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Full text of "The whole works of the Rev. John Howe, M.A., with a memoir of the author"

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ON MATT. 25. 21. 


PHILIPP. 1. 23. 


JOHN 11. 16. 


1 TIM. 4. 16. 


ACTS 5. 20. 



Uontion : 





. Benslpy, Bull Ccurt, Fleet Street. 






gn Ctoo Creattses, 

On Psalm 17. 15. and Psalm 89. 47. 

When he shall appear, we shall be like him, for we shall see 
him as he is 1. John 3. 2. 

xaxa a >voov sv iois tgveQizi rov E vnrm <pvcriv, taxi rove TOV 
Trtpiirohet t% avafx^y-. A*o xa< freipoto'Qizi ^jfn EVVSV^E sx.eta's 
on raxifoi, 3?vyy 5s of^oiueris eu KIZTX TO Svv&rov, o^oiua-ts <)e 

It is impossible that vice should find a place in the abode of the Gods; but it ne 
cessarily adheres to a mortal nature, and to the present world. It is therefore 
our duty to shun it with the utmost eagerness, or, in other words to seek the high 
est possible resemblance to God, which resemblance consists in rectitude, holiness 
*nd wisdom* Plat, in Theaet. 


1 am not at all solicitous, that the world should know the history of 
the conception of this treatise. If there be any thing that shall re. 
compense the pains of such as may think fit to give themselves the 
trouble of perusing it, in the work itself, I should yet think it too 
much an undervaluing of them, if I did reckon the minuter circum 
stances relating thereto, fit matter for their entertainment. Nor am 
I more concerned to have it known what were the inducements to the 
.publication of it. Earnest protestations and remonstrations of our 
good intentions in such undertakings, as they leave men still at li 
berty to believe or doubt at their pleasure; so they gain us little if 
they be believed. It is no easy matter, to carry one even, constant 
tenour of spirit through a work of time. Nor is it more easy to pass 
a settled invariable judgment concerning so variable a subject ; when 
a heart that may seem wholly framed and set for God this hour, shall 
look so quite like another thing the next, and change figures and 
postures almost as often as it doth thoughts. And if a man should 
be mistaken in judging himself, it would little mend the matter, to 
have deceived others also into a good opinion of him. But if he can 
approve himself to God in the simplicity of an honest and undeceived 
heart, The peace that ensues, is a secret between God and him. 
7-hey are theatre enough to one another, as he (Seneca) said to his 
friend. It is an inclosed pleasure: a joy which the stranger cannot 
intermeddle with. 

It is therefore any man's concernment herein rather to satisfy him 
self than the world. And the world's rather to understand the design 
of the work than the author ; and whither it tends, rather than where 
to he meant it. And it is obvious enough, to what good purposes 
discourses of this nature may serve. This is, in the design of it, 


wholly practical ; hath little or nothing to do with disputation, if 
there be any whose business it. is to promote a private, divided in^ 
terest ; or who place the sum of their religion in an inconsiderable 
and doubtful opinion; it doth not unhallow their altars, nor offer 
any affront to their idol. It intends no quarrel to any contending, 
angry party : but deals upon things in the substance whereof chns- 
tians are at a professed agreement. And hath therefore the greater 
probability of doing good to some, without the offence of any. It is 
indeed equally matter of complaint and wonder, that men can find 
so much leisure to divert from such things, wherein there is so much 
both of* importance and pleasure, unto (what one would think should 
have little of temptation or allurement in it) contentious jangling. It 
might rather be thought its visible fruits and tendencies should ren 
der it the most dreadful thing to every serious beholder. What 
tragedies hath it wrought in the Christian church ! Into how weak 
and languishing a condition hath it brought the religion of professed 
Christians ! Hence have risen the intemperate, preternatural heats and 
angers that have spent its strength and spirits, and make it look with 
so meagre and pale a face. We have had a greater mind to dispute 
than live ; and to contend about what we l^now not, than to practise 
the far greater things we know ; and which more directly tend to 
nourish and maintain the divine life. The author of that ingenious 
sentence, pruritus disputandi scabies Ecclesice, the itch of dis 
puting is the distemper of the church, (whoever he were) hath 
h'tly expressed what is the noisome product of the itch of dis 
puting. It hath begot the ulcerous tumours, which, besides their 
own offensive soreness, drain the body, and turn what should nou 
rish that, into nutriment to themselves. And its effects are not more 
grievous than the pleasures which it affects and pursues are uncouth 
and unnatural : ut ulcera quccdam nocituras manus appctunt et 
tacta gaudent, et fcedam corporum scabiem delectat quicquid ex- 
asperat : Non aliter dixerim his mentibus in cjuas voluptates ve- 
lut mala ulcera eruperu?it, voluptati esse laborem, vcxationem- 
gue : as ulcera of a certain kind invite and are pleased idth 
the touch of a rough and injurious hand, and as that only gra 
tifies which irritates a body covered over zcith a loathsome erup 
tion, so to those minds which are afflicted with the noxious ulcer 
of forbidden pleasure, labour and vexation are the only delight. 
Sen: de tranquillitate animi. That only pleases which exaspe 
rates, (as the moralist aptly expresses some like disaffection of dis 
eased minds.) What to a sound spirit would be a pain, is to these 
a pleasure. 

Which i,- indeed, the triumph of the disease, that it adds unto tor 
ment, reproach and mockery, and imposes upon men by so ridicu- 
. lous a delusion (while they are made to take pleasure in punishing 
themselves) that even the most sober can scarce look on in a fitter 
posture, than with a compassionate smile. All which were yet some 
what more tolerable, if that imagined, vanishing pleasure were not 
the whule of their gain j or if it were to be hoped, that so great a 


present real pain and smart, should be recompensed with as real a 
consequent fruit and advantage. But we know, that generally by 
how much any thing is more disputable, the less it is necessary or 
conducible to the Christian life. God hath graciously provided 
that vrhat we are to live by, should not cost us so dear. And possi 
bly, as there is less occasion of disputing* about the more momentous 
things of religion ; so there may be somewhat more of modesty and 
awe in reference to what is so confessedly venerable and sacred, 
(though too many are over bold even here also) than so foolishly to 
trifle with such things. Therefore more commonly, where that hu 
mour prevails, men divert from those plainer things, with some 
slighter and superficial reverence to them, but more heartily esteem 
ing them insipid and jejune, because they have less in them to gra 
tify that appetite, and betake themselves to such things about which 
they may more plausibly contend ; and then, what pitiful trifles of 
tentimes take up their time and thoughts ; questions and problems 
of like weighty importance, very often, with those which, the above- 
named author (Sen. de Brev. vit.) tells us, this disease among the 
Greeks prompted them to trouble themselves about, as, " What 
number of rowers Ulysses had ? which was written first, the Iliad or 
the Odysses, &c. ? So that (as he saith) they spent their lives very 
operously doing nothing. Their conceits being such, that if they 
kept them to themselves, they could yield them no fruit ; and if 
they published them to others, they should not seem thereby the 
more learned, but the more troublesome," to this purpose he truly 
speaks. And is it not to be resented, that men should sell away the 
solid strength and vital joy which a serious soul would find in sub 
stantial religion, for such toys ! Yea, and not only famish themselves 
but trouble the world, and embroil the church with their imperti- 
nencies ! If a man be drawn forth to defend an important truth 
against an injurious assault, it were treacherous self-love to purchase 
his own peace by declining it. Or if he did sometimes turn his 
thoughts to some of our petty questions, that with many are so hot 
ly agitated, for recreation-sake, or to try his wit and exercise his 
reason, without stirring his passions to the disturbance of others or 
himself; it were an innocent divertiscmcnt, and the best purpose that 
things of that nature are capable of serving. But when contention, 
becomes a man's element, and he cannot live out of that fire, strains 
his wit and racks his invention to find matter of quarrel ; is resol 
ved, nothing said or done by others shall please him, only because 
he means to please himself in dissenting; disputes only that he may 
dispute, and loves dissension for itself : this is the unnatural hu 
mour that hath so unspeakably troubled the church, jAl dispirited 
religion, and filled men's souls with \\ind aiid vanity ; yra,, with fire 
and lury. This hath made Christians gladiators, and the Christian 
world a clamorous theatre, while men have equally affected to con 
tend, and to make ostentation of their ability so to do. 

And, surely, as it is highly pleasurable to retire oneself, so it is 
to call a^ide others out of this noise and throng, to cpnsi- 


der silently and feed upon the known and agreed things of our reli 
gion ; which immediately lead to both the duties and delights of it. 
Among which there are none more evident and undoubted, none less 
entangled with controversy, none more profitable and pleasant than 
the future blessedness of the righteous, which this discourse treats 
of. The last end is a matter so little disputable, that it is common 
ly thought (which is elsewhere more distinctly spoken to) not to be 
the object of election, and so not of deliberation consequently, but 
of simple intention only, because men are supposed to be generally 
agreed us touching that. And the knowledge and intention of it is 
apparently the very soul of religion ; animates, directs, enlivens, and 
sweetens the whojie thereof. Without which, religion, were the vain 
est, most unsavoury thing in the world. For what where there left 
of it, but an empty unaccountable formality, aseries of spiritless and 
merely scenical observances and actions without a design? For where 
as all men's actions else, mediately tend to the last end, but that not 
being in view with the most, they pitch upon other intervenient ends; 
'which, though abstracted from the last, should not be ; yet they are 
actually to them the reason of their actions, aud infuse a vigor and 
liveliness into them : religion aiming immediately at the last end, 
that being taken away, hath no rational end or design at all. And 
it cannot but be an heartless business, with great solemnity, in a con 
tinued course, to do nothing but professedly trifle, or keep up a cus 
tom of certain solemn performances which have no imaginable scope 
or end. And because the more clearly this our last end is under 
stood, the more powerfully and sweetly it attracts and moves the 
soul, this treatise endeavours to give as plain and positive a state and 
notion of it as the text insisted on, compared with other scriptures, 
would afford to so weak an eye. 

And because men are so apt to abuse themselves with the vain and 
self-contradicting hopes of attaining; this end, without ever having 
their spirits framed to it, or walking in the way that leads thereto, 
as if they could come to heaven by chance, or without any design or 
eare of theirs; the proportion is endeavoured to be shewn, between 
that divine likeness, in the vision and participation whereof this bles 
sedness, consists, and the righteousness that disposes and leads to it. 
Which may it be monitory to the ungodly and prophane, who hate 
and scorn the likeness of God wherever they behold it. And let me 
tell such from (better-instructed) pagans, Nihil est Deo similius aut 
gratius quam vir animo perfect e bonus, 6fc. that there is nothing 
more like or more acceptable to God,than a man that is in the tem 
per of his soul truly good, who excels other men, as he is himself 
excelled (pardon his hyperbole) by the immortal God. Apul. de Deo 
Socratis- Inter bonos viros ac Deum amicia est, condliante virtute 
amidtiam dico? etiam necessitudo,et simllitudo, $c. that between 
God and good men there is a friendship, by means of virtue ; a 
friendship, yea, a kindred, a likeness; in as much truly as the good 
man differs fromGod but in time(here sprinkle a grain ort\vo}being 
his disciple, imitator and very off-spring. (Sea. dePro J Nj*er 


o 9so: O7<xv TIS vsy*? Toy sxvlu o/x,o<ov, n eirottwt TOV t&vl 

GW w /"// o/ indignation against such as 
reproach one that is like to him, or that praise one that is con- 
trarily affected (or unlike) ; but such is the good man (that is, he 
is one like God). A good man (as it shortly after follows) is the 
holiest thing in the world, and a wicked man the most polluted 
thing. - Plat, in Minoe. 

And let me warn such haters of holiness and holy men in the words 
of this author immediately subjoined ; TT ^ mx <p/>oo-a/, ivx /** 
a&puiros CM tzvSgutros, ets ypu A/o* vtov Xoyo; ^a/x,a^Tavj : u and this I 
say for this cause, that thou being but a man, the son of a man, 
no more offend in speaking against a hero, one who is a son 
of God. 

Methinks men should be ashamed to profess the belief of a life to 
come, while they cannot behold without indignation, nor mention 
but with derision, that holiness without which it can never be at 
tained, and which is indeed the seed and principle of the thing itself, 
But such are not likely much to trouble themselves with this dis 
course. There is little in it indeed of art and ornament to invite or 
gratify such as the subject itself invites not. And nothing at all but 
what was apprehended might be some way useful. The affectation 
of garnishing a margin with the names of authors, I have ever thought 
a vain pedantry ; yet have not declined the occasional use of a few 
that occurred. He that writes to the world, must reckon himself 
debtor to the wise and unwise. If what is done shall be found with 
any to have promoted its proper end ; his praises to God shall follow 
it {as his prayers do that it may) who professes himself, 

A well- wilier to the souls of men, 




JL ou whose hearts arc set on heaven, who are daily laying up a 
* rc> asure there, here is a welcome messenger, to tell you more than 
perhaps you have well considered, of the nature of your future bles 
sedness, and to illustrate the map of the land of promise, and to bring 
you another cluster of its grapes : here is a useful help to make you 
know that holiness doth participate of glory, and that heaven is at 
least virtually in the seed of grace. Though this life be properly 
called a life of faith, as contradistihct from the intuition and frui 
tion hereafter, as well as from the lower life of sense ; yet is it a 
great truth, and not sufficiently considered and improved, that we 
have here more than faith, to acquaint us with the blessedness ex 
pected. Between faith and glory, there is the spirit of holiness, the 
love of God, the heavenly desires, which are kindled by faith, and 
are those branches on which the happy flower and fruit must grow: 
they are the name and mark of God upon us: they are our earnest, 
our pledge and the first fruits. And is not this more than a word 
of promise only ? Therefore though all Christians must live by faith, 
marvel not that I tell you, that you may, you must have more than 
faith. Is not a pledge and earnest, a first-fruits more? Therefore 
have Christians, not only a Spirit to evidence their title, but also 
some foretaste of heaven itself. For faith in Christ is to recover us 
to God, and so much as we have of God, so much of fruition ; 
and so much as faith hath kindled in you of the love of God, so much 
foretaste you have of heaven ; for you are deceived, if you think, 
that any oue notion spcaketh more to you of heaven and of your ul 
timate end, than the love of God. And though no unso'Und ill- 
grounded faith will serve to cause this sacred love, yet when it is 
caused, it over-tops this cause ; and he that perceiveth the operations 
of a strong effectual love, hath an acquaintance with God and hea 
ven which is above that of believing. Faith seeth the feast, but 
love is the tasting of it. And therefore it is, that the holiest souls 
stick closest unto God, because (though their reasoning faculty may 
be defective) they know him by the highest and most tenacious kind 
ef knowledge which this world affordcth, (as I have lately shewed 



elsewhere). Here you have described to you, the true witness of 
the Spirit ; not that of supposed internal voices, which they are 
usually most taken up with, who have the smallest knowledge and 
f aith, and love, and the greatest self-esteem, or spiritual pride, with 
the strongest phantasies and passions : but the objective and the 
sealing testimony, the divine nature, the renewed image of God, 
\vhose children are known by being like to their heavenly Father, 
even by being holy as he is holy. This is the Spirit of adoption, by 
which we are inclined, by holy love to God and confidence in him, 
to cry Abba Father, and to fly unto him : the Spirit of sanctification 
is hereby in us the Spirit of adoption : for both signify but the giv 
ing us that love to God, which is the filial nature, and our Father's 

And this treatise doth happily direct thee to that faithful behold 
ing God in righteousness, which must here begin this blessed assi-> 
milation, which full intuition will for ever perfect. It is a happy 
sign that God is about to repair our ruins and divisions, when he 
stirreth up his servants to speak so much of heaven, and to call up 
the minds of impatient complainers, and contentious censurers, and 
ignorant self-conceited dividers, and of worldly, unskilful, and un 
merciful pastors, to look to that state where all the godly shall be 
one, and to turn those thoughts to the furtherance of holiness, to 
provoke one another to love and to good works, which too many lay 
out upon their hay and stubble, and to call men from judging and 
despising each other (and worse than both these) about their meats 
and drinks, and days, to study righteousness and peace, and joy in 
the holy Ghost. For he that in these things servcth Christ (in which 
his kingdom doth consist) is acceptable to God, and approved of 
men, that are wise and good. Let us therefore follow after the 
things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify 
another. While the contentious for meats will destroy the work of 
God, (Rom. 14. 17, 20.) the union between peace and holiness 
is so strict, that he that truly promoteth one promoteth both, 
Heb. 12. 14. Jam. 3. 17. The true way of our union is excel 
lently described. Eph. 4. 11, 16. If any plain, unlearned 

readers shall blame the accurateness of the stile, they must 
remember, that those persons have not the least need to hear of hea^ 
ven, and to be drawn up from the vanities of earth who cannot di 
gest a looser stile. As God hath endued the worthy author with a 
more than ordinary measure of judiciousness even soundness and ac 
curateness, of understanding, with seriousness, spirituality, and hea 
venly mind ; so we have for our common benefit, the effects of all these 
happy qualifications, in this judicious, heavenly discourse. And jT 
my recommendations may in any measure further your acceptance, 
improvements and practising of so edifying a treatise, it will answer 
the ends of him who waiteth with you in hope for the same salva 





As far me, I will behold thy face in righteousness : I 
shall be satisfied when I awake with thy likeness. 


I. A procmial discourse. II. A reflection upon some foregoing ver 
ses of the psalm, by way of introduction to the text. III. A con 
sideration of its somewhat various readings, and of its literal im 
portance, IV. A discussion of its real importance so far as is 
necessary to the settling the subject of the present discourse. 

I. npHE continual mixture of good and evil in this present state 
of things, with its uncertain fluctuations, and subjection 
to perpetual changes ; do naturally prompt a considering mind 
to the belief and hope of another, that may be both more per 
fect, and more permanent. For certainly it could never be a 
design adequate (or any way agreeable) to the divine wisdom 
and goodness, that the blessed God should raise such a thing as 
this lower creation out of nothing, only to give himself the tem 
porary pleasure of beholding the alternate joys and sorrows of 
(the best part thereof) his reasonable creature seated in it : nor 
a delight at all proportionable to an eternally happy Being,when 
he hath connaturalized such a creature to this sensible world ; 
only to take notice how variously the passions he hath planted 
in him, may be moved and stirred by the variety of occasions 
which he shall thence be presented with ; and what sudden and 
contrary impressions may be made upon his easy passive senses, 
by the interchanged strokes and touches of contrary objects : 


how quickly he can arise him into a transport of high content 
ment and pleasure, and then how soon he can again reduce him 
to a very paroxysm of anguish and despair. It would discover 
us to have very vile and low thoughts of God, if we did riot judge 
it altogether unanswerable to his perfections, to design no fur 
ther thing in creating this world, and placing such a creature as 
man in ir, than only to please himself for a while with such a 
spectacle, and then at last clear the stage, and shut up all again 
in an eternal, silent darkness. If we could suppose a man fur 
nished with such power, he would surely add little to the repu 
tation of his being wise or good beyond other men, by a design 
so to use it. Much less can we think it worthy of God to per 
petuate such a state of things as this, and continue a succession 
of such persons and actions as we now behold in the world, 
through eternal generations, only to perpetuate to himself the 
same pleasure in the exercise of his immense power upon crea 
ted natures, over which he Iiath so infinite advantage. 

And indeed notiiing can be more unconceivable, than that 
the great Creator and Author of all things, should frame a crea 
ture of so vast comprehension as the spirit of man, put into it a 
capacity of knowing and conversing with himself, give it some 
prospect of his own glory and blessedness; raise thereby, in many,, 
boundless unsatisfied desires after him, and unexpressible plea 
sure in the pre-conceived hope of being received into the com 
munion of that glory and blessedness ; and yet defeat and blast 
so great an expectation, by the unsuspected reducement of the 
very subject of it again to nothing. Yea, and that he should 
deal herein (as in that case he must) the most hardly with the 
best : and that such souls, whose mere love and devotedness to 
him, had made them abandon the pleasures of this life, and run 
through whatsoever difficulties for his sake, should fare worse 
than the very worst ; were, beyond all the rest, most utterly un 
imaginable, and a thought which pagan-reason hath not known 
how to digest or entertain. If (saith one, and he speaks the 
sense of many others, as well as his own) Et ^ v v a^a, ro 

}jdiX60jU.gK>;$ KXI ro rvis 4-f%>9? o n ($s TTO^E o ecfitv SKBVO ovi$iat\vtl*.t t 
with the dissolution of our bodies, the essence of the 
rvhatsoever that be, should be dissolved too, and for ever cease 
to be any thing ; I know not how I can account them blessed., 
that never having enjoyed any good as the reward of their 
virtue y have even perished for virtue itself. Dionys. Halicar. 
Antq. Rom. lib. 8. 

Wherefore it is consequent, that this present state is only in 
tended for trial to the spirits of men, in order to their attainment 
as of a better state in a better world : that is, inasmuch as the 
infinitely wise and blessed God given being had so such a creature 


as man, in which both worlds (the material and the immaterial) did 
meet ; and who, in respect of his earthly and spiritual natures, 
had in him somewhat suitable to each. And whereas this crea 
ture had lost (with his interest) his very inclination to tha spiri 
tual objects, and enjoyments of the purer, immaterial world 
(wherein alone his true blessedness could consist), suffered a vile 
depression of his spirit unto this gross corporeal world, and here 
by brought himself under a necessity of being miserable, his no 
bler part having nothing now to satisfy it, but what it was be 
come unsuitable and disaffected to. His merciful Creator, be 
ing intent upon his restitution, thought fit not to bring it about 
by a sudden and violent hand (as it were to catch him into hea 
ven against his will) : but to raise his spirit into its just domi 
nion and sovereignty in him, by such gradual methods as were 
most suitable to a rational, intelligent nature ; that is, to discover 
to him, that he had such a thing as spirit about him ; whence it 
was fallen, how low it was sunk, to what state it was yet capable 
to be raised, and what he had designed and done for its happy re 
covery. And hence by the secret and powerful insinuations of 
his own light and grace, to awaken his drowsy and slumbering 
reason, and incline his perverse and wayward will to the con 
sideration and choice of such things as that felicity consists in 5 
which that better world can afford, and his better part enjoy. 

And while he propounds such things to him, how reasonable 

and agreeable was it, that he should keep him sometime under 

a just probation (yea, how much was there in it of a gracious and 

compassionate indulgence, often to renew the trial), whether he 

would yet bestir himself, and (having so great hopes before him, 

and such helps and aids afforded him, and ready to be afforded) 

apply, at last, his intellectual and elective powers, to mind and 

close with so gracious overtures, in order to his own eternal ad 

vancement and blessedness ? Nor was it an unreasonable ex 

pectation that he should do so. For, however the temporal 

good and evil that may constantly affect his sensitive part and 

powers, be present and near ; but the eternal misery or blessed 

ness of his soul, future and remote : yet inasmuch as he is ca 

pable of understanding the vast disproportions of time and eter 

nity ; of a mortal flesh, and an immortal spirit : how preposte 

rous a course were it, and unworthy of a man ; yea, how dis 

honourable and reproachful to his Maker, should he prefer the 

momentary pleasures of narrow, incapacious sense, to the ever 

lasting enjoyments of an enlarged comprehensive spirit ? Or f 

for the avoiding the pains and miseries of the former kind, incur 

those of the latter ? Whence also the Holy God doth not expect 

and require only, that men should make that wiser choice ; but 

doth most justly lay the weight of their eternal states upon their 

doing, or not doing so. And in that day when he shall render 


to every one according to his works, make this the rule of fnV 
final judgment, to allot to them, who by a patient continuance 
In well-doing, seek for honour, glory, and immortality, eternal 
life. To the rest, indignation and wrath, tribulation and an 
guish, &c. and that whether they be Jews or Gentiles. Rom. 2. 
6, 9. Nor is it a new thing in the world, that some among 
the children of men should in this comply with the righteous 
will of God, and so judge and choose for themselves, as he is 
pleased to direct and prescribe, it is a course approved by the 
concurrent suffrage of all them, in all times and ages, into whose 
minds the true light hath shined, and whom God hath inspired 
with that wisdom whereby he maketh wise to salvation. That 
numerous assembly of the perfected spirits of the just, have 
agreed in this common resolution; and did in their several ge 
nerations, before they had passed this state of trial, with an he 
roic magnanimity trample this present world under their feet, 
and aspire to the glory of the world to come ; relieving them 
selves against all the grievances they have suffered from such, 
whose portion is in this life with the alone hope and confidence 
of what they were to enjoy in another. 

IT. And hereof we have an eminent and illustrious instance 
in this context, where the ground is laid of the following dis 
course. For introduction whereto, observe that the title speaks 
the psalm a prayer of David. The matter of the prayer is, pre 
servation from his enemies. Not to go over the whole psalm, 
we have in the 13 and 14 verses, the sum of his desires, with 
a description of the persons he prays to be delivered from : in 
which description every character is an argument to enforce 
his prayer. 

Prom the ivicked: as though he had said they are equally ene 
mies to thee and me ; not more opposite to me by their cruelty, 
than by their wickedness they are to thee. Vindicate then, at 
once, thyself, and deliver me. 

Thy sword, thy hand. Thou canst as easily command and ma 
nage them, as a man may wield his sword, or move his hand. 
Wilt thou suffer thine own sword, thine own hand, to destroy 
thine own servant? 

Men of the world, which have their portion in this life: time 
and this lower world, bound all their hopes and fears. They 
have no serious believing apprehensions of any thing beyond 
this present life ; therefore have nothing to withhold them from 
the most injurious violence, if thou withhold them not ; men 
that believe not another world, are the ready actors of any ima 
ginable mischiefs and tragedies in this. 

Whose belly thoujillest. That is, their sensual appetite ; (as 


oftentimes that term is used, Rom. 16. 18. Phil. 3. 19.) with 
thy hid treasures, namely, the riches which either God is wont 
to hide in the boweU of the earth, or lock up in the repository 
of providence, dispensing them at his own pleasure. 

They are full of children. So it appears by that which fol 
lows, it ought to he read, and not according to that gross, hut 
easy (vw for vtem) mistake of some transcribers of the seventy. As 
if in all this he had pleaded thus ; " Lord, thou hast abundantly 
indulged those men already, what need they more ? They have 
themselves, from thy unregarded bounty, their own vast swollen 
desires sufficiently filled, enough for their own time ; and when 
they can live no longer in their persons, they may in their pos 
terity, and leave not strangers, but their numerous offspring, 
their heirs. Is it not enough that their avarice be gratified, ex-? 
Cept their malice be also? that they have whatsoever they can 
conceive desirable for themselves, unless they may also infer 
whatever they can think mischievous on me ? To this descrip 
tion of his enemies, he ex opposito, subjoins some account 
of himself in this his closure of the psalm: As for me y here he is 
at his statique point; and, after some appearing discomposure, 
his spirit returns to a consistency, in consideration of his own 
more happy state, which he opposes and prefers to theirs, in 
the following respects. That they were wicked, he righteous. 
" I will behold thy face in righteousness." That their happiness 
was worldly, terrene, such only as did spring from the earth; 
his heavenly and divine, such as should result from the face and 
image of God. Theirs present, temporary, compassed within 
this life; his future, everlasting, to be enjoyed when he should 
awake. Theirs partial, defective, such as would but gratify 
their bestial part, fill their bellies ; his adequate, complete (the 
f^ctifAovix TU o-vvilx a happiness of proportion) such as should sa 
tisfy the man. "I shall be satisfied, &c. 

III. The variety in rendering this verse (to be seen by com 
paring the original and translation noted in the margin) need 
not give us any trouble, the differences not being of great mo 
ment, nor our own reading liable to exception. The wordn^IDD 
about which is the greatest diversity, hath the significancy we 

nyntw* 1M3 nrnN p-na 

Sept. Eyo; os sv ^txxto&vvv) otp^tro^xi^ TU t&pcxTUTru < 

ru o<p$v)<rxi ryv^vj-xv a-*:. But I shall appear in righteousness, I 
shall be satisfied izith thy face, zchen I shall see thy glory. The 
Vulgar Latin, Ego autem in justitia apparebo conspcctui tuo, 
satiabor cum apparuerit gloria tua. Exactly following the se 
venty, as doth the Ethiopia. The Caldee paraphrase disagrees lit 
tle; the Arabic less; the Syriac mistook it seems rtJl^n for 
and so read that word faith which we read likeness 


here give it, in the second commandment, and constantly e]se 
\yhere. And then, what more proper English can this text, be 
capable of, than it hath in our bibles ? Each word hath its true 
and genuine import; and the syntax is sufficiently regular, and 
grammatical of the whole. Only as to the former, that usual and 
obvious observation must here have place ; that the 3 prefixed 
to pT^, and which with it, we read it\ righteousness, doth often 
signify among its various acceptations, by or through ; and that, 
not only as denoting instrumentality ; but more at large, the 
place of any medium necessary to the attainment of the end it 
subserves to; whence the same use of the Greek fv , that answers 
thereunto, is wont to go for a Hebraism. 

And as to the latter, the only tiling liable to controversy, is 
whether the gerund jTpPQ is to be construed with the person 
speaking, when I awake; or in my awaking^ or with the thing; 
the likeness or image spoken of in the awaking of thine image, 
or when thine image shall awake : and I conceive we need not 
discuss it, but following our own translation, leave the judgment 
of it to the ear itself, which (as Elihu tells us) trieth words. 

IV. In the mean time, the real importance of this scripture 
more calls for discussion than the literal ; concerning which, t 
threefold inquiry will be necessary for the settling the subject of 
the following discourse. What relation this righteousness must 
be understood to have to the vision of God's face, and the other 
consequent blessedness. What time or state awaking refers to, 
and What is intended by the likeness of God. To thejirst of 
these. It is only necessary to say at present, that the already 
noted import of the preposition in being supposed most suitable 
to this text (as apparently it is) righteousness must be looked 
upon in reference to this vision, not as in an idle or merely ca 
sual concomitancy, or as an unconcerned circumstance, that hath 
nothing to do with the business spoken of ; but as in a close and 
intimate connexion therewith; being, first antecedent, secondly 
conducible, thirdly necessary thereto. Nor can I better express 
its place, and reference to it, generally and in one word, than in 
saying it qualifies for it; which how it 'doth, will be more proper to 
consider hereafter. It may now suffice to say, those words give us 

Ilieronymus (juxta Ilebr.) reads the words exactly as we do: Ego 
injustitia videbo Jadem tuani, implcbar, cinn evigilavero, simili- 
tudine tua. 

p"l!:O seems best to be rendered here by, or through righteous 
ness, as by the condition in which he may expect the return of God's 
mercies here, or the eternal vision cf him hereafter, #c. So the 
learned Dr. Hammond, Anno, in loc. quoting also CastelliQ to the 
same put pose. 


the qualified subject of this blessedness "I; in righteousness", a 
righteous person as such. To the Second; Taking it for gran 
ted, that none will understand this awaking as opposed to natural 
sleep : in the borrowed or tropical sense, it must be understood 
to intend either some better state in this life, in comparison where 
of the Psalmist reckons his present stale but as a sleep; or the 
future state of blessedness in the other life. There have been 
some who have understood it of the former, and thought the 
Psalmist to speak only of an hoped freedom from his present 
temporal afflictions ; but then, that which will be implied, seems 
not so specious ; that trouble arid affliction should be signified 
by the necessarily pre-supposed sleep, which sure doth more re 
semble rest than trouble. ,f^ 

1 conceive it less exceptionable to refer awaking, to the bles 
sed state of saints after this life. For, that saints, at that time 
when this was written^ had the knowledge of such a state (in 
deed a saint not believing a life to come, is a perfect contradic 
tion) no doubt can be made by any that hath ever so little read 
and compared the old and new testament. We are plainly told, 
that those excellent persons mentioned in the famous roll, (Heb. 
11. v. 1. 16.) lived by that faithjvvhich was the substance of things 
hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen. That of them, Abra 
ham, Isaac, and Jacob, while they lived in -Canaan, yet sought 
a better, a heavenly country ; confessing themselves pilgrims 
and strangers on earth. We know it was the more gene 
ral belief of the Jews in our Saviour's time. And whence 
should they have it, but from the old Testament thither our Sa 
viour remits them Job. 5. 39. to search it out, and the way to it. 
The apostle saint Paul, Acts 26. & 6. 7- compared with the 8. 
gives it as the common faith of the twelve tribes, grounded upon 
the promise made to their forefathers ; and thence prudentially 
he herein states the cause wherein he was now engaged ; sup 
posing it would be generally resented, that he should be called 
in question for avowing (only) so known and received a truth. 
Sure they were beholden to these sacred writings they had then 
among them, for so common a belief ; and since it is out of ques 
tion, from our Saviour's express words, they do contain the 
ground of that belief; what cause have we to be so shy of so in 
terpreting scriptures that have a fair aspect that way ? Is it, that 
we can devise to fasten here and there another sense upon divers 
such ? I wonder what one text can be mentioned in all the old 
testament to this purpose, wherein one may not do so: And 
what then would, be the tendency of this course, but to deny in 
all the particulars, what, upon so clear evidence, we are in the 
general forced to admit ? and to put Moses, and Abraham, and 
David, in a lower class than Pythagoras, and Socrates, and Pla- 

VOL. in, j> 


to ? And I think it would not be easy to find one text in all that 
part of the Bible, where both the words thereof, and the con 
text, do more fairly comply, that in this, so as not only to admit, 
but even to invite that interpretation. 

For the term awake about which the present inquiry is, how 
apt and obvious is the analogy between our awaking out of na 
tural sleep, and the holy soul's rising 1 up out of the darkness 
and torpor of its present state, into the enlivening light of God's 
presence ? It is truly said so to awake, at its first quitting these 
darksome regions, when it lays aside its cumbersome night-vail. 
It doth so more perfectly, in the joyful morning of the resur 
rection-day when mortality is swallowed up in life, and all the 
yet-hovering shadows of it are vanished and fled away. And 
how known and usual an application this is of the metaphorical 
terms of sleeping and awaking in holy writ, I need not tell them 
who have read the Bible. Nor doth this interpretation less fitly 
accord to the other contents of this verse : For to what state 
do the sight of God's face, and satisfaction with his likeness, so 
fully agree, as to that of future blessedness in the other world ? 
But then the contexture of discourse in this and the foregoing 
verse together, seems plainly to determine us to this sense: for 
what can be more conspicuous in them, than a purposed com 
parison an opposition of two states of felicity mutually to each 
other ? That of the wicked, whom he calls men of time (as 
the words ""OHO LD\TOD are rendered by Pagninus. Homines 
de tempore. And do literally signify) and whose portion, he tells 
us, is in this life : and the righteous man's, his own ; which 
he expected not to be till he should awake,that is, not till after 
this life. 

It is further to be inquired, thirdly-, how we are here to 
understand the likeness of Gud f I doubt not but we are to un 
derstand by it, his glory. And the only difficulty which it will 
be necessary at present to consider about it, is, whether we are 
to take it objectively, or subjectively; for the glory to be repre 
sented to the blessed soul, or the glory to be impressed upon it; 
the glory which it is to behold, or the glory it shall bear. And 
I conceive the difference is more easily capable of accommoda 
tion, than of a strict decision on either part. By face is un 
doubtedly meant objective glory, and that in its most perfect 
representation, the face being, as we know with men, the chief 
seat of aspectable majesty and beauty. Hence when Moses 
desires to see God's glory, though he did vouchsafe some dis 
covery of it, yet he tells him his face cannot be seen. Here 
upon, therefore, the next expression thy likeness might the 
more plausibly be restrained to subjective glory, so as to denote 
the image of God now in its most perfect impression on the bles- 


sed soul. But that I insist not on. Supposing therefore, that 
what is signified by face, be repeated over again in this word 
likeness, yet I conceive the expression is not varied in vain; 
but having more to say than only that he expected a state of fu 
ture vision, namely, that he assured himself of satisfaction too, 
another word was thought fit to be used that might signify also 
somewhat that must intervene in order to that satisfaction. It 
is certain the mere objective representation and consequent in 
tuition of the most excellent (even the divine) glory, cannot sa 
tisfy a soul remaining disaffected and unsuitable thereunto. It 
aa only satisfy, as, being represented ; it forms the soul into, 
the same image, and attempers it to itself, as if he had said "I 
expect hereafter to see the blessed face of God, and to be my 
self blessed or satisfied by his glory, at once appearing to me, 
and transfusing itself upon me." In short therefore, 1 under 
stand by that term, the glory of God as transforming, or as im 
pressive of itself. If therefore, glory the object of the soul's 
vision, shall by any be thought to be intended in it, I contend not; 
supposing only, thatthe object be taken not materially, or poten 
tially only, for the thing visibly in itself considered ; butformally, 
and in esse actuali objecti ; that is, as now actually impressing 
itself, or as connoting such an impression upon the beholding 
soul ; for so only is it productive of such a pleasure and satisfac 
tion to it, as must ensue. As in this form of speech "such a 
man takes pleasure in knowledge" It is evident knowledge must 
be taken there both objectively, for the things known; and sub 
jectively, for the actual perception of those things; inasmuch 
as, apparently, both must concur to work him delight. So it 
will appear, to any one that attentively considers it, glory must 
be taken in that passage, "We rejoice in hope of the glory of God. " 
Rom. 5. 2. It is divine glory both revealed and received ; his 
exhibition and communication of it, according to his immensity; 
and our participation of it, according to our measure, that 
must concur to our eternal satisfaction. Herein the platonic 
adage hath evident truth in it; Voluptatis gcneratio est 
ex inftniti et finiti copulatione. Pleasure is here certainly 
made up of something finite and something in finite, meeting 
together. It is not (as the philosopher speaks) a ;^rsx, 
but a jcMlov T/, not any thing separate from the soul, but some 
thing it possesses, that can make it happy. It is not hap 
py by an incommunicate happiness, nor glorious by an incorn- 
inunicate glory. Indeed, the discovery of such a glory to an 
inglorious, unholy soul, must rather torment than satisfy. The 
future glory of saints is therefore called (Rom. 8. 18.) ets y^r. 
a glory to be revealed in them (or into them, as the word sig 
nifies,) And in the foregoing words, the apostle assures Christ's 
fellow-sufferers, that they shall be glorified together with him. 


Surely the notation of that word, the formal notion of glorifU 
cation, cannot import so little as only to be a spectator of glory ; 
it must signify a being made glorious. 

Nor is the common and true maxim otherwise intelligible, that 
grace and glory differ only in degree. For certainly it could ne 
ver enter into the mind of a sober man (though how dangerous 
ly some speak, that might possibly have been so if too much 
learning had not made them mad, will be animadverted in its 
place), 'that objective glory, and grace in saints, were the same 
specific) much less the same numerical) thing. It is true, that 
Scripture often expresses the future blessedness, by vision of God. 
But where that phrase is used to signify it alone, it is evident (as 
within the lower region of grace, words of knowledge do often 
imply affection, and correspondent impressions on the soul) it 
must be understood of affective transformative vision, such a$ 
hath conformity to God most inseparably conjunct with if. And, 
that we might understand so much, they are elsewhere both ex 
pressly mentioned together, as joint-ingredients into a saint's 
blessedness ; as in those words so full of clear and rich sense : 
"When he shall appear, we shall be like him : for we shall see 
him as he is." Which text I take for a plain comment upon 
this: and methinks it should not easily be supposable, they 
should both speak so near the same words, and not intend the 
same sense. You have in both, the same season, "when he shall 
appear/' when 1 shall awake : the same subject the righteous 
person born of God (compare the close of the former chapter 
with the beginning of this) ; "and I in righteousness :" the same 
vision we shall see him as he his : "I shall behold his face :" the 
same assimilation, "We shall be like him/' I shall be satisfied 
with his likeness; (concerning the yio-ts or habitude this vision 
and assimilation mutually have to one another, there will be 
consideration had in its place). I therefore conceive neither of 
these notions of the divine likeness, do exclude the other. If it 
be inquired, which is principally meant ? That need not be 
determined: If the latter, it supposes the former; if the for 
mer, it infers the latter. Without the first, the other cannot 
be ; without this other, the first cannot satisfy. 

If any yet disagree to this interpretation of this text, let them 
affix the doctrine propounded from it, to that other last men 
tioned (which only hath not the express mention of a conse 
quent satisfaction, as this hath; whence therefore, as being in 
this respect fuller, my thoughts were pitched upon this.) Only 
withal let it be considered, how much more easy it is, to ima 
gine another sense, and suppose it possible, than to disprove this, 
or evince it impossible. How far probable it is, must be left to 
the judgment of the indifferent : with whom it may not be in- 


significant to add, that thus it hath been understood by inter 
preters (I might adventure to say the generality) of all sorts. 
However the few annexed* (for I neither apprehend the ne 
cessity, nor have the present conveniency of alleging many) 
will suffice to avoid any imputation of singularity or novelty. 

* Agitur de resurrections et Manifestatione gloriae ccelestis, 
He speaks of the resurrection and of the manifestation of tho 
Celestial glory. Ruffitius on the place. Cum apparuerit gloria tua, 
id es gloria resurrectionis, when thy glory shall appear, that is, the 
glory of the resurrection. Bede's commentary on the psalms. 

How the Jews were wont lo understand it, may be seen at one 
view in that of Petrus Galatinus in Joe. Duo miCapnio me. hie per 
priscas Judaeorum Scripturas ostendere hortaris, et generalem mor- 
tuorem resurrectionem futuram esse et earn per Messiam factum iri, 
Primum itaque patet non solum per sacra? scripturae testimonia ve- 
rum etiam per Talmudistarunv dicta. Nam illud quidem, Psal. 17 
dictum Ego in justitia &c. sic exponunt, et presertim Rabbi Abra 
ham Aven zra et Rabbi Solomo, &c. You here call upon me, my 
friend Capnio to prove by the ancient Jewish Scriptures ; these 
two things that there will be a general resurrection of the dead,and 
that it will be accomplished by the Messiah. The former then 
appears not only from the testimony of sacred scripture, but also 
from the writings of the Talmudisls. For indeed, what is said in the 
17 Ps. I shall behold, &c. is thus expounded by them, and especially 
by Rabbi Abraham Aven Ezra and Rabbi Solomon, &c. And so he 
goes on to recite their words, De Acanis Catholics veritatis . oa 
mysteries of the Catholic faith. 

Opponit hsec, iis quoe de impiis dixerat. Illi Sapiunt terrena Sa- 
turanturfiliis,etportionemsuamin hacvitaponunt mihi verocontempta 
est hxc vita ; ad futuram festino ; ubi non in divitiis, sed in justitia 
videbo, non terrena haec transitura, sed ipsam faciem tuam,nec satu- 
rabor in filiis carnis sed cum evigilavero tua similitudine, sicut. 1 Joh. 
3. 2. Cum apparuerit, &c. Loth, in Psal. He opposes these things 
to what he had said concerning the wicked. They mind earthly 
things, are filled with children, and have their portion in this life ; 
but by me this life is despised : I hasten to that which is to comej 
where not in riches but in righteousness I shall see, not these eaithly 
transitory things ; but thine own face ; and when I awake shall be 
satisfied, not with children of the flesh ; but with thy likeness as 1. 
John 3. 2. When he shall appear, &c. Luther on Psalms. 

Jlesurgam e mortuis videbo te perfectissime sicut es, Similis ero 
tibi. I shall arise Irom the dead I shall see thee most perfectly 
as thou art, I shall be like thee. Junius and Tremellius on \J, 

Mollerus thinks it ought not to be restrained to life eternal, but 
saith, some understand it of the glory, qua ornabuntur pii in vita 
aeterna : with which the pious will be adorned in eternal life. And 


adds, et quidem non male, and certainly with justice. In Ego 
rero et omnes elect! tui pie et juste, vivimus in hoc saculo, ut 
aliquando in future saeculo videamus faciam tuam, et ea saticmur 
eum sc. a pulvere terrae evigilaverimus et reformati fuerimus 
ad similitudinem Christi tui. But I and all thine elect, live pi 
ously and righteously in this world ; that at last, in the world to 
come, we may see thy face, and be satisfied with it ; that is when we 
shall awake from the dust of the earth, and shall be restored to the 
likeness of thine anointed. Seb. Munster. in notis in loc. 

Cum ego ad imaginem tuam conditus resurrexero. When I shall 
arise conformed to thy likeness. Vatablus : ifi his notes on the pas 
sage: though he adds, alii ad resurrectionem non referunt. Some do 
not refer it to the resurrection. 

De futurae vitae foelieitate ait satiabor quum expergiscar, id est 
quum resurgam e mortuis Similitudine tua, hoc est videbo te per- 
fectissime, sicuti es ; et Similis ero tibi quum patefactus Christus 
glorioso adventu suo, 1. Joh. 3.2. Fabrit. Cone: Psal.J7.15. He says 
concerning the happiness of the life to come, I shall be satisfied when 
I shall awake, that is,when I shall arise from the dead with thy like 
ness ; that is, I shall see theemost perfectly as thru art; and I shall 
|pe like thee when Christ shall be revealed at his glorious coming. 

Describit his verbis Psalmographus beatitudinem asternam fiiiorum 
Dei. Gesnerus in loc. the Psalmist in these words describes the 
tternal happiness of the sons of God. 


L A summary proposal of the doctrine contained in this scripture : 
a distribution of it into three distinct heads of discourse. First. 
The qualified subject. Secondly. The nature. Thirdly. The 
st-ason ot the blessedness here spoken of. II. The first of these 
taken into consideration, where the qualification, righteousness, 
is treated of. About which is shewn. First. What it is. Se 
condly, How it qualifies. 

! XTOW the foregoing sense of the words being supposed, it 

appears that the proper argument of this scripture, is, . 

The blessedness of the righteous in the other life, consisting in 

the vision and participation of the divine glory, with the satis- 


faction that resulteth tlience. In which summary account of 
the doctrine here contained, three general heads of discourse 
offer themselves to our view: The subject, the nature, and the 
season of this blessedness: Or to whom it belongs, wherein it 
consists and when it shall be enjoyed. 

II. We proceed to illustrate each of these. 
First. We begin with the consideration of the subject, unto 
whom this blessedness appertains. And we find it expressed 
in the text, in these oply words, "I; in righteousness ;" which 
amounts to as much as, a righteous person as such. They re 
present to us the subject of this blessedness in its proper quali 
fications : wherein, our business is to consider his qualification, 
righteousness, under which notion only, he is concerned in the 
present discourse ; and about which, two things are to be in 
quired : namely what it imports, and how it qualifies. 

1. What it imports. I take righteousness here to be opposed 
to wickedness in the foregoing verse (as was intimated before ;) 
.and so understand it in an equal latitude, not of particular, but of 
universal righteousness. That is, not that particular virtue which 
inclines men to give every one their right (unless in that every 
one, you would include also the blessed God himself, the sove 
reign, common Lord of all) but a universal rectitude of heart 
and life, comprehending not only equity towards men, but piety 
towards God also. A conformity to the law in general, in its 
utmost extent, adequately opposite to sin (which is indeed of 
larger extent than wickedness; and in what different respects 
righteousness is commensurate to the one and the other, we 
shall see by and by) as that is, generally, said to be avo^ua, a 
transgressionofthelaiv. (1 Joh. 3, 4.) Among moralists,* such 
a comprehensive notion of righteousness as is inclusive of all 
other virtues, is not unknown. But in Scripture, it is its much 
more ordinary acceptation. To give instances, were to suppose 
too much ignorance in the reader ; and to enumerate the passa 
ges in which this term is taken in that extensive sense, were too 
great an unnecessary burden to the writer. It were indeed to 
transcribe a great part of the Bible. How familiar is the oppo 
sition of righteous and wicked., and righteous and sinner, in sa 
cred language ! And how fully co-extent righteousness is, in 
the Scripture notion of it, to the whole law of God, that one pas 
sage sufficiently discovers ; where it is said of Zachaiias and 
Elizabeth, that they were both righteous before God, walking in 
all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. 
Luke 1. 5, 6. It is true indeed, that when the words godliness 
or holiness are in conjunction with this term, its significancy is 

E> & ^iKKHxrvm *cAAi/3$ij nx* <*ftr t<rlt Righteousness comprises 
every virtue. 


divided and shared with them, so as that they signify, in that 
case, conformity to the will of God in the duties of the first ta 
ble, and .this is confined to those of the second : otherwise, he- 
ing put alone, it signifies the whole duty of man, as the other 
expressions also do in the same case, especially the latter of them. 
As it seems not to be within the present design of the content 
to take notice of any imputed wickedness of the opposite sort of 
persons, other than what was really in them, and whereby 
they might be. fitly characterized : so, I copceive, that imputed 
righteousness is not here meant, that is inherent in the .person 
of the Mediator; but that which is truly subjected in a child of 
God, and descriptive of him. Nor must any think it strange, 
that all the requisites to our salvation, are not found together in 
one text of Scripture. , The righteousness of him, whom we are 
to adore as made sin for us, that we might be made the righte 
ousness of God in him ; hath a much higher sphere peculiar and 
appropriate to itself. This of which we now speak, in its own 
inferior and subordinate place, is necessary also to be both had 
and understood. It must be understood by viewing it i,n its 
rule, in conformity whereto it stands ; which must needs be 
some law of God. There hath been a twofold law given by God 
to mankind, as the measure of a universal righteousness, the one 
made for innocent, the other for lapsed man ; which are dis- 

Ctinguished by the apostle under the names of the law of works, 
and the law of faith. Rom. 3. 27 It can never be possible, 
i that any of the apostate sons of Adam should be denominated 
/ righteous by the former of these laws, the righteousness thereof 
consisting in a perfect and sinless obedience. The latter there 
fore is the only measure and rule of this righteousness, namely, 
the law of faith 5 or that part of the gospel-revelation which con 
tains and discovers our duty, what we are to be and do in order 
to our blessedness ; being, as to the matter of it, the whole mo-' 
ral law, before appertaining to the covenant of works, attem 
pered to the state of fallen sinners, by evangelical mitigations 
and indulgence, by the super-added precepts of repentance and 
faith in a Mediator, -with all the other duty respecting the Me 
diator, as such; and clothed with a new form as it is now taken 
into the constitution of the covenant of grace. This rule, though 
it be in the whole of it capable of coming under one common 
notion, as being the standing, obliging law of Christ's mediatory 
kingdom ; yet according to the different matter of it, its obliga 
tions and annexed sanctions are different. As to its matter, it 
must be understood to require : 

(1 .) The mere being and sincerity of those gracious principles, 
with their essential acts (as there is opportunity) expressed there 
in, in opposition to the nullity and insincerity of them. 


, (2.) All the possible degrees and improvements of such prin 
ciples and acts, in opposition to any the least failure or defect. 
In the former respect, it measures the very essence of this 
righteousness, and enjoins what concerns the being of the righ 
teous man as such. In the latter, it measures all the super-ad 
ded degrees of this righteousness (which relations, where they 
have a mutable foundation, admit,) enjoining what concerns the 
perfection of the righteous man. In the former respect, righ 
teousness is opposed to wickedness, as in that of the Psalmist, 

1 have kept the ways of the Lord, and have not wickedly depart 
ed from my God therefore hath the Lord recompenced me ac 
cording to my righteousness, (ps. 18. 21. 2/1 .) In the latter to 
sin, with which the apostle makes unrighteousness co-extent, in 
these words, If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, &c. 
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our 
sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Accordingly 
are its sanctions divers. For wherein it enjoins the former of 
these, the essence of this righteousness, in opposition to a total 
absence thereof, it is constitutive of the terms of salvation, and 
obligeth under the penalty of eternal death. So are faith, re 
pentance, love, subjection, &c. required : If ye believe not 
that I am he, ye shall die in your sins, He that believeth not, is 

condemned already. The wrath of God abideth on him. 

(Joh, 8. 24. Chap. 3. 18,36.) If ye repent not, ye shall all 

likewise perish. Repent, that your sins may be blotted out. 

him hath God exalted to be a Prince and a Saviour to give re 
pentance and remission of sins. (Luke 13. 3, 5. Act. 3. 19. c. 
5.31.) If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be 
anathema maran-atha. (1 Cor. 16. 22.) He that loveth fa 
ther or mother more than me, is not worthy of me, &c. (Matt. 
10. 2J.) If any man come to me, and hate not his father and 
mother, and wife and children, and brethren and sisters, yea, 
and his own life also, (that is, as the former scripture expounds 
this, loves them not less than me), he cannot be my disciple 
(Luke 14.26.)that is while he remains in that temper of mind he 
now is of, he must needs be wholly unrelated unto me, and un- 
capable of benefit by me, as well as he is indocible, and not sus 
ceptible of my further instructions, neither capable of the pre 
cepts or privileges belonging to discipleship. He is the author 
of eternal salvation to all them that obey him, and will come in 
flaming fire to take vengeance of those that know not God, and 
ojbey not his Gqspel ; who shall be punished with everlasting de 
struction from the presence of the Lord, &c. Heb. 5. 9. 

2 Thes. 1. 8, 9. &c. Where it is only the sincerity of those seve 
ral requisites, that is under so severe penalty exacted and called 

VOL. HI. 15 


for; inasmuch as he that is sincerely a believer, a penitent, a 
lover of God or Christ, an obedient subject, is not capable of 
the contrary denomination, and therefore not liable, according 
to the tenor of this law, to be punished as an. infidel, an impe 
nitent person, an enemy, a rebel. 

When it enjoins the latter, namely all the subsequent duty, 
through the whole course whereof the already sincere soul must 
be tending towards perfection; though it bind not thereto under 
pain of damnation, further than as such neglects and miscar 
riages, may be so gross and continued, as not to, consist with 
sincerity: yet such injunctions are not wholly without penalty ^ 
but here it obliges, under less penalties, the hiding of God's face 
and other paternal severities and castigations. They that thus 
only offend, are chastened of the Lord, that they may not be 
condemned with the world. 1 Cor. 1 1.32. Their iniquity is visitecj 
with the rod, and their transgression with stripes, though loving- 
kindness be not taken away. Ps. 89.32,33. Yea, and while they 
are short of perfect holiness, their blessedness is imperfect also ; 
which is to be acknowledged a very grievous penalty, but un- 
conceivably short of what befalls them that are simply unrighte 
ous. That it obliges thus diversly, is evident ; for it doth not 
adjudge unto eternal death without remedy, for the least defect; 
for then what other law should relieve against the sentence of 
this ? or wherein were this a relieving law ? Yet doth it re 
quire perfection, that we perfect holiness in the fear of God ; 
2Cor.7-l. that we be perfect as our Father in heaven is perfect. 
Mat. 5. 48. And otherwise, did it bind to no other duty than 
what it makes simply necessary to salvation ; the defects and 
miscarriages that consist with sincerity, were no sins, not being 
provided against by any law that is of present obligation (unless 
we will have the law of nature to stand by itself as a distinct 
law, both from that of works, and of grace ; which is not ne 
cessary ; but as it did at first belong to the former, so it doth 
now to the latter, as shall further be shown by and by.) For to 
suppose the law of works in its own proper form and tenor, to 
be still obliging, is to suppose all under hopeless condemnation, 
inasmuch as all have sinned. And besides, it should oblige to 
cast off all regard to Christ, and to seek blessedness without him ; 
yea, and it should oblige to a natural impossibility, to a contra 
diction, to make that not to have been, which hath been ; a sin 
ner to seek happiness by never having sinned. It cannot there 
fore entirely, in its own form, as it was at first made and laid upon 
man, be of present and continuing obligation to him. But in 
what part and respect it is, or is not ; comes now more distinct 
ly to be shown. Here know, the law of nature, with fit addi- 


tionals, became one formed constitution ; which being violated 
by the apostacy, became unuseful to the end it was made for, 
the containing of man within the bounds of such duty as should 
be conjunct with his blessedness. Therefore was the new con 
stitution of the law of grace made and settled, which alters, 
adds to, takes from it, relaxes, or re -enforces it, according as 
the matter of it, the exigency of man's case, and God's gra 
cious purpose and design could admit, and did require. FOP 
the promise (implied in the threatening) it ceased; sin having 
disobliged the promises For the precept the expressed posi 
tive part is plainly abrogate. 1 Tim. 4. For the natural part : 
as it was not necessary, so nor was it possible it should be so ; 
its foundations being more stable than heaven and earth. 
For the commination, we must understand two things in it : 
first, that for every transgression, a proportionable punishment 
must become due : secondly, that this debt be in event ex 
acted : or, that God do actually inflict the deserved penalty^en- 
tirely and fully upon the offending person. 

The former of these is in the strictest and most proper sense 
natural, and therefore also unalterable. This dueness arising im 
mediately from the relation of a reasonable creature offending, 
to his Maker. Whence also it is discernible tu mere natural 
light. Pagans are said (Rom. 1. 32.) to have known the righ 
teous judgment of God, that they who commit such things (as 
are there mentioned) are worthy of death. And hence was the 
mention and dread of a Nemesis, and an x/xov <>/*//,* a vindictive 
Deity y and a revengeful eye over them so frequent with them. 
"If therefore (as the learned Grotius speaks) there had never 
been a penal law; yet a human act, having in itself a pravity, 
whether intrinsical, from the immutable nature of the thing; 
or even extrinsical, from the contrary command of God, had 
deserved punishment, and that very grievous." Now what an ar 
bitrary constitution did not create, it could not nullify ; but 
might add strength, and give a confirmation to it. But now for 
the latter, that this debt be entirely and fully exacted of the sin 
ner himself; though that be also natural, yet not in the stric 
test and most proper sense. That is, it is convenient and agree 
able to the nature of the thing; not what it doth so necessarily 
require, that it can upon no terms be dispensed with. It is so 
natural, as that the son inherit from his father, which yet may, 
sometimes, for just causes be ordered otherwise. It is what, if 
it were done, justice could not but approve: not what it doth 
strictly and indispensably require : or, is a debt which it might 
exact, but which may, without injustice, upon valuable consi 
derations be remitted. The former of these, therefore, the new 
constitution doth no way infringe or weaken, but confirm and 


reinforce. The latter it so far dispenses with, as that, for the 
satisfaction made hy the Redeemer, the deht incurred by sin, be 
remitted to the sinner that truly repents and believes, and con 
tinues sincerely (though imperfectly) to obey for the future. So 
that his after-delinquencies, Consisting with such sincerity, do 
not actually, or in event, subject him to other penalties, than 
the paternal rebukes and chastenings before-mentioned. But 
this latter part considerable in the commination, tbe determi 
nation of the full penalty, to the very person of the transgressor: 
it doth not dispense witli to others (that is of the adult, and of 
persons in a present natural possibility of understanding the Law 
giver's pleasure herein) than such before described ; but says 
expressly, he that believeth not the Son, shall not see life, but 
the wrath of God abideth on him : (Job. 3. 36.) That indigna 
tion and wrath, tribulation and anguish, shall be upon every 
soul of man that doth evil. Rom. 2. 8. 9. 

Therefore the morally preceptive part of the law of works, is 
not in force as man's rule of duty, considered in conjunction 
with the promise ; that is, it doth not now say to any man, "Do 
this, that is, perfectly obey without ever having sinned, that thou 
may st live. Both which he was obliged to eye conjunctly ; the 
former, as containing the rule ; the other the end, in part, of 
his obedience : but it is in force even by the new constitution 
itself as God's rule of judgment, considered in conjunction 
with the commination, upon all whom the law of grace relieves 
not, as not coming up to the terms of it; whom also this super 
vening law brings under a supervening aggravated condemna 
tion. For where the obligation to obedience is violated, the 
obligation to punishment naturally takes place. We see then 
how far the law of works is in force, and how far not. But that 
so far as it is in force, it is to be looked on as taken into the 
new constitution of the law of grace, is evident. For it is, 
new modified, and hath received a new mould and stamp 
by this law: which is now become (so far as it is promul 
gate) the standing rule of government over the lapsed world. 
The principal modifying act herein, is dispensation. Now this, 
it is true, may be so understood, or may be taken in such a sense, 
as wherein it will only belong to the executive part of govern 
ment: that is, when it is not the act of the same power that 
made the law ; as where only the execution of a deserved penal 
ty is dispensed with, which may be done, in some cases, by a 
Judge that is only a minister of the law, and not the maker of it; 
being (as may be supposed) enabled thereto by that law itself or 
by an authority annexed to his office; or by virtue of instructions, 
which leave to him some, latitude of managing the affairs of his 
judicature in -4. discretionary way, as present occasions shall die- 


tate. And yet by none of these would any change he made in the 
law; hut this is dispensation in a less proper sense. In the pro 
per and more famous sense, dispensation belongs to the legisla 
tive part of government, being the act of the same power that 
made the former law, now dispensed with; and an act of the 
same kind, namely legislation; the making of a new law that 
alters the former which it hath relation to whence it was wont to 
be reckoned among those things that make a change in a law. 
And so the case is here. (Pid. Suerez de Legilws,). The 
former law is dispensed with by the making of anew one; which 
so alters and changes it in its matter and frame, and more im 
mediate end, as hath been shewn: and a changed law is not the 

Nor is it at all strange, that the minatory part of the law of 
works related to the preceptive so as with it to constitute the debt 
of punishment, should be now within the compass of the Re 
deemer's law. For by this applied, and urged on the conscien 
ces of sinners, he performs a necessary preparatory part of his 
work for their recovery, namely, the awakening, the humbling 
them; and reducing them to a just and useful despair of relief 
and help, otherwise than by his merciful hand and vouchsafe- 
inent; and the rendering them hereby capable of his following 
applications. Cutting or lancing, with other such severities, 
are as proper and useful a part of the chirurgeon's business, as 
the applying of healing medicines : nor have they the same de 
sign and end for which wounds are inflicted by an enemy, the 
taking away of life, but the saving of it. And the matter is out 
of doubt, that the most rigorous determination jof the penalty 
that shall be understood duly belonging to the least sin, hath a 
place, and doth stand visibly extant to view in the publicly avow 
ed declaration, and among the placita or decretals of the Re 
deemer. We there read, that whosoever shall say to his brother, 
fool, shall be in danger of hell-fire : (Mat. 5. 22.) (yea, and 
that lower degrees of the same kind of sin, do expose to lower 
degrees of the same kind of punishment, as our Saviour's words 
must be understood if we attend the plain meaning of his allu 
sive and borrowed phrase of speech :) That the wages of sin 
is death : Rom. 6. 23. That as many as are of the works of the 
law, are- under the curse : for it is written, Cursed is every one 
that continueth not in all things written in the book of the la\r 
to do them. Gal. 3. 10. 22. And we are told, that the 
Scripture (which is the word of Christ, and was written not 
for innocent, but lapsed man) hath concluded all under sin. 
Where also we find what is the true intent and end of this rough 
and sharp dealing with men, the shutting them up, like sen- 
tenced malefactors, as in order to execution (which seems to be 


the import of the word ovvexXeunv here used) namely, that the pro 
mise by faith of Jesus Christ might he given to them that believg 
(or to them believing, as the words may be read). And more 
over the Spirit, which breathes not in the law of works, as such j 
but in the law of grace, performs that operation which belongs 
to it, as it hath the name of the spirit of bondage, by applying 
and binding on the sentence of death, as due to the guilty per* 

Therefore we must understand the Redeemer's Constitution to 
have two parts. First, An assertion and establishment of the 
ancient determined penalty due for every transgression ; and to 
be certainly inflicted on all such as accept not the following offer 
of mercy upon the terms prescribed. Whereby the honour and 
justice of the Creator is salved and vindicated, in reference to 
that first covenant made with man. And the case of the sinner 
is plainly stated before him, that he may have a distinct and 
right apprehension of it. Secondly, The grant of pardon and eter 
nal life to those that repent unfeignedly of their sins, and turn to 
God; believing in the Mediator, and resigning themselves to 
his grace and government, to be by him conducted, and made 
acceptable to God in their return, and that continue sincere 
herein to the end. Whereby the wonderful mercy of God in 
Christ is demonstrated, and the remedy is provided and ascer 
tained to the, otherwise, lost and hopeless sinner. And these 
two parts therefore are to be looked on in this constitution^ 
though distinctly, yet not separately. The sinner is, at once 
to consider the same penalty as naturally, and by divine sancti 
on, due to him ; but now graciously to be remitted : the same 
blessedness as justly lost, but mercifully to be restored, with a 
high improvement. And to own both these jointly, as the voice 
of the Redeemer in his gospel. Death is due to thee ; blessed 
ness forfeited by thy having sinned : butifthou sincerely re 
pent, believe and obey for the future, thou art pardoned, and 
entitled to everlasting life. 

It therefore now appears, that as the law or dictates of pure 
nature, comprehended together with other fit additionals, be 
came at first one entire constitution aptly suited to the govern 
ment of man in his innocent state, unto which the title did well 
agree of the law or covenant of works : so the same natural dic 
tates, transcribed and made express (because now sullied, and 
not so legible in the corrupted nature of man) do, with such al 
lays and additions as the case required, compose and make up 
the constitution which bears the title of the law or covenantor 
grace, or the law of faith, or the gospel of Christ, and is on 
ly suitable to the state of man lapsed and fallen ; as the measure 
of that righteousness which he is now to aim at, and aspire un- 


to. The rule of this righteousness therefore being evidently the 
law of faith, the gospel-revelation, wherein it is preceptive of 
duty : this righteousness can be understood to be nothing but 
the impress of the gospel upon a man's heart and life : a confor 
mity in spirit and practice to the revelation of the will of God in 
Jesus Christ; a collection of graces exerting themselves in sui 
table actions and deportments towards God and man ; Christ 
formed in the soul, or put on; the new creature in its being 
and operations ; the truth learned as it is in Jesus, to the put 
ting off the old man, and the putting on the new. More dis 
tinctly, we may yet see wherein it lies, upon a premised view 
of some few things necessary to be fore-known in order there- 
ynto. As, That this righteousness is a renewing righteousness, 
or the righteousness of one formerly a sinner, a lapsed perishing 
wretch, who is by it restored into such a state towards God, as 
he was in before that lapse (in respect of certain great essentials, 
though as yet his state be not so perfectly good, while he is in 
his tendency and motion ; and shall, by certain additionals, be 
unspeakably better, when he hath attained the end and rest he 
is tending to). 

That a reasonable creature, yet untainted with sin, could not 
but have a temper of mind suitable to such apprehensions as 
these, namely, That as it was not the author of being to itself, 
so it ought not principally to study the pleasing and serving of 
itself, but him who gave it being; that it can no more continue 
and perfect itself unto blessedness, than it could create itself; 
and can therefore have no expectation hereof, but from the same 
author of its being; and hence, that it must respect and eye the 
great God, its Creator and Maker : as, The sovereign authority 
whom it was to fear and obey, and the sovereign good whom it was 
to love and enjoy. But because it can perform no duty to him, 
without knowing what he will have it to do : nor have any par 
ticular expectation of favours from him, without knowing what 
he will please to bestow ; and is therefore obliged to attend to 
the revelations of his will concerning both these : it is therefore 
necessary, that he eye him under a notion introductive and sub 
servient to all the operations that are to be exerted towards him, 
under the two former notions; that is, as the eternal never- fail 
ing truth, safely to be depended on, as intending nothing of 
deceit in any the revelations, whether of his righteous will, con 
cerning matter of duty to be done ; or of his good will, concer 
ning matter of benefit to be expected and enjoyed: That man 
did apostatize and revolt from God, as considered under these 
several notions; and returns to him, when a holy rectitude is 
recovered, and he again becomes righteous, considered under 
the same ; That it was not agreeable to God's wisdom, truth, 


and legal justice, to treat with man a sinner in order to his reco 
very, but through a mediator; and that therefore he was pleased 
in wonderful mercy to constitute and appoint his own Son Jesus 
Christ, God-man, unto that office and undertaking; that through 
him, man might return and be reconciled to himself, whom he 
causelessly forsook; designing that he shall now become so affec 
ted towards himself, through the mediator ; and firstly there 
fore towards the Mediator's own person, as he was before, and 
ought to have been towards himself immediately. 

Therefore, whereas God was considerable in relation to man, 
both in his innocency and apostacy, under that fore -mentioned 
twofold notion of the supreme authority and goodness; He hath 
also set up and exalted our Lord Jesus Christ, and represented 
him to sinners under an answerable two-fold notion of a Prince 
and a Saviour. That is a mediating Prince and Saviour to give 
repentance first; to bow and stoop the hearts of sinners, and 
reduce them to a subject posture again, and then by remission 
of sins to restore them to favour, and save them from the wrath 
to come. Him hath the Father clothed witli his own authority, 
and filled with his grace ; requiring sinners to submit themselves 
to his ruling power, and commit themselves to his saving mer 
cy ; now both lodged in this his Son : to pay him immediately 
all homage and obedience, and through him ultimately to him^ 
self; from him immediately to expect salvation and blessedness, 
and through him ultimately from himself. That whereas the 
spirits of men are not to be wrought to this temper, but by the 
Intervention of a discovery and revelation of the divine will to 
this purpose ; our Lord Jesus Christ is further appointed by 
the Father to reveal all this his counsel to sinners: and is ^mi- 
nently spoken of in Scripture upon this account, under the no 
tion of the truth; in which capacity he more effectually rec^m- 
mends to sinners both his authority and his grace. So tha^ his 
threefold (so much celebrated) office of King, Priest, and Prophet, 
(the distinct parts of his general office as mediator) which he 
manages in order to the inducement of lost sinners, exactly cor 
respond (if you consider the more eminent acts and properties 
of each office) to that threefold notion under which the spirit of 
man must always have eyed and been acted towards God, had 
He never fallen : and hence this righteousness, which consists in 
conformity to the gospel, is the former righteousness, which 
was lost ; with such an accession as is necessary, upon conside 
ration that it was lost, and was only to be recovered by a media 

Therefore you may now take this short, and as compendious an 
account as I can give of it, in what follows. It includes so firm 
and understanding an assent to the truth of the whole gospel re- 


velation, as that the soul is thereby brought, through the pow 
er of the Holy Ghost; sensibly to apprehend its former disobe 
dience to God, and distance from him, the reasonableness of 
subjection to him, and desirableness of blessedness in him ; the 
necessity of a Redeemer to reconcile and recover it to God ; the 
accomplishments and designation of the Lord Jesus Christ to 
that purpose : and hence, a penitent and complacential return 
to God, as the supreme authority, and sovereign Good, a hum 
ble and joyful acceptance of our Lord Jesus Christ as its Prince 
and Saviour, with submission to his authority, and reliance on 
his grace (the exercise of both which are founded in his blood), 
looking and pitching upon him, as the only medium, through 
which he and his duties can please God, or God and his mer 
cies approach him ; and through which he hath the confidence 
to venture upon a covenant-acceptance of God, and surrender 
of himself to hirn, afterward pursued to his uttermost, by a continued 
course of living in his fear and love, in obedience to him, and 
communion with him through the Mediator, always, while lie 
is passing the time of his pilgrimage in this world, groaning un 
der remaining sin, and pressing after perfect holiness ; with 
an earnest expectation (animating him to a persevering patience 
through all difficulties) of a blessed eternity in the other world. 
That such a conformity to the gospel should be expressed by the 
name of righteousness, cannot seem strange to such as acquaint 
themselves with the language of the Scripture. That gracious 
frame which the gospel (made effectual) impresses upon the 
soul, is the kingdom of God, in the passive notion of it, his 
kingdom received, and now actually come with power upon our 
spirits. And this kingdom (sometimes also by an apt synec 
doche called judgment in the same notion) is said to consist in 
righteousness ; whence then result also, peace and joy in the 
Holy Ghost. Rom. 14. 17. The same holy impressions and 
consequent operations are mentioned by the apostle under the 
name of fruits of righteousness, wherewith he prays his Philip- 
pians might be filled. (Phil. 1. 11.) It was Elymas's opposition 
to the gospel, that stigmatized him with that brand, " Thou 
enemy of all righteousness." To yield ourselves servants to 
righteousness, in opposition to a former servitude to sin, is obey 
ing from the heart the doctrine of the gospel, into the type or 
mould whereof we have been cast or delivered* Rom. 6. 17. 
And sure, both the seal and the impression, God's revelation, 
and holiness (however now more explicit and distinctly conspi 
cuous in all their parts) are the same, with us substantially, and 
in David's time; whence we need make no difficulty to own 
this latter, when we meet with it, as here, under the same name. 
By what hath hitherto been said, it may be already seen in part, 

VOL. Ill, F 


how exactly this righteousness corresponds to the blessedness for 
which it qualifies ; whereof we shall have occasion hereaftefr 
to take further notice. In the mean time, it will be requisite 
to shew which was promised to be done in the next place. 

Secondly, How it qualifies. To which I say (very briefly) 
that it qualifies for this blessedness two ways : 

1. Legally, or in genere Morali, as it describes the per 
sons, who by the gospel-grant have, alone, title thereunto. 
The righteous into life eternal. (Mat. 25.26.) -The unrigh 
teous shall not inherit the kingdom of God. (i. Cor. 6. 9.) 
Say to the righteous, it shall be well with them. (Isa. 3. 10.) 
The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him. In his 
righteousness he shall live. (ExeklS. 23.) In which last 
words, how this righteousness conduceth to life, is expressed by 
the same proposition as in the text. In this kind it is not at all 
causal of this blessedness, but it is that which the free, and wise, 
and holy Law-giver thought meet, by his settled constitution 
(besides what necessity there is of it upon another account) to 
make requisite thereto. The conformity of our Lord Jesus 
Christ to that severer law, under which he is said to have been 
made, is that which alone causes, merits, purchases this bles 
sedness; which yet is to be enjoyed, not by all indiscriminathn, 
or without distinction, but by such alone, as come up to the 
terms of the gospel ; as he did fully satisfy the strict exactions 
of that other rigid law, by doing and suffering for their sakes. 

2. Naturally, or in genere Physico. In this kind it may 
be said to be some way causal, that is, to be a causa materialis 
dispositiva^ by a proper positive influence, disposing the sub 
ject unto this hlessedness, which that it shall, yet, enjoy, is 

wholly to be resolved into the divine good pleasure, but it is put 
by this holy rectitude in that temper arid posture that it may en 
joy it, through the Lord's gracious vouchsafement ; when with 
out it, it were naturally impossible that any should. An un 
righteous impure soul, is in a natural indisposition to see God, 
or be blessed in him. That depraved temper averts it from him, 
the steady bent of its will is set another way, and it is a contra 
diction that any (in &ensu composito] should be happy against 
their wills, that is while that aversion of will yet remains. The 
unrighteous banish themselves from God, they shun and hate 
his presence. Light and darkness cannot have communion. 
f f He sun doth but shine, continue to be itself, and the darkness 
vanishes, and is fled away. When God hath so determined, 
that only the pure in heart shall see him ; that without holiness 
none shall; he lays no other law upon unholy souls, than what 
their own impure natures lay upon themselves. If therefore it 
should be inquired, Why may not the unrighteous be subjects 


of this blessedness, see God, and be satisfied with his likeness, 
as well as the righteous ? the question must be so answered, as 
if it were inquired, Why doth the wood admit the fire to pass 
upon it, suffer its flames to insinuate themselves till they have 
introduced its proper form, and turned it into their own like 
ness : but we see water doth not so, but violently resists its first 
approaches, and declines all commerce with it ? The natures of 
these agree not. And is not the contrariety here as great. We 
have then the qualified subjects of this blessedness, and are 
fiext to consider this blessedness itself. 


f. The next thing proposed in the preceding chapter which was Se 
condly, to show the nature of this blessedness, which is consider 
ed, in the three ingredients (here mentioned) whereof it consists. 
i. Vision of God's face, 2. Assimilation to him. 3. The satis 
faction resulting thence. U. These propounded to be considered, 
First. Absolutely and sinsly each by itself. Secondly. Rela 
tively, in their mutual respects to each other. The frstof these, 
Vision of God'* face, discoursed of. i. The Object. 2. The 

for the nature of this blessedness, orthe inquiry where - 
- in it lies, so far as the text gives us any account of it, we 
are invited to turn our thoughts and discourse to it. And we 
have it here represented to us in all the particulars that can be 
supposed to have any nearer interest in the business of blessed 
ness, or to be more intimate and intrinsical thereunto. For 
(the beatific object supposed) what more can be necessary to 
actual, complete, formal blessedness, than the sight of it, an 
adaptation or assimilation to it, (which is nothing else but its 
being actually communicated and imparted to the soul, its be 
ing united and made as it were one with it) and the complacen- 
tial fruition the soul hath of it so communicated, or having so 
transformed it into itself ? 
And these three are manifestly contained in the text (the 


beatific object being involved with them) the first in the former 
clause, "I shall behold thy face ;" the second and third in the 
latter, "I shall be satisfied with thy likeness ;" where, being 
made like to God hath been discovered to be supposed; and the 
satisfaction, the pleasant contentful relishes consequent thereto, 
plainly expressed. We shall therefore have stated the entire 
nature of this blessedness in the handling of these three things ; 
vision of the face of God: participation of his likeness, 
and satisfaction therein. 

II. And I shall choose to consider them absolutely, and sin 
gly, each by itself, and relatively, in the mutual respects (by 
way of influence and dependance) they may be found to have 
towards each other. Therefore. 

firsty in the absolute consideration of them severally,we begin 

1. The vision of God*s face, where the object; The face of 
God, and, the act of seeing and beholding it, are distinctly to 
be spoken to. 

(1.) The object of this vision, the face of God which is his 
glory represented, offered to view* And this objected or exhibi 
ted glory is twofold: sensible, such as shall incur and gratify 
(after the resurrection) the bodily eye, and intellectual, or in 
telligible; that spiritual glory that only comes under the view and 
contemplation of the glorified mind. 

[I.] A sensible glory (to begin with what is lower) is fitly in 
our way to be taken notice of, and may well be comprehended 
(as its less principal intendinent) within the significancy of the 
expression ; the face of God. So indeed it doth evidently sig 
nify, Exod. 33. 11. And if we look to the notation of the word, 
and its frequent use as applied to God, it may commodiously 
enough, and will often be found to signify, in a larger and more 
extended sense, any aspect or appearance of God. And though 
it may be understood (ver. 23.) of that chapter, to signify an over 
coming spiritual glory, as the principal thing there intended, 
such as no soul dwelling in flesh could behold, without rending 
the vail, and breaking all to pieces ; yet, even there also, may 
such a degree of sensible glory be secondarily intended, as it 
was not consistent with a state of mortality to be able to bear. 
And supposing the other expression "Thy likeness ;" to signi 
fy, in any part, the objective glory saints are to behold ; it is 
very capable of being extended so far, as to take in a sensible 
appearance of glory also, which it doth in these words, "The si 
militude of the Lord shall he behold:" (Numb. 12. 8.) yet 
even that glory also was transformative and impressive of itself: 
Moses so long conversed with it, till he became uncapable, for 
the present, of conversing with men, as you know the story re-f 
lates. Eiek. 1. 28. Exod. 34, 35, &c. 

_ ' . , . - . 


Such a glory as this, though it belong not to the being of 
God, yet it may be some umbrage of him, a more shadowy re 
presentation, as a man's garments are of the man, which is 
the allusion in that of the Psalmist, That art clothed with ma 
jesty and honour : Thou coverest thyself with light as with a 
garment. Psal. 104. 1, 2, And inasmuch as that spiritual bo 
dy (the house not made with hands, 2. Cor. 5. 1.) wherewith 
the blessed are to be clothed upon, must then be understood to 
have its proper sensitive powers and organs *refinedto that degree, 
as may be agreeable to a state of glory ; so must these have their 
suitable objects to converse with. A faculty without an object, 
is not possible in nature, and is altogether inconsistent with *i 
state of blessedness. The bodies of saints will be raised in glory, 
fashioned like Christ's glorious body ; must bear the image of the 
heavenly; (1. Cor 15. 43. Phil.3.21.) and this will connaturalize 
them to a region of glory, render a surrounding, sensible glory ne 
cessary and natural to them, their own element: they will, as it 
were, not be able to live but amidst such a glory. Place is con 
servative of the body placed in it, by its suitableness there. In 
deed every created being (inasmuch as it is not self-sufficient, 
and is obliged to fetch in continual refreshings from without) 
must always have somewhat suitable to itself to converse with, 
or it presently languishes. By such a harmony of actives and 
passives, the world consists and holds together. The least de 
fect thereof then, is least of all supposable in the state of bles 
sedness. The rays of such a glory have often shone down into 
this lower world. Such a glory we know shewed itself upon 
the Mount Sinai : afterwards often about the tabernacle, and in 
the temple : such a glory appeared at our Saviour's birth, bap 
tism, and transfiguration; and will do at his expected appear 
ance; which leaves it, no unimaginable thing to us, and shews, 
how facile it is to God to (do that which will then be, in some 
sort necessary) create a glory meet for the entertainment and 
gratification of any such faculty, as he shall then continue in 
being. But, 

[2.] The intellectual glory, That which perfected spirits shall 
eternally please themselves to behold, calls for our more especial 
consideration. This is the glory that excelleth, hyperbolical 
glory, as that expression vrref/SaAAao-rs Sofa (2. Cor. #. 10.) im 
ports; such, as in comparison whereof, the other is said to be 
no glory : as the apostle speaks, comparing the glory of the le 
gal with that of the evangelical dispensation, where the former 
was, we must remember, chiefly a sensible glory, the glory 

* Cuilibet potential activae respondet passiva, sive objectivat : To 
every active faculty, there corresponds a passive or objective one. 


that shone upon Mount Sinai ; the latter a purely spiritual glcK 
ry ; and surely, if the mere preludes of this glory, the primor- 
dia, the beginnings of it, The glory yet shining but through a 
glass, (as he there also speaks of his glory) were so hyperboli- 
cally glorious, what will it he in its highest exaltation, in its 
perfected state ? The apostle cannot speak of that, but with 
hpyerbole upon hyperbole in the next chapter. K^0 vmt&ox-w &s 
oTTspfakw. (2. Cor. 4. 17.) as through he would heap up words as 
high as heaven to reach it, and give a just account of it. Things 
are as their next originals. This glory, more immediately rays 
forth from God, and more nearly represents him. It is his more 
genuine production. He is stiled the Father of Glory : (Eph, 
1. 17.) every thing that is glorious is some way like him, and 
bears his image. But he is as well the Father of spirits, (Heb. 
12. 9.) as the Father of glory ; and that glory, which is pure 
ly spiritual, hath most in it of his nature and image : as beams 
but in the next descent from the body of the sun. This is his 
unvailed face, and emphatically, the divine likeness. Again, 
things are as the faculties which they are to exercise and satify; 
this glory must exercise and satisfy, the noblest faculty, of the 
most noble and excellent creature. Intellectual nature, in the 
highest improvement it is capable of in a creature, must here 
be gratified to the uttermost ; the most enlarged contemplative 
power of an immortal spirit finds that wherein it terminates here, 
with a most contentful acquiescence. It is true it must be un 
derstood not totally to exceed the capacity of a creature, but it 
must fully come up to it. Should it quite transcend the sphere 
of created nature, and surpass the model of a human under 
standing (as the divine glory undoubtedly would, did not God 
consider us in the manner of exhibiting it to our view) it would 
confound, not satisfy. A creature even in glory is still a crea- 
ture, and must be treated as such. After the blessed God hath 
elevated it to the highest pitch, he must infinitely condescend : 
it cannot otherwise know or converse with him. He must ac 
commodate his glory to the weaker eye, the fainter and more 
languid apprehensions of a poor finite thing. I had almost said 
nothing, for what is any creature, yea, the whole creation in its 
best state, compared with the I A M, the being (as he justly 
appropriates to himself that name) the All in All. We must be 
careful then to settle in our own thoughts such a state of this 
glory (in forming that indeterminate notion we have now of it) 
as may render it (though confessedly above the measure of our 
present understandings as to a distinct knowledge of it) not ma 
nifestly incompetent to any created understanding whatsoever, 
and as may speak us duly shy of ascribing a deity to a worm, of 
affixing any thing to the creature, which shall be found agree- 


ing to the blessed God himself alone. Their expressions there 
fore who over-magnify (even deify) the creature assumed into 
glory, must be heard and read with caution and abhorrency, as 
the high-swelling words of blasphemous vanity. Is it not e- 

Not being willing to trouble a discourse wholly of another na 
ture and design with any thing of controversy. I have chosen only 
to annex a marginal digression, wherein, somewhat to animad 
vert upon the over-bold disputes and definitions of the scholastic 
generation, touching what we have now under consideration. Some 
of whose writings seem the very springs of the putid conceits (there 
not wanting those, that are officious enough to serve the illiterate, 
in accommodating things of that kind to their genius and language) 
so greedily imbibed by modern enthusiasts. 

It is a question much agitated among the School-men. Whether 
the divine essence be exhibited to the view of the blessed in heaven, 
in itself immediately, or by the intervention of any created likeness 
or similitude ? Had it been agreed to forbear looking within this 
vail (the rude attempt whereof, rather rents than draws it aside) and 
to shut up all discourse of this kind, in a modest awful silence ; or 
bad the adventures some have made been foolish only, not pernici 
ous , this present labour had been spared. But when men speak of 
things above their reach, not to no purpose barely, but to very bad ; 
what they say ought to be considered. The divine essence, say the 
Thomists (and the Scotists here disagree not) is itself immediately 
united to the intellect of the blessed in ratione Speciei intelligibilis ', 
in respect of the intelligible species. So as there is no place for a- 
ny intervening likeness, or representation. Ipsa Divina Essentia 
estj quce vidctur 6f quo videtur : the divine essence itself is that 
which is seen and in lohich he is seen. Thorn. Sum. prima parte y 
q. 12. Art. 2. 3. contr. Gentes c 15. Thomas's Sermons first 
part against the pagans. Now they assert concerning the species 
intelligibilis 7 in general, that they have not Locum objecti, 
intellectionem terminantes : the place of the object terminating 
the act of the intellect, ^which they make the place and office of 
the verbum mentis per intellectionem product um : the word pro 
duced bij the intellectual act of the mind, but formes tantum ?- 
(ictus prirni: but only of the form and the primary act. And 
that the understanding so acts by them, as tire by its proper form, 
Thorn. Sum. prima parte, q. 8. 5. Art. 2. (the contrary whereto 
is asserted by Scotus in 1. Seritent. distinct. 3. q. 6\) Yea, ami 
Cajet. affirms 1. p. q. 76. Art. 2. That the intellect and the in 
telligible species are more one than the matter and form in the com- 
positum, For, faith he, (or to that purpose, not having him now at 
hand) the matter is not turned into the form, nor e contra, but the 
intellect, which is in itself mere power, doth, in genere intelligibili 
turn into its very intelligible object ; and the intelligible object it 
self is after a certain manner imbibed in the intellect. So Ledesma 
de Divin. perfect. 5. 3. Art* 5. unum tranfit in aliud, ex 


nough that perishing wretches, that were within one hand's 
breadth of hell, are saved, except they be also deified too ? that 
they become happy, unless they also become gods ? The 
distance even of a glorified creature from the glorious God, is 
still infinitely greater, than between it and the silliest worm, the 
minutest atom of dust. 

And by how much more we shall then know of his glory, so 
rnuch more shall we understand that distance. Yet as he shall 
then enlarge, the capacity of the soul he glorifies, to a very vast 

sequitur, quod unum sit alrnd; that one passes into the other, 
whence it follows, that one becomes another. And hence say they, 
applying this doctrine to the present purpose, et secundum istum mo- 
dutn, in conjunctione ilia inejf'abili divince essentice cum intellectu 
creato, Jit unum agens intcgrum scil. intellectus creatus factus 
Deus mirebili modo Intellects in visione beatifica, est potentia 
jam deificata, per lumen glorice : and according to this mode in 
that ineffable conjunction of the divine essence with a created intel 
lect there is formed one entire agent, that is, a created intellect 
is in a wonderful manner made God. The intellect in the beati 
fic vision, is a power made like to that of God himself by the 
light of glory. Cajetprimaparte, the first part (q. 12. Art. ex Le- 
des. q. 8. Art. 8. ) For besides this immediate union of the divine 
essence itself with the intellect they assert a lumen gloriae, light of 
glory, an accident superadded, without which the vision cannot be 
performed; which additional the Scolists reject. Some, though they 
admit it, think the vision may be without it, and that it doth not zm- 
plicare contradictionem, visionem bealif team Jieri sine lumine glo- 
riae, cum solo speiceiali Dciauxilio, (juod item asscrunt multiex 
scholasticis : Imply a contradiction that the beatific vision should 
be found without the light of glory, solely by the special aid of 
Gody which also many of the school-men assert. Palud. in 4. dist 
4.9. q. 1. Art. 3. Concl 2. Thorn, de Argent, q. Art. I. Major, 
q. 4. Hen. quotibet. 7- %umel. 1. p. q t 12.' Art. 5. disp, 2. concel, 
3. Ita Onuphr de vlrtute pccnitentia. Whether there be any ver- 
bum creatum, the product of intellection, the Thomists are them 
selves divided. Their more common opinion is, that there is none, 
as Ledesma assures us ; telling us also his reason, why he conceives 
there can be none. Bcati nonformant verbum in videndo Deo, 

scd plus vidcnt quam verbo creato dicere possunt nam beatus 

per visionem beatamquamvis non videat infinite videt tamen injini- 

tum the blessed in the vision of God do not form to themselves 

a word (or representation) but they see morethan can be expres 
sed by a created word for he who is blessed with the beatific vi 
sion though he cannot see infinitely y yet sees an infinite object. 
Cwhich is their great argument against any intelligible species), and 
he further adds, sicut visio Dei, quae est in ipso Deo, habet pro 
principio $ specie inteltigibili ipsam divlnam Essentiamj Sf pro 


comprehension, so shall the exhibition of his glory to if, be ful 
ly adequate to its most enlarged capacity. They are as yet but 
obscure glimmerings, we can have of this glory; but so far as, 
without too bold curiosity, we may, and wherein Scripture-light 
will give us any pre-apprehension of it, let us consider a while, 

termino ipsam Divina n Essentiam ; sic visio beatorum est itct 
super natutalis. et divini ordinis, et participatio div,nae visionis 
it a perfecta ut ipsa etiam habeat pro principio et specie intelli- 
gibili, ipsam divinam Essentiam, etpro termino site verboproducto, 
ipsammet divinam Essentiam: as the vision of God which is in 
Gocl himself has for its principle and its intelligible species the di 
vine essence itself, and the same for its term, so the vision of the 
blessed is of so supernatural and divine an or.der, and so perfect 
a participation of the diving vision, that it likewise has the divine 
essence for its principle and intelligible species, as well as for its 
term or created word. So that the principle and term of this vision 
are owned to be nothing else but the simple divine essence. Con 
cerning the formal act itself, it is much disputed, whether the crea 
ture's intellect do at all effectually concur to it, or whether God him 
self be not the only efficient or agent in this vision. Some stjck not to 
affirm the latter, Marsil. in 3. q. 1. Palud. in 4. dist. 49. q. 1. 
Art. 3. (referente Ledesma) and say plainly, that the action of 
fhe inferior agent wholly ceases, and the superior only acts: the same 
thing that D. M. Causabon in his enthusiasm charges one Maxi- 
rnus with, who in a book entitled xetyochxux. 0o?\.oy*>t<x, theological 
principles, writes thus : rnv ot^a-ov &oc@wv tvuanv irfos rot 0ov o vf TJ) 
T irofty xaci voeta-Qau travr&MS Swafriv (%& <7^oAa^crav. That the Soul 
taken into immediate union zcithGod, loses all its knowing power: 
(though this be not distinctively spoken of the state of glory :) and 
what doth this amount to ? but that while they are eagerly contend 
ing about the saints' blessedness, and too curiously labouring to ex 
plicate the manner of their seeing God, they unawares destroy the 
subject of the question, and deny that they see him at all; and so 
upon the whole, dispute themselves into a worse than Paganish infi 
delity. And even the rest, that agree in the sense of the passages, 
above-recited, will not be easily able to avoid the charge of as in 
tolerable consequences ; which it is my business here only to disco 
ver, and not to determine any thing in this controversy, while I tax 
the too much boldness of others, who adventure it. And here not 
to insist on. the absurdity of what they say concerning the intelligible 
species jn general, let it be considered. 1. That the divine essence 
is said to be united to the intellect of the blessed, as an intelligible 
species. 2 That the intelligible species, in the business of intellec 
tion, and the intellect, become one another ; do not remain distinct 
things united, but are identified. 3. That hence in understanding 
Goda the intellect is deified and becomes God, which naturally fol 
lows from the $wo former, and is moreover expressly asserted ia 


the nature and the excellency of it. We cannot indeed consider 
these separately; for we can no sooner understand it to be glo 
ry, than we conceive it excellent : glory, in the proper notion of 
it, being nothing else but resplendent excellency, the lustre of 
excellency, or real worth made conspicuous. Yet as there is 
an excellency conceivable in the nature if it, that excellency 
whereof it is the splendour and brightness ; so we must conceive 
a peculiar excellency of that very radiation, that splendour itself, 
wherewith it shines unto blessed souls. In its very nature it is 
the brightness of divine excellencies: in its present appearance, 

plain words. What need is there to press this doctrine with hard 
consequences ? or how can it look worse than it doth already, with 
its own natural face ? Nor can I apprehend which way it should be 
made look better. For should it lay claim to that favour, to be un 
derstood according to the usual sense of the peripatetic maxim, in- 
tellectus. intelligendo , sit omnia ; the intellect by the act of un 
derstanding becomes all things ; it will be found manifestly to have 
precluded itself. That maxim is wont to be understood thus ; That 
the intellect becomes that which it understands representative, by 
putting on the species or likeness ot its object, the representation of 
it. Fot instance, when I form in my mind the notion of a mountain 
my understanding becomes an ideal or spiritual mountain ; it be 
comes that species (which is liable to more exception too than I shall 
now insist on, and looks more like the language of a poet than a phi 
losopher) that is now formed there : and not the material mountain 
itself. But how shall this assertion, The understanding, by its act of 
understanding God, becomes God, be capable of that interpretation, 
that is, It becomes his likeness, his idea, his representation now for 
med in it, when any such intervening likeness or representation is ut 
terly denied ; and that supposed species is said to be the simple, di 
vine essence itself ? and if the divine essence itself be that species by 
which it is understood, will it not follow from that other Aristotelian 
axiom (which with them must signify as much as a text from saint 
Paul) scibile et scientla sunt idem : knowledge and the object oj 
knowledge are the same thing: That our very knowledge of God 
must be God too ; or would they disown that maxim, sure when once 
the faculty is supposed deified, the act immanent in it, cannot be a 
created accident ; nor can that maxim (understood of the scibile re 
present atinum, or the species sibilis) be denied by them . And 
sure, if the saints' knowledge of God, the likeness of him in their 
minds be God ; their holiness, the likeness of him in their hearts, 
must be so too. How absurd then would it be, to use that Scrip 
ture-language, and speak of these under the names of God's image 
or likeness when similitude and identity, are notions so vastly dis 
agreeing; and since a saint's knowledge and holiness here and in hea 
ven differ but in degree: they can be here on earth, nothing but God 
dwelling in them. And supposing that Scotus have better defended 


*t shines in the highest excellency of that brightness ; in its na 
ture it excelleth all things else : in its present exhibition, com 
pared with all its former radiations, it excel leth itself. 

As to the nature of this glory, it is nothing else but 
the conspicuous lustre of divine perfections. We can only guide 
our present conceptions of it, by the discovery God hath already 
given us of himself, in those several excellencies of his being, 
the great attributes that are convertible and one with him. 
When Moses besought him for a sight of his glory, he answers 
him with this "I will proclaim my name before thee." His 
name, we know, is the collection of his attributes, The no- 

than his adversaries impugned the real identity of the soul and its fa 
culties, that must be deified too. However, what could be imagined 
more absurd, than that the substance of the soul should be a crea 
ture, and its faculty God ? whence then do we think that modern 
familists have fetched their admired nonsense ? Whom have they 
had their original instructors? or who have taught them that brave 
magnificent language of being Godded with God, and Christed with 
Christ? but these? More sure need they blush to be found guilty of 
so profoundly learned inconsistencies, or to speak absurdly after such 
patrons. And what should occasion these men so to involve them 
selves, I cannot find or divine, more than this, that they were not 
able to fasten upon any more tolerable sense of the word K<r(Ly 1 . 
Cor. 13. 12. 1. John. 3. 2. but taking that in its highest pitch of sig- 
nificancy ; all their arguments are generally levelled at this mark, to 
prove that no created species can possibly represent God sicuti est 
and thence infer, that he cannot be seen by any created species in 
the glorified state, where he is to be seen sicuti est. But could we 
content ourselves with a modest interpretation of these words, and 
understand them to speak not of & parity, but of a similitude only, 
between God's knowledge and ours, nor of an absolute omnimodous 
similitude, but comparative only ; that is, that comparing our future 
with our present state, the former shall so far excel this, that in compari 
son thereof, it may be said to be a knowing of God, as weareknown,and as 
he is; insomuch as our future knowledge of him, shall approach so un 
speakably nearer to his most perfect knowledge of us, and the truth 
of the thing, than our present knowledge doth or can; by such an 
interpretation we are cast upon no such difficulties. For admit that 
no species can represent God as he is, in the highest sense of these 
words ; yet sure, in the same sense wherein he can be seen by us as 
he is, he may be represented to us as he is. And what can be more 
frivolous than that fore-recited reasoning to the contrary? "There 
can be no created representation of God (sicuti est) adequate to 
the vision the blessed have of him ; but they see more than any 
.created representation can contain ; for they see infinitum though 
tiot infinite. For how must we understand the infinitum they are 
said to see ? Materially, or formally ? Must we understand by it him 


tion therefore we can hence form of this glory, is only such as 
we may have of a large volume by a brief synopsis or table j of 
a magnificent fabric, by a small model or platform ; a spacious 
country, by a little landscape. He hath here given us a true 
representation of himself, not a full : such as will secure our ap 
prehensions, being guided thereby, from error, not from igno 
rance. So as they swerve not in apprehending this glory, though 
they still fall short. We can now apply our minds to contem 
plate the several perfections which the blessed God assumes to 
himself, and whereby he describes to us his own being ; and 
can in our thoughts attribute them all to him, though we have 
still but low defective conceptions of each one. As if we could 

that is infinite only, or as he is infinite ? If it be said the latter, that 
~is to say, they see infinite too: If the former only; Do not saints 
on earth see (namely mentally, which is the vision we are speak 
ing of) him who is infinite, in their present state, where it is ac 
knowledged the knowledge is by species. 

Yet would I not hence conclude, that the knowledge saints shall 
have of God hereafter, shall be by species ; for my design in all this 
it but to discover the vanity of too positive and definitive conceptions 
concerning it, beyond the measure ofGod's revelation, and the ducture 
of clear and unentangled reason. All knowledge hath been thought 
to be by assimilation, that is by receiving the species or images of 
the things known. So the intellect is not really turned into the things 
which it understands, but only receives their species, wherewith it is 
united so closely, that it is therefore said to be like to them* Vir 
tuosi of France, confer. 65. 

One way or other it hath been judged necessary the mind should 
be furnished with such images of the thing it is said to understand ; 
which therefore some have thought connate ; others, supplied by sense 
totally; others, by a separate intellectus agens ; which some have 
thought to be God himself : others, one common intelligence : others, 
ajparticular genius. So indispensably necessary it hath been rec 
koned unto intellection, that the office of furnishing the mind with 
the images of the things* to be understood, should be performed by one 
or other. If any clearer explication can be given, or better way as 
signed of the soul's knowing things, it cannot but be welcome to ra 
tional men. But I see no necessity or reason it should have a speci 
fically distinct way of knowing here and in heaven. Much less that 
we should imagine to ourselves such a one, as to that other state, as 
is altogether unaccountable and capable of no rational explication ; 
and reckon it much more becoming to be silent, than on pretence of 
any mysteriousnebs in the things we discourse of, to talk absurdly 
and unintelligibly about them. A confessed ignorance in this case 
is becoming, to say with that great apostle, it doth not appear what 
we shall be : but to conclude End define such matters, is surely ^ovi 
vag o ofi pfomv : to be wise above what we ought. 


at a distance distinguish the streets and houses of a great city > 
but every one appears to us much less than it is. We can ap 
prehend somewhat of whatsoever he reveals to be in himself; yet 
when all is done, how little a portion do we take up of him ! 
Our thoughts are empty and languid, straight and narrow, such 
as diminish and limit the Holy One. Yet so far as our appre 
hensions can correspond to the discovery he affords us of his se 
veral excellencies, we have a present view ot the divine glory. 
Do but strictly and distinctly survey the many perfections com 
prehended in his name, then gather them up, and consider how 
glorious he is ! Conceive one glory resulting from substantial 
wisdom, goodness, power, truth, justice, holiness, that is, beam 
ing forth from him who is all these by his very essence, neces 
sarily, originally, infinitely, eternally, with whatsoever else is 
truly a perfection. This is the glory blessed souls shall behold 
for ever. 

For the excellency of it, it is called by way of discrimination^ 
"The excellent glory." 2. Pet. 1. 17. There was glory put 
upon Christ in the transfiguration ; of which, when the apostle 
speaks, having occasion to mention withal the glory of heaven 
itself, from whence the voice came ; he adds to this latter, the 
distinguishing note of the excellent. He himself was eye-wit> 
ness of the honour, and majesty, and glory, which the Lord Je 
sus then received ; but beyond all this, the glory from whence 
the voice came, was the excellent or stately glory, as the word 
MEyaAoTTfETroyy imports. It is a great intimation how excellent a glo 
ry this is, that it is said to be a glory yet to be revealed; (1. Pet. 
4. 13.) as if it had been said, whatever appearances of the divine 
glories are now offered to your view, there is still somewhat un 
discovered, somewhat behind the curtain that will outshine all. 
You have not seen so much, but you are still to expect unspeaka 
bly more, Glory is then to shine in its noon-day strength and 
vigour: it is then in its meridian. Here, the riches of glory 
are to be displayed, certain treasures of glory, the plenitude and 
magnificence of glory. We are here to see him as he is ; to 
know him as we are known of him. Certainly, the display of 
himself, the rays of his discoveied excellency, must hold pro 
portion with that vision, and be therefore exceeding glorious, 
Jt is the glory Christ had with the Fatter before the foundations 
of the world were laid; (John 1. 5.) into the vision and com 
munion whereof holy souls shall now be taken, according as 
their capacities can, admit ; that wherewithal his great at- 
chievements and high merits shall be rewarded eternally ; that 
wherewith he is to be glorified in heaven, in compensation of 
having glorified his Father on earth, and finished the work 
whereto he was appointed. This cannot but be a most transcen- 


dent glory. It is in sum, and in the language of the text the glo 
ry of God's own face, his most aspectable, conspicuous glory* 
Whose transforming beams are productive of the glory impres 
sed, the next ingredient into this blessedness, which will pre 
sently come to be spoken of, after we have given you some short 
account of, 

(2.) The act of beholding : the vision or intuition itself, by 
which intervening the impression is made. Glory seems to car 
ry in it a peculiar respect to the visive power (whether corporeal 
or mental, as it is itself of the one kind or the other) ; it is some 
thing to be contemplated, to be looked upon. And being to 
transmit an impression, and consequent pleasure to another sub 
ject, it must necessarily be so, it can neither transform nor sa 
tisfy but as it is beheld. And here the sensitive intuition I shall 
not insist on, as being less intended in the text, and the dis 
course of it less suitable to such as with a spiritual mind and de* 
sign set themselves to inquire into the nature of the saints' bles 
sedness. Yet, as this is the most noble, comprehensive, quick, 
and sprightly sense, so is the act of it more considerable, in the 
matter of blessedness, than any other of the outward man, and 
the most perfect imitation of the act of the mind; whence also 
this so often borrows the name of the other, and is called see 
ing. It is an act indeed very proper and pertinent to a state of 
glory. By how much more any sensible object is glorious (sup 
posing the sensorium to be duly disposed and fortified, as must 
be here supposed), so much is it the fitter object of sight ; hence 
when we would express a glorious object, we call it conspicuous; 
and the less glorious, or more obscure any thing is, the less 
visible it is, and the nearer it approaches to invisibility ; whence 
that saying in the common philosophy, "To see blackness is to see 
nothing." Ati&t. in 3. Meneorolog Cap. de fride. Whatsoever 
a glorified eye, replenished with a heavenly vitality and vigour, 
can fetch in from the many glorified objects that encompass it, 
x*e must suppose to concur to tins blessedness. Now is the eye 
satisfied with seeing, which before never could. 

But, it is intellectual sight we are chiefly to consider here, 
that, whereby we see him that is invisible, and approach the in 
accessible light. The word mil here used, some critics tell us, 
more usually signifies the sight of the mind. And then, not a 
casual, superficial glancing at a thiog, but contemplation, a 
studious, designed viewing of a thing when we solemnly com 
pose and apply ourselves thereto ; or the vision of prophets, or 
such as have things discovered to them by divine revelation, 
(thence called chozim, seers) which imports (though not a pre 
vious design, yet) no less intention of mind in the act itself. 
And so it more fitly expresses that knowledge which we have. 


not by discourse and reasoning out of one thing from another, 
but by immediate intuition of what is nakedly, and at once of-r 
fered to our view, which is the more proper knowledge of the 
blessed in heaven. They shall have the glory of God so pre- 
$ented, and their minds so enlarged, as to comprehend much at 
pne view ; in which respect they may be said, in a great degree^ 
to know as they are known, inasmuch as the blessed God com 
prehends all things at once, in one simple act of knowing. Yet 
that is not to be understood as if the state of glory should exclude 
all ratiocination, more than our present state doth all intuition, 
(for first and indemonstrable principles we see by their own 
light, without illation or argument); nor can it be inconvenient 
to admit, that while the knowledge the blessed have of God is 
not infinite, there may be use of their discursive faculty with 
great fruit and pleasure. Pure intuition of God, without any 
mixture of reasoning, is acknowledged (by such as are apt enough 
to be over-ascribing to the creature) peculiar to God alone. But 
as the blessed God shall continually afford (if we may speak of 
continuity in eternity, which yet we cannot otherwise appre 
hend) a clear discovery of himself, so shall the principal exer 
cise, aad felicity of the blessed soul consist in that less laborious 
and more pleasant way of knowing, a mere admitting or enter 
taining of those free beams of voluntary light, by a grateful in 
tuition ; which way of knowing, the expression of sight, or be 
holding, doth most incline to and that is, we are sure, the or 
dinary language of Scripture about this matter. (Matt. 5. 8. 12, 
14.) Cognoscere Deum dare et intuitive est proprium et natu- 
rale soli Deo, sicut est proprium igni calefacere et soli 
illuminare: to know God clearly and intuitively is peculiar 
and natural to God alone ; as if is peculiar to fire to give 
warmth and to the sun to give light. Ledesm. de divin. per 
fect, q. 8. Art. 7 



k Having considered the I, ingredient of this blessedhess, " Vision 
f of God's face/' we pass on to the next, that is, 2, Assimilation to 
God, or his glory impressed. Wherein it consists, discovered ir* 
sundry propositions. II. The last ingredient, which is 3, The sa 
tisfaction and pleasure which results, stated and opened. 

I. A NP now, upon this vision of the blessed face of God 
** next follows, in the order of discourse, 

2. The sours perfect assimilation unto that revealed glory, or its 
participation thereof (touching the order the things themselves have 
to one another, there will be consideration had in its proper place) 
and this also must be considered as a distinct and necessary in 
gredient into the state of blessedness we are treating of. Dis 
tinct it is, for though the vision now spoken of, doth include a 
certain kind of assimilation in it, as all vision doth, being only 
a reception of the species or likeness of the object seen : this as 
similation we are to speak of, is of a very different kind. That 9 
is such as affects only the visive or cognitive power, and that not 
with a real change, but intentional only, nor for longer conti* 
nuance than the act of seeing lasts; but this, is real total, and 
permanent. And surely it is of equal necessity to the soul's 
blessedness, to partake the glory of God, as to behold it ; as well 
to have the divine likeness impressed upon it, as represented to 
it. After so contagious and over-spreading a depravation as sin 
hath diffused through all its powers, it can never be happy with 
out a change of its very crasis and temper throughout. A dis 
eased, ulcerous body would take little felicity in gay and glori 
ous sights : no more would all the glory of heaven signify to a 
sick, deformed, self-loathing soul. 

