, than to 
be emperor of the world. Real Christians are like the 
governors of Israel, f that offered themselves willingly 
among the people ; these have God's heart, since 
the Lord hath their heart. Those in Acts ii. 41, 
gladly received the word, and so were baptized ; every 
child of God is a free-will offering, and presents his 
soul and body as a living sacrifice, ± or holocaust, and 
this is acceptable to God. O the account that God 
makes of these ! they are called princes of the people. 
In Psalm xlvii. 9, the margin hath it, the voluntary of 
the people ; || the volunteers are princes, as indeed all 
God's saints are kings, and the church hath her princes 
in all the earth, $ because they have power over their 
base stubborn wills, which is more than to rule over 
millions of men ; they are persons of most noble, 
generous, and ingenuous spirits — others, are of a low, 
base, sordid, degenerate disposition, that have not sub- 
jected themselves to God, but are slaves to their lusts. 
Well, sirs, how is it with you ? do you voluntarily, and 
cheerfully surrender yourselves to the Lord, as the 
bride doth in marriage ? Are your hearts so gone 
after the Lord, as to look upon it as your greatest 

* Psalm xviii. 44. Sec Marg. + Judg. v. <). % Rom. xii. 1. 
II DTO OH3 § Psal. xlv. 16. 


preferment, to give yourselves up to him as the husband 
of the church ? Have you seriously deliberated on 
things in your breasts ; and upon mature thoughts 
concluded that this is the best engagement you can 
make ? Doth your soul make you like " the chariots 
of Amminadib," * or a willing people ? and the longer 
you serve this master, the better do you like this ser- 
vice ? You do not repent that you gave up your names 
to him ; if it were to do again, would you not do it, 
though you knew of ten thousand times more troubles 
in your way than yet you have met with ? naj% do you 
not thank God heartily, that he will accept of your per- 
sons and services, and look upon his service as perfect 
freedom ? Is it thus with you ? Bless God that he 
hath shown you distinguishing favour. 

(3.) The believer delivers up himself to God re- 
solvedly. There are some that halt between two opini- 
ons, that are off and on ; one while they will be for 
God, another while they are staggering like the Sama- 
ritans ; when the Jews were in prosperity, they would 
profess to be of their stock — when in adversity, they 
disowned relation to them. These are a cake not turned, 
the one side baked for God, the other side dongh, f so 
one cannot tell what to make of them. God likes 
not these unfixed, unresolved spirits ; but a real saint 
will attach himself to God whatever it cost him. Car- 
nal friends, that go about to hinder him, say nothing 
tual, he will make this agreement in spite of all oppo- 
•. they may sit their hearts at rest ; there is no dis- 
cing him, for his affections are placed ; no bonds 
can hold him, he cleaves to the Lord with full purpose 
of heart, he hath devoted himself to God's fear — there 
is no revocation ; i all the devils in hell, and men on 

* Cant vi. 12. + Hos. vii. 8. 

Acts xi. 23. Psalm cxix. 


earth, shall not obstruct him in his course and progress 
to the Lord, " if my father hung about my neck," 
saith an ancient, " my wife and children stood in my 
way, to my dearly beloved, I would cast off my father, 
and push away my wife and my children that I may 
enjoy my Lord God." Offer a resolved soul, house, 
lands, pleasures, treasures, they all signify nothing if 
they be to hire him from Christ. " Let their money 
perish with them," said a noble Marquis, " that esteem 
all the money in the world worth one hour's commu- 
nion with Jesus Christ." Consider Moses and Paul, 
the first forsook the pleasures of Pharaoh's court for 
Christ ; the latter accounted not his life dear in the 
cause of Christ ;* and, indeed, this is the great condition 
upon which only we can have an interest in him, Luke 
xiv. 26, " If any man come to me, and hate not his 
father, mother, wife, children, brethren, sisters, yea, and 
his own life also, he cannot be my disciple ;" that is, 
when these stand in competition with Christ, or when 
he cannot keep both, " if he be not willing to part with 
these rather than want Christ, he is not worthy of 
him," as another evangelist hath it.f Ah sirs, how is it 
with you ? are you at a point ? do you hang no longer 
in suspense ? will you receive Christ upon his own 
proposed terms ? and will you receive him now, and 
not delay a moment longer ? do you say that upon due 
considering your ways, " you make haste and will not 
delay, to give up yourselves to the Lord ? are your feet 
shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace," that 
is, with a holy resolution to go through the sharpest 
paths to the beloved of your souls ? You care not what 
befals you, so that this dreadful evil do not befal you 
to be without God in the world, and many waters of 

* Heb. xi. 24, 25. Acts xx. 24. t Matt. x. 37- 

J Psal. cxix. 59, 60. Eph. vi. 15. 


opposition cannot quench this flame of love to your 
clearest Lord. Try yourselves by this criterion. 

( 1 . ) A gracious soul delivers up itself to God, unre- 
servedly, entirely, and universally, and that both with 
reference to the subject, and the season ; the whole soul, 
and that for ever, wholly and fmalty. 

[i.] The whole soul is given up to God in this cove- 
nant agreement ; here do hypocrites dodge, and article, 
and make reserves, and come not off fair, but leave 
some fort of the heart for an appetite or passion, and 
are not willing to give up themselves entirely ; now 
God will have all the heart, or none at all — he will 
not brook a rival or competitor, " my son give me thy 
heart," and, indeed, the whole soul is a present little 
enough for the God of heaven ; it is a whorish heart 
that is for dividing. A gracious soul saith, let him 
have all, as it cannot be content with half a Saviour, 
so it knows, God will not be content with half a heart, 
and therefore, cries out, Lord, here I am a poor worm, 
I have polluted myself with sin, and deserve not that 
ever thou shculdest own such a wretch as I am ; yet, 
Mich as I am, I here offer myself wholly to thee. Alas, 
I am but a poor and sorry offering for so great a king, 
yet I freely give myself to thee, entreating thee to make 
me better ; I cannot bestow myself on one that either 
hath more right to me, or can do more for me ; here I 
am, Lord, I am only thine and wholly thine ; take me 
as thine, and make me less mine own, and that will be 
my happiness, and I shall be fitter for thy service ; I 
dare not part stakes betwixt thyself and any other, for 
I see, I cannot serve two contrary masters ; I will not 
give my faculties or members any more as instruments 
of unrighteousness. Chain my soul to thee, unite my 
heart to fear thy name. This, or such like, is the lan- 

..!. and there can be no covenant 


without this entireness and complete resignation. 
Hence are these multitudes of expressions that call for 
" seeking God with the whole heart, and loving God 
with all the heart, soul, &c. and serving God with all 
the heart, * yea, this is the sum of all that G«od requires 
of us. — Ueut. x. 12. O examine, then, hath the Spirit 
of God beat down every strong hold and vain imagina- 
tion ; and brought over your hearts wholly to the 
Lord? "What say you, is every nook and creek of your 
hearts delivered up to this great and mighty conqueror ? 
Is there no creature comfort, or sensual pleasure that 
hath stolen away your hearts from your divine Lord ? 
Deal faithfully with your souls on this behalf, there is 
no dallying with the searcher of 3 r our hearts. 

[ii.] Have you given up your hearts and selves ir- 
revocably, irreversibly, finally ? There is no playing 
fast and loose with the great God ; you must not give 
and take again, that is fool's play ; but you must be for 
ever the Lord's, all your clays devote yourselves to keep 
his commandments unto the end, not like some ser- 
vants that will keep to their masters as long as they 
like, or while they please them ; but this is a boring 
through the ear to be the Lord's servants for ever ; it is 
a marriage that lasts for the term of life, " I will call 
upon him," saith David, " as long as I live." — Psalm 
cxvi. 2. It is the hollow-hearted hypocrite that ends 
his religion before he have ended his days, that puts his 
hand to the plough and looks back, that falls off when 
tribulation comes ; but a covenanting spirit is a con- 
stant spirit. " Whose house are we," saith the apostle, 
" if we hold fast the confidence, and the rejoicing of 
the hope firmly unto the end," Heb. iii. 6 ; it is the end 
that crowns the action. Solomon saith, " the end of 
a thing is better than the beginning." Christ saith, 
* Deut. iv. 20, and vi. 5. 


" if ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples 
indeed," John viii. 31, and many Scriptures* make this 
a condition, without which, there can be no salvation ; 
and though the end is not yet come, yet is it the desire 
and design of your souls to pray, and read, and serve 
God all your days? You do not, you dare not set 
bounds or limits to your obedience ; but say as David, 
Psalm lxxi. 14, " I will hope continually, and will yet 
praise thee more and more," as if he had said, I am so 
far from casting away my hope and faith that I will 
continue, yea, and increase in the exercises of religion. 
Do you resolve with David, to " keep God's law con- 
tinually, yea, for ever and ever," Psalm cxix. 44, and 
pray still for supporting grace, verse 117, using all the 
rest of God's appointed means for your perseverance 
to the end ? 

Thus I have dispatched this part of the examination, 
which is general, to try whether we be entered into co- 
venant with God by reciprocal acts of giving and re- 
ceiving ; whether you have taken God for your God, 
and given up yourselves to him, as believers are wont 
to do. 

More particularly, I entreat you to inquire into the 
conditions of the new covenant, or the graces and dis- 
positions promised therein, and lay your hand on your 
heart, and inquire, whether they be really in you ? 
such as these, 

1. I told you saving illumination is one important 
covenant condition, f Hath the Lord discovered to 
you the great and good things of his gospel ? opened 
to you his blessed treasury, and anointed your eyes to 
behold all things in their lively colours ? Have you 
got a clear discovery of the nature of sin and duty, 
misery and mercy, the creatures' vanity and Christ's 
* Col. i. 23. 1 Tim. iv. 16. Jam. i. 25. t Jer. xxxi. 34. 

APPLIED for self-exami:;atiox. 395 

beauty and excellency ? Have you with an eagle 
eye pierced into deep gospel mysteries ? This is not 
a brain knowledge, consisting in notions, but an ex- 
perimental spiritual acquaintance with the things of 
God, impressing the soul with the sense thereof, 
and leading it into the life and spirit of Scripture 
truths ; so that a Christian now sees divine things 
after another manner than he ever did before, and 
is led into all truth by the blessed Spirit. God pro- 
miseth that " all the children of the church shall be 
taught of God," Isa. liv. 13, which Scripture our 
Saviour doth cite and interpret, John vi. 45, of 
believing or coming to God, " every one, therefore, 
that hath heard and learned of the Father, cometh 
unto me." Ah Christians, have you learned this 
choice gospel lesson of going out of yourselves, and 
closing with Christ, unconditionally, upon pure gos- 
pel terms ? This is the great lesson of the gospel, 
have you learned it? You are dunces, and deserve 
to be kicked out of Christ's school, unless yeu have 
learned this great and important lesson ; besides, 
God teacheth many other lessons, as to hate sin, 
love God, and holiness, and to love God's children. 
Hence saith blessed Paul, 1 Thess. iv. 9, " as touch- 
ing brotherly love ; ye need not that I write unto 
you, for ye yourselves are taught of God to love 
one another." This divine nature prompteth believers 
to this ; they cannot do otherwise except they put 
off their very nature, for a Christian may find his 
heart secretly and sensibly carried out to all things 
and persons that have the impress and image of God, 
as the very name and the common nature of a brother 
is potent and prevalent to attract the affections : the 
truth is, he hath his chair in heaven who thus teacheth 
hearts — and if God be the teacher, he makes apt and 


able, active and notable scholars. * O Christians, 
see and try your learning, ascertain who is your master. 
2. Another disposition like this, or indeed, a fruit 
of the former, is God's writing his law in the hearts of 
men, " he promiseth to put his law into their inward 
parts, and write it in their hearts," f so that as tally 
answers to tally, indenture to indenture, face to face, so 
the heart of the Christian will echo and answer to the 
word of God ; and he will feel something within his 
own bosom, that joins issue with the word without ; 
so that he can now say with Paul, I consent to the 
law that it is good; | whatever I be, the command- 
ment is holy, just, and good. A carnal heart riseth 
up in rebellion against the word, and secretly loathes a 
spiritual command, and could wish it even razed out 
of the Bible, that it might sin more freely ; but a gra- 
cious soul loves that word best, which restrains corrup- 
tion most, and binds it closest in new obedience ; hence 
saith David, " thy word is very pure, therefore, thy 
servant loves it," Psalm cxix. 140 ; the stricter the 
word is, the better I love it ; I would have the law of 
God restrain the exorbitances of my heart and life, it 
doth me good to be kept in, for I have a wild and way- 
ward heart. || O how glad am I of a word that search- 
eth, curbeth, and cutteth off my exuberant branches, I 
willingly fall under it and bless God for it, as one of the 
greatest mercies of my life. Can you say thus ? When 

* Cathedram habet in coelis qui corda docet ; quando Deus est 
magister quam cito docetur, quod docetur. — Aug. 
t Jer. xxxi. 33. Heb. viii. 10. x. 10. 
$ Rom. vii. 12— 1G. 

|| Praesta ei cor tuum molle et tractabile et custodi figuram 
qua te figuravit artifex, habeas in temetipso humdrem, ne indu- 
ratus — amittas vestigia digitorum ejus. — Irani, advert. Hcer. lib. 1, 
prop, fin. 


there is a controversy betwixt a pinching word and a 
repining hist, whether of them do you vote for ? which 
do you give your voice for, and plead on the behalf of ? 
Can you not take God's part, and his word's part, against 
a naughty, deceitful heart ? or do you pick quarrels 
with the statutes of heaven when you should obey 
them ? Ah sirs, try yourselves in this, and if you find 
that you have a counterpart of God's word within you, 
a transcript of this blessed copy in your hearts, then 
are you within the covenant. 

3. God promiseth to give his people in covenant 
with him, " one heart and one way," Jer. xxxii. 39 ; 
this imports both a oneness of heart within itself, and 
also, a oneness of heart with other saints ; before con- 
version the heart was divided and distracted betwixt 
various objects ; God must have part, Satan part, sin 
part, and the world another part of the heart ; but 
now the soul gives itself wholly to God, as I have ex- 
plained ; hence David prays, " unite my heart to fear 
thy name," * or make my heart one ; a real saint is 
fully, entirely, universally given up to God ; but of 
this, I have spoken before : likewise the covenant of 
grace makes Christians unanimous ; hence it is, that as 
soon as souls have given themselves to God, they essay 
to join themselves to their fraternity, and unite with 
the society of sincere believers ; f hence the primitive 
saints " were together with one accord ;" | yea, they 
were " of one heart, and of one soul ;" || as the curtains 
of the tabernacle were coupled with loops, so were 
Christians with love ; hence you hear so often mention 
made of fellowship in the gospel, and God's children 
are compared to a building fitly framed together, by 

* Psalm lxxxvi. 11. t Acts ix. 20. 

1 Acts ii. 4(1 || Acts iv. 32. 


the cement of the Spirit ; * yea, to members of the 
body, with relation to the head, f from whom, that is, 
Christ, the whole body is fitly joined together, and 
compacted. — Ephes. iv. 16. Well then, sirs, are you 
united and become one with the rest of the saints, 
though you cannot attain to a oneness in judgment in 
every lesser truth about discipline, &c. yet, are you one 
with diem in heart and affection ? yea, of one judg- 
ment and way with them, in main, material points of 
doctrine and practice, having " one Lord, one faith, 
one baptism, endeavouring to keep the unity of the 
Spirit in the bond of peace ?" £ cannot you say to 
others, " come, let us join ourselves to the Lord in a 
perpetual covenant, that shall not be forgotten ?" || Are 
not your hearts glad when you see any come in, and 
worship the Lord ? How stand your hearts affected 
towards such as fear God ? Are you of one heart with 
them ? can you cheerfully walk in one way with them 
as your dearest companions ? is your chief content in 
these truly excellent ones ? Then you are among the 
covenant people of God. 

4. The fear of God, is a gracious disposition pro- 
mised to new covenant converts, Jer. xxxii. 40, " I 
will," saith God," " put my fear in their hearts that 
they shall not depart from me." This fear of the Lord 
is the beginning of wisdom, § and it is often put for all 
religion ; it is a holy, reverential awfulness wrought in a 
believer's heart, whereby through a serious sense of his 
glorious majesty, and tender mercy, the soul is afraid to 
offend God, and careful to please him, as a child is his 
father, by a conscientious obedience to all God's com- 
mands. I cannot stand to enlarge on this fully, but 

* Phil. i. 5. Eph. ii. 21. t Col. it 19. 

+ Eph. iv. 3—5. || Jer. 1. 4, 5. § Job xxviii. 28. 


will bring you to the test. Christians, doth the fear of 
God possess and seize upon your spirits ? doth it make 
you " men of truth, hating covetousness ?" doth it en- 
gage your souls to serve him " with reverence and 
godly fear ?" doth it make you afraid of his ihreaten- 
ings, fearful to offend him, careful to please him ? do 
you worship him " in his fear ?" doth it make you run 
to him " as your hope and confidence ?" are your souls 
in the fear of the Lord " all the day long ?" doth the 
fear of God cast out the slavish fear of men ? doth it 
make you work out your salvation with fear and trem- 
bling? doth it make you tremble at his word, and 
willing to obey the voice of his servants ? doth it keep 
you humble and self-denying, instead of being proud and 
high-minded ? do you fear God and give glory to him 
on seeing his works ? in a word, do you fear God and 
work righteousness, fear God and hate wickedness ? * 
Is it thus with your souls. Lay your hand upon your 
heart, and seriously answer these questions. I know 
you will all say you have the fear of God ; but whe- 
ther hath it these evidences ? and, one word more, 
whence springs this fear of God ? cloth it flow not only 
from the apprehension of God's majesty and strict jus- 
tice, but from the sense of his free grace and goodness ? 
so God saith, in Hos. iii. 5, " they shall fear the Lord 
and his goodness ;" so saith David, Psalm cxxx. 4, 
there is mercy with thee that thou mayest be feared." 
O this is a kindly operation, when the sense of God's 
love awes the soul to obedience, and works upon it ten- 
derness of conscience, that it can say, I dare not grieve 
so good a God, or offend so loving a father, who never 

* Exod. xviii. 21. Heb. xii. 28. Prov. iii. 7- Psalm v. 7- 

Prov. xiv. 26. Prov. xxiii. 17. Matt. x. 28. Phil. ii. 12. 

Isaiah lxvi. 2. Isaiah 1. H. Rom. xi. 20. Rev. xiv. 7- Acts 
x. 35. Prov. xiv. 16. 


did me hurt, who is always doing me good — shall I 
render evil for good ? God forbid. This is child-like 
and ingenuous, and doth demonstrate a covenant 

5. Sanctification is another covenant promise, Ezek. 
xxxvi. 25, " then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, 
and ye shall be clean from all your filthiness, and from 
all your idols will I cleanse you." This is a gracious dis- 
position, what can you say to it? not that the soul in 
this life can be free from the remainders of corruption ; 
for " what is man, that he should be clean ? but the 
power, strength and dominion of sin is crushed in a 
covenanted soul ; so that it may be truly said of the re- 
generate, that he hath " a clean heart, and clean hands ;" 
and Christ said, " his disciples were clean, all except 
Judas." Well, then, hath the good word of God made 
you holy, and cleansed your hearts ? do you desire to 
make clean " the inside of the cup, as well as outside ?" 
I mean, do you cleanse yourselves from all filthiness of 
flesh and spirit, resolving " to perfect holiness in the 
fear of God ?" are you growing stronger and stronger ? 
He that hath clean hands doth renew his strength. 
Are you washed from your idols, that is, the sins to 
which you are most addicted, and keep yourselves from 
your own iniquity? can you say you hate every 
false way ? can you cut off a right-hand sin, pluck out 
a right-eye sin, though never so dear and useful, plea- 
sant and profitable? do you resist and conquer, in 
some measure, your master lusts ? so that you can say, 
that through grace, sin hath not dominion over you, 
though you feel to your cost it hath possession in you. 
Can you say you are prepared for duties and ordi- 
nances, though you be not cleansed according to the 
purification of the sanctuary ? doth faith in God's pro- 
mises purify your hearts ? do you cleanse your ways by 


observing Scripture precepts ? do you pray hard, for a 
clean heart as well as a clear state ? * O sirs, try your- 
selves in these things, unless you be sanctified you are 
not justified, many are undone through self-deceit — in 
this case, Solomon saith, there is a generation that are 
pure in their own eyes, yet are not cleansed from their 
filthiness, Prov. xxx. 12. Take heed of this, and la- 
bour to evidence your justification by your sanc- 

6. Another gracious effect of the new covenant is, 
" a new heart, and a new spirit," Ezek. xxxvi. 26. 
This is a holy disposition, a habit of grace, the image 
of God, the divine nature strangely changing, altering, 
metamorphosing the soul, casting it into a new mould, 
and turning the stream and current of the soul's emo- 
tions and affections into another channel, to a compli- 
ance with God's will, and a tendency towards heaven, 
and the things of heaven. This is a wonderful act and 
fruit of God's " free grace," and " sanctifying Spirit ;" 
and O what a change doth it produce in the heart and 
life ! not only a mental change, to have the mind fur- 
nished with some general truths in a notional way ; so 
that whereas previously a man was sunk in ignorance, 
now he is grown a knowing person, and learned discour- 
ser or disputant ; nor is it only a moral change, whereby 
a man, formerly a notorious offender, is grown a re- 
spectable member of society ; nor yet a formal change, 
by which a careless neglecter is become a constant per- 
former of religious duties, which is good so far, yet no 
more than a hypocrite may do, Simon Magus believes, 
Herod doth many things, Ahab fasts, Judas can pray and 
preach ; but the new creature goes beyond them all, for it 

* Job xv. 14. Psalm xxiv. 4. John xiii. 10. John xv. 3. 
2 Cor. vii. 1. Job xvii. 9. Psalm xviii. 23. Rom. vi. 14. 
2 Chron. xxx. 19. Acts. xv. 9. Psalm cxix. 9. Psalm li. 10. 
VOL. II. 2 D 


is a cordial, spiritual, evangelical change of the whole man 
to what is good; so that now the soul hath new emotions, 
actions, and conversation, a new rule, a new principle, a 
new end, new affections and delights, a new light and. 
life, new heat and strength, new companions and ac- 
quaintance, new griefs, fears, burdens, hopes, hatred, 
desires, and expectations, " old things are past away, 
and behold, all things are become new ;" so that it may- 
well be called a new creation, 2 Cor. v. 17- Christians, 
try yourselves in this — what work of God hath passed 
upon your souls? have you a new heart? are you 
made holy as God is holy ? doth this new heart hate 
and expel sin? doth it close with real saints as saints ? 
doth it breathe after grace in the souls of relations and 
neighbours ? doth it make you sensible of the smilings 
and hidings of God's face ? doth it raise your hearts to 
heavenly objects and delights ? doth grace in some 
measure grow, thrive, increase, and come on in your 
souls ? do you worship God in a spiritual manner, and 
lona' for communion with him here, and in heaven ? 

7. A soft heart is promised in the new covenant, 
Ezek. xxxvi. 26, *' I will take away the stony heart 
out of your flesh, and give you a heart of flesh," that 
is, a soft, broken and tender heart, a flexible, pliant, 
and melting disposition ; not so much the eyes pouring 
floods of tears, for that may proceed from a natural 
constitution, but a soul grieved for sin, as offence against 
God, which, in the sinner's account and estimation, 
lie looks upon as the greatest evil, and worse than the 
worst affliction ; and, if it were to do again, he would 
rather be torn to pieces, than willingly commit such 
sin — he would give all the world, if in his power, that 
it were undone again ; and, therefore, it is that the 
Scripture rather expresseth it by mourning than by 
weeping, for weeping is a passionate act of the outward 


senses and excitable faculties, and it may be desirable 
to give vent to inward sorrow by outward tears, but 
mourning is a contrition and compunction of heart for 
sin, as dishonouring God, grieving his Spirit, crucify- 
ing his Son, and violating his holy and righteous law. 
Well, then, have you soft and tender hearts ? that is, 
can you lay to heart your sins as the greatest evils that 
ever befel you ? can you justify God if he should con- 
demn you ? can you condemn yourselves as worthy to 
be condemned to hell for ever ? do you loathe your- 
selves for all your abominations ? can you wish you 
had been upon the rack when you committed such 
sins ? are you weary and heavy laden with the in- 
tolerable burden of guilt ? and what would you give or 
lose to have it taken off? is your heart sensible of 
the absolute need you have of Jesus Christ ? are you 
soft and pliable to God's holy will, attentive to divine 
suggestions, retentive of divine impressions ? doth the 
least hint of God's mind find in you an observant 
spirit ? when God saith, " seek my face," doth your 
heart readily echo, " thy face, Lord, will I seek ?" do 
your souls tremble under a sense of threatenings and 
judgments ? does a consideration of God's loving kind- 
ness melt and attract your heart ? doth this strongly 
lead and draw you to repentance ? Ask your own 
souls such questions as these, whereby you may know 
whether you have this condition and disposition of the 
gospel covenant. 

8. The last disposition that is promised in th e new 
covenant, as a singular mercy, is holy practice, or spi- 
ritual obedience ; so Ezek. xxxvi. 27, " I will put my 
Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my sta- 
tutes, and ye shall keep my judgments and do them." 
This is a holy, watchful, cheerful, faithful, fruitful 



obedience to divine precepts and commands.* So, then, 
let me question you thus : do you run the ways of God's 
commandments with enlarged hearts ? do you follow 
God fully, and walk with him uprightly ? do you de- 
light to do God's will, and in all things mind your rule ? 
doth the mind of God move you more than the customs 
and traditions of men? though you cannot say you do 
exactly keep, yet cannot you say you have respect to, 
all God's commandments ? are you like the centurion's 
servants, ready to go or come at God's bidding ? doth 
the authority of a divine command more awe your con- 
science to obedience, than the examples of the most or 
the best of men ? do you with Zechariah and Elizabeth 
walk in all the ways of God's commandments blame- 
less ? do you take heed to your ways that you offend 
not with tongue or hand or foot ? do you worship God 
in the beauty of holiness ? do you make it your business 
to engage your hearts in your approaches to God ? do 
you lift up your hearts in God's ways, that he and you 
may meet ? do you worship God in the spirit, rejoice 
in Christ Jesus, not having any confidence in the flesh ? 
Let me ask further, do you gladly follow Christ's ex- 
ample, study conformity to him, and communion with 
him ? is faith working by love ? and doth that love 
engage you to keep God's commands, and render them 
not grievous but pleasant? do you account Christ's 
yoke easy, his burden light, and his service perfect 
freedom ? and are you constant and permanent in holy 
walking every day ? and though you may stumble and 
fall, or turn aside, or stand still, or turn back, yet you 

* Si ergo talis fuerit vita nostra, ita omnibus membris quadrata 
et composita ut universi motus nostri secundum Dei leges agan- 
tnr, vere testamentum Dei erit super carnem nostram. — Orig. Horn. 
3. in cap. 17- 


dare not quit and forsake God's ways or choose the ways 
of sin, to go aside with the workers of iniquity ; but 
you lament your miscarriages, are restless till you get 
into God's ways again, plead hard for pardon, are more 
jealous over your hearts, make more haste God-wards, 
and so through grace keep faithful, that at death you 
may receive a crown of life. 

Thus I have gleaned up the conditions or disposi- 
tions of God's children which are promised by God, 
merited by Christ, and effectually wrought in their 
hearts by the blessed Spirit, and these are the mercies 
of the covenant, by which you may try whether you 
be interested in it ; for if you find these new covenant 
mercies in you, you may conclude you have an interest 
in new covenant privileges. 

Another way of trial, which I shall but briefly hint 
at, is to discover the influence and effects of new cove- 
nant mercies, upon the souls of such as partake of 
them ; that is, such benefits and privileges of the cove- 
nant, as reconciliation, adoption, remission of sin, im- 
putation of Christ's righteousness, and others before- 
mentioned. These have a gracious influence upon the 
heart. Take a specimen : 

1. They are transforming and conforming mercies ; 
they change heart and life, as I have said before ; they 
make a person argue from mercy to duty ; he that 
partakes of these mercies, dares not sin that grace may 
abound, nor argue from mercy to sinful liberty, much 
less make christian liberty a cloak of lasciviousness ; 
oh no, that is the devil's logic — a child of God thinks 
and thus reasons : did Christ die for me, and shall not 
I die unto sin, and live unto him that died for me*? 
shall my dear Saviour shed his blood for me, and shall 
I think any thing too dear for h;on ? shall he forgive 


much to me, and shall I not give all I have to him ? 
shall not I love him much ? pray much ? obey much ? 
O my soul, how canst thou choose but live in new 
obedience? doth not the love of Christ constrain thee? 
hath he reconciled thee to God, and God to thee, and 
wilt not thou be reconciled to thy offending brother ? 
hath he forgiven thee ten thousand talents, gratis, and 
wilt not thou forgive such as offend thee a few farthings, 
for Christ's sake? hath God given thee himself, and 
dost thou withhold any part of thy poor, silly, sorry 
self from him ? nay, here I am, let him work in me, 
and do with me as seems good in his eves. 

2. They are cheering, comforting and refreshing 
mercies ; these mercies of the covenant will answer all 
objections, clear all scores, and put the soul out of 
doubt concerning its state. Let the devil and an un- 
believing heart conspire together to torment the con- 
science, yet one word of the blessed covenant will 
baffle all their arguings, and stop their mouths, and 
still the soul ; let God speak out and say, I am thy 
God in covenant, who then can cause trouble ? this 
was all David's salvation, desire, and consolation. One 
drop of this holy oil of the covenant will sweeten a 
whole fountain and sea of the bitter waters of the 
sharpest afflictions ; a taste of the covenant will turn 
water into wine ; this is the tree cast into the bitter 
waters of Iviarah, that makes them sweet ; sense of 
pardon takes away the sense of pain ; * if a particular 
promise can so comfort the soul, that it may be called 
a cordial, O what comfort will the covenant afford, 
which is a cluster and constellation of evangelical pro- 
mises ! the good things of the new covenant keep the 
head above water, and the heart above terror in all 
• Isaiah xxxiii. 24. 


conditions : these steel the soul with courage in diffi- 
culties, comfort in adversity, and are an antidote in 

3. These mercies of the covenant are reviving and 
elevating mercies. They lift the heart above the 
world, and advance it to divine celestial objects and 
conceptions : a Christian thus clothed with the sun, 
hath the moon under his feet, and all sublunary enjoj^- 
ments at his heels ; * Christ and things above lie next 
his heart ; f other things are dross and dung in com- 
parison thereof ; i a covenanted Christian's treasure is 
in heaven, and his heart is there ; he prefers a grain of 
grace to all the comforts of the world ; common mer- 
cies will not content his heart, nor quiet his conscience; 
he opens his heaven-born soul to heavenly influences ; 
he can easily wink all the bravery of this lower world 
into blackness and deformity, and pity the sottish 
senseless sons of men that take up their rest below, 
and neglect the main concernments of eternity. Ah, 
thinks the gracious soul, what fools are these that 
chase these gilded vanities, and pant after the dust of 
the earth ! would to God that they did but see with such 
enlightened eyes as God's Spirit hath given me. O that 
they did but taste the sweetness of that grace which 
my soul is enamoured with, they would thirst after 
the world no more, but long fcr God, yea this living, 
loving God, and never be content till they come to ap- 
pear before him. How blessed are they that have 
their sins pardoned, their hearts purged, their souls 
reconciled ! that have God for the : r portion, and heaven 
for their inheritance and eternal home ! 

4. The mercies of the covenant are growing and 
increasing mercies ; the Christian that hath them is 
like the house of David, that " waxed stronger and 

* Rev. xii. 1. t Col. iii. 1. X phil - '& 8, 9. 


stronger ;" they are tending to perfection, and make 
the soul strive and thrive in holiness ; * " going from 
step to step, from strength to strength, pressing to- 
wards the mark,*' rising as the sun unto noon-day, or 
as the water to the spring ; yea, " this water shall 
still be springing up to eternal life." — John iv. 14. 
Grace makes the soul long after means of growth, and so 
to " increase with the increase of God, till it be a perfect 
man in Christ ;" the soul is insatiable and never saith 
it hath enough, " till it have arrived at the measure of 
the stature of the fulness of Christ," Eph. iv. 13 ; yea, 
" till it have attained to the resurrection of the dead," 
Phil. iii. 11. O sirs, examine your hearts herein — how 
do you come on and increase in religion ? do you 
grow in grace, in knowledge, faith, love, humility, re- 
pentance, self-denial, and heavenly-mindedness? where 
is your proficiency ? have you found grace like a grain 
of mustard-seed ? have these mercies ripened into the 
blade and full ear of deliberate and proportionable fruit- 
bearing ? A right Christian will never say he is good 
enough while he sojourns in this lower region, nor yet 
happy enough till he be with God in heaven. 



IV. This subject may be considered as an occasion of 
conviction or reprehension, which may seriously affect 
sinners and saints. 

* Prov. iv. 18. 


1. If the mercies of the covenant be sure mercies, 
(as we have proved fully,) O what folly are those souls 
guilty of that are Christless, graceless, and careless, 
that have no interest in these mercies, and never trou- 
ble themselves about ensuring these covenant mercies 
to themselves. How many in the world are destitute 
of these mercies ! There is a generation of men and 
women that live within the pale of the visible church, 
that may be called lo-ruhamah, for they have not yet 
obtained mercy ; nay, in the state they are in, there is 
no mercy for them, because they are not yet in Christ, 
through whom these covenant mercies flow: unconverted 
souls are unconcerned persons in these mercies ; those 
dogs have nothing to do with this children's bread ; 
and yet who so apt to catch and snatch these precious 
dainties? they love to hear the glorious privileges laid 
open — such as, justification, reconciliation, adoption, 
and eternal life ; and yet we must say with sorrow, 
they have nothing to do with them : if they hear dis- 
courses of God's mercy, how are they pleased, tickled, 
and even enraptured ! they make no question but 
they shall be saved, as well as others; and they think, 
surely God that made them will not damn them. But 
ask these poor souls whether they be savingly con- 
verted, reneAved, or engrafted into Christ by faith ? 
alas, they know not what this means ; they never 
asked their own souls the question ; nay, they are 
ready to think that it is a very needless inquiry, or im- 
possible to know ; however this never lay upon their 
hearts and consciences, as necessary in order to clear up 
this important case — whether they have obtained mer- 
cy? But let all who are thus ignorant know, that 
" he that made them will not have mercy on them," 
Isa. xxvii. 11 ; let all profane rebels against the King 
of heaven know, that " God will not be merciful to any 


wicked transgressor," Psalm lix. 5. God's attributes 
are all analogical and correspondent; he will not cease 
to be just and holy that he may be merciful, he will be 
merciful in his own way ; mercy and justice shall go 
hand in hand. It is a ridiculous folly for men to con- 
ceit, they shall have the mercies of the covenant that 
are not within the covenant ; this is that fallacy that 
logicians caUJaMaeia dividend/ coujungenda.the fallacy 
of dividing things to be conjoined ; it is most dangerous 
and damnable in divinity, when souls dream of having 
peace without grace, or happiness without holiness ; 
but let men know there is no mercy but in the cove- 
nant — where no ark of the covenant, no seat of mercy; 
where there is no work of grace, there is no covenant 
of grace ; where Christ is a Saviour he will be a Sove- 
reign, where he gives remission of sins he will give re- 
pentance ; his way of blessing is by turning persons 
from their iniquities ; * God will not shew mercy to any 
but in his own way ; such as obtain mercy in the en- 
joyment of pardoning grace, must obtain mercy in 
converting grace ; sanctification goeth along with jus- 
tification ; Paul obtained mercy by forsaking his old 
courses ; f God saveth us according to his mercy — 
how ? why, " by the washing of regeneration, and re- 
newing of the Holy Ghost," Titus iii. 5 ; they are 
saved from sin, that are saved from wrath and hell. 
It is a self-deceiving, soul-destructive contradiction to 
dream of pardoning, without sanctifying grace. Thou- 
sands in the world fancy a God to themselves made up 
all of mercy, and let them do what they please, they 
can bolster up themselves with this conceit, " God is 
merciful ;" and so, as God himself saith, Psalm 1. 21. 
" These things hast thou done and I kept silence : 
thou thoughtest that I was altogether such a one as 
* Acts v. 31. iii. 26. t 1 Tim. i. 13. 


thyself, but I will reprove thee, and set thy sins in 
order before thee ;" as if he had said, think not to 
make me a patron of thy wickedness ; it is true, I 
spare thee and suffer thee to live quietly, but forbear- 
ance is no acquittance ; think not I love thee because 
I afford thee outward mercies, which thou abusest to 
licentiousness, but I am resolved to take vengeance on 
thee ; there is justice with me, as well as mercy, and 
there is a season wherein I shall pour out the vials of 
my wrath upon vessels of wrath that are fitted to de- 
struction ; a time is coming when I shall tear you in 
pieces, and there shall be none to deliver. O sirs, the 
condition of graceless, unconverted souls is sad ; for, 

(1.) They are under a sure and dreadful sentence of 
condemnation ; for as the mercies of the new covenant 
are sure to believers, so the curses of the old covenant 
are as sure to all unbelievers ; as the second Adam 
conveys certain life, so the first Adam conveys certain 
death to his seed ; as " he that believeth on the Son 
hath everlasting life," so " he that believeth not shall 
not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him," 
John iii. 36 ; as " he that believeth is acquitted," so 
" he that believeth not is condemned already," ver. 1 8 ; 
all his other sins are bound upon him by this of unbe- 
lief — this is the condemnation. It is as impossible 
that the devils in hell shall be saved, as that uncon- 
verted sinners, while such, shall be saved ; for Christ 
saith again and again, " except a man be converted, 
except he be born again, he cannot see, he cannot 
enter into the kingdom of God,"* and binds it with 
strong asseverations, and dare any one that pretends 
to believe God's promise question the verity of his 
positions or comminations ? yea, God hath bound 
himself by oath in this case as well as in the other, 
* Matt, xviii. 3. John iii. 5. 


Ileb. iii.ll. it is spoken there concerning the rebellious 
murmuring Israelites ; " I svvare in my wrath," saith 
God, " they shall not enter into my rest ;" or if they 
shall enter, then, as if he had said, never trust me 
more; nay, let me not be God — but what is this to us? 
Yes, the apostle applies it to unbelievers in gospel 
times, Heb. iv. 1 — 5, &c. hence he repeats the oath 
again referring to unbelieving gospellers, that they 
shall never enter into the heavenly Canaan. And 
surely unconverted sinners are in a woful plight, of 
whom it may be truly said, that God himself cannot 
save them while they continue in that state ; for there 
is no way but one of entering heaven, that is Jesus 
Christ — and how shall we escape if we neglect so great 
salvation?* there is no other way revealed, and do we 
think God will forsake his ordinary road, and quit his 
glorious design, to gratify a generation of wilful neg- 
lecters and rejecters of this blessed contrivance of sav- 
ing sinners by interest in Jesus Christ? It cannot be, 
you must either go to heaven this way, or down to hell 
by your own way. 

(2.) Their souls are not sure to be another moment 
out of hell-torments ; poor graceless sinners cannot 
secure themselves upon any real Scripture grounds, 
that they shall another hour enjoy that bastard peace 
of conscience, in which they flatter themselves ; for 
ought they know, their case may be like Belshazzar's, 
Dan v. 5, while they are drinking, carousing, ranting, 
revelling, some dreadful hand-writing or testimony of 
God's indignation may break forth against them which 
may mar all their mirth, appal their spirits, trouble 
their thoughts, loose the joints of their loins, and make 
their knees smite one against another. Oh what ter- 
ror and horror will the dreadful summons of death 
* Act? iv. 12. Heb. ii. 3. 


strike into them ! How will these fool-hardy warriors 
against an infinite God, call to the rocks and mountains 
to cover them ! Oh what a sudden change, what a sad 
catastrophe will the cold hand of death make with 
them ! What a fall will these secure and senseless 
sinners have from the height of worldly preferment to 
the depth of eternal torments ! Stand a little and look 
at that rich and wretched miser in the gospel, that had 
no room for his fruits and goods, that sung a requiem 
to his soul for many years ; yet alas, had not one 
night to take his ease in. " Thou fool," saith God, 
" this night shall thy soul be required of thee," * or 
they shall require thy soul ; that is, the devils who are 
waiting for a commission from God to catch hold of 
graceless souls, to hale them to torments as soon as 
they have forsaken their wretched bodies — so some 
interpret it. However, the rich man's soul was sud- 
denly snatched from a full table and dainty fare into 
eternal misery, without a drop of water or hopes of 
mercy ; for let him tear his heart with bitter out- 
cries — " Father Abraham, have mercy on me," neither 
his father Abraham, nor the God of Abraham will 
have any mercy for him : f former offers of mercy are 
now turned into flames of fury ; they have wilfully 
forsaken their own mercy, and now are wofully for- 
saken by the God of mercy. O consider this you that 
are yet in your sins, dancing about the pit, and are 
ready every instant to drop into eternal woe. 

(3.) Their present mistake will aggravate their wo- 
ful state. Oh what a dreadful disappointment will 
this be, for persons that lived demurely in the world, 
and passed for very civil neighbours, even for choice 
saints, yet now to be set on the left hand amongst the 
goats at the great day ; yea, persons that thought 

* See Luke xii. 17—20. t See Luke xvi. 24—26. 


themselves to be in tlie ready road to heaven, and 

to be, as they imagined, about to step into glory to 
miss their footing, and fall into eternal torments ! It 
is a dreadful sight to see soul and hopes giving up the 
ghost together, and swept away as the spider's web 
into the fire of hell.* Alas, for a man that hath all 
his days been building castles in the air, and erecting 
the house of his fair profession upon the sliding sand 
of fancy and imagination ! to have all come tottering 
down with one puff of death, will be a dreadful sight ! 
Ministers told them of this, but they would not believe, 
nor suspect their state, nor spend one hour in search- 
ing whether they were right or not ; many a time 
were they warned of the danger, but they pleased 
themselves in wilful self-delusion, and now they are 
past recovery ; they would not be brought to a holy 
despair of themselves, that they might have sure foot- 
ing in these sure mercies, and now they shall and must 
despair of ever having part or portion in these desirable 
and permanent mercies; they would not be beaten 
from their carnal shifts and senseless pleas, and now 
they must and shall be for ever banished from them, 
and feel the bitterness of them. Ministers could not deal 
with them, but God can ; and it will be a heart-con- 
founding day, when the varnish shall be washed off, 
and all rotten props that kept the soul from awful 
apprehensions shall be torn up, and they shall see 
themselves deceived by Satan, the world, and their 
own self-flattering hearts into eternal misery. 

(4.) But once more; many things in and about these 
sure mercies will augment their eternal misery. Alas, 
sirs, here there is no speaking to wicked men, they will 
not abide a sober conference about their souls, they 
have not leisure nor patience to yield an attentive ear 

• Job xi. 20. and viii. 14. 


to discourses about these sure mercies ; but a time is 
coming wherein they shall be forced to think of them 
as lost mercies to their cost : now they have other 
things to mind, the world doth so fill their ears and 
hearts, that they thrust these things from them, 
and judge themselves unworthy of them. They 
are just like Jeremiah's wild ass used to the wilderness, 
" that snuffeth up the wind at her pleasure, in her 

occasion who can turn her away ? but in her month 

they shall find her."* So there is no dealing with 
wicked men in their jollity and frolic fits, but their 
month of sorrow is approaching either here or here- 
after ; and oh the bitter pangs and travail that shall 
then possess them ! in this world they would not con- 
sider, but hereafter they shall have an eternity to con- 
sider of these covenant mercies, though in a hopeless 
way : as 

[i.] They will think of the nature of these mercies 
they have lost. O how free, how sweet, how suitable, 
how satisfying were they ! how sure would God have 
made them to them ! and the better these mercies, the 
bitterer their sorrow on the loss of them. 

[ii.] They will think that once they might have 
enjoyed them, and been happy in that enjoyment ; 
once they had a day of grace, means of grace, ministers 
persuaded, the Spirit moved, mercies, afflictions, word, 
and rod — every thing spoke this language : O embrace 
these mercies ; but I refused, and now they are out of 
my reach. 

[iii.] They will think, and think again, how near 
they were to the embracing of these mercies ; O what 
convictions, individually they will say, did God fasten 
on my heart by such and such a sermon ! I was once 
half-persuaded to embrace religion, how near was I to 
* Jer. ii. 24. 


a full closure ! I went home with strong resolutions 
to be another man ; but this deceitful heart beguiled 
me, and so I put off repentance till now it is too late. 

[iv.] They will think what these mercies would have 
done for them ; these mercies would have folded their 
souls within the arms of God's love ; these would have 
filled their souls with grace, fitted them for God's service, 
and furnished them for glory ; these mercies would 
have rendered them profitable in life, comfortable in 
death, and happy for ever: the possessors of these 
mercies are gracious saints. Yet again, 

[v.] They will think with sadness what they have 
exchanged these mercies for ; they have passed off 
these precious and sure mercies for trash and trifles, for 
dung and dirt, for a little paltry pleasure or conscience- 
wounding profit, which now they have left behind 
them in the world, and only carry the guilt and shame 
along with them, which must abide by them, when 
sensual delights are vanished away. Oh what gnash- 
ing- of teeth and indignation at themselves will this 
beget for their former madness ! 

[vi.] They must think how many thousands of souls 
were made happy by a gracious reception and full en- 
joyment of these mercies ; persons whom they despised 
in the world, and thought not worthy to come into 
their company, shall sit down with the patriarchs, 
prophets, and apostles in heaven ; but these wretched 
souls are thrust out. Oh, says the wretched subject of 
damnation, I might have been happy, as well as yonder 
shining saint ; he was a suffering creature, I was a 
rejoicing miscreant ; now he is comforted, and I am 
tormented. Yet, once more, 

[vii.] The damned in hell will bethink themselves 
who was in the fault, and whence it comes to pass that 
these mercies were not made sure to their souls ; and 


they can charge none herewith but themselves : they 
will then see that none was to be blamed but their 
own wilful hearts, whatever the}' may object here, or 
boast of their willingness, yet God lays the blame 
there, and so shall they, will they, nill they, they must 
be speechless, and charge themselves only as making fag- 
gots to burn themselves with for ever. Oh, will the soul 
think, I may thank myself for this ; I wilfully forsook 
my own mercies to observe lying vanities ; this is 
the fruit of my own doings, I would needs be damned ; 
ministers and godly friends persuaded, God stopt my 
way by his providences and ordinances, but I would 
run into the pit, and here I am shut up in eternal 
darkness ; woe is me that ever I was born ! O that I 
had either never heard of or else embraced those mer- 
cies, that I have rejected, and that will follow my soul 
with horror for ever ! 