It must therefore be all glorious within, have the divine na 
ture more perfectly communicated, the likeness of God trans 
fused and wrought into it. This is the blessed work begun in 
regeneration; but how far it is from being perfected, we may 
soon find by considering, how far short we are of being satisfied 
in our present state, even in the contemplation of the highest and 


most excellent objects. How tasteless to our souls arc the 
thoughts of God ! How little pleasure do we take in viewing over 
his glorious attributes ! the most acknowledged and adorable 
excellencies of his being ! And whereunto can we impute it but 
to this, that our spirits are not yet sufficiently connaturalized to 
them ? Their likeness is not enough deeply instamped on our 
souls. Nor will this be, till we awake. When we see better, 
we shall become better: when he appears, we shall be like him, 
for we shall see him as he is. But do we indeed pretend to such 
an expectation ? Can we think what God is, and what we are in 
our present state, and not confess these words to carry with them 
an Amazing soupd, " we shall be like h jm !" How great a hope 
is this ! How strange an errand hath the gospel into the world ! 
How admirable a design ! to transform men and make them 
like God ! Were the dust of the earth turned into stars in the 
firmament! were the most stupendous, poetical transformations 
Assured realities ; what could equal the greatness and the won 
der of this mighty change ! Yea, and doth not the expecta 
tion of it seem as presumptuous, as the issue itself would be 
strange; is it not an over-bold desire; too daring a thought; 
a thing unlawful to be affected, as it seems impossible to be at 
tained ? |t must be acknowledged there is an appearance of 
high arrogance in aspiring to this, to be like God. And the 
very wish or thought of being so, in all respects, were not to be 
entertained without horror, It is a matter therefore that re 
quires some disquisition and explication, wherein that impres 
sed likeness of God consists, which must concur to the saints' 
blessedness. In order hereunto then take the following proposi 
tions : 

(1.) There is a sense wherein to be like God is altogether im 
possible, and the very desire of it the most horrid wickedness. 
The prophet in the name of God charges the proud prince of Tyre 
with this, as an inexpiable arrogance that he did set his heart as 
the heart of God, and upon this score challenges and enters the 
list with him: Come, you that would fain be taken for a God, I 
will make a sorry God of thee before I have done ; Because 
thou hast set thy heart as the heart of God, I will set those upon 
thee, that shall draw their swords against the beauty of thy wis 
dom, and that shall defile thy brightness; And what! Wilt 
thoq yet say in the hand of him that slayeth thee, I am a God ? 
Thou shalt be a man, and no God, in the hand of him that slay 
eth thee; I have spoken it saith the Lord God. Ezek. 28. 6 10. 
tfe will endure no such imitation of him, as to be rivaled in the 
point of his Godhead. This is the matter of his jealousy ; "They 
have moved me tojealousy with not-God," (Deut. 32. 21.) so 
it is shortly and more smartly spoken in the original text. And 



see how he displays his threats and terrors hereupon in the fol 
lowing verses. This was the design and inducement of the firs^ 
transgression, to be as gods. And indeed all sin may be redu 
ced hither. What else is sin (in the most comprehensive no 
tion) but an undue imitation of God? an exalting of the creature's 
will into a supremacy, and opposing it as such to the divine ? To 
sin, is to take upon us, as if we were supreme, and that there 
were no Lord over us; it \s to assume to ourselves a, deity, as if 
we were under no law or rule ; as he is not under any, but what 
he is to himself. Herein, to be like God, is the very core and, 
malignity of sin. 

(2.) There is a just and laudable imitation of God, a likeness 
to him, that is matter of command, praise and promise, as 
wherein both the duty, excellency and blessedness of the rea 
sonable creature doth consist ; and which is in some respect in-, 
separable from the nature of man. We are required to be fol 
lowers of God, as dear children, (Eph. 1. 5. t^fwrat) imitators the 
word is. David is commended as a man after God's own heart ; 
though but now, we saw in another, with what disdain and in 
dignation it was resented, that he did set his heart, as the heart ; 
of God. The new creature, the new man, the first fruits, as 
he is called, the flower of the creation, is made after God. 
Jam. 1.18. Eph. 4. 24. Saints expect, upon the assurance of 
his word, to be more fully like him, as we see in the text, and 
parallel places. Yea, man was made at first with a concreate 
similitude to God, which we know was the counsel of heaven, 
and the result and issue of that counsel, Gen. 1. 26, 2J. This 
is evident enough in itself, and needs no more words. But to 
make a further step in this business, observe next, 

(3.) There can be no allowable imitation of any one, but 
with an exception, as to some peculiarities that may belong to 
his special station, relation, and other circumstances of the con 
dition in which he is ; or with limitation to such things as are 
of common concernment unto both.* It is commonly observed, 
how naturally a people form their manners and fashions to the 
example of the prince; and there is no well-disposed ruler, but 
would take it well, to be imitated in things that are of common 
concernment to him and his subjects, that is, that concern him, 
not as he is a king, but as he is a man, or a Christian. To 
behold the transforming power of his own example ; where it is 
such as begets a fair and unreproachful impressf ; how his vir- 

*Regis ad exemplum totus componitur orbis ; the whole nation is 
conformed to the example of the king. 

j- Nam factre recte bonus princeps faciendo docet. Cumque sic im 


*tues circulate (his justice, temperance, ^ove of religion,) and 
produce their likeness among his people ; it will be a glory, and 
cannot but be resented with some delight. We cast an honour 
upon them whom we imitate : for we acknowledge an excellen 
cy in them (which is aU that honouring imports in the first no 
tion of it,) and that naturally is received with pleasure. But 
now, should subjects aspire to a likeness to their prince, in the 
proper appendages and acts of sovereignty; and because he is a glori 
ous king, they will be such too ; and assume the peculiar cogni 
sances of regalty ; ascend the throne, sway the sceptre, wear 
the crown, enact laws, c. There cannot be more of dutiful- 
ness and observance in the former imitation, than there is of 
disloyalty and treason in this. A father is pleased, to have his 
son imitate him, within such limits before-mentioned ; but, if he 
Will govern the family, and fill up his room in all relations, this 
will never be endured. 

(4) There are some things to be found in the blessed God, 
not so incommunicable and appropriate, but that his creatures 
may be said to have some participation thereof with him : and so 
far, to be truly like him. This participation cannot be univo- 
cal ; as the nature of a living creature in general, is equal in 
men and brutes ; so, it is a self-evident principle, that inter 
Deum et creaturam nihil est commune, nothing can be com- 
mon to God and an inferior being. Nor is it only an equivo 
cal, a participation of the same name, when the natures 
signified thereby are altogether diverse : but analogical, in as 
much as the things spoken, under the same names, of God and 
the creature, have a real likeness, and conveniency in nature 
with one another : and they are in God, primarily; in the crea 
ture, by dependance, and derivation : in him, essentially, as 
being his very essence; in them, but as accidents, (many of 
them) adventitious to their beings; and so while they cannot be 
said to be the same things in them, as in him, are fitly said to 
be his likeness. 

(5.) This likeness, as It is principally found in man, among 
all the terrestrial creatures ; so hath it, in man, for its seat and 
subject, his soul or spiritual part. The effects of divine wis 
dom, power, goodness, are every-where visible, throughout 
the whole creation ; and as there is BO effect, but hath some 
thing in it, corresponding to its cause (wherein it was its cause ;) 
so, every creature doth, some way or other, represent God. 

perio maximus, exemplo major est : for a good prince teaches 
virtue by his own practice. And thus while he is supreme in au 
thority, he is superior in example. Velleius Paterculus, Horn* 
Hist. 1.2. 


Some in virtues, some in life, some in being *only. The ma 
terial world represents him, a 6 * a house does the builder; but 
spiritual beings, as a child does the father, r yap ywos to-^v, for 
we are his offspring. Other creatures (as one, P. Molineus 
de cognitione Dei, fitly expresses it) carry his footsteps ; these, 
his image ; and that, not as drawn with a pencil, which can 
only express figure and colour ; but as represented in a glass, 
which imitates action and motion. To give the pre-eminence 
therefore, Jin this point to the body of man, was a conceit so 
gross, that one would wonder how it should obtain 5 at least in 
the Christian world. 

Yet we find it expressly charged by St. Augustine upon the 
anthropomorphites of old (of* melitonians. as he calls them, 
from one Melito the father of them) not only, that they ima 
gined God in a human shape (which was their known conceit) 
but that they stated God's image in man^ in his body, not his 

J Multis enim modis dici res possunt similes Deo ; aliae seeundum 
virtutem* <3f sapiontiam, facias j quia in ipso est virtus & sapientia 
non facta ; alias in quantum solum vivunt, quiillc summe& prime vivit; 
alicE in quantum sunt, quia ille sum me ? et primitus est,; For there 
are many respects in which creatures may be said to be like God : 
some with regard to virtue and wisdom, inasmuch as there are w 
him, virtue and wisdom uncreated ; others merely from their pos 
session or share of life, whereas he possesses life in the highest and 
first sense ; others in being only, but he is the highest and lirst of be 
ings. Aug: 80 quest, q. (nibi) 211. 

* Heathens have disdained and declaimed against so unworthy 
thoughts of God. To c 0f*cv atvro enopocTov o&tX/Ao/y, atppyrov tyvw, 
otvocQts <rapy.i, $c. the divine essence itself is not to be seen by the 
eye, uttered by the voice, shewn in thejlcsh, Sfc. Maximus Tyr. 
Dissert. 1. The same author warns us to take heed, that we ascribe 
to God, M*?TE /Ajytcr^or, /X*JT yjfu^a.^ [JWTE ^p/xa;, /.*JTC >vXo n v\vs 'Ktx.- 

~Qos, neither size, nor colour^ nor form, nor any other property 
of matter. Ibid. 

Unto which purpose is that decantate distich of Homer, Ot/ y*f 
<nrov, c. And that saying of Plinv, Quapropter ejfflgicm Dei for- 
mamque quccrere ; imbecillitatis humanoc reor, applied by Zanc. 
dc operibus Dei. Wherefore I think it a proof of human weak 
ness to seek after any image or form of God. And \ve may see 
much of like import alleged by Natal. Com. lib. 1. p. 13. Which 
Xby the way) discovers how flatly opposite the idolatry, forbidden in 
the second commandment, is to the light of nature itself. Which 
hath been ;ilso the just apology of the ancient patrons of the Chris 
tian cause, for the simplicity of their worship in this respect ; and 
their not imitating the pompous vanity of pagan image-worship. 
Ot<? Q&xs etxovots v7rG\a,tJ.@izvo(Arv ttvxi rx ayaXptar*, are /x^5jv oc.opx.rB 

&c. ize do not esteem images of God 


soul.* Nor are Van Helmont's fancies, about corporeal like 
ness, capable of excuse by any thing, but that they were a dream 
(as they are fitly stiled) and not likely to impose upon the wak 
ing reason of any man. 

(6.) This image or likeness of God in the spirit of man, re 
presenting what is communicable in him, is either natural or 
moral. There is first, a natural image of God, in the soul of 
man> which is inseparable from it ; and which it can never di 
vest itself of. || Its very spiritual, immortal nature itself, is a 
representation of his. Its intellective and elective powers are 
the image of what we are constrained to conceive under the no 
tion of the same powers in him. Yea, the same understanding 
with the memory and will, in one soul, are thought a lively re 
semblance of the f triune Deity. But there is further a similitude 
of him in respect of moral | virtues or perfections answering to 
what we conceive in him, under that notion : his wisdom (so far 
as it hath the nature of a moral virtue) his mercy, truth, righteous 
ness, holiness, &c. These two kinds or parts (as they may be 
called) of the divine impress upon the spirits of men, are distin 
guished by some (I see not how properly) by the distinct names 
of image, denoting the former; and similitude the latter: an- 
svrering, as is thought, to two Hebrew words JTIQT O 1 ?^. (Zanc.) 
of the like import : but the things themselves are evidently 
enough distinct, namely, what perfects the nature of man inge- 
nerephysico, as he is such a particular being in the universe: 
and what perfects him, in genere morally as he is considerable 
in reference to a law or rule guiding him to blessedness, as his 

io be proper ornaments, because ue cannot delineate the form of 
the invisible and spiritual Deity. Origen contr. Celsum. lib. 7. 

To which purpose see at large, Min. Felix, Quod simulacrum Deo 
fingam ? &c. what image shall 1 make for God ? 

And surely it is as improveable against the same piece of Christian 
paganism. The usually assigned differences would easily be shewn 
to be trifling impertinencies. 

* Corpus hominis non animum esse imaginen Dei: not the soul 
but the body of man is the image of God. Aug. (if it be Augus- 
tines) lib. de haeresibus. See Dr. Charleton of his image of God ia 

|| Est Dei similitude qugedam, quam nemo vivens, nisi cum vita 
exuit : quam habet homo et volens, et nolens, &c. there is a cer 
tain likeness of God which no man living divests himself of, but 
with life, which every man has whether willing or not. Bernard, 
de vita Soli tar. 

f D. Aug. (fuse,) lib. 10. de Trinitat. 

I Sed est alia, rnagis Deo propinqua, similitude, quac ia virtuti- 
bus consist! t : but there is another more intimate, resemblance to God 
which comists in virtue. Bernard. 


(7.) It is a likeness to God in respect of those moral excellen 
cies or perfections, that is especially considerahle by us, in re 
ference to our present .purpose ; as more immediately relatingto 
the soul's blessedness in God. By the former it hath a poten 
tiality, by the latter an habitude in reference thereunto. Or (to 
tise tehris> more liable to common apprehension) by the former 
it hath a remoter capacity, by the latter a present fitness ; or, 
as the apostle expresses it, is made meet to be partaker of the 
Inheritance of the saints in light, that is$ considering this like 
ness as begun in the soul. 

(8.) Besides what is thus (in the sense before expressed com 
municable between God and man, there are some things so pe 
culiarly appropriate to God, as that, in respect of them, there 
can be no formal likeness in the creature : and it would be im 
pious boldness to aspire thereto. Many things of this kind might 
be mentioned ; I shall only instance in two, wherein there is a 
manifest competition of the apostate world with him ; and which 
are therefore more relative to practice ; his sovereign authority, 
and his independency. In these while men affect to imitate, 
they wickedly affront him. And here is the great controversy 
between the glorious God, and the degenerous children of men; 
Every man would catch at a Godhead, and either assume it to 
himself, or cast it, many times, upon other creatures viler and 
more ignoble than himself; snatch the reins of government out 
of God's hand ; and exalt their own wills into an absoluteness, 
as liable to controul from none : place and settle their depen- 
dance on their own wit, power, fortitude, industry ; or, if that 
be a more hopeless course(for they often find an entire Godhead 
too much for one creature, and are therefore constrained to par 
cel it out among many) place their confidences and expectations 
in something else without them : do often, that ridiculous 
thing, so worthy to be hooted at, make the congested dirt of 
the earth their trust, (the righteous shall laugh at him, and say, 
Lo ! this is the man that trusted in riches. Psal. 52. 6. 73.); 
their wealth their strong tower; which only the name of the Lord 
is to his righteous ones. Yet, all the while, self is the centre and 
end in which all must meet and terminate. This at last carries 
away the assumed fictitious deity. And this thing, that is thus 
now made like God, is an idol (which indeed signifies so much) 
and this imitation of him, wicked idolatry ; than which nothing 
more debases a reasonable soul, or divests man of himself, that 
till they redress this, they give no proof of their being men. 
Jsa. 46. 3. This assimilation of ourselves to God is very remote 
then from being a perfection; it is a most reproachful deformi 
ty : Its we know imitations, if they be visibly affected, and 
strained too far, are always thought ridiculous by wise men. 


(9.) Though, in respect of these incommunicable things, 
there cannot be a proper, formal, immediate similitude to God; 
yet, there ought to be a correspondency ; which must be mea 
sured and estimated by the consideration of his state, and ours; 
whence it will appear, that what so properly appertains to him, 
and what ought to correspond thereto in us, do agree to each, 
upon one and the same intervening reason. 

For instance, is he absolutely supreme in as much as he is the 
first Being ? the correspondent impression with us, and upon the 
same reason, must be a most profound, humble self- subjection, 
disposing our souls to constant obedience to him. Again, is he 
simply independent; as being self-sufficient and all in all? the 
impression with us must be a nothingness, and self-emptiness, 
engaging us to quit ourselves, and live in him. This is the on 
ly conformity to God, which with respect to his incommunica 
ble excellencies, our creature-state can admit. It may be also 
stiled a likeness to him, being a real conformity to his will con 
cerning us, and his very nature as it respects us. We may con 
ceive of it, as of the likeness between a seal, and the stamp made 
by it; especially, supposing the inequality of parts in the seal to 
be by the protuberancy of what must form the signature. la 
that case there would be a likeness, aliquatenus, that is, an 
exact correspondency : but what would then be convex or bulg 
ing out in the seal, would be, as we know, concave or hollow 
in the impression. Such is the proportion between sove 
reignty and subjection, between self-fulness and self-emptiness. 
Whereas a similitude to God, in respect of his communicable 
perfections, is as that, between the face and its picture ; where 
no such difference is wont to appear. 

(10.) Assimilation, or conformity to God, in both these re 
spects, composes that excellent frame of moral perfections, which 
the divine glory, beheld, impresses upon the soul ; and which 
immediately conduces to its satisfaction and blessedness. I say, 
xnoral perfection, because that only is capable of being impres 
sed by the intervening ministry of our own understanding; 
namely, by its vision, intimated, as was formerly observed, in 
that of the apostle, "We shall be like for we shall see him," 
c. Its natural perfections are antecedent and presupposed, 
therefore not so fitly to be understood here. And I say, both 
these ways ; for, as we cannot form an entire idea of God, with 
out taking in, together, his perfections of both sorts, commu 
nicable, and incommunicable, (the former whereof must serve 
instead of a genus ; the latter of a differentia, in composing the 
notion of God, (Thes. Salmu. de Deo immense :) so nor will his 
impress on us be entire, without something in it respecting 
both; in the senses already given, What it will contribute td 


future blessedness, we shall shortly see, in its place, when we 
have made a brief inquiry (which is the next thing, according 
to our order proposed) concerning. 

3. The satisfaction that shall hence accrue. Where it will 
not be besides our purpose, to take some notice of the signifi- 
cancy of the word P2W 9 which some think to be the Niphal 
*>f the same word notwithstanding the different punctuation of 
thettf. And not to insist on its affinity to the word used forswear 
ing, or rather, being sworn, (which ; an oath being the end o 
controversies, and beyond which we go no further, nor expect 
more, in way of testifying; would, the more fitly here reprer 
sent to us the soul in its non- ultra : having attained the end of 
all its motions, and contentions,} its equal nearness, to the word 
signifying the number of seven, is not altogether unworthy ob 
servation. That number is, we know, often used in Scripture, 
as denoting plenitude and perfection ; and God hath, as it were 
signalized it, by his rest on the seventh day: * and if this were 
not designedly pointed at here in the present use of this word, 
(as it must be acknowledged to be frequently used where we 
have no reason to think it is with such an intendment) it may 
yet occasion us to lp,ok upon the holy soul now entered into the 
eternal sabbath f the rest of God : which, (secluding all respect 
to that circumstance) is, yet, the very substance and true no 
tion of the thing itself (to the consideration whereof I now pass) 
under the word held forth to us. For this satisfaction, i$ the 
soul's rest in God ; its perfect enjoyment of the mos^ perfect 
good: the expletion of the whole capacity of its will j the total 
filling up of that vast enlarged appetite; the perfecting of all its 
desires in delight and joy. Now delight or joy (for they differ not, 
save that the latter word is thought something more appropri 
ate to reasonable nature) is fitly defined Quies appetitus in ap- 
petibili : the rest of t lie desiring faculty in the thing desired. 
(Abuin. Sum.) Desire and delight, are but two acts of love, di- 

* How fit a Symbol it is of God's sabbatic rest, see Dr. More':? 
defence of his Phiiosphical Cabbala from Philo. Judceus. 

f- Erit ibi vere maximum Sabbatum, non habens vnsperam, ouod 
commendavit Dominus in primis operibus mundi ; ut legitur, et r$- 
quievit die Septimo Dies enim Septimus etiam nos ipsi erimus, 
quando ipsus fueiimus benedictionum et sanctifkalnnum pleni atque 
referti; ibi vacabimus et videbimus,videbirnuset amabimus/amabimus, 
laudabimus, &c. There shall be in reality a great sabbath hay 
ing no evening, which God distinguished at the very creation of 
the world ; as it is written '* and he rested on the seventh day ?'* 
For the seventh day shall be ever with us, when we shall be com 
pletely filled with blessings and graces. There we shall rest and 
contemplate ; contemplate and love ; love and praise, Aug. de ce- 
vit Dei lib : 22. c. 38, vid cund de civil Dei 1. J7, c. 4. 

iv dFTrts RIGHTEOUS* 5? 

versified, only by the distance, or presence of the same object : 
which, when it is distant, the soul, acted and prompted by love, 
desires, moves towards it, pursues it ; when present and attain 
ed, delights in it, enjoys it, stays upon it, satisfies itself in it, 
according to the measure of goodness it finds there. Desire, 
is therefore, love in motion : delight, is love in rest. And of 
this latter, delight or joy, Scripture evidently gives us this no 
tion, he will rejoice over thee with joy, (unto which is presently 
added as exegetical,) he will rest in his love: (Zeph. 3. 17.) 
which resting can be but the same thing with being satisfied. 
This satisfaction then is nothing else but the repose and rest of 
the soul amidst infinite delights: its peaceful acquiescence, ha 
ving attained the ultimate term of all its motions, beyond which 
it cares to go no further : the solace it finds in an adequate, full 
good ; which it accounts enough for it, and beyond which, it 
desires no more ; reckons its state as good as it can be, and is 
void of all hovering thoughts, (which perfect rest must needs ex 
clude,) or inclination to change. 

And so doth this being satisfied, not only generally signify 
the soul to be at rest; but it specifies that rest; and gives us a 
distinct account of the nature of it. As, that it is not a forced, 
violent rest; such as proceeds from a beguiled ignorance, a drow 
sy sloth, a languishing weakness, or a desire and hope of hap 
piness, by often frustrations baffled into despair, (to all which, 
the native import and propriety of that word satisfaction doth 
strongly repugn.) But it discovers it to be a natural rest : I mean, 
from an internal principle. The soul is not held in its present 
state of enjoyment by a strong and violent hand ; but rests in it 
by a connaturalness thereunto : is attempered to it, by its own 
inward constitution and frame. It rests not as a descending stone, 
intercepted by something by the way, that holds and stops it; 
else it would fall further : but as a thing would rest in its own 
centre ; with such a rest as the earth is supposed to have in its 
proper place ; that, being hung upon nothing, is yet unmoved 
ponderibus librata suis 9 equally balanced by its own weight 
every way. 

It is a rational, judicious rest; upon certain knowledge that 
its present state is simply best, and not capable of being chang 
ed for a better. The soul cannot be held under a perpetual 
cheat, so as alwaysto be satisfied with a shadow. It may be so 
befooled for a while, but if it remain satisfied, in a state that 
never admits of change; that state must be such, as commends 
itself to the most thoroughly informed reason and judgment. It 
is hence a free, voluntary, chosen rest : such as God professes 
his own to be in Zion; this is my rest, here will I, dwell, for I 
have desired it. Psal, 123. 14. It is ncompfacentivtiest, where- 



in the soul abides steady, bound only by the cords of love ; a 

rest in the midst of pleasantness; D^Jttn Psal. 16. 6. The Lord 
is my portion, the lots are fallen to me in arn&nitatibus ; it can 
not he more fitly expressed than amidst pleasantnesses : and 
this speaks not only what the Psalmist's condition was, but the 
sense, and account he had of it. That temper of mind gives us 
.some idea of that contentful, satisfied abode with God, which 
the blessed shall have. He intimates, how undesirous he was 
of any change. Their sorrows (he told us above) should be mul 
tiplied that hasten after another God. (Ver. 4 .) Hereafter there 
will be infinitely less appearance of reason for any such thought. 
Now, it is the sense of a holy soul, "Whom have I in heaven but 
thee ? and there is none I desire on earth besides thee" : as if he 
said, Heaven and earth yield not a tempting object, to divert 
rne from thee : it is now so, at sometimes, when faith and love 
are in their triumph and exaltation (but the Lord knows how 
seldom !) but much more when we see him as he is, and are sa 
tisfied with his likeness ! It is an active, vigorous rest. Ac 
tion about the end, shall be perpetuated here, though action to 
wards it, ceases. It is the rest of an awakened, not of a drow 
sy, sluggish soul ; of a soul satisfied, by heavenly sensations and 
fruitions: not uncapable of them; or that hath its powers bound 
up by a stupifying sleep. It is the rest of hope, perfected in frui 
tion, not lost in despair ; of satisfied, not defeated expectation. 
^Despair may occasion rest to a man's body, but not to his mind ; 
or a cessation from further endeavours, when they are constant 
ly found vain, but not from trouble and disquiet ; it may sus 
pend from action, but never satisfy. This satisfaction therefore 
speaks both the reality and nature of the soul's rest in glory : 
that it rests ; and with what kind of rest. 


* I think it not worth the while to engage in the dispute (so much 
agitated between the Thomists and Scotists^) whether blessedness do 
formally consist in this satisfying fruition, or in the antecedent vision: 
this satisfaction is certainly inseparable from it, and I see not how to 
be excluded out of its formal notion : it is not vision, as vision ; but as 
satisfying, that makes us happy ; and to talk of the satisfaction or 
pleasure which the understanding hath in knowing is insipid : \vhile 
the soul understanding, that is, the mind, knows it is the soul enjoy 
ing, that is, the will, is pleased and finds content: and till the soul 
be fullv contented, it is riot blessed, and it is, by being so, when it 
-saith, A * Now am I fully satisfied, I have enough, I desire no more." 



I, The three ingredients of this blessedness having been considered 
absolutely, we come Secondly. To their relative consideration; 
where it is propounded to shew particularly: 1. What relation 
vision hath to assimilation. 2. What both these have to satisfac 
tion. The relation between the two former, inquired into. An 
entrance upon the much larger discourse, what relation and influ 
ence the two former have towards the third : What vision of (jod's 
face or glory, contributes towards satisfaction, estimated from the 
consideration, 1. Of the object, the glory to be beheld ; as it is 
divine, entire, permanent, appropriate. 

I. JT^HUS far have we viewed the parts or necessary concurrence, 
of which the blessedness of the saints must be composed 
absolutely and severally each from other : we proceed, 

Secondly. To consider them relatively, namely, in the mutual 
respects they bear one to another ; as they actually compose 
this blessed state. Wherein we shall shew particularly : the 
relation, by way of influence, and dependance, between vision, 
and assimilation : and Hetween both these and the satisfac 
tion, that ensues : which latter I intend more to dwell upon ; 
and only to touch the former, as a more speculative and less 
improveable subject of discourse, in my way to this. 

1 . It may be considered What relation there may be be 
tween vision of God, and assimilation, or being made like to 
him; and it must be acknowledged (according to what is common 
ly observed of the mutual action of the understanding and will) 
that the sight of God, and likeness to him, do mutually contri 
bute each towards other. The sight of God assimilates, makes 
the soul like unto him ; that likeness more disposes it for a con 
tinued renewed vision. It could never have attained the bea 
tifical vision of God, had it not been prepared thereto, by a gra 
dual previous likeness to him.* For righteousness (which we 

* Which necessity of a likeness to God to dispose for the vision^of 
him, is excellently expressed by a platonic philosopher. The divine 


have shewn qualifies for this blessedness) consists in a likeness to. 
God ; and it could never have been so prepared, had not some 
knowledge of God introduced that conformity and yielding bent 
of heart towards him. For the entire frame of the new man, 
made after the image of God, is renewed in knowledge. Col. 3. 
10. But as, notwithstanding the circular action of the under 
standing and will upon one another, there must be a beginning 
of this course somewhere, and the understanding is usually rec 
koned the uys/Aov/xov, the first mover) the leading faculty : so, 
notwithstanding the mutual influence of these two upon each 
other, seeing hath a natural precedency, and must lead the way 
unto being like ; which is sufficiently intimated in the text, "1 
shall behold thy face/' and then "I shall be satisfied with thy 
likeness'* ; and more fully in that parallel scripture : We shall 
be like him, for we shall see him," #c. From whence also, 
and from the very nature of the thing, we may fitly state the re 
lation of the first of these to the second, to be that of a cause to 
its effect : sight begets likeness, is antecedent to it, and pro 
ductive of it. That is, the face or glory of God seen ; thatglo^ 
ry in conjunction with our vision of it : for the vision operates 
not, but according to the efficaciousness of the thing seen ; noy 
can that glory have any such operation, but by the intervention 
of vision. It is therefore the glory of God seen, as seen, that 
assimilates, and impresses its likeness upon the beholding soul : 
and so its causality is that of an objective cause (which whe-^ 
ther it belong to the efficient or final, I shall not here dispute) 
that operates only as it is apprehended : so introducing its own 
form, and similitude into the subject it works upon. Such a 
kind of cause were Jacob's streaked rods of the production that 
ensued ; and such a cause is any thing whatever, that begets an 
impression upon an apprehensive subject, by the mediation and 
ministry, whether of the fancy or understanding. This kind of 
causalty the word hath in its renewing, transforming work; and 
the sacraments, wherein they are causal of real physical muta 
tions on the subjects of them. So much of the image of God 
as is here impressed upon souls by gospel-dispensations, so much 
is impressed of his glory. The work of grace is glory begun. 
And now, as glory initial, and progressive in this life enters at 
the eye^ (beholding as in a glass the glory of the J>ord, we are 

nature, the TO OROV, which he saith, is liable to no sense, //.ova; 5c ru 
Tw "^v^ns xa^A/rw *#< xa^a^a/Tar*;, x/ votgurotTu, ytou xsiporaTw, xa< 
izgts@vTa.Tu, ogotlov $t ep.oioTylx, &c. is yet "visible, to that in the soul 
which is most beautiful, most pure, most perspicuous, most sub- 
lime, most noble, in respect of a, certain similitude and cognation 
that is between them. Max. Tyr. 


changed, 2, Cor. 3. 18.) so doth perfect and consummate glory 
in the other life. For we have no reason to imagine to our 
selves any alteration in the natural order the powers of the soul 
have towards each other, by its passing into a state of glory. 

The object seen, is unspeakably efficacious ; the act of intui 
tion is full of lively vigour ; the subject was prepared, and in a 
disposition before ; and what should hinder, but this glorious 
effect should immediately ensue ? as the sun no sooner puts up 
his head above the hemisphere, but all the vast space, whither 
it can diffuse its beams, is presently transformed into its likeness 
and turned into a region of light. What more can be wanting 
to cause all the darkness of atheism, carnality, and everything 
of sin, for f.ver to vanish out of the awaking soul ; and an entire 
frame of holiness to succeed : but one such transforming sight 
of the face of God ? One sight of his glorious majesty presently 
subdues, and works it to a full subjection : one sight of his puri 
ty makes it pure ; one sight of his loveliness turns it into love ; 
and such a sight always remaining, the impress remains always 
actually (besides that it is in itself most habitual and permanent 
in the souls now confirmed state) fresh and lively. 

The object hath quite another aspect upon a wicked soul, 
when it awakes; and the act ot seeing is of another kind; there 
fore no such effect follows. Besides, the subject is otherwise 
disposed, and therefore as the sun enlightens not the inward 
parts of an impervious dung-hill, but it enlightens air; so the 
sight of God transforms and assimilates at last, not a wicked, 
but it doth a godly soul. That which here makes the greatest 
difference, in the temper of the subject, is love. I look upon 
the face of a stranger and it moves me not; but upon a friend 
and his face presently transforms mine into a lively cheerful as 
pect. As iron sharpens iron, so doth the face of a man his 
friend; (Prov, 27 170 P u * s a sharpness and a quickness into 
his looks. The soul that loves God, opens itself to him, ad 
mits his influences and impressions, is easily moulded and 
wrought to his will, yields to the transforming power of his ap 
pearing glory. There is no resistant principle remaining, when 
the love of God is perfected in it ; and so overcoming is the 
first sight of his glory upon the awaking soul, that it per 
fects it, and so his likeness, both at once. But enmity 
fortifies the soul against him, as with bars and doors ; averts it 
from him ; carries with it a horrid, guilty consciousness; which 
fills it with eternal despair and rage, and inwraps it in the black 
ness of darkness for ever. 

2. Both the vision of God, and likeness to him, must be con 
sidered in their relation to the consequent satisfaction) and the in 
fluence they have in order thereto. I say both ; for though this sa- 


tisfaction be not expressly and directly referred by the letter of 
the text, to the sight of God's face ; yet its relation thereto, in the 
nature of the thing, is sufficiently apprehensible and obvious : both 
mediate, in respect of the influence it hath towards the satisfy 
ing assimilation; and immediate, (which we are now to consider,) 
as it is so highly pleasurable in itself; and is plainly enough intima 
ted in the text: being applied, in the same Ijreath, to a thing so im 
mediately and intimately conjunct with U^; vision, as, we find 
it is. Moreover, supposing, that likeness here, do (as it hath 
been granted it may) signify objective glory, also as well as sub 
jective, and repeat what is contained in the former expression, 
" the face of God," the reference satisfaction hath to this vi 
sion, (which the re-mention of its object, though under a varied 
form of expression, supposes) will be more express : therefore 
we shall shew what the vision of the divine glory contributes 
to the satisfaction of the blessed soul, and what felicity it must 
needs take herein : which cannot but be very great, whether we 
respect the glory seen, the object of this vision : or the act 
of vision, or, intuition itself. 

(1.) The object, the glory beheld. What a spring of plea 
sure is here ? What rivers of pleasures flow hence ? In thy'pre- 
sence (saith the Psalmist) is fulness of joy : at thy right hand 
are pleasures for evermore. Psal. 16'. 11. The awaking soul, 
having now passed the path of life, (drawn through Sheol itself, 
the state of deadly-head,) appears immediately in this presence; 
and, what makes this presence so joyous, but the pleasant bright 
ness of this face ? To be in the presence of any one, and be 
fore his face, in conspectu, are equivalent expressions : there 
fore the apostle quoting this passage, renders it thus, Thou hast 
filled me with gladness, by thy (countenance;) now in this glo 
rious presence, or within view of the face of God, is fulness of 
joy, that is, joy unto satisfaction. And the apostle Jude speak 
ing of this presence under this name (a presence of glory) tells 
us of an exceeding joy, tutlnuirtov r-ns 'Sofys a jubilation (an ay^XA-- 
itx-a-ts) that shall attend the presentment of saints there. The 
holy soul now enters the divine Shechinah, the chamber of pre^ 
sence of the great king, the habitation of his holiness and glory, 
the place where his honour dwelleth. ver. 24. Here his glory 
surrounds it with encircling beams; it is beset with glory, there*- 
fore surely also filled with joy. When the vail is drawn aside ; 
or we are within the vail ; in that very presence whither Jesus 
the forerunner is for us entered (through that path of life,) O 
the satisfying overcoming pleasure of this sight ! Now that, i? 

* Act: 2. 28. which indeed is the Seventies' reading of the Psalm 
ist's words. 


to us revealed, or unvailed glory, which was hidderi before. 
Here the glory set in majesty (as the expression is, concerning 
the glory of the temple Ezek. 7. 20.) is presented to view openly and 
without umbrage. God is now no longer seen through an ob 
scuring medium. They are not now shadowed glimmerings, 
transient, oblique glances, but the direct beamsiof full-eyed glory 
that shine upon us. The discovery of this glory is the ultimate 
product of that infinite wisdom and love, that have been work 
ing from eternity, and for so many thousand years, through all 
the successions of time, towards the heirs of salvation. The 
last and complete issue of the great achievements, sharp con 
flicts, glorious victories, high merits of our mighty Redeemer. 
All these end in the opening of heaven (the laying of this glory 
as it were common) to all believers. This is the upshot, and 
close of that great design : will it not think ye be a satisfying 
glory ! The full blessedness of the redeemed, is the Redeemer's 
reward. He cannot be satisfied in seeing his seed, if they 
should be unsatisfied. He cannot behold them with content 
if his heart tell him not, that he hath done well enough for 
them. God would even be ashamed (Heb. 11. 16.) to be called 
their God ; had he not made provision lor their entertainment 
worthy of a God. It is the season of Christ's triumphs and 
saints are to enter into his joy. It is the appointed jubilee, at 
the finishing of all God's works from the creation of the world, 
when he shall purposely shew himself in his most adorable ma 
jesty, and when Christ shall appear in his own likeness (he ap 
peared in another likeness before; surely glory must be in its ex 
altation in that day. But take a more distinct account, how 
grateful a sight this glory will be, in these following particulars. 

[I .] It is the divine glory. Let your hearts dwell a little upon 
tliis consideration. It is the glory of God, that is the glory 
which the blessed God both enjoys and affords, which he con 
templates in himself, and which rays from him to his saints ; 
it is the felicity of the divine Being. It satisfies a Deity, will it 
not a worm ? It is a glory that results and shines from him ; and 
in that sense also divine (which here I mainly intend ;) the beau 
ty of his own face, the lustre of divine perfections ; every attri 
bute bears a part, all concur to make up this glory. And here 
pretermitting those which are less liable to our apprehension ; 
his eternity, immensity, simplicity, &c. (of which, not having 
their like in us, we are the more uncapable to form distinct 
conceptions, and consequently of perceiving the pleasure, that 
we may hereafter upon the removal of other impediments, find 
in the contemplation of them, let us bethink ourselves, how 
admirable and ravishing the glory will be, 

First. Of his unsearchable wisdom, which hath glory pecu- 


liarly annexed and properly belonging to it. Glory is as it were, 
by inheritance, due to wisdom. The wise shall inherit glory* 
Prov. 3. 35. And here now, the blessed souls behold it in 
its first seat, and therefore in its prime glory : wisdom, counsel, 
understanding, are said to be with him; as if no where else. Job 
12. 13. Twice we have the apostle describing glory to God, un 
der the notion of only wise; (Rom. 16. 27- i Tim. i. I/.) 
which is but an acknowledging him glorious in this respect. 
Wisdom, we know is the proper and most connatural glory of 
intellectual nature: whether as it relates to speculation, when 
we call it knowledge ; or action, when it is prudence. How 
pleasant will the contemplation be, of the divine wisdom, in 
that former notion ! When in that glass, that speculum <Eter- 
nitatis, mirror of eternity, we shall have the lively view of all 
that truth, the knowledge whereof can be any way possible and 
grateful to our natures ; and in his light, see light ! When all 
those vast treasures of wisdom and knowledge, (Col. 2. 8.) 
which already by their alliance to Christ, saints are interested 
in shall lie open to us ! When the tree of knowledge shall be 
without enclosure ; and the most voluptuous epicurism, in re 
ference to it, be innocent ! Where there shall neither be lust, 
nor forbidden fruit ; no withholding of desirable knowledge, 
nor affectation of undesirable ! When the pleasure of specula 
tion shall be without the toil; and that maxim he eternally an 
tiquated, that increased knowledge increases sorrow ! As to the 
other notion of it ; how can it be less grateful to behold the wis 
dom that made, and governed the world ; that compassed so 
great designs : and this, no longer in its effects, but in itself ? 
Those works were honourable and glorious, sought of all them 
that have pleasure in them. What will be the glory of their 
cause? It would gratify some men's curiosity to behold the un 
usual motion of some rare automaton ; but an ingenious per 
son would, with much more pleasure, pry into the secret springs 
of that motion; and observe its inward frame and parts, and 
their dependance, and order to each other. It is comely to be 
hold the exterior economy of a well-governed people; when 
great affairs are, by orderly conduct, brought to happy issues ; 
but to have been at the helm ; to have seen the pertinent, pro 
per application of such and such maxims to the incident cases ; 
to have known all the reasons of state ; heard debates ; observed, 
with what great sagacity, inconveniencies have been foreseen, 
and with what diligence prevented : would much more gratify 
an inquiring genius. When the records of eternity shall be ex 
posed to view ; all the counsels and results of that profound wis 
dom looked into; how will it transport! when it shall be dis 
cerned, Lo! thus were the designs laid here; were the apt 


junctures, and admirable dependencies of things ; which when 
acted upon the stage of the world, seemed so perplexed and 
cross, so full of mysterious intricacy ? If St. Paul were so ra 
vished at those more obscure appearances of divine wisdom, 
which we find him admiring, (Rom. 1 1. 33.) O the depths, &c. 
what satisfaction will it yield, to have a perfect model, of the 
deep thoughts and counsels of God, presented to open view ! 
How is the happiness of Solomon's servants magnified, that had 
the privilege continually to stand before him, and hear his wis 
dom ! But this happiness will be proportionably greater, as So 
lomon's God is greater than he. 

Secondly. The glory of his power will add comeliness to the 
object of this vision. "Power duly placed and allayed is lovely. 
Beauty consists much in a symmetry or proportion of parts. So 
must there be a concurrence of divine perfections, to compose 
and make up the beautiful complexion of his face ; to give us a 
right aspect, the true idea of God, and here his power hath a 
necessary ingrediency. How incoherent, and disagreeing with 
itself, were the notion of an impotent God ? His power Astros rr.s 
OO|*K gives lively strokes to his glory. It is called glorious power 
or the power of glory: (Col. 1. 11.) yea, it is simply called 
glory itself ; (Rom. 6. 4.) the apostle tells us Christ was raised 
from the dead by the glory of the Father, when it is plain he 
means power. And the same apostle prays on the behalf of the 
Ephesians, that God would grant them according to the riches 
of his glory to be strengthened with might, &c. chap. 3. 16'* 
IHow frequently are power and glory ascribed to him in con 
junction ? intimating that, as he is powerful, he is glorious. And 
certainly, even this glory, cannot but cast a grateful aspect upon 
the blessed soul, and be infinitely pleasant to behold. What 
triumphs doth it now raise in gracious spirits, to behold the ex 
ertions of it in his works; to read its descriptions in his word ; 
while as yet he holds back the face of his throne, (Job. 26. !).) 
while the countenance of enthroned majesty cannot be seen; 
when so little a portion is heard of him, and the thunder of his 
power (ver. 14.) so little understood ! The infinitely fainter rays 
of this power in a creature ; power in that unspeakable 
diminution and abatement ; that derived, precarious power, 
when it is innocently used, is observed with pleasure. Here is 
power in the throne, power in its chief and highest seat; essen 
tial, and self-originated power ; the root and fountain, the very 
element of power; power in its proper situation, in its native place 
to which it belongs. God hath spoken once, twice have I heard 
this, that power belongeth unto God. Ps.6'2. 1 1. Power to God it 
is in the hebrew. It languishes in a creature, as in an alien subject. 
If I speak of strength; Lo he is strong in powcr(saith Job.ch.26') 

VOL. in. K 


it as though he had said (( Created power is not worth the 
speaking of; here is the power that deserves the name, that 
is so indeed." How satisfying a pleasure will this afford, to, 
contemplate this radical power ? this all-creating, all-ruling 
power, tho principle of all action, motion and life, throughout 
the whole creation ? This will be as natural a pleasure, as 
the child takes in the mother's hosom, and in enjbracing the 
womb that bare it. How grateful to behold, whence the vast 
frame of nature sprang ! what stretched out the heavens, esta 
blished the earth, sustained all things! what turned the mighty 
wheels of providence, throughout all the successions of timel 
what ordered and changed times and seasons ; chained up devils 
restrained the outrages of a tumultuous world, preserved God's 
little flock ! especially, what gave being to the new creation, 
(The exceeding greatness of power that wrought in them that 
believed, &c. Eph, 1. 19, 20.) what made hearts love God, em 
brace a Saviour ! what it. was that overcame their own, and made 
them a willing people in that memorable day ! Psal. 110. 3. 
How delightful a contemplation to think, with so enlarged an 
understanding, of the possible effects of this power; and so far 
as a creature can range into affinity, to view innumerable crea^ 
tions, in the creative power of God ! And yet how pleasant to 
think, not only of the extents, but of the restraints of this power; 
and how, when none could limit, it became ordinate, and did 
limit itself; that, since it could do so much, it did no more ; 
turned not sooner a degenerous world into flames : withheld it 
self from premature revenge, that had abortived the womb of 
love, and cut off all the hopes of this blessed eternity that is now 
attained! Posse et nolle nobile : to possess power and to for 
bear its exercise is noble. This also speaks the greatness of 
power: let the power of my Lord be great, according as thou 
hast spoken, the Lord is gracious, long-suffering, &c. Numb. 
14. 17 18. This was his mightiest power, whereby he over 
came himself: Fortior est qui se, fyc. he is stronger who go 
verns himself, fyc. 

Thirdly. And what do we think of the ravishing aspects of 
of his love! when it shall, now, be open-faced, and have laid 
aside its vail ! when his amiable smiles shall be checkered with 
no intermingled frowns ; the light of that pleasing countenance 
be obscured by no intervening cloud ! when goodness, which is 
love issuing into benefaction, or doing good: grace, which adds 
freeness unto goodness; mercy, which is grace towards the mi 
serable; shall conspire in their distinct, and variegated appear 
ances to set off each other, and enhance the. pleasure of the ad 
miring soul ! when the wonted doubts shall all cease, aud the 
difficulty vanish, of reconciling (once necessary) fatherly seve- 


rity witli love ! when the full sense, shall be unfolded to the 
life, of that description of the divine nature, " God is love:" 
and the soul be no longer put to read the love of God in his v 
name (as Moses was when the sight of his face could not yet be \ 
obtained;) shall not need to spell it by letters and syllables ; but 
behold it in his very nature itself, and see how intimately essen 
tial it is to the divine Being ! how glorious will this appearance 
of God be, (we now, hear something of the glory of his grace 
Eph. 1. 6.) and how satisfying the tuition of that glory ! Now is 
the proper season for the full exercise and discovery of love. 
This day hath been long expected, and lo, now it is dawned 
upon the awakening soul: it is now called forth; its senses un 
bound; all its powers inspirited, on purpose, for love-visions 
and enjoyments ; it is now to take its fill of loves. The apostle's 
extatical prayer is now answered to the highest degree possible 
with respect to such a one. Eph. 3. 16. 17- 13. 19. He is 
now, according to the riches of divine glory, strengthened \*ith 
might, by the Spirit, in the inner man to comprehend with all 
saints, what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height ; 
to know that love that passeth knowledge &c. He shall now 
no longer stand amazed, spending his guesses, what manner of 
love this should be; and expecting fuller discoveries, further 
effects of it, that did not yet appear: but sees the utmost, all 
that his soul can bear, or wish to see. He hath now traced 
home the rivulets to their fountain, the beams to the very sun 
of love. He hath got the prospect, at last, into that heart, 
where the great thoughts of love were lodged from everlasting ; 
where all its counsels and designs were formed. He sees what 
made God become a man ; what clothed a Deity with human 
flesh ; what made eternity become the birth of time (when come 
to its parturient fulness; Gal. 4. 4.) what moved the heart of the 
Son of God to pitch his tabernacle among men ; what engaged 
him to the enterprise of redeeming sinners ; what moved him so 
earnestly to contest with a perishing world, led him at last to 
the cross, made him content to become a sacrifice to God, a 
spectacle to angels and men, in a bitter reproachful death, in 
flicted by the sacrilegious hands of those whom he was all this 
while designing to save. The amazed soul now sees into the 
bottom of this design ; understands why itself was not made a 
prey to divine revenge : whence it was, that it perished not in 
its enmity against God; that he was not provoked by the obsti 
nacy of its disobedience, and malice of its unbelief, beyond the 
possibility of an atonement ; why he so long suffered its injuri 
ous neglects of him, and unkind repulses of a merciful Saviour; 
and persuaded, till at last he overcome, made the averse heart 
yield, the careless disaffected soul cry out, "Where is my God?" 


Now a Christ or I perish ? All this is now resolved into love : 
and the adoring soul sees how well the effects agree to their 
cause, and are owned hy it. Nothing hut heaven itself that gives 
the sense, can give the notion of this pleasure. 

. Fourthly. Nor will the glory of holiness be less resplendent ; 
that great attrihute which even in a remote descent from its ori 
ginal, is frequently mentioned with the adjunct of beauties. Psal. 
1 10. 3. &c. What loveliness will those beauties add to this 
blessed face ! Not here to insist (which is besides my purpose) 
upon the various notions of holiness : real holiness Scripture 
states in purity, (2. Cor. 7- 1.) an alienation from sin; it is set in 
opposition to all filthiness, to all moral impurity : and in that 
notion it best agrees to God; and comprehends his righteousness 
and veracity, and indeed, whatever we can conceive in him, 
under the notion of a moral excellency. This may therefore be 
stiled a transcendental attribute, that as it were runs through 
the rest, and casts a glory upon every one : it is an attribute of 
attributes. Those are fit predications, holy power, holy truth, 
holy love, &c. And so it is the very lustre, and glory of his 
other perfections ; he is glorious in holiness. Exod. 15. 11. 
Hence in matters of greatest moment, he is sometimes, brought 
in swearing by his holiness, Psal. 89. 35. Amos. 14. (which h<4 
is not wont to do by any one single attribute,) as though it was 
an ad(cquatior conceptus a fuller egression of himself, than 
any of the rest. 

What is of so great an account with him, will not be of least 
account with his holy oties, when they appear in his glorious 
presence. Their own holiness is a conformity to his ; the like 
ness of it. And as their beholding it, forms them into that like 
ness ; so that likeness makes them capable of beholding it with 
pleasure. Divine holiness doth now, more ravish than affright. 
This hath been the language of sinful dust, Who can stand be 
fore this holy God ? (1. Sam. 6.) when holiness hath appeared 
armed with terrors, guarded with flames, and the divine majesty 
been represented as a consuming fire. Such apprehensions sin 
and guilt naturally beget : the sinners of Sion were afraid. But 
so far as the new man is put on, created after God, and they, who 
were darkness, are made light in the Lord, he is not under any 
notion more acceptable to them, than as he is the holy one. 
They love his law, because holy : and love each other, because 
holy : and hate themselves, because they arc no more so. Ho 
liness haih still a pleasing aspect when they find it in an ordi 
nance, meet it in a sabbath : every glimpse of it is lovely. But 
with what triumphs hath the holiness of God himself been ce 
lebrated even by saints on earth ? Who is a God like unto thee, 
glorious in holiness ! There is none holy as the Lord, for there 


is none besides thee. Sing unto the Lord, all ye saints of his, and give 
thanks at the remembrance of his holiness. Exod. 15. 11.1. Sam. 
2. 2. Psal. 30. 4. 97. 12. What thoughts will they have of it, 
* when their eyes can behold that glory ; when they immedi 
ately look on the archetypal holiness, of which their own is but 
the image ; and can view that glorious pattern, they were so 
long in framing to ? How joyfully will they then fall in with the 
rest of the heavenly host; and join in the same adora 
tion and praise, in the same acclamation, and triumphant song, 
Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of Sabbaoth ! How unconceivable is 
the pleasure of this sight ; when the ay-ro xa^oy, the first pulchri 
tude, the original beauty offers itself to view ! Holiness is intel 
lectual beauty; divine holiness is the most perfect and the 
measure of all other : and what is the pleasure and satisfac 
tion, of which we speak, but the perfection and rest of love ? 
tfow love, as love, respects and connotes, a pulchritude in its 
object. Max. Tyr. dissert. 1 1 . And then the most perfect pul 
chritude, the ineffable, and immortal pulchritude, that cannot 
be declared by words, or seen with eyes, (they are a heathen's, 
expressions concerning it,) how can it but perfectly, and eter 
nally please and satisfy ? Ibid. 

And we are told by the great Pagan theologue , J in what 
state we can have the felicity of that spectacle. Not in our pre 
sent state ; when we have, indeed, but obscure representations, 
of such things as are, with souls of highest excellency : But 
when we are associated to the ^//xov/ %p%u blessed quire : when 
we are delivered from the body, (which we now carry about, 
orfts Tfo-nroy, as the vyster doth its shell. When we are no lon 
ger sensible of the evils of time. When we wholly apply our 
selves to that blessed vision ; are admitted to the beholding of 
the simple permanent sights ; and behold them, being our 
selves pure, in the pure light : then have we the view of the 

* Si ergo pulchritudo divina nondum visa, sed solum credita etse- 
perata, tantum ignem desiderii excitat: Quid faciet cum, remoto 
velo, ut est in se conspicitur ? Oranino id faciet ut torrente volupta- 
tis illius inebriati, ncque velimus, neque possimus, vel ad puncturn 
tejnporis, oculos ab ea divertere : if then the divine beauty, while 
not as yet seen, but only believed and hoped for, excites such a flame 
of desire after it, what will be its effect, when the vail being drawn 
aside, it shall be immediately and distinctly perceived ? Certainly it 
will affect us with such an intoxication of delight, that we shall nei 
ther be willing nor able, even for a single moment to divert our atten 
tion from it. Bellannine on the ascent of the mind to God, 

t Plato in Phsedro passim. (Though he there speaks these things as 
the memoirs of his supposed pre-exhtent SQU!,) 


ev avyi vjxaOitpa, xxQagot ov/w, KX>^OS Xot^Ttgov. bright shining plll~ 

chritude, &c. 

[2.] It is an entire or united glory. We have something of 
the divine glory shining, now upon us : but the many inter 
positions cause a various refraction of its light. We have but 
its dispersed rays, it is scattered, disheveled beams : we shall 
then have it perfect and full. It is the eternal glory we are 
hereafter to behold. Eternity (as the notion of it is wont to be 
Stated) is a duration that excludes both succession, and end. 
And if it be an unsuccessive duration, (though it is more diffi*> 
cult to apprehend how the being or enjoyments of a creature 
can -come under that mensuration, or how there can be any such) 
the glory presented to the view of a blessed soul, cannot be pre 
sented by parcels, but at once. JEtemitas est inter minabilis 
vitce tot a simul etperfecta possessio : eternity is the bound 
less, simultaneous, perfect possession of life. JBoeth. In our 
temporary state, while we are under the measure of time, we 
are not capable of the fulness of blessedness, or misery ; for time 
exists not all together, but by parts. And indeed we can nei 
ther enjoy, nor suffer more, at once, than can be compassed 
within one moment ; for no more exists together. But our re 
lation to eternity (according to this notion of it) will render the 
same invariable appearance of glory, always presentaneous to us, 
in the entire fulness of it. We read indeed (1 Thes. 3. 10.) 
of certain v^-n^* *<$*, after ings of faith (as it may be signifi 
cantly enough rendered, let but the novelty of the expression 
be pardoned), things lacking we read it; but there will be here 
no vsep>iAetl* h&s, offerings of glory. What is perfect admits no 
increase; it is already full : and, why should not a frll glory 
satisfy? There is here no expectation of (greater) future, to abate 
the pleasure of present discoveries. Why therefore shall not this 
satisfaction be conceived full and perfect ? It must be the ful 
ness of joy. 

[3.] It is permanent gloiy; a never fading, unwithering glo 
ry, (et^Qxpl-^j otp.xz*viov 1 Pet. 1.4.) glory that will never be sul 
lied, or obscured, never be in a declination. This blessed face 
never grows old ; never any wrinkle hath place in it. It is the 
eternal glory, 2 Cor. 4. 17. 2 Tim. 2. 10. 1 Pet. 5. 10. (in 
the other part of the notion of eternity), as it imports an end 
less duration, neither subject to decay, in itself, nor to injury, 
or impairment from without. As stable as the divine Being ; 
Thy God, thy glory ; the Lord thy everlasting light : Isa. 6*0. 
19. If that have a true sense with respect to any of the church 
militant on earth, it must needs have a more full sense, in re 
ference to it triumphing in heaven. As, therefore, full entire 


glory affords fulness of joy ; permanent, everlasting glory af 
fords pleasures for evermore. Psal. 16'. 11. 

[4.] An appropriate glory, even to them it is so : a glory 
wherein they are really interested. It is the glory of their God, 
and their happiness is designed to them from it. They are not 
unconcerned in it, is the glory of God. It cannot but he 
grateful to them to behold the shining glory of their God; whom 
they feared and served before while they could have no such 
sight of him. That glory of his was once under a cloud, conceal 
ed from the world, wrapt up in obscurity : it now breaks the 
cloud and justifies the fear and reverence of his faithful and 
loyal servants, against atheistical rebels, that feared him not. 
It is infinitely pleasing to see him now so glorious, whom they 
thought to have a glory beyond all their conceptions before ; 
while others would not think so of him, but judged it safe to 
slight, and set him in at nought. Subjects share in their prince's 
glory, children in their father's. But besides that collate 
ral interest, that interest by reflection, they have a more direct 
interest in this glory. A true and real right: upon a 
manifold title, the father's gift, son's purchase, Holy Ghost's 
obsignation, and earnest; the promises tender ; their faith's ac 
ceptance ; their fore-runner's prepossession : yea, it is their in 
heritance ; (Rom. 8. 17.) they are children, and therefore heirs, 
heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ, to the same glgry with 
him, (ch. J5. 70 They are, by him, received to the glory of 
God, called to his kingdom and glory. 1. Thes. 2. 12. Will 
it not contribute exceedingly to their satisfaction, when they shall 
look upon this glory, not as unconcerned spectators, but as in 
terested persons ? This is my happiness, to behold and enjoy this 
blessed God ; What a rapturous expression is that, God our own 
God shall bless us ; and that, Thy God thy glory ! (Psal. 67. .) 
Upon interest in God, follows their interest in his glory and 
blessedness : which is so much the dearer, and more valuable, 
as it is theirs : their glory, from their God. They shall be bles- 
,sed by God, their own God ; drink waters out of their own well. 
How endearing a thing is propriety ! Another man's son is inge 
nious, comely, personable, this may be a matter of envy; but 
mine own is so, this is a joy. I read in the life of a devout no 
bleman of France, (Monsieur de Renti,) that receiving a letter 
from a friend, in which were inserted these words, Deus meus, 
ct omnia : my God and my all ; he thus returns back to him, 
* c 1 know not what your intent was, to put into your letter these 
words, Deus meus, et omnia : My God, and my all; only you 
invite me thereby to return the same to you, and to all creatures ; 
My God, and my all ; my God, and my all ; my God, and my 
all; If perhaps you take this for your motto, and use it to ex~ 


press how full your heart is of it ; think you it possible, I should 
be silent upon such an invitation, and not express my sense 
thereof? Likewise, be it known unto you therefore, that he is 
my God, and my all 5 and if you doubt of it, 1 shall speak 
it a hundred times over. I shall add no more ; for any thing 
else is superfluous, to him that is truly penetrated with my God, 
and my all : I leave you therefore in this happy state of jubilation ; 
and conjure you, to beg for me, of God, the solid sense of these 
words." And do we think, My God, and my all ; or my God 
and my Glory, will have lost its emphasis in heaven ? or that it 
will be less significant among awaked souls? These things con 
cur then, concerning the object : it is most excellent, even di^ 
vine, entire, permanent, and theirs ; how can it but satisfy t 


What the vision of God's face contributes to the soul's satisfaction 
estimated (2.) From the consideration of the act of vision itself. 
Wherein this pleasure surpasses that of sense. A comparison pur- 
Sued more at large, [l] Between this intuition and discourse. [2]Be- 
tween it and faith. This intuition more absolutely considered : Its 
characters, and what they contribute to the satisfaction of the 
blessed soul: That it is (namfly) efficacious, comprehensive, lixcd, 

(2) npHE act of vision, or intuition itself. How great the plea- 
" sure will be that accrues to the blessed from this sight of 
God's face, is very much also to be estimated from the nature of 
the act, as well as the excellency of the object. Inasmuch as 
every vital act is pleasant, the most perfect act of the noblest 
faculty of the soul, must needs be attended with highest plea 
sure. It is a pleasure that most nearly imitates divine pleasure. 
And every thing is more perfect, as it more nearly approaches 
divine perfections.* Intellectual pleasure is as much nobler 

* Res sunt perfcctiores vel imperfectiores prout a summa perfecti 
ons magis vel minima absccdunt. All things are more or less perfect in 
proportionas they more or less nearly approach to the supreme per- 

ie c t i on. 


than that of sense, as an immortal spirit is more noble than a 
clod of earth. The pleasure of sense is drossy, feculent, the 
pleasure of the mind refined and pure ; that, is faint and languid, 
this, lively and vigorous ; that, scant and limited, this, ample and 
enlarged ; that, temporary and fading, this, durable and perma 
nent; that, flashy, superficial, this, solid and intense; thai, raving 
and distracted, this, calm and composed.* Whence even that 
great reputed sensualist, Epicurus himself, professedly disclaims 
or is represented as disclaiming, the conceit of placing happi 
ness in sensual delights. 

And as the pleasure of intellection excels all the pleasure 
of sense ; so doth the pleasure of intuition, excel all other intel 
lectual pleasure. Let us to this purpose, but consider, generally, 
this way of knowing things, and compare it with those two other 
ways, by discourse and by faith. 

[1.] By discourse. I mean (that 1 be not mistaken by the vul 
gar reader) the discourse of the rnind or ratiocination 5 that way 
of attaining the knowledge of things, by comparing one thing 
with another, considering their mutual relations, connexions, 
dependancies; and so arguing out, what was more doubtful and 
obscure, from what was more known and evident. To the alto 
gether unlearned it will hardly be conceivable ; and to the learn 
ed it need not be told how high a gratification this employment 
of his reason naturally yields to the mind of a man ; when the 
harmonious contexture of truths with truths ; the apt co-inci 
dence, the secret links and junctures of co-herent notions, are 

* Pet. Molin. dc cognitione Dei. See Culverwel of the light of 
nature, speaking (as 1 remember) to this purpose, c. 17. Quocirca 
et cum universe voluptatem beatae vitae est>c tinem dicimus; longe 
profecto absumus, ut eas voluptates, qua? sunt virorum luxu difflu- 
entium, aut aliorurn etiam, quatenus spectantur in ipsa motione, ac 
tioneve fruendi ; qua nimirum sensus jucunde dulciterque afticitur, 
intelligamus; veluti quidam remii;ncrantes,aut a nobisdissentientes, aut 
alioquin adversum nos male affecti, interpretantur; sed illud dun- 
taxat (ut res iterum dicatur) intelligimus : non dolere corpore ; ani- 
mo not) perturbari ; wherefore while we say in general, that pleasure 
is the end of a well spent life, we are very far from meaning that 
pleasure which is enjoyed only by persons of luxurious and dissolute 
habits, or by others only so long as they are in the very act or in 
stant of gratification- a pleasure which consists in the voluptuous 
emotion of the senses ; (though this is the idea which some, whether 
from ignorance, party spirit or ill-will ; give our system) but we 
mean as has been said before, the freedom of the body from pain and 
the mind from perturbation. Gassend : Syntag. Philos Epicur ; See 
his epistle to Menoceus in D. Laert. 

VOL. Ill, L 


clearly discerned ; when effects are traced up to their causes ;* 
properties lodged in their native subjects; things sifted to their 
principles. What a pleasure is it, when a man shall apprehend 
himself regularly led on (though but by a slender thread of dis 
course) through the labyrinths of nature ; when still new disco 
veries are successfully made, every further inquiry ending in a 
further prospect, and every new scene of things entertaining the 
mind with a fresh delight ! How many have suffered a voluntary 
banishment from the world, as if they were wholly strangers, 
and unrelated to it : rejected the blandishments of sense; ma 
cerated themselves with unwearied studies, for this pleasure ; 
making the ease and health of their bodies, to give place to the 
content and satisfaction of their minds ! But how much intui 
tion hath the advantage, above this way of knowledge, may be 
seen in these two obvious respects. 

First. It is a more facile way of knowing. J Here is no need 
of a busy search, a tiresome indagation, (the difficulty whereof 
makes the more slothful, rather trust than tryj a chaining toge 
ther of consquences. The soul hath its clothing (its vestment 
of light) upon as cheap terms as the lilies theirs ; doth neither 
toil noi spin for it: and yet Solomon, in all the glory of his 
famed wisdom, was not arrayed like it. This knowledge saves 
the expence of study ; is instantaneous, not successive. The 
soul now sees more, at one view, in a moment, than before in a 
life's time: as a man hath a speedier, and more grateful prospect 
of a pleasant country, by placing himself in some commodious 
station, that commands the whole region, than by travelling 
through it. It is no pains to look upon what offers itself to my 
eye. Where there is a continued series of consequences, that 
lie naturally connected, the soul pleasingly observes this con 
tinuity; but views the whole frame, the whole length of the 
line, at once(so far as its limited capacity can extend)and needs 
not discuss every particle, severally, in this series ef truths, and 
proceed gradatim, from the knowledge of one truth to another ; 
in which case only one, at once, would be present to its view. 
It sees things that are connected, not because they are so : at- 
gue nt homini sedenti adripamftuminiS) sola aqua presens 
est quas ci hoc temporis punctilio observatur ; eidem vero ho 
mini, tot urn flumcn presens esset, si supi'a summam aeris re- 

* Felix quipotuitrcrura cognosce re causas : happy the nun who can 
trace the ettects of things to their causes. 

J Nonnulli tasdio iuvestigandae veritatis, cuilibet ooinioni potius 
ignavi succumbunt; quam in exploramla veritate, pertinaci diligen- 
tia, perse venire volunt: there are some men who from the difficulty 
of investigating truth, indolently tall in with any sentiment proposed 
to them, rather than persevere in the research with * determined dili 
gence. Min : Felix Oct. . 


gionem erectus, uno aspectu fontem et outturn ftuminis posset 
aspicere : If a oculo Dei, 6>c. as a man, conveniently placed in 
some eminent station, may possibly see, at one view, all the 
successive parts of a gliding stream : but fie that sits by the. 
wafer's side, not changing his place, sees the same parts, only 
because they succeed ; and these that pass, wake way for 
them that follow, to come under his eye : so doth a learned 
man describe the uiuuccessivc knowledge of God ; of which 
the glorified souls way of knowing, is an imitation ; as the very 
words seeing and beholding (which it is so frequently set forth 
by in scripture) do naturally import. Yet that, as to them, all 
ratiocination shall be excluded that state, I see no reason to ad 
mit ; though with God it can have no place. And, as he is 
reckoned to live a pleasanter life, that spends upon a plentiful 
estate ; than he that gets his bread by the sweat of his brows : 
so this more easy way of knowing, must needs be reckoned more 
pleasing. This knowledge is as Jacob's venison, not hunted for 
but brought to hand. The race is not here to the swift. The 
unlearned ideot knows as much as the profoundest Rabbi (at least 
with as much satisfaction ;) and all arms are of an equal size \ 
or are content with their own measure. 

Secondly. It is more certain. For what do we use to reckon 
so certain as what we see with our eyes ? Better (even in this 
respect) is the sight of the eyes, than the wandering of the de 
sire. While here, the mind is carried, with most earnest de 
sire, to pursue knowledge, it very often mistakes its way, and 
miserably wanders. In our most wary ratiocinations, we many 
times shoot at rovers : but when we know by this vision, our 
mark is immediately presented to our eye. We are in danger to be 
imposedupon by delusive appearances of things. We look through 
no fallacious mediums, are held in no suspence ; puzzled with 
no doubts, whether such consequences will hold, such conclu 
sions be rightly inferred ; and so are not retarded from giving a 
present unwavering assent. Here are no perplexing intricacies, 
no dubious hallucinations, or uncertain guesses. We see things, 
as they are, by a simple and undeceiving light, with both sub 
jective, and objective certainly, being secure both from doubt, 
and error. 

[2.] Faith. How magnificent things doth scripture speak of 
this grace ! which the experience also of such as have been wont 
to live by it (that is to make it the governing principle of their 
lives) doth abundantly confirm. How clear are its apprehen 
sions! it is the (toyx, (Heb. 11. 1.) evidence of things not 
seen : how sweet its enjoyments ! whom not seeing ye love ; 
and though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice, with 
joy unspeakable, and full ptglojy. l.P.et. 1.8. Even the 



heathen theology hath magnified it above knowledge "What is 
it (saith one) that unites us with the self-goodness, and so joins 
us thereto, that it quiets or gives rest to all our actions and mo 
tions ? I will express it in one word ; it is faith itself, which un 
speakably and after a hidden manner, doth unite and conjoin 
happy souls with the self-good. For (saith he) it concerns us 
not, either in a way of science, ^v^r MM , * arE^w*, ax*, nri^ovrois 
fxvlas ru Qeiu Quit, &c. or with any imperfection, to inquire after 
the good ; but to behold ourselves in the divine light, and so 
shutting our eyes, to be placed in the unknown and secret u- 
nity of beings. Proclus in Plat. Tlieol. And a later writer 
(Picus Mirand,) gives us this, as a conclusion from that former 
author, that as faith, which is credulity, is below science; so 
that faith, which is truly so called, is, super-substantially, a- 
bove science and intelligence, immediately uniting us to God. 
But it is evident,, intuitive knowledge far exceeds even faith 

First. It is more distinct and clear. Faith is taking a thing 
upon report; (Isa. 53. 1.) Who hath believed our report ? And 
they are more general, languid apprehensions, we have of things 
this way. Faith enters at the ear ; it comes by hearing. Rom. 
10. I/- And if we compare the perceptions of those two exter 
nal senses, that of hearing, and sight : the latter is unspeakably 
more clear, and satisfying. He that hath knowledge of a fo 
reign country, only by report of another, hath very indistinct 
apprehensions of it, in comparison of him who hath travelled it 
himself. While the queen of Sheba only heard of Solomon's 
glory, she could not satisfy herself, without an ocvro^ix the sight 
of her own eye ; and, when she saw it, she saith, the one half 
was not told her of what she now beheld. The ear more slowly 
and gradually receives, and the tongue more defectively expres 
ses to another, an account of things : than ones ocular inspec 
tion would take it in. But, as to the excellency of this intui 
tive knowledge above faith ; the comparison lies not, between 
knowing by the ministry of a more noble sense, and a less no 
ble; but knowing by dependance on a less noble, and without 
dependance upon any at all. When God hath been pleased to 
afford discoveries, in that way of vision, to men in the body, 
(his prophets, &c.) he hath usually bound up their senses, by 
sleep, or trances ; sense hath had no part or lot in this matter : 
unto believing it must necessarily concur. 

Secondly. More effective. What we see, even with our ex 
ternal eye, much more powerfully moves our heart, than what we 
only give credit to, upon hearsay. The queen of Sheba much 
admired, no doubt, Solomon's famed splendour, and magnifi -; 
cence, while she only heard of it ; but when she saw -it, it put* 


her into an ecstacy ; it ravished away her soul ; she had no more 
spirit, &c. What would the sight of the divine glory do, if God 
did not strengthen with all might : were there not as well glo 
rious power to support, as powerful glory to transform ! Job 
had heard of God, by the hearing of the ear, but when once his 
eye saw him, (whether that were by the appearance of any sen 
sible glory ; which is probable enough, for it is said, the Lord 
answered him out of the whirlwind : or whether by a more im 
mediate revelation, it is less-material) what work did it make in 
his soul ! The devils believe, and tremblp ; so impressive are 
the pre-apprehensions of judgment to come, and the conse 
quents thereof, with them 5 yet their present torment, thence, 
is no torment, in comparison "art thou come to torment us be 
fore the time?" of what they expect. Let wicked men consider 
this, (they will have their intuition in hell to;) were your be 
lief, and terror thereupon, with reference to the eternal judg 
ment, and the impendent wrath of God, equal to what the de 
vils themselves have, upon the same account ; actual sensation 
will make you more exceed yourselves in point of misery, than 
the devils do now exceed you. There is, no doubt, a propor 
tionable difference between the impressions of present faith, and 
future vision, with holy souls. Now, not seeing, yet believing, 
they rejoice, with joy unspeakable. Their present joy cannot 
be spoken ; their future then cannot be thought ! Experience 
daily tells us ; how greatly, sensible, present objects have the 
advantage upon us, beyond those that are spiritual and distant, 
though infinitely more excellent and important. When the ta 
bles are turned, the now sensible things disappear ; a new scene 
of things invisible and eternal, is immediately presented to our 
view ; when the excellency of the objects, the disposedness of 
the subjects, the nature of the act, S:hall all multiply the advan 
tages, on this part, how affective will this vision be, beyond what 
we have ever found the faint apprehensions of our so much dis- 
advantaged faith to amount to ; a kind message from an indul 
gent father, to his far-distant son, informing of his welfare, and 
yet continuing love, will much affect ; but the sight of his fa 
ther's face, will even transport, and overcome him with joy. 

But further consider this intuition a little more particularly 
and absolutely in itself. So, you may take this somewhat di- 
stincter account of it, in some few particulars, corresponding to 
those, by which the object (the glory to be beheld,) was lately 
characterized. It will be a vigorous, efficacious intuition; as 
that which it beholds is the most excellent ; even the divine glo 
ry. Such an object cannot be beheld, but with an eye full of 
lively vigour; a sparkling, a radiant eye : a weak eye would be 
struck blind, would fail, and be closed up at the first glance. 


We must suppose, then, this vision to be accompanied with the 
highest vitality, the strongest energy, a mighty plenitude of 
spirit and power no less than the divine : pothing hut the diving 
power can sufficiently fortify the soul to behold divine glory. 
When the apostle speaks only of his desire of glory, he that hath 
Wrought us to this selfsame thing (saith he) is God, he that hath 
moulded us, suitably framed us (as the word signifieth; for this, 
thing, is God : it is the work of a Deity to make a soul desire 
glory ; certainly then, it is his work to give the power of heholdr 
ing it. And by how much the more of power, so much the 
more of pleasure in this vision. Weak sight would afford but 
languid joy: but when the whole soul, animated with divine 
power and life, shall seat itself in the eye ; when it shall be as. 
it were, all eye, (as one said of God, whom now it perfectly 
imitates) and be wholly intent upon vision ; apply itself theretq 
with all its might, as its only business; (S. Hieronyrn ;) what 
satisfying joys doth it now taste ! renewed by every repeated 
view 1 how doth it now, as it were, prey upon glory; as the eye 
of the eagle upon the beams of the sun ! We meet with the ex 
pression of aures bibulce ; thirsty ears ; here will be oculi bibu- 
li, thirsty eyes : a soul ready to drink in glory at the eye. If 
vision be by intromission, what attractive eyes are here, draw 
ing in glory, feeding upon glory ? If by extramission, what 
piercing darting eyes, sending forth the soul at every look to 
embrace the glorious object. 

There is great power that now attends realizing thoughts of 
God : whether it appear in the consequent working of the soul 
directly towards God; or by way of reflection upon itself. If 
directly towards God; how mightily is he admired! " Who is a 
God like unto thee ?" If by reflection upon our own sin, and 
viieness ; how deeply doth it humble ! " Now mine eye seeth 
thee, therefore I abhor myself Woe is me, I am undone, Mine 
eyes have seen the Lord of glory/' If by way of reflection, upon 
our interest in him, or relation to him ; how mightily doth it 
support and comfort! " I will look to the Lord, my God will 
liear me/* Mic. J. J. How full of rich sense is that scrip T 
ture, They looked to him and were lightened ! Psal. 34. 5. 
One look clothed them with light, cast a glory upon their souls, 
filled them with life and joy ; it was but a thought, the cast of 
an eye, and they were as full as hearts could hold. Oh the 
power then of these heavenly visions 1 when we dwell in the 
views of that transforming glory ! This will be a comprehensive 
intuition ; as its object is entire glory. 1 mean comparatively, 
not absolutely comprehensive. More of the divine glory will be 
comprehended, unspeakably, than before. It is called,we know 
by the schoolmen, the knowledge of comprehensors, in contra- 


diction to that of viators. We shall better be able to discern 
the divine excellencies together; have much more adequate 
conceptions; a fuller, and more complete notion of God: we shall 
see him as he is. It is too much observable, how in our pre 
sent state, we are prejudiced by our partial conceptions of him; 
and what an inequality they cause in the temper of our spirits. 
For wicked men, the very notion they have of God, proves fatal 
to their souls, or is of a most destructive tendency ; because 
they comprehend not together what God hath revealed of him 
self. Most usually, they confine those few thoughts of God they 
have, only to his mercy; and that exclusively, as to his holiness 
and justice; hence their vain and mad presumption. The notion 
of an unholy (or a not-holy, and not-just) God, what wicked 
ness would it not induce ? "Thou thoughtest I was altoge 
ther such a one as thyself:" a God after their own hearts ; 
then the reins are let loose. More rarely, when the con 
science, of guilt hath arrested the self-condemned wretch, 
God is thought of, under no other notion, than of an irre 
concilable enemy and avenger ; as one thirsting after the 
blood of souls, and that will admit of no atonement. So 
without all pretence, and so flatly contrary to all his discoveries 
of himself, do men dare to affix to him black and horrid charac 
ters, forged only out of the radicated and inveterate hatred of 
their own hearts against him, (that never take up good thoughts 
of any one :) only because they have no mind to acquaint them 
selves with him ; and that they may have some colour for their 
affected distance : and so, perhaps, never return ; but perish 
under a horrid wilful despair. And even the people of God 
themselves are too apt sometimes, so wholly to fix their eye upon 
love and grace, that they grow into an unbecoming, uncrea- 
turely familiarity ; while the thoughts of infinite majesty, ado 
rable greatness and glory are asleep, sometimes possibly, they 
apprehend vindictive justice, the indignation and jealousy of God 
against sin, (precluding meanwhile, the consideration of his in 
dulgent compassions towards truly humble and penitent souls) 
to that degree of affiightment and dread, that they grow into an 
unchildlike strangeness towards him, and take little pleasure in, 
drawing nigh to him. But when, now our eye shall take in the 
discovery of divine glory equally; how sweet and satisfying a 
pleasure will arise from that grateful mixture of reverent love, 
humble joy, modest confidence, meek courage, a prostrate mag 
nanimity, a triumphant veneration ; a soul shrinking before the 
divine glory into nothing, yet not contenting itself with any less 
enjoyment, than of him, who is all in all 1 

There is nothing here in this complexion, or temper of soul, 
but hath its warrant, in the various aspect of the face of God 


comprehensively beheld ; nothing but what is (even by its sui 
tableness) highly grateful, and pleasing. It will be fixed, ste.a-^ 
dy intuition, as its object is permanent glory. The vision of 
God can neither infer, nor admit weariness. The eye cannot 
divert ; its act is eternally delectable, and affords an unvaria- 
ble, undecaying pleasure. . Sensual delights soon end in loath 
ing; quickly bring a glutting surfeit ; arid degenerate into tor 
ments,* when they are continued and unintermittent. A. phi 
losopher in an epistle which he writes to a friend, from the 
court of Dionysius, where he was forcibly detained, thus be 
moans himself, Ka>co^//x,ova/^v at AvnaQsvss, a [j.tT(>ius, &C. t( IFtf 

are unhappy, O slntisthenes, beyond measure; and how can 
we but be unhappy, that are burdened by the tyrant every day 
ivitli sumptuous feasts, plentiful compotations, precious oint 
ments, gorgeous apparel f and I knew as soon as I came into 
this is land and city, how unhappy my life would be" Socratico 
rum. Epis. 9. This is the nature and common condition of even 
the most pleasingsensible objects: they first tempt, then please a 
little, then disappoint, and lastly vex. The eye that beholds 
them, blasts them quickly, rifles and deflowers their glory ; and 
views them with no more delight at first, than disdain afterwards. 
Creature-enjoyments have a bottom, are soon drained and drawn 
dry: hence there must be frequent diversions; other plea 
sures must be sought out; and are chosen, not because they 
are better, but because they are new. 

This demonstrates the emptiness, and vanity of the creature. 
Affection of variety only proceeds from sense of want ; and is a 
confession, upon trial, that there is not in such an enjoyment 
what was expected. Proportionably, in the state of glory, a con 
stant indeficient fulness, renders the blessed soul undesirous of 
any change. There is no need of varieties, of diversions : what 
did once please, can never cease to do so. This glory cannot 
fade or lose any thing of its attractive power. The faculty can 
not languish, or lose the disposition, by which it is contempered 
and made proportionable thereto. Hence no weariness can 
ensue. What ! a soul in which the love of God is perfected, 
grow weary of beholding him ! The sun will sooner grow weary 
of shining ; the touched needle of turning itself to its wonted 
point; every thing will sooner grow weary of its centre; and 
the most fundamental laws of nature be sooner antiquated and 
made void for ever. The eye of the fool, Solomon tells us, is 
in the ends of the earth ; (Prov. 17. 24.) His only, is a rolling 

* Proba istas, quse voluptatcs vocantur, ubi modum transcende- 
lint, paeiias csse : prove by experience that what are called plea 
sures when they exceed proper grounds become pains. Sen. Ep. 83. 


Wandering eye, that knows not where to fix. Wisdom guides, 
and fixes the eye of the holy soul ; determines it unto God only : 
I will bless the Lord, who hath given me counsel, my reins also 
instruct me, I have set the Lord always before me. Psal. 16. 7 
8. Surely heaven will not render it less capable of dijudica- 
tion ; of passing a right judgment of the excellency and worth 
of things. And here, a rational judgment will find no want ; 
and an irrational will find no place. Therefore, as permanent 
glory will certainly infer a perpetual vision ; perpetuated vision 
will as certainly perpetuate the soul's satisfaction, and blessed 
ness. It will be a possessive intuition : as it is an appropriate 
glory which it pitches upon. It will be the language of every 
look, " This glory is mine/' The soul looks not upon it shyly, as if 
it had nothing to do with it ; or with slight and careless glances : 
but the very posture of its eye, speaks its interest, and proclaims 
the pretensions it hath to this glory. With how different an as 
pect) doth a stranger passing by, and the owner, look upon the 
same house, the same lands; A man's eye lays his claim for 
him, and avows his right. A grateful object that one can say 
is his own, he arrests it with his eye ; so do saints with appro- 
priative looks behold their God, and the divine glory. Even 
with such an eye as he was wont to behold them ; To this man 
will I look, &c. (Isa. 66. 1. 2.) that is, as the place of my restj 
mentioned before ; he designs him with his eye. Which is the 
import of that expression, The Lord knows who are is ; (2. Tim. 
2. 19.) his eye marks them out ; owns them as his own : as con 
cerning others, whom he disowns, the phrase is, I know you not. 
And how vastly different is such an intuition, from that, when I 
look upon a thing, with a hungry, lingering eye, which I must 
never enjoy or never expect to be the better for ? This vision is frui- 
tive, unites the soul with the blessed object which kind of sight 
is meant, when actual blessedness, is so often, expressed by see 
ing God. We see then what vision, the sight of God'* face con 
tributes to the satisfaction of blessed souls. 

VOL. in. 



Having considered in the preceding chapter's, what vision contribute* 
to satisfaction in reference to the object and the act of vision, we 
come now to inquire Secondly Wherein assimilation (the likeness 
or glory of God impressed j contributes unto satisfaction: where is 
particularly propounded to be shewn 1 What pleasure it involves. 
2 What it disposes to. (1) What it involves in the esse, being of 
it. (2) What in the cognosci, knowledge of it. The pleasure of 
being like God discovered, shewing concerning the image of God 
[l] Generally, that it is the soul's health and soundness restored j 
that it is a vital, an intimate, a connatural, a perfect image. 

next business, is to discover, 

Secondly. What assimilation, or the impressed likeness of 
God, may further add to this satisfied state ; or, what satisfying 
pleasure the blessed soul finds in this, that it is like God. And 
here we are distinctly to inquire into the pleasure which such 
an assimilation to God involves in itself, and that which is tends, 
to or disposes. 

1. The pleasure it involves in itself; or, which is taken in it 
abstractly considered ; which we may more particularly unfold 
by shewing the pleasure involved, in being like God : and 
in knowing or reflecting upon the same : the esse'dud the cog 
nosci of this assimilation. 

(1.) The pleasure in being like God; which may be disco 
vered both by a general consideration hereof, and by instancing 
in some particulars, wherein blessed souls shall be like him. 

[I.] It is obvious to suppose an inexpressible pleasure, in the 
very feeling, the inward sensation, the holy soul will have of 
that happy frame in general, whereinto it is now brought; that 
joyful harmony, that entire rectitude it finds within itself. You 
may as soon separate light from a sun-beam, as pleasure from 
such a state. This likeness or conformity to God is an tvHgota-ix, 
a perfect temperament ; an athletic healthiness ; a strong sound 
constitution of soul. Do but imagine, what it is to a man's body, 
after a wasting sickness, to find himself well. Frame a notioja 


of the pleasure of health and soundness, when both, all the parts 
and members of the body are in their proper places and propor 
tions; and a lively, active vigour, a sprightly strength posses 
ses every part, and actuates the whole; how pleasant is this 
temper ! Jf we were all body, there could be no greater felici 
ty than this. But by how much the more noble any creature 
is, so is it capable of more exquisite pains, or pleasures. * Sin 
is the sickness and disease of the soul; enfeebles all its powers, 
exhausts its vigour, wastes its strength. You know the restless 
tossings, the weary rollings to and fro, of a diseased languishing 
bodv; such is the case of a sinful soul. Let it but seriously be* 
think itself, and then speak its own sense, (but here is the ma 
lignity of the disease, it cannot be serious, it always raves;) 
What will it be ? "O I can take no rest" ! The way of wicked 
ness is called a way of pain : 32fy "pi Psal. 139. 24. Sinners 
would find it so, if the violence of the disease had not bereft 
them of sense; Nothing savours with me; I can take comfort in 
nothing. The wicked are as a troubled sea (as their name im 
ports) that cannot rest, whose waters, e. yvn Isa. 5?. 20. 
The image of God, renewed in holiness and righteousness, is 
health restored, after such a consuming sickness ; which, when 
we awake, when all the drowsiness that attends our disease is 
shaken off, we find to be perfect. The fear of the Lord (an or 
dinary paraphrase of holiness or piety) is said to be health to the 
navel, and marrow to the bones. Our Lord Jesus invites wea 
ried sinners to come to him, to take his yoke on them, to learn 
of him, (Matt. 11. 28.) that is, to imitate him, to be like him, 
and promises they shall find rest to their souls. How often do 
we find grace and peace, in conjunction, in the apostles, salu 
tations and benedictions ? We are told that the ways of divine 
wisdom (that is which it prescribeth) are all pleasantness and 
peace. (Prov. 3. 13.) that in keeping the commandments of 
God, there is great reward. (Psal. 19. 1 1 .) thatthey are not grie 
vous, (1 John. 5. 3.) that is (for there seems to be a meiosis in the 

-V%17 CTUfJiOtTOfi TO C?f TlfAtUTtgOV UyOiOoV /AftoV, TO 05 TCif 

evxvliov^et^ov xocxov a.ya.Q'jy $s (A&^OV vy&a. ^v^vis vysixs 

yocros v^^s t vo<r 

The mind is more noble rhan the body and as it is more noble it con 
tains the greater good, while whatever is contrary to it must be the 
greater evil. Now the health of the soul is a greater good than 
that of the body ; consequently the sickness of the soul is a greater evil 
than that of the body. The sickness of the soul is sin, &c. Max. Tyr. 
dissert. 41. 

| liinc illud et tedium et displicentia sui, et nusquam residentis 
animi volutatio, Sfc. hence that weariness that internal disgust and 
agitation of the perpetually uoscttled mind, $c. Sen. deTrauquanimi. 


expression) are joyous, pleasant. And what are liis command 
ments, but those expresses of himself, wherein we are to be 
like him, and conform to his will ? The kingdom of God (that 
holy order which he settles in the spirits of men ; his law trans 
cribed and impressed upon the soul; whiclvis nothing else but its 
conformation and likeness to himself: ) "is righteousness, and 
then peace. Rom. 14. 17- The tpfowpot, Uvsv^xhs, (Rom. S, 6.) 
that notion, and judgment) and. savoitr of things; that excel 
lent temper of mind and heart; (for that is ihe extent of the ex 
pression) whereof the holy Spirit of God is both the author and 
pattern, is life and peace ; involves them in itself. When one 
thing is thus, in cam recto, predicated of another, it speaks 
their most intimate connexion, as Rom. 14. 17- above: so 
1 John. 5. 3. This is love that, &c. So here, such a mind is life 
and peace, though the copula he not in the original, it is fitly 
supplied in the translation ;) You cannot separate life and 
peace from such a mind : it hath no principle of death or trouble 
in it. Let such as know any thing of this blessed temper and 
complexion of soul, compare this scripture and their own ex 
perience together ; when, at any time, they find their souls un 
der the blessed empire and dominion of a spiritual mind ; when 
spirituality wholly rules and denominates them : are not their 
souls the very region of life and peace? both these in conjuncti 
on, life and peace? not raging life, not stupid peace; but a 
placid, peaceful life, a vital vigorous rest and peace : it is not 
the life of a fury, nor peace of a stone : life that hath peace in 
it, and peace that hath life in it. Now can the soul say, "I 
feel myself well ; all is now well with me/' Nothing afflicts 
the spiritual mind, so far, and while it is such : it is wrapt up, 
and clothed in its own innocency and purity; and hereby be 
come invulnerable, not liable to hurtful impressions. * Holi 
ness (under the name of light, for that is, by the context, the 
evident meaning of the word there) is by the apostle spoken of as the 
Christian's armour, (Rom. 13. 12.) Puton, saithhe, thearmourof 
light, in opposition to the works of darkness, which he had men* 
tioned immediately before. Strange armour ! that a man may see 
through. A good man's armour is, that he needs none : his ar 
mour is an open breast ; that he can expose himself; is fearless 

* Invulnerabile est non quod non feritur, sed quod non laeditur. 
Sen. de constantia sapientis, sive quod in sapientem non cadit injuria; 
to be invulnerable is not to be free from all attacks, but to be unin 
jured bv them. Seneca on the constancy of the wise man or his su* 
periority to injuries. 

I Integer vitas scelerisque purus, &c. He that is of an upright life 
and free from vice. Hor. 


of any harm. Who is he that shall harm you, if ye be followers 
of that which is good ? It should be read imitators ; so the word 
signifies : and so, whereas following Is either of a pattern, or an 
end ; the former mu^t be meant here, by the natural importance 
of that word. And hence, by "that which is good" (T aya0 tf ) 
is not to be understood created goodness ; for it is not enough to 
imitate that goodness ; for so we must be good ; but the words 
are capable of being read, him that is good, or (which is all 
one) the good. * And so it is the increatc good, the blessed 
God himself, formally considered under the notion of good, 
Nothing can harm you if you be like God, that is the plain 
sense of this scripture. Likeness to God, is armour of proof, 
that is an imitation of him, namely in his moral goodness ; which 
holiness as a general name of it comprehends. A person tru 
ly like God, is secure from any external violence ; so far as that 
it shall never be able to invade his spirit. He is in spirit far 
raised above the tempestuous, stormy region, and converses 
where winds and clouds have no place. 

Nor can, so far as this temper of soul prevails, any evil grow 
upon such a mind within itself. It is life and peace ; it is light 
and purity ; for it is the image, the similitude of God. God is 
light, and with him is no darkness at all. 1 Job. 1. 5. Holy 
souls were darkness, but they are light in the Lord. Eph 5. 8. 
He the Father of light, they the children of light. Jam. 1.19. 
They were darkness: not, in the dark ; but, in the abstract, 
"darkness" : as if that were their whole nature; and they no 
thing else but an impure mass of conglobated darkness. || So, 
ye are light : as if they were that, and nothing else ; nothing 
but a sphere of light. Why suppose we such a thing, as an en 
tire sphere of nothing else but pure light? What can work any 
disturbance here or raise a storm within it? A calm, serene 
thing: perfectly homogeneous, void of contrariety, or any self- 
repugnant quality : how can it disquiet itself ? We cannot yet 
say, that thus it is with holy souls in their present state, accord 
ing to the highest literal import of these words, Ye are light : 
but thus it will be when they awake; when they are satisfied 
with this likeness. They shall then be like God fully, and 
throughout, O the joy and pleasure of a soul made after such 

* As Plato and his followers used the expression, rxya-Qov, fully 
according to the sense of Mat. 19. 17. 

orstv />WJTE tKT&rnxt nti n, fj^rs KTU evvr- 
owywm, AAa; Qefli Xa/^W/a/, &c. the mental sphere is har 
monious ; when it is susceptible neither of attraction from without 
nor of confusion within, but is eradiated with light. Majc. Anto- 
jiian, lib, 11. 


a similitude ! Now glory is become as it were their being ; they 
are glorified, Glory is revealed into them, transfused through r 
out them. Every thing that is conceivable under the notion of 
an excellency, competent to created nature, is now to be found 
\vith them ; and they have it in -wrought into their very beings. 
So that in a true sense it may be said, that they are light ; they 
not only have such excellencies, but they are them ; as the 
moralist saith of the wise, or virtuous man, Omni a non tarn 
habere quam esse, that he not so properly hath all things, as 
is all things. Sen. It is said of man, in respect of his naturals, 
he is the image and glory of God. 1 Cor. 11. J. As for his su 
pernatural excellencies, though they are not essential to man, 
they are more expressive of God; and are now become so inse 
parable from the nature of man too, in this his glorified state 5 
that he can as soon cease to be intelligent, as holy. The image 
of God, even in this respect, is not separable from him : nor 
blessedness (surely) from this image. As the divine excellencies, 
being in their infinite fulness in God, are his own blessedness; 
so is the likeness, the participation of them in the soul, that 
now bears this image, its blessedness. Nothing can be neces 
sary to its full satisfaction, which it hath not in itself, by a gra 
cious vouchsafement and communication. The good man (irt 
that degree which his present state admits of,) Solomon tells us, 
is satisfied from himself : (Prov. 14. 14.) he doth not need to 
traverse the world, to seek his happiness abroad ; he hath the 
matter of satisfaction, even that goodness which he is now en 
riched with, in his own breast and bosom : yet he hath it all by 
participation from the fountain-goodness.* But that participa 
ted goodness is so intimately one with him, as sufficiently war 
rants and makes good the assertion, he is satisfied from him 
self: namely from himself, not primarily, or independently; 
but by deiivation from him, who is all in all, and more inti 
mate to us, than we to ourselves. And what is that participated 
goodness, but a degree of the divine likeness ? But when that 
goodness shall be fully participated : when this image and imita 
tion of the divine goodness, shall be complete and entire; than 
shall we know the rich exuberant sense of those words. How 
fully will this image or likeness satisfy then ! And yet more 
distinctly, we may apprehend how satisfying this likeness or i- 
mage impressed will be, if a little further deferring the view of 
the particulars of this likeness which we have designed to instance 
in, we consider these general properties of it. 

* Intimonostro intimior. Esse nostrum laudabile : more intimate 
than our inmost soul. The very possession is an honor. 
de libcrtate, ex. Plat, and Aug. 


First. It is a vital image: not the image only of him that lives, 
the living God : but it is his living and soul-quickening image. 
It is the likeness of him, in that very respect ; an imitation and 
participation of the life of God ; by which, once revived, the 
soul livqs that was dead before. It is not a dead picture, a dumb 
shew, an unmoving statue; but a living, speaking, walking i- 
jnage ; that where with thechild is like the father : the very life of 
the subject where it is; and by which it lives as God, speaks 
and acts conformably to him. An image, not such a one as is 
drawn with a pencil, that expresses only colour and figure ; but 
such a one as is seen in a glass,* that represents life and motion, 
as was noted from a worthy author before. It is even, in its first 
and more imperfect draught, an analogical participation (as we 
must understand it) of the divine nature; (2 Pet, 1. 4.) before 
which first tincture, thpse preludious touches of it upon the spi 
rit of man, his former state is spoken of as an alienation from 
the life of God; (Eph. 4. 18.) as having no interest, no com 
munion therein. The putting on of the new man, which after 
God is created in righteousness and true holiness, (ver. 23 34.) 
is presently mentioned, in direct opposition to that dismal state, 
implying that to be a participation of the divine life: and cer 
tainly, so far as it is so, it is a participation of the divine bles 
sedness too. 

Secondly. It is an image most intimate, therefore, to its sub 
ject. Glory it is : but not a superficial skin-deep glory; such 
as shone in Moses* face which he covered with a vail. It is 
thoroughly transformative ; changes the soul throughout; not in 
external appearance, but in its very nature. All outward em 
bellishments would add little felicity to a putrid, corrupt soul. 
That, would be but painting a sepulchre : This, adds ornament 
unto life ; and both, especially to the inward man. it is not 
paint in the face, while death is at the heart ; but it is the ra- 
dieation of such a principle within as will soon form and attem 
per the man universally to itself. It is glory: blessedness par 
ticipated, brought home and lodged in a man's own soul, in 
his own bosom; he cannot then but be satisfied. A man may 
have a rich stock of outward comforts, and while he hath no 
heart to enjoy them, be never the happier. But it is impossible, 
that happiness should be thus lodged in his soul, made so inti 
mate, and one with him ; and yet, that he should not be satis 
fied, not be happy. 

Thirdly. An image connatural to the spirit of man. Not a 
thing alien, and foreign to his nature, put into him purposely, 

* Sic oculos, sic ille maims, sic ora ferebat : just so did he carry 
his eyes, his hands, his countenance. 


as it were, to torment and vex him ; but an ancient well-known 
inhabitant, that had place in him from the beginning. Sin is 
the injurious intruder; which therefore puts the soul into a com 
motion, and permits it not to rest, while it hath any being 
there. This image calms it, restores it, works a peaceful, or 
derly composure within ; returns it to itself, to its pristine, 
blessed state; being re-seated there, as in its proper, primitive 
subject. For though this image, in respect of corrupted nature 
be supernatural ; in respect of institute, and undefiled nature, 
it was in a true sense natural, as hath been demonstrated by 
divers of ours against the papists ; and upon the matter, yielded 
by some of the more moderate among themselves.* At least 
it was connate with human nature, consentaneous to it, and 
perfective of it. We are speaking, it must be remembered, of 
that part of the divine image, that consists in moral excellen 
cies ; there being another part of it, as hath been said, that is, 
even in the strictest sense, natural. There is nothing in the 
whole moral law of God, (in conformity whereunto this image 
did, ah origin?, originally, consist) nothing of what he requires 
from man, that is at all destructive of his being, prejudicial to 
his comforts, repugnant to his most innate principles: nothing 
that clashes with his reason, or is contrary to his interest : or 
that is not, most directly, conservative of his being and comforts 
agreeable to his most rational principles, subservient to his best 
and truest interest. For what doth God the Lord require, but fear 
and love, service, (Deut. 10. 12. Mic. 6. 8.) and holy walking 
from an entire and undivided soul ? what, but what is good; not 
only irt itself, but for us ; and, in respect whereof, his law is said 
to be holy, just and good? Rom. J. 12. And what he requir- 
eth, he impresseth. This law, written in the heart, is this 
likeness. How grateful then will it be, when, after a long extermi 
nation and exile, it returns and re-possesses the soul, is recogniz 
ed by it, becomes to it a new nature, (yea, even a divine^ a vi 
tal, living law, the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus ? 
Rom. 8. 2. What grievance, or burden, is it to do the dictates 
of nature ? actions that easily and freely flow from their own 
principles ? and, when blessedness itself is infolded in those very 
acts and inclinations? How infinitely satisfying and delightful 
will it be, when the soul shall find itself connaturalized to every 
thing iri its duty; and shall have no other duty incumbent on 

* As may be seen by comparing what Estius says to the two ques 
tions, 1. An gratia fuerit primo homini naturalis ? 2, Utrum origi- 
nalis justitia fuerit homini supernaturalis ? 1. Whether grace was 
natural to the first man ? 2. Whether original righteousnebs was 
supernatural to man. I, 2. dist, 25. 


it than to be happy! when it shall need no arguments, and ex 
hortations to love God ; nor need be urged and pressed, as here 
tofore, to mind him, to fear before him ! when love, and re 
verence, and adoration, and praise ; when delight, and joy> 
shall be all natural acts : can you separate this^ in your own 
thoughts, from the highest satifaction ? 

Fourthly. This image will be now perfect : everyway, fully per 
fect. In all its parts ; as it is in the first instant of the soul's en 
trance into the state of regeneration; the womb of grace knows 
no defective maimed births. And yet here is no little advan 
tage, as to this kind of perfection. For now those lively linea* 
ments of the new creature all appear, which were much ob 
scured before ; every line of glory is conspicuous, every cha 
racter legible, the whole entire frame of this image is, in its ex 
act symmetry and apt proportions, visible at once* And it is an 
unspeakable addition to the pleasure of so excellent a temper of 
spirit, that accrues from the discernable entireness of it. Here 
tofore, some gracious dispositions have been to seek, (through 
the present prevalence of some corruption or temptation) when 
there was most need and occasion for their being reduced into 
act. Hence the reward and pleasure of the act, and improve 
ment of the principle, were lost together. Now, the soul will 
be equally disposed, to every holy exercise that shall be suita 
ble to its state. Its temper shall be even and symmetral; its 
motions uniform, and agreeable : nothing done out of season ; 
nothing seasonable omitted, for want of a present disposition of 
spirit thereto. There will be not only an habitual, but actual 
entireness of the frame of holiness in the blessed soul.- Again 
this image will be perfect in degree ; so as to exclude all degrees 
of its contrary, and to include all degrees of itself. There will 
now be no longer any colluctation with contrary principles; no 
law in the members warring against the law of the mind ; no lust- 
ings of the flesh against the spirit. That war is now ended in 
a glorious victory, and eternal peace. There will be no remain 
ing blindness of mind, nor error of judgment, nor perverseness 
of will, nor irregularity or rebellion of affections : no ignorance 
of God, no aversation from him, or disaffection towards him. 
This likeness removes all culpable dissimilitude or unlikeness. 
This communicated glory fills up the whole soul, causes all 
clouds and darkness to vanish, leaves no place for any thing that 
is vile or inglorious ; it is pure glory, free from mixture of any 
thing that is alien to it. And it is itself full. The soul is re 
plenished, not with airy, evanid shadows ; but with substantial, 
solid glory, a massive, weighty glory, (2 Cor. 4. 17.) for I know 
not but subjective glory may be taken in within the significancy 
of that known scriptuie, if it be not more principally intended: 



in as much as the text speaks of a glory to he wrought out by 
afflictions, which are the files and furnaces, as it were, to po 
lish or refine the soul into a glorious frame. It is cumulated 
glory, glory added to glory. Here it is growing progressive 
glory, we are changed into the same image from glory to glory. 
2 Cor. 3. 18. It shall, now, be stable, consistent glory; that 
carries a self-fulness with it (which some include also in the 
notion of purity* :) it is full of itself, includes every degree re 
quisite to its own perfection. God hath now put the last hand to 
this glorious image, added to it its ultimate accomplishments. 
Now, a conformity ta Christ, even in the resurrection from 
the dead, in his glorious state, is fully attained. That prize of 
the high calling of God is now won. And the humble sense of 
not having attained as yet, and of not being already perfect (in 
which humility, the foundation of the temple of God in a saint 
is laid, and the buildingraised) is turned into joyful acclamations^ 
"Grace, grace !" for the laying on of the top-stone, the finish 
ing of this glorious work. And when this temple is filled with 
the glory of the Lord, the soul itself replenished with the divine 
fulness, will not its joys be full too ? For here is no sacrifice to 
be offered but that of praise, and joy is the proper seasoning for 
that sacrifice. 

Now, the new creature hath arrived to the measure of the 
stature of a perfect man in Christ Jesus. The first formation of 
this spiritual, as well as of the natural man, was hidden and 
secret ; it was curiously wrought, and in a way no more liable 
to observation, than that of framing the child in the womb ; as 
that is as hidden as the concoction of minerals, or precious 
stones, in the lower parts of the earth. No secrets of nature can 
outvie the mysteries of godliness. Its growth is also by ver^F 
insensible degrees, as it is with the products of nature: but its 
arrival to perfection is infinitely more strange, than any thing 
in nature ever was. How sudden and wonderful is the change; 
when, in the twinkling of an eye, the blessed soul instantly 
awakes out of drowsy languishings, and miserable weakness, 
into perfect strength and vigour ! As a man is, so is his strength; 
and as his strength is, so is his joy and pleasure. The sun i* 
said to go forth as a strong man, rejoicing to run his race. Psal. 
19. 5. When a man goes, in the fulness of his strength, upon 
any enterprize ; how do his blood and spirits triumph before 
hand ! no motion of hand, or foot, is without a sensible delight. 
The strength of a man's spirit is, unspeakably, more than that 

* Puruni est quod est plenum sui, ct quod minimum habet alieni: 
that is pure which possesses a self-fulness, and which has the least of 
what is foreign to itself. 


of the outward man; its faculties and powers more refined and 
raised : and hence are rational or intellectual exercises and ope 
rations, much more delightful than corporal ones can be. But 
{still, as the man is, so is his strength) it is an incomparably 
greater strength that attends the heaven-born man. This man 
born of God, begotten of God, after his own likeness; this hero 
this Son of God, was born to conflicts, to victories, to triumphs. 
While he is yet but in his growing age-, he overcomes the world 
(as Hercules the serpents in his cradle ;) overcomes the wicked 
one, and is at last more than conqueror. A mighty power at 
tends godliness ; " a spirit of power, and of a sound mind :" but 
how much this divine creature grows, so much the more like 
God : and, being perfect, conflicts cease ; he had overcome and 
won the crown before. And now all his strength runs out into 
acts of pleasure. Now when he shall go forth in his might to 
love God, (as we are required to love him now with all our 
might) and every act of praise shall be an act of power, done 
with a fulness of strength (as it is said their praises, at the bring 
ing home of the ark, were with all their might) O ! what will 
the pleasure be that shall accompany this state of perfection ! 
Perfect power, and perfect pleasure are here met, and shall for 
ever dwell together, and be always commensurate to one ano 
ther. They are so, here, in their imperfect state : our feeble, 
spiritless duties, weak, dead prayers : they have no more sweet 
ness than strength, no more pleasure than power in them. There 
fore we are listless, and have no mind to duties, as we find we 
are more frequently destitute of a spiritual liveliness and vigour 
therein. When a spirit of might and power goes on with us in 
the wonted course of our converses with God, we then forecast 
opportunities, and gladly welcome the season, when it extraor 
dinarily occurs, of drawing nigh to him. It cannot be thought, 
that the connexion and proportion between these should fail in 
glory ; or that, when every thing else is perfect, the blessed soul 
itself made perfect, even as God himself is perfect, in this 
bearing his likeness, should be unlike him in bliss ; or its sa 
tisfaction be imperfect. 



The satisfaction carried in the glory of God impressed, having been 
considered in thepreceeding chapters.g'e/zerfl//^, it is now [2] shewn 
by instances ; certain particulars of this impression instanced in a 
dependent frame of spirit, subjection or self-devoting ; love, puri 
ty, liberty, tranquility. 

"OUT besides the general consideration of this likeness, we 
shall instance. 