Ah sirs, I beseech you consider, such a day will 
come, and then you will remember these things, and 
they will lie heavy upon you, then you will feel what 
an evil and bitter thing it is that you have forsaken 
God : then you will vomit up your sweet morsels, and 
remember those sweet words that here you despised ; * 
then you will remember the possibility and probability 
you once had, of obtaining these sweet mercies ; now 
they are attainable, but if once you have taken a step 
upon the shore of eternity, you are past hopes and 
remedy, for the dead and damned do only hear the 
sound of wisdom with their ears, but are never likely 
to enjoy the benefit thereof, f O put not off these 
things with some slight and transient thoughts, but 
shame yourselves to a holy diligence. 

2. Another sort to be reproved, are God's own chil- 
dren that are guilty of four lamentable faults : — 
• Psalm cxli. 6. t Job xxviii. 22. 

VOL. II 2 E 


(1.) They are apt to bargain. 

(2.) To compound about tliese mercies. 

(3.) They do not live upon these mercies ; nor, 

(4.) Up to them. 

(1.) God's children would have the mercies of the 
covenant ; but then they have a mind to indent * with 
God, to be secured from the crosses attending these 
mercies ; the flesh shrinks and is loth to suffer ; we 
are like Orpah, we would follow Christ a little way, 
but fain would we make our bargain so, as not to fol- 
low him in a rough way. Eut, sirs, consider would 
you have the sweets and not the bitters of godliness ? 
Did you not take Christ (in a marriage covenant) for 
better and worse ? will you pick and choose with 
him ? do not right virgin-souls follow the Lamb 
whithersoever he goeth, ? Ah sirs, this covenant rela- 
tion is an express, voluntary, universal, unreserved 
self-resignation. The bearing of the cross was always 
supposed and implied ; f and if you will not have him 
with it, you are to be without, for the cross is evcm- 
gelii genius, the very inseparable property, complexion, 
and companion of the gospel : and Christ would not 
have any cheated with imaginary hopes of immunity 
from sufferings, but tells them the worst, and bids them 
sit down and count the cost;:}: and if you did not so at 
first, you have not been sincere, and if you did, and still 
would have Christ — why do you now grumble at bear- 
ing that which you freely chose ? Besides, know this, 
crosses for Christ are special gospel mercies, for afflic- 
tions are adapted to become real mercies of the cove- 
nant, and therefore they are promised as well as any 
other mercies, Psalm lxxxix. 31, 82, and David ac- 
knowledges affliction to be an act and fruit of covenant 
faithfulness, because it fetched him from his wander- 
• To bargain, t Matt. x. 37, 38- Mark x. 30. % Luke xiv. 28. 


ings, instructed him in God's statutes, and therefore 
was good for him.* Crosses for Christ never did any 
hurt, but have been usually means of good ; many 
Christians have blessed God for them ; God sees we 
cannot live or do well without them ; Paul gloried in 
the cross of Christ, took pleasure in distresses for 
Christ — and why then are we afraid of them, or would 
bargain to be secured from them ? be ashamed of your 
nice and delicate spirits. 

(2.) Some Christians are too apt to compound with 
God about these covenant mercies ; f my meaning is, 
they can satisfy themselves without the whole series of 
covenant mercies, they are willing and content to be 
put off with some, and do not solicit all ; they can ap- 
ply some promises, not others — see a necessity of par- 
doning mercy, but do not plead and act faith for puri- 
fying, softening, quickening, enlightening mercies of 
the covenant. Consider, Christians, by thus doing, 

[i.] You injure yourselves, you need all these cove- 
nant mercies ; there is not one of the fore-mentioned 
blessings, that a Christian can live and thrive without ; 
all are of great use, every one hath its peculiar excel- 
lency, a gracious soul cannot spare any of them ; 
nay, it is a sin for it to be content with less than God 
hath promised ; he that is not for ail, is truly for none 
at all. The true owner will not divide ; in one part of 
your life or other, you will want all covenant mercies; 
it is base unworthiness and ingratitude to slight any of 

* Psalm cxix. 75, 67, 71. 

t In closing with offers of grace, we must be uniform. Earthly- 
things God is pleased to retail. All have some, none have all. 
But in the heavenly treasure, he will not break the whole piece, 
and cut it into remnants ; if God would cut off as much as would 
serve men's turn, he might have customers enough — Mr. Gur- 
nal's Christ. Armour, page 310. 

2 E 2 


[ii.] You dishonour God, and disparage these mer- 
cies, as if God were not able to give you all, and pay 
the whole debt of his free and full promise ; as for ex- 
ample, suppose a rich tradesman owe you a sum of 
money, and you come to him and tell him you are 
willing to abate .him so much, and compound with 
him, and take of him a shilling in the pound, or a 
pound in the hundred for the whole debt, he looks 
upon himself as disparaged, being a sufficient chapman, 
he will not have his ability or honesty questioned; but 
quickly answers, what do you think I am breaking ? 
I will not be abated any thing, here is your money, I 
will pay you all. So God would not be compounded 
with ; he looks upon it as a dishonour to his free 
grace and faithfulness, and bids the soul open its mouth 
wide, and promiseth to fill it, Psalm lxxxi. 10; that 
is, ask great things, many things, spare not, ask what 
thou needest, ask what I have promised, I am neither 
sparing nor backward in gi ving, stint not thyself in asking, 
I shall not send thee away empty ; they that come for 
most, speed best ; and when thou hast gone to the 
utmost extent of thy reach in asking, " I can, and will 
give thee abundantly more than thou art able to ask or 
think." — Ephes. iii. 20. O Christians, chide your- 
selves for your sinful mannerliness and modesty ; and 
widen your contracted spirits for larger incomes of 
grace and mercy. Remember, these covenant supplies 
are all of mercy, not deserved ; and they are mercies in 
the plural, containing large and liberal revenues to be 
communicated to indigent wanting souls. 

(3.) God's children often do not live upon the mercies 
of the covenant; we blame them that have good estates, 
and live beneath them ; and well we may, for it is a 
base and a beggarly practice, when persons have 
enough, but want power to eat, take their portion, and 


enjoy the good of all they have ; this is a sore evil, 
and a sad curse, and the contrary is good, and decent, a 
great blessing, and the very gift of God :* and O what 
a sad evil for the saints of God, the heirs of promise 
to live below their estates, none so rich as real saints, 
they are heirs to a vast inheritance ; " God himself is 
their portion ; yea, the portion of their inheritance, 
and of their cup, he maintains their lot ;" f they have 
enough, and they cannot lose what they have. O at 
what a high rate should such rich heirs live ! and what 
an unworthy degenerate spirit doth it discover to live 
in so beggarly a manner as most of us do ! As, 

[i.] To live so much by sense, and so little by faith; 
it is the gospel character of believers, to live by their 
faith ; to walk by faith and not by sense, or sight, to 
see him that is invisible, to venture their all upon un- 
seen grounds : \ and O what a noble and generous, 
what a brave and a blessed life is the life of faith ! 
and on the contrary, what a sorry and a sordid, what 
a beggarly and niggardly life is a life of sense ! such a 
soul goes a begging, and craves a crumb of one, a mor- 
sel of another to make a meal of, and after all the soul's 
appetite is hungry and craving, and at the best, how 
quickly are such things gone ! Alas, sirs, objects of 
sense will not carry you through the world; sense will 
sink with Peter where it cannot feel a bottom ; it is 
faith only that will lift the head above water, and the 
heart above terror, when you must pass through a sea 
of sorrows in this tumultuous world. Christians, 
where is you faith ? you are distinguished from others 
by this precious grace : the want of this undoeth us : 
hence it is, 

[ii.] That God's children are so often at a loss, and 

• Eccles. v. 13, 19. t Ph. xvi. 5. 

t Hab. ii. 4. Rom. i. 17 2 Cor. v. " t . Heb. xi. 


know not what to do ; no wonder if they be at their 
wits' end, when they are at their faith's end. Many 
circumstances, yea, any affliction will throw a saint 
upon his back when he stands not upon the feet 
of faith, or leans not upon Christ by faith. This is 
the reason why in temptation we cry out, God hath 
cast me off for ever, and he will be favourable no 
more; and we give up the buckler, and yield to Satan's 
assaults and demands, which make us become our ene- 
mies' sport ; yea, any little loss or cross dismays us, as 
though we were undone, or as though, with poor Ja- 
cob once, our life were bound up in a lad, or bag, or 
such like things. Ah, dear sirs, where is your delight 
in God ? * where is your encouraging yourselves in 
God ? f where is your rejoicing in the Lord with 
Habakkuk, when a cloud or curtain hath covered all 
your worldly enjoyments ? £ why do you not oppose 
one God to all the armies of evils that beset you round? 
why do you not take the more content in God, when 
you have the less of the creature to take content in ? 
why do you not boast in your God ? and bear up your- 
selves big with your hopes in God and expectations 
from him ? do you not see young heirs to great estates, 
act and spend accordingly ? and why shall you, being 
the King of heaven's sons, be lean and ragged from 
day to day, as though you were not worth a groat ? 
O sirs, live upon your portion, chide yourselves for 
living below what you have : there are great and pre- 
cious promises, rich enriching mercies ; you may make 
use of God's all-sufficiency, you can blame none but 
yourselves if you be defective or discouraged. A wo- 
man truly godly for the main, having buried a child, 
and sitting alone in sadness, did yet cheer up her heart 
with this expression — God lives ; and having parted 
« Psalm xxxvii. 4. t 1 Sam. xxx. 6. J Hab. iii. 17, 18. 



with another, still she repeated-Comforts die, but 
God lives ; at last her dear husband dies, and she sat 
oppressed and almost overwhelmed with sorrow, a 
little child she had yet surviving, having observed 
what before she spoke to comfort herself, comes to her 
and saith, " Is God dead ? Mother, is God dead ?" this 
reached her heart, and by God's blessing she recovered 
her former confidence in her God, who is a living God. 
Thus do you chide yourselves— ask your fainting spi- 
rits under pressing, outward sorrows, does not God 
live? and why then doth not thy soul revive? why 
doth thy heart die within thee when comforts die ? 
cannot a living God support thy dying hopes? thus, 
Christians, argue down your discouraged and disqui- 
eted spirits, as David did.— Psalm xlii. 5. But so 

much for that. 

(4.) As Christians do not live upon, so they do not 
live conformably to these sure mercies of David, and 
that, in their frequently walking so . 

Unholily, unsteadily, uncomfortably and unfruitrully. 

[i ] Many of God's children walk unholily, unspi- 
ritually, untenderly, not with that conscientiousness, 
exactness, and closeness they ought to do. "^ocU 
children lived up to their mercies and privileges, O how 
holy would they be, seeing that these things shall be 
dissolved, and seeing we look for such things as we do; 
nay, since we see and feel such things mystically 
already, even a new heaven, and new earth, after a sort, 
in this new covenant dispensation, « what manner ot 
persons ought we to be? and O how diligent should we 
be that we may be found of Christ in peace, without 
spot and blameless!" 2 Pet. iii. 11-H. But O 
Christians, how far we come short, yea, how inconsist- 
ent are our lives with our privileges ! how incongruous 
are our duties to our mercies! yea, how different are 


our spirits from our comforts ! What sirs, heavenly 
mercies and carnal hearts, flat duties, earthly conver- 
sations ! O shame yourselves before the Lord, blush, 
tremble to think of your unconformableness to cove- 
nant mercies ! How far are you below these enjoy- 
ments ! Doth not your unanswerable walking give 
just ground of suspicion, whether you have interest in 
these things or not ? What sirs, are you saints and 
yet earth-worms ? are you partakers of a heavenly call- 
ing, and yet walk so like the men of the world ? Is it 
fit to see eagles on a dirty dunghill, or heaven-born 
souls in scenes of pollution ? Either be better or quit 
your claim ; you dishonour God, and discredit religion 
more than others. Alas friends, God will not be be- 
holden to you for the mere title of being religious, he 
will not regard you unless you be really such. Mercies 
infer duty, and licentiousness is inconsistent with the 
nature and end of covenant mercies. You grieve God's 
spirit, cross his designs, wrong your own souls, sadden 
the hearts of the righteous, and open the mouths of 
wicked men. You little know what hurt you do by 
one visible act of sinning. Consider, that as the privi- 
leges of the covenant bespeak holiness, so the condi- 
tions of the covenant include holiness, * and how then 
come heirs of promise to be so unlike their heavenly 
Father ? what are the children of light doing when 
tampering with works of darkness ? 

[ii.] God's children sometimes walk very unsteadily, 
that is, they are off and on, inconstant, have good 
moods and emotions, but they wear off, and decay, they 
quickly lose their lively impressions, and are constant 
in inconstancy ; they are zealous and forward for God 

* Qui bonus est et Justus, et mundus et immaculatus, neque 
malum aliquid neque injustum neque abominandum in suo sponsali 
thalamo sustinebit — Irasn. adv. Htvr. lib. 4. 


one while, at other times they are backward and indif- 
ferent. Ah sirs, is this a living up to these sure mer- 
cies of David, these constant, unchangeable, invariable 
mercies ? This covenant is ordered in all things and 
sure, and so are the mercies of it. How comes it to 
pass then that covenanters are so often discomposed, 
disordered and unsettled ? Sometimes they are for 
God, and sometimes not ; they are halting betwixt two 
opinions ; like drunken men, they are leaning some- 
times to the right hand, at other times to the left ; like 
Reuben, " they are unstable as water," * and so shall 
not excel ; like Ephraim,f a cake half-baked, hot and 
hard on one side, cold and doughy on the other ; or re- 
sembling the same Ephraim's goodness, like a morning 
cloud, or early dew that tarries not long, but is quickly 
scattered by the violent storms of persecutions, or dried 
up by the warm beams of prosperity. These unstable 
Christians are like James's f. waves of the sea- — like 
Jude's || wandering stars or flying clouds carried about 
of winds — or like Paul's § children, tossed to and fro ; 
they are like locusts that move to and again — like 
grasshoppers that are still up and down in variable mo- 
tions ; the hearts of such are as a cart wheel, saith one, 
and their thoughts as a rolling axle-tree. I know, the 
best of God's children are incident to liftings up and 
castings down in point of feelings and enlargements, 
and this may be the effect of God's affording or sus- 
pending the influences of his grace ; but I speak this of 
a Christian's remissness, and his inconstancy through 
neglect and carelessness, and want of stirring up in his 
soul the graces of God's Spirit, and so losing the 
liveliness which he feels sometimes ; and again he 
may be warmed and melted, but afterwards returns 

* Gen. xlix. 4. t Hos. vii. 8, and vi. 4. 

+ James i. 6. || Jude 12, 13. § Eph. iv. 14. 


unto folly. This is often such a Christian's round, and 
how unsuitable is this for sincere believers ? These 
stars are to be fixed in the firmament of the church, 
and are not to be wandering stars or meteors ; these 
trees of the Lord's planting should be strongly rooted, 
and not like reeds tossed with every wind ; they should 
be pillars in the house of God, and not feathers or 
weathercocks upon house tops ; these living stones 
should not be round and rolling, but square and fixed, 
still settled upon the foundation.* If the testimony of 
Christ be confirmed in us, f we should hold fast our con- 
fidence firm unto the end, and pray hard for a more 
constant spirit, as David did, Psalm li. 10, that we 
may be like Jachin and Boaz, stability and strength ; 
for if we be stable, we shall be strong, and so answer- 
able to these sure mercies cf David. 

[iii.] It is a sad thing to see the heirs of this cove- 
nant walk uncomfortably. What, are you partakers 
and possessors of mercies, and yet sad ? have you in- 
terest in sweet and sure mercies, and yet are you de- 
jected ? what will lift you up, if mercy will not ? 'and 
what can interrupt your peace, when mercy waits on 
you to cheer your hearts ? thou mayest lose estate, 
health, good name, relations, liberty ; yea, thy life is 
in continual hazard, but as long as these mercies of the 
covenant are sure, thou hast no reason to complain. 
An ancient writer compares a Christian that is discon- 
solate for outward losses or crosses, to a man that hath 
a fine orchard, the trees whereof are richly laden with 
store of precious fruit, and because the wind blows off 
some leaves, the man sits down and takes on heavily ; 
he weeps and mourns and cries out he is undone ; why, 
what is the matter? why, the wind hath taken off some 
leaves, but the roots, and trees, and fruits are safe : 

* Non vacillantes, sed tetragonoi. t 1 Cor. i. 6. 


should we not judge that a fond and foolish man ? 
Just thus it is with the Christian; God and Christ, pro- 
mises and gospel mercies are sure and steadfast by an 
inviolable gospel covenant. Yet the sinful, silly crea- 
ture lies whining and complaining for the loss of some 
leaves of worldly comforts, which he may live well 
without. Ah, saith the poor soul, but these outward 
things are not the chief cause of my trouble and dis- 
couragement ; did I know that those mercies were 
made sure to me, I should be comfortable — but, alas, I 
fear I have no share therein. I shall answer this 
doubt afterwards, at present I only say, lay thy hand 
upon thy heart, and deal ingenuously. Is this the 
ground of thy trouble ? is not this only pretended ? is 
not something else the real cause ? the heart is deceit- 
ful ; look again, see what comforted thee before this 
outward trouble came, and what cheers thee when thy 
present pressure is removed ? But suppose it be jea- 
lousies about thy interest ; yet, why shouldest thou be 
uncomfortable ? hast not thou ventured thy soul on a 
sure foundation ? what reason hast thou for discou- 
ragement ? a faith of adherence brings some settlement 
as well as a faith of evidence. Every act of faith brings 
some comfort ; " whom having not seen," (saith the 
apostle, with reference to a corporeal sight, so may I 
say of a kind of spiritual sense and assurance) " ye love; 
in whom though now you see him not, yet believing, ye 
rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory," 1 Pet. 
i. 8. Recumbency hath a kind of complacency ; it ar- 
gues want of faith to want joy, and unbelief is an ag- 
gravated sin, considering the assurances given us in 
the gospel ; but more of this hereafter. But O con- 
sider, sirs, what wrong you do to yourselves by uncom- 
fortable walking ? you weaken and exhaust your 
strength and spirits. What discredit you bring upon 


the ways of God, rendering them gloomy and forbidding 
in the account of others ! What opposition it express- 
eth both to many positive precepts, and to these sure 
mercies of David ! Methinks I hear the God of heaven 
thus bespeaking the gracious, troubled heart : soul, 
what ails thee ? what is it thou wouldest have ? I have 
given thee many glorious gifts ; pardon, reconciliation, 
adoption, ordinances, the benefit of all my works of 
providence, a title to the good things of earth whilst 
thou livest, and a free admission into heaven when thou 
diest ; nay, I have given thee myself, my Son, my 
Spirit, and that by the surest marriage covenant — and 
will not all this revive thy fainting spirit? what 
wouldest thou have more ? and what canst thou desire 
in order to make it surer to thee ? speak but the word 
and it shall be done. Have I not gone beyond thy ex- 
pectation ? and why then art thou thus drooping and 
disconsolate ? is thy heart revived Avhen mortal, deceit- 
ful man makes thee a promise of some outward good ? 
and canst thou now faint, when the eternal God hath 
taken all this pains to assure thy troubled heart of thy 
interest in these sure mercies of David ? O Christians, 
shame yourselves for your uncomfortableness ! Are 
the consolations of God small unto you ? Thank your- 
selves for your discouragements, and let it be matter of 
trouble that you have so many needless, useless trou- 
bles in your souls. 

[iv.] Another fault in the heirs of the promises, 
whereby they are not conformable to these mercies, is 
unfruitfulness ; herein, they do not live up to these 
mercies, and are exceeding defective and imperfect, 
especially in two respects — the fruit they bring forth is 
both small and sour. 

1. It is usually, but small in quantity, short of that 
abundance and ripeness that should come oil" so good a 


soil as mercy is, especially when mercy is the tillage. 
God's vineyard is on a very fruitful hill,* so we read it ; 
but in Hebrew, f it is the horn of the son of oil. I 
know the son of oil may import a very rich soil, 
as son of the morning means what is exceedingly 
bright and luminous ; and so God's people were 
planted in Canaan, which was an exceedingly fruitful 
country, but the passage may, at least, allusively affirm 
of real saints, that they are planted in the horn of the 
son of oil, even in the Son of God, who was anointed 
with the oil of gladness above his fellows, and in whom 
true believers are planted, and from whom they may 
draw abundant juice and fatness, as branches do from 
the root of the olive-tree, Rom. xi. 17 ; moreover, what 
abundant pains doth God the Father, the husbandman, 
take, to make souls very fruitful ; he " takes away 
such as bear no fruit at all," and " every branch that 
beareth fruit, he purgeth it that it may bring forth 
more fruit." — John xv. 2. O what mercies do the 
saints partake of ! gospel privileges, promises, provi- 
dences, ordinances, experiences, comforts, corrections, 
every thing that might make them fruitful in good 
works, in praying, reading, meditating, conferring, ex- 
act walking, doth God distribute ; and where is their 
answerable fruitfulness ? God expects more and riper 
fruit. Alas, how short and defective are we! how 
little glory do we bring to God ! how little profit unto 
others, or comfort to our own souls ! We should be 
filled with the fruits of righteousness; we should abound 
more and more, and bring forth fruits meet for sincere 
repentance, and be truly fruitful in every good work. | 
But are we so or not ? I much suspect it ; and what 

* Isaiah vi. 1. t jttW p ]")p2 

X Phil. L 11. 1 Thes. iii. 12. Matt. iii. 8. Col. i. 10. 

430 si-he mercies of davib. 

a shame is it that we should lie under the warm influ- 
ences of the sun of righteousness so long, and be so un- 
fruitful ! The God of heaven humble us for this ! 

2. I am afraid that the fruits we do bring forth are 
but sour and bitter, not so sweet and kindly as might 
be expected of the genuine fruits and products of these 
sure mercies. My meaning is, that the obedience and 
performances of believers too often flow from a spirit 
of bondage, fear and terror, and not from that filial 
child-like disposition, and the evangelical spirit of adop- 
tion that should be the principle and actuating cause of 
their spiritual obedience. I know legal fears and ter- 
rors are good in their tendency, to drive the soul out of 
itself, and unto Christ ; but afterwards, a spirit of love 
best becomes a child of God ; * hence, saith the apostle, 
Rom. viii. 15, " ye have not received the spirit of bon- 
dage again to fear, but ye have received the spirit of 
adoption, whereby we cry Abba, Father." A child-like 
boldness best befits a son. It is more acceptable to God 
to see souls attracted to him by silken cords of love, 
than scourged to him by severe lashes of wrath. Christ's 
soldiers are not so much pressed for his service by com- 
pulsion, as they are volunteers by a spontaneous move- 
ment. All our duties should be free-will offerings ; 
but alas, sirs, how unwilling and forced are many of 
our performances ! how grumbling are we in our act- 
ings for God ! We go to God as though it were our 
burden, not with that delight and cheerfulness we 
ought. Consider sirs, how readily God offers us mercy ! 
how freely Christ laid down his life for us ! how ac- 
ceptable a work it is to the blessed Spirit to apply these 
mercies to us ! and be ashamed to be so reluctant and 
dull in your performances ; yea, consider the dispensa- 
tion you are under — a gospel covenant, made up of 
* 2 Tim. i. 7- 


mercy, and this should ripen our fruits to more sweet- 
ness and maturity than the Old Testament dispensa- 
tion. As you know apricots and other fruit that are 
upon a wall, under the direct influence or powerful re- 
flection of the sun beams, are sooner ripe, and sweeter 
when ripe, than such as are in the shade ; so our fruits 
in gospel times should be better than theirs under the 
law ; but, alas, how far do we fall short of David's 
warm spirit for God ? or the holy acts put forth by 
him and other saints of God under types and shadows, 
when these sweet mercies were not so clearly revealed 
to them, and when the sun of righteousness did not 
shed his beams with so much warmth upon them ! Ah 
Christians, if you would study mercies more, your spi- 
rits would be in a better frame for duty. David 
saith, " I will come into thy house in the multitude of 
thy mercies, and in thy fear will I worship toward thy 
holy temple." — Psalm v. 7. Observe it ; the sense of 
God's mercy is an excellent ingredient in the worship 
of God ; yea, it begets a holy awe of God, for these 
two are very consistent ; and, indeed, nothing is so 
prevalent a motive to duty, and dissuasive from ini- 
quity, and persuasive to the exercise of repentance, as 
a sense of mercy is. This truth, Scripture and experi- 
ence will abundantly confirm. But I have been too 
long on this subject ; only let God's children be hum- 
bled for their too, too legal disposition, and breathe after 
a more evangelical spirit by the studying of these mer- 
cies, rather than poring upon guilt and wrath. 



V. Arguments may be used to induce all classes of 
persons to look after their share in these sure mercies 
of David ; and O that I had it in my power by any 
means to evince their importance ! O what a mercy 
would it be, if by these sure mercies of David, and these 
discourses about them, some soul were enamoured 
therewith, and set, in good earnest, to make them its 
own. But shall I need to use many arguments to per- 
suade any person to accept of mercy ? Yes, certainly ; 
the most part of the world forsake their own mercies 
by observing lying vanities ; and they that can experi- 
mentally distinguish betwixt a gracious and graceless 
heart, find that it is the hardest thing in the world to 
close in with mercies in God's way. It is an easy thing 
for a secure sinner to presume upon mercy, to make 
mercy a pillow to sleep upon with ease, to build castles 
in the air, and feed himself with vain conceits of the 
mercy of God — this any one can do ; but to be got off 
our own grounds of dependence, to despair of ourselves, 
to accept of Jesus Christ, to give up ourselves to God 
in covenant, to venture a troubled heart upon the pro- 
mises of free grace. This is a high and hard work, an 
arduous and difficult undertaking ; but this is done by 
every converted sinner, and a soul never obtains mercy 
till it be, indeed, savingly converted, 1 Tim. i. 13. If 
you be lo-ammi, not God's people by way of covenant, 
you are lo-rnhamali, * that is, persons that have not 
* Hos. i. 6—9. 


obtained mercy. O look after an interest in these sure 
mercies of David. Consider, 

1. Nothing else in the world can be made sure; we 
live in an inconstant world ; every thing is upon the 
wheel of change ; sublunary comforts are like the moon, 
sometimes at the full, and sometimes in the wane — 
nothing continues in a fixed state ; a man may be rich 
to-day and poor to-morrow, therefore the apostle calls 
them uncertain riches, or uncertainty of riches in the 
abstract. Now then, saith the apostle, Christians must 
lay up in store for themselves " a good foundation 
against the time to come." — 1 Tim. vi. 17 — 19- Alas, 
riches were never true to any that trusted to them ; the 
things of the world are like sand or smoke, with which 
you cannot fill your hand. * Who would be so fond 
of that which he knows he cannot keep ? It is the 
part of a wise man to purchase such an estate as he 
may enjoy ; friends, goods, honours, health, pleasures 
have their periods, but these mercies are sure and ever- 
lasting. O the vast difference ! It is very deserving 
of consideration, that the things only that make us 
happy, can be made sure ; but the things of this world, 
which cannot make us happy, cannot be made sure — 
and, indeed, whatever may be lost is not capable of 
making any truly happy. Now heavenly things are 
durable as well as suitable to the soul, therefore, let us 
all take the counsel of our Lord Jesus, Matt. vi. 19, 20, 
" Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where 
moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break 
through and steal — but lay up for yourselves trea- 
sures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth 

* Plato said, Ov Trtvia ttot£ ?j 'oXfyoxp^oTta, aXX' )j a7rX>)(T- 
ria" Jig </>oou§)jc o ayaObg wv nai irXovatog y av tn'j. — Non est 
paupertas pecuniae paucitas, sed insatiabilitas ; quae si recesserit, 
qui bonus est dives quoque fuerit. — Clem. Alexand. Strom, lib. 2. 

VOL. II. 2 F 

434- sum: mehcies or david. 

corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor 

c 2. Except you have an interest in these sure mer- 
cies, common mercies are accursed to you, nor indeed 
have you any real covenant title to any thing you enjoy, 
whatever right you may have before men, * yet, you 
are, in the court of heaven, f in a sense, usurpers or en- 
croachers ; you have forfeited all by actual rebellion, 
and have what you enjoy but as condemned prisoners 
or malefactors, to keep you alive till the execution of the 
righteous sentence of condemnation. O the woful con- 
dition of unconverted sinners ! they are accursed with 
a gospel curse, and under a dreadful sentence of ex- 
communication. ± There is a curse in their houses, on 
their actions, on their relations, as it respects them ; 
there is a curse upon their very blessings, Mai. ii. 2 ; 
there is a plague in their apparel, poison in their meat, 
and, we may say, death is in the pot as to all their 
enjoyments — my meaning is, nothing is truly sancti- 
fied or perfumed with covenant mercy, and if God give 
a commission, whatever they enjoy may be their bane ; 
whithersoever they go, a curse goes with them ; what- 
ever they partake of, a curse meets them in it ; who- 
ever they are with, a curse attends them. O fearful 
state ! it was sad to be under the curse of a mortal man 
— Ham found his father Noah's curse heavy ; but oh 
how heavy is the curse of Almighty God, who, with a 
word, can send the soul into hell, and follow his stroke 
into another world ! Dear friends, who would live in 
this dreadful state another hour ? On the contrary, 
whosoever hath these mercies of the covenant hath all 
blessings blessed ; yea, and also crosses, and even 
curses are turned into blessings. Who would not be 
covetous of such a state ? But to hasten, 
* In foro humano. t In foro Dei. $ 1 Cor. xvi. 22. Prov. iii. 33. 


3. Without these covenant mercies the soul is not 
accepted in its best duties : neither person nor per- 
formance is owned by God ; it is only upon a covenant 
account that any are accepted ; indeed in the covenant 
of works the person was accepted for the work's sake, 
but in the covenant of grace, God accepts the person 
first, and then the work ; if the man be in Christ, then 
the offering is taken in good part, though it be but a 
turtle-dove or young pigeon, though but a sigh or 
groan ; God takes a posy of flowers (of sweet-smelling 
graces) though mixed with offensive weeds and prick- 
ing briars of vanity and corruption, gathered by a child, 
and perfumed by Christ's mediation, and is better 
pleased therewith, than with the most odoriferous gifts 
of unconverted souls, where the heart is destitute of 
covenant graces. Alas, " the sacrifice of the wicked is 
abomination to God ;" * the great and jealous God 
challengeth the wicked man that hath not covenant 
mercies in his heart, for taking covenant promises into 
his mouth : " What hast thou to do ?" saith God ;f as 
if he had said, thou poor, graceless sinner, thou pro- 
fanest my holy name, and provokest the eyes of my 
glory in the works and worship by which thou think- 
est thou dost most honour and please me : in the state 
wherein thou art, I cannot endure to look towards 
thee ; I abhor thy offerings and performances, thy 
costly incense is a smoke in my nose ; I can see thy 
inward deformity through thy painted beauty ; thy 
gilded eloquence and rhetorical flourishes are no more 
to me than the roaring of bears or howling of dogs ; 
get out of my sight, thou sorry whining hypocrite ; all 
thy duties are ciphers, and signify nothing except the 
Mediator as the principal and only figure be set before 
them, and the Spirit of God write and indite them ; which 

* Prov. xv. 8. t Psalm L 10, 17- 

2 F 2 


are two of the greatest mercies of the new covenant. All 
sirs, God doth despise the most melodious tunes of wicked 
men, but " a broken and contrite heart he despiseth 
not ;" * that makes sweet music in his ear, for a broken 
heart is a covenant mercy. These mercies are brave 
ornaments to believing souls, and render them lovely 
and amiable in the sight of God. Every penitent tear 
is a rich pearl ; every prayer pierceth heaven and 
fetcheth down abundant incomes from the throne of 
grace. O what a difference do these mercies make in 
persons, performances, and acceptance with God ! 

4. Without these mercies you have no solid ground 
of peace, comfort, or satisfaction : for without these 
you are not only under a sentence of condemnation, 
but you have no real ground to hope that the sentence 
shall not be executed this very hour ; it is a wonder 
to think that graceless souls should be so merry that 
are suspended over the pit of hell, but by the brittle 
thread of a mortal life. O how suddenly may this 
precarious thing be broken, and they are gone for ever ! 
for aught they know, when they go to bed, God may 
say, (as once he did to one as rich and secure as they 
are,) " This night shall thy soul be required from 
thee." It is a wonder to me, how persons can rest 
quietly that are conscious to themselves, or have reason 
to suspect they are not in covenant with God ; and so 
know not that they shall be another moment out of ever- 
lasting torments. But God leaves them to seared con- 
sciences ; and Satan and the world join with their 
deceitful lusts to lull them asleep, till God awake them 
by true repentance or eternal vengeance. God, how- 
ever, hath a time to shake the foundations of this bas- 
tard peace, and set the soul upon the sure bottom of 
covenant relation, and interest in Jesus Christ, which 

* Psalm li. 17. 


alone brings true content and comfort, peace that pass- 
eth understanding, joy in the Holy Ghost, and a sweet 
sabbath of refreshment to the agitated soul.* Here the 
assured believer may, as it were, terminate his desires, 
and make his strongest faculties expatiate upon his only 
portion — a covenant God ; and thence will result conti- 
nual ground of triumph and exultation, for these mercies 
are suitable and adequate to the desires of the immor- 
tal soul, and will support it under the greatest outward 
pressures, and in the hour of death ; therefore I may 
conclude this exhortation with verse 2, of this chapter, 
— " Wherefore do you spend your money for that 
which is not bread, and your labour for that which 
satisfieth not ? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye 
that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in 

5. These mercies of the covenant will render your 
condition safe whatever befals you ; we little know 
what may befal us betwixt this and the grave — who 
knows what a day will bring forth ? Man is born to 
trouble, a saint is born again to more ; bad news may 
come as Job's messengers, treading in each other's 
steps ; losses and crosses may occasion us sad discou- 
ragements. O but now to have a covenant God, a 
Saviour and all the fore-mentioned covenant blessings 
to solace the soul — what mercy will this be ! when the 
true Christian can say, " I am my beloved's, and my 
beloved is mine ; my flesh and my heart fail, but God 
is the strength of my heart and my portion for ever." 
Let the sea roar, men rage, heavens look black, and 
earth tremble, I lie at anchor in a sure port, I trust in 

* Redite prcevarica/orc.s fid cor, et inhaerete ei qui fecit vos : 
state cum eo et stabitis : requiescite in eo et quieti eritis. Quo itis 
in aspera? quo itis? bonum quod amatis ab illo est : sed quantum 
est ad ilium bonum est et suave — Vid. Aug. Conf. lib. 4. c 12. 


God, and fear no evil tidings from below; " God is 
my refuge and help, yea my present help in time of 
trouble ;"* evils shall either miss me or mend me ; all 
winds blow my soul nearer my haven, all dispensations 
hitch me a step nearer heaven, for all things work to- 
gether for my good ; my covenant God will teach me 
to profit by word and rod, by mercies and crosses, by 
ordinances and providences : God is my sun and shield, 
to enlighten me in times of darkness, to protect me in 
times of danger, he will command a guard of angels to 
attend me ; yea, his wings shall cover me, his comforts 
shall refresh my soul ; he will guide me here by his 
counsel, and afterwards receive me to glory. O happy 
man, that hath the God of Jacob for his God ; and 
these covenant mercies for his portion : who can hurt 
such a person ? But, oh the woful state of one that 
hath not the name of God as a tower or chamber to 
run unto when evils are approaching! how dreadful 
was Saul's state, when the Philistines were upon him 
and God had forsaken him ! just such will be condition 
of a soul destitute of covenant mercies in the day of 
public or personal calamity ; alas, all they bore up 
their carnal hearts with, is gone, and God is gone, and 
now their hearts either break with grief, or through 
despair they make themselves away, as Judas and 
Ahithophel. f Oh forlorn state of such as have not 
taken God for their God ! sirs, think seriously of these 

6. These covenant mercies will have a mighty influ- 
ence upon your spirits in God's service, and in your 
conversation ; an interest in the mercies of the cove- 
nant will make you fear God, and tremble to offend so 
gracious a Being ; " there is forgiveness with him, 
that he may be feared," Psalm cxxx. 4 ; and fear to 
* Psalm cxii. 7- Psalm xlvi. 1, 2. + Psalm lii. 7- 


offend God is itself one great mercy of the covenant. 
These mercies will melt your hearts into tears of evan- 
gelical repentance for offending God, as you may 
gather from Zech. xii. 10 ; brokenness of heart is also 
one of the mercies of the covenant. Sense of these 
mercies will make your souls love God supremely, 
Luke vii. 47, while love to God is itself another of the 
mercies of the covenant ; and so for the rest of the 
christian graces. There is not a useful disposition 
requisite to qualify us for God's service, but it is con- 
tained in the covenant ; hereby we shall know God's 
will, be willing to obey it, and delight ourselves in 
God's service, as David did, Psalm v. 7, " I will come 
into thy house in the multitude of thy mercy, and in 
thy fear will I worship towards thy holy temple :" we 
shall then " sing in the ways of the Lord, and in the 
height of Zion, and flow together for the goodness of 
the Lord," Jer. xxxi. 12 ; that is, the goodness of the 
Lord will engage the saints to come with cheerfulness 
into God's presence, and thank him for an opportunity 
of enjoying the manifestations of his favour. Holy 
hearts delight in holy works ; grace fits the soul for 
God ; covenant mercies render a soul capable of and 
prepared for covenant duties ; and the more you par- 
take of these mercies, the more delight will you take in 
duty ; the more like you are to God, the more delight 
will you take in God, and God will delight more in 
you, and so there will be sweet fellowship betwixt 
God and your souls. On the contrary, carnal spirits 
cannot endure spiritual exercises ; they come to duties 
as a bear to the stake, and when they are therein, they 
are upon a rack : Lord, be merciful to such a soul ! 

7. These covenant mercies will not leave the soul 
till they have brought it to heaven. God's mercies are 
in the heavens, that is their proper element ; and they 


never cease moving and elevating the believer, till they 
they have raised him up into the highest heavens, 
where he shall " drink of the river of God's pleasures," 
Psalm xxxvi. 5, 8. 7\ r ow covenanted souls do only 
taste that the Lord is gracious, but then they shall eat 
and drink abundantly, and shall be satisfied with mar- 
row and fatness ; yea, bathe their souls in " fulness of 
joy and pleasures for evermore," Psalm xvi. 11 ; these 
mercies will make you rich towards God, and rich 
with God to all eternity; if you die with covenant 
mercies in your hearts, you depart like old Simeon 
with Christ in his arms, you die in peace, and rest, 
with God. These sure mercies lead the van to eternal 
glory, which comes in the rear of a temporal life and 
spiritual graces ; yea, eternal life is begun here, as the 
the Scripture testifies — how is that ? why, no other- 
wise than by the possession of these spiritual mercies, 
and communion with God thereby : " this is eternal 
life, to know the only true God and Jesus Christ." — 
John xvii. l 3. You lay hold on eternal life here, by 
laying hold on these best blessings and covenant mer- 
cies :* " he that hath the Son hath life," and by believ- 
ing on the name of the Son of God, he may know that 
he hath eternal life, for " he hath the record in him- 
self." See 1 John v. 10—13. What is the witness 
mentioned by the apostle ? it is contained in some of 
these sure mercies of David. O, then, for a share and 
interest therein ! On the other hand, he that hath 
nothing to do with these sure mercies, hath nothing to 
do with eternal glory ; such as are strangers to the 
covenants of promise, have no hope of a better life ; f 
" as the tree falls so shall it lie ;"J and such as are found 
without mercies in their hearts at death, shall be found 
destitute of mercy at the great day. 

* 1 Tim. vi. ]2, 19. t Eph. i. 12. $ Eccl. xi. 3. 


There is one description of persons I would more 
particularly press to look after their share in these sure 
mercies of David, and those are the children of godly 
parents ; and hence Solomon prays, " Remember the 
mercies of David thy servant." — 2 Chron. vi. 42. So 
you that are the posterity of godly predecessors, be 
solicitous for and apply the mercies of your fathers ; 
and there are two cogent arguments in the quality of 
these mercies which the text mentioneth, for here they 
are said to be sure ; and you may consider, first, your 
parents found them sure to them ; and secondly, the 
promise will make them sure to you. 

1. Consider that your religious ancestors found 
these covenant mercies sure to their own souls. " Our 
fathers trusted in thee, cried to thee, they were de- 
livered, they were not ashamed." — Psalm xxii. 4, 5. 
Heathens did pertinaciously adhere to the religion of 
their predecessors ; and shall children of godly parents 
forsake their fathers' God ? and such a God as never 
failed them. Moses in his song saith, " He is my God 
and I will prepare him a habitation ; my father's God 
and I will exalt him." — Exod. xv. 2. Inquire and 
search, you that are the seed of his servants — had your 
fathers ever cause to complain of God ? was he not as 
good as his word to them ? did he not punctually keep 
engagements with them, and make good all his pro- 
mises to them ? did not your pious parents breathe 
their last with good speeches of God ? did they not 
affectionately commend his service to you upon their 
death-bed ? reflect upon their dying words ; did they 
not proclaim to all the world, that God was a faithful 
covenant-keeping God to them ? and did they not as- 
sure you he would be as good to you, if you embrace 
him and keep his ways ? yea, cannot you bear witness 
for them, that their last words were employed in 


speaking well of God, as Jacob and Joseph both did 
upon their death-bed ? did they not in the faith and 
sense thereof commend you into the hands of their 
gracious God? as Jacob, Gen. xlviii. 15, 16, " The 
God which fed me all my life long unto this day ; the 
anjrel which redeemed mc from all evil, bless the lads " 

did they not express particular persuasions of some 

future mercy, as those blessed patriarchs, * " Behold, 
I die, but God shall be with you, and bring you again 
to the land of your fathers ! " Yea, cannot you that 
are children bear your testimony for God, that he hath 
been and done according to your parents' faith and 
hope? Solomon could say, after David's death, " Thou 
hast shewed unto thy servant David my father, great 

mercy," or bounty but that is not all, " and thou 

hast kept," saith he, " for him this great kindness, that 
thou hast given him a son to sit upon his throne." — 
1 Kings iii. 6. And I question not but many of you 
can say as much for God, that God hath had respect to 
you in temporal things, because you were the seed of 
such as were dear to him. O follow their steps, and 
you shall fare as they fared. 

2. Yet further, you who are the children of pious 
parents, lie directly under the influences of these sure 
mercies ; the promise is made to believers, and to their 
seed, | Gen. xvii. 7. Acts ii. 38, 39. such promises bear 
up the hearts of God's poor expiring servants, concerning 
their surviving children. Well then, let children claim 
their interest, and plead this grant ; none of you will 
lose your earthly inheritance for want of looking after 
it. If your landlord promise you a lease of your tene- 
ment after your father's decease, on condition you sue 

* Gen. xlviii. 21. and 1. 24. 

t Isa. xliv. 3. and lix. 21. Exod. xx. 6. See 2 Sam. xxiii. 1 — 5. 
Acts iii. 25. 


to him for it, and pay the accustomed fine, will you be 
so mad as to be turned out of your farm, and the heri- 
tage left by your fathers, rather than own your just 
and kind landlord according to the laws of the land ? 
No man is so fond* in temporal things, and why should 
you be so foolish in spiritual ? Ah Christians, look 
after your patrimony ; despise not your birth-right ; 
is it nothing to you to be born of believing parents? re- 
member your parents' tears and prayers, their hopes and 
fears. O consider, how it comforted their hearts upon 
their death-beds, that they left you under a good cove- 
nant, and bequeathed to you a goodly heritage ; and 
why should your parents be deceived in their hopes, 
and at the great day meet you strangers to God and 
Christ, to be set with filthy goats upon the left hand 
of the Judge ? why will you barter, mortgage, or sin 
away this fair estate ? why will you not in the court 
of heaven claim the privileges of this blessed char- 
ter for your own souls ? God is as willing to make 
them over to you, as ever he was to bestow them on 
your parents ; he is loth to cut off his kindness from 
their seed ; he looks after you in your soul-destroying 
practices ; and saith, as once to Israel who did so wo- 
fully degenerate, " I remember thee, the kindness of 
thy youth, the love of thine espousals, when thou 
wentest after me in the wilderness, in a land that was 
not sown. What iniquity have your fathers found in 
me ?" — Jer. ii. 2, 5. " I remember the kindness that 
in former times there was betwixt thy ancestors, and 
me. O their zeal in running after me, the holy ser- 
vices they did perform to me ! Thy father, or grand- 
father, and some former generations, maintained inter- 
course with me, and I with them ; there was love of 
espousals betwixt us, and I am sure I was not wanting 

* Simple. 


to them ; I looked carefully to them ; all that sought 
to devour them, were my enemies, and did offend me, 
and I brought evil upon them ; I pleaded their cause 
while they lived, and I took them seasonably to heaven, 
and if thou that art their offspring wouldest have put 
me to it, I would have done as much for thee ; if thou 
hadst but laid hold of that covenant, those very cove- 
nant mercies should have been thine, but thou art gone 
back, thou wilt have none of me, but walkest after new 
upstart vanities ; thou wilt not vouchsafe so much as to 
inquire after the God of thy fathers who was so faith- 
ful to them, and did so much for them : but let me 
ask thee since thou wilt needs leave me, what iniquity 
have either thy fathers or thou found in me ? produce 
thy reasons, testify against me, did I ever do thee any 
wrong ? have I not always done thee good ? Oh how 
unhappy thou art, whithersoever thou goest from me, 
thou miesest of such a God as thy fathers served."* 
God seems in that scripture to speak after this manner : 
O hearken to the eternal God, if you will not heed the 
dying words of your mortal parents, that died in the 
Lord ; though one would think those should move and 
melt your hearts into tears of gospel sorrow, why 
should your dear deceased parents rise up in judgment 
against you at the day of judgment? when it shall 
be inquired whether they did their duty, they must 
needs answer according to truth, that they did instruct, 
correct, counsel, admonish their wandering prodigal 
children, they brought them to ordinances, prayed for 
them, wept and travailed again for them, and yet could 
not prevail ; and now must come in to bear witness 
against them, and must rejoice in God's just vengeance 
upon them. Oh what a sad case will these rebellious 
children be in ! there is no pleading of privileges by 
* A like Expostulation sec in Mic, vi. 3, 4.. 


means of believing parents, at that day ; the higher 
you were advanced therein, the lower will you be cast 
down to hell. — Matt. xi. 23. Oh how terrible will it 
be to see godly parents in heaven, and themselves 
" cast into outer darkness ;',' yea, to see strangers, or 
the converted children of heathenish parents, " come 
from east, and west, and sit down with Abraham, 
Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven ;" but " the 
children of the kingdom," the posterity of covenant- 
ed parents, " cast out into outer darkness." See Matt. 
viii. 11, 12. 