[2.] In some of the particular excellencies comprehended 
in it, wherein the blessed shall imitate and resemble God : 
whence we may further estimate the pleasure and satis 
faction, that being like God will afford. Only here let it be 
remembered, that as we all along in this discourse, speak of like 
ness to God in respect of moral excellencies : so by likeness to 
liim, in respect of these, we understand, not only a participa 
tion of those which are communicable ; but a correspondent 
impress also, as to those that are incommunicable ; as hath been 
niore distinctly opened in the propositions concerning this like 
ness. Which being premised, I shall give instances of both 
kinds, to discover somewhat of the inexpressible pleasure of be 
ing thus conformed to God. And here, pretermitting the im 
press of knowledge of which we have spoken under the former 
head of vision ; we shall instance, 

First. In a dependent frame of spirit: which is the proper im- 

Eress of the divine all-sufficiency, and self-fulness, duly appre- 
ended by the blessed soul. It is not easy to conceive a higher 
pleasure, than this, compatible to a creature, the pleasure of 
dependance ; yea, this is a higher than we can conceive. De* 
pendance (which speaks the creatures a-^a-ts or habitude to its 
principle, as the subserviency which imports its habitude to its 
end) is twofold: Natural: which is common and essential to 
all creatures ; even when no such thing is thought on, or con 
sidered by them. The creatures live, move, and have their be 
ings in God, whether they think of it or no. Voluntary, or ra-? 
tional: which is defacto a peculiar 3 and de jure, common, to 


reasonable creatures as such. A dependance that Is, ** r^o*^ 
*rtws, elective ; and, with a foregoing reason, (which I under 
stand by elective, not a liberty of doing, or not doing it) and 
concomitant consideration of what we do, and animadversion of 
our own act : when knowingly and willingly, undei standing our 
selves in what we do, we go out of ourselves, and live in God. 
This is the dependance of which I speak. And it cannot but 
be attended with transcendent pleasure in that other state, when 
that knowledge and animadversion shall be clear and perfect : 
both, as this dependance imports, A nullifying of self: and 
magnifying (I may call it omnifying) of God, a making him all 
in all. As it imports (which it doth most evidently) a self -an- 
nihilation, apiire nullifying of self, it is a continual recogni 
tion of my own nothingness, a momently, iterated confession, 
that my whole being is nothing, but a mere pufT of precarious 
breath, a bubble raised from nothing by the arbitrary 'fiat of the 
great Creator ; reducible, had he so pleased, any moment, to 
nothing again. These are true and just acknowledgments, and 
to a well-tempered soul infinitely pleasant, when the state o 
the case is thoroughly understood (as now it is) and it hath the 
apprehension clear ; how the creation is sustained, how, and 
upon what terms its own being, life and blessedness are continued 
to it; that it is, every moment, determinable upn the con 
stancy of the Creator's will, that it is not simply nothing, 
It is not possible, that any thing should hinder this considera 
tion from being eternally delightful ; but that diabolical un* 
creaturely pride, that is long since banished heaven, and that 
banished its very subjects thence also. Nothing can suit that 
temper, but to be a God ; to be wholly independent; to be its 
own sufficiency. The thoughts of living at the will and pleasure 
of another, are grating ; but they are only grating to a proud heart, 
which, here, hath noplace. Asoul naturalized to humiliations, ac 
customed to prostrations, and self-abasements, trained up in acts of 
mortification, and that was brought to glory, through a continued 
course and series of self-denial ; that ever since it first came to know 
itself, was wont to depend for every moment's breath, for every 
glimpse of light, for every fresh influence (I live, yet not I 
Gal. 2. 20.) with what pleasure doth it, now, as it were vanish 
before the Lord ! what delight doth it take to diminish itself, 
and as it were disappear ; to contract and shrivel up itself, to 
shrink even into a point, into a nothing, in the presence of the 
divine glory ; that it may be all in all ! Things are now plea 
sant (to the soul, in its right mind) as they are suitable ; as they 
carry a comeliness and congruity in them : and nothing^ now 
appears more becoming, than such a self-annihilation* The 


distances of Creator and creature, of infinite and finite, of a ne^ 
tcessary and arbitrary being, of a self-originated and a derived 
being, of what was from everlasting and what had a beginning 5 
are now better understood than ever, And the soul by how 
much it is, now, come nearer to God, is more apprehensive of 
its distance. And such a frame and posture doth, hence, please 
it best, as doth most fitly correspond thereto. Nothing is so 
pleasing to it, as to be as it ought, That temper is most grate 
ful that is most proper, and which best agrees with its state. 
Dependance therefore is greatly pleasing, as it is a self-nullifying 
thing. And yet it is, in this respect, pleasing, but as a means to a 
further end. The pleasure that attends it,is higher and more in 
tense, according as it more immediately attains that end, namely 
The magnifying and exalting of God : which is the most con 
natural thing to the holy soul ; the most fundamental and deep 
ly impressed law of the new creature. Self gives place, that 
God may take it; becomes nothing, that he may be all; it va 
nishes, that his glory may shine the brighter, Dependance 
gives God his proper glory. It is the peculiar honour and pre 
rogative of a Deity, to have a world of creatures hanging upon 
it, staying themselves upon it; to be the fulcrum, the centre of 
a lapsing creation. When this dependance is voluntary and in-? 
telligent, it carries in it a more explicit owning and acknowledge 
ment of God. By how much more this is the distinct and acr 
tual sense of my soul, Lord, I cannot live but by thee : so much 
the more openly and plainly do I speak it out, Lord, thou art 
God alone : thou art the fulness of life and being ; The only 
root and spring of life ; The everlasting I AM; The Being of 

How unspeakably pleasant, to a holy soul, will such a per 
petual agnition or acknowledgment of God be ! when the per 
petuation of its being, shall be nothing else than a perpetuation 
of this acknowledgment; when every renewed aspiration, every 
motion, every pulse of the glorified soul, shall be but a repe 
tition of it ; when it shall find, itself, in the eternity of life, that 
everlasting state of life which it now possesses, to be nothing 
eke than an everlasting testimony that God is God : He is so 5 
for, I am, I live, I act, I have the power to love him ; none of 
which could otherwise be. When amongst the innumerable 
myriads of the heavenly host, this shall be the mutual, alternate 
testimony of each to all the rest throughout eternity, will not 
this be pleasant ? When each shall feel continually the fresh il- 
kpses and incomes of God, the power and sweetness of divine 
Influences, the enlivening vigour of that vital breath, and find in 
themselves, thus we live and are sustained : and are yet as se- 


cure, touching the continuance of this state of life, &s if every 
one were a God to himself; and did each one possess an entire 
God-head. When their sensible dependance on him, in their 
glorified state, shall be his perpetual triumph over all the ima 
ginary deities, the fancied Numina, wherewith he was hereto 
fore provoked to jealousy : and he shall now have no rival left, 
but be acknowledged and known, to be all in all. How plea 
sant will it then be, as it were, to lose themselves in him ! and 
to be swallowed up in the overcoming sense of his boundless, 
all-sufficient, every-where flowing fulness! And then add to this; 
they do by this dependance actually make this fulness of God 
their own. They are now met in one common principle of life 
and blessedness, that is sufficient for them all. They no longer 
live a life of care, are perpetually exempt from solicitous 
thoughts, which here they could not perfectly attain to in their 
earthly state. They have nothing to do but to depend : to live 
upon a present self-sufficient good, which alone is enough to re 
plenish all desires : else it were not self-sufficient. * How can 
we divide, in our most abstractive thoughts, the highest plea 
sure, the fullest satisfaction, from this dependance ? It is to 
live at the rate of a God ; a God-like life : a living upon im 
mense fulness, as he lives. 

Secondly. Subjection ; which I place next to dependance, 
as being of the same allay; the product of impressed sovereign 
ty; as the other, of all-sufficient fulness. Both impressions- 
upon the creature, corresponding to somewhat in God, most in 
communicably appropriate to him. This is the soul's real and 
practical acknowledgment of the supreme Majesty ; its homage 
to its Maker ; its self-dedication : than which nothing more suits 
the state of a creature, or the spirit of a saint. And as it is sui 
table, it is pleasant. It is that by which the blessed soul be 
comes, in its own sense, a consecrated thing, a devoted thing, 
sacred to God : its very life and whole being referred and made 
over to him. With what delightful relishes, what sweet gusts 
of pleasure is this done ! while the soul tastes its own act ; ap 
proves it with a full ungainsaying judgment ; apprehends tli2 
condignity and fitness of it; assents to itself herein ; and hath 
the ready suffrage; the harmonious concurrence of all its pow 
ers ! When the words are no sooner spoken, " Worthy art thou, 
OLord, to receive glory, honour and power, for thou hast crea 
ted all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created ;" 
but they are resounded from the penetralia, the inmost bowels, 

* To Hie otvlix.gx.ES T/0E/XEV, o /u.ovi?/w,Evoy a.i%{\ov Kotsi TOV j3sy, xxi IAY^SVQS 

tvlSen : .we esteem that to be self-sufficient, which of itself makes life 
desirable, and leaves no want* Arist. de mor, lib, 1, c. 4. 


the most intimate receptacles, and secret chambers of the soul, 
O Lord, thou art worthy : worthy, that I, and all things should 
fee to thee : worthy, to be the Omega, as thou art the Alpha, 
the last, as thou art the first ; the end, as thou art the begin 
ning of all things ; the ocean into which all being shall flow, as 
the fountain from which it sprang. My whole self, and all my 
powers, the excellencies now implanted in my being, the privi 
leges of my now glorified state, are all worth nothing to me but 
for thee; please me only, as they make me fitter for thee. O 
the pleasure of these sentiments, the joy of such raptures ! when 
the soul shall have no other notion of itself, than of an everlast 
ing sacrifice, always ascending to God in its own flames. 

For, this devotedness and subjection speak not, barely an act, 
but a state; a being to the praise of grace : a living to God. 
(Rom. 12. 1.) And it is no mean pleasure that the sincere soul 
finds, in the imperfect beginnings the first essays of this life, 
the initial breathings of such a spirit, its entrance into this bles 
sed state : when it makes the first tender and present of itself to 
God (as the apostle expresses it ;) when it first begins to esteem 
itself an hallowed thing ; separate and set apart for God : its 
first act of unfeigned self-resignation ; when it tells God from 
the very heart, " 1 now give up myself to thee to be thine." 
Never was marriage- covenant made with such pleasure, 
with so complacential consent. This quitting claim to our 
selves, parting with ourselves upon such terms, to be the 
Lord's for ever: O the peace, the rest, the acquiescence 
of spirit that attends it ! When the poor soul that was weary of 
itself, knew not what to do with itself, hath now on the sudden 
found this way of disposing itself to such an advantage ; there 
is pleasure in this treaty. Even the previous breakings and re- 
lentings of the soul towards God are pleasant. But O the plea~ 
sure of consent ! of yielding ourselves to God, as the apostle's 
expression is, Rom. 6. 13. When the soul is overcome, and 
cries out, " Lord, now 1 resign, I yield , possess now thy own 
right, I give up myself to thee. That yielding is subjection, 
self-devoting ; in order to future service and obedience, To 
whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, &c. ver. 16. And 
never did any man enrol himself, as a servant to the greatest 
prince on earth, with such joy. What pleasure is there in the 
often iterated recognition of these transactions ! in multiplying 
such bonds upon a man's own soul (though done faintly, while 
the fear of breaking, checks its joy in taking them on !) When 
in the uttering of these words, I am thy servant, O Lord : thy 
servant, the son of thine hand-maid, (Psal. 116. 16.^ that is, 
thy born-servant, (alluding to that custom and law among the 
Jews,) thy servant devoted to thy fear; (Psal. 119. 38.) a man 


finds tliey fit his spirit, and are aptly expressive of the true sense 
of his soul, is it not a grateful thing ? And how pleasant is a state 
of life consequent and agreeable to such transactions and cove 
nants with God ! When it is meat and drink to do his will ! 
When his zeal eats a man up; and one shall find himself secretly 
consuming for God! and the vigour of his soul exhaled in his ser 
vice ! Is it not a pleasant thing so to spend and be spent ? When 
one can in a measure find that his will is one with God's, trans 
formed into the divine will : that there is but one common will 
and interest, and end between him and us ; and so, that in serv 
ing God we reign with him; in spending ourselves for him, we 
are perfected in him. Is not this a pleasant life ? Some 
heathens have spoken at such a rate of this kind of life, as 
might make us wonder and blush. One speaking of a virtuous 
person, (Seneca de vita beata, lib. 15*) saith; etut bonus miles 
feret vulnera, &c. he is as a good soldier that bears ivounds, and 
numbers scars ; and at last, smitten through with darts, dying, 
will love the emperor for whom he falls ; he will (saith he) 
keep in mind that ancient precept, follow God. But tbere are 
that complain, cry out and groan, and are compelled by force to 
do his commands, and hurried into them against their will, and 
what a madness is it (saith he) to be drawn rather than follow ? 
And presently after subjoins, (Epist. 96.) " We are born in ?i 
kingdom ; to obey God is liberty. The same person writes in 
a letter to a friend : "If thou believe me when I most freely 
discover to thee the most secret fixed temper of my soul, in all 
things my mind is thus formed : I obey not God so properly as I 
assent to him. 1 follow him with all my heart, not because 1 can 
not avoid it." And another, (Epictet. Enchir.) " Lead me to 
whatsoever I am appointed, and I will follow thee chearfuily ; 
but if I refuse, or be unwilling,! shall follow notwithstanding." 
A soul cast into such a mould, formed into an obediential 
subject frame, what sweet peace doth it enjoy ! how pleasant 
rest 1 Every thing rests most composedly in its proper place. A 
bone out of joint knows no ease, nor lets the body enjoy any. 
The creature is not in its place but when it is thus subject, is in 
this subordination to God. By flying out. of this subordination, 
the wojl'd of mankind is become one great disjointed body, full 
of weary tossings, unacquainted with ease or rest. That soul 
that is, but in a degree, reduced to that blessed state and tem 
per, is as it were in a new world ; so great and happy a change 
doth it now feel in itself. But when this transformation shall 
be completed in it; and the will of God shall be no sooner known 
than rested in with a complacential approbation ; and every 
motion of the first and great mover shall be an efficacious law, 
ot guide and determine all our motions ; and the lesser wheels 
in, o 


shall presently run at the first impulse of the great and master- 
wheel, without the least rub or hesitation ; when the law of sin 
shall no longer check the law of God ; when all the contentions 
of a rebellious flesh ; all the counter-strivings of a perverse, un 
governable heart shall cease for ever ; O unconceivable blessed 
ness of this consent, the pleasure of this joyful harmony, this 
peaceful accord ! Obedience, where it is due but from one 
creature to another, carries its no small advantages with it, and 
conducibleness to a pleasant unsolicitous life. To be particu 
larly prescribed to, in things, about which our minds would other 
wise be tost with various apprehensions, anxious, uncertain 
thoughts ; how great a privilege is it ! 1 cannot forget a perti 
nent passage of an excellent person of recent memory.* u And 
(saith he) for pleasure, I shall profess myself so far from doting 
on that popular idol, liberty, that I hardly think it possible for 
any kind of obedience to be more painful than an unrestrained 
liberty. Were there not crue bounds of magistrates, of laws, of 
piety, of reason in the heart, every man would have a fool, I 
add, a mad tyrant to his master, that would multiply more sor 
rows, than briars and thorns did to Adam, when he was freed 
from the bliss at once, and the restraint of paradise ; and was 
sure greater slave in the wilderness, than in the inclosure. 
Would but the Scripture permit me that kind of idolatry, the 
.binding my faith and obedience to any one visible infallible 
judge or prince, were it the pope, or the mufti, or the grand 
tartar; might it be reconcilcable with my creed, it would cer 
tainly be with my interest, to get presently into that posture of 
obedience. 1 should learn so much of the Barbarian ambassa 
dors in Appian, which came on purpose to the Romans to nego- 
ciate for leave to be their servants. It would be my policy if 
not my piety ; and may now be my wish, though not my faith, 
that I might never have the trouble to deliberate, to dispute, to 
doubt, to choose, (those so many profitless uneasinesses] but 
only the favour to receive commands, and the meekness to obey 
them. How pleasurable then must obedience be to the per 
fect will of the blessed God, when our wills shall also be fer- 
fectly attempered and conformed thereunto ! Therefore are we 
taught, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Perfec- 
tissimum in suo gcnere est mensura rdiquorum : what is most 
jperfect in its kind, gives rule to the rest. 

Thirdly. Love. This is an eminent part of the image or like 
ness of God in his saints: as it is that great attribute of the di 
vine being that is, alone, put to give us a notion of God; God 
is love. (1 John 4. 8. 1G.) This is an excellency (consider it 

* Dr. Hammond's s>ennoa of Christ's easy yoke. 


whether in its original, or copy) made up of pleasantnesses. All 
love hath complacency or pleasure in the nature and most for 
mal notion of it. To search for pleasure in love is the same 
thing as if a man should be solicitous to find water in the sea, 
or light in the body of the sun. Love to a friend is not without 
high pleasure, when especially he is actually present, and en* 
joyed, love to a saint rises higher in nobleness and pleasure, 
according to the more excellent qualification of its object. It is 
now in it's highest improvement, in both these aspects of it ; 
where whatsoever tends to gratify our nature, whether as hu 
man, or holy, will be in its full perfection. Now doth the soul 
take up its stated dwelling in love, even in God who is love ; 
and as he is love ; it is now enclosed with love, encompassed 
with love, it is conversant in the proper region, and element of 
love. The love of God is now perfected in it. That love which 
is not only participated from him, but terminated in him, that 
perfect love (1 John 4* 18.) casts out tormenting fear : so that here 
is pleasure without mixture. How naturally will the blessed 
soul now dissolve and melt into pleasure! It is new framed on pur 
pose for love-embraces and enjoyments. It shall now love like 
God, as one composed of love. It shall no longer be its com 
plaint and burden, that it cannot retaliate in this kind ; that be 
ing beloved it cannot love. 

Fourthly. Purity. Herein also must the blessed soul resem 
ble God, and delight itself. Every one that hath this hope, 
(namely, of being hereafter like God, and seeing him as he is) 
purifieth himself as he is pure. A god-like purity is intimately 
connected with the expectation of future blessedness, much 
more with the fruition. " Blessed are the pure in heart; be 
sides the reason there annexed, for they shall see God/' (which 
is to be considered under the other head, the pleasure unto which 
this likeness disposes) that proposition carries its own reason in 
itself. It is an incomparable pleasure that purity carries in its 
own nature : as sin hath in its very nature, besides its conse 
quent guilt and sorrow, trouble and torment beyond expression. 
Whatsoever defiles, doth also disturb : nor do any but pure plea 
sures deserve the name. *An Epicurus himself will tell us, 
there cannot be pleasure without ivisdom, honesty and righte 
ousness. It is least of all possible there should, when once a 
person shall have a right knowledge of himself, and (which is 
the moral impurity whereof we speak) the filthiness of sin. I 
doubt not but much of the torment of hell, will consist in those 

* Whose doctrine, as to this matter of pleasure, is not so much to 
be blamed as his practice, if both be rightly represented to us. 
(Ex, Cicer. 1. de Fill.) 'Of* id'ay v^tus w aivtv ra <pgovtu.us y.xi 


too late, and despairing self-lothings, those sickly resentments* 
the impure wretches will be possessed with, when they see what 
hideous deformed monsters their own wickedness hath made 
them. Here the gratifications of sense that attend it, bribe and 
seduce their judgments into another estimate of sin : but then it 
shall be no longer thought of under the more favourable notion 
of a yXux/JTnx^oy they shall taste nothing but the gall and worm 
wood. It is certainly no improbable thing, but that reason be^ 
ing now so fully rectified and undeceived, vizors torn oft, and 
things now appearing in their own likeness ; so much will be 
seen, and apprehended of the intrinsic evil and malignity of 
their vitiated natures, as will serve for the matter of further tor 
ment ; while yet such a sight can do no more to a change of 
their temper, than the devil's faith doth to theirs. Such sights 
being accompanied with their no-hope of ever attaining a better 
state, do therefore no way tend to mollify or demulce their spi 
rits, but to increase their rage and torment. It is however out 
of question, that the purity of heaven will infinitely enhance the 
pleasure of it : for it is more certain, the intrinsical goodness of 
holiness (which term I need not among these instances; in as 
much as the thing admits not of one entire notion, but lies part 
ly under this head, partly under the second, that of devotedness 
to God) will be fully understood in heaven, than the intrinsical 
evil of sin in hell : and when it is understood, will it not effect ? 
will it not please? Even here, how pleasing are things to the 
pure (but in degree so) that participate of the divine purity! Thy 
word is very pure, saith the psalmist, Psal. 119. 140. therefore 
thy servant loveth it. Under this notion do holy ones take plea 
sure in each other ; because they see somewhat of the divine 
likeness, their Father's image, in one another : will it not be 
much more pleasing to find it each one perfect in himself? to 
feel the ease and peace, and rest, that naturally goes with it ? A 
man that hath any love of cleanliness, if casually plunged into 
the mire, he knows not what to do with himself, he fancies his 
own clothes to abhor him (as Job rhetorically speaks, Job. 9.) 
so doth as natural a pleasure attend purity : it hath it even in 
itself. The words of the pure (saith the wise-man) are pleasant 
words (Prov. 15. 20.) words of pleasantnesses it might be read. 
That pure breath that goes from him, is not without a certain 
pleasurableness accompanying it. And if so to another, much 
more to himself, especially when every thing corresponds ; and 
(as the expression is) he finds himself clean throughout. 

Fifthly. Liberty, another part of the divine likeness, where 
in we are to imitate God, cannot but be an unspeakable satisr 
faction. Supposing such a state of the notion of liberty as may 
render it really a perfection : which otherwise it would be a wick- 


edness to impute to God, and an impossibility to partake from 
him. I here speak of the moral liberty of a saint, as such; not 
of the natural liberty of a man, as a man : and of the liberty 
consummate of saints in glory; not of the inchoate, imperfect 
liberty of saints on earth. And therefore the intricate contro^ 
versies about the liberty of the human will, lie out of our way, 
and need not give us any trouble. It is out of question that 
this liberty consists not (what ever may be said of any other) in 
an equal propension to good or evil; nor in the will's indepen 
dency on the practical understanding ; noi in a various uncer 
tain mutability, or inconstancy ; nor is it such as is opposed to 
all necessity ; it is not a liberty from the government of God, * 
nor from a determination to the simply best, and most eligible ob 
jects. But it is a liberty from the servitude of sin, from the seduc 
tion of a misguided judgment ; arid the allurement of any in- 
snaring forbidden object : consisting in an abounded amplitude 
and enlargedness of soul towards God, and indetermination to 
any inferior good : resulting from an entire subjection to the 
divine will, a submission to the order of God, and steady ad 
herence to him. And unto which the many descriptions and 
elogies agree most indisputably, which from sundry authors are 
congested together by Gibieuf, || in that ingenious tractate of liber 
ty. As that, he is free that lives as he will, (from Cicero insisted 
on by S. Aug. de Cmt. Dei lib. 14. c. 25.) that is who neither 
wishes anything, nor fears anything; who in all things acquies 
ces in the will of God ; who minds nothing but his own things, 
and accounts nothing his own but God ; who favours nothing 
but God; who is moved only by the will of God. Again; he 
is free, that cannot be hindered, being willing, nor forced be 
ing unwilling (from Epictetus) that is who hath always his will; 
as having perfectly subjected it to the will of God, as the same 
author explains himself. Again ; he is free that is master of 
himself (from the Civilians) that is (as that liberty respects the 
spirit of a man) that hath a mind independent on any thing 
foreign and alien to himself. That only follows God(from Phi- 
lo Judeus) ; that lives according to his own reason (from Aris- 

* Which is a no more desirable state than that which, I remember, 
the historian tells us was the condition of the Armenians; who ha 
ving cast off the government that was over them, became Inserti, 
solutiquc ct magis sine Domino quam in libertatc. Unsettled licenti 
ous, and rather in astute of anarchy than of freedom. 

|| Libertas nostra non est subjcctio ad Deum formalitcr, sed ampli- 
tudd consequens earn Our liberty consists formally not in oursub- 
jection unto God but in that enlargedness of soul which is its result. 
Gibicnf. De libcrt. Dei at creaturae lib. 1. c. 32. 


Totle : ) with many more of like import ; that alone does fully 
and perfectly suit that state of liberty the blessed soul shall 
hereafter eternally enjoy ; as that author often acknow- 
ledges. ^ 

This is "the glorious liberty of the children of God ; the li 
berty wherewith the Son makes free. Liberty indeed, measur* 
ed and regulated by the royal law of liberty, and which is per 
fected only in a perfect conformity thereto. There is a most 
servile * liberty, a being free from righteousness, fwhich under 
that specious name and show, enslaves a man to corruption : J 
and there is as free a service, by which a man is still the more 
free, by how much the more he serves, and is subject to his su 
perior's will, and governing influences ; and by how much the 
less [possible it is, he should swerve therefrom ||. The nearest 
approaches therefore of the soul to God ; its most intimate u- 
nion with him, and entire subjection to him in its glorified state, 
makes its liberty consummate, Now is its deliverance complete, 
its bands are fallen off; it is perfectly disentangled from all the 
snares of death, in which it was formerly held; it is under no 
restraints, oppressed by no weights, held down by no clogs ; it 
hath the free exercise of all its powers ; hath every faculty and 
affection at command. How unconceivable a pleasure is this I 
With what delight doth the poor prisoner entertain himself, 
when his manacles and fetters are knocked off! when he is en^ 
larged from his loathsome dungeon, and the house of his bond 
age ; breathes in a free air ; can dispose of himself, and walk 
at liberty whither he will ! The bird escaped from his cage, o* 
freed from his line and stone, that resisted its vain and too fee 
ble smugglings before ; how pleasantly cloth it range 1 with what 
joy doth it clap its wings, and take its flight! A faint emblem of 

* Quam invexere sibi, adjuvant servitutem. Et sunt, quodam- 
modo, propria Libertate captivi. They promote the servitude which 
they have brought upon themselves. And the}" are in a sense slaves 
to their liberty. (Boeth. ex Gib.) Nectit qua valeat trahi catenam. 
He forges his own chain. Sen. Trag. 

|| Liberior quo dwinse gratia? tubjectior. Primum Liberum ar- 
bitrium, quod homini datum est, quando primum creatus est rec- 
tus, potuit non peccare; sed potuit et peccare. Hoc autem novis- 
simum eo potentius erit, quo peccarf non potuit. The more subject 
to divine grace the more free. That original free will which was gi 
ven to man when he was created in rectitude gave the power of a-> 
voiding sin ; but it also gave the power of committing it : whereas 
that which is now bestowed is inferior to the farmer as it includes 
the possibility of sinning. Aug. de Civitat. Dei lib. 22. c. 30. 

t Rom. 6*20. 

J 2 Pet. 2. 


the joy, wherewith that pleasant cheerful note shall one day be 
sung and chanted forth, Our soul is escaped, as a bird out of 
the snare of the fowler ; the snare is broken, and we are escap 
ed. There is now no place for such a complaint, I would, but 
I cannot ; I would turn my thoughts to glorious objects, but I 
cannot. The blessed soul feels itself free from all confinement: 
nothing resists its will, as its will doth never resist the will of 
God. It knows no limits, no restraints ; is not tied up to this 
or that particular good ; but expatiates freely in the immense 
universal all-comprehending goodness of God himself. And 
this liberty is the perfect image and likeness of the liberty of 

* Libertas nostra inhasret divinae, ut exemplar! ct in perpetua ejus 
imitatione versatur, sive ortum, sive progressum, sive consummatio- 
nem ejus intuearis: Libertas uostra, in ortu, est capacitas Dei. In 
progressu, libertas res est longe clarior : progressus enim atlenditur 
penes accessum hominis ad Deum ; qui quidem non locali propin- 
quitate, sedimitatione,etassimilatione constat, et ea utique imitations 
etassimilationesecundum quam,sicutDeusestsublimis,excelsusseipso 
ita homo est subliinis, et excelsus Deo, et altitudoejus Deus est, ut 
inquit D. Augustinus. Our liberty follows the liberty of God as 
its pattern, and consists in the perpetual imitation of him, 
whether you consider its rise, or progress, or consummation. Our 
liberty in its rise is the power of God : in its progress, liberty is a 
thing greatly increasing in brightness ; for that progress is according 
to the nearer approach of man to God, which consists not in local 
nearness, but in imitation and conformity to him, so that as God is 
sublime and excellent in himself; so man is sublime and excellent in 
God: andGodishisexaltation as saith Augustine. Cunsummatio deni- 
que libertatis est, cum homo in Deum, felicissimo glorise coelestis statu 
transformatur; et Deusomniailli esse incipit. Qui quidem postremus 
status, eo differt a^priore; quippe homo turn non modo inalligatus est 
creatuiis, sednec circa illas negotiatur, etiam referendo in finem ncc 
in creaturis se infundit, nee per illas procedit, ut faciebat cum esset, 
viator : sed in solo Deo, et conquiescit et effuhdid se placidissime, 
et motus ejus, cum sit ad presentissimum etconjunctissimum bonum, 
similior est quieti quam motui. The consummation of liberty 
therefore is when man is transfoimed into the likeness of God 
in the happy state of celestial glory, and when God begins to 
be his all. Which last state is so different from the preceding, 
because then man is not only unfettered from the creatures, but is 
not at all concerned about them, even with respect to his final ob 
ject, he neither immerges himself in them nor falls by them, as was 
the case wheh he was a pilgrim : but in God alone he both rests and 
pours himself out with the greatest tranquility ; and the very motion 
of his soul as it is towards a most immediately and perfect good 
is more like rest than motion. 


God, especially in its consummate state. Iti its progress to 
wards it, it increases as the soul draws nearer to (-;A : which 
nearer approach is not in respect of place or local nearness, but 
likeness and conformity to him ; in respect whereof, as God is 
most sublime and excellent in himself^ so is it in him. Its con 
summate liberty is,when itis so fully transformed into that like 
ness of God, as that he is all to it, as to himself: so that as he 
is an infinite satisfaction to himself; his likeness in this respect, 
is the very satisfaction itself of the blessed soul. 

Sixthly. Tranquillity. This also is an eminent part of that 
assimilation to God, wherein the blessedness of the holy soul 
must be understood to lie : a perfect composure, a perpetual 
and everlasting calm, an eternal vacancy from all unquietness of 
perturbation. Nothing can be supposed more inseparably agree 
ing to the nature of God than this: whom scripture witnesses 
to be without variableness or shadow of change. There can be 
no commotion without mutation, nor can the least mutation 
have place in a perfectly simple and uncompounded nature : 
whence even pagan reason hath been wont to attribute the most 
undisturbed and unalterable tranquillity to the nature of God. 
Balaam knew it was incompatible to him to lie, or repent. And 
(supposing him to speak this from a present inspiration) it is 
their common doctrine concerning God. Omnes turbulee tern-* 
pestates quce procul a Deonim cwlestium tranquiltitate exu- 
lantj fyc. (Apuleius de Deo Socmtis.) Any, the least trou 
bles and tempests are far exiled from the tranquility of 
God ; for all the inhabitants of heav.en do ever enjoy the same 
stable tenour, even an eternal equality of mind, And a little 
after speaking of God, saith he, it is neither possible he should 
be moved by the force of another, for nothing is stronger than 
God: nor of his own accord, for nothing is more perfect thanGod.' * 
And whereas there is somewhat that is mutable, and subject to 
change ; somewhat that is stable and fixed. Another saith 

*]Lv TroTSPa, Tuy <PVO~SUV Txluv TOV Sjov TZX.IEOV ex,^oc. ovy. sv ^xa'ifj.ulfcix. 
xa. et^fiw/xokfo, *' aw/jAAay/Afy ra fsv^ajos TT, &C. In which of 

those natures shall we place God ? must we not in that ivhich 
is more stable and fixed, and free from this Jiuidness and 
mutability ? For what is there among all beings, that can be 
stable or consist, if God do not by his own touch stay and sus 
tain the nature of it f (Max. Tyr.) dessert. 1 . 

Hence it is made a piece of deformity, of likeness to God, 
by another who tells his friend, Quod desideras autem mag- 
num t summum est. Deoque vicinum ; non concrtti. It is a 
high and great thing which thou desirest, and even bordering 
upon a Deity ; not to be moved. (Sen. de tranquil. Animi.) 
Yea, so hath this doctrine been insisted on by them, that (while 


other divine perfections have been less understood,) it hath oc 
casioned the stoical assertion of fatality to be introduced on the 
one hand, and the Epicurean negation of providence on the 
other; lest any thing should be admitted that might seem re- 
jugnant to the tranquillity of their Numina. But we know that 
our God doth whatsoever pleaseth him, both in heaven and 
earth ; and that he doth all according to the wise counsel of his 
holy will ; freely, not fatally, upon the eternal prevision, and 
foresight of all circumstances and events : so that nothing can 
occur that is new to him, nothing that he knows not how to 
improve to good ; or that can therefore infer any alteration of 
his counsels, or occasion to him the least perturbation or dis* 
quiet in reference to them. 

Holy souls begin herein to imitate him, as soon as they first 
give themselves up to his wise and gracious conduct. It is 
enough that he is wise for himself and them. Their hearts 
safely trust in him. They commit themselves with unsolici- 
tous confidence, to his guidance ; knowing he cannot himself be 
mis-led, and that he will not mis-lead them : as Abraham fol 
lowed him, not knowing whither he went. And thus, by faith, 
they enter into his rest. They do now in their present state, on 
ly enter into it, or hover about the borders : their future as 
similation to God in this, gives them a stated settlement of spi 
rit in this rest. They before did owe their tranquillity to their 
faith ; now to their actual fruition. Their former acqulescency, 
and sedate temper was hence, that they believed God would 
deal well with them at last ; their present, for that he hath done 
so. Those words have now, their fullest sense (both as to the rest it 
self which they mention; and the season of it) Return to thy 
rest, O my soul, for the Lord hath dealt bountifully with tliee* 
Psal. 1 16. J. The occasions of trouble, and a passive temper of 
spirit are ceased together. There is now no fear without, nor 
terror within. The rage of the world is now allayed, it storms 
no longer. Reproach and persecution have found a period. 
There is no more dragging before tribunals, nor haling into 
prisons ; no more running into dens and deserts ; or wandering 
to and fro in sheepskins, and goatskins. And with the cessation 
of the external occasions of trouble, the inward dispositions 
thereto are also ceased. All infirmities of spirit, tumultuating 
passions, unmodified corruptions, doubts, or imperfect know 
ledge of the love of God, are altogether vanished, and done a- 
way for ever. And indeed, that perfect cure wrought within, 
is the soul's great security from all future disquiet. A well tem 
pered spirit hath been wont strangely ; to preserve its own peace 
in this unquiet world. Philosophy hath boasted much in this 
kind; and Christianity performed more. The philosophical 

VOL. in, p 


or) calmness of mind, is not without its excellency and 
praise: "That stable settlement and fixedness of spirit, that 
ivffQviua (as the moralist tells us, it was wont to be termed among 
the Grecians, and which he calls tranquillity ;) when the mind is 
always equal, and goes a smooth, even course, is propitious to it 
self, and beholds the things that concern it with pleasure, and 
interrupts not this joy, but remains in a placid state, never at 
any time exalting or depressing itself." But how far doth the 
Christian peace surpass it ! (Sen. de tranquil, anim.) that peace 
which passeth all understanding; (Phil. 4. 7-) tQat amidst sur 
rounding dangers, enables the holy soul to say (without a proud 
boast) None of all these things move me : (Act. 20. 24.) the 
peace that immediately results from that faith which unites the 
soul with God, and fixes it upon him as its firm basis : when 
it is kept in perfect peace, by being stayed upon him, because 
it trusts in him : when the heart is fixed, trusting in the Lord: 
filled full of joy and peace, or of joyous peace, (by an * 
$i duo*) in believing Isa. 26. 3. *Psal. 112. 7. Rom. 15. 
13. And if philosophy and (which far transcends it) Christi 
anity, reason and faith, have that statique power, can so 
compose the soul, and reduce it to so quiet a consistency 
in the midst of storms and tempests : how perfect and content 
ful a repose, will the immediate vision, and enjoyment of God 
aftbrd it, in that serene and peaceful region,' where it shall 
dwell for ever, free from any molestation from without, or 
principle of disrest within ! 



(2.) The pleasuie arising from knowing, or considering ourselves to 
be like God from considering it, [l.] Absolutely, [2.] Com 
paratively, or respectively ; First, To the former state of the soul, 
Secondly. To the state of lost soul?, Thirdly. To its pattern, 
Fourthly. To the way of accomplishment, Fifthly. To the 
soul's own expectations. Sixthly. To what it secures. 2. The 
pleasure whereto it disposes ! (1.) Of Union (2.) Communion: 
a comparison of this righteousness, with tins blessedness. 

(2.) TTERE is also to be considered, the pleasure andsatisfac- 
*-* tion involved in this assimilation to God, as it is known 
or reflected on, or that arises from the cognosci of this likeness. 
We have hitherto discoursed of the pleasure of being like God, 
as that is apprehended by a spiritual sensation, a feeling of that 
inward rectitude, that happy pleasure of souls now perfectly re 
stored : we have yet to consider a further pleasure, which ac 
crues from the soul's animadversion upon itself, its contempla- 
ting itself thus happily transformed. And though that very sen 
sation be not without some animadversion (as indeed no sensi 
ble perception can be performed without it,) yet we must con 
ceive a consequent animadversion, which is much more expli 
cit and distinct ; and which therefore yields a very great additi 
on of satisfaction and delight : ^is when the blessed soul shall 
turn its eye upon itself, and designedly compose and set itself 
to consider its present state and frame ; the consideration it shall 
now have of itself, and this likeness impressed upon it, may be 
either absolute, or comparative and respective. 

[1.] Absolute. How pleasing a spectacle will this be, when 
the glorified soul shall now intentively behold its own glorious 
frame ? when it shall dwell in the contemplation of itself? view 
itself round on every part, turn its eye from glory to glory, from 
beauty to beauty, from one excellency to another : and trace 
over the whole draught of this image, this so exquisite piece of 
divine workmanship, drawn out in its full perfection upon it 
self? when the glorified eye, and divinely enlightened and in- 


spirited mind, shall apply itself to criticise, and make a judg 
ment upon every several lineament, every touch and stroke; 
shall stay itself, and scrupulously insist upon every part ; view 
at leisure every character of glory the hlessed God hath instamp- 
ed upon it; how will this likeness now satisfy ! And that ex 
pression of the blessed apostle (taken notice of upon some other 
occasion formerly) "the glory to be revealed in us," seems to 
import in it a reference to such a self-intuition. What serves 
revelation for, but in order to vision ? what is it, but an expos 
ing things to view ? And what is revealed in us, is chiefly expo 
sed to our own view. All the time, from the soul's first con 
version till now, God hath been as it were at work upon it, (He 
that hath wrought us to, &c. 2. Cor. 5.5.) hath been labouring 
it, shaping it, polishing it, spreading his own glory upon it, 
inlaying, enamelling it with glory : now at last, the whole 
work is revealed, the curtain is drawn aside, the blessed soul 
awakes. "Come now," saith God, "behold my work, see what 
I have done upon thee, let my work now see the light ; I dare 
expose it to the censure of the most curious eye, let thine own 
have the pleasure of beholding it." It was a work carried on 
in a mystery, secretly wrought (as in the lower parts of the 
earth, as we alluded before) by a spirit that came and went no 
man could tell how. Besides, that in the general only, we 
knew we should be like him, it did not yet appear what we 
should be ; now it appears : there is a revelation of this glory. 

the ravishing pleasure of its first appearance ! and it will be* a 
glory always fresh and flourishing, (as Job's expression is_, "my 
glory was fresh in me") and will afford a fresh, undecaying plea 
sure for ever. 

[2.] The blessed soul may also be supposed to have a com 
parative and respective consideration of the impressed glory. 
That is, so as to compare it with, and refer it to several things 
that may come into consideration with it : and may so heighten 
'its own delight in the contemplation thereof. 

First. If we consider this impression of glory, in reference 
to its former loathsome deformities that were upon it, and which 
are now vanished and gone : hovy unconceivable a pleasure will 
arise from this comparison ! When the soul shall consider at 
once what it is, and what once it was, and thus bethink itself: 

1 that did sometimes bear the accursed image ot the prince of 
darkness, do now represent and partake of the holy, pure na 
ture of the Father of lights : I was a mere chaos, a hideous heap 
of deformity, confusion and darkness, but he that made light 
to shine out of darkness, shined into me, to give the knowledge 
of the light of his own glory in the face of Jesus Christ; (2. 
Cor. 4. 6.) and since, made nay way as the shining light, shi- 


ning brighter and brighter unto this perfect day. Prov. 4. 18. 
I was a habitation for dragons, a cage of noisome lusts, that 
as serpents and vipers, were winding to and fro through all my 
faculties and powers, and preying upon my very vitals ; then 
was I hateful to God, and a hater of him ; sin and vanity had 
all my heart; the charming invitations, and allurements of 
grace,* were as music to a dead man ; to think a serious thought 
of God, or breathe forth an affectionate desire after him, was 
as much against my heart, as to pluck out mine own eyes, or 
offer violence to mine own life; after I began to live the spiri 
tual, new life, how slow and faint was my progress and tenden 
cy towards perfection ! how indisposed did I find myself to the 
proper actions of that life ; to go about any holy, spiritual work, 
was too often, as to climb a hill, or strive against the stream ; 
or as an attempt to fly without wings. I have sometimes said to 
my heart, Come, now let us go pray, love God, think of hea 
ven; but O how listless to these things ! how lifeless in them, 
impressions made*, how quickly lost ! gracious frames, how soon 
wrought off and gone ! characters of glory razed out, and over 
spread with earth and dirt! divine comeliness hath now at 
length made me perfect: the glory of God doth now inclothe 
me ; they are his ornaments I now wear. He hath made me, 
who lately lay among the pots, as the wings of a dove covered 
with silver, and her feathers with yellow gold ; he hath put a- 
nother nature into me, the true likeness of his own holy divine 
nature; he hath now perfectly mastered and wrought out the 
enmity of my heart against him : now to be with God is my ve 
ry element : loving, admiring, praising him, are as natural as 
breathing once was. I am all spirit and life, I feel myself dis 
burdened, and unclogged of all the heavy, oppressive weights 
that hung upon me : no body of death doth now incumber me, 
no deadness of heart, no coldness of love, no drowsy sloth, no 
averseness from God, no earthly mind, no sensual inclinations 
or affections, no sinful divisions of heart between God and crea 
tures: he hath now the whole of me: I enjoy and delight in 
jjone but him : O blessed change ! O happy day ! 

Secondly. If in contemplating itself, clothed with this like 
ness, it respects the state of damned souls, what transports must 
that occasion ! what ravishing resentments ! when it compares 
human nature in its highest perfection, with the same nature in 
its utmost depravation, (an unspeakably more unequal compari 
son than that would be, of the most amiable lovely person, 
flourishing in the prime of youthful strength and beauty, with 
a putrified rotten carcass, deformed by the corruption of a 
loathsome grave 3 ) when glorified spirits shall make such a 
reflection as this : Lo, here we shine in the glorious brightness 


of the divine image ; and behold yonder deformed accursed 
souls : they were as capable of this glory as we ; had the same na 
ture with us, the same reason, the same intellectual faculties 
and powers ; but what monsters are they now become ? They 
eternally hate the eternal excellency. Sin and death are finish 
ed upon them. They have each of them a hell of horror and 
and wickedness in itself* Whence is this amazing difference ! 
Though this cannot but be an awful wonder, it cannot also but 
be tempered with pleasure and joy. 

Thirdly. We may suppose this likeness to be considered in 
reference to its pattern, and in comparison therewith ; which 
will then be another way of heightening the pleasure that shall 
arise thence. Such a frame and constitution of spirit is full of 
delights in itself: but when it shall be referred to its original, and 
the correspondency between the one and the other be observed 
and viewed; how exactly they accord, and answer each other, 
as face doth face in the water; this cannot still but add pleasure 
to pleasure, one delight to another. When the blessed soul 
shall interchangeably turn its eye to God, and itself; and con 
sider the agreement of glory to glory; the several derived excel 
lencies to the original : He is wise, and so am I; holy, and 
so am I: I am now made perfect as my heavenly Father is j 
this gives a new relish to the former pleasure. How will this 
likeness please underthat notion, as it is his; a likeness tohiml 
O the accent that will be put upon those appropriative words to 
be made partakers of his holiness, and of the divine nature I 
Personal excellencies in themselves considered, cannot be re 
flected on, but with some pleasure ; but to the ingenuity of a 
child, how especially grateful will it be, to observe in itself such 
and such graceful deportments, wherein it naturally imitates its 
father ! So he was wont to speak, and act, and demean himself. 
How natural is it unto love to affect and aim at the imitation of 
the person loved ! So natural it must be to take complacency 
therein ; when we have hit our mark, and achieved our design. 
The pursuits and attainments of love are proportionable and cor 
respondent each to other. And what heart can compass the 
greatness of this thought, to be made like God ! Lord, was there 
no lower pattern than thyself, thy glorious blessed self, accord 
ing to which to form a worm ! This cannot want its due resent 
ments in a glorified state. 

Fourthly, This transformation of the blessed soul into the 
likeness of God, may be viewed by it, in reference to the way of 
accomplishment : as an end, brought about by so amazing stupen 
dous means : which will certainly he a pleasing contemplation. 
When it reflects on the method and course insisted on, for 
this matter to pa&s : view* over the work of redemption 


in its tendency to this end, the restoring God's image in souls ; 
(Phil. 2. 70 considers Christ manifested to us, in order to his 
being revealed and formed in us : that God was made in the 
likeness of man, to make men after the likeness of God ; that 
he partook with us of the human nature, that we might with 
him partake of the divine ; that he assumed our flesh, in order 
to impart to us his Spirit: when it shall be considered, for 
this end had we so many great and precious promises ; (2 Pet. 
1.4.) for this end did the glory of the Lord shine upon us 
through the glass of the gospel ; (2 Cor. 3. 18.) that we might 
be made partakers, &c. that we might be changed, &c. Yea, 
when it shall be called to mind, (though it be far from follow 
ing hence, that this is the only or principal way, wherein the 
life and death of Christ have influence, in order to our eternal 
happiness) that our Lord Jesus lived forthis end, that we might 
learn so to walk, as he also walked ; that he died that we might 
be conformed to his death ; that he rose again that we might 
with him attain the resurrection of the dead -, that he was in us 
the hope of glory, that he might be in us (that is, the same 
image that bears his name) our final consummate glory itself 
also : with what pleasure will these harmonious congruities, 
these apt correspondencies, be looked into at last ! Now may 
the glorified saint say, I here see the end the Lord Jesus came 
into the world for, 1 see for what he was lifted up, made a spec 
tacle ; that he might be a transforming one : what the effusions 
of his Spirit were for ; why it is so earnestly strove with my 
wayward heart. 1 now behold in my own soul, the fruit of the 
travail of his soul. This was the project of redeemimg love, the 
design of all powerful gospel-grace. Glorious achievement ! 
blessed end of that great and notable undertaking ! happy issue 
of that high design! 

Fifthly. With a reference to all their own expectations and 
endeavours. When it shall be considered by a saint in glory ; 
the attainment of this perfect likeness to God, was the ut 
most mark of all my designs and aims ; the term of all my hopes 
and desires : this is that I longed and laboured for ; that which 
I prayed and waited for ; which I so earnestly breathed after, 
and restlessly pursued .- it was but to recover the defacedness of 
God : to be again made like him, as once I was. Now I have 
attained my end ; I have the fruit of all my labour and travels ; 
I see now the truth of those (often) encouraging words, blessed 
are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall 
be filled. Be not weary in well-doing, for ye shall reap, if ye 
faint not : what would I once have given for a steady, abiding 
frame of holiness, for a heart constantly bent and biassed toward 
God ; constantly serious, constantly tender, lively, watchful, 


heavenly, splritnal, meek, humble, cheerful, self-denying ? how 
have I cried and striven for this, to get such a heart ! such a 
temper of spirit ! how have I pleaded with God and my own 
soul, in order hereto ! how often over have I spread this desire 
before the searcher and judge of hearts ; Turn me out of all my 
worldly comforts, so thou give me but such a heart; let me spend 
my days in a prison, or a desert, so I have but such a heart ; I 
refuse no reproaches, no losses, no tortures, may I but have 
such a heart ? How hath my soul been sometimes ravished with 
the very thoughts of such a temper of spirit, as hath appeared 
amiable in my eye, but I could not attain ? and what a torture 
again hath it been that I could not ? What grievance in all the 
world, in all the days of my vanity, did I ever find comparable 
to this ; to be able to frame to myself by Scripture, and rational 
light and rules, the notion and idea of an excellent temper of 
spirit ; and then to behold it, to have it in view, and not be able 
to reach it, to possess my soul of it ? What indignation have I 
sometimes conceived against mine own soul, when I have found 
it wandering, and could not reduce it ; hovering, and could not 
fix it ; dead, and could not quicken it; low, and could not raise 
it ? How earnestly have I expected this blessed day, when all 
those distempers should be perfectly healed, and my soul reco 
ver a healthy, lively, spiritual frame ? What fresh ebullitions of 
joy will here be, when all former desires, hopes, endeavours are 
crowned with success and fruit ! This joy is the joy of harvest. 
They that have sown in tears, do now reap in joy. They that 
went out weeping, bearing precious seed ; now with rejoicing, 
bring their sheaves with them. Psal, 126. 6. 

Sixthly. In reference to what this impressed likeness shall for 
ever secure to it : an everlasting amity and friendship with God ; 
that it shall never sin, nor Ac ever frown more. That it shall 
sin no more. The perfected image of God in it, is its security 
for this : for it is holy throughout ; in every point conformed to 
his nature and will; there remains in it nothing contrary to him. 
It may therefore certainly conclude, it shall never be liable to 
the danger of doing any thing, but what is good in his sight : 
and what solace will the blessed soul find in this ! If now an an 
gel from heaven should assure it, that from such an hour it 
should sin no more, the world would not be big enough to hold 
such a soul. It hath now escaped the deadliest of dangers, the 
worst of deaths, (and which even in its present state, upon more 
deliberate calmer thoughts it accounts so) the sting of death, 
the very deadliness of death ; the hell of hell itself. The deli 
verance is now complete which cannot but end in delight and 
praise. That God can never frown more. This it is hence al 
so assured of. How can he but take perfect, everlasting com 
placency in his own perfect likeness and image ; and behold 


with pleasure his glorious workmanship, now never liable to im 
pairment or decay ? How pleasant a thought is this, "The bles 
sed God never beholds me but with delight ! I shall always be 
hold his serene countenance, his amiable face never covered 
with any clouds, never darkened with any frown ! I shall now 
have cause to complain no more ; my God is a stranger to me, 
he conceals himself, I cannot see his face ; lo, he is encompas 
sed with clouds and darkness, or with flames and terrors. '* 
These occasions are for ever ceased. God sees no cause, either 
to behold the blessed soul with displeasure, or with displeasure 
to avert from it, and turn off his eye. And will not this eter 
nally satisfy ! When God himself is so well pleased, shall not 
\ve ! 

2. The pleasure it disposes to- Besides that the inbeing and 
knowledge of this likeness are so satisfying ; it disposes, and is 
the soul's qualification for a yet further pleasure : that of clo 
sest union, and most inward communion with the blessed God* 

(1.) Union : which (what it is more than relation) is not till 
now complete. Besides relation it must needs import presence : 
not physical, or local ; for so nothing can be nearer God than 
it is: but moral and cordial, by which the holy soul with will 
and affections, guided by rectified reason and judgment, closes 
with, and embraces him ; and he also upon wise forelaid coun 
sel, and with infinite delight and love embracethit: so friends 
are said to be one (besides their relation as friends) by a union 
of hearts. A union between God and the creature, as to kind 
and nature higher than this, and lower than hypostatical or per 
sonal union, I understand not, and therefore say nothing of it. 
I would fain know what the Tertium shall be, resulting from 
the physical union, some speak of. 

But as to the union here mentioned : as, till the image of 
God be perfected, it is not completed; so it cannot but be per 
fect then. When the soul is perfectly formed according to 
God's own heart, and fully participates the divine likeness, is 
perfectly like him; that likeness cannot but infer the most in 
timate union that two such natures can admit : that is, (for na 
ture) a love-union ; such as that which our Saviour mentions, 
and prays to the Father to perfect, between themselves and all 
believers, and among believers, mutually with one another. 
Many much trouble themselves about this scripture ; (John 17. 
21.) but sure that can be no other than a love-union. For, it 
is such a union as christians are capable of among themselves ; 
for surely he would never pray that they might be one with a 
union whereof they are not capable. It is such a union as may 
be made visible to the world. Whence it is an obvious corolla 
ry, that the union between the Father and the Son, there spo- 

YOL. Ill, Q 


ken of as the pattern of this, is not their union or oneness in es 
sence (though it be a most acknowledged tiling, that there is 
such an essential union between them ;) for, who can conceive 
that saints should be one among themselves, and with the Fa 
ther and the Son, with such a union as the Father and the Son 
are one themselves, if the essential union between Father and 
Son were the union here spoken of; but the exemplary or pa- 
tern-union, here mentioned between the Father and Son, is but 
a union in rnind, in love, in design, and interest; wherein he. 
prays, that saints on earth might visibly be one with them also, 
that the world might believe, &c. It is yet a rich pleasure that 
springs up to glorified saints from that love-union (now perfect 
ed) between the blessed God and them. It is mentioned and 
shadowed in Scripture, under the name and notion of marriage- 
union ; in which the greatest mutual complacency is always sup 
posed a necessary ingredient. To be thus joined to the Lord, 
and made as it were one spirit with him; (1 Cor. 6. 17-) for 
the eternal God to cleave in love to a nothing-creature, as his 
likeness upon it engages him to do ; is this no pleasure, or a 
mean one ? 

(2.) Communion: unto which that union is fundamental,, 
and introductive ; and which follows it upon the same ground, 
from a natural propensity of like to like. There is nothing now 
to hinder God and the holy soul of the most inward fruitions 
and enjoyments ; no animosity, no strangeness, no unsuitable- 
ness on either part. Here the glorified spirits of the just have 
liberty to solace themselves amidst the rivers of pleasure at God'g 
own right hand, without check or restraint. They are pure, 
and these pure. They touch nothing that can defile, they de 
file nothing they can touch. They are not now forbidden the 
nearest approaches to the once inaccessible Majesty ; there is no 
holy of holies into which they may not enter, no door locked up 
against them. They may have fi/ee admission into the innermost 
secret of the divine presence, and pour forth themselves in the 
most liberal effusions of love and joy : as they must be the eternal 
subject of those infinitely richer communications from God, 
even of immense and boundless love and goodness. Do not be- 
base this pleasure by low thoughts, nor frame too daring, posi 
tive apprehensions of it. It is yet a secret to us. The eternal 
converses of the King of glory with glorified spirits, are only 
known to himself and them. That expression f which we so of 
ten meet in our way) "It doth not yet appear what we shall be," 
seems left on purpose to check a too curious and prying inqui- 
sitiveness into these unrevealed things. The great God will 
have his reserves of glory, of love, of pleasure for that future 
state. . Let him alone awhile, with those who are already re- 


ceived into those mansions of glory, those everlasting habitati 
ons : he will find a time for those that are yet pilgrims and wander 
ing exiles, to ascend and enter too. In the mean time, what 
we know of this communion may be gathered up huto this 
general account, the reciprocation of loves ; the flowing and re- 
flowing of everlasting love, between the blessed sou) and its in 
finitely blessed God ; its egress towards him, his illapses intoit. 
Unto such pleasure doth this likeness dispose and qualify : you 
can no way consider it, but it appears a most pleasurable, satis 
fying thing. 

Thus far have we shown the qualification for this blessedness, 
and the nature of it ; What it prerequires, and wherein it lies : 
and how highly congruous it is, that the former of these should 
be made a prerequisite to the latter, will sufficiently appear to 
any one that shall, in his own thoughts, compare this righte 
ousness and this blessedness together. He will indeed plainly 
see, that the natural state of the case and habitude of these, each 
to other, make this connexion unalterable and eternal ,; so as 
that it must needs be simply impossible, to be thus blessed with 
out being thus righteous. For what is this righteousness other 
than this blessedness began, the seed and principle of it ? And 
that with as exact proportion (or rather sameness of nature) as is 
between the grain sown and reaped ; which is more than intimat 
ed in that of the apostle, Be not deceived, God is not mocked ; 
for whatsoever a mansowetb, that shall be also reap : (Gal. 6 .7- 
8.) For he that soweth, to his flesh, shall of the flesh reap cor 
ruption ; fthere is the same proportion too) but he that soweth 
to the Spirit, shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting : which 
though it be spoken to a particular case, is yet spoken from a 
general rule and icason applicable a great deal further. And as 
some conceive (and is undertaken to be demonstrated) that the 
seeds of things are not virtually only, but actually and formally 
the very things themselves : (Dr. Harv. de Ovo.) so is it here 
also. The very parts of this blessedness are discernible in this 
righteousness, the future vision of God in present knowledge of 
him : for this knowledge is a real initial part of righteousness ; 
the rectitude of the mind and apprehensions concerning 
God, consisting in conformity to his revelation of himself: 
present holiness, including also the future assimilation to 
God: and the contentment and peace that attends it, the con 
sequent satisfaction in glory. But as in glory, the impression 
of the divine likeness, is that which vision subserves, and 
whence satisfaction results ; so is it here (visibly) the main 
thing also. The end and design of the Gospel-revelation, * of 

Tlus o vv ytvoiAsQx x.xQ cfAoiucriv ; J/a ruv svoiykXtuv. Ti t/ 
; & oiAoiua-ts : xalx TO svo^o^yov av0w7rs <pv<ret ; how then 


whole Christianity (I mean systematically considered,) of all 
Evangelical doctrines and knowledge, is to restore God's like-* 
ness and image ; from whence joy and peace result of course, 
when once the gospel is believed, The gospel is the instru-* 
ment of impressing God's likeness, in order whereunto it must 
be understood, and received into the mind. Being so, the im-r 
pression upon the heart and life is Ch ristianity, habitual and 
practical, whereupon joy and pleasure (the belief or thorough, 
reception of the gpspel thus intervening) do necessarily ensue, 
Rom. 15. 13. So aptly is the only way or method of seeing 
God's face, so as to be satisfied with his likeness, said tp be, i$ 
or through righteousness, 


Having considered the qualified subject, and the nature of this blessed 
ness we come now as proposed in head of chapter II. to consider, 
Thirdly. The season of this satisfaction, which is twofold ; at 
death, and at the resurrection. 1. The former spoken to; where 
in is shown, (1.) That this life is to the soul (even of a saint) but 
as a sleep: (2.) That at death it awakes. 2. As to the latter; 
that there is a considerable accession to its happiness at the resur 

season of this blessedness, com es next to be con ^ 
sidered ; which (as the words "when I awake/ 1 
" a ve been concluded here to import) must, in the general, be 
feared, beyond the time of this present life. Holy souls are 
^ere truly blessed, not perfectly ; or their present blessedness 
*s perfect only in nature and kind, not in degree. It is, in this 
respect, as far short of perfection as their holiness is. Their 
hunger and thirst are present, their being filled is yet future, 

are we made after the likeness of God .? By the gospel. What is 
Christianity ? The likeness of God, so far as the nature of man ad 
mits of it. Greg. Nvss. iriverba Faciamus hominem, &c. Gregory 
Nyssen on the words" Let us make man," #c.Orat. 1. 


The experience of saints in their best state on earth, their tie- 
sires, their hopes, their sighs and groans do sufficiently witness 
they are not satisfied ; or if they be in point of security, they 
are not in point of enjoyment. The completion of this blessed 
ness is reserved to a better state , as its being the end of their 
way, their rest from their labours, the reward of their work, 
(Matt. 5, 6.) doth import and require. Therefore many scrip 
tures that speak of their present rest, peace, repose, satisfac 
tion, must be understood in a comparative, not the absolute 
highest sense. More particularly, in that other state, the sea 
son of their blessedness is twofold ; or there are two terms 
from whence (in respect of some gradual or modal diversificati 
ons) it may be said severally to commence, or bear date, name 
ly The time of their entrance upon a blessed immortality, 
when they shall have laid down their earthly bodies in death : and 
of their consummation therein when they receive their bodies 
glorified, in the general resurrection. Both these may not un 
fitly be signified by the phrase in the text "when I awake'': 
For, though Scripture doth more directly apply the term of 
awaking to the latter, there will be no violence done to the 
metaphor, if we extend its signification to the former also. To 
which purpose it is to be noted, that it is not death formally, or 
the disanimating of the body, we would have here to be under 
stood by it (which indeed sleeping would more aptly signify 
than awaking,) but, what is co-incident therewith in the same 
period, the exuscitation, arid revival of the soul. When the 
body falls asleep, then doth the spirit awake ; and the eye-lids 
of the morning, even of an eternal day, do now first open up 
on it. 

1. Therefore we shall not exclude from this season the Intro- 
ductive state of blessedness, which takes its beginning from the 
blessed soul's first entrance into the invisible state. And the 
fitness of admitting it will appear by clearing these two things, 
that its condition in this life, even at the best, is in some sort 
but asleep : and that when it passes out of it into the invisible 
regions, it is truly said to awake. 

(1.) Its abode in this mortal body, is but a continual sleep; 
its senses are bound up ; a drowsy slumber possesses and sus 
pends all its faculties and powers. Before the renovating 
change, how frequently do the Scriptures speak of sinners as 
men asleep? Let not us sleep as do others. Awake thou 
that sleepest, and stand up from the dead, &c. (I. Thes 
5. 6. Eph. 5. 14.) They are in a dead sleep, under the 
sleep of death : they apprehend things as men asleep. How 
slight, obscure, hovering notions have they of the most mo- 


mentous things! and which it most concerns them to have tho 
rough real apprehensions of! All their thoughts of God, Christ, 
heaven, hell, of sin, of holiness, are but uncertain, wild gues 
ses, blind hallucinations, incoherent fancies; the absurdity and 
inconcinnity whereof, they no more reflect upon than men a- 
sleep. They know not these things, but only dream of them. 
They put darkness for light, and light for darkness; have no 
senses exercised to discern between good and evil. The most 
substantial realities are with them mere shadows, and chimeras; 
fancied and imagined dangers startle them (as it is wont to be 
with men in a dream,) real ones, though never so near them-, 
they as little fear as they. The creature of their own imagina 
tion, the lion in the way, which they dream of in their slothful 
-slumber, affrights them ; but the real roaring lion that is ready 
to devour them, they are not afraid of. 

And conversion doth but relax, and intermit ; it cloth not 
totally break off this sleep : it, as it were, attenuates the uoa 
sopiting fumes, doth not utterly dispel them. What a difficulty 
is it to watch but one hour ? There are some lucid and vivid in 
tervals, but of how short continuance ? how soon doth the awa 
kened soul close its heavy eyes and falls asleep again ? how of 
ten do temptations surprise even such, in their slumbering fits, 
while no sense of their danger can prevail with them to watch 
and pray (with due care and constancy) lest they enter therein 
to > So well doth the apostle's watch- word suit our case, Awake 
to righteousness, and sin not, &c. 1. Cor. 15. 34. we keep 
not our spirits in a watchful considering posture. Our eyes, 
that should be ever towards the Lord, will not be kept open, 
and though we resolve, we forget ourselves; before we are aware, 
we find ourselves overtaken ; sleep comes on upon us like an 
armed man, and we cannot avert it. How often do we hear, 
and read, and pray, and meditate as persons asleep, as if we 
knew not what we were about ? How remarkable useful provi 
dences escape either our notice or due improvement, amidst 
our secure slumbers ? How many visits from heaven are lost to 
us, when we are, as it were between sleeping and waking, I 
sleep, but my heart waketh, (Cant. 5. 2.) and hardly own the 
voice that calls upon us, till our beloved hath withdrawn him 
self ? Indeed, what is the whole of our life here but a dream ? 
the entire scene of this sensible world but a vision of the night ; 
where every man walks but in a vain show ? (Psal. 39. 6.) where 
we are mocked with shadows, and our credulous sense abused 
by impostures and delusive appearances ? Nor are we ever se 
cure from the most destructive, mischievous deception, further 
than as our souls are possesed with the apprehensions, that this is 


the very truth of our case ; and thence instructed to consider, 
and not to prefer the shadows of time before the great realities 
of eternity. 

Nor is this sleep casual, but even connatural to our present 
state, the necessary result of so strict a union and commerce 
with the body; which is to the in-dwelling spirit, as a dormito 
ry or charnel-house rather than a mansion. A soul drenched 
in sensuality (a Lethe that hath too little of fiction in it,) and 
immured in a slothful, putrid flesh, sleeps as it were by fate not 
by chance, and is only capable of full relief by suffering a disso 
lution ; which it hath reason to welcome as a jubilee, and in the 
instant of departure to sacrifice as he did, * (with that easy 
and warrantable change, to make a heathen expression scriptu 
ral) Jehov(B liberator i, to adore and praise its great deliverer ; 
At least (accounts being once made up, and a meetness in any 
measure attained for the heavenly inheritance, &c.) hath no 
reason to regret or dread the approaches of the eternal day, 
more than we do the return of the sun after a dark and long- 
some night. But, as the sluggard doth nothing more unwilling 
ly than forsake his bed, nor bears any tiling with more regret, 
than to be awaked out of his sweet sleep, though you should en 
tice him with the pleasures of a paradise to quit a smoky, loathsome 
cottage; so fares it with the sluggish soul, as if it were lodged 
in an enchanted bed : it is so fast held by the charms of the body, 
all the glory of the other world is little enough to tempt it out, 
than which there is not a more deplorable symptom of this slug 
gish, slumbering state. So deep an oblivion (which you know 
is also naturally incident to sleep) hath seized it of its own coun- 
trv, of its alliances above, its relation to the Father and world 
of spirits ; it takes this earth for its home, where it is both ia 
exile and captivity at once : and (as a prince, stolen away in his 
infancy, and bred up in a beggar's shed) so little seeks, that it 
declines a better state. This is the degenerous, torpid dispositi 
on of a soul lost in flesh, and inwrapt in stupifying clay; which 
hath been deeply resented by some heathens. So one brings 
in Socrates pathetically bewailing this oblivious dreaming of his 
soul, "which (saith he) had seen that pulchritude (you must 
pardon him here the conceit of its pre-existence) that neither 
human voice could utter, nor eye behold, but that now, in this 
life, it had only some little remembrance thereof, as in a dream; 
being both in respect of place and condition, far removed from 

15 Viz. Seneca* Who at the time of his death sprinkled water upon 
the servants about him, additavoce, se liquorem ilium libare Jovi 
libeiatori. Saying at the same time he designed that water as a liba- 
tio to Jove his deliverer. Tacit. Annal. 




so pleasant sights, pressed down into an earthly station, and 
there encompassed with all manner of dirt and filthiness." <3fc* 
And to the same purpose Plato often speaks in the name of the 
same person ; and particularly of the winged state of the good 
soul, ('tilegufj.*. In Phaedro.) when apart from the body, carried in 
its triumphant flying chariot (of which he gives a large descrip 
tion, somewhat resembling Solomon's rapturous metaphor, "Be 
fore i was aware, my soul made me as the chariots of Ammi- 
nadib ;" (Cant. 6\ 12.) hut being in the body, it is with it as with 
a bird that hath lost its wings, it falls a sluggish weight to the 
earth. Which indeed is the state even of the best, in a degree, 
within this tabernacle. A sleepy torpor stops their flight; they 
can fall, but not ascend ; the remains of such drowsiness do still 
hang even about saints themselves. The apostle therefore calls 
upon such, to awake out of sleep ; (Rom. 13. 11.) from that 
consideration (as we know men are not wont to sleep so intense 
ly towards morning) that now their salvation was nearer than when 
they believed, that is (as some judicious interpreters understand 
that place, Aretius, Beza, c.) for that they were nearer death 
and eternity, than when they first became Christians, though this 
passage be also otherwise, and not improbably, interpreted. 

(2.) The holy soul's release and dismission from its earthly bo 
dy, which is that we propounded next to be considered, will ex- 
cuss and shake off this drowsy sleep. Now is the happy season 
of its awaking into the heavenly, vital light of God 5 the blessed 
morning of that long desired day is now dawned upon it ; the 
cumbersome night-vail is laid aside, and the garments of sal 
vation and immortal glory are now put on. It hath passed through 
the trouble and darkness of a wearisome night, and now is joy 
arrived with the morning, as we may be permitted to allude to 
those words of the Psalmist, (Psal. 30. 5.) though that be not 
supposed to be the peculiar sense. I conceive myself here not 
concerned operously to insist in proving, that the souls of saints 
leep not in the interval between death and the general resur 

rection, but enjoy present blessedness. It being besides 
design of a practical discourse, which rather intends the pro 
pounding and inprovement of things acknowledged and agreed, 
for the advantage and benefit of them with whom they are so ; 
than the discussing of things dubious and controversible. And 
what I here propound in order to a consequent improvement 
and application, should methinks pass for an acknowledged 
truth, among them that professedly believe, and seriously read 
and consider the Bible, (for mere philosophers that do not 
come into this account, it were impertinent to discourse with them 
from a text of Scripture) and where my design only obliges me 


to intend the handling of that, and to deliver from it what may 
iitly be supposed to have its ground there ; unless their allega 
tions did carry with them the shew of demonstrating the simple 
impossibility of what is asserted thence to the power of that God 
whose word we take it to be ; which I have not found any thing 
they say to amount to. That we have reason to presume it an 
acknowledged thing, among them that will be concluded by 
Scripture, That the soul doth not sleep when it ceases to ani 
mate its earthly body, many plain texts do evince, which are 
amassed together by the reverend Mr. Baxter ; in his saint's restj 
p. 2. c. 10. some of the principal whereof 1 would invite 
any that waver in this matter seriously to consider : as the 
words of our Saviour to the thief on the cross, This day shalt 
thou be with me in paradise. (Luke 23. 43.) That of the apos 
tle, we are willing rather to be absent from the body, and pre 
sent with the Lord. (2. Cor. 5. 8.) And that, lam in a strait^ 
having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ. (Phil. 1. 23.) 
that passage, the spirits of just men made perfect, &c. (Heb. 12. 
23.) Which are expressions so clear, that it is hard for an in 
dustrious caviller to find what to except to them ; and indeed* 
the very exceptions that are put in, are so frivolous, that they 
carry a plain confession there is nothing colourable to be said* 

* It is true, that clivers of the fathers and others have spoken, some 
dubiously, some very diminishingly of the blessedness ot separate souls; 
.many ot those words may be seen together in that elaborate tractate 
of the learned Parker, de descens. lib. secund. p. 77 Yea, and his 
own assertion in that very page (be it spoken with reverence to the 
memory of so worthy a person) argues something gross, and I con 
ceive, unwarrantable thoughts of the soul's dependance on a body of 
earth. His words are, Tertium vulnus (speaking of the prejudices 
the soul receives by its separation from the body) omnes operationes 
e\iam suas, quace sunt prcesertim ad extra, extinguit : the third 
wound of the soul destroys all its operations especially those which 
are forwards external objects. Where he makes it a difficulty to allow 
it any operations at all, as appears by the prcesertim inserted. He 
first indeed denies it all operations, and then, more confidently and 
especially, those ad extra. And if he would be. understood to ex 
clude it only from its operations ad extra (if he take operations ad 
extra as that phrase is wont to be taken) he must then mean by it> 
all such operations as have their objects, not only those that have 
their terms to which without the agent, that is, not only all transient 
but all immanent acts that have their objects without them. As when 
we say, all God's acts ad extra are tree ; we mean it even of his im 
manent acts that have their objects without him, though they do not 
ponere terminum extra Deutn : place their term out oj God ; as 
his election, his love of the elect. And so he must be understood to 
deny the separate souls (and that with a praisertim too) the opera- 



Yea, and most evident it is from those texts ; not only that ho 
ly souls sleep not, in that state of separation; but that they are 
awaked by it (as out of a former sleep) into a much more lively 
and vigorous activity than they enjoyed before ; and translated 
into a state, as much better than their former, as the tortures 
of a cross are more ungrateful than the pleasures of a paradise ; 
these joys fuller of vitality, than those sickly dying, faintings ; as 
the immediate presence, and close embraces of the Lord of life 
are more delectable than a mournful disconsolate absence 
from him (which the apostle therefore tells us he desired as 
far better, and with an emphasis which our English too iaintly 
expresses / for he uses a double comparative ^Q\\U //.aAAov x^o-c-ov 
by much more better :) and, as a perfected, that is a crowned 
triumphant spirit, that hath attained the end of its race (as the 
words import in the agonistical notion*) is now in a more vi 
vid joyous state, than when, lately, toiling in a tiresome way, 
it languished under many imperfections. And it is observable, 
that in the three former scriptures that phrase, of being with 
Christ, or, being present with him, is the same which is used 

tions of knowing God, of loving him, and delighting in him ; which 
Are all operations ad extra, as having their objects extra aniniam, 
though their terminus ad quern be not so ; which makes the condi 
tion of the separate souls of saints unspeakably inferior to what it 
was in the body, and what should occasion so dismal thoughts of that 
state of separation, 1 see not. Scripture gives no ground for them, 
but evidently enough speaks the contrary. Reason and philosophy 
offer nothing, that can render the sense we put upon the fore-mentioned 
plain scriptures, self-contradictious or impossible. Yea, such as had 
no other light or guide, have thought the facility of the soul's opera 
tions, being separate from its earthly body, much greater by that very 
separation. And upon this score doih saint Augustine, with great 
indignation, inveigh against the philosophers (Plato more especially) 
because they judged the separation of the soul from the body neces 
sary to its blessedness. Quia videlicet ejus perfectam beatitudinem 
tune illijieri existimant cum omniprorsus corpore exuta, adDcum 
simplex, et sola et quodommodo nuda redierit : because indeed 
they think that its perfect blessedness takes place , uhen having 
completely put off the body, it returns in its simple, separate, and 
as it i:ere naked form to God. DC civit. Dei 1. 13. c. 16.) unto 
'which purpose the words of Philolaus Pythagoiicus, of Plato, of 
Forphyrius, are cited by Ltidovicus Vives, in his comment upon that 
above mentioned passage. The first speaking thus, Deposito corpore 
hominem Deum i?nmortalem fieri : that when the body is laid 
doicn man becomes the immortal God. The second thus Train 
'nos a corpore atl ima, et acogitatione super arum rerum subindc 

* See Dr. Hammond's- annot. in loc* 


by the apostle, (1 Thos. 4. 170 to express the state of blessed 
ness after the resurrection ; intimating plainly, the sameness of 
the blessedness before and after. And though this phrase be al 
so used to signify the present enjoyment saints have of God's gra 
cious presenee in this life (which is also in nature, and kind the 
same;) yet it is plainly used in these scriptures (the two latter 
more especially) to set out to us such a degree of that blessedness, 
that in comparison thereof, our present being with Christ is a 
not-being with him ; our presence with him, now, an absence 
from him: While we are at home in the body, we are absent 
from the Lord, and, I am in a strait betwixt two, desiring to 
depart (or having a desire unto dissolution) and to be with Christ, 
&c. How strangely mistaken and disappointed had the blessed 
apostle been, had his absence from the body, his dissolution, 
his release, set him further off from Christ, or made him less 
capable of converse with him, than before he was? And how 
absurd would it be to say, the spirits of the just are perfected, 
by being cast into a stupifying sleep; yea, or being put into any 

revocari : idco relinquendem corpus, et hie quantum possunms et 
in alter a vita prarsum, ut libcri etcxpediti, verumipsivideamuset 
optimum atnemus : that we are borne dozen by the body to the earth, 
and are continually recalled from the contemplation of higher 
things : the body must therefore be relinquished as much as pos 
sible even here, and altogether in another life, that free and un- 
incumbercd, ice may discern truth and love goodness. The third 
denies Alitcr fieri beat um (juen<juam posse t nisi relinquat corpus 
et ejfigntur Deo : that any one can vthencise become happy, but 
by relinquishing the bouy y and being absorbed in God. I con 
ceive it by the way not improbable, that the severity of that pious 
father against that dogma of the philosophers, might proceed upon 
this ground, that what they said of the impossibility of being happy 
in an earthly body, he understood meant by them of an impossibility 
to be happy in any body at all ; when it is evidently the common 
opinion of the Platonists, that the soul is always united with some 
body or other, and that even the daemons have bodies (aireal or aethc- 
rial ones;; which Plato himself is observed by St. Augustine to afiirm 
whence he would fasten a contradiction on him, (ibid.) not consider 
ing (it is likely ) that he would much less have made a difficulty, to 
concede such bodies also to human souls after they had lost their 
terrestrial ones, as his sectatois do not ; who hold they then present 
ly become daemons. In the mean time it is evident enough, the doc 
trine of the separate soul's present blessedness, is not destitute of the 
patronage and suffrage of philosophers. And it is indeed the known 
opinion of as many of them as ever held its immortality (which all 
of all ages and nations have done, a very few exceptcd) tor inasmuch 
as they knew nothing of the resurrection of the body, they could nor. 
dream olu sleeping interval. And it is at least a shrewd presumption that 




state, not better than they were in before ? But their state is 
evidently far better. The body of death is now laid aside, and 
the weights of sin, that did so easily beset, are shaken off; flesh 
and sin are laid down together; the soul is rid of its burthen- 
some bands and shackles, hath quitted its filthy darksome prison 
(the usual place of laziness and sloth,) is come forth of its 
drowsy dormitory, and the glory of God is risen upon it. It is 
KOW come into the world of realities, where things appear as 
they are, no longer as in a dream, or vision of the night. The 
vital quickening beams of divine light are darting in upon it on 
every side, and turning it into their own likeness. The shadows 
of the evening are vanished, and fled away. It converses with 
no objects but what are full themselves, and most apt to 
replenish it with energy and life. This cannot be but a joyful 
awaking, a blessed season of satisfaction and delight indeed, 
to the enlightened, revived soul. But, 

2. It must be acknowledged, the further and more eminent 
season of this blessedness will be the general resurrection-day, 
which is more expressly signified in Scripture by this term of 
awaking; as is manifest in many plain texts, where it is 
either expressly thus used, or implied to have this meaning in 
the opposite sense of the word sleep. Dan. 12. 2. John. M. 
12. 2 Cor. 15, 2 Thes, 4. &c. What additions shall then be 

nothing in reason lies against it, when no one instance can he given, 
among them that professedly gave up themselves to its only guidance, 
pf any one, that granting the immortality of the soul, and its si-para- 
bileness from its terrestrial body, ever denied the immediate blessedness 
of good souls in that state of separation. Nor (if we look into the 
thing itself) is it at all more unapprehensive that the soul should be 
independent on the body in its operations than w its existence ? If it 
be possible enough to form an unexceptionable notion of a spiritual 
being, distinct and separable from any corporeal substance (which 
the learned doctor More hath sufficiently demonstrated in his trea 
tise of the immortality of the soul) \vith its proper attributes, and 
powers peculiar to itself ; what can reasonably withhold me from 
asserting, that being separate from the body, it may as we/1 operate 
alone, (I mean exert such operations as are proper to such a being) as 
exist alone ? That we find it here, de facto, in fact ^ in its present 
state, acting only with dependance on a body, will no more infer, 
that it can act no otherwise, than its present existence in a body will 
that it can never exist out of it, neither whereof amounts to more 
than the trifling exploded argument a non cssc ad non posse, 
that because a thing is not it cannot be, and would be as good sense 
as to say, such a one walks in his clothes, therefore out of them he 
cannot move a foot. Yea, and the very use itself which the soul now 
plaices of corporeal organs and instruments, plainly evidences, that 
it doth c^ert some action wherein they assist it not. For it 


made to the saints' bkssedness, lies more remote from our ap 
prehension ; inasmuch as Scripture states not the degree of 
that blessedness which shall intervene. We know, by a too 
sad instructive experience, the calamities of our present state, 
and can therefore more easily conceive, wherein it is capable of 
betterment, by the deposition of a sluggish, cumbersome body, 
where those calamities mostly have their spring : but then we 
know less where to fix our foot, or whence to take our rise, in 
estimating the additional felicities of that future state, when 
both the states to be compared are so unknown to us. But that 
there will be great additions is plain enough. The full recom- 
pence of obedience, and devotedness to Christ, of foregoing all 
for him, is affixed by his promise to the resurrection of the just; 
the judgment-day gives every one his portion according to his 
works. Then must the holy, obedient Christian hear from his Re 
deemer's mouth, Come ye blessed of the Father, inherit the 
kingdom, &c. Till then the devils think their torment to be 
before their time. It is when he shall appear we shall be like 
him, and see him as he is. That noted day is the day of being 
presented faultless with exceeding joy. And divers things there 

an operation upon them antecedent to any operation by them. No 
thing can be the instrument which is not first the subject of my ac 
tion ; as when I use a pen, I act upon it in order to my action by it, 
that is, I impress a motion upon it, in order whereunto I use not that 
or any other such instrument ; and though 1 cannot produce the de 
signed effect, leave such characters so and so figured, without it ; my 
hand can yet, without it, perform its own action, proper to itself, and 
produce many nobler effects. When therefore the soul makes use of 
a bodily organ, its action upon it must needs at lust be without the 
ministry of any organ, unless you multiply to it body upon body in 
infinitum* And if possibly, it perform not some meanerand grosser 
pieces of drudgery when out of the body, wherein it made use of its 
help and service before ; that is no more a disparagement or dimu- 
nition, than it is to the magistrate, that law and decency permit him 
iiot to apprehend or execute a malciactor with this mvn hand. It 
may yet perform those operations which are proper to itself; that is, 
such as are more noble and excellent, and immediately conducive to 
its own felicity. Which sort of actions, as cogitation for instance, 
and dilection, though being done in the body, there is conjunct with 
them an agitation of the spirits in the brain and heart ; it yet seems 
to me more reasonable, than as to those acts, the spirits are rather 
subjects than instruments at all of them ; that the whole essenc& of 
ihese acts is antecedent to the motion of the spirits ; and that motion 
certainly (but accidently) consequent, only by reason of the present, 
but soluble union the soul hath with the body. And that the purity 
and refinedness of those spirits doth only remove what would hinder 
such acts, rather than contribute positively thereto, And so little is 




are obviously enough to be reflected on, which cannot but be 
understood to contribute much to the increase and improvement 
of this inchoate blessedness. The acquisition of a glorified bo 
dy. For our vile bodies shall be so far transfigured, as to be 
iraade like, conform to, the glorious body of the Saviour, the 
Lod'd Jesus Christ: (^sW^/u^-ncre*, a-t^o^o*. Phil. 3. 20. 21.) 
And this shall be when he shall appear from heaven, where 
saints here below are required to have their commerce, as the 
enfranchised citizens thereof, and from whence they are to con 
tinue, looking for him in the mean time. When he terminates 
ami puts a period to that expectation of his saints on earth, then 
shall that great change be made, that is, when he actually ap 
pears, at which time the trumpet sounds, and even sleeping 
dust itself awakes; (1 Thes. 4. 14. 15. 16.) the hallowed dust 
>f them that slept in Jesus first, who are then to come with 

the alliance between a thought, and any bodily thing, even those very 
finest spirits themselves ; that I dare say, whoever sets himself close 
ly aaid strictly to consider and debate the matter with, his own facul 
ties, will find it much more easily apprehensible, how the acts of in 
tellection and volition may be performed without those very corporeal 
Spirits than by them* However suppose them never so indispensibly 
necessary to those more noble operations of the soul, it may easily 
be furnished with them, and in greater plenty and purity,, from the 
ambient air> (or aether) than from a dull torpid body ; wkh some 
part of which air, if \ve suppose it to contract a vital union, I know 
no rational piinciple that is wronged by the supposition, though nei 
ther do I know any that can necessarily infer it. As therefore the 
doctrine of the soul's activity out of his earthly body, hath favour 
and friendship enough from philosophers; so 1 doubt not, but upon 
the most strict and rigid disquisition, it would be as much befriended 
(or rather righted) by philosophy itself ; and that their reason would 
afford it as direct,and more considerable defence than their authority. 
In the mean time, it deserves to be considered with some resent 
ment, that this doctrine should find the generality of learned pagans 
more forward advocates than some learned and worthy patrons of 
the Christian faith ; which is only imputable to the undue measure 
and excess of an, otherwise, just zeal, in these latter, for the resur 
rection of .the body; so far transporting them, that they became 
willing to let go one truth, that they might hold another the faster; 
an<l to ransom this at the too dear (and unnecessary) expcnce of the 
former : accounting, they could never make sure enough the resur 
rection of the body, without making the soul's dependence on it so 
absolute and necessary, that it should be able to do nothing but 
sleep in the mean while- Whereas it seems a great deal more un 
conceivable, how such a being as the soul is, once quit of the entan 
glements and encumbrances of the body, should &lcK-p at all, than 
LO\V il .should act without ilu: body, 


him. This change may well be conceived to add considerably 
to their felicity. A natural congruity and appetite is now an 
swered and satisfied, which did either lie dormant, or was un- 
tler somewhat an anxious, restless expectation before ; neither of 
which could well consist with a state of blessedness, every-way 
already perfect. And that there is a real desire and expectation 
of this change, seems to be plainly intimated in those words of 
Job, All the days of my appointed time will I wait till my change 
come: (chap. 14^ 14.) Where he must rather be understood 
to speak of the resurrection than of death (as his words are com 
monly mistaken, and misapplied ;) as will appear by setting 
down the context from the seventh verse, for there is hope of a 
tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again, and that the 
tender branch thereof will not cease. Though the root thereof 
wax old in the earth, and the stock thereof die in the ground : 
yet through the scent of water, it will bud and bring forth 
boughs like a plant. But man dieth and wasteth away; yea, 
man giveth up the ghost, and where is he? As the waters fail 
from the sea, and the flood decayeth, and d-ryeth up; so man 
lieth down, and riseth not till the heavens be no more : they 
shall not be awaked nor raised out of their sleep, O that thov* 
wouldest hide me in the grave, that thou wouldest keep me se 
cret till thy wrath be past, that thou wouldest appoint me a set 
time, and remember me ! If a man die, shall he live again ? 
All the days of my appointed time will I wait till my change 
^orne. Thou shalt call, and I will answer thee; thou wilt have 
a desire to the work of thy hands. He first speaks according to 
common apprehension, and sensible appearance, touching the 
hopeless state of man in death ; as though it were less capable 
of reparation than that of some inferior creatures, unto the -end 
of ver. 10. And then gradually discovers his better hope ; be- 
trays this faith, as it were obliquely, touching this point ; lets 
it break out, first, in some obscure glimmerings, (ver. 11. 12.) 
giving us, in his protasis, a similitude not fully expressive of 
his seeming meaning, for waters and floods that fail may be re 
newed ; and in his Apodosis more openly intimating, man's 
-Sleep should be only till the heavens were no more: which tilt 
might be supposed to signify never, were it not for what follows, 
ver. 13. where he expressly speaks his confidence by way of pe 
tition, that at a set and appointed time, God would remember 
him, so as to recall him out of the grave: and at last, being 
now minded to speak out more fully, puts the question to him 
self, If a man die, shall he live again? and answers it, All the 
days of my appointed time, that is of that appointed time which 
he mentioned before, when God should revive him out of the 
dust; will I wait till my change come; that is, that glorious 





change, when the corruption of a loathsome grave should 
changed for immortal glory; which he amplifies, and 
more expressly, ver. 15. Thou shalt call, and I will answer; 
thou shalt have a desire to the work of thy hands : Thou wilt 
not always forget to restore and perfect thy own creature. 

And surely that waiting is not the act of his inanimate sleep 
ing dust; but though it be spoken of the person totally gone in 
to hades, into the invisible state; it is to be understood of that 
part that should be capable of such an action; as though he had 
said I, in that part that shall be still alive, shall patiently await 
thy appointed time of reviving me in that part also, which death 
and the grave shall insult over (in a temporary triumph) in the 
mean time ; and so will the words carry a facile, commodious 
sense, without the unnecessary help of an imagined rhetorical 
scheme of speech. And then, that this waiting carries in it a 
desirous expectation of some additional good, is evident at first 
sight ; which therefore must needs add to the satisfaction and 
blessedness of the expecting soul. And wherein it may do so, 
is not altogether unapprehensive. Admit, that a spirit, had it 
never been embodied, might be as well without a body, or that 
it might be as well provided of a body out of other materials ; it 
is no unreasonable supposition, that a connate aptitude to a bo 
dy, should render human souls more happy in a body sufficient 
ly attempered to their most noble operations. And how much 
doth relation and propriety endear things, otherwise mean 
and inconsiderable ? or why should it be thought strange, 
that a soul connaturalized to matter, should be more particu 
larly inclined to a particular portion thereof? so as that it 
should appropriate such a part, and say it is mine? And will 
it not be a pleasure, to have a vitality diffused through what 
even more remotely appertains to me, have every thing be 
longing to the suppositum perfectly vindicated from the tyran 
nous dominion of death? The returning of the spirits into a 
benumbed or sleeping toe or finger, adds a contentment to a 
man which he wanted before. Nor is it hence necessary the 
soul should covet a re-union with every cffluvious particle of its 
former body : a desire implanted by God in a reasonable soul 
will aim at what is convenient, not what shall be cumbersome 
OT monstrous. And how pleasant will it be to contemplate and 
admire the wisdom and power of the great Creator in this so glo 
rious a change, when I shall find a clod of earth, a heap of dust, 
refined into a celestial purity and brightness ? when what was 
sown in corruption shall be raised in incorruption; what was sown 
in dishonour, is raised in glory ; what was sown in weakness, is 
raised in power ; what was sown a natural body, is raised a spi 
ritual body ? when this corruptible shall have put on mcorrup- 


tion, and this mortal, immortality, and death be wholly swal 
lowed up in victory ? So that this awaking may well be under 
stood to carry that in it, which may bespeak it the proper sea 
son of the saints' consummate satisfaction and blessedness. But 
besides what it carries in itself, there are other (more extrinsical) 
concurrents that do further signalize this season, and import 
a greater increase of blessedness then to God's holy ones. The 
body of Christ is now completed, the fullness of him that filleth 
all in all, and all the so nearly related parts cannot but par 
take in the perfection and reflected glory of the whole. There 
is joy in heaven at the conversion of one sinner though he have 
a troublesome scene yet to pass over afterwards, in a tempting, 
wicked, unquiet world ; how much more when the many sons 
shall be all brought to glory together ? The designs are all now 
accomplished, and wound up into the most glorious result and 
issue, whereof the divine providence had been, as in travel, for 
so many thousand years. It is now seen how exquisite wisdom 
governed the world, and how steady a tendency the most intri 
cate and perplexed methods of providence had, to one stated 
and most worthy end. Especially the constitution, administra 
tion, and ends of the Mediator's kingdom, are now beheld in 
their exact aptitudes, order and conspicuous glory; when so bles 
sed an issue and success shall commend and crown the whole 
undertaking. The divine authority is now universally acknow 
ledged and adored ; his justice is vindicated and satisfied ; his 
grace demonstrated and magnified to the uttermost. The whole 
assembly of saints solemnly acquitted by public sentence, pre 
sented spotless and without blemish to God, and adjudged to 
eternal blessedness. It is the day of solemn triumph and jubi 
lation, upon the finishing of all God's works, from the creation 
of the world, wherein the Lord Jesus appears to be glorified in 
his saints, and admired in all that believe : (2 Thes. 1. 10) upon 
which ensues the resignation of the Mediator's kingdom (all the 
ends of it being now attained) that the Father himself may be 
immediately all in all. 1 Cor. 15. 28. How aptly then are the 
fuller manifestations of God, the more glorious display of alibis 
attributes, the larger and more abundant effusions of himself, 
reserved (as the best wine to the last) unto this joyful day ! Crea 
ted perfections could not have been before so absolute, but they 
might admit of improvement ; their capacities not so large, but 
they might be extended further; and then who can doubt but 
that divine communications may also have a proportionable in 
crease, and that upon the concourse of so many great occasions 
they shall have so ? 

VOL. in. 



I. An introduction to the use of the doctrine hithcrta proposed. If. 
The use divided into. First. Inferences of truth. Secondly, 
Rules of duty. 1. Inference, That blessedness consists not in any 
sensual enjoyment. 2. Inference, The spirit of man(since it is ca 
pable of so high a blessedness) is a being of high excellency. 

I. ,4 ND now is our greatest work yet behind ; the improve 
d-merit of so momentous a truth, to the affecting and trans 
forming of hearts : that (if the Lord shall so far vouchsafe his 
assistance and blessing) they may taste the sweetness, feel the 
power, and bear the impress and image of it. This is the work, 
both of greatest necessity, difficulty, and excellency, and unto 
which, all that hath been done hitherto, is but subservient and 
introductive. Give me leave therefore, reader, to stop thee here, 
and demand of thee before thou go further; Hast thou any design, 
in turning over these leaves, of bettering thy spirit, of getting a 
more refined, heavenly temper of soul ? art thou weary of thy 
dross and earth, and longing for the first fruits, the beginnings 
of glory ? dost thou wish for a soul meet for the blessedness hi 
therto described ? what is here written is designed for thy help 
and furtherance. But if thou art looking on these pages with a 
wanton, rolling eye, hunting for novelties, or what may gratify 
a prurient wit, A coy and squeamish fancy; go read a romance, 
or some piece of drollery ; know here is nothing for thy turn ; 
and dread to meddle with matters of everlasting concernment 
without a serious spirit ; read not another line till thou have 
sighed out this request, " Lord keep me from trifling with the 
things of eternity." Charge thy soul to consider, that what thou 
art now reading must be added to thy account against the great day. 
It is amazing to think, with what vanity of mind the most weigh 
ty tilings of religion are entertained amongst Christians. Thing* 
that should swallow up our souls, drink up our spirits, are heard 

Dissoluti est peetoris in rebus seiiis quasrere voluptatem. It is a, 
mark of a trifling mind to seek amusement in serious things*. Arnob, 


as a tale that is told, disregarded by most, scorned by too many. 
What can be spoken so important, or of so tremendous conse 
quence, or of so confessed truth, or with so awful solemnity 
and premised mention of the sacred nanje of the Lord, as not 
to find either a very slight entertainment or contemptuous rejec 
tion ; and this by persons avowing themselves Christians ? We 
seem to have little or no advantage, in urging men upon their 
own principles, and with things they most readily and profes 
sedly assent to. Their hearts are as much untouched, and void 
of impression by the Christian doctrine, as if they were of ano 
ther religion. How unlike is the Christian world to the Chris 
tian doctrine ! The seal is fair and excellent, but the impres 
sion is languid, or not visible. Where is that serious godliness, 
that heavenliness, that purity, that spirituality, that righteous 
ness, that peace, unto which the Christian religion is most apt 
ly designed to work and form the spirits of men ? We think 
to be saved by an empty name ; and glory in the shew and ap 
pearance of that, the life and power whereof we hate and deride. 
It is a reproach with us not to be called a Christian, and a great 
er reproach to be one. If such and such doctrines obtain not 
in our professed belief, we are heretics or infidels; if they do 
in our practice, we are precisians and fools. To be so serious, 
and circumspect, and strict, and holy, to make the practice of 
godliness so much our business, as the known and avowed prin 
ciples of our religion do plainly exact from us (yea, though we 
come, as we cannot but do, unspeakably short of that required 
measure,) is to make one's self a common derision and scorn. 
Not to be professedly religious is barbarous, to be so in good 
earnest ridiculous. In other things men are wont to act and 
practise according to the known rules of their several callings 
and professions, and he would be reckoned the common fool of 
the neighbour-hood that should not do so : the husbandman 
that should sow when others reap, or contrive his harvest into 
the depth of winter, or sow fitches, and expect to reap wheat ; 
the merchant that should venture abroad his most precious com 
modities in a leaky bottom, without pilot or compass, or to 
places not likely to afford him any valuable return. In religion 
only it must be accounted absurd, to be and do according to its 
known agreed principles, and he a fool that shall but practise as 
all about him profess to believe. Lord ! whence is this appre 
hended inconsistancy between the profession and piactice of 
religion ? what hath thus stupified and unmaned the world, 
that seriousness in religion should be thought the character of a 
fool ? that men must visibly make a mockery of the most fun 
damental articles of faith only to save their reputation, and be 
afraid to be serious, lest they should be thought mad ! Were 


the doctrine here opened, believed in earnest, were the due 
proper impress of it upon our spirits, or (as the pagan moralist's 
*expression is) were our minds transfigured into it ; what manner 
of persons should we be in all holy conversation and godliness ? 
But it is thought enough to have it in our creed, though never 
in our hearts; and such as will not deride the holiness it should 
produce, yet endeavour it not, nor go about to apply and urge 
truths upon their own souls to any such purpose. What should 
turn into grace and spirit and life, turns all into notion and 
talk; and men think all is well, if their heads be filled, and 
their tongues tipt, with what should transform their souls, and 
govern their lives. How are the most awful truths, and that 
should have greatest power upon men's spirits, trifled with as 
matters only of speculation and discourse ! They are heard but 
as empty, airy words and presently evaporate, pass away into 
words again; like food, as Seneca speaks, Nonprodcst cibus, 
nee corpori accedit, qui statim sumptus emittitur. that comes 
up presently i the same that it was taken in ; which (as he 
saith} profits not, nor makes any accession to the body at all. 
Sen. Epist. A like case (as another ingeniously speaks, ' 

.a.1 yaAa xxt cv rotv&vv, ^n 
fttj/xofla rots tbtwrotis E'cncta XVEVE, aXXa a-TT aJJwy wtfyQivluv roc. 

as if sheep when they had been feeding, should pre 
sent their shepherds with the very grass itself which they have 
cropt, and shew how much they had eaten. No, saith he, they 
concoct it) and so yield them wool and milk. Epictet. And 
so, saith he, do not you (namely when you have been instructed) 
presently go and utter words among the more ignorant (meaning 
they should not do so in a way of ostentation, to shew how 
much they knew more than others) " but works that follow up 
on the concoction of what hath been by words made known to 
them." Let Christians be ashamed that they need this instruc 
tion from heathen teachers. 

Thy words were found, and I did eat them (saith the pro 
phet,) and thy word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my 
heart. Divine truth is only so far at present grateful, or useful 
for future, as it is received by faith and consideration, and in 
the love thereof into the very heart, and there turned in sue- 
cum et sanguinem : into real nutriment to the soul : so shall 
man live by the word of God. Hence is the application of it 

* Scientiam qui clidicit, ct facicnda et vitanda praeccpit, nondum sa 
piens est, nisi in ea quae didicit transfiguratus est animus. Though a 
man have learned moral science and may teach what is to be done, 
and what is to be avoided, yet he is not a wise man unless his mind 
is transfigured into his doctrine. 


(both personal and ministerial) of so great necessity. If the 
truths of the gospel were of the same alloy with some parts of 
philosophy, whose end is attained as soon as they are known ; if 
the Scripture-doctrine (the whole entire system of it) were not 
a doctrine after godliness ; if it were not designed to sanctify 
and make men holy; or if the hearts of men did not reluctate, 
were easily receptive of its impressions ; our work were as soon 
done, as such a doctrine were nakedly proposed : but the state 
of the case in these respects is known and evident. The tenour 
and aspect of gospel-truth speaks its end; and experience too 
plainly speaks the oppositeness of men's spirits. All therefore) 
we read and hear is lost if it be not urgently applied : the Lord 
grant it be not then too. Therefore, reader, let thy mind and 
heart concur in the following improvement of this doctrine, 
which will be wholly comprehended under these two heads. In 
ferences of truth, and rules of duty that are consequent and 
connatural thereto, 

First. Inferences of truth deducible from it. 

1. True blessedness consists not in any sensual enjoy 
ment. The blessedness of a man can be but one; most only 
one. He can have but one highest and best good. And its 
proper character is, that it finally satisfies and gives rest to his 
spirit. This the face and likeness of God doth ; his glory be 
held and participated. Here then alone his full blessedness 
must be understood to lie. Therefore as this might many 
other ways be evinced to be true; so it evidently appears to be 
the proper issue of the present truth, and is plainly proved by 
it. But alas ! it needs a great deal more to be pressed than pro 
ved. O that it were but as much considered as it is known ! The 
experience of almost six thousand years, hath (one would think 
sufficiently) testified the incompetency of every worldly thing to 
make men happy; that the present pleasing of our senses, and 
the gratification of our animal part is not blessedness ; that men 
are still left unsatisfied notwithstanding. But the practice and 
course of the world are such, as if this were some late and rare 
experiment; which (for curiosity) every one must be trying 
over again. Every age renews the enquiry after an earthly fe 
licity ; the design is entailed (as the Spanish designs are said to 
be,) and re-inforced with as great a confidence and vigour from 
age to age, as if none had been baffled or defeated in it before; 
or that it were very likely to take at last. Had this been the 
alone folly of the first age, it had admitted some excuse ; but 
that the world should still be cheated by the same so often re 
peated impostures, presents us with a sad prospect of the deplo 
rable state of mankind. This their way is their lolly, yet their 
posterity approve, &c, Psal. 49. 13. ^he wearied wits and wasted 




estates, laid out upon the philosopher's stone, afford but a faint, 
defective representation of this case. What chemistry can ex 
tract heaven out of a clod of clay ? What avt can make bles 
sedness spring and grow out of this cold earth ? If all created 
nature be vexed and tortured never so long, who can expect 
this elixir ? Yet after so many frustrated attempts, so much 
time, and strength, and labour lost, men are still as eagerly and 
vainly busy as ever ; are perpetually tossed by unsatisfied de 
sires, labouring in the fire, wearying themselves for very vanity, 
distracted by the uncertain, and often contrary motions of a 
ravenous appetite, and a blind mind, that would be happy, and 
knows not how. With what sounding bowels, with what com 
passionate tears should the state of mankind be lamented, by all 
that understand the worth of a soul ? What serious heart doth 
not melt and bleed for miserable men, that are (through a just 
nemesis * ) so perpetually mocked with shadows, cheated with 
false, delusive appearances, infatuated and betrayed by their own 
senses. They walk but in a vain shew, disquieting themselves 
in vam ; their days flee away as a shadow, their strength is only 
labour and sorrow; while they rise up early and lie down late, to 
seek rest in trouble and life in death. They run away from bles 
sedness while they pretend to pursue it, and suffer themselves 
to be led down without regret to perdition, "as an ox to the 
slaughter, and a fool to the correction of the stocks, till a dart 
strike through their liver :" descend patiently to the chambers 
of death, not so much as once thinking, Whither are we going ? 
elream of nothing but an earthly paradise, till they find them 
selves amidst the infernal regions. 

2. The spirit of man, inasmuch as it is capable of such a 
blessedness, appears an excellent creature. Its natural capaci 
ty is supposed ; for the psalmist speaks of his own numerical per 
son, the same that then writ; I shall behold; shall be satisfied ; 

* Ira Dei est ista vita mortalis, ubi homo vanitati foetus cst, et 
dies ejus velut umbra pra?tereunt, c. The wraih of God is shewn in 
this mortal life, wherein man is made like to vanity and his days 
pass away as a shadow. Aug. dc Civ. Dei. 1. 22. c. 24. 

jNot that this blessedness can be attained by mere human cndca- 
Vours, (more whereof see under the next inference)but there is an incli 
nation, a certain pondus natur&;(t weight of nutiire( us some School 
men speak) by which it propeiuls towards it; or there is the radix, 
roo or fundament urn, foundation, mcapadtas, capacity ,(&$ some 
others) that is that it not only may receive it; but that it may be 
elevated by grace, actively to concur, by its natural powers, as vital 
principles towards the attainment of it, according to that known say- 
inn of saint Augustine, Posse credere nalww eft kaminis, the puj** 
tr of bettering eV nfltitral to man, &c. 


take away this suppositum, and it could not be so said ; or as in 
Job's words ; I shall behold him, and not another for me ; it 
would certainly be another, not the same. Judge hence the ex 
cellency of a human soul {the principal subject of this blessed 
ness) without addition of any new natural powers, it is capable 
of the vision of God ; of partaking unto satisfaction the divine 
likeness. And is not that an excellent creature, that is capable 
not only of surveying the creation of God, passing through the 
several ranks and orders of created beings; but of ascending to the 
Being of beings, of contemplating the divine excellencies, of 
beholding the bright and glorious face of the blessed God him 
self; till it have looked itself into liis very likeness, and have 
his entire image inwrought into it. The dignity then of the 
spirit of man is not to be estimated by the circumstances of its 
present state, as it is here clad with a sordid flesh, inwraped in 
darkness, and grovelling in the dust of the earth : but consider 
the improveableness of its natural powers and faculties ; the high 
perfections it may attain, and the foundations of how glorious a 
state are laid in its very nature. And then who can tell, whe 
ther its possible advancement is more to be admired, or its pre 
sent calamity deplored. Might this consideration be permitted 
to settle and fix itself in the hearts of men ; could any thing be 
so grievous to them, as their so vast distance from such an at 
tainable blessedness; or any thing be so industriously avoided, 
so earnestly abhorred, as that viler dejection and abasement of 
themselves, when they are so low already by divine disposition-, 
to descend lower by their own wickedness ; when they are al 
ready fallen as low as earth, to precipitate themselves as low as 
hell. How generous a disdain should that thought raise in men's 
spirits, of that vile servitude to which they have subjected them- 
selve, a servitude to brutal lusts, to sensual inclinations arid de 
sires ; as if the highest happiness they did project to themselves 
were the satisfaction of these ! Would they not with a heroic 
scorn turn away their eyes from beholding vanity, did they con 
sider their own capacity of beholding the divine glory ? could 
they satisfy themselves to become * like the beasts that perish, 

* Voiuptas bonum pecoris est llunc tu (non dico inter viros 

scd) inter homines mimeras ? cujus summum bonum saporibus, ac 
coloiibus, ac sonis constat ? excedat ex hoc animaliuni numcro 
pulcherrimo, ac diis secundo ; mutib aggrcgetur animal pabulo na- 
turn. Pleasure is the good of beasts Do you number such a crea 
ture (I will not say among men but) among human beings whose 
chief good consists in tastes and colours and sounds ! Let him quit 
this class of the animate creation which is, the fairest and next 
to God himself. Let an animal made only, for foddering herd witk 
the brutes &c. Sen. Ep. 92. 


did they think of being satisfied with the likeness of God? And 
who can conceive unto what degree this aggravates the si* of 
man, that he so little minds (as it will their misery, that shall 
fall short of) this blessedness ! They had spirits capable of it. 
Consider thou sensual man whose happiness lies in colours, and 
tastes, and sounds, (as the moralist ingeniously speaks) that 
herdest thyself with brute creatures, and aimest no higher than 
they: as little lookest up, and art as much a stranger to the 
thoughts and desires of heaven ; thy creation did not set thee so 
low ; they are where they were ; but thou art fallen from thy 
excellency. God did not make thee a brute creature, but thou 
thyself. Thou hast yet a spirit about thee, that might understand 
its own original, and alliance to the Father of spirits ; that hath 
a designation in its nature to higher converses and employments. 
Many myriads of such spirits, of no higher original excellency 
than thy own, are now in the presence of the highest Majesty ; 
are prying into the eternal glory, contemplating the perfections 
of the divine nature, beholding the unvailed face of God, which 
transfuses upon them its own satisfying likeness. Thou art not 
so low-born, but thou mightest attain this state also. That so 
vereign Lord and Author oi all things, calls thee to it $ his good 
ness invites thee, his authority enjoins thee to turn thy thoughts 
and designs this way. Fear not to be thought immodest or pre 
sumptuous ; * it is but a dutiful ambition ; an obedient aspi 
ring. Thou art under a law to be thus happy; nor doth it bind 
thee to any natural impossibility ; it designs instructions to thee, 
not delusion ; guidance, not mockery. When thou art requir 
ed to apply and turn thy soul to this blessedness ; it is not the 
same thing, as if thou wert bidden to remove a mountain, to 
pluck down a star, or create a world. Thou art here put upon 
nothing but what is agreeabre to the primeval nature of man; 
and though it be to a vast heighth, thou must ascend; it is by 
so easy and familiar methods, by so apt gradations, that thou 
wilt be sensible of no violence done to thy nature in all thy way. 
Do but make some trials with thyself; thou wilt soon find no 
thing is the hindrance but an unwilling heart. Try however 
(which will suffice to let thee discern thy own capacity, and will 
be a likely means to make thee willing) how far thou canst un 
derstand and trace the way (complying with it at least as reason- 

* Hie Dcos asquat, illo tendit, originis suoe memor. Nemo, im- 

probe, co conatur ascendere uncle descenderat socii cis sumus et 

membra, &c. This man emulates the gods mindful of his origin, 
he tends towards it. No one ii wicked in attempting to ascend thi 
ther from whence he had descended we are their companions and 
their fellow members. Sen. Ep. 92. 


able) that leads to this blessedness. Retire a little into thy 
self; forget awhile thy relation to this sensible world ; summon 
in thy self- reflecting and considering powers : thou wilt present 
ly perceive thou art not already happy, thou art in some part 
unsatisfied : and thence wilt easily understand, inasmuch as 
thou art not happy in thyself, that it must be something, as yet 
without thee, must make thee so : and nothing can make thee 
happy, but what is in that respect better than thyself; or hath 
some perfection in it, which thou findest wanting in thyself* 
A little further discourse or reasoning with thyself, will easily 
persuade thee, thou hast something better about thee than that 
luggage of flesh thou goest with to and fro ; for thou well know- 
est, that *i$ not capable of reason and discourse ; and that the 
power of doing so is a higher perfection than any thou canst en 
title it to ; and that therefore, besides thy bulky, material part, 
thou must have such a thing as a spirit or soul belonging to thee 
to which, that and thy other perfections, not compatible to gross 
matter, may agree. Thou wilt readily assent, that thou canst 
never be happy, while thy better and more noble part is unsa 
tisfied ; and that it can only be satisfied with something suita 
ble and connatural to it. That therefore thy happiness must 
lie in something more excellent than this material or sensible 
world, otherwise it cannot be grateful aud suitable to thy soulj 
yea, in something that may be better, and more excellent than 
thy soul itself, otherwise how can it better and perfect that, f As 
thou canst not but acknowledge thy soul to be spiritual and im 
material, so if thou attend thou wilt soon see cause to acknow 
ledge a spiritual or immaterial being, better and more perfect 
than thyjown soul. For its perfections were not self-originate, 
they were therefore derived from something, for that reason 
confessedly more excellent ; whence at last also thou wilt find 
it unavoidably imposed upon thee, to apprehend and adore a 
Being absolutely perfect, and than which there cannot be a more 

* Aoytcruos tie xati vy, XET< rxvrx o-UfA&n $t<$uartv oivlx, x.4u yacg TO 
spyov ocvluv 8 01 cpyxv&v Ts^eircci TH (ruiuAos ffAiro^jov y x g T*TO, etns otviu sv 
rents <7X%J/E<7< trgoxgwro : Reason and intellect are not thenatuial pow 
ers or endowments of the body, for indeed their exercise is not per 
formed in perfection by means of its organs > it is rather found an 
impediment than otherwise, if any one endeavour to employ it in intel 
lectual contemplations. Plotin : Knead 4. lib. 3. 

f Sicut non est a carnc, sed super camera, quod camera facit vi- 
vere : sic non cst ab homine, sed super hominem, quod hominem fa 
cit beate vivere : as that which gives life to the flesh is not any thing 
proceeding from the flesh, but above it, so that is not from man, but 
above him which endows him with a life of happiness. D. Aug. tte 
Civit. Dei lib. 19. c. 23. 



perfect; the first subject and common fountain of all perfections* 
which hath them underivcd in himself, and can derive them 
unto inferior created beings. * Upon this eternal and self-essen 
tial Being, the infinitely blessed God, thou necessarily depen- 
dest, and owest therefore constant subjection and obedience to 
him. Thou hast indeed offended him, and art thereby cut off 
from all interest in him, and intercourse with him ; but he hath 
proclaimed in his gospel, his willingness to be reconciled, and 
that through the sufferings, righteousness, and intercession of 
his only begotton Son, thy merciful Redeemer, the way is' open 
for thy restitution and recovery ; tbat thou mayst partake from 
him whatever perfection is wanting tothy blessedness. Nothing 
is required from thee in order hereunto^ but that relying on and 
submitting to thy Redeemer's gracious conduct, thou turn thy 
mind and heart towards thy God, to know him, and conform to 
him ; to view and imitate the divine perfections ; the faithful 
endeavour and indication whereof, will have this issue and re 
ward, the clear vision and full participation of them. So that 
thy way and work differ not, in nature and kind, from thy end 
and reward; thy duty from thy blessedness. Nor are either re 
pugnant to the natural constitution of thy own soul. What vio 
lence is there done to reasonable nature in all this ? or what can 
hinder thee herein, but a most culpably averse and wicked 
heart ? Did thy reason ever turn off thy soul from God ? was it 
not thy corruption only ? What vile images dost thou receive 
from earthly objects, which deform thy soul, while thou indus 
triously averteth thy Maker's likeness that would perfect it ? How 
full is thy mind and heart of vanity ! how empty of God ! Were 
this through natural incapacity, thou wertan innocent creature; 
it were thy infelicity (negative I mean) not thy crime ; and 
must be resolved into the sovereign will of thy Creator, not thy 
own disobedient will. But when this shall appear the true state 
of thy case, and thou shalt hear it from the mouth of thy Judge, 

* Ut in ordine causarum efficientum, ita et in gradibus vertutis ct 
perfectionis, non datur progressus in intinitum : sod oportet sit ali- 
qua prima ct summa periectio : as in the order of efficient causes so 
likewise in the degrees of virtue and perfection there cannot be an 
infinite progression ; but there must be some primary and supreme 
perfection. Pet. Molin de cognitione Dei. Not to insist upon what 
hath been much urged by learned men of former and latter yea, and of 
the present time, that whosoever denies the existence of an absolute 
ly 'perfect being, contradicts himself in the denial, inasmuch as ne 
cessity of existence is included in the very subject of the negation 
some accounting it a sophism, and it being unseasonable here to dis 
cuss it. 


"Thou didst not likfc to retain me in thy knowledge or love; 
thou had reason and will to use about meaner objects, but none 
for me ; thou couldst sometimes have spared me a glance, a 
cast of thine eye at least, when thou didst rather choose it 
should be in the ends of the earth: a thought of me had cost 
thee as little, might as soon have been thought, as of this or 
that vanity ; but thy heart was not with me. I banish thee, 
therefore, that presence which thou never lovedst. I deny thee 
the vision thou didst always shun, and the impression of my 
likeness which thou didst ever hate. I eternally abandon thee 
to the darkness and deformities which were ever grateful to thee. 
Thine is a self-created hell ; the fruit of thy own choice ; no in 
vitations or persuasions of mind could keep thee from it." How 
wilt thou excuse thy fault, or avert thy doom ! what arguments 
or apologies shall defend thy cause against these pleadings ? 
Nay, what armour shall defend thy soul against its own wound 
ing self-reflections hereupon ? when every thought shall be a 
dart ; and a convicted conscience an ever-gnawing worm, a fie 
ry serpent with endless involutions ever winding about thy heart ? 
It will now be sadly thought on, how often thou sawest thy 
way and declinedst it, knewestthy duty and didst wave it; un- 
derstoodest thy interest and didst slight it ; approvedst the things 
that were more excellent and didst reject them ? How often 
thou didst prevaricate with thy light, and run counter to thine 
own eyes; while things, confessedly, most worthy of thy 
thoughts and pursuits were overlooked; and empty shadows ea 
gerly pursued. Thy own heart will now feelingly tell thee, it 
was not want of capacity, but inclination, that cut thee off from 
blessedness. Thou wilt now bethink thyself, that when life and 
immortality were brought to light before thy eyes in the gospel, 
and thou wast told of this future blessedness of the saints, and 
pressed to follow holiness, as without which thou couldst not 
see God ; it was a reasonable man was spoken to, that had a 
power to understand, and judge and choose; not a stone or a 
brute. Thy capacity of this blessedness makes thee capable al 
so of the most exquisite torment ; and reflected on, actually in 
fers it. How passionately, but vainly, wilt thou then cry out, 
"O that I had filled up the place of any, the meanest creature 
throughout the whole creation of God, that I had been a gnat, 
or a fly, or had never been, rather than to have so noble, abused 
powers eternally to reckon for ! Yea, and thou must reckon for 
riot only the actual light, and good impressions thou hadst, but 
even all thou wast capable of and mightest have attained. Thou 
shalt now recount with anguish and horror (and rend thy own 
soul with the thoughts) what thou mightest now have been ; 
how excellent and glorious a creature ! hadst thou not contrived 


thy own misery, and conspired with the devil against thyself, 
how to deform and destroy thy own soul. While this remem 
brance shall always afresh return, that nothing was enjoined 
thee as a duty, or propounded as thy blessedness, but what thou 
wast made capable of; and that it was not fatal necessity,, but a 
wilful choice made thee miserable. 


Inference 3. That a change of heart is necessary to this blessedness. 
The pretences of ungodly men, whereby they would avoid the ne 
cessity of this change. Five consideration* proposed in order to 
the detecting the vanity of such pretences. A particular discus 
sion and refutation of those pretences. 

3. ~rT is a mighty change must pass upon the souls of men in 
-* order to their enjoyment of this blessedness. This equal 
ly follows from the consideration of the nature and substantial 
parts of it, as of the qualifying righteousness pre-required to it. 
A little reflection upon the common state and temper of men's 
spirits, will soon enforce an acknowledgement that the vision 
of God, and conformity to him, are things above their reach, 
and which they are never likely to take satisfaction in, or at all 
to savour, till they become otherwise disposed than before the 
renovating change they are. The text expresses no more in 
stating the qualified subject of this blessedness in righteousness 
than it evidently implies in the account it gives of this blessed 
ness itself, that it lies in seeing God, and being satisfied with 
his likeness. As soon as it is considered, that the blessedness of 
souls is stated here, what can be a more obvious reflection than 
this ; Lord, then how great a change must they undergo ! what 
such souls be blessed in seeing and partaking the divine like 
ness, that never loved it ! were so much his enemies! It is true 
they are naturally capable of it, which speaks their original ex 
cellency ; but they are morally uncapable, that is, indisposed and 
averse, which as truly, and most sadly speaks their present vile- 


ness ; and the sordid, abject temper they now are of. They arc 
destitute of no natural powers necessary to the attainment of this 
blessedness; but in the mean time have them so depraved by 
impure and vicious tinctures that they cannot relish it, or the 
means to it. They have reasonable souls furnished with intel 
lective and elective faculties, but labouring under a manifold 
distemper and disaffection ; that they cannot receive, they can 
not savour the things of God, or what is spiritual. Capax esf 
noster animus, perfertur illo, si vitia non deprimant : our 
mind is capable of any attainment were it not depraved btf 
vice. Sen: epist. 29. 1 Cor 2. 14. Rom. 8. 5. They want the 
tvSta-t* (as we may express it,) the well-disposedness for the 
kingdom of God, intimated Luke. 9, 62. the /x#voTjr, the meet- 
ness, the aptitude, or idoneity for the inheritance of the saints 
in light, Col. 1. 12. 

A settled aversion from God hath fastened its roots in the ve 
ry spirit of their minds (for that is stated as the prime subject 
of the change to be made Eph. 4. 23.) and how can they take 
pleasure then in the vision and participation of his glory ? Where 
as by beholding the glory of the Lord, they should be changed 
into the same image : a vail is upon the heart till it turn to the 
Lord, as was said concerning the Jews, 2 Cor. 3. 14. The God of 
this world hath blinded their minds, lest (that transforming 
light) the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image 
of God, should shine unto them, chap. 4. 4. They are aliena 
ted from the life of God, through their ignorance and blindness 
of heart. The life they choose is to be dco/ sv Koo-pu, atheists, or 
without God in the world. Ephe. 2. 12. They like not to re 
tain God in their knowledge. (Rom. 1. 28.) are willingly ig 
norant of him, (2. Pet. 3. 5.) say to him, "Depart from us, we 
desire not the knowledge of the ways." (Job. 21. 14.) The 
Lord looks down from heaven upon the children of men, to see 
if any will understand, if any will seek after God; and the result 
of the enquiry is, there is none that doth good, no not one. 
Psal. 53. 3. They are haters of God, as our Saviour accused the 
Jews, (John. 15. 23.) and saint Paul the Gentiles, are lovers of 
pleasure more than lovers of God. (Rom. 1.21 .)Their understand 
ings are dark, their minds vain, their wills obstinate, their 
consciences seared, their hearts hard and dead, their lives one 
continued rebellion against God and a defiance to heaven. At 
how vast a distance are such souls from such blessedness ! The no 
tion and nature of blessedness must sure be changed, or the 
temper of their spirits. Either they must have new hearts crea 
ted, or a new heaven, if ever they be happy. And such is the 
stupid dotage of vain man, he can more easily persuade him 
self to believe, that the sun itself should be transformed into a 


dunghill, that the holy God should lay aside his nature, and turn 
heaven into a place of impure darkness ; than that he himself 
should need to undergo a change. O the powerful infatuation 
of self-love, that men in the gall of bitterness should think it 
is well with their spirits, and fancy themselves in a case good 
enough to enjoy divine pleasure ; that (as the toad's venom of 
fends not itself) their loathsome wickedness, which all good 
men detest, is a pleasure to them ; and while it is as the poison 
of asps under their lips, they roll it as a dainty bit, revolve it in 
their thoughts with delight ! Their wickedness speaks itself out 
to the very hearts of others, (Psal. 36. I. 2.) while it never af 
fects their own, and is found out to be hateful, while they still 
continue flattering themselves. And because they are without 
spot in their own eyes ; they adventure so high, as to presume 
themselves so in the pure eyes of God too ; and instead of de 
signing to be likoGod, they already imagine him such a one as 
themselves. Psal. 50. Hence their allotment of time (in the 
whole of it, the Lord knows little enough) for the working out 
of their salvation spends apace ; while they do not so much as 
understand their business. Their measured hour is almost out ; 
an immense eternity is coining on upon them ; and lo ! they 
stand as men that cannot find their hands. Urge them to the 
speedy, serious endeavour of a heart-change, earnestly to in 
tend the business of regeneration, of becoming new creatures ; 
they seem to understand it as little, as if they were spoken to 
in an unknown tongue; and are in the like posture with the 
confounded builders of babel, they know not what we mean, 
or would put them upon. They wonder what we would have 
them do. "They are (say they) orthodox Christians: they believe 
all the articles of the Christian creed : they detest all heresy 
and false doctrine : they are no strangers to the house of God ; 
but diligently attend the enjoined solemnities of public wor 
ship : some possibly can say, they are sober, just, charitable, 
peaceable ; and others that can boast less of their virtues, yet 
say, they are sorry for their sins, and pray God to forgive them." 
And if we urge them concerning their translation from the state 
of nature to that of grace, their becoming new creatures, their 
implantation into Christ: they say they have been baptized, and 
therein regenerate, and what would we have more ? 

But to how little purpose is it to equivocate with God ? to go 
about to put a fallacy upon the Judge of spirits? or escape the 
animadversion of his fiery, flaming eye? or elude his determina 
tions, and pervert the true intent and meaning of his most esta 
blished constitutions and laws. Darest thou venture thy soul 
upon it ? that this is all God means, by having a new heart crea 
ted, a right spirit renewed in us : by being made God's work- 


nianship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works : by becom 
ing new creatures, old things being done away, all things made 
new: by so learning the truth as it is in Jesus, to the putting 
off the old man, and putting on the new; which after God is 
created in righteousness and true holiness ; by being begotten 
of God's own will by the word of truth; to be (the uiru^^n) the 
chief excellency, the prime glory (as certainly his new creature 
is his best creature,) the first fruits, or the devoted part of all 
his creatures ; by having Christ formed in us; by partaking the 
divine nature, the incorruptible seed, the seed of God; by be 
ing born of God, spirit of Spirit ; as of earthly parents we are 
born flesh of flesh.* When my eternal blessedness lies upon it, 
had I not need to be sure that I hit the true meaning of these 
scriptures ? especially, that at least I fall not below it, and rest 
not in any thing short of what Scripture makes indispensably 
necessary to my entering into the kingdom of God ? I profes 
sedly wave controversies ; and it is pity so practical a business 
as this 1 am now upon, and upon which salvation so much de 
pends, should ever have been encumbered with any controversy. 
And therefore, though I shall not digress so far, as to undertake 
a particular and distinct handling here of this work of God up 
on the soul, yet, 1 shall propound something in general, touch 
ing the change necessarily previous to this blessedness, 
{wherein that necessity is evidenccable from the nature of this 
blessedness which is the business I hare in hand) that I hope wilt 
pass among Christians for acknowledged truth, not liable to dis 
pute, though the Lord knows it be little considered. My de 
sign being rather to awaken souls to the consideration of known 
and agreed things, than to perplex them about unknown. Con 
sider therefore : 

(I.) That the holy Scriptures, in the forementioned and other 
like passages, do plainly hold forth the necessity of a real change 
to be made in the inward temper and dispositions of the soul; 
and not a relative only, respecting its state. This cannot be 
doubted by any that acknowledge a real inherent depravation, 
propagated in the nature of man. No, nor denied by them that 
grant such a corruption to be general and continued among 
men; whether by imitation only, or what way soever. And 
willing I am to meet men upon their own principles and con 
cessions, however erroneous or short of the truth they may be, 
while they are yet improvable to their own advantage. Admit 
that regeneration, or the new-birth includes a change of our re 
lation and state God- ward ; doth it therefore exclude an intrin- 

* Psnl,.51.Eph. 2. 10. 2 Cor. 5. 17. Eph. 4. 23. 24. Jam. J 18, 
Gal. 4. 10. 2 Pec. 1. 4. Pet. \. Jyh. $. 6. 


sic, subjective change of the inclinations and tendencies of the 
soul ? And if it did, yet other terms are more peculiarly appro 
priate to, and most expressly point out this very change alone ; 
as that of conversion, or of turning to God; of being renewed- 
in the spirit of the mind ; of putting off the old man that is cur- 
rupt by, &c. and putting on the new man, which is created 
in righteousness and irue holiness, &c. of partaking the divine na 
ture; it matters not ifthisorthatexpressiou.be understood by 
some, more principally in another sense, the thing itself, of which 
we speak, is as clearly expressed, and as urgently pressed (as 
there was cause) as any other matter whatsoever throughout the 
whole book of God. But men are slower of belief, as to this 
great article of the Christian doctrine, than to most (I might 
say any) other. This truth more directly assaults the strong 
holds of the devil in the hearts of men, and is of more immedi 
ate tendency to subvert his kingdom; therefore they are most 
unwilling to have it true, and most hardly believe it. Here 
they are so madly bold, as to give the lie to all divine revelati- 
ens; and though they are never so plainly told without holiness 
none shall see God, they will yet maintain the contrary belief 
and hope till, "Go ye cursed,'* vindicate the truth of God, and the 
flame of hell be their eternal confutation. Lord ! that so plain 
a thing will not enter into the hearts of men ; that so urgent in 
culcations will not yet make them apprehend that their souls 
must be renewed or perish ! that they will still go dreaming on 
with that mad conceit, that (whatever the word of God says to 
the contrary) they may yet with unsanctified hearts get to hea 
ven I How deplorable is the case, when men have no other 
liope left them, but that the God of truth will prove false, and 
helie his word ; yea, and overturn the nature of things to save 
them in their sins \ Thou that livest under the gospel, hast thou 
any pretence for thy seeming ignorance in this matter ? couldst 
thou ever look one quarter of an hour into the Bible, and not 
meet with some intimation of this truth ? What was the ground 
of thy mistake ? What hath beguiled thee into so mischievous 
a delusion ? How could such an imagination have place in thy 
oui : that a child of wrath by nature could become a child of 
God without receiving a new nature ; that so vast a change could 
be made in. thy state, without any at all in the temper of thy 

(2.) Consider, that this change is in its own nature, 
and the design of God who works it, dispositive of the 
soul for blessedness. It is sufficiently evident from the conside 
ration of the state itself of the unreuewed soul, that a change is 
necessary for this end ; such a soul in which it is not wrought, 
when once its drowsy, stupifying slumber is shaken off, and its 


reflecting power awakened, must needs be a perpetual torment 
to itself. So far it is removed from blessedness, it is its own 
hell and can fly from misery and death no faster than from it 
self. Blessedness composes the soul, reduces it to a consistent y ; 
it infers or rather is a self-satisfaction, a well-pleasedness and 
contentment with ones self, enriched and filled with ay-rape** the 
divine fulness. Hence it is at rest, not as being pent in, but 
contentedly dwelling with itself, and keeping within its own 
bounds of its own accord. The unrenewed soul can no more 
contain itself within its own terms or limits, is as little self-con 
sistent, as a raging flame, or an impetuous tempest. Indeed 
its own lusts perpetually, as so many vultures, rend and tear it ; 
and the more when they want external objects; then, as hun 
ger, their fury is all turned inward ; and they prey upon intest 
ines, upon their own subject; but unto endless torment, not 
satisfaction- In what posture is this soul for rest and blessed 
ness? The nature of this change sufficiently speaks its own de 
sign. It is an introduction of, theprimordia, the very princi 
ples of blessedness. And Scripture as plainly speaks the design 
of God : He regenerates to the undefiled inheritance : makes 
meet for it : (I Pet. 1. 3. 4.) works, forms, or fashions the soul 
unto that self-same thing, (Col. 1. 12.) namely to desire and groan 
after that blessed state; (2 Cor. 5. 5.) and consequently to ac 
quiesce and rest therein. Therefore, vain man, that dreamcst 
of being happy without undergoing such a change ; how art thou 
trying thy skill to abstract a thing from itself? for the pre-requir- 
ed righteousness whereupon thou must be changed, and this 
blessedness are in kind and nature the same thing, as much as 
a child and a man. Thou pretendest thou woulst have that per 
fected which thou canst not endure should ever be begun ; thou 
settest thyself to prevent and suppress what, in its own nature, 
and by divine ordination tend to the accomplishment of thy own 
pretended desires. Thou wouldst have the tree without ever 
admitting the seed or plant : thou wouldst have heat, and 
canst not endure the least warmth ; so besotted a thing is a car 
nal heart ! 

(3.) That inasmuch as this blessedness consists in the satis 
factory sight and participation of God's own likeness, unto whom 
the soul is habitually averse, this change must chiefly stand in 
its becoming holy or godly, or in the alteration of its dispositions 
and inclinations as to God. Otherwise the design and end of 
it is not attained. We are required to follow peace with all 
men, but here the accent is put, and holiness, without which 
no man shall see God, Heb. 12. 1-4. It is therefore a vain thing, 
in reference to what we have now under consideration, namely 
the possibility of attaining this blessedness, to speak of any other. 



changes that fall short of, or arc of another kind from the right 
disposition of heart God- ward, This change we are now consid 
ering, is no other than the proper adequate impress of the gos 
pel disco very _upon men's spirits, as we have largely shewn the 
righteousness is, in which it terminates. The sum of that dis 
covery is, that God is in Christ reconciling the world unto him 
self, (2 Cor. 5. 18. 19.) the proper impress of it, therefore is the 
actual reconciliation of the soul to God through Christ ; a friend- 
ly,well-affected posture of spirit towards God, our last end and 
highest good ; and towards Christ our only way, since the apos- 
tacy, of attaining and enjoying it. To rest therefore in any 
other good dispositions or endowments of mind, is as much be-* 
sides the business, as impertinent to the present purpose, as if 
one designed to the government of a city, should satisfy him 
self that he hath the skill to play well on a lute, or he that in 
tends physic, that he is well seen in architecture. The general 
scope and tenor of the gospel tells thee Oman, plainly enough, 
what the business is thou must intend (if thou wilfully overlook 
it not) in order to thy blessedness. It is written to draw thee 
into fellowship with the Father and the Son, that thy joy may 
be full. 1 John. 1.1.4. It aims at the bringing of thee into 
a state of blessedness in God through Christ ; and is therefore 
the instrument by which God would form thy heart thereto ; 
the seal by which to make the first impression of his image up 
on thee, which will then as steadily incline and determine 
thy soul towards him ; as the magnetic touch ascertains the pos 
ture of the needle. Wherefore doth he there discover his own 
heart, but to melt, and win, and transform thine ? The word 
of grace is the seed of the new creature. Through the exceed 
ing great and precious promises, he makes souls partake of the 
divine nature. Grace is, firstly revealed to teach the denial of 
of ungodlines, &c. Turn thy thoughts hither then, and consi 
der what is there done upon thy soul by the gospel, to attemper 
and conform it to God ? Wherein has thy heart answered this 
its visible design and intendment ? Thou art but in a delirious 
dream till thou seriously bethinkest thyself of this. For other 
wise how can the aversion of thy heart from him escape thy daily 
observation ; thou canst not be without evidences of it ; what 
pleasure dost thou take in retiring thyself with God ; what care 
to redeem time only for converse with him ? hadst thou not ra 
ther be any where else ? In a time of vacancy from business and 
company, when thou hast so great a variety of things before 
thee, among which to choose an object for thy thoughts, do 
they not naturally fall upon any thing rather than God ? Nor 
do thou think to shift off this by assigning the mere natural 
quuse ; for if there were not somewhat more in the matter, why 


is it not so with all ? He upon whom this change had passed 
could say ; My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness ; 
and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips, when I remem 
ber thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night-watch 
es. My meditation of him shall be sweet ; I will be glad in 
the Lord. How precious are thy thoughts unto me, O God, 
how great is the sum of them ? If I should count them, they are 
more in number than the sand ; when I awake, I am still with 
thee. Yea, in the way of thy judgments, O God, have we wait 
ed for thee; the desire of our soul is to thy name, and to the 
remembrance of thee. With my soul have I desired thee in the 
night, yea, with my spirit within me will I seek thee early, 
&c. * Therefore plain it is, there is a sinful distemper to be 
wrought out, an ungodly disposition of heart, which it concerns 
thee, not to rest till thou see removed. 

(4.) Consider, that to become godly, or this change of incli 
nations and dispositions towards God, is that which of all other 
the soul doth most strongly reluctate arid strive against ; and 
which therefore it undergoes with greatest difficulty and regret. 
It is a horrid and amazing thing it should be so, but Scripture 
and experience leave it undoubted that so it is. What ! that 
the highest excellency, the most perfect beauty, loveliness, 
and love itself should so little attract a reasonable, spiritual be 
ing that issued thence ? His own offspring so unkind ! what 
more than monstrous unnatural ness is this, so to disaffect one's 
own original ! It were easy to accumulate and heap up conside 
rations that would render this astonishly strange. So things 
are reckoned upon several accounts, either as they are more rare 
and unfrequent (which is the vulgar way of estimating wonders) 
or as their causes are of more difficult investigation ; or (if they 
are moral wonders) as they are more unreasonable or causeless ; 
upon this last account, Christ marvelled at the Jews unbelief; 
(Mark 6. 6.) and so is this hatred justly marvellous; as being 
altogether without a cause ? But thence to infer there is no such 
thing, were to dispute against the sun. No truth hath more of 
light and evidence in it, though none more of terror and prodigy 
To how many thousand objects is the mind of man indifferent ? 
can turn itself to this or that ; run with facility all points of the 
compass, among the whole universe of beings : but assay only to 
draw it to God, and it recoils; thoughts and affection^ revolt, 
and decline all converse with that blessed object ! Toward other 
objects, it freely opens and dilates itself, as under the benign 
beams of a warm sun ; there are placid, complacential emoti 
ons; amicable, sprightly converses and embraces. Towards 

* Psal. 6*3. 5. 6. 104. 34. 139. 17. 18. Isa, 26*. 8. 


God only it is presently contracted and shut up ; life retires, and 
it becomes as a stone, cold, rigid and impenetrable: the quite con 
trary to what is required (which also those very precepts do 
plainly imply ;) it is alive to sin, to the world, to vanity ; but 
crucified, mortified, dead to God and Jesus Christ. Rom. G, 

The natures of manv men that are harsh, fierce and savage, 
admit of many cultivations andrefinings ; and by moral precept, 
the exercise and improvement of reason, with a severe animad 
version and observance of themselves, they become mild, trac 
table, gentle, meek. The story of the physiognomist's guess at 
the temper of Socrates is known. But of all other, the disaf 
fected soul is least inclinable ever to become good-natured to 
wards God, wherein grace or holiness doth consist. Here it is 
most unpersuadable, never facile to this change. One would 
have thought no affection should have been so natural, so deep 
ly inwrought into the spirit of man, as an affection towards the 
Father of spirits; but here he most of all discovers himself to be 
without natural affection : surely here is a sad proof, that such 
affection doth not ascend. The whole duty of man, as to the 
principle of it, resolves into love. That is the fulfilling of the 
law. As to its object; the two tables divide it between God 
and our neighbour ; and accordingly divide that love. Upon 
those two branches whereof ; love to God, and love to our neigh 
bour, hang all the law and the prophets. The wickedness of 
the world hath killed this love at the very root, and indisposed 
the nature of man to all exercises of it, either way, whether to 
wards God or his neighbour. It hath not only rendered man 
unmeet for holy communion with God, but in a great measure 
for civil society with one another. It hath destroyed good na 
ture: made men false, envious, barbarous; turned the world; 
especially the dark places of the earth, where the light of the 
gospel shines not, into habitations, of cruelty. But who sees 
not the enmity and disaffection of men's hearts towards God is 
the more deeply rooted, and less superable evil? 

The beloved apostle gives us a plain and sad intimation how 
the ca.se is, as to this, when he reasons thus; He that loveth 
not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom 
he hath not seen ? He argues from the less to the greater; and 
this is the ground upon which his argument is built: that the 
loving of God is a matter of greater difficulty, and from which 
the spirit of man is more remote, than loving of his neighbour. 
Andhe withall insinuates an account why itis so; God's remote 
ness from our sense, which is indeed a cause, but no excuse: 
it is a peccant, faulty cause. For is our so gross sensuallity no 
siaS thai nothing should affect our hearts, but what we can see 


with our eyes? as if our sense were die only measure or judge 
of excellencies. We are not all flesh, what have we done with 
our souls ? if we cannot see God with our eyes, why do we not 
with our minds ? at least so much of him we might, as to dis 
cern his excellency above all things else. How come our souls 
to lose their dominion, and to be so slavishly subject to a ru 
ling sense ; but the reason less concerns our present purpose ; 
that whereof It is the reason; that implied assertion, that men, 
are in a less disposition to the love of God than their neighbours, 
is the sad truth we are now considering. There are certain ho- 
miletical virtues that much adorn and polish the nature of man, 
urbanity, fidelity, justice, patience of injuries, compassion to 
wards the miserable, &c. and indeed without these, the world 
would break up, and all civil societies disband ; if at least they 
did not in some degree obtain. But in the mean time men are 
at the greatest distance imaginable from any disposition to soci 
ety with God. They have some love for one another, but none 
for him. And yet it must be remembered, that love to our 
neighbour, and all the consequent exertions of it, becoming du 
ty by the divine law, ought to be performed as acts of obedience 
to God, and therefore ought to grow from the stock and root of 
a divine love; I mean, love to God. They are otherwise but 
spurious virtues, bastard fruits (men gather not grapes of thorns, 
&c.) they grow from a tree of another kind; and whatever sem 
blance they may have of the true, they want their constituent 
form, their life and soul. Though love to the brethren is made 
a character of the regenerate state, of having passed from death 
to life ; 1 John. 3. 14. it is yet but a more remote, and is it 
self brought to trial by this higher and more immediate one, and 
which is more intimately connatural to the new creature, even 
the love of God; By this we know we love the children of God, 
when we love God, and keep his commandments, chap. 5. 2, 
A respect to God * specifies every virtue and duty. Whatever 
is loved and served, and not in him and for him (servato ordinc 
finis, keeping the chosen end in view, as the school-phrase is) 
becomes an idol; and that love and service is idolatry. And 
what a discovery is here of disaffection to God ; that in the ex 
ercise of such (the above-mentioned) virtues, one single act shall 
be torn from itself, from its specifying moral form, only to leave 
out him. A promise shall be kept, but without any respect to 
God, for even the promises made to him are broken without any 

* Proinde virtntes quas sibi videtur habere, nisi ad Dcum retulc- 
rit, etiam ipsu vitia sunt potius quarn virtutes. What ever virtues a 
man muy seem to himself to possess, if he dv not refer them all to 
God fUey are vices, rather then virtues. 


scruple. That which is anothers shall be rendered to him ; but 
God shall not be regarded in the business. An alms given, for 
the Lord's sake left out. That which concerns my neighbour 
often done, but what concerns God therein, as it were studi 
ously omitted. This is what he that runs may read, that though 
the hearts of men are not to one another as they should, they 
are much more averse towards God. 

Men are easier of acquaintance towards one another, they 
slide insensibly into each others bosoms ; even the most chur 
lish, morose natures are wrought upon by assiduous repeated 
kindnesses, gutla cavat lapidem, fyc. as often-falling drops at 
length wear and work into very stones : towards God their hearts 
are more impenetrable than rocks, harder than adamants. He 
is seeking with some an acquaintance all their days : they live 
their whole age under the gospel, and yet are never won. They 
hearken to one another, but are utterly unpersuadable towards 
God ; as the deaf adder that hears not the voice of the charmer 
though charming never so wisely. The clearest reason, the 
most powerful arguments move them not : no nor the most in- 
sinuative allurements, the sweetest breathings of love : "How 
often would I have gathered thee, as the hen her chickens un 
der her wings, and ye would not." God draws with the cords of 
a man, with the bands of love : but they still perversely keep at 
an unkind distance.* Men use to believe one another (were 
there no credit given to each others words, and some mutual 
confidence in one another, there could be no human converse, 
all must affect solitude, and dwell in dens and desarts as wild 
beasts,) but how incredulous are they of all divine revelations ? 
though testified with never so convincing evidence ! Who hath 
believed our report ! The word of the eternal God is regarded 
(O amazing wickedness) as we would the word of a child or a 
fool ; no sober, rational man, but his narrations, promises or threa- 
tenings, are more reckoned of. Men are more reconcilable to 
one another when enemies, more constant when friends. How 
often doth the power of a conquering enemy, and the distress 
of the conquered, work a submission on this part, and a remis 
sion on that. How often are haughty spirits stooped by a series 
of calamities, and made ductile ; proud arrogants formed, by ne 
cessity and misery, into humble supplicants, so as to lie pros 
trate at the feet of a man that may help or hurt them ; while 
still the same persons retain indomitable unyielding spirits to 
wards God, under their most afflictive pressures. Though his, 
gracious nature and infinite fulness promise the most certain 

* Mat. 23. 37. See PsaK 81. 8. to 13. Prov. 1. 20. to 24. &c. 
llos. 11.4. 


and liberal relief, it is the remotest thing from their their thoughts 
to make any address to him. They cry because of the oppression of 
the mighty, but none says Where is God jny Maker, who giveth 
songs in the night ? (Job 35. 10.) rather perish under their bur 
dens than look towards God, when his own visible hand is 
against them, or upon them, and their lives at his mercy 5 they 
stand it out to the last breath; and are more hardly humbled 
than consumed ; sooner burn than weep ; shriveled up into 
ashes sooner than melted into tears ; scorched with great heat 
yet repent not to give glory to God: Rev. 16. 9. gnaw their 
tongues for pain, and yet still more disposed to blaspheme than 
pray or sue for mercy. Dreadful thought ! as to one another 
reconciliations among men are not impossible or unfrequent, even 
of mortal enemies; but they are utterly implacable towards God! 
yet they often wrong one another ; but they cannot pretend, 
God ever did them the least wrong, yea, they have lived by his 
bounty all their days. They say to God, "Depart from us/' yet he 
filleth their houses with good things. So true is the historian's* 
observation, " Hatred is sharpest where most unjust." 

Yea, when there seems at least to have been a reconciliation 
wrought, are treacheries, covenant-breakings, revolts, strange 
ness, so frequent among men towards one another, as from them 
towards God ? How inconsistent with friendship is it, according 
to common estimate, to be always promising, never performing; 
upon any or no occasion to break off intercourses, by unkind 
alienations, or mutual hostilities ; to be morose, reserved each 
toother; to decline or disaffect each others converse; to shut 
out one another from their hearts and thoughts. But how com 
mon and unregretted are these carriages towards the blessed 
God ? It were easy to expatiate on this argument, and multi 
ply instances of this greater disaffection. But in a word, what 
observing person may not see, what serious person would not 
grieve to see the barbarous, sooner putting on civility ; the riot 
ous, sobriety ; the treacherous, fidelity ; the morose, urbanity ; the 
injurious, equity ; the churlish and covetous, benignity and cha 
rity ; than the ungodly man, piety and sincere devotedness unto 
God ? Here is the principal wound and distemper sin hath infec 
ted the nature of man with : Though he have suffered a uni 
versal impairment, he is chiefly prejudiced in regard of his ha- 
tlie de and tendency towards God; and what concerns the du- 
but of the first table. Here the breach is greatest, and here is 
ties greatest need of repair. True it is; an inoffensive, winning 

1 Tacitus speaking of the hatred of Tiberius and Augusta against 
Germanicus, the causers whereof, saith he, were acriores, quia 


deportment towards men, is not without its excellency,, and ne 
cessity too. And it doth indeed unsufferably reproach Christi 
anity, and unbecome a disciple of Christ ; yea it discovers a man 
not to be led by his Spirit, and so to be none of his ; to indulge 
himself in immoral deportment towards men ;. to be undutif ul 
towards superiors; unconversable towards equals : oppressive 
towards inferiors ; unjust towards any. Yet is a holy dispositi 
on of heart towards God, most earnestly, and in the first place 
to be endeavoured (which will then draw on the rest,) as having 
in it the highest equity and excellency, and being of the most 
immediate necessity to our blessedness. 

(5.) Consider, that there maybe some gradual tendencies, 
or fainter essays towards godliness, that fall short of real godli 
ness, or come not up to that thorough change and determinati 
on of heart God-ward, that is necessary to blessedness. There may 
be a returning, but not to the most high, wherein man may be (as the 
prophet immediately subjoins Hos. 7* 16.) like a deceitful bow,, 
not fully bent, that will not reach the mark ; they come not home 
to God. Many may be almost persuaded; and even within 
reach of heaven, not far from the kingdom of God ; may seek 
to enter, and not be able ; their hearts being somewhat inclin 
able, but more averse; for they can only be unable as they are 
unwilling. The soul is in no possibility of taking up a compla- 
cential rest in God, till it be brought to this, to move toward 
him spontaneously and with, as it were, a self-motion. And 
then is it self-moved towards God, when its preponderating bent 
is towards him. As a massy stone that one attempts to displace, 
if it be heaved at till it preponderate, it then moves out by its 
own weight; otherwise it reverts, and lies where and as it did 
before. So it is with many men's hearts, all our lifting at them> 
is but the rolling of the returning stone; they are moved, but 
not removed : sometimes they are lifted at in the public minis 
try of the world; sometimes by a private, seasonable admoniti 
on ; sometimes God makes an affliction his minister; a danger 
startles them ; a sickness shakes them ; and they think to change 
their course : but how soon do they change thofe thoughts, and 
are where they were? what enlightenings and convictions, what 
awakenings and terror, what remorses, what purposes, what 
tastes and relishes do some find in their own hearts, that yet are 
blasted and come to nothing ? How many miserable abortions 
after travailing pangs and throws, and fair hopes of a happy 
birth of the new creature? Often somewhat is produced that 
much resembles it, but is not it. No gracious principle but 
may have its counterfeit in an ungiacious heart; whence they 
deceive not others only, but themselves, and think verily they 
are true converts while they are yet in their sins. How many 


wretched souls, that lie dubiously struggling a long time under 
the contrary alternate impressions of the gospel on the one hand, 
and the present evil world on the other; and give the day to 
their own sensual inclinations at last ! in some degree, escape 
the corruptions of the world, by the knowledge of our Lord and 
Saviour Jesus Christ, but are again entangled and overcome, so 
as their latter end is worse than their beginning. 2 Pet. 2. 20. 
Such a man is so far from being advantaged by his former faint 
inclinations towards God, that he would be found at last under 
this aggravated wickedness beyond all other men; that when 
others wandered from God through inadvertency and inconside- 
ration, this man will be found to have been hisenemyupon de 
liberation, and against the various strivings of his convinced 
heart to the contrary . This is more eminently victorious and 
reigning enmity ; such a one takes great pains to perish. Alas ! 
it is not a slight touch, an overly superficial tincture, some 
evanid sentiments of piety, a few good thoughts or wishes, 
that bespeak a new man, a new creature. It is a thorough pre 
vailing change, that quite alters the habitual posture of a man's 
soul, and determines it towards God, so as that the after-course 
of his life may be capable of that denomination, a living to God, 
a living after the Spirit; that exalts the love of God unto that 
supremacy in him, that it becomes the governing principle of 
his life, and the reason and measure of his actions ; that as he 
loves him above all things else, better than his own life, so he 
can truly (though possibly sometimes with a doubtful, trembling 
heart) resolve the ordinary course of his daily walking and practice 
into that love, as the directive principle of it. 1 pray, I read, I 
hear, because I love God. I desire to be just, sober, charita 
ble, meek, patient, because I love God. This is the perfecti 
on and end of the love of God, (therefore that must needs 
be the principle hereof) obedience to his will. 1 John. 2. 5. 
Tfls\ein1oti Herein appears that power of godliness, denied (God 
knows) by too many that have the form : the spirit of love, 
power, and of a sound mind. 2 Tim. 3. 5. chap. 1. 7. That 
only is a sound mind, in which such love rules in such power. 
Is not love to God often pretended by such that, whenever it 
comes to an actual competition, discover they love their own flesh 
a great deal more ; that seldom ever cross their own wills to do 
his ? or hazard their own fleshly interest to promote his interest? 
we may justly say (as the apostle, in a case fitly enough reduci 
ble hither,) how dwells the love of God in that man ? Notwith 
standing such a subdued ineffectual love to God, such a one 
shall be denominated and dealt with as an enemy. It is not 
likely any man on earth hates God so perfectly as those in hell. 
And is not every quality, not yet perfect in its kind, and that 



*s yet growing more and more intense, in the mean time allay 
ed by some degree of its contrary ? Yet that over-mastered de 
gree denominates not its subject, nor ought a man from such a 
supposed love to God to have the name of a lover of him. That 
principle is only capable of denominating the man, that is pre 
valent and practical, that hath a governing influence on his heart 
and life. He in whom the love of God hath not such power 
and ruie, whatever his fainter inclinations, may be, is an un 
godly man. 

And now rnethinks these several considerations compared and 
weighed together, should contribute something to the settling 
of right thoughts in the minds of secure sinners, touching the 
nature and necessity of this heart-change ; and do surely leave 
no place for the forementioned vain pretences that occasioned 
them. For (to give you a summary view of what hath been pro 
pounded in those foregoing considerations,) it now plainly ap 
pears, That the holy Scripture requires in him that shall enjoy 
this blessedness, a mighty change of the very temper of his soul, 
as that which must dispose him thereto; and which must there 
fore chiefly consist, in the right framing of his heart towards God; 
towards whom it is mostly, fixedly averse, and therefore not ea 
sily susceptible of such a change. And that any slighter or more 
feeble inclination towards God, will not serve the turn ; but such 
only whereby the soul is prevalently and habitually turned to 
Mm. And then what can be more absurd or unsavoury ? what more 
contrary to Christian doctrine, or common reason, than instead 
of this necessary heart-change, to insist upon so poor a plea, as 
that mentioned above, as the only ground of so great a hope ? 
How empty and frivolous will it appear in comparison of this 
great soul-transforming change, if we severally consider the par 
ticulars of it. As for orthodoxy in doctrinals, it is in itself a 
highly laudable thing ; and in respect of the fundamentals (for 
therefore are they so called) indispensably necessary to blessed 
ness. As that cannot be without holiness, so nor holiness with 
out truth. John. 17. 17- But, (besides that this is that which 
every one pretends to) is every thing which is necessary, suffi 
cient ? As to natural necessity (which is that we now speak to) 
reason, and intellectual nature are also necessary ; shall there 
fore all men, yea, and devils too, be saved ? Besides, are you 
mire you believe the grand articles of the Christian religion ? 
Consider a little, the grounds and effects of that pretended 

(L) Its grounds ; every assent is as the grounds of it are. Deal 
truly here with thy soul. Can you tell wherefore you are a 
Christian ? what are thy inducements to be of this religion ? are 
they iiot .such as are common to thee with them that are of a 


ialse religion ? (I am here happily prevented by a worthy au 
thor*, to which I recommend thee, but at the present a lit 
tle bethink thyself,) Is it not possible thou mayest be a Chris 
tian for the same reasons for which one may be a jew, or a ma- 
hometan, or a mere pagan ? as namely, education, custom, law, 
example, outward advantage, &c. Now consider, if thou find 
this upon enquiry to be thy case, the motives of thy being a 
Christian admit of being cast together into this form of reasoning. 
That religion which a man's forefathers were of, which is esta 
blished by law, or generally obtains in the country where he 
lives, the profession whereof, most conduces to, or best 
consists with his credit, and other outward advantages, that 
religion he is to embrace as the true religion. But such I find 
the Christian religion to be to me; therefore, &c. The pro 
position here is manifestly false; for it contains grounds com 
mon to all religions, publicly owned, and professed throughout 
the world ; and sure all cannot be true: and hence the con 
clusion (though materially considered it be true, yet) formally 
considered, as a conclusion issuing from such premises, must 
needs be false; and what then is become of thy orthodoxy ; 
when, as to the formal object of thy faith, thou believest but 
as mahometans and pagans do? when thou art of this faith, by 
fate or chance only, not choice or rational inducement? 

(2.) As to the effects of thy faith : let them be enquired into 
also, and they will certainly Dear proportion to the grounds of 
it. The gospel is the power of God to salvation to every one 
that believes; (Rom. 1.16. 1 Thes. 2. 13.) to them that be 
lieve it not, it signifies nothing. The word of God received 
with a divine faith, as the word of God, works effectually up 
on all that so receive it, that is, all that believe. What such 
efficacious workings of it hast thou felt upon thy soul ? Certain 
ly, its most connatural effect is that very change of heart, and 
inclination God-ward, of which we have been speaking. What 
is so suitable to the gospel-revelation, as a good temper of heart 
God-ward ? And how absurd is it to introduce the cause on 
purpose to exclude its genuine inseparable effect ? But evident 
it is, (though true faith cannot,) that superficial, irrational as 
sent, in which alone many glory, may too well consist with a 
disaffected heart towards God: and can it then signify any 
thing towards thy blessedness ? sure to be so a solifidian is to 
be a nullifidian. Faith not working by love is not faith ; at 
least profits nothing. For thy outward conformity in the so 
lemnities of worship, it is imputable to so corrupt motives 
and principles, that the thing itself, abtractively considered, 

* Mr. Pink's trial of sincere love to Christ. 




can never be thought characteristical and distinguishing of the 
heirs of blessedness. The worst of men, rnay perform the best 
of outward duties. Thy most glorious boasted virtues, if they 
grow not from the proper root, love to God, they are but splen 
did sins, as above appears, and hath been truly said of old. 
Thy repentance is either true or false ; if true, it is that very 
change of mind and heart J speak of, and is therefore eminently 
signalized by that note, it is repentance towards God; if false, 
God will not be mocked. For thy regeneration in baptism; 
what can it avail thee, as to this blessedness, if the present tem 
per of thy heart be unsuitable, thereto ? Didst thou ever know 
any that held, that all the baptized should be saved ? Will thy 
infant sanctity excuse the enmity and disaffection to God of 
thy riper age ? 

In short, if we seclude this work of God upon the soul, how 
inconsiderable is the difference between the Christian and the 
heathen world? wherein can it then be understood to lie, but 
in some ineffectual notions, and external observances ? Arid 
can it be thought that the righteous, holy God will make so vast 
a difference in the states of men hereafter, who differ so little 
here? or that it shall so highly recommend a man to God, that 
it was his lot to be born, and to have lived upon such a turf or 
soil, or in such a clime or part of the world ? His gracious pro 
vidence is thankfully to be acknowledged and adored, that hath 
assigned us our stations under the gospel; but then it must be 
remembered, the gospel hath the goodness, not of the end, but 
of the means; which, as by our improvement or non-improve 
ment, it becomes effectual or ineffectual, doth acquit from, or 
aggravate condemnation : and that it works not as a charm or 
spell, we know not how, or why, or when we think not of it ; 
but by recommending itself in the demonstration and power of the 
Holy Ghost, to our reason and consciences, to our wills and 
affections, till we be delivered up into the mould or form of it. 
Rom. 6. I?. Surely were it so slight a matter, as too many 
fondly dream, that must distinguish between them that shall be 
saved and shall perish, there would need no striving to enter in 
at the strait gate ; and the disciples question would never have 
been, who then shall be saved ? but rather, who shall not be 
saved ? nor would it have been resolved by our Saviour into the 
immediate power of him alone, to whom all things are possible 
(Matt. 19. 26.) that any are saved at all; nor have been so earnestly 
asserted by him, that none could come to him, but whom his 
Father draws. John. 6.44. The obvious import of which passa 
ges is such, that if careless sinners could once obtain of them 
selves seriously to consider them, met.hinks they would find lit- 
tie rest in their spirits, till they might discern a work wrought 


there, in some degree worthy of God, an impression some way 
proportionable to the power of an almighty arm ; and that 
might speak God its author. For notwithstanding the soul's 
natural capacities hefore asserted and inferred, its Amoral in 
capacity, 1 mean its wicked aversion from God, is such as 
none but God himself can overcome. Nor is that aversation 
the less culpable, for that it is so hardly overcome, but the 
more. It is an aversation of will ; and who sees not, that eve 
ry man is more wicked, according as his will is more wickedly 
bent ? Hence his impotency or inability to turn to God, is not 
such as that he cannot turn if he would ; but it consists in this, 
that he is not willing. He affects a distance from God. Which 
shews therefore the necessity still of this change. For the pos 
sibility of it, and the encouragement (according to the me 
thods wherein God is wont to dispense his grace) the sinner 
hath to hope and endeavour it, will more fitly fall into consi 
deration elsewhere. 

* That moral incapacity is also in some sense truly natural, that 
is, in the same sense wherein we are said to be by nature the children of 
wrath, Eph. 2, 3. Therefore human nature must be considered as crea 
ted by God, and as propagated by man. In the former sense, as God 
is the author of it, it is taken in this distinction, of moral and natural 
impotency, which needs not further explication ; yet you may take 
this account of it from Dr. Twisse, Impotentia faciendi quod Deo 
gratum est et acceptum, non est impotentia naturae, sed morum, 
Nulla etenim nobis deest facultas naturas per peccatum originate, 
juxta illud Augustini ; Nulli agnoscendi veritatis abstulit faculta^ 
tern. Adhuc remanet potentia, qua facere possumus quaecunquc 
volumus: the inability to do what is pleasing and acceptable to God; 
is not a natural but moral inability For no faculty of our nature is 
taken away from us by original sin (as saith Augustine,) it has taken 
from no man the faculty of discerning truth. The power still re 
mains by which we can do whatsoever we choose. Vind. I. S.errat. p. 
sect. 6. Naturalem potentiam, quidlibet agendi pro arbitrio ipsorum, 
dicimus ad omnes transmitti, non autem potentiam moraiem : we say 
that the natural power of doing anything according to our will is 
preserved to all, but not moral power. Vindic. Criminat. 3. S. U 

. 2, Chap. 3. 



4 Inference. That the soul in which such a change is wrought, rest 
lessly pursues this blessedness till it be attained. 5 Inference. 
That the knowing of God, and conformity to him, are satisfying 
things, and do now in a degree satisfy, according to the measure 
wherein they are attained. 6 Inference That the fove of God 
towards his people is great, that hath designed for them so great, 
and even a satisfying good. 

^ TT Is further to be inferred, that a soul wherein such a 
change is wrought, pursues this blessedness with restless* 
supreme desire, till it attain to the fulness thereof. We have 
here a plainly implied description of the posture and tendency 
of such a soul (even of a sanctified holy soul, which had there 
fore undergone this blessed change) towards this state of bles 
sedness. I shall (saith he) be satisfied with thy likeness, as 
though he had said, I cannot be satisfied otherwise. We have 
seen how great a change is necessary to dispose the soul to this 
blessedness, which being once wrought, nothing else can now 
satisfy it. Such a thing is this blessedness, (1 speak now of so 
much of it as is previous and conducing to satisfaction, or of 
blessedness materially considered, the divine glory to be beheld 
and participated :) it is of that nature, it makes the soul restless, 
it lets it not be quiet, after it hath got some apprehension of it, 
till it attain the full enjoyment. The whole life of such a one, 
is a continual seeking God's face. So attractive is this glory of 
a subject rightly disposed to it : while others crave corn and 
wine, this is the sum of the holy soul's desires, Lord lift thou 
up the light of thy countenance, &c. Psal. .1. G. The same 
thing is the object of its present desires that shall be of its eter 
nal satisfaction and enjoyment. This is now its one thing, 
the request insisted on, to behold the beauty of the Lord, &c. 
(Psal. 27. 4.) and while in any measure it doth so, yet it is still 
looking for this blessed hope, still hoping to be like him, see 
him as he is. The expectation of satisfaction in this state, im 
plies the restless working of desire till then ; for what is this 
satisfaction^ but the fulfilling of our desires, the perfecting of 


the soul's motions in a complacential rest? Motion and rest do 
exactly correspond each to other. Nothing can naturally rest 
in any place, to which it was not before naturally inclined to 
move. And the rest is proportionally more composed and stea 
dy, according as the motion was stronger and more vigorous. 
By how much the heavier any body is, so much the stronger 
and less resistable is its motion downward ; and then according 
ly it is less movable when it hath attained its resting place. It is 
therefore a vanity and contradiction, to speak of the soul's being 
satisfied in that which it was not before desirous of *. And that 
state which it shall ultimately and eternally acquiesce in (with a 
rest that must therefore be understood to be most composed and 
sedate,) towards it, it must needs move with the strongest and most 
unsatisfied desire, a desire that is supreme, prevalent, and tri 
umphant over all other desires, and over all obstructions to itself; 
least capable of diversion, or of pitching upon any thing short 
of the term aimed at. Ask therefore the holy soul, What is thy 
supreme desire ? and so far as it understands itself, it must an 
swer, "To see and partake the divine glory ; to behold the bless 
ed face of God, till his likeness be transfused through all my 
powers, and his entire image be perfectly formed in me : pre 
sent to my view what else you will, I can be satisfied in no 
thing else but this." Therefore this leaves a black note upon 
those wretched souls that are wholly strangers to such desires; 
that would be better satisfied to dwell always in dust ; that shun 
the blessed face of God as hell itself; and to whom the most 
despicable vanity is a more desirable sight than that of divine 
glory. Miserable souls I Consider your state, can that be your 
blessedness which you desire not? or do you think God will re 
ceive any into his blessed presence, to whom it shall be a bur 
den ? Methinks, upon the reading of this you should present 
ly doom yourselves, and see your sentence written in your breast. 
Compare your hearts with this holy man's; see if there be any 
thing like this in the temper of your spirits ; and never think 
well of yourselves till you find it so, 

5. The knowledge of God, and conformity to him, are in their 
Own nature apt to satisfy the desires of the soul, and even now 
actually do so, In the measure wherein they are attained. Some 
things are not of a satisfying nature ; there is nothing tending 

* Aptitudinally, I mean, and exhypothesi, that is supposing the 
knowledge of the object : otherwise as to actual explicit desires, 
God doth give us beyond what we can ask or think. But it is im 
possible the soul should rest satisfied in that, which upon knowledge 
ii is uudesirous of, and <lotk or would reject. 


to satisfaction in them* And then the continual heaping to 
gether of such things, doth no more towards satisfaction, than 
the accumulating of mathematical points would towards the 
compacting of a solid body ; or the multiplication of cypher on 
ly, to the making of a sum. But what shall one day satisfy, 
hath in itself a power and aptitude thereto. The act, wheiu \ or 
it is, supposes the power. Therefore the hungry-craving soul, 
that would fain be happy, but knows not how, needs not spend 
its days in making uncertain guesses, and fruitless attempts and 
trials : it may fix its hovering thoughts ; and upon assurance 
here given, say, I have now found at last where satisfaction 
may be had ; and have only this to do, to bend all my powers 
hither, and intend this one thing, the possessing myself of this 
blessed rest ; earnestly to endeavour, and patiently to wait for 
it. Happy discovery ! welcome tidings ! I now know which 
way to turn my eye, and direct my pursuit. I shall no longer 
spend myself in dubious, toilsome wanderings, in anxious, vain 
enquiry, I have found ! I have found ! blessedness is here. If 
I can but get a lively, efficacious sight of God, I have enough- 
Shew me the Father, and it sufficeth. Let the weary, wander 
ing soul bethink itself, and retire to God ; He will not mock 
thee with shadows, as the world hath done. This is eternal 
life, to know him the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom 
he hath sent. Apart from Christ thou canst not know nor see 
him with fruit and comfort; but the gospel revelation (which is 
the revelation of God in Christ) gives thee a lovely prospect of 
liim. His glory shines in the face of Jesus Christ; and when 
by beholding it thou art changed into the same likeness, and 
findest thyself gradually changing more and more from glory to 
glory, thou wilt find thyself accordingly in a gradual tendency 
towards satisfaction and blessedness: that is, do but seriously set 
thyself to study and contemplate the being and attributes of 
God; and then look upon him as through the Mediator, he is 
willing to be reconciled to thee, and become thy God ; and so 
long let thine eye fix and dwell here, till it affect thy heart, 
and the proper impress of the gospel be by the Spirit of the 
Lord instamped upon it ; till thou find thyself wrought to a 
compliance with his holy will, and his image formed in thee ; 
and thou shalt soon experience thou art entering into his rest ; 
and wilt relish a more satisfying pleasure in this blessed change, 
than all thy worldly, sensual enjoyments did ever afford thee 

Surely, if the perfect vision and perception of his glorious 
likeness will yield a complete satisfaction at last, the initial and 
progressive tendencies towards the former, will proportionably 
infer the latter. It is obvious hence to collect, who are in 


this world (ordinarily and, cceteris paribus, where more unu 
sual violent temptations hinder not) the most satisfied and con 
tented persons; even those that have most of the clarifying" 
sights of God, and that thence partake most of his image, (in 
deed Scripture only vouchsafes the name to such sights of God; 
He that doth evil hath not seen God, ] John. 3. 6.3 John. 1 1.) 
such as have most of a godly frame wrought into their spirits, 
and that have hearts most attempered and conformed to God ; 
these are the most contended persons in the world. Content is 
part of the gain that attends godliness ; it concurring, renders 
the other a great gain ; godliness with contentment ; (1- Tim. 
6. 6.) the form of expression discovers how connatural content 
ment is to godliness; as if they were not to he mentioned apart. 
Godliness, as if he had said, is a very gainful thing, but if you 
would comprehend the gainfulness of it fully, do not abstract 
too curiously, take in with it that which is of so near an alliance, 
that you will hardly know how to consider them apart ; let its 
inseparable adjunct, contentment, go along with it, and you 
will find it a gainful thing indeed. The true knowledge of God 
so directly tends to holiness, and that to contentation, that it 
may be too evidently concluded, that a discontented person hath 
little of the one or the other, not much knowledge and less 
grace ; he is so far from being like God, that in the apostle's 
language above we may say, he hath not seen him. Doth that 
person know God, or hath ever seen him, that falls not into 
the dust, admiring so glorious a Majesty ? that subjects nut 
himself to him, with loyal affections, accounting it his only 
grand concernment to please and serve him ? But the discontent 
ed person takes upon him, as if he were God alone, and as if 
he expected every creature to do him homage, and thought the 
creation were made for the pleasure and service of none but 
him. Hath that person ever seen God, that acknowledges him 
not a sufficient portion, a full, all-comprehending good ? Hath 
he seen him, that sees not reason to trust him, to commit all 
his concernments to him ? Hath he seen him that loves him 
not, and delights not in his love ? Hath he seen him that quits 
not all for him, and abandons not every private interest to es 
pouse his; and how evidently do these things tend to quiet 
and compose the soul ! Discontent proceeds from idolizing 
thoughts of ourselves; it is rooted in self-conceit, in self-depen- 
dance, self-love, self-seeking, all which despicable idols (or 
that one great idol, self, thus variously served and idolized) 
one sight of the divine glory would confound and bring to no 
thing. The sights of God melt the heart, break it under 
a sense of sin, and hence compose it to a meek^ peaceful 



humility; but the discontented spirit is an unbroken, proud, 
imperious spirit. The sights of God purify the soul, refine it 
from the dross of this vile world, make it daily aspire to a con 
formity unto the pure and spiritual nature of God. But a dis 
contented spirit, is a sensual, terrene spirit (for what, hut such 
objects are the usual matter of most men's discontents ?) taking 
sensuality in its just latitude, it is a low dunghill spirit, fit for 
nothing but to rake and scrabble in the dirt. 

I insist upon this, apprehending (what deserves more lamen 
tations than it hath observations,) that too many annex a 
profession of eminent godliness and spirituality, to an indul 
ged, querulous, impatient temper of spirit $ join a splendid 
appearance of piety, to an unreformed perverse frowardness 
(which agree as well as a jewel of gold to a swine's snout,) 
nothing pleases them, their mercies are not worth the ac 
knowledgement ; their afflictions intolerable, not to be borne. 
They fall out and quarrel with all occurrences, actions, events; 
neither man, nor God doth any thing good in their sight. The 
world is not well governed; nothing falls out well as to them 
selves. What can possibly be thought on more repugnant to 
the knowledge of God, the grand design of all religion, and the 
very spirit of the gospel, than this temper ? Which way do these 
tend and aim, but to lead souls to blessedness ; to bring them 
into a peaceful, happy, satisfied state and frame ? and must we, 
because that end cannot be attained here, therefore go the quite 
contrary way ? or pretend we are going to heaven with our backs 
-turned upon it? Sure the discoveries God now makes of him 
self to us, and by which he impresses his likeness upon his own 
(though they ultimately design our satisfaction- and blessedness 
in heaven, as intermediate thereunto ;} they aim at the bring 
ing us into a heaven upon earth ; to form us unto a life agree 
able, and that hath analogy with that of heaven; unto which 
nothing is more analogous in our present state, than that peace 
and serenity which result from divine knowledge and holiness; 
nothing more inconsistent, than a peevish, fretful, turbulent 
spirit. The one is a participation of a bright and mild light 
from heaven, the other, of a dark and raging fire from hell? 
It is only God's face, his glorious likeness reflected on our souls, 
that shall satisfy hereafter, and make heaven, heaven. He doth 
not now wholly conceal himself from us, not altogether hide 
his face. The shining of the same face (in what degree he now 
vouchsafes it) will make this earth a heaven too. One glance 
towards him may transmit a lively pleasant lustre upon our spi 
rits, they looked on him, and were lightened, Psal- 34. 5. And 
we Uve in the expectation of clearer and more impressive eter*. 


nal visions. It will become us to express a present satisfiedness, 
proportionable to our present sights and expectations ; and to 
endeavour daily to see more, and to be more like God : that 
we may be daily more and more satisfied ; while we cannot yet 
attain, to be making gradual approaches towards that blessed 
state. By how much any have more of the vision and likeness 
of God in their present state> so much they approach nearer 
unto satisfaction. 

6. We infer ; The love of God to his people is great, which 
hath designed for them so great, and even a satisfying good. 
We cannot overlook the occasion this doctrine gives us, to con 
sider and contemplate awhile the love of God. If this shall be 
the blessedness of his saints, it fe a great love that shall be the 
spring and source of it. Two thing here before our eyes, dis 
cover thegreatness of his love : that it designs satisfaction to 
the persons meant : and that they shall be satisfied with the di 
vine vision and likeness. 

(1.) It designs their satisfaction. This is as far as love can 
go, It is love to the uttermost : it doth not satisfy itself, till it 
satisfy them. It is love to spare an enemy, to relieve a stranger ; 
but to satisfy for ever them that were both ; this sure exceeds 
all the wonted measures of love. Much love is shewn in the 
forgiveness of sin, in the supply of necessities ; but herein (as 
the apostle speaks in another case) is the love of God perfected* 
as to its exercise : it hath now perfectly attained its end, when 
it hath not left so much as a craving desire, not a wish unsatis- 
lied; the soul cannot say, "I wish it were better; O that I had 
but this one thing more to complete my happiness/' It hath 
neither pretence nor inclination to think such a thought. Di 
vine love is now at rest. It was travelling big with gracious de 
signs before ; it hath now delivered itself. It would rather cre^ 
ate new heavens every moment, than not satisfy : but it hath 
now done it to the full ; the utmost capacity of the soul is filled 
up ; it can be no happier than it is. This is love's triumph 
over all the miseries, wants, and desires of a languishing 
soul : the appropriate, peculiar glory of divine love. If all 
the excellencies of the whole creation besides, were contracted 
into one glorious creature, it would never be capable of this 
boast, I have satisfied one soul. The love of God leaves none 
unsatisfied, but the proud despisers of it. Now is the eternal 
sabbath of love. Now it enters into rest, having finished all its 
works ; it views them over now with delight, for lo ! they are all 
good; its works of pardon, of justification and adoption; Its 
works of regeneration, of conversion, and sanctification ; Its 
establishing, quickening, comforting works ; they are all good, 


good in themselves, and in this their end, the satisfaction and 
repose of blessed souls. Now divine love puts on the crown, 
ascends the throne, and the many myriads of glorified spirits 
fall down about it, and adore : ail profess to owe to it the sa 
tisfying pleasures they all enjoy. Who can consider the un 
speakable satisfaction of those blessed spirits, and not also re 
flect upon this exalted greatness of divine love ! 

(2.) It is again great love, if we consider wherewith they 
shall be satisfied. The sight and participation of the divine glo 
ry, his face, his likeness, his represented and impressed glory. 
There may be great love that never undertakes, nor studies to 
satisfy all tbe desires of the persons we cast our love upon, es 
pecially where nothing will satisfy but high and great matters. 
The love of" God knows no difficulties ; nor can be overset. The 
greater the performance or vouchsafement, the more suitable to 
divine love. It hath resolved to give the soul a plenary satis 
faction, perfectly to content all its desires ; and since nothing 
else can do it, but an eternal beholding of the glorious face of 
the divine majesty, and a transformation into his own likeness, 
that shall not be with-held. Yea, it hath created, refined, en 
larged its capacity on purpose, that it might be satisfied with 
nothing less. Great love may sometimes be signified by a 
glance ; the offered view of a willing face. Thus our Lord Je 
sus invites his church to discover her own love, and answer his, 
Let me see thy face, &c. Cant. 2. 14. Love is not more be 
comingly expressed or gratified, than by mutual looks, ubi a- 
mor, ibi oculus. How great is that love that purposely lays 
aside the vail, that never turns away its own, nor permits the 
aversion of the beholder's eye thoughout eternity. Now we see 
in a glass ; then face to face, as if never weary of beholding on 
either part ; but on that part the condescension lies, is the trans 
cendent admirable love. That a generous beneficent, the other 
(till it be satisfied here) a craving, indigent love. And how in 
expressible a condescension is this ? Poor wretches ! many of 
whom, possibly, were once so low, that a strutting grandee 
would have thought himself affronted by their look, and have 
met with threatening rebukes by their over-daring venturous 
eye ; lo now they are permitted (to stand before princes ; that 
is a mean thing) to feed their eyes with divine glory, to view 
the face of God. He sets them before his face for ever. And 
that eternal vision begets in them an eternal likeness ; they be 
hold and partake glory at once, that their joy may be full. 
They behold not a glorious God with deformed souls ; that 
would render them a perpetual abomination and torment to them 
selves. Love cannot permit that heaven should be their afflic- 


tlon: that they should have cause to loath and be weary of 
themselves in that presence. It satisfies them, by clothing and 
filling them with glory ; by making them partake of the divine 
likeness, as well as behold it. It is reckoned a great expression 
of a complying love, but to give a picture; when the parties 
loved only permit themselves to view in a mute representation a 
vicarious face. This is much more a vital image (as before) God's 
own living-likeness propagated in the Soul ; the inchoa- 
tion of it is called the divine love, the seed of God. What a- 
mazing love is this, of the great God to a worm! not to give over 
till he have assimilated it to his own glory ; till it appear as a 
ray of light begotten of the Father of lights ! Every one, saith 
the apostle, that doth righteousness is born of him ; 1 John. 2. 
29. and then it follows, behold, what manner of love 3. 1. 
to be the sons of God ; to be like him, to see him as he is, &c. 
How great a word is that (spoken in reference to our present 
state) to make us partakers of his holiness. Heb. 12. 10, And 
(as well it might) it is instanced as an effect and argument of 
love, (for sure chastening itself, abstracted from that end of it, 
doth not import love) whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, 
and then by and by, in the same series and line of discourse is 
added, to make us partakers of his holiness. Love always ei 
ther supposes similitude, or intends it ; and is sufficiently argu 
ed by it either way. And sure, the love of God cannot be more 
directly expressed, than in his first intending to make a poor 
soul like him, while he loves it with compassion ; and then im 
printing and perfecting that likeness, that he may love it with 
eternal delight. Love is here the first and the last, the begin 
ning and end in all this business. 




7. Inference. That since this blessedness is limited to a qualified 
subject "I in righteousness," the unrighteous are necessarily left ex 
cluded. 8. Inference: That righteousness is no vain thing, in as 
much as it hath so happy an issue, and ends so well. 

7. CONSIDERING this blessedness is not common but limit- 
^ ed to a qualified subject."! in righteousness," a person 
clothed in righteousness : it evidently follows, the unrighteous 
are necessarily excluded and shut out, can have no part nor por 
tion in this blessedness. The same thing that the apostle tells 
us, without an inference ; Know ye not that the unrighteous 
shall not inherit the kingdom of God, &c. (1 Cor. 6. 9.) inti 
mating that to be a most confessed known thing : know ye not? 
is it possible ye can be ignorant of this ? The natural necessity 
of what hath been here inferred, hath been argued already from 
the consideration of the nature of this blessedness. The legal 
necessity of it, arising from the divine will and law, is that I 
mainly intend at present. By such a necessity also, they are 
excluded, who by God's rule (according to which the supreme 
judgment must be managed) shall be found unrighteous : those 
that come not up to the terms of the gospel-covenant ; never 
accepted the offers, not submitted to the commands of it ; and 
that hence consequently are unrelated to Christ, and ununited 
to him ; no way capable of advantage by his most perfect and 
all-sufficient righteousness, that alone fully answers all the ex 
actions and demands of the covenant of works : and so, who 
are at last found unrighteous by the old law and the new , the 
law both of the Creator and Redeemer too. There is the same 
necessity these should be excluded, as that God should be just 
and true. The word is gone forth of his mouth in righteous 
ness, and cannot return. He did not dally with sinners, when 
he settled those constitutions, whence this necessity results. 
He is not a man, that he should lie; nor the son of man, that 
he should repent/' A heathen understood so much of the nature 
<*f God. 


I have thought sometimes, with much wonder, of the stupid 
folly of unsanctified hearts ; they are even confounded in their 
own wishes; and would have (in order to their security) they 
know not what. Were the question faithfully put to the very 
heart of such a one, what wouldst thou have done in order to 
thy eternal safety from divine wrath and vengeance ? would not 
the answer be, O that God would recall those severe constitu 
tions he hath made ; and not insist so strictly on, what he hath 
required in the gospel, in order to the salvation of sinners. But 
foolish wretch ! dost thou know what thou sayest ! wouldst thou 
have God repeal the gospel, that thou mayest he the more se 
cure ? in what a case art thou then ? Hast thou no hope if the 
gospel stand in force ? what hope wilt thou have if it do not ? 
Must the hopes of all the world be ruined to establish thine? 
and yet leave them involved in the common ruin too ? What, 
but the gospel gives the least hope to apostate sinners ? There 
is now hope for thee in the gospel-promise, if thou return to 
God. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man 
his thoughts ; and let him turn to the Lord, and he will have 
mercy upon him ; and to our God, and he will abundantly 
pardon. Isa. 55. 7 But take away the gospel, and where art: 
thou ? Where it possible for thee to repent, and become a new 
man ; what settles the connexion between repentance and sal 
vation, but the gospel-promise ? Will the violated law of 
works accept thy repentance instead of obedience ? Doth it not 
expressly preclude any such expectation ? Doth it give any 
ground to look for any thing but death after sin ? Thou must 
therefore fly to the gospel, or yield thyself lost. And know, it 
contains none but faithful and true sayings, that have more sta 
bility in them than the foundations of heaven and earth : there 
fore expect nothing to he altered for thy sake. The gospel con 
stitution was settled long before thou wast born : thou comest 
too late with thy exceptions (if thou hadst any) against it. Re 
member therefore this is one of the unalterable determinations 
of tm's gospel, without holiness thou shah never see God, or 
(which amounts to the same) thou canst not behold his face 
but in righteousness. There is no word in all the Bible of 
more certain truth than this. In this also how apt are sinners 
foolishly to entangle themselves ! The gospel is true, and to 
be believed, till they meet with something that crosses them, 
and goes against the hair, and then they hope it is not so. But 
vain man ! If once thou shake the truth of God, what wilt thou 
stay thyself upon ? Is God true when he promises ? and is he 
not as true when he threatens ? If that be a true saying, "Say 
to the righteous, it shall be well with him," is not that as 
much to be regarded. "Woe to the wicked, it shall be ill with 


him? The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, 
and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him." Are 
not these of equal authority ? If thou hadst any reason to hope 
thou mayest be happy though thou never be righteous ; is 
there not as much reason to fear thou mightest be miserable 
though thou be ; since the one is as much against the flat ex 
press word of God as the other ? Let not thy love to sin betray 
thee out of all religion and thy wits together. Wherein wilt 
thou believe one upon the bare value of his word, that will lie 
to thee in any thing ? Yea, and as it is the same authority that 
is affronted in every command, whence disobedience to one is 
a breach of all ; so is the same veracity denied in every truth, 
and the disbelief of one belies all ; and wilt thou believe him in 
any thing, thou hast proclaimed a liar in every thing ? There 
fore, so little hast thou gained by disbelieving the divine reve 
lation in this thing, that thou hast brought thyself to this mi 
serable dilemma; If the word of God be false, thou hast no 
foundation of any faith left thee, if it be true, it dooms thee ta 
eternal banishment from his blessed face, while thou remainest 
in thy unrighteousness. It will not be thy advantage then to 
disbelieve this gospel-record, but to consider it, and take it to 
heart ; it will prove never the less true at last, for that thou 
wilt not believe it, Shall thy unbelief make the truth of God of 
none effect ? And if thou wouldst but reasonably consider the 
case, methinks thou shouldstsoon be convinced. Since thou 
acknowledgest (as I suppose thee to do,} that there are two 
states of men in the other world, a state of blessedness, and a 
state of misery ; and two sorts of men in this world, the right 
eous, and the unrighteous : let thy reason and conscience now 
judge who shall be allotted to the one state, and who to the o- 
ther. Sure, if thou acknowledge a righteous Judge of all the 
world, thou canst not think he will turn men promiscuously in 
to heaven or hell at random, without distinction : much less 
canst thou be so absurd and mad, as to think all the unrighte 
ous shall be saved, and the righteous perish. And then what 
is left thee to judge but that which I am now urging upon thee, 
that when the righteous shall be admitted to the vision of God's 
blessed face, the unrighteous shall be driven forth into outer 

It may be some here will be ready to say, " But to what pur 
pose is all this, they were of the same mind before, and cannot 
think that any one would ever say the contrary." Nor do I 
think so either ; but it is one thing not to believe a conclusion 
to be true and another to profess a contrary belief : and one 
thing to believe a conclusion, another to think we believe it. 
Men often know not their own minds. In practical matters* 


it is best seen what a man's belief is by his practice : for when 
any profess to believe this or that practical truth, relating to 
their salvation, if they believe it not practically, that is, with 
such a belief as will command their suitable practice, it matters 
not what belief they are of, or whether they were of that judg 
ment or no : yea, it will prove in the issue better for them they 
had been of another, when their own professed belief shall be 
urged against them. But let us consider a little, how in prac 
tical matters of less concernment we would estimate a man's be 
lief. You meet a traveller upon the way, who tells you, the 
bridge over such an unpassable river is broken down, and that 
if you venture you perish ; if you believe him, you return ; if 
you hold on, he reasonably concludes you believe him not; and 
will therefore be apt to say to you, if you will not believe me 
you may make trial. Your physician tells you a disease is 
growing upon you, that in a short time will prove incurable 
and mortal, but if you presently use the means he shall pre 
scribe, it is capable of an easy remedy : how would you your 
self have your belief of your physician judged of in this case? 
Would you expect to be believed, if you should say, you do not 
at all distrust your physician's integrity and judgment, but yet 
you resolve not to follow his directions; unless you would have 
us believe too, that you are weary of your life, and would fain 
be rid of it ? There is no riddle or mystery in this. How ridi 
culous would men make themselves, if in matters of common 
concernment they should daily practise -directly contrary to their 
professed belief? How few would believe them serious, orlh 
their wits ? But however, call this believing, or what you will, 
we contend noi about the name; the belief of such a thing can 
no further do you good, you can be nothing the better for it, 
further than as it engages you to take a course suitable and con 
sequent to such a belief. To believe that there is a hell, and" 
run into it; that unrighteousness persisted in will damn you, 
and yet will live in it! To what purpose is it, to make your boasts 
of this faith ? But since you are willing to call this believing ; 
all the foregoing reasoning is to engage you to consider what 
you believe. Do you believe that unrighteousness will be the 
death of your soul ; will eternally separate you from God, and 
the presence of his glory ? and when you have reasoned the 
matter with yourself', you find it to be certainly so : should 
not such a thing be more deeply pondered ? The bare propo 
sal of an evident truth commands present assent ; but if I fur 
ther bend my mind to reason out the same thing to myself, I 
am occasioned to take notice of the grounds, dependencies, the 
habitudes of it, what it rests upon, and whither it tends, and 
thence more discern its importance, and of what moment it is, 



than I should have done, if upon first view I had assented only, 
and dismissed it my thoughts. And yet is it possible, you should 
think this to be true, and not think it a most important truth? 
Is it a small matter in your account, whether you shall be bles 
sed or miserable for ever ? whether you be saved or perish eter 
nally ? Or is it considered by you, according as the weight of 
the matter requires, that as you are found righteous or un 
righteous, so will it everlastingly fare with you ? 

You may possibly say, you already conclude yourself righte^ 
ous, therefore no further employ your thoughts about it. But 
methinks, you should hardly be able however to put such a 
thing out of your thoughts ; while as yet the final determination 
is not given in the case. If a man have a question yet depen 
ding, concerning his life or estate ; though his business be ne 
ver so clear, he will hardly forget it, the trial not being yet 
past. And though in this matter, you have no reason 
to suspect error or corruption in your Judge, (through 
which many honest causes may miscarry in a human judica 
ture) yet have you no reason to suspect yourself? If the 
Holy Spirit hath assured you, he hath not stupified you ; but as 
you have then the less of fear, you have the more of love and 
joy. Therefore you will not thence mind such a concernment 
the less, but with the more delight ; and therefore also, most 
probably, with the more, frequency and intension. What a 
pleasure will it be to review evidences, and say, Lo ! here are 
the mediums by which I make out my title to the eternal inhe 
ritance. Such and such characters give me the confidence to 
number myselt among God's righteous ones. And do you lead 
that heavenly raised life ? do you live in those sweet and ravi 
shing comforts of the Holy Ghost, that may bespeak you one 
whom he hath sealed up to the day of redemption ? If you pre 
tend not to any such certainty, but rely upon your own judg 
ment of your case; are you sure you are neither mistaken in the 
notion of the righteousness required, nor in the application of 
it to your own soul ? Possibly, you may think yourself, be 
cause in your ordinary dealing you wrong no man (yourself be 
ing judge,) a very righteous person. But evident it is, when 
the Scripture uses this term as descriptive of God's own people^ 
and to distinguish between them that shall be saved and perish, 
it takes it in that comprehensive sense before explained. And 
however, it requires at least much more of thee, under other 
expressions, as thou canst hardly be so ignorant but to know. 
And do but use thy reason here a little, and demand of thyself: 
is he to be accounted a righteous person, that thinks it fit 
to avoid wronging a man, but makes no conscience at all of 
wronging God ? More particularly: Is it righteous, to live all 
thy days in a willing ignorance of the Author of thy being, ue- 


ver once to enquire, Where is God my Maker? Job. 35. 10. 
Is it righteous to forget him days without number, not to have 
him from day to day in all thy thoughts ? Is it righteous to e- 
strange thyself from him, and live as without him in the world, 
while thou livest, movest and hast thy being in him ; not to glorify 
him in whose hands thy breath is ? to be a lover of pleasure more 
than God ? a worshipper, in thy very soul, of the creature 
more than the Creator ? Is it righteous to harden thy heart 
against his fear and love? to live under his power, and never 
reverence it ; his goodness, and never acknowledge it ? to 
affront his authority, to belie his truth, abuse his mercy, 
impose upon his patience, defy his justice ; to exalt thy own 
interest against his ; the trifling petite interest of a silly worm, 
against the great all-comprehending interest of the com 
mon Lord of all the world? to cross his will, to do thy own ? 
to please thyself, to the displeasing of him ? whence hadst thou 
thy measures of justice, if this be just? 

Again, is it righteous to deny the Lord that bought thee, to 
neglect that great salvation which he is the author of? And 
whereas he came to bless thee in turning thee from thine iniqui 
ties, wilfully to remain still in an accursed servitude to sin ? 
when he was made manifest to destroy the works of the devil, 
still to yield thyself a captive at his will ? whereas he died that 
thou mightest not any longer live to thyself, but to him that di 
ed for thee, and rose again ; and that he might redeem thee 
from thy vain conversation, and that thou art so expressly told, 
that such as still lead sensual lives, mind earthly things, have 
not their conversation in heaven, are enemies to the cross of 
Christ. Is it no unrighteousness, that in these respects thy 
whole life should be nothing else but a constant contradiction 
to the very design of his dying ? a perpetual hostility, a very 
tilting at his cross ? Is there no unrighteousness in thy obsti 
nate infidelity, that wickedly denies belief to his glorious truths, 
acceptance of his gracious offers, subjection to his holy laws ? 
No unrighteousness in thy obstinate, remorseless impenitency? 
thy heart that cannot repent ? that melts not, while a crucified 
Jesus, amidst his agonies and dying pangs, cries to thee from the 
cross, O sinner, enough, thy hard heart breaks mine ! yield at 
last, and turn to God. Is it righteous, to live as no way under 
law to Christ? to persist in actual rebellion against his just go 
vernment, which he died, and revived, and rose again, to es 
tablish over the living and the dead ? yea, and that while thou 
pretendest thyself a Christian ? In a word : Is it righteous to 
tread under foot the Son of God, to vilify his blood, and des 
pise his Spirit ; Is this the righteousness that thou taikest of ? 
Are these thy qualifications for the everlasting blessedness ? If 
thou say, thou confessest thou art in thyself, in these several 


respects, altogether unrighteous : but thou hopest the righte 
ousness of Christ will be sufficient to answer for all ; no doubt 
Christ's righteousness is abundantly available to all the ends for 
which it was intended by the Father and him ; hut it shall ne 
ver answer all the ends that a foolish, wicked heart will fondly 
imagine to itself. 

In short, it serves to excuse thy non-performance of, and 
stands ( instead of thy perfect sinless obedience to, the law of 
works; but it serves not instead of thy performance of what is 
required of thee, as the condition of the gospel-covenant. That 
is, It shall never supply the room of faith, repentance, rege 
neration, holiness, the loving of Christ above all, and God in 
him ; so as to render these unnecessary, or salvation possible 
without them. There is not one iota) or tittle in the Bible, 
that so much as intimates an unregenerate person, an unbe 
liever, an impenitent or unholy person, shall be saved by 
Christ's righteousness ; but enough to the contrary, every one 
kn6ws, that hath the least acquaintance with the Scriptures. 
Vain man ! what, is Christ divided and divided against him 
self; Christ without, against Christ within ? His sufferings on 
the cross and foregoing obedience, against his Spirit and go 
vernment in the soul ? Did Christ die to take away the neces 
sity of our being Christians ? And must his death serve not to 
destroy sin out of the world, but Christianity ? Who hath 
taught thee so wickedly to misunderstand the design of Christ's 
dying ? And when the Scripture so plainly tells thee, that God 
so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that 
whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have ever 
lasting life. 'John. 3. 16. And that he became the author of 
eternal salvation to them that obey him ; (Heb. 5. 9.) yea, and 
that he will come in flaming fire to take vengeance on them 
that know and obey him not. What should induce thee to think 
thou mayestbe saved by him, whether thou believest and obey- 
est or not ? No, if ever thou think to see God, and be happy 
in him, thou must have a righteousness in thee resembling his; 
the very product, the thing wrought in the work of regenera 
tion. If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one 
that doth righteousness is born of him. Whereupon follous the 
description of the blessedness of such righteous ones, in 

the beginning of the next chapter, They are sons- 

they shall be like, c. So that in a word, without some 
sight of God here, there is no seeing him hereafter; with 
out some likeness to him now, none hereafter. And such as 
are destitute of that heart-conformity to the gospel, wherein 
the evangelical righteousness stands, are so far from it, that 
we may say to them as our Saviour to the Jews, Ye have nei- 


ther heard his voice, nor seen his shape, (John, 5. 37-) that is, 
you have never had right notion, or any the least true glimpse 
of him; your hearts are wholly destitute of all divine impres 
sions whatsoever. 

8. We may further infer, from this qualification of the sub 
ject of blessedness, that righteousness is no vain thing. That 
is not in vain, that ends so well, and hath so happy an issue at 
last. Scripture tells us, that the labour of the righteous tendeth to 
life : (Prov. 10. 16.) and that we may understand it of their 
labour as they are righteous, we are more plainly told, that 
righteousness tendeth to life ;( ch. 11. 19.) and that to them that 
sow righteousness shall be a sure reward, (ver. 18.) that the 
righteous shall shine as the sun in the kingdom of their Fa 
ther. (Mat. 13. 43.) the righteous into eternal life. ch. 25. 
46. And we here see that righteousness ends in the blessed 
sight of God's glorious face, in being satisfied with the divine 
likeness. Foolish sinners are justly upbraided that they spend 
their labour for that which satisfies not; (Isa. 55. 2.) take 
much pains to no purpose ; such are all the works of sin, toil 
some, fruitless ; what fruit had ye of those things (namely, which 
ye wrought when you were free from righteousness) whereof ye 
are now ashamed ? for the end of those things is death. But 
(it follows) being now made free from sin, and become servants 
to God (which is paraphrased above by servants to righteousness) 
ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life, 
Rom. 6. 20 22. The fruit is a continual increase of holiness, 
a growing more and more like God ; till at last everlasting life, 
satisfaction with his likeness, do crown and consummate all. 

You have now what to answer to the atheist's profane que 
ry, What profit is it to serve God ? to what purpose to lead so 
strict and precise a life ? You may now see to what purpose it 
is ; and whereunto godliness (which righteousness here includes) 
is profitable as having, besides what it entitles to here, the pro 
mise of that life which is to come. There needs no more to 
discover any thing not to be vain (inasmuch as nothing can be 
said to be so, but in reference to an end, as being good for no 
thing) than the eviction of these two things : that it aims at 
a truly worthy and valuable end; and that its tendency thereto 
is direct and certain. In the present case, both these are ob 
vious enough at the first view. For as to the former of them : 
all the world will agree, without disputing the matter, that the 
last end of man (that is, which he ultimately propounds to 
himself) is his best good : and that he can design no further 
good to himself than satisfaction ; nothing after or beyond that; 
and what can afford it, if the vision and participation of the di- 
rine glory do not ? As to the latter : besides all that assurance 


given by Scripture-constitution to the righteous man, concern 
ing his future reward, let the consciences be consulted of the 
most besotted sinners, in any lucid interval, and they will give 
their suffrage (Balaam, that so earnestly followed the reward of 
unrighteousness, not excepted,) that the way of righteousness is 
that only likely way to happiness ; and would therefore desire to 
die, at least the righteous man's death, and that their latter end 
should be like his. So is wisdom (I might call it righteousness 
too; the wicked man is the Scripture fool, and the righteous, 
the wise man) justified not by her children only, but by her 
enemies also. And sure, it is meet that she should be more o- 
penly justified by her children, and that they learn to silence 
and repress those mis-giving thoughts; Surely I have washed 
my hands in vain, &c. Psal. 73. 13. And be stedfast, unmo- 
reable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch 
as they know their labour is not in vain in the Lord. 1 Cor. 
15. 58. 


Two other inferences, from the consideration of the season of this bles 
sedness : The former, that inasmuch as this blessedness is not 
attained in this life, the present happiness of saints must in a great 
part consist in hope. The latter, that great is the wisdom and 
sagacity of the righteous man, which waves a present temporary 
happiness and chooses, that which is distant and future. 

|"Nasmuch as the season of this blessedness is not on this side 
*- the grave, nor expected by saints till they awake ; we may 
further infer, 

9. That their happiness in the mean time doth very much 
consist in hope ; or that hope must needs be of very great neces 
sity and use to them in their present state for their comfort and 
support. It were not otherwise possible to subsist in the ab 
sence and want of their highest good, while nothing in this 
lower world is, as to kind and nature, suitable to their desires, 
or makes any colourable overture to them of satisfaction and 


happiness. Others (as the psalmist observes) have their porti 
on in this life ; that good, which as to the species and kind of 
it, is most grateful to them, is present, under view, within 
sight; and (as the apostle Rom, 8. 24.) Hope that is seen is 
not hope, for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for it ? 
But those whose more refined spirits, having received the first- 
fruits of the Holy Spirit of God, prompt them to groan after 
something beyond time, and above this sublunary sphere ; of 
them the apostle there tells us, that they are saved by hope. 
They (as if he should say) subsist by it ; they were never able 
to hold out, were it not for their hope ; and that a hope too, 
beyond this life, as is the hope of a Christian ; if in this life on 
ly we had hope in Christ, &c. 1 Cor. 15. 19. The hope of 
a Christian, as such, is suitable to its productive cause, the re 
surrection of Christ from the dead ; begotten to a lively hope by 
the resurrection, &c. 1 Pet. 1. 3. Thence is it the hope of 
a renewed, never-dying life, the hope of a blessed immortality; 
whereof Christ's resurrection was a certain argument and 

Indeed the new creature is, ab origine, wiginally, and all 
along a hoping creature, both in its primum and its porro esse : 
It is conceived, and formed, and nursed up in hope. In its 
production, and in its progress towards perfection, it is mani 
festly influenced thereby. In the first return of the soul to God, 
hope being then planted as a part of the holy, gracious nature, 
now manifestly discovers itself, when the soul begins to act, 
(as turning after the reception of the divine influence, is its act) 
hope insinuates itself into (or induces rather) that very act. 
Returning is not the act of a despairing, but hoping soul. It 
is God apprehended as reconcileable, that attracts and wins it ; 
while he is looked upon as an implacable enemy, the soul natu 
rally shuns him, and comes not nigh, till drawn with those cords 
of a man, the bands of love. Hos. 1 1.4, While it says, there is 
no hope, it says withal (desperately enough) I have loved stran 
gers, and after them will 1 go. But If there be any hope in Is 
rael, concerning this thing : if it can yet apprehend God wil 
ling to forgive, then let us make a covenant, &c. Ezr. 10. 2. 3. 
This presently draws the hovering soul into a closure and league 
with him. And thus is the union continued. Unsteadfastness 
in the covenant of God, is resolved into this not setting, (Psal. 
78. 7 13.) or fixing of hope in him, or (which amounts to the 
same) setting of hope in God is directed as a means to steadfast 
ness of spirit with him, and a keeping of his covenant. Re 
volting souls are encouraged to return to the Lord upon this 
consideration, that salvation is hoped for in vain from any other. 
(Jer. 3. 22, 23.) the case being indeed the same, in all after- 


conversions as in the first. God as multiplying to pardon, 
and still retaining the same name, the Lord, the Lord gracious 
and merciful, Exod. 34. 6. (which name in all the severals 
that compose and make it up, is in his Christ) invites back to 
him the backsliding sinner, and renews his thoughts of return 
ing. And so is he afterwards under the teachings of grace led 
on by hope, through the whole course of religion towards the 
future glory. Grace appears, teaching sinners to deny ungod 
liness, &c. (Tit. 2. 11. 12. 13.) and in the looking for the bles 
sed hope, the glorious appearing of the greats God, &c. So do 
they keep themselves in the love of God, looking for the mer 
cy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. Thus is the new 
creature formed in hope, and nourished in hope, and if its 
eye were upon pardon at first, it is more upon the promised 
glory afterwards. And yet that last end hath in a degree its at 
tractive influence upon it, from the first formation of it ; it is 
even then taught to design for glory. It is begotten to the live 
ly hope, (where though hope be taken objectively, as the ap 
position shews of the following words, to an inheritance, yet 
the act is evidently connoted ; for the thing hoped for, is 
meant under that notion, as hoped for :) and its whole follow 
ing course is an aiming at glory ; a seeking glory, honour, im 
mortally, &c. Rom. 2. 7 Thus is the work of sanctification 
carried on; he that hath this hope purifieth himself. 1 John. 
3. 3. Thus are losses sustained; The spoiling of goods taken 
^oyfully through the expectation of the better and enduring sub 
stance. Heb. 10. 34. The most hazardous services underta 
ken, even an apostleship to a despised Christ, In the hope of 
eternal life, with God that cannot lie hath promised. Tit. 1. 
1. 2. All difficulties encountered and overcome, while the 
helmet is the hope of salvation. 1 Thes. 5. 3. All worldly 
evils are willingly endured ; and all such good things quitted 
and forsaken, for Christ's sake and his elects'. And if the ques 
tion be asked, (as it was once of Alexander, when so frankly 
distributing his treasures among his followers) what do you re 
serve for yourself ? The resolved Christian makes (with him) 
that short and brave reply, HOPE. He lives upon things fu 
ture and unseen. The objects any one converses with most, 
and in which his life is as it were bound up, are. suitable to the 
ruling principles of life in him. They that are after the flesh, 
do savour the things of the flesh ; they that are after the Spirit, 
the things of the Spirit. Rom. 8. 5. The principle of 
the fleshly life is sense : The principle of the spiritual life 
is faith. Sense is a mean, low, narrow, incomprehensive 
principle, limited to a point, this center of eaith, and TO 
iw this now of time ; it can reach no higher than ter- 


ene things, nor further than present things : so brutish is tfye 
life of him that is led by it; wholly confined to matter andtiine. 
But the righteous live by faith. Their faith governs and main 
tains their life. They steer not their course according to what 
they see, but according to what they believe: and their daily 
sustenance is by the same kind of things. Their faith influences 
not their actions only, but their comforts and enjoyments. 
They subsist by the things they believe, even invisible and eter 
nal things; but it is by the intervening exercise of hope> 
whose object is the same. The apostle having told us from the 
prophetjthat the just shall live by faith,(Heb. 10. 38.) present 
ly subjoins a description of that faith they live by, namely, that 
it is the substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things 
not seen; (Heb. 11. 1.) it substantiates and realizes, evidences 
and demonstrates those glorious objects, so far above the reach 
and sphere of sense. It is constantly sent out to forage in the 
invisible regions for the maintenance of this life ; and thence 
fetches in the provisions upon which hope feeds, to the strength 
ening of the heart, the renewing of life and spirits. Our in 
ward man (saith the apostle 2. Cor. 4. 16. 18.) is renewed day 
by day ; while we look, or take aim (which is next in the series 
of the discourse, for the intervening verse is manifestly paren 
thetical) not at the things that are seen, but .at the things that 
are not seen ; for the things that are seen are temporal, but the 
things that are not seen are eternal. And the word cwitovvluv here 
rendered look doth plainly signify the act of hope as well as that 
of faith ; for it doth not import a mere intuition or behold 
ing, a taking notice or assenting only that there are such 
things, but a designing or scoping at them (which is the very 
word) with an appropriative eye ; as things that notwithstanding 
their distance, or whatsoever imaginable difficulty, are hoped to 
be attained to and enjoyed, And here are evidently the dis 
tinct parts of faith and hope in this business ; faith, upon the 
authority and credit of the divine word and promise, persuades 
the heart that there is such a glorious state of things reserved for 
saints in general, (faith can go no further for the word of pro 
mise goes no further) and so serves instead of eyes in the di 
vine light, to view those glories ; or it presents them (as so 
many substantial realities,) demonstrates them, submits them 
to view, whence hope reaches forth to them ; contends against 
and triumphs over all attending difficulties, and possesses them; 
gives the soul an early anticipated fruition of them, for its pre 
sent support and relief. So that it rejoices in the hope of the 
glory of God. Rom. 5. 2 12. 12. It might well therefore be 
said, I had fainted, if I had not believed, (Psal. 2J. 13. 14.) 
or who can express how sad my case had been, if I had not be- 

VOL. III. 2 A 


Sieved ? for there is an elegant aposiopesis in the hebrew text, 
the words "I had fainted" being supplied in the translation. 
If I had not believed, what had become of me then ? As though 
he had said, Inasmuch as faith feeds, as it were, those hopes 
which more immediately the Lord makes use of* for the strength 
ening his people's hearts, as it was intimated in the following 
words, compared with Psal. 31. 24. In the present case ; faith 
ascertains the heart, of the truth of the promises, so tliat thus 
the soul states the case to itself ; Though I have not Walked to 
and fro in those upper regions, nor taken a view of the heavenly 
inheritance ; though I have not been in the third heavens, and 
seen the ineffable glory ; yet the gospel-revelation, which hath 
brought life and immortality to light, the word of the eternal God d 
who hath told me this is the state of things in the other world, 
cannot but be true ; my faith may therefore be to me instead 
of eyes ; and th y divine testimony must supply the place of 
light ; both together give, methinks, a fair prospect of those far 
distant, glorious objects which I have now in view. Now this 
awakens hope, and makes it revive, and run to embrace what 
faith hath discovered in the promise : In hope of eternal life, 
which God that cannot lie hath promised. Tit. 1. 2. Psal. 119. 
49. It is the word of God that causes the soul to hope, (that 
is believed, for disbelieved, it signifies nothing with it) and that 
not only as it contains a narration, but a promise concerning the 
future estate. I may without much emotion of heart, hear from 
a traveller the description of a pleasant country, where I have 
not been ; but if the Lord of that country give me, besides the* 
account of it, an assurance of enjoying rich and ample posses 
sions there, this presently begets a hope, the pleasure whereof 
would much relieve a present distressed estate ; and which no 
thing, but that of actual possession can exceed. That it is not 
more so with us here, admits of no excuse. Is God less to be 
believed than a man ? Will we deny him the privilege of being 
able to discover his mind, and the truth of things credible, 
which we ordinarily allow to any one that is not a convicted 
liar ? Christ expects his disciples should very confidently assure 
themselves of the preparations made for them in another world, 
upon that very ground alone, that he had not told them the 
contrary : Let not your hearts be troubled, ye believe in God, 
believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions, if 
it were n.ot so, I would have told you. I go to prepare, &c. 
(John 11. J, 2.) intimating to them, they ought to have that 
opinion of his plainness and sincerity, as never to imagine he 
would have proselyted them to a religion that should undo them, 
in this world, if there were not a sufficient recompence awaiting 
them in. the other, but he would certainly have let them knowa 


the worst of their case : much more might he expect, they 
should be confident upon his so often and expressly telling them, 
that so it is. If his silence might be a ground of hope, much 
more his word. And surely so grounded a hope cannot hut he 
consolatory, and relieving in this sad interval, till the awaking 

10. Since this blessedness of the righteous is, as to the season 
of it, future, not expected till they awake, we may infer, that 
it is great wisdom and sagacity that guides the righteous man's 
choice ; while he waves a present and temporary, and chooses 
this future and expected blessedness. It is true, that philosophy 
hath been wont to teach us, that choice or election hath no 
place about the end, because that is but one, and choice always 
implies a competition. But that very reason evinces, that in 
our present state and case, choice must have place about the 
end. That philosophy might have suited better the state of in 
nocent Adam ; when there was nothing to blind and bribe a 
man's judgment, or occasion it to deliberate about the supreme 
end, (then it might be truly said, deliberation itself was a de 
fection,) nor to pervert and misincline his will ; and so its 
action, in proposing its end, would be simple intention, not 
choice. But so hath the apostacy and sin of man blinded and 
befooled him, that he is at a loss about nothing more than what 
is the chief good. And though saint Augustine (De Civit. 
Dei. lib. 19.) reduce Varro's two hundred and eighteen differing 
sects about it to twelve, that is enough to prove (but daily ex 
perience doth it more convincingly and sadly) a real, though 
most unjust competition. Therefore a sinner can never be 
blessed without choosing his blessedness, and therein it highly 
concerns him to choose aright, and that a spirit of wisdom and 
counsel guide his choice. While man had not as yet fallen, 
to deliberate whether he should adhere to God or no, was a 
gradual declension, the very indication of his fall; but having 
fallen, necessity makes that a virtue which was a wickedness be 
fore. There is no returning to God without considering our 
ways. The so much altered state of the case, quite alters 
the nature of the things. It was a consulting to do evil before; 
now to do good. And hence also, choosing the Lord to be our 
God,Josh.24.15. becomes a necessary duty. Which is to make 
choice of this very blessedness, that consists in the knowledge, 
likeness, and enjoyment of him. And now, inasmuch as the 
blessedness is not fully attained by the longing soul, till time ex 
pire and its eternity commence; here is a great discovery of that 
wisdom which guides this happy choice. This is great wisdom 
in prospection ; in taking care of the future ; and at how much 


the further distance one can provide, so much the greater re-* 
putation of wisdom is justly acquired to him ; yea, we. seem to 
place the sum of practical wisdom in this one thing, while we 
agree to call it providence, under the contracted name of pru 
dence. The wise man makes it at least an evidence or part of 
wisdom, when he tells us, the prudent foreseeth, &c. Prov. 22. 
3. The righteous man so far excels in this faculty, as that his 
eye looks through all the periods of time, and penetrates into 
eternity, recommends to the soul a blessedness of that same 
stamp and alloy, that will endure and last for ever. It will not 
content him to be happy for an Hour, or for any space that can 
Lave an end ; after which it shall be possible to him to look 
back and recount with himself how happy he was once: nor is 
he so much solicitous what his present state be, if he can but find 
he is upon safe terms as to his future and eternal state. As for 
me, saith the psalmist, (he herein sorts and severs himself from 
them whose portion was in this life,) I shall behold-^-I shall be 
satisfied, when I awake ; Est bene non potuit dicere dicit erit, 
he could not say it was well with him, but shall be, as though 
he had said, Let the purblind, short-sighted sensualist embrace 
this present world, who can see no further : let me have my 
portion in the world to come ; may my soul always lie open to 
the impression of the powers of the coming world; and in this, 
so use every thing as to be under the power of nothing. What 
are the pleasures of sin, that are but for a season; or what the 
sufferings of this noiu, this moment of affliction, to the glory that 
shall be revealed, to the exceeding and eternal glory ? He con 
siders, patient afflicted godliness will triumph at last, when 
riotous, raging wickedness shall lament for ever. He may for a 
time weep and mourn, while the world rejoices; he may be 
sorrowful, but his sorrow shall be turned into joy, and his joy 
none shall take from him. (John 16'. 20, 22.) Surely here is 
wisdom ; this is the wisdom that is from above, and tends 
thither. This is to be wise unto salvation. The righteous mart 
is a judicious man; he hath in a measure that judgment (wherein 
the apostle prays the Philippians might abound, Phil. 1. 9, 
10.) to approve things that are excellent, and accordingly to 
make his choice. This is a sense (little thought of by the 
author) wherein tjiat sober speech of the voluptuous philosopher 
(Epicurus) is most certainly true, A man cannot live happily, 
without living wisely. No man shall ever enjoy the eternal 
pleasures hereafter, that in this acquits not himself wisely here, 
even in this choosing the better part, that shall never be taken 
from him. In this the plain righteous man out- vies the greatest 
sophists, thescribe, the disputer,the politician^ the prudent mam^ 
monist, the facetious wit; who in their several kinds,, all think; 


themselves highly to have merited to he accounted wise : and 
that this point of wisdom should escape their notice, and be 
the principal thing with him, can be resolved into nothing else 
but the divine good pleasure ! In this contemplation our Lord 
Jesus Christ is said to have rejoiced in spirit, (it even put his 
great comprehensive soul into an extacy,) Father, I thank thee, 
Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from 
the wise and prudent, and revealed them to babes ; even so 
Father, because it pleased thee! Luke 10.21. Here was a 
thing fit to be reflected on, as a piece of divine royalty; a part 
worthy of the Lord of heaven and earth ! And what serious spirit 
would it not amaze, to weigh and ponder this case awhile ; to 
see men excelling in all other kinds of knowledge, so far ex 
celled by those they most contemn, in the highest point of wis 
dom; such as know how to search into the most abstruse 
mysteries of nature ; that can unravel, or see through the most 
perplexed intrigues of state ; that know how to save their own 
stake, and secure their private interest in whatsoever times; yet 
so little seen (often, for not many wise) in the matters that con 
cern an eternal felicity ! It puts me in mind of what I find 
observed by some, dementia quoad hoc, particular madness as 
it is called ; when persons, in every thing else, capable of sober 
rational discourse, when you bring them to some one thing 
(that in reference to which they became distempered at first) 
they rave and are perfectly mad : how many that can manage a 
discourse with great reason and judgment about other matters, 
who when you come to discourse with them about the affairs of 
practical godliness, and which most directly tend to that future 
state of blessedness, they are as at their wits end, know not what 
to say; they savour not those things? These are things not un 
derstood, but by such to whom it is given : and surely that given 
wisdom is the most excellent wisdom. Sometimes God doth, 
as it were, so far gratify the world, as to speak their own lan 
guage, and call them wise that affect to be called so, and that 
wisdom which they would fain have go under that namer (Moses 
it is said was skilled in all the wisdom of Egypt, &c. Acts 7-22.) 
but at other times he expressly calls those wise men fools, and 
their wisdom, folly and madness ; or annexes some disgraceful 
abject for distinction sake; or applies those appellatives ironically, 
and in manifest derision. No doubt, but any such person as 
was represented in the parable, would have thought himself to 
have done the part of a very wise man, in entertaining such de 
liberation and resolves, as we find he had there with himself : 
how strange was that to his cars, Thou fool, this night shall they 
require thy soul. &c.Luke. 12.20. Their wisdom is sometimes 
said to be foolish; or else called the wisdom of the flfesb,or fleshly 




wisdom ; said to be earthly, sensual, devilish ; they are said to 
be wise to do evil; while to do good they have no understanding; 
they are brought sometimes as it were upon the stage with their 
wisdom, to be the matter of divine triumph ; where is the wise ? 
and that which they account foolishness is made to confound 
their wisdom. And indeed do they deserve to be thought wise, 
that are so busily intent upon momentary trifles, and trifle with 
eternal concernments ? that prefer vanishing shadows to the 
everlasting glory? that follow lying vanities, and forsake their 
Own mercies ? Yea, will they not cease to be wise in their own 
eyes also, when they see the issue, and reap the fruits of their 
foolish choice ? when they find the happiness they preferred 
before this eternal one is quite over ; and nothing remains to 
them of it, but an afflictive remembrance ? that the torment they 
were told would follow, is but now beginning, and without end? 
when they hear from the mouth of their impartial Judge ; Re 
member, you in your life-time had your good things, and my 
faithful servants their evil ; now they must be comforted, and 
you tormented ? when they are told, you have received (Luke* 
6. 24, 25.) the consolation ; you were full, ye did laugh, now 
you must pine, and mourn, and weep ? Will they not then 
be as ready to be-fool themselves, and say as they, (Wisd. 5. 3.) 
See those righteous ones are they whom we sometimes had in 
derision, and for a proverb of reproach ; we fools counted their 
life madness, and that their end was without honour ; but now, 
how are they numbered among the sons of God, and their lot is 
among the saints ? They that were too wise before, to mind so 
mean a thing as religion (the world through wisdom knew not 
God; 1 Cor. 1. 21. strange wisdom !) that could so wisely baffle 
conscience, and put fallacies upon their own souls ; that had so 
Ingenious shifts to elude conviction, and divert any serious 
thought from fastening upon their spirits ; that were wont so 
slily to jeer holiness, seemed as they meant to laugh religion 
out of countenance; * they will now know, that a circumspect 
walking, a faithful redeeming of time, and improving it in ordeif 
to eternity, was to do, not as fools, but as wise; and begin to 
think of themselves, now at last, as all wise and sober mea 
thought of them before. 

* Folly is joy to him that is destitute of wisdom. Prov. 15. 



Tlic other general head of the improvement or use of the doctrine 
propounded from the text, containing Secondly, Certain rules or 
prescriptions of duty connatural thereto. 1. That we settle in 
our minds the true notion of this blessedness. 2. That we com 
pare the temper of our own spirits with it, and labour thence to 
discern whether we may lay claim to it or no. 

far we have an account of the truths to be considered 
and weighed that have dependance on the doctrine of the 
text. We proceed, 

Secondly. To the duties to be practised and done in reference 
thereto, which I shall lay down in the ensuing rules or prescrip 

1 . That we admit and settle the distinct notion of this bles 
sedness in our minds and judgments : that we fix in our own 
souls, apprehensions agreeable to the account this scripture 
hath given us of it. This is a counsel leading and introductive 
to the rest; and which if it obtain with us, will have a general 
influence upon the whole course of that practice which the 
doctrine already opened calls for. As our apprehensions of 
this blessedness are more distinct and clear, it may be expected 
more powerfully to command our hearts and lives. Hence it is, 
in great part, the spirits and conversations of Christians have so 
little savour and appearance of heaven in them. We rest in 
some general and confused notion of it, in which there is little 
-either of efficacy or pleasure ; we descend not into a particular 
inquiry and consideration what it is. Our thoughts of it are 
gloomy and obscure; and hence it is our spirit is naturally listless 
and indifferent towards it, and rather contents itself to sit still 
in a region all lightsome round about, and among objects it hath 
some present acquaintance with, than venture itself forth as into 
a new world which it knows but little of. And hence our lives 
arc low and carnal ; they look not as though we were seeking 
the heavenly country ; and indeed who can be in good earnest in 
seeking after an unknown state ? This is owing to. our negligence 


and infidelity. The blessed God hath not been shy and reserved j 
hath not hidden or concealed from us the glory of the other 
world ; nor locked up heaven to us; nor left us to the un 
certain guesses of our own imagination, the wild fictions of an 
unguided fancy; which would have created us a poetical heaven 
only, and have mocked us with false elysiums : but though 
much be yet within the vail, he hath been liberal in his dis* 
coveries tons. Life and immortality are brought to light in 
the gospel. The future blessedness (though some refined hea 
thens have had near guesses at it) is certainly apprehensible by 
the measure only of God's revelation of it: for who can deter 
mine, with certainty, of the effects of divine good pleasure, (it 
is your Father's good pleasure to give you a kingdom ?) Who 
can tell before hand what so free and boundless goodness will 
do, further than as he himself discovers it? The discovery is as 
free as the donation. The things that eye hath not seen, and 
ear not heard, and which have not entered into the heart of 
man, God hath revealed to us by his Spirit: (1 Cor. 2. 9.) and 
it follows, ver. 1 2, We have received the Spirit of God, that 
we might know the things freely given us of God. The Spirit 
is both the principle of the external revelation, as having inspired 
the Scriptures which foreshew this glory, and of the internal 
revelation also, to enlighten blind minds that would otherwise 
(uiw<7r*ay) never be able to discover things at so great a distance, 
see afar off: therefore called the spirit of wisdom and revelation, 
by which the eyes of the understanding are enlightened to know 
the hope of that calling, and the riches of the glory of his in 
heritance among the saints as the a* there is most fitly to be 
rendered. Eph. 1.17- 

But this internal discovery is made by the mediation and in- 
terveniency of the external : therefore having that before our 
eyes we are to apply our minds to the study and consideration of 
it ; and in that way to expect the free illumination of the Holy 
Spirit. In the mean time we must charge our ignorance, and 
the darkness of our cloudy thoughts, touching these things, upon 
our carelessness, that we do not attend; or our incredulity, that 
we will not believe what God hath revealed concerning them : 
it is therefore a dutiful attention, arid reverential faith that must 
settle and fix the notion of this blessedness. If we will no,t re 
gard nor give gredit to what God hath discovered concerning 
it, we may sit still in a torpid, disconsolate darkness, which we 
ourselves are the authors of, or (which is no less pernicious) 
compass ourselves with sparks beaten out of our own forge,wa]k 
in the light of our own fire, cheat our souls with the fond dream - 
of an imagined heaven, no where to be found, till we at length 
lie down in sorrow. How perverse are the imaginations of men 


in this (as in reference to the way, so) in respect oi the end also; 
for as they take upon them to fancy another way to happiness 
quite besides and against the plain word of God; so do they 
imagine to themselves another kind of happiness, such as shall 
gratify only their sensual desires ; a mahometan, indeed a fool's 
paradise; or at best it is but a negative heaven; they many times 
entertain in their thoughts (of which their sense too is the only 
measure) a state wherein nothing shall offend or incommode 
the flesh ; in which they shall not hunger, nor thirst, nor feel 
want : and when they have thus stated the matter in their own 
thoughts, we cannot beat them out of it, but that they desire 
to go to heaven (namely, the heaven of their own making ;) 
when, did they conceive it truly and fully, they would find their 
hearts to abhor from it, even as hell itself. Therefore here we 
should exercise an authority over ourselves, and awaken con 
science to its proper work and business ; and demand of it, is it. 
not reasonable these divine discoveries should take place with 
me ? hath not God spoken plainly enough ? why should my 
heart any longer hang in doubt with me, or look wishly towatds 
future glory, as if it were an uncouth thing ? or is it reasonable 
to confront my own imaginations to his discoveries? Charge con 
science with the duty it owes to God in such a case ; and let his 
revelations be received with the reverence and resignation which 
they challenge ; and in them study and contemplate the bles 
sedness of awakened souls, till you have agreed with yourself 
fully how to conceive it. Run over every part of it in your 
thoughts ; view the several divine excellencies which you are 
hereafter to see and imitate : and think what every thing will 
contribute to the satisfaction and contentment of your spirits. 
This is a matter of unspeakable consequence. Therefore, to be 
as clear as is possible, you may digest what is recommended 
to you in these more particular directions. 