Let me therefore persuade all graceless children to 
look about them ; do you above all others beware of 
miscarrying; greater expectations are from you than 
others ; the surviving friends of your religious ances- 
tors look after you, and inquire what you do. O re- 
joice their hearts by walking in the steps of your pre- 
decessors ; I shall bespeak you, yea charge you, in the 
words of the Rev. Mr. Bolton upon his death-bed, that 
none of you will dare to meet us at the great tribunal 
in an unregenerate state. Let every child of pious 
parents plead for covenant mercies ; as once Solomon 
did, 2 Chron. i. 8, 9, " Thou hast shewed great mercy 

unto David my father now, O Lord God, let thy 

promise unto David my father be established :" thus 
do you plead with God, and say — Lord, my parents em- 
braced the covenant, it was thy free grace to choose 
them, and set thy heart upon them ; and is that grace 
become weary ? canst thou not own me with covenant 
mercy ? nay, dost thou not call that mercy to Abraham 
by the surer name of truth unto Jacob ? am not I a 
child of the promise ? — Lord, cut not off the entail of 
covenant mercies from me or mine for ever. 

But I must hasten — let all seek after a share in 
covenant mercies, you that are afar off, and you that 


are near, children of the good and of the had ; draw nigh 
hither, take hold of this covenant ; here is mercy for 
you all, these mercies are attainable. " Let the wicked 
forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts, 
and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have 
mercy upon him, and to our God for he will abun- 
dantly pardon." — Isa. lv. 7. They are mercies, fear 
not being made welcome ; they are sure mercies, fear 
not disappointment : thou hast a tender of mercies, 
that is a mercy, yea, such a mercy as the fallen angels 
never had, nor ever shall have ; and if thou refuse, 
thou dost not only neglect a great salvation, but the 
devils will rise up in judgment against thee : it is a 
wonder of mercies that thou hast run a wild course, yet 
there is hope if now thou come upon the call of mercy! 
all the condition God requires is acceptance of Christ 
and grace ; you are invited, and if you wilfully reject 
mercy, what must save you ? if you will perish, who 
can hinder you ? you must thank yourselves for ever. 
The God of mercy stands waiting at your door, the 
Prince of peace purchased mercy at a dear rate, the 
Spirit of grace knocks and puts in his blessed finger at 
the hole of the door — will not your bowels yet move 
towards him ? He that might with a word command 
you into hell, beseecheth you to be reconciled ; and 
will you have no bowels of mercy towards your own 
souls ? Ministers entreat, travail, study, weep, and 
earnestly beseech you for mercies' sake to come in:* and 
yet will you stand out ? and must I after all this 
pains leave you short of mercy, these sure and sweet 
mercies ? God forbid ! however, remember you were 

* 2 Cor. v. 20. Rom. xii. 1. 



VI. I shaee proceed to offer some directions to sin- 
ners and saints, to which the consideration of the sub- 
ject leads, and which may form a reply to the following- 
inquiries : 

1. What is a person to do that he may obtain an in- 
terest in these mercies ? 

2. How a doubting Christian may be assured of these 
covenant mercies ? 

3. In what cases may a believer improve covenant 
mercies ? 

4. How a pious individual, that hath interest in 
these mercies is to behave himself? 

For the first, which concerns graceless characters, 
poor, unregenerate creatures ; if any such inquire what 
they must do that they may have a part and portion in 
these sure mercies of David, I shall briefly propound 
these seven directions : 

1. Make a strict inquiry into your state, diligently 
examine what title you have to the mercies of the co- 
venant, practice this great and much neglected duty of 
self-trial — whether you have closed with the covenant ? 
whether Christ be in you, or you be in Christ ? * whe- 
ther faith be in you, or you be in the faith? Self-know- 
ledge is a good degree towards saving grace. Autology 
or self-knowledge, is the first step to theology. A man 
cannot, will not look after mercy till he know his own 
misery ; they that conceit themselves to be something, 
deceive themselves ; therefore, " let every man prove 
* 2 Cor. xiii. 5. 


Lis own work." — Gal. vi. 3, 4. O how many thou- 
sands, with a vain hope, do descend into everlasting 
burnings ! how many presume they have as good a title 
to mercy as any, and fall short of it ! Mistakes on this 
point are dangerous and damning, therefore, sirs, try 
your title, be at a point concerning your state ; some 
are children of wrath, and have not obtained mercy ; 
yea, all are such by nature. That grace which changeth 
our title, changeth our dispositions, therefore deal 
faithfully with your own hearts. Ask them, whether 
they be renewed, changed, soundly converted?* ask 
yourselves whether you be new creatures ? Be not put 
off with silence or a slight answer ; remember life and 
death depend on the resolution of this important ques- 
tion. You must be tried another day, you cannot 
evade God's impartial search ; only consider, there is 
no returning back to mend the matter, as you are found 
at the great day, so must you abide for ever ; but here, 
if you find a flaw in your title, you may have it well 
repaired ; and this is the first step to amendment of 
what is amiss, therefore get a distinct knowledge of 
your state. 

2. Work on your hearts the misery of a soul's being 
destitute of these sure mercies ; yea, if upon serious 
examination you find that your souls have no interest 
therein, O consider what a dreadful, deplorable state 
your souls are in ! you are, indeed, lo-ruh amahs, bond 
slaves of Satan, enemies to God, destitute of Christ, and 
have nothing to do with the good things of the gospel. 
Learn your state from the blessed apostle, or rather 
from the infallible dictates of the Holy Ghost : Ephes. 
ii. 12, " without Christ," whatever confident claim you 
may lay to him, however you may boast of him, " aliens 
from the commonwealth of Israel," that is, no members 
of the true church, though you may presumptuously 


call and account yourselves the only sons of the church, 
you have nothing to do with the spiritual privileges, 
and sweet communion of saints ; you are strangers 
from the covenants of promise, that is, you are not in 
this new covenant, but under that of works, and have 
not a right to any one promise, and so to no gospel 
mercy, consequently, without hope and without God 
in the world. The misery of a graceless sinner is in- 
expressible, yea, inconceivable ; he is ready every mo- 
ment to drop into hell ; he must be shut out of heaven ; 
God is angry with him every moment ; Satan hath him 
in a string, leads him whither he list, and if he die this 
moment, he is gone for ever. O work on your hearts such 
sad thoughts as these ! awake conscience, rouse up your 
affections, then cry out with the publican, striking on 
your breast, " God be merciful to me a sinner." * Woe 
is me, wretched creature that I am ; what shall I do ? 
I am undone, the guilt of sin is upon me, mercy is far 
from me ; I have despised free grace, and now I may 
fear that mercy is turned into fury, that long forbear- 
ance will end in just vengeance. Oh is there any hope 
for a forlorn wretch ? have not I worn out my day of 
grace ? is there any hope for me ? Surely, a little 
mercy will not serve my turn ; I am a great sinner, 
yea, the chief of sinners ; there must be a larger dole of 
mercy to me than others. Oh " what shall I do, men 
and brethren, what must I do to be saved ?" Thus, 
sirs, bemoan your state. It is not a saying all are sin- 
ners, and God is merciful, that will serve the turn, but 
you must be sick of sin, then you will desire a physician, 
else you will slight and scorn both Christ and the co- 
venant of God, with all the mercies thereof, f 

3. Be thankful for, but be not content with, com- 
mon mercies ; they are good in their kind, and for their 
* Luke xviii. 13. t Matt. i:;. 12, 13. 

VOL. II. 2 G 


use and purposes, but tliey are not suitable to, nor suffi- 
cient for, the soul. A Christian should be content with 
any thing- in the world, yet content with nothing in the 
world ; the worst of the world doth please a believer 
along with God, the best of it cannot, should not please 
him without God ; you must look on these things as 
good in the way for a staff or bait, but not good as 
a centre or end, to terminate your thoughts upon. 
Remember, the worst of men may have the best of 
these blessings, yet have them with a curse, and may 
perish with them : therefore, say as David, Psalm cxix. 
132, " Look thou upon me, and be merciful unto me, 
as thou usest to do unto those that love thy name ;" 
and elsewhere he desires to be remembered with the 
favour of God's people ; * as if he should say, and 
every believer may adopt the same language : Lord, 
there are common mercies which fill the belly, clothe 
the back, supply outward wants, but these thou givest 
to the bad as well as good ; and though these are more 
than I deserve, yet more than these I desire ; these will 
onlv serve me the day and date of my temporal life, 
and will take their leave of me at death ; but Lord, 
thou hast better mercies to bestow than these, even 
such as will adhere to me in life and death ; mercies 
that concern the soul, such as thou bestowest on chil- 
dren, and on heirs of promise. O let me come in for 
a child's part of those, and put me not off with any 
else ; none besides will fit or fill my precious soul, or 
serve my turn. I must say, as once the children of 
Joseph said to Joshua, " why hast thou given me but 
one lot and one portion to inherit, seeing I am a great 
people ?" f So must I say, if I were a brute creature, 
one lot of provender for this body would serve me, but 
seeing I am blessed with a noble, never-dying soul, 
that hath large capacious faculties, I must have a dou- 

* Psalm cvi. 4. + Josh. xvii. 14. 


ble portion, a single share is not enough — something 
that will live when this body is laid in the grave, and 
nothing is so fit for this immortal sou), as these sure 
mercies of David. O that I had my share thereof ! 
more than these I cannot reasonably desire, expect, or 
enjoy, and less than these my soul is not content withal. 
4. Cast out and cashier all sin, break off your sinful 
league with impure lusts. These sure mercies will not 
lodge in a foul breast ; where Christ takes up his habit- 
ation, sin hath not dominion. God and sin go contrary 
ways — mercies mount the soul upwards, corruption 
pulls the soul downwards ; you must be separate, and 
touch no unclean thing, if you would be received and 
embraced as children, and have God for your Father, 
2 Cor. vi. 17, 18. Be you sure "the throne of iniquity 
hath no fellowship with God," and God will challenge 
such as hate instruction, and wilfully run into sin, and 
will say, " what hast thou to do — to take my covenant 
in thy mouth ;"* do not think to yoke Christ and Belial, 
God will not be merciful to any wicked, persevering 
transgressor ; do not think to divide mercies and faith- 
fulness ; make account to enjoy mercies only in the 
way of truth, that you may be able to say as David, 
Psalm cxix. 41, " Let thy mercies come also unto me, 

Lord, even thy salvation, according to thy word ;" as 
if he had said, O Lord, thou hast mercies to bestow, 
and thou hast told me, how and to whom thou wilt 
distribute these mercies ; it is to such as fear and love 
and obey thee, and devote themselves to thee. Why, 
here I am, I have served sin and Satan too long, now 

1 abhor the ways in which my soul hath delighted, I 
abandon works of darkness, I cut off a right-hand sin, 
and pluck out a right-eye lust, and now I am in the 
road of mercy, not as though this merited thy favour, 

* Psalm xciv. 20. Psalm 1. 16 — 18. 


but as a condition absolutely necessary in the souls of 
such as obtain mercy, according to the precepts and 
promises of the word ;* and now though I cannot chal- 
lenge mercy, yet I humbly plead thy promise for mercy, 
even covenant mercies ; I have forsaken my sinful ways 
and wicked thoughts ; " O be merciful to me according 
to thy word !" f O entertain me, and then I shall not 
lose but change my pleasures, the sensual pleasures of 
the flesh, for a solid, sacred, and soul-satisfying delight 
in Christ and grace ! Thus renounce sin, and you shall 
have what is infinitely better ; but that is not all. 

5. Renounce your own righteousness, and look after 
these sure mercies only for mercy's sake ; the wise mer- 
chant parted with all, not only his worldly enjoyments, 
but self-conceited thoughts of his own righteousness, for 
this pearl of price ; \ deny yourselves then, enjoy God, 
mercy is slighted when you dream of merit ; the poor 
Jews that sought to establish their own righteousness, 
would not submit to the righteousness of God, Rom. x. 
3 ; they had something of their own to lean to, they 
scorned God's way of saving sinners ; they would not 
be beholden to God's mercy, and so went without. The 
poor publican was justified, but the proud Pharisee con- 
demned ; come ns importunate beggars, not as rich pur- 
chasers ; say as David, " save me for thy mercies' sake," 
Psalm vi. 4, as if he had said, Lord, I am a weak, 
worthless, wicked creature, if thou mark iniquity who 
can stand ? I am not worthy of one crumb of kind- 
ness, most worthy of thy fiercest displeasure ; if thou 
condemn me thou art righteous — if thou save me thou 
art infinitely gracious. Lord, when thy wrath is ready 
to wax hot, and justice prompts thy hand to strike the 
fatal blow, then reflect upon thy working bowels of 

* Isaiah i. 1G — 18, and lv. 7- t Psalm cxix. 58. 

i Matt. xiii. 46. 


tender mercy, and stop thy hand from a righteous exe- 
cution of thy justly deserved sentence of condemnation, 
" Remember thy tender mercies and thy loving kind- 
nesses, for they have been ever of old Remember 

not the sins of my youth nor rny transgressions, ac- 
cording to thy mercy remember thou me, for thy good- 
ness' sake, O Lord." Thus a good man pleads with 
God, Psalm xxv. 6, 7, and thus do thou come empty- 
handed, " buy wine and milk without money and with- 
out price." Mercy were not mercy if it were bought 
at a valuable rate ; but as that is not j>ossible, so that 
soul which comes to purchase shall be dealt without, 
for all the good things of the gospel are of free and 
undeserved gift. 

6. Close with Jesus Christ the root and spring of 
these covenant mercies. I told you in the doctrinal 
part, these mercies are made sure in and by Christ to 
all the heirs of promise. Would you then enjoy the 
benefit of these mercies, accept of Jesus Christ in the 
exercise of a sound and lively faith. You can expect no 
mercy but through a Mediator, " grace and truth come 
by Jesus Christ." * All mercy is laid up in Christ, as 
the great storehouse, and is to be fetched out by faith ; 
those souls are under a dangerous and soul-destroying 
mistake that imagine God to be any other ways merciful 
than in Christ. " It is even dreadful," saith Luther, " to 
think of God out of Christ ;" this is the only gospel 
way of obtaining mercy. God blesseth us with these 
spiritual blessings in Christ, and we are accepted in the 
beloved, f Well then, how have poor souls interest in 
Christ ? This is only by faith, which is the soul's ac- 
cepting of him upon his own terms. $ Here, I must 
not digress into the spacious field of that useful sub- 
ject, saving faith ; but must refer you to the large dis- 
* John i. 17- + Eph. i. 3, 6. + Johni. 12. 


courses composed on this radical, fundamental grace, 
and I beseech you, be not mistaken in this ; here you 
have the hinge and vital source of religion, even in an 
entire, affectionate, voluntary, and universal accepting 
of Jesus Christ, as our King, Priest, and Prophet, to be 
ruled, guided, and saved by him in his own way. O 
sirs, if you do not this, you do nothing ; if you believe, 
you shall be saved, but if you believe not you shall be 
damned,* that is plain English ; and truly, my friends, 
all men have not faith, this faith of the operation of 
God, this precious faith. O, therefore, look after it, 
long for it ; come with a broken heart to a bleeding 
Saviour ; come weary and heavy laden, and lay your 
load on the Son of God ; come with a troubled, humbled 
heart, wounded with a sense of sin, and look up to this 
brazen serpent for help and healing ; reach out thy 
trembling hand and get hold of the skirt of his gar- 
ment, or rather with old Simeon embrace Jesus Christ 
in the arms of thy faith, and then thou hast these mer- 
cies of the covenant. 

7. Enter into a solemn covenant with the Lord ; there 
is no way to be interested in the mercies of the cove- 
nant, but by entering into covenant. This, this is the 
work I would persuade your souls unto ; this, indeed, 
is the life of religion, which is so called \_a religando] 
from binding, because it binds, as it were, God and 
man together, and joins their interests in this blessed 
bond of the covenant. O, therefore, set yourselves to 
enter into a solemn engagement, f Give up yourselves 
to the Lord, openly profess that you are the Lord's, or 
else subscribe witli your hand, and yield up yourselves 
to the Lord, to whom, of right, you do belong, and 
take God as your God ; say, " the Lord our God will 

* Mark xvi. 16. 

t 2 Cor. viii. 5. Isaiah xliv. 5. 2 Chron. xxx. 8. 


we serve, and his voice will we obey," * as the people 
of Israel once did ; and thus do you make a covenant 
this day — lift up your hand to the most high God, as 
once Jacob did, who made a vow, saying, " if God will 

be with me and keep me in this way that I go then 

shall the Lord be my God." — Gen. xxviii. 20, 21. Now 
consider, friends, hath not God done as much for } r ou 
as Jacob here desires, or even more ? and why should 
you not take God for your God ? Say thus : I have 
heard of the Lord's goodness, nay, I have experienced 
a large share of his kindness and compassion ; he hath 
done that for me, which none else could, and hath un- 
dertaken to do yet much more ; and, therefore, God 
forbid that I should cleave to any other God all my 
days, as I would be wholly the Lord's, so I will have 
only the Lord, and as he is the only true God, so he 
shall be my God. This is that which the Scripture 
calls avouching the Lord to be our God, and if we 
avouch him to be our God, he will avouch us to be his 
people, Deut. xxvi. 17, 18, which imports the mutual 
conditions of this blessed covenant, even a reciprocal 
embracing and accepting each other ; the saints take 
God to be theirs by the saving grace of faith, and God 
receives them by a gracious act of favour, love and 
condescension ; only be sure you remember that the ar- 
ticles of agreement are of God's own framing, and the 
soul must come up wholly unto his terms, else no en- 
gagement ; God will not abate any thing of his ap- 
pointed conditions, it must be sincere faith, though it 
be but weak, which empties the soul of sin, and self, 
and turns wholly to God, and doth resign up itself uni- 
versally, voluntarily, and perpetually to be the Lord's ; 
and in the same manner the believer takes God to be 
his, and looks upon this as his mercy, as well as his 
* Josh. xxiv. 24. 25. 


duty — his highest preferment, as well as his greatest 
concern, and sweetest enjoyment. O, thinks a pious 
sold, that I could be more the Lord's than I am. I 
am too much my own ; but I will enter into the strict- 
est engagement to be only for God, and not for another,* 
then I may expect he would be for me ; and O that I 
could take the Lord wholly for mine, and only as mine, 
and join no other lovers with him ; I need none but 
him, he is all-sufficient, and my exceedingly valuable 
and great reward. Upon this condition God takes you, 
and you shall gain by him, and the gospel covenant, 
and all the mercies of it ; if you be not willing to 
" forsake all for him, you are not worthy of him ;"f but 
I shall spend no more time about this, because so many 
have written on a soul's covenanting with God. See 
Mr. Baxter's Saint's Rest, part 1, p. 176—182, et 
alibi passim. Mr. Guthrie, Mr. Allen, and Mr. Vin- 
cent have prescribed directions and a form of words for 
a solemn covenant with God. 

Secondly, How may a doubting Christian assure 
himself of these covenant mercies ? Many pious souls 
may have an interest in these, yet not he assured of 
their interest, which, however, is of great consequence 
and concernment, though not to the being, yet to the 
well-being of a Christian ; therefore, we are commanded 
to give diligence " to make our calling and election 
sure," 2 Pet. i. 10, not in respect of God, say inter- 
preters,]: with whom all things are firm and invariable, 
but in respect of others, say some, that those with 
whom we live may see the tree is good, because the 
fruits are good ; but I rather take it, that we must la- 
bour to clear these up to our own souls, that we may 
have some real, well-grounded assurance thereof in our 
hearts, and both these are mercies included in the gos- 
* Ho*, iii. 3. t Matt, x .37- Luke xiv. 28, 29. ± Vit. Aret. in loc. 


pel covenant. Only take notice that calling is before 
election, there we must begin, and so ascend from the 
work of grace in our hearts to the workings of grace in 
God's heart, for our love is a reflection of his love to 
us. Grace is a fruit of election ; this, then, is a 
weighty case of conscience. Suppose a real Christian 
to be dark and doubtful about his state, and to be full 
of questionings and disputings whether these sure mer- 
cies of the covenant do belong to him. What must 
such a person do that he may be assured of his interest 
therein, and that they may indeed be sure to him? 
Now for answering this question, I shall propose these 
directions : * 

1. Study the precepts, promises, and precedents in 
the Scriptures ; be diligent in reading the word of 
God. O, of what use would this be ! There you may 
find what God commands, how saints have obeyed, by 
what means they have manifested their integrity and 
interest in Christ ; here you may find what are the 
conditions of the covenant, and upon what terms the 
mercies thereof may be enjoyed, and what are the infal- 
lible characters of such as have received benefit thereby; 
here you may find Christ the main and choicest mercy 
of the covenant ; yea, for this end were the Scriptures 
written, that we might have comfort in God, and by 
consequence also, assurance of our interest in him. 
Rom. xv. 4. For this reason did Christ speak, and 
John write divine truths, j- which are upon record, that 
the joy of our Redeemer might be in us ; yea, that our joy 
might be full. An express text you have in 1 John v. 
13, " These things have I written unto you, that believe 

* See this point handled solidl}' in a Treatise called, l \ A Be- 
liever's Duty towards the Spirit," &c. on Ephes. iv. 30. Read 6th 
Direct, page 158 — 183. See Baxt. 32 Directions. 

t John xv. 11. 1 John i. 4. 

458 sum: mercies or david. 

on the nnme of the Son of God, that ye may know ye 
have eternal life." The more you study the Scriptures, 
the more clearly you may read your names in the book 
of life ; your hearts, if sincere, will echo to the word 
you read, because the law of God is written in your 
hearts, therefore read and study this blessed book ; 
these words form a charter of your heavenly inherit- 
ance, food for your hungry appetites, glasses in which 
you may discern the complexion of your souls. O 
Christians, neglect not the Scriptures, look up for a 
right understanding, and due application of every 
passage therein, and then comfort yourselves, and one 
another with these words. — 1 Thess. iv. ult. 

2. Attend upon a lively ministry ; here the terms of 
the gospel are propounded — the mercies of the cove- 
nant are displayed — true believers discovered and cha- 
racterized ; here you may meet with a Barnabas as 
well as with a Boanerges ; yea, it may be, the hand that 
wounded may heal you. God usually makes the fruit 
of the lips to be peace,* and many times sends some 
choice interpreter to declare unto a man his righteous- 
ness, and clear up his integrity ; f and therefore it is, 
that God directs all such as walk in darkness to obey 
the voice of his servants,! or rather gives this as their 
character that they do so ; and God gives ministers a 
charge to comfort his people, || and lays up such com- 
forts in their breasts to this end, that they may comfort 
such as are cast down. § O the reviving words, you 
may hear in the ministry of the word ! Here you may 
have doubts resolved, cases of conscience proposed and 
answered, also hearts opened and anatomatized ; here 
the Spirit of God is often conveyed which seals up the 

• Isaiah lvii. 19. t Job xxxiii. 23. J Isaiah 1. 10. 

|| Isaiah xl. 1, ft § 2 Cor. i. 4. 


believing soul to the day of redemption. * The presence 
of God accompanies his institution, so that what the 
minister declares in the name and by the authority of 
Christ, according to the word he will ratify, second 
and confirm in heaven ; f and how many drooping heirs 
of promise hath God raised, satisfied, and encouraged 
about their title to covenant mercies by this ordinance ? 
O the advantage that many have got thereby ! there- 
fore wait on God in this ordinance. O look not upon 
it as one of the weak and besffffarly elements, as some 
ignorantly and blasphemously call all ordinances. Make 
them not a matter of ceremony and formality, but pre- 
pare for them and attend on them conscientiously, and 
you shall see the delightful effects thereof. 