(1.) Resolve with yourselves, to make the divine revelation 
of this blessedness the prime measure and reason of all your ap 
prehensions concerning it. Fix that purpose in your own 
hearts, so to order all your conceptions about it, that when you 
demand of yourselves, what do 1 conceive of the future blessed 
ness ? and why do I conceive so ? the divine revelation may 
answer both the questions. I apprehend what God hath re 
vealed, and because he hath so revealed. The Lord of heaven 
sure best understands it, and can best help us to the under 
standing of it. If it be said of the origin of this world, <r 
vow/***, it may much more be said of the state of the other, we 
understand it by faith: (Heb. 11. 3.) that must inform and 
perfect our intellectuals in this matter. 

(2.) Therefore reject and sever from the notion of this bles- 

\OL.UI. 2 


sedness, whatsoever is alien to the account Scripture gives us 
of it, Think not that sensual pleasure, that a liberty of sin 
ning, that an exemption from the divine dominion, distance 
and estrangedness from God (which by nature you wickedly af 
fect) can have any ingrediency into, or consistency with, this 
state of blessedness. 

(3.) Gather up into it whatsoever you can find by the scrip 
ture-discovery to appertain or belong thereto. Let your notion 
of it be to your uttermost, not only true, but comprehensive and 
full, and as particular and positive, as God's revelation will war 
rant: especially remember it is a spiritual blessedness, that con-. 
sists in the refining and perfecting of your spirits by the vision 
and likeness of the holy God, and the satisfying of them there 
by for ever. 

(4.) Get the notion of this blessedness deeply imprinted in 
your minds ; so as to abide with you, that you may not be al 
ways at a loss, and change your apprehensions every time you 
come to think of it. Let a once well-formed idea, a clear, full 
state of it be preserved entire, and be (as a lively image) al 
ways before your eyes, which you may readily view upon all 

2. That having well fixed the notion of this blessedness in 
your minds, you seriously reflect upon yourself, and compare 
the temper of your spirit with it ; that you may find out how it is 
aftected thereto ; and thence judge in what likelihood you are 
of enjoying it. The general aversion of men's spirits to this so 
necessary work of self-reflection, is one of the most deplorable 
symptoms of lapsed degenerated humanity. The wickedness- 
that hath over-spread the nature of man; and a secret conscious 
ness and misgiving hath made men afraid of themselves, and 
studiously to decline all acquaintance with their own souls ; to 
shun themselves as ghosts arid spectres ; they cannot endure ta 
appear to themselves. You can hardly impose a severer task 
upon a wicked man, than to go retire an hour or two, and com 
mune with himself; he knows not how to face his own thoughts: 
his own soul is a devil to him, as indeed it will be in hell, the 
most frightful, tormenting devil. Yet, what power is there in 
man, more excellent, more appropriate to reasonable nature, 
than that of reflecting, of turning his thoughts upon himself ? 
Sense must here confess itself outdone. The eye that sees other 
objects cannot see itself : but the mind, a rational sun, cannot 
only project its beams, but revert them ; make its thoughts turn 
inward. It can see its own face, contemplate itself. And how 
useful an endowment is this to the nature of man? If he err, 
he might perpetuate his error, and wander infinitely, if he had 
not this self -reflecting power ; and if he do well, never knew 


without it the comfort of a rational self- approbation : which 
comfort paganish morality hath valued so highly, as to account, 
it did associate a man with the inhabitants of /heaven, and make 
him lead his life as among the gods (as their pagan language 
is ;) though the name of the reflecting power conscience, they 
were less acquainted with ; the thing itself they reckoned as a 
kind of indwelling deity, as may be seen at large in those dis 
courses of Maxim us Tyrius, and Apuleius, both upon the same sub 
ject, concerning the god of Socrates. And another givingthis pre 
cept. Familiarize thyself with the gods, adds, 2vfyv QMS Zv$j & 

Qsois o a-vvf^us ctaxvvs- fxvTots TW soivla \J/v;)y,<a:ferxo/xv7jy fftlpf rots aCTovs/xo- 
IAZVOIS, Tzoits&xv $e ocrcx, puhslxt o &aw//,&>y, ov ixxfu TTfof xrw &C. &TOS $t f^m 

iy.ex.Ts vss KO.I Aoyw. Marc. Anton, lib. 5. "and this shaft thou do if 
thou bear thy mind becomingly towards them, being well 
pleased with the things they give, and doing the things that 
may please thy daemon or genius, whom (saith he the most 
high God (which they mean by Jupiter) hath put into every 
man, as a derivation or extraction from himself (a-Troo--^^/**) 
to be his president and guide; namely, every one's own mind and 
reason. And this mind or reason in that notion of it, as we 
approve ourselves to it, and study to please it, is the same thing 
we intend by the name of conscience. An4 how high ac 
count they had of this work of self- reflection, may appear in 
that they entitled the oracle to that document, ywo-0cryio* 
know thyself ,Ecvelo descendit, came doicnjrom heaven esteem 
ing it above human discovery, and that it could have no lower 
than a divine original ; and therefore consecrating and writing it 
up in golden characters in their delphic temple (as Pliny in 
forms* us) for a heavenly inspired dictate. 

Among christians that enjoy the benefit of the gospel-revela 
tion, in which men may behold themselves, as one may his na 
tural face in a glass, how highly should this self-knowledge be 
prized, and how fully attained ? The gospel discovers, at the 
same time, the ugly deformities of a man's soul, and the means 
of attaining a true spiritual comeliness 5 yea, it is itself the in 
strument of impressing the divine image and glory upon men's 
spirits: which when it is in any measure done, they become socia 
ble and conversable with themselves, and when it is but in doing 
it so convincingly, and with so piercing energy, lays open the very 
thoughts of men's hearts, (Heb. 4. 12.) so thoroughly rips up 
and dissects the soul, so directly turns, and strictly holds a man's 
eye intent upon himself; so powerfully urges and obliges the 

* Hist. Muncli, The wisdom and significancy of which dedication 
Plato also (in Alcibitul. 1.) takes notice of. 




sinner to mind and study his own soul ; that where it hath 
effected any thing, been any way operative upon men's spirits, 
they are certainly supposed to be in a good measure acquainted 
with themselves, whatever others are. Therefore the apostle 
bids the Corinthians, if they desire a proof of the power and 
truth of his ministry, to consult themselves, examine yourselves, 
and presently subjoins, know ye not your own selves ? (2 Cor. 
13. 5.) intimating, it was an insupposable thing they should be 
ignorant. What ! christians and not know yourselves ? Can you 
have been under the gospel so long, and be strangers to your 
selves ? none can think it. Sure if is a most reproachful thing, 
a thing full of ignominy and scandal, that a man should name 
himself a Christian, and yet be under gross ignorance, touching 
the temper and bent of his soul. It signifies, that such a 
one understands little of the design and tendency of the very 
religion he pretends to be of, that he was a Christian by mere 
chance that he took up and continues his profession in a dream. 
Christianity aims at nothing, it gets a man nothing, if it do not 
piocure him a better spirit, it is an empty insignificant thing, 
it hath no design in it at all, if it do not design this. It pre 
tends to nothing else. It doth not offer men secular advantages, 
emoluments, honours ; it hath no such aim to make men in 
that sense rich, or great, or honourable, but to make them holy, 
and fit them for God. He therefore loses all his labour and 
reward, and shews himfelf a vain trifler in the matters of reli 
gion, that makes not this the scope and mark of his Christian 
profession and practice; and herein he can do nothing with 
out a constant self-inspection. As it therefore highly concerns, 
it well becomes a Christian under the gospel, to be in a con 
tinual observation and study of himself, that he may know to 
what purpose he is a Christian ; and take notice, what (or 
whether any) good impressions be yet made upon his spirit ; 
whether he can gain any thing by his religion. And if a man en 
ter upon an inquiry into himself, what more important question 
can he put than this, In what posture am I as to my last and 
chief end ? how is my spirit framed towards it ? This is the 
intendment and business of the gospel, to fit souls for blessed- 
ssen : andtherefore, if I would inquire, what am I the better 
for the gospel ? this is the sense and meaning of that very ques 
tion, Is my soul wrought by it to any better disposition for bles 
sedness ? Upon which the resolution of this depends, Am I 
ever likely to enjoy it, yea or no ? That which may make any 
neart not deplorably stupid, shake and tremble, that such a. 
thing should be drawn into question; but the case with the most 
requires it, and it must be so. It is that therefore 1 would fain 


here awaken souls to, and assist them in ; that is, propound 
something (in pursuance of the present direction) which might 
both awaken them to move this great question, and help them 
in discussing it. Both which will be done in shewing the im 
portance of this latter ultimate question in itself, and then the 
subserviency of the former subordinate one, towards the decid 
ing it. These two things therefore I shall a little stay upon : 
to shew and urge the requisiteness of debating with ourselves, 
the likelihood or hopefulness of our enjoying this blessedness, 
and to discover that the present habitude, or disposedness of 
our spirits to it, is a very proper apt medium, whereby to judge 

(1.) As to the former of these. Methinks our business should 
do itself: and that the very mention of such a blessedness,should 
naturally prompt souls (o bethink themselves,. Doth it belong 
to me ? have I any thing to do with it ? Methinks every one 
that hears of it should be beforehand with me, and prevent me 
here. Where is that stupid soul that reckons it an indifferent 
thing to attain this blessed state, or fall short of it ? When thou 
hearest this is the common expectation of saints, to behold the 
face of God, and be satisfied with his likeness, when they awake; 
canst thou forbear to say with thyself, and what shall become of 
me when I awake? what kind of awaking shall 1 have ? shall I 
awake amidst the beams of glory, or flames of wrath ? If thou 
canst be persuaded to think this no matter of indifferency, then 
stir up thy drowsy soul to a serious inquiry, how it is likely to 
fare with thee for ever ; and to that purpose put thy conscience 
to it, to give a free, sincere answer to these few queries. 

[I.] Canst thou say thou art already certain of thy eternal 
blessedness ? Art thou so sure, that thou needest not inquire ? 
1 know not who thou art that now readest these lines, and there 
fore cannot judge of thy confidence whether it be right or 
wrong, ; only that thou mayst not answer too hastily, consider a 
little, that certainty of salvation is no common thing; (Phil. 2. 
12.) not among (I speak you see of subjective certainty) the 
heirs of salvation themselves. How many of God's holy ones, 
that cannot say they are certain ; yea, how few that can say they 
are ? That exhortation to a church of saints, work out your 
salvation with fear and trembling, (they of whom he expiesseth 
such confidence, chap. 1.6. over whom he so glories, chap,4.1 ) 
implies this to be no common thing; so doth Christ's advice to 
his disciples, strive to enter in at the strait gate ; and St. Peter 
to the scattered Jews (that he saith had obtained like precious 
faithj &c.) give diligence to make your calling and election 
sure ; with many more passages of like import. Yea, how full 
is the Scripture of the complaints of such crying out of broken 


bones, of festering wounds, of distraction by divine terrors. Now 
what shall we say in this case, when so eminent saints have left 
us records of the distresses and agonies of their spirits, under 
the apprehended displeasure of God ? May it not occasion us 
to suspend awhile, and consider ? have we much more reason 
to be confident than they ? and do we know none that lead 
stricter and more holy lives than we, that are yet in the dark, 
and at a loss in judging their spiritual states ? I will not say, 
that we must therefore think ourselves bound to doubt, because 
another possibly better than we doth so. Unknown accidents 
may much vary the cases. But who would not think, that rea 
son and modesty had quite forsaken the world, to hear (where 
the odds is so vastly great) the vain boasts of the loose gener 
ality, compared with the humble, solicitous doubts of many 
serious, knowing Christians ? to see such trembling about their 
soul-concernments, who have walked with God, and served him 
long in prayers and tears ? when multitudes that have nothing 
whereon to bottom a confidence but pride and ignorance, shall 
pretend themselves certain ! If drawing breath awhile, thou 
wilt suspect thou have reason not to be peremptory in thy con 
fidence ; thou wilt sure think thyself concerned to inquire fur 
ther. Urge thy soul then with this question again and again,, 
Art thou yet certain, yea or no I 

[2.] Is it a comfortable state to be uncertain, or to have before 
thee apparent grounds of a rational and just doubt ? For cause- 
Jess doubts may sooner vanish, when their causelessness is once 
discovered ; and so they are less likely to keep a person that is 
capable of understanding his own case, under a stated discom 
fort. But I suppose thee, in order to the answering the fore 
going query, to have in some measure considered the case ; and 
that with a preponderating apprehension of danger in it, thou 
returnest it uncertain. Uncertain, man ] And what, wilt thoir 
remain uncertain ? wilt thou sit still so, till thou perish ? shall 
thy life hang in doubt, and thy soul be in jeopardy every hour, 
till the everlasting flames resolve the doubt, and put the matter 
out of question with thee ? What course canst thou apply thy 
self to, but to inquire and search further into thy own state, to 
avoid the torture of thy own fears, the pangs and dreadful ex 
pectation of a palpitating, misgiving heart? It is true, that in 
quisitive diligent doubtfulness hath hope and comfort in it, but 
doubtfulness joined with a resolution of casting off all further 
care, is utterly desperate and disconsolate. What remains to 
thee in that case, but a fearful looking for of fiery indignation? 
how canst thou pass an hour in peace, while thou apprehended 
it unlikely, thou shalt see the face, and be satisfied with the image 
ef God? do uot thy own thoughts represent to thee, the amazing 


sights, the horrid images which shall for ever entertain and pos 
sess thy soul? Art thou not daily haunted with divine horrors? 
when thou sayest at night, thy bed shall refresh thee, art thou 
not terrified with dreams and affrighted with visions ? Dost thou 
not say in the morning, would to God it were evening ; and in 
the evening say, would to God it were morning ? And while 
tjiou knowest not what else to do, meditate only changes in 
stead of remedies ? or if thou find no such trouble invading 
thy mind, let me further ask : 

[3.] Is it reasonable to be secure in such a state of uncertain 
ty ? Debate this matter a little while with thyself. Is it thy 
reason, or thy sloth that makes thee sit still and forbear to look 
into thy spiritual affairs ? Is it any rational consideration, or not 
rather the mere indisposition of a soul, afraid to know its own 
state, that suspends thee from inquiring ? What hast thou to 
say, that looks like a reason ? Is it that it will disturb thy 
thoughts, interrupt thy pleasures, fill thee with anxious cares 
and fears, which thou art as loth to admit, as burning coals in 
to thy bosom ? Is it that thou canst not endure to look upon so 
dreadful an object, as the appearing danger, or possibility of 
thy being miserable to eternity ? And art thou therefore resolv 
ed to shut thine eyes, and cry peace, peace ? This is to avoid 
a present inconvenience, by an eternal mischief, (a gross over 
straining the paradox \) for avoiding the present fear of hell to 
run into it ; as if because a man cannot bear the thoughts of 
dying, he should presently cut his own throat. Vain man ! 
canst thou not bear the thoughts of eternal misery ; how wilt 
thou bear the thing ? And how long-lived dost thou think that 
peace shall be, that thou purchases! upon so dear and hard 
terms ? canst thou promise thyself an hour ? mayst thou not 
lose thy purchase and price together the next moment ? canst 
thou defer thy misery by forgetting it ; or will thy judgment 
linger, and thy damnation slumber, while thou securely linger- 
est and slumberest ? canst thou wink hell into nothing ; and 
put it out of being, by putting it out of thy thoughts ? Alas 
man ! open thy eyes when thou wilt, thou shalt find thou hast 
not bettered thy case by having them fast closed. The bit 
terness of death is not yet past. The horrid image is still be 
fore thee. This is not a fancied evil, which a man may dream 
himself into, and eadem opera, with as little difficulty, dream 
himself out of it again : no, thy case is miserable and dange 
rous when thou composest thyself to sleep ; if thou awakest thou 
wilt find it still the same ; only thou didst not apprehend it be 
fore, for then thou vvouldst not have slept : as the drunkard 
that kills a man, and after falls asleep in his drunken fit, he a- 
wakes and understands his wretched case. Would his sleeping 


on, till the officer's arrest had awaked him, have mended the 
matter with him ? But thou wilt possibly say, Is it not better 
here to have a little quiet now, than to be miserable by sad 
thoughts here, and miserable by actual suffering hereafter too ? 
Is not one death enough ? why should one kill himself so often 
over ; and hasten misery, as if it came on too slowly ? Better, 
man ! A hard choice. Supposing thou art to be eternally mise 
rable (if thou understandcst that word eternity,) the good or 
evil of this little inch of time, will signify so little with thee, as 
hardly to weigh any thing in the scale of a rational judgment. 
But what, art thou now dreaming while thou thus reasonest? Dost 
thou yet no better understand thy case ? art thou not under the 
gospel ? Is it not the day of thy hope, and of the Lord's grace 
and patience towards thee ? It was said, that sleeping would 
not better thy case; but it was not said, that awaking would 
not; but all that is here said, is designed to the awakening of 
thee, that thou mayst know thy case, and endeavour a redress. 
Post thou think any man in his sober wits would take all this 
pains thus to reason with thee, if that were the acknowledged 
and agreed state of thy case, that it were already taken for 
granted thou must perish? We might as well go preach to 
devils, and carry down the gospel into hell. But dost thou 
think the holy merciful God sent his Son and his ministers to 
mock men ; and to treat with them about their eternal concern 
ments, when there is no hope ? Were that thy case, thou hadst 
as good a pretence as the devil had, to complain of being tor 
mented before thy time. But if thou be not wilfully perverse, 
in mistaking the matter we are reasoning about, thou mayst un 
derstand, thy reason is here appealed to in this ; whether having 
so fair hopes before thee, as the gospel gives, of this blessedness 
we are discoursing of, it be reasonable from the apprehension of 
a mere possibility of miscarrying, (which can only be through 
thy wilful security and neglect,) to give up thyself to a su 
pine negligence, and indulge that security which is so sure 
to ruin thee, and exchange a possible hoped heaven for a 
certain hell ; or whether rather it he not reasonable to stir up 
thy soul to consider in what posture thou art, towards the at 
tainment of this blessedness, that thou mayst accordingly steer 
thy course in order to it ? If an accusation, or a disease do 
threaten thy life : or a suspected flaw thy title to thy estate, 
wouldst thou not think it reasonable to inquire into thy case ? 
Arid is it not much more desirable, in a matter of this conse 
quence, to be at some certainty ? and prudent to endeavour it, 
if it may possibly be attained ? Whence let me further ask : 
[4.] Canst thou pretend it to be impossible ? Hath God left 


thee under a necessitated ignorance, in this matter ? or denied 
thee sufficient means of knowing how it is with thee in respect 
of thy spiritual estate ? Though he have not given thee a list, 
or told thee the number or names of his sanctified ones, yet 
hath he not sufficiently described the persons^ and given the 
characters by which they may be known ? And hath he not fur 
nished thee with a self-reflecting power 1 , by which thoii art 
enabled to look into thyself, and discern whether thou be of 
them or no? Doth he not offer and afford to serious^ diligent 
souls, the assisting light of his blessed Spirit to guide and 
succeed trie inquiry ? And if thou find it difficult to come 
to a speedy, clear issue, to make a present certain judgment of 
thy case ; ought not that to engage thee to a patient continued 
diligence, rather than in a rash despairing madness to desist and 
cast off all ? inasmuch as the difficulty, though great, is not 
insuperable ; and the necessity and advantage incomparably 
greater. And (thougli divers other things do confessedly fall in) 
the principal difficulty lies in thy aversation and unwillingness. 
Thou art not put to traverse the creation, to climb heaven, or 
dig through the earth ; but thy work lies nigh thee, in thy own 
heart and spirit 3 and what is so nigh, or should be so familiar to 
thee, as thyself ? it is but casting thy eye upon thy own soul, to 
discern which way it is inclined and bent, thou art urged to. 
Which is that we propounded next to discover : namely, 

(2.) That we are to judge of the hopefulness of our enjoying 
this blessedness, by the present habitude or dkposedness of our 
spirits thereto. For what is that righteousne* which qualifies 
for it, but the impress of the gospel upon the minds and hearts 
of men ? The gospel-revelation is the only rule and measure 
of that righteousness : it must therefore consist in conformity 
thereto. And look to the frame and design of the gospel-reve 
lation, and what doch so directly correspond to it, as that very 
habitude and disposed ness of spirit for this blessedness whereof 
we speak ? Nothing so answers the gospel, as a propension of 
beart towards God gratified in part now, and increasing till it 
find a full satisfaction ; a desire of knowing him and of being 
like him. It is the whole design of the gospel, which reveals 
his glory in the face of Jesus Christ, to work and form the 
spirits of men to this. They therefore whose spirits are thus 
wrought and framed, are righteous by the gospel-measure, and 
by that righteousness are evidently entitled and fitted for this 
blessedness. Yea, that righteousness hath in it (or rather) is the 
elements, the first principles, the seed of this blessedness. There 
can therefore be no surer rule or mark whereby to judge our 
;states, whether- we have to do with this blessedness, may expect 
in. 2 c 


it yea or no, than this. How stand we affected towards it ; 
in what disposition are our hearts thereto ? Those fruits of 
righteousness, by which the soul is qualified to appear without 
offence in the day of Christ, the several graces of the sanctify 
ing Spirit, are nothing else but so many holy principles, all dis 
posing the soul towards this blessedness, and the way to it ; 
mortification, self-denial, and godly sorrow, take it off from other 
objects, the world, self and sin ; repentance (that part of it 
which respects God) turns the course of its motion towards God 
the end ; faith directs it through Christ the way ; love makes it 
move freely ; desire, earnestly ; joy, pleasantly ; hope, confi 
dently ; humility, evenly; fear, circumspectly; patience, con 
stantly and perse veringly. All conspire to give the soul a right 
disposition towards this blessedness. The result of them all is 
heavenliness, a heavenly temper of spirit. For they all (one way 
or other,) as so many lines and rays have respect to a blessed 
ness in God (which is heaven) as the point at which they aim ; 
and the cuspis, the point in which they meet, in order to the 
touching of that objective point, is heavenliness. This is the 
ultimate and immediate disposition of heart for this blessedness j 
the result the terminus productus of the whole work of right 
eousness in the soul ; by which it is said to be as it were,, nata 
ad glorium, begotten to the eternal inheritance. Concerning 
this therefore chiefly institute thy inquiry. Demand of thyself, 
Is my soul yet made heavenly, bent upon eternal blessedness, or 
no ? And here thou mayst easily apprehend, of how great con 
cernment it is, to have the right notion of heaven, or future bles 
sedness, as was urged under the foregoing rule. For if thou 
take for it another thing, thou missest thy mark, and art quite 
beside thy business : but if thou retain a right and scriptural 
notion of it, the rule thou art to judge by is sure, they shall 
have heaven whose hearts are intent upon it, and framed 
to it. Scripture is every where pregnant and full of this. 

The apostle -plainly intimates, this will be the rule of God's 
final judgment. Certainly it cannot be unsafe for us to judge 
ourselves by the same rule. He tells us, when God shall judge 
every one according to his works (the great business of the judg 
ment day,) eternal life shall be the portion of them, who by 
patient continuance in well-doing, sought glory, and honour, 
and immortality : (Rom. 2. 6, 7-) which are but other expres 
sions of the same thing. What can be more plain? They shall 
have eternal life and glory that seek it ; whose hearts are to 
wards it. Agair, speaking of true Christians, $.xicritxus 9 (that is 
in a way of contradistinction from Pseudo-christians, such aa 
fee saith were -enemies of the cross,) he gives us, among other, 


this brand of these latter, that they did mind earthly things, and 
tells us, their end should be destruction ; but gives us this op 
posite character of the other, our conversation is in heaven ; 
(Phil. 3. 18, 20.) our trade and business, our daily nego 
tiations, as well as the privileges of our citizenship lie there, as 
his expression imports, and thence intimates the opposite eri4 
of such, whence we look for a Saviour; not destruction, but sal 
vation. And in the same context of Scripture, where they that 
are risen with Christ, and who shall appear with him in glory, 
are required to set their mind on things above, and not on things 
on the earth : (Col. 3. 1, 2, 3, 4.) that we may understand 
this, not to be their duty only, but their character, we are im 
mediately told, they who follow not this counsel, and mortify 
not their earthly members (those lusts that dispose men towards 
the earth, and to grovel in the dust, as the graces of the Spirit 
dispose them heavenward, and to converse with glory) are the 
children of disobedience, upon whom the wrath of God cometh. 
The faith, the just live by, is the substance of things hoped for, 
&c. Heb. 11. 1, 13, 16. Such believers are confessed, avowed 
strangers on earth ; and seekers of the better, the heavenly 
country, whence it is said, God will not be ashamed to be called 
their God ; plainly implying, that as for low, terrene spirits, that 
love to creep on the earth, and embrace dunghills, God will be 
ashamed of them ; he will for ever disdain a relation to them, 
while and as such. And if we will be determined by the express 
word of our great Redeemer, to whom we owe all the hopes of 
this blessedness ; when he had been advising not to lay up trea 
sure on earth, but in heaven, he presently adds, Where your 
treasure is, there will your hearts be also. Mat. 6. 19, 20, 21. 
If thy treasure, thy great interest, thy precious and most valua 
ble good be above, that will attract thy heart, it will certainly be 
disposed thitherward. 

Yet here it must carefully be considered, that inasmuch as 
this blessedness is thy end, that is, thy supreme good (as the 
notion of treasure also imports,) thy heart must be set upon it 
above any other enjoyment ; else all is to no purpose. It is 
not a faint, slight, over-mastered inclination that will serve the 
turn, but (as all the forementioned scriptures import) such as 
will bespeak it a man's business to seek heaven, his main work; 
and give ground to say of him, his heart is there. If two lovers 
solicit the same person, and speaking of them in comparisons 
she say, this hath my heart ; is it tolerable to understand her, 
as meaning him she loves less ? so absurd would it be to under 
stand scriptures, that speak of such an intention of heart hea 
ven-ward, as if the faintest desire, or coldest wish, or most la/y 




inconstant endeavour were all they meant. No, it is a steady, 
prevalent, victorious direction of heart towards the future glory, 
in comparison whereof, thou despisest all things else (all tem-r 
poral, terrene things,) that must be the evidential ground of 
thy hope to enjoy it. And therefore in this, deal faithfully with 
thy own soul, and demand of it ; Dost thou esteem this blessed 
ness above all things else ? Do the thoughts of it continually 
return upon thee, and thy mind and heart, as it were naturally 
run out to it ? Are thy chiefest solicitudes and cares taken 
about it, lest thou shouldst fall short and suffer a disappoint 
ment ? Dost thou savour it with pleasure ; hath it a sweet and 
grateful relish to thy soul ? Dost thou bend all thy powers to 
pursue and press on towards it ? Urge thyself to give answer 
truly to such inquiries ; and to consider them seriously, that 
thou mayst do so. Such whose spirits are either most highly 
raised and lifted up to heaven, or most deeply depressed and sunk 
into the earth, may make the clearest judgment of themselves. 
With them that are of a middle temper, the trial will be more 
difficult, yet not fruitless, if it be managed with serious dili 
gence, though no certain conclusion or judgment be made 
thereupon. For the true design and use of all such inquiries 
and reflections upon ourselves (which let it be duly considered) 
is, not to bring us into a state of cessation from further eudea- 
vours ; as if we had nothing more to do (suppose we judge the 
best of our state that can be thought,) but to keep us in a wake 
ful temper of spirit ; that we may not forget ourselves in the 
great business we have yet before us, but go on with renewed 
vigour through the whole course of renewed endeavours, where 
in we are to be still conversant, till we have attained our utmost- 
mark and end. Therefore is this present inquiry directed, as 
introductive to the further duty, that ip the following rules is 
yet to be recommended, 



Rule 3. Directing such as upon inquiry find, or see cause to stw- 
pect, a total aversation in themselves to this blessedness, to be 
speedy and restless in their endeavours to have the temper of their 
spirits altered and suitable to it. Doubts and objections concern 
ing the use of sucn endeavours, in such a case, answered. Some 
considerations to enforce this direction propounded a,nd pressed. 

3.HHHAT if upon such reflection we find or suspect ourselves 
wholly disaffected and unsuitable to this blessedness, we 
apply ourselves to speedy, incessant endeavours to get the tem 
per of our spirits changed and fitted thereto. The state of the 
case speaks itself, that there is no sitting still here. This is no 
condition, soul to be rested in ; unless thou art provided to en 
counter the terrors of eternal darkness, and endure the torture 
of everlasting burnings. Yet am 1 not unapprehensive how 
great a difficulty a carnal heart will make of it to bestir itself 
in order to any redress of so deplorable a case. And how real 
a difficuly it is, to say any thing that will be thought regardable 
to such a one. Our sad experience tells us, that our most 
efficacious words are commonly wont to be entertained as neg 
lected puffs of wind ; our most -convictive reasonings and per- 
^uasive exhortations lost (yea, and though they are managed to 
in the name of the great God)as upon the deaf and dead : which 
is too often apt to tempt into that resolution, of " speaking no 
jnore in that name." And were it not that the dread of that 
great majesty restrains us, how hard were it to forbear such ex 
postulations ; " Lord, why are we commonly sent upon so 
vain an errand ? why are we required to speak to them that 
will not hear, and expose thy sacred truths and counsels to the 
contempt of sinful worms; to labour day by day in vain, and 
spend our strength for nought ?" Yea, we cannot forbear to 
complain, " None so labour in vain as we : of all men none 
so generally improsperous and unsuccessful. Others are wont 
to see the fruit of their labours, in proportion to the expence of 
strength in them : but our strength is labour and sorrow (for 
the most part) without the return of a joyful fruit. The bus- 


bandman plows in hope, and sows in hope, and is commonly 
partaker of his hope : we are sent to plow and sow among rock* 
and thorns, and in the high-way ; how seldom fall we upon 
good ground ? Where have we any increase ? Yea, Lord, how 
often are men the harder for all our labours with them, the 
deader for all endeavours to quicken them ? Our breath kills 
them whom thou sendest us to speak life to ; and we often be 
come to them a deadly savour. Sometime, when we think 
somewhat is done to purpose, our labour all returns, and we 
are to begin again ; and when the duties we persuade to, come 
directly to cross men's interests and carnal inclinations, they 
revolt and start back, as if we were urging them upo flames, 
or the sword's point ; and their own souls and the eternal glory 
are regarded as a thing of nought: then heaven and hell become 
with them fancies and dreams ; and all that we have said to 
them false and fabulous. We are to the most as men that 
mock, in our most serious warnings and counsels; and the word 
*>f the Lord is a reproach. We sometimes fill our mouths with 
arguments, and our hearts with hope, and think, sure they will 
now yield ; but they esteem our strongest reasonings (as Levia- 
tlian doth iron and brass) but as straw and rotten wood ; and 
laugh at divine threatenings as he doth at the shaking of the 
spear. Yea, and when we have convinced them, yet we have 
done nothing 5 though we have got their judgments and con 
sciences on our side and their own, their lusts only reluctate 
and carry all. They will now have their way though they pe 
rish. We see them perishing under our very eye, and we cry 
to them (in thy name, O Lord) to return and live, but they re-< 
gard us not. For these things, sometimes we weep in secret, 
and our eyes trickle down with tears ; yea, we cry to thee, O 
Lord, and thou nearest us not ; thy hand seems shortened, that 
k cannot save ; it puts not on strength as in the days of old : it 
hath snatched souls by thousands, as firebrands out of the lire ; 
but now thou hidest and drawest k back. Who hath believed 
our report ? To whom is the arm of the Lord revealed ? Mean 
while even the devil's instruments prosper more than we : and 
he that makes it his business to tempt and entice down souls to 
hell, succeeds more than we that would allure them to heaven.'* 
But we must speak, whether men will hear or forbear; though 
k concerns us to do it with fear and trembling. Oh, how 
solemn a business is it to treat with souls ! and how much to be 
dreaded, left they miscarry through our imprudence or neglect ! 
I write with solicitude what shall become of these lines ; 
with what effect they will be read (if they fall into such 
hands) by them whom they most concern i yea, and with 
some doubt, whether it were best to write on or for 
bear* Sometimes one would incline to think it a merciful 


omission, lest we add to the account and torment of many at 
last ; but sense of duty towards all, and hope of doing good to 
t>ome must oversway. Considering therefore the state of suck 
souls I am now dealing with, I apprehend there may be obstruc 
tions to the entertainment of the counsel here recommended, of 
two sorts ; partly in their minds, partly in their hearts ; some 
thing of appearing reason, but more of real perverse will. 
That which I shall do in pursuance of it, will fall under two 
answerable heads : A reply to certain doubts and objections, 
wherein to meet with the former : and the proposal of some 
considerations, wherein to contend against the latter. 

(1.) It appears, men are grown ingeniously wicked, and have 
learned how to dispute themselves into hell; and to neglect what 
concerns their eternal blessed ness with some colour and pretence 
of reason. It will therefore be worth the while to discuss a 
little their more specious pretences, and consider, their more 
obvious (supposable) scruples, which will be found to concern, 
either the possibility, lawfulness, advantage or necessity of the 
endeavours we persuade to, 

[1 .] Is k a possible undertaking you put us upon^ or, is there 
any thing we can do in order to the change of our own hearts ? 
We find ourselves altogether undesirous of those things wherein 
you state blessedness, and they are without savour to us. If 
therefore the notion you give us of blessedness be right, all the 
work necessary to qualify us for it is yet to be done ; we yet ic- 
main wholly destitute of any principle of life, that may dispose 
us to such relishes and enjoyments. If the new creature (as you 
say) consist in a suitable temper of spirit unto such a state a* 
this, it is as yet wholly unformed in us : And is there any thing 
to be done by a dead man in order to life ? Can a child con- 
tribute any thing to its first formation? or a creature to its 
Doming into being ? In answer to this, consider: 

If you were serious in what you say, methinks you should have 
little mind to play the sophisters, and put fallacies upon your 
selves, in the matter that concerns the life of your soul. And 
what else are you now doing ? For sure, otherwise one would 
think it were no such difficulty to understand the difference be 
tween the esse simpliciter, the mere being of any thing, and 
the esse tcde, its being such or such ; by the addition of 
somewhat afterward to that being. Though nothing could con 
tribute to its own being simply ; yet sure when it is in being, 
it may contribute to the bettering or perfecting of itself, (even 
as the unreasonable creatures themselves do:) and if it be a 
creature naturally capable of acting with design, it may act 
designedly in order to its becoming so or so qualified, or the 
attaining of somewhat yet wanting to its perfection, You canno* 


be thought so ignorant, but that you know the new creature is 
only an additional to your former being : and though it be true,- 
that it can do no more to its own production than the unconceiv- 
ed child (as nothing can act before it is) doth it therefore follow, 
that your reasonable soulj in which it is to be formed; cannot 
use God's prescribed means in order to that blessed change ? 
You cannot act holily as a saint ; but therefore can you not act 
rationally as a man 1 I appeal to your reason and conscience in 
some particulars. Is it impossible to you to attend upon the 
dispensation of that gospel, which is God's power unto salvation, 
the seal by which he impresses his image, the glass through 
which his glory shines to the changing of souls into the same 
likeness ? Are you not as able to go to church as the ta 
vern ; and to sit in the assembly of saints as of mockers ? Is it 
impossible to you> to consult the written word of God, and 
thence learn what you must be, and do, in order to blessedness ? 
Will not your eyes serve you to read the Bible as well as a ga-^ 
2ette or play-book ? Is it impossible to inquire of your minister, 
or an understanding Christian neighbour concerning the way 
and terms of blessedness ! Cannot your tongue pronounce these 
words, what shall I do to be saved, as well as those, pray what 
do you think of the weather ; or what news is there going ? Yet 
further: Is it impossible to apply your thoughts to what you 
meet with suitable to your case, in your attendance upon preach 
ing, reading, or discourse ? Have all such words a barbarous 
sound in your ear? Can you not consider what sense is carried 
under them ; what they import and signify ? Can you not be 
think yourself, Do the doctrines of God and Christ and the 
life to come, signify something or nothing? or do they signify 
any tiling worth the considering, or that it is fit for me to take 
notice of? 

And yet to proceed a little further with you : I pray you 
once more demand of yourselves, and put your consciences 
closely to it, whether, when they have told you (as no doubt 
they will,) that such things deserve your consideration, it be 
impossible to you, to use your considering power thus, and em 
ploy it even about these things ? Do but make this easy trial> 
and then say, whether it be impossible. See if you cannot 
select one hour on purpose, wherein to sit down by yourselves 
alone, with this resolution ; Well, 1 will now spend this hour in 
considering my eternal concernments. When you have obtained 
so much of yourself; set your thoughts on work, (you will find 
them voluble and unfixed, very apt to revolt and fly off" from 
things you have no mind to, but) use your authority with your 
self, tell your soul (or let it tell itself) these things con 
cern thy life. At least, taking this prepared matter along 


with thee (that thou mayst not have this pretence> thou 
knowest not what to think of,) try if thou canst not 
think of these things, now actually suggested and offered 
to thy thoughts : as namely. Consider, that thou hast a reasona 
ble, immortal soul, which as it is liable to eternal misery, so it 
is capable of eternal blessedness : that this blessedness thou 
dost understand to consist only in the vision of the blessed God, 
in being made like to him, and in the satisfaction that is 
thence to result and accrue to thee. Consider (what thy very 
objection supposeth,) that thou findest the temper of thy spirit 
to be altogether indisposed and averse to such a blessedness. 
Js it not so ? is not this thy very case ? feel HOW again thy 
heart : try, is it not at least coldly affected towards this blessed 
state ? 

Is it not then obvious to thee to consider, that the temper ot 
thy spirit must be changed, or thou art undone ? that inas 
much as thy blessedness lies in God, this change must lie in 
the alteration of thy dispositions, and the posture of thy spirit 
towards him. Further, Canst thou not consider the power and 
fixedness of thy aversation from God ; and with how mighty a 
weight thy heart is carried and held down from him ? Try, lift 
at thy hearty see if it will be raised God- ward and heaven- ward? 
Dost thou not find, it is as if thou wert lifting at a mountain, 
that it lies as a dead weight and stirs not ? Ponder thy case in 
this respect. And then, Is it not to be considered, that thy 
time is passing away apace ? that if thou let thyself alone, it is 
likely to be as bad with thee to-morrow as this day, and as bad 
next day as to-morrow ? And if thy time expire and thou be 
snatched away in this state, what will become of thee ? And 
dost thou not therefore see a necessity of considering whatever 
may be most moving, and most likely to incline thy heart God- 
ward, of pleading it more loudly and importunately with thy 
self ? And canst thou not consider and reason the matter thus? 
*' O my soul, what is the reason that thou so drawest back and 
hangest off from thy God ? that thou art so unwilling to be 
blessed in him ? that thou shouldst venture to run thyself upon 
eternal perdition rather ? What cause hath he ever given thee 
to disaffect him ? What is the ground of thy so mighty pre 
judice ? Hath he ever done thee hurt ? Dost thou think he will 
not accept a returning soul ? That is to give the lie, to his gos 
pel ; and it becomes not a perishing wretch so to provoke him 
in whom is ail its hope. Is the eternal glory an undesirable 
thing ? or the everlasting burnings tolerable ? Canst thou find a 
way of being for ever blessed without God ; or whether he will 
or no ? or is there a sufficient present pleasure in thy sinful dis 
tance from God, to outweigh heaven and hell? Darest thou 



venture upon a resolution of giving God and Christ theif 
last refusal ; or say, thou wilt never hearken to, or have to 
do with them more, or darest thou venture to do what thou 
clarest not resolve ? and act the wickedness thou canst not 
think of? scorn eternal majesty and love ? spurn and trample a 
bleeding Saviour ?" Commune thus awhile with thyself ; but 
if yet thou find thy heart relent nothing, thou canst yet further 
consider, that it lies not in thy power to turn thy own heart, (or 
else how comest thou thus to object ?) And hence, canst thou 
avoid considering this is a distressed case? that thou art in great 
straits ; liable to perish (yea, sure to do so, if thou continue in 
that ill temper of spirit,) and wholly unable to help thyself I 
Surely thou canst not but see this to be a most distressed case. 

I put it now to thy conscience, whether being thus led on, 
thou canst not go thus far ? See whether upon trial thy con 
science give thee leave to say, I am not able thus to do or think: 
and be not here so foolish, as to separate the action of the first 
cause and the second, in judging thy ability. Thou mayst say 
no, I cannot think a good thought without God ; true, so I 
know thou canst not move thy finger without God ; but my 
meaning in this appeal to thy conscience is, whether upon trial 
thou findest not an assistance sufficient to carry thee thus far ? 
Possibly thou wilt say, yea, but what am I the better ? I am 
only brought to see myself in a distressed, perishing condition, 
and can get no further. I answer, it is well thou art got so far, 
if thou indeed see thyself perishing, and thy drowsy soul 
awake into any sense of the sadness of thy case. But I intend 
not thus to leave thee here; therefore let me furthermore de 
mand of thee : What course wouldst thou take in any other 
distress, wherein thou knowest not what to do to help thyself? 
would not such an exigency, when thou findest thyself pinched 
and urged on every side, and every way is shut up to thee, that 
thou art beset with calamities, and canst no way turn thyself to 
avoid them ; would not such an exigency force thee down on 
thy knees, and set thee a-crying to the God of mercy for relief 
and help ? Would not nature itself prompt to this ? Is it not 
natural to lift up hands and eyes to heaven when we know not 
what to do ?* Therefore having thus far reasoned with thee 
about thy considering power ; let me demand of thee, if thou 
canst not yet go somewhat further than considering ? that is, in 
jhort : Is it impossible to thee to obey this dictate of nature ? 
I mean, represent the deplorable case of thy soul before him 

Audio vulgus cum ad cesium manus tendunt nihil aliud quam 
Peum dicunt, vulgi iste naturalis cst sermo ; where the vulgar lift 
up their hands to heaven, I seem to hear them addressing God him 
self, this is their natural language* 


that made it ; and crave his merciful relief ? Do not dispute 
the matter; thou canst not but see this is a possible and a 
rational course, as thy case is, Should not a people seek unto 
their God ? Fall down therefore low before him ; prostrate 
thyself at the foot-stool of his mercy-seat. Tell him, thou un- 
.derstandest him to be the Father of spirits, and the Father of 
mercies ; that thou hast heard of his great mercy and pity to 
wards the spirits of men in their forlorn, lapsed state : what a 
blessedness he hath designed for them ; what means he hath 
designed to bring them to it. Tell him, thou only needest a 
temper of spirit suitable to this blessedness he invites thee to ; 
that thou canst not master and change thy sensual, earthly heart; 
thou knowest he easily can ; thou art come to implore his help, 
that his blessed and Holy Spirit may descend and breathe upon 
thy stupid, dead soul; and may sweetly incline and move it to 
wards him ; that it may eternally rest in him ; and that thou 
mayst not perish, after so much done in order to thy blessedness, 
only for want of a heart to entertain it. Tell him, thou comest 
upon his gracious encouragement, having heard he is as ready 
to give his Spirit to them that ask him, as parents, bread to their 
craving children rather than a stone : that it is for life thou 
beggest : that it is not so easy to thee, to think of perishing for 
ever : that thou canst not desist and give up all thy hopes : 
that thou shalt be in hell shortly, if he hear and help thee 
not. Lastly, If thus thou obtain any communication of 
that holy, blessed Spirit, and thou find it gently moving thy 
dead heart, let me once more demand of thee : Is it impossible 
to forbear this or that external act of sin at this time, when thou 
art tempted to it ? sure thou canst not say, it is impossible. 
What necessitates thee to it? And then certainly thou mayst as 
well ordinarily withhold thyself from running into such customary 
sensualities, as tend to grieve the Spirit, debauch conscience, 
stupify thy soul, and hide God from thee. And if thou canst 
do all this, do not fool thy slothful soul with as idle a conceit, 
that thou hast nothing to do, but to sit still, expecting till thou 
drop into hell, 

(2.) But have I not reason to fear, I shall but add sin to sin in 
all this? and so increase the burden of guilt upon my own soul ; 
and by endeavouring to better my case, make it far worse. Two 
things 1 consider, that suggest to me this fear, the manner and 
end, of the duties you put me upon, as they will be done by me 
in the case wherein I apprehend myself, yet to lie. The manner: 
(as to the positive action you advise to,) I have heard, the best 
actions of an unregenerate person are sins, through the sinfulness 
of his manner of doing them ; though as to the matter of the 
thing done, they be enjoined and good : and though it be true, 
that the regenerate cannot perform a sinless duty -neither j yet 




their persons and works being covered over with the righteous-* 
ness of Christ, are looked upon as having no sin in them, which 
I apprehend to he none of my case. And as to the end. You 
put me upon these things in order to the attaining of blessed-, 
ness ; and to do such things with intuition to a reward, is to be 
(as may be doubted) unwarrantable, mercenary, and servile. 

[1.] As to this former reason of your doubt ; methinks the pro 
posal of it answers it. Forasmuch as you acknowledge the mat^ 
ter of these actions to he good and duty (and plain it is, they are 
moral duties, of common perpetual concernment to all persons 
and times,) dare you decline or dispute against your duty? Sure, 
if we compare the evil of what is so substantially in itself, and 
what is so circumstantially, only by the adherence of some un 
due modus, or manner ; it cannot be hard to determine which 
is the greater and more dreadful evil. As to the present case ; 
shouldst thou, when the great God sends abroad his proclamation 
of pardon and peace, refuse to attend it : to consider the con-: 
tents of it, and thy own case in reference thereto, and thereupon 
to sue to him for the life of thy own soul ? Dost thou not 
plainly see thy refusal must needs be more provoking than thy 
defective performance ? This, speaks disability, but that, rebellion 
and contempt.* Besides, dost thou not see, that thy objection 
lies as much against every other action of thy life ? The wise 
man tells us, (Prov. 21. 4.) the plowing of the wicked is sin, (if 
that be literally to be understood ;) and what wouldst thou 
therefore sit still and do nothing ? Then how soon would that 
idleness draw on gross wickedness ? And would not that be a 
dreadful confutation of thyself, if thou \yho didst pretend % 
scruple, that thou mightst not pray, read, hear, meditate, shalt 
not scruple to play the glutton, the drunkard, the wanton, and 
indulge thyself in all riot and excess > Yea, if thou do not 
break out into such exorbitancies, would any one think him 
serious that should say, it were against his conscience to be 
working out his salvation, and striving to enter in at the strait 
gate ; seeking first the kingdom of God, &c, Would not this 
sound strangely? And especially, that in the mean time it 
should never be against his conscience, to trifle away his time, 
and live in perpetual neglects of God, in persevering atheism, 
infidelity, hardness of heart, never regreted or striven against ; 

"Therefore as to that form of expression that such acts ofunregcr 
nerate men are sins, that is acatachrestical piece of rhetoric^vhich, 
being so understood, is harmless; but to use it in propriety of speech, 
and thence to go to make men believe, tkat it is a sin to do their 
duty, is void both of truth and sense, and full of danger unto the 
souls of men. 


as if these were more innocent ? And what thou sayst of the 
different case of the regenerate, is impertinent; for as to this 
matter, the case is not different, they that take themselves to 
be such, must not think that by their supposed interest in the 
righteousness of Christ, their real sins cease to be such, they 
only become pardoned sins; and shall they therefore sin more 
boldly than other men, because they are surer of pardon? 
. [2.] As to the other ground of this doubt, there can only be 
a fear of sinning, upon this account, to them that make more 
sins and duties than God hath made. The doubt supposes 
religion inconsistent with humanity : and that God were about 
to rase out of the nature of man, one of the most radical and 
fundamental laws written there, a desire of blessedness I 
and supposes it against the express scope and tenour of his whole 
gospel revelation. For what doth that design, but to bring 
men to blessedness ? Arid how is it a means to compass that 
design, but as it tends to engage men's spirits to design it too ? 
unless we would imagine they should go to heaven blindfold, or be 
rolled thither as stones that know not whither they are moved; 
|n which case the gospel, that reveals the eternal glory, and the 
way to it, were a useless thing. If so express words had not 
been in the Bible, as that Moses had respect to the recompence of 
reward ; yea, that our Lord Jesus himself, for the joy set before 
him endured the cross, &c. this had been a little more colour 
able, or more modest. And what, do not all men, in all the 
ordinary actions of their lives, act allowably enough, with in 
tuition to much lower ends ? even those particular ends which 
the works of their several callings tend to, else they should act 
^s brutes in every thing they do. And would such a one scruple, 
if he were pining for want of bread, to beg or labour for it 
for this end, to be relieved ? It is the mistaking of the notion 
of heaven that hath also an ingrediency into this doubt, if it 
be really a doubt. What ! is it a low thing to be rilled with 
the divine fulness ? to have his glory replenishing our souls ? 
to be perfectly freed from sin ? in every thing conformed unto 
his holy nature and will ? That our minding our interest in 
this, or any affairs, should be the principal thing with us, is not 
to be thought : our supreme end must be the same with his, 
who made all things for himself, of whom, through whom, and 
to whom all things are, that he alone might have the glory. 
But subordinates need not quarrel. A lower end doth not ex 
clude the higher, but serves it : and is, as to it a means. God is 
our end as he is to be glorified and enjoyed by us : our glorifying 
himisbuttheagnitionofhisglory; which we do most in beholding 
and partaking it; which is therefore in direct subordination thereto. 
(3.) But it may further be doubted, What if it be acknow- 


en A P. xvii. 

ledged, that these are both things possible and lawful ; yet to 
what purpose will it be to attempt any thing in this kind? O what 
assurance have I of success I Is there any word of promise for 
the encouragement of one in my case ? Or is God under any 
obligation to reward the endeavours of nature with special 
grace ? Wherefore, when 1 have done all I can, he may with 
hold his influence, and then I am but where I was, and may 
perish notwithstanding. And suppose thou perish notwith 
standing ? Do but yet consult a little with thy own thoughts ; 
which is more tolerable and easy to thee to perish, as not at 
taining what thy fainter strugglings could not reach ; or for the 
most direct, wilful rebellion, doing wickedly as thou couldst ? 
Or who shall have, thinkest thou, the more fearful condemna 
tion ? He that shall truly say when his master comes to judg 
ment, " I never had indeed, Lord, a heart so fully changed 
and turned to thee, as should denote me to be the subject of 
thy saving, pardoning mercy; but thou knowest (who knowest 
all things)! longed (and with some earnestness) did endeavour it, 
Thou hast been privy to my secret desires and moans, to the 
weak strivings of a listless distempered spirit, not pleased with 
itself, aiming at a better temper towards thee. I neglected not 
thy prescribed means ; only that grace which 1 could not chal 
lenge, thou wast pleased not to give : thou didst require what I 
must confess myself to have owed thee ; thou didst withhold 
only what thou owedst me not; therefore must I yield myself a 
convicted, guilty wretch, and have nothing to say why thy sen-^ 
tence should not pass." Or he that shall as truly hear from the 
mouth of his Judge, (C Sinner, thou wast often fore-warned of 
this approaching day, and called upon to provide for it; thou 
hads-t precept upon precept, and line upon line. The counsels 
of life and peace were with frequent importunity pressed upon 
thee, but thou rejectedst all with proud contempt, didst despise 
with the same profane scorn the offers, commands, arid threats 
of him that made thee ; hardenest thy heart to the most ob 
stinate rebellion against his known laws; didst all the wickedness 
to which thy heart prompted thee, without restraint ; declinedst 
every thing of duty which his authority, and the exigency of thy 
own case did oblige thee to; didst avoid as much as thou 
eouldst to hear or know any thing of my will ; couldst not find 
one serious, considering hour in a whole life-time, to bethink 
thyself, what was likely to become of thee when thy place on 
earth should know thee no more. Thou mightst know, thou 
wast at my mercy, thy breath in my hand, and that 1 could 
easily have cut thee off any moment of that large space of time, 
my patience allowed thee in the world; yet thou never thoughtest 
it worth the while to sue to me for thy life. Destruction from 


the Lord was never a terror to thee. Thou wouldst never be 
brought upon thy knees ; 1 had none of thy addresses ; never 
didst thou sigh out a serious request for mercy; thy soul was not 
worth so much in thy account. Thy blood, wretch, be upon 
thy guilty head : Depart accursed into everlasting flames, &c." 
Come now, use thy reason awhile, employ a few sober 
thoughts about this matter ; remember, thou wilt have a long 
^eternity wherein to recognize the passages of thy life, and the 
state of thy case in the last judgment. Were it supposable, 
that one who had done as the former, should be left finally de 
stitute of divine grace and perish : yet in which of these cases 
wouldst thou choose to be found at last ? But why yet shouldst 
thou imagine so sad an issue, as that after thine utmost endea 
vours, grace should be withheld, and leave thee to perish ; be 
cause God hath not bound himself by promise to thee ? What 
promise have the ravens to be heard when they cry ? But thou 
art a sinner : true, otherwise thou wert not without promise ; 
the promises of the first covenant would at least belong to 
thee. Yet experience tells the world, his un-promised mercies 
freely flow every-where ; The whole earth is full of his good 
ness ; yea, but his special grace is conveyed by promise only, 
and that only through Christ; and how can it be communicated 
through him to any but those that are in him ? What then, is 
the first in-being in Christ no special grace ? or is there any 
being in him before the first: that should be the ground of that 
gracious communication ? Things are plain enough, if we make 
them not intricate, or entangle ourselves by foolish subtilties, 
God promises sinners indefinitely, pardon and eternal life, for 
the sake of Christ, on condition that they believe on him. He 
gives of his good pleasure that grace whereby he draws any to 
Christ, without promise directly made to them, whether abso 
lute or conditional ; though he give it for the sake of Christ 
also. His discovery of his purpose to give such grace to some, 
indefinitely, amounts not to a promise claimable by any ; for if 
it be said to he an absolute promise to particular persons, who 
are they ? whose duty is it to believe it made to him ? If con 
ditional, what are the conditions upon which the first grace is 
certainly promised ? who can be able to assign them ? But 
poor soul ! thou needest not stay to puzzle thyself about this 
matter. God binds himself to do what he promises ; but hath 
he any where bound himself to do no more ? Did he promise 
thee thy being ; or that thou shouldst live to this day ? did he 
promise thee the bread that sustains thee, the daily comforts of 
thy life ? Yea, (what is nearer the present purpose,) did he 
promise thee a station under the gospel ? or that thou shouldst 
ever hear the name of Christ? If ever his Spirit have in any de- 


gree moved' upon thy hearty inclined thee at all seriously to 
consider thy eternal concernments, did he before-hand make 
thee any promise of that ? A promise would give thee a full 
certainty of the issue, if it were absolute, out of hand ; if con 
ditional, as soon as thou findest the condition performed. But 
what ! canst thou act upon no lower rate than a foregoing cer 
tainty, a pre-assurance of the event ? My friend, consider a 
little, (what thou canst not but know already) that it is hope 
(built with those that are rational, upon rational probabilities, 
with many, oftentimes upon none at all) is the great engine 
that moves the world, that keeps all sorts of men in action. 
Doth the husbandman foreknow when he plows and sows, that 
the crop will answer his cost and pains ? Doth the merchant 
foreknow, when he embarks his goods, he shall have a safe and 
gainful return? Dost thou foreknow, when thou eatest, it 
shall refresh thee ? when thou takest physic, that it shall recover 
thy health, and save thy life ? Yea further, can the covetous 
man pretend a promise, that rn's unjust practices shall enrich 
him ? the malicious, that he shall prosper in his design of re 
venge ? the ambitious, that he shall be great and honourable ? 
the voluptuous, that his pleasure shall be always unmixed with 
gall and wormwood ? Can any say, they ever had a promise to 
ascertain them that profaneness and sensuality would bring 
them to heaven ? that an ungodly, dissolute life would end in 
blessedness ? Here the Lord knows men can be confident and 
active enough without a promise, and against many an express 
threatening. Wilt thou not upon the hope thou hast before 
thee, do as much for thy soul, for eternal blessedness, as men 
do for uncertain riches, short pleasures, an airy, soon blasted 
name ? yea, as much as men desperately do to damn them 
selves, and purchase their own swift destruction ? Or canst 
thou pretend, though thou hast no pre-assuring promise, thou 
hast no hope ? Is it nothing to have heard so much of God's 
gracious nature ? Is it suitable to the reports, and discoveries 
he hath made of himself, to let a poor wretch perish at his feet, 
that lies prostrate there expecting his mercy ? Didst thou ever 
hear he was so little a lover of souls ? Do his giving his Son, his 
earnest, unwearied strivings with sinners, his long patience, the 
clear beams of gospel light, the amiable appearances of his grace, 
give ground for no better, no kinder thoughts of him ? yea, 
hath he not expressly stiled himself the God hearing prayers, 
taken a name on purpose to encourage all flesh to come to him. 
Psal. 65. 2. Wilt thou dare then to adopt those profane words, 
What profit is it to pray to him? (Job. 21 ,15.)and say, it is better 
to sit still, resolving to perish, than address to him, or seek his 
favour, because he hath not by promise assured thee of the 


issue, and that, if he suspend his grace, all thou dost will be in 
vain ? How wouldst thou judge of the like resolution, if 
the husbandman should say, When I have spent my pains and 
cost in breaking up and preparing the earth, and casting in my 
seed ; if the sun shine not^ and the rain fall not in season, if 
the influences of heaven be suspended, if God withhold his 
blessing, or if an invading enemy anticipate my harvest, all I 
do and expend is to no purpose ; and God hath not ascertained 
me of the contrary, by express promise, it is as good therefore sit 
still ? Censure and answer him and thyself both together. 

(4.) But thou wilt yet, it may be, say that though all this 
may be possibly true, yet thou canst not all this while be con 
vinced of any need so earnestly to busy thyself about this affair. 
For God is wont to surprise souls by preventing acts of grace, to 
be found of them that sought him not, to break in by an ir 
resistible power, which they least thought of. And to go about 
to anticipate his grace, were to detract from the freeness, and 
so from the glory of it. But art thou not in all this afraid 
of charging God foolishly ? When the merciful God, in com 
passion to the souls of men, hath given his gospel, constituted 
and settled a standing office to be perpetuated through all ages 
for the publication of it ; invited the world therein to a 
treaty with him, touching the concernments of their eternal 
peace required so strictly their attendance to, and most se 
rious consideration of his proposals and offers ; encou 
raged, and commanded their addresses to him, set up a throne 
of grace on purpose, wilt thou dare to say, All this is need 
less ? When God speaks to thee, is it needless for thee to 
hear him, or regard what he saith ? or when he commands thee 
to pour forth thy soul to him, wilt thou say, It is a needless 
thing ? Dost thou not plainly see, that the peculiar, appropriate 
aptitude of the things pressed upon thee, speaks them fiecessitas 
mediiy necessary) as means to their designed end ; whence 
they are fitly called means of grace ? Is not the word of God the 
immortal seed ? Are not souls begotten by that word to be the 
first fruits of his creatures ?* Js it not the type, the mould, or 
print by which divine impressions are put upon the soul : the 
instrument by which he sanctifies. Are not the exceeding 
great and precious promises, the vehicula, the conveyancers 
of the divine nature ? 2 Pet. 1, 4. And what can be the means 
to mollify and melt the obdurate heart of a sinner, to assuage 
its enmity, to overcome it into the love of God, to transform it 
into his image, but the gospel discovery of God's own gracious 
and holy nature ? And can it operate to this purpose without 
being heard, or read, or understood, and considered, and taken 

* 1 Pet. 1.23. Jam. 1. 18. Rom 6. 17. John 17. 17; 
VOL, nu 2 E 


tn heart ? Do but compare this means God works by, with the 
subject to be wrought upon, and the effect to be wrought, and 
nothing can lie conceived more adequate and fitly correspond 
ing. But inasmuch as there hath been an enmity between- 
God and sinners, and that therefore the whole entire means of 
reconciliation must be a treaty ; and that a treaty cannot be 
managed or conceived without mutual interlocution, therefore 
must the sinner have a way of expressing its own sense to God, 
as well as he speaks his mind to it ; which shews the necessity 
of prayer too : and therefore, because the peace begins on his 
part, (though the war began on ours,) he calls upon sinners to 
open themselves to him ; Come now, let us reason together : 
Isa, 1.18. He in vites, addresses ; Seek the Lord while he may be 
found, and call upon him while he is nigh, &c.chap. 55. G. And 
doth not the natural relation itself between the Creator and a 
creature require this, besides the exigency of our present case ? 
Every creature is a supplicant ; its necessary dependance is a 
natural prayer. The eyes of all things look up, &c. It is the 
roper glory of a Deity to be depended on and addressed 
to. Should not a people seek unto their God ? Isa, 8. 19. It 
is an appeal to reason ; is it not a congruous thing ? 

Further, Dost thou not know, thy Maker's will made known 
Infers upon thee a necessities pr&ccjrti, necessity of obeying ; 
unless thou think the breach between God and thee is better to 
be healed by rebellion; and that the only way to expiate wicked 
ness, were to continue and multiply it. Is it a needless thing 
to comply with the will of him that gave thee breath and being? 
And whose power is so absolute over thee, as to all thy con 
cernments, both of time and eternity ? Again, while thou pre- 
tendest these things are needless, come now, speak out freely ; 
what are the more necessary affairs wherein thou art so deeply 
engaged, that thou canst not suffer a diversion ? What! Is the 
service and gratification of thy flesh and sense so important a. 
business, that thou canst be at ro leisure for that more needless 
work of saving thy soul? Where is thy reason and modesty? Dost 
thou mind none other, from day to day, but necessary affairs ? 
Dost, thou use, when thou art tempted to vain dalliances, empty 
discourses, intemperate indulgence to thy appetite, so to answer 
the temptation, Is it not necessary ? Or art thou so destitute of 
all conscience and shame, to think it unnecessary to work out 
thy salvation, to strive to enter in at the strait gate that leads to 
life ? but most indispensably necessary to be very critically 
curious about what thou slialt eat and drink, and put on ; and 
how to spend thy time with greatest ease and pleasure to thy 
flesh, that it may not have the least cause to complain it is neg 
lected ? Thy pretence, that God is wont to be found of tl^em 


that sought him not, (Isa. 65. 1.) to the purpose thou intendest 
it, is a most ignorant or malicious abuse of scripture. The 
prophet is, in the text, foretelling the calling of the Geutiles, 
who, while they remained such, did not (it is true) inquire after 
God; but then he expressly tells us, (personating God,) I 
am sought of them that asked not for me, (that is, after the 
gospel came among them,) and then it is added, I am found 
(upon this seeking, plainly) of them that sought me not, (that 
is, who once in their former darkness, before I revealed my 
self in the gospel dispensation to them, sought me not :) as 
though he had said, I am now sought of a people that lately 
sought me not, nor asked after me, and I am found of them. 
But what is this to thy case; whom God hath been, in the gos 
pel, earnestly inviting to seek after him, and thou all this while 
refusest to comply with the invitation ? 

And suppose thou hear of some rare instances of persons, sud 
denly snatched by the hand of grace out of the midst of their 
wickedness, as fire-brands out of the fire, Is it therefore the safest 
course to go on in a manifest rebellion against God, till possi 
bly he may do so by thee also ? How many thousands may have 
dropped into hell since thou heardest of such an instance ? as a 
worthy person speaks to that purpose."* If thou hast heard of 
one Elijah fed by ravens, and of some thousands by our Saviour's 
miracles, canst thou thence plead a repeal of that law to the 
world, They that will not labour shall not eat ? Or is it a safer 
or wiser course to wait till food drop into thy mouth from hea 
ven, than to use a prudent care for the maintenance of thy life ? 
If thou say, thou hearest but of few that are wrought upon in 
this way, of their own foregoing expectation and endeavour ; 
remember, (and let the thought of it startle thee,) that there 
are but few that are saved. And therefore are so few wrought 
upon in this way, because so few will be persuaded to it. But 
canst thou say (though God hath not bound himself to the mere 
natural endeavours of his creature neither,) that ever any took 
this course, and persisted with faithful diligence, but they suc 
ceeded in it ? What thou talkest of the freeness of God's grace, 
looks like a hypocritical pretence. Is there no way to honour 
his grace, but by affronting his authority ? but to sin, that grace 
may abound ? sure grace will be better pleased by obedience, 
than by such sacrifice. Fora miserable, perishing wretch to use 
God's means to help itself, doth that look like merit ? Is the 
beggar afraid thou shouldst interpret his coming to thy door 
and seeking thy alms, to signify, as if he thought he had de 
served them ? I hope thou wilt acknowledge thyself less than 

Mr. Baxter. 


the least of all God's mercies, and that thou canst not deserve 
from him a morsel of bread ; mayst thou not therefore in thy 
necessity labour for thy living, lest thou shouldst intrench upon 
the freeness of divine bounty ? With as much wisdom 
and reason mightest thou decline the use of all other 
means to preserve thy life, (which thou must owe always to 
free mercy,) to eat when thou art hungry, to take physic 
when thou art sick, lest thou shouldst intimate thyself to have 
merited the strength and health sought thereby. Nor can I 
think of any rational pretence that can more plausibly be in 
sisted on, than these that have been thus briefly discussed. And 
it must needs be difficult to bring any appearance of reason for 
the patronage of so ill a cause, as the careless giving up of a 
man's soul to perish eternally, that is visibly capable of eternal 
blessedness. And certainly were we once apprehensive of the 
case, the attempt of disputing a man into snch a resolution, 
would appear much more ridiculous, than if one should gravely 
urge arguments to all the neighbourhood, to persuade them to 
burn their houses, to put out their eyes, to kill their children, 
and to cut their own throats. And sure, let all imaginable pre 
tences be debated to the uttermost, and it will appear, that no 
thing withholds men from putting forth all their might in the 
endeavour of getting a spirit suitable to this blessedness, but an 
obstinately perverse and sluggish heart, despoiled and naked of 
all shew of reason and excuse. And though that be a hard 
task to reason against mere will, yet that being the way to make 
men willing, and the latter part of the work proposed in pur 
suance of this direction, I shall recommend only such con^ 
siderations as the text itself will suggest, for the stirring up 
and persuading of slothful, reluctant hearts, choosing those as 
the most proper limits, and not being willing to be infinite 
herein, as amidst so great a variety of considerations to that 
purpose, one might. 

That in general which I shall propose, shall be only the 
misery of the unrighteous; whereof we may take a view in 
the opposite blessedness here described. The contradictories 
whereto will afford a negative, the contraries a positive des*- 
cription of this misery. So that each consideration will be 
double 5 which I shall now rather glance at than insist upon. 

[1.] Consider then, if thou be found at last unqualified for 
this blessedness, how wilt thou bear it to be banished eternally 
from the blessed face of God ? There will be those that shall 
behold that lace in righteousness ; so shalt not thou : The wick 
ed is driven away in his wickedness, with a a Never more see 
my face." Again, What amazing visions wilt thou have ! What 
ghastly, frightful objects to converse with, amidst those horrors 
of eternal darkness ; when the devil and his angels shall be thy 


everlasting associates ! What direful images shall those accurs 
ed, enraged spirits, and thy own fruitful parturient imagination 
for ever entertain thee with, and present to thy view ! 

[2.] Is it a small thing with thee, to be destitute of all 
those inherent excellencies which the perfected image of God, 
whereof thou wast capable, comprehends ? View them over in 
that (too defective) account some of the former pages gave thee 
of them. Thou art none of those bright stars, those sons of 
the morning, those blessed, glorified spirits: thou mightest have 
been. But consider, What art thou ? What shalt thou for 
ever be ? What image or likeness shalt thou bear ? Alas, poor 
wretch, thou art now a fiend ! conformed to thy hellish part 
ners: thou bearest their accursed likeness. Death is now finish 
ed in thee ; and as thou sowest to the flesh, thou reapest cor 
ruption. Thou art become a loathsome carcase ; the worms 
that never die, abound in thy putrified, filthy soul. Thou hast 
a hell in thee. Thy venomous lusts are now grown mature, 
are in their full grown state. If a world of iniquity, a fulness 
of deadly poison, tempered by hell-fire, is here sometimes to be 
found in a little member, what will there then be in all thy parts 
and powers ! 

[3.] Consider, how blessed a satisfaction dost thou lose ? 
how pleasant and delightful a rest, arising both from the sight 
of so much glory, and so peaceful a temper and constitution of 
spirit ? Here thou mightest have enjoyed an eternal undis 
turbed rest. But for rest and satisfaction, thou hast vexation 
and endless torment, both by what thou beholdest, and what 
thou feelest within thee. Thy dreadful visions shall not let 
thee rest : but the chiefest matter of thy disquiet and torment 
is in the very temper and constitution of thy soul. Thy horrid 
Justs are fuller of poisonous energy, and are destitute of their 
wonted objects, whence they turn all theii power and fury upon 
thy miserable self. Thy enraged passions would fly in the face 
of God, but they spend themselves in tormenting the soul that 
bred them. Thy curses and blasphemies, the envenomed darts 
pointed at heaven, are reverberated and driven back into thy 
own heart. And therefore, 

[4.] Consider, What awaking hast, thou? Thou awakest 
not into the mild and cheerful light of that blessed day, where 
in the saints of the most high hold their solemn, joyful triumph. 
But thou awakest into the great and terrible day of the Lord 
(dost thou desire it, for what end is it to thee ?) a day of dard- 
ness, and not light ; a gloomy and stormy day. The day of thy 
birth is not a more hateful, ttian this is a dreadful d?.y. Thou 
awakest and art beset with terrors, presently apprehended and 
dragged before thy glorious,severe Judge, and thence into eternal 


torments, Chappy thou, mightest thou never awake, might the 
grave conceal, and its more silent darkness cover thee for ever. 
But since thou must awake then, how much more happy wert 
thou, if thou wouldst suffer thyself to be awakened now! What, 
to lose and endure so much, because thou wilt not now a little 
bestir thyself, and look about thee ? Sure thy conscience tells 
thee, thou art urged but to what is possible; and lawful, and 
hopeful, and necessary ; methinks, if thou be a man, and not a 
stone, if thou hast a reasonable soul about thee, thou shouldst 
presently fall to woik, and rather spend thy days in serious 
thoughts, and prayers, and tears, than run the hazard of losing 
so transcendent a glory, and of suffering misery, which as now 
thou art little able to conceive, thou wilt then be less able ta 


Bale 4. Directing to the endeavour of a gradual improvement in 
iuch a disposcdness of spirit (as shall be found in any measure 
already attained) towards this blessedness, That it is blessedness 
begun which disposes to the consummate state of it. That \ve 
aie therefore to endeavour the daily increase of our present 
knowledge of God, conformity to him, and the satiailedness of our 
spirits therein. 

4. nnHAT when we find ourselves in any disposition towards 
-* this blessedness, we endeavour a gradual improvement 
therein, to get the habitual temper of our spirits made daily 
more suitable to it. We must still remember we have not yet 
attained, and must therefore continue pressing forward to this 
mark, for the prize of the high calling of God in 'Christ Jesus. 
Phil. 3. 14. B^BOV. That prize (not price, as we commonly 
mis-read it in our bibles) of which the apostle here speaks, is 
(as may be seen by looking back to verse S, 9, &c.) the same 
with the blessedness in the text. Such a knowledge of Christ, 
as should infer at last his participation with him in his state of 
glory; or of the resurrection of the dead. This is the ultimate 


term, the scope or end of that high calling of God in Christ ; 
so it is also stated else-where,Who hath called us unto his eter 
nal glory by Christ Jesus. 1 Pet. 5. 10. Now we should there 
fore frequently recount how far short we are of this glory, and 
stir up our souls to more vigorous endeavours in order to it. Our 
suitableness to this blessedness stands in our having the ele 
ments and first principles of it in us ; it is glory only that fits 
for glory ; some previous sights and impressions of it, and a 
pleasant complacential relish thereof, that frame and attemper us 
by degrees to the full and consummate state of it. This is that 
therefore we must endeavour, A growing knowledge of God, 
conformity to him, and satisfiedness of spirit therein. What 
we expect should be one day perfect, we must labour may be, 
in the mean time, always growing. 

(1.) Our knowledge of God. The knowledge of him I here 
principally intend, is not notional and speculative, but (which 
is more ingredient to our blessedness, both inchoate and per 
fect) that of converse, that familiar knowledge which we usually 
express by the name of acquaintance. See that this know 
ledge of him be increased daily. Let us now use ourselves 
much with God. Our knowledge of him must aim at con 
formity to him : and how powerful a thing is converse in order 
hereto? How insensibly is it wont to transform men, and 
mould anew their spirits, language, garb, deportment ? To be 
removed from the solitude or rudeness of the country to a city 
or university, what an alteration doth it make ? How is such, 
a person divested by degrees of his rusticity, of his more un 
comely and aggressed manners ? Objects we converse with, be 
get their image upon us, They walked after vanity, and became 
vain, (Jer. 2. 5.) saith Jeremiah ; and Solomon, He tha 
walketh with the wise, shall be wise. Pro. 13. 20, Walking is 
a usual expression of converse. So to converse with the holy, 
is the way to be holy, with heaven, the way to be heavenly, with 
<jod, the way to be God -like. Let us therefore make this our 
present business, much to acquaint ourselves with God. We 
count upon seeing him face to face, of being always in his pre 
tence beholding his glory ; that spcaketh very intimate ac 
quaintance indeed. How shall we reach that pitch ? What, 
to live now as strangers to him ? Is that the way ? The path 
of the righteous is as the shining light, that shineth more and 
more unto the perfect day. Prov. 4. 18. The text shews us 
the righteous man's end, To behold the glory of God's face,&c. 
it is easy to apprehend then, his way must needs have in it a 
growing brightness, as he comes still nearer this end. Every 
nearer approach to a lucid thing infers (to us) an increase of 
light from it. We should therefore be following on to know 


the Lord, and we shall see his going forth will be before us as 
the morning* Hos. 6, 3. He will be still visiting us with re 
newed, increasing light, for such is morning-light, fresh and 
growing-light,) and ere long it will be perfect day. Labour 
we to improve our knowledge of God to such a degree of ac 
quaintance as our present state can admit of : to be as inward 
with him as we can, to familiarize ourselves to him. His gos 
pel aims at this, to make those that were afar off nigh. Far- 
distant objects we can have no distinct view of. He 
can give us little account of a person that hath only seen 
him afar off, so God beholds the proud afar off, that is, he 
will have no acquaintance with them : whereas with the 
humble he will be familiar ; he will dwell, (as in a family) 
\vith them. Isa. 57- 15. So the ungodly behold God till he 
bring them in, and make them nigh ; then they are no longer 
strangers, but of his family and household, now thoroughly ac 
quainted. Several notes there are of a thorough acquaintance 
which we should endeavour may concur in our acquaintance 
with God, in that analogy which the case will bear : to know 
his nature; or (as we would speak of a man,) what will please 
and displease him so as to be able in the whole course of our 
daily conversation to approve ourselves to him : to have the 
skill so to manage our conversation, as to continue a correspon 
dence, not interrupted by any our offensive unpleasing demean 
ours : to walk worthy of God unto all well-pleasing. It con 
cerns us most to study and endeavour this practical knowledge 
of the nature of God ; what trust, and love, and fear, and 
purity, &e. his faithfulness, and greatness, his goodness, and 
holiness, &c. do challenge from us : what may in our daily 
walking be agreeable, what repugnant to the several attributes 
of his being. To know his secrets ; to be as it were of the 
cabinet-council, (the word used by the Psalmist psal. 25. 14, 
hath a peculiar significancy to that purpose ; to signify, not 
only counsel, but a council, or the corisessus of persons that 
consult together,) this is his gracious vouchsafement, to hum 
ble, reverential souls. The secret of the Lord is with them that 
fear him ; such acquaintance with him is to be sought, to know 
the (communicable) secrets both of his mind and heart. Of 
his mind, his truths, gospel-mysteries, that were kept secret 
from ages and generations. We have the mind of Christ. This 
is great inwardness, of his heart ; his love, his good-will, his 
kind bosom thoughts towards our souls. To know his me 
thods, and the course of his dispensations towards the world, 
his church, and especially our own spirits : this is great know 
ledge of God, to have the skill to trace his footsteps, and observe 
by comparing times with times, that such a course he more 
usually holds ; and accordingly, with great probability, collect 


From what we have seen and observed, what. we may expect : 
what order and succession there is of storms of wrath, to clouds 
of sin ; and again of peaceful, lucid intervals, when such storms 
have inferred penitential tears : in what exigencies, and dis 
tresses, humble mourners may expect God's visits and consola 
tions : to recount in how great extremities former experience 
hath taught us not to despair ; and from such experience still 
to argue ourselves into fresh reviving hopes, when the state of 
things (whether public or private, outward or spiritual) seems 
forlorn. To know the proper seasons of address to him ; arid 
how to behave ourselves most acceptably in his presence, in 
what dispositions and postures of spirit, we are fittest for his 
converse, so as to be able to come to him in a good hour, in a 
time when he may be found ; (Psal. 32. 6.) to know his voice : 
this discovers acquaintance. The ear trieth words, as the mouth 
tasteth meats. Job. 12. 11. God's righteous ones, that are 
filled with the fruits of righteousness, do proportionably abound 
in knowledge, Phil. 1. 9. and in all sense. etiarQvivt ysw^vxa-^voiy 
Heb.5.14. They have quick,naked,unvitiated senses, to discern 
between good and evil ; yea, and can have the suffrage of several 
senses concerning the same object 5 they have a kind of 
taste in their ear. They taste the good word of God,' even in 
his previous workings on them. Heb.6.5. Being new-born they 
are intimated to have tasted in the word how gracious the Lord 
is. As they grow up thereby, they have still a more judicious 
sense, and can more certainly distinguish, when God speaks to 
them, and when a stranger goes about to counterfeit his voice. 
John 10. They can tell at first hearing, what is grateful and 
nutritive, what offensive and hurtful to the divine life; what is 
harmonious and agreeable, what dissonant to the gospel already 
received,so that an angel from heaven must expect no welcome, 
if he bring another. To know his inward motions and impul 
ses; when his hand toucheth our hearts, to be able to say this is 
the finger of God, there is something divine in this touch. My 
beloved put in his hand by the hole of the door, and my bowels 
were moved; Cant. 5. 4. This speaks acquaintance when the 
soul can say> I know his very touch ; the least impressio v n from 
him, I can distinguish it from thousands of objects that daily 
beat upon my heart. To understand his looks;* to know 
the meaning of his aspects, and glances of the various 

* So we apprehend God proportionably more clearly as the idea 
we have of a person is more distinct that we have of him by the sight 
of his picture or face through a glass, beyond that which we have 
byhearing a reported description of him, though by himself unseen.. 
This is acquaintance with God.. 

VOL, JH, 2 F 


casts, as it were of his eye. Such things intimate friends 
can, in a sort, talk by, with one another; I will guide 
thee by mine eye ; that implies an intelligent teach 
able subject. We have now no full-eyed appearances of 
God; he shews himself, looks in upon us through the lattice, 
through a veil, or a shadow, or a glass. That measure of ac 
quaintance with him to be able to discern and own him in his 
appearances, is a great participation of heaven, utter unac- 
quaintance with God is expressed by the denial of these two, 
ye have neither heard his voice, nor seen his shape, John. 53J* 
Finally, which brings us home to the text, to keep our eye 
intentively fixed on him, not to understand his looks only as be 
fore, but to return our own. Intimate acquaintance (whcii 
such friends meet) is much expressed, and improved by the 
eye, by a reciprocation of glances, or (which speaks more in 
wardness) more fixed views ; when their eyes do even feed and 
feast upon each other. Thus we should endeavour to be as in 
a continual interview with God. How frequent mention have 
we of the fixed posture of his eye towards saints. To this man 
will I look ; I have found out, as though he had said, that 
which shall be ever the delight of mine eye. Do not divert me, 
towards him I will look. What he speaks of the material tem 
ple is ultimately to be referred to that which is typified, his 
church, his saints, united with his Christ, Mine eyes and my 
heart shall be there perpetually ; and elsewhere, He with- 
draweth not his eyes from the righteous ; he cannot (admirable 
grace) allow himself to look off, to turn aside his eye: and he 
seems impatient of the aversion of theirs, Let me see thy coun 
tenance (saith he) for it is comely.* 

Is it not much more reasonable, it should be thus with us to 
wards him ? that we should be more delighted to behold real 
comeliness than he with what is so, only by his gracious vouch- 
suiement and estimation ? How careful should we be, that our 
eye may at every turn meet his ; that he rever look towards us, 
and find it in the ends of the earth, carelessly wandering from 
him ? How well doth it become us, to set the Lord always 
before us : to have our eye ever towards the Lord? Psal.16.8. 
25. 15. This you see is the initial, leading thing in this bles 
sedness of heaven. So it must have also a prime ingrediency 
into our heaven on earth. It is a part of celestial blessedness ; 
but it is not peculiar to it. The present blessedness the right 
eous enjoy here is a participation of heaven. It hath something 
in it of every thing that is ingredient into that perfect blessed 
ness. Our present knowledge of God is often expressed by 

* I King 9. 3. Job, 36. 7. Psal, 33. 18, & 34. 15. Cant. 2. 14. 


vision, or sight, as we have had occasion to observe in many 
passages of Scripture. He hath given us such a visive power, 
and made it connatural to that heavenly creature, begotten of 
him, in all the true subjects of his blessedness. We know that 
,we are of God, and presently it follows, he hath given us an 
understanding to know him that is true. 1 John. 5. 15. 20. 
This new man is not born blind. The blessed God himself is 
become liable to the view of his regenerate, intellectual eye, 
clarified, and rilled with vigour and spirit from himself. He 
therefore that hath made, that hath new -formed this eye, shall 
not he be seen by it ? shall not we turn it upon him ? Why do 
not we more frequently bless our eye with that sight ? This 
object (though of so high excellency and glory) will not hurt, 
but perfect and strengthen it. They are refreshing, vital beams 
that issue from it. Sure we have no excuse that we eye God 
so little, that is, that we mind him no more. Why have we so 
few thoughts of him in a day ? What, to let so much time 
pass, and not spare him a look, a thought ? Do we intend to 
employ ourselves an eternity in the visions of God, and is our 
present aversion from him, and intention upon vanity, our best 
preparation thereto ? This loudly calls for redress. Shall God 
be waiting all the day, as on purpose to catch our eye, to in 
tercept a look, and we studiously decline him, and still 
look another way, as of choice ? and what is it but choice ? 
Can we pretend a necessity to forget him all the day ? 
How cheap is the expence of a look ? How little would it cost 
.us ? And yet how much of duty might it express ? how much 
pf comfort and joy might it bring into us ? 

How great is our offence and loss, that we live not in such 
more constant views of God ? Herein we sin and suffer both 
at once, things both very unsuitable to heaven. Mindfulness 
of God is the living spring of all holy and pleasant affections 
and deportments towards him ; sets all the wheels a going ; 
makes the souls as the chariots of Aminadab. These wheels 
have their eyes also, are guided by a mind, by an intellectual 
principle. Knowing, intelligent beings (as we also are by par 
ticipation and according to our measure) so act mutually to 
wards one another. We cannot move' towards God but with an 
open eye, seeing him and our way towards him. If we close 
our eyes we stand still, or blindly run another course, we know 
not whither. All sin is darkness, whether it be neglect of good, 
or doing of evil : its way is a way of darkness ; as a course of 
holy motion is walking in the light. Our shutting our eyes 
towards God creates that darkness ; surrounds us with a darkness 
comprehensive of all sin. Now is every thing of enjoined duty 
waved, and any evil done, that sinful nature prompts us to. 
Well might it be said,He that sinneth hath not seenGod. iJohn. 


3. 6. When we have made ourselves this darkness, we fall of 
course under satan's empire, and are presently within his do-r 
minions. He is the prince of darkness, and can rule us now at 
his will. Perishing lost souls are such as in whom the God of 
this world hath blinded their minds. To open their eyes, and 
turn them from darkness to light, is, to turn them also from the 
power of satan unto God. What a hell of wickedness are we 
brought into, in the twinkling of an eye ? We are without God 
in the world, as if a man wink, though at noon-day, he hath as 
it were put out the sun, it is with him as if there were no such 
thing. When we have banished God out of our sight and for 
gotten him, it is with us as if there were no God. If such a 
state grow habitual to us, (as we know every sinful aversion, 
of our eye from God tends thereto,) what wickedness is there 
that will not lurk in this darkness ? How often in Scripture is for 
getting God used as a character ,'yea,as a paraphase,a full, though 
summary, expression of sin in general? as if the wickedness, 
the malignity, the very hell itself of sin, were wholly included 
(and not connoted only) here. Now consider this (after so 
dreadful an enumeration, so black a catalogue) all that forget 
God. Psal. 50. And (as deep calleth to deep, one hell to ano 
ther,) The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the people 
that forget God. Psal. 9. That heap, that mass of wickedness, 
of pride, of persecution, cursing, blasphemy, deceit, and mis 
chief, all meet in one that hath not God in all his thoughts. 

But who is so hardy to look the holy God in the face, and 
sin against him? What an astonishment is it, when he watches 
over present sin, or brings forth former sins out of secret dark 
ness and sets them in the light of his countenance? Who thatun- 
derstands any thing of the nature and majesty of God, dare call 
him for a witness of his sinning ? The worst of men would find 
themselves under some restraint, could they but obtain of them 
selves, to sit down sometimes and solemnly think of God. 
Much more would it prove an advantage to (them whom I most 
intend) such as sin within the nearer call and reach of mercy : 
that sin not to the utmost latitude : even such as lead the strict 
est lives, and are seldomer found to transgress ; are not their 
sins wont to begin with forgetting God ? Did they eye God 
more, would they not sin less frequently, and with greater re-^ 
gret ? You his saints, that have made a covenant with him by 
sacrifice, that profess the greatest love and devotedness to him 
and seem willing yourselves to become sacrifices, and lay down 
your lives for his sake ; What, is it a harder thing to give him 
a look, a thought r or is it not too common a thing, without 
necessity (and then not without injury) to withhold these from 
him ? Let us bethink ourselves^ are not the principal distem-t 


pers of our spirits, and disorders yet observable in our lives to 
be referred hither ? As to enjoined services ; what, should we 
venture on omissions, if we had God in our eye ? or serve him 
with so declining, backward hearts ? Should we dare to let pass 
a day, in the even whereof we might write down, nothing done 
for God tbis day ? or should we serve him as a hard master, 
with sluggish, despondent spirits ? The apostle forbids servants 
to serve with eye-service, as men-pleasers; meaningthey should 
eye men less, and God more. Sure, as to him, our service is 
not enough eye-service. We probably eye men more than we 
should ; but we do not eye him enough. Hence such hanging 
of hands, such feebleness of knees, such laziness and indifferen- 
cy, so little of an active zeal and laborious diligence, so little 
fervency of spirit in serving the Lord. Hence also such an 
aversion to hazardous services,such fear of attempting any thing 
(though never so apparent important duty} that may prove cost 
ly, or hath danger in it. We look not to him that is invisible. 
And as to forbidden things ; should we be so proud, so passion 
ate, so earthly, so sensual, if we had God more in view ? should 
we so much seek ourselves, and indulge our own wills and hu 
mours, drive a design witbsuch solicitude and intention of mind 
for our private interests ? should we walk at such a latitude, 
and more consult our own inclination than our rule, allow our 
selves in so much vanity of conversation, did we mind God as 
we ought ? And do not we sensibly punish ourselves in this 
neglect ? what a dismal chaos is this world while we see not 
God in it ! To live destitute of a divine presence, to discern no 
beam of the heavenly glory ; to go up and down day by day, 
and perceive nothing of God, no glimmering, no appearance; 
this is disconsolate as well as sinful darkness. What can we 
make of creatures, what of the daily events of providence, if we 
see not in them the glory of a Deity ; if we do not contemplate 
and adore the divine wisdom, power, and goodness, diffused 
every-vvhere ? Our practical atheism, and inobservance of God, 
make the world become to us the region and shadow of death, 
states us as among ghosts and spectres, makes all things look 
with a ghastly face, imprints death upon every thing we see, 
encircles us with gloomy, dreadful shades, and with uncomfort 
able apparitions* To behold the tragical spectacles always in 
view, the violent lusts, the rapine and rage of some, the calami 
tous sufferings, the miseries and ruins of others; to hear every 
corner resounding with the insultations of the oppressor, and 
the mournful groans of the oppressed, what a painful continu 
ing death were it to be in the world without God ! At the best, 
all things were but a vanishing scene, an image seen in the 
dark. The creation, a thing, the fashion whereof were pass 


jng away, the whole contexture and system of providence were 
mere confusion, without the least concinnity or order : reli 
gion an acknowledged trifle, a mere mockery ? What, to wink 
ourselves into so much darkness and desolation, and by seal 
ing up our eyes against the divine light and glory, to confirm 
so formidable miseries upon our own souls ! How dreadfully 
shall we herein revenge our own folly, in nullifying him to our 
selves, who is the all in all ! Sure there is little of heaven in all 
this ? But if now we open our eyes upon that all-comprehend 
ing glory, apply them to a steady intuition of God, how hea 
venly a life shall we then live in the world ! To have God al 
ways in view, as the director and end of all our actions: to make 
our eye crave leave of God, to consult him before we adventure 
upon any thing, and implore his guidance and blessing : upon 
all occasions to direct our prayers to him and look up : to make 
our eye wait his commanding look, ready to receive all inti 
mations of his will ; this is an angelic life. To be as those 
ministers of his that are always ready to do his pleasure : tp 
make our eye do him homage, and express our dependence and 
trust : to approve ourselves in every thing to him, and act as 
always in his presence, observing still how his eye observes us, 
and exposing ourselves \villingly to its inspection and search, 
contented always he should see through and through us : sure 
ly there is much of heaven in this life : so we should endeavour 
to live here. I cannot omit to give you this instruction in the 
words of a heathen, Sic certe vivendum est tanquam in con- 
spedu vivamus, Sfc. We ought so to live, as always within 
view, order our cogitations as if some one might or can look 
into the very inwards of cur breast. For to what purpose is 
it, to hide any thing from man ? from God nothing can he 
hid; he is continually present to our spirits, and comes amidst 
our inmost thoughts, &e. Sen. Epist. 83. 

This is to walk in the light, amidst a serene,pliicid,mild lighr^ 
that infuses no unquiet thoughts, admits no guilty fears, no 
thing that can disturb or annoy us. To eye God in all our com 
forts, and observe the smiling aspects of his face, when he dis 
penses them to us : to eye him in all our afflictions, and con 
sider the paternal wisdom that instructs us in them j how would 
this increase our mercies, and mitigate our troubles ? To eye 
him in all his creatures, and observe the various prints of the 
Creator's glory stamped upon them ; with how lively a lustre 
would it cloth the world, and make every thing look with a 
pleasant face ! what a heaven were it to look upon God, as fil 
ling all in all : and how sweetly would it, ere-while, raise our 
souls into some such sweet seraphic strains, holy, holy, the 
whole earth is full of his glory. Isa. 6'. 2, 3. To eye him in his 


providences, and consider how all events are with infinite wis 
dom disposed into an apt subserviency to his holy will and ends ; 
what difficulties would hence be solved ! what seeming incon 
sistencies reconciled ! and how much would it contribute to the 
ease and quiet of our minds ? To eye him in his Christ, the ex 
press image of his person, the brightness of his glory, and in the 
Christian economy, the gospel revelation and ordinances, through 
which he manifests himself : to behold him in the posture 
wherein he saves souls, clad with the garments of salvation, girt 
with power, and appareled with love, travelling in the great 
ness of his strength, mighty to save : to view him addressing 
himself to allure and win to him the hearts of sinners, when he 
discovers himself in Christ, upon that reconciling design, makes 
grace that brings salvation appear, teaching to deny ungodli 
ness, &c. to behold him entering into human flesh, pitching 
his tabernacle among men,hanging out his ensigns of peace,lays 
ing his trains, spreading his net, the cords of a man, the bands 
of love : to see him in his Christ, ascending the cross, lifted 
up to draw all men to him; and consider that mighty love of 
justice and of souls, both so eminently conspicuous in that stu 
pendous sacrifice ; here to fix our eyes looking to Jesus, and be 
hold in him, him whom we have pierced : to see his power and 
glory, as they were wont to be seen in his sanctuaries; to observe 
him in the solemnities of his worship, and the graceful postures 
wherein he holds communion with his saints, when he seats 
himself amidst them on the throne of grace, receives their ad 
dresses, dispenses the tokens and pledges of his love : into 
what transports might these visions put us every day ! 

Let us then stir up our drowsy souls, open our heavy eyes, 
and turn them upon God, inure and habituate them to a con 
stant view of his (yet veiled) face, that we may not see him 
only by casual glances, but as those that seek his face, and 
make it our business to gain a thorough knowledge of him. 
But let us remember, that all our present visions of God must 
aim at a further conformity to him : they must design imitation 
not the satisfying of curiosity ; our looking must not therefore 
be an inquisitive,busy prying into the unrevealed things of God. 
Carefully abstain from such over-bold presumptuous looks. 
But remember, we are to eye God as our pattern. Wherein he is 
to be so, he hath plainly enough revealed and proposed himself 
to us. And consider, this is the pattern, both to which we 
ought, and to which we shall be conformed (if we make it our 
business ;) so will sense of duty, and hope of success concur to 
fix our eye and keep it steady. Especially, let us endeavour to 
manage and guide our eye aright, in beholding him, that our 
.sight of him may most effectually subserve this design of being like 


him ; and herein nothing will be more condueible, than that 
our looks be qualified with reverence, and love. 

[1.] Let them be reverential looks. We shall never be careful 
toimitate a despised pattern,or that we think meanly of. When 
this is the intimate sense of our soul. Who is a God like unto 
thee in holiness ! There is none holy as the Lord : this will set 
our powers on work ; such sights will command and over- awe 
our souls into conformity to him. Subjects have sometimes af 
fected to imitate the very imperfections and deformities of their 
adored prince, Let us greaten our thoughts of God Look to 
him with a submissive, adoring eye. Let every look import 
Worship and subjection. Who carl stand before apprehended 
Sovereign majesty with such a temper of soul as shall signify an 
affront to it ? This will make every thing as suitable to God 
yield and render our souls susceptible of all divine and holy 

[2.] Let them be friendly and (as far may consist with that 
reverence) amorous looks. It is natural to affect and endeavour 
likeness to them we love. Let love always sit in our eye, and 
inspirit it; this \vill represent God ajways amiable, will infinitely 
commend us to his nature and attributes, and even ravish us 
into his likeness* The loving spouse often glories, to wear her 
beloved husband's picture on her breast. The love of God will 
much more make us affect to bear his image in our hearts. His 
law is a true representation of him, and love in the fulfilling of 
that law, an exemplification of it in ourselves. Love will never 
enter a quarrel, nor admit of any disagreement with God. His 
more terrible appearances will be commendable in the eye of 
love. It thinks no evil. But so interprets and comments upon 
his severer aspects, whether through his law or providence, as 
to judge all amiable, and frame the soul to an answerable de 

(2.) In this way then let us endeavour a growing conformity un 
to God. It hath been much (and not unnecessarily) inculcated 
already, that the blessedness of the righteous hereafter, doth 
not consist merely in beholding an external, objective glory, but 
in being also glorified. They are happy by a participated glory: 
by being made like God, as well as seeing his glorious likeness; 
whereby the constitution of their spirits is changed and reduced 
to that excellent, harmonious, agreeable temper, that holy com 
posure and peaceful state from which blessedness is inseparable^ 
Asfaras we are capable of blessedness in this world,it must be so 
with us here. Glory without us will not make us happy in hea 
ven ; much less will any thing without us make us happy on 
earth. It is an idle dream, of sickly, crazy minds, that their 
blessedness consists in some external good, that is separable 
and distant from them ; which therefore as they blindly guess, 


they uncertainly pursue ; never aiming to become good, with 
out which they can never know what it is to be blessed. What 
felicity are men wont to imagine to themselves in this or that 
change of their outward condition ; were their state such or 
such, then they were happy, and should desire no more ? As the 
child's fancy suggests to it, if it were on the top of such a hill, 
it could touch the heavens, but when with much toil it hath got 
thither, it finds itself as far off as before. We have a shorter 
and more compendious way to it, would we allow ourselves to 
understand it. A right temper of mind involves blessedness in 
itself: it is this only change we need to endeavour. We wear 
out our days in vanity and misery, while we neglect this work, 
and busy ourselves to catch a fugitive shadow, that hovers about 
us. Jt can never be well, till our own souls be a heaven to us, 
and blessedness be a domestic, a home-dwelling inhabitant 
there. Till we get a settled principle of holy quietude into our 
own breasts, and become the sons of peace, with whom the 
peace of God may find entrance and abode : till we have that 
treasure within us, that may render us insensible of any depen- 
dance on a foreign good, or fear of a foreign evil. Shall that be 
the boast and glory of a philosopher only, "I carry all my goods 
with me wherever I go ? And that a virtuous, good man is 
liable to no hurt? Seneca (epis. 92.) thinks they discover a 
low spirit, that say, externals can add any thing(though but a very 
little) to the felicity of an honest mind ; asif(saith he) men could 
not be content with the light of the sun without the help of a 
candle or a spark r" And speaking of the constancy of the virtu 
ous man, (saith he) " They do ill that say, such an evil is 
tolerable to him, such a one intolerable, and that confine the 
greatness of his mind within certain bounds and limits/' Adver 
sity (he tells us) overcomes us, if it be not wholly overcome. 
Epicurus (saith he) the very patron of your sloth acknowledges 
yet, that unhappy events can seldom disturb the mind of a vir 
tuous person, (and he adds,) how had he almost uttered the 
voice of a man ! I pray, (saith he,) speak out a little more 
boldly, and say he is above them altogether."* Such appre 
hensions the more vinuous heathens have had of the efficacy 
and defensative power of moral goodness, however defective 
their notion might be of the thing itself. Hence Socrates the 
pagan martyr is reported to have cried out, (when those persons 
were persecuting him to death,) Anytus and Meletus can kill 
me, bat they cannot hurt me. And Anaxarchus the philosopher, 
having sharply reproved Nicocreon, and being by him ordered 

* Max. Tyr. dissert. 2. who adds, For a good man cannot receive 
iktritucnt from an evil man. 

VOL ni. 2 <* 


to be beaten to death with iron mallets, bids, strike on, strike 
on, thou mayst (saith he) break in pieces this vessel of Anaxar- 
chus, but Anaxarchus himself thou canst not touch. Diogen : 
Laert. Anaxarchus. 

Shall Christianity here confess itself outvied ? shall we, to 
the reproach of our religion, yield the day to pagan-morality, 
and renew the occasion of the ancient complaint, Non prce- 
stat fides quod prcestitit iiifidelitasy that the faith of chris- 
tians is out-done by the heathen infidelity ? It is, I remem 
ber, the challenge of Cecilius in Mmucius. " There is So 
crates (saith he) the prince of wisdom, whosoever of you chris- 
tians is great enough to attempt it,let him imitate him if he can. 
Methiriks we should be ambitious to tell the world in our lives, (for 
christians should live great things, not speak them,*) that a 
greater than Socrates is here : to let them see in us our repre 
sented pattern : to show forth higher virtues than those of So 
crates ; even his, who hath called us out of darkness into his 
glorious and marvellous light. Certain it is, that the sacred 
oracfes of the gospel set before us a more excellent pattern, and 
speak things not less magnificent, but much more modest and 
perspicuous : with less pomp of words they give us a much 
clearer account of a far more excellent temper of mind, and 
prescribe the direct and certain way of attaining it. Do but 
view over the many passages of Scripture occasionally glanced 
at, chap. 7 But we grope as in the dark for blessedness ; we 
stumble at noon-day as in the night, and wander as if we had 
no eyes ; we mistake our business, and lay the scene of a happy 
state at a great distance from us, in things which we cannot 
reach, and which if we could it were to little purpose. 

Not to speak of greater sensualists, (whom at present I have 
less in my eye,) Is there not a more refined sort of persons, 
that neglecting the great business of inspecting, and labouring 
to better and improve their spirits, are wholly taken up about 
the affairs of another sphere, that are more solicitous for better 
times, for a better world, than better spirits ; that seem to think 
all the happiness they are capable of on earth, is bound up in 
this or that external state of things ? Not that the care of all 
public concernments should be laid aside; least of all, a just 
solicitude for the church's welfare : but that should not be pre 
tended, when our own interest is the one thing with us. And 
when we are really solicitous about the church's interests, we 
should state them aright. God designs the afflictions of hi 
people for their spiritual good, therefore that is a much greater 
good than their exemption from suffering these evils; otherwise 

* As this Author's expression is. 


his means should eat up his end ; and he more expensive than 
that will countervail ; which were an imprudence no man of 
tolerable discretion would he guilty of. We should desire the 
outward prosperity of Sion, for it is a real good ; but inasmuch 
as it hath in it the goodness, not of an end, but only (and that 
but sometimes neither) of a means; not a constant but a mu 
tual goodness ; not a principal, but a lesser subordinate good 
ness ; we must not desire it absolutely, nor chiefly, but with 
submissive limited desires. If our hearts are. grieved to hear of 
the sufferings of the church of God in the world, but not of 
their sins ; If we more sensibly regret at any time, the persecu 
tions and oppressions they undergo, than their spiritual distem 
pers, their earthliness, pride, cold love to God, fervent animosi 
ties towards each other; it speaks an untnstructed carnal mind. 
We take no right measure of the interests of religion, or the 
church's welfare, and do most probably mistake ourselves as 
much in our judging of our own ; and measure theirs by our 
mistaken model. 

And this is the mischievous cheat many put upon their own 
souls, and would obtrude too often upon others too ; that over 
looking the great design of the gospel, to transform men's spirits 
and change them into the divine likeness, they think it is ic- 
Jigion enough to espouse a party, and adopt an opinion ; and 
then vogue themselves friends to religion according to the mea 
sure of their zeal for their own party or opinion ; and give a 
very pregnant proof of that zeal, by magnifying or invei ghing 
against the times, according as they favour or frown npont their 
empty, unspirited religion. It being indeed such (a secret con 
sciousness whereof they herein bewray) as hath no other life in 
it, than what it owes to external favour and countenance. And 
therefore all public rebukes are justly apprehended mortal to 
it ; whereas the substantial religion that adequately answers the 
design, and is animated by the spirit of the gospel, possesses the 
souls of them that own it, with a secure confidence, that it can 
live in any times, and hold their souls in life also. Hence they 
go on their way with a free unsolicitous cheerfulness, enjoying 
silently in their own bosoms, that repose and rest which natu 
rally results from a sound and well-composed temper of spirit. 
They know their happiness depends upon nothing without 
them.* That they hold it by a better tenure than that of the 

Ktx.1 yjx.%<x.Y\r,^ acWofe | exvla 
*AA ofTro TUV t^u <I>iAocro<pa <?y.<ns KXI ^x^xxfog, vzottfotv ufyshftatv xxi 

>?y t| *J/ Trg9cr$cix. It is the condition and character of a common 
nuin to expect happiness or injury, not from himself, but from things 
external, it is that of a philosopher to expect all happiness from 


world's courtesy. They can be quiet in the midst of storms, 
and abound in the want of all things. They can in patience 
possess their own souls, and in them a vital spring of true plea 
sure, when they are driven out of all other possessions. They know 
the living sense of these words, That the good man is satisfied 
from himself: that to be spiritually-minded is life and peace : 
that nothing can harm them that are followers of the good : 
that the way to see good days, is to keep their tongue from evil, 
fend their lips from speaking guile, to depart from evil and do 
good, to seek peace and pursue it. They cannot live in bad 
times ; they carry that about them that will make the worst 
days good to them. Surely they can never be happy in the 
best times, that cannot be so in any. Outward prosperity is 
quite besides the purpose to a distempered soul; when nothing 
else troubles, it will torment itself. Besides, we cannot com 
mand at pleasure the benign aspects of the world, the smiles of 
the times ; we may wait a life's-time, and still find the same 
adverse posture of things towards us from without. What 
dotage is it to place our blessedness in somethingto us impossible, 
that lies wholly out of our power : and in order whereto we 
have nothing to do, but sit down and wish ; and either faintly 
hope, or ragingly despair? We cannot change times and sea 
sons, nor alter the course of the world, create new heavens and 
new earth. Would we not think ourselves mocked, if God 
should command us these things in order to our being happy ? 
It is not our business, these are not the aftairs of our own pro-^ 
vince (blessed be God it is not so large) further than as our 
bettering ourselves may conduce thereto ; and this is that 
which we may do and ought, it is our proper work, in obedience 
and subordination to God as his instruments, to govern and cul 
tivate our own spirits, to intend the affairs of that his kingdom 
in us (where we are his authorized viceroys,) that consists in 
righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. We can 
be benign to ourselves, if the world be not so to us ; cherish and 
adorn our inward man ; that though the outward man be ex 
posed daily to perish (which we cannot help, and therefore it 
concerns us not to take thought about it,) the inward may be 
renewed day by day. We can take care that our souls may 
prosper, that through our oscitant neglect they be not left to 
languish and pine away in their own iniquities. They may be 
jdaily fed with the heavenly hidden manna, and withthe fruits of 
the paradiseof God ; they may enjoy at home a continual feast, 
and with a holy freedom luxuriate in divine pleasures, the joys 
wherewith the strangers intermeddle not, if we be not unpropitf* 
ou$ and unkind to ourselves. 


And would we know wherein that sound and happy com 
plexion of spirit lies, that hath so much of heaven in it : It is 
a present gradual participation of the divine likeness. It con 
sists in being conformed to God ; it is, as the moralists tell us, 
Denique ut breviter tibiformulam scribam ; tails animus 
sapicntis viri essedebH qualis Deum deceat (Sen. epist.) If 
one would give a short compendious model of it,such a temper 
of mind as becomes God ; or to give an account of it, in 
his own words, who prescribes it, and who is himself the highest 
pattern of this blessed frame, It is to be transformed in the re 
newing of our minds so as to be able to prove what is the good, 
and perfect, and acceptable will of God ; (Rom. 12. 2.) that is, 
experimentally to find it in ourselves, impressed and wrought 
into our own spirits, so as to have the complacential relish and 
savour of its goodness, excellency and pleasantness diffused 
through our souls. Where remember, this was written to such 
as were supposed saints ; whence it must be understood, of a 
continued progressive transformation, a renewing of the inward 
man day by day, (as is the apostle's expression else were.) It 
is a more perfect reception of the impress of God, revealing 
himself in the gospel; the growth and tendency of the new 
creature, begotten unto the eternal blessedness, towards its 
mature and most perfect state and stature in the fruition there 

And it is this I am now pressing ; inasmuch as some account 
hath been already given (according as we can now imperfectly 
guess at it, and spell it out) what the constitution of the holy 
soul is, in its glorified state, when it perfectly partakes the di 
vine likeness ; that when we find in ourselves any principles, 
and first elements of that blessed frame, we would endeavour 
the gradual improvement thereof, and be making towards that 
perfection. This therefore being our present work, let it be 
remembered wherein this participated likeness of God hath been 
said to consist; and labour now the nearest approach to that 
pitch and state. Your measures must be taken from what is 
most perfect, come now as near it as you can, and as that pa 
gan's advice is; " If yet thou art not Socrates, however live as 
one that would fain be Socrates." Epictet. Though yet thou 
art not perfect, live as one that aims at it, and would be so. 
Only it must be considered, that the conformity to God, of our 
present state, is in extent, larger and more comprehensive than 
that of our future ; though it be unspeakably less perfect in de 
gree. For there is no moral excellency (that we have any pre 
sent knowledge of) belonging to our glorified state, which is not 


In some degree, necessarily to be found in saints on earth. But 
there are some things which the exigency of our present state 
makes necessary to us here, which will not be so in the state of 
glory ; repentance, faith, as it respects the mediator, in order 
to our future happiness ; patience of injuries, pity to the dis 
tressed, &c. These things, and whatsoever else, whose objects 
cease, must be understood to cease with them. In short, here 
is requisite all that moral good which concerns both our end 
and way ; there, what concerns our end only. 

Yet is the whole compass of that gracious frame of spirit, re 
quisite in this our present state, all comprehended in conformi 
ty to God. Partly, inasmuch as some of these graces, which 
\vill cease hereafter, in their exercise, as not having objects to 
draw them forth into act, have their pattern in some communi 
cable attributes of God, which will cease also, as to their de 
nomination and exercise ; their objects then ceasing too, as his 
patience towards sinners, his mercy to the miserable. Partly 
inasmuch as other of those graces now required in us, though 
they correspond to nothing in God that is capable of the same 
name, as faith in a Saviour, repentance of sin (which can have 
no place in God) they yet answer to something in his nature, 
that goes under other names; and is the reason wherefore he 
requires such things in us. He hath in his nature that faith 
fulness and all sufficient fulness, that challenges our faith ; and 
that hatred of sin, which challenges our repentance for it, hav 
ing been guilty of it. His very nature obliges him to require 
those things from us, the state of our case being considered. 
So that the sum even of our present duty lies in receiving this 
entire impression of'the divine likeness, (in some part invaria 
bly and eternally necessary to us, in some part necessary with 
respect to our present state.) And herein is our present bles 
sedness also involved. If therefore we have any design to 
better our condition in point of blessedness, it must be our bu 
siness to endeavour after a fuller participation of that likeness, 
in all the particulars it comprehends. You can pilch your 
thoughts upon no part of it, which hath not an evident di^ 
rect tendency to the repose and rest of your spirits. I shall 
commend only some few instance?, that you may see how little 
reason and inducement a soul conformed to the holy will of God, 
hath to seek its comforts and contents elsewhere. Faith corres 
ponds to the truth of God, as it respects divine revelations. 
How pleasant is it to give up our understandings to the conduct 
of so safe a guide ; to the view of so admirable thingj as he re 
veals ! It corresponds to his goodness, as it respects its offers. 



How delectable is it to be filling an empty soul from the divine 
fulness ! What pleasure attends the exercise of this faith to-* 
wards the person of the Mediator, viewing him in all his glo 
rious excellencies, receiving him in all his gracious communi 
cations by this eye and hand. How pleasant is it to exercise it 
in reference to another world ! living by it in a daily prospect 
of eternity ; in reference to this world, to live without care in 
a cheerful dependance on him that hath undertaken to care for 

Repentance is that by which we become like the holy God : 
to whom our sin hath made us most unlike before. How sweet 
are kindly relentings, penetential tears, and the return of the 
soul to its God, and to a right mind ! And who can conceive 
the ravishing pleasures of love to God ! wherein vve not only 
imitate, but intimately unite with him, who is love itself. How 
pleasant to let our souls dissolve here, and flow into the ocean 
the element of love ! Our fear corresponds to his excellent 
greatness. And is not (as it is a part of the new creature in us) 
a tormenting, servile passion, but a due respectfulness and ob 
servance of God ; and there is no mean pleasure in that holy 
awful seriousness unto which it composes and forms our spirits. 
Our humility, as it respects him, answers his high excellency ; 
as it respects our own inferiors, his giacious condescension. 
How pleasant is it to fall before him ! And how connatural and 
agreeable to a good spirit, to stoop low, upon any occasion to 
do good! Sincerity is a most God-like excellency; an imitation 
of his truth, as grounded in his all-sufficiency ; which sets him 
above the necessity or possibility of any advantage by collusion, 
or deceit; and corresponds to his omnisciency and heart-search 
ing eye. It heightens a man's spirit to a holy and generous 
boldness : makes him apprehend it beneath him to do an unwor 
thy, dishonest action, that should need a palliation, or a con 
cealment.* And gives him the continual pleasure of self-ap 
probation to God, whom he chiefly studies and desires to please. 
Patience, a prime glory of the divine majesty, continues a man's 
possession of his own soul, his liberty, his dominion of himself. 
He is (if he can suffer nothing) a slave to his vilest and most 
sordid passions at home, his own base fear, arid brutish anger, 
and effeminate grief, and to any man's lusts and humours be 
sides, that he apprehends can do him hurt. It keeps a man's 
soul in a peaceful calm, delivers him from (that most unnatural) 

* As that noble Roman whom his architect (about to build him a 
house) promised to contrive it free from all his neighbours inspec 
tion ; he replies, nay, if thou have any art in thee, build my house 
so that all in ay see what I do. Veil. Pat, p. 32. 


self-torment, defeats the impotent malice of his most implaca 
ble enemy, who fain would vex him, but cannot. Justice, the 
great attribute of the judge of all the earth, as such ; so far as 
the impression of it takes place among men, preserves the com' 
mon peace of the world, and the private peace of each man in 
his own bosom, so that the former be not disturbed by doing of 
mutual injuries, nor the latter by the conscience of having done 
them. The brotherly love of fellow-chrlstians ; the impression 
of that special love, which God bears to them all, admits them 
into one anothers bosoms, and to all the endearments and plea 
sures of a mutual communion. Love to enemies, the express im 
age of our heavenly Father; by which we appear his children, 
begotten of him ; overcomes evil by goodness, blunts the double 
edge of revenge ; at least the sharper edge, (which is always to 
wards the author of it,) secures, ourselves from wounding im 
pressions and resentments; turns keen anger into gentle pity ; 
and substitutes mild pleasant forgiveness, in the room of the 
much uneasier thoughts and study of retaliation. Mercifulness 
toward the distressed, as our Father in heaven is merciful, heaps 
blessing upon our souls, andevidences,our title to what we are to 
live by, the divine mercy. A universal henignity and propen- 
sion to do good to all ; an imitation of the immense, diffusive 
goodness of God, is but kindness to ourselves, rewards itself by 
that greater pleasure is in giving than in receiving; and as 
sociates us with God in the blessedness of this work, as well as 
in the disposition to it ; who exercises loving kindness in the 
carrh, because he delighteth therein. 

Here are some of the ^^^0. m eixs W, or the things 
wherein consists that our conformity to the divine nature and 
will, which is proper to our present state. And now, who can 
estimate the blessedness of such a soul? Can (in a word) the 
state of that soul be unhappy that is full of the Holy Ghost, 
full of love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, good 
ness, faith, meekness, temperance, those blessed fruits of 
that blessed Spirit? Blessedness is connaturalized unto 
this soul : every thing doth its part, and all conspire to 
make it happy. This soul is a temple, an habitation of 
holiness. Here dwells a Deity in his glory. It is a paradise, 
a garden of God. Here he walks and converses daily, delight 
ed with its fragrant fruitfulness. He that hath those things 
and aboundeth, is not barren or unfruitful in the knowledge of 
our Lord and Saviour .Jesus : He is the sun, and the knowledge 
of him, the quickening beams that cherish and ripen these 
fruits, But the soul that lacketh these things is a desert, a 
habitation of devils. Here is stupid, disconsolate infidelity, 
iuHexibleobstinacy arid resolvedness for hell, hatred and con- 


tempt of the sovereign majesty; whom yet, its secret misgiving 
thoughts tell it, will be too hard for it at last. Here is swollen 
pride and giddy vain-glory, disguised hypocrisy and pining 
envy, raging wrath and ravenous avarice, with what you can im 
agine besides, leading to misery and desolation. 

You have then some prospect of a happy temper of spirit. 
It can now be no difficulty to you, to frame an idea of it in 
your thoughts, to get a notional image (or this likeness in the 
notion of it) into your minds ; but that will avail you little, if 
you have not the real image also ; that is, your spirits really 
fashioned and formed according thereto : if having the know 
ledge of these things, (as the pagan moralist's expression, before- 
mentioned, is of virtuous rules and precepts, Philosophia hcec 
dividitur in scientiam, et hahitum animi) unam illam qui 
didicit etfacienda ac vitandaprcecepit nondum sapiens est 
nisi in ea quce didicit animus ejus tramfiguratm est.* Sen 
ex Agrippa epist. 94.) they become not habitual to you, 
and your spirits be not transfigured in them. But now, I treat 
with such as are supposed to have some such real impressions, 
that they may be stirred up to endeavour a further perfecting of 
them. In order whereto, I shall add but this two-fold advice : 

[1.] Be very careful that this living image (such you have 
been formerly told it is) may grow equally in every part. See 
that the impression of this likeness be entire, that it be not a 
maimed thing; if it be, God will never own it as his production. 
Integrity is the glory of a christiati : to be entire, lacking no 
thing. This is the soundness of heart that excludes a blushing con 
sciousness and misgiving ; exempts it from the fear of a shame 
ful discovery. Let my heart be sound in thy statutes ; is para 
phrased, by having respect to all God's commandments; (Psal. 
119. 6.80.) to which is opposite, that being partial in the 
law, spoken of by the prophet (Mai. 2. 9.) by w^y of complaint 
concerning the priests of that time. A thing hateful in the 
eye of God, and as uncomfortable to ourselves, as to be without 
a leg or an arm. And see that it be preserved entire by a pro 
portional and uniform growth, that fresh life and motion may 
daily appear in every limb of this heavenly new creature. How 
odious a deformity is it, when a shew of moral virtues excludes 
godliness ? And how much more odious (inasmuch as there is 
more impudent falsehood in it, and more dishonourable re 
flection upon God) when under a high pretence of godliness, 
any shall allow themselves in visible immorality ? What, to 
be oppressive, envious, contentious, deceitful, proud, turbu 
lent, wrathful, morose, malicious, fretful, and peevish, and yet 

' This kind of pliilophosy is divided into the science and the ha 
bit of the mind, &c. Vide page 132. 
VOL. Ill, 2-H 



a Christian? What serious person, that shall have no fairer re 
presentation of Christianity than such do give, would not be 
ready to say rather, Sit anima mea cum Phllosophis, If this 
be Christian religion^ give me honest paganism f A Christian 
that hath received the proper, uniform, entire impress of the 
gospel of Christ, is the most meek, mild, calm, harmless, 
thing in the world. Never mention so venerable a name, if 
you will not be jealous of the honour of it. Will you 
give God occasion to charge you. Wretch, I never had had this 
dishonour, if thou hadst never been called a Christian ; thou art 
a Christian to no purpose, or to very bad ; it does thee no good, 
and it injures me ? But (which is more directly considerable 
as to our present purpose) the neglect and consequent decay of 
any gracious principle, infers a iangour, a consumption and en- 
feebiement of all. Any such perverse disposition doth not 
affect that part only, is not only an impairment to the contrary 
gracious principle, but (as a cancer in some exterior part of the 
body) it gradually creeps up till it invade the vitals. Can the 
tove of God live and grow in an unquiet, angry, uncharitable 
breast? Consider, Jam. 1. 26. 1 John. 3. 17 

[2.] Be constantly intent upon this business of spiritual growth. 
Mind it as a design, make a solemn purposed business of it, 
your great daily business. You do not till your ground by 
chance, as a casual thing; but you do it industriously, and of 
set purpose. The apostle speaking of his own method of pur 
suing conformity to Christ, (Phil. 3. 8.) tells us, he did in com 
parison, count all things else loss and dog's meat ; he threw 
every thing else aside. Then next he recounts with himself, 
how far short he was ; Not as if 1 had already attained, &c. 
(ver. 12.) (where by the way he intimates, that to stand still, 
and givA-over .further endeavours, implies that gross absurdity, 
as if we thougnt ourselves to have attained already, to be al 
ready perfect ; are we not ashamed to seem so conceited of our 
selves ?) and then still as he did attain in this pursuit he forgot 
what was behind; (ver. 12, 13.) and held on his course with 
fresh and constant vigour, still reaching forth and pressing on 
ward towards his designed mark. 

In this great business we alas ! seem to dream. He that hath 
been observed ten or twenty years ago to be proud, and cove 
tous, or passionate, still remains so, and we apprehend not the 
incongruity of it. What, always learning, and yet never come 
to the knowledge of the truth, as it is in Jesus, to the putting 
off the old man, and putting on the new ? Who would meddle 
with any profession upon such terms, to be always doing and 
yet to do nothing ? Surely it must be imputed to this, we de 
sign not, we do not seriously intend the perfecting of holiness, 


to make a real progress In our way and work, and to get still 
nearer heaven, as we draw nearer to the end of our days on 
earth. We too contentedly confine ourselves within certain limits 
and aim not, as we should at a spiritual exce llency. This is the 
temper of many that have long- trodden the path of (at least ni\ 
external) religion ; they will go but their own pace, and that 
within a self-prescribed round or circle. They perform their 
stated task of religious exercises, and shun the g rosser vices of 
the time ; arid resolve never to go higher : much like the cha 
racter that was once given of a great maa, (Tiberius,) Neqite 
enim eminences virtutes sectabatur 9 et rursum vitia oderat: 
that he followed not the more eminent virtues, and yet that 
he hated vfci.Tacit.Annal. And it is arue censure that a bar 
barian, (Thespesion, Phiiostro. in vit. Apollon. Tyan,) is said 
to have given ofthat middle temper, that dull inditferency : 

Tlotvyotf TlfJ.'nS TSj'iiX-t TtfAVgtOtS S(TOV OlpSSVlKSV, &73TM Oi^.TYllWhatl^eQUaU't/ 

distant from being the matter either of praise or punishment, 
is upon no terms to be accounted a virtue. At least, we drive 
not on a design of growth and self-improvement in our spiritual 
states with that constancy we ought ; we are off and on ; our 
spirits are not steadily intent ; we are unstable as water, how 
can we excel? (Gen. 49. 4.) God hath not put us, sure, upon 
so fruitless a task, wherein our utmost labour and diligence 
shall profit nothing. Therefore strive more vigorously, and 
pray with more earnest importunity. Consider and plead it 
with God, that he hath set before thee the hope of such a state, 
wherein thou art to be perfectly like him; and shalt thou (tha,t 
must hereafter be like God) be now like a clod of earth ? Thou 
art now a child begotten of him; and though thou art yet irf 
the minority, yet may not somewhat be spared out of so fair an 
estate, hereafter designed for thee, as that thou mayst now live 
worthy of such a Father, and suitable to thy expected inherit 

(3.)And now, a contented, satisfied temper of spirit, as I'have 
told you, results from the other two ; and will therefore follow 
of course upon growing knowledge of God, and conformity to 
him, as the latter of these also doth upon the former. Yea, it 
is a part of our conformity to God; but a part consequent to 
the impression of the things mentioned under the former head, 
as knowledge also is a part previous and antecedent thereto. 
It is in the state of glory, we see, something superadded. The 
likeness impressed is pre-supposed ; satisfaction follows there- , 
upon. The case is so too in our present state; contentment 
is spoken of as a thing consequent and superadded ; Godliness 
with contentment. A satisfied contented spirit, when it is the 


result of Godliness, (of the divine image impressed,) is indeed 
great gain. Yet as to this 1 shall only say these two things. 

[1.] Be distinct and explicit in the proposal of it as an end. 
Religion doth not brutify men, but make them more rational. 
Its business is to guide them to blessedness. It must therefore 
pitch their eyes upon it, as the mark and end they are to aim 
at, and hold them intent there. It is ingenuous, and honourable 
to God, that we should expressly avow it. We come to him for 
satisfaction to our spirits, not knowing whither else to apply 
ourselves. We turn our eyes upon him, we lay open our souls 
to receive impressions from him, for this very end. This is 
an explicit acknowledgment of him as God, our highest sove 
reign good. 

[2.] Actually apply and accommodate divine visions and 
communications to this purpose. 8ay, (f O my soul, now come 
solace thyself in this appearance of God ; come, take thy al 
lowed pleasure in such exertions of God, as thou dost now ex 
perience in thyself/' Recount thy happiness ; think how 
great it is, how rich thou art ; on purpose that thy spirit may 
grow more daily into a satisfied, contented frame. Often be 
think thyself, What is the great God doing for me, that he 
thus reveals and imparts himself to my soul ! O how great 
things do those present pledges pre-signify to me ! that thou 
mayst still more and more like thy portion, and account it 
fallen in pleasant places, so as never to seek satisfaction in 
things of another kind ; though thou must still continue ex 
pecting and desiring more of the same kind. And remember 
to this purpose, there cannot be a greater participation of the 
misery of hell before- hand, than a discontented spirit perpe 
tually restless and weary of itself; nor of the blessedness of 
heaven, than in a well-pleased, satisfied, contented frame of 



Rule 5. Directing to raise our desires above the actual or possible 
attainments of this our present, and terminate them upon the fu 
ture consummate state of blessedness. The rule explained and 
pressed by sundry considerations. Rule 6. That we add to a 
desirous pursuit, a joyful expectation of this blessedness : which 
is pursued by certain subordinate directions. 

. mHAT notwithstanding all our present or possible at 
tainments in this imperfect state on earth, we direct 
fervent vigorous desires towards the perfect and consummate 
state of glory itself; not designing to ourselves a plenary 
satisfaction and rest in any thing on this side of it. That is, 
that forgetting what is behind, we reach forth not only to what 
is immediately before us, the next step to be taken ; but that 
our eye and desire aim forward at the ultimate period of our 
race, terminate upon the eternal glory itself; and that not only 
as a measure, according to which we would some way proportioa 
our present attainments, but as the very mark, which (itself) 
we would fain hit and reach home to. And that this be not 
only the habitual bent and tendency of our spirits ; but that we 
keep up such desires, in frequent (and as much as is possible) 
continual exercise. Yea, and that such actual desires be not 
only faint and sluggish wishes, but full of lively efficacy and vi 
gour; in some measure proportionable to our last end and highest 
good ; beyond and above which we neither esteem nor expect 
any other enjoyment. Whatsoever we may possibly attain to 
here, we should still be far from projecting to ourselves a state 
of rest on this side consummate glory, but still urge ourselves 
to a continual ascent ; so as to mount above, not only all enjoy 7 
ments of any other kind, but ail degrees of enjoyment in this 
kind, that are beneath perfection. 

Still it must be remembered, this is not the state of our final 
rest. The mass of glory is yet in reserve, we are not yet so 
high as the highest heavens. If we gain but the top of mount 
fabor, we are apt to say, It is good to be here, and forget the 


longer journey yet before us, loth to think of a further advance; 
when, were our spirits right, how far soever we inay suppose 
ourselves to have attained, it would be matter of continual joy 
to us to think, high perfections are still attainable ; that we are 
yet capable of greater things, than what we have hitherto com 
passed > our souls can yet comprehend more. Nature intends 
what is most perfect in every creature > methinks the divine 
nature in the new creature, should not design lower, or cease 
aspiring, till it have attained its ultimate perfection, its culmi 
nating point ; till grace turn into glory . Let us therefore, 
Christians, bestir ourselves, let us open and turn our eyes upon 
the eternal glory. Let us view it well, and then demand of 
our own souls, why are our desires so faint and slothful ? why 
do they so seldom pierce through the intervening distance, and 
reach home to what they professedly level at ; so rarely touch 
this blessed mark ? How can we forbear to be angry with our^ 
selves, that so glorious an end should not more powerfully att 
tract ; that our hearts should not more sensibly find themselves 
drawn ; and all the powers of the soul be set on work by the 
attractive power of that glory ? It certainly concerns us, not 
to sit still under so manifest a distemper. But if the proposal 
of the object, the discourse (all this while) of this blessed state, 
do not move us to make some further trials with ourselves, see 
what urging and reasoning with our souls, what rubbing and 
chafing our hearts will do. And there is a two-fold trial we 
may in this kind make upon our spirits : what the sense of 
shame will work with us ; whether our hearts cannot he made 
sensible to suppose how vile and wretched a temper it is to bs 
undesirous of glory. And then what sense of praise can effect; or 
what impression it may make upon us to consider the excellency 
and worth, the high reasonableness of that temper and posture 
of soul which I am now persuading to, a continual desirous- 
ness of that blessed, glorious state. 

(1.) As to the former. Let us bethink ourselves, Can we anr 
Swer it to God or to our own souls, that we should indulge our^ 
selves in a continual negligence of our eternal blessedness ? a 
blessedness consisting in the vision and participation of the di 
vine glory ? Have we been dreaming all this while, that God, 
hath been revealing to us this glorious state, and setting this 
lovely prospect before our eyes ? Did it become us, not to open 
our eyes while he was opening* heaven to us, and representing 
the state which he designed to bring us to ? or will we say, We 
have seen it and yet desire it not? Have we been deaf and 
dead while he hath been calling us into eternal glory; have all 
our senses been bound up all this while ? Hath he been speak 
ing all along to sensekss statues, to stocks and stones, while he 


expected reasonable,living souls should have received the voice, 
and have returned an obedient, complying answer ? And what 
answer could be expected to such a call (a call to his glory) be 
low this, We desire it Lord, we could fain be there. And if we 
say we have not been all this while asleep, we saw the light that 
shone upon us, we heard the voice that called to us; wherewith 
shall we then excuse ourselves, that our desires were not moved, 
that our souls were not presently in a flame ? Was it then, that 
we thought all a mere fiction; that we durst not give credit to 
his word, when it brought us the report of the everlasting glory? 
Will we avow this ? Is this, that we will stand by? Or what else 
have we left to say ? Have we a more plausible reason to al ledge, 
that the discovery of such a glory moved us not to desire it, 
than that we believed it not ? Sure this is the truth of our case. 
We should feel this heavenly fire always burning in our breasts, 
if our infidelity did not quench the coal. If we did believe, 
we could not but desire. But doth not the thoughts of tbis 
$hake our very souls, aqd fill us with horror and trembling ? 
We that should be turned into indignation, and ready to burn 
ourselves with our own flame, and all about us, if one should 
give us the lie ; that we should dare to put the lie upon the 
eternal truth: upon him whose word gave stability and being 
to the world, who made and sustains all things by it! That aw 
ful word i That word that shivers rocks, and melts down moun 
tains, that makes the animate creation tremble, that can in a 
moment blast all things, and dissolve the frame of heaven and 
earth, (which in the mean time it upholds:) is that become with 
us fabulous, lying breath ! Those God-breathed oracles, those 
heavenly records, which discover and describe this blessed 
state, are they false and foolish legends? Must that be pretend 
ed at last (if men durst) that is so totally void of all pretences ? 
What should be the .gain or advantage accruing to that eternal, 
all-sufficient Being? What accession should be made to that 
infinite self-fulness by deluding a worm ? Were it consistent 
with his nature ; what could be his design to put a cheat upon 
poor mortal dust ? If thou dare not impute it to him ; such a 
deception had a beginning, but what author canst thou imagine 
of it, or what end ? Did it proceed from a good man or a bad ? 
Could a good and honest mind form so horribly wicked a design, 
to impose a universal delusion, and lie upon the world, in the 
name of the true "and holy God? Or could a wicked mind 
frame a design so diieetly levelled against wickedness ? Or is 
there any thing so aptly and naturally tending to form the 
world to sobriety, holiness, purity of conversation, as the dis 
covery of tin's future state of glory ? And since the belief of 
future felicity is known to obtain universally among men, who 


could be the author of so common a deception ? If thou hadst 
the mind to impose a lie upon ail the world, what course wouldst 
thou take ? How wouldst thou lay the design ? Or why dost 
thou in this case imagine what thou knowest not how to ima 
gine ? And dost thou not without scruple believe many things of 
which thou never hadst so unquestionable evidence ? Or must 
that faith, which is the foundation of thy religion and eternal 
hopes, be the most suspected, shaking thing with thee ; and 
have, of all other, the least stability and rootedness in thy soul? 
If thou canst not excuse thy infidelity, be ashamed of thy so* 
cold and sluggish desires of this glorious state. 

And doth it not argue a low, sordid spirit, not fo desiref 
and aim at the perfection thou art capable of; not to desire 
that blessedness which alone is suitable and satisfying to a 
reasonable and spiritual toeing ? Bethink thyself a little ; How 
low art thou sunk into the dirt of the earth ? how art thou 
plunged into the miry ditch, that even thine own clothes might 
abhor thee ? Is the Father of spirits thy father ? is the world 
of spirits thy country ? hast thou- any relation to that heavenly 
progeny ? art thou allied to that blessed family ; and yet un- 
desirous of the same blessedness ? Canst thou savour nothing 
but what smells of the earth ? Is nothing grateful to thy soul, 
but what is corrupted by so vicious and impure a tincture ? Are 
all thy delights centred in a dunghill ; and the polluted plea 
sures of a filthy world better to thee than the eternal visions 
and enjoyments of heaven ? What art thou all made of earth >- 
Is thy soul stupified into a clod ? Hast thou no sense with 
thee of any thing better and more excellent ? Canst thou look 
upon no glorious thing with a pleased eye ? Are things only de- 
desirable and lovely to thee, as they are deformed ? O consider 
the corrupted, distempered state of thy spirit, and how vile a 
disposition it hath contracted to itself ! Thine, looks too like 
the mundane spirit; the spirit of the world. The apostle 
speaks of it $/** /]*x*, by way of distinction ; ei&w^sv. 1 Cor. 
2. 1 2. We have not received the spirit of the world, but the 
spirit that is from God, that we might know, or see (and no 
doubt it is desire that animates that eye ; it is not bare specula 
tive intuition and no more) the things freely given us of God. 
Surely he whose desire doth not guide his eye to the beholding 
of those things, hath received the spirit of the world only. A 
spirit that conforms him to this world, makes him think only 
thoughts of this^worid, and drive the designs of this world, and 
speak the language of this world. A spirit that eonnaturalizee 
him to the world, makes him of a temper suitable to it: he 
breathes only worldly breath, carries a wordly aspect, is of a 
worldly conversation. O poor low spirit, that such a world 

CHAi*. XIX. OF Tttfe RIGHTEOUS. 241 

should withhold thee from the desire and pursuit of such 
glory ! Art thou not ashamed to think what thy desires are 
wont to pitch upon, while they decline and wave this blessed 
ness? Methinks thy very shame should compel thee to quit the 
name of a saint or a man : to forbear numbering thyself with 
any that pretend to immortality, and go seek pasture among the 
beasts of the field, with them that live that low, animal life that 
thou dost, and expect no other. 

And when thou so fallest in with the world, how highly dost 
thou gratify the pretending and usurping god of it ? The great 
fomenter of the sensual, worldly genius : the spirit itself that 
works in the children of disobedience, (Eph. 2. 2. 3.) and 
makes them follow the course of the world, holds them fast 
bound in worldly lusts, and leads them captive at his will; 
causes them (after his own serpentine manner) to creep and 
crawl in the dust of the earth. He is most intimate to this 
apostate world ; informs it (as it were) and actuates it in every 
part ; is even one great soul to it. The whole world lies in 
that wicked one, (I John. 5. 19.) as the body, by the best 
philosophers, is said to be in the soul. The world is said to be 
convicted when he is judged. John 16.8 12. He having fallen 
from a state of blessedness in God, hath involved the world 
with himself in the same apostacy and condemnation ; and 
labours to keep them fast in the bands of death. The great 
Redeemer of souls makes this his business, to loose and dissolve 
the work of the devil. 1 John 3. 8. With that wicked one 
thou compliest against thy own soul and the Redeemer of it, 
while thou neglectest to desire and pursue this blessedness. 
This is thy debasement, and his triumph; thy vile succumbency 
gives him the day ad his will upon thee. He desires no more 
than that he may suppress in thee all heavenly desires, and keep 
thee thus a slave and a prisoner (confined in thy spirit to this 
low, dark dungeon) by thy own consent. While thou remainest 
without desire after heaven, he is secure of thee, as knowing 
then thou wilt take no other way, but what will bring thee, as 
unto the same eternal state with himself in the end. He is 
jealous over thee, that thou direct not a desire, nor glance an 
eye heaven-ward. While tftou dost not so, thou art entirely 
subject, and givest as full obedience to him, as thy God require* 
to himself in order to thy blessedness. But is it a thing toler 
able to thy thoughts, that thou shouldst yield that heart-obedi- 
ance to the devil against God? And this being the state of 
thy case, what moraj^nificant expression canst thou make of 
the contempt of divnrcgoodness ? O the love that thou neg 
lectest, while the most glorious issue and product of it is with 
thee an undesired thing 1 Yea, this the thing itself speaks, were 
VOL. in. 2 i 


there no such competition. What, that when eternal love hath 
conceived, and is travelling to bring forth such a birth ; that 
when it invites thee to an expectation of such glory shortly 
to be revealed, the result of so deep counsels and wonderful 
works, this -should be the return from thee, I desire it not ! Is 
this thy gratitude to the Father of glory, the requital of the 
kindness, yea, and of the blood of thy Redeemer ? If this bles 
sedness were not desirable for itself, methinks the offerer's hand 
should be a sufficient endearment. But thou canst not so di 
vide or abstract, it consists in beholding and bearing his glorious 
likeness who invites thee to it ; and therefore in the neglect of 
it thou most highly affrontest him. 

Yea further, is it not a monstrous unnaturalness towards thy 
self, as well as irnpiety towards God> not to desire that perfect, 
final blessedness ? Doth not every thing naturally tend to its 
^ultimate perfection and proper end ? What creature would not 
witness against thee, if thou neglect, in thine own capacity and 
kind, to aim at thine ? Surely thou canst not allow thyself to 
think any thing beneath this, worthy to be owned by thee, un 
der that notion, of thy highest good and thy last end. But 
that thy spirit should labour under an aversion towards thy high 
est good, towards thy blessedness itself, is not that a dismal 
token upon thee? If thou didst disaffect and nauseate the 
things in which thy present life is bound up, and without which 
thou canst not live, wouldst thou not think thy case deplorable? 
What dost thou think will become of thy soul, whose everlast 
ing life is bound up in that very good which thou desirest not; 
which cannot live that life without that good, nor with it, if 
thou hast no desire to it ? O the eternal resentments thy soul 
will have of this cruelty ! to be withheld from that wherein its 
life lies ! Wouldst thou not judge him unnatural that should 
kill his brother, assasinate his father, starve his child ? What 
shall be said of him that destroys himself ? How may that 
soul lament that ever it was thine ; and say, O that 1 had 
rather been of any such lower kind, to have animated a fly, 
to have inspirited a vile worm, rather than to have served a 
reasonable beast, that by me knew the good it would never 
follow, and did not desire ! But if thou hast any such desires, 
fin a low degree, after this blessedness, as thou thinkest may en 
title thee to the name thou bearest, of a saint, a Christian ; is it 
riot still very unnatural to pursue a good ; approved by thy 
-stated judgment as best in itself, and for thee, with so unpro- 
portionable, so slothful desires? For jhe same reason thou 
dost desire it at all, thou shouldst desire Wmuch ; yea, and still 
more and more, till thou attain it, and be swallowed up into it. 
Tky best and last good thou canst never. desire too much. And 


let it be considered by thee, tbat the temper thou thinkest thy 
self innocent of, an habitual prevalent disaffection to the true 
blessedness of saints, may for ought thou knowest be upon thee; 
while it appears thou art. so very near the borders of it ; and it 
appears not with such certainty that thou partakest not in it. 
It is not so easy a matter, critically to distinguish and conclude- 
of the lowest degree (in hypothesi, or with application to thy 
own case) of that desire which is necessary to qualify thee for 
the enjoyment of this blessedness. And is it not a matter both 
of shame and terror, that thou shouldst desire thy blessedness so 
faintly, as not to know whether thou truly desire it at all ? It is 
true, that a certainty, amongst such as may be sincere, is very 
little common ; but whence proceeds r it, but from their too com 
mon, indulged sloth ; out of which all this is designed to awaken 
thee. And the commonness whereof doth as little detract from 
the reproach and sinful ness, as from the danger of it. It is but 
a poor defence, for what is intrinsically evil in itself, that it is 

But further, as the case is, this is so reproachful a thing, 
even in common estimate, not to desire heaven and eternal 
glory, or to desire it with very cold and careless desires that 
there are few will profess it, or own it to be their temper; much 
fewer that will undertake to excuse or justify it. It is so evilly 
thought of, that among merely sober and rational men, it can 
never find an advocate, or any that will afford it patronage. 
The generality pretend a desire of going to heaven and being 
with God. If any be so observant of themselves as to know, 
and so ingenuous as to confess it otherwise with them, they com 
plain of it as their fault, and say, they would fain have it re 
dressed but are far from assuming that confidence, to defend or 
plead for it. Consider then, wilt thou persist in such a temper 
and disposition of mind as all men condemn; and be guilty of so 
godious a thing, as shall be censured and blamed by the common 
concurrent vote and judgment of mankind ? Thou wouldst be 
ashamed to stand forth and profess openly to men, that thou de- 
sirest an earthly felicity more than a blessedness in heaven ; or 
at least, that thou art so indifferent, and the scales hang so 
even with thee, that thou canst hardly tell which way they in 
cline most. And art thou not ashamed that this should be thy 
usual temper ; how much soever thou conceal it from the notice 
and observation of the world ? Moreover, how can it escape 
thy serious reflection, that if thou pretend it otherwise with thee> 
it is but to add one sin to another, and cover thy carnality with 
hypocrisy and dissimulation ? Yea, while thou continuest in 
that temper of spirit, not to desire this blessedness as thy su 
preme end, the whole of thy religion is but an empty shew,,. an 


artificial disguise it carries an appearance and pretence ^ as if 
thou wast aiming at God and glory, while thy heart is set ano-r 
therway, and the bent of thy soul secretly carries thee a coun^ 
ter-course. Hath not religion an aspect towards blessedness ? 
Wbat mean thy praying, thy hearing, thy sacramental commu 
nion, if thou have not a design for eternal glory I What mak- 
thou in this way, if thou haye not thy heart set towards this 

Nor is it more dishonest and unjust, than it is foolish and ab 
surd, that the disposition and tendency of thy soul should be di 
rectly contrary to the only design of the religion thou professes! 
and dost externally practise. Thy profession and desires are 
nothing but self-contradicifion. Thou art continually running 
counter to thyself; outwardly pursuing what thou inwardly de- 
clinest. Thy real end (which can be no other than what thou 
really desirest and settest thy heart upon) and thy visible way 
are quite contrary ; so that while thou continuest the course of 
religion, in which thou art engaged, having taken down from 
before thine eyes the end which thou shouldst be aiming at, 
and which alone religion can aptly subserve, thy religion hath 
no design or end at all, none at least which thou wouldst not 
be ashamed to profess and own. Indeed this temper of heart 
I am now pleading against, an undesirousness or inditfercncy of 
spirit towards the eternal glory, renders religion the vainest tiling 
in the world. For whereas all the other actions of our lives 
have their stated, proper ends, religion hath in this, case none at 
all ; none to which it hatli any designation in this nature, or any 
aptness to subserve. This monstrous absurdity it infers, and 
how strange it is, that it should not be i;efiecjed on I That 
whereas i{ you ask any man of common understanding, what he 
doth this or that action for, especially if they be stated actions, 
done by him in an ordinary course, he can readily tell you, for 
such and such an end : but ask him why he continues any prac 
tice of religion, he cannot say (in this case) for what. For can 
any man imagine what other end religion naturally serves lor, 
but to bring men to blessedness ? Which being no other thing 
than what hath been here described; such as are found not to 
desire it really and supremely, as their end, can have no real at 
tainable end of their being religious at all. To drive on a con 
tinued course and series of actions in a visible pursuit of that 
which they desire not, and have no mind to, is such a piece of; 
folly, so fond and vain a trifling, that as I remember, Cicero re 
ports Cato to have said concerning the sooth-sayers of his time, 
he did wonder they could look in one another's faces and not 
laugh, (being conscious to each other's impostures, and the va 
nity of their profession) ; so one would as justly wonder, that 


the generality of carnal men, (who may shrewdly guess at the 
temper of one another's minds) do not laugh at each other, that 
they are jointly engaged in such exercises of religion, to the 
design whereof the common and agreed temper of their spirits 
do so little correspond. AS if all were in very good earnest for 
heaven, when each one knows for himself, and may (possibly 
with more truth than charity) supposeof the rest,that if they might 
always continue in their earthly stations, they had rather never 
come there. And therefore that they desire it not supremely, 
and so not as their end at all ; consider if then, that thy no-de 
sire of this hlessed state quite dispirits thy religion, utterly ra 
vishes away its soul, leaves it a dead, foolish, vain thing, renders 
it an idle impertinency, not a mean to a valuable end. This 
desire is the life of religion ; all duties and exercises of piety 
are without it, but empty formalities, solemn pieces of pagean 
try; every service done to God, but the sacrifice of a fool, if 
not animated by the desire of final blessedness in him, and be 
not part of our way thither, a means designed to the attainment 
of it ; which nothing can be, that we are not put upon by the 
virtue of the desired end. Without this, religion is not itself. 
A continuance in well-doing, is as it were the body of it ; and 
therein a seeking honour, glory, and immortality, the soul and 
spirit. The desire of a heavenly country must run the wliole 
course of our earthly pilgrimage : it were otherwise a continued 
error, an uncertain wandering, no steady tending towards our 
end : so that thou art a mere vagrant, if this desire do not direct 
thy course towards thy Father's house. And methinks all this 
should make thee even ashamed of thyself, if thou canst not find 
this desire to have a settled residence, and a ruling power in thy 
?oul. Then, 

(2.) Sense of praise should signify something too, as the 
apostle, whatsoever things are pure, lovely, &c. If there be 
any virtue, any praise, think of these things. And hath not 
the eternal glory those -characters upon it of purity and loveli 
ness beyond all things ? Is it not a laudable and praise worthy 
thing, to have a mind and heart set upon that? The blessed God 
puts a note of excellency upon this temper of spirit : but they 
desire a better country, that is, a heavenly ; wherefore God is 
not ashamed to be called their God, &c. Heb. 11. 16*. This 
renders them a people worthy of him who hath called them to 
his kingdom and glory ; fit for him to own a relation to. 1 Thes. 
2. 1 2. Had they been of low, terrene spirits, he would have 
accounted it a shame to him, to have gone under the name and 
cognizance of their God. But inasmuch as they desire the hea 
venly country, have learned to trample this terrestrial world, can 
not be contained within this lower sphere, nor satisfy themselves 


in earthly things ; they now discover a certain excellency of spi 
rit, in respect whereof, God is not ashamed to own a relation to 
them, before all the world to be called their God; to let men 
see what account he makes of such a spirit. Yea, this is the 
proper,genuine spirit and temper of a saint, which agrees to him 
as he is such. He is begotten to the eternal inheritance. A 
disposition (and therein a desire) to it is in his very nature, (the 
new nature he hath received,) implanted there from his original. 
He is born spirit of Spirit, and by that birth is not entitled only, 
but adapted and suited also to that pure and spiritual state of 
blessedness. That grace, by the appearance whereof men are 
made Christians, teaches also, intructs to this very thing, to 
look for this blessed hope, the glorious appearing of the great 
God and our Saviour Jesus Christ: that which you know con 
summates that blessedness. For when Christ, who is their life, 
shall appear, then shall they also appear with him in glory ; by 
the participation of the divine nature, their spirits escape and 
get up above this corrupt, impure world. That new nature is a 
holy flame that carries their hearts upwards towards heaven. 

Further, such desires appear hence to be of divine original, an 
infusion from the blessed God himself. That nature is from 
Jiim immediately in which they are implanted. The apostle 
speaking of his earnest, panting desire,to have mortality swallowed 
up of life, presently adds, he that wrought us to the self-same 
thing is God. 2 Cor. 5. 4. They are obedient desires ; the 
soul's present answer to the heavenly call, (Heb. 3. 1.) by 
which God calls it to his kingdom and glory. This glory is (33 
hath been formerly noted) the very term of that calling. 1 The. 
2.12. The God of all grace hath called us unto his eternal glo 
ry, by Christ Jesus. 1 Pet. 5. 10. The glorified state is the mark, 
the prize of the high calling of God in Christ. Phil. 3. 14. It is 
the matter of the apostle's thanksgiving unto God,on the behalf 
of the Thessalonians, that they were called by his gospel, to the 
obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Thes. 2. 14. 
When the soul desires this glory, it obediently answers this call. 
This is a compliance and subjection of heart to it. How lover 
ly and becoming a thing is this, when God touches the heart 
with a stamp and impress of glory, and it forthwith turns itself 
to that very point, and stands directly bent towards the state of 
glory ; is not wayward or perverse, but herein yields itself to 
God, and complies with the divine pleasure. Such desires 
have much in them of a child-like ingenuity; to desire the 
sight of a father's face ; when this is the intimate sense of the 
soul, Shew me the Father and it suffices To desire the fullest 
conformity to his nature and will, to be perfect as that heaven 
ly Father is perfect, what doth- better become a child ? They 


are generous desires ; they aim at perfection, the highest that 
'created nature is capable of ; not contented to have had some 
glances of divine glory, some strokes and lines of his image, 
but aspiring to full-eyed visions, a perfect likeness. They are 
victorious desires; they (as it were) ride in triumph over the 
world and every sublunary thing; they must be supposed to 
have conquered sensual inclinations, to have got the mastery 
-over terrene dispositions and affections. With what holy con 
tempt and scorn of every earthly thing doth that lofty soul quit 
this dirty world and ascend, that is powerfully carried by its 
own desire towards that blessed state ? The desire of such a 
knowledge of Christ, as might transform into his likeness, and 
pass the soul through all degrees of conformity to him, till 
it attain the resurrection of the dead, and become like a risen, 
glorified Jesus ; such a desire I say, if it make all things seem 
as loss and dung in comparison, (even a formal,spiritless religion 
itself,) will it not render this world the most despicable dung 
hill of all the rest ? Try such a soul if you can, tempt it down 
to enjoy a flattering, kind world, or to please it when angry and 
unkind. When desires after this glory are once awakened into 
an active, lively vigour, when the fire is kindled, and the flame 
ascends, and this refined spirit is joyfully ascending therein, see 
if you can draw it back, and make it believe this world a more 
regardable thing. Why should not all those considerations 
make thee in love with this blessed frame of spirit, and restless 
till thou find thyself uncapable of being satisfied with any thing 
but divine likeness ? 

6- That while we cannot as yet attain the mark and end of 
our desires, we yield not to a comfortless despondency in the 
way, but maintain in our hearts a lively joy, in the hope that 
hereafter we shall attain it. We are not all this while persuad 
ing to the desire and pursuit of an unattainable good. Spiri 
tual desires are also rational, and do therefore involve hope with 
them ; and that hope ought to infer and cherish joy. Hopeless 
desire is full of torment, and must needs banish joy from that 
breast which it hath got the possession of. It is a disconsolate 
thing, to desire what we must never expect to enjoy, and are 
utterly unlikely ever to compass. But these desires are part of 
the new creature, which is not of such a composition, as to have 
a principle of endless trouble and disquiet in itself. The Father 
of mercies is not so little merciful to his own child, to lay it 
under a necessity, from its very natural constitution, of being 
for ever miserable by the desire of that which it can never have. 
It had been very unlike the workmanship of God, to make a 
creature to which it should be necessary to desire, and impos- 
to enjoy the same thing. No : but as he. hath given holy 


cfcAP. xix* 

souls, (as to the present case,) great incentives of desire, so doth 
lie afford them proportionable encouragement of hope also; and 
that hope intervening, can very well reconcile desire and joy, 
6nd lodge them together in the same bosom. So that as it is a 
thing capable of no excuse, to hear of this blessedness and not 
desire it ; so it would be, to desire and not expect it, to expect 
it, and not rejoice in it, even while we are under that expecta 
tion. And it must be a very raised joy that shall answer to the 
expectation of so great things. If one should give a stranger 
to Christianity an account of the Christian hopes, and tell him 
what they expect to be and enjoy,before long; he would sure pro 
mise himself, to find so many angels dwelling in human flesh, 
and reckon, when he came among them he should be as amidst the 
heavenly quire ; every one full of joy and praise. He would 
expect to find us living on earth, as the inhabitants of heaven, 
as so many pieces of immortal glory lately droped down from 
above, and shortly again returning thither. He would look to 
find, every-where in the Christian world, incarnate glory spark 
ling through the over-shadowing vail ; and wonder how this 
earthly sphere should be able to contain so many great souls. 
But when he draws nearer to us, and observes the course and 
carriage of our lives, when he sees us walk as other men, and 
considers the strange disagreement of our daily conversation to 
our so great, avowed hopes, and how little sense of joy and 
pleasure we discover ourselves to conceive in them ; would he 
not be ready to say, "Sure some or other (willing only to amuse 
the world with the noise of strange things) have composed a re 
ligion for these men, which they themselves understand nothing 
of. If they do adopt and own it for theirs, they understand not 
their own pretences; they are taught to speak some big words, 
or to give a faint or seeming assent to such as speak them in 
their names, but it is impossible they should be in good earnest, 
or believe themselves in what they say and profess." And what 
reply then should we be able to make ? For who can think that 
any who acknowledge a God, and understand at all what that 
name imports, should value at so low a rate, as we visibly do, 
the eternal fruition of his glory, and a present sonship to him, 
the pledge of so great a hope. * He that is born heir to great 
honours and possessions, though he be upon great uncertain 
ties as to the enjoyment of them, (for how many interveniences 
may prevent him ?) yet when he corners to understand his possi- 
bilites and expectancies, how big doth he look and speak ? 
what grandeur doth he put on ? His hopes form his spirit 
and deportment. But is it proportionably so with us ? Do our 
hopes fill our hearts with joy, our mouths with praise, and clothe 



our faces with a cheerful aspect^ and make a holy alacrity ap 
pear in all our conversations ? 

But let not the design of this discourse be mistaken. It is 
not a presumptuous confidence I would encourage, nor a vain 
ostentation, nor a disdainful over-looking of others whom we 
fancy ourselves to excel. Such things hold no proportion with 
a Christian spirit. His is a modest, humble exultation; a seri 
ous, severe joy ; suitable to his solid, stable hope. His spirit is 
not puffed up and swollen with air, it is not big by an inflation, 
or a light and windy tumor, hut it is really filled with effec 
tual pre -apprehensions of a weighty glory. His joy according 
ly exerts itself with a steady, lively vigour, equally removed 
from vain lightness and stupidity, from conceitedness, and in- 
sensibleness of his blessed state. He forgets not that he is less 
than the least of God's mercies, but disowns not his title to the 
greatest of them. He abases himself to the dust, in the sense 
of his own vileness ; but in the admiration of divine grace, he 
rises as high as heaven. In his humiliation, he affects to 
equal himself with worms, in his joy and praise, with angels. 
He is never unwilling to diminish himself, but afraid of detract 
ing any thing from the love of God, o'r the issues of that love. 
But most of all he magnifies (as he hath cause) this its last 
and most perfect issue. And by how much he apprehends his 
own unworthiness,he is the more wrapt up into a wonderful joy, 
that such blessedness should be his designed portion. But now, 
how little do we find in ourselves of this blessed frame of spirit? 
How remote are we from it ? Let us but inquire a little into 
our own souls: are there not too apparent symptoms with us 
of the little joy we take in the fore-thoughts of future blessed 
ness ? For, 

(1.) How few thoughts have we of it ? What any delight 
in, they remember often. It is said of the same person, that 
his delight is in the law of the Lord, and that in his 
law he doth meditate day and night. Psal. 1. 2. And when 
the Psalmist professes his own delight in God's statutes, he 
adds, I will not forget thy word. Psal. 119. 16. Should we 
not be as unapt to forget heaven, if our delight were there ? 
But do not days pass with us,wherein we can allow ourselves no 
leisure to mind the eternal glory ; when yet vanities throng in 
upon us, without any obstruction or check ? And (what is con 
sequent hereupon,) how seldom is this blessed state the sub 
ject of our discourse? How often do Christians meet, and not a 
word of heaven ? O heavy, carnal hearts ! Our home and 
eternal blessedness in this, appears to be forgotten among 
us. How often may a person converse with us, before 
be understand our relation to the heavenly country ? If exiles 

VOL. iy. 2 K 


meet In a foreign land, what pleasant discourse have they of 
home ? They suffer not one another to forget it. Such was 
their remembrance of Sion, who sat together bemoaning them 
selves by the rivers of Babylon, a making mention of it, as the 
phrase is often used. And methinks (even as to this remem- 
brance}it should be our own common resolution too; If we forget 
thee, O Jerusalem ; if we forget to make mention of thee, O 
thou city of the living God; let our right hand forget her cun 
ning; our tongue shall sooner cleave to the roof of our mouth; 
and so it would be, did we prefer that heavenly Jerusalem above 
our chief joy, 

(2.) How little doth it weigh with us ? It serves not to out 
weigh the smallest trouble ; if we have not our carnal desire in 
every thing gratified,if any thing fallout cross to our inclinations, 
this glory goes for nothing with us. Our discontents swallow 
up our hopes and joys ; and heaven is reckoned as a thing of 
nought. If when outward troubles afflict or threaten us, we 
could have the certain prospect of better days, that would sen 
sibly revive and please us. Yea, can we not please ourselves 
with very uncertain groundless hopes of this kind, without pro 
mise or valuable reason ? But to be told of a recompence at the 
resurrection of the just, of a day when we shall see the face of 
God, and be satisfied with his likeness ; this is insipid and with 
out savour to us, and aftbrds us but cold comfort. The uncer 
tain things of time, signify more with us, than the certain things 
of eternity. Can we think it is all this while well with us ? 
Can we think this a tolerable evil, or suffer with patience such 
a distemper of spirit ? Methinks it should make us even weary 
of ourselves, and solicitous for an effectual, speedy redress. 

The redress must be more in our own doing, (striving with 
our souls and with God for them) than in what any man can 
say. Most of the considerations under that foregoing rule, are 
with little variation applicable to this present purpose. I shall 
here annex only some few subordinate directions ; which may 
lead us into this blessed state of life, and give us some joyful 
fore-tastes of the future blessedness, according as our spirits 
shall comply with them. But expect not to be cured by pre 
scriptions, without using them ; or that heavenly joy can be 
the creature of mortal, unregarded breath ^ we can only pre 
scribe means, and methods through which God may be pleased 
to descend, and in which thou art diligently to insist and wait. 
And because I cannot well suppose thee ignorant, where much 
is said to this purpose ; I shall therefore say little. 

[1.] Possess thy soul with the apprehension, that thou art 
not at liberty in this matter ? but that there is a certain spiritual 
delectation, which is incumbent on thee as indispensable duty. 


Some, whose moroser tempers do more estrange them from de 
lights, think themselves more especially concerned, to banish 
every thing of that kind from their religion, and fancy 
it only to consist in sour and righteous seventies. Others 
seem to think it arbitrary and indifferent ; or that, if they live 
in a continual sadness and dejection of spirit, it is only their in 
felicity, not their fault; and apprehend not the obligation that 
is upon them by a divine law, otherwise to manage and order 
their spirits. But what then, Are such words thought to be 
spoken at random, Her ways are ways of pleasantness. Prov. 3. 
17. The Lord is the portion of mine inheritance. Psal. IS. 5. 
The lines are fallen to me in pleasant places, (or, in the midst 
of pleasantnesses, as the expression hath been noted to 
signify ?) Do such precepts carry no sense with them | Delight 
thyself in the Lord. Psal 37. 4. Rejoice in the Lord always, 
and again I say, rejoice ; Phil. 4. 4. with many more ? Do all 
passages of this kind in Scripture stand for cyphers, or were they 
put in them by chance ? Is there such a thing as an aptitude to 
delectation in our natures ; and doth the sanctification thereof 
entitle the joy of saints to a place among the fruits of the Spirit ; 
(Gal. 5. 22.) and yet is the exercise of it to have no place in 
their hearts and practice ? Do not think you are permitted so 
to extinguish or frustrate so considerable a principle of the di 
vine life. Know, that the due exercise of it is a part of the 
order and discipline of God's family: that it is a constitution 
of the divine goodness and wisdom both to cherish his own, and 
invite in strangers to him. Yea, that is the scope and aim of the 
whole gospel revelation, that what is discovered to us of the 
word of life, was purposely written to draw souls unto fellow 
ship with the Father and Son, that their joy might be full; (1 
John 1.4) that the ministers of this gospel are therefore 
stiled the helpers of their joy. 2. Cor. 1.24. Therefore, though 
here it be not required nor allowed, that you should indulge a 
vain, trifling levity, or a sensual joy, or that you should rejoice 
you know not why, (imitating the laughter of a fool,) or inop 
portunely, when your state admits it not, or when the Lord calls 
to mourning ; yet settle however this persuasion in your hearts, 
that the serious, rational, regular, seasonable exercise of delight 
and joy is matter of duty, to be charged upon conscience, from 
the authority of God ; and is an integral part in the religion 
of Christians. And then sure you will not think any object 
more proper and suitable for it to be exercised upon, than the 
foreseen state of blessedness, which is in itself a fulness of joy ; 
(Psal. 1 6.11) the joy of our Lord. Mat.25.21. And is,in the pre- 
apprehenskms of it, a more considerable matter of joy than our 




present state affords us besides ; and without relation whereto 
we have no matter of rational joy at all. 

[2.] Keep faith in exercise ; both in that act of it which 
persuades the soul of the truth of the gospel revelation, and 
that act of it which unites it to God through the Mediator. 
The apostle prays on the behalf of his Roman christians, that 
they might be filled with joy and peace in believing; (Rom. 
15. 13.) and we are told, how effectually (as to this) it sup 
plied the place of sight. Such as had not seen Christ, (which 
was the privilege of many other christians of that time,) yet 
believing, did rejoice with joy unspeakable and glorious. I Pet. 
1.8. Faith directly tends, in that double office before-men 
tioned, to excite and foment this joy. As it assents to the truth 
of the gospel revelation, it realizes the object, is the substance 
and evidence of the invisible glory. Heb. 11. I. As it unites 
the soul with God through Christ, in a fiducial and obediential 
closure, it ascertains our interest therein, and is our actual ac 
ceptance of our blessedness itself; for when we take God 
through Christ to be our God, what is it, but to accept him as 
our eternal and satisfying portion, whom we are after fully to 
enjoy, in the vision and participation of his glorious excellencies 
and infinite fulness ? Which two acts of faith we have men 
tioned together in one text, they were persuaded of the pro 
mises, and embraced them ; the former respecting the truth of 
the promises, the latter the goodness of the thing promised. 
And hereupon they confessed themselves (?;s it follows) pilgrims 
and strangers on earth; which abdication of the earth as none of 
their country, could not be, but that through their faith they 
had a joyous pre-apprehension of that better state. That con 
fession did manifestly involve in it a lively joy, springing from 
the sight and embrace of that more taking, distant good which 
the promise presented them with ; whence they could not think 
it enough, to be such to themselves in their own thoughts and 
the temper of their minds; but they cannot forbear (so overcom 
ing were their sights and tastes) to give it out, to speak, and 
look, and live, as those that were carried up in their spirits 
above this earth, and who did even disdain to own themselves 
in any other relation to it, than that of foreigners and strangers. 
Set thy faith on work, soul, and keep it a work, and thou wilt 
find this no riddle; it will be so with thee too; we have much 
talk of faith among us, and have the name often in our mouths, 
but how few are the real lively believers ? Is it to be thought 
that such blessedness should not more affect our hearts ; nay 
would it not ravish away our very souls, did we thoroughly be 
lieve it? Apd were it our present daily work, to renew the bonds 
of a vital union with the blessed God, in whom we expect, to 


be blessed for ever, could that be without previous gusts of plea 
sure ? It is not talking of faith but living by it, that will give 
us the experience of heavenly delights and joys. 

[3.] Take heed of going in thy practice against thy light ; of 
persisting in a course of known or suspected sin, that states thee 
in a direct hostility and rebellion against heaven; and can never 
suffer thee to think of eternity and the other world with com 
fort; will fill thy mind with frightful apprehensions of God, 
render the sight of his face the most terrible thing to thy thoughts 
thou canst imagine ; and satisfaction with his likeness the most 
impossible thing. Let a good understanding and correspon 
dence, be continued between God and thee, (which is not pos 
sible, if thou disobeyest the dictates of thy conscience, and tak- 
est the liberty to do what thou judgest God hath forbidden thee) 
that this may be thy rejoicing; the testimony of a good consci 
ence; that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not accordi rig to 
fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God thou hast had thy con 
versation. Take God for a witness of thy ways and walkings; 
approve thyself to his jealous eye ; study to carry thyself accep 
tably towards him, and unto all well pleasing. Let that be thy 
ambition, to stand right in his thoughts, to appear gracious in 
his eyes. Hold fast thine integrity, that thy heart may not re 
proach thee as long as thou livest. If iniquity be in thy hand, 
put it away; then shalt thou lift up thy face with out spot and 
without fear. Be a faithful subject of that kingdom of God, 
(and here conscience rules under him,) which consists first iu 
righteousness, and then in peace and joy in the Holy Ghost. 
Thou wilt, so, daily behold the face of God in righteousness 
and with pleasure; but wilt most of all please thyself to think of 
thy final appearance before him, and the blessedness that shall 

[4.] Watch and arm thyself against the too forcible strokes 
and impressions of sensible objects. Let not the savour of such 
low, vile things corrupt the palate of thy soul. A sensual, 
earthly mind and heart cannot taste heavenly delights ; they that 
are after the flesh do savour the things of the flesh ; they 
that are after the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. La 
bour, to be thoroughly mortified towards this world and the 
present state of things. Look upon this scene and pageant 
as passing away; (1 Cor. 7- 31. 1 John. 2. 17-) keep 
natural appetites under restraint, (the world and the lusts of it 
pass away together :) sensuality is an impure thing. Heavenly, 
refined joy cannot live amidst so much filth. Yea, and if thou 
give thy flesh liberty too far in things that are (in specie) lawful 
it will soon get advantage to domineer and keep thy soul in a 
depressing servitude. Abridge it then, and cut it short, that 


thy mind may be enlarged and at liberty, may not be thronged 
and pre-possessed with carnal imaginations and affections. 
"Let thy soul" (if thoii wilt take this instruction from a heathen, 
Max. Tyr. in dissert, no foot Kara n\al(wo$: on the nature of the 
gods according to Plato.) " look with a constant erect mind into 
the undefiled light, neither darkened nor borne down towards 
the earth; but stopping its ears,and turning its eyes and all other 
senses back upon itself; and quite abolishing out of itself, all 
earthly sighs, and groans, and pleasures,and glories and honours 
and disgrace ; and having forsaken all these, choose for the 
guides of its way, true reason and strong love, the one whereof 
will shew it the way, the other make it easy and pleasant." 

[5.] Having voided thy mind of what is earthly and carnal^ 
apply and turn it to this blessed theme. The most excellent 
and the vilest objects are alike to thee, while thou mindest them 
not. Thy thoughts possibly bring thee in nothing but vexation 
and trouble,which would bring in as soon joy and pleasure,didst 
thou turn them to proper objects. A thought of the heavenly 
glory is as soon thought as of an earthly cross. We complain 
the world troubles us ; then what do we there? Why get we 
not up, in our spirits, into the quieter region ? What trouble 
would the thoughts of future glory be to us ? How are thoughts 
and wits set on work for this flesh ? But we would have our 
souls flourish as the lillies, without any thing of their own care. 
Yea, we make them toil for torture, and not for joy, revolve an 
affliction a thousand times before and after it comes, and have 
never done with it, when eternal blessedness gains not a thought. 

[6*.] Plead earnestly with God for his Spirit. This is joy iu 
the Holy Ghost; or whereof he is the author. Many chris- 
tians (as they must be called) are such strangers to this work of 
imploring and calling in the blessed Spirit, as if they were ca^ 
pable of adopting these words, we have not so much as heard 
whether there be a Holy Ghost. That name is with them 
as an empty sound. How hardly are we convinced of our ne 
cessary dependance on that free Spirit, as to all our truly spi~ 
ritual operations ? This Spirit is the very earnest of our inheri 
tance. The foretastes and first fruits we have here of the fu*- 
ture blessedness, the joy and pleasure, the complacential relish 
es we have of it-before-hand, are by the gracious vouchsafement 
and work of this blessed Spirit. The things that eye that hath 
not seen, nor ear heard, and which have not entered into the 
heart of man, are revealed by this Spirit. Therefore doth the 
apostle direct his prayer on the behalf of the Ephesians, 
to the Father of this glory that he would give this Spirit 
of wisdom and revelation, to enlighten the eyes of their 
understanding, that they might know the hope of his 
calling, and the riches of the glory of his inheritance in (or 


among) the saints. Eph. 1.18. And its revelation is such as be 
gets an impression ; in respect whereof, it is said also, to seal 
up to the day of redemption. Therefore pray earnestly for this 
Spirit ; not in idle, dreaming words of course, but as being real 
ly apprehensive of the necessity of prevailing : and give not over 
till thou find that sacred fire diffusing itself through thy mind 
and heart, to enlighten the one and refine the other, and so pre 
possess both of this glory, that thy soul may be all turned into 
joy and praise. And then let me add here, (without the formali 
ty of a distinct head) that it concerns thee to take heed of quench 
ing that Spirit, by either resisting or neglecting its holy dictates 
or, as the same piecept is otherwise given, of grieving the Spirit: 
he is by name and office the Comforter. The primitive chris- 
tians, it is said, walked in the fear of God,and in the comfort of 
the Holy Ghost. Is it equal dealing, to grieve him whose busi 
ness it is to comfort thee? Or canst thou expect joy where thou 
causest grief ? Walk in the Spirit ; adore its power. Let thy 
soul do it homage within thee. Wait for its holy influences, 
and yield thyself to its ducture and guidance ; so wilt thou go 
as the redeemed of the Lord, with everlasting joy upon thy head 
till thou enter that presence, where is fulness of joy and plea 
sures for evermore. 

Nor do thou think it improper or strange, that thou shouldst 
be called upon to rejoice in what thou dost not yet possess. 
Thy hope is instead of fruition ; it is an anticipated enjoyment. 
We are commanded to rejoice in hope; (Rom. 12. 12.) and 
saints have professed to do so, to rejoice even in the hope of the 
glory of God. Rom. 5. 2. Nor is it unreasonable that should 
be thy present highest joy. For though yet it be a distant thing, 
and indistinctly revealed, the excellency of the object makes 
compensation for both, with an abundant surplusage. As any 
one would much more rejoice to be assured by a great person, 
of ample possessions he would make him his heir to, (though he 
knew not distinctly what they should be,) than to see a shilling, 
already his own, with his own eyes. 



The addition of \vo rules, that more specially respect the yet future 
season of this blessedness, after this life ; namely, Rule 7. That 
we patiently wait for it until death. Rule 8. That we love not 
too much this present life. 

nnHERE are yet two more rules to be superadded, that respect 
-* the season of this blessedness, when we awake, thatis,not 
till we go out of time into eternity, not till we pass out of the 
drowsy darkness of our present state, till the night be over with 
us, and the vigorous light of the everlasting day do shine upon 
us. Hence therefore it will be further necessary : 

7. That while the appointed proper season of this blessed 
ness is not yet come, (that is, till God shall vouchsafe to trans 
late us from our present earthly state,) we compose our spirits 
to a patient expectation of it. Upon a twofold account, the 
exercise of patience is very requisite in the present case, namely, 
both in respect of this every expectation itself, and also in re 
spect of the concomitant miseries of this expecting state. In 
the former respect, an absent good is the matter of our pati 
ence; in the latter, present and incumbent evil. It falls more 
directly in our way, to speak to the exercise of patience upon 
the former account ; yet as to the latter, (though it be more 
collateral as to our present purpose,) it cannot be unseasonable 
briefly to consider that also. 

(1.) Therefore, The very expectation itself of this blessed 
ness, renders patience very requisite to our present state. 
Patience hath as proper and necessary an exercise in expecting 
the good we want and desire, as in enduring the evil that is 
actually upon us. The direction (it must be remembered) in-* 
tends such only as apprehend and desire this blessedness as their 
greatest good, whose souls are transported with earnest longings 
fully to enjoy what they have foretasted. I am apprehensive 
enough, that others need it not. There is no use of patience 
in expecting what we desire not. But as to those who desire 
it most, and who therefore are most concerned in this advice, 


St may possibly become a doubt, how since there is sin in our 
present ignorance of God and unlikeness to him, this can be 
the matter of any patience. We must therefore know, that as 
our knowledge of God, and conformity to him, are both our duty 
and blessedness, the matter both of our endeavour and of God's 
vouchsafement; so our ignorance of him, and unlikeness to him, 
are both our sin and our misery ; which, misery though God 
hath graciously removed it in part, yet also he continues it upon 
us in part^ (as our sad experience tells us,) by his just and wise 
dispensation, which we cannot except against. Now therefore, 
looking upon the defect of our knowledge of God and likeness 
to him, under the former notion, though we are to reflect upon 
ourselves with great displeasure and indignation ; yet lookinjgon 
them in the latter notion, we are to submit to the righteous dis 
pensation of God with a meek, unrepining patience. By this 
patience, therefore, I mean not a stfopid succumbency under 
the remaining disease and distemper of our spirits, in this our 
present state; a senseless indifferehcy andoscitant cessation from 
continual endeavours of further redress ; but a silent and sub 
missive veneration of divine wisdom, and justice, and goodness, 
that are sweetly complicated in this proceedure with us, with a 
quiet, peaceful expectation of the blessed issue of it. This be 
ing premised, I shall briefly shew, that we have need of pati- 
tience, and that we have reason for it in this present case. 

[1.] That we have need of it, (supposing our souls are intent 
upon glory, that we are in earnest in this pursuit) will appear 
upon sundry accounts. 

First, The greatness of the thing we expect; To behold 
the face of God, to be satisfied with his likeness. What serious 
heart, apprehensive of its own concerns, can without much pa 
tience hold out under sucli an expectation ? How do lovers 
that expect the marriage day, tell the hours, and chide the sun 
that it makes nd mote haste? But how can that soul contain 
itself, that expects the most intimate fruition of the Lord of 

Secondly. Consider the continual representation and frequent 
inculcations of this glory. Its vigorous, powerful beams are, by 
often repeated pulsations, continually beating upon such souls 
as are intent towards it. Life and immortality are brought to light 
in the gospel ; and they are obliged by command and inclina 
tion to attend its discoveries* The eye that is once smitten, 
looks again and again, it is not satisfied with seeing; and every 
renewed look meets with, still, fresh rays of glory ; they have 
frequent foretastes and prelibations, which still give life to new 
desires. To lie under the direct stroke of the powers of the world 
to come, this requires much patience, tg sustain the burden of 


such an expectation. Life itself were otherwise a bitter and a 
wearisome thing. * And the want of such foretastes (for alas 
they arc not constant) makes desire sometimes more restless, 
and expectation more bitter aud grievous. 

Thirdly. Consider the nature and spring of these desires, that 
work in heavenly souls towards this glory. They are of a divine 
nature and original ; He that hath wrought us to this self-same 
thing is God, 2 Cor. 5. 5. Observe the tenour of this propo 
sition; God is not the subject of predication, but the predicate^ 
The action is not predicated of God, as it would in this form 
of words, God hath wrought us, &c. but God is predicated of 
this agent, as if he had said, this is the work of a Deity; none but 
God could be the author of such desires. That a soul should 
be acted towards glory by the alone power of an almighty hand! 
here needs 'a divine patience to sustain it, and make it strong 
and able to endure such a motion, where there is divine power 
to act and move it forward. The frame could not hold else, 
it must dissolve. The apostle therefore praying for the Thes- 
saionians, that God would direct their hearts into the love of 
of himself, (which could not but enflame their souls with a de 
sire of a perfect vision and enjoyment,) presently adds, and into 
the patient waiting for Christ, 2 Thes. 3. 5, Where we 
cannot by the way but reflect upon the admirable constitution 
and equal temper of the new creature, as to the principles that 
are ingredient into the composition of it, fervent desires, allayed 
with meek submission, mighty love, with strong patience. If 
we consider it in actu signato, or in its abstract idea, this is its 
temperament; and of these there is a gradual participation, 
wherever you find it actually existing. God had otherwise 
formed a creature (the prime of his creatures) so as by its most 
intrinsical constituent principles to be a torment to itself. 

Fourthly. The tiresome nature of expectation in itself, is not 
least considerable. It carries (it is true) pleasure (if it be 
hoping expectation) with it; but not without a great admixture 
of pain. It brings a kind of torture to the mind, as a continu 
ed exertion or stretching forth of the neck (by which it is ex^ 

* Canercm tibi angelica voce thronorum ; quam mirifica, semper 1 
in patria dulcedine repleamur ; nisi vererer, ne forte, posthac, tantae 
dulcedinis hujus comparatione, tota tibi in terris vita non solum 
amarissima, verum etiam amaritudo ipso penitus videatur ; I would 
sing to thee in the voice of the angelic choirs; we would ever in 
dulge the most extatic delight in our country ; were it not to be 
tea red lest from the contrast of such sweetness, the whole of this life 
im earth should afterwards seem to thee not only exceedingly bitter, 
but. even bitterness itself. M. Ficin. Epis. 


pressed) doth to the body. Therefore it is most significantly 
said by the wise man, Hope deferred makes the heart sick. 
Prov.13. 12. All these, I say, together discover the truth of 
what the apostle tells us, We have need of patience, that when 
we, &c. we may inherit the promise. Heb. 10. 26*. 

[2.] And as we have need of it, so we have also reason for it, 
upon many accounts. It is no piece of rigorous seventy to be 
put upon the exercise of some patience, to be kept awhile in a 
waiting posture for the completion of this blessedness. For, 

First, The thing you expect is sure. You have not to do in 
this matter with one who is inconstant, or likely to change. If 
such a one should make us large promises, we should have some 
cause never to think ourselves secure, till we had them made 
good to us. But since we live in the hope of eternal life, 
which God who cannot lie (Tit. 1 . 2.) and who, we know, is 
faithful, hath promised, (Heb. 10. 23.) we may be confident, 
and this confidence should quiet our hearts. What a faithful 
friend keeps for us, we reckon as safe in his hands, as in our 
own. He that believes, makes not haste. And impatient haste 
argues an unbelieving jealousy and distrust. Surely, there is 
an end, and thy expectation will not be cut off. 

Secondly. It is a happiness that will recompence the most 
wearisome expectation. It were good sometimes to consider 
with ourselves, What is the object of our hope ? are our expec 
tations pitched upon a valuable good, that will be worth while 
to expect ? so the Psalmist, What wait I for ? and he answers him 
self, my hope is in thee. Psal. 39. 7- Sure then that hope will not 
make ashamed. It were a confounding thing to have been a 
Jong time full of great hopes that at last dwindle into some pe 
tite trifle, but when we know before-hand the business is such as 
will defray itself, bear its own charges, who would not be con 
tented to wait ? 

Thirdly. Nor will the time of expectation belong when I shall 
awake when he shall appear. Put it to the longest term, it was 
said, sixteen hundred years ago, to be but a little while; three 
times over in the shutting up of the Bible he tells us, I come 
quickly. He seems to foresee he should be something impa 
tiently expected : and at last, Surely I come quickly, as if he 
had said, W hat, will you not believe me ? Be patient, saith the 
apostle, to the coming of the Lord : and presently he adds, be 
patient, stablish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord draw- 
eth nigh. James 5.8. 

Fourthly. Yea, and amidst the many troubles of that short 
time of expectation many present comforts are intermixed. 
Heaven is open to us. We have constant liberty of access to 
God. He disdains not our present converse. We may have 


the constant pleasure of the exercise of grace, the heavenly de 
lights of meditation, the joy of the public solemnities of worship, 
the communion and encouragement of fellow Christians, the 
light of that countenance whereof we expect the eternal vision, 
the comforts of the Holy Ghost, the continual prospect of 
glory all the way thither. What cause have we of impatience 
or complaint? 

Fifthly. Saints of all ages have had their expecting time. 
We are required to be followers of them who through faith and 
patience have inherited the promises. Our Saviour himself 
waited a life's time for his glorification. I have (saith he) 
glorified thee on earth; 1 have finished the work thou gavest 
me to do! And now, Father, glorify me with thine own 
self, c. 

Sixthly. And while we are waiting, if it be not our fault, our 
glory will be increasing. We may be glorifying God in the 
mean time, which is the end of our beings ; we need not live 
here to no purpose. 

Seventhly, W r e were well enough content, till God more 
clearly revealed that other state, to live always as we do. It is 
not now ingenuous to be impatiently querulous about the time 
of our entering into it. It is his free vouchsafement; we never 
merited such a thing at his hands. It is not commendable 
among men, to be overquick in exacting debts even where there 
was an antecedent right, much less where the right only shall 
Accrue by promise, not yet sueable ; would it not shame us to 
have God say to us, Have patience with me, and I will pay you 
all? And our former state should be often reflected on. If 
you had promised great things to a wretch lately taken off the 
dunghill, and he is every day impatiently urging you to an un 
timely accomplishment, would you not check his over-bold 
haste, by minding him of his original ? It becomes not base 
and lowborn persons to be transported with a preposterous,over- 
hasty expectation of high and great things. And if God bear 
\vith the sinfulness of our present state, is it not reasonable we 
should bear with the infelicity of it to bis appointed time ? 
Besides that, we should much injure ourselves by our im- 
patiency ; imbitter our present condition, increase our own 
burden, dissipate our strength, retard our progress towards the 
perfection we profess to aim at ; for patience must have its pei> 
feet work, that we may be perfect. Jam. 1. 4. 

And others, that have had as clear apprehensions and vigorous 
desires (at least) of the future state of glory as we can, with 
modesty pretend to, ha\e yet herein moderated themselves so, 
as to intend their present work with composed spirits. Take 
that one instance of the blessed apostle, who, whilst in this 


earthly tabernacle he groaned, being burdened to be clothed 
with glory, and to have mortality swallowed up of life, be 
ing sensible enough, that during his abode or presence in the 
body, he was absent from the Lord ; yet notwithstanding the 
fervour and vehemency of these longings, with the greatest 
calmness and resignation imaginable, as to the termination or 
continuance of his present state, he adds, that though he had 
rather be absent from the body, to be present with the Lord, 
it was yet his chief ambition (as the word ^^on^^Qy, he uses 
signifies) whether present or absent (as if in comparison of that, 
to be present or absent were indifferent, though otherwise out 
of that comparison, he had told us, he would be absent rather) 
to be f*fTo/, accepted, to appear grateful and well -pleasing ia 
the eye of God; such that he might delight and take content 
in, as his expression imports. As if he had said, though I am 
not unapprehensive of the state of my case, I know well, I am 
kept out of a far more desirable condition, while I remain hi 
this tabernacle ; yet, may I but please and appear acceptable in 
the sight of God, whether I be sooner dismissed from this thral 
dom, or longer continued in it, I contend not. His burden here, 
that so sensibly pressed him, was not a present evil so much as 
an absent good. He was not so burdened by what he felt and 
could not remove, as by what he saw and could not enjoy. HU 
groans accordingly were not brutal, as those of a beast under a 
too heavy load ; but rational, the groans of an apprehensive 
spirit panting after an alluring, inviting glory, which he had 
got the prospect of but could not yet attain. And hence the 
same spiritual reason which did exercise, did also, at once, 
moderate his desires; so that, as he saw there was reason to 
desire, so he saw there was reason his desires should be al 
layed by a submissive, ingenuous patience, till they might 
have a due and seasonable accomplishment. And that 
same temper of mind we find in him, when he professes 
to be in a strait between two, having a desire to be dis 
solved, and to be with Christ, (Phil.. 1. 23.) which he thought 
to be far better, and yet apprehended his longer abode in the 
world to be needful for the service of the church; whereupon 
he expresses his confidence, that he should abide longer, and 
therein discovers how well contented he was, it should be so. 
Therefore, as in reference to this very expectation itself, there 
is great need of patience; so the exercise of it in this case hatk 
nothing harsh or unreasonable in it, or which the spirit of a 
saint may not well comport with. 

(2.) And for the exercise of patience upon the latter account; 
the concomitant miseries of this our present expecting state : \ 
need not insist to shew how needful it is, this being that which 
our own sense will sufficiently instruct us in. We are not t* 


expect the future state of blessedness in a state of present ease 
and rest, in a quiet, friendly world, in a calm and peaceful 
region, under placid and benign influences from men and 
times ; but amidst storms, and tempests, and troubles on every 
side, under frowns and displeasures, threats and dangers, harsh 
and rough severities, ill and ungentle usages, flouts and scorns, 
wrongs and injurious dealings, wants and pressures in many 
kinds. When the world is once forsaken by us, it grows angry 5 
if we disclaim it, and avow ourselves not to be of it, become con 
fessed strangers and pilgrims in it, set ourselves seriously and vi 
sibly to mind and design something above and beyond it, dis 
cover ourselves to be of them that are called out of it ; from the 
same principle that it loves its own, it will hate us ; when once 
God calls us his sons, the world will not know us. 1 Joh. 3. 1. 
We see in this context we are discoursing from, what the Psal 
mist's condition was, whilst as yet he remained under this 
blessed expectation ; he found the men of time, whose portion 
was in this life, to be deadly enemies, wicked oppressors, proud 
insulters ; they were to him as greedy lions, as a blood-thirsty 
sword. His cries to be delivered from them, shew what he 
met with at their hands, or thought he had reason to fear. Nor 
can so raging enmity and hate, ever cease to meditate mischiefs 
and cruelties. The same principle still remains in all the ser 
pent's brood, and will still be putting forth itself in suitable 
practices, which cannot but infer. to the contrary seed continual 
trouble and matter of complaint. 

And, in short, whatever is here the matter of your complaint^ 
ought to be the matter of your patience. Whence it cannot be 
xloubted the matter of it will be very copious ; so as to require 
the all of patience (as the apostle speaks ;) which his addressing 
this solemn request to God on the behalf of these Colossian chris- 
tians plainly intimates. He prays that they may be strengthened 
with all might according to the glorious power of God unto all 
patience, &c. Col. 1.11. Patience is the Christian's suffering pow 
er, it is passive fortitude, an ability to suffer ; and so apprehensive 
he is of their great need of a full and ample supply of this power, 
that he prays that they might be strengthened in this kind with 
might, with all might; that they might be even almighty suf 
ferers; strengthened with a might according and corresponding 
to the glorious power of God himself; such as might appear the 
proper impress and image of divine power, whereof the divine 
power might be both the principle and the pattern (for the pa 
tience whereby God bears the wrongs done to him is called the 
power too ; Let the power of the Lord be great as thou hast 
spoken, saying, the Lord is long-suffering, forgiving, &c.) And 
this wtto all patiertce, where patience is put for an act of this 


power, or must be understood of patience in exercise, actual 
bearing. Nor are we to look upon the expressions of this pray 
er as so many hyperbolical strains, or rhetorical schemes of 
speech. He prays according to the apprehension he had of the 
necessity of suffering'cbristians. 

And yet how much soever the need is, the reason is not less, 
It is a thing as possible as it is necessary; yea, there is more in 
the power of the cause, than to work this single effect. I mean 
it not only of. the efficient cause mentioned before, but of the 
Objective or final (as having such a superabundant sufficiency in 
Its kind also) hinted in the close of the following verse. He 
doth not utter vain and groundless wishes, when he prays, that 
to that ail of patience they might add joyfulness too, and giving 
of thanks ; no, the matter (as if he had said) will bear it, even 
the inheritance of the saints in light, the very expectation ob 
jective, I am speaking of. It hath enough in it to induce, not 
only patience, but joy, not a contented bearing only, but giving 
of thanks too, to him that hath made you meet for that inheri 
tance, ver. 12. True it is indeed, that the very need we have 
of patience, and the gain that would accrue by it, is itself a rea 
son, why we should labour to frame our spirits to it : for if such 
evils must be undergone, how much better is it to bear them 
alone, than to have the disease of a wounded, impatient spirit, 
to bear also as an additional burden. The law of patience is 
certainly a most indulgent, merciful law, a gracious provision 
{as much as can be made by a law) for the quiet and ease of our 
spirits, under the sharpest and most afflictive sufferings. As 
might at large be shewn, were it suitable to fall into discourse 
of patience in itself considered ; and to treat of that rest and 
pleasure, that liberty of spirit, that possession arid dominion of 
one's own soul, which it carries in it: but that were too much 
a digression. It only falls directly here in our way to consider, 
that as we have many grievances and pressures to undergo, 
while we are expecting the future blessedness, which render the 
exercise of patience very requisite, so that there is enough of 
weight and worth in that very expectation, (that is in what we 
expect) to outweigh them all, and to render the exercise there 
of highly reasonable upon that account. I reckon (saith the 
apostle) that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy 
to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us. 
Rom. 8. 18. Thus (saith he) I reckon, that is, It is my stated, 
settled judgment, not a sudden, rash thought. When I have 
reasoned the matter with myself, .weighed it well, considered 
the case, turned it round, viewed it exactly on every side, ba 
lanced advantages and disadvantages, pondered all things which 
are fit to come into consideration about it, this is the result, 


the final determination, that which I conclude and judge at 
last, (judgment is the last product and issue of the most exquisite 
inquiry and debate, the ultimate and most perfect act of reason^) 
-that the sufferings of this now of time are of no value ; thing* 
not fit, as it were, to be mentioned the same day with the glo 
ry to be revealed, &c. It can therefore be no hard law, no 
unreasonable imposition, that shall oblige us to the exercise of 
patience, under such sufferings, in the expectation of so trans- 
scendent glory. For, consider, 'These sufferings are but 
from men, (for the sufferings of which the apostle here speaks, 
are such as wherein we suffer together with Christ, that is for 
his name and interest^ on behalf of the Christian cause :) but 
this glory is from God. How disproportionable must the ef 
fects be of a created and iricreated cause. Again> these suffer 
ings reach no further than the bone and flesh, (fear not them 
that kill the body, and after they have done that, can do no 
more, &c.) but this glory reaches unto, and transforms the 
soul. How little can a clod of earth suffer, in comparison of 
tvhat an immortal spirit may enjoy ? And further, there is 
much mixture in our present sufferings ; the present state of suf- 4 
fering saints is not a state of total misery ; there are, as it 
were, rays of glory interlaced with their present afflictions : 
but there will be nothing of affliction mingled with their future 

Yea, and (what may not only convince, but even transport us 
too (these sufferings are but temporary, nay but momentary, 
this glory eternal. What heart is big enough to comprehend 
the full sense of these words,Our light affliction which is but for a 
moment, worketh for us afar more exceeding and eternal weight 
of glory. 2 Cor. 4. 17* How might I dwell here upon every 
syllable, light affliction, weighty glory, exceeding weight; af 
fliction for a moment, eternal weight of glory ! O then, how 
unworthy is it of the Christian name and hopes, that we should 
have an impatient resentment of this method God follows with 
us, (as he did with our great Redeemer and Lord) that we 
should suffer first, and then enter into glory ! Heaven were a 
poor heaven, if it would not make us savers. It were high 
time for us to give over the Christian profession, if we do not 
really account, that its reward and hope do surmount its re 
proach and trouble ; or do think its cross more weighty than 
its crown. Is the price and worth of eternal glory fallen ? It 
hath been counted worth suffering for. There have been those- 
in the world that would not accept deliverance from these suf 
ferings, that they might obtain the better resurrection. Are we 
grown wiser? Or would we indeed wish God should turn the 
tables, aud assign us our good things here^ and hereafter evil 



things ? Ungrateful ouls ! How severe should we he to our 
selves, that we should be so apt to complain for what we 
should admire and give thanks ! What, because purer and more 
refined Christianity in our time and in this part of the world 
hath had public favour and countenance, can we therefore not 
tell how to frame our minds to the thoughts of sufferings ? Are 
tribulation and patience antiquated names, quite out of date and 
use with us, and more ungrateful to our ears and hearts, than 
heaven and eternal glory are acceptable ? And had we rather 
(if we were in danger of suffering on the Christian account) run 
a hazard as to the latter, than adventure on the former? Or do 
we think it impossible we should ever come to the trial, or be 
concerned to busy ourselves with such thoughts ? Is the world 
become so stable and so unacquainted with vicissitudes, that a 
state of things less favourable to our profession can never re 
volve upon us? It were, however, not unuseful to put such a 
case by way of supposition to ourselves. For every sincere 
Christian is in affection and preparation of his mind a martyr. 
He that loves not Christ better than his own life, cannot be his 
disciple. We should at least inure our thoughts more to a 
suffering state, that we may thence take some occasion to reflect 
and judge of tbe temper of our hearts towards the name and 
cause of Christ. It is easy suffering indeed, in idea and con 
templation ; but something may be collected from the observa 
tion, how \ve can relish and comport with such thoughts. It 
is as training in order to fight ; which is done often upon a very 
remote supposition, that such occasions may possibly fall out. 

Therefore, What now do we think of it if our way into the 
kingdom of God shall be through many tribulations ? If, before 
we behold the smiles of his blessed face, we must be entertained 
with the less pleasing sight of the frowning aspect and visage 
of an angry world? If we first bear the image of a cru 
cified Christ, before we partake of the likeness of a glorious 
God ? What, do we regret the thoughts of it ? Do we ac 
count we shall be ill dealt with, and have a hard bargain of it ? 
O how tender are we grown, in comparison of the hardiness 
and magnanimity of primitive Christians ! we have not the pa 
tience to think of what they had the patience to endure. We 
should not yet forget ourselves, that such a thing belongs to our 
profession, even in this way to testify our fidelity to Christ, and 
our value of the inheritance purchased by his blood, if he call 
us thereunto. We must know it is a thing inserted into the 
religion of Christians, and (with respect to their condition in 
this world) made an essential thereto. He cannot be a Christian, 
that doth not deny himself and take up the cross. How often 
when the active part of a Christian's duty is spoken of, is the 

VOL. in. 2 M 


passive part studiously and expressly annexed? Let us run 
with patience the race that is set before us. Heb. 12. 1. The 
good ground brought forth fruit, with patience -, Matt. 13. eter 
nal life is for them that by a patient continuance in well-doing 
seek after it. Rom, 2. 7* Yea, and hence the word of Christ is 
called the word of his patience. Rev. 3. chap. 1. And the stile 
wherein the beloved disciple speaks of himself, and his pro 
fession is this, I John, a companion in tribulation and in the 
kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ. Do we mean to plead 
prescription against all this ? or have we got an express ex 
emption ? Have we a discharge to shew, a manumission from 
all the suffering part of a Christian's duty ? and is it not a dis 
charge also from being Christians as much ? Will we disavow 
ourselves to belong to that noble society of them that through 
faith and patience inherit the promises ? Surely we are highly 
conceited of ourselves, if we think we are too good to be num 
bered among them of whom the world was not worthy. Or we 
design to ourselves a long abode here, while we so much value 
the world's favour, and a freedom from worldly trouble : or eter 
nity is with us an empty sound, and the future blessedness of 
saints an airy thing, that we should reckon it insufficient tu 
counterpoise the sufferings of a few hasty days that will so soon 
have an end. It is a sad symptom of the declining state of 
religion, when the powers of the world to come are so over-* 
mastered by the powers of this present world, and objects of 
sense so much out-weigh those of faith. And is not this appa 
rently the case with the Christians of the present age ? Do not 
your thoughts run the same course with theirs, that meditated 
nothing but sitting on the right and left hand of Christ, in an 
earthly dominion, while they never dreamed of drinking of his 
cup, or being baptized with his baptism ? How many vain 
dreamers have we of golden mountains, and (I know not what) 
earthly felicity ; whose pretended prophecies about (a supposed) 
near approaching prosperity to the church on earth, gain easier 
belief, or are more savoury and taking with too many, than all 
that the sacred oracles discover about its glorious state in hea 
ven ? Hence are our shoulders so unfitted to Christ's yoke (like 
the unaccustomed heifer,) and the business of suffering will 
not enter into our hearts. Methinks the belief and expectation 
of such a state hereafter, should make us even regardless of what 
we see or suffer here ; and render the good or evil things of 
of time as indifferent to us. Yet neither plead I for an absolute 
stoical apathy, but for patience. A great follower of that sect 
acknowledges, " It is not a virtue to bear what we feel not, or 
have no sense of. Stupidity under providence is not a Christian 
temperj" as that moralist says of the wise raaUj " It is not the 


hardness of stone or iron that is to be ascribed to him. Sen. de 
Constant, sapientis. But lest any should run into that more 
dangerous mistake, to think, that by the patience we have been 
all this while persuading to (in the expectation of the blessed 
ness yet to come) is meant a love of this present world, and a 
complacential adherence of heart to the earth* (which extreme 
the terrene temper of many souls may much incline them to;) 
it will be necessary upon that account to add (in reference also 
to the yet future expected season of this blessedness) this further 
and concluding instruction, namely 

8. That (however we are not to repine at our being held so 
long in this world in an expecting state, yet) we let not our 
souls cleave too close to their terrestrial stations, nor be too 
much in love with the body, and this present low state of life 
on earth. For evident it is, that notwithstanding all 
the miseries of this expecting state, the most are yet loth to 
leave the world, and have hearts sordidly hankering after present 
things. And surely there is much difference between being 
patient of an abode on earth, and being fond of it. Therefore 
since the true blessedness of saints consists in such things as we 
have shewn, and cannot be enjoyed till we awake, not within the 
compass of time and this lower world ; it will be very requisite 
to insist here awhile in the prosecution of this last rule. And 
what I shall say to it shall be by way of caution, and enforcement. 

(1.) For caution: that we misapprehend not that temper 
and disposition of spirit, we are in this thing to endeavour and 
aim at. And it especially concerns us to be cautious about the 
inducements, and degree, of that desire of leaving this world, or 
contempt of this present life, which we either aspire to, or allow 
ourselves in. 

[1] Inducements .Some are desirous, others at least content, 
to quit the world upon very insufficient, or indeed wicked con 

First. There are, who desire it merely to be out of the way 
of present troubles, whereof they have either too impatient a 
sense, or an unworthy and impotent fear. Many times the ur 
gency and anguish of incumbent trouble impresses such a sense, 
and utters itself in such language as that, Now, O Lord, take I 
beseech thee my life from me, for it is better for me to die than 
to live. Jonah 4. 3. Or, that, My soul chooseth strangling and 
death rather than life : makes men long for death, and dig for 
it as for hid treasure ; rejoice and be exceeding glad when they 
can find the grave, Job. 7.15. 

Yea, and the very fear ot troubles that are but impendent and 
threatening, makes some wish the grave a sanctuary, and ren 
ders the clods of the valley sweet unto their thoughts. They 


lay possibly so huraoursome and fanciful stress upon the mere cir 
cumstances of dying, that they are earnest to die out of hand to 
avoid dyicsg so ad so ; as the poet would fain persuade himself 
k was not Demite naufragium, mors nihi munus erit. Death 
ke feared, but shipwreck : it would not trouble tliem to die^ 
but t o die by a violent hand, (Ovid.) or to be made a public spec 
tacle; they cannot endure the thoughts of dying so. Here is 
RGthittg commendable or worthy of a Christian in all this. It 
were a piece of Christian bravery to dare to live in such a case, 
even when there is a visible likelihood of dying a sacrifice in the 
midst of flames. How much this glory was affected in the ear- 
Her days of Christianity is sufficiently known : though, I confess 
there were excesses in that kind, altogether unimitable. But if 
God call a man forth to be his champion and witness, to la? 
down a life, in itself little desirable, in a truly worthy cause, the 
call of his providence should be as the sound of the trumpet to 
a truly martial spirit ; it should fill his soul with a joyful cou 
rage and sense of honour, and be complied with cheerfully,with 
that apprehension and resentment a stout soldier would have of 
his general's putting him upon some very hazardous piece of 
service, namely, he would say, (as the moralist expresses his 
sense for him) Imperator de me non male meruit, sed bene ju- 
dicavity my general tiath not deserved ill of me, but it appears 
ke judged well. Sen. It should be counted all joy to fall into 
such trials; Jam. i. 2, that is, when they become our lot by a 
providential disposition, not by a rash precipitation of ourselves. 
And as it is a wickedness inconsistent with Christianity, to be of 
that habitual temper, to choose to desert such a cause for the 
saving of life ; so it is a weakness very reproachful to it, to lay 
down one's life in such a case with regret, as unwilling in this 
kind to glorify him who laid down his for us. We are no more 
to die to ourselves, than to live to ourselves. Our Lord Jesus 
hath purchased to himself a dominion over both states, of the 
living and dead, and whether we live we must live to him, or 
die, we must die to him. Rom. 1 4. 8. it is the glory of a Chris 
tian to live so much above the world, that nothing in it may 
make him either fond of life, or weary of it. 

Secondly. There are others who are (at least) indifferent and 
careless how soon they die, out of either a worse than paganish 
infidelity, disbelieving the concernments of another world ; or 
a brutish stupidity, not apprehending them ; or a gross conceit 
ed ignorance, misunderstanding the terms of the gospel, and 
thinking themselves to be in a good condition, as to eternity, 
when the case is much otherwise with them. Take heed thy 
willingness to die be from no such inducements, but a mere de 
sire of being with God, and of attaining this perfection and 


blessedness, which he hath engaged thee in the pursuit and ex 
pectation of, And then, having made sure it be right as to the 
rise and principle, 

[2.] Be careful it be not undue in point of degree ; that 
Is, a cold intermittent velleity is too little on the one hand, 
and a peremptory, precipitant hastiness is too much on the other. 
The middle and desirable temper here is a complacential sub 
mission to the divine will in that affair, with a preponderating 
inclination on our part, towards our eternal home, if the Lord 
see good. For we have two things to attend in this business, 
and by which our spirits may be swayed this way or that, that is 
the goodness of the object to be chosen, and the will of God 
which must guide and over- rule our choice; the former whereof 
we are permitted to eye in subordination to the latter and not other 
wise. Now our apprehension of the desirableness and intrinsic 
goodness of the object ought to be such, (we are infidels else, 
if we have not that account of it,) that nothing we can eye under 
the notion of a good to us, may be reckoned so eligible as that, 
namely, our final and complete blessedness in the other world ; 
which because we know we cannot enjoy without dying, death 
also must be judged more eligible than life, that is, our bles 
sedness must be judged eligible for itself, and death as requi 
site to make it present. So that the entire object we are dis 
coursing of being present blessedness, consider it in compari 
son with any thing else, that can be looked upon by us as a 
good which we ourselves are to enjoy, it ought to be preferred 
and chosen out of hand, inasmuch as nothing can be so great 
a present good to us, as that. And this ought to be the pro 
per habitual inclination of our spirits, their constant frame and 
bent, as they respect only our interest and welfare. But con 
sidering God's dominion over us, and interest in our lives and 
beings, and that as well ingenuity as necessity binds us to be 
subject to his pleasure, we should herein patiently suffer our 
selves to be over-ruled thereby, and not so abstractly mind our 
own interest and contentment in this matter, as if we were al 
together our own, and had no Lord over us. Plato (In Phoed. 
Vid. etPlotin.) who abounds in discourses of the desirableness 
of dying, and of the blessed change it makes with them, that 
are good, yet hath this apt expression of the subjection we ought 
to be in to the divine pleasure as to this matter, irtft tZayuyns. E- 
nead. 1 . <f That the soul is in the body as soldiers in a garrison, 
from whence they may not withdraw themselves without his or 
der and direction who placed them there : and expostulate* 
thus, " If (saith he) a slave of yours should destroy his own 
life without your consent, would you not be displeased ; and 
if there had been any place left for revenge, been apt enough for 

tJHB BLfcSgEDNfcSS ttiA*. X** 

that too) So lie brings in Socrates discoursing; and discovers 
himself herein to have had more light in this matter, touching 
that subordinate interest only men have in their own lives, and 
the unlawfulness of self-murder, (as he had in other things too,) 
than most heathens of the more refined sect ever arrived to. 

Iftherefore God would give us leave to die, we should upon 
our own account be much more inclined to choose it; but, 
xvhile he thinks fit to have it deferred, should yield to his will 
with an unrepining submission. Only it ought not to rest at all 
on onr part, or that as to ourselves we find any thing more 
grateful to us in this world, that we are willing to stay a day lon 
ger in it. That for our own sakes we should affect a continu 
ance here, would argue a terrene, sordid spirit. But then 
such should be our dutiful filial love to the Father of our spirits, 
that in pure devotedness to his interests, we would be content 
to dwell (if he would have it so) a Methuselah's age in an earth 
ly tabernacle for his service : that is, that we may help to pre 
serve his memorial in a lapsed world, (over-run with atheism 
and ignorance of its Maker,) and win him hearts and love (to 
our uttermost)* among his apostate, disloyal creatures; and in 
our capacities be helpful to the encouragement of such as he 
continues in the world for the same purposes. This is the ve 
ry temper the apostle expresses when in that strait. Phil. 1. 23- 
Which way the poise of his own spirits inclined him, in the 
consideration of his own interest, and what was simply more eli 
gible to him, he expresses with high eniphasis ; To be with 
Christ, saith he, is more, more desirable to be, (for there are 
two comparatives in the greek text,) and therefore he professes 
his own desire in order thereto, to be dissolved ; but that pri 
vate desire was not so peremptory and absolute, but he could 
'make it yield and give place to his duty towards God and his 
church, as it follows. So we know it is possible, that respects 
tp a friend may over-sway a man's own particular inclination ; 
and the inclination remain notwithstanding, but is subdued on 
ly ; otherwise, had any reason or argument that did respect my 
self persuaded me to change it, 1 should then follow but my 
own proper inclination still, and so my friend hath nothing to 
thank me for. 

So it ought to be with us here. Our inclination should pre 
ponderate towards a present change of our state ; only our de 
votedness to his interest and pleasure, whose we are, should ea 
sily over-rule it. This is the lovely temper of a gracious spirit, 
as to this thing, that to die might be our choice, and to live in 
the mean time submitted to as our duty. As an ingenuous son 
whom his father hath employed abroad in a foreign country, 
though duty did bind him cheerfully therein to comply with. 


his father's will, and the necessity of his affairs ; yet, when his 
father shall signify to him, that now he understands no neces 
sity of his longer continuance there, and therefore he may if 
he please return, but he shall have leave to follow his own in 
clination, it is not hard to conjecture, that the desire of see 
ing a father's face would soon determine the choice of such a 
son that way. But how remote are the generality of them that 
profess themselves God's children from that pious ingenuity ! 
We have taken root in the earth, and forgotten our heavenly 
originals and alliances. We are as inhabitants here, not pil 
grims; hardly persuaded to entertain with any patience the 
thoughts of leaving our places on earth ; which yet, do we what 
we can, shall shortly know us no more. In short then : that 
vile temper of spirit, against which I professedly bend myself 
in the following discourse, is, when rnen, not out of any sense 
of duty towards God, or solicitude for their own souls, but a 
mere sordid love to the body, and affixedness of heart to the 
earth and terrene things, cannot endure the thoughts of dying. 
And that which I persuade to is, that having the true prospect 
of the future blessedness before our eyes, and our hearts posses 
sed with the comfortable hope of attaining to it, we shake orl'our 
earthly inclinations, and expect with desire and joy the time of 
our dismission hence, that we may enjoy it; which is the de 
sign of what was promised in the next place, namely. 

(2.) The inforcement of this instruction. Suffer we there 
fore ourselves to be reasoned with about this matter ; and let us 
consider whether we can in good earnest thinksuch an aversation, 
as we discover, to our blessed translation hence, an excusable, 
a tolerable temper; or whether it be not highly reasonable, that 
we should entertain the thoughts, at least, with more content 
and patience (if not with more fervent desire) of our departure 
hence and introduction into that other state. Let me demand 
ofthee, dost thou thus regret the thoughts of death, as being 
unwilling to die at all, or as being unwilling to die as yet ? Is 
|t the thing itself, or only the circumstance of time that thou 
exceptest against ? It is likely thou wilt say that which will 
seem more plausible, and so fix only on the latter; and that 
thou wilt not profess to desire an eternity on earth, but only 
more time. Well, let that for the present be supposed, as it is 
a more modest, so to be a true account of thy desires: yet 
what is the reason of this moderation with thee herein ; and 
that thou so limitest thyself ? Is it that thou believest the bles 
sedness of the other state will prove better than any thing thou 
canst enjoy here; and that thou art not willing eternally to be 
deprived of? But dost thou not think it is now better also? 
And what canst thou pretend^ why what is now the best and 


and most desirable good, should not be now chosen and desired 
out of hand ? Or is it that thou thinkest it unbecomes thee to 
cross the supreme will of him that made thee, who hath deter 
mined, that all men once shall die ? And then, how knowest 
thou but he hath also determined concerning thee, that thou 
shalt die the next day or hour ? and it is only a present willing 
ness to die, in subordination to the divine will, or upon supposi 
tion of it, thou art persuaded to. Why, art thou not afraid, 
lest thy present unwillingness should cross his present will? 
Dost thou not think that sovereign power is as sufficient to de 
termine of the circumstance, as the thing itself ? And art thou 
not ashamed to pretend an agreement with God about the tiling 
itself, and yet differ with him about a circumstance ? Shall that 
be a ground of quarrel between him and thee ? 

But while thou only professest that more modest desire of 
more time in the world, what security canst thou give, that when 
that desire hath been liberally gratified, it shall be at length 
laid down, and tumultuate no more ? What bounds wilt thou 
fix to it, which thou darest undertake it shall not pass ? Art thou 
sure, when thou shalt have lain at the world's breast ten or 
twenty years longer, thou wilt then imagine thyself to have 
drawn it dry ; or that then thou shalt begin to nauseate the 
world and wish for heaven ? Or hast thou not reason from thy 
former experience to suspect, that the longer thou dwel- 
lest on earth, the more terrene thou wilt grow ; and that 
if thou be indisposed to leave it this day or year, thou 
wilt be more so the next; and so thy desire become boundless 
and infinite, which is to desire to be here always, the thing 
which thou seemedst so unwilling to own? And if that prove at last 
the true state of thy case, art thou then a Christian, or art thou 
a man, that thou harbourest in thy breast so irreligious and 
irrational, yea, so sordid a wish ? What ! wish eternally to be af 
fixed to a clod of earth ? Is that at length become thy God ? Or 
wilt thou say, he is thy God whom thou never desirest to enjoy? 
Or that thou hast already enough of him, but not of the world, 
and yet that he is thy God? Or wouldst thou overturn the laws of 
mature, and subvert the most sacred divine constitutions, abor 
tive the designs of eternal wisdom and love, evacuate and nul 
lify the great achievements of thy merciful and mighty Re 
deemer, only to gratify a sensual, brutish humour ? But evi 
dent it is, thou dost only in vain disquiet thyself, thou canst not 
disturb the settled order of things. Eternal laws are not lle- 
pealable by a fond wish. Thou settest that dreadful thing, 
death, at nothing the further distance, by thine abhorrency of 
it. It will overtake thee whether thou wilt or no ; and me- 
thinks thine own reason should instruct thee to attemper and 
foni) thyself to what thou canst not avoid, and possess thee with 


such thoughts and desires as those of that discreet pagan, 
(Epictet.) " Lead me, O God, (saith he) whither thou wilt, and 
I will follow thee willingly ; but if I he rebellious and refuse, 
I shall follow thee notwithstanding." What we cannot decline, 
it is better to bear willingly, than with a regret, that shall be 
both vain and afflictive. 

And what hast thou hitherto met with in the world, that 
should so highly endear it to thee ? Examine and search more 
narrowly into thy earthly comforts ; what is there in them to 
make them self-desirable, or to be so for their own sakes ? 
What is it to have thy flesh indulged and pleased ? to have thy 
sense gratified? thy fancy tickled ? What so great good, worthy 
of an immortal, reasonable spirit, canst thou find in meats and 
drinks, in full barns and coffers, in vulgar fame and applause, 
that should render these things desirable for themselves ? And 
if there were any real felicity in these things for the present, 
whilst thou art permitted to enjoy them, yet dost thou not know 
that what thou enjoyest to day thou mayst lose to morrow, and 
that such other unthought of evils may befall thee, as may in 
fuse a bitterness into all thou enjoyest, which causes immedi 
ately the enjoyment to cease, while the things themselves re 
main, and will be equal to a total loss of all ? And thus (as the 
moralist ingenuously speaks (Sen.debrev. vit.) "thou wilt con 
tinually need another happiness to defend the former, and new 
wishes must still be made on the behalf of those which have al 
ready succeeded. But canst thou indeed think it worth the 
while, that the Maker of the universe should create a soul, and 
send it down into the world on purpose to superintend these tri 
vial affairs, to keep alive a silly piece of well-figured earth while 
it eats and drinks, to move it to and fro in chase of shadows, 
to hold it up while others bow the knee and do it homage, if it 
had not some higher work to mind in reference to another 
state ? Art thou contented to live long in the world to such pur 
poses ? What low worthless spirit is this, that had rather be 
so employed than in the visions of his Maker's face ; that 
chooses thus to entertain itself on earth, rather than partake 
the effusions of divine glory above ; that had rather creep with 
worms than soar with angels : associate with brutes than 
with the spirits of just men made perfect? Who can solve the 
phenomenon, or give a rational account why there should be 
such a creature as man upon the earth, abstracting from the 
hopes of another world ? Who can think it the effect of an in 
finite wisdom ; or account it a more worthy design, than the 
representing of such a scene of actions and aftairs by puppets on 
a stage ? For my part, upon the strictest inquiry, I see nothing 
in the life of man upon earth, that should render it, for itself, 



more the matter of a rational election (supposing the free 
option given him in the first moment of his being) than pre 
sently again to cease to he the next moment. 

Yea, and is there not enough obvious in every man's experi 
ence, to incline him rather to the contrary choice ; and sup 
posing a future blessedness in another world, to make him 
passionately desirous (with submission 1o the divine pleasure) of 
a speedy dismission into it? Do not the burdens that press u 
in this earthly tabernacle teach our very sense, and urge 
oppressed natures into involuntary groans, while as yet our con 
sideration doth not intervene ? And if we do consider, Is not 
every thought a sting, making a much deeper impression than 
what only toucheth our flesh and bones ? Who can reflect 
upon his present state and not presently be in pangs ? The 
troubles that follow humanity are many and great, those that 
follow Christianity more numerous and grievous. The sickness, 
pains, losses, disappointments, and whatsoever afflictions that 
are in the apostle's language, human, or common to men, (1 
Cor. 10. 13.) (as are all the external sufferings of Christians, in 
nature and kind, though they are liable to them upon an ac 
count peculiar to themselves, which there the apostle intimates,) 
are none of our greatest evils ; yet even upon the account of 
them, have we any reason to be so much in love with so unkind 
a world ? Is it not strange, our very bridewell should be such a 
heaven to us ? But these things are little considerable in com 
parison of the more spiritual grievances of Christians, as such ; 
that is, those that afflict our souls while we are(under the conduct 
of Christ) designing for a blessed eternity; if we indeed make 
that our business, and do seriously intend our spirits in order 
thereto. The darkness of our beclouded minds; the glimmering, 
ineffectual apprehension we have of the most important things; 
the inconsistency of our shattered thoughts, when we would 
apply them to spiritual objects ; the great difficulty of work 
ing off an ill frame of heart, and the no less difficulty of retain 
ing a good : our being so frequently tossed as between heaven 
and hell ; when we sometimes think ourselves to have even at 
tained and hope to descend no more, and are all on a sudden 
plunged in the ditch, so as that our own clothes might abhor 
us ; fall so low into an earthly temper, that we can like nothing 
heavenly 01 divine, and because we cannot, are enforced justly 
most of all to dislike ourselves ! are these things little 
with us ? How can we forbear to cry out of the depths, 
to the Father of our spirits, that he would pity and re 
lieve his own offspring ? Yea, are we not weary of our 
crying; and yet more weary of holding in ? How do repelled 
temptations return again, and vanquished corruptions recover 


strength ! We know not when our work is done. We are misera 
ble that we need to be always watching, and more miserable 
that we cannot watch, but are so often surprised and overcome 
of evil. We say sometimes with ourselves, we will seek relief 
in retirement; but we cannot retire from ourselves ; or in con 
verse with godly friends, but they sometimes prove snares to us 
and we to them, or we hear but our own miseries repeated in 
their complaints. Would we pray? How faint is the breath 
we utter ? How long is it before we can get our souls possessed 
with any becoming apprehensions of God, or lively sense of 
our own concernments ? Would we meditate ? We some 
times go about to compose our thoughts, but we may as well 
assay to hold the winds in our fist. If we venture forth into 
the world, how do our senses betray us ? how are we mocked 
with their impostures ? Their nearer objects become with us 
the only realities, and eternal things are all vanished into 
airy shadows. Reason and faith are laid asleep, and our 
sense dictates to us what we are to believe and do, as if it 
were our only guide and lord. And what are we not yet 
weary ? Is it reasonable to continue in this state of our own 
choice ? Is misery become so natural to us, so much our 
element that we cannot affect to live out of it ? Is the darkness 
and dirt of a dungeon more grateful to us than a free open air 
and sun ? Is this flesh of ours so lovely a thing, that we had 
rather suffer so many deaths in it, than one in putting it off 
and mortality with it ? While we carry it about us, our souls 
impart a kind of life to it, and it gives them death in exchange. 
Why do we not cry out more feelingly, " O wi etched man that I 
am, who shall deliver me from this body of death ?" Is it not 
grievous to us to have so cumbersome a yoke-fellow, to be tied 
(as Mezentius is said to have done) the living and the dead to 
gether. Do we not find the distempers of our spirits are mostly 
from these bodies we are so in love with, either as the proper 
springs or as the occasion of them ? From what cause is our 
drowsy sloth, our eager passions, our aversion to spiritual ob 
jects, but, from this impure flesh ; or what else is the subject 
about which our vexatious cares, or torturing fears, our bitter 
griefs are taken up day by day ? 