3. Improve the seals of the covenant, both baptism 
and the Lord's supper. Circumcision is called the 
seal of the righteousness of faith, t because this sweet 
evangelical privilege, or marrow of the gospel covenant 
was signified, sealed and exhibited in that ordinance. O 
Christians, understand and improve the encouraging 
ordinance of baptism, it would be a spring of sweetness 
and satisfaction to j^our doubting, fainting spirits ; and 
then, for the Lord's supper, herein Christ's body and 
blood are particularly applied to us, to become our own ; 
yea, verily and really, though not corporeally, but spi- 
ritually, exhibited to every worthy receiver ;|| and 
hence, resulteth spiritual joy, solace and satisfaction, as 
in the passover in Hezekiah's days, " they kept the 
feast with gladness and there was joy in Jerusalem." fi 
But be sure you examine yourselves, prepare your 
hearts, excite your graces, understand the covenant, 

* Isaiah lix. 21. Gal. iii. 2, 3. Ephes. iv. 30. 

t Isaiah xliv. 26. Matt, xviii. 18. J Rom. iv. 11. 

|| 1 Cor. x. 16, and xi. 24. § 2 Chron. xxx. 21—26. 


apply these blessed mysteries to your own souls, open 
your hearts by meditation that the King of glory may 
come in, stir up your souls to God, and he will draw 
near to you ; you will see Christ crucified before you,* 
you will enjoy a blessed feast of fat things, that will 
nourish and comfort your pining souls ; here you will 
find pleasant apples and sweet flagons of the wine of 
his special love to refresh you and support your hearts 
in the day of your affliction, and sad desertion ; and if 
you cannot enjoy that reviving ordinance, yet reflect 
upon your former enjoyments, meditate upon your cru- 
cified Redeemer, and represent his bruised body and 
effused blood to yourselves, and in due time you will 
cry out with Thomas, " my Lord and my God." 

4. Frequent the throne of grace in the exercise of 
prayer ; say as David, Psalm xxxv. 3, " O Lord, say 
unto my soul, I am thy salvation." God hath promised 
to make his people joyful in the house, or duty, of 
prayer. f Saints have found by experience the sweet 
and satisfying fruit of serious wrestling with God. 
Thus David prays, Psalm xxxi. 16, " make thy face to 
shine upon thy servant," and verse 21, he breaks out 
in thankfulness for an answer, " Blessed be the Lord, 
for he hath shewed me his marvellous kindness in a 
strong city." Yea, Christ himself commands us to ask 
that we may receive that our joy may be full, John 
xvi. 24, and is not a clear evidence of our interest in 
the covenant, and the mercies of it worth asking ? 
therefore, plead with God ; tell him thou preferrest co- 
venant mercies above worldly enjoyments, and that 
thou wouldst rather have those mercies made sure to 
thee than to have a lease of thy life, for his " loving- 
kindness is better than life." \ Tell him the joy of the 
Lord is thy strength, and how much it will tend to thy 
* Gal. iii. 1. + Isaiah lvi. 7- I Psalm lxiii. 3. 


furtherance in his service, if he will lift up the light of 
his countenance on thy soul ; tell him he hath granted 
comfortable assurance to many souls, and thou needest 
it as well as they ; thou art an humble suitor at the 
gates of mercy, and art resolved not to let him go, ex- 
cept he bless thee ; yet once again, tell him, it is no 
more than he hath promised in his word, and Christ 
hath purchased by his blood ; and, therefore, it is no 
arrogancy for thee to crave or expect, and when thou 
hast been pleading, conclude with that poor man in the 
gospel, " Lord I believe, help thou my unbelief,"* and 
he will say, " according to thy faith be it unto thee."f 
5. Walk closely with God. As that is one of the 
mercies of the covenant, so it is an evidence of our in- 
terest in the covenant, and it is a notable means of ob- 
taining and maintaining assurance ; Psalm 1. 23, " to 
him that ordereth his conversation aright will I shew 
the salvation of God." Close walkers have many choice 
discoveries. O the peace that such have as keep God's 
commandments ! f O the sweet refreshment which re- 
sults from a lively obedience ! " The work of righte- 
ousness is peace, the effect of righteousness is quietness 
and assurance for ever." — Isa. xxxii. 17. If you keep 
constantly in the fear of God, he will discover to you the 
secrets of his covenant, he will cause the sun of righte- 
ousness to arise upon you ; if you keep his command- 
ments, you shall have a comforter, and he will mani- 
fest himself to you ; || but if you grow careless, and re- 
miss in your walking, and step aside to any gross sin, 
no wonder if you have little assurance of these covenant 
mercies ; for these do separate betwixt you and your 
God, you and comfort. This obscured David's interest 

* Mark ix. 24. t Matt. ix. 29. + Psalm cxix. 165. 

|| Psalm xxv. 14. Mai. iv. 2. John xiv. 16, and xvi. 13. 


in God, and his inconsistent acts cost him many a tear, 
and sad thoughts of heart, which made him cry out of 
broken bones, and bitterly groan out his sad complaints 
for the want of the joy of God's salvation ; yea, for one 
act of sloth and security, the church lost the sweet sense 
of divine love. — Cant. v. 6. O beware of sin, it is 
like a filthy vapour rising out of the soul, that causeth 
a mist, and such a thick mist between God and us, as 
will keep the light of his countenance from shining 
upon us — it begets jealousies, suspicions and uncom- 
fortable fears in the soul whether God be ours or not, 
and, therefore, beware of sin, and walk humbly with 

6. Be much in self-observation. Some have an in- 
terest in the covenant, but know it not for want of self- 
discovery ; therefore, it were a good work to consider 
both your hearts and ways ; indeed, the heart is de- 
ceitful, but you should have the candle of the word in 
the hand of conscience, and deal impartially with your 
hearts ; seek into the obscure corners thereof, and it is 
possible, in some nook or other, you will find a cove- 
nant mercy. Canst thou not say as Peter in sincerity, 
" thou knowest that I love thee !" * or with Hezekiah, 
that you have walked before God in uprightness ? f 
Dost thou not find in thy heart a care to please God, a 
fear to offend him, a desire to enjoy him, a hatred of 
sin, a love to the saints, poverty of spirit, a despising 
of the world, and low thoughts of thy best duties? 
Well now, a sound search, and clear discovery of the 
frame of your spirits will be an admirable way to con- 
firm to yourselves your interest in these covenant mer- 
cies, and so proving yourselves, your rejoicing and sa- 
tisfaction shall be from yourselves. \ If thou canst but 

• John xxi. 17. t Isaiah xxxviii. 3. 

J Gal. vi. 4. Prov. xiv 14. 


find one saving grace in thy heart in truth, thou mayest 
gather some evidence thence ; God's children have taken 
comfort from their sincere love to the brethren, when 
they have scarce discerned any other grace, and so 
have assured their hearts before God that they were 
" of the truth," see 1 John iii. 18, 19; there is never a 
good work done, if it be right for principle, rule and 
end, but it will help us to a discovery of our state, that 
our work is " wrought in God," John iii. 21 ; therefore, 
let us be willing to come to the light, and try our 
hearts and acts ; so may we attain assurance of our 

7. Reflect upon, and recollect your former experi- 
ence. Tli is was David's usual method, to assure his 
heart of the truth of grace, and his interest in God, 
Psalm lxxvii. 10, " I will remember the years of the 
right hand of the Most High ;" also the " days of old ;"* 
hence " his songs in the night." f This course took 
Job, ; and many other saints; and the apostle bids the 
believing Hebrews " call to remembrance the former 
days, in which, after they were illuminated, they en- 
dured a great fight of afflictions, Heb. x. 32, and this 
was in order to the recovery of God's smiles, and the 
sense of his love. You will say, what am I better for 
remembering what goodness was in me in time past, 
which I am now fallen from and have lost ? I answer, 
much every way, chiefly because these mercies of the 
covenant are sure mercies, and though they may be 
obscured, yet they are never abolished, " where God 
loves once, he loves to the end."— John xiii. 1. The 
bud and blossom of comfort may be nipped, but the 
root of the matter and incorruptible seed remain in the 
heart ; || a man in a swoon hath life though possibly 

* Psalm cxliii. 5, 6. t Psalm lxxvii. 6. + Job xxiii. 11, 12. 
|| Job xix. 28. 1 Pet. 1. 23. 


it is not discernible to himself or others ; grace may 
be hid, yet alive, as the sap returns into the root in 
winter ; want of comfortable sense and feeling is not a 
loss of grace — in this case search your records, and see 
if you cannot find some manifestations of God to your 
souls in former times. I have heard of a pious woman, 
who was wont to write down how God dealt with her 
heart, also time, place, and manner of her communion 
with God. A time of distress came, the comforts and 
counsels of ministers and friends were in vain ; a good 
man gets her book, shews it under her own hand, which 
she could not deny, asserts and evinces the immutable 
love of God, constantly reminds her of it, and rivets 
conviction as it takes place. Thus she recovered her 
assurance ; thus ypu may, and should recollect expe- 

8. Strengthen every grace. The greater any thing 
is, the more it is discernible ; little grace is not so soon 
discovered as much grace ; a greater measure of the 
graces of the Spirit carries a beauty and lustre along 
with it, and hath a self-evidencing testimony of the 
soul's sincerity. Christians, do you add to your faith, 
virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, bro- 
therly kindness, charity ; for if these things be in you 
and abound, you shall both be fruitful, and they will 
help you to clear up " your calling and election." — 
2 Pet. i. 5 — 10. These make the soul to resemble 
God, and the more God-like a Christian grows, the 
more certain will he be in reference to his state. Saints 
of the greatest attainments are usually more free from 
doubts than others ; whilst sincere, yet weak believers, 
are much pestered with jealousies and misgivings ; the 
more you get of these sure mercies into your hearts, 
the more sure you are of your interest in them ; the 
faster hold you have of God, the surer you will be that 


you have, indeed, hold of brim ; every step towards 
Zion will add new strength, stability and satisfaction to 
the holy pilgrim; increase repentance, and you increase 
assurance of the remission of sins ; increase faith, and 
that brings on assurance of faith ; strengthen hope, 
and you settle your anchor ; grow in love to God and 
his ways, in courage and zeal for God, in humility and 
self-denial, and hereby you will evidence to your own 
souls and others, that these mercies of the covenant be- 
long to you, for so saith the apostle, " the Lord make 

you to increase and abound in love to the end he 

may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness be- 
fore God," 1 Thess. iii. 12, 13 ; if you have more grace, 
you may probably have more comfort. 

9. Rest the confidence of your souls upon free grace. 
The more you mix any conceits of your own righte- 
ousness, the more you will stagger, and be disconsolate ; 
let free grace be your foundation, and build upon 
nothing in yourselves, for your best graces, duties, and 
excellencies are imperfect and can afford you little solid 
satisfaction. Let Jesus Christ be all in all to 3 r ou, be 
you nothing at all in yourselves. O how God loves to 
see a poor trembling soul, despairing of any thing in 
itself, accounting the world as loss and dross, flying 
into the outstretched arms of free grace, casting itself 
down at his feet, and resolving to venture every thing 
upon an all-sufficient Saviour, and though at present it 
walk in darkness, yet it will cast anchor in the dark, 
" and trust in the name of the Lord." * ; You shall see, 
in due time, the mists will be dispelled, and the soul's 
state clearly ascertained, and the troubled heart fully 
satisfied. Thus David j- expected to recover the light 
of God's countenance, and banish disquieting thoughts, 
even by trusting in God, Psalm xlii. 5 — 12; mercy will 
" Isaiah 1. 10. t See Psalm xxxiii. 20—22. 



answer all your doubts and scruples — mercy will suit 
your necessities — mercy will revive and cheer troubled 
spirits ; therefore, poor doubting Christian, though 
thou canst find no goodness in thyself, and therefore 
lookest on thyself as utterly unworthy, yea, incapable 
of interest in covenant mercies, yet hope in God's 
mercy. Let no muddy current of thy duties mix with the 
pure stream of free undeserved mercy, and as that will 
carry thy soul apace to the ocean of glory, so it will 
bring many sweet, refreshing streams of joy and peace 
into thy heart. We have instances of many in the 
word that judged themselves most unworthy of good, 
as in themselves, yet expected and received both mercy 
and assurance thereof for mercy's sake — as the " cen- 
turion, woman of Canaan," * and others ; because as 
mercy is free, so these covenant mercies are purchased 
and ensured by Jesus Christ, the mediator of the cove- 
nant, and therefore, though there be no goodness in 
men to procure these mercies, yet there is enough in 
their surety, and as their sins are made over to him, 
so what good is in Christ, is made over to the believing 
soul, 1 Cor. i. 30 — here is the marrow of the gospel ; 
and farther, the less goodness a humbled sinner finds 
in himself, the greater evidence hath he that these mer- 
cies belong to him, because he finds even such persons 
particularly invited and received, f Yea, humility, self- 
denial and poverty of spirit are mercies of the cove- 
nant, and do evidence interest. 

10. Attend much to the duties which thankfulness 
prescribes, give God praise, and he will give you more 
grounds of praise ; bury not his mercies in the grave 
of forgetfulness, especially bless him for covenant mer- 
cies. Alas, saith the soul, if I were sure I had an in- 

• Matt. viii. 8, and xv. 27- 

t Isaiah lv. 1. Matt. v. 3. Rom. iv. 5. 


terest in these covenant mercies, then I could sing to 
God's praise, and be very thankful ; but how can I 
praise him for that which I question whether it 
belong to me, or not ? I answer, thou must bless 
God that there are such mercies in store for poor sin- 
ners, and that any have obtained an interest therein, 
and are carried to heaven thereby ; bless God that you 
are under a call and capacity to enjoy these covenant 
mercies, that God hath not excluded, but included you 
in the universal tender of them ; consider also, if you 
have not cause to bless God, that he hath been dealing 
with your souls in such a manner as he is wont to do 
with those whom he brings into covenant with him- 
self. Hath he not humbled, broken, and brought your 
hearts off from your own grounds of dependence ? 
Hath he not let you see a vanity in the world, and the 
excellency and necessity of Christ? Hath he not 
caused longings and pantings in your souls after these 
mercies ? and doth not all this deserve your thankful- 
ness ? But know further, that thankfulness for what 
you have is a most effectual way to clear up your title 
and to beget assurance ; praise raiseth the soul's facul- 
ties to a high pitch of joy and comfort ; it is like 
David's harp, to banish away the evil spirit of disqui- 
etness or discouragement. Your praise should wait 
for God, and you will find God waiting to be gracious 
to you ; * usually a thankful heart is a cheerful heart ; 
you may sing yourselves out of your sorrows, as David 
did frequently : he made a song of these mercies of the 
covenant, even then when he could find little comfort 
in, or benefit from, these covenant mercies in many 
respects : compare Psalm lxxxix. 1. with verse 38, &c. 
Thus do you, Christians, sing yourselves into this 
blessed composure, and soul tranquillity. It is the 
* Psalm lxv. 1. Isaiah xxx. 18. 
2 H 2 


fault of doubting Christians, that they pore all upon 
their sins, and forget their mercies, they think they 
can never be sufficiently bathed in the tears of repent- 
ance, or torture their hearts with doubtful thoughts, 
but consider not that a thankful commemoration of 
mercies is as well their duty as mourning and humilia- 
tion ; yea, it is a sweet, heart-cheering, God-pleasing 
duty ; therefore let Christians be much in this duty as 
a means of assurance. I shall add a word or two to 
excite all to press after a particular assurance of inte- 
rest in these mercies of the covenant. 

1. Christians may be assured of their interest, we 
are commanded to make it sure, many pious people 
have arrived at a plerophory or full assurance ; * ex- 
perience proves the truth of this ; God himself hath 
promised joy and comfort to such as " ask it," it is the 
great office of the Snirit " to seal the souls of believers 
to the day of redemption ;"f yea, the Scriptures were 
written to promote our comfort and assurance, seals of 
the covenant were instituted, ordinances and ministers 
were appointed for this very purpose — and shall we 
slight this infinite condescension of God who is so for- 
ward to help us ? shall we use no means or endeavours 
to ensure these mercies to our souls ? Oh ungrateful 
creatures ! If it were a thing unattainable, we might 
be daunted ; but how many gracious souls do we see 
and hear of, that do walk in the light of God's counte- 
nance, and triumph over all opposition in the sense of 
God's love ? And one great reason why many of us 
are so full of doubts, is our neglect of God's appointed 

• 2 Pet. i. 10. 

t John xvi. 24. Eph. i. 13. Rom. xv. 4. It is promised — See 
Isaiah lx. 16. Saints have attained to it — Job xix. 25. Psalm 
lxiii. 1. Gal. ii. 20. 1 John iii. 14. and v. 19. Cant. ii. 16. Isaiah 
xlv. 24, 25. 


means for the obtaining of assurance ; for if it be at- 
tainable in the use of ordinary means, we sin exceed- 
ingly against God and our own souls in neglecting 
those means of assurance. 

2. You cannot evidence the truth of grace, or your 
title to covenant mercies, unless you use Gcd's ap- 
pointed means to obtain assurance. It is an ill sign of 
a graceless heart to nourish doubtings and distrusts, 
and then to come in with such pleas as these : — " True 
faith is accompanied with doubtings ; he that doubts 
not, doth not believe ; a doubting faith is a good faith ; 
let me have doubts and fears, I dare not be too con- 
fident, lest I presume.',' But I must tell thee, soul, a 
doubting faith is but a weak faith, and a Christian 
ought " to be strong in faith,"* and make progress 
to a full degree and proficiency in grace, and endeavour 
to arrive at this full assurance, for this is the nature of 
grace to be pressing after perfection, and to " go from 
faith to faith," f even from a faith of adherence to a 
faith of evidence and assurance ; yea, let such as slight 
means of assurance know this — that they live in a 
constant neglect of a known duty, in disobedience to a 
flat command, Heb. vi. 11, " And we desire that every 
one of you do shew the same diligence to the full as- 
surance of hope unto the end ;" as if he had said, if 
your faith and hope be of the right stamp, as it may 
seem to be, it will be working off all doubtings, anxi- 
ous thoughts, and distrusting fears, and move to a fur- 
ther degree of confidence and assurance ; else you may 
suspect the truth of it. 

3. You cannot assure yourselves of creature enjoy- 
ments a day to an end, nor yet of immunity from 
crosses ; and if you have not assurance of these cove- 
nant mercies, what have you to bear up your hearts in 

• Rom. iv. 20. t Rom. i. 17- 


an evil clay ? We little know what shaking times may 
come, that may tear from you whatever you account 
dear ; and if you have not something above, oh the 
sad confusions that will seize upon you ! but assurance 
of an interest in the G >d of heaven, and the good things 
of the covenant will be a guard to free your hearts 
from those numerous armies of tormenting fears that 
will beset you ; this will he a cordial to drive away 
sick and swooning qualms from your troubled spirits ; 
assurance of God's love will fortify your hearts against 
the fierce assaults of men and devils; Psalm xxvii. 1, 
" The Lord is my light 'and salvation, whom shall I 
fear ?" destroying angels snail not come near any per- 
sons that are sprinkled with Christ's blood, and have 
the mourner's mark. * A day of danger, horror, 
and confusion may overtake us in the nation, in which 
we may be stript naked of all our enjoyments — surely 
then assurance of our interest in the best riches in the 
world, will stand us in stead, and when all things else 
fail, these will abide with us. But, 

4. Consider the great advantages of assurance, I can 
but name them. 

(1.) It will assure us that we shall want nothing 
that is good for us ; " if God have given us Christ, 
then will he give us all good things." — Rom. viii. 32. 

(2.) It gives a sweet relish to every comfort of life, 
and causes " delight in God's great goodness." — Neh. 
ix. 25. 

(3.) It will sweeten the " bitterest cup of affliction." 
—Matt. ix. 2. 

(4.) It encourages us to come " with boldness to the 
throne of grace," Heb. iv. 16, ptera Tvupprimug, that is, 
with a liberty to say what we list if according to his 
will, and he will hear us. 

• Exod. xii. 23. Ezek. ix fi. 


(5.) Assurance helps the soul to despise the world; 
he that knows he is clothed with the sun, can trample 
the moon under his feet. — Heb. x. 34. 

(6.) It strengthens the mind against the censures 
and reproaches of men,* no matter what men say when 
God acquits, Rom. viii. 33, 34 ; our conscience tells us 
we are not the men we are represented to be. 

(7.) It enhances the reading of the word, and re- 
ceiving of the sacraments, the promises, seals, and 
blood of the covenant : precepts of Scripture, ministers, 
things present and things to come, all are the believer's. 
— 1 Cor. iii. 21, 22. 

(8.) It enlargeth the soul in praise and thanksgiv- 
ing ; hence those hallelujah* in heaven : the more as- 
surance, the more thankfulmSs. — Psalm ciii. 1 — 3. 

(9.) It commendeth religion to others, makes God's 
ways lovely : " O taste and see that the Lord is good, 
come and I will shew you what he hath done for my 
soul," engageth many. — Psalm cxlii. 7- and lxvi. 16. 

(10.) It helpeth on repentance, makes godly sorrow 
more kindly and evangelical ; a look of love from 
Christ melts Peter's heart — this sun dissolves frozen 
souls. — Ezek. xvi. 63. 

(11.) It engageth the soul against sin; manifesta- 
tions of God are cords of love, which are strongest to 
an ingenuous spirit. — Rom. vi. 1, 2. 

(12.) Assurance animates our performances and obe- 
dience ; is any thing too much to do for God ? yes, 
my God deserves all I am and have, his commands are 
not grievous. — 1 John v. 3. 

(13.) It deadens the heart to needless disputes and 
controversies ; it settles the mind in an attachment to 
the truth, and fortifies it against the subtilties of seduc- 
* 1 Pet. iv. 14, 1(3. 


ing spirits, for " God's law is in the hearts of his peo- 
ple." — Heb. xiii. 9- 

(14.) It representeth the glory of heaven, and is 
a blessed emblem of a soul's bathing itself in those 
rivers of pleasure that are at God's right hand, while it 
opens a Pisgah sight of the celestial Canaan. 

(15.) It disarms the king of terrors, and plucks out 
the sting of death ; so that a gracious soul, assured of 
God's love, can triumph with Paul over this conquered 
enemy. — 1 Cor. xv. 55. 

And indeed none but an assured Christian can look 
death in the face without dread and amazement. Ruf- 
fling gallants may be prodigal of their lives, when they 
are far from any capacity of obtaining assurance, but 
those are more like brutes than men, who are guided 
by sense, not by reason, and consider not that their 
souls are immortal, and that they enter into eternity at 
death ; hence they have drowned themselves in sen- 

lity, and consider not what they do. It is only the 
Christian that is upon good grounds assured of his 
good estate, who can in cold blood adventure upon 
death, yea, be willing to die, even desire " to be dis- 
solved and be with Christ." 

I have but hinted at these things, because it is an 
ordinary subject on which many have done worthily 
to promote endeavours to obtain assurance. 

Sirs, what say you to these things ? is not assurance 
of interest in covenant mercies worth labouring for ? 
can you let these things lie without making your title 
clear ? doth not the new creature breathe after it ? 
doth not a rational soul desire it ? do not all wicked 
men catch at a certainty, ami frame to themselves some 
kind of certainty ? do not worldlings take care to se- 
cure their money, goods, and estates ? shall they re- 


quire bonds, seals, oaths, and sureties, and yet account 
all this too little, and shall we account any thing too 
much to secure these precious mercies without which 
we are undone for ever ? Oh let nothing hinder your 
endeavours this way ; let no objections make you delay 
or be discouraged ; let not Satan deter you, or the 
world's conceits make you slight it as unattainable, nor 
a slothful unbelieving heart obstruct your diligence in 
this great and weighty case. Who of you would live at 
such uncertainties as the most do? who would have his 
life to hang in doubt on a mere conjecture? especially 
when it depends on this important case of conscience, 
whether the soul must live in heaven or hell ? but 
most of all, consider that our very lives are so uncertain 
that the next moment we may step into eternity. The 
God of heaven awake the saints of God who have in- 
deed an interest in these mercies, to use all means to 
know they have an interest therein, that, as the apostle 
expresses himself, 1 John iii. 19, " they may know 
they are of the truth, and assure their hearts before 

Thirdly, — In what cases may a believer make use 
of, or improve these sure mercies of David ? 

In answer to this, I shall propose these seven cases 
wherein a gracious soul may and must have recourse 
to these covenant mercies. 

1. In case of unsettling suggestions leading to atheism 
or unbelief. When reason begins to dispute the being 
of God, or the truth of the Scriptures, and shakes our 
confidence, or strikes at the foundation, then study and 
improve these sure undoubted mercies, and lean upon 
divine authority ; if God speak it, the thing is out of 
doubt, his ipse dixit is beyond all demonstrations. 
Divines make distinctions relative to maxims in divi- 
nity, some of which are partly divine, others are soldi/ 


divine. In truths of the former class, reason may be 
made subservient — first they are believed, then under- 
stood ;* as a man believes the immortality of the soul, 
then he begins to ascertain the same truth from reason, 
only reason must not here come before faith, but know 
her place ; for if she should offer to go before as an 
usher to make way for faith, we should never believe ; 
therefore Schoolmen say, " Reasons going before faith 
weaken faith, but reasons coming after faith strengthen 
it :" f so that reason makes not the matter more sure 
ex parte veritatis dictantis, in respect of God the 
speaker, seel ex parte intellectus dissentientis, in re- 
spect of the weakness of our understanding. \ But 
now in things that are solely divine, and fall directly 
under faith, as the mystery of the Trinity, or of the 
incarnation, reason hath nothing to do but admire 
those hidden mysteries that she can never reach. O 
take heed of doubting or unbelief: gospel mysteries 
are without all controversy ; here your way is not 
to dispute but believe ; God's word is more than all 
the protestations, asseverations, bonds or obligations of 
all the men in the world. Consider what is said in the 
doctrinal part, and give your full assent to all revealed 
truths. You may better believe God than your senses: 
senses may deceive us, God cannot. Many men are 
brutish and will believe nothing but what is within 
the reach of sense ; they are mere Sadducees about 
spirits and spiritual things ; but, sirs, will you believe 
nothing but what you see ? then surely you will not 
believe that there is such a city as Rome or Paris, be- 
cause you have not seen them. But let me tell you, 

* Primo creduntur, et postea intelliguntur. 
t Rationes prsecedentes minuunt fidem, sed rationes subsequen- 
tes augent fidem. 

+ See Weem's Portrait of Imag. Ep. to Read. 


that that tempting spirit who persuades you now to 
doubt of the being of God, and the reality of divine 
things, cannot doubt thereof himself; for he to his 
cost feels the truth, though without any comfortable 
interest therein ; " the devils believe and tremble." — 
James ii. 19. O therefore silence all unbelieving and 
disputing thoughts ; doubt not after these clear revela- 
tions and demonstrations ; * admit not this grand 
gospel sin of unbelief, this damning infidelity, but cry 
out as the poor man, " Lord, I believe, help thou my 
unbelief." — Mark ix. 24. 

2. In case of guilt upon the conscience, and fears of 
acceptance, have recourse to these sure mercies of Da- 
vid. These are mercies, therefore mercy is working 
towards a poor sinner in misery ; they are made sure 
by Christ to all heirs of promise, and though thou 
canst not sensibly apprehend him by faith at times, 
yet " whom he loves he loves to the end ;" what 
though thy sins be many, yet mercy answers all de- 
merits ; it is not only mercy, but mercies, multitudes 
of tender mercies ; he is plenteous in mercy, and will 
abundantly pardon ; he doth not consult thy fitness, but 
his free grace : come then, poor guilty sinner, venture 
thy weary soul upon these dure mercies ; he is meeting 
thee half way, as the prodigal's father, and ready to 
all upon thy neck, his bowels are yearning towards thy 
distressed soul; he is very free and liberal in distribut- 
ing, be not thou backward and shy in entertaining 
these sure mercies, he waits to be gracious, do thou 
bid his gracious tenders welcome. Yea, but saith the 
troubled self-condemned sinner, " though there be mer- 
cies, yet I question whether they belong to me ; I 
know they are sure to some, but it is a great question 
whether I be of that number ?" and I reply, why not 
* Non est disputatio aut dubitatio post evangelium revelatum. 


to thee ? What Scripture reason leads thee to suspect 
that thou art excluded ? The grant is in general 
terms ; " Jesus Christ came to seek and save what 
was lost," and thou art lost, and feelest thyself to be 
lost — doth not he bid weary souls come to him ? If 
thou wert righteous, thou mightest justly fear thou 
mightest go without him, but thou sayest thou art a 
sinner, and thou knowest, "he came not to call the 
righteous but sinners to repentance ;*' thou art a 
sinner, suppose thou art a great sinner, even among 
the chief of sinners ; and did not Paul look upon him- 
self as such, and yet he obtained mercy ? and consider 
if thou hast no interest in these mercies, whence then 
are all those fears, doubts, jealousies, complaints, and 
inquiries ? Whence are these sad and dreadful appre- 
hensions of thy sin and misery? these convictions 
of the nothingness of thy duties, and sufficiency of 
mercies only to relieve thy perishing soul ? Whence 
are those meltings of heart for offended bowels of 
mercy ? and strugglings against sin from the sense of 
mercy? What mean those prayers and tears, those 
tossings of thy soul betwixt hopes and fears about thy 
interest in mercy ? and yet thou who thus complainest, 
wouldst not give up thy title, or quit thy claim to 
these covenant mercies, for a full possession of all the 
common mercies in the world. Thou art not content 
without these — thy inquiry is chiefly after these — 
thy expectation is most from, and dependance most 
upon, these covenant mercies ; — these, and these 
alone are thy salvation and desire. But suppose the 
worst, that thou hast no interest as yet in these, why 
shouldst thou despair of future interest ? shouldst thou 
not rather put it out of doubt by a present application 
of them by actual believing ? Stand out, stand off no 
longer, take Christ upon his own terms, give up thy- 
self to him, give him the glory of believing, remember 


nil the ways the Lord hatli taken to assure thee of 
these mercies ; hence unbelief is the most unreasonable 
sin in the world * — this is the great damning sin ; say 
not with Cain, thy sins are greater than can be for- 
given ; for is not the mercy of an infinite God beyond 
the demerits of a finite creature ? Nay further, thou 
givest God the lie who is truth itself; he saith, "there 
is life for dead condemned sinners in his Son ;"+ thou 
sayest, " no, I have been to seek, and I want life, but 
there is none for me ;" yes, yes, soul, there is life 
enough for thee, grace abounds, and you may have 
life in abundance, only shut not out yourselves bv 
unbelief, but come to him and he will in no wise cast 
you off, for he is ready to forgive your iniquities, 
and give you these sure mercies. 

8. In case of persecutions, afflictions, and temptations 
from Satan, the world, or any other quarter, you may 
then improve these covenant mercies, and find abund- 
ance of sweetness, solace, and satisfaction therein. — 
Were it not for these, the soul of a child of God would 
sink under his pressures ; how often doth David pro- 
fess that he would have perished in his affliction, had 
not God's word of promise supported him ?t A covenant 
word will lift up the soul from the lowest depth, a cove- 
nant God will encourage a saint in the greatest straits ; 
there is a divine art in a Christian's improving this 
stock to the best advantage, and affliction is a proper 
season to make use thereof ; as supposing a man to be 
in poverty, there is enough in the covenant to make 
him rich ; if in disgrace, covenant mercies make him 
honourable ; if sick, one covenant mercy (even pardon 
of sin) will made him sound ; if in prison, covenant 
mercies set him at liberty; if hungry or thirsty, 
why, covenant mercies are meat and drink to him ; if 

* John iii. 19. t 1 John v. 10, 11. + Psalm cxix. 


deprived of relations, still covenant mercies make 
up that loss, and give the soul to see better relations 
in heaven.* O Christians, your case can never be 
forlorn, as long as you have such rich mercies of the 
covenant to support and supply you, let all the men 
on earth set themselves against you, they can but storm 
the outworks, they can never surprise your citadel, or 
rob you of your best goods — these mercies of the cove- 
nant, which are made sure to you by a covenant of salt. 
O hold fast and embrace these mercies in such a time 
as this ; when trade decays, your stock is safe ; in a plun- 
dering time, none can divest you of your treasure and 
estate ; you have something that all the devils in hell, 
and men en earth, cannot deprive you of ; troubles will 
but drive these mercies into your breasts more firmly 
and feelingly, rather than keep them from you, or render 
you suspicious of your interest in them, for these are 
seasons wherein God communicates most of himself to 
the soul. Jacob's sad and solitary journey was attend- 
ed with the choicest, heart-reviving discoveries ; f 
heaven was opened and God shone upon blessed Ste- 
phen's soul through a shower of stones. 1 O Christians, 
it is worth a world to have interest in God in the day 
of affliction, and it is your great work in such a day 
to bear up your hearts with what you have in the co- 
venant of grace : beware of discontented murmurings 
under any trials, since you have a God that can and 
will be all in all to your souls, in the want of all com- 
forts and in overflowing of sorrows. 

4. You may improve these covenant mercies in a 
day of spiritual dearth, in the famine of the word, 

* Isa. xxxiii. 24. Dei hominem et cultorem Dei obnixum spei 
veritate et fidei stabilitate fundatum,mundi hujus et saeculi temp- 
tationibus commoveri, negat — Fide Cypr. Tract at. cont. Demetr. 
P . 273. 

t Gen. xxviii. 10. t Acts vii. 56. 


which is the saddest judgment, when means and or- 
dinances fail, and the soul is in great danger of pining ; 
then it is both safe and sweet to derive growth and 
strength from the spring head, even from God in a 
covenant way ; these mercies nourish the languishing 
soul in a famishing season: Isa. xli. 17, 1H, "When 
the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and 
their tongue faileth for thirst, I the Lord will hear 
them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them. I 
will open rivers in high places, and fountains in the 
midst of the valleys : I will make the wilderness a 
pool of water, and the dry land springs of water." O 
blessed are the circumstances of believers, they have 
meat which others know not of, even hidden manna ; 
God hath ways to convey marrow and fatness into 
their soul, when their ordinary provision is kept 
from them. I have read of a man, that was condemn- 
ed to starve to death in prison ; his daughter getting 
leave to visit him once a day, though not permitted 
to bring food, she notwithstanding preserved his life 
a long time by the milk which he sucked from her 
breasts. Oh how doth God preserve the souls of his 
children in prisons, by that good nourishment they de- 
rive from him in the breasts of the promises ! he keeps 
them alive in famine ; " bread shall be given them, their 
waters shall be sure ;"* yea, he makes affliction and ad- 
versity both bread and water, therefore called in Scrip- 
ture, " the bread of adversity and water of affliction,"! 
because souls are bravely nourished thereby: ordinances 
may for a season be removed, but influences of grace are 
still conveyed, grace is supported, and the soul supplied; 
as long as the spring remains free for a Christian's ac- 
cess he shall be provided for, though the channel be 
stopt, the streams cut off, and outward means much 
* Isaiah xxxiii. 16. t Isaiah xxx. 20. 

4S0 stJRE MERCIES or david. 

obstructed: therefore, Christians, when the word of the 
Lord is precious, and there is little open vision, make 
your addresses immediately to God, see what he will 
speak to your souls ; own him in covenant relation, lay 
your souls at his feet, and tell him that you are cast in 
a thirsty wilderness, your graces are withering, and 
hearts failing ; tell him you can scarcely meet with an 
instrument to receive a word of counsel or comfort 
from, but ask him if he cannot supply without as well 
as by the means ; tell him, he sometimes stops the 
conduit that he may convince us where our refreshment 
lies, and whither we must have recourse for fresh sup- 
plies ; tell him when you enjoyed the means, they 
could not work without him, and now you want them 
he can work without them, though he hath restricted 
us to the means, yet he hath not restricted himself to 
them ; tell him once again, that the more immediate 
his communications are, the more evidential they are, 
and the sweeter emblems of heaven. 

5. Amidst your backslidings and fears of apostacy, 
then, O then improve these mercies of the new cove- 
nant ; you fall and miscarry and lose your hold of 
God, but God hath hold of you ; you dare not venture 
to approach him again, but he calls and tells you he 
will heal your backsliding, and will not cause his anger 
to fall upon you, because he is married to you, and 
he hates putting away. \ The mercies of the covenant 
depend not on your mutable wills, but upon everlasting 
love — your souls are carried to heaven in the chariot 
of the covenant, which moves upon the solid axle-tree 
of free grace, which as it w T as not procured, so it is not 
continued by your merits or goodness. It is true, if 
you had carried the matter so towards men as you 
have done towards God, you might have expected a 
* Jer. iii. 12, 14. 


heavy sentence, but these are the sure mercies of an 
infinite God ; the covenant is made in Christ, and 
made good in Christ ; the Alpha and Omega, the 
Amen, the faithful and true witness is the surety and 
mediator of this blessed covenant. O Christians, place 
your confidence here ; there is help laid upon dne that 
is mighty to save, he can save to the uttermost, he is 
good at this soul-saving work ; do not fear, he that 
hath begun this good work in your hearts will perfect it, 
you may be confident of it ; you shall be " kept by the 
power of God through faith to salvation ;" * though 
you be very weak, yet he is able to make you stand ; 
you shall not depart from him, omnipotence is engaged 
for you : f exercise faith, therefore, upon the numerous 
and gracious promises of perseverance ; though you 
have many " fightings without and fears within," 
though you feel averseness to good, and a tendency to 
sin, wants and weaknesses, burdens and breaches, 
snares and sadness, yet lift up your hearts, you stand 
upon better terms with God than Adam in innocency, 
or the angels in glory, who were not confirmed in their 
integrity, but are fallen by a dreadful apostacy. It 
were sad for poor believers, if their happiness did de- 
pend upon their mutable nature, or strongest resolu- 
tions ; or if God should revoke his mercies, as often as 
they provoke his justice ; but blessed be God for Jesus 
Christ, and the rest of the sure mercies of David. 
Triumph in this, O ye children of the promise, the 
covenant in which your souls are included, is ordered 
in all things and sure ; heaven itself is engaged for 
you, the gates of hell shall not prevail against you, 
none can pluck you out of his hands, who is the Rock 
of ages, in whom is everlasting strength ; you may 
confidently make bold and blessed Paul's victorious 
* 1 Pet. i. 5. t Rom. xiv. 4. Jer, xxxii. 40, 

VOL. II. 2 I 


challenge, " Who shall separate us from the love 
of Christ?" — Rom. viii. 35 — 39. Though your in- 
ternal movements be often like Ezekiel's wheel, * 
intricate, confused and perplexed, as a wheel in a 
wheel, grace swaying one way and flesh another, yet if 
you be joined to the living creatures, and united to 
Christ in the bond of the covenant, you shall go 
straight on with constancy and uniformity till your 
souls arrive at glory. These mercies are not for a 
day, or week, or month, or year, but they run parallel 
with the life of God and line of eternity, for " with 
everlasting mercies, he will have compassion on thee." 
— Isa. liv. 7, 8. 

6. In case of desertions, and God's withdrawment 
from him, the believer may and must improve these 
sure mercies of David. Now desertions are ordinarily 
distinguished into God's withdrawing, first, his quick- 
ening, and secondly, his comforting presence from the 
soul ; in both these cases, the soul may improve them. 

(1.) In case God suspend the gracious influences of 
his Spirit, and the heart be shut up under deadness, 
hardness, unbelief, and distractions, and the poor 
Christian cannot feel the lively springings of cove- 
nant graces in his heart, then let him have recourse to 
the promise wherein God hath engaged himself to give 
a soft heart, a new spirit, faith, love, repentance, the 
spirit of prayer, &c. — all habits of grace, the lively ex- 
ercise of grace, assisting grace, quickening, enlarging, 
moving, melting manifestations are bound up in the 
gospel covenant : hence it is, that when David finds 
his heart dull and out of frame, he runs to God and 
cries out, " My soul cleaveth to the dust, quicken me 
according to thy word." — Psalm cxix. 25, 107 ; and 
he goes often over with that phrase, which imports, 
that David lay under the sense of some promise, which 
• Ezek. i. 16, 17, 21. 


God had made for the quickening of his heart, when it 
was out of frame, and accordingly he recounts the 
gracious influences of God's Spirit, and professeth that 
he will never forget his precepts, because by them he 
had quickened him, verse 93. Thus, lay your dead 
hearts at Christ's feet, and plead in this manner : 
Lord, my heart is exceedingly dull and distracted ; I 
feel not those enlarging, melting influences which thy 
saints have felt, but are they not chief material mercies 
of the covenant? dost thou not promise a Spirit of 
illumination, conviction, and humiliation ? is not holi- 
ness of heart and life a main branch of it ? dost thou 
not promise therein to write thy law in my heart ? 
to give me oneness of heart, to put thy fear within me, 
to subdue my corruptions, to help my infirmities in 
prayer? now, Lord, these are the mercies my soul 
wants and waits for, fill my soul with these animating 
influences, revive thy work of grace in my soul, draw 
out my heart towards thee, increase my affection for 
thee, repair thine image, call forth grace into lively 
exercise : doth not that gracious word intend such 
a mercy when thou sayest, thou wilt not only give 
a new heart, but "put a new spirit within me,"* to 
make my soul lively, active, and spiritual in duties and 
exercises ? dear Lord, am not I in covenant with thee? 
and are not these covenant mercies ? why then, my 
God, is my heart thus hardened from my fear ? why 
dost thou leave me in all this deadness and distraction? 
remember thy word unto thy servant in which thou 
hast caused me to hope, and which thou hast helped 
me to plead ; O quicken my dull heart, according to 
thy word. Thus improve these mercies in case of 

(2.) In case of sadness and disconsolateness, and the 

* Ezek. xxxvi. 20*. 
2 1 2 


ladings of God's face from a troubled, drooping spirit, 
O make, then, much use of these covenant mercies, both 
as they are mercies and as they are sure mercies, they 
are as free and as firm as ever ; if you see nothing but 
wickedness and wretchedness in yourselves, remember 
mercy prevents you ; if you see nothing but justice and 
frowns in God's face, remember his faithfulness en- 
gageth him ; he is faithful, he cannot deny himself — 
would he love you so as to make you his, and will he 
not now love you as his child ? Consider, the covenant 
is certain, though there be a present suspension ; your 
union to Christ is secured, though actual communion 
be intercepted ; yea, real, genuine communion is con- 
tinued, though sensible manifestations be obscured ; for 
observe it, the soul holds communion with Christ by 
that which desertions cannot make void ; salvation may 
be there, though the joy of that salvation be gone, co- 
venant relation may continue without comfortable satis- 
faction; " why hast thou forsaken me?" saith Christ 
and David his type, " yet my God still." * Christians, 
you are not to trust to present feelings ; David doth 
not say, make me to feel, but hear joy and gladness,-f- 
saith one, because sense or feeling is of no worth of 
itself, except first we hear it in a promise, that is a fancy 
which is felt and not heard from God, and we are to build 
upon a word of promise, even when we want the feel- 
ing of comfort ; it is not safe altogether to lean upon 
former experiences only, though these are good second- 
ary helps, yet our primary and principle foundation is 
God in a promise, as our God in covenant. Let a dark 
and troubled spirit read, study, and practice that choice 
instruction, Isaiah 1. 10, " Trust in the name of the 
Lord," there is enough in God's name to answer all 
doubts, read it, Exod. xxxiv. 5 — 7 ; mercy there an- 

* Psalm xxii. 1. t Psalm li. 8. 


swers to our misery, grace to our unworthiness, long- 
suffering to our continued apostacy ; goodness answers 
our vileness, truth and faithfulness answer to our cove- 
nant breach and falsehood ; God keeps covenant, though 
we break it, yea, God keeps covenant with us though 
we are apt to think he breaks it. David thought God's 
mercy was clean gone, and that his promise failed for 
evermore, but he was convinced at last that that appre- 
hension was his infirmity, Psalm lxxvii. 8 — 10. There- 
fore let a clouded Christian in his blackest desertions, 
lift up his eyes and heart to these sure mercies, and pon- 
der thus : " It is true my soul is dark, and God with- 
draws, it is a night of great affliction, but was it never 
day with thee, O my soul ? hath not the blessed day- 
star of grace risen in thy heart ? hath not God united 
thee to Jesus Christ ? did he never give thee the earnest 
of his Spirit ? didst thou never feel the stirrings of its 
graces, or the solace of its comforts ? Reflect upon 
thy former state, or rather study the freeness and ful- 
ness of gospel grace. What though I be without any 
sensible feelings of God's grace, or shillings of his coun- 
tenance ? is not my life hid with Christ in God, even 
sometimes from mine own eyes as well as from others ? 
may not the sun be under a cloud ? shall I say my 
Father doth not love me, because he doth not always 
dandle me upon his knee, and evidence his love to me 
in sweet embraces ? I am resolved to cleave unto him 
though he kill me, and to believe in him though I can- 
not see him ; I will venture my weary soul upon his 
free grace in Christ ; the covenant is firm, its mercies 
are sure — there is hope in the God of Israel ; it may 
be he will cast a propitious look on a weary soul, how 
ever I am resolved to lie at his feet, and exercise affi- 
ance and dependence on his immutable promise, whe- 


ther he ever shine upon my soul or not" — this will bring 
a good issue. 