And why do we not consider, that it is only our love to it 
that gives strength and vigour to the most of our temptations, 
as wherein it is most immediately concerned, and which makes 
them so often victorious, and thence to become our after-afflic 
tions. He that hath learned to mortify the inordinate love of 
the body, will he make it the business of his life to purvey for 
it ? Will he offer violence to his own soul, to secure it from 


violence ? Will he comply with men's lusts and humours for 
its advantage and accommodation; or yield himself to the ty 
ranny of his own avarice for its future, or of his more sensual 
lusts for its present content ? Will it not rather be pleasing to 
him, that his outward man be exposed to perish, while his in 
ward man is renewed day by day ? He to whom the thoughts 
are grateful of laying it down, will not (though he neglect not 
duty towards it) spend his days in its continual service, and 
make his soul a hell by a continual provision for the flesh and 
the lusts of it. That is cruel love that shall enslave a man, and 
subject him to so vile and ignoble a servitude. And it discovers 
a sordid temper to be so imposed upon. How low are our 
spirits sunk, that we disdain not so base a vassalage ! God 
and nature have obliged us to live in bodies for a time, but they 
have not obliged us to measure ourselves by them, to confine 
our desires and designs to their compass, to look no further 
than their concernments, to entertain no previous joys in 
the hope of being one day delivered from them. No such hard 
law is laid upon us. But how apt are we to become herein a most 
oppressive law to ourselves ; and not only to lodge in filthy, 
earthen cottages, but to love them and confine ourselves to 
them, loth so much as to peep out. It is the apt expression of 
a philosopher, upbraiding that base, low temper, 1 1 S< f<x*j 4<i>%) 

x.x.Togugvyiji.sw) sv (TWfAxli, us egirelov vu9ss fis ^o/Xsov, Qi\-t TOV ^wXeov, &C. 

the degenerous soul buried in the body, is as a slothful, creep- 
ing thing, that loves its hole and is loth to come forth. Max. 
Tyr. Diss. 41. 

And methinks, if we have no love for our better and more noble 
self, we should not be altogether unapprehensive of an obliga 
tion upon us, to express a dutiful love to the Author of our be 
ings ; doth it consist with the love we owe to him, to desire al 
ways to lurk in the dark, and never to come into his blessed 
presence? Is that our love, that we never care to come nigh him? 
Do we not know, that while we are present in the body, we are 
absent from the Lord? 2 Cor. 5. 6, 8. Should we not therefore 
be willing rather to be present with the Lord, and absent 
from the body ? Should we not put on a confidence, a holy for 
titude, (as it is there expressed, we are confident, or of good 
courage, and thence, willing, &c.) that might carry us through 
the grave to him. As is the brave speech of that last mentioned 
philospher, AeAos- oSv^roti, God will call thee ere long, expect his 
call. Old age ivillcome upon thee, and shew thee the way thi 
ther ; and death, which he that is possessed luith a base fear, 
laments and dreads as it draws on, but he that is a lover of God 
expects it with joy, and with courage meets it when it comes. 
&c. Item. diss. i. Is our love to God so faint and weak, that it 


dares not encounter death, nor venture upon the imaginary ter 
rors of the grave to go to him ? How unsuitable is this to the 
character which is given of a saint's love ? Cant. 8. And how 
expressly are we told, that he who loves his life better than 
Christ, or that even hates it not for his sake, (as certainly he 
cannot be said to do, that is not willing to part with it to enjoy 
him) cannot be his disciple ? If our love to God be not supreme 
it is none, or not such as can denominate us lovers of him ; and 
will we pretend to be so, when we love a putid flesh and this 
base earth better than him ? And have we not professedly, as a 
fruit of our avowed love to him, surrendered ourselves ? Are we 
not his devoted ones ? Will we be his, and yet our own ? or 
pretend ourselves dedicated to his holy pleasure, and will yet be 
at our own disposal, and so dispose of ourselves too, as that we 
may be most ungrateful to him, and most uncapable of converse 
with him ? How doth this love of a perishing life and of a little 
animated clay stop all the effusions of the love of God, suspend 
its sweet and pleasant fruits, which should be always exerting 
themselves towards him ? Where is their love, obedience, joy, 
and praise, who are through the fear of death all their lives sub 
ject to bondage, and kept under a continual dismal expectation 
of an unavoidable dissolution ? But must the great God lose his 
due acknowledgments because we will not understand wherein 
lie deals well with us ? Is his mercy therefore no mercy ? As 
we cannot nullify his truth by our unbelief, so nor his goodness 
by our disesteem. But yet consider, doth it not better be 
come thee to be grateful than repine that God will one day un 
bind thy soul and set thee free, knock of thy fetters and deliver 
thee out of the house of thy bondage ; couldst thou upon deli 
berate thoughts judge it tolerable, should he doom thee to this 
earth for ever ? (as the pagan emperor and philosopher excel 
lently speaks M. Aurel. Ant. de vit. sua. 1 12. amdi faus 
etiroKvw tXius He hath however judged otherwise, who is the au 
thor both of the first composition of thy present being and now 
of the dissolution of it ; thou wert the cause of neither, 
therefore depart and he thankful, for he that dismisseth 
thee dealeth kindly with thee. If yet thou understandest it not, 
yet remember, it is thy Father that disposes thus of thee. How 
unworthy is it to distrust his love ? what child would be afraid 
to compose itself to sleep in the parent's bosom ? It expresses 
nothing of the duty and ingenuity, but much of the froward- 
ness and folly of a child: they sometimes cry vehemently in the 
undressing ; but should their cries be regarded by the most in 
dulgent parent ? or are they fit to be imitated by us ? 

We have no excuse for this our forwardness. The blessed 
God hatty told us his gracious purposes concerning us, and we 


are capable of understanding him. What if he had totally hid 
den from us our future state ? and that we knew nothing, but 
of going into an eternal, silent darkness ? the authority of a 
Creator ought to have awed us into a silent submission. But 
when we are told of such a glory, that it is but drawing aside 
the fleshly vail and we presently behold it, methinks the blessed 
hour should be expected not with patience only, but with ra 
vishing joy. Did we hear of a country in this world, where we 
might live in continual felicity,without toil, or sickness, or grief, 
or fear, who would not wish to be there, though the passage 
were troublesome? Have we not heard enough of heaven to al 
lure us thither ? Or is the eternal truth, of suspected credit with 
us ? Are God's own reports of the future glory unworthy our 
belief or regard ? How many, upon the credit of his word, 
are gone already triumphantly into glory ? that only seeing 
the promises afar off, were persuaded of them, and embraced 
them ; and never after, owned themselves under any other no 
tion than of pilgrims on earth, longing to be at home in their 
most desirable, heavenly country. We are not the first that are 
to open heaven ; the main body of saints is already there ; it is 
in comparison of their number, but a scattering remnant that are 
now, alive upon the earth. How should we long to be associa 
ted to that glorious assembly ? Methinks we should much more 
regret our being so long left behind. 

But if we should desire still to be so, why may not all others 
as well as we, and as much expect to be gratified as we ? And 
then we should agree in desiring, that our Redeemer's triumph 
might be deterred, that his body might yet remain incomplete, 
that he might still be debarred of the long expected fruit of the 
travail of his soul, that the name of God might be still subjected 
to the blasphemy and reproach of an atheistical world, who 
have all along said with derision, Where is the promise of his 
coming ? Would we have all his designs to be still unfinished, 
and so mighty wheels stand still for us, while we sport ourselves 
in the dust of the earth, and indulge our sensual inclination, 
which sure this bold desire must argue to be very predominant 
in us; and take heed it argue not its habitual prevalency. 
At least, if it discover not our present sensuality, it discovers 
our former sloth and idleness. It may be, we may ex 
cuse our aversencss to die by our unpreparedness, that is, one 
fault with another : though that be besides the case I am speak 
ing of. What then have we been doing all this while ? What ! 
were the affairs of thy soul not thought of till now ? Take then 
thy reproof from a heathen, (Sen.) that it may convince thee the 
more, " No one, saith he, divides away his money from him 
self, but yet men divide away their very life But doth it not 


shame thee (he after adds) to reserve only the relics of thy life 
to thyself, and to devote that time only to a good mind which 
thou canst employ upon no other thing ? How late is it to be 
gin to live when we should make an end; and defer all good 
thoughts to such an age as possibly few do ever reach to. The 
truth is (as he speaks) we have not little time but we lose much, 
we have time enough were it well employed, therefore we can 
not say we receive a short life, but we make it so,we are not in 
digent of time but prodigal : what a pretty contradiction is it to 
complain of the shortness of time, and yet do what we can to 
precipitate its course ; to hasten it by that we call pastime ? 
If it have been so with thee, art thou to be trusted with more 
time ?" But as thy case is, I cannot wonder that the thoughts 
of death be most unwelcome to thee ; who art thou that thou 
shouldst desire the day of the Lord ? I can only say to thee, 
hasten thy preparation, have recourse to rule second, and third, 
and accordingly guide thyself till thou find thy spirit made 
more suitable to this blessedness; that it become savoury 
and grateful to thy soul, and thy heart be set upon it. Hence 
thou mayst be reconciled to the grave, and the thoughts of 
death may cease to be a terror to thee. 

And when thou art attained so far, consider thy great advan 
tage in being willing and desirous to die upon this further ac 
count, That thy desire shall now be pitched upon a thing so 
certain. Thine other desires have met with many a disappoint 
ment. Thou hast set thy heart upon other things, and they 
have deceived thy most earnest, thirsty expectations. Death 
will not do so. Thou wilt now have one certain hope ; one 
thing in reference whereto thou mayst say, " I am sure." Wait 
awhile, this peaceful sleep will shortly seize thy body and awaken 
thy soul. It will calmly period all thy troubles, and bring thee 
to a blessed rest. But now, if only the mere terror and gloom 
iness of dying, trouble thy thoughts, this of all other seems the 
most inconsiderable pretence against a willing surrender of our 
selves to death. Reason hath overcome it, natural courage, 
yea, some men's atheism; Shall not faith? Are we not ashamed 
to consider, what confidence and desire of death some heathens 
have expressed ? Some that have had no preapprehension or 
belief of another state (though there were very few of them,) 
and so no hope of a consequent blessedness to relieve them, 
have yet thought it unreasonable to disgust the thoughts of 
death. What wouldst thou think if thou hadst nothing but 
the sophisms of such to oppose to all thy dismal thoughts ? I 
have met with one arguing thus, (Epicurus in Gassend. Synt.) 
" Death which is accounted the most dreadful of all evils, is 
nothing to us (saiih he) because while we are in being, death is 




not yet present, and when death is present we are not in being ; 
so that it neither concerns us, as living, nor dead; for while we are 
alive it hath not touched us, when we are dead we are not. 
Moreover (saith he) the exquisite knowledge of this, that death 
belongs not to us, makes us enjoy this mortal life with comfort 5 
not hy adding any thing to our uncertain time, but by taking 
away the desire of immortality/' Shall they comfort them 
selves upon so wretched a ground, with a little sophistry, and 
the hope of extinguishing all desire of immortality ; and shall 
not we, by cherishing this blessed hope of enjoying shortly an 
immortal glory ? 

Others of them have spoken magnificently of a certain con 
tempt of this bodily life, and a not only not fearing but desiring 
to die, upon a fixed apprehension of the distinct and purer and 
immortal nature of the soul, and the preconceived hope of a 
consequent felicity. I shall set down some of their words, 
added to what have been occasionally mentioned, (amongst that 
plentiful variety wherewith one might fill a volume,) purposely 
to shame the more terrene temper of many Christians. 

"The soul (saith one of them*) is an invisible thing, and is 
going into another place, suitable to itself, that is noble, and 
pure, and invisible, even info hades, indeed, to the good and 
wise God, whither also my soul shall shortly go, if he see good. 
But this (he saith in what follows) belongs only to such a soul 
as goes out of the body pure, that draws nothing corporeal 
along with it, did not willingly communicate with the body in 
life, but did even fly from it and gather up itself into itself, 
always meditating this one thing, A soul so affected, shall it 
not go to something like itself, divine, (and what is divine, is 
immortal and wise,) whither when it comes, it becomes blessed, 
free from error, ignorance, fears, and wild or enormous loves, 
and all other evils incident to men." 

f One writing the life of that rare person Plotinus, says, 
That he seemed as if he were in some sort ashamed that he was 
in body; which (however it would less become a Christian, 

* Plato in Phcdone, From whom I adjoin what (to them that 
understand it) is more elegant in his own language, sv iSvs atyatmxHtit- 
Ta fMftAfcfct jtnoQatveta-Qzi UK otp ^lAoc-c^oy xXXx ns (pihoo-ufAxlos. Ibid. 
Aygtuv e^wT^v, if you see any one overwhelmed with grief in the ap 
proach of death, he is not a philosopher, but a lover of his own 

t Poiphyrius. Plotinus Eimcad. 7. Lib. 6. (whom though a 
just admirer of him would fain have men reckon to have been a 
chrhtian, because he writes much against the Pseudo-Christian 
gnostics, nothing against Christianity, yet it appears not he ever made 
profession of it. Eimcad. 1. Jib. 7. 


yet) in one that knew nothing of an incarnate Redeemer, it dis 
covered a refined, noble spirit. The same person speaks almost 
the language of the apostle, concerning his being wrapt up into 
the third heaven, and tells of such an alienation of the soul 
from the body : " That when once it finds God (whom he had 
before been speaking of under the name of the ro K^XOV or the 
beauty) shining in upon it, it now no longer feels its body, or 
takes notice of its being in the body, but even forgets its own 
being, that it is a man, or a living creature, or any thing else 
whatsoever, for it is not at leisure to mind any thing else, nor 
doth it desire to be : yea, and having sought him out, he im 
mediately meets, it, presenting itself to him. It only views 
him instead of itself, and would not now change its state for 
anything, not if one could give it the whole heaven in exchange." 

<( And elsewhere discussing, whether life in the body be good 
and desirable, yea or no, he concludes it to be good, not as it is 
a union of the soul and body, but as it may have that virtue 
annexed to it, by which what is really evil may be kept off. 
But yet, that death is a greater good: that life in the body 
is in itself evil ; but the soul is by virtue stated in goodness ; not 
as enlivening the body with which it is compounded, but as it 
severs and sejoins itself from it ; meaning so, as to have as little 
communion as possibly it can with it." To which purpose is 
the expression of another : f< That the soul of a happy man so 
collects and gathers up itself out from the body while it is yet 
contained in it and that it was possessed of that fortitude, as 
not to dread its departure from it." Marin. Proclus. 

Another gives this character of a good man, J'That as he 
lived in simplicity, tranquillity,purity, not being offended at any 
that they believed him not to live so ; he also comes to the end 
of his life, pure, quiet, and easy to be dissolved, disposing him 
self without any constraint to his lot." Av r /*. M. Aur. Ant. 
Another is brought in speaking thus, " If God should grant me 
to become a child again, (Cato in Cicerone de Senect.) to send 
forth my renewed infant cries from my cradle, and having even 
run out my race, to begin it again, I should most earnestly re 
fuse it 5 for what profit hath this life ? and how much toil ? 
Yet I do not repent that I have lived,because I hope that 1 have 
not lived in vain. And now I go out of this life, not as out of 
my dwelling-house, but my inn. O blessed day ! when I shall 
enter into that council and assembly of souls, and depart from 
this rude and disorderly rout and crew, &c." 

I shall add another, (of a not much unlike strain and rank, as 
either being not an open, or no constant friend to Christianity,) 
that discoursing who is the heir of divine things, saith, " He 

VOL* III, 2 O 


cannot be, who is in love with this animal, sensitive life ; but 
only that purest mind that is inspired from above, that partakes 
of a heavenly and divine portion, that only despises the body, 
&c." with much more of like import. Philo Judaeus. 

Yea, so have some been transported with the desire of im 
mortality, that (being wholly ignorant of the sin of self-murder,) 
they could not forbear doing violence on themselves. Among 
the Indians, (Q. Curt. lib. 8.) two thousand years ago, were a 
sort of wise men, as they were called, that held it a reproach 
to die of age, or a disease, and were wont to burn themselves 
alive, thinking the flames were polluted if they came amidst 
them dead. The story of * Cleombrotus is famous, who, 
hearing Plato discourse of the immortality of the soul, by the 
sea-side, leaped from him into the sea, that he might presently 
be in that state. And it is storied, that f Nero refused to put 
Apolloniusto death, though he were very much incensed against 
him, only upon the apprehensions he had that he was very de 
sirous to pUe, because he would not so far gratify him. 

I only make this improvement of all this ; Christian princi 
ples and rules, do neither hurry nor misguide men, but the enct 
(as we have it revealed) should much more powerfully and con-; 
stantly attract us. Nothing is more unsuitable to Christian 
ity our way, nor to that blessedness the end of it, than a terrene 
spirit. They have nothing of the true light and impress of the. 
gospel now, nor are they ever like to attain the vision of the 
blessed face of God, and the impress of his likeness hereafter, 
that desire it not above all things,and are not willing to quit all 
things else for it. And is it not a just exprobration of our 
earth liness and carnality, if mere philosophers and pagans 
should give better proof than we of a spirit erected above the 
world, and alienated from what is temporary and terrene ? Shall 
their gentilism outvie our Christianity ? Methinks a generous 
indignation of this reproach should inflame our souls, and con 
tribute somewhat to the refining of them to a better and more 
spiritual temper. 

Now therefore, O all you that name yourselves by that worthy 
name of Christians, that profess the religion taught by him that 
was not of the earth, earthly, but the Lord from heaven ; you 
that are partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the great 
Apostle and High-Priest of your profession, who only took our 
flesh that we might partake of his Spirit, bore our earthly, that 
we might bear his heavenly image, descended that he might; 

* Cicer. Quaest, Tuscul. 

t Scil. Domitianus aliquoties sic dictus. Philostr. in vit. Apoll. 

CHAP. X*, O* 1 tHE RlGHtEOtrs. 283 

cause us to ascend. Seriously bethink yourselves of the scope 
and end of his apostleship and priesthood. He was sent out 
from God to invite and conduct you to him, to bring you into 
the communion of his glory and blessedness. He came upon a 
message and treaty of peace : to discover his Father's love and 
win yours : to let you know how kind thoughts the God of love 
had conceived to you-wards ; and that, however you had hated 
him without cause, and were bent to do so without end, he was 
not so affected towards you: to settle a friendship, and to admit 
you to the participation of his glory. Yea, he came to 
give an instance, and exemplify, to the world in his own per 
son, how much of heaven he could make to dwell in mortal 
flesh ; how possible he could render it, to live in this world as 
unrelated to it ; how gloriously the divine life could triumph 
over all the infirmities of frail humanity. And so leave men a 
certain proof and pledge, to what perfections human nature 
should be improved by his grace and Spirit, in all them that 
should resign themselves to his conduct, and follow his steps : 
that heaven and earth were not so far asunder, but he knew 
how to settle a commerce and intercourse between them : that 
a heavenly life was possible to be transacted here, and certain 
to be gloriously rewarded and perfected hereafter. 

And having testified these things, he seals the testimony, 
and opens the way for the accomplishment of all by his death. 
Your heavenly Apostle becomes a Priest and a Sacrifice at once: 
that no doubt might remain among men of his sincerity, 
in what even dying he ceased not to profess and avow. And 
that by his own propitiatory blood a mutual reconciliation might 
be wrought between God and you; that your hearts might be 
won to him, and possessed with an ingenuous shame of 
your ever having been his enemies. And that his displeasure 
might for ever cease towards you, and be turned into everlasting 
friendship and love : that eternal redemption being obtained, 
heaven might be opened to you,and you finally be received to the 
glory of Godj your hearts being bent thitherward and made willing 
to run through whatsoever difficulties of life or death to attain 
it. Do not think that Christ came into the world and died 
to procure the pardon of your sins, and so translate you to hea 
ven; while your hearts should still remain cleaving to the earth. 
He came and returned to prepare a way for you ; and then call, 
not drag you thither: that by his precepts, and promises, and 
example, and Spirit, he might form and fashion your souls to 
that glorious state ; and make you willing to abandon all things 
for it. And lo ! now the God of all grace is calling you by Je 
sus Christ unto his eternal glory. Direct then your eyes and 
hearts to that mark, the prize of the high calling of God in 


Christ Jesus. It is ignominious, by the common suffrage of the 
civilized world, not to intend the proper business of our calling. 
It is your calling to forsake this world and mind the other ; 
make haste then to quit yourselves of your entanglements, of 
all earthly dispositions and affections* Learn to live in this 
world as those that are not of it, that expect every day, and wish 
to leave it, whose hearts are gone already. 

It is dreadful to die with pain and regret : to be forced out of 
the body ; to die a violent death, and go away with an unwilling 
reluctant heart. The wicked is driven way in his wickedness. 
Fain he would stay longer, but cannot. He hath not power 
over the spirit, to retain the spirit, nor hath he power in death. 
He must away whether he will or no. And indeed much against 
his will. So it cannot but be, where there is not a previous 
knowledge and love of a better state, where the soul understands 
it not, and is not effectually attempered and framed to it. 

Oget then the lovely image of the future glory into your minds. 
Keep it ever before your eyes. Make it familiar to your thoughts. 
Imprint daily there these words, 1 shall behold thy face, I shall 
be satisfied with thy likeness. And see that your souls be en 
riched with that righteousness, have inwrought into them that 
holy rectitude, that may dispose them to that blessed state. 
Then will you die with your own consent, and go away, not 
driven, but allured and drawn. You will go, as the redeemed 
of the Lord, with everlasting joy upon their heads: as those 
that know whither you go, even to a state infinitely worthy of 
your desires and choice, and where it is best for you to be. You 
will part with your souls, not by a forcible separation, but a 
joyful surrender and resignation. They will dislodge from this 
earthly tabernacle, rather as putting it off than having it rent 
and torn away. Loosen yourselves from this body by degrees, 
as we do any thing we would remove from a place where it sticks 
fast. Gather up your spirits into themselves. Teach them to 
look upon themselves as a distinct thing. Inure them to the 
thoughts of a dissolution. Be continually as taking leave. Cross, 
and disprove the common maxim, and let your hearts, which 
they use to say are wont to die last, die first. Prevent death, 
and be mortified towards every earthly thing beforehand, that 
death may have nothing to kill but your body ; and that you 
may not die a double death in one hour, and suffer the death of 
your body and of your love to it both at once. Much less that 
this should survive to your greater, and even incurable misery. 
Shake off your bands and fetters, the terrene affections that so 
closely confine you to the house of your bondage. And lift up 
your heads in expectation of the approaching jubilee, the day of 
your redemption 5 when you are to go out free, and enter into 


the glorious liberty of the sons of God; when you shall serve? 
and groan, and complain no longer. Let it be your continual 
song, and the matter of your daily praise, that the time of your 
happy deliverance is hastening on; that ere long you shall be 
absent from the body, and present with the Lord. That he 
hath not doomed you to an everlasting imprisonment within 
those close and clayey walls, wherein you have been so long shut 
up from the beholding of his sight and glory. In the thoughts 
.of this, while the outward man is sensibly perishing, let the in 
ward revive and be renewed day by day. "What prisoner would 
be sorry to seethe walls of his prison house (so a heathen speaks, 
Max.Tyr.Dissert.41.) mouldering down,and the hopes arriving to 
him of being delivered out of that darkness that had buried him, 
of recovering his liberty, and enjoying the free air and light. 
What champion inured to hardship, would stick to throw off 
rotten rags, and rather expose a naked, placid, free body, to 
naked, placid, free air ? The truly generous soul (so he a little 
above) "never leaves the body against its will." Rejoice that it 
is the gracious pleasure of thy good God, thou shalt not always 
inhabit a dungeon, nor lie amidst so impure and disconsolate 
darkness? that he will shortly exchange thy filthy garments 
for those of salvation and praise. The end approaches. As 
you turn over these leaves, so are your days turned over. And 
as you are now arrived to the end of this book, God will 
shortly write finis to the book of your life on earth, and shew 
you your names written in heaven, in the book of that Jife 
which shall never end. 








Present portal gtate. 








4JJINCE it is the lot of the following pages to be exposed to public 
^ view ; there is somewhat of justice in it, to yourselves or me, that 
the world do also know wherein divers of you have contributed thereto - 
that if any thing redound hence to public advantage, it may be un 
derstood to be owing in part to you ; or, if it shall be reckoned a 
useless trouble, in this way to represent things, so obvious to com 
mon notice, and whereof so much is already said, all the blame to 
the publication be not imputed (as it doth not belong) to me only. 
But I must here crave your excuse, that, on this account, I give 
you a narrative of what (for the most part) you already know and 
may possibly not delight to remember ; both because it is now be 
come convenient that others should know it too, and not necessary to 
be put into a distinct preface ! and because to yoursselvcs the review 
of those less pleasing passages may be attended with a fruit which 
may be some recompeuce for their want of pleasure. 

Therefore give the reader leave to take notice, and let it not be 
grievous to you that I remind you, that after this your near relati 
on * (whose death gave the occasion of the ensuing meditations) 
had from his youth lived between twenty and thirty years of his age 
in Spain, your joint-importunity had at lengh obtained from him a 
promise of returning; whereof, when you were in somewhat a near 
expectation, a sudden disease in so few days landed him in another 
worlf), that the first notice you had of his death or sickness, was by 
the arrival of that vessel (clad in mourning-attire,) which, accord 
ing to his own desire in his sickness, brought over the deserted body 

* Mr. Anthony Upton, the eon of John Upton, of Lupton, Esq. 
VOL. III. 2 P 


to its native place of Lupton ; that thence it might find a grave, 
where it first received a soul; and obtain a mansion in the earth, 
where first it became one to a reasonable spirit. A little before this 
time, the desire of an interview among yourselves (which the dis 
tance of your habitations permitted not to be frequent) had induced 
divers of you to appoint a meeting at some middle place, whereby 
the trouble of a long journey might be conveniently shared among 
you. But, before that agreed resolution could have its accomplish- 
rnen, this sad and most unexpected event intervening, altered the 
place, the occasion, and design of your meeting ; but effected the 
thing itself, and brought together no less than twenty, the brothers 
and sisters of the deceased, or their consorts ; besides his many ne 
phews and nieces and other relations, to the mournful solemnity of 
the interment. Within the time of our being together upon this sad 
account, this passage of the Psalmist here insisted on, came into 
discourse among us ; being introduced by an occasion, which (though 
then, it may be unknown to the most of you) was somewhat rare, 
and not unworthy observation ; namely, that one of yourselves ha 
ving been some time before surprised with an unusual sadness, joined 
with an expectation of ill tidings, upon no known cause, had so ur 
gent an inculcation of those words, as not to be able to forbear the 
revolving them much of the former part of that day, in the latter 
part whereof the first notice was brought to that place of this so near 
a relation's decease. 

Certain months after, some of you with whom I was then conver 
sant in London, importuned me to have somewhat from me in wri 
ting upon that subject. Whereto I at length agreed, with a caution 
ary request, that it might not come into many hands, but might 
remain (as the occasion was) among yourselves. Nor will I deny it 
to have been some inducement to me to apply my thoughts to that 
theme, that it had been so suggested as was said. For such presages 
and abodings, as that above-mentioned, may reasonably be thought 
to owe themselves to some more steady am' universal principle than 
casualty, or the party's own imagination : by whose more noble re 
commendation (that such a gloomy premonition might carry with it 
not what should only afflict, but also instruct and teach ) this sub 
ject did seem offered to our meditation. Accordingly therefore, af 
ter my return to the place of my abode, I hastily drew up the sub 
stance of the following discourse; which, a year ago, I transmitted 
into their hands who desired it from me, without reserving to myself 
any copy. Hereby it became difficult to me, presently to comply 
(besides divers considerations I might have against the thing itself) 
with that joint request of some of you (in a letter, which my remo 
val into another kingdom occasioned to come long after to my hands) 
that 1 would consent these papers might be made public. For as I 
have reason to be conscious to myself of disadvantages enough to 
discourage any undertaking of thai kind ; so I am more especial 
ly sensible, that so cursory and superficial a management of a 
subject so important (though its private occasion and design 


at first might render it excusable to those few friends for wjiom 
it was meant) cannot but be liable to the hard censure (not to say 
contempt) of many whom discourses of this kind should more de 
signedly serve. And therefore, though my willingness to be service 
able in keeping alive the apprehension and expectation of another 
state, my value of your judgments who conceive what is here done 
may be useful thereto, and my peculiar respects to yourselves, the 
members and appendants of a family to which (besides some relati 
on) I have many obligations and endearments, do prevail with me 
not wholly to deny ; yet pardon me that I have suspended my con 
sent to this publication, till I should have a copy transmitted to me 
from some of you, for my necessary review of so hasty a production, 
that I might not offer to the view of the world, what, after I had 
penned it, had scarce passed my own. And now, after so long an 
expectation, those papers are but this last week come to my hands : 
I here return them with little or no alteration; save, that what did 
more directly concern the occasion, towards the close is transferred 
hither; but with the addition of almost all the directive part of the 
use: which I submit together to your pleasure and disposal. 

And I shall now take the liberty to add, my design in consenting 
to this request of yours (and I hope the same of you in making it) is 
nor to erect a monument to the memory of the deceased, (which how 
little doth it signify!) nor to spread the fame of your family, (though 
the visible blessing of God upon it, in the fruitfulness, piety, and 
mutual love, wherein it hath flourished for some generations, do 
challenge observation, both as to those branches of it which grow ia 
their own more natural soil, and those, as I have now occasions to 
take further notice, that I find to have been transplanted into ano 
ther country;) but that such into whose hands this little treatise 
shall fall, may be induced to consider the true end of their beings ; 
to examine and discuss the matter more thoroughly with themselves, 
what it may or can be supposed snch a sort of creatures was made 
and placed on this earth for: that when they shall have reasoned 
themselves into a settled apprehension of the worthy and important 
ends they are capable of attaining, and are visibly designed to, they 
may be seized with a noble disdain of living beneath themselves and 
the bounty of their Creator. 

It is obvious to common observation, how flagrant and intense a 
zeal men are often wont to express for their personal reputation, the 
honour of their families, yea, or for the glory of their nation : but 
how few are acted by that more laudable and enlarged zeal for the 
dignity of mankind ! How few are they that resent the common and 
vile depression of their own species ? Or that, while in things of 
lightest consideration they strive with emulous endeavour, that they 
and their relatives may excel other men, do reckon it a reproach if 
in matters of the greatest consequence they and all men should not 
excel beasts ? How few that are not contented to confine their ut 
most designs and expectations within the same narrow limits ? through 
a mean and inglorious self-despiciency confessing in themselves (t 


the truth's and their own wrong) an incapacity of greater things ^ and 
with most injurious falsehood, proclaiming the same ofall mankind be 

If he that, amidst the hazards of a dubious war betrays the inte 
rest and honour of his country be justly infamous, and thought wor 
thy severest punishment ; I see not \vhy a 'debauched sensualist,, 
that lives as if he were created only to indulge his appetite; that so 
villifies the notion of man, as if he were made but to eat and drink, 
and sport, to please only his sense and fancy ; that in this time and 
state of conflict between the powers of this present world, and those 
of the world to come, quits his party, bids open defiance to huma 
nity, abjures the noble principles and ends, forsakes the laws and so 
ciety of all that are worthy to be esteemed men, abandons the com 
mon and rational hope of mankind concerning a future immortallity, 
und herds himself amoug brute creatures I say, I see not why such 
a one should not be scorned and abhorred as a traitor to the whole 
race and nation of reasonable creatures, as a fugitive from the tents, 
and deserter of the common interest of men ; and that, both for the 
vileness of his practice, and the danger of his example. 

And who, that hath open eyes, beholds not the dreadful instances 
and increase of this defection ? When it hath prevailed to that de 
gree already, that in civilized, yea, in Christian countries, (as they 
yet affect to be called) the practice is become fashionable and in 
credit, \vhich can square with no other principle than the disbelief 
of a future state, as if it were but a mere poetic or (at best) a politi 
cal fiction. And, as if so impudent infidelity would pretend not to a 
connivance only but a sanction, it is reckoned an odd and uncouth 
thing for a man to live as if he thought otherwise ; and a great pre 
sumption to seem to dissent from the prophane infidel crew. As if 
the matter were already formally determined in the behalf of irreli- 
gion, and the doctrine of the life to come had been clearly condemn 
ed in open council as a detestable heresy. For what tenet was ever 
more exploded and hooted at, than that practice is which alone 
agrees with" this ? Or what series of course of repeated villanies can 
ever be more ignominious than (in vulgar estimate) a course of life 
so transacted as doth become the expectation of a blessed immor 
tality ? And what, after so much written and spoken by persons of 
all times and religions for the immortality of the human soul, and so 
common an acknowledgment thereof by pagans, mahometans, jews, 
and Christians, is man now at last condemned and doomed to a per 
petual death, as it were, by the consent and suffrage even of men ; 
and that too without trial or hearing ; and not by the reason of men, 
but their lusts only ? As if (with a loud and violent cry) they would 
assassinate and stifle this belief and hope, but not judge it. And 
shall the matter be thus given up as hopeless ; and the victory be 
yielded to prosperous wickedness, and a too successful conspiracy 
e,f vile miscreants against both their Maker and their own stock and 
race r 

One would think whosoever have remaining in them any conscience 


of obligation and duty to the common Parent and Author of our 
beings, and remembrance of our divine original, any breathings ojf 
our ancient hope, any sense of human honour, any resentments of so 
vile an indignity to the nature of man, any spark of a just and gener 
ous indignation for so opprobrious a contumely to their own kind 
and order in the creation, should oppose themselves with an heroic 
vigour to this treacherous and unnatural combination. And let us 
(my worthy friends) be provoked, in our several capacities, to do 
our parts herein ; and, at least, so to live and converse in this world, 
that the course and tenour of our lives may import an open assert 
ing of our hopes in another; and may let men see we are not asham 
ed to own the belief of a life to come. Let us by a patient continu 
ance in well-doing (how low designs soever others content themselves^ 
Co pursue) seek honour, glory, and immortality to ourselves; and by 
ur avowed, warrantable ambition in this pursuit, justify our great 
and bountiful Creator, who hath made us not in vain, but for so high 
and great things ; and glorify our blessed Redeemer, who amidst the 
gloomy and disconsolate darkness of this wretched world, when it 
was overspread with the shadow of death, hath brought life and im 
mortality to light in the gospel. Let us labour boih to feel and ex 
press the power of that religion which halh the inchoation of the 
(participated) divine life for its principle, and the perfection and 
eternal perpetuation thereof for its scope and end. 

Nor let the time that hath since elapsed be found to have worn 
out with you the useful impressions which this monitory surprising 
instance of our mortality did at first make. But give ray leave to 
inculcate from it what was said to you when the occasion was fresh 
and new : that we labour more deeply to apprehend God's dominion 
over his creatures; and that he made us principally for himself, and 
for ends that are to be compassed in the future state ; and not for the 
temporary satisfaction and pleasure of one another in this world. 
Otherwise providence had never been guilty of such a solecisin, to 
take out one from a family long famous for so exemplary mutual 
love, and dispose him into so remote a part, not permitting to most 
of his nearest relations the enjoyment of him for almost thirty years 
(and therein all the flower) of his age, and at last, when you were 
expecting the man, send you home the breathless frame wherein he 
lived. Yet it was not contemptible that you had that, and that 
dying (as Joseph) in a strange land, he gave, also, commandment 
concerning his bones ; that though in his life we was (mostly) sepaiv 
ated from his brethren, he might in death be gathered to his fathers 
It was some evidence (though you wanted not better) that amidst 
the traffic of Spain, he more esteemed the religion of England, and 
therefore would rather his dust should associate with theirs, with 
whom also he would rather his spirit should. But whatever it dici 
evidence, it occasioned so much, that you had that so general meet* 
ing with one another, which otherwise probably you would not have 
had, nor are likely again to have, (so hath providence scattered you) 
in this world ; and thut it proved a more serious meeting than other* 


wise it might : for however it might blamelessly have been designed 
to have met together at a cheerful table, God saw it fitter to order the 
meeting at a mournful grave ; and to raake the house that received 
you (the native place to many of you) the house of mourning lather 
than of feasting. The one would have had more quick relishes of a 
present pleasure, but the other was likely to yield the more lasting 
sense of an after-profit. Ncr was it an ill errand to come together 
(though from afar for divers of you) to learn to die. As you might, 
by being so sensibly put in mind of it, though you did not see that 
very part acted itself. And accept this endeavour, to further you in 
your preparations for that change, as some testimony of the remem 
brance I retain of your most obliging respects and love, and of my 
still continuing 

Your affectionate and respectful kinsman, 

and servant in our common Lord, 

Antrim, J. HOWE. 

April 12, 1671. 





Psal. 89. 47, 48. 

Remember how short my time is : wherefore hast thou made 
all men in vain. 

What man is he that liveth, and shall not see death ? Shall he 
deliver his t soul from the hand of the grave f Selah. 

"VyE are not concerned to be particular and curious in the 
' inquiry, touching the special reference or occasion of the 
foregoing complaints, from the 37 verse. It is enough to take 
notice, for our present purpose, that besides the evil which had 
already befallen the plaintiff, a farther dangernearly threatened 
him, that carried death in the face of it, and suggested some 
what frightful apprehensions of his mortal state, which drew 
from him this quick and sensible petition in reference to his own 
private concern, remember how short my time is and did pre 
sently direct his eye with a sudden glance from the view of his 
own, to reflect on the common condition of man, whereof he 
expresses his resentment, first, in a hasty expostulation with God, 
"Wherefore hast thou made all men in vain ?" Then, secondly, in 
a pathetic discourse with himself, representing the reason of 
that rough charge, "What man is he that liveth, and shall not see 
death ? shall he deliver,'' &c. As though he had said; When I 
add to the consideration of my short time, that of dying man 
kind, and behold a dark and deadly shade universally overspread 
ing the world, 'the whole species of human creatures vanishing, 
quitting the stage round about me, and disappearing almost as 
soon as they shew themselves : have I not a fair and plausiblo 
ground for that (seemingly rude) challenge ? Why is there so 
unaccountable a phenomenon, such a creature made to no pur- 


pose ? the noblest part of this inferior creation brought forth in 
to being without any imaginable design ? I know not how to 
untie the knot, upon this only view of the case, or avoid the 
absurdity. It is hard sure to design the supposal, (or what it 
may yet seem hard to suppose,) that all men were made in vain. 

It appears, the expostulation was somewhat passionate, and 
did proceed upon the sudden view of this disconsolate case, ve 
ry abstractly considered, and by itself only ; and that he did 
not in that instant look beyond it to a better and more comfort 
able scene of things. An eye bleered with present sorrow, sees 
not so far, nor comprehends so much at one view, as it would 
at another time, or as it doth, presently, when the tear is wip 
ed out, and its own beams have cleared it up. We see he did 
quickly look further, and had got a more lightsome prospect, 
when in the next words we find him contemplating God's sworn 
loving-kindness unto David : (ver. 49.) the truth and stability 
whereof he at the same time expressly acknowledges, while on 
ly the form of his speech doth but seem to import a doubt "Where 
are they?" But yet they were sworn in truth upon which ar 
gument he had much enlarged in the former part of the psalm; 
and it still lay deep in his soul, though he were now a little di 
verted from the present consideration of it. Which, since it 
turns the scales with him, it will be needfull to inquire into the 
weight and import of it. Nor have we any reason to think, that 
David was either so little a prophet or a saint, as in his own 
thoughts to refer those magnificent things (the instances of that 
loving-kfndness comfirmed by oath, which he recites from the 
19 verse of the psalm to the 38, as spoken from the mouth of 
God, and declared to him by vision) to the dignity of his own 
person, and the grandeur and perpetuity of his kingdom; as if 
it were ultimately meant of himself, that God would make him 
"his first-born, higher than the kings of the earth, (ver. 27-) when 
there were divers greater kings, and (in comparison of the lit 
tle spot over which he reigned) a vastly spreading monarchy that 
still overtopped him. all his time, (as the same and successive 
monarchies did his successors ;) or that it was intended of the 
secular glory and stability of his throne and family; that God 
would make them to endure for ever, and be as the days of 
heaven ; that they should be as the sun before him, and be esta 
blished for ever as the moon, and as a faithful witness in hea 
ven, ver. 29. 37- 

That God himself meant it not so, experience and the event 
of things hath shown; and that these predictions cannot other 
wise have had their accomplishment than in the succession 
of the spiritual and everlasting kingdom of the Messiah 
(whom God raised up out of his loins to sit on his throne 
Act, 24 30.) unto his temporal kingdom. Wherein it is there 


fofe ended by perfection rather than corruption. These pro 
phecies being then made good, not in the kind which they li 
terally imported, but in another (far more noble) kind. In 
which sense God's covenant with him must be understood, which 
he insists on so much in this psalm, (ver. 28. 34.) even unto 
that degree, as to challenge God upon it, as if in the present 
course of his providence he were now about to make it void : 
ver.39. though he sufficiently expresses his confidence both be 
fore and after, that this could never be. But it is plain it hath 
been made void long enough ago, in the subversion of David's 
kingdom, and in that we see his throne and family not been es 
tablished for ever, not endured as the days of heaven ; if those 
words had no other than their obvious and literal meaning. And 
if any to clear the truth of God, would allege the wickedness 
of his posterity, first making a breach and disobliging him, this 
is prevented by what we find inserted in reference to this very 
case : If his children forsake my law, and walk not in my judg 
ments, &c. Then will I visit their iniquity with the rod, &c. 
Nevertheless my loving-kindness will 1 not utterly take from 
Jiim, nor suffer my faithfulness to fail. My covenant will 
I not break, nor alter the thing that. is gone out of my lips, 
ver. 30 34. All which is solemnly sealed up with this, Once 
have I sworn in my holiness, that I will not lie unto David, 
ver 35. So that, they that will make a scruple to accuse the 
Holy Ghost of falsehood, in that which with so much solemnity 
he hath promised and sworn, must not make any to admit his 
further intendment in these words. And that he had a further 
(even a mystical and spiritual) intendment in this covenant with 
David, is yet more fully evident from that of the prophet Isaiah; 
Ho every one that thirtieth, come ye to the waters, c. Incline 
your ear and come unto me. And I will make an, everlasting 
covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David. Behold, I 
have given him for a witness to the people, a leader and com 
mander, &c. Isa. 55. 1 5 k What means this universal invi 
tation to all thirsty persons, with the subjoined encouragement 
of making with them an everlasting covenant, (the same which 
we have here, no doubt, as to the principal parts, and which we 
find him mentioning also, 2 Sam. 23. 5. with characters exactly 
corresponding to these of the prophet,) even the sure mercies 
of David ? The meaning sure could not be, that they should be 
all secular kings and princes, and their posterity after them 
for ever ; which we see is the verbal sound and tenour of this 

And now since it is evident God intended a mystery in this 
covenant, we may be as well assured he intended no deceit, and 
that he designed not a delusion to David by the vision in which 

VOL. III. 2 Q 


he gave it. Can we think he went about to gratify him witfi $ 
solemn fiction, and draw him into a false and fanciful Mth; or 
so to hide his meaning from him, as to tempt him into the be-* 
lief of what lie never meant? And to what purpose was this so 
special revelation by vision, if it were not to be understood 
truly, at least, if not yet perfectly and fully? It is left us there 
fore to collect that David was not wholly uninstructed how to refer 
all this to the kingdom of the Messiah. And he hath given 
sufficient testimony in that part of sacred writ, whereof God 
used him as a pen-man, that he was of another temper than to 
place the sum and chief of his expectations and consolations in 
his own and his posterities' worldly greatness. And to put us 
out of doubt, our Saviour, (who well knew his spirit) expressly 
enough tells us, that he in spirit called him Lord, Matt. 22. 
-13. when he said, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sitthou at my 
right hand, till I make thy enemies thy foot-stool, PsaL 110. K 
A plain discovery how he understood God's revelation touching 
the future concernments of his kingdom (and the covenant re 
lating thereto,) namely, as a figure and type of Christ's, who 
must reign till all his enemies be subehied. Nor was he in that 
ignorance about the nature and design of Christ's kingdom, but 
that he understood its reference to another world, and state of 
tbings, even beyond all the successions of time,, and the mor-- 
tal race of men ; so as to have his eye fixed upon the happy e- 
ternity which a joyful resurrection must introduce, and where 
of Christ's resurrection should be the great and most assuring 
pledge. And of this we need no fuller an evidence than the ex 
press words of the apostle Peter, (Act. 2. ver. 25. &c.) who af 
ter he had cited those lofty triumphant strains of David, Psal, 
1 f>. 8. 1 1 . I have set the Lord always before me: because he 
is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart 
is glad, and my glory rejoiceth : my flesh also shall rest in hope r 
for thou wilt not leave my soul in hell (or in the state of dark 
ness,) neither wilt thou suffer thy holy one to see corruption. 
Thou wilt shew me the path of life. In thy presence is fulness 
of joy, at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore. All 
which, he tells us, (ver. 25.) was spoken concerning Christ. 
He more expressly subjoins, (ver. 30.) that David being a pro 
phet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, 
that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would 
yaise up Christ to sit on his throne. He seeing this before, 
spake of the resurrect ion of Christ; (ver. 31.) it appears he 
spake not at random, but as knowing and seeing before what he 
spake, that his soul was not left in hell : &c. nor can we think 
he thus rejoices, in another's resurrection, forgetting his own. 
And yet we have a further evidence from the apostle Paul, 


who affirms, that the promise made to the fathers, God had 
fulfilled to their children, in that he had raised up Jesus again ; 
^s it is also written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, this 
day have I begotten thee. And as concerning that he raised 
him up from the dead, now no more to return to corruption ; 
he said on this wis, I will give you the sure mercies of David. 
Act. 13. 32.< 34. Which it is now apparent, must he under 
stood of eternal mercies ; such as Christ's resurrection and tri 
umph over the grave doth ensure to us. He therefore looked 
upon what was spoken concerning his kingdom here, as spoken 
ultimately of Christ's, the kingdom whereby he governs and 
conducts his faithful subjects through all the troubles of life and 
terrors of death (through both whereof he himself as their king 
and leader hath shewn the way) unto eternal blessedness ; and 
upon the covenant made with him as the covenant of God in 
Christ, concerning that blessedness and the requisites thereto. 
And (to say no more in this argument) how otherwise can we 
conceive he should have tlmt fulness of consolation in this co 
venant when he lava-dying, as we find him expressing, 2 Sam. 
23. 5. (for these were some of the last words of David, as we 
see verse. L) He hath made with me an everlasting covenant, 
ordered in all things and sure; for this is all my salvation, and 
all my desire. What so great joy and solace could a dying man 
take in a covenant made with him, when he had done with this 
world, and was to expect no more in it, if he took it not to 
concern a future blessedness in another world ? Was it only 
for the hoped prosperity of his house and family when he was 
gone? This (which is the only thing we can fasten on) he 
plainly secludes in the next words, although he make it not 
to grow. Therefore it was his reflection upon those loving- 
kindnesses mentioned in the former part of the psalm, contained 
in God's covenant, and confirmed by his oath, but understood 
according to the sense and import already declared, that caused 
this sudden turn in David's spirit ; and made him that lately 
spoke as out of a Golgotha, as if he had nothing but death in 
his eye and thoughts, to speak now in so different a strain, and 
(after some additional pleadings, in which his faith further re 
covers itself) to conclude this psalm with solemn praise ; Blessed 
be the Lord for evermore, Amen and Amen. 

We see then the contemplation of his own and all men's 
mortality, abstractly and alone considered, clothed his soul with 
black, wrapped it up in gloomy darkness, makes the whole kind 
of human creatures seem to him an obscure shadow, an empty 
vanity : but his recalling into his thoughts a succeeding state 
of immortal life, clears up the day, makes him and all things 
appear in another hue, gives a fair account why such a creature 


as man was made; and therein makes the whole frame of things 
in this inferior world look with a comely and well-composed 
aspect, as the product of a wise and rational design. Whence 
therefore we have this ground of discourse fairly before us in 
the words themselves: that the short time of man on earth, 
limited by a certain unavoidable death, if we consider it ab 
stractly by itself, without respect to a future state, carries that 
appearance and aspect with it, as if God had made all men in 
vain. That is said to be vain, according to the importance of 
the woid ww here used, which is either false, a fiction, an ap 
pearance only, a shadow, or evanid thing; or which is use 
less, unprofitable, and to no valuable purpose. The life of man, 
in the case now supposed, may be truly stiled vain, either way. 
And we shall say somewhat to each ; but to the former more 

J. It were vain, that is, little other than a shew, a mere sha 
dow, a semblance of being. We must indeed, in the present 
case, even abstract him from himself, and consider him only as 
a mortal, dying thing ; and as to that of him which is so, what 
a contemptible nothing is he ! There is an appearance of 
somewhat ; but search a little, and inquire Into it, and it 
vanishes into a mere nothing, is found a lie,a piece of falsehood, 
as if he did but feign a being, and were not. And so we may 
suppose the Psalmist speaking, upon the view of his own and 
the common case of man, how fast all were hastening out of 
life, and laying down the being which they rather seemed to 
have assumed and borrowed, than to possess and own : Lord, 
why hast thou made man such a fictitious thing, given him such 
a mock-being ? Why hast thou brought forth into the light of 
this world such a sort of creatures, that rather seem to be than 
are; that have so little of solid and substantial being, and so 
little deserve to be taken for realities ; that only serve to cheat 
one another into an opinion of their true existence, and pre 
sently vanish and confess their falsehood ? What hovering sha 
dows, what uncertain entities are they ? In a moment they are 
and are not, I know not when to say I have seen a man. It 
seems as if there were some such things before my eyes; I per 
suade myself that I see them move and walk to and fro, that I 
talk and converse with them : but instantly my own sense is 
ready to give my sense the lie. They are on the sudden dwin 
dled away, and force me almost to acknowledge a delusion. I 
am but mocked with a shew; and what seemed a reality, proves 
an imposture. Their pretence to being, is but fiction and false 
hood, a cozenage of over-credulous, unwary sense. They only 
personate what they are thought to be, and quickly put off their 
very selves as a disguise. This is agreeable to the language of 


Scripture elsewhere. Surely men of low degree are vanity, and 
men of high degree are a lie, c. Psal. 62. 9. In two respects 
may the present state of man seem to approach near to nothing 
ness, and so admit this rhetorication of the Psalmist, as if he 
were in this sense a vain thing, a figment, or a lie, namely, 
in respect of the minuteness, and instability of this, his ma 
terial and perishable being. 

First. The minuteness, the small portion or degree of being 
which this mortal part of man hath in it. Jt is truly said of all 
created things, Their non-esse is more than their csse, that is. 
they have more no-being than being. It is only some limited 
portion that they have, but there is an infinitude of being which 
they have not. And so coming infinitely nearer to nothingness 
than fulness of being, they may well enough wear the name of 
nothing. Wherefore the first and fountain-being justly appro 
priates to himself the name, I am ; yea, tells us, He is, and there 
is none besides him ; therein leaving no other name than that 
of nothing unto creatures. And how much more may this be 
said of the material and mortal part, this outside of man, what 
ever of him is obnoxious to death and the grave ? Which alone 
(abstractly looked on) is the subject of the Psalmist's present 
consideration and discourse- By how much any thing hath 
more of matter, it hath the less of actual essence. Matter be 
ing rather a capacity of being, than being itself, or a dark um 
brage or shadow of it, actually nothing, but ftSwXov, \J/vS^ (as are 
the expressions of a noble philosopher) a mere semblance, or a 
lie. Plotin. En. 2. 1 . 6. And it is the language not of philoso 
phers only, but of the Holy Ghost concerning all the nations 
of men, They are as nothing, less than nothing, and vanity. 
Isa. 40.17. What a- scarcity then, and penury of being, must we 
suppose in eacli individual ! especially if we look alone upon 
the outer part, or rather the umbrage or shadow of the man ? 

Secondly. The instability and fluidness of it. The visible 
and corporeal being of man hath nothing steady or consistent in 
jt. Consider his exterior frame and composition, he is no time 
all himself at once. There is a continual defluence and access 
of parts ; so that some account, each climacteric of his age 
changes his whole fabric. Whence it would follow, that be 
sides his statique individuating principle (from which we are 
now to abstract) nothing of him remains; he is another thing; 
the former man is vanished and gone ; while he is, he hastens 
away, and within a little is not. In respect to the duration, as 
well as the degree of his being, he is next to nothing. He 
opens his eye, and is not. Job 27. 19. Gone in the twinkling 
of an eye. There is nothing in him stable enough, to admit a 
fi xed look. So It is with the whole scene of things in this ma- 


terial world. As was the true maxim of an ancient, (Heracl.) 
All things flow, nothing stays ; after the manner of a river. The 
same thing which the apostle's words more elegantly express ; 
The fashion of this world passeth away.l Cor. 7-31. The scheme, 
the shew, the pageantry of it. He speaks of it but as an ap 
pearance, as if he knew not whether to call it something or no 
thing, it was so near to vanishing into nothing. And therefore 
he there requires, that the affections which mutual nearness in 
relation challenges, be as if they were not : that we rejoice in 
reference to one another, (even most nearly related, as *the oc 
casion and scope of his discourse teach us to understand him) 
but as if we rejoiced not, and to weep, as if we wept not. Which 
implies, the objects merit no more, and are themselves, as if 
they were not. Whence therefore a continued course of in 
tense passion were very incongruous towards so discontinuing 
things. And the whole state of man being but a shew, the pomp 
and glittering of the greatest men, make the most splendid and 
and conspicuous part of it : yet all this we find is not otherwise 
reckoned of, than an image, a dream, a vision of the night ; 
every man at his best state is altogether vanity, walketh in a 
vain shew, disquieteth himself in vain, &c. Of all without ex 
ception it is pronounced, Man is like to vanity, his days are as a 
shadow that passeth away. As Ecclesiastes often, of all sub 
lunary things, vanity of vanities, &c. Job 20. 7> 8, 9. Psal. 73. 
OQ. 39. 5, 6. 

II. But yet there is another notion of vain, as it signifies use 
less, unprofitable, or to no purpose. And in this sense also, if 
we consider the universal mortality of mankind without respect 
to a future state, there was a specious ground for the expostula 
tion, Why hast thou made all men in vain ? Vanity in the 
former notion speaks the emptiness of a thing, absolutely and 
in itself considered ; in this latter relatively, as it is referred to, 
and measured by an end. That is, in this sense, vain, which 
serves to no end ; or to no worthy and valuable end, which 
amounts to the same. For inasmuch as all ends, except 
the last, are means also to a further end; if the end 
immediately aimed at be vain and worthless, that which is 
referred to it, as it is so referred, cannot but be also vain. 
Whereupon now let us make trial what end we could in this 
case think man made for. Which will best be done by taking 
some view, of his nature, and of the ends for which, upon 
that supposition, we must suppose him made. 

First. Of the former (neglecting the strictness of philosophi 
cal disquisition) no more is intended to be said than may com 
port with the design of a popular discourse. And it shall suf 
fice therefore, only to take notice of what is more obvious in 
the nature of man, and subservient to the present purpose. And 


yet we are here to look further than the mere surface and out 
side of man, which we only considered before ; and to view his 
nature, as it is in itself; and not as the supposition of its having 
nothing but what is mortal belonging to it, would make it : 
for as the exility (and almost nothingness) of man's being con 
sidered according to that supposition, did best serve to express 
the vanity of it, in the former notion that hath been given of a vain 
thing : so the excellency, and solid substantiality of it, consider 
ed as it is in itself, will conduce most to the discovery of its 
vanity in this latter notion thereof. That is, if we first consider 
that, and then the supposition of such a creature's being only 
made to perish. And if what shall be said herein, do, in the 
sequel, tend to destroy that above-mentioned disposition, (as it, 
being established, would destroy the prime glory of human na- 
tur) it can only be said magna est veritas, fyc. truth is great, 
Sfc. In the mean time we may take a view, in the nature of 
man ; 

1. Of his intellective powers. Hereby he frames notions of 
things, even of such things as are above the sphere of sense ; of 
moral good and evil, right and wrong, what is virtuous and what 
is vicious ; of abstract and universal natures. Yea, and of a 
first being, and cause, and of the wisdom, power, goodness, and 
other perfections, which must primarily agree to him. Hereby 
he affirms and denies one thing of another, as he observes them 
to agree and disagree, and discerns the truth and falsehood of 
what is spoken or denied. He doth hereby infer one thing 
from another, and argue himself into firm and unwavering assent 
to many things, not only above the discovery of sense, but di 
rectly contrary to their sensible appearances. 

2. His power of determining himself, of choosing and refu 
sing, according as things are estimated, and do appear to him. 
Where also it is evident how far the objects which this faculty is 
sometimes exercised about, do transcend the reach of all sen 
sible nature ; as well as the peculiar nobleness and excellency is 
remarkable of the faculty itself. It hath often for its object, 
things of the highest nature, purely spiritual and divine, virtue, 
religion, God himself. So as that these (the faculty being re 
paired only by sanctifying grace, not now first put into the na 
ture of man) are chosen by some, and, where it is not so, refu 
sed (it is true) by the most; but not by a mere not willing of 
them, (as mere brutal appetite also doth not-will them, which 
no way reaches the notion of a refusal,) but by rejecting them 
with a positive aversion and dislike, wherein there is great ini 
quity and sin ; which could not be but in a nature capable of the 
opposite temper. And it is apparent, this faculty hath the pri 
vilege of determining itself, so as to be exempt from the ne- 

304 THE VAN1T* 0V 

cessitating influence of any thing foreign to it: upon the slip* 
posal whereof, the management of all human affairs, all treaties 
between man and man, to induce a consent to this or that; the 
whole frame of government, all legislation and distribution of 
public justice do depend. For take away this supposition, and 
these will presently appear most absurd and unjust. With what 
solemnity are applications and addresses made to the will of man 
upon all occasions? How is it courted, and solicited, and sued 
unto ? But how absurd were it so to treat the other creatures, 
that act by a necessity of nature in all they do ? to make suppli* 
cations to the wind, or propound articles to a brute ? And how 
unjust, to determine and inflict severe penalties for unavoida 
ble and necessitated actions and omissions? These things oc 
cur to our first notice, upon any (a more sudden and cursory) 
view of the nature of man. And what should hinder, but we 
may infer from these, that there is further in his nature; 

3. A capacity of an immortal state, that is, that his nature is 
such, that he may, if God so please, by the concurrent influ 
ence of his ordinary power and providence, without the help of 
a miracle, subsist in another state of life after this, even a state 
that shall not be liable to that impairment and decay that we 
find this subject to. More is not (as yet) contended for ; and 
so much methinks none should make a difficulty to admit, from 
what is evidently found in him. For it may well be supposed, 
that the admitting of this (at least) will seem much more easy 
txxany free and unprejudiced reason, than to ascribe the opera 
tions before instanced in, to alterable or perishable matter, or 
indeed to any matter at all. It being justly presumed, that none 
will ascribe to matter, as such, the powers of ratiocination or 
volition. For then every particle of matter must needs be ratio 
nal and intelligent, (a high advance to what one would never 
have thought at all active.) And how unconceivable is it, that 
the minute particles of matter, in themselves, each of them des 
titute of any such powers, should by their mutual intercourse 
with one another, become furnished with them ! That they should 
be able to understand, deliberate, resolve, and choose, being 
assembled and duly disposed in counsel together : but, apart, 
rest all in a deep and sluggish silence ! Besides, if the particles 
of matter howsoever modified and moved, to the utmost subtil ty 
or tenuity, and to the highest vigour, shall then become intelli 
gent and rational, how is it that we observe not, as any matter 
is more subtil and more swiftly and vigorously moved, it makes 
not a discernably nearer approach (proportionably) to the facul 
ty and power of reasoning ? And that nothing more of an apti 
tude or tendency towards intelligence and wisdom is to be per 
ceived in an aspiring flame or a brisk wind, than in a clod or a 


stone ? If to understand, to define, to distinguish, to syllogize, 
be nothing else but the agitation and collision of the minute 
parts a rarified matter among one another; methinks, some 
happy chemist or other, when he hath missed his designed mark, 
should have hit upon some such more noble product,and by one 
other prosperous sublimation have caused some temporary re 
semblance (at least) of these, operations. Or, if the paths of 
nature, in these affairs of the mind, be more abstruse, and quite 
out of the reach and road of artificial achievement, whence is it, 
that nature herself (that is vainly enough supposed by some to 
have been so happy, as by some casual strokes to have fabricated 
the first of human creatures, that have since propagated them 
selves) is grown so effete and dull, as never since to hit upon 
any like effect in the like way : and that no records of any time 
or age give us the notice of some such creature sprung out of 
some epicurean womb of the earth, and elaborated by the only 
immediate hand of nature, so disposing the parts of matter in 
its constitution, that it should be able to perform the operation 
belonging to the mind of man. But if we cannot, with any to 
lerable pretence or shew of reason, attribute these operations to 
any mere matter, that there must be somewhat else in man to 
which they may agree, that is distinct from his corruptible part, 
and that is therefore capable, by the advantage of its own na 
ture, of subsisting hereafter, (while God shall continue to it an 
influence agreeable to its nature, as he doth to other creatures.) 
And hence it seems a modest and sober deduction, that there is 
in the nature of man, at least, a capacity of an immortal state. 
Secondly, Now, if we yet suppose there is actually no such 
state for man hereafter, It is our next business to view the ends 
for which, upon that supposition, he may be thought to have 
been made. Whence we shall soon see, there is not any of 
them whereof it may be said> this is what he was created for, as 
his adequate end. And here we have a double agent to be ac 
commodated wish a suitable end; Man now made: and God 
who made him. 

1 . Man himself. For it must be considered, that inasmuch 
as man is a creature capable of propounding to himself an end, 
and of acting knowingly and with design towards it, (and in 
deed uncapable of acting otherwise as a man,) it would there 
fore not be reasonable to speak of him, in this discourse, as if 
he were merely passive, and to be acted only by another : but 
we must reckon him obliged, in subordination to his Maker, to 
intend and pursue (himself) the proper end for which he ap 
pointed and made him. And in reason we are to expect that 
what God hath appointed to be his proper end, should be such 
as is in itself most highly desirable, suitable to the utmost capa- 
VOL. m. 2 R 

306 f HE VAN if Y Of 

city of his nature, and attainable by bis action ; so Carrying ttitfe 
it sufficient inducements, both of desire and hope, to a vigorous 
and rational prosecution of it. Thus we must, at least, conceive 
it to have been in the primitive institution of man's end, unto 
which the expostulation hath reference, Wherefore hast thou 
made all men in vain? And we can think of no ends which 
men either do or ought to propound to themselves, but by the 
direction of one of these principles, sense, reason, or religion. 

(1.) Sense is actually the great dictator to the most of men, 
and de facto, in/act, determines them to the mark and scope 
which they pursue, and animates the whole pursuit. Not that 
sense is by itself capable of designing an end y but it too gener 
ally inclines and biasses reason herein. So that reason hath no 
other hand in the business, than only ass slave to sense, to form 
the design and contrive the methods which may most conduce 
to it, for the gratification of sensual appetite and inclination at 
last. And the appetitions of sense (wherein it hath so much 
mastery and dominion) are but such as we find enumerated, 
1 John 2. 16. The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, the 
pride of life. Or (if we understand the apostle to rase the name of 
lust objectively) the objects sufficiently connote the appetitions 
themselves. All which may fitly be referred to sense : either 
the outward senses, or the fancy or imagination, which as de 
servedly comes under the same common denomination. 

Now, who can think the satisfying of these lusts the com 
mensurate end of man? Who would not, upon the supposition 
of no higher, say with the Psalmist, Wherefore hast thou made 
all men in vain ? To what purpose was it for him to live in 
the world a few years, upon this account only, and so go down 
to the place of silence ? What is there in the momentary 
satisfaction of this mortal flesh ; in his pleasing view of a mass 
of treasure, (which he never brought with him into the world, 
but only heaped together, and so leaves not the world richer or 
poorer than he found it,) what is there in the applause and 
admiration of fools (as the greater part always are,) that we 
should think it worth the while for man to have lived for these 
things ? If the question were put, Wherefore did God make 
man ? who would not be ashamed so to answer it, He made 
him to eat, and drink, and take his pleasure, to gather up wealth 
for he knows not who; to use his inventions, that each one may 
become a talk and wonder to the rest ; and then when he hath 
fetched a few turns upon the theatre, and entertained the eyes 
of beholders with a short scene of impertinencies, descend and 
never be heard of more ? What, that he should come into the 
world furnished with such powers and endowments for this ? It 
were a like case, as if one should be clad in scarlet to go to 


plough, or curiously instructed in arts and sciences to tend 

(2.) If we rise higher, to the view of such ends as more re 
fined reason may propose, within the compass only of this pre 
sent state : we will suppose that it he either, the acquisition of 
much knowledge, the furnishing his understanding with store 
of choice and well-digested notions; that he may please him 
self in being (or in having men think him) a learned wight. 
Death robs away all his gain. And what is the world the better? 
How little shall he enrich the clods, among which he must 
shortly lie down and have his abode ? Or how little is 
the gain, when the labour and travail of so many years are all 
vanished and blown away with the last puff of his dying breath, 
and the fruit that remains, is to have it said by those that survive, 
ic There lies learned dust ?" That any part of his acquisitions, 
in that kind, descends to others, little betters the case, when 
they that succeed are all hastening down also into the same ig 
noble dust. Besides, that the increase of sorrow, both because 
the objects of knowledge do but increase the more he knows do 
multiply the more upon him, so as to beget a despair of ever know 
ing so much as he shall know himself to be ignorant of ;and a thou 
sand doubts, about things he hath more deeply considered which 
his confident (undiscovered) ignorance never dreamt of or sus 
pected. And thence an unquietness an irresolution of mind, which 
they that never drove at any such mark are (more contentedly) 
unacquainted with. And also, because that by how much know 
ledge hath refined a man's soul, so much it is more sensible and 
perceptive of troublesome impressions from the disorderly state 
of things in the world ; which they that converse only with earth 
and dirt, have not spirits clarified and fine enough to receive. 
So that, except a man's knowing more than others were to be 
referred to another state, the labour of attaining thereto, and 
other accessory disadvantages, would hardly ever be compensa 
ted by the fruit or pleasure of it. And unless a man would 
suppose himself made for torment, he would be shrewdly 
tempted to think a quiet and drowsy ignorance a happier state. 

Or if that a man's reason, with a peculiarity of temper, guide 
him to an active negotiating life, rather than that of contempla 
tion ; and determine him to the endeavour of serving mankind, 
or the community to which he belongs : by how much the 
worthier actions he performs, and by how much more he hath 
perfected and accomplished himself with parts and promptitude 
for such actions; the loss and vanity is but the greater thereby, 
since he and those he affected to serve, are all going down to 
the silent grave. Of how little use are the politician, the states 
man, the senator, the judge, or the eloquent man, if we lay 


aside the consideration of their subserviency to the keeping the 
world in a more composed and orderly state, for the prosecution 
of the great designs of eternity, when ere long all their thoughts 
sh:ill perish ? what matter were it what became of the world, 
whether it be wise or foolish, rich or poor, quiet or unquiet, 
governed or ungoverned ? Whoever should make their order 
and tranquillity their study, or that should intend their thoughts 
and endeavours to the finding out the exactest methods and 
rules of government and policy, should hut do as they that should 
use a great deal of pains and art in the curious adorning and 
trimming up of a dying person ; or as if some one, among many 
condemned persons, should be very solicitous to have them 
rnarch with him in very exact order to the place of execution. 
If the world he not looked upon as an attiring room to dress 
one's self in, for an appearance on the eternal stage ; hut only 
as a great charnel-house, where they undress and put off them 
selves, to sleep in everlasting darkness ; how can we think it 
worth a thought, or to be the subject of any rational design or care? 
Who would not rather bless himself in a more rational neglect 
and regardlessness of all human affairs ; and account an uncon 
cerned indifferency the highest wisdom ? Yea 

(3.) If we suppose religion (which we need not because it 
is mentioned in this order conceive exclusive of reason, 
but rather perfective of it: for reason having first found out 
God, religion adores him) to become with any the ruling 
principle, and to have the direction and government of the 
man, as to his way and end : how would even that lan 
guish with the best, were the consideration of a future state 
laid aside, which with so few, notwithstanding it, hath any ef 
ficacy at all to command and govern their lives ? Religion ter 
minates upon God; and upon him under a double notion, either 
as we design service and honour to him, or as from him we de 
sign satisfaction and blessedness to ourselves. Now if a man's 
thoughts and the intention of his mind be carried towards God 
under the former notion, how great an allay and abatement 
must it needs be to the vigour and zeal of his affection, who 
shall with the most sincere devotedness apply himself to serve 
his interest and glory, to reflect upon the universal mortality of 
himself and mankind, without any hope of compensation to it 
by a future immortality ? 

It is agreed on all hands, that the utmost contributions of 
creatures can add nothing to him : and that cur glorifying him 
doth only consist, either in our acknowledging him glorious 
ourselves, or representing him so to others. But how little 
doth it signify, and how flat and low a thing would it seem, 
that I should only turn mine eye upwards and think a few ad 
miring thoughts of God this hour, while I apprehend myself 
liable to lose my very thinking power and whole being the 


Or if we could spread his just renown, and gam all the sons of 
men to a concurrence with us in the adoring of his sovereign 
excellencies, how would it damp and stifle such loyal and duti 
ful affection, to consider, that the universal testimony, so de- 
servedly given him, shall shortly cease for ever, and that infi 
nitely blessed Being be ere long (again, as he was from eternity 
before) the only witness of his own glory ? And if the propen- 
sion of a man's soul be towards God under the latter notion also, 
in order to a satisfaction that shall thence accrue to himself, 
(which design, both in the pursuit and execution of it, is so 
conjunct with the former that it cannot be severred,) it can 
not but be an unspeakable diminution and check to the highest 
delights in this kind, to think how soon they shall have an end ; 
that the darkness and dust of the grave shall shortly obscure and 
extinguish the glory of this lightsome scene. 

To think every time one enters that blessed presence, for 
ought I know I shall approach it no more ! This is possibly my 
last sight of that pleasant face, my last taste of those enravishing 
pleasures ! What bitterness must this infuse into the most de 
licious sweetness our state could then admit! And by "how 
much more free and large grace should be in its present com 
munications, and by how much any soul should be more ex 
perienced in the life of God and inured to divine delights, so 
much the more grievous and afflictive resentments it could not 
but have of the approaching end of all; and be the more power 
fully tempted to say, Lord, why was I made in vain ? How 
faint and languid would endeavours be after the knowledge of 
that God whom I may but only know and die ? How impotent 
and ineffectual would the attractions of this end be to man in 
this terrene state to raise him above the world, and rescue him 
from the power of sensible things, to engage him in the pursuit 
of that sanctity and purity which alone can qualify him for con 
verse with God, to bear him out in a conflict against the (more 
natural) inclinations of sense, when if with much labour and 
painful striving, much self-denial and severity to the flesh, any 
disposition should be attained to relish divine pleasures, it be 
considered all the while, that the end of all may be as soon lost 
as it is gained; and that possibly there may be no more than # 
moment's pleasure to recompence the pains and conflicts of 
many years ? Although, in this case, the continual hope and 
expectation of some farther manifestation and fruition might much 
influence a person already holy, and a great lover of Got], unto 
a stedfast adherence to him ; yet how little would it do to make 
men such, that are yet unsuitable and disaffected to him ? or 
even to recover such out of their lapses and drowsy fits, that arc 
not altogether so ? 


And it is further to be considered, that since God hath given 
man a being capable of subsisting in another state, (as doth ap 
pear by what hath been already said ;) and since he is therefore 
capable of enjoying a greater happiness than his present state 
can admit of; that capacity will draw upon him a most indis 
pensable obligation to intend that happiness as his end. For 
admit that there be no future state for him, it is however im 
possible any man should know there is none ; and upon an im 
partial view of the whde case, he hath enough to render it (at 
least) far more likely to him that there is. And certainly he 
cannot but be obliged to pursue the highest good (even by the 
law of nature itself) which his nature is capable of ; which pro 
bably he may attain, and which he is nowhere forbidden by his 
Creator to aspire unto. Whence therefore, if we now circum 
scribe him within the limits of this present mortal state; or if, for 
argument's sake, we suppose eventually there is no other ; we 
must not only confess that capacity to be given him in vain, but 
that he is obliged also to employ the principal endeavours of 
his life and all his powers in vain, (for certainly his principal en 
deavour ought to be laid out in order to his principal end :) that 
is, to pursue that good which he may attain, but never shall ; 
and which is possible to him, but not upon any terms future. 
And if it be admitted, that the subject state of man must silence 
all objections against any such inconsistencies, and make him 
content to act in pure obedience to his Maker (whether he sig 
nify his will by the law of nature only, or by any positive pre 
cept,) though he shall not hereafter enjoy any permanent state 
of blessedness as the consequent reward : that virtue and good* 
L-CSS, a holy rectitude of inclinations and actions, are reward 
enough to themselves : that there is that justice and sweetness 
in religion, to oblige him to love and reverence and adore the 
divine Majesty this moment, though he were sure to perish for 
ever and be reduced to nothing the next. 1 say, admitting all 
this; yet, 

2. Since the blessed God himself is to be considered as the 
principal Agent and Designer in this inquiry " Why hast tliou 
made all men in vain ?" It is with modest and humble rever 
ence to be considered, What end worthy of that infinitely per 
fect Being, he may be supposed to have propounded to himself 
in forming such a creature of so improvable a nature, and fuiv 
Dished with so noble faculties and powers, for so transient and 
temporary a state : and how well it will consist with the most 
obvious and unquestionable notions we can have of an absolute 
ly perfect Being and the attributes which he most peculiarly 
challenges and appropriates to himself, (so as not only to own, 
but to glory in them,) that he should give being npt to some 


few only, but to the whole species of human creatures, and 
therein communicate to them a nature capable of knowing, of 
loving and enjoying himself in a blessed eternity, with a design 
to continue them only for some short space on earth, in a low 
imperfect state, wherein they shall be liable to sink still lower, 
to the vilest debasement of their natures; and yet not for their 
transgression herein, (for it is the mortality of man, not by sin, 
but by creation or the design of the Creator only, that is now 
supposed,) but for his mere pleasure to bereave them of being, 
and reduce them all again to nothing ? It is to be considered, 
Whether, thus to resolve and do,can any way agree to God, ac 
cording to our clearest and most assured conceptions of him ; 
not from our reasoning only, but his discovery of himself. For 
otherwise we see the imputation falls where we should dread to 
let it rest, of having made man in vain. 

He is, in common account, said to act vainly, who acts be 
neath himself, so as to pursue an end altogether unworthy of 
him, or none at all. It is true, that some single acts may be 
done by great persons as a divertisement, without dishonourable 
reflection, that may seem much beneath them. And if any do 
stoop to very mean offices and employments to do good, to help 
the distressed and relieve the miserable, it is a glorious acquest ; 
and the greater they are, the higher is the glory of their conde 
scending goodness. Benignity of nature and a propension to 
the most unexpected acts of a merciful self-depression, when 
the case may require it, are the most comely ornaments of 
princely greatness, and out-shine the glory of the richest dia 
dem. But a wonted habitual course of mean actions in great 
persons, that speak a low design or no design at all, but either 
a humour to trifle, or a mischievous nature and disposition, 
\vould never fail to be thought inglorious and infamous ; as may 
be seen in the instances of Sardanapalu's spinning, and Domi- 
tjan's killing of flies. 

When wisdom and goodness are in conjunction with powerand 
greatness, they never persuade a descent but upon such terms 
and for such purposes that a more glorious advancement shall 
ensue. Wisdom forseeing that end, and goodness readily taking 
the way, which (though it were most undesigned, or not aimed 
at as an end) could not fail to effect it. Nor are any attributes 
of the Divine Being more conspicuous than these ; more testi 
fied by himself, or more generally acknowledged by all men 
that have not denied his existence. Or if any have done that vio 
lence to their own minds, as to erase and blot out thence the belief 
of an existing Deity, yet at least, while they deny it, they can 
not but have this notion of what they deny, and grant that these 
are great perfections, and must agree to God, upon supposition 


that he do exist. If therefore he should do any thing reptignarifc 
to these, or we should suppose him to do so, we should therein 
suppose him to act below a God, and so as were very unworthy 
of him. And though it becomes us to be very diffident of our 
own reasonings concerning the counsels and designs of that 
eternal Being ; so as if we should find him to assert any thing 
expressly of himself, which we know not how to reconcile with 
our own preconceived thoughts, therein to yield him the cause^ 
and confess the debility of our understandings : yet certainly, 
it were great rashness and void of all pretence, to suppose any 
thing which neither he saith of himself ; nor we know how, 
consistently, to think. Nor are we, in judging of his designs, 
to bring him down to our model, or measure him by man. whose 
designs do for the most part bespeak only his own indigency, 
and are levelled at his own advantage and the bettering some 
way or other of his present condition. Whatsoever the great 
God doth towards his creatures, we must understand him to do, 
though with design, yet from an exuberant fulness of life and 
being, by which he is uncapable of an accession to himself. 
And hence that he can- in reference to himself have no 
other inducement to such action, besides the complacency 
which he takes in diffusing his free communications, (for he 
exercises loving-kindness, judgment, and righteousness in the 
in the earth, because he delighteth in these things, Jer. I). 24.) 
and the maintaining the just honour and reputation of his 
government over his creatures, who as they are of him, and 
through him, must be all to him a that he may have glory for 
ever. Rom. 11. 36. 

Now though it be most undoubtedly true, that the sovereign 
ty of his power and dominion over his creatures (of which he 
hath no need, and to whom he so freely gave being) is so abso 
lute and unlimited, that if we consider that only, we must ac 
knowledge, he might create a man or an angel and annihilate 
him presently; yea, that he might, if he so pleased, raise up 
many thousand worlds of intelligent and innocent creatures into 
being in one moment, and throw them into nothing again the 
very next moment. Yet how unwarrantably should we maim 
the notion of God, if we should conceive of him only according 
to one attribute, secluding the consideration of the rest? How 
misshapen an idea should we bear of him in our minds ?jAnd how 
would it deform the face of providence, and spoil the decorum 
of his administrations, if they should be the effects of one sin 
gle attribute only, the other having no influence on the affairs 
of the world ? If nothing but mercy should appear in his dispen 
sations towards sinful man, so that every man might do what 
were good in his own eyes, without cause of fear to be called 
to account; if the most dissolute ana 1 prophane were equally as- 


Sured of his favour, with those who are most holy and strictly 
regular in all their conversation, what would be thought of God 
and religion ? Or how should we savour the notion of an impure 
deity, taking pleasure to indulge the wickedness of men ? And 
injustice alone have the whole management of affairs, and eve 
ry act of sin be followed with an act of sudden vengeance, and 
the whole world become a flaming theatre, and all men held iu 
a hopeless expectation of fiery indignation and of judgment 
wkhout mercy, what would become of that amiable represen 
tation, and the consolatory thoughts we have of God, and of 
that love and duty which some souls do bear towards him ? Or 
if power should affect daily to shew itself in unusual appearances 
and-effects, in changing every hour the shapes of the terrestrial 
creatures, in perpetual quick innovations of the courses of the 
celestial, with a thousand more kinds of prodigious events that 
might be the hourly effects of unlimited power, how were the 
order of the world disturbed, and how unlovely an idea would it 
beget in every intelligent creature,of him that made and rules it? 
Yet it is from no defect of mercy, that all men are not equally 
favoured and blessed of God; nor of justice that a speedy ven 
geance is not taken of all ; nor ofpoiver, that the world is not 
filled with astonishing wonders every day; but rather from their 
unexcessiveness, and that they make that blessed temperature 
where they reside, and are exercised in so exact proportion, that 
nothing is ever done unworthy of him, who is, at once, both 
perfectly merciful, and just, and powerful, and wise, and hath 
all perfections eminently comprehended and united in his own 
most simple Being. It were therefore besides the purpose to 
insist only what sovereign power, considered apart, might do ; 
Imt we are to consider what may be congruous to him to do, who 
is infinitely wise and good, as well as powerful, And 

(1.) Let it be weighed,how it may square with the divine wis- 
dom,to give being to a world of reasonable creatures, and giving 
them only a short time of abode in being, to abandon them to 
a perpetual annihilation. Wisdom in any agent must needs 
suppose the intention of some valuable end of his action. And 
the divine wisdom, wherein it hath any end diverse from that 
which his pure goodness and benignity towards his creatures 
would incline him to, (which also we must conceive it most in 
tent to promote and further,) cannot but have it chiefly in de 
sign ; it being determined that his goodness should open itself 
and break forth into a creation, and that of reasonable creatures, 
so to manage his government over these, (which indeed are the 
only subjects of government in the strict and proper notion of 
it,) as may most preserve his authority, and keep up his just in 
terest in them, both by recommending him to their fear and 

VOL iu, 2 s 


*ove ; to possess them with that due and necessary reverence of 
him that may restrain them from contemptuous sinning; and 
so endear his government to them,as to engage them to a placid 
and free obedience. But how little would it agree with this 
design of the divine wisdom, to have made man only for this 
temporary state r For, 

[I.] How little would it tend to the begetting and settling 
that fear of God in the hearts of men, that were necessary to 
preserve his authority and government from a prophane con 
tempt ; whereas daily experience shews, that there is now na 
difference made between them that fear God and them that 
fear him not, unless wherein the former are worse dealt with 
and more exposed to sufferings and wrongs : that, at least, it is 
often (yea for the most part) so, that to depart from iniquity is 
to make one's self a prey ; that those who profess and evidence 
the most entire devotedness to God, and pay the greatest ob 
servance and duty to him, become a common scorn upon this 
very account,and are in continual danger to be eaten up as bread 
by those that call not upon God ; while in the mean time the 
tabernacles of robbers prosper, and they that provoke God are 
secure, are not plagued as other men, nor in trouble as other 
men. And judgment is not here executed for wicked works in 
this world. If also nothing is to be expected, either of good or 
evil, in another, who is likely to be induced, in this case, to fear 
God or to be subject to him ? And how unlike is this to the wis 
dom of the supreme Ruler, to expose his most rightful and so 
vereign authority to the fearless and insolent affronts of his own 
revolted creatures, without any design of future reparation to it ; 
as if he had cieated them on purpose, only to curse him and 
die ? But he hath prevented the occasion of so reproachful a 
censure, and thought fit to fill his word and the consciences of 
guilty sinners with threats and dreadful presages of a future 
judgment and state of punishment. To which he is no less con 
cerned, both in point of wisdom and veracity, (and I may add 
of legal justice,) to make the event correspond, that he may 
neither be found to have omitted any due course for prevent 
ing or redress of so great an evil ; and that, if the threatening do 
not effectually over-awe sinners, the execution may at least right 
himself: and that, in the mean time, he do not (that which 
would least of all become him, and which were most repugnant 
to his nature) make use of a solemn fiction to keep the world 
in order, and maintain his government by falsehood and deceit, 
that is, by threatening what he knows shall never be. 

[2.] Nor were there (in the case all along supposed) a more 
probable provision made, to conciliate and procure to the Divine 
Majesty the love which it is requisite he should have frojui the 


children of men. And this cannot but be thought another apt 
method for his wisdom to pitch upon, to render his government 
acceptable, and to engage men to that free and complacential 
subjection which is suitable to a God. For how can that 
filial and dutiful affection ever be the genuine product or 
impress of such a representation of the case between God 
and them ; that is, that they shall be most indispensably ob 
liged to devote their whole being and all their powers entirely 
to his service and interest ; exactly to observe his strictest laws, 
to keep under the severest restraint their most innate, reluctant 
inclinations; and in the mean time expect the administrations 
of providence to be such, towards them, that they shall find 
harder usage all their days than his most insolent and irrecon 
cilable enemies, and at lastlose their very beings, they know not 
how soon, and therewith (necessarily) all possibilities of any 
future recompence. Is this a likely way to procure love, and 
to captivate hearts into an affectionate and free obedience ? Or 
what is it probable to produce, but a sour and sullen despond 
ency, the extinction of all generous affection, and a temper 
more agreeable to a forced enthralment to some malignant, in 
sulting genius, than a willing subjection to the God of all grace 
and love ? And every one will be ready to say, There is little 
of wisdom in that government, the administration whereof is 
neither apt to beget fear nor love in those that are subject to it ; 
but either through the want of the one to be despised, or to be 
regreted through the want of the other. And this being the 
very case, upon supposition of no future state, it seems alto 
gether unworthy of the divine wisdom, that such a creature 
should ever have been made as man, upon which no end is at 
tainable (as the course of providence commonly runs in this 
world,) in comparison whereof, it were not better and more 
honourable to his Maker, (whose interest it is the part of his 
wisdom to consult,) that he had never been. And therefore, 
as to God and the just and worthy designs of his glory, he would 
seem, upon this supposition, wholly made in vain. And 

(2.) How congruous and agreeable would this supposi 
tion prove to the goodness of God? As that other attribute 
of wisdom doth more especially respect his own interest, 
so doth this the interest of his creatures : that is, if it be 
understood, not in a metaphysical, but in a moral sense ; as it 
imports a propensity and steady bent of will unto benefaction, 
according to that of the Psalmist, Thou art good, and dost good. 
Psal. 119. 68. And this free and generous principle it is, which 
gives the first rise and beginning to all the designs any way re 
specting the well-being and happiness of creatures ; which, 
then infinite wisdom forms and manages to their full issues 


and accomplishment, guiding (as it were) the hand of almighty 
power in the execution of them. 

That there should be a creation, we may conceive to be the 
first dictate of this immense goodness, which afterwards diffuses 
itself through the whole, in communications agreeable to the 
nature of every creature. So that even this inferior and less 
noble part, the earth is full of the goodness of the Lord. Psal. 
33. 5. It creates first its own object, and then pours forth itself 
upon it with infinite delight, rewarding the expence with the 
pleasure of doing good. Now if we should suppose such a 
creature as man made only for that short time and low state 
which we see to be allotted him in this world, It were neither 
difficult nor enough to reconcile the hypothesis with strict 
justice, which upon the ground of absolute dominion, may do 
what it will with its own : but the ill accord it seems to have 
with so large and abounding goodness, renders it very unlike 
the dispensation of the blessed God ; no enjoyment being in 
that case afforded to this sort of creatures, agreeable to their 
common nature and capacity, either in degree or continuance. 
Not in degree : for who sees not, that the nature of man is 
capable of greater things than he here enjoys ? And where that 
capacity is rescued from the corruption that narrows and debases 
it, how sensibly do holy souls resent and bewail their present 
state, as a state of imperfection ? With how fervent and vehe 
ment desires and groans do they aspire and pant after a higher 
and more perfect ? We that are in this tabernacle do groan, 
being burdened ; not for that we would be unclothed, ; 2 Cor. 
5. 4. (that is not enough, to be delivered out of the miseries of 
life, by laying doxvn this passive part, is not that which will ter 
minate their desires,) but clothed upon, that mortality might be 
swallowed up of life. Theirs are not brutal groans, the com 
plaint of oppressed sensitive nature under a present evil; but 
rational and spiritual, the expressions of desire strongly carried 
to purs/ue an apprehended suitable good. The truest notion we 
can yet have of the primitive nature and capacity of man, is by 
beholding it in its gradual restitution. And is it agreeable to the 
goodness of God, to put such a nature into any, and with-hold 
the suitable object ? As if it were a pleasure to him, to behold 
the work of his own hands spending itself in weary smugglings 
towards him, and vexed all the while it continues in being, with 
the desire of what it shall never enjoy; and which he hath made 
it desire, and therein encouraged it to expect ? 

Nor in continuance : for I suppose it already evident, that 
the nature of man is capable (in respect of his principal part) of. 
perpetuity, and so of enjoying a felicity hereafter that shall be 
permanent and know no end. And it seems no way congruoiu 


to so large goodness, to stifle a capacity whereof it was itself the 
author, and destroy its own work. For if the being .of man is 
intended for so short a continuance, either he may have the 
knowledge of this determination concerning him, or not. If 
he cannot have the knowledge of it, why should any one say 
what they cannot know ; or put such a thing upon Gocl, that is 
so vilely reflecting and dishonourable to him ? If he may have 
the knowledge of it, then doth he seem a creature made for tor 
ment, while by an easy reflection upon himself he may discern, 
he is not uncapable of a penpetual state, and is yet brought forth 
into the light to be ere long extinguished and shut up in ever 
lasting darkness. And who can think this a thing worthy of in 
finite and eternal goodness ? Besides (as hath been insisted be 
fore,) that this torture, proceeding from so sad an expectation, 
cannot but be most grievous and afflictive to the best. Whence the 
apostle tells us, that Christians, if in this life only they had 
hope, were of all men most miserable: (1. Cor. 15. 19.) so 
that it were more desirable never to have been. If any yet fall 
hereafter into a state to which they would prefer perpetual anni 
hilation, inasmuch as it is wholly by their own detault, it no 
way reflects upon divine goodness. But it would be a disho 
nourable reflection rather upon that Author and Fountain of all 
goodness, if he should not express himself wise and just as well 
as good ; as it would upon a man, especially a ruler over others, 
if that which we call good-nature were conjunct with stolidity 
or an insensibleness of whatsoever affront to his person and go 
vernment. Upon the whole, therefore, it seems most repug 
nant to these great attributes of the divine Being, to have made 
man only for this present state. That to think so, were to con 
ceive unworthily of him, as if he had acted much beneath him 
self, and done a vain thing in making such a creature, no end 
being attainable by it, which we can suppose either his wisdom 
or goodness to aim at. 

If any would imagine to themselves an expedient, by suppos 
ing an eternal succession of human generations, upon whom 
the wisdom and goodness of God might have a perpetual exer 
cise in the government and sustentation of them for their ap 
pointed times : this would be far from satisfying as to either, 
but would rather increase the difficulty ; for there would be the 
same temptation upon all the individuals, to contemn or regret 
the government of their Maker. So that he should hereby even 
eternize his own reproach ; and should always, in every suc 
cession, have still the same craving appetites returning, and ex 
pectations never to be satisfied, which were as repugnant to all 
he hath discovered to us of his nature, as any thing we can sup 
pose. Though some persons of a light and desultory humour, 


might imagine to themselves a pleasure in it, if they had 
the power to make such a rotation of things, rising and 
falling, coming and passing away, at their beck and com 
mand; and such as were of a sanguinary temper, might 
sport themselves in raising up and lopping off lives at 
pleasure with an arbitrary hand : yet sure they would never gain 
by it the esteem of being either wise or good; and would, it is 
like, in time grow weary of the sport. But to form to ourselves 
such ideas of the blessed God, were an injury not inferior to the 
very denial of his being. 

His providence towards the inferior creatures hath no resem 
blance of any such thing ; whom his bounty sustains agreeably 
to their natures, who have no foresight of their own cessation 
from being, to keep them in a continual death by the expecta 
tion of it; and who serve to valuable and reasonable purposes 
while they are continued ; for they are useful, partly to the sus- 
tentation of man, and partly to his instruction, in order to his- 
higher ends. And though each individual of them do not ac 
tually so, it is sufficient that the several kinds of them are na~ 
tu rally apt thereto, which are propagated according to a settled 
course and law of nature, in their individuals. And if all im 
mediately serve not man, yet they do it mediately, in serving 
those that more immediately do. Besides, that when such a 
work was to be done, as the furnishing out and accomplishing 
this lower world ; it was meet all things should be in number, 
weight, and measure,, and correspond in every part. As if one 
build a house for entertainment, though the more noble rooms 
only do come In view, yet all the rest are made answerably de 
cent, pn supposition that they may. It was becoming the au 
gust and great Lord of this world, that it have in it, not only 
what may sustain the indigent, but gratify the contemplative by 
fresh variety ; who would be apt to grow remiss by conversing 
only with what were of every days observation. Nor was that a 
low end, when such contemplation hath so direct a tendency to 
raise a considering mind to the sight, and love, and praise of the 
supreme Being,that hath stamped so lively signatures and prints 
of his own perfections upon all his works. If it be said, man 
might be in the same kind serviceable to the contemplation of 
angels, though he were himself never to know any other than 
this mortal state ; it is true that he might so ; but yet the in 
congruities were no way salved, of God's putting a capacity and 
expectation into his nature of a better state : of his dealing so 
hardly with them, that he hath procured to love him : of his 
never vindicating their high contempt that spent their days in 
rebellion against him. Besides, that these were ill precedents, 
and no pleasant themes for the view of an angelical mind. 


*f they see a nature extinct, capable of their state, what might 
they suspect of their own ? So that, which way soever we turn 
our thoughts, we still see that man's mortality and liableness to 
an unavoidable death, abstracted from the thoughts of another 
state, carry that constant aspect, as if all men were made ia 

What remains then, but that we conclude hence, we ought 
not too much, or too long, thus to abstract, nor too closely con 
fine our eye to this dark and gloomy theme, death and the grave, 
or withhold it from looking further. For far be it from us to 
think the wise and holy God hath given being to man (and con 
sequently exercised a long continued series of providence 
through so many successive ages towards him) in vain. Nothing 
but a prospect of another state can solve the knot and work 
through the present difficulty, can give us a true account of 
man and what he was made for. Therefore since it would be 
propliane and impious, sad and uncomfortable, a blasphemy to 
our Maker, and a torture to ourselves, to speak it as our settled 
apprehensions and judgment, that God hath made man to no 
purpose; we are obliged and concerned, both in justice to 
him and compassion to ourselves, so to represent the case, as 
that we may be able to remove so unworthy and black a thought 
to the greatest distance from us, both in itself and whatsoever 
practice would be consequent thereto: that is, to conclude, 
That certainly there must be another state after this, and ac 
cordingly steer our course. The Improvement then of the fore 
going discourse will have a double aspect : on our judgments, 
and practice. 

1. On our judgments, To settle this great principle of truth 
in them. The certain futurity of another state after this life is 
over, unto which this present state is only preparatory and in- 
troductive. For whereas we can never give a rational account 
why^such a creature as man was made, if we confine all our ap 
prehensions concerning him to his present state on earth : let 
them once transcend those narrow limits, fly over into eternity 
and behold him made for an everlasting state hereafter, and the 
difficulty now vanishes, the whole affair looks with a comely and 
befitting aspect. 

For we may now represent the case thus to ourselves: that 
man was put into this terrestrial state and dwelling, by the wise 
and righteous designation of his great Creator and Lord, that 
his loyalty to him, amidst the temptations and enticements of 
sensible things, might be tried awhile : that revolting from him, 
he is only left to feel here the just smart of his causeless defec 
tion : that yet such farther methods are used for his recovery, 
as are most suitable to his so impaired state. An allayed light 



shines to him in the midst of darkness, that his feebler eye rrlay 
receive a gradual illumination, and behold God in those more 
obscure discoveries which he now vouchsafes of himself, till by 
degrees he be won to take up good thoughts of him, and return 
into an acquaintance and friendship with him ; which once be 
gun here, shall be hereafter perfected into eternal fruitions. 
The offence and wrong done to his Maker, he in a strange un- 
thought-of way makes compensation of to himself; and testifies 
his reconcilableness, and persuades a reconciliation upon such 
terms, and by so endearing mediums, as might melt and mollify 
hearts of adamant ; and shall effectually prevail with many to 
yield themselves the subjects and instances of his admired good 
ness forever; while others lie only under the natural conse 
quents and just resentments of their unremedied enmity and 
folly. So are the glorious issues of God's dispensation towards 
man, and the wise and merciful conduct of his equal govern 
ment, worthily celebrated through the days of eternity with just 
acclamations and praises. We can fasten upon nothing ex 
ceptionable or unaccountable, yea, or that is not highly laud 
able and praise-worthy in this course of procedure. Therefore, 
though now we behold a dark cloud of mortality hanging over 
the whole human race; though we see the grave still devouring 
and still unsatisfied, and that all are successively drawn down 
into it ; and we puzzle ourselves to assign a reason why such a 
creature was made a reasonable being, capable of an everlasting 
duration, to visit the world only and vanish, to converse a short 
space with objects and affairs so far beneath it, and retire we 
know not whither: if yet our eye follow him through the darker 
paths of the region of death, till at the next appearance we 
behold him clothed with immortality and fitted to an endless 
state, the wonder is over, and our amusement quickly ceases. 

Wherefore let us thus bethink ourselves, and consider : Sure 
ly he that made this great universe, and disposed all the sorts, 
stations, and motions of creatures in it in so exquisite order and 
method, cannot but be a most perfectly wise and intellectual 
agent, and therefore cannot be supposed to have done any thing 
to no purpose ; much less when all the inferior creatures have 
ends visibly answering the exigency of their natures, to have 
made so excellent a creature as man (the nobler part of his low 
er creation) in vain ; that he only should be without his propor 
tionable end, and after a short continuance in being, return to 
nothing, without leaving it conjecturable what he was made 
for. This were so intolerable an incongruity, and so unlike the 
footsteps that every-where else appear in the divine wisdom and 
goodness, that we cannot but inquire further into this matter, 
and conclude at last ; that he was made for some higher purpo- 


tes than are within the reach of our sight, and hath his princi 
pal part yet to act upon another stage, within the vail, that shall 
never be taken down. The future immortality of man seems 
therefore so certainly grounded upon what is discovered and ge 
nerally acknowledged touching the nature of God and his most 
peculiar and essential perfections, that unless we were further 
put to prove the existence of a God, (which to them that are 
rational need not, and to them that are not were in vain,) there 
can no reasonable doubt remain concerning it. 

2. Wherefore the further use we have to make of the matter 
proposed, is in reference to our practice : which it may fitly 
serve both to correct and reprove, and also to direct and guide* 

(i.) It administers the ground of just rebuke: that since, 
if we terminate our thoughts and designs upon things only on 
this side the grave, it would seem we were wholly made in vain ; 
and we do yet so generally employ our cares and endeavours about 
such things, and even the vilest and most despicable of these j 
and so live not to our own dishonour only, but to the reproach 
of our Maker, as if he made us for no more worthy ends. And 
let us but impartially debate the matter with ourselves ; Can we, 
in sober reason, think we were made only for such ends as most 
men only pursue ? have we any pretence to think so ? or can 
it enter into our souls to believe it? Would not men be asham 
ed to profess such a belief; or to have it written in their fore 
heads, these are the only ends they are capable of? Then might 
one read, such a man born to put others in mind of his prede 
cessor's name, and only lest such a family should want an heir: 
such a one to consume such an estate, and devour the provenue 
of so many farms and manors : such a one to fill so many bags 
and coffers to sustain the riot of him that succeeds : some 
created to see and make sport ; to run after hawks and dogs, or 
spend the time which their weariness redeems from converse 
with brutes, in making themselves such, by drinking away the 
little residue of wit and reason they have left; mixing with this 
genteel exercise, their impure and scurrilous drolleries, that they 
may befriend one another with the kind occasion of pioving 
themselves to be yet of human race, by this only demonstration 
remaining to them, that they can laugh ; which medium, if 
the wisdom of the just were known, would be found so preg 
nant as to afford them a double conclusion, and be as effectual, 
oftentimes, to prove them fools as men. Others one might 
read born to trouble the world, to disquiet the neighbourhood, 
and be the common plague of all about them, at least, if they 
have any within their reach and power that are wiser and more 
sober than themselves, or that value not their souls at so cheap 
a rate as they : others made to blaspheme their Maker, to rend 

vqju ui, 2 T 

322 f &E VANITY Ot 

the sacred name of God, and make proof of their high vafotif 
and the gallantry of their brave spirits, by bidding a defiance ta 
heaven, and proclaiming their heroic contempt of the Deity and 
of all religion. As if they had persuaded themselves into an 
opinion, that because they have had so prosperous success in 
the high achievements of conquering their humanity, and baf 
fling their own fear, and reason, and conscience, death also 
will yield thein as easy a victory, or be afraid to encounter men 
of so redoubted courage ; that the God of heaven, rather than 
offend them, will not stick to repeal his laws for their sakes, or 
never exact the observance of them from persons of their quali 
ty; that they shall never be called to judgment, or be comple 
mented only there with great respect, as persons that bore much 
sway in their country, and could number so many hundreds or 
thousands a year ; that at least, the infernal flames will never 
presume to touch so worthy personages ; that devils will be aw 
ed by their greatness, and fear to seize them, lest they should 
take it for an affront. No conceit can be imputed to these men 
absurd enough to over-match the absurdity of their practice. 
They can themselves think nothing more gross and shameful 
than what they daily are not ashamed to act. For what ab 
surdity can be compassed in a thought greater than what ap 
pears in a course of life managed in perpetual hostility to all 
principles of reason and humanity ? And either they must 
own all the impious folly of such thoughts, or confess, upon 
other accounts, an equal infatuation in their thinking faculty 
itself. For either they think their course justifiable, or they do 
not. If they do, how fatally are all things inverted in their de 
praved minds ? Wisdom and folly, virtue and vice, good and 
evil, seem to them transformed into one another, and are no 
longer to be known by their own names. The common notions 
of all mankind are but blind fancies in comparison of their later 
and clearer illumination : and the ancient religious sentiments 
of all former ages, dreams and follies to their admired new light. 
Their wise and rare discoveries, that they and all things came 
by chance, that this world hath no owner or Lord, (because 
they never had wit or patience to consider the nonsense of 
them; and though they never, any of them, had the luck ta 
see one clod of earth, or grain of sand, start up into being, out 
of nothing ; much less ground to think, that such a world 
should of itself do so,) are reason enough with them, to mock 
at the eternal Being, and attempt to jeer religion out of the 
world, and all other men out of their reason and wits, as they 
have themselves. And sure this must be their only pretence, 
and their atheism the best reason, upon which to justify their 
constant practice. For who can think (while he sees them not 


yet in chains) they should be so perfectly mad, as to acknow 
ledge only such a deity (the author and ruler of all things) 
whose favour were worth nothing, or to be procured by affronts ; 
to whom contempt were a sacrifice, and the violation of whatso - 
ever is sacred, the most effectual propitiation ? or acknowledge 
him for a God, whom they hope to over-power, and to prosper 
in a war against him ? 

And if they acknowledge none at all, and this be the funda 
mental article of their creed, that there is indeed none : then 
can no man charge them with any thought more grossly foolish 
than their own \ nor can they devise to say any thing, by which 
more certainly to argue themselves bereft of the common under 
standing of men ? For who that is not so, if he only take no 
tice of his own being, may not as certainly conclude the exis 
tence of a God, as that two and two make four? Or what 
imagination can be too absurd to have place in that mind, that 
can imagine this creation to be a casualty ? He would be thought 
besides himself that should say the same of the composition of 
a clock or a watch, though it were a thousand times more sup-- 
posable. But if they do not justify themselves, to what pur 
pose is it further to press them with absurdities, that persist in 
constant self-contradiction : or that have not so much left them 
of rational sensation, as to feel in their own minds the pressure 
of the very greatest absurdity? If they only presume they do 
well, because they have never asked themselves the question, or 
spent any thoughts about it; this speaks as much a besotted 
mind as any of the rest, and is as unworthy of a reasonable crea 
ture. Why have they the power of thinking ? Or who do in 
any case more generally incur the censure of imprudence and 
folly, than they who have only this plea for their actions, that 
they did not consider ? Especially when the case is so plain, 
and the most sudden reflection would discover the iniquity and 
danger of their course. And one would think nothing should 
be more obvious, or more readily occur to the mind of a man,, 
than to contemplate himself, and taking notice there is such a 
creature in the world, furnished with such abilities and powers 
to consider, What was I made for ? what am I to pitch upon as 
my proper end? nor any tiling appear more horrid to him, 
than to cross the very ends of his creation 

(2.) It may also be improved to the directing of our practice. 
For which purpose we may hence take this general rule, that 
it be such as becomes the expectation of a future state : for 
what else is left us, since in our present state we behold nothing 
but vanity ? W r e see thus stands our case, that we must mea 
sure ourselves by one of these apprehensions, either, we are 
made in vain, or, we are made for a future state. And can 


we endure to live according to the former, as if we were irn- 
pertinencies in the creation, and had no proper business in it? 
What ingenuous person would not blush to be always in the pos- 
tuieof a useless hang-by; to be still hanging on, where he hath 
nothing to do; that if he be asked, Sir, what is your business 
here ? he hath nothing to say. Or how can we bear it, to live 
as if we came into the world by chance, or rather by mistake 
as though our creation had been a misadventure, a thing that 
would not have been done, had it been better thought on ? 
And that our Maker had over-shot himself, and been guilty of 
an oversight in giving us such a being ? Who, that hath ei 
ther just value for himself, or any reverence for his Maker, 
could endure either to undergo the reproach, or be guilty of the 
blasphemy which this would import ? And who can acquit him 
self of the one or the other, that lives not in some measure 
agreeably to the expectation of somewhat beyond this present 
life ? Let us therefore gird up the loins of our minds, and set 
our faces as persons designing for another world ; so shaping our 
course,that all things may concur to signify to men the greatness 
of our expectations. We otherwise proclaim to the world (to our 
own and our Creator's wrong) that we have reasonable souls gi 
ven us, to no purpose. We are therefore concerned and obli 
ged both to aim at that worthy end, and to discover and make it 
visible that we do so. 

Nor is a design for an immortal state so mean and inglorious, 
or so irrational and void of a solid ground, that we have any 
cause either to decline or conceal it ; either not to retain, or to 
be ashamed of our hope. Nor is there any thing to be done in 
prosecution of it, so unworthy as to need a corner, or that requhes 
it to be done as a work of darkness. Neither yet is it a vain-glo 
rious ostentation, or the affectation of making shew of an excel 
lency above the vulgar pitch, that I persuade to : but a mo 
dest, sober avowing of our high design and hope ; neither mak 
ing any near approach to a proud arrogance on the one hand, 
nor a mean pusillanimity on the other. Truly great and gene 
rous spirits know how to carry under secular honour with that 
prudent and graceful decorum, as shall signify a just owning of 
themselves without insolence towards others. Real worth, 
though it do not vaunt, will shew itself; and while it doth not 
glare, yet cannot forbear to shine. We should endeavour the 
excellency of a spirit refined from earth and dross, and aspiring 
towards a state of immortality, may express itself, and shine in 
its native lustre ; with its own, not with borrowed beams ; with 
a constant, even, natural, not with an unequal, artificial light ; 
that all that will, may see by the steady tendency of our course, 
that we are aiming at the great things of another world : though 


we all the while, are not so much solicitous to have our end and 
purpose known, as to obtain them. 