7. The last case wherein a Christian is to improve 
these sure mercies of David is in the hour and on the 
approach of death, when that grim Serjeant looks upon 
us with his ghastly face, and arrests us with his cold 
hand, then mercy will stand us in stead, and sure mer- 
cies will be our sweetest cordial ; these mercies remove 
the sting of death, perfume the grave, make way for 
the gracious soul to take its flight to glory, so that death 
is now become the Christian's friend and servant, rest 
and interest, conquest and crown. The apostle doth 
therefore reckon up death as one part of the saint's in- 
ventory, 1 Cor. iii. 21, 22, " All things are yours, whe- 
ther Paul or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or 
death, or things present, or things to come, all are 

yours ." This is the fullest, longest, surest title ; 

here is a sufficient enumeration, nothing can be want- 
ing either in the mercies ensured, or manner of ensur- 
ing, or the duration ; it is to all eternity, and it is the 
best and clearest tenure, in capite, in the head, Christ ; 
it is both by purchase and by conquest, nothing is 
wanting to make these mercies sure for ever, for death 
which dissolves all other bonds of relation doth more 
firmly and closely unite God and genuine believers; it 
is as a porter to let them into their Father's house ; a 
divine limbeck* to purify and prepare them for glory; 
and a voice which calls to the believer, saying, come 
up hither ; in this life souls are but espoused to Christ, 
after death they are presented to him, and the marriage 
is consummated;! here we are absent from our husband, 
while present in the body, but it is more desirable to be 
absent from the body and present with the Lord, and 

* Alembic or Still. t 2 Cor. xi. 2. 


this takes place on a dissolution of the earthly house of 
this tabernacle ; so that hereby death becomes again, 
and brings believers to their proper home ; * and why 
should we be afraid of a stingless serpent, or helpful 
servant, that doth us the greatest kindness ? why are 
believers afraid to die ? why do they not rather say 
as a good man did, [egredere, anima, egredere'] go 
forth, my soul, go forth, and meet thy dearly beloved. 
But we need go no further to prove either the immor- 
tality of the soul, or the advantage of death, than the 
subject we are upon, even these sure mercies of David; 
for they continue to David even when he is laid in the 
grave, therefore our Saviour proves the resurrection 
from the covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, 
because it is a perpetual covenant, a covenant of salt ; f 
and thus runs the argument : God is the God of the 
living and not of the dead, therefore these patriarchs 
are living and have an existence, because he hath made 
a covenant with them ; \ otherwise if these arise not, 
then must the covenant, of necessity, cease ; but the 
covenant endures for ever, therefore those with whom 
he makes the covenant must live for ever, since God 
calls himself their God, even after they are laid in their 
graves; || therefore, let Christians rest in hope, when 
they are laying down their heads in the grave, for the 
Scripture saith, "the righteous have hope in their death ;" 
the covenant abides firm still — the mercies thereof die 
not when the body dies. The heathens themselves 
saw this. Socrates saith, " the swan was dedicated to 
Apollo, because she sung sweetly before her death ;" 
and the Romans, when their great men died, and when 
their bodies were burnt to ashes, caused an eagle to fiy 
and mount aloft, to signify that the soul was immortal. 

* 2 Cor. v. 1, 2, 0, 8. Phil. i. 21. t Numb, xviii. 19. 

X Matt. xxii. 31, 32. || Exod. iii- 6. 


And shall not the children of promise sing cheerfully 
when their souls are ready to mount up to eternal man- 
sions ? I confess I am really ashamed when I read 
Cicero, that any who call themselves Christians should 
dispute against the immortality of the soul, when he 
brings such arguments and authors to assert it ; but I 
am much more ashamed that any real saints should 
shrink with fears of death, when even that poor hea- 
then hath said so much to produce contempt of it.* 
Let Christians learn something from heathens. Many 
passages might be adduced for this purpose. I have 
subjoined a few ; a world more of instances might 
be brought out of heathen authors to shame pro- 
fessed Christians, that have a higher sort of argu- 
ments against the fear of death, yet the sense of 
covenant relation is the strongest, and the sureness of 
covenant mercies is of singular use to mitigate those 
bitter pangs, when the king of terrors doth appear in 
the most formidable manner, and strikes his last stroke 
with the most terrible effect. Truly I may, with Mr. 
Dodd, call death the friend of grace, though it be the 
enemy of nature ; our Saviour hath plucked out its 
sting and altered its very essence. I shall conclude 

* Cicero Tunc Quccst. lib. \, D< Contemnenda Morte : Maximum 
verb argumentum est, naturam ipsam de immortalitate animorum 
tacitam judicare, quod omnibus curse sunt, et maxime quidem, 
quae post mortem futura sint. Serit arbores qua? alteri saeculo 

prosint quid procreatio liberorum, quid propagatio nominis, 

quid adoptiones filiorum, quid testamentorum diligentia, quid ipsa 
sepulchrorum monumenta, quid elogia significant, nisi nos futura 

significant, nisi nos futura etiam cogitare ? Nemo unquam sine 

magna spe immortalitatis se pro patria ofFeret ad mortem. — And 
against fear of death, he adds : Acherontia templa, alta Orci, pal- 
lida lethi, obmibila, obsita tenebris loca, non pudet philosophum 

in eo gloriari, quod haec non timeat. Itaque non deterret 

sapientem mors, quo? propter incertos casus qubtidie imminet et 
propter brevitatem vitae nunquam longe potest abesse. 


this branch with a poem of divine Herbert's called 
Death. * 

Death, thou wast once an uncouth, hideous thing, 

Nothing but bones, 

The sad effect of sadder groans, 
Thy mouth was open, but thou couldst not sing. 

For we consider'd thee as at some six, 

Or ten years hence, 

After the loss of life and sense, 
Flesh being turn'd to dust, and bones to sticks : 

We look'd on this side of thee shooting short, 

Where we did find 

The shells of fledg'd souls left behind, 
Dry dust, which sheds no tears, but may extort. 

But since our Saviour's death did put some blood 

Into thy face, 

Thou art grown fair and full of grace, 
Much in request, much sought for as a good. 

For we do now behold thee gay and glad, 

As at dooms-day ; 

When souls shall wear their new array, 
And all thy bones with beauty shall be clad. 

Therefore we can go die as sleep, and trust 

Half that we have, 

Unto an honest, faithful grave, 
Making our pillows either down or dust. 

Fourthly, An answer may be given to this question, 
How a believer, who is interested in these mercies, is to 
conduct himself? Though this be a necessary point, 
yet I must cut short on it, having insisted too long on 
the former particulars. 

1. Believe and receive these mercies. " This is a 

faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Jesus 

Christ came into the world to save sinners." — 1 Tim. 

i. 15. Is it the proposition only that is to be credited, 

* The Church, page 180. 


or embraced ? Is it not Christ and the rest of the co- 
venant mercies held forth in this precious maxim, which 
is the sweetest flower in the garden of Scripture, the 
choicest pearl in the word, and the most glorious star 
in the whole constellation of gospel promises ? Who 
dares to doubt what God hath spoken ? and who dares 
to refuse what God doth offer ? He is so wise that he 
cannot be deceived, and he is so good that he will not 
deceive you ; you may better believe God than your 
own sense;* give glory to him by embracing these mer- 
cies, deny or dispute no longer. Be not ungrateful for 
the grace of God, who has condescended so low as to 
give you evidence, on purpose that you may believe. 
2. Improve these sure mercies, make use of them in 
all your particular necessities. If a man have a good 
spring he will make it serve for the convenient supply 
of many household wants, and convey it through 
several channels for a variety of uses ; so a Christian 
must branch out the several mercies of the covenant to 
his diversified circumstances, as enlightening mercy for 
his darkness, enlivening mercy for his dullness, par- 
doning mercy in case of guiltiness, purifying mercy in 
case of strong corruptions — because God's grace is 
sufficient for us in all exigencies;! in all storms there is 
sea room enough in God's infinite mercy for faith's full 
sail ; our God supplies all wants ; { religion is a spi- 
ritual bond to unite God and the soul together, and a 
Christian in the exercise of his religion singles out that 
in God which is needful for him on all ocsasions. The 
life of faith is a retailing of divine benefits ; as the co- 

* De iis, quse cognovit futuris et quae adhuc sub visum non 
cadunt, tam certain habet persuasionem cognitione praeditus, ut ea 
magis adesse putet, quam quae sunt praesentia. — Clem. Alex. 
Strom, lib. 7- 

t 2 Cor. xii. 9. + Phil. iv. 19. 


venant of grace gives a believer a title thereto, as it 
were, by wholesale. O let the heirs of promise improve 
these mercies. 

3. Be content with these mercies. They are sufficient 
to make you happy ; seek not further to eke out your 
contentment in the creature, as though you had not 
enough in having these. What a strange expression 
is that of good Abraham, Gen. xv. 2, " Lord God," 
saith he, " what wilt thou give me seeing I go child- 
less ?" Give him ! why had not God given him 
himself, and was not that an exceeding great reward ? 
verse 1 ; and could Abraham desire more ? O yes ; all 
this is nothing unless God give him a child — he takes 
no notice of this in comparison of a son. This is just 
our case. Let God give us himself and covenant mer- 
cies, we can overlook all these in our distempered fits, 
and look upon them as of no worth if he deny us 
some outward comfort that our hearts are set upon ; 
but this is our sin and shame — cannot God himself con- 
tent us ? can we go from covenant mercies to mend 
ourselves with common mercies? nay, do we not thereby 
weaken our interest, disparage our portion, and pro- 
voke God to withdraw his help from us ? Is not God 
a jealous God, and can he endure to have any rival in 
your affections. 

4. Walk worthy of these sure mercies. O do not 
discredit them by your unsuitable carriage.* Live after 
the rate of heirs of promise ; walk exactly, spiritually, 
self-denyingly and soul-resignedly ; God hath given 
himself and these best blessings to you in mercy, O give 
yourselves and best services to God in a way of duty ! 
if you give yourselves to God as a whole burnt offering, 

* Cum id praestiterit gratia tit moreremur peccato, quid aliud 
faciemus si vivemus in eo, nisi ut gratiae simus ingrati. — Aug. de 
Sp. el I At. c. 6. 


it is but a reasonable service, for he hath given you 
more than you can give back to him ; * walk holily, 
steadily, cheerfully as becomes these mercies, do much 
for God who hath done so much for you ; let nothing 
discourage or disquiet your spirits, since you have mer- 
cies, sure mercies to lodge in your bosoms. Why 
should that soul be sad that enjoy eth an interest in 
the Father of consolations, the Purchaser of salvation, 
and comforting Spirit ? Sure mercies are calculated to 
create solid comfort and assurance for ever. O Chris- 
tians, learn the lessons much inculcated, to walk worthy 
of your vocation and relation to God and his kingdom.f 

5. Act as under obligation for these mercies. They 
cost Christ dear to purchase them, do not you think 
any thing too dear to do or endure for promoting or 
preserving of them ; kindness is very endearing to a 
grateful heart ; your pains cannot be spent to better 
purpose than in the cause of God ; we must always be 
paying our debt, though we can never fully pay it, we 
must be behindhand with God, but let a soul under 
the sense of mercies spend and be spent for God. You 
sow not in a barren soil; as showers of mercy promise 
your fruitfulness, so an abundant crop of mercy will 
be your sure reward, and in your saddest seasons you 
shall have the richest harvest of mercy. If Christians 
knew what grapes of celestial Canaan they should taste 
in their wilderness sufferings for Christ, they would 
not be so afraid of them as they are. These mercies 
run most freely and sweetly when other streams run 
dry. Fear not sufferings, mercies will meet and sup- 
port you. 

6. Plead these mercies for your posterity ; though 
you should leave your children thousands a-year, yet, 
these covenant mercies will be the best portion ; you 

* Rom. xii. 1. t Col. i. 10. Eph. iv. 1. 1 Thess. ii. 12. 


cannot ensure your estates to your heirs, but these are 
sure mercies ; so that if you take hold of God's cove- 
nant, plead it, and live up to it, you shall have the 
benefit of these yourselves, and some, at least, of your 
children and successors shall enjoy the same mercies, 
for God will remember these unto a thousand genera- 
tions : though he be not bound to every individual soul 
of your natural offspring, yet the Scripture fully shews 
that this is the surest way to obtain a portion for your 
children ; tell God they are more his than yours, you 
are but nurses for his children ; tell the Lord that you 
must die and leave them, but he lives for ever, and en- 
treat him to be their loving, everlasting Father ; tell 
him that though you leave them something in the 
world, yet that is neither adequate nor durable ; but 
these sure mercies will not fail them — and comfort 
your hearts for your house and family with the last 
words of David, 2 Sam. xxiii. 5. O labour to transmit 
to future generations, your title to the favour of God, as 
the two tribes and a half did to future ages by their 
altar Ed.— Josh. xxii. 24, 28. * 

7. Breathe after a full possession of these sure mer- 
cies, they are from everlasting to everlasting ; follow 
them to the spring in admiration and thankfulness, and 
follow this stream of covenant mercies to the ocean of 
eternity. Indeed, the streams are, in time, to the sons 
and daughters of men, but the origin is without a be- 
ginning in God's eternal thoughts of love, and the issue 
is without end in his everlasting embraces in heaven. 
O long to see the end : if these mercies be so sweet 
here, what will they be in heaven, in their proper ele- 
ment, as it were ! O that blessed state, that paradise 
of pleasure, that joy of our Lord, Abraham's bosom, a 
house not made with hands, a city with out foundations, 

* See 1 Chron. xxviii. 9. 


a crown, a kingdom ! such things are the happy result of 
these sure mercies of David. Do these mercies bring 
forth such felicity ? O happy lot, that my soul hath 
an interest in these sure mercies ! but how long shall 
my soul be kept from the full possession of these 
mercies ? when shall I come and appear before God ? 
how long shall I sojourn in Meshech, and be detained 
from my Father's plenteous table above ? shall a cap- 
tive long for his deliverance, and a young heir for his 
full inheritance ? and shall not my soul long to be with 
Christ above ? shall my body be so weary, and hath 
not my soul more cause to be weary of its burden and 
absence from home ? shall creatures groan, and shall 
not I, much more, to be delivered into the glorious 
liberty of the sons of God ? * shall the Spirit and the 
bride say come, and shall not my soul that hears these 
things, echo, come ? shall he say, himself, I come 
quickly, and shall I not answer, Amen, even so come 
Lord Jesus ? f Come, Lord, I long to see the end of 
these wonders of grace ; I much desire to enjoy those 
mercies which eye hath not seen, ear heard, or heart 
conceived, after another manner than here I am capa- 
ble. Come, my God, I beseech thee shew me thy face ; 
and because none can see thy face and live, let me die 
that I may see thy face, and be swallowed up in the 
ocean of mercy, whither these covenant mercies flow. 
Dear Lord, either come down to me, or take me up to 
thee ; " make haste my beloved, and be thou like a 
roe, or a young hart upon the mountains of spices, t 

* Rom. viii. 19—23, t Rev. xxii. 17—20. $ Song viii. 14. 



VII. From the subject which has been discussed, 
encouragement, comfort and refreshment may be de- 
rived. Here is an abundant spring opened to revive 
all the heirs of promise ; but because I want room, 
and because much of that which hath been already 
delivered, tends this way, I shall rather improve it, to 
excite the people of God and heirs of promise to the 
great and delightful duty of thankfulness. 

And here I might enlarge upon the nature, use, com- 
fort and acceptance of the duty of praise in the ac- 
count of God and men ; but I must wave that, and 
only insist on some few particulars that concern the 
nature of these mercies, which may engage us to be 
thankful, which are these : 

1. They are free mercies ; they may be had without 
money or price, saith this prophet — free grace was the 
fountain, cause, and origin of these ; he had mercy be- 
cause he would have mercy ; nothing moved his bowels 
of mercy on our part — free grace had no impulsive 
cause but itself. When you are to purchase these 
mercies, the price is fallen to just nothing — he gives 
liberally and upbraids not.* O what cause of thank- 
fulness and admiration ! 

2. They are costly mercies. This doth not contra- 

* Quanti, O homines, profiteremini vos esse empturos, si salus 
seterna venderetur ? ne si Pactolum quiclem, qui totus aureo, ut est 
in fabulis fluit fluento, quis dederit, pro salute justum pretium nu- 
meraverit. — Clem. Alex. Adm. ad Gentcs. 


diet the former — they are costly to Jesus Christ, but 
free to us ; they are purchased with the warmest blood 
in the veins of the Son of God ; yea, he thought his 
dearest heart blood well bestowed to purchase these sure 
mercies ; he sees of the travail of his soul and is well 
satisfied ; the fruits of his purchase are the joys of his 
heart ; he thinks these worth all his pains, pain and 
suffering ; God the Father is well pleased and accounts 
these mercies a valuable fruit of his son's purchase — 
and shall not we be thankful ? 

3. They are extensive mercies, deep, high and broad, 
they have all the dimensions of greatness, Psalm xxxvi. 
5, 6 ; these mercies can fetch up a drooping, despairing 
soul out of the grave, yea, out of hell — be the soul sunk 
as low as sin can depress it in this world, these mercies 
can recover it, and raise it out of the grave and pit of 
silence, and save to the uttermost.* O what a long arm 
of mercy hath been reached forth unto your troubled 
hearts in your low estate ! and doth not this deserve 
thankfulness ? 

4. They are designed mercies, purposely designed, 
aimed and intended to set forth the riches of grace the 
infinite contrivance of the blessed God, to magnify the 
riches of his love to sinners. It is true, God intended 
to set off his power, wisdom, justice and truth, but he 
hath magnified his mercy above all the rest of his 
name ; it is beyond the greatest of his works, all the 
attributes of God are set very high, but mercy sits on 
the chief throne; he declares to angels and saints 
what he can do for wretched man. O advance free 

5. They are dignifying mercies. Such honour have 

* Aqua? quo sunt profundiores,, eo sunt puriores, quoniam et 
crassa et terrea materia in profundum depressa est — hinc profun- 
ditatem aquarum bibere. Ezek. xxxiv. 18. 


all his saints. O what a height doth God raise his co- 
venant children to ! he deals bountifully with them ; by 
these covenant mercies was David raised up on high, * 
and therefore acknowledged^ that God " regarded him 
according to the estate of a man of high degree," 1 Chron. 
xvii. 17; and truly it is the highest preferment in the 
world to partake of these sure mercies; we have, there- 
fore, great cause of thankfulness. 

6. They are sanctifying mercies. They season all 
other mercies, and make common mercies to become 
covenant mercies ; yea, they make crosses, mercies ; 
they perfume the most distressing grief, and are like 
Moses's tree that sweetened the waters of Marah. If you 
pour a pail of water on the floor, it seems a little sea, 
but pour it into the ocean it is swallowed up and seems 
nothing ; so afflictions out of the covenant are intoler- 
able, but as in covenant love they are inconsiderable, 
the depth of mercies drowns the depth of miseries — and 
is not this ground of thankfulness ? 

7. They are separating mercies. Hereby are God's 
children distinguished from all the people that are upon 
the face of the earth, even in their finding grace in 
God's sight, and having his presence with them, and 
making his goodness pass before them. * If there be 
any discriminating mercies for any of the children of 
men, as protection, provision, direction ; these covenant 
mercies usher them in, and portion them out to the 
heirs of promise — and if you partake of them and find 
them to be good for you, then bless God. 

8. They are sealing mercies ; they signify, exhibit, 
and represent God's love to the soul. Wherever these 
mercies are laid up in the breast of a sinner, he is the 
Jedidiah, or beloved of God — they testify such a per- 
son's relation to God, and God's affection for him ; 

* 2 Sam. xxiii. 1. t Exod. xxxiii. 10 — 19. 

VOL. II. 2 K 


wicked men are strangers to covenant love. God's 
people are the proper subjects of these endeared 
thoughts of his heart — and are you of that number ? 
O give God the glory of this mercy. 

9. They are comprehensive mercies — they are ex- 
ceeding capacious, and embrace all the heirs of promise, 
not a gracious soul, though ever so poor, is left out, 
yea, they reach every Christian's state, case, exigency, 
and necessity. Let doubts be what they may, let fears, 
falls, faults be sad, and soul overwhelming, yet these 
sure mercies will answer all ; they are commensurate 
and proportioned to all conditions of soul, body, estate, 
or relation. O bless God for them. 

10. They are diversified mercies ; they have respect 
to all the good that God promiseth, or a soul needeth, 
peace and pardon, grace and glory, holiness and happi- 
ness, all our fresh springs are herein, the good things 
of this life and of a better : many are the precious 
things put forth by the sun of righteousness in a cove- 
nant way. O what cause have we to bless God and 
admire free grace, that hath not only given us the spi- 
ritual good things of Ids kingdom — righteousness, peace 
and joy in the Holy Ghost, but temporal good things 
by a sure and pleasing tenure ; so that these sure mer- 
cies of the covenant ensure unto us the temporal things 
that are good for us ; and also after another and better 
manner than any uncovenanted persons, though ever 
so great, can enjoy them ; for, in a covenant way, be- 
lievers do enjoy common mercies, 

(1.) More refinedly, taken off the dregs of cares and 
sorrows, Prov. x. 22 ; a saint's bread, though never so 
coarse, is of the otf the wheat, and he is satisfied 

with lioney out of the rock ; * yea, they come 

(2.) More substantially : other comforts are but seem- 
ing comforts ; as man walketh in a vain show, so what 

* Psalm Ixxxi. 16. 


lie enjoys is only a dream, but outward comforts coming 
through the blood of Christ are solid, substantial re- 
freshments ;* again, they come 

(3.) More agreeably : they have not those prickles 
and stings that worldly things have for natural men. 
O the peace and quietness that a Christian enjoys with 
outward comforts ; and further, temporal things come 
to a child of God, 

(4.) More serviceably : the creature doth homage to 
its maker and master's children, so that what they have 
is for their good and doth them good ; and comforts 
also come, 

(5.) More satisfyingly : a godly man is more contented 
with his little than the men of the world can be with 
abundance ; " a little that the righteous hath, is better 
than the riches of many wicked," Psalm xxxvii. 16 ; 
and then a child of God enjoys his comforts in a cove- 
nant way, 

(6.) More safely : he needs not fear want, " bread 
shall be given him, his waters shall be sure," Isaiah 
xxxiii. 16 ; God is the Christian's purse-bearer, and it 
is in safer hands than in his own, and they are 

(7.) More lasting : we shall have temporal mercies 
as long as we need them, and when we need them not, 
they shall be swallowed up in eternal enjoyments. O, 
therefore, let the saints of God be truly thankful — let 
the high praises of God be in their mouths ; this is the 
chief rent and reasonable tribute that God expects for 
these sure mercies ; sacrifice these sacrifices of thanks- 
giving, take this cup of salvation, and give God the 
praise that is due unto his name. Begin that work 
here in time, which shall be fully performed by the 
ransomed of the Lord to all eternity. This, this shall 
be the burden of the saint's triumphant song in the 
heavenly mansions; that glorious palace shall ring and 

* Luke viii. 18. Psalm xxxIn. <>" 


echo with the blessed exclamation, Mercy ! mercy en- 
diireth for ever ! free grace laid the foundation, and 
grace only will bring forth the top-stone of saints' glory. 
O how will God be admired by and in all, who believe 
at that day ! Well, sirs, begin those hosannas here, 
which will be seconded with hallelujah's hereafter ; 
speak well of your gracious God, admire his new cove- 
nant design, and let him have all the glory of this 
blessed contrivance — so shall you accomplish God's end, 
and evidence your covenant interest in these sure mer- 
cies of David. 

Thus, though these divine graces which adorn the 
temple of a Christian's breast do sometimes disappear, 
and sin costs the soul some tears, yet the gracious soul 
hath abundant ground of thankfulness on the whole. 
Take it as expressed in divine Herbert's Poem on the 
Church Floor. 

Mark you the floor ? that square and speckled stone, 

Which looks so firm and strong, is — Patience ; 
And the other black and grave, wherewith each one 

Is chequered all along— Humility; 
The gentle rising, which, on either hand, 

Leads to the choir above, is — Confidence. 
But the sweet cement, which, in one sure band, 
Ties the whole frame, is — Love and Charity. 

Hither, sometimes, sin steals and stains 

The marble's neat and curious veins ; 
But all is cleansed when the marble weeps : • 

Sometimes, death puffing at the door, 

Blows all the dust about the floor ; 
But while he thinks to spoil the room, he sweeps. 

Blest be the Architect, whose art 

Could build so strong in a weak heart. 


John Vint, Printer, Idle. 


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