And verily, since the vile sons of the earth, the men of sense, 
that aim at no other end than to gratify their brutal appetite 
with such pleasure as is only to be compassed within a short 
life's time in this world, and who live to the reproach of their 
Maker, and of mankind, do not go about to hide the infamy of 
their low design, or conceal the degenerons baseness of their 
mean spirits ; but while they make their belly their God, and 
only mind earthly things, do also glory in their shame : how 
much were it beneath the state and spirit of the sons of God, 
that are worthily designing for a glorious immortality, to be 
ashamed of their glory, or think of stealing a passage to heaven 
in the dark ? No : let them know, it is not only too mean a 
thing for them to involve themselves in the common spirit of 
the sensual world, but even to seem to do so : And that this is 
so foul and ignominious a thing, as whereof they are concerned, 
not to be free from the guilt only, but the suspicion. Those 
worthy souls that in former, and darker days were engaged in 
seeking the heavenly country,thought it became them to confess 
themselves pilgrims and strangers on the earth; (Heb. 11.) and 
therein to declare plainly, that they were seeking that better 
country. Which confession and plain declaration we need not 
understand to be merely verbal, but practical and real also; sucK 
as might be understood to be the language of their lives, and 
of a constant, uniform course of actions, agreeable to such a 

Let us therefore bethink ourselves, what temper of mind and 
manner of life may be most conformable to this design, and best 
become persons pretending to it : whereupon we should soon 
find our own thoughts instructing us, that such things as these 
would be most becoming and fit in reference thereto ; and 
which we may therefore take as so many particular directions 
how to govern our spirits, and behave ourselves answerably to 
so great an expectation. 

[I.] That we endeavour for a calm indifferency and dispas 
sionate temper of mind towards the various objects and affairs 
that belong to this present life. There are very narrow limits 
already set, by the nature of the things themselves, to all the 
real objective value that such things have in them : and it is 
the part of wisdom and justice, to set the proportionable bounds 
to all the thoughts, cares, and passions, we will suffer to stir in 
our minds in reference to them. Nothing is a more evident 
acknowledged character of a fool, than upon every slight oc 
casion to be in a transport. To be much taken with empty 
things, betokens an empty spirit. It is a part of manly forti- 


tude to have a soul so fenced against foreign impressions, as 
little to be moved with things that have little in them : to 
keep our passions under a strict rein and steady command, 
that they he easily retractable and taught to obey: not to 
move till severe reason have audited the matter, and pronoun 
ced the occasion just and valuable. In which case the same 
manly temper will not refuse to admit a proportionable stamp 
and impress from the occurring object. For it is equally 
a prevarication from true manhood, to be moved with every 
thing and with nothing : the former would speak a man's spirit 
a feather, the latter a stone. A total apathy and insensibleness 
of external occurrents hath been the aim of some, but never the 
attainment of the highest pretenders. And if it had, yet ought 
it not to have been their boast } as upon sober thoughts it can 
not be reckoned a perfection. But it should be endeavoured, 
that the passions which are not to be rooted up (because they 
are of nature's planting)be yet so discreetly checked and depres 
sed, that they grow not to that enormous tall ness, as to over 
top a man's intellectual power, and cast a dark shadow over his 
soul. A rational authority must be maintained, a continency 
and dominion of one's self, that there be not an impotent pro 
fusion, and we be never so affected with any thing, but that 
the object may still be able to warrant and justify the affection, 
both for the nature and degree of it. Which rule, if we strictly 
observe and apply it to the present case, we shall rarely meet 
with any temporal concern that ought to move us much ; both 
for the littleness of such things themselves, and that we have so 
unspeakably greater things in our view and design. 

In conformity therefore to our so great expectation, we ought 
more particularly to watch and repress our inclinations, ap 
petites, and affections towards each several sort and kind of 
objects, which time and this present state hath within the con 
fines of it. As, how contemptuously should we look upon that 
empty vanity of being rich ? how coldly and carelessly should 
we pursue, how unconcernedly should we lose any thing that 
might entitle us to that name ? The pursuit of so despicable a 
trifle, with violent and peremptory desire, so as hereby to suffer 
a diversion from our design for another world, as to make our 
eternal hope less than nothing, (for to any man's calm and 
sober thoughts, this will be found as little :) and so will amount 
to a total quitting of all our pretensions to a better, future 
state ; that is, when so we indulge this odd irrational, this 
wildly fanciful, and purely humoursome appetite, (of which no 
man can give any tolerable account,) that it becomes ravenous, 
when it devours a man's time, his thoughts, the strength and 
vigour of his spirit, swallows up his nobler designs, and makes 
an idle doting about he knows not what, or why, his main 


business. Especially when conscience itself becomes a sacrifice 
to this impure unhallowed idol; and the question is wholly 
waved, "is this thing just and honest?" and nothing is consider 
ed, but that it is commodious and gainful. Yet, (if herein we 
will take upon us to pass a judgment upon other men,) it will 
be no way ingenuous or just, that in smaller and disputable 
matters, we make our own apprehensions a measure and stand- 
ard to them. They are commonly aptest to do so, who have 
least studied the matter, and have nothing but their ignorant 
confidence to entitle them to the dictator's chair ; where, how 
ever, having placed themselves, they liberally bestow their cen 
sures and reproaches on all that think it not fit to throw away 
their own eyes, and see with their bad ones : and conclude 
them to have no conscience, who go not according to theirs. 
And that they cannot but have some base design, who in any 
thing presume to swerve from their judgment, especially if the 
advantage, in any temporal respect, happen to lie on that side 
from which they dissent. 

Nothing can indeed so comport with the spirit and design of 
one who believes himself made for another world, as a brave 
and generous disdain of stooping to the lure of present emolu 
ment, so as thereby to be drawn into any the least thing which 
he judges not defensible by the severest rules of reason and reli 
gion ; which were to quit a serene heaven for mire and dirt. 
There is nothing in this world of that value, or worthy to be 
bought so dear, as with the loss and forfeiture of the rest and re 
pose of a mind, quiet, benign, peaceful, and well pleased with 
itself. It is enough, if one find himself, by difficulties which 
he cannot master, constrained to dissent from persons above ex 
ception wise and pious, placidly, and without unbecoming con 
fidence, to go on in the way which his present judgment al 
lows, carrying with him a modest sense of human infirmity, 
and how possible it is, the error may lie on his own part : hav 
ing yet to relieve him against that supposition, the clearness of 
his own spirit, the conscience of his innocency of any ill dispo 
sition or design, of his instructibleness and preparedness to ad 
mit a conviction if he err. And be he never so fully persuaded 
about the thing in difference, yet to consider the smallness of it, 
and how little cause he hath of glorying, if he know in this 
matter more than others, who possibly know ten times more 
than he, in far greater and more important matters. But, in 
matters clearly determined by common agreed principles, to 
prevaricate out of an indulgence to mere appetite, to give up one's 
self to practices apparently immoral and flagitious, only to com 
ply with, and lest he should not satisfy sensual desires, is the 
Character of one who hath abandoned the common hope of all 


good men ; and who, that he may have his lot with heasts ifl 
this world, dreads not to have it with devils in the other. And 
it is upon the same ground, equally unbecoming them that pre 
tend to this hope, to be visibly concerned and disc-om^td for 
losses and disappointments they may meet with ir; this kind, 
when unexpected events withstand their having much of this 
\vorld, or deprive them of what they have. It becomes them 
that reckon their good things are to come hereafter, to shew by 
their equal deportment and cheerful aspect in any such case, 
that they apprehend not themselves touched in their most consi 
derable interests. Yea, though they suffer not losses only ; but 
injuries ; and besides that they are damnified (as much as such 
things can signify) they find themselves wronged ; and though 
further trouble and danger threaten them in the same kind ; 
they should evidence how much it is above the power either of 
chance or malice, not only to make them miserable, but even 
to disturb or make them sad : that they are not happy by a ca 
sualty : and that their happiness is not in the command of them 
who cannot command their own : that it only depends on the 
inward constitution and frame of their own spirits, attempered 
to the blessed objects of the invisible world, whereby they have 
the assurance of enjoying them fully hereafter, and the pre 
sent grateful relishes thereof in the mean time. And hence, 
that they can be happy without the world's kindness, and in des 
pite of its unkindness: that they have somewhat within them, 
by which they are enabled to rejoice in tribulation ; being trou 
bled on every side, yet not to be distressed : to " take joyfully 
the spoiling of goods, knowing within themselves they have in 
heaven a better and enduring substance :" nor to suffer or dis 
cover any perturbation or disquiet: not to have their souls ruf 
fled, or put into disorder : nor let any cloud sit on their brow, 
though dark and dismal ones seem to hang over their heads. 

And the same absurdity it would be to indulge to themselves 
an unbounded liberty of sensual pleasures. For that looks like 
a despair of futurity ; as if a day were a mighty gain for eating 
and drinking, because to morrow we must die. An abstemi 
ous shyness here is comely : a tasting only the delights, where 
of others suffer themselves to be ingulfed : a prudent reserved- 
ness and restraint, so as that what shall cause with others an 
unbeseeming transport and diffusion of themselves, be enter 
tained not with a cynical morosity, but a pleasant composure and 
well-ordered complacence ; keeping a due and even distance 
between levity and sourness. Yet there is a natural retiredness 
in some men's tempers ; and in others an aversion to pleasures, 
proceeding only of a rational estimate of their emptiness and va 
nity in themselves which may, however, much fall short of 


tvliat the present case requires: the exigency whereof is noway 
satisfied, but where such a moderation is the product of a com 
parative judgment between the delights of the present and 
those of the future state; when one so enjoys any thing in this 
world, as to be under the power of nothing because of the more 
prevailing influence he is under from the power of the world to 
come : when his faith is the parent of his sobriety, and his denial 
of worldly lusts flows from the expectation of* the blessed hope : 
when, because he more highly prizes, and lest he forfeit, eter 
nal pleasures, he so behaves himself towards all temporary ones, 
as neither to abuse those that are lawful, nor to be abused by the 
unlawful ;not to exceed in the one, nor to touch with the other. 
Thus also ought we to look upon secular honours and dignity^ 
neither to make them the matter of our admiration, affectation, 
or envy. We are not to behold them with a libidinous eye, or let 
our hearts thirst after them: not to value ourselves the more for 
them, if they be our lot, nor let our eye be dazzled with admira- 
tion,or distorted with envy, when we behold them the ornaments 
of others. We are not to express that contempt of them, which 
may make a breach on civility, or disturb the order and policy 
of the communities whereto we belong. Though this be none 
of our own country, and we are still to reckon ourselves but as 
pilgrims and strangers while we are here ; yet it becomes not 
strangers to be insolent or rude in their behaviour, where they 
sojourn; how much soever greater value they may justly have 
of their own country. We should pay to secular greatness a 
due respect, without idolatry, and neither despise nor adore 
it ; Considering, at once, the requisiteness of such a thing in 
the present state, and the excelling glory of the other. As 
though in prudence and good manners we would abstain from 
provoking affronts towards an American sachim, or sagamore, 
if we did travel or converse in their country ; yet we could have 
no great veneration for them, having beheld the royal pomp 
and grandeur of our own prince; especially he who were him 
self a courtier and favourite to his much more glorious sovereign, 
whom he is shortly to attend at home could have no great temp 
tation to sue for offices and honours, or bear a very profound 
intrinsic homage to so mean and unexpressive an image of re 

It can surely no way become one who seeks and expects the 
honour and glory which is conjunct with immortality, (Rom. 2. 
7.) to be fond of the airy titles that poor mortals are wont to 
please themselves with; or to make one among the obsequious 
servile company of them whose business it is to court a vanish 
ing shadow, and tempt a dignified trifle into the belief it is a 
deity; to sneak and cringe for a smile from a supercilious brow, 
and place his heaven in the disdainful favours of him, who, it 

VOJL. in. '2 u 

"33 THE VANif y OF 

may he, places his own as much in thy homage, so that ft Be 
falls into the supplicant's power to be his creator, whose creature 
he affects to be. What eye would not soon spy out the gross- 
ness of this absurdity ? And what ingenuity would not blush 
to be guilty of it ? Let then the joyful expectants of a blessed 
immortality, pass by the busy throng of this fanciful exchange ; 
and behold it with as little concern, as a grave statesman would 
the sports and ludicrous actions of little children ; and with as 
little inclination of mind, as he would have to leave his business 
and go play with them; bestowing there, only the transient 
glance of a careless or a compassionate eye, and still reserving 
their intent steady views for the glorious hope set before them. 
And with a proportionable unconcernedness should they look on, 
and behold the various alterations of political affairs, no further 
minding, either the constitution or administration of government, 
than as the interest of the universal Ruler, the weal and safety of 
their prince or country are concerned in them. But how many 
under the specious pretence of a public spirit, make it their 
whole business to inspect and pry into these affairs, even with a 
most meanly private and interested one ; watching over the 
public beyond the bounds of their own calling; and with na 
other design, than to catch at an opportunity of serving their 
own turns ! How many that stand perpetually at a gaze, in a 
suspenseful expectation how things will go; either joying or 
hoping to behold any favourable prognostics to the party whereto- 
they have thought fit to addict themselves I gkd or desirous 
to see it engross power, and grasp the sum of things, not from 
any sense of duties towards God's vicegerents ; not from love of 
justice or study of public advantage, but that the happier lot 
may befall or remain to themselves. These men are absorbed, 
and swallowed up of the spirit of this world, contempered only 
to this sublunary region, concorporate with the earth, so as to 
partake in all its pangs and paroxisms, and tremulous mo 
tions. By the beating of their pulse you may know the state 
of things in this lower world, as if they were of the same piece, 
and had but one sou) with it. Let them see times and a state 
of things on earth suitable to their genius, and you put a new 
life and soul into them. Reduce them to a despair here, and (so 
little communion have they with the affairs of that other 
country,) the most specious inviting representation that can be 
made to them of the world to come hinders not, but their hearts 
languish and die, and become as stones within them. 

But that lofty soul that bears about with it the living appre 
hensions of its being made for an everlasting state, so earnestly 
intends it, that it shall ever be a descent and vouchsafement 
with it, if it allow itself to take notice what busy mortals are 


<3oing in thek (as they reckon them) grand negotiations here 
below. And if there be a suspicion of an aptness, or inclination 
to intermeddle in them to their prejudice to whom that part 
belongs, can heartily say to it, (as the philosopher to the jealous 
tyrant,) We of this academy are not at leisure to mind so mean 
things: we have somewhat else to do than to talk of you. He 
hath still the image before his eye, of this world vanishing and 
passing away ; of the other, with the everlasting affairs and con 
cernments of it, even now ready to take place and fill up all the 
|age : and can represent to himself the vision (not from a 
melancholic fancy or crazed brain, but a rational faith and a 
sober well instructed mind,) of the world dissolving, monarchies 
and kingdoms breaking up, thrones tumbling, crowns and 
sceptres lying as neglected things. He hath a telescope through 
which he can behold the glorious appearances of the Supreme 
Judge ; the solemn state of his majestic person ; the splendid 
pomp of his magnificent and vastly numerous retinue ; the ob 
sequious throng of glorious celestial creatures, doing homage to 
their eternal King; the swift flight of his royal guards, sent 
forth into the four winds to gather the elect, and covering the 
face of the heavens with their spreading wings ; the universal 
silent attention of all to that loud sounding trumpet that shakes 
the pillars of the world, pierces the inward caverns of the earth, 
and resounds from every part of the encircling heavens; the many 
myriads of joyful expectants arising, changing, putting on 
glory, taking wing, and contending upwards, to join themselves 
to the triumphant heavenly host: the judgment set; the books 
opened ; the frightful amazed looks of surprised wretches ; the 
equal administration of the final judgment; the adjudication 
of all to their eternal states; the heavens rolled up as a scrowl ; 
the earth and all things therein consumed and burnt up. 

And now, what spirit is there any more left in him towards 
the trivial affairs of a vanishing world ? how indifferent a thing is 
it with him who bears himself highest in a state of things where 
of he foresees the certain hastening end ? Though he will not 
neglect the duty of his own place, is heartily concerned to have 
the knowledge and fear of God more generally obtained in this 
apostate world; and is ready to contribute his utmost regular en 
deavours for the preservation of common peace and order in 
subserviency hereto. Yet abstractedly from these considerati 
ons, and such as have been before mentioned, he is no more 
concerned who is uppermost, than one would, passing by a 
swarm of flies, which hath the longest wings, or which excels 
the rest in sprightliness or briskness of motion. And for him 
self, he can insert this amongst his most serious thanksgivings, 
that while the care is incumbent on others, of watching over 


the public peace and safety, he may sit still and converse with 
God and his own more sedate thoughts. How secure is he in 
this, that infinite wisdom governs the world ! that all things 
shall be disposed the best way, to the best and most valuable 
ends! that an afflicted state shall never befall unto good men, 
but when it is fittest and most conducible it should do so ! that 
the prosperity carnal appetite covets, is never denied them, but 
%vhen it would be pernicious ! How calm is he in the midst o 
external troubles ! how placid and serene a spirit inhabits his 
peaceful breast ! When all things are shaken round about him, 
he is not shaken. He bears all sorts of troubles, but creates 
none to others, nor is disturbed by any himself. But they that 
delight to see this world rolling or fixed, as may most serve 
their private purposes, and have a perpetual quarrel with it, while 
it looks not kindly upon them ; their life is bound up in it, and 
their pretences to another, are but the languid, faint notions of 
what they never heartily believe nor desire. Upon the whole 
matter ; nothing is more agreeable to this great expectation, 
than a steady restraint and moderation of our passions towards 
things without us; that is, all the several sorts of external ob 
jects and affairs, that so variously invite and tempt our obser 
vation and regard in this our present state. 

[2.] I next add : a further congruity, if we pretend to this 
expectation, is, that we be not over-much, taken up in mind 
ing the body. For this looks like a design (or that inconsis 
tent wish) to have our present state perpetuated ; and that the 
thoughts are remote from us of a change for a better. As if 
notwithstanding all that the divine goodness hath promised con 
cerning the future inheritance of the free and heaven-born seed, 
this did still lie nearest to our hearts, O that Ishmael might 
live in thy sight ! And that the belief did miserably languish 
with us, of any better portion than what our eyes do already 
behold ; together with the apprehension of a spiritual being in, 
us, to be ripened into a complete and actual capacity of enjoy 
ing what is better. It is true, that all the exorbitant woi kings 
of those meaner and ignoble passions that are moved by objects 
and occasions without and foreign to us. have the body for their 
first and last, their spring and source, their centre and end. 
But thence it becomes the more proper and requisite, that we 
draw nearer this their seat and centre, -and strike at the root; 
and in killing that inordinate love and solicitude for the body, 
mortify them all at once. We are indeed so far to comply with 
the pleasure of our Maker, as not to despise the mean abode 
which he hath assigned us for awhile in the body. But with 
al, to take heed lest we so cross and resist it, as to make caring 
for the l>ody our whole business; which he hath only enjoined 


us in subserviency to an unspeakably greater and more impor 
tant business. Its health and welfare ought upon very valua 
ble accounts to be carefully preserved by all prudent means : 
but to indulge its slothful desires, and comply with its licenti 
ous wild cravings, is far beneath us, a "base unmanning of our 
selves, and would signify, as if so absurd a conceit had passed 
with us into a settled judgment, that a reasonable immortal 
spirit was created only to tend and serve a brute. It is mon 
strous to behold, with how common consent multitudes that 
professedly agree in the belief of the immortal nature of their 
souls, do yet agree to debase and enslave them to the meanest 
servility to their mortal bodies ; so as these are permitted to 
give laws to them, to prescribe them rules of living, arid what 
their daily employment shall be. For observe the designs they 
drive, and what is the tendency of their actions and affairs 
(whence the judgment is to be made concerning their inward 
thoughts, deliberations, and resolves 3 ) and is not the body the 
measure and mark of them all ? What import or signification 
is there in this course, of a design for futurity ? And (which in 
creases the folly of it to a wonder) they can make a shift to go 
on thus from year to year, and take no notice of the absurdity ! 
They agree to justify each one himself, and one another. The 
commonness of the course takes away all sense of the horrid 
madness of it. And because each doth as the rest do, they 
seem to imagine they all do well, and that there is nothing ex 
ceptionable in the case; ar.d go on: as the silly sheep, JVon 
qua eundum est set qua itur : not the way they ought, but 
which they see others go before them. Sen. 

But, if any place could be found for calm and sober thoughts, 
what would be reckoned a greater impertinency, than to be at 
so great pains for maintaining a bodily life, without consider 
ing what that life shall serve for ? to employ our utmost care to 
live, but to live for we know not what ? It becomes us to be 
patient of the body, not fond: to treat and use our bodies as 
things shortly to be put off and laid aside : to care for them, not 
for their own, but the works sake we have to do in them, and 
leave it to them to indulge and pamper the body, who expect 
never to live out of it: not to concern ourselves, that the circum 
stances of our bodily state be such as will gratify our appetites, 
but answer the ends for which our Maker thought fit we should 
live awhile in the body : reckoning with ourselves, we are 
lodged in these mean receptacles (though some what commo- 
diously, yet) but for a little while, and for great purposes, and 
more minding our journey and home, than our entertainment 
in our inn : contentedly bearing the want of bodily accommo 
dations that are not easily to be compassed, and the pressure of 


unavoidable bodily infirmities; not much pitying ourselves be 
cause of them; nor deeply regretting it, if wants and pains 
pinch our flesh ; nay, though we see the outward man perishing, 
so we can but find the inward renewing day by day. 

[3.] That we set ourselves with the whole intention of our 
souls, to mind the concernments of the future state, the invi 
sible things of the other world; and direct the main stream of 
our thoughts, desires, hopes, and joys, thitherward. For how 
highly justifiable and becoming is it, that we principally mind 
the state and things we were made for? We should therefore 
make these familiar to ourselves, and use our spirits to those 
more noble and pleasant themes: recounting often, how un 
worthy it is of them to grovel in the dust, or choose the objects 
of their converse by sueh measures only as are taken from sense. 
It is an iniquity which, though God may be so gracious to us as 
to forgive, we should not easily forgive to ourselves, that we 
have so often chosen to converse with empty trifles, while so 
great things have invited our thoughts in vain. Their remote 
ness from sense hath little of excuse in it, and unworthy a rea 
sonable creature. Methinks they should be ashamed to allege 
it, who consider themselves furnished with an intellectual pow 
er, that doth, in many other instances, control the judg 
ment of sense, and impeach it of falsehood. Would we not 
blush to profess it for a principle, that there is nothing real that 
exceeds the sphere of our sense ? We would reckon it a part of 
modesty not to ascribe too much to our own understandings, or 
presume too far upon our intellectual ability, against the judg 
ment of sage and knowing persons. How is it then, that we 
think it not immodest, to oppose the apprehensions of our dull 
and incapacious sense to the common faith and reason of all 
good and wise men, that are or have been in 'the wdVld, as well 
as our own ? If we have not seen what the state of things is in 
the other world, are we not told ? and have we not enough to 
assure us, that, it is he hath told us, whose nature cannot suffer 
him to impose upon us, or represent things otherwise than they 
are ? Who else can be the author of so common a persuasion ? 
Jf any man had been the first inventor of the opinion, that 
there is another state of things to succeed to this, would he not 
have assumed it to himself, that he was so? would he not have 
owned it, and gloried in it ? Or would not some or other of his 
proselyted disciples have preserved his name and memory, and 
transmitted them to posterity ? Could so vast a sect be without 
a head or master, known and celebrated among men ? 

Less plausible opinions find some owners ; Why is it not 
said, who was the first broacher of this ? And if he can find no 
other parent for it, tyut he who was the Parent of our beings, 


how grateful should such a discovery be to us, both for his sake 
and its own ? Upon his account, we should surely think it wor 
thy to be believed ; and upon its own, to be considered and se 
riously thought on, with greatest delight and sense of pleasure. 
. Many things that we reckon considerable upon much lower 
accounts, we so believe, as to let them engage our hearts, and 
influence our practice, upon much lower evidence. How en 
tirely are men's spirits taken up many times about meaner mat 
ters, whereof they have only a (much more uncertain and falli 
ble) report from one another ? What pretence can we have, 
less to regard the testimony of him that made us, discovering to 
us things so great, so important, so rational in themselves, even 
though they had not been so expressly revealed ? Let us there 
fore drive the matter to a clear and short issue, and come to a 
resolution with ourselves; have we reason to believe such tilings, 
or no ? If we can so far impose upon ourselves, as to think we 
have not ; or be tempted into so abject, so unrequired, and so 
unwarrantable a self-denial, so base an esteem of our own 
beings, as to account the things of this earth and present world 
have enougli in them to answer any ends we can suppose our 
selves made for ; let us no longer mock the world, by pretending 
to believe what we believe not. But if this be our settled 
judgment, and we will avow and own it, that we believe these 
things ; let us no longer expose and make ourselves ridiculous, 
by counteracting our own professed belief in matters of such 
moment, pretending to believe and disregarding them at the 
same time. It is absurd and foolish, to believe such things and 
not mind them much, or not let our souls and our practice be com 
manded and governed by them : not to have our desires, and cares, 
and hopes, arid joys, influenced thereby to the uttermost. How 
rational is it, here to be deeply solicitous, that by the unsuit- 
ableness of our own spirits we defeat not our own expectations ! 
How pleasant and delectable (that danger being provided 
against,) to sit down and compare our present with our ex 
pected state, what we are, with what we hope to be ere long ! 
To think of exchanging shortly, infirmity, pollution, darkness, 
deformity, trouble, complaint; for power, purity, light, beauty, 
rest, and praise ! How pleasant, if our spirits be fitted to that 
state ! The endeavour whereof is a further congruity in the 
present case, namely, 

[4.] That we make it our principal business to intend our 
spirits, to adorn and cultivate our inward man. What can more 
become us, if we reckon we have somewhat about us made for 
immortality, than to bestow our chief care upon that immortal 
part ? Therefore, to neglect our spirits, confessedly capable of 
so high an estate, to let them languish under wasting distempers, 


or lie as the sluggard's field, overgrown with thorns arid briars^ 
is as vile a slur as we can put upon ourselves and our own pro a 
fession. We should therefore make this the matter of out 
earnest study. What would be the proper improvements and 
ornaments of our spirits, and will most fitly qualify them for 
the state we are going into ; and of our daily observation hovr 
such things thrive and grow in us. Especially, we should not 
be satisfied, till we find in ourselves a refinedness from this 
earth, a thorough purgation from all undue degrees of sensual 
inclination and affection, the consumption of our dross by a 

r sacred fire from heaven, a spirit of judgment and of burning, an 
aptitude to spiritual exercises and enjoyments, high complacency 
in God, fervent love, a worshipping posture of soul, formed to 
the veneration of the eternal wisdom, goodness, power, holi^ 
ness ; profound humility and abnegation of ourselves, a praise- 
ful frame of spirit, much used to gratulations and thanksgivings, 
a large and universal love, imitating as much as is possible th6 
divine, a proneness to do good to all, a steady composure and 
serene temper of spirit, the repose and rest of a contented mind, 
not boisterous, nor apt unto disquiet, or to create storms to 
ourselves or the world, everyway suitable to the blissful regions, 
where nothing but perfect purity, entire devotedness to God, 
love, goodness, benignity, well-pleasedness, order, and peace, 
shall have place for ever 

This we ought to be constantly intent upon, as the business 
of our lives, our daily work, to get our spirits so attempered and 
fitted to heaven, that if we be askedj What design we drive ? 
What are we doing ? we may be able to make this true answer, 
We are dressing ourselves for eternity. And since nothing is 

' required hereto, that is simply impossible, nothing but what is 
agreeable to our natures, and would be a perfection to them J 
how worthy and commendable an ambition were it, to be al 
ways aspiring ? not to rest or take up beneath the highest pitch 
of attainable excellency in these kinds ? reckoning every de 
gree thereof a due to our natures, and that they have not what 
belongs to them, while any thing of real intrinsic moral good 
ness is yet wanting; and not only due, but necessaiy, and what 
we shall have need of in reference to the state we are shortly to 
enter upon ; that except such things be in us, and abound, we 
cannot have an abundant entrance into the everlasting kingdom, 
And should we, pretending to such an expectation, omit such 
endeavours of preparing ourselves, it were alike thing as if an 
unbred peasant should go about to thrust himself, with an ex 
pectation of high honours and preferments, into the prince's 
court ; or as if a distracted man should expect to be employed 


in the greatest and most intricate affairs of state; or an un- 
instructed idiot take upon him to profess and teach philosophy. 
Therefore let us consider : Are we conscious of no unfitness 
lor that blessed state ? to dwell in the presence of the holy God? 
to be associated with the heavenly assembly of pure intellectual 
spirits ? to consort and join with them in their celebrations and 
triumphant songs ? Can we espy no such tiling in ourselves, as 
an earthly mind, aversation to God, as pride, disdain, wrath, or 
envy, admiration of ourselves, aptness to seek our own things 
with the neglect of others, or the like ? And do not our hearts 
then misgive, and tell us we are unready, not yet prepared to 
approach the divine presence, or to enter into the habitation of 
his holiness and glory ? And what then have we to do, hut 
set ourselves to pur preparatory work ; to set our watches, make 
our observations, take strict notice of all the deflexions and ob 
liquities of our spirits, settle our methods, and hasten a redress ? 
Do not we know this is the time and state of preparation ? And 
since we know it, how would the folly torture us, by reflection, 
of having betrayed ourselves t a surprisal ! None are ever 
wont to enter upon any new state without some foregoing pre 
paration. Every more remarkable turn or change in our lives, 
is commonly (if at all foreknown) introduced by many serious 
forethoughts. If a man he to change his dwelling, employment, 
condition, common discretion will put him upon thinking how 
to comport with the place, business, converse, and way of living 
he is next to betake himself to. And his thoughts will be the 
more intense, by how much more momentous tbe change. If 
he be to leave his country, with no probability of returning ; 
if he be designed to a station, the circumstances whereof carry 
any thing of awfulness in them ; if to public business, if on 
court attendances, with what solemnity and address are such 
things undertaken ! How loth and ashamed would one be, to 
go into such a condition, being totally unapt, not at all knowing 
how to behave himself in it ! But what so great change as this 
can the nature of man admit, that a soul, long shut up in flesh, 
is now to. go forth from its earthly mansion, and return no more; 
expecting to be received into the glorious presence of the eternal 
King, and go act its part among the perfected spirits that at 
tend his throne ! How solicitous endeavour of a very thorough 
preparation doth this case call for ! But how ill doth the com 
mon course of men agree to this, who never have such matters 
in their thoughts, who so much neglect not their very hogs as 
they do their spirits! 

[5.] That we have much conversation with God. He is 
the only full and permanent good ; therefore the endeavour of 
becoming very inward with him, doth best agree with the ex- 
VOL HI, 2 x 


pectation of a state perfectly good and happy. To expect thfe, 
and converse only with shadows arid vanishing things, is to ex 
pect to be happy without a happiness ; or that our happiness 
should betide us as a casual thing, or be forced upon us at last 
whether we will or no. But since our happiness in God is on 
his part not necessary, but vouchsafed and gratuitous, depending 
on mere good pleasure ; is it our best way of ingratiating our 
selves with him, to neglect him and live as without him in the 
world ; to keep ourselves strangers to him all our days, with a 
purpose only of flying to him at last, when all things else that 
were wont to please us are vanished and gone ? And if we 
could suppose his wisdom and justice to admit his forgiving so 
provoking contempt of him, and receiving an exiled soul forced 
out of its earthly abode, that to the last moment of it would 
never look after him, or have to do with him ; yet can it be 
supposed, that its own habitual aversation to him could allow it 
to be happy in him ? Especially being increased and confirmed 
by its consciousness and sense of guilt ? How can these but 
make it banish itself, and in a sullen enmity and despair per 
petually flee the divine presence ? What can in this case be 
more natural to it, than to give up itself to eternal solitary 
wanderings, as a fugitive from God ; to affect to be ever en- 
wrapt in its own darkness, and hidden from his sight, and be 
an everlasting tormentor to itself? Can we be happy in him 
whom we do not love ; or love whom we will not know, or be 
acquainted with ? 

What sure ground of hope can we imagine to ourselves, that 
our reconciliation and acquaintance with God shall ever be 
brought about, if it be not done while we are here in the body? 
Will we be so vain, as to cherish a hope that not only affronts 
the visible import of God's revelation, but the very reason of 
things, and the natural tendency of our own spirits ? Nor in 
deed (if we would consider better) can we possibly hope for 
what we desire not, or whereto our hearts are in an habitual 
disaffection, otherwise than (in the present case) negatively, 
and that our infidelity permits us not to fear the contrary. Yea, 
and the lively hope of a blessedness in God, as it includes de 
sire, would certainly infer that purity (the image of his own) 
that could never fail to incline our hearts to him, and which 
would habituate us to a course of walking with him in in 
ward communion. And this were comely and agreeable to our 
pretences, if while we profess ourselves made for another state, 
we retire ourselves from the fading things that put a vanity into 
tin's, and single out, by our own choice, the stable good which 
we expect ever to enjoy. How befitting is it, to pass by alJ 


things with neglect, and betake ourselves hither with this sense? 
" Lord, I have viewed the world over, in which thou hast set me; 
I have tried how this and that thing will fit my spirit and the de 
sign of my creation ; and can find nothing in which to rest, for 
nothing here doth itself rest, but such things as please me for 
awhile, in some degree, vanish and flee as shadows from before 
me. Lo, I come to thee, the eternal Being, the Spring of life, 
the Centre of rest, the Stay of the creation, the Fulness of all 
things ! I join myself to thee, with thee I will lead my life 
and spend my days, with whom I aim to dwell for ever, ex 
pecting when my little time is over to be taken up ere long 
into thy eternity." 

And since we, who live under the gospel, have heard of the 
Redeemer, of the dignity of his person, of his high office and 
power, of his merciful design and great achievements for the 
restoring of lapsed and lost souls : it is most agreeable to our 
apprehensions of the vanity of this present state, and our ex 
pectations for the future, that we commit ourselves to him : 
that with entire trust and love, devotedness and subjection, we 
give ourselves up to his happy conduct, to be led by him to Godj 
and instated into that eternal blessedness which we look for. His 
kingdom is not of this world; as we profess not to be. We cannot 
be innocently ignorant, that its constitution and frame, its laws 
and ordinances, its aspect and tendency in itself, and the whole 
course of its administration, are directed to that other state. 
" He hath overcome death, and him that had the power of it ; 
hath brought life and immortality to light, is the first begotten 
from the dead, and trie first fruits of them that slept;" hath 
opened heaven to us, and is himself ascended and entered as- 
our victorious triumphant Captaiq and Forerunner. He is adorn 
ed with highest power, and hath set up a universal kingdom 
extended to the utmost bounds of this apostate world, and the 
vaster regions of innocent and constantly loyal spirits. His 
proclamations are issued out, his ensigns displayed to invite and 
call in whosoever are weary of the sin and vanity of this wretched 
world, of their alienation from the life of God, of living in the 
midst of death ; to join themselves to him, the Prince and Lord 
of life, and be led by him to the immortal state. If the pre 
sent state of things appear dismal to us ; if we reckon it a woful 
spectacle to behold sin and death reigning, wickedness and mor 
tality acting their combined parts, to waste the world and 
lay it desolate ; if we would deliver ourselves and escape from 
the common ruin, are seriously designing for heaven, and that 
world in which death hath no place, nor any shadow of death ; 
let us betake ourselves to him, enroll our names, put ourselves 


under his banners and discipline, strictly observing the taws 
and following the guidance of that our invisible Lord, whcr 
will be Author ot eternal salvation to them that obey him, and 
save to the utmost all that come to God through him. How 
dear should he be to us ! How cheerfully should we trust him, 
how dutifully serve him, how faithfully adhere to him, both for 
his owq sake, and that of the design he hath in hand for us, 
and the pleasant savour of heaven and immortality which 
breathes in both ! But if we neglect him, and disown our re 
lation to him y or if we let days and years go over our heads, 
wherein we drowsily slumber ; roll ourselves in the dust of the 
earth ; and while we call ourselves Christians, forget the reason 
and importance of our own name, and think not of our being under 
his call and conduct to the eternal kingdom and glory : this is 
perversely to reject what we say (only) we seek; to disclaim and 
renounce our pretences to immortality; to blast aiid damn our 
own great hopes. 

[6.] It is congruous to our expectation of so great things after 
death, that we live in a cheerful pleasant expectation of it. 
For what must necessarily intervene, though not grateful in it" 
self should be reckoned so, for the sake of that which is. This 
only can upon the best terms reconcile us to the grave ; that 
our greatest hopes lie beyond it ; and are not hazarded by it, 
but accomplished. Although, indeed, nothing were to be ex 
pected hereafter; yet so little suitable entertainment doth this 
world afford to a reasonable spirit, that the mere weariness of 
beholding a scene of vanity and folly, might well make a recess 
acceptable. For is it so grateful a thing to observe the confused 
scramble and hurry of the world ? how almost every one makes 
it his business to catch from another what is worth nothing? 
with what toil, and art, and violence men pursue, what when 
they embrace they find a shadow ? to see deluded mortals^ 
each one intent upon his own particular design, and most com 
monly interfering with another's : some imposed upon by others 
over-reaching wit, and all by their own folly : some lamenting 
their losses, others their short and unsatisfying acquisitions : 
many pleasing themselves with being mocked, and contentedly' 
hugging the empty cloud, till death comes and ends the story, 
and ceases the busy agitation ; that is, with so many particular 
persons, not with the world : a new succession still springing 
up, that continue the interlude, and still act over the same 
parts, ad tacdmm usque ! 

What serious person, who that is not in love with impertin- 
cncy and foolery, would much regret it, to close his eyes, 
to have the curtains drawn, and bid good-night to the world 
without ever wishing to see the morning of such another day ? 


And even they that have the world most in their power, and 
can command what they pleasa for the gratifying of" their ap 
petites, without the contradiction and control of others, what 
qan they enjoy more to morrow than they did yesterday ; or 
the next year than this ? Is it so much worth the while to live, 
to see a few more persons bow the knee ? to extend power a 
little further ? to make another essay, what pleasure sense can 
taste in some or other hitherto unexperimented rarity ? What 
more peculiar gusto this or that thing will afford; and try the 
other dish ? or to renew the same relishes over again ? He 
whose creative fancy could make him golden mountains in a 
dream, create him a prince of nations, give him to enjoy the 
most delicious pleasures of the world in idea, might, with some 
plausible shew of reason, be deemed the happier man, than he 
that hath and is all this indeed : for his toil is less, and his 
victories unbloody, his pleasures not so impure* However, one 
would think, that to such whose utmost attainments end only in 
the pleasure of their sense, and have but this epiphonema, 
" Now let us sit down, eat drink and be merry." A little 
time might suffice for business of no more weight ; and that no 
man, after he hath once seen the course of the world and tasted 
of its best delicacies, should greatly wish for a renewal or long- 
continued repetition of so fulsome vanities. 

But the most find not the world so kind, and are not so much 
exercised in the innovating of pleasures as miseries, (changes 
being their only remedies, as the moralist speaks ; or in bearing 
(more sadly) the same every day's burden ; and drawing out the 
series of their calamities in the same kind through the whole 
course of their time. And surely, these things considered, 
there wants not what might persuade a sceptic, or even a per 
fect infidel, as to another world, not so much to be in love with 
this. For upon the whole, let but the case be thus put ; is it 
not as good to do nothing, as to be busy to no purpose ? And 
again, is it not as good to be nothing, as to be, and do no 
thing? Sober reason would judge, at least, there were but 
little odds. But now ; if such considerations as have been men 
tioned, would suffice to state the matter in {Equilibria, to make 
the scales even; ought the rational sober belief of a bles-\ 
sed immortality to do nothing to turn the ballance? Ought 
the love of God to do nothing ? The desire and hope of a state 
perfectly good and happy, quiet and peaceful; of living in the 
region of undefiled, innocent love and pleasure ; in the com 
munion of holy and blessed spirits, (all highly pleased, not in 
their own only, but one another's happiness ; and all concen 
tering in the admiration and praise of their common Parent 
and Lord;) ought all this nothing to alter the case with us^ or 


signify nothing to the inclining our minds to the so unspcaka* 
bly better part ? Methinks since we acknowledge such an 
order of intelligent (and already happy) creatures, we should 
even blush to think they should be spectators of our daily 
course and (too plainly discovered) inclinations ; so disfonii 
and unagreeable to all the laws and dictates of reasonable na-, 
ture? What censures, may we think, do they pass upon our 
follies? Are those things great in their eyes, that are so in 
ours ? In lesser matters (as some interpret that passage) inde 
cencies are to be avoided, because of those blessed spirits. ] . 
Cor. 11.10. May we not then be ashamed, that they should dis 
cern our terrene dispositions : and see us come so unwillingly 
into their consort and happy state ? Although our present de 
pressing circumstances will not suffer us to be in all things, as 
yet, conformable to their high condition, we should however 
carry it as candidates thereto, studying to approve ourselves, 
waiting and longing to be transumedand taken up into it. 

And since we have so high and great an expectation, and it 
is understood and known, that the very perfection and end of 
our beings is no otherwise attainable, than by putting off our 
sordid flesh, and laying aside this earthly appurtenance ; that 
yet there should be so fixed and prevailing an aversion to it, is 
a most unaccountable thing, and one of the greatest problems 
in nature. I say, prevailing : for admit, what is like to be al 
leged, that an addictedness to the body is by natural inclinati 
on : ought not the laws of a superior to prevail over those of the 
'inferior nature ? And is not the love of God a higher natural 
law than that of the body ; to whom here our service is little, 
yea our disservice much ; and from whose most desirable com 
merce we suffer so uncomfortable a disclusion by the sad cir 
cumstances of our bodily state ? Are we more nearly allied to 
a piece of clay, than to the Father of our spirits ? And again, 
is not every thing nearest to itself; and obliged to place love 
there, rather than on any inferior thing (at least) how nearly 
soever united \ since there can be no pretence of any such 
nearer union, than of a thing with itself ? And are not our souls 
and our bodies (though united, yet) distinct things? Why then 
should not our souls, that are capable of understanding their own 
interest, mind that first, intend most their own perfection and 
improvement, and begin their charity at home ? It is not strange, 
jthat what is weaker and more ignoble, should affect union with 
*what is above it, and a spring of life to it : but when it is found 
burdensome, nothing forbids, but that the superior being may 
be well content, upon fair and allowable terms, to be rid of the 
burden. Therefore, though flesh and blood may reluctate and 
shrink at it, when we think of laying it down 3 yet it becomes 


immortal spirits, to consider their own affairs, arid be (more 
principally) intent upon what will he their own advantage. If 
so mean a creature as a sorry flea, finding it can draw a suitable 
aliment from our bodies, affect to dwell there, and is loth to 
leave us ; it were a ludicrous pity to be therefore content to en 
dure its troublesome vellications, because we fear the poor ani 
mal should be put to its shifts, and not be otherwise able to 
find a subsistence. 

It is true, that the great Creator and Lord of the universe, 
hath not permitted us the liberty of so throwing off our bodies 
when we will, which otherwise are in dignity far more beneath 
our spirits than so despicable a creature is beneath them. And 
to his disposal that hath ordered this conjunction for a time 
(whether we look upon it as an effect of his simple pleasure, or 
of his displeasure) we must yield an awful and a patient submis 
sion, till this part of his providence towards us have run its 
course and attained its ends. And then, how welcome should 
the hour of our discharge and freedom be, from so troublesome 
an associate ! Which upon no other account, than that of du 
ty towards the Author of our beings, one would more endure; 
than to have the most noisome offensive vermine always preying 
upon his flesh. At least, (though the consideration of our own 
advantage had no place with us in this matter,) the same sense 
of duty towards our great Creator, which should make us pa 
tient of an abode in the body while he will have it so, should 
also form our spirits to a willing departure when it shall be his 
pleasure to release us thence. But, that neither a regard to 
his pleasure, nor our own blessedness, should prevail against 
our love to the body, is the unaccountable thing I speak of. 
And to plead only, in the case, the corruption of our natures 
that sets us at odds with God and ourselves, is to justify the thing 
by what is itself most unjustifiable ; or rather (as some that have 
affected to be styled philosophers have been wont to expedite 
difficulties, by resolving the matter into the usual course of na 
ture) to resolve the thing into itself, and say, it is so, because 
it is so, or is wont to be ; and indeed, plainly to confess there 
is no account to be given of it. This being the very thing about 
which we expostulate, that reasonable nature should so preva 
ricate. The commonness whereof doth not take away the won 
der, but rather render it more dreadful and astonishing. 

The truth is, the incongruity in the present case is only to 
be solved by redress ; by earnest strivings with God, and our 
own souls, till we find ourselves recovered into a right mind ; 
into the constitution and composure whereof a generous forti 
tude hath a necessary ingrediency; that usually upon lower mo 
tives refuses no change of climate, and will carry a man into 



unknown countries, and through greatest hajsards in the pursuit 
of honourable enterprizes, of a much inferior kind. It is rec 
koned a brave and manly thing, to be in the temper of one's 
mind a citizen of the world, (meaning it of this lower one :)but 
why not rather of the universe ? And it is accounted mean and 
base, that one should be so confined by his fear or sloth to that 
pot of ground where he was born, as not upon just inducement 
to look abroad, and go for warrantable and worthy purposes (yea, 
if it were only honest self-advantage) as far as the utmost ends 
of the earth: but dare we not venture a little farther? These 
ere too narrow bounds for a truly great spirit. Any thing that 
is tinctured with earth, or savours of mortality, we should rec 
kon too mean for us ; and not regret it, that heaven and im 
mortality are not to be attained but by dying ; so should the 
love of our own souls, and the desire of a perpetual state of life, 
triumph over the fear of death. But it may be alleged by some, 
that it is only a solicitous love to their souls, that makes them 
dread this change. They know it will not fare with all alike 
thereafter, and know not what their own lot shall be. And is 
this indeed our case ? Then, what have we been doing all this 
while ? And how are we concerned to lose no more time ? 
But too often a terrene spirit lurks under this pretence ; and 
men allege their want of assurance of heaven, when the love of 
this earth, which they cannot endure to think of leaving, holds 
their hearts. 

And, (a little to discuss this matter,) what would we have to 
'assure us ? Do we expect a vision or a voice ? Or are we not 
to try ourselves ; and search for such characters in our own souls, 
as may distinguish and note us out for heaven ? Among these, 
what can be more clear and certain than this, that we have our 
hearts much set upon it ? They that have their conversations 
in heaven, may from thence expect the Saviour, who shall 
change their vile bodies (the bodies of their humiliation, or low 
abject state,) and make them like his own glorious body. Phil. 
3. 20.2 1 .God, who will render to every man according to his works, 
will give them that by patient continuance in well-doing seek 
honour and glory and immortality, eternal life. Rom. 2. 6'. 7. 
They that set their affections (or minds) on the things above, 
not those on the earth ; when Christ shall appear, who is thei* 
life, shall appear with him in glory. Col. 3. 2. 3. 4. Mistake 
not the notion of heaven, or the blessedness of the other world; 
render it not to yourselves a composition of sensual enjoyments: 
understand it (principally) to consist in perfect holiness and 
communion with God, (as his own word represents it, and as 
reason hath taught evea some pagans to reckon of it ;) and you 


cannot judge of your own right by a surer and plainer rule, than 
that eternal blessedness shall be theirs, whose hearts are truly 
bent and directed towards it. Admit we then this principle; 
and now let us reason with ourselves from it : we have a disco 
very made to us of a future state of blessedness in God, not as 
desirable only in itself, but as attainable and possible to be en 
joyed, (the Redeemer having opened the way to it by his blood, 
and given us, at once, both the prospect and the offer of it,) 
so that it is before us as the object of a reasonable desire. Now 
either our hearts are so taken with this discovery, that we a- 
bove all things desire this state, or not. If they be, we desire 
it more than our earthly stations and enjoyments, are wil 
ling to leave the world and the body to enjoy it; and so did false 
ly accuse ourselves of a prevailing aversion to this change. If 
they be not, the thing is true, that we are upon no terms wil 
ling to die : but the cause is falsely, or partially assigned. It is 
not so much because we are unassured of heaven, but (as was 
above suspected) because we love this world better, and our 
hearts centre in it as our most desirable good. 

Therefore we see how unreasonably this is often said, we are 
unwilling to change states, because we are unassured. The 
truth is, they are unassured, because they are unwilling ; and 
what then ensues ? They are unwilling because they are un 
willing. And so they may endlessly dispute themselves round, 
from unwillingness to unwillingness. But is there no way to 
get out of this unhappy circle ? In order to it, let the case be 
more fully understood : either this double unwillingness must 
be referred to the same thing, or to divers : if to the same thing, 
it is not sense ; they say what signifies nothing ; for being to 
assign a cause of their unwillingness to quit the body, to say, 
because they are unwilling, (namely, of that,) is to assign no 
cftuse, for nothing can be the cause of itself: but if they refer 
to divers things, and say, they are unwilling to go out of the 
body, because they are unwilling to forsake earth for heaven ; 
the case is then plain, but sad, and not alterable, but with the 
alteration of the temper of their spirits, Wherefore let us all 
apply ourselves (since with none this is so fully done, that no 
more is needful) to the serious endeavour of getting our souls 
purged from the dross of this world, and enamoured of the pu 
rity and blessedness of heaven, so the cause and effect will va 
nish together; we shall find that suitableness and inclination in 
our spirits to that blessedness as may yield us the ground of a 
comfortable persuasion that it belongs to us; and then, not be 
unwilling, though many deaths stood in our way, to break 
through to attain it. 

VOL in. 2V 












Co tfie expectation 



Heb. 10, xxxvi. 

For ye "have need of patience ; that after ye have done 
the will of God, ye might receive the promise. 

TT is evident, the Creator of this lower world never intended 
* it to be the perpetual dwelling place of its inhabitants, if 
man had continued innocent : inasmuch as sin and death, by 
inseparable connection, entered together ; had sin never en 
tered, death would never have had place here. And whereas, 
by the blessing of God, multitudes had been continually born 
into this world, and none have ever died out of it ; by conse 
quence it must have been, in time, so over-peopled, as not to 
contain its inhabitants. Whereupon, man having been created 
in a state of probation, as his fall shewed, and a candidate for a 
better state in some nobler region ; the time of probation being 
over (the limits whereof, considering the sad events that soon 
ensued, it was to no purpose for us to know, nor consequently 
for God to reveal) it could not be, but that nature itself, being, 
in every one, pure and genuine, must prompt him to continual 
aspirings towards the highest perfection, whereof, by the divine 
will, he should find himself capable. Though yet it could not 
consist with the sinfulness of his present state to be over-hasty ; 
but the conscience of his being a debtor for all his present at 
tainments to the freest and most munificent bounty, must oblige 
him to a dutiful compliance with the wise, and sovereign 
pleasure of his blessed Lord j to a cheerful contentation, ajjd 


willingness, that he should make what further use of him he 
should see fit, for transmitting a holy life and nature, to such 
as should come after him ; and to a most calm, serene, and 
pleasant expectation of being seasonably translated higher. 

But now sin and death having invaded this world and spread 
through it, into how horrid a gulf have they turned this part of 
God's creation ! Men having by their own apostacy cut them- 
teelves off from God, do each of them grasp at Deity; every one 
attempts to fill up his room, and is so profanely insolent, as to 
affect being a God tp himself, his own first and last. And all 
having withdrawn themselves from God, and abandoned his 
interest, which the law of their creation, and their dependent 
state, obliged them to serve ; they have no common interest 
left ; whereupon every one makes his own, his only interest, 
And that sovereign principle of divine love being extinct/ 
whereby they were to love God with all their hearts, souls, 
minds, and might, which is the first and great command ; the 
second branch, like the former, by which they were all, for his 
sake, to love each other, as himself, naturally fails and dies. 
Whence every one sets up himself, in exclusion to God, and all 
other men. And that self, (all concern for their better, and 
nobler part, which could only have its support and satisfaction 
in God, being suppressed and lost) is only their baser, their 
carnal self. It is this alone, they are concerned for. And 
every one seeks to catch and engross all that he can, for the 
service and gratification of this vile, sensual self, out of this 
sensible world; which, because it is all empty vanity, and hath 
not enough in it to satiate so enormous, and ungoverned an 
appetite, this makes them tear this world in pieces ; every one 
snatching what he can of it for himself. Hence are wars, and 
fightings, James 4. 1.4. And as by friendship, everyone 
seeks to contract with this world separately, and alone, so as to 
engross it to himself, apart from other men, they make them 
selves enemies to God; so they become devils to one another. 
And thus are men generally drowned in perdition and destruc 
tion. But the merciful God hath appointed his own Son, a 
Redeemer for us, who gave himself for our sins, to deliver us 
(to take us out from, as the word Gal. 1. 4. signifies) this pre 
sent evil world ; whose first law, and most deeply fundamental 
to the whole Christian state, as the case before stated required, 
is that of self-denial ; which, so far as it obtains, doth truly 
restore us to ourselves, and to our first and primitive state, and 
place, in God's creation. For having suffered once for us, the 
just for the unjust, to bring us to God, 1 Pet. 3. 18. and having 
redeemed* us to God by his blood. Rev. 5. 9. when he shall 


have obtained this, his end upon us, all things fall right with us 
as to him, ourselves, and one another. 

Yet because the wise and God-becoming methods, which 
are used in pursuance of the Redeemer's design, do not gene- 
tally take place, or prevail against the spirit of this world ; but 
men, through their own wicked inclination, obstinately adhere 
to this world, seeking their all from it; and the usurping God 
of this world blinding their minds, that the glorious light of the 
gospel of Christ should not shine to them, (2 Cor. 4. 4.) and be 
ing an inworking spirit in the children of disobedience, (Ephes. 
2. 2.) leading them captive at his will, (2 Tim. 2. 26.) and that 
this prince of the darkness of this world, made up of malice and 
envy against God, and of malignity and mischief against men, 
as their common Apollyon, and destroyer, doth with all his le 
gions haunt and infest this lower world, till the time of their 
torment come; and that, thus enmity against God and his 
Christ is fomented, and naturally propagated from age to age 
in this world ; it is therefore God's righteous and declared plea 
sure, to put an end to this state of things ; not to continue this 
world, as the stage of his perpetuated dishonours ; but to shut 
it up by the final judgment, and at last consume it with fire. 
In the mean time, while he is gradually consuming sinners out 
of this earth, he is, by equal degrees, gathering home his own 
out of it. And to them, how great a privilege is it to be taken 
out from this present evil world ! Which that they may appre 
hend with savour and relish, their blessed Lord hath let them, 
have a foresight of death abolished, and of life and immortality 
brought to light in his gospel ; and gives them the spirit of 
wisdom and revelation, that tbey may know the hope of their 
calling, (Ephes. 1 . 17, 18.) endowing them with that faith, 
which is the substance of the things they hope for. Heb. 11. 1. 
"Whereupon, having all the glories of the other world in view, 
and the representation of a state, which they have reason to ap 
prehend as much more blissful and glorious, than, in the way 
of even, primitive nature, they could have attained to; in pro 
portion, as the second Adam doth excel the first in dignity, 
performances, and glory : here, therefore, their need ofpa~ 
tience, in expecting this final issue of things, to themselves in 
particular, and to the whole redeemed community, is most con 
spicuous, and appears great, even as it relates to this expectation, 
though they did not labour under the pressure of very grievous 
evils besides, which yet must much increase that need. 

But it is this expectation itself, to which I intend principally 
to confine the present discourse. In reference whereunto, the 
greater the pleasure is of our fore-sight, the greater need we 
fihall have of this patience; that is, as, our fore-sight, though be- 


holding the terrible things, death, and the final dissolution of 
all things, which must intervene, doth yet terminate on the 
blessed consequents thereof. And those consequents, namely, 
the enjoyments and blessedness of the future state, it is plain 
the apostle did intend in these words, as the context evidently 
shews, that is, whether you consider the foregoing, or the fol 
lowing context. For that great recompence of reward, men 
tioned in the immediately foregoing, ver. 35. and the salva 
tion of our souls, in the close of this chapter; and the things 
hoped for, and not seen, in the very beginning of the next, do 
plainly shew, the discourse being of a piece, that the promise 
to be received, must be the promise of that blessedness, that is 
not to be enjoyed, in the fulness of it but by intervening death: 
nor by all holy men together till the end of all things, chap. 
1 1. 13. And whereas we have here the expression of receiving 
the promise, it is plain the promise must be understood objec 
tively; that is, that transcendent good that was promised; name 
ly, that principally, wherein all the promises do finally and 
lastly centre : which, it is plain, the apostle here most especi 
ally intends, as being eminently called tbe promise. Where 
upon : there are now two things that offer themselves to our ob 
servation from this scripture : that the business of a sincere 
Christian in this world is to be doing the will of God: and that 
patience, in expecting the consequent blessedness of the future 
state, is a needful requisite in every sincere and thorough Chris 
tian. The former of these I shall not insist upon; but only 
touch transiently. 

I need not tell you that, by the will of God, we are to un 
derstand the object of his will, or that which he wills, namely, 
the thing willed ; not his will itself, which is not a thing yet to 
be done, but eternal, as his own very being itself. And again, 
that you may easily apprehend, it is our duty willed by him, 
and not mere events, that must be understood to be the object 
of this will, namely, wherein we have a part to act ; otherwise 
how are we said to do his will ? Of this, every sincere Christian 
must be the active instrument. All creatures, whether they 
will or no, whether they design any such thing, or design it 
not, must be the passive subjects, upon which his will takes 
place. But to be the active instrument thereof, is, in fact, the 
business only of a devoted person, one given up to God in 
Christ. Such only are in an immediate capacity, or prompti 
tude to do the will of God, intentionally, and with their own 
design; though it be the undoubted duty of all, who are na 
turally capable thereof. 

Will this rebel-world never consider this ! that are in a con 
tinual war with him, in whose hands is their breath, on this 


.nigh point, whose will shall be supreme ! And dread not the 
Issue of so unequal a combat, between omnipotence and an 
earthen potsherd ! Nor bethink themselves what woes impend, 
and hang over their guilty heads, for so mad insolence, as striv 
ing with their Maker! Isai. 45. 9. Will they never consider 
it, that pretend subjection to him ? when their very pretence is 
a mockery! and that affront him with the frequent repetition 
of that ludicrous petition, " Thy will be done on earth" amidst 
their open, contemptuous oppositions thereto ! But I shall ap 
ply myself to consider the latter of these ; that patience, in the 
expectation of the blessedness of the heavenly estate, is very 
needful to every sincere and thorough Christian." And in speak 
ing to this, I shaU -give some account of this patience, according 
as it is to have this exercise, in expecting future blessedness : 
and labour to evince to you the necessity of it; how needful 
a thing it is to any serious and thorough Christian. And so the 
use will ensue. 

I. I shall give some account of this patience, as it is to be ex- 
'ercised in the present case. We might, indeed, assign a third 
occasion of exercising patience, besides suffering present in 
cumbent evils, and expecting a future hoped good, namely, 
doing the good which belongs to the duty of our present state, 
which the text points out to us in what it interposes, " after ye 
have done the will of God," and which is intimated, when we 
are charged not to be weary of well-doing, (Gal. C. 9.) and, 
by a patient continuance in well-doing to seek honour, 
glory, immortality, &c. (Rom. 2. 7.) and to run with patience 
the race set before us, (Heb. 12. 1.) when also the good ground 
is said to bring forth with patience, Luke 8. 15. But con 
sidering the pleasure, which doing good contains in itself, and 
that the patience it gives occasion for, is accidental, and arises 
from the other two, either the sufferings, to which doing good 
often exposes ; or the expectation of a greater good in a per 
fect state; when also all indisposition and lassitude shall perfect 
ly cease ; we need not make this a distinct head. Or, however, 
our present design confines us, chiefly, to the patience that is 
to be exercised in the expectation of our final good, namely 
blessedness and in speaking hereto, I shall lay down some 
things more generally, and thence proceed to what will more 
particularly concern the matter in hand. 

1. There are some things more generally to be considered, 
which, though more remotely, will aptly serve our purpose. 

(I.) That the natural constitution of the human soul dis- 
poseth it, equally to covet and pursue a desirable good, as to re 
gret and shun a hurtful evil. This is plain to any that under 
stand their own natures, and take any notice of the most con 
natural motions and operations of their inward man. 

VOL, m. 2 z 


(2.) That the want of such a desirable and suitable good* 
undertood to be so, is as truly afflicting and grievous, as the 
pressure of a present evil. 

(3.) That an ability to bear that want, is as real and need 
ful an endowment, as the fortitude, by which we endure a pain 
ful evil. Yea, and it maybe as sensibly painful, the pain of thirst, 
being as grievous, as that of a wound or bruise. Therefore the 
ability to bear it, without despondency, or any perturbation, or 
discomposure of spirit, call it by what name you will, is a most 
desirable advantage and benefit to any man. 

(4.) That, therefore, it equally belongs to patience, to be 
exercised in the one case, as well as in the other. And the 
general nature of it being found in each, as we shall further see 
hereafter, the name is, with equal fitness, common to both, and 
to be given alike to either of them. For what do names serve 
for, but to express the natures of things as near as we can? These 
generals being thus premised, I shall 

2. Proceed more distinctly to give account of patience, ac 
cording to this notion of it, by shewing ^wliat it supposes : 
and wherein it consists. 

( I .) What it supposes, as it hath its exercise this way, namely, 
in the expectation of the blessedness of the future state. 

[" I.] That blessedness, truly so called, be actually understood 
and apprehended by the expectants, as a real and most desirable 
good to them. They can, otherwise, never think themselves to 
Deed patience, in expecting it. To the blind, befooled world, 
true blessedness is a frightful thing. They run from it as a 
mormo, or some terrible appearance. Religion, that is, near 
ness to God, and inward conversation with him, (which we will 
not say hath affinity with it, but contains it, or is the same thing) 
they dread as a formidable darkness, or "the shadow of death. 
Therefore they say to God, " Depart from us," Whereupon 
it is not the want of this blessedness, but the thing itself, so 
monstrously misunderstood, that gives exercise to their patience; 
nor have they patience enough for it. The divine presence 
they cannot endure. 

[2.] The delays and deferring of this blessedness must be an 
afflicting and felt grievance. Otherwise patience can have no 
place or exercise about it. Paganish morality hath taught us, 
Nulla est Virtus qua non sent is perpeti : it is no virtue at 
all to bear that ivhich I do not feel. (Seneca.) A stone, if 
it bear the most heavy weight, yet feels it not. And, saith that 
instructive writer, we ascribe not to the virtuous man the hard 
ness of a stone. If I have no feeling of a grievance in the de 
ferred blessedness of die future state, I have no use for patience 
in expecting it. Hope deferred (saith one divinely wise) makes 


the heart sick. There will be a sickness at the heart, hy the 
delay of what I hope for, most of all, when the sum of my bles 
sedness is the thing hoped for, and still deferred. The delay 
must be as grievous, as the attainment is pre-apprehended to be 
pleasant and joyous ; namely, that when it comes, it is a tree of 
life: so the gratefulness of enjoyment is, in the opposite sentence, 
(Prov. 13. 12.) set against the heart-sickness of expectation. 
They that never felt their hearts sick with the desire of heaven, 
and the blessedness of that state, cannot conceive of itatree of life 
before- hand, nor ever know what patience in expecting it sig 
nifies, in the mean time. These things being supposed unto 
this patience, we next come to shew, 

(2.) Wherein it consists. And are here to consider, that it 
more special nature cannot be understood, without taking some 
previous short notice of its general nature, or what it hath in it, 
common to it with other patience under the same name. Its 
more general notion seems not capable of any fitter expression, 
than an ability becomingly to endure. But because that may 
be without or with reference to God; this latter we are to sin 
gle out, for the subject of our present discourse, as that which 
the text expressly intends: Ye have need of patience, that af 
ter ye have done the will of God ye may receive the promise. 
And its reference to God may be twofold, namely, both as he is 
the Author and the Object of it. 

[1.] As he is the Author. Inasmuch as it is a most useful 
principle and disposition of soul, which, with a compassionate 
regard to the exigency of our present state, God is pleased to 
implant in such, as he hath a favour for, that they may not be 
exposed, as a vessel in a wide and stormy sea, unable, other 
wise, to endure, and under a necessity of sinking, or of being 
broken in pieces. In their make and frame, they are fitted to 
their state, even by gracious vouchsafement : and therefore is 
this fitly reckoned a divine grace. We find it placed among the 
fruits of the Spirit, (Gal. 5. 22.) and are therefore to count it, 
as that is the Spirit of grace, a most needful and excellent grace 
of that blessed Spirit, by which, duly exercised, the soul is com 
posed unto a right temper, not only in bearing the evils of this 
present state; but in waiting for the blessedness of the future. 
And thus we consider it as, not only, a rational temperament, 
that may, in great part, take its rise from ourselves, and the sober 
use of our own thoughts, (which yet it unbecomes us not to em 
ploy to this purpose) but also as a gratuitous donation, a gift of 
the good Spirit of God. And hereof there is a not obscure in 
timation in the text, telling us we have need of patience. It 
is grace, or merciful vouchsafement, that considers what we do 
need. Whence, therefore, we hear of a throne of grace, whi- 


ther we are to come for mercy, and grace, to help in time of 
need. Heb. 4. 16. 

And, as such, how fitly is its nature signified in the mention 
ed place by the word ^XK^V^IX longanimity ; which we read, 
less properly, long-suffering; there being no notion of suffer 
ing in the word; taking also Qvp&* 9 or animus, in present, 
composition, as not only signifying mind, as that denotes the 
understanding faculty, or mere intellect ; but lively desire, a 
certain vigour, and strength of spirit, zeal, hope, courage, 
fortitude, an unaptness to a yielding succumbency; and this 
(as the other word signifies) through a long space, or tract of 
time. When desire and hope are lengthened and continued, 
without despondency, even to the appointed term, and during 
the prescribed season of expectation. And so the word doth 
rather incline to express patience, as it refers unto a desired 
good, that we are expecting and waiting for. And you find it 
mentioned with other graces, (2 Pet. 1. 5, 6.) by the word in 
the text VTTO/AOV*), which is equally apt to express a permanent 
waiting, or expectation of good, as suffering of incumbent evil. 
But also, if we consider that context, we there may discern its. 
heavenly descent, and its being a part of the offspring of God 
among men. For immediately, upon the mention of a divine 
nature participated (or a godly frame and habit of soul) that 
carries a man up, or enables him to emerge, and escape the 
pollutions of this impure world ; besides this escape, are to be 
added (not without our own intervening diligence) the several 
following gracious principles, as branches, into which that di 
vine nature shoots forth, exerts, and spreads itself, of which 
this patience is one. 

And, to shew its divine original, God is pleased to style him 
self in his word, the God of patience, (Rom. 15. 5.) it is 
his very image in the soul. For is not the divine patience one 
of the great attributes, by which we are to know him ? and for 
which we are to adore him ? It is that, by which he suffers, 
not hurt, whereof the divine Being is not capable ; but, by 
which he bears much wrong from his injurious, revolted crea 
tures. Whence it is a mighty power, that is said, to lie in the 
divine patience. Let the power of my Lord be great, accord 
ing as thou hast spoken, the Lord is long-suffering, &c. Numb. 
14. 17, 18. It is indeed, his power over himself, by which he 
restrains his anger, his omnipotent anger, that would otherwise 
go forth to consume offending creatures, We cannot, indeed, 
conceive any such passion in God, which he finds a difficulty 
in restraining, though speaking to men, he uses their language, 
and bespeaks them in their own idioms, and forms of speech. 
But it is owing to the necessary, self-originate concurrence of 


all perfections in his nature and being, that nothing unbecom 
ing Deity can have place there. In the mean time, since the 
new creature is Godlike, the image of God, we hence are taught 
to conceive of patience (a part of that production) not under 
the notion of dull and sluggish impotency, but of power, an a- 
bility to endure, as before, and that, as having its original and 
pattern in the blessed God himself. 

[2.] And it is. also specified by a respect to God as the object. 
For a deference to his holy pleasure in ordering the occasions 
of such exercise, is carried in the notion of it. It hath in it sub 
mission to the will of God. And by this it comes to be taken 
into religion, or religion must be taken into it, and be compre 
hended in our conception of it. True and gracious patience, 
and every exercise of it, to be looked upon as a part of piety 
and godliness. We are here not to suppose, that patience, in 
expecting good, and in bearing evils, must have distinct noti 
ons, but exercises only. And, though these exercises are dis 
tinct, yet as the suffering of many incumbent evils, is, in our 
present state, complicated with the absence and expectation of 
the good we desire; these exercises are scarce ever to be separa 
ted. It is, therefore, the less to surprise us, that this ingredi 
ent into the nature of patience, submission to God, should run 
into both, as we find a mixture in the occasions thereof. As 
when the psalmist complains of them that breathed cruelty a- 
gainst him, he says, "He had fainted " (as we translate, for 
those words "I had fainted" are not in the Hebrew text, but 
concealed in a more cmphatical aposiopoesis : as though he had 
said, it cannot be expressed, how deplorable my case had been, 
if I had not believed) to see the goodness of the Lord . And adds, 
Wait on the Lord, he shall strengthen thine heart, &c. Psal. 
27- 13, 14. 

This, in the mean time, is the voice of patience. It is the 
Lord ; and, in the present case, it is he that disposes, and or 
ders I should so longbear and wait; that over-awes my soul, and 
brings it down to a peaceful and dutiful acquiescence in his good 
pleasure ; peaceful to myself, dutiful towards him. Let him 
do what seems him good. Since it is his pleasure, that I 
should wait so long, before I shall become a blessed creature, 
I shall admire and praise him, that I hope 1 shall be so at last: 
but, with profound submission unto his purpose and determina 
tion herein, wait, till he shall think fit to fulfil this good plea 
sure of his goodness towards me, in accomplishing my desires, 
and in answering my expectations fully, at last ; when I shall 
be brought into that state, where is fulness of joy; and be pla 
ced at thy right hand, O Lord, where are rivers of pleasure 
for evermore ! The thing is wholly from him, and it is fit the 


time should be also. And now, as true patience hath belong 
ing to it, what is so special, namely, a respect to God, which 
we understand to be causal of it, in its proper kind; so we 
may give a further short account of it, considering it In its 
peculiar effect ; (or, as it is called, James 1. 4.) the work of 
patience, namely, that it gives a man a mastery and conquest 
over all undue and disorderly passions. It fixes the soul m a 
composed serenity, creates it a region of sedate and peaceful 
rest; infers into it a silent calm, allays, or prevents all turbu 
lent agitations; excludes whatsoever of noisy clamour ; permits 
no tumults, no storms or tempest within; whatsoever of that 
Idnd, in this our expecting state, may beset a man from with 
out. And this most connatural effect of patience, we see, how 
most aptly itisexpressed by our Saviour, (Luke 21. 19.) In your 
patience possess ye your souls, as if he had said, it is patience 
that must give a man the dominum sui; dominion over him~ 
self arid keep him, under God, in his own power. He inti 
mates, if you have not patience, you are outed of yourselves ; 
you are no longer masters of your own souls; can have no en 
joyment of yourselves ; and, therefore, are much less to expect 
a satisfying enjoyment of him. 

The temper of spirit it introduces, in opposition to angry and 
querulous repinings, is a dutiful silence. I was dumb, and 
opened not my mouth, because thou didst it. Psal. 39. 9. In 
opposition to fear, it is fortitude. Wait on the Lord; be of 
good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart; wait, I say, 
on the Lord, Psal. 27 14. In opposition to a despairing de 
jection of mind, it is confidence ; as in this context, cast not 
away your confidence, you have need of patience. In opposi 
tion to immoderate sorrow, for your deferred felicity, it is com 
placency. Strengthened with all might, according to his glo 
rious power, unto all patience and long-suffering, with joyful- 
ness ; giving thanks to the Father, who hath made us meet to be 
partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light, (Col. 1.11, 
12.) as if he had said, O blessed be God for our prospect! and 
that we have a firm ground whereupon to live, rejoicing in hope 
of the glory of God. Rom. 5. 2 It is that, by which, with 
this composure of soul, we expect, and are still looking for the 
blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God, and 
our Saviour Jesus Christ, (Titus 2. 13.) knowing, that to them 
who look for him, lie shall appear the second time, without 
sin unto salvation, (Heb. 9. 28.) for then it is that our bles 
sedness is complete when he shall appear the second time. 
Then all those many things concur, that are requisite to the 
making the work of our salvation, most perfect and consum 
mate work. And patience is to have its perfect work, in com- 


mensuration thereto. But while we are present in these earth 
ly bodies, we are absent from the Lord : and many things are 
wanting to the happiness we expect. This is the patience we 
are to exercise in the mean time. We may thus shortly sum up 
the matter, namely, that in reference to the delay of the bles 
sedness we expect : we ought not to be without sense, as if 
it were no grievance, which were stupidity, and not patience: 
and that we ought not to have an excessive sense of it, which 
were mere peevishness, and impatience. Therefore having 1 
given this account what this patience, considered in this exer 
cise, imports; I come, 

II. To shew the necessity of it, in a serious and thorough 
Christian, from the consideration of the principles, from 
whence this necessity arises, and the endsjwhich it is necessa 
ry unto. It must, indeed, be acknowledged, that the form of 
speech here used in the greek, ^fav E^, doth directly lead 
Us to consider the latter of these, usefulness, to such orsucli 
purposes, rather than the intrinsical necessity of a thing in it 
self. But it cannot be denied, that, to make a man a complete 
Christian, must be taken in as a primary, and fundamental 
part, the use of patience, subservient to all the rest. And we 
find it recommended upon this account, (James 1. 4.) Let pa 
tience have its perfect work, that ye may be perfect, and entire, 
lacking nothing. Therefore, what shews its necessity, as be 
longing to the inward frame and constitution of a Christian, caa- 
i\ot be irrelative to our purpose. 

1. And this appears from its intimate connection with se 
veral things, that most confessedly belong, as principles, to 
the most inward frame and constitution of a Christian. The 
principles, we shall here refer to, are either subordinate, or so 
vereign and supreme. And they both make it necessary, and 
produce it. 

(1.) Those that are subordinate, concur in the constitution of 
a truly Christian frame, and, thereupon, both make this exer 
cise of patience necessary, and existent ; or make way for it, 
that it may obtain, and take place with them in a man's soul. 
They are such as these : 

[1.] Faith v the unseen state. That faith, which in this 
very context, the beginning of the next chapter, is called the 
substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things not 
seen. This faith of a Christian tells him, God hath made report 
to me of the glory and blessedness of the unseen world ; and I 
believe it, take his word, rely upon it. I do, as the apostle 
says, hope for eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, hath 
promised. Titus 1. 2. This realizes the things themselves, makes 
diem > that are future,, as present. Jt serves me instead of eyes, 


and present sense. They are things, in reference whereto, we 
must walk by faith, and not by sight. That faith makes a sup 
ply for vision, as we find it did, in reference to an unseeri 
Christ. One great part of the expected blessedness of 
the other state is that beatific sight of him, which we 
shall have ; and which, believed, and hoped for, maintains 
present life and vigour in us towards him ; though we have not 
had the privilege of seeing him in the flesh, as divers had in 
time past ; yet, not having so seen, we love him ; and, for 
that other sight of him in glory, how far off that may be, in 
time to come, we know not. But though so too, we now, or^ 
as yet, see him not, believing, we rejoicej with joy unspeak 
able, and full of glory, (1 Pet. 1. 8.) If I do, with my whole 
heart and soul, believe God, telling me, that thus it shall be, 
this faith will operate to this height, a glorious joy ; much 
more to this depth, a soul-composing patience. Therefore are 
these two, faith, and patience, so often paired^ and put toge 
ther in Scripture ; and particularly, with reference to this ex 
pectation of inheriting ithe promises. Heb. 6. 12. And how 
plainly is the affinity, and near alliance of these two signified* 
(James 5. 7? 8.) where the apostle exhorting to the patience 
of expectants, saith, Be patient, brethren, behold the hus 
band-man waiteth, be you also patient, subjoins the propo 
sal of the great object of their faith, the coming of the Lord 
draws nigh. It is the faith of the unseen state (which commen 
ces to the whole Christian community, at their Lord's coming) 
that makes patience, at once, both necessary, and possible; 
yea and actual too, necessary, because the prospect it gives is 
so glorious ; possible, because it is so sure. Upon the former 
account, without patience, the delay could not be endured ; 
upon the latter, because it affords continual relief, and strength, 
that one may be capable of enduring, and actually endure. 
We more easily bear the delay of the most excellent things, 
whereof we are sure at last. Out of the very eater itself, comes 
forth meat, and sweetness. 

[2.] Nor shall we unfitly add hope to faith. We learn them, 
to be distinguishable, finding them distinctly mentioned, as 
two of that great triad of principles, said to abide, 1 Cor. 13. 
13. Nor shall be at a loss how to distinguish them, if we 
consider faith, as more directly respecting the ground upon 
which we rest, the divine testimony or revelation; hope, 
the object unto which we, thereupon, reach forward in de 
sire and expectation. And, as we see how this latter is com 
plicated with faith ; so we may see how it connects with pati 
ence, Rom. 8. 24, 25. We are saved by hope ; but hope 
that is seen, is not hope ; for what a 'man seeth, why doth he 


yel hope for it. But if we hope for that which we see not; 
then do we, with patience, wait for it. 

And, if we follow the thread of discourse through this context, 
and observe how it hegins ; We are saved by hope ; and how it 
terminates in patieme: it is obvious to collect, that were it 
not for patience, we were lost ! And may so learn how further 
to understand our Saviour's words* Luke 21. 19. In your pa 
tience, possess you your own souls ; namely, as possessing, or 
keeping, stands opposed to losing. They that cannot endure to 
the end, cannot be saved. So is the new creature composed by 
a contexture of principles, to be, under God, a self- preserving 

[3..] Love is another great constituent of the Christian frame, 
as such, that makes patience necessary ; as much patience is 
requisite to make them endure one another's absence, who are 
very cordial lovers of one another. Nothing is more essential 
in the constitution of a sincere Christian, than divine love : it 
is the very heart and soul of the new-creature. Love desiring 
after God, as my supreme good ; love delighting, and acquies- 
ing in him above all, according to my present measure of en 
joyment of him ; which being very imperfect, makes my pa 
tience most absolutely necessary, till it can be perfect. If 1 
have not patience, how can I endure the absence of him, whom 
I love better than myself? And that love of him doth connote, 
and carry along with it, the extinction of the love of this 
present world, so that it shall not longer be predominant ; its 
predominancy being inconsistent with the love of God. Love 
not this world if any man love this world, the love of the Fa 
ther is not in him, 1 John 2. 15. Now when a soul is morti- 
tied to the love of this world, it is not hereby quite stupified ; 
love is not destroyed, but turned to another, and its more proper 
object ; and is so much the more intense God-ward, by how 
much the more it is drawn, and. taken oft* from all inferior 
things. Thereupon it must be so much the more grievous to 
to be kept off from him ; and that grievance cannot be borne 
without patience. For that which aggrieves is the absence of 
my best good, which can have no equivalent; and the want 
whereof nothing can supply, or rill up its room. God cannot 
be loved without being known : nor can he be known to be 
God, but as the best good. Though I can never know him per 
fectly, yet so much I must be supposed to know of him, that he 
is better than all things else ; that nothing that is not superior 
in goodness to all things besides, even infinitely superior, can 
be God ; and nothing, but such an uncreated good can make 
me a happy creature. And what patience do 1 need, to make 
me content not to be happy ? But he were not such a good, 

VOL. in. 3 A 


goodness itself, if he could impose it upon me to choose to be 
miserable, or never to be happy. He only requires, that I wait 
awhile, that I be patient of some delay. 

And hereupon, if my love be such as it ought, it doth not only 
make patience necessary, but facile too. It corresponds not to 
its glorious- and most excellent object, if it be not a veryreveren- 4 
tial, and most obsequious love, full of duty towards him, on 
whom it is placed ; if it hath not in it a regard to the blessed 
God, as well under the notion of the sovereign Ruler, as the 
sovereign Good. And thereupon my patience, as hath been said, 
carrying religion in it, that is, a dutiful disposition toward* 
God : the same principle which makes it necessary, makes it 
practicable also. When he. whose devoted servant I am, hath 
signified to me his good pleasure, namely, he finally intends 
me to a blessed state ; but that in the state, wherein I now am, 
he hath present service for me to do ; or that he sees it requi 
site before he translates me out of this state, further to prepare 
me for a better ; and requires in the mean time, I seek honour, 
gloiy, and immortality, by a patient continuance in well-doing: 
My love to him itself, which makes it to appear necessary;, 
makes it also appear to me the most reasonable thing in all the 
world ; and that my heart say within me, even from the power 
and spirit of divine love, when he imposes this expectation^ 
though tedious, and when he inflicts any thing grievous, I was 
dumb, O Lord, and opened not my mouth, because thou didst 
it, (Psal. 39.9.) though I could not have taken it from another. 
We further add, iiot as a single, but mdre comprehensive prin 

[4.] Holiness, which impressed upon the soul, suits it unto 
the heavenly state, and so makes it covet it more earnestly. 
All things naturally tend to the perfection of that state, unto 
w4iich they are predisposed, which is more congenerous to 
them, or whereto they have an agreement in their natures. It 
is so in the new nature, as well as that which is common to 
other creatures. All things naturally tend to their like. It 
cannot be less thus with the new creature, whose nature is im 
proved, heightened, and perfected, beyond that of other crea 
tures. It is the divine holiness impressed upon the soul, that 
suits it unto the participation of the heavenly inheritance. None 
ever come to heaven, but they that are made meet to partake of 
the inheritance of the saints in light, Col. 1. 12. They that 
are made meet for heaven, suited in the temper of their spirits 
to it, cannot but long for it, and do therefore need patience, 
while they are waiting. It is indeed but that to which they 
are begotten. Holiness in general is the product of regenera 
tion. And we find^ that in 1 Pet. 1. 3. we are said to be be- 


gotten unto the lively hope. Hope must be taken there objec 
tively by what follows, To an inheritance incorruptible, and un- 
defiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, 
ver. 4. A disposition to it is in our very natalitia : we are be 
gotten to it by the implantation of this principle, of the new, 
divine, and heavenly birth. Such are born for that country, 
born with a suitableness to that inheritance, therefore cannot 
but have earnest longings after it ; and therefore cannot but 
need patience, that they may endure the delay. And that also 
connotes and carries with it these two things, hatred of the 
opposite, and a tendency unto the improvement and perfec 
tion of itself. 

First. Hatred of the opposite, sin. And this makes a serious 
Christian groan ; I have a body of death hanging about me. 1 
cannot get rid of the impurities which I hate. And because 
the very habit of their soul is now so far changed, that they are 
made holy, they cannot but hate the contrary. You that love 
the Lord hate evil; it belongs to your character to do so, Psal. 
97. 10. And they know, that they shall never be quite rid of 
it, as long as they are here. And though as sin is an evil 
against God, it is not to be the object of their patience ; yet, 
as it is a grievance to themselves, the remainders of it are, so far, 
to be the object about which their patience may be exercised, 
that they are not to enter into any quarrel, that he doth not im 
mediately make them perfect in the very first moment of their 
conversion. And as there is conjunct with this frame of holiness, 
hatred of the opposite, so there is 

Secondly. A tendency to the improving and heightening it- 
gelf : for every thing naturally affects its own perfection, or the 
perfection of its own proper kind. As nature, in every thing 
that grows, aims at a certain pitch, at a certain ax//.*j ; so where 
there is an incohate hpliness, there cannot but be a tendency 
unto consummate perfect holiness. The precept, therefore, 
agrees to the temper of their mind, to whom it is given, Per 
fecting holiness, in the fear of God. 2 Cor. 7- ! This is hav 
ing the law written in our heart, and put into the inward part. But, 
as holiness includes conformity to the preceptive will of God, 
so it doth to his disposing will, being made known. Therefore, 
when we understand it to be his pleasure, we should wait : the 
holy nature itself, which prompts us so earnestly to desire the 
perfection of our state, must also incline us (it were, otherwise 
made up of contradictions) patiently to expect it, our appointed 
time. Herein we are to be subject to the Father of our spirits ; 
as to the fathers of our flesh, when they shall think fit to give 
a full portion. Heb. 12. 9. 

(2.) Besides all these subordinate principles, we are to con- 


sider the co-operation of a sovereign and supreme principle 
with them, and that is the blessed Spirit of God himself. He 
begets, raises, and cherisheth such desires after the blessedness 
of the heavenly state, as makes this patience most absolutely 
necessary. You find in 2 Cor. 5. 4. where the apostle is speak 
ing of his earnest aspiring, and groaning, not to be unclothed 
of this flesh, this earthly tabernacle ; but to be clothed upon, 
as if he had said, To be unclothed, is too low and mean a 
thing ; hereby I only avoid the troubles of life. This can by 
no means terminate desires of so high a kind, and of so divine and 
heavenly an original. These were only the desires of a brute, 
oppressed by a sensible, too heavy burden. But the thing I 
aspire to, and groan after, is to be clothed upon. It is somewhat 
positive, and much higher,' namely, the perfection of that state, 
I am designed to, and by grace, mude capable of, wherein mor 
tality is to be swallowed up of life. These are desires proceed 
ing not from the sense of what we feel ; but from the at 
traction of what we see; and not from a brutal, but a divine 
nature. So he next tells us, ver. 5. whence they were. Now 
he that hath wrought us for the self-same thing is God, who 
also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit. It is the 
Spirit of God working in us, that makes us thus restlessly aspire, 
and groan. He that hath wrought us for this self-same thing 
is God. It is more than if it had been barely said, God hath 
wrought us for this self-same thing. So he might express a 
work common to him with other agents. As, if it had been 
said. He hath wrought us for the self-same thing, and so might 
another : but He that hath wrought us for this self-same thing, 
is God. This is a far more emphatical way of speaking, that 
is, it doth assert Deityto him that doth this work, it is saying, 
<fc None but God could do such a thing/* Therefore observe 
the form of expression here used, that we lose not the emphasis 
of it. The act working us for the same thing is not affirm 
ed of God, as it would in this form, God hath wrought us. 
But being God, or Godhead is affirmed of the agent, as if it 
were said, he cannot but be a God, that doth work this upon 
us. The other way of expression would serve to represent an 
action that were common, indefinitely, to one or another agent ; 
as if we say, " The king walks, speaks, &c." but to express 
an act peculiar to majesty, we would say "he that reigns, is 
the king," This expression then, doth not only ascribe, but 
appropriate the work done to God. What ! that moles, such 
dunghill worms, should thus aspire ! He is a God that hath 
done this ! For that such a work should be done upon such 
creatures ! to mould them into such a frame, that now notlun^ 


terrestrial, nothing temporary, nothing within the region of 
moitality will satisfy ; but they are restless for that state, where 
in mortality shall be swallowed up of life. He that hath 
wrought us for this self-same thing, is God, This is the work 
of a Deity. 

Therefore also, are so sofcmn thanksgivings tendered to the 
Faii.er, for his having made us meet to be partakers of the in 
heritance of the saints ia light, (Col. 1. 12.) which he doth 
not only by bringing life and immortality to light in the gospel, 
(2 Tim. 1. 10.) but by giving the Spirit of wisdom and revela 
tion by enlightening the eyes of our understanding, that we 
may know the hope of our calling, (Ephes. 1, 17* 18.) shining 
into our souls with such a vivific, penetrative, and transforming 
light, as should change their whole frame, and fully attemper 
them thereto. Now if it be a divine power that hath excited 
such desires, and given such a disposition ; it must be a divine 
power that must moderate them too ; by giving also that pa 
tience, that shall enable us to wait for the fulfilling of them. 
And the rather doth there need the interposition of a God iri 
the case, to make us endure, and patiently expect the state he 
hath wrought us for, inasmuch as the same Spirit that frames 
us for that state (as we see recurring to the place before 
mentioned) doth also assure us of it; who hath given us the 
earnest of the Spirit. His Spirit, working in us, not only gives 
us a clear signification of the truth of the thing, but of our 
title ; and therefore makes us so earnestly aspire, and groan for 
it. Wherefore patience cannot but. be the more necessary; 
and (the whole being entirely his work, who doth no inconsis 
tent thing) the easier too. And so we find in Rom. 8. 23. 24. 
where it is said, That they that have received the first-fruits of 
the Spirit, do groan within themselves ; they have the same 
aspirings that this apostle here speaks of, they groan earnestly 
within themselves, waiting for the adoption, the redemption of 
their body. The adoption ; that is an allusion unto a known 
usage among the Romans, to whom the apostle here writes ; 
and therefore they were the more capable of understanding it. 
There was among them a twofold adoption, private; when 
such a patron did design to adopt such a one for his son, and 
exprqp his purpose to such as were concerned, as he judged it 
convenient; which was but inchoate adoption: public; when 
the action was solemn, inforo, and enrolled, a register kept of 
it. And this was the adoption the apostle here alludes to; the 
manifestation of the sons of God, as ver. 19. of this chapter. 
Whereto agrees the expression of another apostle, yet it doth 
not appear what we shall be ; but when he shall appear, we 


shall be like him, 1 John 3. 2. When the sons of God are to 
be manifested, they shall appear like themselves, and like their 
Father. This is their public solemn adoption, when before 
men and angels, they are declared sons of God. And this is 
that we groan for, says the apostle, having received the first- 
fruits of the Spirit. We groan for this, the perfection of our 
state ; and thereupon would accordingly enter upon the in 
heritance, being assured, that all his children are heirs, heirs of 
"God, and joint-heirs with Christ (as before in the same chapter, 
ver. 17.) But now, whereas, from these passages, He that 
wrought us for the self-same thing, is God ; that it is he that 
made us meet for this inheritance: that the first-fruits of his 
Spirit made us groan for it; we collect, that it is divine power, 
which gives this aptitude and inclination, and limits it. What 
is it, that doth so qualify divine power, but divine power? 

It is, indeed, too plain, that the influence of this power re 
ceived into such a subject, a mind in too great part, yet car 
nalized, and situated amidst a sensible tempting world, meets 
with sufficient allays, and enough to obstruct its tendencies to 
wards an object, yet out of sight. But all this obstruction, 
such a power can easily overcome. Therefore we are equally 
to admire the wisdom of God, as his power, not as simply om 
nipotent, though it be so; but as having its place and exercise in 
the most perfect divine nature, in which all excellencies meet; 
and which therefore is not exerted ad ultimum, to the utmost, 
so, as to do all, that almighty power can do, but what is con 
venient and fit to be done ; that can moderate itself, can move 
forward, and sistere se, stop its motion at pleasure, so as to pro 
vide that desire and patience, may iu our present state, consist; 
and that whilst God hath work for us to do, and a station to fill 
up in this present world,we may not be weary of life ; or by the 
expectation of blessedness in the other world, be made impa 
tient of serving his purposes here, as long as it is his pleasure 
to continue us in this. So doth he all things, according to the 
counsel of his will ! Thus from the principles, whence pa 
tience proceeds, you may collect how absolutely necessary it is. 

2. You may collect it too, from the ends which it serves. 
And I shall mention but these two, which are in the text : that 
which is nearer and more immediate our doing the will of 
God : remoter, and ultimate our inheriting the promise. 

(1.) This nearer end is manifestly supposed to be so ; and 
withal, that patience is necessary thereto. For when we are 
told, " Ye have need of patience, that when ye have done the 
iv ill of God," it is plainly signified, patience conduces to our 
doing Gods will; and that without patience we cannot do it. 
Not that patience is the proper principle of doing it, but active 


vigour; yet the concomitancy of patience is requisite hereto; 
not directly, in respect to the thing to be done ; hut the time 
through which the doing of it must be continued, and the ex 
pectation, which, as hath been said, is complicated therewith. 
To the former, vigorous activity, a promptitude, and suitable 
ness of mind and spirit to the divine will, even a love of holi 
ness ; whereof that will revealed, is the measure, must be rec 
koned the genuine, requisite principle ; as patience is to the 
latter. Therefore do we find labour ascribed to love ; and pa 
tience to hope. 1 Thess. 1. 3. If we have run well; and it is 
the will of God we shall lengthen out our course by a patient 
continuance in well-doing ; and not express only a present a- 
gility, but patience in running the race ; without this we do not 
the will of God. 

(2.) But we are more largely to insist on the remoter, and 
niore ultimate end that we may inherit that promise which 
we see is represented, as the end of that former end : and pa 
tience made necessary to the latter, as it is necessary to the for 
mer. And can we in good earnest, think of inheriting the 
promise, which is all of grace, whether God will, or no? And, 
if he will the end, doth it not equally belong to him to will 
the way and method of our attaining it ? To be here somewhat 
particular. Two things we may conclude, God doth ordinarily 
will concerning the way, wherein he conducts, and leads on 
those that peculiarly belong to him, to the blessed end, and 
consummate state he designs them to, the one whereof is also 
requisite i& the other, namely their gradual growth and im 
provement in holiness, and all dutiful dispositions towards him, 
till they opme nearer to maturity for glory, and a meetness for 
the heavenly state : and their maintaining an intercourse with 
himself, in order hereto.- These things he wills us to design 
through our whole course, though he is at liberty to shorten, 
or lengthen our course, as to him seems meet. 

[1 .] Our own gradual improvement, hereto such patience i 
necessary : for perpetual fretting must naturally hinder our 
growth. Let patience have its perfect work, that ye may be 
perfect, (James 1. 4.) It cannot have its perfect work, if it 
have not its work and exercise this way, as well as others ; that 
ye may be perfect, and entire, wanting nothing. If you have 
not patience, that you can endure such a delay, you will never 
grow, will be always starvlings. Do we not observe the method, 
wherein the divine wisdom brings all things to their ax^or 
perfect state ? vegetables ? sensitive creatures ? in the several 
kinds of both ? Do we not observe it in ourselves ? and in our 
children ? whom (as the comedian) we should most absurdly 
expect to be born old men. And as to our spiritual states, af- 


ter conversion, or regeneration, what are the gifts vouchsafed 
by our glorified Lord meant for,, but our growth to a perfect 
man ? Conversion, it is true, till work of that kind be all 
over, perfects the whole body; but the increase of knowledge, 
and grace, perfects each particular member, or part. 

And, besides the improvement of habitual principles, there 
is a fulness of actual duty and service, to be to our utmost en 
deavoured, that we may stand complete, and perfect in all the 
will of God. Col. 4. 12. Everyone hath his pensum, his 
allotment of work arid time assigned him in this world, though; 
some come not into the vineyard till the eleventh hour. What 
a sharp reproach is that, (Rev. 8. 2.) I have not found thy 
works filled up ? How glorious a character is that of the man 
after God's own heart, that after he had by the will of God 
served his generation, run through the course of service, which 
the divine will had measured out to him for his own age where 
in he lived, he at length so seasonably fell asleep ; was gather 
ed to his fathers, as a shock of corn fully ripe. This is the 
state of growth and service ; the other, the state of perfection 
and retribution. And to improvement and progress, patience 
is necessary, not only as being itself a part of our duty, the want 
wherefore, there must infer a maim ; but as, also, it hath influ 
ence upon all other parts, and without which, therefore, there 
would be a universal languor and debility upon the whole new 
man ; which is evident from what is to be added. It is through 
the Lord alone, we are to make mention of his name, (Isa. 26. 
13.) Without him we can do nothing, (John 15. 5.) neither 
grow, nor serve. Therefore further is our patience necessary. 
[2.] That so our communion and intercourse witli God here, 
according as in our present state we are capable, may be continued, 
and his communications to us therein, which we daily need, may 
not be obstructed. Herein lies the very life of our spirits, a 
continual intercourse between God and us. But of this, with 
out such patience, we shall be incapable. See how the apos 
tle argues, (Heb. 12. 9.) The fathers of your flesh chastised you, 
and you gave them reverence ; how much more shall we not be 
subject to the Father of our spirits, and live ? Shall we not be 
subject to the Father of our spirits ? We must remember, that 
lie, whom the apostle here calls by a more general title, the Fa 
ther of spirits, doth elsewhere vouchsafe to be stiled (Numb. 
27. 16.) the God of the spirits of all flesh. A most conde 
scending expression ! That he, who hath so innumerable myri 
ads of spirits, whose dwelling is not with flesh, replenishing the 
spacious realms, and regions of light and bliss above, should also 
not disdain to own a relation to this inferior sort of spirits, that 
are so meanly lodged, even in frail and mortal flesh ; and to ex- 


JpVess a concern about them, that somewhat of tolerable order 
might be preserved among them, in their low and abject state; 
and therefore allow himself to be called the God of such spirits ! 
This is admirable vouchsafement. And> because he is (in this 
other place) generally called, the Father of spirits, comprehend 
ing these with the rest; upon both accounts, it belongs to him by 
prerogative, to determine, what spirits shall dwell in flesh, and 
what shall not ; how long any such spirits shall dwell in flesh, 
and when they shall be removed, and taken out of this fleshly 
state. And observe, what follows, " shall we not be subject to 
the Father of spirits) and live?" The impatient will contend : 
they that cannot bear delay will quarrel, and that will be dead 
ly to them. If we be not subject* we cannot live. He is the 
universal Father of spirits ; all spirits are his offspring. And 
shall not he determine concerning the spirits he hath made, 
which shall* and, how long they shall inhabit flesh ; as well 
the time, as the thing itself ; or who shall, and who shall not? 
It is his pleasure, that my spirit should so long animate, and 
inhabit such a piece of clay; if I am not subject to him, I shall 
not live ? This is severely monitory ! and extends far. It ad 
monishes me of danger, as to my final state. For what is here 
sftid, hath reference to what is after said of the future vision of 
God ; and our association to the innumerable company of an 
gels, and the spirits of just men made perfect, whereof want of 
the patience prescribed, (ver. 1.) through all the whole race set 
before us, hazards our falling short. But how are we by im 
patience, endangered, as to our final and eternal state of life ! 
It is intimated, that without being patient, and subject, we 
cannot live now. Intercourse will be broken off between him 
and us; he will retire, and withhold his influence : And if he 
do so, and we pine away in our sins, how shall then we live ? 
(as their misgiving hearts presage, Ezek.36. 10.) 

But if spiritual life already fail, which is of the same kind 
with blessed eternal life, and is therein perfected, what shall 
become of that life itself, which is but the perfection of the o- 
ther? If we cannot live now, how shall we live eternally? If 
not a day, how forever ? It is true, we are kept by the power 
of God; but it is, through faith, unto salvation, (1 Pet. 1. 5.) 
And faith is necessary to support our patience, as hath been 
noted. This our Saviour prayed for to Peter, that amidst all 
his winnowing^, his faith might not fail. And all this with 
this final reference, that we might be followers of them, who, 
through faith and patience, have inherited the promises, (Heb. 
6. 12.) which plainly shews, what is God's ordinary method of 
bringing his own, at last, to that inherita nee. And this, in 

VOL in, 3 3 


the context j which we were lust considering, (Heh. 12.) is co 
piously illustrated by the method observed in families ; where 
in a prudent father considers how long it is fit a son should be 
under discipline, whereof, while he is patient, he is under pa-* 
ternal care, arid enjoys the provisions of the family; but, if he 
will not he subject, how shall lie live ? This prudent conduct 
is not always observed by the fathers of our flesh. They use, 
sometimes, harsh severities, more for their own pleasure, and 
to gratify their own passion, than the child's profit. But with 
the Father of spirits no rash passions can have place. He on 
ly designs our profit, and improvement, in the highest, and 
most excellent kind, that is to make us partakers of his holi 
ness ; to make us more and more God-like, and fit, at length^ 
to be admitted into the presence of his glory. And whereas the 
mere deferring of our expected felicity is some chastisement, 
and rebuke upon us, for our yet-continuing impurities and dis 
orders ; there are also other afflictions that befall us in this our 
expecting state, which, though they proceed from this world's 
hatred, may proceed from the love of God, and are meant to 
work out for us greater glory, (2 Cor. 4. 1?) as now they tend 
to make us partakers, in a greater measure, of his holiness ; 
which, as it is his glory, will be ours ; and by his influence, a 
peaceable fruit of righteousness accrues to its, and grows up in 
us, upon which we are to feed and live. Now what conversati 
on can there be between a father in a family, and a son, in 
minority and under discipline, but by wise and tender care on 
the part of the former, and the dutiful submission of the latter? 
Or can the son hope the sooner to come by his inheritance, by 
wayward and contentious behaviour towards such a father ! So 
that both from the principles, whence such patience proceeds, 
and the ends which it serves, we may collect the necessity of it 
unto every serious Christian. 

III. And now how copious use might we make of so impor 
tant a subject ! But we must contract. We may learn from it, 

1. The desperate condition of those wretched creatures, that 
are of terrene minds, whose hearts, by habitual and prevailing 
inclination, cleave to this earth, and this earthly state. They 
can apprehend no need of patience, in expecting the blessed 
ness of heaven. It is no grievance to them not to partake there 
in. They had rather live where they are ; are better pleased 
with their present state of life. Tell them of patience in wait 
ing for the heavenly felicity? It is language they understand 
hot! Oh ! the wretched state of those forlorn souls, whose ha 
bitual temper makes them incapable of the exercise, or need of 
this patience ! It may be said indeed, of many a good man, 


that he doth not covet death, (which, for itself, no man can,) 
but it cannot be said of any good man, that he doth not covet 
blessedness, which, in a general, indeterminate notion, every 
man covets. But there is no truly good man, none that is re 
generate, and born of God, who doth not particularly covet 
that, wherein blessedness truly lies, and doth consist. For all 
such are begotten to the lively hope of the undefiled inherit 
ance, reserved in heaven for them, (1 Pet. 1. 3. 4.) nor can 
be supposed, when they covet blessedness, not to covet perfect 
blessedness. Such may, indeed, not yet covet to die; be 
cause yet they may be under some doubt concerning their pre 
sent state God-ward. And so such a one doth not know, whe 
ther, if he die, he shall enter upon a blessed state, or no. But, 
in the mean time, it cannot be said of any good man, that he 
doth not covet to be blessed ; though for that single reason, 
because he doubts of his title to the heavenly blessedness, he 
covets not death. Therefore that doubt doth not extinguish 
his desire of blessedness, but suspends only the desire of death, 
as an uncertain way to it ; because it is equally the entrance in 
to a state of misery, to them who have no title to blessedness, 
as it is unto a blessed state, to them that have a title. And 
concerning their present title, they are still in doubt; which 
way they hope, by divine assistance, if they have more time, 
may yet be gained. Whereas, upon supposition, that doubt 
were removed, they would be glad to be gone. But this is 
their miserable case, whose hearts cleave to this earth, that 
they prefer it before all the blessedness and glory of heaven ; 
and rather bless themselves from it, than desire to be blessed 
by it. If they can but live pleasantly, and as long as they 
would do here, take heaven, and all the blessedness and glory 
of it who will for them ! I would fain have you apprehend the 
deplorable condition of such men, upon sundry accounts. 

(l.)Their temper differs from that of all the children of God; 
they are quite of another complexion from the whole family 
that belongs to him. For all that are the sons of God, as they 
are born from above (anu** John 8. 3.) they are born with a 
disposition heavenward. Therefore, if such a man could but 
view, and behold himself, he could not but cry out, affrighted 
and amazed, God be merciful to me, what sort of creature am 
I ! If God be not merciful to me, to change me, his mercy 
can never own me for his ; I am quite of a different make from 
all that ever had leave to call him Father ! They all love hea 
ven more than earth, and I love earth more than heaven ! That 
a man's own temper should distinguish him from all the divine 
off-spring ! methinks it should be considered with dread and 


horror ! That there should be a sort of men in this world, that 
are all lovers of God, as their best good, and longing to be at 
home with him in the heavenly state, and I to be severed from 
them all ! My heart being strange to him, and always tending 
downward ! This is a dismal thing ! A sad reflection to any 
one, that can, and will reflect; and be so true to himself, as 
to own this to be his sense, "I had rather live amidst the vani 
ties of this world, than partake in the glories of heaven ! I 
had rather please my flesh and sense on earth, than enjoy the 
felicity of saints and angels above \" A fearful case! For now 
you have nothing to do with this character, belonging to ho 
ly men, of standing in sensible need of patience, that you may 
inherit the promise ! nor, 

(2.) Can you inherit. For as all, so only, God's children, 
are his heirs. They are no heirs who are not his children. 
Cast out the bondwoman, and her son : he cannot inherit 
with the son of the promise. The children of Jerusalem above 
are free ; the rest are slaves. Can it be thought worthy of God 
to have bond-men, and slaves to vile terrene affections, for his 
sons ; can they inherit the blessedness of heaven, that never 
loved, desired, or chose it ? that always preferred this earth 
before it ? Can any be brought to heaven violently, whether 
they will, or no ? Whoever have come thither, first sought 
it, as the better country. Therefore God was not ashamed to 
be called their God, (Heb. 11. 16.) which implies, he would 
be ashamed to be called the God of an earthly-minded genera 
tion of men. And will he ever do the thing that he would be 
ashamed of ? So ignominious a thing as to take base sons of 
the earth into his kingdom (who may all say in regno nati su* 
mus, we are born of the kingdom we belong to) for his chil 
dren and heirs ! 

(3.) Notwithstanding their obstinate inclination and adhe 
rence to this eartb, they still live in the continual fear of being 
removed out of it, namely, if they bethink themselves. And 
what sort of felicity is that, that can be blasted and extinguished 
by a thought ! That depends only upon a present forgetfulness ! 
How afflicting a misery to be united in affection, with that, as 
my best good, which I continually fear to lose ! and to have 
rent away from me ! 

(4.) Such addictedness to this earth, that is, the desire of a 
perpetual abode here ; which is the complexion of all earthly-? 
minded men, who herein never limit themselves : but should 
they live here never so many ages, they would be always of the 
same mind, I say, their earthly propension is liable to be en 
countered continually, not with fear only, but despair j and is 


therefore most vain, irrational, absurd, and tormenting to 
themselves: vain, for it contributes nothing to their end. 
Can any man's adhesion to this earth, be it never so peremp 
tory, perpetuate, or prolong his abode upon it; irrational, 
for what is there in this state itself, to be alleged as a plausible 
reason j why one should desire it to be everlasting ? Absurd, 
for it is to set one's heart upon a known impossibility. What can 
be more ludicrous, than to contend with necessity, which 
will at last be too hard forme ? to cherish a desire in my soul, 
wherein I know I must at length be disappointed ? And it can 
not, in the issue, but be tormenting, and even in the foresight 
of it; fear afflicts, but despair cannot do less than torment. 
How amazing is the fore-thought of being plucked away from 
one's dwelling-place ; rooted out from the land of the living ? 
(Psal. 52. 5,) An immortal spirit torn out of mortal flesh, un 
to which it is now, however so inwardly con-naturalized, as to 
have no thought but with abhorrence, of any other state or 
dwelling ? That one's soul should sit trembling on the lip, and 
muttering, " I fain would stay, but must go, and leave be 
hind me whatsoever I loved best I" And not only quit all my 
former known delights and wonts, but pass into unknown dark 
ness and woes ! Ammula vagula blandula fyc. (as he despe 
rately) O my poor wandering, self -flatter ing soul, whither 
art thou going into what dismal, horrid places, where thou 
shalt not jest as thou wast wont ! 

That a man should thus recount with himself; I have had 
my good things ! my pleasant days are all over, never to return 
more ! And now must 1 tinish them by so violent a death ! 
Driven away (as the wicked is said to be) out of light into 
darkness, and chased out of the world, John 18. 5. 18. How 
calamitous is this case ! And how much the more, that it 
scarce leaves room for a rational, or even for a religious pity. 
For we read in the mentioned Psal. 52. when we are told, ver. 
6. of God's plucking, and rooting such out of their dwelling- 
place, &c. That the righteous shall see and fear, and laugh at 
them. At once they reverence God ! and deride them, ver. 6. 
And are justified herein, by what follows, ver. 7 Lo, this is 
the man that made not God his strength, but trusted in the a- 
bundance of his riches, and strengthened himself in his wicked 
ness, namely, that he acted so foolish a part, in so plain a case; 
imagining, that wealth and wickedness, in conjunction, could 
signify more than all the mercy and justice of a Deity ! And 
did therefore that ridiculous thing, so deservedly to be laughed 
at by all that are wise and just, as to attempt by so much earth 
to fill up the room of God! That a reasonable, and immortal 


mind should place its supreme desire upon a terrene good, from 
which it shortly must be plucked away, against the strongest 
reluctance! veneration of the divine nemesis overcomes com 
passion in this case. Pity towards them is not extinguished, 
but its exercise suspended only, by religion towards God. 

(5.) This temper of mind (wbiefo ought to signify with pro 
fessed Christians) hath in it a down-right repugnancy unto 
whole Christianity. For consider, and compare things. Here 
is a heart cleaving to this earth; but did Christ establish his 
religion to plant men in the earth ? Was it not to prepare 
them for heaven, and then translate them thither ? He died, 
the just for the unjust, to bring us to God, 1 Pet. 3. 18. And 
he hath redeemed us to God by his blood, Rev. 5. 9. And to 
deliver us from this present world, Gal. 1. 4. His kingdom, 
in the whole constitution and frame of it, is avo